Peer Review Process (was Evolution Stuff (was What is Religion, exactly?))

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AuthorTopic: Peer Review Process (was Evolution Stuff (was What is Religion, exactly?))
Electric Sheep One
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It may not exactly be an irrelevant digression, but if all that Gitt uses information for is to say that formation of a certain class of enzyme has not been observed, then his discussion of information is merely an uninteresting piling up of different versions of the same old argument. Evolution of giraffes has not been observed, either. I see no new principles involved in Gitt's information arguments. This disappoints me.

I do hope that the numerous articles trying to rebut evolution from thermodynamics are duly recognized as worthless. I do not mean to tar all of ID with the same brush, but where the tar rightly sticks, the article cannot continue to be counted as weight on the side of ID. Even a large number of such articles would be more counter-evidence than evidence, because it would reinforce the suspicion that the appeal of ID is too largely based on ignorance. A genuine supporter of ID should be a fierce crusader against thermodynamic arguments, because they undermine the cause badly.

As to organization versus order: I agree that there is some fascinating and important difference between the order in a human body and the order in a snowflake or a hurricane. This is a point that has received some study from physicists. But I don't buy for a moment that ID people have put their finger on what this difference is. To define organization as being the product of design is an obvious begging of the question.

It is true that in some respects the complexity of living organisms resembles the complexity of artificial machines more closely than it resembles that of snowflakes. But in other respects the complexity of living organisms is quite different. For instance, living organisms are often appallingly inefficient, from a design point of view. They include superfluous parts, or they use what look like awkward adaptations of structures that serve other purposes in other organisms. As design elegance, this is below the standard of Apple Computer, let alone of the God in whom I believe.

On the other hand, the design of artificial machines is sharply limited in another way: zoom in closely enough, and design disappears. A watch may have tiny intricate gears, but the microscopic structure of the metal composing the gears shows no marks of design at all. Whereas living organisms maintain pretty much their same kind of complex functionality right down to molecular scales. Indeed, as Golem XIV pointed out, at the molecular scale life suddenly does become elegantly efficient.

Both of these differences between life and machines fit naturally with the evolutionary account. Evolution would be pretty much discredited, in fact, if these features were not observed. They are also, of course, consistent with special creation. But so is anything whatever. ID has to answer why a God who could do anything whatever should choose to mimic so closely the patterns one would expect from evolution, even when these patterns are awkward from a design point of view.

Just so another viewpoint is on record, I will state that I believe in a creator God, but in one whose intelligence is on such a vastly transhuman scale that design as we conceive it is quite irrelevant. A child finds Tic-tac-toe an absorbing game; an adult is more interested in chess. A being comfortably able to follow the behavior of every particle in the universe simultaneously, while fully appreciating all the patterns they make on every scale, is not going to be interested in building watches. The designs of God are surely purposeful, but they will not look like design to humans, and so efforts to find evidence of design in creation seem to me to be bad theology.

Finally, an important and interesting point about thermodynamics on cosmic scales: the specific heat of self-gravitating systems is negative. A self-gravitating system means a system whose internal gravitational potential energy is free to change significantly; for instance, a cloud of dust or gas or asteroids, or a cluster of stars. Having negative specific heat means that if it loses energy, for instance by emitting light or by bouncing a few fast members out of the system, the system's temperature increases. This is the opposite behavior to everything we are used to on earth, where things cool down by losing energy and heat up by absorbing it.

Negative specific heat is no contradiction to thermodynamics, but rather is a consequence of thermodynamics when gravity is involved. Yet it means that something which on earth would be a violation of the Second Law routinely occurs in astrophysics: small regions spontaneously become hotter than their surroundings.

And this is REALLY important; if it is not the key to the existence of life, it is at least an essential key. Spontaneous heating under gravitational contraction is why stars form, and the existence of stars that provide a steady source of heat and light is clearly vital to life. Without it, the only life one can imagine is the sort of stuff that clings to hot deep sea vents. But that stuff is also powered by the negative specific heat of self-gravitating systems, because this is why the center of the Earth is so hot. (Natural radioactivity also heats the Earth, as well as the Earth's own gravitational contraction; but the existence of heavy unstable elements is due to the first generation of stars in the universe.)

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quote:
Originally written by The Creator:

“‘Organized’ systems are to be carefully distinguished from ‘ordered’ systems. Neither kind of system is ‘random,’ but whereas ordered systems are generated according to simple algorithms and therefore lack complexity, organized systems must be assembled element by element according to an external ‘wiring diagram’ with a high information content
I'm a developmental biologist, and if this is an attempt to claim that life is an organised system of the type described above, it's basically a load of crypto-mystical claptrap.

There is no grand external plan directing the development of even very complex organisms such as mammals. The overwhelming majority of effects driving embryonic development are local: cells develop into appropriate fates by interacting with their immediate neighbours and the external environment, but not by reading some kind of blueprint for the entire body that's encoded into their DNA. In many ways, the left hand quite literally does not know what the right hand is doing.

The tissues and organs of the human body are in fact generated by simple algorithms (or at least, algorithms no more complex than those which drive weather patterns). There is no objective sense in which a human body is more organised than a hurricane; we just see more organisation in humans because it's easier and more interesting to study them, so we've spent more time doing so.

[ Thursday, June 01, 2006 23:34: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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That's the doggoned thing about entropy: if the universe develops deterministically, then there's no objective sense in which anything is more organized than anything else. At least, no really rigorously objective sense yet identified, to my knowledge.

Boltzmann told us to carve phase space up into cubic cells of abritrary size (as long as the size was not too large). Okay, cubic cells is at least not too suspiciously a particularly special case. But why cubic? Why not incredibly complex squiggly shapes, which could potentially follow exactly the actual motion of the system, so that entropy never changed at all? That's not a very aesthetically pleasing proposal, but we don't have any convincing axioms to exclude it. There is no general theory of how to "coarsen the grain" (lower the resolution of one's description).

As to developmental biology: sure, there is no 'homuncular' plan which each cell locally consults. But I think the brighter ID people would simply say that the plan is present globally. Of course, to me this sort of distinction is a slippery slope that slides right down to my view of a plan so global as to be locally invisible, where 'locally' may mean on any scale less than that of the entire universe. But maybe there is some ID belay that will stop them before that point.

[ Thursday, June 01, 2006 23:53: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

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None of which contradicts my basic point, which is that living organisms develop in much the same way that hurricanes do: through local interactions between nearby units. The units are bigger and have more moving parts (cells rather than individual air molecules), but the principles are the same. The kind of life we talk to and shelter under and feed on and try to get rid of with antibiotics is really just a scaled-up, colourised version of the John Conway kind. As such, the metaphor of life as an externally-assembled machine is an entirely inappropriate one; it's self-assembling, just like a cloud or a crystal.

[ Thursday, June 01, 2006 23:53: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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Sure, but see my last edit above.

(People unfamiliar with John Conway's "Game of Life" should google it. It is totally awesome.)

The problem with the Life analogy from a physics point of view is that Conway's Life is explicitly entropic in its fundamental laws -- you can deduce the entire future from any present, but you can't deduce the past because there could have been isolated cells anywhere -- whereas physics as it currently stands is not. But that's our problem; for biologists, I suppose Life's explicitly entropic nature just shows that even with a much more obvious Second Law than exists in reality, remarkably organized structures can appear spontaneously.

And yet. The biggest thing I've ever gotten out of Life from random initial conditions is a 'beehive'; whereas enormously complicated Life structures have been built by design. I have no trouble imagining that these too could emerge randomly, with a big enough board and a long enough run. But I'm not entirely sure of this; there are a lot of theorems about Life, and I don't find it inconceivable that someone could prove that the probability would scale with size in a disappointing way. And an ID advocate could well point out that even in the artificial example of Life, modest structures like "glider guns" have only been produced so far by intelligent design.

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quote:
It may not exactly be an irrelevant digression, but if all that Gitt uses information for is to say that formation of a certain class of enzyme has not been observed, then his discussion of information is merely an uninteresting piling up of different versions of the same old argument. Evolution of giraffes has not been observed, either. I see no new principles involved in Gitt's information arguments. This disappoints me.
The thing about measuring information content of enzymes wasn't by Gitt. Spetner wrote it, and he didn't use Gitt's information theory. You seem to have mixed things up.

Thuryl, the earlier quote was from an evolutionist, Jeffrey Wicken, who does indeed acknowledge that living systems are organised. Of course one quote hardly demonstrates that evolutionary scientists in general see it that way, so here are a few more.


"Nobel Prize winner Ilya Prigogine also has no problem defining the difference:
“The point is that in a non-isolated [open] system there exists a possibility for formation of ordered, low-entropy structures at sufficiently low temperatures. This ordering principle is responsible for the appearance of ordered structures such as crystals as well as for the phenomena of phase transitions. Unfortunately this principle cannot explain the formation of biological structures.”
[I. Prigogine, G. Nicolis and A. Babloyants, Physics Today 25(11):23 (1972)]

The evolutionary origin-of-life expert Leslie Orgel confirmed that there are three distinct concepts: order, randomness and specified complexity:
Living things are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals such as granite fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [L. Orgel, The Origins of Life, John Wiley, NY, 1973, p. 189]

Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen make the same clear distinction:
“As ice forms, energy (80 calories/gm) is liberated to the surroundings... The entropy change is negative because the thermal configuration entropy (or disorder) of water is greater than that of ice, which is a highly ordered crystal... It has often been argued by analogy to water crystallizing to ice that simple monomers may polymerize into complex molecules such as protein and DNA. The analogy is clearly inappropriate, however... The atomic bonding forces draw water molecules into an orderly crystalline array when the thermal agitation (or entropy driving force) is made sufficiently small by lowering the temperature. Organic monomers such as amino acids resist combining at all at any temperature, however, much less in some orderly arrangement.”
[C.B. Thaxton, W.L. Bradley, and R.L. Olsen, The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library, New York, 1984, pp. 119-120.]"


Of course quotes, even those of Nobel Prize winners, don't really prove that biological systems are different from crystals or weather formations, but it does indicate that it isn't open-and-shut.

An ordered structure is based on simple units repeated numerous times. Life, however, contain specified complexity. To demostrate briefly: "abababab" is an ordered sequence, "tvohdrsd" is a random complex sequence, and, "designed" is a specific complex sequence. It is specific because it is the particular sequence required (in this case for the conveying of a meaning). See this article for some more detail.

You say that life is self assembling, but no-one has seen life that was not assembled by previous life (the law of biogenesis). This not like a cloud or a crystal, where the dissasembled components arrange themselves into the final structure.

Edited to make it more readable.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 01:53: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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quote:
Originally written by The Creator:

The thing about measuring information content of enzymes wasn't by Gitt. Spetner wrote it, and he didn't use Gitt's information theory. You seem to have mixed things up.

Whose name is whose is hardly important. I am sorry if I confuse the two gentlemen, but such errors on my part do not affect the discussion. I hope you are not suggesting that they do; that would reduce a potentially useful discussion to the pitiful intellectual level of a debating contest, in which any error by an opponent will serve as a missile, regardless of how irrelevant it is to substantial issues.

Whoever produced which, I have identified one class of information arguments which are dead wrong, in that they simply confuse entropy with some more sophisticated measure of complexity, and another class of arguments which seem to use information correctly, but use it only in standard ways, and only use it to formulate a new version of the standard observation that macroevolution has not been observed.

I am interested in new ideas about information, so if there are any proposals that don't fall into these classes, I'd like to know of them. If you can only acknowledge that you don't know of any such proposals, I'd be grateful for the admission, since it would save me from a probable waste of time in going through literature with which you are more familiar than I.

It is true that I am awfully picky, and I may well reject bushels of ideas that claim to be new insights into information, by finding that to me they fail either to be new or to be insights. That's life: a really new insight about information would be a landmark in intellectual history, and those kinds of things aren't easy. But it seems to me that if ID has any prospects for delivering new science, they probably lie in this direction.

I repeat, the problem is hard. It is one thing to insist that there is some important distinction between "abababa", "akjkl9kjkl", and "designed". Practically everyone would agree, and lots of people have considered the point very important. It is quite another thing to imagine that a few lines of prose could possibly clarify, to scientific standards of clarity, what this important distinction really is. In reading some of these ID discussions, I get the maddening feeling of hearing someone speak evocatively about the dizzy height of Everest, but then just as I'm beginning to hope that they have some vision of a route towards the summit, they jump over a chair and announce proudly, "See, I've just climbed it!".

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 02:22: Message edited by: Student of Trinity ]

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The quotes, even assuming they're not taken entirely out of context, are irrelevant to my point; they're talking about what's happening on a molecular level (which I'm sure is very interesting, but I'm not an expert so I'll leave it to a molecular biologist to discuss it), I'm talking about what's happening on a cellular level. Once you get as far as cellular life, everything else follows from there, and we know pretty much how it follows. The fact that we don't yet know what exact conditions could give rise to cellular life in the first place shouldn't be taken as evidence that no such conditions can exist.

quote:
Originally written by The Creator:

An ordered structure is based on simple units repeated numerous times. Life, however, contain specified complexity. To demostrate briefly: "abababab" is an ordered sequence, "tvohdrsd" is a random complex sequence, and, "designed" is a specific complex sequence. It is specific because it is the particular sequence required (in this case for the conveying of a meaning). See this article for some more detail.
I'm unconvinced by this argument. It seems to me that any complex arrangement is a specific complex arrangement, in the sense that it has certain properties which would probably not be possessed by a random arrangement of the same set of constituent particles. It just so happens that some of those properties are more interesting to people than others, and some of the most interesting ones are defined as falling under the category of "life". As far as the laws of physics are concerned, there's no real qualitative difference between life and non-life; the definition of life simply comes from humans looking at the universe and applying their own perspective on what counts as a particularly interesting set of patterns. We like to study things that resemble ourselves, partly because we're vain and partly because such things are more likely to have some relevance to our daily lives. In other words, to return to your analogy, the only reason "designed" counts as a specific complex sequence and "tvohdrsd" doesn't is that humans arbitrarily declared it to be so.

From the article you linked:

quote:
Random signals, e.g. WEKJHDF BK LKGJUES KIYFV NBUY, are not ordered, but complex. But a random signal contains no useful information. A non-random aperiodic (non-repeating) signal—specified complexity—e.g. ‘I love you’, may carry useful information. However, it would be useless unless the receiver of the information understood the English language convention. The amorous thoughts have no relationship to that letter sequence apart from the agreed language convention. The language convention is imposed onto the letter sequence.
Here is the crux of my problem with the argument. From a strictly information-theoretic perspective, the term "useful" is meaningless, and a random sequence actually contains the maximum possible amount of information for any sequence of the same length. To declare that only "useful" information (that is, information which produces results which are interesting to humans) counts as information seems like anthropocentric bias at best and intellectual dishonesty at worst.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 05:01: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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quote:
Originally written by The Creator:

An ordered structure is based on simple units repeated numerous times. Life, however, contain specified complexity. To demostrate briefly: "abababab" is an ordered sequence, "tvohdrsd" is a random complex sequence, and, "designed" is a specific complex sequence. It is specific because it is the particular sequence required (in this case for the conveying of a meaning). See this article for some more detail.
This is an atrociously bad argument. By this reasoning, "rzadko" is random, and "designed" is specific, provided that we're speaking English. If we're speaking Polish, "designed" is random, and "rzadko" is specific. This differentiation is more based on the observer than on the observed.

If you generate enough random groups of letters, you're bound to come up with words ("specific" organization) after a while. Hell, if you generate enough random groups of letters, you'll probably come up with different words from different languages (phylums), and upon so many iterations, you will randomly have generated a whole bunch of nonsense (useless or harmful mutations) and probably a higher percentage of certain languages than other ones (more dinosaurs than mammals or vice-versa).

This sounds more like an example in favor of evolution than against it.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 05:05: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

It seems to me that any complex arrangement is a specific complex arrangement... the definition of life simply comes from humans looking at the universe and applying their own perspective on what counts as a particularly interesting set of patterns... In other words, to return to your analogy, the only reason "designed" counts as a specific complex sequence and "tvohdrsd" doesn't is that humans arbitrarily declared it to be so.

To declare that only "useful" information (that is, information which produces results which are interesting to humans) counts as information seems like anthropocentric bias at best and intellectual dishonesty at worst.

Thank you for that last post, Thuryl. I've been trying to say something similar for the past day or so, but have kept second-guessing my words.

This distinction between "ordered" and "organized" really bugs me. It's totally arbitrary, and it just begs the question. If I follow Creator's definiton of "organized" correctly, organized things have to be constructed according to an external blueprint, i.e., with some kind of intelligent design. If we ignore man-made (and other animal-made) items, which are irrelevant to the discussion, we are left with two categories of things:

1) Things which are "ordered" and which can be made through the action of natural laws alone

2) Things which are "organized" and which require the action of some kind of intelligent design

We can't separate the categories any more because that is how they have been defined. "Organized" has been defined to require external design. So when Creator asks for an example of something "organized" that came about naturally, of course there is no answer -- you've defined it that way!

This is all well and good on a purely abstract, definitional level. The problem is that which things go in which category is exactly what is up for debate! Deciding whether or not a given thing requires an external blueprint or not is not a simple task. Since we can't agree on that, asking for examples of things that we claim to be in one category or the other isn't going to be very fruitful. (That said, I do notice that Kelandon's hurricane example has been conveniently ignored.)

And therein lies the problem with the ID view advanced here (or at least, with my best understanding of it), which Thuryl has struck on. Life is placed in category two because people want it to be in that category. The argument that everything should really be in category one is at least within the scope of logical comprehension. The argument for category two has no clear definition of what its constituents should be. On a religious level, I have no problem with that. I think it's perfectly reasonable to play the trump card -- God -- and say this is just the way it is. But you can't use that as scientific evidence.

And frankly, I have to wonder if God would want you to. Whenever I see debates about science and religion, or indeed ontological fallacies, I always think of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: "A God who let us prove his existence would be an idol."

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quote:
Originally written by The Creator:

"tvohdrsd" is a random complex sequence

I'd be willing to say that sequence is not as random as you think it is.

Also, how are you defining complex?

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 06:27: Message edited by: Lt. Sullust ]

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Creator -- I don't want quotes, they are worthless because they can easily be taken out of context, not even considering the possibility that the author could be either inaccurate or imprecise. Quotes are worthless without either direct experimental evidence or theoretical formulations to back them up.

Entropy has a precise mathematical formulation and if you want your defintions to apply, you need to give them as precise as a defintion. So my question is, using mathematical rigor, how does one define order and complexity?

In my experience, the former can be decently defined by microstates (s = N*kB*ln(W)) whereas the other has a much more subjective definition. Most of what I've seen on "complexity" have been rather ad hoc and defined to meet a certain definition.

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Since I'm familiar with Orgel's work, I'd like to bring your quote to task here:

quote:
Originally written by The Creator:

The evolutionary origin-of-life expert Leslie Orgel confirmed that there are three distinct concepts: order, randomness and specified complexity:
Living things are distinguished by their specified complexity. Crystals such as granite fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; mixtures of random polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. [L. Orgel, The Origins of Life, John Wiley, NY, 1973, p. 189]

Be very careful when using quotes on quotes from specific scientists. Not only are you using an argument from authority, you also have the possibility of getting the whole meaning of the quote incorrect.

Dembski (who is the one who quoted Orgel in your quote above) and Orgel have very different definitions of specified complexity. Orgel is operating under a specific algorithm that defines complexity (Kolmogorov complexity) whereas Dembski has a different, all-encompassing, God-of-the-gaps definition for complexity. They are using fundamentally different terms.

Additionally, Orgel has a very large stake in the Origins of Life argument- he is the founder of the "RNA World" with the specific focus on the "Naked Gene" origin of life, i.e., that life first started with the first strand of functioning RNA ("replication-first"). Many others disagree with him and assume "metabolism first," like Wachterhauser, Dyson, and Von Neumann. Orgel definitely desires to make a distinction between life and non-life, where one may not in fact be present.

Also, the law of biogenesis is not really a law. I've seen this term commonly circulated in creationists circles, as the appeal to "scientific law" gives their argument credence to their less-educated flock. However, this "law" is better summarized as "proof against the medival concept of spontaneous generation." It doesn't apply to the first life.

quote:
Ash: Haven't read the whole thread and stuff, but isn't one distinction between ID and Creationism that ID does not necessarily conflict with evolution, and be more concerned with the origin of life in the first place?

Several Catholic clergy have actually fallen for this distinction, including one of the priests at my own church. It's actually not that simple. Many IDists argue against much of all modern science, including biology, geology, astronomy, and chemistry/physics. Arguments circulated 30 years ago by YECs have made their way back into ID. And since there is no stated "theory of ID", we have to assume that the arguments of those who support ID are the arguments of the movement itself

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quote:
Creator -- I don't want quotes, they are worthless because they can easily be taken out of context, not even considering the possibility that the author could be either inaccurate or imprecise. Quotes are worthless without either direct experimental evidence or theoretical formulations to back them up.
What do you want a website? But the problem with websites is that most of them do the same thing. And are made by very um, stuck in their way people...
Oh, and I do believe that mutations can be helpful I've told you that dozens of times. Its just that mutations that add genes are not.
Thuryl: The reason we seperate micro and macro evolution is to tell you which part we believe and which part we don't. Good as reason as any I guess.
(Sheesh, I take a couple of days from posting and whalla! I'm massively outposted.)

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An example of something that looks "organised" that wasn't designed: Evolving on a FPGA
There isn't a huge amount of information in that link, but my computer is being annoying and making it hard for me to find a better one.

Basically, someone set up a programmable chip to "evolve" a circuit that could tell the difference between two different frequencies of input. The thing was set up to try random circuits, then take the better ones and randomly combine bits and add mutations, and try again. I seem to remember from reading an article about it at the time that it took about 4000 generations to perfect.

What I'm bringing this up for is although set in an articifial "universe" and with an artificial goal, the resulting circuit wasn't actually designed by a human. In fact, it used less of the chip than a human would and nobody understands how it actually works.

It clearly meets any reasonable definition of "organised complexity", but nobody actually designed it.

If you are about to say "but someone designed the setup, so that doesn't count", then you have completely missed the point.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 09:51: Message edited by: Khoth ]

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quote:
Originally written by Major:

What do you want a website? But the problem with websites is that most of them do the same thing. And are made by very um, stuck in their way people...
No, not a website. An argument. A post that actually makes an argument, start to finish.

quote:
Oh, and I do believe that mutations can be helpful I've told you that dozens of times. Its just that mutations that add genes are not.
Can someone just cite an example of how this is wrong and shut him up?

quote:
Thuryl: The reason we seperate micro and macro evolution is to tell you which part we believe and which part we don't. Good as reason as any I guess.
But creationists are the only ones who can tell the difference. Microevolution and macroevolution are different amounts of the same thing. (Unless you say that macroevolution is speciation, but that's been observed in a lab, too.)

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 10:02: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Major -- I will put things I want you to address in bold.

I want a rigorous definition of organization and complexity, one that is not open to any subjective interpretation. The definition need to be able to quantitatively calculate an object's (say a molecule) level of complexity and compare it with others. Behind this defintion, there have to be a rational and solid basis for defining such a hierarchy, specifically routed in physical principles and preferably related to thermodynamic quantities such as enthalpy and entropy.

What I don't want are quotes or subjective things that say "well that's just organized, not ordered" because one can disagree. There needs to be a metric.

Major, could you also define what you mean by "gene" and helpful. I find it rather perplexing as in the previous discussion I had presented examples of genes being added that were beneficial given a set of environmental criteria. Here are a few references in peer reviewed journals:

Lang, D. et al., 2000. Structural evidence for evolution of the beta/alpha barrel scaffold by gene duplication and fusion. Science 289: 1546-1550. See also Miles, E. W. and D. R. Davies, 2000. On the ancestry of barrels. Science 289: 1490.

Hughes, A. L. and R. Friedman, 2003. Parallel evolution by gene duplication in the genomes of two unicellular fungi. Genome Research 13(5): 794-799.

Zhang, J., Y.-P. Zhang and H. F. Rosenberg, 2002. Adaptive evolution of a duplicated pancreatic ribonuclease gene in a leaf-eating monkey. Nature Genetics 30: 411-415.

I'm sure I could find more if I had the time. Do you have any peer reviewed journal papers (not websites, books, or popular magazine articles) to support your "belief". If not, I would suggest changing your belief to be in line with evidence.

Finally, please define macroevolution.

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #168
Hmm, I feel like the Awakened here. I guess I'll get left out of G3.

What makes "designed" different from "ratvka" is indeed arbitrary human convention; IDers are aware of this, and to them it is the whole crux of their argument, that some forms or senses of information seem to imply a consciousness capable of making arbitrary conventions. To me, they are far too quick to identify information in nature with that kind of information; that does not follow at all.

But it is not only IDers who invoke suspiciously subjective notions of information. Physicists who think they understand the "arrow of time" do too. These are the guys who patiently explain that glasses tend to fall off tables and shatter into heaps of shards, while heaps of shards never leap onto tables and join into glasses, by saying that there are many more ways for the pieces of glass to form a pattern we call "a heap of shards" than for them to form a pattern we call "a glass". That's quite true; but it makes the Second Law of Thermodynamics out to be an artifact of human perception.

Yet perhaps something can be salvaged from this, because human perception is not really arbitrary. Maybe humans ignore differences between different heaps of shards, but recognize such particularly regular patterns as drinking glasses, because there is some objective difference between the cases. If we could reverse engineer human perception enough to identify an objective basis for the way it defines its categories, well, um, I'd be happy.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #169
The "naked gene" model of biogenesis points out that RNA is capable of forming ribosomes and thus self-replication. In that case, molecules thrown together randomly formed both the language (GAUC) and the arbitrary meaning (RNA) simultaneously. I'm not quite sure what it means, but it's interesting.

An example of beneficial gene addition can again be found in antibiotic resistance. One bacterial strain develops resistance and then others pick it up through transformation, transduction, and conjugation. In fact, entirely unrelated species can and have become resistant by laterally picking up the gene. This isn't evolution in the tree of life sense, but it's evolution in the sense of genomic change.

—Alorael, who actually should mention on the subject of the tree of life that Creator's "29 Evidences" article seems to be confusing phylogenetic trees with evolution. Phylogenetics are a descriptive tool based on the validity of evolution, not an observed truth used to bolster evolution. There are plenty of known problems with trying to slot all life, particularly prokaryotic life and some plants, into a tree in which evolution goes only one way and never jumps around.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Warrior
Member # 7067
Profile #170
I have found this argument getting quite pointless. You don’t want me (or any creationists) to give you websites quotes or anything like that. And yet, you force me to look at websites by giving information without proof and exposing me to the terrible influence of quotes. (Which are probably on the websites.) Therefore are giving yourselves a completely unfair advantage.
*I: I’m quite happy with what I believe. (As it would be stupid to try to believe something I know to be wrong.) Do you still want me to post my definitions? Well, I wont unless you give us the right to quote.
quote:
No. If you look at at a leaf and see green, then call another person over, have them see green too, then do a scientific study determining that the leaf is green, I would consider that proof.
Well, we got the first part.

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"That's enough get off the chair and let me post it."-The person who is now in front.
Posts: 153 | Registered: Monday, April 24 2006 07:00
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #171
I gave you references to peer reviewed journal articles, there's a big difference. I want you to define these terms as you see them.

You claim to study science, but you still cling to the incompatable notion of belief. Science is not about believing up front, it's about making measurements and observations, developing hypotheses, peforming experiments, and analyzing data to reach a result.

Science can always admit it's wrong on anything, whereas you will never compromise your beliefs despite any evidence. You a priori say you "know" certain things that contradict with your beliefs are wrong. Considering your lack of knowledge on the topic, it's hard to say you know something scientifically and still claim to practice science.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 17:26: Message edited by: *i ]

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Shaper
Member # 32
Profile #172
quote:
Originally written by Major:

quote:
No. If you look at at a leaf and see green, then call another person over, have them see green too, then do a scientific study determining that the leaf is green, I would consider that proof.

As a mathematician(in training) I find this very disconcerting. I would much rather have a strict definition of green. And a strict definition of a leaf. Based on this I might then be able to determine whether a leaf is green or not. Whether or not I see a green leaf when I look at it is irrelevant.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 18:01: Message edited by: Lt. Sullust ]

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Lt. Sullust
Cogito Ergo Sum
Polaris
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #173
quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

quote:
Oh, and I do believe that mutations can be helpful I've told you that dozens of times. Its just that mutations that add genes are not.
Can someone just cite an example of how this is wrong and shut him up?

The first example that I can think of is that cancer cells, when treated with anticancer drugs, frequently evolve by adding duplicate copies of metabolic genes which help them break down or expel the drugs they're treated with. Obviously, this isn't a perfect example because it's not beneficial to the organism that has cancer, but it is beneficial to the cancer cell, which is where the mutation occurs, and it's a well-studied process that's known to occur commonly and under predictable circumstances.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 18:10: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #174
You know, I'd be okay with a reference given for a fact ("[q] gene was duplicated in [x] way and provides [y] benefit, see [website]"). I'd be less okay with, "I agree with the argument given on this website, which I'm going to partially paraphrase because it's hundreds of pages long."

I'd be okay with a borrowed argument (or even borrowed definitions) as long as you can give the entire explanation for the argument and the definitions.

Quoting must not be mistaken for proof, however.

EDIT: Thanks, Thuryl.

[ Friday, June 02, 2006 18:17: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #175
Since we are having so much trouble with definitions and convincing ID supporters that it is possible to form complex ordered systems by natural laws, let's try a different approach.

If life is the result of intelligent design, the let's example human design. There are several parts of modern man that shouldn't be there if we were designed from scratch and didn't evolve from another lower life form.

The coccyx, the 3 tail bones at the end of the spine serve no purpose in a human, but could be the remains of a tail from primates that have fallen out of use as man evolved.

The appendix, that vestigal organ in the intestinal system, that's only known function is to become infected so removal is needed to keep a person alive and provide doctors with income.

Since I didn't go to medical school, I am unfamiliar with other examples. But there is recent research that man is still evolving and that there are changes in the gene code added only 11,000 years ago.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00

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