31 thoughts on “Judgment Day – Intelligent Design On Trial

  1. Tried submitting this as content prob didn’t do it right but there is a article in the New York Times about the Vatican conceding to Darwin being right.
    From The Times
    February 11, 2009
    Richard Owen in Rome

    “The Vatican has admitted that Charles Darwin was on the right track when he claimed that Man descended from apes.

    A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin’s theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. “In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God,” said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Vatican also dealt the final blow to speculation that Pope Benedict XVI might be prepared to endorse the theory of Intelligent Design, whose advocates credit a “higher power” for the complexities of life”

    full article here : www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article5705331.ece

  2. ok, so i went to the link, and only had time to watch one clip, so i chose chapter 8. And now i’m disgusted at the sly techniques used to twist Michael Behe’s words and ideas about Irreducible Complexity.

    the whole premise of this video’s argument against IC is flawed.

    Behe’s definition of irreducibly complexity is “a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.”

    But in the video clip, they twist it around. take the mousetrap example. a mousetrap stops working if it is missing parts. even the anti-IC people in the video agree with this. their answer is to use a moustrap as a tie clip. is this assinine? yes it is.

    the mousetrap no longer functions as a trap, and so is an irreducibly complex system. it is true that the mouse’trap’ can be used for another function, but this twists Behe’s example, because a tie clip and a mousetrap are totally different things with totally different functions. and while the mousetrap may function as a tie clip, it will cease functioning as a trap.

    To debunk Irreducible Complexity, they need to remove a part or parts of the mousetrap in such a way that it still functions as a mousetrap.

    i also notice that Behe was not given a chance to give a rebuttal to this perversion of his theory, although that may be in another part of the video.

    they also do this with the bacterial flagellum example. instead of showing how the motor could work with fewer parts and still be a motor, they take parts away and make it a syringe. granted, the syringe functions as a syringe and the motor functions as a motor, but a syringe is NOT a motor, and vice versa.

    syringes and motors and mousetraps aside, micro-biology is waaaaaay moar complex than what is made out here. there are way better examples of IC in biology than these.

    what about the blood clotting cascade, or the cargo delivery systems in our cells, or the ‘complement’ system used by our bodies to destroy invading pathogens and other biological ne’er-do-wells, or the precise and discrete folding up of proteins and the Dna/Rna relationship?

    oh wait, your mousetrap tie clip explains it all

  3. “it is true that the mouse’trap’ can be used for another function, but this twists Behe’s example, because a tie clip and a mousetrap are totally different things with totally different functions.”
    Yes, that’s exactly what happens with all kinds of biological molecules. ATP synthase (one of the molecular motors) is made of two parts that used to have entirely different independent functions. The 1997 Nobel Prize was give to the guys who figured that out.

  4. @natedog
    The whole point against the IC argument is that the parts that were once used for one purpose developed another over time. The combination of parts (parts is parts) for flagellum motility once served different purposes. One mentioned in the show was an older speciman flagellum corkscrew that became the drive train for more recent flagellum motility.
    You really should watch the whole episode. It bounces around, so you didn’t really catch the back and forth of opposing arguments.

  5. but you all are missing the point.

    the mousetrap can be altered to be a tie clip, but then it no longer functions as a trap. so now how are you going to catch a mouse?

    and the example of a mousetrap is really quite simplistic. i’d like reboot to address irreducible complexity as it pertains to the other systems, like blood clotting and cellular delivery systems, which are vastly moar complicated and balanced than a mousetrap.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    how about the circulatory system? in order for it to work, you must have 3 things:

    1. a pump (heart)
    2. pipes (veins, arteries, etc)
    3. liquid (blood

    you have to have all 3 of these things working together in order for the system to work. it is irreducibly complex, because if you take the pumping mechanism out (but still have pipes and blood), how does the blood get cycled through the body?

    if you take the pipes out, but keep the pump and the blood, then you get no circulation.

    if you keep the pipes and the pump, but have nothing to pump through the pipes, you die.

    it goes even deeper. let’s say you have those three things, but they are not fully functional…. you still lose. let’s say the pipes have a hole in them? then the blood leaks out the hole due to the pressure of the pump, and the system breaks down.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    i leave you with a quote from Dr. Behe. Even if you think the bacterial flagellum evolved from a syringe like protein, you still have to account for the other irreducibly complex systems in the body and in cells:

    “Other examples of irreducible complexity abound, including aspects of protein transport, blood clotting, closed circular DNA, electron transport, the bacterial flagellum, telomeres, photosynthesis, transcription regulation, and much more. Examples of irreducible complexity can be found on virtually every page of a biochemistry textbook. But if these things cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution, how has the scientific community regarded these phenomena of the past forty years? A good place to look for an answer to that question is in the Journal of Molecular Evolution. JME is a journal that was begun specifically to deal with the topic of how evolution occurs on the molecular level. It has high scientific standards, and is edited by prominent figures in the field. In a recent issue of JME there were published eleven articles; of these, all eleven were concerned simply with the analysis of protein or DNA sequences. None of the papers discussed detailed models for intermediates in the development of complex biomolecular structures. In the past ten years JME has published 886 papers. Of these, 95 discussed the chemical synthesis of molecules thought to be necessary for the origin of life, 44 proposed mathematical models to improve sequence analysis, 20 concerned the evolutionary implications of current structures, and 719 were analyses of protein or polynucleotide sequences. There were zero papers discussing detailed models for intermediates in the development of complex biomolecular structures. This is not a peculiarity of JME. No papers are to be found that discuss detailed models for intermediates in the development of complex biomolecular structures in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nature, Science, the Journal of Molecular Biology or, to my knowledge, any journal whatsoever.”

  6. @natedog: I’ll get back to you later when I have more time, but quick answer is…most did die. The number of systems that worked is infinitesimal compared to the percentage that perished because they were not complete enough to survive a given mutation. It’s partly the reason why life systems are so similar and basically all use the same parts (though often for different purposes).

  7. @natedog: Your circulatory system example immediately disproves your own point since there are organism living today that have every intermediate stage:
    Blood, but no heart: Flatworms.
    Heart, but no veins: Mollusks and arthropods

  8. Lets’ see if I can add anything to this.
    Natedog: You’re making a couple of fundamental errors.
    1. Logic and reasoning are not the same as science. Necessary but not sufficient.
    2. Nature works from the bottom up, you’re trying to disprove nature from the top down.
    Simplicity into complexity.
    In essence, you’re thinking about it is completely wrong. You’re having a philosophical debate against reality and you’ll lose. Every time. Scientists don’t ask why, they ask how. That question has been answered unequivocally. We know how, you and others are asking why and challenging scientists to answer you. They can’t and shouldn’t try, scientifically.

  9. @reboot: “A hemocoel is a cavity or series of spaces between the organs of organisms with open circulatory systems, like most arthropods and mollusks.”

    in this example, the hemocoel effectively functions as a way to transport the fluid from one area of the organism to another.

    you still have a pump, a fluid, and the pipes

    as far as flatworms go, diffusion acts to move nutrients and waste into and out of the little guy. so diffusion fulfills the function of a heart. you still have a pump (diffusion) moving a fluid through something (in this case, the permeable cell membrane)

    also, not only is the human circulatory system irreducible complex (not to mention the irreducibly complex blood clotting cascade), but its relationship to our other bodily systems is irreducibly complex as well.

    the blood is made in the bones, a totally separate system. the skeletal system is so interwoven with the muscular system that the two are known as one system.

    and the nutrients we need to live are given to our cells by way of the digestive system and the respiratory system.

    so the circulatory system HAS NO FUCKING PURPOSE without the digestive system, musculo-skeletal system, and respiratory system. without these other separate and distinct systems, how can the circulatory system deliver air and nutrients to all the cells? if you have no bones, your body makes no blood and your circulatory system fails. if you have no lungs, your blood cant take oxygen to the cells or carbon dioxide away. if you have no tummy, your blood can’t carry nutrients around.

    you have to have all these systems present and working together or the organism dies.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    @nyokki:
    1. science is about experiments and testing and verifying results to back up your hypothesis. this involves getting to the nuts and bolts of how things work. saying a syringe evolved into a rotary motor is one thing, but showing how a syringe can evolve into a rotary motor through experiments and empirical evidence is another thing entirely.

    2. i thought Nature was all about Entropy?

  10. LOLED: scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/how_to_respond_to_requests_to.php?utm_source=mostactive&utm_medium=link

    How to respond to requests to debate creationists:”Instead of spending time on public debates, why aren’t members of your institute publishing their ideas in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as Science, Nature, or the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences? If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish. Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the prominent mainstream journals.”

  11. @natedog: But that’s exactly what scientists have been doing for decades now, showing the how of evolution. Your concern is exactly what was shown on the Nova episode. Did you finish watching the whole episode? There are countless intermediary specimens showing exactly how B evolved from A. How do you explain DNA and that it shows that every living thing is related to every other living thing (at some point)? How do you explain that the nucleotides A-T and C-G contain all the instructions for every form of life on Earth? Either way, you’re arguing philosophy and I and reboot are arguing science.

  12. I just love the phrase “irreducible complex”, it’s a key indicator of someone talking out their ass about something that they know they don’t understand, and assume no one else does either.

    ‘irreducible complex’ isn’t a correct phrase when you’re speaking of things such a a circulatory system, either the simple ones in individual cells or the complex ones in giraffes. There’s plenty of evidence for how we got from the simple to the complex.

    One of my most favorite examples of this would be the human eye:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Stb9pQc9Kq0 which until relatively recently was the primary target of the irreducibly complex crowd.

  13. @nyokki: first of all, what ‘science’ are you and reboot using in this here thread??

    secondly, i have not watched the rest of the episode, but i will do that in the next couple of days when i have time.

    as far as explaining the nucleotides and the instructions in DNA…
    look at all the cars and trucks on the road today. they are all made from the same basic common parts, but that does not mean a VW bug evolved into a Hummer or that a Cessna evolved into a 747.

    look at Stephen King. he uses the same 26 letters when he pens his stories, but that doesn’t mean Stand By Me evolved into The Shawshank Redemption or The Stand evolved into Misery.

    your example could be used just as well to show that a designer is behind DNA as opposed to Evolution. i would argue that DNA and genetic information stand as evidence of a designer rather than evidence against one.

    information is not carried in the medium that it is given in. Read this sentence:

    “Casemods is a douchebag”.

    this sentence carries information. you can type it on the interwebs, you can write it with a pen on paper, you can scribble it with crayon on a wall, dry erase marker it on a bathroom mirror, or use your poop to smear it on a bathroom stall.

    the point is that information is not carried by the poop or the marker or the crayon or the nucleotides; the information is carried in the arrangement of whatever it is you are using to write the sentence. does this not denote an intelligence behind such an arrangement?

    Proteins and nucleic acids are made of discrete units strung together in a chain. proteins are made of strings of amino acids and nucleic acids are strings of nucleotides. they are kinda like snap lock beads, and can be strung together in any number of ways. but WHERE do these building blocks come from?

    snap lock beads are made in specific shapes at a factory. even though they are simple shapes and not complex at all, they aren’t just found laying around in the wild. the factory makes the beads in certian shapes. if the end of the bead is too big or small for the hole in the next bead, then the chain breaks down.

    the same thing happens in a cell. A, C, G, and T are not just laying around all willy-nilly in a cell. the formation of biological molecules does not happen in some fuzzy-minded Calvin and Hobbes way; it requires specific, highly sophisticated molecular robots to get the job done.

    Biochemistry has shown us that any biological relationship involving more than one cell (like organs and tissues) is absolutely an intricate web of many different identifiable systems of extreme complexity.

    THERE ARE NO “SIMPLE” CELLS.

    synthesis, degradation, energy production, maintainance of cell structure, mobility, regulation, repair, and communication are vital functions to nearly every cell known, and EACH of these functions requires the interaction of several parts.

    saying a multi-cellular structure can evolve in any kind of step by step fashion is not like saying a VW bug can evolve into a Hummer, but it’s like saying a Volkswagen factory can evolve into a Hummer factory.

  14. @tiki god: well, i watched your video, and there are several glaring holes in Dr. Nillson’s evolution of the eye.

    first of all, he starts his evolution with a ‘flat panel of light sensitive cells on skin’ for his ‘primitive eyespot’. but right there, you are starting the race having already passed several hurdles. where comes the light sensitivity? oh, i forgot, light sensitive cells are so very simple and there is no complexity to them. they are made of awesome and primitive magic, and are bestowed with this power of light sensitivity by the FSM. they didnt evolve, and are just floating around, waiting for a chance to turn into an eye.

    and so these ‘primitive’ light sensitive cells form a little dent, which transforms them into a retina and optic nerve. oh wait, i forgot the 2 plastic sheets that have evolved with a pumping mechanism included in order to fill the sheets with water and make them focus the light waves on to the retina….

    BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT.

    just saying this can happen over a ‘sequence of stages’ is not enough. just saying evolution happens through slight changes over millions of years DOES NOT cut it. you have to show the nuts and bolts of how it happens.

    YOU HAVE TO SHOW THE SPECIFIC STEPS TAKEN. you can’t just give some fuzzy answer and call it Science.

    lol @ “another model demonstrates what a primitive cup eye can do. the brightly lighted skulls cast an image onto a translucent screen Nillson installs at the back of the cup to act like a retina“.

    i lol’d because a translucent screen IS NOTHING LIKE A RETINA. even if this idiotic statement could somehow work, how does the information get from this magical and quite convenient ‘retina’ to the brain?

    so do the ‘light sensitive cells’ come with a nerve that transmits the signal? or is it the translucent screen at the back of the cup that grows a nerve to transmit the info?

    Dr. Nillson ends his clip by saying this is the way that eye evolution MUST proceed. well. there you go.

  15. Again time restraints, so I’ll have to be brief. You can’t write a novel w/ car parts or build a car w/ letters. DNA is thee coding for absolutely every living organism that is or has ever been.
    Simple =/= single
    The trend is from simpler to more to complex.

    This really is moot, trying to prove the non-existence of the intelligent in intelligent design is futile really. You’re still arguing the why rather than the how. We’re both looking at our ‘proof’ thinking it obvious and we’re not going to change each others minds. You ask me “Why?” and my only answer is “I don’t know.”, I ask you “How?” and you’re answer is “I don’t know.”

  16. @nyokki: WTF?

    i am not argueing ‘why?’. where do you even get that? every single one of my posts are definitely on the “How?” of it all and i have YET to ask “why?”.

    in fact, “how?” is what i have been asking this whole entire time. How can a system that relies on specialized parts function without them?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    also, i just made it through the first 3 chapters of this NOVA episode, and i am very disappointed. the thing is so biased and yellow that it’s nauseating. for one thing, the production is a self styled “dramitization” of a court hearing.

    ZOMG, ‘the very nature of scientific inquiry’ and the ‘separation of church and state’ are ‘hanging in the balance’.
    What a facepalm.

    this program makes people who don’t believe in Evolution out to be a bunch of rural hillbillies who only base their opinions on the Bible. ” ‘In the beginning, God created… For me, that’s all i need to know.'”

    Even the title of the program is biased. “Judgement day-Intelligent design on trial”.

    Give me a fucking break.

  17. “where comes the light sensitivity?”
    All nerve cells are light sensitive to some degree. Plants have light sensitive nerves cells. Single molecules are sensitive to light. It really isn’t that complicated.
    “translucent screen IS NOTHING LIKE A RETINA”
    That’s funny, because two posts ago you said a pump is the same thing as diffusion. You have the ignorance to compare a mechanical device to a mathematical concept, but can’t accept the simplest analogy.
    You’ve already lost the fight. For eyes, circular systems, ATP synthase, etc. less complex systems have been shown to be functional. The complexity has been reduced. Which is all that necessary to disprove irreducible complexity. QED.

  18. i said diffusion performs the same function as a pump (the heart).

    are you saying a simple translucent screen (which an intelligent designer is adding to his ‘eye’ in order for it to work, btw) is the same thing as a retina? the retina has nearly a dozen distinct layers, all of which are necessary for your eye to work. just one of these layers (the rods and cones) has over a hundred million cells constantly firing off messages. but the retina doesn’t just transmit an image to the brain. The retina processes and compresses much of the information so that it gets to the brain faster.

    this is a far cry from a simple plastic layer on a cup

    are you saying diffusion is a mathematical concept and not a physical process?

    also, just because a less complex system is functional, does not mean it is the evolutionary predecessor to a moar complex system. bicycles don’t and can’t evolve into motorcycles. machines are designed and created.

    show me how ATP synthesis is not irreducibly complex and i’ll STFU.

    HOW, mind you. show me the steps. don’t just say it’s been done. show me how this process can be achieved in a slow, mindless, step by step manner.

  19. @natedog: this program makes people who don’t believe in Evolution out to be a bunch of rural hillbillies who only base their opinions on the Bible. ” ‘In the beginning, God created… For me, that’s all i need to know.’”

    This is true,
    but how can you say that

    “Examples of irreducible complexity can be found on virtually every page of a biochemistry textbook……A good place to look for an answer to that question is in the Journal of Molecular Evolution….This is not a peculiarity of JME. No papers are to be found that discuss detailed models for intermediates in the development of complex bimolecular structures in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Nature, Science, the Journal of Molecular Biology or, to my knowledge, any journal whatsoever.”

    But beyond this where is any article or journal in support of Irreducible Complexity in any of those above mentioned sources. the small lack of proof above is not enough proof to show Irreducible Complexity.

    “If you want to be taken seriously by scientists and scholars, this is where you need to publish. Academic publishing is an intellectual free market, where ideas that have credible empirical support are carefully and thoroughly explored. Nothing could possibly be more exciting and electrifying to biology than scientific disproof of evolutionary theory or scientific proof of the existence of a god. That would be Nobel Prize winning work, and it would be eagerly published by any of the prominent mainstream journals.” -Nick Gotelli

    You have to bring the proof to the table on these issues, especially when trying to dispute accepted scientific ideas,and even then you still need evidence that can fit through what even scientists following the proper process have a hard idea of having their ideas accepted.

    But On the other hand upon doing so you have to fight through the Knowledge filter of the scientific community, where they regulate their ideas within themselves, under the assumption by the public that because they are scientists they are doing the right thing. as expressed in Ethics of science by Dr. Henry H.Bauer

    www.files.chem.vt.edu/chem-ed/ethics/hbauer/hbauer-toc.html

  20. natedog wrote: excellent. mission accomplished

    To disprove Evolution? No you haven’t.

    All you have accomplished is to annoy someone to the point that they no longer care to debate you. Straw horses, and red herrings do not win scientific debates.

    For ID and IC proponents there can be no final explanation save their own. Once you explain one thing, they point to the next and demand that you answer it. Once you get to the point that you can’t answer it to THEIR satisfaction, they proclaim victory. They haven’t proven anything. All they’ve done is wear you out.

    Next time we need to ask them to prove their position. And don’t forget to use their own rules. Ask them to explain everything. Every explanation will bring up another hole in their argument, so keep asking ‘Why’ until they are at their end. Do please remember that “God did it.” is equal to “I don’t know.” and if they use either of them, they lose points.

    Both are blind arguments, and the only winner is the last one standing.

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