Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Three logical prerequisites for biological evolution to work

Biologist, blogger and super-mom Lindsay has written a post that explains what supporters of Darwinian mechanisms have to prove in order to explain the origin and diversity of life.

Here are the three things that Darwinists must demonstrate:

  1. It is possible to add biological information.
  2. There are more upward steps than downward steps (or at least a way to get more upward steps than downward steps at least some of the time).
  3. There does exist a gradual genetic pathway that can be climbed in tiny, incremental steps.

So first of all, the main two arguments for intelligent design and against naturalism are the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion. Both involve massive infusions of new biological information. So Lindsay is right to focus on whether Darwinism can add new biological information. But I wanted to focus on number three, because I really think that her post is about the burden of proof on Darwinists more than it is about our burden of proof. And we do need to get used to asking Darwinists for the evidence for their view.

Take a look at the detail on number three:

In order for evolution to be true, not only does information have to be added over time, but each successive change must occur in a living organism and it must be conserved by being passed on to offspring. Thus, the change cannot kill the organism or seriously disable it, or the change will not be passed on. This must be the case for EVERY step in the entire evolutionary sequence, no matter how small. At every step you must have a functional organism. Thus, the changes must be gradual enough that the tiny upward steps (if they exist) can achieve each new level without killing or disabling the organism. To use a simplistic analogy, if one tries to change from one word to another by changing one letter at a time (cat to cot to dot to dog, for example), there must, at every step, be an actual word that can be reached by changing one letter. In the Mount Improbable analogy, this means that there can be no upward jumps in the trail. If the maximum possible upward step is 6 inches, then there can be no 6 foot cliffs along the trail, or even 7 inch steps. If ever there is a step which requires more information than unguided evolution can provide, then evolution is falsified in that instance. It cannot account for the change in information if that is the case.

Now I have never seen a gradual genetic pathway from one body plan to another in any peer-reviewed paper. I am talking about from one phyla to another. What I need to see to believe in the ability of Darwinian mechanisms to drive change from one body plan to another is that sequence of changes at the genetic level. And I don’t just need to see the steps, I need to see the probabilities of getting the correct sequence of changes at the genetic level within the time available by chance. That’s what Darwinists assert in their theory – that’s what they need to prove. Talking about how one creature looks like another creature is irrelevant. My car looks like my Dads car, because we drive the same model, but different model years – and both cars are designed.

When people ask our side for evidence for our claims, we are able to produce the evidence to substantiate our claims, e.g. – cosmic fine-tuning factors or protein sequencing probabilities. I would like to see the other side do the same, and not just tell me a story.

If you are looking to understand what the other side has to prove, and in a concise way, read her post.

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Is there a smooth pathway from micro-evolution to macro-evolution?

From Luke Nix who blogs at Faithful Thinkers.

Excerpt:

Macroevolutionary changes are a lot of microevolutionary changes, but they are in a specific series that follow a specific pathway. The missing premise in this argument is that the pathway from ancestor to claimed offspring (many generations down the road) is clear of obstacles.

In his book, “The Edge of Evolution” Michael Behe shows that scientists have observed such an obstacle in the lab. The obstacle was not time, it is in the genetic pathway that must be traversed if macroevolutionary changes are to take place in reality. Since an obstacle has been observed, we now have a false premise in the argument. Since there is a false premise, the argument fails. There is a difference between micro- and macro-evolutionary changes. A lot of microevolutionary changes are necessary for macroevolution, but they are not sufficient. The other sufficient condition (a clear genetic pathway) still has yet to be met. Since both sufficient conditions for macroevolution have not been met, it has not been demonstrated. And since changes over time has been demonstrated, there is a need to distinguish between the two. To prevent confusion about what we know to be true and what we don’t, this distinction must be made.

There is only one way that this can be overcome by the naturalist: find a pathway that would be clear by default in nature. Notice that I have added one more piece to the missing premise above: “…clear by default in nature“. I have to add that last qualification because as scientists are looking for a way to overcome this obstacle, they are introducing their own intelligence- fine-tuning the process, then “allowing nature to take its course”. Their conclusion of naturalistic macroevolution will depend on a premise that is founded on intelligence. That would undermine the whole argument for naturalistic (macro)evolution.

This is one of the ways to show that evolution is true – by showing a pathway to macro-evolutionary change in the lab. If people expect me to believe in the grandiose claims of fully naturalistic evolution through a stepwise process, then why can’t I see the pathway myself? If you make the claim that it happened, then I want to see the evidence for the claim.

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Michelle Malkin: why do so many women judge men’s character by their appearance?

Michelle Malkin is concerned by women who think that convicted criminals are actually innocent. Why? Because they are HAWT.

She writes:

I would like to declare a war on women — namely, all those cringe-inducing ninnies who lust after every celebrity criminal defendant with big muscles, tattoos, puppy-dog eyes or Hollywood hair.

You know who I’m talking about, right? America’s Bad Boy groupies. They’reon the courthouse steps with their “Free Jahar” signs, cooing over how “hot” and “cute” the bloodstained Boston Marathon bombing suspect is. He “can blow me up with babies,” one moral reprobate quipped shortly after his capture. “I’m not gonna lie, the second bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is hot. #sorrynotsorry,” another young girl boasted.

Among the callous accused killer’s victims, in case you’d forgotten: 8-year-old boy Martin Richard, who had been cheering on his dad and other family friends at the race. But who cares about an innocent dead child blown to bits by pressure cooker bombs in the name of Allah? Jahar is HAWT!

Far from a minuscule fringe, the Ja-harem is a growing social media phenomenon. Its members mimic Justin Bieber’s Beliebers, adopting the last name of their Tiger Beat terrorist and doodling hearts around his mug shot. In heat or in jest, these depraved females continue to spread viral photos, memes and hashtags of their Islamist Idol. One woman showed up at Tsarnaev’s court appearance Wednesday donning a “Free the Lion” T-shirt. Another sported a “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent” tee, while her gal pal shouted, “Exonerate!”

For those ladies who prefer jocks to jihadis, there’s accused murderer/NFL star Aaron Hernandez. He’s “fine as wine,” one woman lusted. He’s “too damned sexy to go to prison,” another lamented. “He can come to jail at my house,” sighed yet another. In response to one of gangsta Hernandez’s Glock-wielding Instagram pics, one sick chick slavered, “Soooo hot with the combination handgun-mirror selfie.”

Fugitive cop-killer Christopher Dorner also had his own fan club. Parked in front of their TV sets, women cheered on the “kinda sexy” homicidal maniac as he terrorized Southern California before perishing in a cabin inferno. “I’d honestly hide Dorner in my house,” one fan girl enthused. Tens of thousands “liked” Dorner’s various support pages on Facebook.

Harmless Internet chitter-chatter? Don’t kid yourselves. While some of the murderers’ panting minions may be joking, it’s irresponsible women like these who end up enabling, marrying and conspiring with public menaces.

They’re your neighbors and relatives, suburban gals like Colleen “Jihad Jane” LaRose and Jamie “Jihad Jamie” Paulin-Ramirez of Colorado, who agreed to wed Muslim terrorists and conspired to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Paulin-Ramirez dragged her 6-year-old (whom she renamed “Walid”) to Ireland to assist with the plot. Family members said she was “easily influenced” and that “any man that came along … she kind of followed like a lost puppy.”

There’s a lot more like that in the article. I think that what is happening to women today is that they are convinced that the relationship is for their benefit, not God’s, and not the children’s. They know that being seen with a good looking man makes them happy. They don’t really know much about married life and how much marriage costs. Instead of trying to pick a man with some savings and a good job and a gapless resume, they prefer to choose someone who is “hawt” and who is fun and amusing. There is no other consideration in play – they just want a man to make them happy, and they think that marrying a man will transform him into a happy-feeling making machine. Who cares about mortgages, bills and obligations?

It reminds me of a study I saw a while back, which was discussed in the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

It takes a woman just three minutes to make up her mind about whether she likes a man or not, a study has revealed.

The average female spends the time sizing up looks, physique and dress-sense as well as taking in scent, accent and eloquence of a potential suitor.

Women also quickly judge how he interacts with her friends and whether he is successful or ambitious.

It also emerged most women believe 180 seconds is long enough to gauge whether or not he is Mr Right, or Mr Wrong.

The study also found women rarely change their mind about a man after their initial reaction – and believe they are ‘always right’ in their assumptions and judgments.

The report which was commissioned among 3,000 adults to mark the release of Instinct, a new book by Ben Kay.

Kay said: ‘I think a lot of people believe in trusting their instincts when dating. It makes it seem more magical, like it’s coming from somewhere deeper.

I am not sure if this method of choosing mates should be used by Christian women. If the goal of a relationship is to please God and serve him, then our feelings should not be the guide. God is the customer of the relationship, not the woman, and not the man. The goal of a relationship is not primarily to have happy feelings – because that can lead to being selfish and destructive. It makes no sense to say that you are driving drunk in order to please God, or playing Russian roulette in order to please God – pleasing God needs to be done intelligently, with preparation, and respecting strict moral boundaries, if it is going to stand the chance of being effective at achieving his goals. It’s so easy to think that God is just interested in our happiness, but he isn’t. He is interested in us knowing him, serving him, suffering with him and understanding him.

Also, think of the harm that can be caused if women use emotions to choose men for the role of making them happy, instead of the role of making God happy. Men are designed by God to be protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. According to this study, women are completely disinterested in whether a man can perform these traditional male roles. Because it is clear that nothing at all can be known about a man’s ability to perform these roles by looking at his appearance and style. Even if a man has a confident way of saying what a great provider he is, it doesn’t mean anything – if you want to know how much a man earns, look at his paycheck. I told that to a woman once, and she told me that she would rather use her “intuition” to guess how much a man makes. And to have the “feeling” that he makes a lot, instead of seeing the paycheck. That makes no sense to me, though. The only way to know if a man has savings is to see his investment portfolio. You can’t see the size of his portfolio by looking at his shoes.

Here are some ideas about what women should be doing to assess men for these roles:

  • protector: does he understand which ideologies and policies oppose marriage, faith and family? is he good at defending his views against secular leftists?
  • provider: what does his balance sheet look like? what does his resume look like? what does his university transcript look like? does he give to charity?
  • moral leader: what has he written or spoken about related to moral issues like abortion, marriage, parental rights, etc.?
  • spiritual leader: what has he written or spoken about related to theology and apologetics? does he have long-term mentoring relationships with other committed Christians?

None of these ways of judging a man can be accomplished in 180 seconds, and probably not even in 180 hours. It takes time to measure a man for marriage. And having fun with him is not the way to measure him.

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The Talk Origins speciation FAQ and the problem of citation-bluffing

The thing to be explained by Darwinism (in addition to the origin of life) is how can you get new, different body plans and organ types by the mechanisms of mutation and selection. Everyone admits that you can get cases where animal A mutates in a small way so that it can no longer breed with animal B. That is speciation of a sort, because the animals can no longer breed. But the real question is whether we can generate species with different body plans using these naturalistic Darwinian mechanisms of mutation and selection.

Here are two podcasts featuring Casey Luskin that discuss how much morphological change has really been observed according to research.

Here is the MP3 file from part one. (14 minutes)

Details:

On this episode of ID The Future, Casey Luskin discusses Talk Origins, a resource often used by supporters of Darwinian evolution to refute arguments made by proponents of intelligent design. After taking a closer look, Luskin found FAQs on Talk Origins guilty of citation bluffing, overstated claims, and other misleading tactics. In particular, the Talk Origins FAQ on speciation claims to provide evidence of “observed instances” of new species. On further review, this turns out to be far from the case. Tune in to Luskin as he explains why.

Here is the MP3 file from part two. (21 minutes)

Details:

On this episode of ID The Future, Casey Luskin continues his discussion about Talk Origins, a resource often used by supporters of Darwinian evolution to refute arguments made by proponents of intelligent design. After taking a closer look, Luskin found FAQs onTalk Origins guilty of citation bluffing, overstated claims, and other misleading tactics. In particular, the Talk Origins FAQ on speciation claims to provide evidence of “observed instances” of new species. On further review, this turns out to be far from the case. Tune in to Luskin as he explains why in this conclusion to a two-part series.

Basically, he takes a look at the details of cases of “speciation” claimed in the Talk Origins FAQ, and finds that the changes are minor changes, and not changes in morphology. This is not the change that we are looking for to support the hypothesis of macro-evolution. In order to become Darwinists, we need to observe change driven by mutations that leads to changes in body plans. And the mutations have to be heritable.

Highly recommended. You’ve got to love the directness of Casey Luskin explaining what needs to be proved and what has been proved. By the way, here is a more detailed written assessment of speciation claims of the Darwinists.

Filed under: Podcasts, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Casey Luskin and Stephen C. Meyer discuss the design inference

This episode of ID the Future is 17 minutes long. It’s the third in a series – here are parts one and two.

Details:

On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin and Stephen Meyer finish up their talk with a discussion of why intelligent design presents the best explanation for the Cambrian explosion.

Special limited time offer: Save 43% and get 4 free digital books when you pre-order Darwin’s Doubt.

You can grab the MP3 here.

Topics:

  •  What sort of reasoning did Darwin use in The Origin of Species?
  • Can this method of “inference to the best explanation” be applied to the Cambrian explosion
  • The importance of appealing to causes that we have experienced ourselves
  • Example: explaining from an effect (volcanic ash) to a cause that his adequate (volcanic eruption)
  • We have experience of how volcanoes cause the ash, so we should infer based on what we know
  • In the case where the effect is information in biology, we see that naturalistic mechanisms are inadequate
  • But we know from our own experience that intelligent agents can generate information
  • Many people think that science must confine itself to materialistic explanations
  • If so, then it is possible miss out on the true explanation by ruling it out before looking at evidence

If you haven’t yet read Meyer’s first book, “Signature in the Cell”, you should probably grab that one. It’s the best book on intelligent design that’s out right now. It talks about the origin of the first living cell, surveying all naturalistic explanations for it, and concluding that the best explanation – the one most consistent with what we know now – is intelligent design.

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