J: I “Debate” Evolutionauts at richarddawkins.net-Pt.3

Calilasseia was kind of a leader there, and many of the lesser evolutionauts posted that they “couldn’t wait until Cali took me on”. (paraphrased) Obviously they couldn’t do the job themselves.   Then here came Cali, with huge essay-like answers, and many copy/pastes from “peer reviewed papers” on the subject of the evolution of teeth, and hearts.   His main thrust is that there were over 1300 papers written on the subject of the evolution of teeth which I should read. Typical MO for evolutionauts who can’t answer themselves. Of course I read five or six papers before taking the subject up in my YT video, because I wanted to know what evolution had to say about how teeth evolved.  The papers, and Cali had no idea how, and most of the information was an anatomic description of teeth, and stated that fish teeth evolved into more the more complex teeth of later species. Stating IT ain’t IT. Anyway, after being attacked in over 40 pages and here in the comments for using a pen-name for my writings and supposedly lying about patents I claimed to have, I finally left the site, as any sort of intelligent discussion with these evolutionauts was useless. Of course they celebrated their great victory, as I predicted they would do, and to this date, they are still ragging about what a liar I am, which is nothing more that a deflection from questions they can’t answer. Here is a scathing letter written to me by Cali: (What fun.)

9692Calilasseia

Tue May 26, 2009 7:15 am

So, to sum up …Steve has:[1] Posted blind assertions to the effect that “evolution cannot produce X”, without offering an atom of support for any of these blind assertions; [ME: The assertions are not blind, the questions I posed here and on dawkins.net were a killer for Cali.  They were consice and to the point. I asked questions he couldn’t answer. So, he resorted to letting me know what an awful person I am. Of course, as is usual fair, the evolutionauts had no idea that Cali’s answers were a failure, and they celebrated his great victory!!  And, Cali, YOU have to produce the evidence that evolution DID do what you say. I don’t have to prove a negative. But I have.][2] Posted nothing but snide condescension and thinly veiled insults toward those who presented hard evidence from the peer reviewed scientific literature debunking his blind assertions; [ME: The “hard evidence” was in his imagination. There is no hard evidence for the evolution of teeth or hearts.]

[3] Posted on his own blog comments to the effect that because he can’t work out how a natural process could have achieved the observed features of biodiversity we see, that this means no natural process could ever do this, and therefore that it’s all magic;

[ME: These people who called me a liar lie themselves so freely. I never said it’s “all magic”. I never said “no natural processes” could ever do this”. So, Cali, you are a liar. I think everything in the universe is “natural”, and that the intelligence that must be present for the complexity of life to exist in it’s current form is part of nature, is beyond our current capabilities to find, and that we should CERTAINLY continue the search. But that RM and NS is not close to the answer, and  is a roadblock to that search.]

[4] Posted on his own blog material falsehoods with respect to his own identity, including a claim that the individual named “Steven B. Lyndon” (whom he claimed to be) is the holder of numerous patents, whilst even an elementary search of the various relevant patents databases yield NO results for that name;[ME: I write under a pen name for obvious reasons, and this was an A-bomb at dawkins.net.  Actually, any person with half a brain could find my patents very easily. I didn’t do much of a job of hiding them. ]

[5] When challenged to produce the patent numbers, he failed to respond with anything other than his usual bluster, blather, insults and snide condescension; [ME: Again, my patents are easily findable, and have been on YouTube for over two years under my screen name, with my real name on board.  Funny that when these evolutionauts found out I was not lying, or “full of shit”, or……not one of them apologized for being wrong or rude. As expected. They went on to a huge feeding frenzy about my pseudonym. Of course, they all use pseudonyms themselves.  But no matter.]

[6] He is also linked to a YouTube video posted under another identity, one “Anders B. Lyndon”, who claims to be a tenured university biologist, yet no one of that name, or even remotely resembling that name, can be found on the staff list at the relevant university;

[ME: Anders is a fun guy that sent the evolutionauts into another feeding frenzy. The vid says he was a biologist at the U of TA, Arlington. What fun.  Hours and hours of work in this feeding frenzy by the evolutionauts.]

[7] He now claims to have left this forum for good, basically throwing his teddy in the corner because he’s been caught disseminating material falsehoods, that were eminently checkable and exposable as such by anyone with even elementary web browsing skills.

[ME: As of this writing, Cali still doesn’t realize that the patents I claim to have  I DO have. Many of his fellow evolutionauts have found them. So he’s pretty late here. Most of the rest of the evolutionauts now know. And, my pen name…….well. It should   be obvious why I do that. A little anonymity on the net is always the best way to go.  I am surprised that his parents named him Calilasseia.  What an unusual name for such a respected scientist that knows the most reverend of the the reverend evolution scientists, and who “presents peer reviewed papers” almost daily.]

So I’m not going to receive an answer to my question about whether Steve, like all the other propagandists for “design”, actually possesses the hallowed metric for “designedness” that I asked for back in the Part 1 thread, and am probably not going to find out if he even understands what is being asked of him?

[ME:Cali wants me to point out “designedness” and its characteristics? It’s obvious beyond imagination. The fact that nature, hundreds of millions of years ago,  invented a digital camera far superior to our own design, and a pump far more complex than any that exist on earth today is a hint.  But if he is that blind, and his head is that far in the sand, so be it.  And I love the word “designedness”. Take a simple word, make it more complex, scare those who question. D-d-d-duh, I-I can’t think of an a-a-a-answer to d-d-d-designedness. HAR HAR HAR]

Quelle surprise.

[ME: Then Cali left me this nice essay on what a terrible person I am.  Cali, if you read this, one or two sentences could have done the job. You just repeat and repeat.  And, I really feel honored that you would spend so much time on little ole me! Thanks! Really…………………]

Oh, and Steve, if you’re reading this, allow me to say the following.

namesYou have engaged in rampant discoursive malfeasance, have abused the hospitality of the Richard Dawkins Forums on a scale that, even by the usual standards of creationist/IDist duplicity, stands out as being of a special order, have demonstrated time and again that you know less about basic biology than a 12 year old school pupil here in the UK, that you think the world revolves around your personal incredulity and panders to your ignorance, and indeed, you have exhibited all of the characteristics that professionals in the field readily associate with pathological narcissism. Your galactic hubris, your frankly pathetic pretensions (as they have been exposed to be), your repeated dissemination of material falsehoods not only with respect to valid,. evidence-based, reality-based science, but also with respect to your own purported position of “authority”, and your pompous, bombastic, smug, self-righteous displays of self-satisfaction, bear all the hallmarks of the aetiology associated with uncritical adherence to a doctrine and wholly emotional self-identification with that doctrine, a familiar and frankly tedious pattern that has been seen in creationists time and time and time again. It is a mark of your complacent self-absorption and self-regard that you completely fail to understand why your behaviour has attracted the odium that it has: you seem wholly incapable of recognising that people regard pathological lying, of the sort that has been manifestly the foundation of your posts, to be beneath contempt, and seem genuinely surprised that you are regarded by the critical thinkers here with scorn and derision. The hideous spectacle of moral turpitude that you have presented, courtesy of your demonstrated wilful ignorance, your entirely specious attempts to hand-wave away the work of eminent scientists whose toenail clippings bear more of a stamp of authority than you do, and your oft-demonstrated inability to construct sentences that even remotely bear signs of constituting a genuine argument in accordance with the rules of proper discourse, merely highlight to those reading this thread who are in possession of functioning brain cells, not only the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the doctrine you have elected to accept uncritically, but the toxic and gangrenous effects upon the fibre and character of human beings said doctrine exerts. Assuming that you are going, for once, to be true to your word, unreliable as that word has been repeatedly exposed to be, and you are going to leave the Richard Dawkins Forums for good, I can say without fear of contradiction that your presence here, whilst possessing some entertainment value, has in the main served as a prime example of why creationism, and its various bastard ideological offspring, constitute an epistemological cancer eating away at the fruits of honest, rational labour, a cancer that needs to be excised as soon as possible. I for one regard your exit as long overdue, and my personal view is that if your exit is indeed permanent, then the only sentiment I can find myself willing to exert the effort to express is “good riddance”.

I think this covers everything.

[ME: Are you sure? Translation: He can’t answer the few questions I posed on dawkins.net, which makes him look bad in front of his worshippers. Why wouldn’t he want me out of there? I consider this writing a trophy. Thanks blue butterfly! Have a nice life.]

[ME: Here is another astounding exchange between me and a guy whose real name is Ecophysiologist. Strange name his parents gave him. This guy looks and talks like a very well educated evolutionaut. He has no idea that you cannot use what you are trying to prove as evidence for what you are trying to prove. I posed the following challenge to evolutionauts:

Stevebee92653 wrote on rd.net site, as challenge #4 to them:
“Evolution needs to show that the foundation of evolution isn’t a fantasy: That mutations can, do, and did form healthy, histologically correct, necessary, utilitarian tissue, and can place that tissue in just the right location, in just the correct shape, in just the correct amount, and that tissue will be selected by being advantageous to the individual so it can continue on, and so that the individual won’t be consumed by another species that doesn’t have that tissue.”

This is ecophysiologist’s answer. He asked me to comment on his answer, and that response is after his.

One of the morphological features differentiating humans from other primates is a well-developed and convoluted cerebral cortex. Agreed?

Now, how did the human cortex and primarily the neo-cortex come to be so large?

brains of chimp man et al

(MOD ANAT & GEN): We’re now aware of a number of gene sequences that have evolved significantly since chimps and humans diverged from a common ancestor. To focus on one in particular: The region known as human accelerated region 1 (HAR1) is an 118 amino acid sequence that encodes an RNA sequence. HAR1 is active in neurons that are significant for determining the pattern and layout of the developing cortex. Dysfunction in these neurons can lead to lissencephaly (’smooth brain’) and schizophrenia.

But back to humans vs. chimps…

(HAS NOTHING TO DO W/ QST.):If we compare the chimp HAR1 region with the equivalent chicken region, there are only 2 AA substitutions over the period of ~300My since a common ancestor, so the region has been highly conserved. However, if you compare the human and chimp sequences, there have been 18 changes over ~6My since a common ancestor, so there has been a dramatic (900-fold) increase in the rate of mutation of that region. [ME: Read the question, THEN answer Eco.]

So we have:
(HAS NOTHING TO DO W/ QST.):1. A specific DNA sequence
2. Coding RNA signals in neurons critical for cerebral cortex development
3. That has undergone rapid and significant mutation over the span of the 6My divergence of humans and chimps from a common ancestor
4. And profound increases in the size and complexity of the human cerebral cortex vs. the equivalent chimp anatomy.

Further reading provided below.

(READ PPRS): General: Pollard, K, Scientific American, May 2009
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-makes-us-human

Scientific literature: Pollard, K., et al., Nature 443, 167-172 (14 September 2006)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v443/n7108/abs/nature05113.html

Stevebee92653: Response to Ecopyhsiologist

The problem with your answer is the foundation upon which it rests. One assumption is needed to support the next.  In this case, your assumptions are:

(1) chimp and man have a common ancestor. I know in your world this an absolute, in my world it isn’t. You are trying to prove something that my view can’t accept, and starting with chimps and man having a common ancestor brings up all kinds of questions, and can be undermined .  Addendum: You are using what you are trying to prove, evolution and the idea of common ancestors, as evidence for what you are trying to prove, a huge scientific and legal error.

(2) That mutations occurred between our common ancestor and man producing a more complex brain than that between our common ancestor and the chimp, when there is no evidence for this. There is no evidence that mutations are the cause of the distance between man and chimp.

(3) That mutations formed man’s consciousness, ability to reason, talk, contemplate.

Chicken to chimp mutations? Have you tried counting theropod dinosaur to hummingbird mutations? I wonder how many there were. Or the theropod to chicken mutations would be interesting. And the mutations that made those hummingbird wings flap a thousand times a minute must have been some mutation.

I don’t know if this is a serious question or not. But if it is, it doesn’t answer the question I posed, and you should be able to tell that without my help.  To be blunt, “bad” mutations can be so obvious. Multiple legged, bubble eyed specimens don’t rely on a ladder of assumptions to observe. But the good ones are invisible. But I said I would answer.

The rest of the discussion involve mostly put downs, rants against me, and ad homenim attacks.  If there is anything of interest that I haven’t gone over, I will add it to this log. A sample of the rest of our discussion:

I’ve now read his laughable responses and it is clear the guy know nothing whatsoever about biology, evolutionary theory or even the most basic of facts necessary to grasp this topic, let alone debunk it.

I agree, SteveB is utterly ignorant of the ToE and natural selection, laughably so, he deserves every scrap of ridicule he deserves.

Mind like a steel trap, that boy.

Steve appears to be absolutely immune to irony

I didn’t know he had rumpled clothes as well as a rumpled understanding

Calli, please don’t use the scientific name for Betta splendens Steve might get confused

So how many lawsuits do you have against you? I feel this is a legitimate question as you seem to have done no actual reading and apparent lack of understanding of the materials.

And here we have an ample demonstration of why you’re regarded as scientifically ignorant and illiterate

Stevebee is apparently a troll or is completely blind to anything that counters his argument thus making him completely ignorant even of his own ignorance.

Amazing that these people would spend so much time ranting and ragging about lil ole me! That alone should tell the reader that I have had a huge impact on them, with just a few questions that were posed there by me and evocritic. As none of the questions were answered, I mean NONE, I found it unnecessary to add any more.  They wouldn’t be able to answer those either.

Ta Da, as one of them said.

A  creationist type, who ventured on the richarddawkins.net site,  left a couple of “creationist type” posts (part 1 of richarddawkins.com “debate”). Cali’s explanation for his unmannerly response, calling him a fucktard, et at: (his response is pretty self explanatory)

And, if you look at the post in question, I clearly and explicitly label the quotes as originating from that individual ON YOUTUBE. Which means that as far as this forum is concerned, if he isn’t a member, he’s fair game, especially when he posts the kind of inane drivel that I dealt with in my linked post above.
Moreover, if one reads that post of mine, whilst I did say at the beginning that I considered him to be “a noxious little tosser”, and labelled him as such, the “fucktard” comment was aimed at his inane drivel and not at him. I described his assertions as “fucktarded nonsense”, not least because they were, and I demonstrated with ease WHY those assertions were fucktarded nonsense. Because his stupid, indeed fucktarded assertion that an amoeba cannot reproduce cells is precisely that, fucktarded, as anyone who has actually watched various Amoeba species undergoing mitosis under the microscope knows only too well. His assertion was palsied drivel of the most gangrenous and bubotic order, as was his assertion that the fact that we are composed of billions of cells somehow “disproves” evolution (why do these morons never learn the distinction between proof, which is a formal procedure in pure mathematics, and evidential support, which is the process by which hypotheses are established to be valid in the physical sciences?). Not least because, as I stated in that post, all humans arise from a single cell, namely a fertilised ovum (but then given the hangups fundie nutjobs such as this manifestly ignorant dickhead have over sex, is it surprising that they know fuck all about basic human biology?), and moreover, I once again cited the relevant scientific paper with respect to the appearance of multicellularity in a single celled organism, a process that has been demonstrated to occur repeatedly dozens of times in the relevant experimenal setup. Indeed, anyone here with basic skills in fishkeeping can set up the relevant colonies of Chlorella vulgaris and Ochromonas vallescia, culture them in jars, and then replicate the experimental circumstances leading to multicellularity appearing in the Chlorella culture. Sampling the Chlorella culture afterwards and examining the live colonies under any modestly capable microscope establishes that the organisms do indeed form multicellular colonies under that experimental setup. This isn’t fucking rocket science, this is something I can do in my kitchen. Not least because I’ve bred a high-maintenance species of Peruvian catfish in my kitchen before today, and I have the photos of the fry to show off to anyone who cares to ask.


88 Comments

  1. stevebee92653 said,

    I will answer it here, if you like. It is a neatly done presentation, and a good question, which is a rarity there. I am running short on time today, but I will save it and give it a look in the next few days. OK?

  2. latimeria said,

    Steve,

    I invited you to drop the malevolence and engage in a rational discourse over the topics of evolution you brought up, and you chose to ignore it. You have continually refused to demonstrate any understanding of the processes involved in evolution, and have only shown MANY glaring errors in your logic, and refuse to address the heaping mounds of evidence against you. Might I suggest starting a thread on richarddawkins.net called “A Fresh Start for Stevebee92653”? Ask for a blank slate in beginning a new conversation, and present your arguments (devoid of scorn and derision) in a straightforward fashion one at a time. If you disagree with something, say WHY. Let’s take some baby steps. Maybe just start by laying out a few fundamental premises that will be the foundation for your later arguments. It could at the very least get you a lot farther than the hit-with-nonsense-and-run tactic if you want to be taken seriously.

    • stevebee92653 said,

      I would be happy to. You at d.net have spent over 40 pages ragging on my pseudonym, and calling me a liar in regard to patents I own. I find that astounding. So, YOU may want intelligent discourse, but there are hundreds of your friends that would rather rag. And if I came back and did what you ask, I will again be called a liar and cheat for coming back after I said I was leaving. Which I find more humorous than insulting. I have done this so long, insults run off my back, and I am not embarrassed about anything I have done, contrary to what your friends think.. So that track is a waste of lots of time on d.net’s part.
      I would like to return and have an intelligent discussion, if that would indeed be the case. But, after a 40 page feeding frenzy. I have my doubts. I would truly think evolution would relish intelligent challenges. Any science should.

  3. latimeria said,

    Would you like me to start it and preface it with the fact that I asked you back? I can only guarantee what I will say to start it off and how I will treat it. However, I expect if it is done properly you can get the intelligent discussion you desire. What you say from there is your business, but I’d have my suggestions as to ways to go about it 😉

    • stevebee92653 said,

      Latimeria
      Thanks for the offer. I think for now I will take a rain check. It might be better to let things cool off for a while, and I am very busy at this time. And considering how the last 40 pages went, I think things would deteriorate quickly. I would like to keep the possibility open, if that’s OK. And I DO appreciate the thought.

      • Jim Beam said,

        I would like a fresh start too. Let’s put all the pseudonym crap behind us, and worry about the issues at hand.

        I see you’ve been doing some anger management with your responses to Cali at the top of this page.

      • stevebee92653 said,

        I do appreciate the thought. I was just looking at dawkins.net, and they are still in feeding frenzy deriding me. Pretty amazing, and amusing. Don’t they have better things to do? Really, it’s a fun watch. They are so off on so many of the comments about me. Living rocks, and the fox-dog thing, that was blown out of proportion by shrunk. If you have a second, read my page on “The Evidence FOR Evolution” (p. 7) It would put to rest the big evo-rag, but your guys just go on and on with the fox-dog/rock thing.
        Things are too hot now to have a reasonable discussion. I think I am hated more than Hitler over there. I do enjoy good debate/discussion, but I think maybe later. I am very busy now, and unfortunately a close friend’s child fell in their pool Sunday, and didn’t survive. So I have more important things on my plate for a few days. But, again, thanks for the thought.

      • Jim Beam said,

        My condolences to your friend and his/her family.

        No one hates you Steve. Do you need a hug or something?
        Well, just in case here you go. *hugs Steve*
        Stop by whenever.

      • stevebee92653 said,

        Thanks. I do appreciate it. I do look in occasionally. Feel free to do the same here. I am writing an analysis of Cali’s answer to my questions. It will post in a week or so. If you have a minute. And feel free to post it on your site.

  4. Shrunk said,

    I’d just like add my vote for a fresh start

    BTW, the link to the RD.net thread seems not to work. Here’s the correct link:

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=81464

    (Steve makes his entrance on page 13.).

    • Allan said,

      Shrunk, I fear I have appeared rude, in not replying to you yet. I appologise. I am ill at present.

      Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        >Shrunk, I fear I have appeared rude, in not replying to you yet. I appologise. I >am ill at present.

        >Allan

        (NOW look where they’re putting your posts!)

        Not to worry. Take care of yourself.

  5. Anonymous said,

    Too bad for you, we at Anonymous know who you really are, your phone numbers, address, both home and work, we know of every family member. You have made a very powerful enemy. Do not confuse us for the moral faggots of Chanology, we are the Internet Hate Machine, and you are next.

  6. The Ecophysiologist said,

    In response to my post at top, (https://evillusion.wordpress.com/discussions-on-www-dawkins-net/#comment-591 ) Steve emailed me the following:

    “I looked at your answer and it doesn’t answer the question I posed. Being serious, I don’t know if some of it was kidding? Chicken to Chimp? I started writing an answer, but it just isn’t answerable, if it was a serious question. And if it was, it is a ladder of assumptions. I really never know what to expect with your group, and I wouldn’t be too proud if I were you. Please re-read my question. You are an intelligent person. In your mind, reverse our positions and ask yourself if you would accept that as an answer.
    Steve”

    Steve,

    The ‘question’ you posed was: “Evolution needs to show that the foundation of evolution isn’t a fantasy: That mutations can, do, and did form healthy, histologically correct, necessary, utilitarian tissue, and can place that tissue in just the right location, in just the correct shape, in just the correct amount, and that tissue will be selected by being advantageous to the individual so it can continue on, and so that the individual won’t be consumed by another species that doesn’t have that tissue”

    My post is a specific factual response, outlining mutations in the HAR1 sequence that meet all the requirements you specified: Mutations [in HAR1] producing healthy, histologically correct, necessary, utilitarian tissue… [the human neocortex] advantageous to the individual [providing the basis for the intellectual differences between chimp and human].

    I kept it light on genetics and anatomical info as that’s your stated preference (in this very thread).

    The comparison of chicken and chimp DNA indicates that this is a highly conserved section of the genome (i.e. even very diverse species show substantially similar sequences). That you dismiss this just indicates that you don’t understand the most basic concept of molecular evolution: Critical sections of the genome are highly conserved as mutations tend to be deleterious.

    That there is so much difference between humans and chimps indicates the strong benefit that accrued from these changes.

    You wrote:
    “I really never know what to expect with your group, and I wouldn’t be too proud if I were you.”

    I won’t grace this with a response, except to say that your condescension is profoundly misplaced.

    I expected more than a handwaving email, but your response suggests that you’ve got nothing more to give than wilful ignorance of basic biological concepts, and regurgitation of mendacious AIG propaganda pieces.

    • stevebee92653 said,

      Re: That you dismiss this just indicates that you don’t understand the most basic concept of molecular evolution. AD HOM TIME.

      RE: I won’t grace this with a response, except to say that your condescension is profoundly misplaced.
      This isn’t condescension. Your group has spent almost 50 pages with strawman and ad hom attacks on me. I don’t rally care, that’s your bag, but if you ever want intelligent discussion, that is not the way to go. And this is not a BOO HOO, as I am sure it will be interpreted there when you copy this answer over. Do your stuff the way you see fit, it’s obviously your choice. Whatever you say about me is not significant in my life.
      I have tons of information on this site. Y’all have copy/pasted it on your site, but never the major questions I posed. The personal attacks on me continue there long after I quit posting. I find it amazing that your friends are still at it. It just doesn’t say much for them.

      Re: “I expected more than a handwaving email, but your response suggests that you’ve got nothing more to give than wilful ignorance of basic biological concepts, and regurgitation of mendacious AIG propaganda pieces.”
      Just another ad hom. So, why would I want to discuss with you? That gets so tiresome. Don’t you get tired of writing the same old garbage over and over? Watch my YT vid on “Evolution Glossary”. You will be able to see that you are wasting time on repeated ad homs. I guarantee you will like the music.

      So, here is an answer that I don’t think should be necessary if you really considered the question:
      The problem with your answer is the foundation upon which it rests. One assumption is needed to support the next. It’s a ladder of assumptions to get at what should be a very simple answer. In this case, your assumptions are:
      (1) chimp and man have a common ancestor. I know in your world this an absolute, in my world it isn’t. You are trying to prove something that my view can’t accept, and starting with chimps and man having a common ancestor brings up all kinds of questions, and can be undermined . This shouldn’t be a necessary step in your answer anyway.
      (2) That mutations et al occurred between our common ancestor and man producing a more complex brain. That the same occurred between our common ancestor and the chimp, but a lesser brain was the result. There simply is no evidence for either, so it’s another huge assumption. There is no evidence that a differing set of mutations from our assumed common ancestor are the cause of the distance between man and chimp.
      (3) That mutations formed man’s consciousness, ability to reason, talk, contemplate. Another huge assumption on your ladder, which crashes.

      Chicken to chimp mutations? Have you tried counting theropod dinosaur to hummingbird mutations? I wonder how many there were. Or the theropod to chicken mutations would be interesting. And the mutations that made those hummingbird wings flap a thousand times a minute must have been some mutations.
      I really don’t know if this is a serious question or not. But if it is, it doesn’t answer the question I posed, and you should be able to tell that without my help. To be blunt, “bad” mutations can be so obvious. Multiple legged, bubble eyed specimens don’t rely on a ladder of assumptions to observe. But the good ones are invisible. I said I would answer, but I would think you could have done it yourself. But thanks for the try.

    • Allan said,

      Ecophysiologist, you say above, on this page, “[T]here are only 2 AA substitutions over the period of ~300My since a common ancestor, so the region has been highly conserved. However, if you compare the human and chimp sequences, there have been 18 changes over ~6My since a common ancestor, so there has been a dramatic (900-fold) increase in the rate of mutation of that region” but isn’t that a 450 fold increase not 900 fold?

      Allan

      • The Ecophysiologist said,

        Yes, you’re right, only a 450-fold increase in the mutation rate. 😉

        Well spotted. Now I’ll be kept awake trying to figure out how I managed to screw that up…

  7. The Ecophysiologist said,

    [Reposting without links…]

    S: “AD HOM TIME.”

    TE: So quick to leap to the cry of persecution. I pointed out that your argument revealed a lack of understand of molecular evolution.

    Here are the key words from your response: “You are trying to prove something that my view can’t accept.”

    You’re starting with a brain full of presuppositions, and you dismiss evidence that doesn’t fit within those presuppositions. For example: You *believe* that “Chimp and man do not share a common ancestor”, therefore you dismiss the genetic, morphological, parasitological, immunological, paleontological, ethological – and so on – data that demonstrates the relationship.

    Did you know that Linnaeus, the person who developed our current taxonomic system _IN THE 17TH CENTURY_ originally had chimps in the same genus (Homo) as humans?

    S: “In this case, your assumptions are: (1) chimp and man have a common ancestor. I know in your world this an absolute, in my world it isn’t. You are trying to prove something that my view can’t accept, and starting with chimps and man having a common ancestor brings up all kinds of questions, and can be undermined . This shouldn’t be a necessary step in your answer anyway.”

    TE: Answered – this isn’t an assumption, this is what the data tell us. I’m sorry if this is in conflict with your worldview..

    S: “(2) That mutations et al occurred between our common ancestor and man producing a more complex brain. That the same occurred between our common ancestor and the chimp, but a lesser brain was the result. There simply is no evidence for either, so it’s another huge assumption.”

    TE: Well, there was one common ancestor (otherwise it wouldn’t be ‘common’). There’s no assumption required in understanding that from that common ancestor there has been a divergence to the current brains of human (bigger) and chimp (smaller). They’re different, aren’t they?

    S: “There is no evidence that a differing set of mutations from our assumed common ancestor are the cause of the distance between man and chimp.”

    TE: No evidence? My entire original post lays out the evidence that HAR1, a sequence active in the development of the cortex, has undergone significant mutation. Did you read it? Perhaps we could go on to talk about ASPM, or FOXP2? Or is it just that all of this conflicts with your worldview again?

    S: “(3) That mutations formed man’s consciousness, ability to reason, talk, contemplate. Another huge assumption on your ladder, which crashes. ”

    TE: Are you suggesting that the greatly different DNA sequence, and the greatly different human brain is not responsible for the great difference in consciousness, reason, speech etc between human and chimp?

    Once again, I presented one particular sequence as you’ve complained of having mounds of genetic and anatomical data piled upon you. We could go into the differences between humans and other organisms in sequences such as HAR2, FOXP2, AMY1, ASPM, LCT and so on if you like. Sequences that distinguish us in areas like speech, digestion of starch, digestion of lactose, and our opposable thumbs.

    Or can ‘your view’ not accept that evidence either?

    S: “Chicken to chimp mutations?”

    TE: No, common ancestor to chickens, and common ancestor to chimp. This is really very simple.

    In the 300 million years since amniotes (the common ancestor) there has been only TWO mutations difference in the HAR1 sequence of these two species (chicken compared with chimp). In the 6 million years since our common ancestor with chimps, there have been EIGHTEEN mutations in the HAR1 sequence, which is responsible for brain development.

    S: “Have you tried counting theropod dinosaur to hummingbird mutations? I wonder how many there were. Or the theropod to chicken mutations would be interesting.”

    TE: Interesting question. Stay with me here: It’s been done. In a paper reported in Science last month, scientists reported results of amino acid sequencing of theropod (T. rex) and hadrosaur (Brachylophosaurus canadiensis) collagen, and the comparison of those sequences with other species such as CHICKENS. I know! Amazing!

    I reviewed it in detail [on the RD.net site]

    You can skip down to the section that starts “With that said…”.

    Here’s a picture of the resulting ‘tree’ from the collagen sequence: [Phylogeny from Schweitzer et al., Science, May 1]

    The picture shows the phylogeny (relationships) indicated by the collagen sequence. There are no assumptions here. You plug the sequence into a computer, and it spits out a tree based on the differences in the sequences. You could put the LA phone book into it, and it would produce a tree based on local phone exchange boxes. I’m guessing Laguna Hills would be close to Laguna Beach, but I don’t know LA.

    There’s some fancy math behind it, but it’s not rocket science. The length of the horizontal lines, or branches, indicates the differences between the taxa.

    The section in yellow is used to highlight those species that we classify as Reptilia. The two dinosaur sequences are shown in bold; immediately below them are the next closest sequences as determined by the computer, those of Gallus (chickens) and Struthio (ostrich).

    They also included a raft of other taxa, including humans, chimps (Pan), and macaques (Macaca) at the bottom of the rusty colored box. Note how short the branch between humans, chimps and macaques is – there are very few differences in our collagen.

    No assumptions here, and no fossils. You plug the amino acid sequences in, and this is what you get.

    S: “To be blunt, “bad” mutations can be so obvious. Multiple legged, bubble eyed specimens don’t rely on a ladder of assumptions to observe. But the good ones are invisible.”

    TE: The HAR1 information already provided, and the collagen sequences suggest otherwise.

    The differences in our brains, speech, digestive systems, and hands – and corresponding differences in the genes involved in those attributes – are not invisible, but first you need to make the effort to open your eyes.

  8. The Ecophysiologist said,

    Steve’s response via email:

    “Sorry it didn’t post. I am sure I will be blamed for editing and deleting. WordPress may have a limit on size of comments. I really don’t know. I checked and didn’t see anything on limits. Try a shorter version. A quick response to your comment: A group of assumptions are necessary to observe your “good” mutations. And, I am sure you think a series of mutations lead to the complex brain of humans. But, again they are never seen. They are surmised. I don’t care what genetics you cite, it should be possible to observe genetic changes, as I describe in my question, today, in action in larger specimens than bacteria and mosquitoes. And we should see all types of modern genetic changes and experiments being conducted by selected mutations. The kind that could produce new kinds of organs and bio-electromechanical devices. Nature is there. Selections are ongoing, just as they have been for millions of years. Where are the experiments? We can’t see any whatsoever. You are citing mutations that supposedly occurred millions of years ago. They are invisible to us today. So, if in your mind the question is answered, fine. It isn’t in mine. And let’s leave it at that. Because I think it’s pretty obvious what I would expect would be a good answer. Yours isn’t. And please don’t waste your time with more ad homs. I’ve seen them all. But thanks for the response.
    Regards, Steve”

    Removing the URLs seems to have done the trick. Maybe there’s an antispam function in the software that doesn’t allow them.

    To your email:
    “And, I am sure you think a series of mutations lead to the complex brain of humans. But, again they are never seen.”

    The mutations exist, as do the morphological differences. How exactly would you propose to see the mutations taking place in a living population?

    “I don’t care what genetics you cite, it should be possible to observe genetic changes, as I describe in my question, today, in action in larger specimens than bacteria and mosquitoes.”

    How long have we been looking at the genomes of organisms? Thirty years? Is it so surprising that we’ve only seen changes in organisms with very short generation times? And why should they be irrelevant? The evolution of traits such as a nylonase gene and citrate metabolism is still evolution: Mutation giving rise to beneficial phenotypic changes through natural selection. It’s all still DNA.

    That you reject this data just reinforces that your position (note this is not an ‘ad hom’, I’m addressing your argument) is an argument from incredulity: “I can’t believe it, so it can’t be true!”

    “And we should see all types of modern genetic changes and experiments being conducted by selected mutations.”

    Are you aware of any of the vast pool of research with Drosophila or zebrafish? (The zebrafish is a vertebrate, so hopefully counts as a big enough animal.)

    But just in case lab experiments aren’t ‘real world’ enough (anticipating the next objection here), how about speciation of cichlid fishes?

    Reporting in Nature in October 2008 (google ‘cichlid speciation sensory’ or similar), researchers identified a speciation event in these African fishes. This was driven by overfertilisation of Lake Victoria, leading to decreased visibility in the water. The researchers identified a molecular basis for changes to the fishes’ sensory system, and which resulted in divergence of fish populations sufficient to cause reproductive isolation. In other words, new species were formed based on these changes in their sensory systems.

    From the Abstract: “Here we demonstrate sensory drive speciation within island populations of cichlid fish. We identify the ecological and molecular basis of divergent evolution in the cichlid visual system, demonstrate associated divergence in male colouration and female preferences, and show subsequent differentiation at neutral loci, indicating reproductive isolation.”

    Real world evidence of mutations giving rise to functional differences and new species, in a vertebrate.

    In case fish aren’t ‘complex’ enough, we also have evidence from humans. Enard et al., publishing in Nature in 2002, reported on mutations in the FOXP2 gene (speech and language) that have occurred within the *last 10,000 to 100,000 years.*

    Another example from humans is the development of a fourth color receptor (tetrachromaticity). Most of us have only three colour receptors in our retinas. Some women have *four*, the result of a mutation in the genes coding for one of the existing three. The jury still out on whether this has functional benefits, but it’s an intriguing question, isn’t it? I highly recommend checking out the March 16 article in Scientific American – very interesting (search for ‘primate vision’ at sciam.com).

    To summarise: Evolution is taking place around us in the world today, and it’s taking place *within us* too.

    Your thoughts?

    • Shrunk said,

      Steve seems to think “beneficial mutations” should be similar to the spectacularly grotesque deleterious mutations that are observed in rare instances, like the calf that was born with two spines and seven legs that I had mentioned to him. He doesn’ t realize that even most detrimental mutations are not that obvious, and that modern evolutionary theory does not hold, or require, that such sudden and obvious morphological changes occur. What he’s thinking about is the now-disregarded saltation or “hopeful monster” model. No evolutionary biologist believes this occurs, but it makes a convenient strawman for ignorant or unscrupulous creationists.

      The type of mutations that you have already documented are all that are required, and are exactly what he had requested in his “challenge”

      • stevebee92653 said,

        Steve seems to think…….. He doesn’ t realize that….. What he’s thinking about is the……Shrunk, you are a liar, misrepresenter, AND a mind reader! What a talent. All that over the net! And you think I am ignorant and unscrupulous! Thanks. From you that’s a compliment.
        “No evolutionary biologist believes this occurs, but it makes a convenient strawman for ignorant or unscrupulous creationists”.
        THEY DON”T BELIEVE IT OCCURS BECAUSE IT DOESN”T OCCUR. AND THEY NEED IT TO. But, because it doesn’t they have to put on an act. “Oh, just as we predict, it doesn’t happen.” HAR HAR HAR Those ev bios are sure smart. Evo happened only “once upon a time”, but not now. wow. Happy zebrafish.

      • Shrunk said,

        “Steve seems to think…….. He doesn’ t realize that….. What he’s thinking about is the……Shrunk, you are a liar, misrepresenter, AND a mind reader!”

        I don’t need to read minds to know what you’re thinking. You said it yourself, just above ( Comment #5):

        “To be blunt, “bad” mutations can be so obvious. Multiple legged, bubble eyed specimens don’t rely on a ladder of assumptions to observe. But the good ones are invisible.”

        In fact, the rest of your post confirms that I have not misrepresented you in the least, and you DO believe that evolution cannot occur without these “hopeful monsters.”

        I’ve asked you before to justify for your repeated accusations that I have lied with specific examples, and so far you have been unable to do so. Once again, you display your habit of making wild claims without the slightest trace of evidence.

        And at which point did I say YOU were ignorant and unscrupulous? I said that anyone who is a creationist and uses the false argument that evolution is a theory of saltation is ignorant or unscrupulous. If you’re admitting that that is what you’re doing, and that you’re a creationist, then I’m not the one condemning you. You are.

        Oh, and I’m sure TE would appreciate an answer to his post. He’s provided specific examples of beneficial mutations, one of which resulted in a speciation event. This is what you say doesn’t, and couldn’t, happen. Once again, reality proves you wrong.

    • stevebee92653 said,

      Check out the question again. You don’t answer it, but for some reason you think you do. We are on different tracks. There are currently about 30 million species on earth today, and a billion since the beginning. So you like zebrafish, bacteria that digest nylon and citrates, drosophilia, fourth color receptor in humans as your evidence for the evolution of complex systems. That doesn’t do it for me. If it does for you, great. Because it doesn’t seem puny and insignificant to you…6 examples of not much out of 30 million species, I am amazed. Ever see “Cool Hand Luke”? “Nothing” can be a pretty good hand”. And that’s what you have. Nothing. And in your world, where everyone is an enthusiastic fan, it’ works as a bluff, and a pretty good hand. Not in mine.

      • Shrunk said,

        Here’s the problem. As far as I can see, there are only two ways in which the “complex systems” you keep talking about can come about:

        1) Gradually, by small incremental steps.

        2) Suddenly and completely.

        But you, Steve, have already said you don’t believe option 1 (Evolution) is possible. That means you believe in option 2. You don’t have the option of shuffling your feet, shrugging your shoulders and saying, “I don’t know. It’s a mystery.” If there are only two possibilities, and you believe one is impossible, then it means you believe the other one is the only possibility that could be true.

        Yet at the same time you say that these complex systems could NOT come about all at once, and rightly point out that we have seen no evidence of these systems suddenly appearing out of nothing in an organism.

        So what exactly DO you believe, Steve? It seems you have argued yourself into saying the existence of life is impossible. And yet life exists. Perhaps you should instead consider the possibility that you are, perhaps, wrong?

      • stevebee92653 said,

        Option #3 is “I don’t know. A plausible theory can’t be made out of the evidence we have so far”. What makes you think you have power to tell me what my choices are? Quit asking questions that I have answered on my blog. You won’t get anymore replies if you don’t check the blog first before asking lame questions.

        When I answer you you go back to your friends and misinterpret what I say, which is pretty chickenshit. Then you friends roll with your bullshit. You grab on to anything I say, change the meaning, and go to Dawk. Slimy. Examples? That I emailed you and asked you to communicate via email and not in public, and you emailed me back an said you would have nothing to do with that. An out and out lie. I am sure you will put this sentence on Dawk so they will think you are cool, and what a liar I am. You reported to Dawk that I think rocks are alive. Humorous to see how many of the suckers believed you and rag on and on about how I think rocks are living. There were others but I don’t want to waste any time searching.

        Re: It seems you have argued yourself into saying the existence of life is impossible. (This is bullshit, of course. So why wast your time and space here with it.) And yet life exists. Perhaps you should instead consider the possibility that you are, perhaps, wrong. (You Shrunk, are wrong for sure. You believe and defend a fantasy.)

      • Shrunk said,

        >Option #3 is “I don’t know. A plausible theory can’t be made out of the evidence we have so far”. What makes you think you have power to tell me what my choices are? Quit asking questions that I have answered on my blog. You won’t get anymore replies if you don’t check the blog first before asking lame questions.

        Funny, pretty well all the world’s biologists have managed to make a more than “plausible” theory of the evidence. It’s called evolution. Thanks for admitting that the evidence can’t be understood if one rejects evolution.

      • The Ecophysiologist said,

        Well Steve, I’m happy to see that you’re coming out and responding to me in public. Thanks.

        “There are currently about 30 million species on earth today, and a billion since the beginning. So you like zebrafish, bacteria that digest nylon and citrates, drosophilia, fourth color receptor in humans as your evidence for the evolution of complex systems.”

        So you don’t think my original example, the human cortex, is a ‘complex system’? Perhaps that speaks volumes…

        When I presented that you objected that you wanted something recent, and ‘not in bacteria or mosquitoes’. So I presented *speciation* in fishes, and the gene responsible for speech and language in humans. These aren’t ‘complex’ enough for you either?

        “That doesn’t do it for me. If it does for you, great. Because it doesn’t seem puny and insignificant to you…6 examples of not much out of 30 million species, I am amazed.”

        No, the evolution of human cortex doesn’t seem puny and insignificant to me. I’m guessing it doesn’t seem puny to a good six billion others on the planet either.

        How big do you want these posts to be? I gave you HAR1, and offered others. When you rejected that without any counterargument, I provided several more examples. Again you’re hand-waving the evidence away and saying it’s not enough without providing any substantive counterargument.

        “Ever see “Cool Hand Luke”? “Nothing” can be a pretty good hand”. And that’s what you have. Nothing. And in your world, where everyone is an enthusiastic fan, it’ works as a bluff, and a pretty good hand. Not in mine.”

        The irony is palpable. I’ve provided a number of real-world examples of beneficial phenotypic changes. In response you offer… nothing. You’re not even holding any cards.

        How do you think ‘complex systems’ arose?

        You claim you *just can’t believe* that gradual changes over millions of years can produce substantive differences. Yet you’re prepared to believe that those same systems magically appeared out of thin air.

        Do you see the irony? You’re substituting magic tricks for demonstrable evidence of phenotypic change. You have the temerity to claim that 150 years of scientific endeavour is bluffing, when even your sleeves haven’t got any cards.

        Steve, you’ve been pwned on your own blog and you don’t even have the knowledge nor wit to realize it. Incredulity is not an argument, and credulity in magic is nothing to boast about. Sadly you’ll no doubt still have a coterie of the duller-still to impress with your DDS.

      • stevebee92653 said,

        Re: ” …responding to me in public.” What do you mean? Do you have any idea how many comments I have been responding to in public in the last month? I guess not.
        Re: “So you don’t think my original example, the human cortex, is a ‘complex system’?” Strawman. Why waste your time and my space with this stupid comment?
        Re: “:….and the gene responsible for speech and language in humans. These aren’t ‘complex’ enough for you either?” Strawmen everywhere. So, you know the gene responsible for speech and language? So what? That has absolutely NOTHING to do with the question. Waste of time.

        Re: “No, the evolution of human cortex doesn’t seem puny and insignificant to me”. Good for you. There is simply no evidence that it occurred. Sorry.

        Re: “Yet you’re prepared to believe that those same systems magically appeared out of thin air”. You must be Shrunk. Are you? Same tape.

        Here is how this communication works: I pose a challenge. You don’t answer it, but you write a lot. You dole out useless information that doesn’t answer the question. I reject your answer. I, as the writer of the challenge, know what would be a satisfactory answer. You actually do to, but you cannot answer satisfactorily. So you demean. You declare victory for yourself with the completely flawed information you have given. Evolution in action. Congratulations.

  9. The Ecophysiologist said,

    Here’s the challenge you posed:

    ““Evolution needs to show that the foundation of evolution isn’t a fantasy: That mutations can, do, and did form healthy, histologically correct, necessary, utilitarian tissue, and can place that tissue in just the right location, in just the correct shape, in just the correct amount, and that tissue will be selected by being advantageous to the individual so it can continue on, and so that the individual won’t be consumed by another species that doesn’t have that tissue.”

    The human cortex, with its attendant gene systems and their mutations, answers the challenge.

    Hopefully your readers will be able to tell the difference between a reasoned case from evidence, and your squeaking dismissals.

    • stevebee92653 said,

      What mutations? Oh, the ones you and your friends made up? Those?

      • The Ecophysiologist said,

        “What mutations? Oh, the ones you and your friends made up? Those?”

        No, the mutations reported in peer-reviewed journals like Nature and Science that you’ve had presented to you in posts above this one.

        Mutations in genes such as HAR1, ASPM, and FOXP2 that are correlated with the development of the human cortex and speech and language.

        Mutations that were discovered and reported by physicians, molecular biologists and biostatisticians. No Illuminati-esque conspiracy theory here, just bright, hard-working people doing their jobs.

        You’ve yet to propose any counter-theory that explains the evidence presented. Are you going to break out of the schoolyard heckling mold, and take a stab at explaining some of the evidence?

        Perhaps you could start with the human HAR1 sequence, its differences to the chimp sequence, and its correlation with neural development and cortex morphology. You already acknowledged that “It is a neatly done presentation, and a good question”.

      • stevebee92653 said,

        There are no mutations found that produced the human brain. You must must know that and be kidding, right? I don’t care what magazine you cite, it’s just made up stuff. And YOU believe it! Good for you. And give it up here. You aren’t doing well. You are an indoctrinated devoted evolutionaut. You have forfeited your ability to independently reason. You let others do your thinking, and you absorb it like a sponge without the slightest bit of skepticism. And you relay that information to others. The question is, how did you get like that. I wonder.

      • The Ecophysiologist said,

        (Where’s the LOL smiley when you need it?)

        I actually did laugh out loud at this. Nice work!

      • Shrunk said,

        “I actually did laugh out loud at this. Nice work!”

        Because WordPress’ formatting is so screwy, it’s difficult to know which post you’re commenting on here, TE. Of course, pretty well all of Steve’s posts are LOL-worthy. Science and Nature are just “magazines”? Too funny. Much better to get you science information from websites run by retired dentists who think dogs aren’t related to wolves and fruit are altruistic, I guess.

      • The Ecophysiologist said,

        Hi Shrunk,

        I was referring to the post immediately above it. The one where steve says “I don’t care what magazine you cite, it’s just made up stuff” with reference to Nature and Science, the leading peer-reviewed journals in the world in ANY academic discipline.

        Amazing to think this guy claims some kind of background in the sciences, or engineering maybe.

        Amazing, yet tragic.

        PS. Open invitation to any of Steve’s regular readers to head over to RD.net and make a more substantial case than Steve did. Shouldn’t be hard!

      • Shrunk said,

        At the moment, it seems his only “regular readers” are folks from RD.net.

      • stevebee92653 said,

        If my stuff is so bad, why have you and your friends spent so much time here? That is a question you might want to ask yourself.

      • The Ecophysiologist said,

        “If my stuff is so bad, why have you and your friends spent so much time here? That is a question you might want to ask yourself”

        In the vain hope of having a decent discussion with someone who claims to have debunked evolution. And in the hope that others who don’t know better aren’t convinced by your appeals to authority.

        And I’ve only made ~13 posts here. Hardly a great deal of time.

        Good luck to you Steve, enjoy the summer.

      • stevebee92653 said,

        Thanks. You too.

      • Allan said,

        SHRUNK: “Well, I did qualify it by saying “as far as I can see.” If you, Steve, or anyone else can think of a third option, I’m willing to listen. But I’m not aware of any. (Steve’s proffered third option., “I don’t know,” obviously does not count.)”

        Hi Shrunk

        You did indeed qualify your statement with “as far as I can see”. And that may well be a very important point. But, your implied assertion that one can legitimately limit the field of options, to just the two you mention, is far more interesting then my possibly being able to list more, or indeed many, or not knowing if the options are endless, or that there could exist an option I do not know of, or been thought of. If we can get down to only two possibilities, then that would be of great practical assistant. For it implies that we need only eliminate one of them and hey…voila the other is the Truth. So by your estimation are we dealing with something on the level of an axiom here? For I certainly think it is possible to limit options in particular circumstances and so make unequivocal statements with no wiggle room.

        But if I were sitting in a lecture and option (1) was eliminated and then it was claimed that option (2) was therefore established, I for one would knit my eyebrows with incredulity, and vice versa.

        Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        “So by your estimation are we dealing with something on the level of an axiom here? For I certainly think it is possible to limit options in particular circumstances and so make unequivocal statements with no wiggle room.”

        Yes, I believe the statement is axiomatic. If something did not arise thru gradual incremental processes, then it arose suddenly in a complete form. Can you, or anyone, think of a conceivable third option? This isn’t specific to the issue of evolution.

      • Allan said,

        Shrunk, Okay, the two possibilities you are putting on the table, for how “complex systems” come about are:

        1) Gradually, by small incremental steps.

        2) Suddenly and completely.

        You say you see these as the only two possibilities and, are so strongly convinced of this that, you consider your position axiomatic. As I said, I would actually welcome you being right and am certainly not opposed a priori, or ideologically, to it being demonstrated that you are right here. But, I do not even see option (2) as a real option and perhaps is really a caricature of something else. For surely nothing really arises “suddenly and completely” as that would violate ex nihilo nihil fit – from nothing nothing comes- which I certainly consider an axiom. So for me option (2) is out. It is not really an option at all. Do you agree?

        It also concerns me that option (1) will/might amount to something as innocuous and general as life and the earth and the observable universe have a history or change (not qualia) according to rules or general principles. Not something I would wish to challenge.

        I am loath to put up other options lest it be thought that I am putting forward a position or state of afairs in the universe I believe to be true. So I only offer the following as an option for consideration.

        (3) Existence exists and IT has different states and cycles.

        Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        Allan:

        “I do not even see option (2) as a real option and perhaps is really a caricature of something else. For surely nothing really arises “suddenly and completely” as that would violate ex nihilo nihil fit – from nothing nothing comes- which I certainly consider an axiom. So for me option (2) is out. It is not really an option at all.”

        I think you’re misunderstanding the nature of the discussion. We are talking about the origin of complex biological systems. In other words, the arrangement of constituent parts in a complex entity such as, eg., the vertebrate eye. The actual material that comprises the eye would not have to suddenly arise out of nowhere, and even some of the consitutuent parts (cells, blood vessels, membranes) could already have existed. But the issue at dispute is whether it is possible for all the working parts of the eye to come together without going thru the process of evolution. This would mean that there was a “first eye” that arose already with all or most of its parts intact (focussing lens, aperture-like pupil, light sensitive retina) and functioning as a cohesive unit. I don’t believe this is possible, and see evolution as the only possible alternative. Steve also seems to think this is not possible, but is not willing to acknowledge evolution as a possibility. So his only option is to say the answer is an imponderable mystery.

        My point is that if he rejects evolution, then he has to accept that the eye came about with all its parts operating in a complex arrangement at once. I don’t see any other possibility. I agree that option 2 is not a realistic one for biological entities, but not for the reason you propose. I don’t think it necessarily involves an “ex nihilo” process. It’s just too unlikely for all the reasons that, ironlically, Steve lists himself (mistakenly believing these are arguments against evolution, when in fact they are points in its favour.)designed by an intelligent agent

        WRT to this:

        “(3) Existence exists and IT has different states and cycles.”

        I’d be happy to consider it, if I had the faintest clue what it meant.

      • Allan said,

        SHRUNK: “I’d be happy to consider it, if I had the faintest clue what it meant”

        Shrunk, let me try to elaborate and maybe restate in a different way which is hopefully clearer.
        .
        Would you agree that if you take a penknife, the knife in its unfolded state and the knife in its folded state is the same knife?

        Would you also accept that the penknife is no more complex in one its ‘states’ than the other?

        Again would you agree that, all other things being equal, a knife that unfolds is more complex then one that does not?

        Or lets try this: Say I presented you with a bicycle and you said, “I love it, the colour is great, the size is just right and the style is just fab…………..but………. could you also make it so that when I get to work I can fold it up and put it in my pocket and then unfold it again at the end of the day? Would you agree that such a bike, if indeed it could be made, although obstensibly that same bike in the unfolded state, would be by default radically more complex then the original?

        So option 3 is (re-worded) : (3) They unfold and refold.

        Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        Yes, I’d agree that both the folding knife and the folding bike (I saw one of those just this weekend. Amazing! Not quite pocket size, but briefcase size) are more complex than the non-folding versions.

        I’m still not sure how that pertains to this discussion.

        Even most creationists accept that variation in phenotype in reponse to the environment (adaptation) occurs, so that’s not in dispute.

        The question is, how did the first bike come into existence? It came via a process of design, not thru evolution. True, it didn’t spring out of thin air by magic. And many of its parts had already been invented and used in other inventions (wheels, gears, a metal frame). However, as a working system, it was conceived, designed, and built as a complete entity onto itself.

        If the first bike arose thru an evolutionary process, it would be something like this: The designer of the bike took some existing device, say a horse drawn carriage, then made some minute modification in it, then another, then another. Each modification would have to result in a device that was still functional in some way. After a few thousand such modifications, or “generations”, our designer would eventually end up with a Schwinn 10-speed. Clearly, that is not how design works. However, it is the way biology works. This is why we observe things such as homology and vestigial structures. These things make no sense in a design model (Do bikes retain vestigial remnants of the harness to attach the horse?) but are easily explained by evolutionary theory.

        So, again, that’s why I see the two options as axiomatic. If one rejects the evolutionary paradigm, then one has to accept the design paradigm, which is that complex systems came into being complete. The problem is, there is no known mechanism by which this could happen. We don’t see a creature being born with the genes to create an entire complex eye after it parents and all its other ancestors have been eyeless. Yet if one rejects evolution, then as I see it that is the only other possible scenario (“possible’ in the broadest sense that it can be mentally conceived. In practical terms, it is for all intents impossible.)

      • Shrunk said,

        (BTW, here’s a link to the folding bicycle:)

        http://www.foldabikes.com/

      • Allan said,

        “The question is, how did the first bike come into existence” ok, but the analogies (both bike and knife) are driving at my point which is firstly, and somewhat incidentally,not from nothing! Which, I think you agree with unequivocally. But more importantly, ultimately not from something less complicated then the thing produced (and without prejudice to the idea that the thing produced is the same thing as that from whence it came but is merely in a different state)

        That is what I am putting forward as another option. I am not asking you to agree with it as the ‘correct’ option. I am not even saying it is the the correct option. But I am arguing that is an option different in kind from the other two on the table.

        Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        “ok, but the analogies (both bike and knife) are driving at my point which is firstly, and somewhat incidentally,not from nothing! Which, I think you agree with unequivocally. But more importantly, ultimately not from something less complicated then the thing produced (and without prejudice to the idea that the thing produced is the same thing as that from whence it came but is merely in a different state)

        “That is what I am putting forward as another option. I am not asking you to agree with it as the ‘correct’ option. I am not even saying it is the the correct option. But I am arguing that is an option different in kind from the other two on the table.”

        OK. I think I get you now.

        No, I’d still see that as a variant of Option 2. In fact, it’s an even more vexing version of Option 2. If every other state of that original “something” is less complex than it, than that “something” must be more complex than anything else that exists. So, then, what is the origin of that “something”? And if you want to say, “It’s eternal” or something like that, to me that just seems to be begging the question. That seems no different than saying it just popped out of nowhere.

        (While we’re on the topic of imponderable mysteries, what’s with the formatting on this blog? Posts just seem to end up being inserted into random posiitions, without regard to chronology or who they are in response to.)

      • Allan said,

        Hi Shrunk

        SHRUNK: “No, I’d still see that as a variant of Option 2. In fact, it’s an even more vexing version of Option 2. If every other state of that original “something” is less complex than it, than that “something” must be more complex than anything else that exists. So, then, what is the origin of that “something”? And if you want to say, “It’s eternal” or something like that, to me that just seems to be begging the question. That seems no different than saying it just popped out of nowhere.”

        Shrunk, can I confirm the stage this conversation is at? Are we not in the process of only putting generic options on the table, for later consideration? Not revealing what we think of the merits of those options at the moment, even if we think them silly?

        You say ‘They unfold and refold’ is a variant/version of ‘suddenly and completely’ I really cannot see that. The later as it stands is an ex nihilo statement as the ‘suddenly’ surely implies no prior state. The former does not do that. They are very different in kind.

        So, so far we have on the table:
        (1) Gradually, in incremental steps
        (2) Suddenly and completely
        You are proposing that these two options are exhaustive, how about these?:

        Nothing became something (option 2, no?)
        Something simple became complex gradually (option 1, yes?)
        Something simple became complex suddenly
        Something complex became simple
        Something changed states
        Something made something else from nothing
        Something made something else from itself but stayed the same
        Something made something from something else
        Something unfolded and will refold and unfold again eternally in a cycle (option 3, I think!)
        None of the above or (None of the above but with parts from some of them)

        Shrunk, can we put any or all these on the table ere we start the process of taking them off?

        Allan

        PS yes, i have not fathomed the protocols of the WordPress!

      • Shrunk said,

        Allan,

        Hopefully my last personal communication has clarified things.

        Back to the matter at hand:

        ———————————————-

        “So, so far we have on the table:
        (1) Gradually, in incremental steps
        (2) Suddenly and completely

        You are proposing that these two options are exhaustive, how about these?:

        Nothing became something (option 2, no?)
        Something simple became complex gradually (option 1, yes?)
        Something simple became complex suddenly
        Something complex became simple
        Something changed states
        Something made something else from nothing
        Something made something else from itself but stayed the same
        Something made something from something else
        Something unfolded and will refold and unfold again eternally in a cycle (option 3, I think!)
        None of the above or (None of the above but with parts from some of them)

        Shrunk, can we put any or all these on the table ere we start the process of taking them off?”

        ——————————-

        I think a bit of reflection would reveal that all of these are variants of (1) or (2), or some combination of the two.

        WRT to your proposed #3, I’m not sure it even counts as an alternative to those two options. It seems, rather, in the category of metaphysical speculation, and therefore is not an alternative to proposed physical mechanisms or processes.

        If you could provide an example of how this “folding/refolding” might manifest in concrete, physical terms and, more importantly, how that manifestation would not fall into the two original options, I might reconsider.

      • Allan said,

        Hi Shrunk.
        SHRUNK “two ways in which….. “complex systems”…… can come about:(1) Gradually, by small incremental steps. (2) Suddenly and completely.”
        Shrunk, with regards to both these options separately, can I ask, “[came] about from what. ‘Something’ or ‘nothing’?”
        Assuming you will still say, “Well, ‘something’ of course.” With respect to option (1) can I propose re-wording option (1) to: Something simple became complex gradually?
        And assuming you will still say, “Well, I meant ‘nothing’ of course.” option (2) to: Nothing became something?
        I do not want to appear to have you say anything you are not really comfortable with and you are most certainly free to clarify or change anything previously said and continue to do so thereafter.
        I believe anything like option 2 is destined for rejection (at later stage) by both of us. I would however be interested to know what you took the original “come about suddenly and completely” to really mean. I ask because, I think it a very useful mental exercise to attempt to contemplate, what I take to be, its literal meaning.
        Shrunk, you stated, “I think a bit of reflection would reveal that all of these are variants of (1) or (2), or some combination of the two” But would not a combination of the two be a third option?
        Now you asked me to give you some ‘concrete’ examples of Option (3) “Something unfolded and will refold and unfold again eternally in a cycle” Now if you mean give you a better idea of the sort of thing I mean, either by way of analogies or real world example that it might possibly pertain to, I am happy to try (but this was not a criterion by which you placed options on the timetable. Could you, give a concrete example of option (2) for instance?) Being a eternal situation, I would be hard pressed to give a truly concrete example.

        Right, a very rough analogy: if were to find a seed and plant it and it grew into a beautiful flower and then I ask someone, “Where did the seed come from?” The answer could be, “From pretty much what it became”

        Or say the universe expanded from something (call it a singularity or something just smaller) and eventually collapsed back again. There is no obvious grounds why it could not expand again, and carry on doing so.

        Allan

      • allan said,

        Shrunk, have just re-read my last reply to you (having found our conversation again, it has moved to section J under page 23!) I notice I have made a few typos. I know you will work out what I meant to say, but still…

        ‘timetable’ sould be ‘table’

        and my second paragraph should be clearer:

        Assuming you will say, “Well, ‘something’ of course”, with respect to option (1). Can I propose re-wording option (1) as:maybe ‘Something simple became complex gradually’?
        And assuming you wil say, “Well, I meant ‘nothing’ of course”, with respect to option (2). Can I propose something along the lines of, ‘Nothing became something’?

        Hope that helps.

        Allan

      • allan said,

        —————————————————————————————————————
        SHRUNK Wrote:

        OK, Allan. I’ll try answer your questions more specifically.

        ““….(1) Gradually, by small incremental steps. (2) Suddenly and completely. Shrunk, with regards to both these options separately, can I ask, “[came] about from what. ‘Something’ or ‘nothing’?” ”

        Either.

        “Can I propose re-wording option (1) as: maybe, ‘Something’ simple became complex gradually’?,” ”

        Sure, that works for me.

        Hope that helps.
        —————————————————————————————————————
        Hi Shrunk, the short response, “Either,” does not help as it, surely implies 4 options now. Two different beginnings for each of the two option sentences.

        We had “….(1) Come about gradually, by small incremental steps. (2) Come about suddenly and completely.

        I reasonably and necessarily asked, “with regards to both these options separately, ‘[came] about from what. Something or ‘nothing?” A reply of, “Either” must yield four statements. Something along the lines of :

        Either
        “From nothing came something gradually, by small incremental steps.”
        Or,
        “From something came something gradually, by small incremental steps.”

        And again, either,
        “From nothing came something suddenly and completely.”
        Or,
        “From something came something suddenly and completely.”

        So, Shrunk, was/is the original option (1), “Come about gradually, by small incremental steps” intended be an ex nihilo statement or not? Likewise with the second option, was it intended to be an ex nihilo statement?

        I think we are provionally in agreement on the wording of at least one ‘option’ for later consideration. Namely, “Something simple gradually became complex.”

        Allan

        Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        Hi, Allan.

        I think we’re now getting into semantic hair-splitting which, frankly, I don’t think is particularly useful to the current discussion.

        It’s a moot point whether “something came from something” or “from nothing.”

        For example, three possibilities for option two (all of which I have heard proposed by creationist advocates of option 2):

        God created human beings literally out of nothing.

        God created human beings out of elements and substances that already existed.

        God created human beings by taking a chimpanzee-like creature and “mutating” its genes so it immediately became a human.

        While these can all be distinguished, for the purpose of the debate over evolution they all require the existence of come “creative intelligent designer” who deliberately creates human beings. If you want to continue to subdivide option two, you can go on as long as you like. Why stop at two? Why not list each of the above as a separate option so we now have three? Why not further subdivide them into theistic and deistic, and further subdivide into each particular deity that people believe in? You can go on forever.

        It doesn’t matter. If option 1 provides an adequate explanation that is supported by robust evidence, it dispenses with the need for any form of option 2, no matter how many versions you can come up with. Similarly, if you find evidence for option 2, then it renders option 1 inadequate on its own.

      • allan said,

        Re #48 SHRUNK : It’s a moot point whether “something came from something” or “from nothing.”

        Shrunk, again thank you for your reply, but I must ask, how can such a fundamental question be a moot poin? Expecially when discussing “axiomatic” statements purporting to be, not just ‘specific to the issue of evolution,’ but, universal.

        Are you saying strict ex nihilo statements are logical. You think, “complex things come from nothing gradually”? I don’t mind putting it on the table as a option, but, I strongly oppose the claim that is equivalent to “complex things came about from something”.

        Allan

        You mention God and again creationism. Why? Are we not talking about basic generic isomorphically distinct options. I have not mentioned God and/or creationism. I was born in 1965. Thousands of years after the bible was written. I was clearly not consulted about it and it has nothing to do with me. So why should I have to answer, or be asked questions, about it?

        Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        Allan,

        Remember the context of my discussion with Steve. The point I was trying to make was that if he rejects “something complex came from something simple” as an explanation for the origin of any biological structure, be that an entire organism or an organ such as the eye, then he has to accept some form of “something came suddenly and completely” whether from something or nothing. I’m not denying that there are many different forms that can take, but I’m really not interested in the phylogeny of those explanations, since I don’t consider any of them plausible in a scientific sense. What I was trying to argue was that Steve’s explanation that he “just doesn’t know” the answer was disingenuous.” If something didn’t happen incrementally and gradually, then it happened thru a simultaneous change in multiple parts of the structure.

        It’s similar to my analogy of saying whether a woman is pregnant or not. If you say she is not pregnant, then you can’t say “I don’t know” when asked if she is pregnant. preBy saying “Yes to the question is she not pregnant?” you can’t say, “I don’t know” to the question, “Is she pregnant?” It doesn’t matter that there are various ways she could be pregnant (WIth a a boy? A girl? Twins? Thru artificial insemination?). By simply saying “She is not pregnant” you rule all of those out. And by saying biological structures do not arise from gradual means, Steve is saying they must arise as a whole, completely.

        I did not intend to imply you were a creationist. I only used those examples as common instances of Option 2 that some people believe.

        I’m willing to concede the point that this discussion may only pertain to the issue of evolution, and not be “universal” as I suggested earlier. I think it’ll be easier if we keep it that way, in any event.

      • Shrunk said,

        (The second paragraph above turned out a bit of a mess. Let’s try again:)

        It’s similar to my analogy of saying whether a woman is pregnant or not. If you say she is not pregnant, then you can’t say “I don’t know” when asked if she is pregnant. By saying “Yes” to the question “Is she not pregnant?” you can’t say, “I don’t know” to the question, “Is she pregnant?” It doesn’t matter that there are various ways she could be pregnant (WIth a a boy? A girl? Twins? Thru artificial insemination?). By simply saying “She is not pregnant” you rule all of those out. And by saying biological structures do not arise from gradual means, Steve is saying they must arise as a whole, completely. I’m not asking him to provide an explanation for how this happened. Just acknowledgement that he believes it did happen.

        (I’m not sure that’s much better, but I’ll leave it.)

      • Allan said,

        SHRUNK: “My point is that if he rejects evolution, then he has to accept that the eye came about with all its parts operating in a complex arrangement at once”

        Shrunk, I really do not see it being anything like as simple as that. The eye does not “[come] about with all its parts operating in a complex arrangement at once” in any case. It grows. And nothing comes from anything less than something with the potential to give rise to it. What is it you think is being rejected when you say “he rejects evolution”, all historical aspects of the theory or the proposed mechanism of the that guilds that history or something else? In fact depending on what is ment, even I can go from Evolution Defender to Vehement Opposer!

        Have you rejected “(3) They unfold and refold”?

        Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        Allan:

        “The eye does not “[come] about with all its parts operating in a complex arrangement at once” in any case. It grows. And nothing comes from anything less than something with the potential to give rise to it.”

        You’ve lost me. Or, maybe, I’ve lost you.

        Of course, an individual eye doesn’t just pop into being suddenly. But it is only an expression of the underlying genome. And what’s under dispute here is how that genetic plan for the eye arose.

        “What is it you think is being rejected when you say “he rejects evolution”, all historical aspects of the theory or the proposed mechanism of the that guilds that history or something else?”

        I guess you’ll have to ask him that.

        “Have you rejected ‘(3) They unfold and refold’?”

        Not rejected it, no. It’s just that, if I understand it correctly, it doesn’t really seem to be a third option. It’s just an aspect that can be part of either process (evolution or design). A beneficial mutation can occur, or a designer can figure out how to modify a bicycle so it can be folded up. Neither deals with the question of the ultimate origin of complex biological structures.

  10. Shrunk said,

    Shrunk: “Steve, is your wife pregnant?”

    Steve: “No, absolutely not. That’s impossible. I’m certain she is not.”

    Shrunk: “So your wife is not pregnant then.”

    Steve: “You liar! How dare you put words in my mouth! I don’t know whether she’s pregnant. I can’t make sense of the evidence.”

    • Shrunk said,

      …and for some reason WordPress put this comment up here where it makes little sense. It’s supposed to be a response to comment #16.

    • stevebee92653 said,

      Stupider and stupider. Stay at home. You are just looking foolish here.

    • Allan said,

      Shrunk

      You made the following comment above (no option to reply directly there)

      SHRUNK: “Here’s the problem. As far as I can see, there are only two ways in which the “complex systems” you keep talking about can come about:

      1) Gradually, by small incremental steps.

      2) Suddenly and completely.”

      I found this comment interesting on three counts (1) It is clear and easy to understand (2) it is stated very confidently (3) I do not see why you are so confident that these are the only two option

      Can you explain?

      Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        Well, I did qualify it by saying “as far as I can see.” If you, Steve, or anyone else can think of a third option, I’m willing to listen. But I’m not aware of any. (Steve’s proffered third option., “I don’t know,” obviously does not count.)

  11. stevebee92653 said,

    Thanks! Actually I wouldn’t laugh too hard if I were you. Wait. On the other hand, you are indoctrinated beyond the pont of no return. So, enjoy. Might as well!

  12. Shrunk said,

    So you think my comments are stupid, Steve? I’m relieved. Since this is an example of what you consider an “intelligent” comment (again from pg.31):

    “So did fruit and vegetables evolve out of a self sacrifice? We’ll go this way and stop at being food so the upper echelon can have something to further the pointless cause with. What environmental pressure causes on speciation to become a mango and another a bird. Hmm Maybe if I learn to evolve eye appealing, juicy meated , sweet tasting fruit, it’ll be beneficial!”

    …I’d be concerned if you DIDN’T think my posts were stupid.

  13. gene said,

    This guy in #27 said only 13 posts – I’m neutral and new here but I have to tell you I did’t learn much from his posts. Lots of personal attacks .He hardly understands questions steve asks

    • Shrunk said,

      Hi, gene.

      Have you had a look at the discussion with Steve on the Richard Dawkins forum?

      I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

    • The Ecophysiologist said,

      gene, I wonder if you could point out the ad homs in one of my substantive posts in response to Steve’s ‘challenge’. Say #8 above.

      I’d also be interested to know what you understood from that post.

  14. Shrunk said,

    To be perfectly honest, Allan, I\’m starting to have doubts about your actual identity. Probably overly paranoid of me, I know, but I wonder if you could help allay them.

    Could you quote something from the last page of Steve\’s discussion on RD.net?

    http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=83134&start=675

    Also, let me know your user name there if you are a registered member.

    Sorry, if this request seems discourteous, but I\’d just like to continue discussion without labouring under any doubts.

    • Allan said,

      Dear Shrunk , this last posting has left me somewhat bemused. I have registered on the Richard Dawkins site with username ‘Allan3141’ (just plain ‘Allan’ had apparently already been taken)

      You have asked me to quote something from last page of the above link. This is a strange request! but the last thing on the thread is, “The dog, the dog he’s at is again!” But how is this of any use to you? Please explain.

      What on earth is this all about? Has this helped?

      Allan

      PS why has this appeared as comment 13?

      • Shrunk said,

        “PS why has this appeared as comment 13?”

        I know. Weird, huh? (I wonder where this post will end up.)

  15. Shrunk said,

    Allan,

    Your latest posts have only strengthened my conviction that your “folding/refolding” model is not an alternative to the two options I originally proposed. Instead, it operates on a different level and can coexist with either option.

    Your example of the plant growing from a seed evades the question entirely, for instance. I agree this would be a good example of the “refolding” you describe. However, this is irrelevent to the evolution debate, which is concerned with how plants came to be in the first place. Did an organism that is capable of producing a simple seed that can grow into a complex plant arise thru the gradual process of evolution, or was it “created” already with that ability? That’s the question up for discussion.

    Similarly, with your example of the Big Bang, it still doesn’t answer the question of the process by which the universe, with all its complex structures including living organisms, came about. Did all of the particles of the universe almost instantaneously configure themselves into stars, planets, nebulae and living creatures? Or did those structures gradually arise over the course of billions of years? Either is compatible with your “refolding/folding” model (although only one is compatible with the scientific evidence as it exists).

    I admit my intial description of the two options is a bit confusing, and I think it was unwise to use the word “suddenly” in option 2. I did not mean to imply that this means structures appear instantly out of nothing.

    For instance, a (non-biological) example of number 2 would be a camera or a bicycle. Obviously, it doesn’t suddenly spring into existence out nowhere. However, it comes into existence as a complete entity without any ancestral precursors. The pieces all fit together into a functional whole right from the outset, without having to go thru a gradual series of “pre-bikes” each slightly different from the previous one. This is because a bicycle is is created by an intelligent being who is able to pre-plan and design the pieces so they deliberately function together. Living organisms lack such a designer (I am convinced), and so they must achieve complexity thru the gradual process of evolution.

    You’re right, of course, in saying I can’t think of a biological example of option 2. However, creationists DO believe in this as an explanation for how life arose.

    I brought all this up in the first place because Steve has rejected option 1 as not possible, but also denies being a creationist. However, he also says option 2 is a possibility, although he is not certain of this. My point is that this position is disingenuous. If he is sure option1 is false, then he is saying option 2 is certainly true, even though he won’t admit it (probably because he realizes this puts him in the same boat as the creationists he is so eager to distance himself from.) So until a plausible 3rd option is presented, I think that is the position he finds himself in.

    • Allan said,

      Hi Shunk, thank you for your reply. I asked you several questions in my last post.
      I asked you firstly, “….(1) Gradually, by small incremental steps. (2) Suddenly and completely. Shrunk, with regards to both these options separately, can I ask, “[came] about from what. ‘Something’ or ‘nothing’?” You did not answer.
      This is frustrating as it is a fundamental and clear question. I tried to push the conversation on by guessing in what direct your answers would go and so asked the following questions.
      I asked, “Assuming you will say, ‘Well, ‘something’ of course’, with respect to option (1). Can I propose re-wording option (1) as: maybe, ‘Something’ simple became complex gradually’?,” thinking you have this sort of thing in mind here. I further asked, “And assuming you will say, ‘Well, I meant ‘nothing’ of course,’ with respect to option (2). Can I propose something along the lines of, ‘Nothing’ became ‘something’?” You did not answer either of these questions.
      We are now left dangling because you expressed misgivings about the wording of option (2) “came about suddenly and completely” but have not provided a replacement. I had sought clarification about all this when a asked, “I would, however, be interested to know what you took the original “come about suddenly and completely” to really mean[?]” But you did not answer. I asked you a further question, “Shrunk, you stated, “I think a bit of reflection would reveal that all of these are variants of (1) or (2), or some combination of the two” But would not a combination of the two be a third option?” But this question needs to be put on the back burner at the moment as we are not even arriving at a consensus on op(1) and (2).

      I propose you do not address any of the above except the first question and we start again. So shrunk, “(1) Gradually, by small incremental steps. (2) Suddenly and completely. Shrunk, with regards to both these options separately, can I ask, “[came] about from what. ‘Something’ or ‘nothing’?”
      Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        OK, Allan. I’ll try answer your questions more specifically.

        ““….(1) Gradually, by small incremental steps. (2) Suddenly and completely. Shrunk, with regards to both these options separately, can I ask, “[came] about from what. ‘Something’ or ‘nothing’?” ”

        Either.

        “Can I propose re-wording option (1) as: maybe, ‘Something’ simple became complex gradually’?,” ”

        Sure, that works for me.

        Hope that helps.

  16. allan said,

    Shrunk, so why, even in the context of biology, are we not allow the following options for consideration:

    “Something complex gradually became simple”
    “Something complex gradually changed states”
    “Something complex gradually made something else”
    “Something complex suddenly made something complex that gradually made something else.

    But are allow, “something simple gradually became complex”?

    I am more that willing to fully consider this option but I have done so before and find it wholely inadequate on many fronts. I have also considered “suddenly and completely” and, although interesting to attempt to contemplate, I find it wholely inadequate too.

    Allan

    • Shrunk said,

      “Shrunk, so why, even in the context of biology, are we not allow the following options for consideration:

      “Something complex gradually became simple”
      “Something complex gradually changed states”
      “Something complex gradually made something else”
      “Something complex suddenly made something complex that gradually made something else.

      But are allow, “something simple gradually became complex”?”

      Because they all avoid the question of how the “something complex” came to be in the first place.

      If you consider the theory of evolution “wholly inadequate ,” as you seem to imply, perhaps that’s what we should be talkiing about

      • Allan said,

        SHRUNK: “Because they all avoid the question of how the ‘something complex’ came to be in the first place”

        Shrunk, you can only think that I have avoided, and failed, to answer this question, and mysteriously think that you are providing a logically consistent solution, because you avoided answering all my many questions put to you about whether ultimately things come about from ‘Nothing’ or ‘Something’.

        DO YOU THINK THE ULITMATE SOURSE OF EVERYTHING WAS NOTHING OR SOMETHING? Why has this not been answered by you?

        An attempt to beguilingly hide behind gradualism and long periods of time (a kind of kicking it into the long grass) can be made, but, the best that can be done with this type of thinking is encapsulated in the option “Nothing became something gradually” One can emphasize the ‘gradually’ if one likes, “Nothing became something ever so gradually. So so gradually, in fact, that the problem of coming from nothing does not arise and just disappears”

        Is this what you think, that the universe come from absolutely nothing? You can’t proceed from nothing to something gradually, can you?

        This is important because this is the first instant (and a pretty fundamental one at that) of the failure of gradualism, but you have persistently resisted allowing this logical fact to surface, by avoiding answering direct questions intended to bring it to the surface. Something must have always existed, that is the second failure of gradualism. Did Mathematics arrive gradually? If not, this would be a third failure. Time by definition kind of arrives gradually, but it is the same thing throughout and does not improve with time! Time is with us or it is not. Again, gradualism does not appear to be underpinning reality.

        Molecules can be said to arrive ‘gradually’ I guess from single atoms, but gradually only in an historical sense; it is a flagrant affront to reason, and all the findings of science, to deny that atoms clearly appear ready (predestined) to form molecules! Neither is an atom a simple thing and neither has it improved with time! Even a single hydrogen atom needs complex mathematics to describe it and its influence (presence) is modeled to extend over an infinite distance via its gravitational field. No dud atoms were made, no flaws are seen, absolutely nothing to deny teleology. The Elements are an amazing Lego set, with no poorly constructed or non-fitting pieces. To claim or cry fluke when atoms are found to be amazingly capable of combining to from molecules would be to deny an obvious appearance of teleology, they were ready! So yet again there is no real gradualism here in the sense you imply. Molecule-lisation was already inherent in the atoms themselves. Something must of existed in the first place (first not in the sense of time, but in sense of premise, and importance). That something must logically have had the potential to become what it became. Whatever that ‘Something’ is, that grounds all being, to call it, ‘simple’ and what it gave rise to, ‘complex,’ is not the only plausible option as you claim and neither is it the obvious default position, with the onus on me to show otherwise, or fight for its right to even be on the table for consideration. Wittgenstein seems to have understood this when he wrote this aphorism, “In logic nothing is accidental: if a thing can occur in a state of affairs, the possibility of the state of affairs must be written into the thing itself.” To obstinately and inanely persist in asking where did that something come from, is to miss an obvious point entirely, and to stick one’s head in the proverbial sand. It did not from anywhere, it did not come about, something must have necessarily and eternally existed, and things came of it. So I am defending the credentials of a genre of options that are in diametric opposition to your notion of, “nothing (or something simple) gradually becomes more complex” Intelligent man can, have and should be able to entertain this contary idea without fear of anathema.

        Very important note from me: Please do not think for one moment that my opposition to The Evolution of Theory is initially or substantially based on metaphysical considerations, it is not. But if only one type of thinking, that means something like Evolutionary Theory must be true, is allowed, and other ways of thinking about it are ruled out of court, not even allowed a seat at the table, what’s the point in attempting present one’s objections?

        Allan

  17. Shrunk said,

    Allan:

    “DO YOU THINK THE ULITMATE SOURSE OF EVERYTHING WAS NOTHING OR SOMETHING? Why has this not been answered by you?”

    It hasn’t been answered because, til now, it hadn’t been asked.

    I thought we were talking about the origin of life as it exists on earth. The origin of the universe is an entirely different subject and one, frankly, of which I don’t feel I have sufficient understanding to discuss intelligently.

    The theory of evolution presupposes that mathematics, time, atoms and all the rest that you discuss already exist. As well, it also presupposes that some rudimentary form of “life” already exists. How all those came to be are interesting and important questions, but of no relevence to evolution whatsoever, which what I thought we were discussing. Turns out, in your mind, we were discussing something else entirely. If that was the fault of my misunderstanding, then I apologize.

    • Allan said,

      Hi Shrunk, sorry for delayed reply, have been snowed under. Hope this finds you well.
      _______________________________________________________________
      SHRUNK:

      It hasn’t been answered because, til now, it hadn’t been asked.

      I thought we were talking about the origin of life as it exists on earth. The origin of the universe is an entirely different subject and one, frankly, of which I don’t feel I have sufficient understanding to discuss intelligently.

      The theory of evolution presupposes that mathematics, time, atoms and all the rest that you discuss already exist. As well, it also presupposes that some rudimentary form of “life” already exists. How all those came to be are interesting and important questions, but of no relevence to evolution whatsoever, which what I thought we were discussing. Turns out, in your mind, we were discussing hsomething else entirely. If that was the fault of my misunderstanding, then I apologize.
      _______________________________________________________________

      SHRUNK: “It hasn’t been answered because, til now, it hadn’t been asked.”

      Shrunk, I was very surprised by this response, as I would say I have most certainly asked this question, clearly and repeatedly. But, even now, you have not answered it, again! Or are you offering the answer, “I don’t know,” (with your, “….which I don’t feel I have sufficient understanding to discuss intelligently.”), but this does not seem right for two reason. It is not an answer you allowed Steve to give to your question, saying he was being ‘disingenuous’ in doing so. And my question is far more straightforward, fundamental and basic. Of course you are qualified to answer it, especially when I am asking what you think.
      Or are you offering the answer, “Irrelevant,”? which, of course, is no answer at all.
      SHRUNK: “but of no relevance to evolution whatsoever”

      This is certainly to stretch the concept of irrelevance way outside its sphere of operation. You speak as though I asked about your shoe size, or something of that ilk.

      In 1959, six year before I was born, one-hundred after the publishing of the Origin of Species, prominent evolutionary scientists gathered in Chicago for the Darwin Centennial Celebrations. This was a 5 day event and one fifth of it was dedicated to what was then often called Chemical Evolution or Molecular Evolution or just plain early Evolution (Now abiogenesis). Chicago held the premier event, and included many of the actual scientists responsible the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis (The Modern Theory of Evolution taking into account findings in genetics etc.) decades earlier. So when someone of that group, in front of that group, with the aforeknowledge and consent and approval of that group, stands up and tells us what Evolution applies to, we cannot have a greater source. For, we are getting it from the horses mouths,’ so to speak. So let Sir Julian Huxley, under these circumstances, enlighten us, “This is one of the first public occasions on which it has been frankly faced that all aspects of reality are subject to evolution, from atoms and stars to fish and flowers, from fish and flowers to human societies and values – indeed, that all reality is a single process of evolution. In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created, it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion. . . .
      Finally, the evolutionary vision is enabling us to discern, however incompletely, the lineaments of the new religion that we can be sure will arise to serve the needs of the coming era”.

      I was born in that ‘coming era’ and when at college, in the early eighties, my college biology textbook’s chapter on Evolution boldly and clearly started with, and so included, The Primordial Soup, Miller’s Experiment and Coacervates etc.

      So which group gave us – and is promoting the notion of- the Pre-biotic Soup (the primordial soup) or ‘some warm little pond’? To whom does it belong and from where did it emanate? It was not musicians or some other group from the arts or humanities. Not Metaphysical Poets. Not those darn pesky theists, with their quaint but ludicrous notion of everything being the product of an illimitable superior mind. Nor, Mechanical or Electronic, Engineers. Not the Physicists. It was not even the chemists! (It did not emanate from the minds of the likes of Faraday, Boyle, Maxwell, or Bohr). It is the product of the evolutionary pattern of thought; it is an evolutionary idea, and an evolutionary tenet. It is evolutionist who as a group can be relied upon to hold to it and promote it. It is not irrelevant. That’s where its home is, that’s where it belongs and that is where it emanated from. It is a part of the over branching Theory of Evolution. To deny it is silly.

      Journal of Molecular Evolution (established 1971) covers, in their own words, “experimental and theoretical work aimed at deciphering features of molecular evolution and the processes bearing on these features, from the initial formation of macromolecular systems onward. Topics addressed include the evolution of informational macromolecules and their relation to more complex levels of biological organization, up to populations and taxa”.

      Jacques Monad Nobel Prize laureate ‘Chance and Necessity’ (1970) the whole book is about evolution and anything above a molecule hardly gets a look in!

      So abiogenesis, call it, or re-name it, what you like, is part – an aspect of – the over branching Theory of Evolution and not, ‘of no relevance to evolution whatsoever.’ An aspect, or part, just like; the Evolution of Tetrapods’ or the ‘Evolution of Chordates’etc, is part of the over all pattern of thought.

      SHRUNK: “it also presupposes that some rudimentary form of “life” already exists”

      How, may I ask, isn’t this presupposed “rudimentary form of life” subject to your binary logic gate of Option(1) or Option(2)? How has it, mysteriously and conveniently, managed to not be subject to your own rules?

      If you are more comfortable starting from some assumed, non-descript, undiscovered, un-reproduced proto-cell, I will start from there.

      But I am wanting my options all starting with, “Something complex …….,” on the table for consideration.

      Allan

      • Shrunk said,

        Allan,

        We obviously remain at cross purposes here. You keep insisting that I engage in a discussion in which I have no intentions of engaging. My purpose here was simply to discuss the theory of evolution, as the term is usually used: The theory that all life on earth shares a universal common ancestor, and arose from that ancestor thru a gradual process of intergenerational change in the genetic material of a population, at times affected by the process of natural selection. I fail to see how any questions regarding the origin of that last common ancestor, or of the universe as a whole, has any bearing on the validity of that theory. If others choose to expand the theory to encompass more overarching questions regarding the origin of life itself, or of the universe, or even try to propound it as a “religion”, you can of course argue against that. But that’s not my issue.

        You accuse me of being inconsistent in pleading ignorance to the question of whether the universe came from “something” or “nothing” while not accepting a similar non-answer from Steve. In so doing, you force me to, yet again, summarize my discussion with Steve.

        The question I asked him was regarding the origin of complex biological structures, such as eyes, hearts, limbs, teeth, etc. Period. And the question was only whether he believed these structures arose thru a gradual process, or appeared fully formed from the outset . These are two, mutually exclusive processes, and between them encompass all possibilities. Neither one completely defines a process and, as you repeatedly point out , each can be further subdivided (gradually arising from nothing, gradually arising from something, etc.) The gradual/full formed dichotomy is only one dimension of the process, but one of them MUST be part of the process, and if one is rejected then the other MUST be accepted.

        If Steve had simply said he did not know which to believe, that would have been acceptable on theoretical grounds . However, that is not what he said. He said he knew for certain they did not arise gradually, but refused to acknowledge that this meant they arose as already fully formed, complex structures, which is the only option available to him. This is what I (correctly, IMHO) called “disingenuous.”

        In our case, it would be as if, in answer to your question, I said, “I know for certain the universe did not arise from nothing.” If you then followed up by asking, “So, do you believe it came from something?” and I replied with obfuscations and claims that I had no opinion, you would be fully justified in calling me disingenuous, inconsistent, and dishonest. If I am certain the universe did NOT come from nothing, then I must also be certain that it DID come from something.

        As it is, though, I don’t have a response to this question, the answer to which, AFAIK, continues to elude the finest minds of physics, cosmology, philosophy, etc. (Although you seem quite certain you know the answer.)

        To reiterate, the question of the origin of the universe is one on which I have no informed opinion, and one which I have no interest in discussing. I don’t see that it has any role in confirming or refuting the theory of evolution, in its usual narrow definition. You obviously have much you want to say on the topic, so it would probably be best if you just state your opinions outright (so long as Steve continues to extend his forbearance for this discussion) rather than keep trying to use me as an unwilling foil.

  18. jan said,

    ” I think we’re now getting into semantic hair-splitting which, frankly, I don’t think is particularly useful to the current discussion.”

    Great observation “shrunk” Get the fuck out of “hair splitting” semantics, and get into SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED EVIDENCE FOR YOU ASSERTIONS……… What a fucking rediculous conversation………YOu participate as if you have some sort of SCIENTIFIC ADVANTAGE…….. AND YOU DONT……YOUR ADVANTAGE IS MERELY PUBLICALLY FUNDED EFFORTS TO BOLSTER YOUR AND SO MANY OTHER’S SPECULATIONS….. WHAT AN ASSHOLE YOU ARE….. I HOPE YOU LOOK AT THIS AND RESPOND,,,, BUT I DOUBT IT ,,,,,,,, YOU AND OTHERS LIKE YOU OWN PUBLIC PERCEPTION, SO YOU ARE NOT “OBLIGATED” IN ANY WAY THAT MIGHT INFLUENCE YOUR FINANCES,M TO DEMOSTRATE SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION OF YOUR SPECULATIONS……………. CONGRATULATIONS……

  19. PopperPaul said,

    Your whole argument with the folks at RD’s blog is a fantastic read, especially when I skip over the orange commentary text where you try in vain to defend yourself.

    • stevebee92653 said,

      Good! I am glad you enjoyed it. So did I.

  20. Jeffie Orbeck said,

    Wonderful guide, well crafted I have to admit.

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