Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Friday, January 05, 2007

"Designs'" crazy rant

‘Designs’ left this rather lengthy bit of histrionics in reply to another post. I have deleted it there, as it had little to do with the topic, and ‘Designs’ is no longer welcome to post here because of his spamming. But it is an interesting piece in that one can see the brainwashing that is apparently required in order for one to be an IDCreationist. One must apply false dichotomies, double standards, etc. It is really something to see. 'Designs' rant in a lovely lavender.
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A bit of clarification is needed in this forum about Creationism, Darwinism, and Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design (ID) scientists BELIEVE THAT EVOLUTION HAS PLAYED A ROLE IN THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE. Contrary to the ignorance portrayed by many evolutionists and the sloppiness of mainstream media, ID has nothing to do with religion.

*That will be news to Phil Johnson1 (“I start with John 1:1. In the beginning was the word. In the beginning was intelligence, purpose, and wisdom. The Bible had that right. And the materialist scientists are deluding themselves”), Bill Dembski2 (“Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory," ), Jon Wells3 (“Father's [Rev. Moon] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism.”), and just about every pro-ID discussion board participant.*


The ID theory arose because some scientists were skeptical of the ability of Darwinian evolution to explain the complexity of molecular and biochemical processes.

*Fort starters, ID is not a theory. Even its ‘biggest’ advocates admit that4 (“…I cannot offer you today a fully articulated theory of biological design that does not yet exist," he [Paul Nelson]said.”).*

As I briefly describe below, they certainly had valid concerns. The main difference between Darwinists and IDs is that IDs don’t believe that random mutations and selection/environmental pressures can completely account for all the molecular complexities of life. This doesn’t mean that IDs believe that the supernatural is involved; just that there is something else that we don’t understand which is the driving force behind evolution. Some will try to discount the IDs by labeling them as Creationists or anti-evolutionaries.

*Gee, why would we ever do that? See refs. 1-3.

The ID theory is not creationist or anti-evolutionist.

*ID is, again, not a theory. Calling it so does not make it so, any more than referring to Bill Dembski as a ‘prominent mathematician’ makes him one5.


ID does agree that Darwinism can account for changes in bird beaks in response to environmental changes, bacterial drug resistance, and insect resistance to insecticides but disagree in how Darwinism wildly extrapolates these adaptations to account for macroevolution or origins of species and specified molecular complexities.

*Better to wildly extrapolate that because we have not seen a ‘microbe turn into a man’ that there is some mystical, unknown force driving these changes… Changes which, just coincidentally, it must be, leave their natural signatures in the genomes of living creatures…

Creationists tend to align themselves with ID because of its implications of an intelligent creating force, whereas atheists tend to align themselves with Darwinism because of its random, no-purpose, no-intelligence theory of life evolutions. You can deny it all you want, but there just “ain’t any religion” motivating the pure ID theory folks!

*The above contains a number of dubious claims. First is the typical caricature of evolution held by those that are essentially ignorant of it or are motivated to misrepresent it indicating that it is ‘random.’ Certainly, part of it is random, but as one that is familiar with the basics of evolution (I am unsure what zealots like ‘Designs’ actually means by the term ‘Darwinism’) should know, the other part of it – selection - is non-random.
Second, the claim that there is no religion motivating the “pure ID theory folks” is totally bogus, first and foremost because there is not ID theory, second because even those that claim to be drawn to ID by ‘the science’ in public often let their little secrets go in less guarded moments [read any of the popular pro-ID discussion boards on the internet, and the religious motivations of those that pretend it is all about science soon become clear]. .

There are plenty of mathematical and biochemical arguments that argue against the gradual Darwinism mechanism of evolution.

*Mathematical arguments? Of what possible relevance do those have? Do tell…*


The fossil record, as I very briefly discuss below, does not support a gradual evolutional transition of species.

*So, you are a paleontologist, too? You anti-evolutionists are amazing polymaths! Self-taught, too, I bet…*


As such, I cannot accept Darwinism as a theory that explains the diversity of molecular processes. There are too many inconsistencies and conflicts of Darwinism with molecular, biochemical, and fossil observations. There is something else that we don’t understand as yet that is the driving the force behind evolution. It is better to have no hypothesis to explain something than it is to have an incorrect or wrong
hypothesis (Darwinism).

*Even if the unsupported hyperbole that Designs spews were totally true, at best it indicates that ‘Darwinism’ – whatever that is supposed to mean – is incomplete, not ‘wrong.’ But Designs is too zealous to think rationally about these things.


There is a growing movement of scientists (now over 600; some of who are National Academy of Science members) who find Darwinism unsatisfactory as a theory to explain all aspects of the diversity of life. The list is at http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=660

It simply states that “We are skeptical of the claims for the ability of random
mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful
examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged”. The list
will continue to grow as more scientists from all areas of biology begin to critically examine the Darwin theory to explain the complexity of life.


*Yeah, yeah, you already posted this part of this rambling message in two or three other places, and your implication is dishonest – an eye-catchingly large number of the signatories of your much heralded list are NOT, in fact, from areas of biology at all. IN fact, there seems to be a rather large proportion of those with non-biology backgrounds.


No longer will scientists who are dissatisfied with Darwinism remain subjectively complacent to repressive Darwinian Fundamentalism that,

*’Darwinian fundamentlism’? Say – that is a catchy phrase! Catchy because you already used this whole section of your rant in 2 other messages you spammed my blog with. You can’t even write blog replies that are original – what, do you have a cache of ready-made cut and pastes that you can cobble together and spam message boards with to make it appear as though you put a lot of time and effort into writing these citationless rants?


Darwinism has evolved from a scientific thought to a dangerous philosophy, which is so evident by the manner in which many Darwin believers react to any criticism of their evolutionary belief system. Darwinism must be true they proclaim, so they attempt to explain away any and all criticism using fragmentary data derived from a so-called transitional specie or some type of microevolution observation that is wildly extrapolated to a explain the origin of a macrostate.

*Recall that this is the fellow that wrote:

ALL HAIL DARWIN OF THE GAPS!!

And

HEIL, DARWIN FUNDAMENTALISM!!

Who am I? I am a PhD molecular biologist/biochemist that studies cancer genetics and the role of mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene in the origins of cancer. I have been involved in cancer research for well over 25 years and have published over 50 manuscripts, book chapters, and review articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Oncogene, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, to name a few. I have received both national and international competitive grant support including funding from the National Institutes of Health and the International Association for Cancer Research.

*Ever heard of the argument from pseudoauthority?

One day about 7 years ago while studying a cDNA sequence that I had PCR-cloned from a differential display library, I was struck by the similarities between DNA and computer code.

*Oh boy… Here come the ‘analogies as evidence’…

DNA appeared to have a quaternary bit format organized into bytes of threes that spelled out the language message decoded by the protein translational machinery. I remained quiet about my observations for a number of years but now know of other scientists that also had made similar observations. How could a computer code that stores a language arise from a primordial soup?

*Did everybody catch the anti-evolutionist’s sleight of hand there?
Here it is:

DNA appeared to have have a quaternary bit format organized into bytes of threes … a computer code that stores a language…

Wow – we went from an appearance to an exactness! Now, DNA does not just look like computer code, it IS computer code! And we know that computer code is ‘designed’ by humans (an intelligence), therefore, via analogy and ignorance and nothing else, I, the great PhD. Cancer researcher, declare DNA to have been the product of Intelligence! But this has nothing to do with religion, of course…
Oh dear, all that sarcasm… It must be because I am desperate to protect my Darwinian Fundamentalism**…

With all the recent interest in the ID movement and evolution controversies, I decided to begin reading and studying the arguments on both sides as a neutral investigator.

*Oh, of course, for only a neutral investigator would write HEIL, DARWIN FUNDAMENTALISM!!

I could do this objectively since I have no personal or religious biases or interests toward ID or Darwinism. I don’t use any of these theories to advance my research in cancer genetics. I am a scientist that is curious about life’s origins and evolutions, and will go wherever the evidence takes me. However, I keep an open mind with the observations that are not limited to only the natural materialistic approach.

* HEIL, DARWIN FUNDAMENTALISM!!

Yeah, you’re about as objective a fellow as I have ever seen…


Contrary to what many Darwin Fundamentalists might think, Darwinism has contributed little to my research. I don’t know of any of my colleagues in other medical research areas that are using Darwinism.

*Yeah, nobody at all is using any sort of evolution of that pesky ‘Darwinism’ in medical research… [6, 7, 8, 9] But hey – Designs, the PhD cancer researcher said it, so it must be true because he is objective and all that…

[snip irrelevant extension of how useless Darwinism is to his research]I began to re-evaluate evolution and Darwinism. I was amazed at the number of fossils but was shocked by the low corresponding number of fossil transitional species, even though there were hundreds of thousands of documented fossils.

*Perhaps, with your extensive background in – what was it? - oh yes, p53 and cancer, you can explain to us all what a transitional species should look like. Surely, a researcher with your vast experience and knowledge can do this?

Apparently, I was misled in my undergraduate and graduate studies to believe that transitions in the evolution of life forms had been neatly documented and that there were many examples of very clear transitional fossils.

*Hmmmmm…. A cancer researcher that implies an undergraduate and graduate education in fossils? Hmmm… Something seems a bit fishy… Well, maybe not. As an undergraduate I took biology, cell biology, anatomy, etc., and we were told all about fossils and evolution throughout.. No, wait – neither was mentioned at all!
But then, when I was in graduate school, I did have that one class that force fed us all this stuff about fossils and evolution… Well, it was a physical anthropology class that I was taking for my minor, but still… I wonder what sorts of classes graduate students in molecular biology take that would tell poor Designs a bunch of lies about fossils. Here are a few molecular biology/biochemistry graduate curricula. See if you can find which classes would miseducate poor Designs:
http://www.med.upenn.edu/camb/curric.html
http://www.luhs.org/depts/molbio/curriculum.htm
http://www.mcb.oregonstate.edu/graduate/curriculum
http://www.chemistry.gatech.edu/graduate/courses/
and here is one in cancer biology:
http://www.cancerbiology.wisc.edu/curriculum/curriculum.html#phd
Methinks Designs is embellishing things a bit…


What a disappointment it was to go back and actually look into the literature/data samples and observe how meager the evidence there is to support the gradual evolution hypothesis of Darwinism. With all the gadzillions of fossils that have been discovered, there should be transitional species all over the place. But this is certainly not the case, in contrast to the claims shouted by many Darwinists that there are many, many excellent and clear examples of clear transitional fossils.

*So again, Designs,. Why not tell us all what a transitional species must look like? You appear to think you know.
**The next section in Designs rant referred to fossils. I am not a fossil expert, and do not want to take the time to look into each of Desings’ claims, which, by now, I have little reason to take at face value and every reason to be highly skeptical of. So, rather than go through the tedium of checking each fact, I am simply omitting most of Designs’ rant in this section. The complete original will be available if anyone really cares to see it.**

[…]… perhaps a few examples of mammal to whale transition.

*Whales ARE mammals. Shouldn’t a PhD in the biomedical sciences know this?

In some instances, I would agree that there is a fossil transition but not in other cases. It can clearly be a subjective determination. As I point out in a very limited discussion below, the fossil data clearly does not support a gradual Darwinian evolution.

*Hmm… So sometimes there is a fossil transition, even by your rigorous standards, but that doesn’t matter because the same data does not support “a gradual Darwinian evolution”? OK, I get it now…

The Cambrian explosion is just one of many instances where many species and organ complexities suddenly appear.
*Suddenly, as in 10s of millions of years10? Say, that IS sudden! And lets not forget the 10s of millions of years preceding the Cambrian11. Wow, Designs, I think your keen cancer-researcher insight and graduate classes on fossils just helped you destroy Darwinism!

It is difficult to imagine from a molecular point of view how so much DNA complexity information evolved in such a short period of time.

*Facts like segmental and chromosome duplication, stuff like that?

Arguments that try to account for the absence of gradual transition species in the Cambrian are a bunch hand-waving baloney! Put aside your Darwinist Fundamentalism and face the hard cold facts.
*Well, with your in-depth, fact-filled and well cited analysis, I guess we have no choice but to accept your proclamation without skepticism!

The lack of ancestors in the Cambrian explosion is confounded by the fact that molecular studies of the DNA differences of various animals predict that the basic lineages of animals, including many of these phyla, split apart long before the Cambrian Period.

*Yes, that DOES pose a problem for explaining why lots of phyla appear ‘fully formed’ in the Cambrian… Your intellectual gifts are truly amazing, Designs! (Remind me never to get cancer)

Chordates (animals with a backbone) and starfish-type things (Echinoderms) supposedly diverged about 1 billion years ago. No explanations can satisfactorily account for the lack of transitional species.

*Clearly then they were instantaneously crea- I mean, Designed!

[…]How can one argue that the size of the fossil makes it unpreservable? If the animals were there, they would have been preserved.
*But I thought you had graduate education in fossils? I would think that at the graduate level, some discussion of taphonomy would take place and why not everything gets fossilized might have been discussed. I guess not. Or maybe you were attending Jon Wells lectures that week or something…

If the animals were preserved, they would have been found.

*Yes, especially since every cubic inch of rock from every geological era has been examined.

[…]
When you get to this point, why not consider the
possibility that as the evidence suggests, there were not predecessors? Perhaps
purely natural evolution isn’t the answer?

*No predecessors would indicate…. Instantaneous crea- er, I mean, Design! So why no evidence of the designer and His methodology?

[…]I am a hard core experimentalist that begs “SHOW ME THE DATA”. There has been enough time and exploration to find the gradual transition fossils in the gaps.
*OK. What DATA were you shown that lead you to accept instantaneous design?

Some evolutionary scenarios based upon the supposed bird-like-dinosaur-like fossils have claimed that they evolved feathers, hollow bones, and wings, before they actually flew!

*How totally crazy! I mean, if evolution were true, these pre-birds musta’ been flying about without feathers! I mean, evolution is just crazy!

[…]Regarding whale evolution, problems appear in the 10 to 80 feet size of the animals in the transition of protocetids to Basilosaurus cetoides. According to this scenario, it would require much more than 10 million years for an increase in size of this magnitude, and that is solely for the final 2 fossils in the transition. It has been calculated that, even in a rapidly evolving line, changes in size are usually on the order of only 1-10% per million years. It would appear that no matter what fossils we find, here is an example where the whale evolutionary transition clearly did not happen because it COULD not have happened--the time allowed for it is simply too
short.
*Amazing that there is no citation for this. You know, it is interesting. A single point mutation in the FGFR-3 gene can cause dwarfism in humans.
Dwarfism produces, among other things, an approximately 45-50% reduction in height. In ONE generation! According to Designs, this should have taken 5 million years! Clearly, dwarfism does not exist…

[…] A very small number of fossils are purported to be the true “fish with legs”. Unfortunately, regardless of how much we speculate, there are no fossils of fish with legs. Only the Darwin Fundamentalist can envision that certain appendages such as fins may have at one time functioned as primordial legs.

*Poor Designs – cannot even keep his mucked-up stories straight. The evidence indicates that it was a fin-to-limb transition, not a limb-to-fin. And, in fact, fossil evidence clearly shows extinct early fish with pectoral and even pelvic girdles whose limbs end in fins yet whose internal structure is quite like that of amphibians, reptiles, even mammals, especially the lineage that is thought to have ultimately lead to terrestrial vertebrates, the sarcopterygians12. You should stop getting your information for the DI and similar outfits. They are propaganda mills, you know.

[…]The most recent so-called transitional species are in fact radical changes in design and structure that would have to require the co-evolution of nervous and circulation systems as well as incredible and astounding changes in molecular and biochemical processes. The increase in cellular complexities in the new so-called transitional species is enormous. The amount of time that would be needed to account for the explosion in complexities of these radical new life forms is just not available. The transitional species that we know of today are by no means “gradual”; they are in fact “radical”.
*I always get a kick out of finding out that someone has misrepresented themselves. Designs is obviously not a cancer researcher, and clearly did not take and graduate classes in anything related to biology. Any biology major, especially one with a doctoral degree, should have a basic understanding of development and should realize that each individual body part/system does not require its own set of mutational/evolutionary changes to change form. The last anti-evolutionist I have seen employ such a nonsensical, uninformed rationale was technician Karl Crawford 13, 14, who once looked up ‘arm’ in Gray’s anatomy and posted on a discussion board a list of about 100 structures in the arm and declared that each one of them would have required multiple mutations in order to get a human arm from an ape arm therefore evolution is false. Designs’ argument here is about the same, just without a list. I have already mentioned the FRGFR-3 mutation causing dwarfism15. That is a SINGLE point mutation, yet it produces disproportionate limb length. That is – the nerves, blood vessels, bones, etc. are ALL altered by the one mutation. No multiple mutations, no ‘co-mutation.’ Designs just doesn’t know what he is talking about. And since he provides no way to check out his claims in the first place, there is no reason whatsoever to trust his hysterical rants to contain any truthful information at all.

None of the variations in body features seen in nature are evidence sufficient by themselves to prove that the beneficial mutation of genes is caused by natural, spontaneous, unintelligent causes, because the beneficial genes that step to the fore as a result of the process may have been present in an unobserved minority of the species before the selection process begins. The beneficial mutations may have been in the genome of some of the members of the species no matter how far back one can trace the creature through its ancestors. So much for the random mutation-natural selection theory of Darwin.

*Wow – it is amazing how Designs can, without any evidence, without citations, with only one paragraph, demolish the “random mutation-natural selection theory of Darwin.” But its funny – Darwin had no knowledge of genetics, so how could he have come up with such a theory? That is just a nitpick I suppose…

New revelations in gene structure and function as well as analyses of genomes sequences of organisms have cast more doubt than support for the Darwinist hypothesis. Complete genome sequences have revealed several complexities that Darwinian evolutionary theory did not anticipate or predict. First, there is a major role played by the transfer of genes from one species to another, as opposed to inheritance from ancestors.
*And this is a problem for evolution how? Well, apparently it is because some anti-evolution gurus have said so. Like they do with just about every new discovery. And, say - did ID predict any of this?

Second, bacterial species do not evolve solely in a random fashion, but show a bias toward deletion of genetic material.

*Say – evolution really must be false then!

Third, the portions of the genome that do not code proteins (junk DNA) have a critical function

*At the very least, this is extreme hyperbole. There are SOME section of so-called junk DNA that have been shown to possess regulatory and other function. But by no means has all such DNA been shown to be functional. In fact, if that were so, would not prokaryotes, with their penchant for losing DNA, be extinct by now?

Fourth, the expression of genes is controlled by regulatory circuits that are as complicated and precisely arranged as the most sophisticated engineering or computer programs.
*Well, another computer analogy! Color me convinced!

New revelations in the ability of bacteria to respond to environmental stress have also conflict with Darwinism. It appears that only certain regions of bacterial genomes undergo hypermutation in response to the control by sensoring devices in specific regions of the DNA. This is a big mystery and almost implies that the bacterial sensing and mutation adaptations are designed.


*Well, that is not entirely true either16.

Darwinism is an inadequate theory to explain the complexity of molecular, biochemical and morphological life processes. It is better to have no theory to explain the evolution of life than an inadequate or wrong one.
*No fair! Designs never produced his mathematical arguments! I was so looking forward to them...
Neo-Darwinism, or whatever one wishes to call it, is, as I mentioned above, at the worst incomplete. Designs has offered nothing of substance to indicate than anyone should think otherwise. In fact, Designs offers nothing but unsupported, hard to believe rhetoric and a couple of outright false claims to prop up his position. In an earlier, similarly ranty reply, Designs had characterized the posts on this blog as ‘arrogant’ and ‘ignorant.’ Considering the arrogance and ignorance of Designs rant, I think my sarcasm-laden response – which, I might add, unlike Designs actually has citations! – is all that is warranted.

Tough cookies to Designs, who is welcome to produce a rational reply to this. I would hope that in the least it would contain a way to verify his claims of: being a cancer researcher and having taken graduate classes that taught about fossils and transitionals; contain supporting links/documentation for at least a few of the claims; etc. Hysterical tirades will be deleted.

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1.http://www.coralridge.org/specialdocs/evolutiondebate.asp
2. http://touchstonemag.com/archives/issue.php?id=49
3. http://www.tparents.org/library/unification/talks/wells/DARWIN.htm
4. http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,650211770,00.html
5. http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/experts/shallit.pdf
6. http://www.chester.ac.uk/~sjlewis/DM/
7. http://darwinianmedicine.org/
8. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~nesse/dmorg/index.htm
9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?CMD=search&DB=pmc
10. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cambrian/cambstrat.html
11. http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/precambrian/precambrian.html
12. http://www.usm.maine.edu/bio/courses/bio205/sarcop_fins.jpg
13. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/ksjj.html
14. http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=5&t=25&m=1#6
15. http://www.achondroplasia.co.uk/genetics.htm
16. http://jb.asm.org/cgi/content/full/186/15/4846?view=long&pmid=15262917



** Curious about the origin of the term ‘Darwinian Fundamentalism’, I did a quick Google search and came across the blog of one ‘Lawrence Seldon’ titled Darwinian Fundamentlism. It is the usual self-righteous underinformed propaganda that these people tend to spew, but I came across one little entry there that I thought I would comment on…





4 comments:

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

oh.hell.yes.

That was fantastic.

As soon as someone claiming to be Mr. Knowledgable and in the same comment uses the term Darwanism, we all know where it's taking us.


Very nicely done.

Doppelganger said...

Thanks!

Odd that after his initial flurry of replies - granted, several of them were just cut and pastes - ol' Designs hasn't been around...

Doppelganger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh said...

Hi, I LOVED reading this! I discovered you after googling "evolutional transition" as I had never seen/heard that phrase before and wondered what the nimrod was talking about. I've just finished "debating" a strange person named "Preterist" in the Hey Martha Cushing, OK, forums on "Church Gears up for Evolution Sunday". I've never debated a creationist before and I was floored at the nonsense he was posting as fact. I could barely make sense of any of his ideas. When he referred to me as an abomination (I am a practicing Christian, I teach evolution, as you know there are many Christian denominations that have no issue with evolution)...When he referred to me as an abomination I went balistic on him. I'd love for you to visit the forum and add your comments. Thank you for posting this "debate" on your blog, it is quite educational for me. I will have a much better understanding and defense the next time one of my students brings up this nonsense. Thank you again!