Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Information Theory: Chance and natural law cannot explain the origin of life.


Information theory indicates that chance (random noise) and or natural law (crystal-like order) cannot produce information, codes, or cybernetic systems (systems with feedback controls). Evolution of the first cell from a simple self-replicating system and chance variation is implausible. Therefore, for life to exist, somehow genetic information had to be created, the genetic code designed, and metabolic systems designed before natural selection could ever operate on them. Intelligence is the only phenomenon proven to produce information, design codes, and design cybernetic systems and do it with intent and purpose. Therefore intelligent design is the best explanation for the origin of life.

Consider the problems you would face and choices you would have to make if you were going to create life from simpler molecules.

First you identify all the structures and processes a cell would need to grow and divide: metabolism, a cytoskeleton, a cell membrane that regulates what goes in and out of the cell, how the cell uses chemical energy, feedback control mechanisms etc.

Then you decide how to implement all that. You decide you will use amino acids to create proteins. Some proteins will work as enzymes to carry out metabolism and other proteins will be used to build cellular structures. This adds many new processes the cell must be capable of including the metabolic pathways needed to produce the amino acids. Then you have to figure out the amino acid sequences of all the proteins the cell will build.

Next you have to devise an information processing system to store and retrieve the sequences of amino acids. So you invent the genetic code to store the information about amino acid sequences in DNA, and you design the machinery to implement it: DNA replication, DNA transcription, DNA error correcting, RNA transcription, ribosomes, tRNA and the enzymes that produce them and all the proteins and enzymes needed to do these things. All of this needs to be regulated to operate efficiently. This adds many more new processes the cell must be capable of.

Then you have to construct the first cell. You have to encode the amino acid sequences into DNA, make lipids, membranes, and proteins and other molecules needed for the first cell. You have to put each component in the right place with respect to the other components.

Could an unguided natural process accomplish that?

No:

  • A living system is unfavorable thermodynamically. Life has a very low state of entropy. The fact that the earth is an open system doesn't eliminate the necessity of a mechanism to overcome the improbability of forming a highly ordered system spontaneously. The fact that the earth is an open system doesn't allow tornadoes to turn rubble into buildings.2

  • Natural laws cannot produce functional information such as the amino acid sequence of an enzyme. Natural laws are compression algorithms. Functional information is not compressible because it is not highly ordered. Natural laws can produce highly ordered crystals, not computer programs.14

Could a cell be produced through natural selection and random variation from a much simpler self-replicating system?

No:

  • There is no plausible hypothesis for a natural origin for life. There is no location where life could plausibly have originated naturally, not in deep sea thermal vents, tide pools, the ocean, volcanic ridges, clay surfaces or extraterrestrial locations. There is no good candidate for the first self-replicating molecule, not RNA, DNA, or protein. Hypotheses such as "RNA and protein", metabolism first, etc. do not work either.1,3,5,6,7,13

  • Natural processes that produce biomolecules don't produce proteins and RNA or DNA, they produce tar. The cellular structures that separate and combine biomolecules are needed to produce biopolymers. Only a cell can produce a cell.6

  • Self-organizing systems are limited in the complexity they can achieve.4

  • Simple self-replicating systems mutate toward simplicity not complexity because competition for resources favors reduced resource requirements.3 A self-replicating molecule would not lead to the development of metabolism, it "would self-optimize its self-replicative function to the exclusion of other potentially metabolic functions and consume all resources."13

  • Natural selection cannot improve or modify anything until it exists and has utility in a self-replicating system, i.e. natural selection cannot operate on utility that does not yet exist. Natural selection also cannot accomplish anything without a source of variation.13 Natural selection and random variation are not capable of producing functional proteins de novo or significant changes to existing proteins. The distance between functional proteins in the "fitness landscape" is too great to be bridged by Darwinian mechanisms8,9,10,11,15,16. (This argument applies equally to macroevolution by natural selection and to the origin of genetic information in the first cell.) Therefore the genetic information in cells cannot have been produced by natural selection and random variation. The genetic information in cells must have been produced before it could have any utility and therefore it must have been produced for an intended purpose.13

  • Duplication with modification cannot produce new genetic information. Duplication does not increase information. Information theory shows that random variation in DNA cannot produce information. Randomness in information is noise, it reduces information content.13 Listen to a radio tuned between channels. Does the static produce useful information?

  • The genetic code is finely tuned, not random, and it could not evolve from something simpler.12,3

Chance and natural law cannot explain how life arose. Only intelligence could have made a living cell.

References:

1) Problems with the Natural Chemical "Origin of Life" (updated) by Casey Luskin http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/838

2) http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/intelligent-design.1228/#post-33668

3) Chance and necessity do not explain the origin of life J.T. Trevors, D.L. Abel http://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_L_Abel/publication/8164763_Chance_and_necessity_do_not_explain_the_origin_of_life/links/09e4150d4791d394ab000000

4) Self-Organisation in Dynamical Systems: A limiting result Richard Johns http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/rjohns/spontaneous_4.pdf

5) Can the Origin of the Genetic Code Be Explained by Direct RNA Templating? Stephen C. Meyer* and Paul A. Nelson http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/download/BIO-C.2011.2/69

6) Video: Life could not have formed by natural means. Biomolecules naturally react to form tar. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/09/video-life-could-not-have-formed-by.html

7) Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories Casey Luskin http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/12/top_five_probl067431.html

(8) Extreme Functional Sensitivity to Conservative Amino Acid Changes on Enzyme Exteriors Douglas D. Axe http://www.toriah.org/articles/axe-2000.pdf

(9) Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds Douglas D. Axe http://www.toriah.org/articles/axe-2004-1.pdf

(10) The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds Douglas D. Axe* http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/download/BIO-C.2010.1/56

(11) Lee Spetner explains why natural selection can't produce macroevolution. http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/09/lee-spetner-explains-why-natural.html

(12) Life did not Arise Through the Unguided Action of Natural Laws http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/03/life-did-not-arise-through-unguided.html

(13) 7. The Genetic Selection (GS) Principle David L. Abel http://www.researchgate.net/profile/David_L_Abel/publication/216660503_Review_of_The_Genetic_Selection_(GS)_Principle/links/02bfe50d478c6eddd2000000

(14) Complexity, Self-organization, and Emergence at the Edge of Chaos in Life-Origin Models http://www.academia.edu/1203553/Abel_D._L._2007_Complexity_self-organization_and_emergence_at_the_edge_of_chaos_in_life-origin_models_Journal_of_the_Washington_Academy_of_Sciences_2007_93_4_1-20

(15) Exon Shuffling, and the Origins of Protein Folds, Jonathan M. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/exon_shuffling074401.html

(16) Exon Shuffling: Evaluating the Evidence, Jonathan M http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/07/an_evaluation_o074441.html


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Results from mainstream biological research call into question the materialist narrative of the origin of life and macroevolution.


Many results from mainstream biological research call into question the materialist narrative of the origin of life and macroevolution. At some point, as more and more evidence contradicting the materialist narrative accumulates, scientists will have to abandon the materialist view of biological history:

DNA sequence data falsifies common descent. An evolutionary tree can be constructed by comparing the same gene in different organisms but using different genes produce widely divergent trees.

Homologous genes that regulate analogous structures. Genes with similar sequences regulate similar features (Pax-6: eyes, GSK-3b: limbs, Csx/tinman: hearts, etc) that evolved independently in different organisms:

There is no plausible materialist explanation for the origin of life. Video

Missing evidence of transitional fossils. Change not stasis should be the norm in the fossil record.

Missing evidence of precambrian fossils. Enough soft-bodied Precambrian fossils have been found for fossils of the ancestors to the animal types that appeared in the Cambrian explosion to have been found if they existed.

Information theory shows that random variation cannot produce information, randomness is noise it reduces information.


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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lee Spetner explains why natural selection can't produce macroevolution.


Lee Spetner, author of Not By Chance! and The Evolution Revolution, explains why natural selection can't produce macroevolution.

For the grand process of evolution to work, long sequences of “beneficial” mutations must be possible, each building on the previous one and conferring a selective advantage on the organism. The process must be able to lead not only from one species to another, but to the entire advance of life from a simple beginning to the full complexity of life today. There must be a long series of possible mutations, each of which conferring a selective advantage on the organism so that natural selection can make it take over the population. Moreover, there must be not just one, but a great many such series.

The chain must be continuous in that at each stage a change of a single base pair somewhere in the genome can lead to a more adaptive organism in some environmental context. That is, it should be possible to continue to climb an “adaptive” hill, one base change after another, without getting hung up on a local adaptive maximum. No one has ever shown this to be possible.

Now one might say that if evolution were hung up on a local Maximum, a large genetic change like a recombination or a transposition could bring it to another higher peak. Large adaptive changes are, however, highly improbable. They are orders of magnitude less probable than getting an adaptive change with a single nucleotide substitution, which is itself improbable. No one has shown this to be possible either.

Moreover, as I have noted in my book, the large mutations such as recombinations and transpositions are mediated by special enzymes and are executed with precision - not the sort of doings one would expect of events that were supposed to be the products of chance. Evolutionists chose the mechanism of randomness, by the way, because we can’t think of any other way beneficial mutations might occur in the absence of a law that might govern them. Genetic rearrangements may not be really random at all. They do not seem to qualify as the random mutations Neo-Darwinists can invoke whenever needed to escape from a local adaptive Maximum.


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Differences in early embryonic development provide evidence that the animal phyla did not share a multicellular common ancestor.


Many scientists believe that by studying embryonic development in living animals, they can learn about the animal's long extinct ancestors. An example of this can be found in the document 15 EVOLUTIONARY GEMS: A resource from Nature for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection. by Henry Gee, Rory Howlett and Philip Campbell. This document was published by the prestigious scientific journal Nature, in January 2009. In this document, the authors say that studying the development of the neural crest in embryos of living organisms "casts light on the evolution of structures in the heads and necks of animals long extinct."

New techniques have allowed researchers to label and follow individual cells as embryos develop. They have revealed the boundaries of the bone derived from the neural crest, down to the single-cell level, in the neck and shoulders. Tissue derived from the neural crest anchors the head onto the front lining of the shoulder girdle, whereas the skeleton forming the back of the neck and shoulder grows from a deeper layer of tissue called the mesoderm.

Such detailed mapping, in living animals, casts light on the evolution of structures in the heads and necks of animals long extinct, even without fossilized soft tissue such as skin and muscle. Skeletal similarities that result from a shared evolutionary history can be identified from muscle attachments. This allows the tracing of, for example, the location of the major shoulder bone of extinct land vertebrate ancestors, the cleithrum. This bone seems to survive as part of the shoulder blade (scapula) in living mammals.

...

Matsuoka's study shows how a detailed analysis of the morphology of living animals, informed by evolutionary thinking, helps researchers to interpret fossilized and now-extinct forms.

This excerpt explains that because of the shared evolutionary history of modern animals and their fossilized ancestors, scientists can tell which fossilized bones had developed from neural crest cells.

If this is true and the embryonic development of living animals reflects the embryonic development of their long extinct ancestors, then certain evidence from embryology provides evidence that the animal phyla did not descend from a multicellular common ancestor.

According to the theory of evolution by natural selection, as organism evolved they developed more complex features. Therefore the oldest ancestors will be much simpler than modern animals. The embryos of the simple ancestors would not develop the complex features of modern animals. Therefore the embryonic development of an organism and its ancestors should start out the same but then diverge at the point in development where features in the modern animal but absent in the ancestor cause changes in the development of the embryo. But if the embryos of two animals start out embryonic development differently, then the two animals should not have shared a multicellular common ancestor.

In the first stages of embryogenesis in multicellular animals, the fertilized egg goes through a series of cleavages to form a hollow ball of cells called a blastula, then the cells migrate to form a multi-layered gastrula. However, vertebrates and insects don't form a gastrula in the same way. The pattern of migration of their cells from the blastula to the gastrula is different. In fact, vertebrate and insect embryos don't even form a blastula in the same way. The fertilized egg in vertebrates and insects go through a different pattern of cleavage while forming blastulas. In vertebrates and insects, starting at the very beginning of embryogenesis their embryos form differently.

If it is true that embryonic development of an organism reflects the embryonic development of the organism's ancestors, as indicated by the excerpt from Nature above, then the difference in blastulation and gastrulation in vertebrates and insects shows that the embryos of their earliest multicellular ancestors developed differently and therefore could not have been the same organism. But it is not just vertebrates and insects in which the initial stages of embryogenesis are different. Most of the animal phyla also have unique patterns of early embryogenesis. This is evidence that the animal phyla did not share a common multicellular ancestor.

This conclusion is consistent with the fossil evidence showing that the animal phyla that first appeared in the Cambrian explosion did not have ancestors.

The absence of common ancestry falsifies evolution by natural selection but is predicted by intelligent design.

The study of regulatory genes that control embryonic development also supports this view. Homologus genes that control the embryonic development of analogous structures is better explained by intelligent design than by evolution by natural selection.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Homologous genes that regulate the development of analogous structures are better explained by intelligent design than natural selection.


There are many genes that have been discovered which regulate embryonic development in animals. Similar versions of some of these genes are found in different phyla where they regulate similar structures that are thought to have "evolved" independently. These homologous genes that regulate analogous structures might encourage the Darwinist to reconsider whether those structures might actually be homologous due to common ancestry. However, in consideration of the evidence that the animal phyla do not have common ancestors, these "homologies of process" are better explained as evidence of intelligent design, where the designer reused the same control mechanism for the development of similar structures in unrelated organisms.

Examples of structures that evolved independently but are controlled by the same genes include:

  • The anterior-posterior axis in vertebrates and flies.1

  • The vertebrate and insect eyes.1

  • Gastrulation in vertebrates and insects1

  • The insect and vertebrate hearts.1

  • The nematode vulva, the mammalian epidermis, and the Drosophila terminal segments.1

  • The body axes and limbs in vertebrates and drosophila.1

  • "Mammals, urochordates, sea urchins, insects, annelid worms, and onycophorans, all use a similar regulatory gene to control limb growth. But they have radically different types of limbs, making this either a case of radically extreme "convergent evolution" or simple common design."2

Notes:


  1. Resynthesizing Evolutionary and Developmental Biology

    REVIEW

    Resynthesizing Evolutionary and Developmental Biology

    Scott F. Gilbert,*,1 John M. Opitz,† and Rudolf A. Raff‡

    ...

    Three major groups (E. B. Lewis and D. S. Hogness in California; W. Gehring in Basel; T. Kaufman in Indiana; and their respective students) used the new molecular techniques to isolate and sequence these genes, and they discovered a remarkably stable region: a 180-bp consensus sequence called the ‘‘homeobox.’’ It appeared that the genes responsible for homeotic transformations were themselves homologous.

    ...

    These genes were said to be homologous, and since the homeotic genes appeared to create the anterior–posterior axis in flies, it was speculated that the same genes might create the anterior–posterior axis in humans. To some, this idea seemed bizarre.

    ...

    In the 1990s, the use of homologous recombination to functionally delete homeotic genes in mice enabled numerous laboratories to see what happened when vertebrates lacked one or more of these genes. The results demonstrated that these genes controlled the formation of the anterior–posterior axis in vertebrates as well as in flies

    ...

    The segmentation of Drosophila and the segmentation of vertebrates had been a classic example of analogy. Yet, here it was seen as being directed by a homologous set of genes.

    ...

    The insect eye and the vertebrate eye are two examples of structures said to be analogous. However, they can be shown to both be based on the expression of the Pax-6 gene (Quiring et al., 1994), and it is probable that the vertebrate and insect (and cephalopod) eyes are the modified descendents of a basic metazoan photoreceptive cell that was regulated by Pax-6.

    ...

    Similarly, the Xenopus gene chordin and the Drosophila gene short-gastrulation have similar sequences and expression patterns, and they act similarly in vertebrate and insect gastrulation (to counter the lateralizing effects of BMP-4/decapentaplegic). Even though the types of gastrulation do not appear similar to any marked degree, the genes controlling them may be homologous (Francois and Bier, 1995; Holley et al., 1995). Similarly, the heart of vertebrates and the heart of insects have hardly anything in common except their ability to pump fluids. Yet, they both appear to be predicated upon the expression of the same gene, Csx/tinman (see Manak and Scott, 1994).

    ...
    [The] same system has been found to exist in the determination of the nematode vulva, the mammalian epidermis, and the Drosophila terminal segments. The similarity in these systems is so striking that many of the components are interchangeable between species. The gene for human GRB2 can correct the phenotypic defects of sem-5-deficient nematodes, and the nematode sem-5 protein can bind to the phosphorylated form of the human EGF receptor (see Greenwald and Rubin, 1992; Gilbert, 1994b). The process is thus historically (specifically) homologous between species (Drosophila retina/nematode vulva) and serially homologous within species (Drosophila retina/Drosophila acron and telson).

    ...

    In vertebrates, there are several homologues to wingless, namely, the wnt proteins; the homologue to zest-white 3 is glycogen synthase kinase 3b (GSK-3b); and there are numerous hedgehog analogues, such as sonic hedgehog. In vertebrates, the wingless–hedgehog system is thought to be needed for producing the body axes (as in Drosophila) and the limbs (as in Drosophila).

    ...

    Recently, several laboratories have shown that the same proteins that generate the insect leg also generate the vertebrate limbs.

    ...
    Few people would have expected that a similar situation would exist for another embryological field—the vertebrate limb field. After all, here is the classic example of analogy as opposed to homology. The insect and vertebrate legs share the same function, but that’s about it. The insect leg forms from the telescoping of the ectodermal imaginal disc. The vertebrate limb forms from the reciprocal induction of the Apical Ectodermal Ridge, the mesodermal Progress Zone mesenchyme, and the mesodermal Zone of Polarizing Activity.

    This section is particularly illustrative of why evolutionary biology is really just a house of cards:

    The insect eye and the vertebrate eye are two examples of structures said to be analogous. However, they can be shown to both be based on the expression of the Pax-6 gene (Quiring et al., 1994), and it is probable that the vertebrate and insect (and cephalopod) eyes are the modified descendents of a basic metazoan photoreceptive cell that was regulated by Pax-6.
    A basic metazoan photoreceptive cell is only "probable" if you assume insects and vertebrates had a common ancestor. But the evidence shows that there is no common ancestor to vertebrates and insects and so there cannot be a common ancestor (a basic metazoan) that had a photoreceptive cell. But evolutionists assume that all animals have a common ancestor and then they use that to explain observed phenomena. As these explanations accumulate they claim evolution is supported by masses of evidence... but that evidence is based on assuming what they are trying to prove.

    Another interesting point is that these regulatory genes have been so highly conserved over hundreds of millions of years that some are interchangeable between phyla, yet they are responsible for embryonic development in animals that are supposed to have evolved during that time. Species are different because they develop as embryos differently. These differences are not just differences between phyla but between species within phyla. If differences between phyla and species within phyla are due to evolution, one should expect to find differences in the genes that control embryonic development. However, if organisms were designed, one would expect to see identical parts used in different systems.

    One of the evolutionist explanations for the Cambrian explosion is that new genetic information was not needed because the changes in body plan were caused by changes in regulatory genes. That seems doubtful given that regulatory genes seem to be so highly conserved that some are interchangeable between phyla.

    Yet ironically, the last section of the article includes this:

    The homologies of process within morphogenetic fields provide some of the best evidence for evolution.

    In fact, the homologies of process provide some of the best evidence for intelligent design.

  2. Casey Luskin at evolutionnews.org writes:
    But the case for intelligent design in limb-bud controlling genes gets stronger when one realizes that the same regulatory genes are used to control limb growth in organisms far more diverse than vertebrates: mammals, urochordates, sea urchins, insects, annelid worms, and onycophorans, all use a similar regulatory gene to control limb growth. But they have radically different types of limbs, making this either a case of radically extreme "convergent evolution" or simple common design. (See Paul Nelson and Jonathan Wells, "Homology in Biology," in Darwinism, Design, and Public Education (Michigan State University Press, 2003), pg. 316.) As plant geneticist from the Max Plank Institute, Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, wrote in Dynamical Genetics, "No theorist in evolutionary biology will ever derive chicken and insects from a winged common ancestor, and yet, clearly related sequences are specifically expressed in wing buds and imaginal disks."


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Video: Darwinism on Trial with University of California Berkley law professor Phillip E. Johnson


Darwinism on Trial, is a video with University of California Berkley law professor Phillip E. Johnson author of the book Darwin on Trial.


The video discusses some of the problems with Darwinism and also how Darwinists control the debate on natural selection. As a law professor, Johnson's area of expertise is debate and rhetoric and in this video he brings clarity to the debate on Darwinism.

For example, Johnson points out how Darwinists often use shifting definitions when making arguments. Darwinists will assert that science disproves the biblical account of creation and then act as if they have refuted all other possible modes of creation. Darwinists also point to evidence of microevolution as proof of evolution and then incorrectly claim macroevolution is proved.

Another example of poor logic Darwinists use is the argument from analogy to artificial selection. Darwinists incorrectly use examples from artificial selection as proof of macroevolution by natural selection. Artificial selection, such as breeding different types of dogs, uses the variations that currently exist in the gene pool, and therefore has a very limited ability to create changes in a species. Macroevolution involves major changes to an organism like the evolution of an organ such as an eye or a substantial change in an animal type such as the evolution from a land mammal to a whale. Macroevolution requires huge amounts of new genetic information which is a completely different mode of evolution than artificial selection which uses existing genes. Furthermore, artificial selection is not "natural" it is accomplished by intelligence and is purposeful.

Another flaw in Darwinism which Johnson points out is that mutations often have multiple effects. When trying to understand how some feature of an organism evolved, a Darwinist will propose that a mutation occurred as a first small step toward that feature and provided a survival advantage. Johnson says that this type of hypothetical speculation ignores the fact that most mutations have multiple effects and some may reduce the survival advantage so this speculation is not logically valid. But Darwinists accept their brand of logic because they have already assumed the truth of what they are trying to prove so they know there must have been beneficial mutations because the feature exists and must have arisen through natural selection.

Johnson lists four flaws in the theory of evolution by natural selection:

  1. You don't know if the necessary mutations will arise in the right order at the right time.
  2. Artificial selection is not natural selection.
  3. Mutations have multiple effects so beneficial mutations are unlikely.
  4. The fossil record is not consistent with what you would expect if evolution by natural selection is true.

Natural selection requires step by step gradual changes over long periods of time but the fossil record shows stasis over millions of years through environmental changes and there is an absence of transitional fossils. When your theory requires small step by step changes over long periods of time and you have millions of years of stasis with no evidence of transitions, you ought to realize your theory is wrong.

The missing transitions can't be explained by saying the fossil record is incomplete. There are millions of years of fossils that show stasis when they should be showing gradual change. Natural selection requires many small changes each providing a selective advantage. A key feature of natural selection, the engine that makes it work, is that these changes provide a selective advantage that cause them to become predominant throughout the population. This is important because beneficial mutations are rare and if you want a sequence of mutations to occur, each new mutation has to become predominant through out the population. This is necessary to provide a large enough population with one mutation for another mutation to become probable within that population. If the engine of Darwinism was really the cause evolution, the fossil record would show gradual change not millions of years of stasis with significant changes occurring suddenly in an improbably short time for which there are no fossils. The fossil record falsifies Darwinism.

There is no other theory to explain how evolution could occur naturally except by a series of small changes. (Punctuated equilibrium is not a theory it is a description.)

Johnson went on to explain how Darwinists prevent debate about whether Darwinism is wrong.

Darwinists define science as the study of natural and material processes, and as the pursuit of ever more improved natural explanations. Critics of Darwinism are dismissed if they don't have an alternative to natural selection: "They don't know how science works". Darwinists do not recognize that not knowing something is valid scientific position. They prefer a wrong theory to no theory. The way Darwinist science really works in practice is that they make an assumption and assert it is a fact.

Johnson then goes on to show that Darwinists misuse the mantle of science to give the theory of natural selection authority is doesn't deserve. He points out that technology produced by science is impressive. But technology is based on repeatable phenomena. Evolution is a scientific consensus not a repeatable experiment and therefore it is not reliable. Johnson illustrates this with a hypothetical example based on the Challenger explosion. He says that if a panel of rocket scientists agreed the Challenge mission would be successful, any outsider who disagreed would be ridiculed ... until the launch and explosion of the space shuttle that tested the panel's conclusions.

Johnson also points out that philosophies that attach themselves to science do not have a good track record and lists Marxism and Freudian psychology as examples, claiming Darwinism belongs with the other two as being unfalsifiable - anything that happens within their domain can be explained by these philosophies.

Another rhetorical device used by Darwinists is to reject the existence of God because nature is cruel or because some features of organisms seem poorly designed or are vestigial. Darwinists assert this is evidence that macroevolution by natural selection is true. This is not science, it is a theological argument. It is also a false dichotomy between God and Darwinism. A scientific approach would be to attempt to refute the criticisms of Darwinism by experiment, observation, or mathematically precise theoretical work.


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The missing ancestors of the Cambrian explosion would have been found if they existed.


The Cambrian explosion refers to a period of time 530 million years ago when many animal phyla first appeared on earth. Darwinism predicts that these phyla should have evolved from simpler organisms. If that were true, fossils left by those organisms might provide evidence for their existence. However no such fossils have ever been found. One might suppose that the ancestors of the Cambrian phyla existed but the fossil record is incomplete because conditions at the time were not right for preservation of fossils, or erosion destroyed their fossils, or they did not have shells and their soft tissues did not leave fossils, or their fossils exist but have not yet been found. However, many fossils from before the Cambrian era have been found. In fact, enough precambrian fossils of soft-bodied organisms have been found for the missing ancestors of the Cambrian explosion to have been found if they existed. Therefore the fossil record shows that many animal phyla arose without evolving from simpler organisms. This contradicts the theory of evolution by natural selection but is predicted by intelligent design.

From Deepening Darwin's Dilemma by Jonathan Wells

So there is now no shortage of Precambrian fossils. Not only do we have fossils of bacteria, but we also have many fossils of soft-bodied Multicellular organisms. “In the Ediacaran organisms there is no evidence for any skeletal hard parts,” wrote Conway Morris in 1998. “Ediacaran fossils look as if they were effectively soft-bodied” (Crucible of Creation, 28).

From Questions about the Cambrian Explosion,
Evolution, and Intelligent Design

That the precursors to the Cambrian groups are indeed missing from the record is widely accepted among paleontologists; thus, this is not the controversial aspect of the ID position. About the missing precursors at the base of the tree of the animal phyla, Valentine notes:
...many of the branches, large as well as small, are cryptogenetic (cannot be traced into ancestors). Some of these gaps are surely caused by the incompleteness of the fossil record..., but that cannot be the sole explanation for the cryptogenetic nature of some families, many
invertebrate orders, all invertebrate classes, and all metazoan phyla.

Charles Marshall concurs:
While the fossil record of the well-skeletonized animal phyla is pretty good, we have virtually no fossils that are unambiguously assignable to the most basal stem groups [putative ancestors] of these phyla, those first branches that lie between the last common ancestor of all bilaterians and the last common ancestor of the living representatives of each of the phyla….their absence is striking. Where are they?
To be clear: Valentine and Marshall, leading paleontologists, oppose ID theory.
Pre-cambrian fossils include:

Charia, which is a single celled algae, originally wrongly thought to be a shelly invertebrate due to more misguided attempts to solve ‘Darwin’s Dilemma.’

-

Barghoorn Gunflint microfossils, which again comprise bacterial stromatolites that do not serve as precursors to the Cambrian fauna.

-

Bitter Springs Chert, which again are microbe fossils, not clear evolutionary precursors to the Cambrian fauna.

-

Saucer-sized organisms, at Ediacara, also called the Ediacaran Fauna, which are enigmatic fossils generally not thought to be ancestral to the Cambrian fauna.


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Nature's best evidence for natural selection does not show that natural selection can cause macroevolution.


  • A fossilized whale bone is found that is older than fossils of animals that are supposed to be the evolutionary ancestors of whales.

  • Fossil tracks from a land animal are found that are older than the fossil of the supposed intermediate between fish and land animals.

  • Feathered dinosaurs supposedly intermediate between dinosaurs and birds are found not to be dinosaurs but birds that have lost the ability to fly.

If the most compelling evidence claimed to support evolution by natural selection failed to demonstrate macroevolution, that would be a strong indication that there is no evidence that natural selection is the cause of macroevolution.

In 2009, the journal Nature published a document titled 15 EVOLUTIONARY GEMS: A resource from Nature for those wishing to spread awareness of evidence for evolution by natural selection. It was intended to help anyone interested in evolution to explain the case for evolution by natural selection. The only problem is that none of these "gems" actually provided evidence for macroevolution. Some of the "gems" were incorrect interpretations of the fossil record that were exposed by later discoveries. Other gems, at best, only provide evidence for microevolution, the equivalent of breeding different types of dogs. Some gems have nothing at all to do with evolution, unless you first assume what you are trying to prove, ie. that natural selection is the cause of differences in organisms.

The mechanisms of microevolution include loss of function mutations, changes in the frequency of existing alleles in a population, and mutations that can provide a survival advantage in one step. Microevolution requires little new genetic information, if any. Macroevolution involves significant changes to an organism such as development of an eye, or the change from a land mammal to a whale. Macroevolution requires huge amounts of new genetic information. Darwinists cite microevolution as proof of evolution and then act as if macroevolution is proven, but microevolution is not proof that natural selection can produce the large amounts of genetic information needed for macroevolution.

The article Evaluating Nature's 2009 "15 Evolutionary Gems" Darwin-Evangelism Kit at evolutionnews.org makes a detailed analysis of Nature's "gems" and shows that the best evidence for evolution by natural selection does not offer evidence of macroevolution by natural selection. The claim that natural selection can cause macroevolution is not supported by any evidence, it remains an assumption or a false conclusion based on flawed reasoning.

The article at evolutionnews.org also mentions Nature was founded by T. H. Huxley in part to promote Darwinism and naturalism ... which explains the journal's name.

The 15 gems (and why, according to evolutionnews.org, they are not evidence of macroevolution) are:

    Gems from the fossil record

  1. Land-living ancestors of whales (New fossils show that whales existed before their "ancestors".)

  2. From water to land (The supposed intermediate between fish and land animals dates from a time after land animals already existed.)

  3. The origin of feathers (Feathered dinosaurs said to be intermediate between dinosaurs and birds are now believed to be birds that lost the ability to fly.)

  4. The evolutionary history of teeth (The study referenced by Nature doesn't provide evidence for macroevolution, or any type of evolution, it is based on existing species.)

  5. The origin of the vertebrate skeleton (Claims that embryology can reveal information about ancient ancestors is falsified by many cases of homologous structures developing from non homologous pathways.)

    Gems from habitats

  6. Natural selection in speciation (Differences in stickleback fish populations might be due to environmental factors not evolution, at best it demonstrates microevolution.)

  7. Natural selection in lizards (When a predator causes lizards to develop longer legs and larger body size, it is microevolution not macroevolution.)

  8. A case of co-evolution (Co-evolution among fleas and their parasites is microevolution.)

  9. Differential dispersal in wild birds (Studies showing the effects of different locales and migration on genetic variation in birds demonstrate microevolution.)

  10. Selective survival in wild guppies (Variation in colored spots on guppies is not macroevolution.)

  11. Evolutionary history matters (The fact that different animals have different morphological features is not proof of evolution by natural selection.)

    Gems from molecular processes

  12. Darwin’s Galapagos finches (Different alleles produce differences in phenotype. This is not proof of macroevolution.)

  13. Microevolution meets macroevolution (The formation of colored spots on fly wings is not macroevolution. Determining the genetic basis for a phenotype is not proof of evolution.)

  14. Toxin resistance in snakes and clams (Resistance to toxins due to mutations in sodium channels is not proof of macroevolution.)

  15. Variation versus stability (Loss of function mutations do not cause macroevolution.)

The evolutionnews.org article gives detailed explanations of why these "gems" do not provide evidence for macroevolution. Below, I provide a brief summary. For more information see the evolutionnews.org article linked above.

    Gems from the fossil record

  1. Land-living ancestors of whales: Darwinists claim there is a series of fossils that show the evolution of land mammals into whales. However, the evolutionnews.org article explains that similarity in fossils is not proof of ancestry. The evolutionnews.org article also points out that the time given for the evolution of whales, ten million years, is too short to have occurred by natural selection. But recent developments have made the situation much worse for Darwinists. A new fossil found since the articles were published has shown that whales lived before some of those fossils that are claimed to be ancestors of whales and it leaves only a few million years for the evolution of whales from land mammals.

    That the first "gem", the best argument for macroevolution by natural selection, was a total misconstruction of the fossil record should be enough to convince anyone that Darwinists are not using sound logic when making their conclusions from the evidence. Darwinists should have understood that those fossil ancestors could easily have been species of differing similarity without being a series of ancestors and they should not have claimed the fossils were proof of macroevolution by natural selection.

  2. From water to land: The fossil that Nature claims is from an animal intermediate between fish and land animals, tiktaalik, is actually more recent than fossils tracks made by a land animal. Contrary to what is written in the Nature article, tiktaalik is not an intermediate between fish and land animals, land animals already existed at the time the tiktaalik fossil was formed. There is currently no evidence of an intermediate between fish and land animals.

  3. The origin of feathers: The Nature article claims that a certain species of feathered dinosaurs are intermediates between dinosaurs and birds. However according to the evolutionnews.org article, these species are now considered not to have been dinosaurs but were birds that had lost the ability to fly.

  4. The evolutionary history of teeth: Nature claims that a study of teeth formation in mice is evidence for evolution because it predicts a relationship between certain aspects of tooth formation and diet. This is not evidence of macroevolution. At best it might be a result of microevolution. However, this example is based on existing species and does not show any evidence that it is a result of evolution by natural selection, they are simply assuming what they are trying to prove.

  5. The origin of the vertebrate skeleton: Nature claims observations of the development of the head and neck in mice embryos tell us about the evolution of structures in long extinct species. But it doesn't. The evolutionnews.org article explains there are many example of homologous structures in embryos of different species developing by non-homologous pathways. What you see in an embryo is not proof of what happened in the embryo's supposed ancestors.

    Gems from habitats

  6. Natural selection in speciation: Nature claims differences in different populations of stickleback fish show evolution in action. However these traits could be caused by environmental factors not genetic differences. At best it would be an example of microevolution.

  7. Natural selection in lizards: According to Nature, in an experiment in which a new predator was introduced to an island, male Anolis lizards were found to develop longer legs while females developed larger body size. This is an example of microevolution, and it is not "natural" it was caused by an experimenter.

  8. A case of co-evolution: A study of water fleas and their parasites showed that over time as the fleas develop resistance to the parasites, the parasites adapt to overcome that resistance. These "flea-sized" adaptations are an example of microevolution.

  9. Differential dispersal in wild birds: Studies showing the effects of different locales and migration on genetic variation in birds only demonstrates microevolution.

  10. Selective survival in wild guppies: A study showed that guppies with rare color patterns had a survival advantage. This is supposedly a evidence of how genetic diversity can be maintained. It doesn't explain macroevolution, it is about maintenance of existing genes not the mechanism by which new genes arise.

  11. Evolutionary history matters: Moray eels have a unique mechanism of capturing prey. Most fish suck in prey by opening their jaws, but because the moray's head is so short, insufficient suction is generated. Instead, the moray moves its pharyngeal jaw forward to snatch its prey. This is not evidence for evolution any more than any feature of any organism is evidence for evolution.

    Gems from molecular processes

  12. Darwin’s Galapagos finches: A study of finches showed that increased expression of the calmodulin gene coincides with changes in beak morphology. This is evidence that genes determine morphology and variations in morphology are due to differences in genes. It says nothing about macroevolution.

  13. Microevolution meets macroevolution: A genetic regulatory element in fruit flies that is involved in forming pigmented spots on the wing binds to transcription factors that are components of wing development and also binds to a transcription factor that is "fundamental to development as a whole". Supposedly this shows the regulatory element evolved over time from a single purpose to multiple purposes. However pigmentation spots on the wings of files qualifies as microevolution not macroevolution. Furthermore this not evidence evolution by natural selection any more than any heritable characteristic of any organism is evidence of evolution by natural selection. These "gems" are supposed to prove that evolution occurred by natural selection. This gem simply explains the genetic basis of a phenotype. You have to already believe that unguided genetic mutation and natural selection is the basis for the diversity of life in order to believe this "gem" has anything to do with evolution by natural selection.

  14. Toxin resistance in snakes and clams: Garter snakes develop resistance to newt toxins and clams develop resistance to red tide algae toxin both through a mutations involving sodium channels. This is evidence of microevolution not macroevolution.

  15. Variation versus stability: The fossil record seems to show species are stable for long periods of time and changes species occur over short periods of time. This is supposedly explained by "evolutionary capacitance" which involves genetic diversity that is unexpressed except in times of stress. You might wonder how changes in gene expression caused by stress could be heritable and cause evolution. What the nature article doesn't say is that the experiments designed to study evolutionary capacitance relied on loss of function mutations and these mutations produced deleterious effects on the organism. Loss of function mutations do not cause macroevolution.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Video: Life could not have formed by natural means. Biomolecules naturally react to form tar.


Edward T. Peltzer did his PhD research studying organic compounds found in meteorites. He was hoping to find clues to the origin of life on earth. In the video below Peltzer explains why life could not have arisen by natural means.


In the video, Edward Peltzer explains that when biomolecules such as amino acids and sugars are produced naturally, they are intermediates in a multi-step reaction and are consumed as quickly as they are produced. That reaction does not produce the biopolymers needed for life such as proteins or nucleic acids, instead the reaction produces tar.

Biopolymers cannot be produced naturally because without the cellular structures that compartmentalize biomolecules and control how they interact, the subunits will not form biopolymers, they will react randomly and form gunk. Even if by chance several subunits do form a biopolymer, that polymer is still going to go on to form gunk.

In the video, Peltzer discusses various origin of life theories including "protein first", "protein and nucleotides together", metabolism first, membranes first, clay, and RNA world and panspermia. None of these can explain how life could originate. Proteins do not polymerize naturally, they form gunk. This is why cataracts form in lens of the eye. The same is true for nucleotides. If one hypothesizes membranes formed spontaneously to protect biomolecules from the environment, then the reactants of polymerization will be used up without any means of replenishment. If the membranes are leaky, then you have the same problems as with no membrane at all. If you mix biomolecules with clay, they stick to the clay and stay there, they are removed from solution and cannot carry out any biological functions. Panspermia, the theory that life came to earth from space, doesn't solve anything unless the laws of chemistry are different elsewhere in the universe.

Peltzer concludes you can't produce a cell unless you already have a cell.


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Newly discovered whale fossil, older than its supposed ancestor species, proves Darwinists rely on flawed logic.


The evidence that is claimed to prove Darwinian evolution is often a misrepresentation based on faulty logic. For example, Darwinists claim that the evolution of the whale from a land mammal is one of the best examples of how Darwinian evolution is proven by the fossil record. However, a new fossil has been discovered which shows whales existed before many of their supposed ancestors. The fact that one of Darwinism's best cases of evidence for evolution is wrong indicates how poorly evolution is supported by the empirical evidence, and how claims made by Darwinists are based on flawed logic. While it isn't fair to expect Darwinists to know what fossils will be found in the future, they should know what the existing fossil record proves an what it doesn't prove, and they should be forthright about it when they talk to the public.

An NPR article gives the usual Darwinist explanation of how the fossil evidence demonstrates that whales evolved from land mammals:

Some details remain fuzzy and under investigation. But we know for certain that this back-to-the-water evolution did occur, thanks to a profusion of intermediate fossils that have been uncovered over the past two decades. ...
You can read the article for the full explanation.

However, a series of fossils that looks like they might be successive intermediates in the evolution from one animal type to another is not proof that the fossils really are a series of intermediates. The fossils might just be from a number of different species of varying similarity but not ancestral. This is shown by a recent discovery discussed at evolutionnews.org of a whale fossil that is older than many of the whale's supposed ancestors.

In an article titled "Ancient whale jawbone found in Antarctica," the Associated Press reports that paleontologists have found "the oldest fully aquatic whale yet discovered," which is about 49 million years old.

...

But this new fossil might imply that the amount of time available [for the evolution of whales] was actually less than 5 million years.

Until now, the whale series went something like this:

  • Pakicetids (fully terrestrial): ~50 mya
  • Ambulocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Remingtonocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Rodhocetus (a Protocetid, semi-aquatic): 47 mya
  • Basilosaurids (fully aquatic): 40 mya

So under the previous timeline, Darwinian biologists didn't have to worry about accounting for the origin of fully aquatic whales until about 40 mya. This new find pushes fully aquatic whales back to 49 mya. Now the timeline looks something like this:

  • Pakicetids (fully terrestrial): ~50 mya
  • New Fossil Jawbone (fully aquatic whale): 49 mya
  • Ambulocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Remingtonocetids (semi-aquatic): 49 mya
  • Rodhocetus (a Protocetid, semi-aquatic): 47 mya
  • Basilosaurids (fully aquatic): 40 mya

In light of this new find, it appears that fully aquatic whales existed at 49 mya -- around the same time that Ambulocetids appear. The fossil record now might jump from fully terrestrial Pakicetids to fully aquatic whales in just a couple million years -- maybe much less than 5 million years.

It isn't fair to expect Darwinists to know what fossils will be found in the future, but they should know what the existing fossil record proves an what it doesn't prove, and they should be forthright about it when they talk to the public. Furthermore, the impossibly short time span that the Darwinist interpretation of the fossils allowed for the evolution of the whale (even before this new fossil was discovered) should have given them a warning that their interpretation was impossibly wrong.


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Video: A Critique of Darwinist Icons


In the video A Critique of Darwinist Icons, Jonathan Wells explains why the evidence most often offered as proof of Darwinian evolution doesn't actually prove Darwinian evolution. These misleading examples are often repeated because there really isn't any good evidence for evolution. Wells also explains that the reason these misleading examples are used is that evolutionary biology as taught in schools is really teaching atheism. Neither physics nor chemistry text books make statements about God or religion. Those books just discuss the evidence and the science. It is only in evolutionary biology where statements are made asserting that science makes belief in God and religion unnecessary, and since there is no good evidence to support that point of view, they have to resort to making misleading statements to do it.


The video contains the most important examples of bogus evidence of evolution found in the book Icons of Evolution also by Jonathan Wells. Some of these examples are discussed in Survival of the Fakest by Jonathan Wells. And some of the examples in the book but not covered in the video or Survival of the Fakest can be found in these articles:

Briefly the examples in the video include:

  1. The evolutionary tree is false: The evolutionary tree shows the relatedness of different organisms. It is possible to produce a tree by comparing the DNA sequence of a gene in different organisms. However, using different genes produces different trees. The Cambrian explosion is also evidence against common descent because the major animal phyla appeared at the same time and there is no evidence they evolved from a common ancestor.
  2. Homology in vertebrate limbs: Does not support common descent because it doesn't rule out common design. Homology only looks like evidence of evolution if you assume what you are trying to prove, ie. that homology is evidence of evolution.
  3. Vertebrate embryos: The classic diagrams showing similarities in embryos were faked.
  4. Peppered moths: Supposedly peppered moths evolved darker protective coloration in response to air pollution making tree trunks darker in color. However, peppered moths don't normally rest on tree trunks. Once pollution decreased, the peppered moths became lighter in color, but this began before the tree trunks became lighter.
  5. Darwin's finches: A one year drought caused changes in beak morphology, but the beaks reverted after the drought. This is at best microevolution caused by a change in the frequency of existing genes in the population. It is not evidence of macroevolution - substantial changes in organisms such as the development of an eye or land mammals evolving into a whale.
  6. Four-winged fruit files: Do not show that natural selection can cause changes in organisms because the flies were created by scientists, the extra wings had no muscles to move them, and they made the files less fit for survival.

The article Fact-Checking Wikipedia on Common Descent: The Evidence from Paleontology discusses the lack of fossil evidence for intermediate stages of evolution. The excerpt below discusses the series of fossils claimed to show the evolution of the whale from a land mammal. It is not credible that they could represent a sequence of ancestor species because there is not enough time for the changes in the species to have occurred naturally.

One of the most notable problems with the evolution of the whale is the extremely abrupt timescale over which it is supposed to have occurred. The sheer force of this conundrum is only properly appreciated when one considers the multiple feats of anatomical novelty, innovative engineering and genetic rewiring necessary to change a terrestrial mammal like Pakicetus into a fully aquatic whale. Indeed, evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg has argued that even many of the relatively minor changes are extremely unlikely to have occurred in the time-frame allowed.

Other articles in the same series include:


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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Video: Unlocking the Mystery of Life


Unlocking the Mystery of Life

In 1993 professor Phillip Johnson of the University of California Berkley invited a group of scientists and philosophers to a small beach town on the central coast of California. They came from major academic centers including Cambridge University and the University of Chicago to question an idea that had dominated science for 150 years.

...

The scientists who came to Pajaro Dunes set out to reexamine the history of life's origin, for each had significant doubts about widely held evolutionary ideas. Among them biochemist Michael Behe questioned how natural processes could have assembled the intricate structures found within living cells. Dean Kenyon was an evolutionary biologist who no longer though chemistry alone could account for the origin of life on earth. Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson, and William Dembski were seeking a new approach. one that could explain the origin of the genetic information encoded in living organisms. These scientists and philosophers began to formulate an alternative to the central theory of modern biology a theory born in the mind of a British naturalist his name was Charles Darwin.

The entire video is in 12 parts. The playlist is here.



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