Hypothetically, what would it take to convince you? Difficult question, in …

Comment on IT’S THE CULTURE, STUPID by Sean Pitman.

Hypothetically, what would it take to convince you?

Difficult question, in as far as I know I have never experienced a miracle or the supernatural. It’s kind of like asking someone what chocolate ice cream tastes like before they have tasted it, right?

SETI scientists have to know the difference between a natural phenomenon and a designed artifact ahead of time before they can look for artifactual ratio signals coming in from outer space. They can’t recognize an artifact if they don’t know how to detect it ahead of time. Obviously, this is quite different from the entirely subjective experience of tasting chocolate ice cream where you don’t have any idea what to expect before you taste the ice cream.

In the same way, you say that you’ve never experienced a miracle, but how can you say that if you don’t even know what you’re looking for? – or what such an experience would be like if you ever did witness it? It almost seems like you’ve made the very concept of a miracle undetectable by definition. As such, you’ve made all discussion about such a possibility pointless, as there is no basis for conversation with you on this topic…

So, let’s start with some premises: 1. The universe is intelligently designed by God. 2. Humans have the ability to detect intelligent design.

Query: what happens when we find that some things are not intelligently designed? Does that negate premise 1? Does it mean that God is not perfect or for that matter not intelligent about all his creation? Does it mean that if intelligently designed we do not in fact have the capacity to recognize God like design?

Look at the pictures of the balanced rock formations in my post above. Does the existence of various formations within these photographs that do not require intelligence design to explain their origin negate the need to invoke intelligent design behind those formations that cannot be tenably explained by any known natural mechanism outside of intelligent design?

And most importantly, does it mean that our human centric view that humans were designed in the image of God is bloated, conceited hubris?

The concept that humans were originally made in the image of God (though we are now fallen significantly short of our original ideal) isn’t based on mere human hubris or desire, but is based on the authority of a book, the Bible, that claims to have been inspired by God Himself. The credibility of this claim is therefore based on the credibility of the Bible’s claims to be the Word of God.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

IT’S THE CULTURE, STUPID
I don’t think you understand the argument. Of course very small amounts of C14 can be produced by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium in rocks close by. That’s not the problem or the relevant question. The real question is, how much C14 can be produced by this method? And, why would this source of C14 production be so uniform? As I’ve already suggested to you, your argument that C14 production by uranium and thorium explains very high C14 levels within dinosaur bones equivalent to ages of 15-35 kyrs simply doesn’t seem like a tenable argument. Is there remotely enough uranium and thorium scattered in a fairly uniform manner all over the world to generate that much C14 underground? That’s a pretty big pill you’re asking me to swallow don’t you think? – especially given that a level of less than 20 parts per million of uranium and thorium was detected in the dinosaur bones that contained large quantities of radiocarbon? (Link) Beyond this, turning 12C into C14 by neutron capture isn’t very easy to do. In fact, nitrogen creates carbon-14 from neutrons “110,000 times more easily” than does carbon. This dramatically increases the amount of uranium and thorium that would be needed to produce all the necessary C14 to make your theory tenable.

For example, to produce a C14 age of 40,000 years we need a ratio of 14C/12C equal to about 1e-14. As best as I can tell, producing this ratio would require 125 atoms of uranium per carbon atom, which is a concentration by weight of 99.96% uranium (Link).

Also, according to your arguments, C14 dating would be pretty much worthless beyond about 10,000 years due to all the extra C14 being produced by uranium and thorium underground. No one believes that. So, how then can C14 be used on the one hand to “reliably” date mammoths and mastodons and the like as living some 10-35 kyrs ago, but when these same levels of C14 are discovered uniformly throughout thick coal beds or dinosaur bones it must have been the result of non-atmospheric C14 production? A 14C/12C ratio of only 1e-15 corresponds to a ~60,000 yr age for a specimen. We’re talking about less than half that age or more than twice as much C14. I’m sorry, but yours seems like a self-defeating argument even without knowing how much uranium and thorium would be needed. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Do you see the problem I’m having here with your argument? Or, do I need to read more talk.origins or wiki articles to figure it out?

As far as Schweitzer’s discoveries are concerned, I’m not sure of the significance of your point when you argue that no “collagen reactivity” was detected in response to collagenase in the dinosaur soft tissues? In her 2007 paper (Link) she did in fact note that, “antibody reactivity was significantly decreased after we digested dinosaur tissues with collagenase.” However, even if this wasn’t the case, so what? The really amazing thing is that there are soft tissues at all – to include sequencable antigenic proteins and even fragments of DNA in dinosaur bones dating from 60Ma to more than 150Ma (Link). Just a few years ago science had shown, by kinetic chemistry experiments, that such soft tissues and proteins should have been completely degraded within less than 100 ka. The current argument that iron helps to preserve soft tissues like formaldehyde doesn’t really solve the protein of kinetic chemistry decay.


IT’S THE CULTURE, STUPID
There is far far too much radiocarbon in this samples of dinosaur bone to be explained by either contamination or uranium-thorium decay (production of non-atmospheric C14). These “talk.origins” and “wiki” arguments of yours are nothing new (Link) and they simply don’t hold water when it comes to explaining the origin of such high levels of radiocarbon. We aren’t talking about C14 dating beyond 80,000 years here. We’re talking C14 dates that are well within the detection spectrum of AMS techniques – well less than half that “age”.

And, as Dr. Giem noted back in 2010, “It is difficult to imagine a nature process contaminating wood, whale bone, petroleum and coal, all roughly to the same extent. It is especially difficult to imagine all parts of a coal seam being contaminated equally.” See also my 2010 discussion with Erv Taylor on the potential and limitations of radiocarbon dating here: Link.

But, please do, inform me of my inability to appropriately read the available “literature” that you cited here and why Schweitzer should be excused for not subjecting her dinosaur bone specimens to C14 analysis and publishing the result?


IT’S THE CULTURE, STUPID
Whatever. We’ve been through this endlessly before regarding your droll claim that it’s impossible to rationally think for one’s self or reasonably judge if anything is right or wrong unless some mainstream journal publishes the argument and a majority of Darwinian fundamentalists are converted. Forget about the idiots like Galileo, Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, Aristotle, Archimedes, etc… who obviously learned nothing worthwhile or “scientific” on an individual basis because their work lacked official “peer review” in some popular journal of the day.

Sure, peer review has it’s place. It’s certainly worth while when available. However, it is by no means the end-all nor is it even vital to scientific discovery or understanding of the world in which we live. Do you think any of the guys mentioned above cared one lick if anyone else or any “majority” group of “peers” in the world agreed with them? Do you think any one of them would have changed his mind simply given the opposition of any kind of “majority opinion” alone? – without a personal understanding of the evidence itself? Not at all. Not a single one of them would have believed that they were in error simply because any or all of the peers of their day disagreed with them. They studied for themselves and came to their own firm conclusions regardless of what anyone else said or thought.

I recommend trying to do the same thing for yourself as well. Try thinking for yourself on occasion, at least on certain topics of special interest – regardless of what anyone else thinks. Who knows, you might like it! And then, please do let me know when you come up with something new and interesting for a change – something worth my time to “chat” about by the fireside.


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

The Arguments of Adventists Opposed to Vaccines
The LORD does not suffer fools who deliberately put themselves in paths of known dangers. If you deliberately jump off a cliff, putting the LORD to the test, this is not virtuous faith, but presumption – a sin against God.


The Arguments of Adventists Opposed to Vaccines
After extensive review of the available data, the FDA issued “emergency use authorization” for the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Pfizer, in particular, is planning on applying for full FDA approval as early as the middle of this month (April 2021).

As far as the length of immunity, it is currently known that robust immunity following mRNA vaccination lasts “at least” six months, and probably years (Link). However, if additional variants arise that aren’t effectively covered by the current vaccines, additional booster shoots would be needed.


Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?

1. I assume some defective mRNA strands and lipid layers can be generated during the myriad of involved complex chemical processes. Do we understand percentage of defective nanoparticles / mRNA strands? Does process include QA that somehow reduces or eliminates potentially harmful defects. What is risk of defective mRNA strands that could encode for harmful proteins? Any other associated risks here that I am not addressing?

Given that the mRNA sequences in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are synthetically produced, I would say that there are very few defective mRNA sequences. And, when it comes to producing proteins based on these few defective sequences, the additional risk from such defective sequences for the human body would be, effectively, zero. In fact, a few slight variations in the protein sequence for the spike protein would only result in slight variations in the immune system response. And, producing such slight variations are already part of how our human immune system is programmed to work – automatically producing slight variations in the antibodies produced against a particular type of foreign antigen, for example.

2. How much independent review occurred with these vaccines? Is the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety the only body that reviewed. Do scientiests get hands-on and eyes-on access to the actual chemical processes to verify what is happening (in vitro and in vivo), or are they just provided with white papers and reports for review?

A great many scientists were involved in the production and review of the mRNA vaccines. These vaccines, how they work, and their effects on human biochemistry are very well known by a great many scientists who work in this field of immunochemistry. There are no fundamental secrets here.

3. Some papers and FAQs claim the generated viral “spike protein” is presented on the cell surface. Some of your dialogue here seems to indicate that this is not the case. Which is it? How is it presented? Is it presented in a variety of ways?

Here are a few diagrams that illustrate what’s happening within different cells of the body where the mRNA sequences are decoded and presented:

Mechanism of action of mRNA vaccines. 1. The mRNA is in vitro transcribed (IVT) from a DNA template in a cell-free system. 2. IVT mRNA is subsequently transfected into dendritic cells (DCs) via (3) endocytosis. 4. Entrapped mRNA undergoes endosomal escape and is released into the cytosol. 5. Using the translational machinery of host cells (ribosomes), the mRNA is translated into antigenic proteins. The translated antigenic protein undergoes post-translational modification and can act in the cell where it is generated. 6. Alternatively, the protein is secreted from the host cell. 7. Antigen protein is degraded by the proteasome in the cytoplasm. The generated antigenic peptide epitopes are transported into the endoplasmic reticulum and loaded onto major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules (MHC I). 8. The loaded MHC I-peptide epitope complexes are presented on the surface of cells, eventually leading to the induction of antigen-specific CD8 + T cell responses after T-cell receptor recognition and appropriate co-stimulation. 9. Exogenous proteins are taken up DCs. 10. They are degraded in endosomes and presented via the MHC II pathway. Moreover, to obtain cognate T-cell help in antigen-presenting cells, the protein should be routed through the MHC II pathway. 11. The generated antigenic peptide epitopes are subsequently loaded onto MHC II molecules. 12. The loaded MHC II-peptide epitope complexes are presented on the surface of cells, leading to the induction of the antigen-specific CD4 + T cell responses. Exogenous antigens can also be processed and loaded onto MHC class I molecules via a mechanism known as cross-presentation. (Link)

Now, The mRNA-1273-encoded prefusion stabilizes the S protein (Moderna Vaccine) consists of the SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein with a transmembrane anchor and an intact S1–S2 cleavage site. The presence of the transmembrane anchor would seem to enable some of the spike proteins to remain attached to the surface of the cell that produced them, such as a muscle cell, but would still be recognized as “foreign” by the immune system. (Link)

See also: Link


Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
The following commentary by organic chemist Derek Lowe is also helpful in understanding this question (December 4, 2020):

Bob Wachter of UCSF had a very good thread on Twitter about vaccine rollouts the other day, and one of the good points he made was this one. We’re talking about treating very, very large populations, which means that you’re going to see the usual run of mortality and morbidity that you see across large samples. Specifically, if you take 10 million people and just wave your hand back and forth over their upper arms, in the next two months you would expect to see about 4,000 heart attacks. About 4,000 strokes. Over 9,000 new diagnoses of cancer. And about 14,000 of that ten million will die, out of usual all-causes mortality. No one would notice. That’s how many people die and get sick anyway.

But if you took those ten million people and gave them a new vaccine instead, there’s a real danger that those heart attacks, cancer diagnoses, and deaths will be attributed to the vaccine. I mean, if you reach a large enough population, you are literally going to have cases where someone gets the vaccine and drops dead the next day (just as they would have if they *didn’t* get the vaccine). It could prove difficult to convince that person’s friends and relatives of that lack of connection, though. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is one of the most powerful fallacies of human logic, and we’re not going to get rid of it any time soon. Especially when it comes to vaccines. The best we can do, I think, is to try to get the word out in advance. Let people know that such things are going to happen, because people get sick and die constantly in this world. The key will be whether they are getting sick or dying at a noticeably higher rate once they have been vaccinated.

No such safety signals have appeared for the first vaccines to roll out (Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech). In fact, we should be seeing the exact opposite effects on mortality and morbidity as more and more people get vaccinated. The excess-death figures so far in the coronavirus pandemic have been appalling (well over 300,000 in the US), and I certainly think mass vaccination is the most powerful method we have to knock that back down to normal.

That’s going to be harder to do, though, if we get screaming headlines about people falling over due to heart attacks after getting their vaccine shots. Be braced.


Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
I know that various European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain, have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in mink pelt farms – leading to the culling of more than a million animals. From laboratory experiments, it’s also clear that ferrets (a relative of the mink) are also readily infected with the “novel coronavirus”. Aside from this, however, I’m not aware of any “issues” with animal experiments regarding COVID-19 in particular. However, in 2008 there was an interesting experiment involving ferrets that were given the flu vaccine against the H1N1 virus – who then became sicker once exposed to the live virus as compared to those ferrets that weren’t vaccinated. The reason for the effect was unclear, and Skowronski, the lead author, urged other research groups to take up the question.

“Skowronski likened the mechanism to what happens with dengue viruses. People who have been infected with one subtype of dengue don’t develop immunity to the other three. In fact, they are more at risk of developing a life-threatening form of dengue if they are infected with one of the other strains.”

Skowronski called the second theory the infection block hypothesis. Having a bout of the flu gives the infected person antibodies that may be able, for a time, to fend off other strains; flu shots only protect against the strains they contain. So under this theory, people who didn’t have flu in 2008 because they got a flu shot may have been less well armed against the pandemic virus.”

While interesting, such an effect has not been identified in the animal or human trials for the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Also, subsequently updated flu vaccines to the H1N1 strain haven’t had this problem either (Link).