This missive simply reinforces every prejudice I have 1] You have …

Comment on The Basis of Biblical Credibility by Sean Pitman.

This missive simply reinforces every prejudice I have

1] You have no criteria for scientific evidence. Your ideas completely lack rigour. You seem to equate history the bible and anecdote with scientific evidence. You seem completely impervious to S Schillers insightful comments on tools and process.

The criteria I have for scientific evidence is the scientific method itself. For instance, my ideas are testable and potentially falsifiable – while yours do not seem to be (at least not to me). After all, you’re the one arguing that future discoveries will support your position even if the required evidence isn’t currently in hand. How is that a scientific position? You also appear to argue that if a conclusion is “blindingly obvious” then it really isn’t a scientific conclusion. How is it that simple conclusions cannot be achieved scientifically? Where in the scientific method are “blindly obvious” conclusions not allowed?

As far as history is concerned, are you suggesting that the study of history cannot be approached in a scientific manner? Or, am I misreading you here?

Also, where did I argue for anecdotal science? What I argued for is historical science – the same science used to determine the credibility of stories about historical figures like Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan. Do you wish to argue that these stories are based on “anecdotal evidence”?

2] With profound hubris you cite yourself as the authority on the non-eolian origin of the coconino sandstone and completely dismiss the scientific publications cited on the wiki entry
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconino_Sandstone
and the consensus embodied in the USGS description.
http://3dparks.wr.usgs.gov/coloradoplateau/lexicon/coconino.htm

Did you actually read what I wrote? I don’t dismiss the arguments for the eolian origin of the Coconino Sandstone at all. I address these arguments in some detail in fact. What do you have to say for why all the trackways within the Coconino, including very finely preserved and very detailed trackways, are headed uphill? and why this sandstone is so pure? – without the preservation of plant or animal remains or significant burrowing or bioturbation? – and why the horizontal horizons are so smooth and flat over huge areas?

3] You seem so devoid of original thought that you can only react in 4 of the last 5 post to what I have said.

I’m sorry, but I don’t follow your point here? Also, what does original thought have to do with an idea being right or wrong? A lot of non-original ideas are none-the-less true.

I do feel sorry that you cannot see that there is a world of unexplored scientific questions and knowledge and you can do no more than doggedly defend an insignificant part of that terrain with arguments and positions that I and most scientists would think anachronistic.

The same thing was said of Einstein by many scientists when he first presented his theories. Who cares if you and the majority of scientists disagree with me if you cannot answer very simple questions regarding the very mechanism of Darwinian evolution? You admit that you have no idea how random mutations and natural selection can create anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity. Yet, you are confident that this mechanism, or some other mindless natural mechanism, did the job and that future discoveries will demonstrate this reality. Again, call me crazy, but that’s not science. That’s your own personal philosophy which happens to be popular right now among most scientists.

Be open. Truth can afford to be scrutinized. God can defend Himself he doesn’t need you to fight against reality in His name. He remains even if life is billions of years old.

I agree. By all means scrutinize my position. Please show me where I’m wrong. Don’t just list off a bunch of references and tell me that someone else knows the answer. Present the argument to me yourself. Show me how easily random mutations and natural selection can create beyond very low levels of functional complexity. Show me how the detrimental mutation rate can be overcome by natural selection for slowly reproducing creatures. I’ve been waiting a very long time for you to present an actual argument in response to these simple questions that doesn’t depend upon some future discoveries. Where is the science that is currently in hand to support your position?

You ask me to be open to the possibility that I’m wrong. I am open to this possibility. I most certainly could be wrong. But, why should I admit error that I do not yet see? And, what about you? Are you open to the same possibility? – to the possibility of being wrong? I know that someone who favors fideism doesn’t like to consider even the potential of being wrong. Why then is it Ok for the thoughts and ideas of others to be scrutinized? – but not Ok for Neo-Darwinism to be scrutinized?

Is it possible for God to hide Himself from empirical detection by scientific methodologies? – methodologies that could be used to detect a truly artefactual radio signal or a granite cube that is a “blindly obvious” product of intelligent design? Sure. God could hide Himself from us is He wished. However, if God does exist, it is also possible that He wishes to reveal Himself in a clearly detectable manner through the works of His own hands. And, who are you to say that this is impossible? That God cannot reveal Himself in such a manner?

To argue that the Christian faith is not logical, that one must believe despite the evidence based one one’s own personal internal experience, is a fideistic position that makes no sense to me beyond wishful thinking and warm fuzzy feelings. But, perhaps you’re right. Perhaps I’m simply too “left brained” to get it? I guess God is only able to speak to right brained people? leaving the rest of us out in the cold? I think not…

Sean Pitman Also Commented

The Basis of Biblical Credibility

Your argument that evolution cannot work because Paul Cameron or anyone else lacks a precise mechanism to overcome your declared barrier (1000 fairly specified amino acid residues) is based on the fallacy of ignorance.

Then I suppose SETI science, forensic science, and anthropology are all based on the “fallacy of ignorance” as well? – since these scientists can’t think of any mindless natural mechanism to explain certain types of radio signals, murder victims with certain unnatural features, or pieces of rock with artefactual features?

I’m sorry, but there is no fallacy with the argument for the detection of intelligent design behind various kinds of artefacts – like the origin of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube. It isn’t that these scientists are ignorant of how the phenomenon in question could have been produced by intelligent design. They know how the features they’re considering could have been produced by many different intelligently designed methods. What they don’t know is how the artefact in question could have been produced by any known mindless mechanism of nature. That, my friend, is the very basis of all sciences dealing with the detection of true artefacts of intelligent design.

The very same thing is true of the biomachines within living things that I’m presenting. Clearly, these machines very closely resemble machines that we know were produced by intelligent design. We known and understand how such machines could be produced by various means by intelligent design. What we don’t know is how they could be produced by any mindless natural mechanism this side of a practical eternity of time (i.e., trillions upon trillions of years). This means, of course, that the very best scientific conclusion, the theory with the best predictive power, is that any such biomachine was almost certainly produced by intelligent design.

Now, does the intelligent designer of these biomachines have to be God? No. Not at all. Omnipotence is not required to explain something like a bacterial flagellar motility system. However, even though omnipotence is not required to explain the origin of such machines (to include things like a wrist watch or a granite cube), intelligence of some kind is required.

Does this therefore mean that God did not make something just because God-like power is not required? No. God can make simple stuff just as easily as you and I can make simple stuff. If it just that a God-like creative power is not required to explain everything that God can make. For example, is it possible for God to make a loaf of bread? – the same type of loaf of bread that your mother can make? Sure it is.

It’s funny, don’t you think, that you don’t argue against SETI radio signals or highly symmetrical granite cubes as being anything other than obvious artefacts of intelligent design. Why then the double standard for biological machines that are even farther beyond any known mindless mechanism while being at least closely approximated the creative powers of known intelligent agents?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


The Basis of Biblical Credibility

You obviously can declare anything you want in terms mutation rates and how many SNP indels and genes were present in the 2 mythical pigs but how many can really be present in the original haplotypes. You have said before that copy number variation was not at all the basis for the genetic richness of the original 2.

I see no reason to argue for a significant difference in past mutation rates as compared to today’s rates. Consider that the pig genome is similar in size to the human genome, ~3 billion bases (haploid). The two pigs on the Ark could easily have had a 0.3% difference in genome sequences to start with (with regard to SNPs). Also, in each family line novel SNPs are produced in each generation for each individual at a fairly high rate (up to 100 per individual per generation). And, the generation time for pigs is ~1 year. A comparison between hundreds of pigs from different family lines, even within the same breeding population of average size, would yield a huge number of SNPs in very short order. So, I don’t see why this is an appeal to “magic”?

As far as “unique genes” are concerned, much of this can be explained by a loss of genetic information by one population vs. the other after the split. This is one of the reasons for the “hybrid vitality” already mentioned. Producing such hybrids gives the hybrid offspring access to genes that are missing from each separate gene pool, but were originally available in the ancestral gene pool.

Of course, the production of novel alleles is also a factor. And, in an average population, any beneficial allelic variation would become fixed in relatively short order.

The differences in indels is interesting, but I see no need to invoke magic to explain a few hundred thousand indels in a comparison of hundreds of pigs – especially since muticharacter mutations are quite common as well and would already have existed within the first pair on the Ark to begin with. For example, there are thought to be thousands of conversion mutations per individual in each generation. Combine this with what is generally assumed to be a high rate of inversions/translocations, ~10 duplications/insertions/deletions (changing up to 20 times the number bases that point mutations change per generation), and >100 satellite mutations, and you have yourself a very high overall mutation rate that adds up to many thousands of nucleotide changes per individual per generation.


The Basis of Biblical Credibility

“The discovery of the Cit + mutants in Lenski’s experiment has been a mote in the eye for those suggesting that major phenotypic innovations cannot be explained by micro-evolutionary (gradual) processes…

Do you know anything about the experiment where Lenski’s produced Cit+ E. coli bacteria?

What Lenski did was to grow E. coli under oxic conditions in citrate-rich media. E. coli bacteria are generally unable to use citrate under oxic conditions as a source of energy. However, they can use it under anoxic conditions. In other words, they already have the gene for citrase in their genome. It is just that it is normally turned off under oxic conditions. How is it turned off? Well, the promoter for the gene that transports citrate into the bacterium is not active under oxic conditions. So, all that needs to happen is to move the citrate transport gene close to a promoter that is actually active under oxic conditions. Once this is done, citrate will enter the bacterium and be used for energy.

And, this is exactly what happened. Nothing structurally new needed to be evolved. After about 31,000 generations, in a large population of bacteria, there was a single genetic mutation in a bacterium that ended up moving the citT gene and placing it under the control of a promoter (rnk) that is active under oxic conditions. The fact that just this single translocation mutation took so long to achieve should clue you in to how difficult it is to achieve even such low-level changes in function via random mutations. The protein product, however, remained the same – i.e., <500aa with no required amino acid changes to achieve a selectable effect. All that was required was to move a pre-existing gene close to a promoter to turn it on during oxic conditions. That's it. The protein itself didn't need to be changed for a useful advantage. Now, at this point, multiple copies of the gene were rapidly produced in some colonies. However, having just one copy was enough to produce a selectable advantage in the citrate-rich environment. It doesn't matter if there are 1 - 9 copies of the gene - the same function is realized to different levels - i.e., the cit+ function can exist, to a selectable degree, with just one copy of the gene producing the the very same protein. Additional "refinements" are easy once at least a minimum useful level of a particular type of function is realized - not a problem at all. Again, this "unicorn" of yours is a very low-level example of evolution in action where nothing structurally new was produced to achieve the function in question. The only thing that happened was a mutational move from one location to another within the genome. That's not a statistical problem for Darwinism at all...

Pubmed still does not have any reference to novel structure composed of 1000 amino acid residues. But indeed there is refence to uinicorns so your 100FSAAR is rarer than unicorns in the biomedical literature. Perhaps you should publish your obvservations.

Tell me, what is the minimum number of specifically arranged amino acids required to produce a rotary bacterial falgellar motility system? Is it possible to reduce it to less than 1000 specifically arranged residues? – without a complete loss of the motility function?

Again, the concept of functional complexity has been published and is well defined in literature, to include the minimum size requirement. I’ve already given you the references a couple times now.

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Christians and the Sabbath
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?