Comment on The Basis of Biblical Credibility by Sean Pitman.
What does “molecular crowding” (the fact that a cell’s cytoplasm is densely packed with all kinds of molecules) have to do with the concept of discovering new types of beneficial proteins within “sequence space” at various levels of functional complexity? You do realize that sequence space is the space that contains all possible protein sequences of a given length? – and that sequence space has absolutely nothing to do with “molecular crowding”? In other words, the fact of molecular crowding doesn’t make it any easier to find the rare islands of novel beneficial sequences within the vast ocean of sequence space via random mutations.
For example, what is the sequence space size for sequence length of 100aa? It is 20^100 or 1e130 sequences. This is a larger number than all the atoms in the visible universe (~1e80 atoms). Clearly, the concept of “molecular crowding” has nothing to do with the concept of sequence space, which is an entirely different concept. The question is, what is the ratio of potentially beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences within sequence space? In other words, how many random mutations would it take, on average, to an existing sequence within a genome to get it to mutate into another kind of beneficial sequence? That’s the real question.
Here’s a big clue for you: The density of potentially beneficial sequences within sequence space is very low, even at low levels of functional complexity. It is not “crowded” at all – not even close. There are always more non-beneficial sequences compared to potentially beneficial sequences in sequence space. And, it gets exponentially less and less crowded (with potentially beneficial sequences) with each step up ladder of functional complexity (i.e., with each increase in the minimum size and/or specificity requirements under consideration). This means, of course, that it is exponentially harder and harder to find, within a given span of time, novel islands of beneficial sequences within sequence space at higher and higher levels of functional complexity.
Should you really be regarding him as your oracle? Shouldn’t you like the Bereans look at the literature to see if what he says is so?
By all means everyone who is at all interested in the implications of these concepts should research the arguments carefully to see who is telling the truth here. Personal research is vital to know if what the “experts” are saying about Darwinism, specially regarding the creative ability of random mutations and natural selection, actually hold water… or even if someone like Dr. Paul Cameron even understands basic concepts like “sequence space” and how random mutations must randomly search through many junk sequences in sequence space before natural selection can do anything…
Sean Pitman Also Commented
The Basis of Biblical Credibility
I thought I answered that question already? To be even more explicit, I do believe that all pigs/boars did come from the same gene pool (i.e., pig/boar hybrids are known that demonstrate “hybrid vitality”; Link), as did all dogs/wolves/coyotes come from the same doggy gene pool and all domestic cats/lions/tigers from the same cat gene pool, etc. We’ve discussed this quite a bit in previous threads you know…
Now, what does your red herring question have to do with answering my question? What qualitatively novel functions have Tibetan boars evolved, beyond very low levels of functional complexity, that weren’t already within the parental gene pool of all boars/pigs?
The Basis of Biblical Credibility
Very good points…
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?
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…