Comment on The Basis of Biblical Credibility by Sean Pitman.
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 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…
Thanks you Sean. Now the subsequent question is why do you accept that boars and pig as genetically related by ancestory but not man and chimps. If you read the paper you will see that in fact there is greater genetic distance between pig and boar than between man and chimp. Loss of genes in the boar/pig is simply analogous to the y chromosome changes in human/chimp. Is this a 1000FSAAR or not?
I’m not talking about a loss of genes. I’m talking about a gain of a qualitatively novel protein-based function that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged residues. Do you know of such a novel system or not? If so, please do present it here. Even if humans and chimps did have a common ancestor, how would this help you explain the evolution of higher level systems via RM/NS? – given that such has never been observed and is still statisically impossible this side of trillions of years of time? Such an argument has absolutely no explanatory power and is not scientific (being untestable in a potentially falsifiable manner).
Just for fun though, is there such a difference between humans and chimps? As I’ve explained to you before, there do seem to be such differences on a macro scale – to include structural brain differences that result in higher-level functional differences that require, not just specific 1000aa structures, but entire cellular structures that enable humans to do things that chimps cannot do – things like write books and speak in complex sentences, etc. These functional advantages are not based so much on novel genes, as previously explained, but on how the products of similar genes are used to make different types of structures and systems based on non-coding DNA (which is significantly different between humans and apes). And, as far as I’m aware, there are no such higher-level functional differences between boars and pigs. Consider also that boars and pigs can interbreed to produce viable offspring. This cannot happen between humans and chimps.
Again, you need to focus on functional systems, not genes. Do you have any example of any qualitatively novel system evolving that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged residues? You’ve yet to produce such an example or any mathematical argument that even allows for such an example. You seem to be trying to argue that it must happen because certain species simply must be related. Again, that’s not the same thing as producing an actual example or explaining how such evolution is statistically possible within the vastness of sequence space.
If you accept that pig and boar arose by a sequence of small genetic changes occurring by gene selection in a gene puddle then you must logically also accept that man and chimp arose by small genetic changes as well. Particularly as you have not identified either in pig/boar or in human/chimp any differences fulfilling your 1000FSAAR barrier beyond simply hinting that Y chromosome changes must be such. I do not believe there is such a barrier. You do but have never even attempted to identify it with any sort of specificity.
I have given you many specific examples of higher level systems. Yet again, the rotary bacterial flagellar motility system requires a minimum of over 5000 specifically arranged amino acid residues positions to be in place before this type of function will be realized. No system at this level of functional complexity or beyond has ever been shown to evolve nor are there any statistically tenable models on how this might be achieved via random mutations and function-based selection.
As far as this level of differences between pigs/boars, of course I am not aware of such – especially given that pigs and boars and interbreed to produce viable hybrids. As far as humans and chimps are concerned, more and more discoveries are coming to light that highlight fairly significant structural differences that are functionally relevant at a higher level of complexity. And, humans/chimps cannot interbreed. Why not? Well, for one thing the non-coding DNA is very different and is responsible for producing many of the structural/functional differences. And, for another thing, research carried out by scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Chicago found that hotspot regions that determine the locations for genetic recombination during cellular meiosis in sexual reproduction showed “no overlap between humans and chimpanzees.” This was an “extraordinarily unexpected finding” given the assumed evolutionary relationship between humans and chimps. Professor McVean explains:
“Genetic recombination has been likened to shuffling a deck of cards, which ensures that children are given a different genetic ‘hand’ than their parents. We know that in many cases recombination occurs where a particular thirteen letter sequence is present — this is like a run of hearts from ace to king determining where we cut the deck of cards. Because humans and chimpanzees are genetically very similar, we might explain that you can only ‘cut the cards’ at the same point — in fact, we find that this is not true.”
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…