Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

Scoring the arguments for and against

Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#161  Postby Cito di Pense » Nov 30, 2021 8:45 am

Spearthrower wrote:
As the new Omicron variant spreads around the world, creationists have been asked whether the molecular evolution of SarsCov2 is not remarkable evidence for Darwinian theory


Creationists have been asked by other Creationists, because Creationists are only credible to other Creationists, and were those asking Creationists not themselves Creationist, they'd consider asking a Creationist a question about evolution to be about as useful as asking a mouse to tap dance.


That last bit is an emergent outcome of the Snarkoverse / Blogosphere. The way to explore the issue with a creationist is just to ask a question without indicating that the questioner has credibility issues w.r.t. creationism. You can't do that, here. SarsCov2 is obviously a divine intervention, no less than virology is. The invalidation of the postulate of divinity follows immediately. The lemma is the proof of the conjecture that divinity works in mysterious ways. That the ways of divinity are mysterious follows immediately from the mystery.

Remember, it's a waste of time to try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. Maybe the whole point is to annoy the pig. It's rumored that pigs (and creationists) make good eating. Let us prey: Nothing predates predation.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#162  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 30, 2021 9:11 am

Cito di Pense wrote:
Remember, it's a waste of time to try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. Maybe the whole point is to annoy the pig.


Sometimes, just sometimes, pigs learn to sing.

For me, though... it works more like a soap box, in ye olde street corner style. There's something fundamentally right in providing a place for anyone to momentarily elevate their voice above the crowd, but in turn they must hold equally sacred the right of the crowd to reply with mockery and jeers.

Pantomime, I guess, is pretty close too - Oh no he didn't, Oh yes he did!. And it is, always, a pantomime! :)
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#163  Postby Wortfish » Nov 30, 2021 10:55 am

Spearthrower wrote:
As the new Omicron variant spreads around the world, creationists have been asked whether the molecular evolution of SarsCov2 is not remarkable evidence for Darwinian theory


Creationists have been asked by other Creationists, because Creationists are only credible to other Creationists, and were those asking Creationists not themselves Creationist, they'd consider asking a Creationist a question about evolution to be about as useful as asking a mouse to tap dance.


Well, I don't get the distinction between the acceptance that the virus is "changing" and it is "evolving". But it is an important point that natural selection cannot prevent the virus from mutating itself out of existence.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#164  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 30, 2021 12:02 pm

Wortfish wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:
As the new Omicron variant spreads around the world, creationists have been asked whether the molecular evolution of SarsCov2 is not remarkable evidence for Darwinian theory


Creationists have been asked by other Creationists, because Creationists are only credible to other Creationists, and were those asking Creationists not themselves Creationist, they'd consider asking a Creationist a question about evolution to be about as useful as asking a mouse to tap dance.


Well, I don't get the distinction between the acceptance that the virus is "changing" and it is "evolving".


Dogma is the distinction.


Wortfish wrote: But it is an important point that natural selection cannot prevent the virus from mutating itself out of existence.


And of course, no one who has the faintest idea how evolution by natural selection occurs would find this anything other than obvious.

As always, populations are walking a tightrope through time and space - even being too successful can be detrimental to a population's long term survival. The rules of the game are ever-changing, so no one size ever fits all... and thus endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful, and most pernicious and virulent have evolved and will continue to evolve.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#165  Postby Hermit » Nov 30, 2021 5:01 pm

Wortfish wrote:But it is an important point that natural selection cannot prevent the virus from mutating itself out of existence.

Indeed. Please explain how that is supposed to be an argument against evolution.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#166  Postby Rumraket » Dec 07, 2021 11:18 am

Wortfish wrote:
Now, let's see the latest information on the delta variant: https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-m ... searchers/

That's not "the latest information on the delta variant", that's a blog post with some guys giving opinions.

Peer reviewed research please.

Wortfish wrote:Well, I don't get the distinction between the acceptance that the virus is "changing" and it is "evolving". But it is an important point that natural selection cannot prevent the virus from mutating itself out of existence.

Weirdly, though, that just doesn't seem to be happening. Somehow we have a new variant called Omicron spreading rapidly and outcompeting the Delta variant, and with a considerable immune-escape component. So just when is this virus supposed to mutate itself out of existence? It's still around and appears to be going strong.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#167  Postby Calilasseia » Jan 19, 2022 5:15 pm

WARNING - DATA TAKES A LONG TIME TO LOAD

The fun part being, of course, that the Covid-19 virus now has an extensive phylogenetic tree of its own. You can search that tree, and find out what mutations have been acquired by each of the virus serotypes on the nodes of that tree.

Though since there are now several thousand nodes on that tree, you have all the fun of waiting for the data to load, and now, the data set is large enough that I can go and cook a pizza while I'm waiting for the full global data set to load ...

EDIT : that tree contains details of 3,327 sampled genomes after I loaded it.
Signature temporarily on hold until I can find a reliable image host ...
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#168  Postby hackenslash » Mar 21, 2022 10:48 pm

Wortfish will be overjoyed to learn that esteemed physicist and philosopher Victor Stenger heard about his argument from beyond the grave, and had some interesting things to say about it which, thanks to a funky quirk of spacetime, he oddly had the idea to put down in book form some years prior to his death when he found a minute.

It's available in all good bookstores and quite a few rubbish ones.

Off to have a proper read of the thread. I need a good laugh.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#169  Postby Greg the Grouper » Mar 22, 2022 12:16 am

Grouper supremacy.
The evolution of intelligence has gone beyond the restrains of biological individual generations.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#170  Postby hackenslash » Mar 22, 2022 1:34 am

Decided to treat the OP to a proper cold fisk, such as I haven't done in years. Could be fun. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the OP, and I've had enough for today, so I'm off to bed.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#171  Postby fluttermoth » Mar 22, 2022 1:58 am

hackenslash wrote:Decided to treat the OP to a proper cold fisk, such as I haven't done in years. Could be fun. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the OP, and I've had enough for today, so I'm off to bed.


Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it :popcorn:
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#172  Postby hackenslash » Mar 22, 2022 4:20 pm

This is taking a while. I used to be able to bash one of these off in between emails. I've finished scoring his scores for the pro-creationist portion.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#173  Postby TopCat » Mar 22, 2022 7:13 pm

fluttermoth wrote:
hackenslash wrote:Decided to treat the OP to a proper cold fisk, such as I haven't done in years. Could be fun. I'm about two-thirds of the way through the OP, and I've had enough for today, so I'm off to bed.


Can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it :popcorn:

:this:
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#174  Postby fluttermoth » Mar 22, 2022 9:14 pm

hackenslash wrote:This is taking a while. I used to be able to bash one of these off in between emails. I've finished scoring his scores for the pro-creationist portion.


It'll be worth waiting for, take your time :)
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#175  Postby hackenslash » Mar 22, 2022 10:29 pm

I was going to read the whole thread before commenting, but I got as far as 'the outcome may startle you' and just knew I had to do this on the fly. The outcome will not, I suspect, be raising any startle in anybody. It will not be the subject of future conspiracy theories concerning how such a thing could come about. I predict that I'm about to be exactly as predictable as I predict Wortfish to be.

I haven't done a root fisk on the fly in a very long time, and I'm accessing memory corridors in the labyrinth of my mind that haven't been trod these many a year, so please forgive any cobwebs that may or may not become apparent. If nobody notices them, they didn't happen.

Wortfish wrote:I have tried to be fair and balanced, weighing up the merits of the main arguments and counter-arguments for both scientific hypotheses at the heart of the ongoing controversy about origins (7 for each).


Except that you've already unbalanced the scales, because creationism isn't a scientific hypothesis. It doesn't even make it to the first hurdle before turning into something constructed entirely of elbows and crashing ignominiously into the track, which I do hope was rubberised, or it would have done itself a serious mischief, possibly even requiring treatment using evolutionary medicine like antiseptics and antibiotics.

The problem is, of course, that in order to qualify as a scientific hypothesis, it's required to have some features. Some of them are debatable, but one that pretty much nobody would dispute is falsifiability (and I mean falsifiability, not falsification; if you think these are the same or that any of the arguments about 'falsificationism' apply here, you're mistaken).

The problem is that, obviously, you have to be able to test an hypothesis, which means that it must be possible, at least in principle, to show a set of circumstances that's both relevant to the hypothesis and that shows that it must be wrong. This is reasonably obvious, if you think about it for a minute, because if you can't think of a set of circumstances that could show it to be false, it means that literally every prediction in the entire phase space of possible predictions in every scientific discipline ever devised or that could be devised is a prediction of your hypothesis, including both the null and the alternate in every case.

Read that again, and again, and keep reading it until it sinks in. If you take nothing else at all away from this post, take that away. Write it out by hand, and then write this, because this is what would have been the closing line of that paragraph had I not deemed it worth interjecting with this one to highlight it. Are you sitting comfortably?

If you were reading a glossary of logic for a university philosophy module rather than a text box on the internet, this hypothesis I've just described mirrors fairly closely what you'd find immediately following a single word in bold: Absurd.

I give your attempt to be fair and balanced a hearty score of:

Image

Moving on...

I have chosen not to include the evidence for a global flood or a young earth because not all creationists accept this (most Muslim, Hindu and Jewish creationists are OECs).


You have chosen not to include the claims of a global flood or a young Earth because and only because the result would be catastrophic to the score you already have in your head and are working toward. The reason for this is that both these notions are so asinine and contrary to every shred of evidence ever discovered in every field of enquiry from geology to palaeontology to palaeobotany to sedimentology to vulcanology to biochemistry to biomechanics to thermodynamics to particle physics to... I mean, are you seeing a pattern here? Every one of those fields is predicated on total bullshit if what you describe could actually happen, and as a result, you couldn't exist to tell us about it. Provably.

To include 'evidence' for either of those would render your final score unassailable, because starting with two instances of minus infinity makes your as-yet-undisclosed scoring metric functionally irrelevant.

By scoring all the pros and cons, I have come to an objective assessment and final determination about which hypothesis is the more plausible. The outcome may startle you.


This is my startled face. Honest.

Ah well, let's have a lookie then, shall we?

CREATIONISM


Just a stylistic point, since you've gone to all this effort, and all. Better clarity and, more importantly, greater pomp as befits such a serious and generous treatment of such weighty issues.

CREATIONISM


There you go. Doesn't that look important. (You there at the back, I know that look on your face. No bloody jokes about pimps, OK?)

1. The living cell is irreducibly complex. Scientists accept that as many as 300-400 genes are required for even a parasitic organism, let alone the most primitive free-living bacterium. (Score: 9)


Hang on, why are you using a postulate of evolutionary theory as an argument for creationism? That looks suspiciously like trying to tip the scales in your favour.

What's that? You didn't know irreducible complexity is a prediction of the theory of evolution? Surely one of the knowledgeable people hereabouts has furnished you with the requisite information to aid you in your assessment. I've not been around for quite a while, and it's my first venture into the creationism forum proper since I returned, but Calilasseia is usually very on the ball about such things, and I find it hard to believe that he'd suffer such an oversight. It really doesn't sound like him at all but, as you say, you're being fair and balanced, so clearly the blame for this deficiency lies elsewhere. :)

Counter: Chemical evolution may have produced RNA-based proto-cells that did not contain any protein-coding genes at all. Life may, thus, have had even simpler origins than is the case today. (Score: 4)


Sorry, that sounds like a creationist claim, not a counter from evolutionary theory nor devised by anybody with even a cursory understanding of evolutionary theory, not least because what you've said there isn't even a vacuous marmalisation of evolutionary theory, but of abiogenesis. I'm sorry to say that I think somebody's led you up the garden path somewhere, because you appear to have the positions in the wrong order. Wait, did you study your religion in a very clean-looking place with odd-looking instruments that you looked into and saw tiny little things swimming around in drops of water? Because it really does sound like you're not a creationist at all, but that some scamp has convinced you that evolutionary theory is, in fact, creationism. That said, it does look like a creationist wrote it. Maybe it was your cousin Goober, who really is a creationist but he's fucking with you for some reason.

I mean, just from a purely terminological perspective, it sounds like somebody LARPing an understanding of the material, rather than actually understanding it. Nothing that could reasonably be accorded the moniker 'cell' with or without qualifiers must, by definition, contain protein-coding capabilities, because cells are made of lipids, cholesterols and... wait for it... proteins.

Oops.

I think we have to consider your score for this one null on just about every count. You've taken the opposing position in your claim, and your own claim in the counter. I think maybe even a penalty of 13 points (all points awarded to both sides seems fair) awarded to the evolutionary side for the successful defence of irreducible complexity for evolutionary theory is probably warranted.

2. The exquisite information content of DNA can only be explained with respect to an intelligent designer.


OK, that sounds more like a real creationist argument, which is to say it's a bit daft. OK, so I'm not being fair and balanced in my assessment, but then I didn't claim I would be. Both statements are true, though. Only a creationist would use a term like 'exquisite' in that context, because it isn't really an adjective that applies.

I think you'll have to do a bit of legwork and tell us exactly what you mean by information. I should make you aware that I have both a personal and a professional interest in information theory, and I'm more than merely conversant with the issues and the terminology. See, I've encountered a lot of stuff about information and creationism, and I've yet to encounter a single instance of anybody who could correctly define information and who was using the correct formalism. Indeed, I can count on the fingers of one head the number of creationists who were even aware that there is more than one formalism and that they apply to different kinds of system with radically different implications. I assume, in your fair and balanced assessment, that you've taken all of this into account and that you're conversant with the key findings of each. I will expect you to show your work.

This includes not only the highly specific codon sequences of genes but also the non-coding control circuits that regulate their expression. There is a “combinatorial inflation” relating to these sequences that is extremely prohibitive to a blind and undirected search for them (Score: 6)


Once again, and setting aside the usual fallacy of stolen concept, these terms you're using...

First, this is wrong on the face of it, especially the 'highly specific'. Codons are so specific that you could functionally change every third nucleobase with a random substitution throughout the entire genome with ZERO impact on expression (to be fair, it's far from clear that this is true, and I seriously doubt that no major pathologies would arise as a result but the underlying point stands; mutations in the third base of a codon have no impact on expression). Highly specific enough for you?

The other howling flaw, of course, is that there is no blind and undirected search for anything. Even the way that's phrased is utterly stupid. 'For them' is directed, because it implies specific goals. It's not trying to do things, or find anything, it's just replicating, and sometimes it finds some chemical configuration that increases its chances of reproduction. The organism is trying to reproduce, the DNA is just ticking away consuming resources and replicating imperfectly in new and interesting and sometimes fatal ways.

This is the lottery fallacy write large. Many years ago, I defined this argument as Probably the Worst Argument in the World.

And that's not an argument about information anyway, its an argument about specificity. It needs an enormous amount of legwork to join the dots between that argument about specificity (an asinine argument however you slice it; no more than an appeal to incredulity and a whacking great standalone case of affirming the consequent) and not about information. The information in DNA argument is an entirely different argument, but just as stupid. And yes, I smashed that one as well, by asking a simple question; Who Put it There?

Counter: Natural selection, genetic drift and random mutation (including duplication) – acting within large populations and over deep time - can adequately explain the information content of DNA and all of the functionality represented by it. (Score: 5)


This is not a counter by anybody who understands evolution, or information theory, or the difference between information and specificity. I think you've nicked some dumb shit from the Discoprolite Institute that they hardly understand and that you didn't understand at all and mangled it into the exponential function of fuckwittery.

Information is something very specific, and has no bioorganic function. That is a category error. You really are falling out of the fallacy tree and collecting every leaf on the way down here. We're going to be looking at a very barren spring if you're not careful. I score this entry: must try harder.

3. The existence of biological molecular machines of extreme perfection, such as the bacterial flagellum and eukaryotic ciliate, can also only be explained with respect to an intelligent designer and not by any stepwise and unguided process with no foresight. (Score: 7)


Oh, dear, the flagellum. Wortfish, Wortfish, Wortfish, what are we to do with you, eh? I mean, haven't the Drosscovering Institute stopped wanging away with this yet? I mean, the flagellum was your one scientific success in the history of biology. You actually drove valuable research that might not otherwise have been done for years or decades, and it's really paid off, as well, as I understand that the things we've learned about flagella based on that research driven by creationist claims is being pressed into service for research into antibacterials and bacteriophages, among many other exciting areas of research. There are studies on the role of the flagellum in bacterial virulence and, it turns out, the flagellum has a role in the binding of the bacterium to the host cell to infect it, by providing motility. This is invaluable to medical research, but you're still denying it ever happened.

In any event, this isn't an argument for an intelligent designer, because this is argument one again. This is irreducible complexity. Oh, and yes, I gave that a more complete treatment as well. Given the target audience, I tried to make it as simple as possible, But No Simpler!

Counter: Exaptation and co-option can account for how many complex structures arise where there is functional change with structural continuity. Sexual selection may also be important. (Score: 6)


This is pretty much semantically null, not least in light of the fact that you've recast a defence of a postulate of evolutionary theory and disguised it as an argument for creationism.

I score this entry because my dealer has gone to bed, so it's the only score open to me.

4. There are glaring discontinuities in the fossil record, which mostly shows stasis, that belie the notion of gradual change. Animals and plants have appeared relatively suddenly in earth's history and with no clear precursor (Score: 7)


That's not an argument for creationism. It has exactly nothing to do with whether there is a creator/designer. It's completely irrelevant. I thought you were bringing the top 7?

What that actually is is the observation that fossilisation is the exception, rather than the norm, which isn't an argument for anything. As for the bit about appearing suddenly with no clear precursor, that's simply a lie. There are plenty of precursors, but prior to the development of skeletal structure, they were mostly soft-bodied and fluid-borne. Even then, 'relatively suddenly' -because you're clearly talking about the Cambrian - you're talking about a period of approximately 80 million years of development WITH precursors. And this is still an argument about the relative rarity of fossilisation, not about the existence or not of a designer. The designer is irrelevant to this misleadingly stated observation, to the extent there was anything correct about it.

Counter: The fossil record may be incomplete and, in any case, evolution can be rapid provided the right environmental conditions are present. Punctuated equilibrium explains how this can happen. (Score: 5)


You actually get points for this. It's wrong, but it isn't so far from right that this would be the thing I'd rush to correct. First, it's not that the fossil record may be incomplete, it's that the notion that the fossil record could represent a significant fraction of all the organisms that have ever lived is not a reasonable expectation. The rate of evolution is as entirely irrelevant to the completeness of the fossil record as the incompleteness of the fossil record is to a designer.

I score this entry in a criss-cross pattern with my knife so the rub gets right down into the meat with the rendering fat.

5. There are natural limits to biological change that prove the existence of “created kinds”. We know this from selective breeding. We can get organisms of the same genus or family to produce offspring (such as a horse and zebra) but not a tiger and a wolf. This is because they are different kinds of animal. (Score: 7)


Yes, that's certainly a creationist argument, by which I mean it's nonsense. Once again, you've taken a simple fact about how evolution works and taken it around the houses and interpolated creationist terminology on it. The evolution of a species is broadly deterministic (for a given value of deterministic; oodles of really important terminological caveats here). The detailed mechanisms are far from linear, but the overall picture is generally one of chains of cause and effect. What this means in practice is that the future state of any given clade is predicated on the alleles extant in that clade plus one or more random variables. In other words, populations can only travel into the future, not into the past, and not sideways. Distilled to its essence, it says that every organism with be the same species as its parents and, by corollary, the same species as its progeny.

Counter: There is no such thing as a “kind”. Dogs and cats cannot interbreed because their genomes have become far too diverse in terms of organisation and chromosome number to allow this. We still don't know if humans and chimps can have offspring. If they could, this would disprove creationism. (Score: 6)


Actually, chromosome count doesn't appear to be a major factor, as we can see by the fact that the functional difference in chromosome count between humans and chimps, for example, is such that there's no apparent morphological expression of the fusion (I have seen some recent work suggesting that there's a difference in degree of expression and that this may account for differences in brain mass, but it's also not clear this isn't merely a function of the precise allelic difference and entirely unrelated to the fusion; more study required).

That said, the real issue here is not that there isn't any such thing as a kind, it's that the term is undefined and, to the extent any definition could be found, it's like nailing jelly to a wall. In the final analysis, the term is simply meaningless. Meanwhile, biology has a nice hierarchy of terms and yet, even there, we're moving away from it toward a less rigid systematisation, as the evidence and the demands of of a burgeoning catalogue of organisms requires of us. It's why we mostly talk in terms of clades. You can think of a clade as being like your idiotic baramin, except that each baramin isn't just a clade, it's also a member of a clade, because what you think of as kinds are all descendant clades of prior populations.

Once again, I have to score this as a forfeit, for using evolutionary postulates as the evolutionary position.

6. Genomic entropy and Muller's ratchet: The genome is deteriorating from a once pristine created condition due to the accumulation of slightly harmful changes that cannot be weeded out by natural selection. This degeneration is not sustainable over millions of years and would almost certainly result in extinction and not any evolutionary diversification. (Score: 4)


This is pure, unadulterated bullshit, and the reason I know it's pure unadulterated bullshit is that I know exactly where you plagiarised this from, and it doesn't stack up. John Sanford, the total fuckwit who came up with this, did so with a computer program he devised called Mendel's Accountant. This was demolished more than a decade ago, for really simple and straightforward reasons, though they do require a little understanding of the more detailed mechanisms for evolution. First, Sanford's model overlooked an important factor in the population resampling dance and, what's more, he built his failure of understanding right into the model. See, there's this thing you have to understand about evolution that, it's obvious, neither he nor you actually understand, and it's this: natural selection isn't the whole picture.

In fact, natural selection isn't even the most important factor in all cases. In particular, natural selection takes back seat in certain circumstances to the other arm of the population resampling game. Specifically, genetic drift is by far the majority player in certain populations. And here's the really good bit: Sanford, because he's really incredibly dumb and has no idea of what he's doing, has ensured that his dumb simulation cannot properly model natural selection. Why? Because he's capped the population. The real balance between NS and genetic drift is predicated on population size, with NS dominating in large populations and drift dominating in smaller populations. Sanford's model caps the population such that NS has functionally zero bearing. Moreover, that population cap has an interesting effect, because it represents a type of boundary, specifically a reflecting boundary, On the other end, we have an absorbing boundary with extinction. So, we have a reflecting boundary on one side and an absorbing boundary on the other. This phenomenon is known as a 'drunkard's walk'. The reason should be fairly obvious. If a drunkard is walking down the street with a wall on one side (reflecting boundary) and the road on the other (absorbing boundary), his journey is inherently biased to the absorbing boundary. Thus, by capping the population at 1,000 (or even capping a several orders of magnitude higher than that; this is a really fucking tiny population), he's inherently biased the entire enterprise in the direction of extinction.

In short, it's bullshit. And that's setting aside that every time you say 'information' you get wronger. And it gets worse when we move on to...

Counter: The effects of the accumulation of deleterious mutations can be counteracted by compensatory mutations and with recombination. Also, extinction is itself a part of the evolutionary process.(Score: 6)


This is not an evolution-rooted counter, it's creationist, not least because you don't understand what 'deleterious' means in the real world. Very few mutations are deleterious or advantageous in and of themselves, because that's not how alleles work. What determines whether a mutation is deleterious, advantageous or, indeed, neutral, is the environment it (or its expression) finds itself in. Also, extinction isn't just part of the evolutionary process, it's the major factor in almost all macroevolutionary processes. It is the critical factor in speciation, all else aside.

I score this entry as: fermion. Because Pauli would exclude it as 'nicht einmal falsch'.

7. Biology is more than just the expression of genomes. Many aspects of the morphology and anatomy of organisms cannot be explained with reference to DNA sequences alone, and their origin lies in information of another kind. Also, many aspects of the human condition, such as consciousness, higher love, abstract thought, defy a materialistic explanation and are best explained by the existence of an animating soul (Score: 8)


This isn't an argument, it's blather, and almost entirely incorrect. There is nothing in consciousness, abstract thought or love (dunno what the fuck you mean by 'higher' here. I mean, I'm a singer by trade, so I maybe appreciate how awesome Stevie Winwood is better than many, but I have no idea of what he's doing in creationist apologetics) that isn't explainable by science. You may not like the explanations, but I think we've already established that you really dislike science to the point of having pretty much no grasp of it. Oh, and the information canard again. When I do my generalising rewrite of the Baez Crackpot index, this particular bit of dreck is going to carry a heavy penalty, up there with misspelling Einstein.

Counter: Even if DNA does not account for every aspect of living organisms, this just means that science doesn't have all of the answers yet. There is no need for any supernatural tinkering. Consciousness can, in principle, be explained in terms of physico-chemical processes in the brain. (Score: 4)


Aside from the incorrect assertion, this is actually not a terrible fist of things. It isn't the response anybody with a clue would give, but it is the sort of response a sceptic not familiar with the material might give. I'm going to award these 4 points to the creationist side as a reward for doing well. Since this is the first positive score for creationism, despite it not being supportive of creationism in any way, I think we should celebrate this landmark. :cheers:

EVOLUTIONISM


:)

Should I point out that evolution isn't something to which 'isms' apply? Nah, surely somebody else has done that.

1. The universal genetic code and phylogenetic comparative analysis of thousands of taxa clearly shows that there is a universal common ancestry amongst all living organisms. Humans share 95% of their DNA with chimps which only makes sense from an understanding of common ancestry (Score: 9)


Could be worse. I mean, it's pretty woolly, but not in really dumb ways. Other considerations aside, the homogeneity between the genomes of chimps alone can be made sense of in many ways, to the degree that you can almost take your pick. Where it really only makes sense from an understanding of common ancestry is when it's set alongside all the other evidence for common ancestry. Some of the detail of the homogeneity only make sense from an understanding of common ancestry, such as shared retroviral insertions, because those insertions have observable features that can only come about in the presence of a heritable, mutable genome. You may not be aware of this, but some retroviral insertions can still express in their viral form. There's a scale of probability of these insertions experiencing mutations in the genome over generations, and the more they accumulate, the less probable that they can still express in their original form. These similarities, then, really do provide clear evidence of common ancestry, because they constitute shared alleles with fairly homogeneous rates of mutations in these insertions shared across both species, which tells us that they entered both genomes at the same time. There's a not unreasonable expectation that this could happen even without shared ancestry, but the probability that this could happen in anything like a significant percentage of ERVs absent common ancestry is vanishingly low. I mean, more than a few percent at most simply fails to be explained by anything other than those ERVs being inserted into a progenitor species prior to the divergence. That the actual percentage of shared ERVs is just short of 100% means the probability that these were acquired separately is functionally nil.

Counter: The existence of a universal genetic code is indicative of a common designer and not necessarily of common ancestry - the code itself defies explanation by naturalistic processes. Moreover, many genetic commonalities shared between organisms at the genetic level can be attributed to the re-use of existing parts and internal processes. Humans also share as much as 85% of their DNA with mice because they need the same types of genes. (Score: 4)


There's an enormous problem here. First, DNA isn't a code. Yes, yes, I know. This is the most common conflation of map and terrain in all religious apologetics. And yet it's a true statement. DNA is a code in exactly the same way that London is a map. Again, covered this in Who Put it There, linked above.

Worse, to assert that this or that thing is evidence of a common design requires some things to put it on a rigorous footing. I'll be amazed if somebody, in the course of responding to you, hasn't already demanded of you your metric for design. I'll be interested to note that you haven't provided one (because I know as well as you do that no such metric exists), any more than you've provided a metric for your scoring system. Also, you need evidence that a designer is even possible.

2. Natural selection and adaption are the best way to explain biological diversity and complexity. There are many observed instances of this in the scientific literature. (Score: 4)


It's quite amusing that you score something observed to be the case as a 4 when your score for the blind assertion erected in counter to it scores higher. I'm starting to think your scoring system may not be as objective, fair and balanced as you promised. That said, this is still a really woolly expression. It is not an argument from a knowledgeable perspective on evolutionary theory to state that 'natural selection and adaptation are the best way to explain biological diversity and complexity' for several reasons. First, complexity exists entirely without natural selection, at least in the sense you're using the term (I've been doing some directed thinking thanks to a couple of peeps more knowledgeable in complex adaptive systems than I, and I have some sympathy for a certain anthropic view of selection that I think attractive in some ways, but I'm not there yet). Complex means simply 'composed of parts'. Stars are complex, yet no natural selection is required. A simple planetary orbit is complex, again with no natural selection required.

As for biodiversity, natural selection alone is insufficient to account for it. NS only works on what's there, and it isn't the only player in the game. It isn't a generator of diversity, only a filter.

Counter: There are many limits to evolution by natural selection, Haldane's dilemma being just one of them. Selection is mostly a conserving force, that reduces diversity rather than promotes it. Adaptation often works by reducing complexity through the loss of functionality or structures as well. The simplest of all organisms are the most versatile which militates against any complexification. (Score: 6)


This is straight up drivel. First, because adaptation and NS are in essence the same process. Adaptation - to the extent the notion has any value at all - is simply the statement that environments filter traits. Beyond that, it's mostly teleological, and has exactly no place in science, not least because of that aforementioned problem of not having established that a designer is even possible, let alone extant. Second, simplicity and complexity aren't opposites, as this implies. They're not even on the same spectrum. The opposite of complex is simplex, and the opposite of simple is complicated. A double pendulum is extremely simple, maybe the second simplest machine ever devised, but it's also complex. Further, there's a straight-up falsehood in there, namely that it is factually incorrect to assert that the simplest of all organisms are the most versatile. One thing humans have mastered above all others is versatility. We're the only organism on Earth that can manipulate the environment to such a degree as to be able to survive in a very wide range of environments. Generally speaking, intelligence coupled with opposable thumbs trumps every other trait, and no organism that could reasonably be described as 'simple' - let alone 'the simplest - can even come close to competing.

3. The fossil record is replete with transitional specimens that connect ancestral species with their modern descendants in geological time. Moreover, the rock strata clearly show that species were never contemporaneous: there is no such thing as a rabbit fossil in pre-Cambrian rock, for example. (Score: 6)


Reasonable enough to skip.

Counter: There are actually very few transitional specimens, and none of them can be shown to be ancestral to anything alive today. Many of them are better termed “mosaic” specimens. Archaeopteryx, whether it is to be regarded as a feathered dinosaur, or a perching bird with a bony tail, may not be the ancestor of any avian species. Tiktaalik, even if it is a fish that has morphological features shared with tetrapods, is not the ancestor of all tetrapods (which were around before then). Also, the rock layers only show that the kinds were created at different times, not that one evolved into the other. (Score: 4)


Not reasonable (complete bollocks, in fact), not least because this is predicated on a really poor understanding of what evolutionary theory postulates. First, evolutionary theory does not suggest that any fossil specimen represents a direct ancestor of any living organism, nor should it because - and this is the bit that, no matter how many times we drill it into you, you never get - evolution is a population phenomenon, and that's not what it means for something to be transitional. Nobody suggests that Tiktaalik is the ancestor of any extant organism. It wouldn't matter to the status of Tiktaalik as a transitional fossil if the specimen we found was the last extant line of its heritage and represented the end of its genetic road. It would still be a transitional because it shows traits morphologically bisecting major groups.

In reality, every fossil is a transitional fossil. Every organism is a transitional organism, and the reason for this is that evolution is transition. That's ALL it is. Even you, my friend, are a transitional fossil, despite your collagen not having been replaced by minerals, because creationism is a fossil.

4. Speciation and adaptive radiation have been observed. It naturally follows that all species around today have branched off and are descended from one or more proto-organisms in the ancient past.(Score: 3)


This is incomplete. The observations of speciation and adaptive radiation are only a factor. The molecular and fossil evidence, coupled with all the other relevant observations, provide a clear picture that this is in fact what happened. It's nothing like a 'this, therefore that' formulation, because in the science, we're aware that asinine logical fallacies like this projected instance of affirming the consequent do not make good arguments.

Counter: Speciation explains how the created kinds diversified from a basal ancestor type. But it doesn't logically follow that all species are related to each other, only those species within the same baramin (created kind). (Scorer: 6)


Well, baraminology is drivel, not least precisely because of what you elided in this fatuous, invented argument. None of this bears any resemblance to a genuine understanding of evolution. The universal relationship of species isn't a deductive conclusion, nor would anybody who really grokked the science suggest that your silly 'this, therefore that' caricature of a pass at the science represents is anything like the reasoning behind the inductive conclusions that garner our confidence and drive understanding.

5. Nested hierarchies of morphological traits and comparative anatomy clearly show that universal common descent is a reality. The penadactyl manus of a whale, which is used as a fin, proves that cetaceans evolved from terrestrial animals who used it to support their weight on the ground. (Score: 8)


No. Again, trying to put a deductive argument based on flawed premises in the mouth of your opponent is not a fair and balanced approach. This is closer to satire than anything genuine. Nobody who understands the material would say this. It's a straw man. See, the thing you peeps always overlook is what those with a genuine grasp of scientific principles find to be the most compelling of all inductive conclusions. It can be encapsulated in five simple words, and it's one that completely escapes every creationist who ever tries to do what you've failed to do here; truth, thy name is consilience.

Just like all that stuff with ERVs above, among other things, nested hierarchies aren't just based on morphology and comparative anatomy. Indeed, ERVs show the same nested hierarchies - to a first approximation - as the morphology, and the time and taxonomic ordering of the fossil record, among other things. Like the ERVs, every bit of consilience between different lines of evidence inexorably and irretrievably lowers the probability that universal common descent is not the correct answer.

Counter: Just because humans and apes, for example, share many features in common does not mean they are related, only that it appears that way. Homologous structures among vertebrates, like limbs with digits, may just be a consequence of shared developmental processes – a common design pattern. (Score: 3)


And again, punching scarecrows is not an argument. We have consilience, and you have no evidence that a designer is even possible. In fact, I'd be surprised if you could construct an argument that a designer is possible that wasn't trivial to brush aside.

6. The biogeographical distribution of species and the physical isolation of species provides compelling evidence for evolution. The marsupials of Australia, for example, show how an isolated region seems to produce unique animals that are not found elsewhere. (Score: 3)


Well, except for the small matter of Australia not being the only place where there are marsupials. Also, taking this in isolation is overlooking that thing again that you don't get.

Counter: Biogeographical anomalies may be caused by migration rather than by evolution restricted to a particular location on earth. African and Asian great apes, for example, are very similar anatomically but live in very different habitats and have different lifestyles. Extinction can also explain why some species are geographically restricted: Lions used to live in Greece and the Balkans 2000 years ago. (Score:4)


In fact, some of those biogeographical 'anomalies' not only may be cause by migration, some of them were caused by migration. That said, it's also perfectly clear from some of the distribution (see Rumraket's avatar) that a huge amount of it is caused by geological processes such as tectonic separation. The simple fact is that, while this is not an incredibly shoddy pass at providing an alternative, it isn't actually an alternative, nor is it really a counter. It is, in fact, using one detail of the evolutionary picture in an attempt to undermine another, when in fact both are demonstrably true, and we know that both are demonstrably true because consilience of evidence tells us that they are.

7. Vestigial organs, like the vermiform appendix, and pseudogenes are remnants of an evolutionary past that do not make any sense in a creationist narrative. They serve no use and can be removed. (Score: 4)


I certainly wouldn't describe the appendix as vestigial. It's reasonably clear that its importance to humans isn't what it is in other species, especially species that consume a lot of cellulose, and also produces a range of specialised t lymphocytes, which hardly seems vestigial. Of course, much of this knowledge has only come to us in the lasrt twenty years or so, so it's hardly surprising that somebody who thinks a global flood that was debunked by creationists in the 19th century isn't abreast of scientific information from only two decades ago.

That said, there is one clear vestige in your own body. You're sitting on it. You haven't need that since your ancestors needed balance for brachiating, which is why it's shurnk to the point of almost disappearing entirely.

Counter: It remains to be seen if any organs are vestigial and do not serve their original function. The appendix appears to be part of the immune system and maintaining gut flora. Pseudogenes may be duplicate genes that have since been silenced but many have been found to still be transcribed. (Score: 5)


Actually, it doesn't remain to be seen. We have observations of vestigial structures that do not serve their original purpose. I know I'm not the only one to have answered this with the documented evidence of blind cave fish that have gone so long without needing vision that they no longer synthesise eyes, and in fact the eye sockets have closed over because the risk of infection impacts fitness for no gain, because it's demonstrably vestigial.

Therefore, on the preponderance of the scientific merits and evidence, Creationism wins over Evolutionism.


Of course it does, because you're fair and balanced, right?

Now I'm going to do in just a few words what took you 1500, and I'm going to do it with only provably factually correct statements. Are you sitting comfortably?

Evolution has been observed occurring art every level described by the theory of evolution. (Score: eleventy gazillion).

No evidence for a designer has ever been presented in the thousands of years we['ve been asking, nor even a remotely logical argument that such a thing is even possible. (Score: You're having a fucking giraffe).

And, with that, I'm going to go into hibernation, because my mental well-being is not good and some things are making it worse. I may be gone a day, maybe years. I dunno.

Oh, and some further reading, because why not?

“Common design” vs Consilience of Independent Phylogenies - A brilliant exposition by our friend Rumraket.
Has Evolution Been Proven - A summary but comprehensive treatment of the most important concepts in evolution.
Mind the Gap - God of the gaps fallacy; a notable cameo from the OP.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#177  Postby fluttermoth » Mar 23, 2022 4:23 am

hackenslash wrote:

And, with that, I'm going to go into hibernation, because my mental well-being is not good and some things are making it worse. I may be gone a day, maybe years. I dunno.



Sorry to hear that buddy, take care of yourself, and thank you for the post, it was a pleasure to read :cheers:
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#178  Postby Calilasseia » Mar 26, 2022 9:01 pm

hackenslash wrote:What's that? You didn't know irreducible complexity is a prediction of the theory of evolution? Surely one of the knowledgeable people hereabouts has furnished you with the requisite information to aid you in your assessment. I've not been around for quite a while, and it's my first venture into the creationism forum proper since I returned, but Calilasseia is usually very on the ball about such things, and I find it hard to believe that he'd suffer such an oversight. It really doesn't sound like him at all but, as you say, you're being fair and balanced, so clearly the blame for this deficiency lies elsewhere.


Indeed, if you search for the term "Müllerian Two Step" in association with my name under "advanced search", you'll find I have no less than 13 posts covering this matter, many of them presenting the same paragraph from Müller's 1918 paper where the genuine concept of "irreducible complexity" was first presented. The easliest of these posts was my exposition on the bacterial flagellum posted way back in March 2010. The other 12 posts cover a 5 year span between 2010 and 2015.

To be fair, Wortfish didn't join until October 2016, so some of that past oeuvre of mine may have failed to come to his attention, but I suspect it won't now. :)
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#179  Postby hackenslash » Mar 26, 2022 11:08 pm

I was, of course, being entirely facetious, my fine friend. I know full well that he's been thoroughly disabused of his asinine notion that IC is anything other than the exponent of not a problem.

Hope you're in excellent fettle and you're on a QT within normal operating parameters. I mentioned you only this evening when the subject of science-oriented jokes came up elsewhere, with your knowledge of the more robust binomials.
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Re: Creationist and Evolutionist hypotheses put to the test

#180  Postby Wortfish » Apr 18, 2022 11:19 pm

Calilasseia wrote:
hackenslash wrote:What's that? You didn't know irreducible complexity is a prediction of the theory of evolution? Surely one of the knowledgeable people hereabouts has furnished you with the requisite information to aid you in your assessment. I've not been around for quite a while, and it's my first venture into the creationism forum proper since I returned, but Calilasseia is usually very on the ball about such things, and I find it hard to believe that he'd suffer such an oversight. It really doesn't sound like him at all but, as you say, you're being fair and balanced, so clearly the blame for this deficiency lies elsewhere.


Indeed, if you search for the term "Müllerian Two Step" in association with my name under "advanced search", you'll find I have no less than 13 posts covering this matter, many of them presenting the same paragraph from Müller's 1918 paper where the genuine concept of "irreducible complexity" was first presented. The easliest of these posts was my exposition on the bacterial flagellum posted way back in March 2010. The other 12 posts cover a 5 year span between 2010 and 2015.

To be fair, Wortfish didn't join until October 2016, so some of that past oeuvre of mine may have failed to come to his attention, but I suspect it won't now. :)


It amazes me just how many biological traits/parts can be dispended with by evolution to facilitate adaptation.
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