Darwin’s Doubt

In a previous post here at TSZ Mark Frank asked why people doubt common descent.

A more interesting question is why did Charles Darwin doubt common descent?

Stephen Meyer has written two books which I think adequately answer both questions.

Those two books are:

Signature in the Cell

Darwin’s Doubt

In this thread I am willing to discuss either book, but I’d prefer to limit discussion to Meyer’s most recent book, Darwin’s Doubt

While Signature in the Cell concentrated on the origin of life, Darwin’s Doubt concentrates on the “Cambrian Explosion,” the sudden appearance of numerous distinct phyla and their subsequent diversification.

Neo-Darwinism offers no realistic account of origins, with the difference being that Darwinists can in the case of the origin of life assert that their theory does not apply while that excuse fails to apply to the appearance of different animals in the Cambrian and their subsequent diversification.

Just to prove I can – [Edited 09/15/2013]

Deleted from the OP – [Edited 09/201/2013] – Just to prove I can. “The arguments are the same for both:”


A Challenge to ericB, gpuccio, UprightBiped, et al

The origin of the genetic code seems to be a hot issue in the ID community. Take a look at this and tell us what you think.


The genetic code shapes the genetic repository. Its origin has puzzled molecular scientists for over half a century and remains a long-standing mystery. Here we show that the origin of the genetic code is tightly coupled to the history of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase enzymes and their interactions with tRNA.

A timeline of evolutionary appearance of protein domain families derived from a structural census in hundreds of genomes reveals the early emergence of the ‘operational’ RNA code and the late implementation of the standard genetic code. The emergence of codon specificities and amino acid charging involved tight coevolution of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and tRNA structures as well as episodes of structural recruitment.

Remarkably, amino acid and dipeptide compositions of single-domain proteins appearing before the standard code suggest archaic synthetases with structures homologous to catalytic domains of tyrosyl-tRNA and seryl-tRNA synthetases were capable of peptide bond formation and aminoacylation.

Results reveal that genetics arose through coevolutionary interactions between polypeptides and nucleic acid cofactors as an exacting mechanism that favored flexibility and folding of the emergent proteins. These enhancements of phenotypic robustness were likely internalized into the emerging genetic system with the early rise of modern protein structure.

I realize their conclusions are speculative. So feel free to point out where they are wrong.

Atheism and Christian Culture

I just posted a comment on UD which I thought might be worth expanding on and sharing. The context was this OP from News (Denyse). In it she wrote:

Does any reader know of an atheist who plays Christmas carols every year in front of his family and lab staff, and who reads T. S. Eliot aloud to his wife and daughter on his deathbed? I certainly don’t. I’d be willing to bet Professor Coyne that John Franklin Enders, who has been called “The Father of Modern Vaccines,” believed in God and didn’t view religion as a cause of sickness.

I was very surprised by this. She seems to be assuming that all atheists are cut off from their religious heritage. We are not all Richard Dawkins (although he has always valued the contribution of religion and Christianity to our culture and knows the Bible better than many Christians). I like to go church from time to time and appreciate the role it places in our community. My wife, also an atheist, is a long-standing member of the choir. I absolutely accept the importance of Christianity in moulding who I am and the society I live in and I don’t think of this as a bad (or good) thing. We all live in some context. So why wouldn’t carols, TS Eliot and even the Bible be an important part of my life – just like Shakespeare and the Greek myths?

Atheism is not a religion. I suspect some theists don’t quite understand the implications of this. Atheists have no rituals,no festivals,no classic literature,no community identity,no common beliefs beyond a lack of belief in the supernatural.  If you are an atheist then typically your atheism is not an important part of your life. The new atheists seem to be trying to change that. I don’t see why. It seems artificial. There are plenty of other elements to our culture which are more deeply engrained and satisfying than not believing in something. (In fact I signed up as a Bright briefly but I found there was nothing in it for me).

It would be interesting to know how many other atheists here share this attitude.

S. Cordova doesn’t want you to hear…he’s right – No Positive Case for IDism

Not long ago I was suggested to add here at TSZ a post that was (what do they call that?) fracked – scrambled – made into nonsense at UD by Salvador T. Cordova.

Now, Salvador has sent my words to spam and included the names of ‘welcome’ critics, some of whom post here at TSZ. Quite sadly, I am just not welcome at UD by big-hearted Sal the creationist-IDist, who’s finally sold IDism out. Here’s the thread: http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/am-i-the-only-id-proponent-that-doesnt-like-the-phrase-positive-case-for-id/

What’s funny about it is that I was actually agreeing with Salvador, and with Mike Gene, who rejects the scientificity of Uppercase Intelligent Design Theory. Sal is surely onto something when he says “there isn’t a positive argument for Design.” So, just a warning, if you want to get spammed at UD or sent away from one of ‘even-handed’ Sal’s threads, whatever you do, just don’t compliment him or tell him he’s right!

Continue reading

Crappy reporting at UD

Okay, Darwinism IS a religion … and a crappy one, too

writes Denyse O’Leary in what goes for – and by – “news” at Uncommon Descent.

There have been truly horrible twitter attacks on Caroline Criada-Perez and Labour MP Stella Creasey for succeeding with their lobby for a female face on the new £10 note, replacing Charles Darwin. But O’Leary, who must be the most incompetent reporter of “news” ever to have a byline, and who seems to do nothing more than google “Darwin” to find items that could be used to smear a perfectly serviceable scientific theory, spins this story as a story about the depths “Darwinists” will sink to in support of their “religion”.

I doubt if any of the misogynist cranks who attacked Criada-Perez and Creasey were “Darwinists” at all.  In fact, if I had to guess, I’d suspect right-wing zealots who think women belong back in the kitchen, and have no business writing novels, let alone having a say in who should be on a bank-note.  But that would be speculation,  not “news”.

Shame on you, Denyse, as a professional woman yourself, to spin a misogynists-are-evil story into a Darwinists-are-evil story. Go find some real battles to fight – there are enough of them.  And try doing some actual reporting instead of spinning.


Challenge to Theists: Morality

I challenge theists to present their moral structure in this thread – what principles their moral system is based on (if any), how they come to understand/decide what they “ought” to do; whether or not they are “obligated” to act morally, and if so, to whom/what is that obligation owed, and why anyone should care or act according to their moral system. Or, if their moral system doesn’t follow any of these conventions, then explain their moral system/views.

Challenge to Atheists: Morality

I challenge atheists to present their moral structure in this thread – what principles their moral system is based on (if any), how they come to understand/decide what they “ought” to do; whether or not they are “obligated” to act morally, and if so, to whom/what is that obligation owed, and why anyone should care or act according to their moral system. Or, if their moral system doesn’t follow any of these conventions, then explain their moral system/views.

UD commenter ericB issues a Challenge!!!

I thought I would give a comment by a poster with the handle “ericB” a little more publicity as it was buried deep in an old thread where it was unlikely to be seen by passing “materialists / evolutionists”.


Calling all evolutionists / materialists! Your help is needed! Alan Fox has not been able to answer a particular challenge, but perhaps you know an answer.

The issue is simple and the bar is purposely set low. The question is whether there exists one or more coherent scenarios for the creation of a translation system by unguided chemicals. Continue reading