What mixture of “design” and “evolution” is possible as the IDM collapses?

This offers the simplest “neutral” colloquial mixture of “design” and “evolution” that I’ve seen in a long time. The site is no longer maintained, but the language persists.

“As a designer it is important to understand where design came from, how it developed, and who shaped its evolution. The more exposure you have to past, current and future design trends, styles and designers, the larger your problem-solving toolkit. The larger your toolkit, the more effective of a designer you can be.” http://www.designishistory.com/this-site/

Here, the term “evolution” as used just meant “history”. The author was not indicating “design theory evolution”, but rather instead the “history of designs” themselves, which have been already instantiated.

The topic “design is history” nevertheless enables an obvious point of contact between “evolution” and “design”. They both have histories that can be studied. Present in the above meaning of “design” are the origin, processes and agent(s) involved in the “designing”. This differs significantly from the Discovery Institute’s version of “design theory”, when it comes to history, aim, structure and agency, since the DI’s version flat out avoids discussion of design processes and agent(s). The primary purpose of the DI’s “design theory”, meanwhile, is USAmerican religious apologetics and “theistic science”.

The quotation above likely didn’t come from an IDist, and it isn’t referencing “Intelligent Design” theory as a supposed “scientific theory”. The “designer” in the quotation above is a (more or less intelligent) human designer, not a Divine Designer. This fact distinguishes it “in principle” from the Discovery Institute’s ID theory, which is supposed to be (depends on who you’re speaking with in the IDM) about first biology, then informatics, and statistics. The DI’s ID theory is not actually focused on “designing by real designers”, but rather on apologetics using “design” and informational probabilism.

The Discovery Institute’s failure to distinguish or even highlight the differences and similarities between human design and Divine Design, and instead their engagement in active distortion, equivocation, double-talking, and obfuscation between them, are marks of its eventual downward trend to collapse.

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1,506 thoughts on “What mixture of “design” and “evolution” is possible as the IDM collapses?

  1. Allan Miller:

    In my opinion individual abilities between single humans are equivalent to differences between between bird species or kinds. In other words the ‘personality’ is at the group level.

    Jolly good. How does it get there?

    This question shows that you are thinking in terms of Newtonian time and space. Minds are not physical objects.

    By what means does a bird access the ‘group creativity’ you analogise with that of an individual human, such that their nests are as distinctive as their eggs?

    In my opinion all life consist of three aspects, body, soul and spirit each with their individual laws. The shared knowledge demonstrated by animals occurs by virtue of the group soul. Animals share a higher form of knowledge that is difficult to explain in physical terms. Certain migratory habits spring to mind. A more specific example of animal abilities is that of the Japanese quail

    A female Japanese quail is selective about where she lays her eggs. She chooses a background that matches either the colour of her eggs or their pattern, whichever is more striking.

    The eggs of Japanese quail are camouflaged

    If her eggs have only a faint pattern, the female chooses a site that matches their colour. But if they have a strong pattern, she goes for a site that blends with it, and which hides the contour of the egg. This means the female must know the pattern of her own eggs.

    How could she know this?

    Also it is striking how certain flatfish can change the colour and pattern of their upper surface to match that of the seafloor on which they are lying.

    Eta – is the mechanism of group transmission fundamentally different for nest-shape and egg colour? If so, why? If not, why not?

    What do you mean by group transmittion?

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  2. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM:
    Feel free to read or ignore whatever takes your fancy. Judging by your participation here it seems to me that you find enough to discuss with respect to the content from my own personal contributions.

    Correct. I’ve tried addressing your ‘noises-off’ addenda – for example noting that Talbott’s point was a non sequitur – and you ignored it, proving the futility of my going down the rabbit hole. After all, you didn’t write it, why should you defend it? Sigh.

    What is there to defend. You declared it a non sequitur. And so in line with your depth of argumentation I suppose I could have replied, No it isn’t!

    If Talbott’s argument is a non sequitur then in your opinion the same should apply to the Barbara McClintock quote I gave above.

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  3. CharlieM: The shared knowledge demonstrated by animals occurs by virtue of the group soul. Animals share a higher form of knowledge that is difficult to explain in physical terms.

    Possibly, but what is a group soul and what evidence is there that it is more than CharlieM’s imagination (vivid though that is, I admit)?

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  4. Corneel,

    You seemed to have left out the part where you explain how we gain understanding and learn something new. Want to try again? Perhaps this time a little bit less eager to reach the conclusion you want?

    Science is a business which has to make priorities. A tool that helps with this is extremely valuable unless you are into playing in the sandbox. Biology got a hare ahead of it self for the last 160 years. ID has been very valuable in pointing this out.

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  5. CharlieM: Me: Jolly good. How does it get there?

    Charlie: This question shows that you are thinking in terms of Newtonian time and space. Minds are not physical objects.

    Declaring it so don’t make it so. But more than that, whatever minds are made of, their actions have physical consequences. So I don’t think a demand for causality at some point in the chain is inappropriate. Somehow, the mind of Bird X causes it to utter the same call as Bird Y, or build a similar nest or whatever. You reject (arbitrarily IMO) the possibility that their common activity derives from common genetics. So you appeal to something that sounds like telepathy.

    Certain migratory habits spring to mind.

    Does migration provide a benefit to the organisms that do it, such that they pass on their genes more often than historic lineages that did not? If so, there is at least the potential fof a ‘Darwinian’ explanation. You seem to be drawing quite a sharp dichotomy between ‘behaviours’ and all other aspects of a species held in common: NO behaviour is genetic, so a brand new cause needs inventing.

    How far down does this prejudice reach? Earthworms? Flatworms? Nematodes?

    Also it is striking how certain flatfish can change the colour and pattern of their upper surface to match that of the seafloor on which they are lying.

    Does this capacity increase the chances of the genes of those that exhibit the behaviour to be passed on?

    What do you mean by group transmittion?

    The mechanism by which a trait becomes shared by a clade. Common genetic descent is the usual one. You reject that (sometimes), so must mean something else. How does it work?

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  6. colewd: Science is a business which has to make priorities. A tool that helps with this is extremely valuable unless you are into playing in the sandbox. Biology got a hare ahead of it self for the last 160 years. ID has been very valuable in pointing this out.

    The Intelligent Design movement is a religiously motivated political one, not a scientific one. ID has contributed absolutely nothing to scientific knowledge in its brief lie-filled existence.

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  7. CharlieM:
    What is there to defend. You declared it a non sequitur. And so in line with your depth of argumentation I suppose I could have replied, No it isn’t!

    So, you are precisely illustrating the uselessness of scattering the words of others about like scripture. If I can’t critique it, you can’t defend it, and Talbott isn’t here …

    Talbott says something you like: ‘it’s a system not just genes’. But it gains weight (you presumably imagine) if an authority says it (even if that authority is not a biologist). But the longer quote doesn’t support the conclusion. Being a system or not does not depend on the synapomorphies of certain genes in social insects. That’s why it’s a non sequitur. I can’t really flesh that out. But if you declared ‘no it isn’t’, you would need to explain why being a system is a conclusion following on from the synapomorphy question. It’s not just rehashing the Monty Python sketch.

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  8. colewd:
    Corneel,

    Science is a business which has to make priorities.A tool that helps with this is extremely valuable unless you are into playing in the sandbox.Biology got a hare ahead of it self for the last 160 years. ID has been very valuable in pointing this out.

    All science or just the parts that conflict with your religious beliefs?

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  9. The quail situation, incidentally, is reminiscent of that in the cuckoo, where a strong correlation exists between egg patterning/shape/size and location, for the same reason – camouflage. Parasitisic birds often parasitise several different hosts, but different strains favour those hosts whose eggs are most closely mimicked.

    A naive genetic explanation in both cases would be that there is coevolution between the patterning genes and the behavioural – an interesting bridge across the imagined boundary between behavioural and non-behavioural characters.

    Pattern A is more beneficial in the presence of Behaviour A. Ditto for B. The result is a nonrandom association between pattern and behaviour. Plus 1 for gene centrism! ***

    It’s not proof, but the alternative would have the female access ‘subgroup memory’ in some unexplained way, with ‘subgroup memory’ having some idea what her eggs look like.

    *** Additionally, this is only possible in organisms where the female is the heterogametic sex – in birds, unlike us, it’s the males that have the identical sex chromosomes. Thus, while a male will mate with any old female (and vice versa), regardless where they grew up, consistent inheritance of a nonrecombining female-only chromosome allows consistent retention of the host-pattern association. It’s the genes that determine the pattern and the preferred host. The whole reflected in the parts 😁

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  10. Allan Miller: The quail situation

    Yep, my first guess was also cosegregation of the egg colouration with the behavioural preference, though I didn’t bother checking it. I don’t think this necessarily requires physical linkage on the W-chromosome; any assortative mating pattern will also encourage gametic phase disequilibrium. That is, the females need only mate with the “right” males, e.g. because they live in the same region or do mate selection on some visible trait.
    Just thinking out loud. I don’t know what the actual case is in Japanese quail.

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  11. colewd: Science is a business which has to make priorities. A tool that helps with this is extremely valuable unless you are into playing in the sandbox. Biology got a hare ahead of it self for the last 160 years. ID has been very valuable in pointing this out.

    Since I don’t share your opinion that biology “got a hare ahead of itself” my verdict on the value of ID differs somewhat.
    But the more interesting thing here is your confession that the only output of ID has been antagonizing evolutionary biology. Would you agree that Gregory’s idea of a revamped ID that actively researches organismal Design and its Designer will never be?

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  12. Corneel: Would you agree that Gregory’s idea of a revamped ID that actively researches organismal Design and its Designer will never be?

    colewd has already indicated that he believes the origin of life should not be investigated further since the bible already ‘explains’ it.

    I asked colwed what other research should be halted due to answers in the bible but for some reason he’s not answered yet.

    colwed, what else should we not investigate and instead accept the answers given in the bible instead?

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  13. OMagain: colewd has already indicated that he believes the origin of life should not be investigated further since the bible already ‘explains’ it.

    Sure, Bill Cole’s motivations for supporting ID are perfectly clear.

    But if he is afraid of scientific progress and wishes to shut it down, why insist that ID is a scientific enterprise? Or if he views natural sciences as a means to learn more about the works of God, like the natural theologians of the 19th century did, why doesn’t he like the idea of Design research? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

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  14. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM: Me: The capacity to bind other atoms and molecules results from the charge pattern of the folded protein. It’s not directly encoded – but then, do you think that gene-centrists are saying that genes produce enzymes that can’t bind anything?

    Charlie: No but these molecules do need to be present and made available to be incorporated. Materials and processes, both intracellular and extracellular, need to be coordinated and tightly organised and this includes activity centred around the genomes.

    And you think this is news to gene-centrists?

    Maybe we can come to a mutual understanding of what is meant by ‘gene’

    To accept the genome as the source of the form and structure of an organism I would have to understand it to be, not just an arrangement of physical parts, but an active dynamic process. Its spacial aspect is subordinate to its time aspect. To get the full picture it has to be understood as a time being.

    The human genome project was never going to give us much of an understanding of the genome because what it produced was a dead image, a single.static, frozen,view of something that can only be understood through its movements and interactions. Mapping the DNA misses its most important aspect, the time element.

    By all means give the genes their due. But only if you understand them as more than just strings of DNA. If you want to define genes as strings of nucleotides then post-splicing messenger RNA has as much right to be called a gene as the DNA.

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  15. Allan Miller:

    Me: It’s not forgotten, not even for a moment, except by a gene centrist of your imagination.

    Charlie: Well if not forgotten, marginalised.

    Still no. You’re tilting at windmills

    Me: I frequently exclude ‘small molecules’ specifically to head off this dodge, but may occasionally forget to do so.
    Charlie: Excluding them is to ignore them.

    Nonsense. I exclude them from statements invoking direct manufacture by gene products because the genome clearly does not ‘make water’ (well even then … oh, never mind). I don’t exclude them from All Statements About Anything Ever. You’re determined to get a Gotcha out of it one way or another.

    No.I am trying to highlight the living processes within cells and considering all the activity that has to occur to procure and arrange the variety of substances required for functionality and so that the cell can play its role in the higher being to which it belongs..There are many levels of coordinated activity.

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  16. Allan Miller:

    The activity of cells is a dynamic balance of a host of interdependent factors. Genes are expressed or silenced as required. There is no central control. That is a mechanistic fantasy.

    The fact that given expression modes occur repeatedly and consistently, such that one can look at one member of a species and be sure the same thing goes on in all others (the basis of medicine, for one thing), and the observation that this regulation itself has a genetic basis, suggest that you are wrong

    I think a better way of putting it is that regulation has a genetic component.

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  17. Allan Miller:

    Me: That doesn’t preclude the possibility that they outcompeted yet more primitive forms. Sweeping up after itself is the very essence of an evolutionary process, so the present absence of ancestral forms is no strike against it.

    Charlie: I do not believe that we have outcompeted bacteria or archaea.

    Your argument here being “because X has not outcompeted Y, nothing was ever outcompeted and hence everything that ever existed should have left modern descendants”.

    No. I believe that in Darwinian terms,bacteria are just some of the organisms that do outcompete us on a massive scale.

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  18. Allan Miller:

    Me: Guffaw! “There was this mind, see, and it just ..”

    Charlie: Matter is condensed energy. The only physical evidence of the earliest stages of earthly life are the forms that are condensed enough to leave a trace. We have no clue as to what forms might have existed. Forms that had not condensed sufficiently to leave evidence that would persist.

    That’s a pretty awful mangling of relativistic concepts with taphonomy. First quantum, now this. At least RNA world tries to take account of actual physics.

    I think that physics does show that the more dense the substance the more likely it is to fossilise. Fossilised bones and shells are far more common than soft tissue fossils. Which do you think appeared first in evolution, relatively soft cell membranes or hard mineral deposits?

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  19. Corneel,

    Yes. I note that, unlike CharlieM’s BBC site, the authors of the original paper actually put “know” in scare quotes:

    Females laying heavily maculated eggs selected the substrate that more closely matched egg maculation color properties, leading to camouflage through disruptive coloration. For lightly maculated eggs, females chose a substrate that best matched their egg background coloration, suggesting background matching. Our results show that quail “know” their individual egg patterning and seek out a nest position that provides most effective camouflage for their individual phenotype.

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  20. newton,

    All science or just the parts that conflict with your religious beliefs?

    Real testable science does not conflict with religion.

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  21. Corneel,

    But if he is afraid of scientific progress and wishes to shut it down, why insist that ID is a scientific enterprise? Or if he views natural sciences as a means to learn more about the works of God, like the natural theologians of the 19th century did, why doesn’t he like the idea of Design research? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    You appear to want to chase windmills. ID is what it is and it has been successful in shutting down phony scientific claims at least among the people I have encountered. It’s a limited argument but a powerful one.

    You should look at the work going on at AIG. A tsunami is about to hit evolutionary ideology that makes ID look trivial. There is real science going on in the YEC community. Brace for change 🙂

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  22. colewd: Real testable science does not conflict with religion.

    Science not only contradicts it directly refutes some Fundamentalist religious beliefs, most notably a literal interpretation of Genesis.

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  23. colewd: ID is what it is and it has been successful in shutting down phony scientific claims at least among the people I have encountered. It’s a limited argument but a powerful one.

    You mean ID as a pseudoscience has been successful in shutting down rational thought in scientifically incompetent True Believers like yourself. We know.

    You should look at the work going on at AIG. A tsunami is about to hit evolutionary ideology that makes ID look trivial. There is real science going on in the YEC community. Brace for change

    LOL! We can hardly wait. 😀

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  24. colewd: You should look at the work going on at AIG. A tsunami is about to hit evolutionary ideology that makes ID look trivial. There is real science going on in the YEC community. Brace for change 🙂

    I’m always in for a good laugh

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  25. colewd: You should look at the work going on at AIG. A tsunami is about to hit evolutionary ideology that makes ID look trivial. There is real science going on in the YEC community. Brace for change

    When? Within the month? Year? Decade? Century?

    Dare you say?

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  26. CharlieM: Maybe we can come to a mutual understanding of what is meant by ‘gene’

    That’s not in doubt. Any sequence of nucleotides that is found in an organism’s genome can be called a gene.

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  27. CharlieM: Fossilised bones and shells are far more common than soft tissue fossils.

    Yes and the reasons are well understood. You make statements as if they are somehow profound rather than obvious.

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  28. CharlieM: Which do you think appeared first in evolution, relatively soft cell membranes or hard mineral deposits?

    I’m guessing it was cells that had no hard parts. Can you guess why?

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  29. colewd: You should look at the work going on at AIG. A tsunami is about to hit evolutionary ideology that makes ID look trivial. There is real science going on in the YEC community. Brace for change

    Keep us posted, Bill! 😉

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  30. colewd: A tsunami is about to hit evolutionary ideology that makes ID look trivial.

    That’s not so hard. ID already looks trivial.

    colewd: There is real science going on in the YEC community. Brace for change

    Bracing

    I guess it is more honest to use “Creator” instead of “Designer”, but apart from that I don’t see what difference it makes.

    colewd: Here is a starting point.

    Unbracing

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  31. DNA_Jock,

    Nice, you looked at the original paper. I notice the authors did not report whether there was a genetic component to variation in the preference. Another explanation is that the birds simply memorize their eggs from initial breeding attempts and develop some preference based on that. I think I want to see these two mundane explanations disproven before I start considering Charlie’s “higher form of knowledge”, cold-hearted materialist that I am.

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  32. Alan Fox: Any sequence of nucleotides that is found in an organism’s genome can be called a gene.

    You could do that, but that is not the way a gene is commonly understood. Most modern definitions require that it is transcribed to RNA and possibly thereafter translated to a polypeptide to form some functional product.

    Alan Fox: CharlieM: RNA has as much right to be called a gene as the DNA.

    Alan: Who is disagreeing?

    Yes, here (sorry). Genes are the functional units of the hereditary material. RNA fulfills that role in some viruses, but in most organisms it is the DNA. Charlie appear to struggle with the significance of the transmission of heritable information for evolution.

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  33. colewd:
    newton,

    Real testable science does not conflict with religion.

    That depends whether the religion make an incorrect scientific claim based on conflicts with religious dogma , not seeing how you can claim that is not possible.

    Or unless you judge “real science” as that which does not conflict with religion .

    Does real religion make only testable claims?

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  34. OMagain:

    CharlieM: I’ve read plenty of papers and articles in which ID advocates and/or creationists are mentioned and criticised. Why would these subjects even need to be mentioned in scientific literature if the authors don’t feel that they are worthy of countering?

    In my experience they are mentioned because they have misrepresented previous or similar work. Nobody is actually rebutting their scientific work.

    I know it’s been done to death, but I don’t think it is a misrepresentation to claim that bacterial flagella are irreducibly complex. They consist of coordinated parts some of which if removed would render the bacterium immobile.

    Perhaps you can link to a few examples where this countering can be seen? It should be easy, if you’ve ready plenty of papers.

    In the real world it seems to me that most people writing scientific papers have never even heard of ID or creationism and certainly don’t think they need to be “countered” as they simply are not relevant in their everyday experience.

    Well, of the top of my head, the most prominent counters to the ID position are from the likes of Kenneth Miller, Mark J. Pallen and Nicholas I. Matzke.

    The Flagellum Unspun was written by Miller in response to ID arguments.

    And ‘From The Origin of Species to the Origin of bacteria flagella’, by Mark J. Pallen and Nicholas I. Matzke they explain:

    …the flagellar research community has scarcely begun to consider how these systems have evolved. This neglect probably stems from a reluctance to engage in the ‘armchair speculation’ inherent in building evolutionary models, and from a desire to determine how a system works

    It was the ID movement’s championing the flagellum as irreducibly complex that prompted this research. They made some important discoveries in their attempt to refute the position of ID advocates.

    I have read other biology papers that comment negatively on ID but I don’t have time at the moment to go hunting for them.

    But it is clear that ID has stimulated a lot of thinking about biological evolution and that can’t be a bad thing. I don’t think I would have learned so much about these molecular ‘machines’ if it wasn’t for the ID movement.

    We should not be insulting those who oppose our point of view, we should be thanking them. (That is a general comment, it is not directed at you, OMagain).

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  35. OMagain:

    CharlieM: Are you frightened of where quantum mechanics is leading us?

    This is the same “you are frightened of the implications of what X means, that a creator god is real, that’s why you are rejecting the evidence for Y”

    It’s a sad ploy. It’s pure projection, even though you phrase it as a question.

    And where is it that you think that quantum mechanics is leading is? And how long until it gets there and you can note unambiguously what it means that we are “there”?

    Who should we watch in the world of QM? Who is doing work you believe will eventually led us to a place where people here are frighted of the implications?

    Quantum mechanice is already there to some extent. It is our thinking that needs to catch up. The implications of quantum mechanics is that there are aspects of the material world that are not governed by time and space as is generally understood.

    We have come to understand the laws of perspective when it comes to space. We understand that in reality the moon and the disc I hold up to it are not the same diameter. Likewise, regarding time there are also laws of perspective.

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  36. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM ID and creation science has been playing an important role in stimulating reductionist, physicalists to defend their position. I’ve read plenty of papers and articles in which ID advocates and/or creationists are mentioned and criticised. Why would these subjects even need to be mentioned in scientific literature if the authors don’t feel that they are worthy of countering?

    Because of the pernicious political influence of these notions in popular thinking. It’s like saying ‘why do people attack anti-vaxxers if there’s nothing in it?’

    What about the pernicious political influence of Darwinism? A Darwinian extremist might argue that not vaccinating against a disease is a good thing because it will eliminate the weak members of the group..

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  37. CharlieM: It was the ID movement’s championing the flagellum as irreducibly complex that prompted this research. They made some important discoveries in their attempt to refute the position of ID advocates.

    Yeah, right, because noting that the bacteria flagellum can’t move if you chop off it’s flagellum is such a groundbreaking discovery!

    Hilarious.

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  38. CharlieM: What about the pernicious political influence of Darwinism? A Darwinian extremist might argue that not vaccinating against a disease is a good thing because it will eliminate the weak members of the group.

    Here in the Netherlands, a major group that refuses to have their children vaccinated are anthroposophists. Is this really the direction you want this argument to go?

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  39. Allan Miller:

    CharlieM:
    It is pointless to say that I would be an identical twin of Rowan Atkinson. If that way the case that person would not be me.

    No, it wouldn’t be you. But it’s still the case, if it were a genetically identical nucleus implanted in your zygote’s cytoplasm, that ‘you’ would be a functional twin. The point of the thought experiment (a mirror of real experiments) is that the form of the result is determined by genetics, not cytoplasm, not that one is implanting a sense of ‘self’ in the nucleus

    In my opinion the nucleus is the physical focus of the life (etheric) principle in eukaryotes. In transplanting the nucleus the life force is also transplanted.

    Plants are good examples of living beings in which the life force is dominant. Cuttings can be transplanted and will thrive. Higher animals have sacrificed this vitality in becoming conscious. Nervous systems have very poor regenerative powers compared to the green tissue of plants.

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  40. colewd: Here is a starting point.

    Ah, Nathaniel Jeanson’s cherry-picked stupidity about MtDNA which you just saw completely destroyed over at PS. But you’re Bill Cole with the memory span of a turnip so you thought you’d revisit Jeanson’s idiocy here. 😀

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  41. dazz:
    Well, certainly wolfs didn’t remain wolfs, right Charlie?

    Canids are a very plastic group with a wide range of potential forms within it.

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  42. DNA_Jock: To observe life in a separate region of the universe, aliens would need to be technologically advanced. The idea that they would be humanoid is just plain silly.

    Who said anything about them being humanoid? Technical advancement would be a shared attribute.

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  43. Corneel: You could do that, but that is not the way a gene is commonly understood. Most modern definitions require that it is transcribed to RNA and possibly thereafter translated to a polypeptide to form some functional product.

    I didn’t want to narrow the definition too much. Obviously, there are DNA sequences that encode specific proteins but there’s a considerable portion of the genome where we cannot yet connect genotype to phenotype.

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  44. Corneel: Genes are the functional units of the hereditary material. RNA fulfills that role in some viruses, but in most organisms it is the DNA. Charlie appear to struggle with the significance of the transmission of heritable information for evolution.

    Well, I don’t think we give away the farm in acknowledging that RNA virus genes are made of RNA. It’s a clue (in my view) that RNA world isn’t idle speculation.

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  45. CharlieM: Canids are a very plastic group with a wide range of potential forms within it.

    What makes one group plastic with a wide range of forms?

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