Monday, September 15, 2008

Genetic Information from "Nowhere"

This brief article mentions David Deamer, origin of life researcher at UC Santa Cruz, who asserts his idea from where genetic information arose....


Brian said...

Hey Chris,

I just read that article you quoted, and I don’t quite know where to begin. First I’ll dispute the assertion that the Theory of Evolution is an “inadequate theory.” It’s odd (note the sarcasm) that they don’t expand on how it’s inadequate, only that it is. Let me guess… I bet they think it’s inadequate because it doesn’t follow the story line from a book written a few thousand years. Well boo hoo that it doesn’t fit into their preconceived notions of how the world was created based on faith and an utter lack of evidence. It’s amusing to me that the Discovery Institute can even get away with calling themselves that, since they have not made any great scientific advancements, and nothing in the medical field, working off their belief in intelligent design. Discovery Institute is a misnomer until they make any relevant discoveries based on their faith in god.

I guess it’s no surprise that they haven’t gotten anywhere with “intelligent design” and it’s been round house kicked in every meeting with actual science.

Let’s look at this so-called theory of intelligent design.

1) design has no supporting evidence, where is the designer?
2) design fails to simple and obvious objections, who designed the designer?
3) design doesn't explain anything, how does design work?
4) design can not be researched or investigated
5) design has no implications, it is irrelevant and unexploitable
6) design relies on unknown imaginary entities

So until this discovery institute can offer some valid criticisms against the Theory of Evolution, they should quit their propaganda machine that promotes anti-science education and stop trying to explain the unknown by saying it’s because of an unknowable all-powerful entity. How do their attacks on a theory that actually has relevance ( ) to the world we live in by creating vaccines and preventing diseases, and by helping to design crops to the feed the world that are pest resistant help anything? The fact is, they are a hindrance to progress and it’s a shame that you’re promoting such utter tripe.

You’re still a good guy though, you’re just a little lost when it comes to what’s actually science, and what’s faith masked as science.



Casey said...

I love you Chris!

Any chance to sift through those books?

Anonymous said...

ummm ,design is provable in everything we see...the "no evidence" is completely bonkers..."hmmm, a clock on the wall just got there by" "Wait, the human cell seems to get more and more intricate and "ordered/designed" as we research it more. EVERYTHING we see on earth has order and design to it, how is there no evidence? Even Evolution shows order, they just differ in this major point....

Agreed, you can ask the question, "who designed the designer" which is laughable to ask, but still possible. God has always been. Can I prove that with science, "no." Much easier to believe, to me anyways, that God has always been than Evolutions idea that "chance" just happened WHEN ALL THE EVIDENCE shows that "CHANCE" is bogus in our world. Cause and Effect is not hard to see. How do they even come up with the idea of Global warming? Cause and Effect.

So, I am to believe in CHANCE, where I have not seen "ANY EVIDENCE" of happening at all, let alone a lot...or.....A God who is in control with order, which I see EVERYDAY in ALL Science....hmmm

Brian said...

What specifically do you find is in err with the Theory of Evolution in its current conception?

My argument is that there is no evidence that there is a designer. Certainly there are things that look designed in nature, because what guides the theory of evolution is the non-random process of natural selection.

What evidence do you have that there is a designer? (Note: Saying that some things appear designed is not evidence of a designer, unless there is no other process for the designed things to have appeared. Since the Theory of Evolution accounts for the diversity and complexity of life on earth, there is no need for this “designer” you speak of.)

Also, I urge you to actually look at what the Theory of Evolution says and the evidence for it, before you put it in the junk pile with other scientific theories like the Theory of Gravity. Or, do you accept the Theory of Gravity but not the Theory of Evolution? If so, how do you make the distinction between which theories to accept and which not? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you start with your conclusions and base your view of the world on those conclusions? It’s fine for you if you want to believe what you believe, but don’t then sit there and say that “evolution is the idea that “chance” just happened” when that is not at all what the Theory of Evolution says.

So it’s laughable to ask, “who designed the designer?” when your only answer is the unevidenced claim that, “duh, god has always been”? Then you talk about “cause and effect”, yet contradict that very same point with your previous statement about a god without a cause.

Now, granted, there is currently no viable explanation for where the singularity that caused the big bang came from. Look at it this way… You have a Universe which is undoubtedly very complex. And a god, which is infinitely more complex because not only can it create the universe out of nothing, but it also is apparently psychically linked with every human being on the planet, among other things.

Why is it easier for you to believe that something that is infinitely more complex just exists, yet can’t comprehend the universe just existing. Especially since we have evidence that the big bang happened (through things such as the Hubble constant, and Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation), and we have more evidence for the Theory of Evolution than arguably any other scientific theory in existence.

You see a God in control everyday through all science?… Wow, those must be some wacky glasses you’re wearing. Where I’m sitting, your god is no more real than Zeus, or Thor, or Odin. And you know what’s funny, you’re an atheist about all those gods for the same reason I’m an atheist about your god, but you just can’t seem to turn those critical thinking skills on your own beliefs. It’s a shame really, because your beliefs are apparently making you anti-science, or at least ignorant of science.

chris van allsburg said...

the fundamental disagreement we have is definitely over the idea of design, as you have observed.
The four point syllogism regarding I.D. goes as follows:

1. Design is observed
2. Design requires information
3. Information requires mind
4. Therefore, there is an intelligent designer regarding that which is observed.

I haven't been writing, family, etc. I have obligations to my daughter right now as well. She just turned 4! Sigh...


Brian said...

Hey Chris,

Quick response while I wait for my dinner to cool a bit.

As I indicated in my comment, there is the appearance of design, but there are the processes and evidence for evolution that explain in great detail how life evolved on this planet. For example, if you look at the giraffe for instance, they have what’s called a laryngeal nerve. Now humans also have this laryngeal nerve, and it makes its way down from the brain around the heart and back up to the neck. Not surprisingly under the explanations of evolution, giraffes, even with their really long necks have this nerve, and it also runs over 4.5 metres long around the heart and back up to the larynx. This is due to the fact of us sharing a common ancestor millions of years ago. Now this example I suppose doesn’t directly evidence evolution, and you could say “Well God just decided to do it that way because he can”, but that’s not an explanation.

Intelligent design is not a theory because it is unfalsifiable. All you have to do is say “Well god can do whatever he wants.” Can you think of any evidence that would falsify intelligent design?

So in regards to your syllogism, I’d have to take issue with premise one because you haven’t defined the term designed, and said how you would tell something that was designed by a designer, and something was “designed” through natural process apart. As well, premise 2 would need a clear definition of “information.” I’m not quite sure about premise 3, although I’d have to see your definition of information. Since those don’t hold up, your premise 4 doesn’t hold up.

I hope you’ve had a chance to read and think about my comments to your previous blog post.

Congrats on your daughter turning four. No worries about not writing much, that stuff is a lot more important than going back and forth with me on creationism/evolution. Take care my friend!


Anonymous said...


Just saw "Religulous" last night and thought it was quite funny...I am never cool with making fun of people for their beliefs, but am always FOR exposing the "ridiculousness" of religion.

Here is the problem with the movie AND where I think you are coming from....

If you reread what wrote first, i NEVER said God was provable. He is neither provable OR UNPROVABLE( if you allow me to make up a word).

Since this is the TRUTH, we as humans are left with "BELIEF." My belief versus your belief...blah blah blah.

To quote Archimedes..."Unless we have a transcending pu sto (a place to stand OUTSIDE) we cannot KNOW our existence...." It's like a fish being asked to define water...cannot fully, UNLESS it is outside of the world looking down upon it.

Therefore, you and I BOTH are at a point to choose a BELIEF SYSTEM, BASED ON EVIDENCE, that makes sense of what we can observe.

I LOVE SCIENCE, I am not against it at all. I WILL admit that when it comes to a dispute between what MAN/SCIENCE says and what the BIBLE reveals, I will choose the Bible and my understanding of it first. We can debate why that is later and I am sure you will, like Bill Mahr tried to do in the movie, MAKE FUN of such "stupid belief." Regardless, I am not against SCIENCE nor EDUCATING myself on issues.

Without being exhaustive, what I was TRYING to say, in the shortest way (cause this debate is much bigger than you and I, and MUCH bigger to debate over e-mails cause I hate writing) possible is this.....

Evolution bases it's theory that the world and people began based off a "chance" factor...that is IT'S BASIS, because Evolution doesn't want to accept a "designer" so therefore, if there is no "thing" orchestrating it all, then there is "RANDOMNESS/CHANCE" "running it all (notice the irony and oxymoron there?-it is like saying "there are no absolutes...umm, except the one you just made right there in that sentence, huh?"

What I have a problem with is that at Evolutions foundation I am to accept "chance" when even (like you said) Evolution uses "design/order" (in conjunction to "chance/randomness) to make up it's theory when I do not see "chance" happening EVER, LET ALONE often enough to observe it...

So the evidence seems, to me anyways, stacked against it BECAUSE the world shows nothing BUT order and design. So to make the leap (I am ACCEPTING that it is FAITH) that there is a "Designer" is way more "evidenced" than making a leap to accept RANDOMNESS/CHANCE" when there is NO evidence to support RANDOMNESS...this is just the beginning.

The problem I have with Science is that they, like Bill Mahr( not claiming he is a scientist), do not want to accept the idea of FAITH at all. We have to have "proooooooof" well, like Archimedes said, there is no PROOF of yours is faith JUST AS MUCH AS MINE...Science hasn't proven SHIT!..they have theories, just like I have "theories...THEORY is a synonym of FAITH. If we can START there and you don't somehow like to put yourself ABOVE us because we are those "FAITH" people...then we can begin to talk. SCIENCE is YOUR GOD, that is the difference....again, I would much rather believe (and we can discuss why later) Jesus Christ and what He did than believe in man's THEORIES that are soooooo LIMITED...even SCIENCE admits that...

we know/explored what 2% of the known universe? THE do we not know that when we get outside of our own solar system the whole periodic table doesn't change? and SCIENCE, who thought the earth was the center of the universe just a short while ago, SHOULD BE CAREFUL to be so DOGMATIC...or else it sounds like...what what? RELIGION.hahahaha Wow, even science has become a religion...they just think theirs is better because it "seems' based of "fact"lol

Ok, I will end there....I enjoy your thoughts very much Brian, but I definitely want to say you come off VERY arrogant in the way you "pet" Chris's head with some of your comments and I apologize because I am just as arrogant and it can be seen in my posts as well.

Let's start a new and WORK TOGETHER to figure out what we BELIEVE, not KNOW.

By the way, I LOVE and have studied a little of CHAOS THEORY. Not too fond of Quantum Theory, even though it is Science’s new baby! ;

chris van allsburg said...

Casey, thanks for the comments, but please refrain from using language conducive to more scatalogical endeavors. In this venue, I am not warranting it. Thanks.

Brian, I didn't know you were "petting" my head!

And Brian, I will have to get back with you on falsification theory, and how philosophers of science have dealt with Popper's idea.

Off the top of my head, one of the problems with falsification theory is that the statement, "That which cannot be proven to be false should not be regarded as true" is not falsifiable in and of itself.
There are other arguments critical of falsification theory, and I'll have to study those (along with the proponents of it).

Brynne had a great Birthday! Sigh. I wish you could meet her. She is such a dream....


Brian said...

Finally have a chance to respond, just finishing my Neuroscience exam a few hours ago.

Ok, first of all, evolution does not base its theory on the world beginning off a “chance” factor. Life coming from non-life is under the realm of abiogenesis. Which is a very interesting and comprehensive field of study in itself, but is not relevant to the Theory of Evolution(ToE) other than it’s one of the possible ways in which the first life forms came to be. The first life could have just as easily come from God, and then evolution did what it did, which is what my parents believe.

If you don’t understand this fundamental difference between the ToE, and the Theory of Abiogensis, no progress can be made in this discussion.

(Hopes you understand)

So now that you understand that the ToE does not say anything about where the first life come from, you can perhaps offer an actual objection to the ToE.

The ToE, a.k.a. the Theory of Common Descent relies on two key factors, mutations and natural selection. If we know that mutations occur, and that organisms compete for resources and those that are more successful are able to pass on their genes, then what’s stopping those two factors to accumulate over time to produce the diversification and complexity of life we see today?

Your next paragraph where you accuse me of accepting science as my god is just a bunch of nonsensical rhetoric. Of course there is a certain amount of faith that is required to get by at all in this world. But if we move beyond basic philosophical questions, we can use our senses and the scientific method to test certain hypotheses. If our hypotheses are confirmed, we may develop theories that explain a wide variety of hypotheses and facts. So, it turns out a theory is not a synonym with faith. If you actually believe that, it’s been too long since you’ve taken a critical thinking class.

I find it amusing how you imply that science admitting that its theories aren’t perfect is a bad thing. That’s the beauty of science; that we’re continually improving upon the knowledge we have. It is certainly better to be open about changing your beliefs, than being dogmatic in what you believe (like you would be if you accept an old book regardless of what the hundreds of thousands of scientific studies say).

Oh, and for clarification, I don’t consider the “Theory of Evolution” as a belief to accept. The ToE is a set of scientific facts that explains such a wide array of phenomena and has such an overwhelming amount of evidence in its favor that saying “I believe in the ToE” is as implicit as saying “I believe in the Theory of Gravity.” (Here’s a website that talks about over 29 of the most convincing arguments and pieces of evidence for the ToE )

As for your break into astronomy for a second; we know that when we go outside of our solar system the whole periodic table doesn’t change by identifying elements using emission spectra analysis. That is just something I recall from first year astronomy, but there are a wealth of others methods available to study stellar bodies at distances billions of light years away. Sure, there’s a lot we don’t know, but there’s also a lot of progress that has been made.

Science by definition is not dogmatic because it thrives off people proving other people wrong, and bettering theories. I don’t know what world you’re living in, but as someone who uses the scientific method every day to study things like Autism, vision, and memory, science is assuredly not a religion. I’m certainly a passionately defender of science, but that doesn’t make it any more of a religion than if I were to passionately defend representative democracies.

As for you your comments about me coming off as arrogant, I think condescending is a more appropriate term. Also Chris, I’ve enjoyed petting your head, but you could stand to use shampoo once in a while.

chris van allsburg said...

Brian, thanks for the information. I have some things to chew on. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to respond to it. Sorry--:(

But, I'll have you know that I'm washing my head at least twice a week now.


Anonymous said...

Good thoughts.....

I am only going to respond to what I think is the main point....

You say that Evolution does not base itself in "Chance/Chaos." Let's do some BASIC philosophy.....

If science/Evolution admittedly states that there is NO Intelligence/Design or ORDER/Initial Cause BEHIND Evolution, then it is left to believe or say it is UNINTELLIGENCE or CHAOS/CHANCE that is "at work." All this is funny to me because our language even expresses Cause. "At Work" references Order/Design, not Chaos, which is the whole blunder of it's basis.....If it isn't DESIGNED, then it is CHAOS/ soon as you say there is order, then you have just accepted a Design..therefore, with Design, there must be an initial CAUSE Why? Because CHAOS creating ORDER is evidenced NO WHERE...They are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. If you want to, as most Evolutionists do, believe that CHAOS creates ORDER you have NO evidence and should be the ones viewed as completely ridiculous.

Intelligent design is not claiming that the "designer" is the Christian God, Muslim is merely saying SOMETHING is "the First Cause." That it is "ordered." From there, a debate can begin what hat is...some say it is Matter, some say it is make a case that there was no First Cause and the Big Bang just appeared is ignorant of true science.

There is even more irony to the irony of Atheism than all this....

Brian said...


I’ll ask again, “If we know that mutations occur, and that organisms compete for resources and those that are more successful are able to pass on their genes, then what’s stopping those two factors to accumulate over time to produce the diversification and complexity of life we see today?” Or do you accept the Theory of Evolution as the explanation for the diversity and complexity of life on earth?

What specifically is the evidence you find so compelling for an intelligent designer that the theory of evolution by way of mutation and natural selection cannot account for?

The universe is what it is. There are multiple lines of evidence for the big bang and stellar evolution, ( ), there is an absurd amount of evidence in favor of the Theory of Evolution ( ), and there is a lot of research being done on abiogenesis. No where in any of this, or anywhere else, is there evidence for supernatural beings.

You say that chaos creating order is evidenced no where. Well, if by chaos you mean matter and energy and the laws of the universe, and order you mean things like planets and stars, then from chaos comes ordered things. Although I don’t know if that’s really what you mean by chaos, so I’m curious what you mean by the term “chaos.”

I start from a null hypothesis and only believe things when they are confirmed by evidence. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence for the big bang, so I accept that it happened. Beyond that, I’m content with saying “I don’t know.” The difference between you and I seems to be that I’m content in saying “I don’t know” whereas you say “I believe it’s the thing that my society has ingrained as me as existing even though there’s not a shred of evidence or justification to go beyond simply saying I don’t know and probably part of the reason I do believe is because I want to live for an eternity in this magical place called heaven or am afraid of hell.”

You have no justification to go beyond the available and say there is a god. Why don’t you just say “I don’t know”?