New category for religious attiitude toward evolution:secularism
This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.
My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.
Louisiana's Senate Bill 70, which would have repealed the state's antievolution law, was shelved on a 5-1 vote by the Senate Education Committee on May 26, 2011, despite the wide support for it from the scientific and educational communities — including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Louisiana Science Teachers Association, and forty-three Nobel laureate scientists. Harold Kroto, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1996, was quoted as comparing a vote against the repeal to "requiring Louisiana school texts to include the claim that the Sun goes round the Earth."
Support for the effort to repeal Louisiana's antievolution law is mounting. The American Institute for Biological Sciences, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Louisiana Association of Biology Educators, the Louisiana Science Teachers Association, the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Society for the Study of Evolution together with the Society of Systematic Biologists and the American Society of Naturalists have all endorsed Louisiana's Senate Bill 70, which if enacted would repeal Louisiana Revised Statutes 17.285.1, which implemented the so-called Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008
Additionally, the Repeal Creationism website — run by Zack Kopplin, the Baton Rouge high school student who is spearheading the repeal effort — now lists the endorsement of a number of prominent scientists and educators: Francisco Ayala, Niles Eldredge, Susan Epperson (the plaintiff in the 1968 Supreme Court case Epperson v. Arkansas, which established the unconstitutionality of bans on teaching evolution), Paul R. Gross, Lawrence S. Lerner, Kenneth R. Miller, Neil Shubin, John Sulston (the forty-third Nobel laureate to support the repeal effort), and Tim White.
NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Christopher Wills's The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes (Oxford University Press, 2010). The excerpt, chapter 1, takes a dive in Indonesia's Lembeh Strait as the chance to introduce the concept of common descent. Wills writes, "Surely no two organisms could be more dissimilar than the ingenious and graceful water-breathing cuttlefish and its clumsy air-gulping human observer. But in fact, even though present-day cuttlefish are expert shape-shifters and we are not, we had a common ancestor. And, at the time of that common ancestor, a far more astonishing shape-shift took place, one that had enormous evolutionary consequences."
The publisher writes, "In The Darwinian Tourist, biologist Christopher Wills takes us on a series of adventures — exciting in their own right — that demonstrate how ecology and evolution have interacted to create the world we live in. ... With his own stunning color photographs of the wildlife he discovered on his travels, Wills not only takes us to these far-off places but, more important, draws out the evolutionary stories behind the wildlife and shows how our understanding of the living world can be deepened by a Darwinian perspective. ... The reader comes away with a renewed sense of wonder about the world's astounding diversity, along with a new appreciation of the long evolutionary history that has led to the wonders of the present-day."
(quoting article)--ID predicts that the prevalence of functional protein folds with respect to combinatorial sequence space will be extremely small.
This prediction is related to the irreducible complexity one above, in that it could be invoking IBE as its justification. But if not, it doesn’t fare any better. What Jonathan is referring to is the work of Douglas Axe, a pro-ID biochemist who has conducted experiments that, he and the ID movement claims, prove that protein evolution is impossible. Thinking clearly about this for a while leads one to a single question: irrespective of the legitimacy of Axe’s conclusions about his research, why would ID predict that protein evolution is impossible? Life could have been designed by a Designer with the ability to evolve - this possibility is at least as probable as the opposite scenario, that life was designed not to evolve. But without any knowledge about the Designer, how can one scenario be given more probabilistic weight than the other? This prediction, like the others above, doesn’t follow from ID.(emphasis added)
(Note that I won’t be touching on the two astronomical/cosmological predictions Jonathan gives, as they don’t have anything to do with biological intelligent design, which is what I focus on. Cosmological ID and biological ID are not related and shouldn’t be conflated, as doing so makes things confusing.)
If we were looking for evidence for evolution, we might as well stop here. The existence of gene families, for cryin' out loud, is evidence for evolution. This paper is far beyond arguing about the truth of evolution — that's taken for granted as the simple life's breath of biology — but instead asks a more specific question: when did all of these genes arise? And they have a general method for estimating that.(emphasis added)
One of the creationist summaries is by an intelligent design creationist. He looks at the paper and claims it supports this silly idea called front-loading: the Designer seeded the Earth with creatures that carried a teleological evolutionary program, loading them up with genes at the beginning that would only find utility later. The unsurprising fact that many gene families are of ancient origin seems to him to confirm his weird idea of a designed source, when of course it does nothing of the kind, and fits quite well in an evolutionary history with no supernatural interventions at all.
The LSEA ”employs code language like ‘critical thinking’ and ‘teaching the alternatives’ in order to pretend to be promoting something noble,” wrote Zack Kopplin in the Huffington Post earlier this year.
A scenario for the evolution of a simple spherical multicellular organism from a single eukaryotic cell is proposed. Its evolution is based on environmentally induced alterations in the cell cycle, which then, by the Baldwin effect, become autonomous. Further patterning of this primitive organism--a Blastaea, could again involve environmentally induced signals like contact with the substratum, which could then become autonomous, by, perhaps, cytoplasmic localization and asymmetric cell division. Generating differences between cells based on positional information is probably very primitive, and is well conserved; its relation to asymmetric cell division is still unclear. Differentiation of new cell types can arise from non equivalence and gene duplication. Periodicity also evolved very early on. The origin of gastrulation may be related to mechanisms of feeding. The embryo may be evolutionarily privileged and this may facilitate the evolution of novel forms. Larvae are secondarily derived and direct development is the primitive condition as required by the continuity principle