7.22.2008

New Science Text Book 'Explore Evolution' Breaks New Ground

The purpose of Explore Evolution, is to examine the scientific controversy about Darwin's theory, and in particular, the contemporary version of the theory known as neo-Darwinism. Whether you are a teacher, a student, or a parent, this book will help you understand what Darwin's theory of evolution is, why many scientists find it persuasive, and why other scientists question the theory or some key aspects of it.

7 comments:

Jeremy said...

So, what are these flaws in evolution you mentioned in your comment on my post? And I'd be interested to know how you don't consider the Discovery Institute just a little biased.

Chris_topher said...

There are many examples but I'll start with irreducible complexity. Charles Darwin once said:
"If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."
Darwin knew that for his theory to be correct things like, for example, bacterial flagellum could not exist. Bacterial flagellum is considered on of the "simplest" bacterial cells, has a highly efficient and complex system. The bacteria has all the parts it needs. You cant remove anything from the system because if you did the bacteria could not function. Such "machines" are irreducibly complex, evolution cannot build irreducibly complex organs because evolution requires that all tings arise in small steps. Other things such as the origin of life,genetic evidence, limitations of chance mutations, developmental evidence,and fossil evidence(contrary to your news article)Here is a website with a brief summary of the fossil record. http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1139 show that Darwin's theory can only account for variations within species. Also, the Discovery Institute of course has it's biased, how could it not. It's the legitimacy of their biased that you have to consider. People act like ID proponents are all backward and don't have a clue about the arguments they're making. I personally find that hard to believe considering the hundreds of scientist that support and or write articles for the site. So sure they have a biased towards cleaning up the Neo-Darwinist garbage mixed into the science books. Look, if a theory has proven flaws than why should we not allow the flaws to be exploited and give an alternate hypothesis. Even if that hypothesis states that based on things such as irreducible complexity, may point towards a creator rather than random unguided chance. Debating these issues does NOT have to try to prove any religion or any personal belief. Just following the evidence where it leads is how this controversy developed. Though I admire your skepticism for it's the same force that lead me to investigate Darwin's theory.

Jeremy said...

It's curious to me why you would choose irreducible complexity as the perceived “flaw” in evolution to explain in great detail. I'm sure you're familiar with the Kitzmiller et al. Vs Dover Area School Board court case in which the religious backing of ID (in that particular case) was proved and the idea itself was determined to be not science. In this case, Dr. Kenneth Miller used an example Dr. Behe had used in the past of something Dr. Behe claimed was irreducibly complex: a mousetrap. Dr. Miller showed that while a part taken away from a mouse trap defeats the purpose of it being a mouse trap, that does not stop the remaining parts from being something useful; such as a tie-clip. A more scientific refutation of the irreducible complexity idea can be found here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ICsilly.html To summarize the article, research has shown that the bacterial flagellum missing a few parts can still serve as a hypodermic needle of sorts for the bacterium to which it is attached. So, even if those parts did not combine to make a means of locomotion, they could still be used for something useful; which is what evolution via natural selection is all about. Evolution has now goal, nor is it accurately defined as “survival of the fittest.” A more appropriate description, borrowed from Dr. Eugenie Scott's book, would be “survival of the fit enough.”

“People act like ID proponents are all backward and don't have a clue about the arguments they're making. “

I wouldn't say that's necessarily true, the problem lies with the arguments themselves. ID as a scientific hypothesis does not make any predictions. All it's claims are based upon refuting those of evolution. For instance, you said, “Even if that hypothesis states that based on things such as irreducible complexity, may point towards a creator rather than random unguided chance. “ No ID literature I've found deals with the nature of the creator. From whence did the creator come? If life on Earth is too complex to have come about by “random, unguided chance,” as you claim, surely the creator itself must be extremely complex and therefore must have been designed. The question then would be: who designed the designer?

“Other things such as the origin of life,genetic evidence, limitations of chance mutations, developmental evidence,and fossil evidence “

I would love to talk about these issues with you, were you to present them in detail as you did with the claim of “irreducible complexity.” However, the theory of evolution does not deal at all with the origin of life, nor does it claim to. Faulting the theory for something it never claims to explain is like saying the inability of the theory of gravitation to explain where gravity came from is a weakness of the theory.

Chris said...

Jeremy those are some great comments in which I'll respond in the next couple days. Due to the nature of my chosen profession (active duty army) I'm unable to get the time I'd need to respond in a timely manner. I'm currently training up for a 3 month long school in which takes a lot out of me(physically). please be patient I'll comment on these issues within the next couple days. I hope to have something to keep the "juices flowing" by tomorrow. Talk to you later.

chris said...

Hey Jeremy how’s it going? Due to the various arguments mentioned in your response I’m going to have to split this post, maybe 3 sections or so as to keep the dialogue going, so please don’t say “well what about this or that” I’m not dodging I’m simply addressing each issue to the best of my ability.
Now you open with:
“It's curious to me why you would choose irreducible complexity as the perceived “flaw” in evolution to explain in great detail”
Answer: I chose Irreducible Complexity (IC) because of its argument strength. Although the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case appears to paint a solid debunking of Irreducible Complexity, further investigation of Dr. Miller’s argument shows only a straw-characterizing of the argument.
We’ll first begin with Dr. Miller’s argument against IC. Miller claimed that if a separate function can be found for any sub-system of an irreducibly complex system, outside of the entire irreducible complex system, suggesting the sub-system might have been co-opted into the final system through the evolutionary process of exaptation. What Miller suggests is the same example you used in your comments:
“Dr. Behe claimed was irreducibly complex: a mousetrap. Dr. Miller showed that while a part taken away from a mouse trap defeats the purpose of it being a mouse trap, that does not stop the remaining parts from being something useful; such as a tie-clip”
However, Miller ignores the fact that IC is defined by testing the ability of the final system to evolve in a step-by-step fashion in which function may not exist at each step. Which is why finding the function of a sub part such is the Type III Secretory System (that hypodermic needle you speak of) does not invalidate IC. Dr Miller said that there could have been a precursor to the bacterial flagellum that functioned not as a rotary motor (at first), but in some other way (i.e. the Type III Secretory System or TTSS). This process is called exaptations (also known as co-option or preadaptation). The website you referred me to explains this process and shows diagrams that show how this process would occur.
Now the judge ruled that Dr. Behe ignored the possibility of expatiation as a way of accounting for the origin of biological complexity based on the testimony of Dr. Miller. So in essence all Dr. Miller had to do was prove that the flagellum has a part that can be used outside of the complete structure. By doing this he could say that this “part” (TTSS) was the precursor that evolved into the complex bacterial flagellum. And presto! The judge saw this argument as valid proof that this so called irreducibly complex system could have been made possible by natural evolutionary processes.
But, there are 3 problems when using TTSS as the precursor to the flagellum.
1)Experts claim that TTSS most likely evolved from the bacterial flagellum, not the other way around
2)The judge claimed Dr. Behe didn’t consider exaptations as a possible means to the process. But that is false; Dr. Behe as well as many other ID scientists are very aware and have observed exaptations but understand the problem with using that process in the irreducible complexity of the flagellum.
3)Miller inaccurately defined IC to fit into his theory.

William Dembski shows the problem with Miller's definition and treatment of IC in
Dembski’s expert rebuttal in which Dembski writes:
“Finding a subsystem of a functional system that performs some other function is hardly an
argument for the original system evolving from that other system. One might just as well say
that because the motor of a motorcycle can be used as a blender, therefore the [blender]
motor evolved into the motorcycle. Perhaps, but not without intelligent design. Indeed,
multipart, tightly integrated functional systems almost invariably contain multipart
subsystems that serve some different function. At best the TTSS [Type-III Secretory System]
represents one possible step in the indirect Darwinian evolution of the bacterial flagellum.
But that still wouldn’t constitute a solution to the evolution of the bacterial flagellum. What’s
needed is a complete evolutionary path and not merely a possible oasis along the way. To
claim otherwise is like saying we can travel by foot from Los Angeles to Tokyo because
we’ve discovered the Hawaiian Islands. Evolutionary biology needs to do better than that.”

Another interesting fact is that the other 30 proteins in the flagellum (not present in TTSS) are exclusive to the motor and NOT FOUND IN ANY OTHER LIVING SYSTEM. Thus begging the question, where these protein parts co-opted?

Also Dr. Scott Munich showed that after mutating all of the flagellum genes he found that the flagellum loses function if even one gene is missing, concluding that the flagellum is irreducibly complex in gene compliment alone.

An 11 page article that more descriptively explains the above arguments can be found at http://www.iscid.org/papers/Luskin_EngineLugnuts_042706.pdf. This site also shows a great analogy called the arch which when compared to the illustration you presented by Dr. Douglas Teobald, shows the fallacies generated from such simple thinking.

More insight about this trial and the claim that ID science is testable and makes predictions http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/intelligent_design_is_empirica.html

For an even more information on this topic as referred to earlier, Dr Dembskis expert analysis is here. http://www.iscid.org/papers/Dembski_IrreducibleComplexityRevisited_011404.pdf

Chris_topher said...

Jeremy I addressed your comment that "ID as a scientific hypothesis does not make any predictions. All it's claims are based upon refuting those of evolution" in my newest post titled 'Do Intelligent Design and Creation Scientist Make any Predictions?'

Chris_topher said...

Jeremy the "who created God" argument is addressed in my newest post today. I also want to address your comment that says: "Faulting the theory for something it never claims to explain is like saying the inability of the theory of gravitation to explain where gravity came from is a weakness of the theory." First, Neo-Darwinist do try to explain origins (that primordial soup I am sure you've heard of, which i will address in my next post.) Second, the rhetoric you use could be used for Intelligent Design:

Faulting the theory(Intelligent Design) for something it never claims to explain(origin of designer)is like saying the inability of the theory of gravitation to explain where gravity came from is a weakness of the theory.

So I could say just because I don't know how God came to be does not exclude the fact that it's evident he created life. Evident because the evidence points more towards God than Darwin. I recommend you read my newest post titled "who designed the designer"