Creating Information Naturally, Part 1: Snowflakes, Chess, and DNA

(George Brooks) #81

I hear you, @Ashwin_s, but you cannot simply refuse to use the term we use, without giving me an acceptable term that you WILL use.

So, are you or are you not going to cooperate with this rather crucial request?

(George Brooks) #82

No sir… all you are doing is “submerging us” into someone else’s terms and usage.
I think you should re-evaluate your stubborn fixation with ONE of the dictionary meanings of Evolution.
The whole point of English is to use qualifiers when you want to augment the meaning of something.
The fact you think “God Guided” cannot be appended to “Evolution” in order to clarify the use of the term on these boards suggests that there are all sorts of things you will refuse to acknowledge as well.

cc: @jpm

(Ashwin S) #83

Hi Brooks,

You asked for a term to describe what you believe. I honestly think Old earth creationism is the best fit…
I am not describing what bio logos believes. I heard it’s a big tent.

(George Brooks) #84

It’s a big tent, @Ashwin_s… but it’s a big tent where speciation, common descent and natural selection is built into the decorations and snacks.

Your unwillingness to allow a term to be modified with qualifiers would be like me saying: “Creationism NEVER means Old Earth”… so every time you “Old Earth Creationism”, I will insist on interpreting it to mean something that happened 6000 years ago… no matter how many times you try to explain it to me differently.

I’m not impressed with your capacity for insight. See you next resurrection.

(Ashwin S) #85

I will have to disagree with you there. There are places where the so called “playing fields” overlap.
I hate to say it. But guys like Dawkins certainly think so.

You may think so…let me quote plank Maxwell

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Perhaps Ideas like ID are just waiting for a generation to die out…

I think you misunderstood. I was pointing out that evolution fits all outcomes… i.e no test is really applicable. For example: when the appendix was thought to be a vestigial organ, it pointed to evolution… now that it’s known to have a function… it still points to evolution.
No finding is going to disprove evolution. It cannot be falsified as a system.

That’s true for now. My expectation is that we will face similar problems to that faced in physics once we go deeper in the subject.

(Ashwin S) #86

Hi Brooks,

As you wish.

I don’t know anyone who would include miracles in the process of evolution and still call it evolution…

Sorry I can’t digest that.

God bless.

(George Brooks) #87

quote=“Ashwin_s, post:86, topic:38275”]
I don’t know anyone who would include miracles in the process of evolution and still call it evolution…

Sorry I can’t digest that.


We don’t call it Evolution. We qualify the term… just like thousands of non-profit groups do when they develop a new concept.

God-Guided-Evolution is even “self-explanatory”. Your alternative, Old Earth Creationism, is patently inappropriate. So if this is the best you can do… I would say it is not good enough to qualify yourself to discuss science with me.

Just so you understand: the phrase “Old Earth Creationism” is a qualified definition of what used to be Creationism. Do you walk into their building and tell them you won’t recognize the use of the phrase… because Creationism (before the rise of Geology) ALWAYS meant 6 days of Creation?

Here’s a list of qualified terminology used by Philosophers regarding categories of knowledge and logic:
Analytic-synthetic distinction
Descriptive knowledge
Epistemic modal logic
Inductive inference
Inductive probability
Philosophical skepticism
Procedural knowledge

Would you tell them they have it all wrong… none of these words can be qualified to mean something new?

Or how about these terms, qualified to mean something new and specific:

A priori and a posteriori knowledge
Empirical evidence
Experiential knowledge
Explicit knowledge
Libre knowledge
Procedural knowledge

Or this typology:
Common knowledge
Domain knowledge
Mutual knowledge
Traditional knowledge
Traditional ecological knowledge

Mannn… the Definition Police are really going to have full jails after they are done with these folks…


What fools these people are, right @Ashwin_s

They are using these words in ways completely different from how the constituent terms
are defined… and they think they are accomplishing something … if only you had been
there early enough to explain to them where they went wrong!

The list below includes all these, and other, influential schools of thought in psychology:

Activity-oriented approach
Analytical psychology
Anomalistic psychology
Behaviorism (see also radical behaviorism)
Behavioural genetics
Biological psychology
Biopsychosocial model
Cultural-historical psychology
Depth psychology
Descriptive psychology
Developmental psychology
Ecological psychology
Ecological systems theory
Ego psychology
Environmental psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Existential psychology
Experimental analysis of behavior - the school descended from B.F. Skinner’s work.
Gestalt psychology
Gestalt therapy
Humanistic psychology
Individual psychology
Industrial psychology
Liberation psychology
Organismic psychology
Organizational psychology
Phenomenological psychology
Process Psychology
Radical behaviorism - often considered a school of philosophy, not psychology.
Psychology of self
Social psychology (sociocultural psychology)
Strength-based practice
Systems psychology
Transactional analysis
Transpersonal psychology

(Matthew Pevarnik) #88

Who cares what he thinks? You and I have both agreed that just because we have a natural explanation for something, it doesn’t mean God can’t be involved or even intervene. You just stop at a certain point in terms of accepting natural explanations.

Who is Plank Maxwell? That’s a rather cynical perspective that this person has, whomever you are referring to and how come a random quote somehow trumps anything that’s ever been written in the past many decades.

I think an interesting case study is with the Steady State theory of Cosmology and Fred Hoyle. He was a firm believer in his idea all the way up until his deathbed, but at the same time, long before his death the entire field of cosmologists virtually stopped publishing on the topic because it does not accurately describe our universe. Sure we can be stubborn people, but as a whole you will find the models that work best and actually make predictions/describe things win out.

No I understood you. And no evolution can be falsified. Like with finding a rabbit in the pre-cambrian era. Or humans with dinosaurs.

Here’s a nice little blog post outlining some ways to falsify it:

I’m sorry Ashwin, you’ve been misled by whichever anti-evolution websites/books/DVDs you’ve been reading/watching. Vestigial organs or genes do not/does not mean they have no function! That is not what a vestigial organ even is. Whoever teaches otherwise does not understand what vestigial structures even are in the first place! NOBODY is claiming they have NO function. They simply have lost some (or even all but not necessarily all) of their original function. I.e. see

Can you have God sending rain in the context of meteorology? Can you have God still influencing the weather to some degree? If not, then why do you reject clear teachings of Scripture that say that it is God who sends the rain? If so, then why can’t you accept that God can be involved in another natural process, the one of evolution?

(George Brooks) #89

And that, @pevaquark, is the perfect explanation of what our dear Mr. A refuses to accept.

(Ashwin S) #90

All I said is that I wouldn’t call a process that includes miracles as evolution. I would call it creationism. And I don’t have any problem in believing God does miracles. I think I have mentioned this before also.
Most scientists would gladly agree with this position. Why do you have a problem with it? You yourself admit that science has its limits.
Now if you believe God is involved in evolution as a “purely natural process”, can you describe this involvement? Is it only through laws set up by him?

I’m sorry Ashwin, you’ve been misled by whichever anti-evolution websites/books/DVDs you’ve been reading/watching. Vestigial organs or genes do not/does not mean they have no function! That is not what a vestigial organ even is. Whoever teaches otherwise does not understand what vestigial structures even are in the first place! NOBODY is claiming they have NO function. They simply have lost some (or even all but not necessarily all) of their original function. I.e. see

I didn’t read it in any "anti evolutionary website. This is my source.

The pertinent portion is below:


“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” says William Parker, Ph.D., assistant professor of surgical sciences at Duke and the senior author of the study. “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.’”

Using a modern approach to evolutionary biology called cladistics, which utilizes genetic information in combination with a variety of other data to evaluate biological relationships that emerge over the ages, Parker and colleagues found that the appendix has evolved at least twice, once among Australian marsupials and another time among rats, lemmings and other rodents, selected primates and humans. “We also figure that the appendix has been around for at least 80 million years, much longer than we would estimate if Darwin’s ideas about the appendix were correct.”

Darwin theorized that the appendix in humans and other primates was the evolutionary remains of a larger structure, called a cecum, which was used by now- extinct ancestors for digesting food. The latest study demonstrates two major problems with that idea. First, several living species, including certain lemurs, several rodents and a type of flying squirrel, still have an appendix attached to a large cecum which is used in digestion. Second, Parker says the appendix is actually quite widespread in nature. “For example, when species are divided into groups called ‘families’, we find that more than 70 percent of all primate and rodent groups contain species with an appendix.” Darwin had thought that appendices appeared in only a small handful of animals.


The guy is clearly stating that the appendix is not a vestigial organ to begin with.

With respect to the article you forwarded on how to falsify Darwinism, i will revert back once I have gone through it.

(Phil) #91

The function of the current human appendix is minimal at best. People do well with theirs, and only would see minimal benefit in case of severe diarrhea, and even that is sort of sketchy as to whether it helps repopulate the colon. I know of no studies that actually show that. Note the ScienceDaily article quoted states the researchers “proposed that it serves a critical function” but offer no studies, no research, no data that supports their proposal is true. In other words, it is just musings, based on the function it serves in other animals.
In any case, he actually does make a good case in the article of it being vestigial, since it has a more important role in other species.
In looking at Google, one of the researchers quoted in the Time article is quoted:
“So what does this mean for people who have had their appendix removed? Luckily, not much. “In general, people who have had an appendectomy tend to be relatively healthy and not have any major detrimental effects,” Smith says.”

(Ashwin S) #92


He is specifically referring to the claim that the appendix is a vestigial form of the caecum. He refutes it by claiming two facts.

  1. there are organisms that have a well developed cecum as well as an appendix.
  2. A large no: of mammal have an appendix and it seems to be over 80 million years old in terms of this origin. Again the question is, vestigial form of what? The facts indicate it’s not a vestigial form of the cecum.
    I found a biology stack exchange discussion that lists the related papers on the subject.

This theory got its first challenge when Parker et al (2007) suggested the appendix to be a safe-house of healthy bacteria when illness (such as diarrhea) flushes them out of the GI tract. It was based on the understanding, which came in 2000s by Sonnenburg et al (2004) and Everett et al (2004), about how the immune system supports the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria. This was experimentally established when Dunn et al found that individuals without an appendix were four times more likely to have a recurrence of Clostridium difficile colitis.
After this, more functions of appendix were discovered, especially those related to immune system. It is because of the efforts of Zahid et al (2004) (the one you cite) and Rankin et al (2016) that appendix is now identified to be more related to immune system than digestive system in humans.
Also, research by Laurin et al (2011) and Smith et al (2013) concluded that during the evolutionary course, appendix has evolved about 38 times and lost as many as 6 times, suggesting that the cecal appendix has a selective advantage in many situations and argues strongly against its vestigial nature.

My main point was that when scientists found that the appendix was not vestigial, they found evolutionary support for the idea. Just as scientists found evolutionary support for the idea that it is vestigial. This shows a disturbing difficulty to actually falsify evolution in any way. In the future ,if it’s found that vestigial organs don’t exist at all and the entire idea was wrong, it still would not falsify evolution.
That was my main point. Anyway, I am giving the link to the papers if you are interested. The gist seems that the appendix has an immune function which has become redundant in the post industrial revolution scenario… of course such a small time scale should not have any evolutionary significance and so the appendix cannot be termed vestigial.

Edit : @pevaquark : FYIP.

(Ashwin S) #93


I read the article you cited. Even the author does not seem sure that evolution can be falsified. It had this big disclaimer and more information about what does not count as a disqualified.
His main theme seems to be the idea that if a trait is seen to appear before the necessary precursors, it would falsify evolution.
I disagree. I can think of a few things that would falsify the following theories of evolution-
Neo Darwinism- If it’s established that random mutations cannot bring the novelty required for speciation/development of new classes. That would put this theory into question.
Common descent- If it’s proven that the first life consisted of several types of single cell organisms that “evolved” from the pre-biotic soup. It should falsify common descent.

However both the above scenarios would fail to falsify the larger view of evolution… But then … Is it worth calling it a theory. Wouldn’t philosophy fit better?

Edit: a trait appearing before the necessary precursors also would not falsify evolution because of the concept of convergent evolution. Theoretically, it would not falsify the overall idea.

(Phil) #94

I thought, we were talking about the human appendix, not the appendix of animals for which it may have a more prominent and indeed even a different function, UT interesting information nonetheless, so thanks for posting. The possible benefit in C. diff colitis is interesting, as that has only been an issue since the introduction of antibiotics. However, even there, the studies I found showed no difference in the incidence of C diff initially with and without an appendix, though perhaps less problems with recurrent disease. Again mostly speculative, and irrelevant to whether it is considered vestigial, depending on your definition.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #95

Rats. It seems that there is something lacking here… what could it be? I think I’m going to have to go with the fact that there are a lot of different possible ways to get new function! The good ole random mutation is just one part of many (gene duplication, whole genome duplication, frameshift mutation, ERV insertion, lateral transfer in certain bacteria was it, plus many many more).

Ashwin- you have to know what goes into to this massive explanatory network of ideas. I have no idea what you are trying to say regarding abiogenesis. Can you clarify? Also, regardless of what happens with abiogenesis, that has nothing to do at all with the very strong evidence for common descent.

I do hope that you can become more familiar with why and how scientists actually came to the conclusion that the theory of evolution accurately describes at least the natural world very well. While I am not endorsing the author of this blog, I think this one has actually a nice article that hopefully makes a little more sense on how to argue against evolution:

Unfortunately Science Daily can get a little… how shall I say… well they can write ‘pop science’/borderline ‘click-bait’ from time to time. I apologize for my presumption though! Certainly though a proposal of the appendix serving a ‘critical function’ for humans is blatantly false. It is still vestigial for humans in the sense that it serves a fraction of its original purpose! If you do genuinely try to read science papers and well written science books by real scientists then good for you! Consider me impressed. I do apologize for questioning you which I did because your arguments sound word for word like most anti-evolution material that I see.

(Ashwin S) #96

Is there a functional difference between the appendix of humans and animals? I can’t find any evidence suggesting the same.
Darwin used to think so. However there seems to be no scientific basis for this assumption.

Do you have any reference to any recent study that says the appendix of animals is different from that of humans?
Since the author is talking about convergent evolution, he must be assuming common functional features.
For example, when evolution says that the eye evolved many times, it is referring to an organ that provides the function of “vision”.
I was not able access the paper, so I can’t say definitively. Any light you can shed on the subject is welcome as long as it’s not hearsay.
Edit: I was able to find an article in scientific American that says the function of appendix in animals is also similar to that in humans.
It was good question to ask.

Edit :@pevaquark - FYIP.

(Ashwin S) #97

I have listed the papers published on the subject to @jpm
Pls go through the same.
The function of the appendix in the immune system in both animals as well as human beings is well documented.
It seems it’s the apologists for evolution who have been peddling fake science in this case.

(George Brooks) #98

Wow… here we are in the very bowels of truth, the inner heart of the non-vestigial
“Appendix” of BioLogos… and what do we read in this thread, circling the drain
while the eyes bleed…

That Evolution is “random” - - according to who? - - disputing with a visiting Creationist
who refuses to engage in any discussion where the premise includes God using
Evolution to create life forms.

Is this some kind of delusional “intra-dimensional” world as depicted by Heironymous Bosch?

Perhaps when birds fly out of my pants somebody will eventually consider how well
we would be served if there was some Mission Statement that defended God’s integral
role in directing the Evolution of Humanity - - as well as all the Evolution of all the
other life on Earth.

Next year! … in Zion.

(Phil) #99

Well, certainly suggestive but not well documented. There is even a paper that that finds a lower incidence of ulcerative colitis in people who have had their appy out, so it may be involved negatively as well. As with most human research, confounding factors make it very difficult to tease cause and effect from happenstance. For example, do people who get appendicitis have other problems that make them more susceptible to GI illness or vice versa? Is appendicitis and its removal the cause or the effect or just statistical noise? In any case, you can state with certainty that it is not critical, as most people do fine without it.

(Ashwin S) #100


It’s not just susceptibility to ulcerative colitis. There are other immune system related functions.
There is a role in embryology also which is being studied. I.e it contributes to the immune system during embryo formation/early stages of foetal development.
So, even adults who have had their appendix removed have already enjoyed some of its functional benefits.

You may not like it. But scientists who work in the field have started candidly admitting function to the appendix and denying it’s vestigiality.

That’s a weird statement. Perhaps we should remove the appendix at the foetal development stage and see how critical it is…

Edit: link to a paper showing function of the human appendix in foetal development.