My ID Challenge

@GJDS… so… I rush to make poorly thought out ideas?

I’m still waiting to learn something from you… anything really, that you think constitutes something really well thought out.

You seem to want to use the Atheistic versions of evolutionary theory as a club against BioLogos.

And yet, amazingly, when someone introduces God’s participation in the evolutionary process … you impugn that person’s motivations or abilities, and imply that they are hair-brained for doing so.

And yet @Eddie climbs all over individuals who are not WILLING to stand behind the very concept for which BioLogos was created: to teach that God IS involved in the evolution of life on this planet.

You should work out your issues with Eddie I think; then you two can arrive somewhere in the middle.

Heck, it never ends.

Again for the nth time, can you provide any reputable scientific paper or text that provides a non-atheistic version of evolutionary theory? I mean a scientifically developed one.

Since you challenge me to make a positive contribution on this site @gbrooks9, I offer the following thoughts and point of view:

It is generally understood that what we regard as laws of nature include outcomes to the human senses (and to reason) from nature’s activities, or phenomena - these responses may be quantified by observation and hypothesis and tend to suggest an instrumentalist attribute of a human being in a world of objects. I would argue against instrumentalism, but I believe a non-passionate view, or a sensible one, as an indifferent response to nature, is reasonable. Observations of nature and hypothesis by scientists are activities of a reasoning human being and cannot be law-of-nature; in that a human being measures, weighs, calculates etc., the human being is ‘active’ in thinking and measuring, and thus his activities are within nature. In this way, it is difficult to differentiate between activities of a human being and those of an object; all consist of activity of matter in time and space, (in motion or in a dynamic state) and thus considered explicable via the scientific method. It is thus erroneous to believe that we humans are able to bring a law into existence when providing a theory, a hypothesis, or a formulation. The difficulty faced by us is that of differentiating between ourselves as reasoning beings, and the objects of our inquiry - since both appear to be in the world. However, the subject-object or ‘both are in the world’, arises from a human being, not from the world. This actualises into language activity, which leads to a differentiation between the world of phenomenon/ dynamics and that of human reality - although it may be reasoned that both are activities and thus explicable in time and space by the scientific method.

If nature’s laws are known, a person’s actions and anticipated consequences should be explicable, but may not necessarily be changed simply through choice. The dynamics of any natural system would be the same whether these were, or were not, understood – even if one were to think to conform to such dynamics. Science attempts to provide explanations or descriptions believed to encompass the universe. A ‘law’ as something that may be considered as arising from reason applied to an object is unnecessary. It may appear, however, that ‘mega-knowledge’ is sought to enable a human being to attain to a complete understanding of the phenomena and its objects, and this may provide an intellectual perception, or inference, that objects behave according to some principle; or, objects are required to be as they are by a ‘something in their being-ness’. This search for an explanation of everything, or a universal, arises from a human being’s intellectual questioning and doubting. A scientific law is an articulation, or combination, of words and symbols, to provide meaning of the world of objects to human beings. It is unnecessary to argue that a law is present (or it has been added by the human being to the universe) to ensure the universe is what it is. We may reason that the universe is ‘lawful’ because it continues to be what it is, and also we may conclude that there is a finality, or that we may ‘finally’ or ‘completely’ understand it; we may also seek comfort from an ideal, suggesting that the universe and our understanding of it may become one and the same, or everything will finally be totally reasonable. The essential question in natural studies is therefore the intelligibility of nature – how is it that human reason and intellect can access natural phenomena and natures ultimate realities? One response to this question is the attribute often termed ‘image of God’ to humanity.

It has been suggested we may see the ‘mind of God’ in the universe, but the discussion on the meaning of the word God negates such a view. The impact of the vast universe on the human senses, however, may be overwhelming, as we seek to understand its beginning and end. The universe does ‘talk’ to us of God (in its silence). This is shown in Psalms 19:1-14. The writer of this psalm shows us that it is the law of God that he understands, and through the law of God, he hopes to be free from error and those that indulge in error. The universe cannot reveal God. Our senses may be influenced by the silence, and our reason may comprehend the glory of God that the heaven declares. In this way we may understand beauty without feeling we have ‘invented’ it. In this silence, we do not listen to our own feverish mind constantly trying to explain to ourselves all that our senses may respond. Rather, the glory of God proclaimed by the silent beauty may lead us to wish we could share, and be a part of, such splendour. The Universe in all its splendour points to its Creator’s Glory, and similarly to the beauty that is found in the Law of God.

Currently astronomy and particle physics have been popularised and discussions have dealt with the origins of the Universe. The many difficulties faced by evolutionism are at times put to one side by the notion that the Universe is anthropomorphic – i.e. a Universe evolved that was conducive to the evolution of life and human beings on earth. The origins of the Universe appear to have crystallized into the big-bang theory, although others speculate alternate notions. Generally the view has been that God is the cause of causes, or the primal cause; since no-one witnessed the event, we cannot discuss this notion as a verifiable/testable theory– but people may feel this is sufficient, since the Faith teaches us that God can do anything. It is necessary, however, to consider the scientific view point as serious and believe that scientists are interested in obtaining a good understanding of the Universe. The scientific method requires theory to be tested – in this case, tests are performed using particle accelerators to obtain data on the particles that constitute the Universe. These tests rest on theory devised by theoretical physicists and are, generally speaking, mathematical expressions that encapsulate the thinking of the theoretical physicists and leading mathematicians. It appears appropriate, to my way of thinking, to consider the language of mathematics when examining these activities. We have examined the limitations of language when considering the meaning ‘God’ and concluded that all godly attributes were singular and human language was insufficient to give full meaning to these. The Universe, however, is accessible to human sense, and it appears reasonable to assume that a language such as mathematics would be sufficient when examining the Universe. Difficulties however, stem from a human assumption, in that the origin of the Universe may also be considered as a singular event; in this case physicists cannot dealt with such an event using the laws of physics; i.e. they contemplate notions in which the laws of physics may not apply. Indeed, notions such as “nothing existed” (nothingness!?) are difficult ones for science, and thus it may be inappropriate for science to think it can define a beginning per se.

Quantum mechanics and quantum physics generally commence with an equation that describes the energy of a system as a wave. Once again, we commence with a system – not a beginning. However, these comments point to difficulties that human being must of necessity experience when considering such questions, because we are ‘in the world’, and in this case, we cannot be ‘above the world’ and position ourselves in a privileged position (transcend the Universe) to analyse beginnings and ends of the totality of all that can be know. The scientific method does enable us, however, to examine physical reality in the Universe and dispassionately draw conclusions from our observations. If physicists conclude the wave equation may be expressed as the sum of the forces in the Universe and these are measured in some way, then in theory such an activity conforms to the scientific method. If astronomers observe galaxies that provide light that has travelled for an enormous amount of time, than this too is reasonable. However, if scientists perform mathematical calculations and conclude that these observations lead to errors that are so large that under ordinary circumstances such results would be rejected as unacceptable according to the scientific method (e.g. cannot account for 94% of the calculated Universe) than such activities must be considered speculative. Otherwise, we have the situation found so repugnant to scientists, in that irrational dogma replaces reason. These scant remarks serve to indicate that the phrase ‘laws of nature’ is understood within (and thus confined to) the physical sciences.

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We might agree. The scientific definition of evolution is confined to a (successful) paradigm in biology. And, of course, like all things in science, it is a work in progress. The definition in science is “common descent”, and the mechanism has shifted over the decades. This is what enables us to consider “evolution as God’s way of creating us,” including notions like His guidance, without disputing the scientific definition.

However, in biology, evolution is not inadequate. It is the lens through which everything is understood. It is the explanatory framework by which new hypotheses are conceived. It makes sense of too many things to be called “inadequate”.

Outside biology is another case altogether. Evolution does not explain how we have an immortal soul, or the morality. It is woefully incomplete. Evolutionary Creation, which is not the scientific definition of evolution per se, is one faithful option here. Thought it may not be ultimately true.

I’m joining this late @GJDS, so bear with me. Your question seems like a non-sequitur. I know of no scientific paper that properly teaches theistic evolution. At the same time, I know of no scientific paper that properly teaches atheistic evolution.

Science itself is 100% blind and silent about God’s action and purposes. For those out science, this is often confusing, and mistaken for atheism. However, the absence of language about God (within science) is not the same as denying His existence. It is widely understood among scientists that science cannot properly speak of purpose, the existence (and non-existence) of God, or of when God does or does not act.

I do sense some frustration too. I do appreciate your contribution. Thank you for joining in here.

“… I know of no scientific paper that properly teaches atheistic evolution”

I have given examples of such writings; for example, Rosenberg who writes, “The progress of neuroscience will eventually force philosophy to adopt eliminativism. It has already advanced enough to force the philosophy of mind to take eliminativism seriously. But eliminativism is widely held to be incoherent.”

The basis for this outlook is that natural selection has “deluded” humans into believing we have minds, and once evolutionary thinking is properly engrained within the sciences generally, people will be able to perform experiments to show how the brain has evolved, and all notions of mind, unique personality and self-identity, will be eliminated and we will be just a bio-circuit, doing what any animal (or material thing) does…

I think with some effort, other papers can be obtained to show that atheistic evolution is equated with the paradigm in biology. Some more effort may be needed to follow the patchwork of changes in claims, and attempts to rescue TOE from scientific scrutiny. But the serious criticism, to my way of thinking, geos back to (perhaps) the TOE is a semantic statement, and the only paradigm in the sciences that cannot be derived from first principles (mathematical rigour), nor can we perform straightforward experimental verification of its fundamentals (which by definition ought to be equated with first principles).

So my criticisms are directed at expanding TOE out of a narrow area of biology, into larger areas of science, and ultimately into theology. I think this is unwise - I have no problem viewing it as something biologists think and argue over.


None of the quotes you give are of scientists properly teaching atheism. The quote you give us of a scientist doing very questionable philosophy, that many (most?) philosophers would dispute. Of course scientists do this all the time, but this is in no way germane to the scientific definition of evolution.

I am not innovating on this position. The point I am making is widely accepted in science by groups like the AAAS, the National Academy, and the NABT. The non-theist Engenie Scott writes:

Because creationists explain natural phenomena by saying “God performed a miracle,” we tell them that they are not doing science. This is easy to understand. The flip side, though, is that if science is limited by methodological materialism because of our inability to control an omnipotent power’s interference in nature, both “God did it” and “God didn’t do it” fail as scientific statements.Properly understood, the principle of methodological materialism requires neutrality towards God; we cannot say, wearing our scientist hats, whether God does or does not act.
Science and Religion, Methodology and Humanism | National Center for Science Education

I’ll point out that this is from the NCSE, the main political body that organized opposition to ID in the Dover Trial of 2005. NCSE is not a theistic evolutionist group, but an organization devoted to promoting the mainstream science understanding of evolution.

To be clear, this God-neutral view of evolution is the dominant view in science right now. Any scientist that tries to argue otherwise is extending science much farther than it can go, and disputing the current consensus. Of course, some scientists do conflate evolution and atheism in their scientific work, but it is not a proper use of science or scientific interpretation of evolution. Thankfully, this happens much more rarely than we might fear, and even when it does you can tell them they are wrong, quoting the NCSE to them if you like.

As to your statements here:

I must respectfully and forcefully disagree on several points.

This make come as a surprise, but there is a very solid mathematical foundation to evolution, and a very strong experimental grounding. This doesn’t make it “True” (because science does not make truth claims), but evolution is very compelling in science.

  1. Atheistic evolution is absolutely not the paradigm in biology. Period. No scientific theory, not even evolution, makes any statements about God’s existence or action. Any conclusion otherwise would also (for logical consistency) also conclude that the theory of gravity (for example) is atheistic, because it does not explicitly invoke God.
  2. You use “first principles” in a strange way, as if it means “straightforward experimental verification of its fundamentals.” Just to be clear, you use the terms very differently than we do in science.
  3. There are several other theories that are derived in a very similar way as evolution, and are not verifiable by straightforward experimentation. A great example is inflation and the Big Bang. Also black holes, the age of the earth, the Higgs Boson, and many many more things. Even things that are “testable” were often settled upon long before their truly seminal experiment (e.g. heliocentricity, general relativity,and many more).
  4. Moreover, there is whole fields of science focused on “emergent” properties that are not derivable from “first principles,” thinks like protein function (because we cannot derive protein structure from sequence) and (e.g. action of psychiatric drugs) medicine are great examples.
  5. It is totally false to say that evolution does not have experimental verification. The truth is that it has an immense body of experimental work behind it. To be clear, its not that we have “evolved a mouse from an amoeba” in the laboratory. Rather, if specific mechanisms of evolution are true, they make testable predictions about how biological systems behave today. We can test these predictions in biological systems experimentally, and there is an immense body of work that does just this, finding that predictions from some mechanisms are wrong (e.g. neo-Darwinian positive-selection dominated change) and of others are correct (e.g. neutral theory and common descent). This one of the big reasons that I (as a biologist) say there is very strong evidence for evolution.
  6. Also, and this is widely underappreciated, there is a solid mathematical basis underlying genomic change in evolution: neutral theory. This mathematically explains why humans and chimps are 10x less different than mice and rats, making precise predictions about de novo mutation rates that we have now experimentally validated. This has immensely important implications for genomic medicine, and evolution really guides the way here.

I think the real issue here, respectfully, is that you are not aware of precise scientific definition of evolution (common descent), the rules of science (that we never explicitly invoke God in scientific theories), the widely agreed upon (within science) limits of science, and the actual science of evolution. I hope I am not being presumptuous here, and I mean no disrespect.

I understand that evolution means different things in pop culture, but in science it has a much more precise meaning. This cannot just be ignored in conversations about evolution.


I appreciate your detailed reply and overall I agree with what you say on atheists and theists regarding science as a non-religious endeavour. Your other comments are encapsulated in my remark that perhaps the extended theory (or a version of new-Darwinian theory) is the current paradigm in biology, and as a practicing scientist, I have no trouble nor am I overly concerned with this. Each area of science has its current paradigm, and that is how science progresses.

On other matters, I would refer you to my lengthy response to gbrooks, as this is a summary of my outlook when I consider the harmony between faith and science.

As to a definition of evolution, I am using what I think is the current prevailing basis for the theory, as variation and natural selection. I understand various branches of the biological sciences use mathematical models, and this is for another discussion. If my understanding as variation and natural selection is not the basis for TOE, I would be very interested in your understanding of the fundamental basis.

I restate, my participation in interesting exchanges on this site is to examine and understand why TOE is considered so important that it leads some people to re-examine Christian doctrine, and for some, it causes so much conflict that some loose their faith.

Paging @TedDavis who can back me up on this definition from a historical point of view.

The historical, consistent, and scientific definition of evolution is just common descent (CD). There is has been a great deal of debate over the last 150 years about the exact mechanism, and there is currently a “strategic ambiguity” in effect about if God could be part of that mechanism. Science makes no claims one way or the other on God’s action here.

Neo-Darwinism, the boogieman of ID, with its focus on positive selection has been largely supplanted by neutral theory. This doesn’t mean that positive selection isn’t important (it is), but it does mean there are a large class of features in biological systems that are better understood as neutral drift than the classic evolutionary story of selection. This includes things like overall genome similarity, pathway redundancy, and the precise details of genome sequences. A great primer on this is here.

One of the great features of neutral theory is that it has a very solid mathematical basis. Using evolution (i.e. common descent) as a starting point, and then invoking neutral theory, we can explain rigorously why mice and rats are 10x more different (about 20%) than humans and chips (about 2%). CD (i.e. evolution) with neutral theory explains this perfectly, with mathematical rigor, and testable predictions too. I’ve asked ID advocates time and time again: what design principle (other than common descent) explains this pattern. No one knows.

One of the more stunning predictions of neutral theory, that has been recently validated. is that differences between different parts of the genome should correlate with differences in the rate of mutation across the genome. Phrased another way: genomic difference should match the rate of change. To be clear, this is a prediction that is experimentally verifiable. And it has been verified for humans and chimpanzees. What design principle (other than CD) explains this strange correlation? No one knows.

I’ll point out (as always) scientists continue to revise the mechanisms of evolution, particularly when considering specific cases. A great example of this is the Third Way, that are clearly arguing against both ID and Dawkins, trying to give a more complete telling of evolutionary mechanism. Positive selection is important, but it is not necessarily the most important mechanism. Alongside point mutation, moreover, there are several other important mechanisms too (like horizontal gene transfer, transposons, epigenetics, duplication, copy number variation, etc.).

Defining evolution correctly as just common descent is really helpful . There is nothing intrinsically atheistic about it. CD is also the most historically and scientifically consistent and correct definition.

To be clear, also, I am not adding to this definition abiogenesis (origin of life) or universal common descent. These things are up for debate in the scientific community, and not part of evolution proper. One group of scientists thinks that life arose multiple times (so they do not believe in universal common descent). Another group of scientists severly doubts any natural mechanism for abiogenesis could ever be found. Regardless, evolution is just common descent of all life to a few (or one) ancestor.

In fact, in the entirely unlikely event that ID could make its scientific case that God intervenes to inspire some mutations, this would only be a minor modification to the over all theory. This would be just introduced as another mechanism of change among many others. The evidence for evolution (CD) would be just as strong, because it is experimentally and mathematically rooted (with gobs of evidence) in neutral theory.

(Just to be clear, I do think God could have been directly involved by first cause, but I am very skeptical science could ever prove it.)

More importantly for ID, if neutral theory is true (and it certainly looks like it is), the likelihood ID can make their scientific case is severely damaged. This is one reason why most ID proponents dispute all the evidence for neutral theory. If it was true, all the ID math we have seen falls apart.

So I hope that is helpful. I think you have been working from a Dawkin’s-defined version of evolution. But, thankfully, it is not accurate.



Thanks - we speak with much the same voice, I think. My own “bruising” experience, you’ll perhaps appreciate, has been several years long.

Just one thought in closing:

Might it be that this is one reason you’ve just had a brusing blog war (which I’ve followed with interest, by the way)?

Thanks Joshua, this is probably the most articulate presentation of a position on evolution I have seen on a web site.

I will add that my area of expertise is not in any area of the biological sciences, so I rely on papers I come across and reviews, along with papers that are more in keeping with philosophy of science. I am aware that debates rage amongst a number of groups, and also things such as the third way - so as one viewing from the outside, my impression is one of disputes, changes in overall outlook, and on-going debates. Within this context, I regard this area as NOT settled, and so I hope that at some future date, we may have a well accepted TOE, and people such as myself, may include this within a general view of science and faith.

On common descent, I confess that my outlook has been influenced by debates during my years as a student, where we as college “know-it-all” students debated (fiercely) common descent. The other side was so dogmatic about it (those were the days of the missing link) that I concluded their position was one of dogmatic-atheistic, and not science. I have regarded common descent since then with suspicion and have made a couple of comments on population modelling and bottlenecks, which imo seems to assume a lot as given - but that is for another discussion.

can you give a specific example? thanks.[quote=“Swamidass, post:492, topic:4944”]
If it was true, all the ID math we have seen falls apart.

how actually?


WOW. Haven’t I and just about everyone else made it clear that we don’t EXPECT or DEPEND upon

  1. a Scientific paper which …
  2. Would provide a non-atheist [i.e. a GODLY] version of Evolution.

You are working yourself up to a frazzle over this? You GOTTA be kidding …

I invoke God’s involvement in the evolution of Earth’s life OUT OF THE INTERSECTION

of MY OBSERVATION that the Earth cannot be less than 6000 years old.

I have no choice in the matter.

Science DENIES me a plausible way of accepting an Earth of 5000 years in age … with a GLOBAL FLOOD in the middle of Egypt’s 4th or 5th Dynasty. It never happened. That part of the Bible is wrong.

Now let’s turn our attention to YOU, GJDS:

Tell us, exactly, how YOU THINK we should be looking to a SCIENTIFIC PAPER about God.
This should be FASCINATING.

And in this, @GJDS, we are in virtual, if not perfect, agreement.

I do not rely on Science to inspire my thoughts that God was involved in evolution. It is my faith in the necessity for God that provides the inspiration.

I look forward to the day when such faith and inspiration doesn’t OFFEND YOU to the bone.

I agree with Josh that CD is the heart of evolution historically, including for Darwin, who did not limit the mechanisms to natural selection alone, even though NS was the most important for him. Prior to Darwin, “transmutation” (the word used by French evolutionists and adopted by the English with no changes in spelling or meaning) was about CD, and it was still about CD for Darwin, who actually never used the word “evolution” in the first edition of Origin of Species, which ends with the final word “evolved,” which is the only use of that word in the whole book.

For a couple of generations after Darwin, many biologists accepted evolution (in the sense of CD) but not “Darwinian” evolution (where NS was the main driver). Peter Bowler refers to this period as "the eclipse of Darwinism,’ but CD was not under attack in the scientific community.

Not to distract from the good discussion… The notion that most of the human genome is functional or that every bit of DNA in genome has a functional role is, ironically, both a common ID/Creationist and an ultra-selectionist viewpoint. Some of the strongest selectionists can be creationists (i.e. those taking the positions that mutations are overwhelmingly harmful, or that there is no ‘junk’ in our genome). I’m sure Joshua encountered those positions in his recent exchange on other blogs.

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I understand the background here. This is how it was for me during high school too.

However, in 2000 and 2005 everything changed with the publication of the human and chimpanzee genomes. It could not be more clear. If God created us de novo for some reason He created us to look like we share an ancestor with the chimpanzees. Of course, God can do anything, but this presents a serious question to any holdout caring to communicate with our world. God could have made us with genomes that were obviously different than apes, at least more different than mice are from rats. He did not. Why not?

This, ultimately, is the question that lead me to realize (1) disproving evolution was not one of God’s design goals, (2) therefore, it probably shouldn’t be one of my goals, and (3) it was idolatorous (for me) to look outside of Jesus for scientific proof for God. As I left ID, I found a more Jesus-centered confidence, and cam to see a profound beauty in evolution. As @Kathryn_Applegate would say, “endless forms are most beautiful.” For me, the journey from ID to theistic evolution was a journey out of idolatry.

So I can help here. There is a portion of the evolution that is settled, and not under debate in any meaningful way. And there is a portion that is not settled. Of course you can dispute this, but this is how mainstream science shakes out now.


  1. Common descent of all life to a few (or one) common ancestors. For example, it very much looks like we share a common ancestor with the great apes. The evidence here is overwhelming in the genomic age.
  2. Genomic changes can be understood as the combined effect of a large class of biochemical modifications (e.g. point mutations, copy number variation, transposons, horizontal transfer, trinucleotide expansion, splice insertion, etc.).
  3. The vast majority of genetic differences are “neutral”, with little or no effect on fitness. Genomic differences at a high-level, therefore, more accurately record evolutionary history than functional differences.
  4. The ID movement is pseudoscience. As Owen Gingerich puts it, “I … believe in intelligent design, lowercase ‘i’ and ‘d’. But I have trouble with Intelligent Design – uppercase ‘I’ and ‘D’ – a movement widely seen as anti-evolutionist.”
  5. Invoking God as an explanatory force (within science) inhibits the progress of scientific inquiry.


  1. Exactly which and how many mutations are required to see all the diversity of life. I.e. we know most mutations are neutral, but we have a much weaker handle on which and how many are of positively selected.
  2. All the biochemical mechanisms at play, their precise probabilities, and relative importance. This is particularly true when considering specific situations. There is lively debate, often coupled with mathematical modeling, to test the relative likelihood of different possibilities. In some cases, we may never resolve the right answer in every specific case.
  3. The mechanism by which the first life came to into existence, the biochemical nature of this life, the likelihood of this event, and whether or not this happened once or multiple times on earth.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that CD is TRUE. It is possible that God created the world to look like we all evolved from a common ancestor. God can do anything. However, this does mean that science is very clear right now, and any one who disputes it should devote some time to the theology to explain how this could be. I’m willing ton consider the possibility that evolution did not happen, but I would need to know why God made a world that looks evolved.

Moroever, it is a common strategy to conflate about the unsettled details with debate about the settled theory. Do not be fooled. The settled details really are settled. The evidence is so strong in its favor it is hard to imagine anything that could disprove it at this point. It’s not that CD isn’t falsifiable (it is), rather an ocean of different types of evidence has failed to falsify it.

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My first exposure to evolution came in college. The same is true for others. Your simplistic caricature of legitimate science based opposition to the TOE may allow you to keep your blinders on, but it is not rooted in reality.

  1. This article gives a great review of the math behind neutral theory, with several of the experiments used to validate it over neo-Darwinianism (positive-selection) The Neutral Theory of Evolution | Chase Nelson | Inference. The math here is very well founded. Another helpful overview is here: Genetic drift - Wikipedia. Also, remember that drift happens in parallel (not sequentially) with all mutations across the genome fixing at the same time. Therefore the fixation rate EQUALS the mutation rate. And I’ll point out that all this math is directly verifiable with simulation.

  2. Egg yolk genes in humans. Don’t forget to look at the mathematical simulations in this study. You will see a host of patterns in the data that are all explained by CD + neutral theory, with a small amount of positive selection: Loss of egg yolk genes in mammals and the origin of lactation and placentation - PubMed

  3. This is one of the most profound experimental results in evolution I have recently seen. Genome-wide patterns and properties of de novo mutations in humans | Nature Genetics, look at Figure 4. We see that de novo mutation rate + recombination rate ENTIRELY explains variation in divergence across the genome. This is analogous how the rate of continental drift predicted by radiometric dating exactly predicts the measured rate by GPS Smoking Gun Evidence of an Ancient Earth: GPS Data Confirms Radiometric Dating – Naturalis Historia.

  4. So this is another paper showing experimental validation. It has been long hypothesized (based on looking at genomic comparisons) that the splice reaction can be reversed to add introns into genes, splitting a single exon into two. This is a 1 out of trillion event that was recently observed in the laboratory: Rare Evolutionary Event Detected in University of Texas Lab - UT News and This is a great example of evolutionary theory making a prediction about how biological systems behaive that we can directly observe, but would otherwise not be predicted.

I could go on and on. There is also literally thousands of papers just like these that experimentally test the claims of evolution. But this gives you a good sense.

And how does this make ID math fall apart?

Basically, if neutral theory is true, there are two consequences:

  1. The vast majority of genetic changes are neutral and do not need to be specifically explained by evolution. They are “unspecified.” They are just noise. This makes evolution a much more believable story.
  2. It also means the positively selected mutations are vastly outnumbered by the neutral mutations, perhaps by a factor of 10,000 in mammalian systems. This means it is much harder (impossible?) to show a signal for design in DNA with the evidence we see that entirely supports CD.

Therefore, ID people fight tooth and nail against neutral theory. If it is true (as it looks to be) it seems to foreclose any hope of proving ID scientifically with mathematical rigor. All they are left with are lawyerly arguments. And we know how far that gets you in science.

Given this data, right now, in ID you have to hold an alternate view of how nearly the whole of biology works. This is the only way that the ID arguments are plausible.

PS: I just had the absurd experience of having random non-experts instantly form very emotionally strong opinions about whether or not most lncRNA is functional. Most of them had never heard of lncRNA before, and did not even know what it meant. All they knew was “if lncRNA is not usually functional, than the ID case is weaker”, so they argued like their life depended on their instinct that lncRNA is always function. This is transparently absurd.

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Thank you for your posts. It goes without saying that you are a skilled communicator, and explain things in such a way that those of us on the periphery of science can understand, rather than getting bogged down in jargon.

Perhaps in part because William Dembski and Jonathan Wells have supported the position that ID implies DNA should be functional. However, those claims imply either hyperselection such that most changes are severely deleterious or that a creator actively put almost every base in place for a functional reason when it formed a species. However, there is no inherent conclusion implied by ID that junk DNA cannot exist. So perhaps it’s related to a desire to make references ‘infallible’.

A similar ‘authoritarian’ infallibility sentiment seemed to have been at work when Phillip Johnson (author: ‘Darwin on Trial’) started dabbling with those like Peter Duesberg in promoting the idea that HIV was not involved in AIDS. Jonathan Wells also supported that position. At about the same time, many ID supporters in the various discussion boards also embraced the “HIV doesn’t cause AIDS” position. This was at a time after it was long clear that HIV had causal role in AIDS and that antiviral treatments against the virus demonstrated efficacy against AIDS.

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