Whales did (NOT) evolve


So where are the results of this “easy” test? The ID movement has been around for a good while now.

(T J Runyon) #146

This is the second time I’ve seen you appeal
to the biological species concept like it isn’t severely flawed and doubted…

(James McKay) #147

Well yes, if and only if you are talking to scientists as a scientist yourself. This is because scientists have been trained in rigorous and precise thinking and understand the need for exact terminology. Even then you need to be careful because different disciplines often use similar sounding terminology in different ways. The word “class” means something completely different in biology from what it means in computer programming, for example.

On the other hand, non-scientisis don’t have that training and experience and will have all sorts of weird misconceptions and fuzzy thinking about what you mean.

It’s deceptive to use the two different meanings of the same word in the same context, yes. That’s called “equivocation.” But there’s nothing deceptive about pointing out that terminology can be ambiguous and providing clarification about exactly what you mean.

(George Brooks) #148


I look forward to an example of such a demonstration. After all this time, I don’t believe one has survived scrutiny.

(George Brooks) #149


This statement of yours reveals your lack of comprehension of what is involved:

  1. The BioLogos mission statements are religiously based descriptions of science, not scientifically based descriptions of spiritual realities.

  2. By definition, if BioLogos takes the position that science cannot detect the activities of God, then the statement that God directs the course of Evolution MUST BE a religious statement.

(George Brooks) #150


Let’s presume your description of BioLogos mission statements is not intentionally insulting.

Would you mind explaining to the readers of your postings the logic you use to arrive at this opinion of yours?

If the heart of the BioLogos position is that it is impossible for Evolution to be truly random if God is in control of it - - how exactly is it deception to define the terms accordingly?

If you criticize Evolution when it is presented as a random operation of nature, doesn’t that mean you, yourself, hold to the view that Evolution-as-Conventionally-Defined cannot possibly exist?

So, in fact, BioLogos is offering the only valid definition for definition that fits with your own criticisms of Evolution as scientists have defined Evolution!


From a scientific perspective, there is no evidence for evolution being a goal oriented process. The same would apply to all of nature, so evolution is in the same boat with weather, thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics. Obviously, there are very different theological perspectives that go beyond what science can evidence or test for.

Science has already engaged the question of teleology within the confines of methodological naturalism, and the scientific evidence didn’t support teleology. This, again, comes back to the false dichotomy of Atheistic Meteorology or Divine Rain. Weather patterns don’t show any scientific evidence of being guided towards a specific goal, but people still believe that weather is a part of God’s will.


I have yet to see anyone actually demonstrate this to be true.

It has already been shown that evolution can produce new information.

“How do genetic systems gain information by evolutionary processes? Answering this question precisely requires a robust, quantitative measure of information. Fortunately, 50 years ago Claude Shannon defined information as a decrease in the uncertainty of a receiver. For molecular systems, uncertainty is closely related to entropy and hence has clear connections to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. These aspects of information theory have allowed the development of a straightforward and practical method of measuring information in genetic control systems. Here this method is used to observe information gain in the binding sites for an artificial ‘protein’ in a computer simulation of evolution. The simulation begins with zero information and, as in naturally occurring genetic systems, the information measured in the fully evolved binding sites is close to that needed to locate the sites in the genome. The transition is rapid, demonstrating that information gain can occur by punctuated equilibrium.”
Schneider (2000)

The hard part is demonstrating that IC systems can not evolve. We already know that they can, such as the step-by-step evolution of the irreducibly complex mammalian middle ear that is seen in the fossil record.

The easy test is numerous and obvious violations of a nested hierarchy. Another test is the pattern of mutations. If mutations did not come about through natural processes then they should deviate from the expected pattern of transitions outnumbering transversions and a low rate of CpG mutations compared to what we would expect from natural mutations. Another test could be the ratio of synonymous to non-synonymous mutations, and the divergence of introns and exons. There are tons of possible tests, but ID/creationist proponents don’t talk about them because the evidence from these tests support evolution.

(George Brooks) #153


Unless… and we need to keep reminding ourselves of the possibility… God doesn’t POOF mutations into existence… but arranges normal natural operations to trigger the mutations he specifically requires!

Then we would need a test to measure God’s INTENTIONS… rather than the results.


In such a case it is entirely possible that these mutations would be statistically indistinguishable from random mutations (with respect to fitness) which is the conclusion that science would come to.

(George Brooks) #155

Exactly! Which is why BioLogos rejects the ability of Science to detect God or the divine intentions of his operations! I.D. still hasn’t come to terms with this.

(Ashwin S) #156

There are many demonstrations by Behe.
As to surviving Scrutiny, I am yet to see a Scrutiny that doesn’t assume improbable miracles can be done by nature.Its a face-off of between two unobservable claims :

  1. That nature can create the kind of complexity we see in life (esp the first living cell).
  2. That it cannot do so without an intelligence organizing it.
    The second claim is far more probable. And hence should be accepted.
    End of the day, historical sciences are about whats more probable arent they?

And in doing so, you support a theory which cannot stand on its own. Cover up its weakness with arguments based on religion…
Wouldn’t it be more honest to admit that Evolution cannot happen as described by the scientists…

Thanks for an honest reply. I personally don’t see Evolution pulling off the diversity we see without being a Goal oriented process…

The evoinfo group deals with issues in progarmmes like the one’s mentioned above. They show that these programmes themselves contain Domain specific information and are goal-oriented. Their analyses of Schneider’s claim is below:

The programme has something called a Hamming oracles, which guides the process based on a Target… Evolution does not work based on “Targets”.
Targeted evolution does not lead to new information.It only leads to the realization of information already present in the “mind” of the programme.
These software basically prove that, evolution can work if its a teleological process.

We have discussed nested hierarchies before… i dont see any difference in the heirarchies we see in nature from a heirarchy of designed machines such as autmobiles… or the larger category of all vehicles.
The objections you raise to why autmobiles cannot be a nested heirarchy are the same ones i raise about organisms in nature.

I didnt see any step by step description… the ear is more than three bones.

transition bias is not necessarily an universal phenomenon.

Besides, the “evolutionary” explanation for this is that transition mutation are not as frequently selected against as they are mostly synonymous substitutions and don’t lead to deleterious effects. This is not verified and the data is against such a supposition.

A pattern in which nucleotide transitions are favored several fold over transversions is common in molecular evolution. When this pattern occurs among amino acid replacements, explanations often invoke an effect of selection, on the grounds that transitions are more conservative in their effects on proteins. However, the underlying hypothesis of conservative transitions has never been tested directly. Here we assess support for this hypothesis using direct evidence: the fitness effects of mutations in actual proteins measured via individual or paired growth experiments. We assembled data from 8 published studies, ranging in size from 24 to 757 single-nucleotide mutations that change an amino acid. Every study has the statistical power to reveal significant effects of amino acid exchangeability, and most studies have the power to discern a binary conservative-vs-radical distinction. However, only one study suggests that transitions are significantly more conservative than transversions. In the combined set of 1,239 replacements (544 transitions, 695 transversions), the chance that a transition is more conservative than a transversion is 53 % (95 % confidence interval 50 to 56) compared with the null expectation of 50 %. We show that this effect is not large compared with that of most biochemical factors, and is not large enough to explain the several-fold bias observed in evolution. In short, the available data have the power to verify the “conservative transitions” hypothesis if true, but suggest instead that selection on proteins plays at best a minor role in the observed bias.

In short, there should be a Bio-chemical reason independent from selection which causes the transition/transversion bias.
There are scientists who observe that natural selection doesn’t play as significant a role in “evolution” based on molecular evidence (Natural selection cannot drive change, it only accidentally discriminates between genes based on environmental/ecological factors). (Masatoshi Nei is an example)… Of course this leaves us with the problem of a supposedly random phenomenon such as mutation leading to complexity. Truly random phenomenon are Zero sum games over large periods of time. For example, weather patterns cannot build castles even though it can move sand and rock around.
So you need random mutations to consistently come up with improvements which can be selected for while at the same time conserving genes that are required. Which should compell the understanding that mutations are not truly random… they are programmed in some way.

Its a real thing. A reproductive barrier between organisms really exists. And since inheritance is the main way to share genes, its a crucial factor in evolution.

Whether you like it as a classification system or not has nothing to do with the fact that its a real phenomenon.


All the program does is determine if binding is increased after mutations

The steps are right there in the pictures. Two of the jaw bones evolve into two of the middle ear bones. If you remove any one of those two bones from the middle ear of a mammal then they are deaf, they stop hearing. The system is IC, and we can directly observe the steps in the fossil record.

It is nearly universal which is all that it needs to be.

That is not the explanation. Transition mutations are more common because they occur between chemically similar bases. It is more common for polymerases to insert the wrong base if the wrong base is chemically similar to the correct base.


A and G have two rings are chemically similar. T and C have a single ring and are chemically similar. These are the transitions. It has nothing to do with selection since this pattern holds true in junk DNA that does not code for amino acids.

Selection is not random.

If genes are required then mutations which knockout those genes will be selected against. It’s not that difficult to figure out.

The Appendix/Cave Fish Eyes/Etc. are (NOT) vestigial
(George Brooks) #158

@Ashwin_s. (@pevaquark, @T_aquaticus, @T.j_Runyon)

Your logic is broken. If I reject unguided evolution… then I am not supporting it. And yet you say I am. Time to snap out of your trance.

In fact, you are adopting the Biologos position: guided evolution.

(Ashwin S) #159

There is nothing called guided evolution… by definition its an unguided process…
You are living in a make believe world.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #160

As long as you aren’t confusing the word “unguided” with the word “Godless”, as I was not too long ago here and received patient correction. “Unguided” may be true enough in the same way that a single raindrop is “unguided” (despite the fact that gravity and wind exert much general “guidance” to it – but still leaving its exact landing spot as an apparently random event from human perspective.)

(Ashwin S) #161

An unguided process need not rule out God. However it doesn’t need God either. Unless there is a requirement for a purposeful action from God, he would be redundant in the process.
Do you think that God created all things in such a way that creation can be explained without God?
What do you do with Romans 1 then?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #162

…Or so some imagine. I was going to add in my post above (but will just include it here in my reply) that to the extent that some use “unguided” as code jargon for “God is not found here” (and no doubt many have meant exactly this), then in that case I sustain my objection against their use of the word “unguided”. The correction I was referring to above is that the word can also more innocently be used as a mere observation of statistical randomness. To which it sounds like neither of us object – I concur.

As a believer I don’t need to find “special bits” among otherwise day-to-day processes where I can, with relief, find a job for an otherwise unemployed god. To think that way is, I suggest, a category confusion that doesn’t properly accept God’s immanence throughout all His creation.

I presume your query on Romans 1 probably refers especially to verse 20

Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made.

…which I think beautifully describes for us a God that wants us to acknowledge his hand in all that we see in his creation from its regularities that we come to expect as a sign of his faithfulness (like the sunrise or the raindrop) to its amazing bits that we don’t well understand yet. On the one hand, God’s hand is invisible in those things, and yet on the other, we are still to see them all as evidence of God’s hand.

That’s what I see in that verse. Were there any other parts of Romans 1 you had in mind?

Added edit:
[Perhaps one concise description of the entire ID program would be this: It wants to tip God’s hand, and make it explicitly visible for all to see, despite the observation in Romans 1:20 that the divine nature remains invisible.]

(Ashwin S) #163

This statement makes no sense. God is invisible. His role in creation is visible. That’s Paul’s main point.

The basic idea is that the divine nature can be understood by observation of creation.
Here is an interesting article on why people believe in evolution and why others don’t. I will quote the interesting part:

Developmental psychologists have identified two cognitive biases in very young children that help to explain the popularity of intelligent design. The first is a belief that species are defined by an internal quality that cannot be changed (psychological essentialism). The second is that all things are designed for a purpose (promiscuous teleology). These biases interact with cultural beliefs such as religion but are just as prevalent in children raised in secular societies. Importantly, these beliefs become increasingly entrenched, making formal scientific instruction more and more difficult as children get older.
Their suggested solution to overcoming the problem is also interesting… teach them when they are too young to think for themselves…
By the way, they include people like you also in the list of people with “faulty thinking”.

Evolution is poorly understood by students and, disturbingly, by many of their science teachers. Although it is part of the compulsory science curriculum in most schools in the UK and the USA, more than a third of people in both countries reject the theory of evolution outright or believe that it is guided by a supreme being.

Let me leave you with something Ernst Meyer said on the scientific American in a piece describing Darwinism impact on the world. This is the first accomolishment-

First, Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically. It no longer requires God as creator or designer (although one is certainly still free to believe in God even if one accepts evolution). Darwin pointed out that creation, as described in the Bible and the origin accounts of other cultures, was contradicted by almost any aspect of the natural world. Every aspect of the “wonderful design” so admired by the natural theologians could be explained by natural selection. (A closer look also reveals that design is often not so wonderful—see “Evolution and the Origins of Disease,” by Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams; Scientific American, November 1998.) Eliminating God from science made room for strictly scientific explanations of all natural phenomena; it gave rise to positivism; it produced a powerful intellectual and spiritual revolution, the effects of which have lasted to this day.
Most of the people who teach Darwinism in college are like Mr Meyer. If you think Darwinism is not about a particular world view opposed to God. You are deceiving yourself.
Even if God existed. Guys like Mr Meyer would say humanity is better off without said God.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #164

That’s okay if I’m on their list of faulty thinkers. They are also on mine. And mine is the important one here. :smile:

Well, you’ll have to take that up with Paul then. He “clearly” said that they (referring to his eternal power and divine nature) are invisible. And he doesn’t go on to say they are seen in things that can’t be explained and understood, but that they are understood and seen through the created things. I’m not saying that there isn’t much more depth to plumb in that singular verse, or even that I’m correctly using it here when I play the same game of proof-texting it around to what now makes sense to me. All I know is it fits well with seeing God’s hand in sunrises, raindrops, and cold fronts even while we also understand those things in other terms that make no mention of God. So unless you have a compelling reason why God’s hand must exclusively be in any mysterious bits, but must be denied in all the ordinary stuff like sunshine, rain, or even evolution – I think I’ll stand by my reading of the verse. What would your reading of it be, by the way? I don’t think you said, other than to say that mine doesn’t make sense.

Understood. And agreed. Up to a point, of course. It doesn’t by itself get you all the way to a confession of Christ. But that’s safely beside the point here, I think.

So much for Darwin’s “exegesis” of Scriptures. I happily leave Darwin and his take on that in the historical dust bin where it belongs. We shouldn’t be too hard on him, perhaps. It isn’t like he might have been surrounded by much of merit in that regard.

That brings up a more interesting challenge to take on. With Job we can in faith muse: “shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?” (Job 2:10) I don’t pretend this answers all theodicy questions, but the pedigree of the exhorter here is pretty hard to call into question.

In the imaginations of a few like Myers, perhaps. I wasn’t aware that any early scientists from …well … pretty much the whole beginning of the enlightenment that launches modern science in the first place, --I wasn’t aware that any of them thought that God was somehow “in the way” standing between them and a proper explanation. I’m trying to think of a Boyle, Newton, Leibniz, Maxwell, … anybody at all who ever uttered a sentence like: “Gee, I wish I could explore this particular idea I have about how that works … but first I’m going to have to find a way to get God out of this and I am thus prevented from looking into it”, said no one ever. The closest they come (generally speaking) is with evolution itself – more revealing in its stark relief as an exception to an historical rule rather than a trend revealed in it.

Just repeat this to yourself on a regular basis: Meyers et al. are to theology and history what their despised creationists are to science. And they should have their noses rubbed in that often. While they are scrabbling about in Darwin’s rusting dumpster of theology looking for treasures, real historians and real theologians have long since moved on (in many cases back to more faithful readings of history and explorations of scriptures.) Meyer does little more than embarrass himself with his religious theses. My suggestion to you is to leave Darwin, Meyer, and the views of all those warfare-thesis folk in the nineteenth century dustbin where they belong. Darwin, at least, has a good excuse. He actually lived in that century. I don’t know what to say about otherwise-intelligent folks alive today who still have yet to listen to any real historians in the century since. Just shake your head in bemusement and walk away. You’ll do better without dragging along their long-discredited baggage.

[with edits]