Stephen E. Jones

Creation/Evolution Quotes: Unclassified quotes: April 2005

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The following are unclassified quotes posted in my email messages of April 2005.
The date format is dd/mm/yy. See copyright conditions at end.

[Index: Jan-Feb; Mar; May-Jun; Jul (1); (2); Aug-Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec]


1/04/2005
"The biological systems in this world have settled on a rather complicated way of solving these problems, 
using several different but closely related substances to fulfil the various necessary roles. At the core of the 
system is DNA, a substance which is sufficiently inert and unreactive to serve as a reliable memory store. 
By itself it can do almost nothing; it is very inefficient (even if it can operate at all) at producing a copy of 
itself which could be transmitted to the next The theory of evolution today generation, even when it is 
provided with all the necessary building blocks. However, it occurs in association with protein enzymes, 
which in the first place enable it to be replicated, so that there are copies to pass on to the daughter cells, 
and which also use the information stored in the DNA to produce a corresponding RNA and that in turn is 
used to guide the synthesis of a corresponding protein. This whole system works extremely efficiently, but 
as you see it involves separating the function of reliability in storing information from that of actually using 
the information as instructions to change the surroundings. It is, I suppose, theoretically possible to 
imagine a substance which was both inactive enough to be reliable and active enough to have effects in 
producing a phenotype. Possibly some evolving systems on Mars or elsewhere in the universe have 
discovered such a perfect answer to the evolutionary problem, but life on this earth has not. It is stuck with 
a system in which there is an inescapable difference between the genotype-what is transmitted, the DNA-
and the phenotype-what is produced when the genotype is used as instructions." (Waddington, C.H., "The 
Theory of Evolution Today," in Koestler A. & Smythies J.R., ed., "Beyond Reductionism: New Perspectives 
in the Life Sciences," The Alpbach Symposium, [1969], Radius/Hutchinson: London, 1972, reprint, pp.362-
363)

1/04/2005
"ribosome A small spherical body within a living cell that is the site of protein synthesis. Ribosomes consist 
of two subunits, one large and one small, each of which comprises a type of RNA (called ribosomal RNA) 
and protein. Ribosomes are described in terms of their sedimentation coefficients (i.e. their rates of 
sedimentation in an ultracentrifuge), which are measured in Svedberg units (symbol S). The prokaryote (70S) 
ribosome comprises a 50S (large) subunit and a 30S (small) subunit; the eukaryote (80S) ribosome has large 
60S and small 40S subunits. Usually there are many ribosomes in a cell, either attached to the endoplasmic 
reticulum or free in the cytoplasm. During protein synthesis they are associated with messenger RNA as 
polyribosomes in the process of translation." (Martin, E. & Hine, R.S., eds., "Oxford Dictionary of Biology," 
[1985], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Fourth Edition, 2000, p.521)

1/04/2005
"ribozyme (catalytic RNA) Any RNA molecule that can catalyse changes to its own molecular structure. 
Self-splicing introns (see gene splicing) are examples of ribozymes." (Martin, E. & Hine, R.S., eds., "Oxford 
Dictionary of Biology," [1985], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Fourth Edition, 2000, p.521)

1/04/2005
"Next Scott and Branch remark, `Most scientists would reply that unexplained is not unexplainable, and that 
'we don't know yet' is a more appropriate response than invoking a cause outside of science.' Comment: This 
is the standard ploy of turning the subject matter of ID into a completely different subject matter from that of 
science. Accordingly, there's ID, with its religious invocation of supernatural sprites and spirits, and then 
there's `science' (said with a deep voice and plenty of gravitas), which investigates `natural causes' (said 
with the same deep voice and gravitas). But in fact, there's only one subject here, namely complex biological 
systems, and the question is whether natural causes, understood as unintelligent causes ruled by blind 
unbroken natural laws, can account for them. There are two possibilities: (1) natural causes are up to this 
sort of explanatory work or (2) intelligent causes are required as well. To say that if ID is correct, then the 
phenomena in question are `unexplainable' is to define science an enterprise that can explain only by natural 
causes (understood in a reductionist, design-excluding way). Scott and Branch are playing a game of 
definitions. Science is a search for the truth underlying natural phenomena. Whether an intelligent cause is 
involved is not something that can be excluded on a priori grounds." (Dembski W.A.*, "Commentary on 
Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch's `Guest Viewpoint: "Intelligent design" Not Accepted by Most 
Scientists,'" ISCID, 2 July, 2002)

1/04/2005
"RNA (ribonucleic acid) Nucleic acid class, differing from DNA in being usually either single-stranded or 
looped, in containing ribose not deoxyribose, and in that uracil replaces thymine. Synthesized by RNA 
polymerases from nucleoside triphosphates (ATP, GTP, CTP, UTP); with 5'- and 3'-ends to the molecule, as 
in DNA (see DNA). The three RNA types, messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA) and ribosomal 
RNA (rRNA), are all involved in Protein Synthesis, in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, but in 
eukaryotes especially, RNA processing accompanies mRNA production. In RNA viruses, RNA is sometimes 
double-stranded, serving as genetic material (see reverse transcriptase, central dogma); in some RNA 
viruses the RNA is transcribed into RNA and in others (retroviruses) it is reverse-transcribed into DNA. 
tRNA molecules fold back upon themselves by complementary base-pairing to form double-stranded `stems' 
and single-stranded 'loops'. A loop at one end bears a specific nucleotide triplet (the anticodon) while the 3'-
end of the molecule carries a tRNA-specific amino acid - both essential for protein synthesis to proceed by 
means of a genetic code. Ribosomal RNA subunits associate with protein molecules to form ribosomes. All 
tRNA and rRNA molecule types are encoded by DNA (see gene), and there are many more of these 
molecules per cell than there are of mRNA. Eukaryotic rRNAs are of four densities: 28S, 18S, 5.8S and 5S, 
while the three prokaryotic rRNAs are 23S, 16S and 6S. The genes for all these tend to be highly conserved 
and are often employed in phylogenetic studies. Some RNA molecules have catalytic activity ..." (Thain M. 
& Hickman M., "The Penguin Dictionary of Biology," [1951], Penguin Books: London, Tenth Edition, 2000, 
p.567. Cross-references uncapitalised)

2/04/2005
"ribose A monosaccharide, C5H10O5, rarely occurring free in 
nature but important as a component of RNA (ribonucleic acid). Its derivative deoxyribose, 
C5H10O4, is equally important as a constituent of DNA 
(deoxyribonucleic acid), which carries the genetic code in chromosomes." (Martin, E. & Hine, R.S., eds., 
"Oxford Dictionary of Biology," [1985], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Fourth Edition, 2000, p.521. 
Cross-referencing asterisks removed)

2/04/2005
"Isn't the designer to which intelligent design attributes biological complexity a supernatural agent and 
therefore outside the bounds of science? ... In answering this criticism, let us first of all be clear that 
intelligent design does not require miracles in the sense of violations of natural law. Just as humans do not 
perform miracles every time they act as intelligent agents, so too there is no reason to assume that for a 
designer to act as an intelligent agent requires a violation of natural laws. There's an important contrast to 
keep in mind here. Science, so most naturalists contend, studies natural causes whereas to introduce design 
is to invoke supernatural causes. Thus intelligent design, by invoking the supernatural, is 
said to burst the bounds of science. But the contrast between natural and supernatural causes is the wrong 
contrast. The proper contrast is between undirected natural causes on the one hand and 
intelligent causes on the other. Intelligent causes can work with natural causes and help them to 
accomplish things that undirected natural causes cannot. Undirected natural causes can explain how ink 
gets applied to paper to form a random inkblot but cannot explain an arrangement of ink on paper that spells 
a meaningful message. To obtain such a meaningful arrangement requires an intelligent cause. Whether an 
intelligent cause is located within or outside nature is a separate question from whether an intelligent cause 
has acted within nature. Design has no prior commitment against naturalism or for supernaturalism. 
Consequently, science can offer no principled grounds for excluding design or relegating it to the sphere of 
religion." (Dembski, W.A.*, "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent 
Design," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2004, pp.188-190. Emphasis original)

2/04/2005
"The craggy hillside in Inset Figure 1.1 is supposed to suggest the profile of the late President Kennedy. 
Once you have been told, you can just see a slight resemblance to either John or Robert Kennedy. But some 
don't see it and it is certainly easy to believe that the resemblance is accidental. You couldn't, on the other 
hand, persuade a reasonable person that Mount Rushmore, in South Dakota, had just happened to weather 
into the features of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. We do not need to 
be told that these were deliberately carved ... They are obviously not accidental: they have design written all 
over them. The difference between Mount Rushmore and the weathered likeness of John Kennedy (or Mont 
St Pierre in Mauritius or other such curiosities of natural weathering) is this. The sheer number of details in 
which the Mount Rushmore fesemble the real things is too great to have come about by chance. The 
faces are clearly recognizable, moreover, when seen from different angles. Figure 1.1's chance resemblance 
to President Kennedy, on the other hand, is noticed only if the cliff is seen from a particular angle and in a 
particular light. Yes, a rock can weather into the shape of a nose seen from a certain vantage point, and 
maybe a couple of other rocks happen to have tumbled into the shape of lips. It is not much to ask of chance 
that it should produce a modest coincidence like this, especially if the photographer has every possible 
angle to choose from and only one gives the resemblance ... But Mount Rushmore is another matter. Its four 
heads are clearly designed. A sculptor conceived them, drew them out on paper, made meticulous 
measurements all over the cliff, and supervised teams of workmen who wielded pneumatic drills and 
dynamite to carve out the four faces, each sixty feet high. The weather could have done the same job 
as the artfully deployed dynamite. But of all the possible ways of weathering a mountain, only a tiny 
minority would be speaking likenesses of four particular human beings. Even if we didn't know the history of 
Mount Rushmore, we'd estimate the odds against its four heads being carved by accidental weathering as 
tastronomically high - like tossing a coin forty times and getting heads every time. " Dawkins, R., "Climbing 
Mount Improbable," Penguin: London, 1996, p.3. Emphasis in original)

2/04/2005
"What is intelligent design? Think of Mount Rushmore-what about this rock formation convinces me that it 
was due to a designing intelligence and not merely to wind and erosion? Designed objects like Mount 
Rushmore exhibit characteristic features or patterns that point us to an intelligence. Such features or 
patterns are signs of intelligence. Proponents of intelligent design, known as design theorists, are 
not content to regard such signs as mere intuitions. Rather, they insist on studying them formally, 
rigorously and scientifically. Intelligent design is the science that studies signs of intelligence. Note that a 
sign is not the thing signified. Intelligent design does not try to get into the mind of a designer and figure 
out what a designer is thinking. Its focus is not a designer's mind (the thing signified) but the artifact due to 
a designer's mind (the sign). What a designer is thinking may be an interesting question, and one may be 
able to infer something about what a designer is thinking from the designed objects that a designer 
produces (provided the designer is being honest). But the designer's thought processes are outside the 
scope of intelligent design. As a scientific research program, intelligent design investigates the effects of 
intelligence and not intelligence as such." (Dembski W.A.*, "The Design Revolution: Answering the 
Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2004, p.33. Emphasis 
original)

2/04/2005
"Let's explain these two kinds of order in greater detail. As you travel through various parts of the United 
States, you may come across unusual rock formations. If you consult a tourist guide, you will learn that 
such shapes result when more than one type of mineral make up the formation. Because of the variable 
mineral composition, some portions of a formation are softer than others. Rain and wind erode the soft parts 
of the formation faster than the hard parts, leaving the harder sections protruding In this way the formation 
may take on an unlikely shape. It may even come to resemble a familiar object such as a face. In other words, 
the formation may look as though it was deliberately carved. But on closer inspection, say from a different 
angle, you notice that the resemblance is only superficial. The shape invariably accords with what erosion 
can do as it acts on the natural qualities of the rock (soft parts worn away, hard parts protruding). You 
therefore conclude that the rock formed naturally. Natural forces suffice to account for the shape you see. 
Now let's illustrate a different kind of order. Say in your travels you visit Mount Rushmore. Here you find 
four faces on a granite cliff. The angles of these faces do not follow the natural composition of the rock; the 
chip marks cut across both hard and soft sections. These shapes do not resemble anything you have seen 
resulting from erosion. In this case the shape of the rock is not the result of natural processes. Rather, you 
infer from uniform experience that an artisan has been at work. The four faces were intelligently imposed 
onto the rock material. None of us finds it difficult to distinguish between these two kinds of order, the one 
produced naturally and the other by intelligence. To come back to the argument from design, the question 
is, Which kind of order do we find in nature? If we find only the first kind, then our conclusion will be that 
natural causes suffice to explain the universe as we see it today. If, on the other hand, we find any instances 
of the second kind of order, the kind produced by intelligence, these will be evidence of the activity of an 
intelligent cause. Science itself would then point beyond the physical world to its origin in an intelligent 
source." (Bradley W.L.* & Thaxton C.B.*, "Information & the Origin of Life," in Moreland, J.P. ed., "The 
Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 
1994, p.204)

2/04/2005
"Design in nature has been a topic of debate for centuries. We have no intention of trying to argue 
conclusively on a philosophic basis that intelligent design disproves any evolutionary theory. Rather, we 
hope to show briefly by example that the need for intelligence in bringing about the various designs in 
nature is by no means a preposterous proposition. We maintain that there are two recognizable and yet 
intuitively distinct forms of design: that which is easily explainable in terms of physical properties and 
processes and that which is most readily explained by intelligent ordering. Some contrasting examples will 
make the point. When a water droplet freezes around a dust particle, an elaborately designed snowflake 
results, simply because of physical properties. The same is true for the development of a crystal in a 
supersaturated solution. Just let the solution cool and then tap it. Order suddenly emerges as the crystal 
develops. On a larger scale, we can observe in the American West numerous examples of natural sculpture: 
chimneys, arches, bridges, human profiles, etc., all dutifully sketched from the rock by the forces of wind 
and rain. But one would not confuse such structures with Mt. Rushmore, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the 
World Trade Center. These human architectural artifacts show clearly the marks of intelligent design. The 
sharp geometrical forms and the finely sculpted lines are recognized intuitively as the works of human 
intelligence. The simple point is that intelligent design is discernibly different from natural design. In natural 
design, the apparent order is internally derived from the properties of the components; in creative design, 
the apparent order is externally imposed and confers new properties of organization not inherent in the 
components themselves." (Lester L.P.* & Bohlin R.G.*, "The Natural Limits to Biological Change," Word 
Publishing: Dallas TX, Second Edition, 1989, pp.153-154)

2/04/2005
"Instead our experience with information-intensive systems, especially codes and languages, indicates that 
such systems always come from an intelligent source-that is, from mental or personal agents. This 
generalization holds not only for the information present in languages and codes but also for the 
nongrammatical information (also describable as specified complexity) inherent in machines or expressed in 
works of art. Like the text of a newspaper, the parts of a supercomputer and the faces on Mount Rushmore 
require many instructions to specify their shape or arrangement and consequently have a high information 
content. Each of these systems is also, not coincidentally, the result of intelligent design, not chance or 
material forces. Our generalization about the cause of information has ironically received confirmation from 
origin-of-life research itself. During the last forty years, every naturalistic model proposed has failed to 
explain the origin of information. Thus mind or intelligence or what philosophersrlesworth B., "Evolution by design?" Review of "No Free Lunch: Why Specified 
Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence," by William A. Dembski." Nature, Vol. 418, 11 Jul 
2002, p.129. http://www.nature.com/cgi-
taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v418/n6894/full/418129a_fs.html]." (Dembski, W.A.*, "Commentary on 
Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch's `Guest Viewpoint: "Intelligent design" Not Accepted by Most 
Scientists,'" ISCID, 2 July, 2002. 
http://www.designinference.com/documents/2002.07.Scott_and_Branch.htm)

2/04/2005
"Are we created beings who exist because a supernatural intelligence brought about our existence for a 
purpose? Or are we accidental products of some purposeless material mechanism that cares nothing about 
us or what we do? It is practically impossible to discuss this important question in any of our great secular 
universities, let alone in the public high schools. The reason is that modernist culture is ruled by a 
philosophy called scientific naturalism, which insists that the entire history of the cosmos belongs to the 
subject matter of natural science. Science, by the same philosophy, is inherently committed to naturalism. 
Naturalism is the doctrine that the cosmos has always been a closed system of material causes and effects 
that can never be influenced by anything from "outside"-like God. It follows from such philosophical 
premises that "God" is an aspect of human subjectivity or a fantasy. Evolution in naturalistic philosophy is 
a "fact" that is real for everyone, whereas God is merely an entity in the minds of those who believe." 
(Johnson, P.E.*, "Foreword," in Moreland, J.P.*, ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an 
Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1994, p.7)

3/04/2005
"Faulty Analogy An argument from analogy claims that things which resemble one an other in certain 
respects resemble one another in further respects. For example: `The Earth has air, water, and living 
organisms. Mars has air  and water. Therefore Mars has living organisms.' The success of such arguments 
depends upon the nature and extent of the similarities between the two objects. The greater their 
dissimilarities, the less convincing the argument will be. For example, consider this argument: `Astronauts 
wear helmets and fly in spaceships. The figure in this Mayan carving seems to be wearing a helmet and 
flying in a spaceship. Therefore it is a carving of an ancient astronaut.' Although features of the carving may 
bear a resemblance to a helmet and spaceship, they may bear a greater resemblance to a ceremonial mask 
and fire. The problem is that any two things have some features in common. Consequently an argument from 
analogy can be successful only if the dissimilarities between the things being compared are insignificant." 
(Schick, T. & Vaughn, L., "How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age," Mayfield: 
Mountain View CA, California, Second edition, 1995, pp.289-290)

3/04/2005
"Faulty Analogy An analogy is the assertion that things which resemble each other in some respects will 
resemble each other in some further respect. .... Though generalizing by analogy is dangerous when only 
one or two similarities are known, it is good reasoning if the number of essential qualities known to be 
shared is very large. ... One highly effective device for refuting an opponent is to exaggerate his contention 
by asserting `Then you must also believe that ...' or `This is the same as saying ...' Such phrases commonly 
introduce an extension so that the discussion turns to considering the problem in the light of some allegedly 
analogous situation." (Fearnside W.W. & Holther W.B., "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-
Hall: Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1959, 1959, Eleventh printing, pp.22-23, 26)

3/04/2005
"Argumentum ad Verecundiam (appeal to authority). "Accept this because some authority said its 
As we all know, Authorities" can be wrong, and often are. Furthermore, there are conflicting authorities. 
Which one should I accept? The mere appeal to authority should never be substituted for evidence or a 
good argument. However, it is not always wrong to trust an authority. We should trust an authority if we 
have good reason to believe he is in possession of relevant evidence we don't have. In brief, we trust an 
authority if he is trustworthy. ... Authorities out of their field have no authority. ... A good example of an 
authority overstepping his bounds is Isaac Asimov's Guide to the Bible. Now, the man certainly is an expert 
in physics, biochemistry, science fiction, cosmology, and humanism, but he has no authority in writing 
about the Bible. ... Even legitimate authorities may disagree. Just because one authority says something 
does not mean that all authorities agree with him. Whenever there is controversy over an issue, the appeal 
to authority is weakened in direct proportion to the strength of the controversy. Sooner or later we have to 
appeal to the evidence itself, about which the authorities are arguing. After all, we only asked the authority 
because he had the evidence. ... The bottom line is this: all appeals to authority ultimately rest on the 
evidence that the authority has. The only reason to quote an authority is that he knows the evidence better 
than we do. The letters after his name don't mean a thing without the evidence to back up his position." 
(Geisler, N.L.* & Brooks, R.M.*, "Come, Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking," Baker: Grand 
Rapids MI, 1990, pp.98-99)

3/04/2005
"Appeal to Authority We often try to support our views by citing experts. This sort of appeal to authority is 
perfectly valid-provided that the person cited really is an expert in the field in question. If not, it is fallacious. 
Celebrity endorsements, for example, often involve fallacious appeals to authority, because being famous 
doesn't necessarily give you any special expertise. The fact that Dionne Warwick is a great singer, for 
example, doesn't make her an expert on the efficacy of psychic hotlines. Similarly, the fact that Linus Pauling 
is a Nobel Prize winner doesn't make him an expert on the efficacy of vitamin C. Pauling claimed that taking 
massive doses of vitamin C would help prevent colds and increase the life expectancy of people suffering 
from cancer. That may be the case, but the fact that he said it doesn't justify our believing it. Only rigorous 
clinical studies confirming these claims can do that." (Schick, T. & Vaughn, L., "How to Think About Weird 
Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age," Mayfield: Mountain View CA, California, Second edition, 1995, 
p.289)

3/04/2005
"THE FALLACY OF APPEAL TO AUTHORITY We make an appeal to authority whenever we try to justify 
an idea by citing some source of expertise as a reason for holding the idea. Appeals to authority are often 
valid, as when we tell someone to use a certain medicine because the doctor has prescribed it. But appeals 
to authority can be fallacious, as when we cite those who have no special competence regarding the matter 
at hand. The fallacy of appeal to authority, therefore, is an argument that attempts to overawe an opponent 
into accepting a conclusion by playing on his or her reluctance to challenge famous people, time-honored 
customs, or widely held beliefs. The fallacy appeals, at base, to our feelings. of modesty ["The British 
philosopher John Locke gave this fallacy its Latin name, argumentum ad verecundiam, literally, an 
argument addressed to our sense of modesty." Verecundiam carries connotations of shame as well 
as modesty, emphasizing how we may be browbeaten into accepting an erroneous conclusion because we 
are ashamed to dispute supposed authority] , to our sense that others know better than we do. ... Even 
experts do not ask that their opinions be accepted because they say so but because those opinions are 
derived from evidence. The human race, and science in particular, has sometimes paid a steep price for this 
reverence for authority that seems ingrained in us. ... Authority in one domain does not imply authority in 
unrelated areas" (Engel S.M., "With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies," St. Martin's 
Press: New York, Fourth Edition, 1990, pp.208-209)

3/04/2005 "Argumentum ad Verecundiam (appeal to authority) In attempting to make up one's mind 
on a difficult and complicated question, one may seek to be guided by the judgment of an acknowledged 
expert who has studied the matter thoroughly. One may argue that such and such a conclusion is correct 
because it is the best judgment of such an expert authority. This method of argument is in many cases 
perfectly legitimate. For most of us the reference to an admitted authority in the special field of that 
authority's competence may carry great weight and constitute relevant evidence. If nonexperts are disputing 
over some question of physical science and one appeals to the testimony of Einstein on the matter, that 
testimony is very relevant. Although it does not prove the point, it certainly tends to support it. This is a 
relative matter, however, for if experts rather than nonexperts are disputing over a question in the field in 
which they themselves are experts, their appeal would be only to the facts and to reason, and any appeal to 
the authority of another expert would be completely without value as evidence. But when an authority is 
appealed to for testimony in matters outside the province of that authority's special field, the appeal commits 
the fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam. If in an argument about morality one of the disputants 
appeals to the opinions of Darwin, a great authority in biology, the appeal is fallacious. Similarly, an appeal 
to the opinions of a great physicist like Einstein to settle a political or economic argument would be 
fallacious. The claim might be made that people brilliant enough to achieve the status of authorities in 
advanced and difficult fields like biology or physics must have correct opinions in fields other than 
theirspecialties. But the weakness of this claim is obvious when we realize that, in this day of extreme 
specialization, to obtain thorough knowledge of one field requires such concentration as to restrict the 
possibility of achieving authoritative knowledge in others. Advertising "testimonials" are frequent 
instances of this fallacy. We are urged to wear garments of such and such a brand because a champion 
golfer or football star affirms their superiority. And we are assured that such and such a cosmetic is better 
because it is preferred by this opera singer or that movie star. Of course, such an advertisement may equally 
well be construed as snob appeal and listed as an example of an argumentum ad populum. But where 
a proposition is claimed to be literally true on the basis of its assertion by an "authority" whose competence 
lies in a different field, we have a fallacy of argumentum ad verecundiam." (Copi, I.M., Introduction to 
Logic," [1953], Macmillan: New York, Seventh Edition, 1986, pp.98-99)

3/04/2005
"The Framework's [Science Framework for California public schools, California State Board of 
Education, 1990] most constructive recommendation is that teachers and textbook writers should avoid 
terminology that implies that scientific judgments are a matter of subjective preference or vote-counting.

Students should never be told that `many scientists' think this or that. Science is not decided by vote, but by evidence. Nor should students be told that `scientists believe.' Science is not a matter of belief; rather, it is a matter of evidence that can be subjected to the tests of observation and objective reasoning.... Show students that nothing in science is decided just because someone important says it is so (authority) or because that is the way it has always been done (tradition).
The Framework immediately contradicts that message, however, by defining `evolution' only vaguely, as `change through time.' A vaguely defined concept cannot be tested by observation and objective reasoning. The Framework then urges us to believe in this vague concept because so many scientists do: `It is an accepted scientific explanation and therefore no more controversial in scientific circles than the theories of gravitation and electron flow.' An appeal to authority is unavoidable, because Darwinist educators cannot afford to reveal that their theory rests squarely on what the Policy Statement calls philosophical beliefs that are not subject to scientific test and refutation." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Darwin on Trial," [1991], InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, Second Edition, 1993, pp.145-146. Emphasis original) 3/04/2005 "There is no other species on Earth that does science. It is, so far, entirely a human invention, evolved by natural selection in the cerebral cortex for one simple reason: it works. It is not perfect. It can be misused. It is only a tool. But it is by far the best tool we have, self-correcting, ongoing, applicable to everything. It has two rules. First: there are no sacred truths; all assumptions must be critically examined; arguments from authority are worthless. Second: whatever is inconsistent with the facts must be discarded or revised. We must understand the Cosmos as it is and not confuse how it is with how we wish it to be. The obvious is sometimes false; the unexpected is sometimes true. " (Sagan C.E., "Cosmos," [1980], Macdonald: London, 1981, reprint, p.333) 3/04/2005 "What sceptical thinking boils down to is the means to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and, especially important, to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion that emerges out of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusion follows from the premises or starting point and whether that premise is true. Among the tools: o Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the `facts'. o Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view. o Arguments from authority carry little weight- 'authorities' have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts. o Spin more than one hypothesis. If there's something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among 'multiple working hypotheses', has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy. o Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours. It's only a way-station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don't, others will. o Quantify. If whatever it is you're explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you'll be much letter able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging. o If there's a chain of argument, every link; in the chain must work (including the premise) - not just most of them. o Occam's Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler. o Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle. falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle - an electron, say - in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate sceptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result." (Sagan C.E., "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," [1996], Headline: London, 1997, reprint, pp.197-198. Emphasis original) 3/04/2005 "The Genetic Fallacy really is a fallacy, and it consists in arguing that the antecedents of something must be the same as their fulfilment. It would be committed by anyone who argued, presumably in the context of the abortion debate, that a foetus, even from the moment of conception, must really be, because it is going to become, a person. But the fallacy is more usually exemplified in equations moving in the opposite direction, from the actual or supposed antecedent to the developed whatever it may be. ... Consider a recent best- seller, hailed by its delighted publishers as `a wildly successful book'. My copy of The Naked Ape reports that the reviewer for The Times Educational Supplement described it as `brilliantly effective, cogently argued, very readable'. Marshall McLuhan agreed: `As with the title, the entire book is full of fresh perception.`Explaining that wildly successful title the author says: 'There are one hundred and ninety three living species of monkeys and apes. One hundred and ninety two of them are covered with hair. The exception is a naked ape, self-named homo sapiens' [Morris D., "The Naked Ape," Corgi: London, 1968, p.9]. ... Since McLuhan went out of his way to commend the title, it is just worth pointing out that the opposites of 'naked' and .'covered with hair' are, respectively, `clothed ' and `hairless '. So any `fresh perception ' here has resulted in a misdescription. It is, however, a misdescription which suits the author's purpose. This is metaphorically to strip man and, as he was to express it in a sequel `to reveal' a human animal, a primitive tribal hunter, masquerading as a civilized, super-tribal citizen ' ... [Morris D., "The Human Zoo,"Jonathan Cape: London, 1970, p.248]. Certainly it can be salutary to be reminded that, whatever else we are or may become, we remain animals:' Even a space ape must urinate' ... [Morris, 1968, p.21]. And certainly it is useful to insist that as animals we have inescapable problems generated by our fertility. But simply to identify us with our nearest ancestors on the evolutionary family tree is an altogether different thing. It is this which, again and again, Morris does: ` Behind the facade of modern city life there is the same old naked ape. Only the names have been changed: for `hunting' read `working', for `hunting grounds' read `place of business', for `home base' read `house', for `pair bond' read `marriage', for `mate' read `wife', and so on' (Ibid. p. 74.). Once more: ` When you put your name on a door, or hang a painting on a wall, you are, in dog or wolf terms, for example, simply cocking your leg on them and leaving your personal mark there' (Ibid. p. 161). ... The nerve of the argument, and it is an argument which comes up all over the place, is that if this evolved from that, then this must always be that; or at least, it must always be really or essentially that. Yet a moment's thought shows that this argument is absurd. For to say that this evolved from that implies that this is different from that, and not the same. It is, therefore, peculiarly preposterous to offer as the fruit of evolutionary insight a systematic development of the thesis that we are what our ancestors were. Oaks are not, though they grow from, acorns; and-for better or for worse-civilized people are not, though they evolved from, apes." (Flew A.G.N., "Thinking About Thinking: Or, Do I Sincerely Want to be Right?," [1975], Fontana/Collins, Revised, 1976, pp.101-102) 4/04/2005 "First, a substantial case of agreement. Richard Dawkins has famously asserted that `Natural selection the blind automatic process which Darwin has discovered we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life.' Against that claim I pointed out, after quoting a significant sentence from the fourteenth and final chapter of The Origin of Species, that one place where, until a satisfactory naturalistic explanation has been developed, there would appear to be room for an Argument to Design is at the first emergence of living from non-living matter. And, unless that first living matter already possessed the capacity to reproduce itself genetically, there will still be room for a second argument to Design until a satisfactory explanation is found for its acquisition of that capacity. You have in your book deployed abundant evidence indicating that it is likely to be a very long time before such naturalistic explanations are developed, if indeed there ever could be." (Flew A.G.N., "Full Review by Anthony Flew." Review of "The Wonder of the World: A Journey from Modern Science to the Mind of God," by Roy Abraham Varghese, Tyr Publishing: Fountain Hills AZ, 2004. Tyr Publishing, News Release, December 10, 2004. http://www.thewonderoftheworld.com/Sections1-article227-page1.html) 4/04/2005 "What I think the DNA material has done is show that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements together ... The enormous complexity by which the results were achieved look to me like the work of intelligence." (Flew A.G.N., in "World's Most Famous Atheist Accepts Existence of God, Cites Modern Science!," The Institute for Metascientific Research: Dallas TX, December 9, 2004. http://www.thewonderoftheworld.com/newsrelease-flew.php) 4/04/2005 "I think that the most impressive arguments for God's existence are those that are supported by recent scientific discoveries. I've never been much impressed by the kalam cosmological argument, and I don't think it has gotten any stronger recently. However, I think the argument to Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it." (Flew A.G.N, in Habermas G.R. & Flew A.G.N, "Atheist Becomes Theist: Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Antony Flew," December, 2004. http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf) 4/04/2005 "It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design." (Flew A.G.N, in Habermas G.R. & Flew A.G.N, "Atheist Becomes Theist: Exclusive Interview with Former Atheist Antony Flew," December, 2004. http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf) 4/04/2005 "I have been persuaded that it is simply out of the question that the first living matter evolved out of dead matter and then developed into an extraordinarily complicated creature" (Flew A.G.N., in Wavell S. & Iredale W., "Sorry, says atheist-in-chief, I do believe in God after all," The Sunday Times - Britain, December 12, 2004. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1400368,00.html) 4/04/2005 "Perhaps the most predictable aspect of advanced life (if it exists) on other planets around other stars is that its tenure is limited and that eventually any such life-and even some of the planets-will perish. Like individual organisms, planets and their grand environments have life spans. All planets with life eventually become extinct. This final outcome may be brought about by external sources such as impacts or a nearby supernova, by internal effects such as atmospheric or biological catastrophe, or (if all else fails) by increase in the brightness of the central star. This will be the ultimate fate of Earth: Life on our planet will eventually be roasted out of existence. The sun is slowly getting brighter. It is now 30% brighter than it was in the early history of the planet. Over the next 4 billion years it will double in brightness. Even if life survives this travail, it will soon be stilled. About 4 billion years from now, the sun will begin to expand rapidly in size, and its brightness will dramatically increase. The sun will become a red giant, as did the stars Antares in the constellation Scorpio and Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion. In a billion-year time span, its brightness will increase over 5000 times. At the very beginning of this process, Earth's oceans will vaporize, driving our precious water supply into space. In the final stages of its transformation into a red giant, the sun will expand to the point where it will nearly reach the orbit of Earth. The Universe will be one living planet poorer.(Ward P.D. & Brownlee D., "Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe," Copernicus: New York, 2000, p.32) 4/04/2005 "IT IS THE YEAR 7 BILLION A.D. THE SUN HAS GONE INTO ITS RED giant phase. The Earth has been consumed by the outer envelope of the 100-million-mile-diameter sun. Mars is a dried and lifeless body with a surface temperature sufficient to melt its crustal rocks. Jupiter is a roiling, heated mass rapidly losing gas and material to space. The ice cover of Jupiter's moon Europa has long since melted away, followed by the disappearance of its oceans to space. Farther away, Saturn has lost its icy rings. But one world of this vast solar system has benefited from the gigantic red orb that is the Sun. It is Saturn's largest moon, aptly named Titan. Long before, in the time of humanity, a science fiction writer named Arthur C. Clarke penned a series of tales about the moon of Jupiter named Europa. In these stories, alien beings somehow turned Jupiter into a small but blazing star, and in so doing warmed Europa-and brought about the creation of life. A wonderful, though physically impossible, fable. Now, in these late days of the solar system, the huge red Sun was doing the same to Titan, changing it from frozen to thawed, and in so doing liberating the stuff of life. But Titan was always a very different world than Europa. Like Europa, Titan always had oceans, frozen, to be sure, but oceans nevertheless. But where Europan oceans were water, those of Titan were of a vastly different substance-ethane. Titan had always been covered with a rich but cold stew of organic materials. And with the coming of heat, for the first time Eden came to Titan. Like a baby born to an impossibly old woman, life came to this far outpost, the last life ever to be evolved in the solar system. The red giant phase was short-lived-only several hundred million years, in fact. But it was enough. For a short time, for the last time, life bloomed in the solar system. After death, once more came the resurrection of life in masses of tiny bacteria like bodies on a moon once far from a habitable planet called Earth, a place that, in its late age, evolved a species with enough intelligence to predict the future, and be able to prophesize how the world would end.... " (Ward P.D. & Brownlee D.C., "The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World," [2002], Piatkus: London, 2003, pp.212-213. Emphasis and ellipses original) 4/04/2005 "Nucleic acids are polymers of monomers called nucleotides. Each nucleotide is itself composed of three parts: an organic molecule called a nitrogenous base, a pentose (five-carbon sugar), and a phosphate group .... There are two families of nitrogenous bases: pyrimidines and purines. A pyrimidine has a six-membered ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms. (The nitrogen atoms tend to take up H+ from solution, which explains the term nitrogenous base.) The members of the pyrimidine family are cytosine (C), thymine (T), and uracil (U). Purines are larger, with the six membered ring fused to a five-membered ring. The purines are adenine (A) and guanine (G). The specific pyrimidines and purines differ in the functional groups attached to the rings. Adenine, guanine, and cytosine are found in both types of nucleic acid. Thymine is found only in DNA and uracil only in RNA. The pentose connected to the nitrogenous base is ribose in the nucleotides of RNA and deoxyribose in DNA. The only difference between these two sugars is that deoxyribose lacks an oxygen atom on its number 2 carbon-hence its name. So far, we have built a nucleoside, which is a nitrogenous base joined to a sugar. To complete the construction of a nucleotide, we attach a phosphate group to the number 5 carbon of the sugar .... The molecule is now a nucleoside monophosphate, better known as a nucleotide." (Campbell N.A., Reece J.B. & Mitchell L.G., "Biology," [1987], Benjamin/Cummings: Menlo Park CA, Fifth Edition, 1999, p.77) 5/04/2005 "As we saw in the last chapter, modern nucleic acids are chain-like 'polymers' made when 'nucleotides' become linked together, and these nucleotides are themselves composed of linked bases, sugars and phosphates. Getting bases, sugars and phosphate groups to join together into nucleotides, under plausible prebiotic conditions, has itself proved extremely difficult. Nobody had yet come up with any obviously acceptable way for suitable nucleotides or nucleotide derivatives to form in any abundance on the primordial earth, but there are a host of suggested pathways for nucleotide formation, and simulation experiments have had some limited success (although many scientists dispute that the simulations were performed in plausible prebiotic-conditions)." (Scott A., "The Creation of Life: Past, Future, Alien," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1986, p.90. Emphasis original) 5/04/2005 "Casting aside the unsolved problems of nucleotide formation, what successes have been achieved in getting nucleotides to link up into nucleic acids? Few people have devoted more time to this problem than Leslie Orgel, of the Salk Institute in California, and Juan Oro at Houston University, and they have both had some success. For example, when nucleotide solutions are slowly evaporated under reasonable prebiotic conditions (to simulate the periodic drying up of rock pools or lakes), short nucleic acid chains containing up to eight linked nucleotides do appear. I should emphasize, however, that highly purified mixtures of preformed nucleotides have to be used to get such reactions to work, quite unlike the messy mixtures of many different chemicals likely on the early earth. The long nucleic acid chains that are so easily imagined while musing with pencil and paper, have so far never been formed." (Scott A., "The Creation of Life: Past, Future, Alien," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1986, p.90. Emphasis original) 5/04/2005 "Nobody has ever been able to get nucleic acid chains to form and replicate within the same experiment; but if purified, preformed nucleic acids are used as starting materials for replication simulations, some limited success can be achieved. The most successful experiments to date have come from Leslie Orgel's laboratory. He added some long- chain nucleic acids to mixtures of chemical derivatives of the four nucleotides, and found that the first stage of replication occurred to a very limited extent .... Only very short complementary chains were formed, but the major problem with the experiment is revealed by Orgel's admission that it 'is unlikely to correspond to anything that occurred in the primitive Earth, since there is no easy way in which [the nucleotide derivatives he used] could have accumulated in the prebiotic soup.'" (Scott A., "The Creation of Life: Past, Future, Alien," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1986, pp.91-92. Emphasis original) 5/04/2005 "More recently, Orgel and his co-workers have been experimenting with various chemicals similar to nucleic acids, but considerably simpler; and their efforts are being complemented by many similar attempts throughout the world to get some sort of primitive replication to occur under prebiotic conditions and in the absence of enzymes. But the depressing truth about all attempts to get nucleic acids of specific nucleotide sequence to replicate without the help of enzymes is, again, that nobody has been able to get them to work under reasonable prebiotic conditions. Indeed, nobody has even been able to get nucleic acids containing a string of identical nucleotides to replicate under acceptable prebiotic conditions (something which should be much easier to achieve than the replication of nucleic acids of mixed nucleotide sequence), although there have been some successes when the reactions have been given assistance from chemicals that seem unlikely to have been available on the early earth." (Scott A., "The Creation of Life: Past, Future, Alien," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1986, pp.92-93. Emphasis original) 5/04/2005 "I am not trying to convince you that the spontaneous origin of self- replicating nucleic acids on earth must have been impossible - it may have happened just as so many of the textbooks suppose; but as yet there is no hard experimental evidence to back that supposition up. The lesson provided so far by the many attempts to get nucleic acids to form and replicate spontaneously, is that it may be a very difficult process to get going. In some ways the attempts to re-create the process so far provide good evidence against the idea of the spontaneous origin of self-replicating nucleic acids; and yet they are frequently presented as providing 'incomplete but significant' evidence supporting that idea. Most scientists assume that the failure experienced to date simply tells us that we have not yet hit on the right system, or the right conditions; or that they simply cannot be expected to re-create in a few weeks in a laboratory chemical processes that perhaps took millions of years. One or all of these excuses may well be valid, but it must also be possible that they have failed because they have been trying to re-create something which did not happen, and never could have." (Scott A., "The Creation of Life: Past, Future, Alien," Basil Blackwell: Oxford UK, 1986, p.93. Emphasis in original) 5/04/2005 "When Drake first published the equation, most of the values were quite speculative. .... The number of star systems with planets ... was very poorly known in Drake's time. Although many astronomers believed that planets were common, there was no theory that proved that star formation should include the creation of planets and, in fact, many believed that the formation of planetary systems was exceedingly rare. Yet beginning in the 1970s, scientists started to assume that planets are common-so common, in fact, that Carl Sagan estimated that an average of ten planets would be found around each star. Real evidence of the existence of any other planets did not emerge until the 1990s with the findings of extrasolar planets. Astronomers were surprised to discover that most solar systems do not have the larger planets far from the Sun in well-behaved, nearly circular orbits as ours does. Geoff Marcy, the world's leading planet finder along with colleague Paul Butler, noted: `For the first time, we have enough extra-solar planets out there to do some comparative study. We are realizing that most of the Jupiter-like objects far from their stars tool around in elliptical orbits, not circular orbits, which are the rule in our solar system.' [Wilford J.N., `In New Discoveries, a Planetary Mystery,' The New York Times, January 10, 1999. http://astron.berkeley.edu/~gmarcy/nytimes_99jan10.html] Almost all of the Jupiter-sized objects found to date are located either in orbits much closer to their sun than Jupiter is to our Sun, or, if at a greater distance from their sun, with highly elliptical orbits (observed in nine of the seventeen so far detected). In such planetary systems, the possibility of Earth-like planets existing in stable orbits is low. When the `Jupiter' is close to its sun, it will have destroyed the inner rocky planets. With elliptical orbits the `Jupiters' will have caused disruption of planetary orbits sunward, causing smaller planets to either spiral into their suns or be ejected into the cold death of interstellar space." (Ward P.D. & Brownlee D.C., "The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World," [2002], Piatkus: London, 2003, pp.192-193) 5/04/2005 "Avoid Debates. If your local campus Christian fellowship asks you to `defend evolution,' please decline. Public debates rarely change many minds; creationists stage them mainly in the hope of drawing large sympathetic audiences. Have you ever watched the Harlem Globetrotters play the Washington Federals? The Federals get off some good shots, but who remembers them? The purpose of the game is to see the Globetrotters beat the other team. And you probably will get beaten. In such a forum, scientific experts often try to pack a semester-long course into an hour, hoping to convey the huge sweep of evolution, the towering importance of its ideas, the masses of evidence in its favor. Creationist debaters know better. They come well prepared with an arsenal of crisp, clear, superficially attractive antievolutionary arguments--fallacious ones, yes, but far too many for you to answer in the time provided. Even if you win the debate in some technical sense, most of the audience will still walk away from it convinced that your opponent has a great new science that the schools should hear about. Teachers have enough problems. Above all else, do no harm." (Scott E.C, "Monkey Business," The Sciences, New York Academy of Sciences, January/February 1996, Vol. 36, No. 1; pp.20-25, p.25. Emphasis original. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/13017) 5/04/2005 "Much of present-day biological knowledge is ideological. A key symptom of ideological thinking is the explanation that has no implications and cannot be tested. I call such logical dead ends antitheories because they have exactly the opposite effect of real theories: they stop thinking rather than stimulate it. Evolution by natural selection, for instance, which Charles Darwin originally conceived as a great theory, has lately come to function more as an antitheory, called upon to cover up embarrassing experimental shortcomings and legitimize findings that are at best questionable and at worst not even wrong. Your protein defies the laws of mass action? Evolution did it! Your complicated mess of chemical reactions turns into a chicken? Evolution! The human brain works on logical principles no computer can emulate? Evolution is the cause!" (Laughlin R.B., "A Different Universe," Basic Books: New York NY, 2005, pp. 168-169) 5/04/2005 "Similarly, the discipline of biology will not only survive but prosper if it turns out that genetic information really is the product of preexisting intelligence. Biologists will have to give up their dogmatic materialism and discard unproductive hypotheses like the prebiotic soup, but to abandon bad ideas is a gain, not a loss. Freed of the metaphysical chains that tie it to nineteenth-century materialism, biology can turn to the fascinating task of discovering how the intelligence embodied in the genetic information works through matter to make the organism function. In that case chemical evolution will go the way of alchemy-abandoned because a better understanding of the problem revealed its futility-and science will have reached a new plateau." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1995, pp.92-93) 6/04/2005 "It is true that evolutionary theory makes no reference to the supernatural. Like all science, it is naturalistic: it answers questions about the material or natural world using only material explanations. Problems arise when people confuse two distinct kinds of naturalism. Methodological naturalism simply requires that, in trying to explain any particular observation or experimental result, an investigator may not resort to miracles. It is the frame of mind that all scientific workers adopt on the job, and centuries of progress has shown its value. Philosophical naturalism asserts that the material world is all that exists--that there is nothing supernatural, no God or gods, no creator, no creation. Many people with science backgrounds describe themselves as philosophical naturalists, but many do not. Gregor Mendel decoupled methodological from philosophical materialism, and so do other scientists today. ... Being a philosophical materialist myself ..." (Scott E.C, "Monkey Business," The Sciences, New York Academy of Sciences, January/February 1996, Vol. 36, No. 1; pp.20-25, p.25. Emphasis original. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/13017) 6/04/2005 "Even in the simple case of a bacterium, the genome consists of some 4 x 106 nucleotides, and the number of combinatorially possible sequences is 44 million = 102.4 million The expectation probability for the nucleotide sequence of a bacterium is thus so slight that not even the entire space of the universe would be enough to make the random synthesis of a bacterial genome probable. For example, the entire mass of the universe, expressed as a multiple of the mass of the hydrogen atom, amounts to about 1080 units. Even if all the matter in space consisted of DNA molecules of the structural complexity of the bacterial genome, with random sequences, then the chances of finding among them a bacterial genome or something resembling one would still be completely negligible. It can naturally be objected that our statistical arguments are based upon the assumption of an entity with the complexity of a bacterial genome, while the historical process of the origin of life possibly took place by way of simpler forms of life. However, an appropriate analysis, based on probability theory, shows that not even an optimised enzyme molecule can arise in a random synthesis. Even the smallest catalytically active protein molecules of the living cell consist of at least a hundred amino acid residues, and they thus already possess more than 10130 sequence alternatives ... These striking numerical examples allow us to conclude with Monod that the design of a primitive organism has about the same chance of arising by pure chance, in a molecular roulette, as a general textbook of biochemistry has of arising by the random mixing of a sufficient number of letters." (Kuppers B-O., "Information and the Origin of Life," [1986], MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1990, reprint, p.60) 6/04/2005 "A most important principle of the new biological philosophy, undiscovered for almost a century after the publication of on the Origin of Species, is the dual nature of biological processes. These activities are governed both by the universal laws of physics and chemistry and by a genetic program, itself the result of natural selection, which has molded the genotype for millions of generations. The causal factor of the possession of a genetic program is unique to living organisms, and it is totally absent in the inanimate world. Because of the backward state of molecular and genetic knowledge in his time, Darwin was unaware of this vital factor. Another aspect of the new philosophy of biology concerns the role of laws. Laws give way to concepts in Darwinism. In the physical sciences, as a rule, theories are based on laws; for example, the laws of motion led to the theory of gravitation. In evolutionary biology, however, theories are largely based on concepts such as competition, female choice, selection, succession and dominance. These biological concepts, and the theories based on them, cannot be reduced to the laws and theories of the physical sciences." (Mayr E.W., "Darwin's Influence on Modern Thought," Scientific American, Vol. 283, No. 1, July 2000, pp.67-71, p.69. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign/message/12776) 8/04/2005 "Although the Guidebook ["Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science"] makes no explicit concessions, it appears from significant omissions that the National Academy is retreating from earlier claims that evolutionary scientists know (at least in principle) how the first life emerged from a prebiotic soup through chemical evolution. We hear nothing about the famous Miller-Urey experiment, which is continually presented in textbooks, museum exhibits, and public television shows as if it demonstrated how chemical evolution can produce life. Instead of repeating the old claims about the origin of life, National Academy President Bruce Alberts conceded at a press conference that `That one is still up for grabs.'" (Johnson, P.E.*, "The Uncertain Trumpet of the National Academy of Science," Darwin Day Homepage, April 29, 2004. http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin/links/NAS_guidebook/johnson_introduction.html) 8/04/2005 "Again, this is characteristic of all animal and plant cells. Each nucleus ... contains a digitally coded database larger, in information content, than all 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica put together. And this figure is for each cell, not all the cells of a body put together." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, pp.17-18. Emphasis in original) 8/04/2005 'Twenty years ago it all seemed easy: with mutation as a source of diversity, with selection to pick and choose ... Our former complacency can be traced, I suppose to an understandable fault of temperament: scientists tend not to ask themselves questions until they can see the rudiments of an answer in their minds. Embarrassing questions tend to remain unasked or, if asked, to be answered rudely..."(Medawar P.B., "The Future of Man," Methuen: London, 1960, p.62) 8/04/2005 "What the tape shows Cut from previous interview with an Israeli biophysicist to interviewer in an obviously different room from the one in which RD has previously been shown. Interviewer: "Professor Dawkins, can you give an example of a genetic mutation, or an evolutionary process, which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?" Cut to RD, who looks around the room, [shot holds for 11 seconds] Cut back to interviewer, while RD begins speaking off camera RD: "There's a popular misunderstanding of evolution [cut back to RD] that says that fish turned into reptiles and reptiles turned into mammals and that somehow we ought to be able to look around the world today and look at our ancestors and see the intermediate species... [RD goes on to explain]" (Williams B., "Creationist Deception Exposed," The Skeptic Journal, Vol. 18, No. 3, September, 1998. http://www.skeptics.com.au/journal/crexpose.htm) 8/04/2005 "After he asked for the camera to be switched off, Dawkins asked that his answers to the first few questions would not be used (and they have not been used). He then agreed to make a statement, but refused to take more questions from Philip. We resumed recording, then after he finished his statement I asked for a concrete example in which an evolutionary process can be seen to have increased information on the genome. The long pause seen on the video immediately followed my question, he then asked me to switch off the camera so he could think, which I did. After some thought he permitted the camera to be switched on again and his final answer was recorded, the answer which appears in the video, which, as can be seen, does not answer the question. Because my question was off-camera and off-mike (though clearly audible on the tape), it could not be used in the finished production, that is why the presenter was recorded later, repeating my question as I had asked it. Your concern is that the pause was fabricated. No, the pause followed by an irrelevant answer was in response to that exact question, a question which Dr Dawkins could not answer and would have preferred not to even discuss. "Ludicrous" perhaps, but the question was indeed evaded. If you would care to view the unedited tape you will be able to confirm my account. (Brown G., in Williams B., "Creationist deception: a response," The Skeptic, Vol 18, No 4, December 1998. http://home.austarnet.com.au/stear/brownresponse.htm) 9/04/2005 "The argumentum ad populum is sometimes defined as the fallacy committed in directing an emotional appeal `to the people' or `to the gallery' to win their assent to a conclusion unsupported by good evidence. But this definition is so broad as to include the ad misericordiam, the ad hominem (abusive), and most of the other Fallacies of Relevance. We may define the argumentum ad populum fallacy a little more narrowly as the attempt to win popular assent to a conclusion by arousing the emotions and enthusiasms of the multitude rather than by appeal to the relevant facts. This is a favorite device with the propagandist, the demagogue, and the advertiser. Faced with the task of mobilizing public sentiment for or against a particular measure, they will avoid the laborious process of collecting and presenting evidence and rational argument by using the shortcut methods of the argumentum ad populum. ... It is to the huckster, the ballyhoo artist, the twentieth-century advertiser that we may look to see the argumentum ad populum elevated almost to the status of a fine art." (Copi, I.M., Introduction to Logic," [1953], Macmillan: New York, Seventh Edition, 1986, pp.96-97) 9/04/2005 "The fallacy of mob appeal is an argument in which an appeal is made to emotions, especially to powerful feelings that can sway people in large crowds. Also called appeal to the masses, [Its Latin name is argumentum ad populum, literally, `appeal to the people.' Like our word popular, the term populum carries a certain connotation of mass acceptance without thoughtful consideration] this fallacy invites people's unthinking acceptance of ideas which are presented in a strong, theatrical manner. Mob appeals are often said to appeal to our lowest instincts, including violence. The language of such fallacious appeals tends to be strongly biased, making use of many of the linguistic fallacies we have examined previously in this book. Indeed, most instances of mob appeal incorporate other fallacies, melding them together into an argument that rests primarily on appeal to an emotional, rather than a reasoned, response. In so doing, such arguments commit a fallacy of irrelevance because they fail to address the point at issue, choosing instead to steer us toward a conclusion by means of passion rather than reason."(Engel S.M., "With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies," St. Martin's Press: New York, Fourth Edition, 1990, p.197) 9/04/2005 "Popular Passions: `ad populum appeals' The appeal ad populum or `to the people' is characteristic of addresses to the uninformed. (Bacon named them `idols of the market-place.') The man who conjures with racial or religious hatred, the agitator who stirs passions by pointing to the evils of colonial government without acknowledging any of its accomplishments, the demagogue who resorts to name calling and in this country brands proposals which he does not like as `communist' or `fascist' or in the USSR similarly applies the word `capitalist' all these are either relying on popular passion or invoking the self-interest of the crowd." (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., "Fallacy: The Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1959, Eleventh printing, pp.94-95) 9/04/2005 "Argumentum ad Populum. This is the fallacy of deciding truth by opinion polls. It says, `Accept this because it has popular appeal.' It is the kind of argument that plays to the galleries, not to the facts. It is an attempt to win by fashionable ideas, not by good arguments. These arguments have `snob appeal' because they agree with an elite or select group and demand that everybody jump on the bandwagon." (Geisler N.L.* & Brooks R.M.*, "Come, Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1990, p.97) 9/04/2005 "Last month (June 1998) on the evolution reflector, there was a bit of a discussion concerning the Video From a Frog to a Prince which is put out by Keziah Production which is headed by Gillian Brown. The tape showed a narrator asking Dawkings the question: "Professor Dawkins, can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome?" Dawkins is shown starring at the ceiling for 11 seconds which includes a sharp in take of air. and then he resumes with the unresponsive: "There is a popular misunderstanding of evolution that says that fish turned into reptiles and reptiles turned into mammals and and so somehow we ought to be able to look around the world today and look at our ancestors." I had originally questioned whether there was some doctoring going on in the tape because of certain technical details that were amiss. The shadows on the narrator were not the shadows from the room in which Dawkins sat. And the room appeared to be different. I wrote Dawkings and asked him about this. He denied having any recollection of this event. I suspected a video hatchet job. After Gillian established contact with me in June, I found that my suspicions were correct that the narrator was not in the same room as Dawkings. Gillian admitted that she had the narrator re-dub the question but contended that she had asked exactly that question and that Dawkins was shown exactly has he performed at the filming. Gillian sent a copy the original audio tape of the interview with Dawkins to a freind of mine. He sent the tape to me. I have just heard it tonight. I will state categorically that the audio tape of the interview 100% supports Gillian Brown's contention that Dawkins couldn't answer the question. Here is the relevant transcript: **begin *** Gillian Brown: Can you give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome? [19 seconds of silence which includes a sharp intake of air which is seen on the video and heard on the audio tape-grm] Dawkins: "Can you just stop there I think ...[tape then has a second or two of silence-grm]" {When the taping starts again the audio tape demonstrates that the unresponive response was what was there==grm] Gillian: "I'm recording." Dawkins: "OK" "There is a popular misunderstanding of evolution that says that fish turned into reptiles and reptiles turned into mammals and and so somehow we ought to be able to look around the world today and look at our ancestors. We ought to be able to see the intermediates between fish and reptiles and ..." ***end** The only alteration to the question posed by Gillian originally to Dawkins is the narrator's addition of the words "Professor Dawkins," in front of the question. That is such a minor change that it does not alter the substance of Gillian's claim. I find it disappointing that Dawkins wouldn't respond to my later e-mails trying to get his response to Ms. Brown's claims and indeed his lack of response says a lot to me about this incident. I also found it disappointing that Dawkins wouldn't admit that that the incident had occurred. I owe Ms. Brown an apology for my initial skepticism and I offer it here. I was unequivocally wrong in my suspicion of her. While we have in general been on civil terms, I do want her to know that not all evolutionists disregard truth as many creationists believe. After listening to the audio tape, her video, I firmly believe records an accurate account of the Dawkings incident. I might add that I think Ms. Brown did Dawkins a favor. While Dawkins is shown staring at the ceiling for 11 seconds on the video, the actual time on the audio is 19 seconds. She spared Dawkins 8 seconds of embarrassment. I am sending a copy of this to both Dawkins and to Ms. Brown." (Morton G.R., 1998, "Dawkins Video," Calvin Reflector, 17 July. http://www.asa3.org/archive/evolution/199807/0117.html) 10/04/2005 "atheism (from Greek a-, 'not', and theos, 'god'), the view that there are no gods. A widely used sense denotes merely not believing in God and is consistent with agnosticism. A stricter sense denotes a belief that there is no God; this use has become the standard one. In the Apology Socrates is accused of atheism for not believing in the official Athenian gods. Some distinguish between theoretical atheism and practical atheism. A theoretical atheist is one who self-consciously denies the existence of a supreme being, whereas a practical atheist may believe that a supreme being exists but lives as though there were no god. " (Pojman L.P., "atheism," in Audi R., ed., "The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy," [1995], Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1996, reprint, pp.51-52) 10/04/2005 "agnostic ... n. a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God. o adj. of or relating to agnostics or agnosticism. - DERIVATIVES agnosticism n. - ORIGIN C19: from A-' + GNOSTIC. ... atheism ... n. the theory or belief that God does not exist. - DERIVATIVES atheist n. atheistic adj. atheistical adj. - ORIGIN C16: from Fr. atheisme, from Gk atheos, from a `without' + theos `god'." (Pearsall J., ed., "The Concise Oxford Dictionary," [1995], Tenth Edition, Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1999, pp.26,83) 10/04/2005 atheism ... (Gr. a- (privative prefix) + theos god) n. the view that there is no divine being, no God. Sometimes a distinction is made between theoretical and practical atheism. A theoretical atheist believes that there is no divine being, no God. Practical atheism has been used in two entirely different senses. In one sense that occurs in Cudworth, it is the (Epicurean) view that the gods exist but do not do anything that has a bearing on human affairs. In the other, more usual sense, a practical atheist is one whose actions are not influenced by any belief in God and whose actions are accordingly presumed to be under no moral constraint. An early opponent of this presumption was Bayle. atheism can be distinguished from pantheism and from agnosticism. Pantheism is the view that God and the world are in some sense identical. Opinions have varied on the question of whether this is a form of atheism. Agnosticism (in religion) is the view that it is impossible for us to know whether God exists. (Mautner T., "The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy," [1996], Penguin: London, Revised, 2000, p.48) 10/04/2005 "In their book Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, Donald Brownlee and Peter Ward offer their own, revised Drake Equation. They thus imply that the original Drake Equation was at best an abbreviation of myriad unknown and unstated factors, all of which must be satisfied to get a single, radio communicating civilization. ... But even this version of the equation is inadequate. ... So, instead of simply tacking on a few more factors at the end of the Rare Earth equation above, we'll propose our own. We have formulated it to minimize such overlap and redundancy. The probabilities are low as it is. There's no need to exaggerate. Moreover, since we're not interested in the number of communicating civilizations, just the number of technological civilizations, we won't require a factor for radio communication. ... We're not ready to plug in precise numbers for all the factors in our equation. We'll leave that as homework for the reader. It's a useful exercise, though, to estimate the better-known factors. Let's start with 10 percent. Ten percent is probably a reasonable estimate for a few of the listed astronomical factors, but most are probably much smaller. It's unlikely that more than one factor has a probability as high as 50 percent. Let's consider a couple of factors in some detail: fj and fmoon. Astronomers now know the approximate fraction of Sun-like stars with one or more giant planets, between one and ten times Jupiter's mass, and with orbital periods less than ten years. It's around 5 percent. As we noted ... all (or nearly all) the known planets are too massive, orbit too closely to their host stars, or have orbits that are too eccentric to permit habitable planets to form and maintain circular orbits in their Circumstellar Habitable Zones. Compared to the giant planets being found around other stars, the planets in our Solar System have more circular orbits. Excluding Pluto (which is better classified as a Kuiper Belt Object), the average eccentricity of the planets in the Solar System is 0.06. If we naively assume that all planet eccentricities are uniformly distributed between 0 and 0.8 (as they appear to be for Doppler-detected giant planets), then the probability that our Solar System was selected at random from such a distribution is about one in a billion. Since we still have much to learn about how planetary systems form and evolve, it is best not to rely on this calculation. Ironically, discovering that giant planets around other Sun-like stars can take on a variety of orbits has led us to reduce the value of the fj factor from prior expectations. Thus, fj is probably no larger than about 0.1 percent. The fraction of terrestrial planets with a moon large enough to stabilize a planet's spin axis is probably much lower than 10 percent. To produce an estimate for fmoon, we need to know how the Moon formed. Most astronomers are convinced that a glancing collision between the proto-Earth and a smaller planetary body is the best explanation for the Moon's origin. As we noted ... there is still no consensus on the most likely set of impact parameters of the two colliding bodies. To yield a suitable outcome, at least five parameters must be fine-tuned: the timing of the collision, the impact point on the proto-Earth, the direction of spin of the proto-Earth, the plane of the collision relative to the plane of the ecliptic, and the momentum of the impactor. The third factor is equal to one half and the fourth factor is probably about 20 percent, but the other three factors are probably small. Therefore, fmoon is probably no larger than about 0.001 percent. With these probable upper limits for fj and fmoon, an average of 10 percent for the first thirteen factors is almost certainly an overestimate. Most of the remaining six factors are even less well known, but each one is likely to be very small. But let's be generous. If we assign a quite liberal probability of 10 percent to each of the first thirteen (of a total of twenty) factors, we arrive at a total number of habitable planets in the Milky Way Galaxy of 0.01. So, the probability that the Milky Way Galaxy contains even one advanced civilization is likely to be much less than one. This is an interesting result, of course, since we exist." (Gonzalez, G.* & Richards, J.W.*, "The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed For Discovery," Regnery: Washington DC, 2004, pp.338, 340-341) 11/04/2005 "In its broadest sense, theistic science is rooted in the idea that Christians ought to consult all they know or have reason to believe in forming and testing hypotheses, in explaining things in science, and in evaluating the plausibility of various scientific hypotheses, and among the things they should consult are propositions of theology. Theistic science can be considered a research program (a series of theories that are continuous in some sense-for example, various theories of atomism in the history of science have been part of the same research program) that, among other things, is based on two propositions: 1. God, conceived of as a personal, transcendent agent of great power and intelligence, has through direct, primary agent causation and indirect, secondary causation created and designed the world for a purpose and has directly intervened in the course of its development at various times (including prehistory, history prior to the arrival of human beings). 2. The commitment expressed in proposition 1 can appropriately enter into the very fabric of the practice of science and the utilization of scientific methodology. Proposition 1 is the most important of the two, for unless one embraces some form of scientism, it could be true and rational to believe irrespective of proposition 2. However, the two propositions taken together are an important part of theistic science, and I will be offering a limited defense of the controversial thesis that theistic science, including propositions 1 and 2, is a legitimate and important part of a more general Christian understanding of the integration of science and theology, and that theistic science does not violate the nature of science. Since theistic science is a research program, it is consistent with a number of different theories that specify it-for example, progressive creationist models, young-earth creation science and other models." (Moreland, J.P.*, "Theistic Science & Methodological Naturalism," in Moreland, J.P., ed., "The Creation Hypothesis: Scientific Evidence for an Intelligent Designer," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL., 1994, p.41) 11/04/2005 "Devastating as the denial of teleology was for many of Darwin's contemporaries such as Sedgwick and von Baer, the denial of design was even more sweeping. To explain all the beautiful adaptations of organisms, their adjustment to each other, their well-organized interdependence, and indeed the whole harmony of nature, as the result of such a capricious process as natural selection, was quite unacceptable to almost all of Darwin's contemporaries. The theory of natural selection amounted to the proposal to replace the hand of the Creator by a purely material and mechanical process, at that by one not deterministic and not predictive. As one critic put it, it dethroned God. " (Mayr, E.W., "Darwin, intellectual revolutionary," in Bendall, D.S., ed., "Evolution From Molecules to Men," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, 1983, Reprinted, 1985, p.36) 11/04/2005 "In the remote past a simple living organism was supposed to have formed by chance out of inert matter. That organism is then supposed to have reproduced and developed into the life of today through random variation shaped by natural selection. Although not yet widely recognized, the discoveries in biology during the past thirty or forty years, together with elementary principles of information theory, have made this view untenable. A few biologists have pointed this out, but the majority seem to be unaware that there is a problem. The main problem, in my opinion, is the nearly universal belief among biologists that random variations shaped by natural selection produces large- scale evolution. According to this belief, random variation can lead to the large-scale evolution necessary for all the life of today to have developed from something even simpler than a single cell." (Spetner, L.M.*, "Not by Chance!: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution," [1996], Judaica Press: New York NY, 1997, revised, p.vii) 11/04/2005 "Information theory, which was introduced as a discipline about half a century ago by Claude Shannon, has thrown new light on this problem. It turns out that random variation cannot lead to large evolutionary changes. The information required for large- scale evolution cannot come from random variations. There are cases in which random mutations do lead to evolution on a small scale. But it turns out that, in these instances, no information is added to the organism. Most often, information is lost. A process that adds no heritable information into the organism cannot lead to the grand evolutionary advances envisioned by the neo- Darwinians." (Spetner, L.M.*, "Not by Chance!: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution," [1996], Judaica Press: New York NY, 1997, revised, p.vii) 11/04/2005 "According to the doctrine of evolution, all the information in life today was built through evolution. If the neoDarwinians think their mechanism can explain how evolution took place, they have to show how that mechanism could have put large amounts of information into the genome. .... According to the NDT [Neo- Darwinian theory of evolution], information can be added only through selection. Selection tests if the mutation is positive or negative, preserving it if positive and destroying it if negative. Even the most complicated mutation serves only as grist for the mill of selection. Let's look at how an ordinary message, say a telegram, carries information. If the telegram is to carry information, the sender first has to put the information into it. If the sender puts no information into the telegram and sends, say, just random symbols then the receiver gets no information. Also, if the telegram is to bring information to the receiver it's contents must surprise him in some way. If he knew beforehand exactly what the telegram would say, he gets no information. According to the NDT, the receiver of the information is the genome - not the genome of any one individual, but the average genome of the population. That's where the message is ultimately supposed to be received, and that's where the information is supposed to build up. When a mutation occurs, selection can choose only between the mutant and the rest of the population. It can choose the better from the good, the more adaptive from the less adaptive. In one step, selection can add no more than one bit of information. That's because it makes only a binary choice between YES and NO, no matter how complex the two options. Could selection add more than one bit to a genome in one evolutionary step? It can't if the selection is between only two options. If it is to add more than one bit in a step, there would have to be more than two strong options. How much information is added doesn't depend on how complex the options are." (Spetner, L.M.*, "Not by Chance!: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution," [1996], Judaica Press: New York NY, 1997, revised, pp.70-71) 11/04/2005 "The NDT claims to explain how the complexity of life developed. To support that claim it must explain how the information in the genome got built up. You've seen that the NDT requires that each small evolutionary step add a little information to the genome. You've also seen that a single step can't add more than one bit. A step that turns ON a dormant function is not what's needed for evolution as the NDT describes it. A step that adds no information, or loses information, is also not what's needed. Steps such as these might be included in a chain of Darwinian steps, but they cannot be the typical ones. The typical Darwinian step must add information to the genome, but no more than one bit." (Spetner, L.M.*, "Not by Chance!: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution," [1996], Judaica Press: New York NY, 1997, revised, pp.72-73) 11/04/2005 "A small change leading to microevolution can appear suddenly with the birth of a single individual. The change can then spread through the population in a few thousand generations.But the bradys [gradualists] say the large changes of macroevolution build up slowly, little by little, as many small changes add up. Large changes are what most people mean when they talk of evolution. There are good reasons, based on both theory and observation, to believe that microevolution can occur. The change of a single nucleotide can lead to a change in the phenotype that in the right circumstance is adaptive. An example is a mutation in bacteria that results in resistance to streptomycin. I think Darwin's main contribution to the theory of evolution was the leap he made from microevolution to macroevolution. He was a brady, and suggested that a large change is no more than the buildup of many small changes. When a positive mutation appears, according to Darwin, it is selected and it gets fixed in the population. When enough of these small steps have occurred, the population will have changed a lot from its original form. Darwin's leap was only a guess, for which he had no evidence. Because macroevolutionary changes need long time spans he could not have had evidence for it. Even today we have none. Was Darwin, and the neo- Darwinians with him, right in suggesting that a large change is built up from many small changes? The neo-Darwinians understood well why large changes have to be built from small ones. There is a better chance of getting a long series of small changes than of getting one big one in one step. But the relative chance is not the issue. The hard question that tests the validity of the theory is this: Is the chance of building up small changes large enough to make the theory work?" (Spetner, L.M.*, "Not by Chance!: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution," [1996], Judaica Press: New York NY, 1997, revised, pp.74-75. Emphasis original) 11/04/2005 "The neo-Darwinians say that information could have got into the genome in the following way. Somehow, extra nucleotides got into the genome. They could have got there by duplicating existing DNA or by random DNA entering somehow. If this added DNA is not functional, it's free to change without causing any harm. Random mutations in this free DNA might by chance convert it into a working gene and have a favorable effect on the phenotype. Natural selection, acting on the phenotypes, will favor some mutations and reject others. The phenotypes will, of course, carry along their genotypes. As the population evolves, its genome gets more and more complex. More and more information builds up in it a little at a time. In this way, they say, the large amount of information and complexity in living organisms has been built up." (Spetner, L.M.*, "Not by Chance!: Shattering the Modern Theory of Evolution," [1996], Judaica Press: New York NY, 1997, revised, pp.82-83) 11/04/2005 "But all of evolution cannot consist of changes in genes that are already present. Totally new functions have also been added to the biochemical repertoires of organisms during evolution. Bacteria do not make muscle fibers, bones, hormones, blood antigens, or the host of other structures and compounds that make up higher organisms. New genes, in addition to the old ones, must be made. It is thought that this occurs as a two-step process. First, a gene (or group of genes) is accidentally duplicated so that a chromosome now carries an extra copy of it. Because only one good copy is needed to produce the original protein, the extra copy is free to accumulate mutations without harming the organism. After a time, enough changes may have accumulated in the duplicate to give it a new function." (Lewontin R.C., "Human Diversity", Scientific American Library: New York NY, 1995, p.151) 11/04/2005 "It is possible that tandem duplication of one or several genes could produce a marked increase in the amount of genetic material over only a few thousand generations, but it is doubtful that any marked functional diversity could arise in this way. Indeed, quite the reverse. In writing about the lungfish. S. Ohno remarks: `By establishing such a system [tandem duplication] the organism effectively forfeited an opportunity for further evolution. In a manner of speaking, the genome became frozen, while containing enormous genetic redundancy. It is clear that in doing so such a lineage reached an evolutional dead end. It will be shown that what happened to the lungfish also happened to salamanders and newts.... Indeed, this side branch stopped dead at the amphibian stage.'" [Ohno S., "Evolution by Gene Duplication," Springer- Verlag: New York, 1970] (Hoyle F. & Wickramasinghe C., "Evolution from Space", [1981], Paladin: London, 1983, reprint, p.105) 11/04/2005 "At all events, tandem duplication does not solve the evolutionary dilemma. It might give a rapid increase in the quantity of genetic material, but it only does so by being highly repetitive, and this will not give a sequence of 'quantum jumps' in the forms of plants and animals, such as is needed to provide for the divergent evolutionary branches shown in Figures 6.6 to 6.10. Repetitions will give some changes, of course, by altering the quantities of certain proteins, but, as Ohno remarks in the above quotation, the changes are much more likely to be stultifying than to lead to adventurous new possibilities." (Hoyle F. & Wickramasinghe C., "Evolution from Space", [1981], Paladin: London, 1983, reprint, p..106) 11/04/2005 "To speed the fixing of neutral mutations, Dr Ohno requires the ancestral breeding group to have been rather small. The free genes then go in biochemical directions that have little to do with natural selection. In this way a gene can drift, even within a reptile, to a form that will be of later use to man. Indeed, the genes are supposed to have drifted to a configuration which determined the later evolution of Figure 6.10, and the still later evolution of Figure 7.2, not by the need to adapt to the immediate environment, but by chance. The chance anticipation of later need continued even up the last stage of Figure 7.2. Thus in his concluding pages Dr Ohno remarks: `Did the genome of our cave dwelling predecessor contain a set or sets of genes which enable modern man to compose music of infinite complexity and write novels with profound meaning? One is compelled to give an affirmative answer .... It looks as though the early Homo was already provided with the intellectual potential which was in great excess of what was needed to cope with the environment of his time.' [Ohno S., "Evolution by Gene Duplication," Springer-Verlag: New York, 1970] Dr Ohno was thus led by his resolute respect for the biological facts to what seems to us a non-Darwinian position almost as marked as our own. The facts, interpreted within a terrestrial theory of the origin and evolution of life, force one to suppose not only that chance faced up to the incredibly minute probability of discovering the enzymes and other basic biochemical substances, a probability we calculated in chapter 2 to be less than 1040, 000, but that chance mutations also produced genes which were to prove capable of writing the symphonies of Beethoven and the plays of Shakespeare. This is the position to which one is inevitably led by following an Earth-bound theory, a position that we believe to constitute a reductio ad absurdum disproof of that theory." (Hoyle F. & Wickramasinghe C., "Evolution from Space", [1981], Paladin: London, 1983, reprint, pp.106-108) 12/04/2005 "Information, in the technical sense, is surprise value, measured as the inverse of expected probability. Redundancy is the opposite of information, a measure of unsurprisingness, of old-hatitude. Redundant messages or parts of messages are not informative because the receiver, in some sense, already knows what is coming. Newspapers do not carry headlines saying, `The sun rose this morning'. That would convey almost zero information. But if a morning came when the sun did not rise, headline writers would, if any survived, make much of it. The information content would be high, measured as the surprise value of the message. Much of spoken and written language is redundant hence possible condense telegraphese: redundancy lost, information preserved." (Dawkins, R., "Unweaving The Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder," [1998], Penguin: London, 1999, reprint, pp.258-259) 12/04/2005 "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." (McQuarrie C., "The Usual Suspects," Faber & Faber: London, 1996, p.89) 12/04/2005 "Universal probability bound. In the observable universe, probabilistic resources come in limited supplies. Scientists estimate that within the known physical universe, there are around 1080 elementary particles. Moreover, the properties of matter are such that transitions from one physical state to another cannot occur at a rate faster than 1045 times per second. This frequency corresponds to the Planck time, which constitutes the smallest physically meaningful unit of time. Finally, the universe itself is about a billion times younger than 1025 seconds (assuming the universe is between 10 and 20 billion years old). If we now assume that any specification of an event within the known physical universe requires at least one elementary particle to specify it and that such specifications cannot be generated any faster than the Planck time, then these cosmological constraints imply that the total number of specified events throughout cosmic history cannot exceed 1080 x 1045 x 1025 = 10150. Thus, any specified event of probability less than 1 in 10150 will remain improbable even after all conceivable probabilistic resources from the observable universe have been factored in. A probability of 1 in 10150 is therefore a universal probability bound. ... A universal probability bound is impervious to all available probabilistic resources that may be brought against it. Indeed, all: probabilistic resources in the known physical world cannot conspire to render remotely probable an event whose probability is less than this universal probability bound. The universal probability bound of 1 in 10150 is the most conservative in the literature. The French mathematician Emile Borel proposed 1 in 1050 as universal probability bound below which chance could definitively be precluded. (That is, any specified event as improbable as this could never be attributed to chance.) Cryptographers assess the security of cryptosystems in terms of brute force attacks that employ as many probabilistic resources as are available in the universe to break a cryptosystem by chance. In its report on the role of cryptography in securing the information society, the National Research Council set 1 in 1094 as its universal probability bound to ensure the security of cryptosystems against chance-based attacks. ... Computer scientist Seth Lloyd sets 10120 as the maximum number of bit-operations that the universe could have performed throughout its entire history (Physical Review Letters, June 10, 2002). That number corresponds to a universal probability bound of 1 in 10120. Stuart Kauffman in his most recent book, Investigations (2000), comes up with similar numbers. " (Dembski, W.A.*, "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design," Intervarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2004, pp.84-85 Emphasis original) 12/04/2005 "In any case, sectarianism is more a matter of form than content. It is marked by a certain narrowness and exclusivity that entertains no debate and tolerates no opposing viewpoints. Given the broad appeal of intelligent design (even Richard Dawkins, a staunch Darwinist and author of The Blind Watchmaker; acknowledges `the appearance of design' in the living world), it is perhaps more accurate to conclude that the real sectarians are those who vilify design as `fundamentalist religion' Such name-calling is merely another way to avoid debate and keep the real issues out of view. " (Davis P.* & Kenyon D.H.*, "Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins," Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, Second Edition, 1993, p.161) 13/04/2005 "In Darwin's Black Box I defined the concept of irreducible complexity (IC) in the following way. `By irreducibly complex I mean a single system which is composed of several well- matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, and where the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. (Behe 1996, 39)' While I think that's a reasonable definition of IC, and it gets across the idea to a general audience, it has some drawbacks. It focuses on already- completed systems, rather than on the process of trying to build a system, as natural selection would have to do. It emphasizes `parts,' but says nothing about the properties of the parts, how complex they are, or how the parts get to be where they are. It speaks of `parts that contribute to the basic function', but that phrase can, and has, been interpreted in ways other than what I had in mind (for example, talking about whole organs that contribute to complex functions such as `living'), muddying the waters in my view. What's more, the definition doesn't allow for `degree' of irreducible complexity; a system either has it or it doesn't. Yet certainly some IC systems are more complex than others; some seem more forbidding than others. While thinking of Keith Robison's scenario, I was struck that irreducible complexity could be better formulated in evolutionary terms by focusing on a proposed pathway, and on whether each step that would be necessary to build a certain system using that pathway was selected or unselected. If a system has to pass through one unselected step on the way to a particular improvement, then in a real evolutionary sense it is encountering irreducibility: two things have to happen (the mutation passing through the unselected step and the mutation that gives a selectable system) before natural selection can kick in again. If it has to pass through three or four unselected steps (like Robison's scenario), then in an evolutionary sense it is even more irreducibly complex. The focus is off of the `parts' (whose number may stay the same even while the nature of the parts is changing) and re-directed toward `steps.' Envisioning IC in terms of selected or unselected steps thus puts the focus on the process of trying to build the system. A big advantage, I think, is that it encourages people to pay attention to details; hopefully it would encourage really detailed scenarios by proponents of Darwinism (ones that might be checked experimentally) and discourage just-so stories that leap over many steps without comment. So with those thoughts in mind, I offer the following tentative `evolutionary' definition of irreducible complexity: An irreducibly complex evolutionary pathway is one that contains one or more unselected steps (that is, one or more necessary-but-unselected mutations). The degree of irreducible complexity is the number of unselected steps in the pathway. That definition has the advantage of promoting research: to state clear, detailed evolutionary pathways; to measure probabilistic resources; to estimate mutation rates; to determine if a given step is selected or not. It allows for the proposal of any evolutionary scenario a Darwinist (or others) may wish to submit, asking only that it be detailed enough so that relevant parameters might be estimated. If the improbability of the pathway exceeds the available probabilistic resources (roughly the number of organisms over the relevant time in the relevant phylogenetic branch) then Darwinism is deemed an unlikely explanation and intelligent design a likely one." (Behe M.J.*, "In Defense of the Irreducibility of the Blood Clotting Cascade:Response to Russell Doolittle, Ken Miller and Keith Robison," Discovery Institute, Seattle WA, July 31, 2000. http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=442) 13/04/2005 "An irreducibly complex evolutionary pathway is one that contains one or more unselected steps (that is, one or more necessary-but-unselected mutations). The degree of irreducible complexity is the number of unselected steps in the pathway." (Behe M.J.*, "In Defense of the Irreducibility of the Blood Clotting Cascade:Response to Russell Doolittle, Ken Miller and Keith Robison," Discovery Institute, Seattle WA, July 31, 2000. http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=442) 13/04/2005 "Crick's village-atheist level of understanding of religion is illustrated by the following comment: `Not only do the beliefs of most popular religions contradict each other but, by scientific standards, they are based on evidence so flimsy that only an act of blind faith can make them acceptable. If the members of a church really believe in a life after death, why do they not conduct sound experiments to establish it?' [Crick F.H.C., "The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul," [1994], Touchstone: New York NY, 1995, p.258]" (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law, and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, p.65) 13/04/2005 "The naturalistic world view rests upon the belief that the material universe is the sum total of reality. To put it negatively, naturalism holds to the proposition that the supernatural, in any form, does not exist.... The naturalistic world view assumes that the matter or stuff which makes up the universe has never been created but has always existed. This is because an act of creation presupposes the existence of some reality outside of, or larger than, the world order-incompatible with the tenet that the material universe is the sum total of reality. Naturalism normally assumes that always-existing matter has developed into the ordered universe which we see by a blind, timeless process of chance. The human being, as one part of the natural universe, is also the result of matter, time, and chance. Within the context of the naturalistic world view, miracles, as such, do not exist; they are natural events which have yet to be explained." (Gaede S.D., "Where Gods May Dwell," Eerdmans Grand Rapids MI, 1985, p.35, in Nash R.H.*, "Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas," [1992], Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 1999, reprint, p.116-117) 14/04/2005 "Darwin wrote (in The Origin of Species): `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 C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," (1872), Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, p.170] One hundred and twenty five years on, we know a lot more about animals and plants than Darwin did, and still not a single case is known to me of a complex organ that could not have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications. I do not believe that such a case will ever be found. If it is - it'll have to be a really complex organ, and, as we'll see in later chapters, you have to be sophisticated about what you mean by 'slight' - I shall cease to believe in Darwinism." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," [1986], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.91. Emphasis original) 14/04/2005 "1. Could the human eye have arisen directly from no eye at all, in single step? 2. Could the human eye have arisen directly from something slightly different from itself, something that we may call X? The answer to Question 1 is clearly a decisive no. The odds against a `yes' answer for questions like Question 1 are many billions of times greater than the number of atoms in the universe. It would need a gigantic and vanishingly improbable leap across genetic hyperspace. The answer to Question 2 is equally clearly yes, provided only that the difference between the modern eye and its immediate predecessor X is sufficiently small. Provided, in other words, that they are sufficiently close to one another in the space of all possible structures. If the answer to Question 2 for any particular degree of difference is no, all we have to do is repeat the question for a smaller degree of difference. Carry on doing this until we find a degree of difference sufficiently small to give us a 'yes' answer to Question 2. X is defined as something very like a human eye, sufficiently similar that the human eye could plausibly have arisen by a single alteration in X. If you have a mental picture of X and you find it implausible that the human eye could have arisen directly from it, this simply means that you have chosen the wrong X. Make your mental picture of X progressively more like a human eye, until you find an X that you do find plausible as an immediate predecessor to the human eye. There has to be one for you, even if your idea of what is plausible may be more, or less, cautious than mine! Now, having found an X such that the answer to Question 2 is yes, we apply the same question to X itself. By the same reasoning we must conclude that X could plausibly have arisen, directly by a single change, from something slightly different again, which we may call X'. Obviously we can then trace X' back to something else slightly different from it, X'', and so on. By interposing a large enough series of Xs, we can derive the human eye from something not slightly different from itself but very different from itself. We can 'walk' a large distance across 'animal space', and our move will be plausible provided we take small-enough steps. We are now in a position to answer a third question. 3. Is there a continuous series of Xs connecting the modern human eye to a state with no eye at all? It seems to me clear that the answer has to be yes, provided only that we allow ourselves a sufficiently large series of Xs. You might feel that 1,000 Xs is ample, but if you need more steps to make the total transition plausible in your mind, simply allow Yourself to assume 10,000 Xs. And if 10,000 is not enough for you, allow yourself 100,000, and so on. Obviously the available time imposes an upper ceiling on this game, for there can be only one X per generation. In practice the question therefore resolves itself into: Has there been enough time for enough successive generations? We can't give a precise answer to the number of generations that would be necessary. What we do know is that geological time is awfully long. Just to give you an idea of the order of magnitude we are talking about, the number of generations that separate us from our earliest ancestors is certainly measured in the thousands of millions. Given, say, a hundred million Xs, we should be able to construct a plausible series of tiny gradations linking a human eye to just about anything!" (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, pp.77-78. Emphasis original) 15/04/2005 "Since Hasker speculates about my own subjective leanings, I will try to satisfy his curiosity. The "evolution of human beings from apes" is not an unacceptable hypothesis for me. Obviously, God could have made humans unmistakably distinct from other creatures and did not do so. The hypothesis of LCA [Literal Common Ancestry] was bold but justifiable as of 1859, if it were stated in testable form rather than as a dogma. Subsequent investigation, when evaluated without extreme Darwinist bias, establishes that LCA is disconfirmed for the plant and animal kingdoms as a whole, and also in this specific case. Even if "evolution" in some vague MCA [Metaphorical Common Ancestry]sense should turn out to be the true explanation of the similarities between apes and humans, Darwinian science has only wild speculation to offer to explain the unique human characteristics: relative hairlessness, upright posture, and especially human consciousness. I do not know whether I am a "progressive creationist." For the time being, I am content to say that, however God chose to create, it was not by neo-Darwinist LCA." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Response to Hasker," Christian Scholar's Review, Vol. XXII, No. 3, 1993, pp.297-304. http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/pjcsr223.html) 15/04/2005 "I do not for a moment suppose, nor have I ever written, that biologists are in conspiracy `to hide from outsiders the bankruptcy of the central principle of biology.' ... Rather, the theory of evolution functions as biology's reigning ideology. And no conspiracy is required to explain the attachment of biologists to a doctrine they find sustaining; all that is required is Freud's reminder that those in the grip of an illusion never recognize their affliction." (Berlinski D.*, "Denying Darwin: David Berlinski and Critics," Commentary, September 1996, p.30. http://www.2think.org/letters.shtml) http://www.2think.org/letters.shtml) 15/04/2005 "With all this, of course, went improvements in the brain, most notably the power to compare the times at which signals from one source reach each ear, thus providing a method of estimating the direction in which the source lies. Thus, in the course of evolution, there were six major developments, two of which occurred in the fishes, two in the amphibia and two in mammals. Such, at least, is the account given by people like Willem van Bergeijk, of Bell Telephone Laboratories who is the acknowledged authority. But the eminent morphologist J. W. Torrey is not convinced. 'The evolutionary origin of the inner ear is entirely unknown,' he insists. In contrast with the case of the eye, where undifferentiated cells were specialised into the required forms, here existing structures have been profoundly modified and even shifted to another position in a progressive series of changes which certainly look more like the refinement of a plan than the result of a series of happy accidents. But the insoluble problem is how and why did a balance organ become an organ of hearing? As van Bergeijk pointedly asks: 'What prompts the fish to begin developing a sensory apparatus that will respond to a stimulus about the very existence of which the fish knows nothing?' Van Bergeijk believes that the original balance organ would never have evolved mechanisms for hearing but for the emergence of the swim bladder. The original purpose of this organ is to enable the fish to adjust its density to the density of the ambient water and so control the depth at which it swims. Since the bladder is sensitive to changes in external pressure, it vibrates in harmony with pressure changes in the water. In time these vibrations came to excite the ear. Hearing as distinct from the mere detection of pressure waves, was born. After describing the last part of this process, the adaptation of the bones linking the jaw to the skull into a chain of ossicles linking the eardrum to the inner ear, Ernst Mayr sweepingly remarks: 'Not all the steps in this process are yet entirely apparent, but I think little doubt is left as to the principle involved.' If by 'principle' one means merely progressive remodelling, the statement is a truism. But if 'principle' means that chance selection brought about these elaborate changes, then there must be very great doubt indeed. Like de Beer, Mayr does not seem to appreciate the elementary point that demonstrating the occurrence of a sequence of events does not explain why they happened. But what kind of mutations could bring about the major changes I have described? Could cause a tube to roll up into a helix? Could cause other tubes to form semi-circular canals accurately set at right angles to each other. Could grade sensory hairs according to length? Could cause the convenient deposit of a crystal in the one place it will register gravity? Even more amazingly, some fishes do not trouble to secrete a crystal but incorporate a bit of sand or stone. What kind of mutation could achieve this - when and only when a natural crystal is not formed? The purpose is fulfilled, the means are unimportant. It just doesn't make sense." (Taylor G.R., "The Great Evolution Mystery," Abacus: London, 1983, pp.105-106) 15/04/2005 "Natural selection undoubtedly explains some adaptations, such as camouflage. The adaptation in this case, as well as in other famous examples of natural selection, are all simple, however. In the peppered moth, adaptation is simply a matter of adjusting external color to the background. The problem arises in complex characters, which are adapted to the environment in many interdependent respects. Darwin's explanation for complex adaptations is that they evolved in many small steps, each analogous to the simple evolution in the peppered moth; as a result, Darwin meant termed evolution "gradual." Evolution must be gradual because it would take a miracle for a complex organ, requiring mutations in many parts, to evolve in one sudden step. If each mutation arose separately, in different organisms at different times, the whole process becomes more probable. Darwin's "gradualist" requirement is a deep property of evolutionary theory. The Darwinian should be able to show for any organ that it could, at least in principle, have evolved in many small steps, with each step being advantageous. If exceptions are found, it would cast serious doubt on the entire theory. In Darwin's words, "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 argued that all known organs indeed could have evolved in small steps. He took examples of complex adaptations and showed how these examples could have evolved through intermediate stages. In cases such as the eye, these intermediates can be illustrated by analogies with living species; in other cases, they can only be imagined. Darwin had to show only that the intermediates could possibly have existed. His critics had the more difficult task: they had to show that the intermediates could not have existed. It is very difficult to prove negative statements. " (Ridley M., "Evolution," [1993], Blackwell: Cambridge MA, Second Edition, 1996, Third Printing, 1999, p.342) 16/04/2005 "An arch of stones, for instance, is a stable structure capable of standing for many years even if there is no cement to bind it. Building a complex structure by evolution is like trying to build a mortarless arch if you are allowed to touch only one stone at a time. Think about the task naively, and it can't be done. The arch will stand once the last stone is in place, but the intermediate stages are unstable. It's quite easy to build the arch, however, if you are allowed to subtract stones as well as add them. Start by building a solid heap of stones then build the arch resting on top of this solid foundation. Then, when the arch is all in position, including the vital keystone at the top, carefully remove the supporting stones and, with a modicum of luck, the arch will remain standing. Stonehenge is incomprehensible until we realize that the builders used same kind of scaffolding, or perhaps ramps of earth, which are no longer there. We can see only the end- product, and have to infer the vanished scaffolding. Similarly, DNA and protein are two pillars of a stable and elegant arch, which persists once all its parts simultaneously exist. It is hard to imagine it arising by any step-by- step process unless some earlier scaffolding has completely disappeared. That scaffolding must itself have been built by an earlier form of cumulative selection, at whose nature we can only guess. But it must have been based upon replicating entities with power over their own future." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," [1986], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, pp.149-150) 16/04/2005 "Even if a system is irreducibly complex (and thus cannot have been produced directly), however, one can not definitively rule out the possibility of an indirect, circuitous route. As the complexity of an interacting system increases, though, the likelihood of such an indirect route drops precipitously. And as the number of unexplained irreducibly complex biological systems increases, our confidence that Darwin's criterion of failure has been met skyrockets toward the maximum that science allows." (Behe M.J.*, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge toEvolution", Free Press: New York NY, 1996, p.40) 16/04/2005 "Some evolutionary biologists-like Richard Dawkins-have fertile imaginations. Given a starting point, they almost always can spin a story to get to any biological structure you wish. The talent can be valuable, but it is a two-edged sword. Although they might think of possible evolutionary routes other people overlook, they also tend to ignore details and roadblocks that would trip up their scenarios. Science, however, cannot ultimately ignore relevant details, and at the molecular level all the "details" become critical. If a molecular nut or bolt is missing, then the whole system can crash. "(Behe M.J.*, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution", Free Press: New York NY, 1996, p.65) 16/04/2005 "Genome Size One way to explore the minimum complexity of independent life is to survey the microbial database for the smallest genome. .... The data indicate that the microbes possessing the smallest known genomes and capable of living independently in the environment are extremophilic archaea and eubacteria. ... These organisms also happen to represent what many scientists consider to be the oldest life on Earth. This crude estimate seems to suggest that, to exist independently, life requires a minimum genome size of about 1,500 to 1,900 gene products. (A gene product refers to proteins and functional RNAs, such as ribosomal and transfer RNA.). The late evolutionary biologist Colin Patterson acknowledges the 1,700 genes of Methanococcus are `perhaps close to the minimum necessary for independent life.' [Patterson, C., "Evolution," Comstock: Ithaca NY, Second edition, 1999, p.23]" (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, p.161. Emphasis original) 16/04/2005 "Given the relatively small sample of organisms currently available for assessing life's minimum complexity, investigators may well find the minimum requirement for independent life extends below 1,500 gene products. A newly discovered hyperthermophilic microbe helps establish a lower boundary. This organism, Nanoarchaeum equitans, lives as a parasite attached to the surface of its independently existing hyperthermophile host. Because it is a parasite, N. equitans exploits and depends upon its host cell's metabolism to exist. (In general, parasitic microbes have reduced genome sizes because of their reliance on host cell biochemistry.) Researchers have yet to estimate the N. equitans' genome size, but based on its amount of DNA, its genome size likely falls within the range of about 450 to 500 gene products. Even though incapable of independent existence, N. equitans yields insight into independent life's minimal complexity. Because this parasite thrives with a genome size of about 450 to 500 gene products, the minimum complexity for independent life must reside somewhere between about 500 and 1,500 gene products." (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.161-162) 16/04/2005 "So far, as scientists have continued their sequencing efforts, all microbial genomes that fall below 1,500 belong to parasites. Organisms capable of permanent independent existence require more gene products. A minimum genome size (for independent life) of 1,500 to 1,900 gene products comports with what the geochemical and fossil evidence reveals about the complexity of Earth's first life. Earliest life forms displayed metabolic complexity that included: photosynthetic and chemoautotrophic processes protein synthesis the capacity to produce amino acids, nucleotides, fatty acids, and sugars the machinery to reproduce Some 1,500 different gene products would seem the bare minimum to sustain this level of metabolic activity. For instance, the Methanococcus jannaschii genome (the first to be sequenced for the archaea domain) possesses about 1,738 gene products. This organism contains the enzymatic machinery for energy metabolism and for the biosynthesis and processing of sugars, nucleotides, amino acids, and fatty acids [Bult, C.J., et al., "Complete Genome Sequence of the Methanogenic Archaeon, Methanococcus jannaschii," Science, Vol. 273, 1996, pp.1058-1073] In addition, the M. jannaschii genome can encode for repair systems, DNA replication, and the cell division apparatus. The genes for protein synthesis and secretion and the genes that specify the construction and activity of the cell membrane and envelope also belong as part of this organism's genome." (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, p.162. Emphasis original) 16/04/2005 "The Bare Necessity The discovery of parasitic microbes with reduced genome sizes, like Mycoplasma genitalium, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Barrelia burgdorferi (with 470, 677, and 863 gene products, respectively), indicates that life exists, though not independently, with genome sizes made up of smaller than 1,500 genes [Pennisi, E., "Microbial Genomes Come Tumbling In," Science, Vol. 277, 1997, p.1433; Goffeau, A., "Life with 482 Genes," Science, Vol. 270, 1995, pp.445-446; Fraser, C.M., et al., "The Minimal Gene Complement of _Mycoplasma genitalium_," Science Vol. 270, 1995, pp.397-403]. These microbes are not good model organisms for Earth's first life forms because they cannot exist independently. But they do have some relevance to life's beginning. These parasitic microbes help determine the barest minimal requirements for life, given that building block molecules (sugars, nucleotides, amino acids, and fatty acids as well as other nutrients) are readily available." (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.162- 163. Emphasis original) 16/04/2005 "Scientists from NIH have used the M. genitalium and H. influenzae genomes to estimate the minimum gene set needed for independent life [Mushegian, A.R. & Koonin, E.V., "A Minimal Gene Set for Cellular Life Derived by Comparison of Complete Bacterial Genomes," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 93, 1996, pp.10268-10273]. These researchers compared the two for genes with common function and reasoned that these constitute the minimum gene products necessary for life. This approach indicated that a set of 256 genes represents the lower limit on genome size needed for life to operate. Using a similar approach, an international team produced a slightly lower minimum estimate of 246 [Kyrpides, N., et al., "Universal Protein Families and the Functional Content of the Last Universal Common Ancestor," Journal of Molecular Evolution, Vol. 49, 1999, pp.413-423]. This group developed a universal set of proteins by comparing representatives from life's three domains-eukarya, archaea, and bacteria." (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, p.163. Emphasis original) 16/04/2005 "In addition to theoretical estimates, researchers have also attempted to make experimental measurements of the minimum number of genes necessary for life. These approaches involve the mutation of randomly selected genes to identify those that are indispensable. One experiment performed on the bacterium Bacillus subtilis estimated the minimal gene set numbers between 254 and 450 [Maniloff, J., "The Minimal Cell Genome: `On Being the Right Size'," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 93, 1996, pp.10004-10006; Itaya, M., "An Estimation of Minimal Genome Size Required for Life," FEBS Letters, Vol. 362, 1995, pp.257-260]. A similar study with M. genitalium determined the minimum number of genes to fall between 265 and 350 [Hutchinson, C.A., III, et al., "Global Transposon: Mutagenesis and a Minimal Mycoplasma Genome," Science, Vol. 286, 1999, pp.2165-2169]. Random mutations of the H. influenzae genome indicate that 478 genes are required for life in its bare minimal form [Akerley, B.J., et al., "A Genome- Scale Analysis for Identification of Genes Required for Growth or Survival of Haemophilus influenzae," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 99, 2002, pp.966-971]." (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical and Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, p.163. Emphasis original) 16/04/2005 "The genome of the extreme parasite Buchnera provides another means to determine the size of the minimal gene set [Gil, R., et al., "Extreme Genome Reduction in Buchnera spp.: Toward the Minimal Genome Needed for Symbiotic Life," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, Vol. 99, 2002, pp.4454-4458]. This parasite exists permanently inside aphid cells and has a remarkably tiny genome size. Scientists believe its gene set consists solely of those products essential for life. In contrast, M. genitalium's genome includes genes essential for life and genes that mediate host-parasite interactions. Presumably the genes disabled by mutation eliminated those involved in its host-parasite interactions. The genome size of the Buchnera species varies, with the smallest estimated to contain 396 gene products." (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical And Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, p.163) 16/04/2005 "Theoretical and experimental studies designed to discover the bare minimum number of gene products necessary for life all show significant agreement. Life seems to require between 250 and 350 different proteins to carry out its most basic operations. That this bare form of life cannot survive long without a source of sugars, nucleotides, amino acids, and fatty acids is worth noting." (Rana, F.R.* & Ross, H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical And Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004, pp.162- 163) 16/04/2005 "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Or does it need a creator, and, if so, does he have any other effect on the universe? And who created him?" (Hawking, S.W., "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes," [1988] Bantam: London, Reprinted, 1991, p.184) 16/04/2005 "The preeminent mystery is why anything exists at all. What breathes life into the equations of physics, and actualized them in a real cosmos? Such questions lie beyond science, however: they are the province of philosophers and theologians." (Rees M.J., "Our Cosmic Habitat," [2001], Phoenix: London, 2003, reprint, p.xi) 16/04/2005 "This may be the place to mention Ken's answer to a question from the audience about Ken's own views on God and evolution, because it applies to the question of mechanism. Ken is a Roman Catholic ... In reponse to the question, `how do you think God acted?' Ken told the following story. `I knew a nun while I was a graduate student in Colorado,' he said, `who was also a biologist. She gave a lecture on evolution, which she fully accepted, and was asked during the question period how she could believe in a God who created through evolution. How did that fit with her theology?' `Well, she replied,' Ken continued, `that it sounded to her like the questioner believed in a God who wasn't a really superlative pool player. Imagine a pool player who says, 'I'm going to sink all the balls on the table,' and he does so - but only one at a time. 'My God,' said the nun, 'is like the pool player who lifts the triangular rack on the 15 balls, lines up the cue ball, and sinks all the balls with one shot.'' `And that's my God, too,' said Ken. Now, one's first intuition, on hearing this story, is to say, hmm, that would be quite a feat: sink all the balls with one shot. Wouldn't that be the greatest design, to build the whole universe so all its design unfolded right from the start - with one shot, so to speak? But there's a very interesting problem buried in the nun's metaphor. No pool player could possibly sink all the balls with one shot. It's impossible. The pool player can't put enough physical information into the head of the cue stick (so to speak), transfer that information to the cue ball, and have the cue ball transfer the information (e.g., vectors) into the fifteen balls in the rack formation to have those balls roll into the pockets of the pool table. Sure, nothing in principle prevents all the balls from rolling into the pockets. After all, after the impact of the cue ball, they have to go somewhere, so why not into the pockets simultaneously? But the pool player can't do it, because he can't forsee (calculate) all the interactions, and even if he could, he couldn't `get the information' (the interactions) into the head of the cue stick, using only his muscles (which are subject to dynamics of their own), eyes, nervous system, etc. Furthermore, as the cue ball interacts with the cue stick and the cloth of the table , even before it contacts the rack formation, some information will be lost. That's why no one will ever lose $ betting against the player who claims to be able to sink all the balls in one shot. Now, could God sink all the balls with one shot? Of course. It's only a problem of mechanics. Presumably there are indefinitely many single shots, which, if only one could make them, would sink all the balls in any pattern one chooses. But scientifically speaking, humans can't `get at' those shots analytically - because we're limited by our finite knowledge and the probabilities we face. Therefore we can safely declare the event impossible (meaning excluded probabilistically). Now, here's why I think this story becomes a problem for the theistic evolutionist who wants to use it to show how great a designer God becomes (when one accepts evolution). As our scientific descriptions of the universe run back to the Big Bang, we lose information: by that, I mean the `specifications' required, for instance, to provide function in even the simplest organisms, will disappear - they can't be expressed by, or reduced to, physical equations. Thus, if the theistic evolutionist starts with God creating `the laws of nature,' he lacks the explanatory resources to generate organisms later. The physical laws and regularities are too information-poor. That is, they won't generate specified functional (or informational) structures. Well, how about giving those laws some help, by rigging the starting conditions? (Trick shots in billiards displays often begin with the shooter arranging the balls in some carefully specified pattern.) Again, I don't think that helps. The information required won't go away: one simply has to encode it at another, lower level. (Mike Behe and I once argued about whether a cosmic ray burst might generate all the mutations necessary for a cilium to arise de novo; I said, sure, it could, but then one has to explain the vastly unlikely event of simultaneous cosmic ray bursts all striking one cell, etc. The information won't go away.) So, when the nun says, `I believe in a God who sinks all the balls with one shot,' she's really describing a created universe that wouldn't work. At least, we can't say how it would work, i.e., bring forth organisms from physical regularities in the fullness of time. What does it mean to say, `we can't say how that universe would work'? Exactly what it means, I think, in the billiards example. Suppose someone said, `it's possible to sink all the balls with one shot.' `Yes, in principle,' we respond. `In reality? Never.' That's equivalent to rejecting naturalistic evolution probabilistically. Then the nun says, `OK, but God could have done it.' Sure, he could have. But, scientifically speaking, we face all the same problems. God's knowledge is not `our' knowledge, and our science is always relativized to our limitations. Thus, to say, `God could have done it' does absolutely nothing to solve the problem of getting enough information out of the Big Bang to build organisms, and so on. That's why most theories of theistic evolution, when one looks at them closely, really involve God acting all along the way. One can't tell the other story - where God acts only at the beginning, setting up just physical laws - and get organisms out several billion years later. Standing in the line for dinner and discussing this with David Wilcox, we agreed that Ken's story about the nun's billiard metaphor, far from making theistic evolution more plausible, actually made it much less so. Sitting next to Ken at dinner, I mentioned this problem, saying, `do you realize how much information has to be in the head of the cue stick?' - and he smiled. Then I said, `but of course the story is a great way to get out of the question' - and he nodded. ". (Nelson P.*, "A Report on the ASA Conference Debate on Pandas and People Textbook," Access Research Network. September 1, 1995. http://www.arn.org/docs/asa795rpt.htm) 17/04/2005 "Aside from the dasyuroids [small-to-medium-sized insectivores, carnivores, and omnivores], all other adequately known Australian marsupials share a specialization of the rear foot in which digits 2 and 3 are greatly reduced and incorporated in a single sheath of tissue, a configuration termed syndactyly (Figure 19- 21). These specialized digits are used in grooming. Genera with syndactyly include two very distinct groups, the Perameloidea, or bandicoots, and the Diprotodontoidea, a much more diverse assemblage.. ... The diprotodonts include three superfamilies, the Vombatoidea (including the wombats of the modern fauna and a variety of extinct groups), the Phascolarctoidea (koalas), and the Phalangeroidea, which encompasses the modern phalangerids, kangaroos, and gliding and pygmy possums. The diprotodonts are united by the derived condition of the lower incisors, which are reduced to two procumbent teeth. The group consists of primarily herbivorous forms." (Carroll, R.L., "Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 1988, p.436) 17/04/2005 "When marsupials first appeared in the fossil record of Australia in the late Oligocene, they were already very diverse and the interrelationships of the various lineages have not been satisfactorily established. The dasyuroids appear to form an ancestral stock that is comparable to the didelphoids in the New World. The carnivorous Tasmanian wolf and Tasmanian devil converge closely on the pattern of the South American borhyaenoids. All other Australian marsupials are specialized in having digits 2 and 3 greatly reduced and incorporated in a single sheath of tissue. This condition is termed syndactyly." (Carroll, R.L., "Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 1988, p.440) 18/04/2005 "In the beginning, the course of the world was guided by the hand of God; but when the appointed number of generations had been born from the earth and had returned again to her, the Creator ceased His directing care; the Universe fell to chaos, and all living creatures perished. A new race succeeded; the evil which is inherent in matter reasserted itself, and the world went from bad to worse, until the Creator at last again interposed, and restored order, to creation. At the same time He introduced a new principle of life; the earth no longer brought forth men and animals, but they reproduced their species, each after their kind. Men were at first poor and helpless; gradually, however, by the aid of the Gods, they learned the arts of life and formed themselves into communities." (Jowett B., transl, "The Essential Plato," [1871], The Softback Preview: London, 1999, p.1190) 18/04/2005 "The theory about the history of Life that is now generally accepted, the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, is meant to explain two different aspects of the appearance of the living world: diversity and fitness. There are on the order of two million species now living. and since at least 99.9 percent of the species that have ever lived are now extinct, the most conservative guess would be that two billion species have made their appearance on earth since the beginning of the Cambrian period 600 million years ago." (Lewontin R.C., "Adaptation," Scientific American, September 1978, Vol. 239, No. 3, p.157) 18/04/2005 "There are millions of different species of animals and plants on earth-possibly as many as forty million. But somewhere between five and fifty billion species have existed at one time or another. Thus, only about one in a thousand species is still alive-a truly lousy survival record: 99.9 percent failure!" (Raup D.M., "Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?," [1991], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1993, reprint, p.3-4. Emphasis original) 18/04/2005 "Condensation reactions. Once prebiotic compounds (such as amino acids, sugars, and nucleotide bases) assemble and accumulate to form either global or localized `primordial soups,' the stage is set for the next phase of life development. In this phase, prebiotic compounds react with one another to form more complex molecules that eventually result in important biomolecules, including proteins and nucleic acids (RNA and DNA). These biomolecules consist of chainlike structures that form when smaller subunit molecules link together. Chemists refer to reactions thought to have produced complex biomolecules on early Earth as `condensation reactions.' When condensation reactions take place, the reactants collectively lose two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom in the form of a water molecule. For example, if two glycine molecules (amino acids) condense, the product is diglycine and a water molecule. Because water is a by-product, condensation reactions are thermodynamically prohibited in an aqueous environment, such as a prebiotic soup." (Rana F.R.* & Ross H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical And Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004 p.52) 16/04/2005 "Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing? Is the unified theory so compelling that it brings about its own existence? Or does it need a creator, and, if so, does he have any other effect on the universe? And who created him? Up to now, most scientists have been too occupied with the (Hawking S.W., "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes," 1988] Bantam: London, 1991, reprint, p.184) 16/04/2005 "The preeminent mystery is why anything exists at all. What breathes life into the equations of physics, and actualized them in a real cosmos? Such questions lie beyond science, however: they are the province of philosophers and theologians." (Rees M.J., "Our Cosmic Habitat," [2001], Phoenix: London, 2003, reprint, p.xi) 16/04/2005 "This may be the place to mention Ken's answer to a question from the audience about Ken's own views on God and evolution, because it applies to the question of mechanism. Ken is a Roman Catholic ... In reponse to the question, `how do you think God acted?' Ken told the following story. `I knew a nun while I was a graduate student in Colorado,' he said, `who was also a biologist. She gave a lecture on evolution, which she fully accepted, and was asked during the question period how she could believe in a God who created through evolution. How did that fit with her theology?' `Well, she replied,' Ken continued, `that it sounded to her like the questioner believed in a God who wasn't a really superlative pool player. Imagine a pool player who says, 'I'm going to sink all the balls on the table,' and he does so - but only one at a time. 'My God,' said the nun, 'is like the pool player who lifts the triangular rack on the 15 balls, lines up the cue ball, and sinks all the balls with one shot.'' `And that's my God, too,' said Ken. Now, one's first intuition, on hearing this story, is to say, hmm, that would be quite a feat: sink all the balls with one shot. Wouldn't that be the greatest design, to build the whole universe so all its design unfolded right from the start - with one shot, so to speak? But there's a very interesting problem buried in the nun's metaphor. No pool player could possibly sink all the balls with one shot. It's impossible. The pool player can't put enough physical information into the head of the cue stick (so to speak), transfer that information to the cue ball, and have the cue ball transfer the information (e.g., vectors) into the fifteen balls in the rack formation to have those balls roll into the pockets of the pool table. Sure, nothing in principle prevents all the balls from rolling into the pockets. After all, after the impact of the cue ball, they have to go somewhere, so why not into the pockets simultaneously? But the pool player can't do it, because he can't forsee (calculate) all the interactions, and even if he could, he couldn't `get the information' (the interactions) into the head of the cue stick, using only his muscles (which are subject to dynamics of their own), eyes, nervous system, etc. Furthermore, as the cue ball interacts with the cue stick and the cloth of the table , even before it contacts the rack formation, some information will be lost. That's why no one will ever lose $ betting against the player who claims to be able to sink all the balls in one shot. Now, could God sink all the balls with one shot? Of course. It's only a problem of mechanics. Presumably there are indefinitely many single shots, which, if only one could make them, would sink all the balls in any pattern one chooses. But scientifically speaking, humans can't `get at' those shots analytically - because we're limited by our finite knowledge and the probabilities we face. Therefore we can safely declare the event impossible (meaning excluded probabilistically). Now, here's why I think this story becomes a problem for the theistic evolutionist who wants to use it to show how great a designer God becomes (when one accepts evolution). As our scientific descriptions of the universe run back to the Big Bang, we lose information: by that, I mean the `specifications' required, for instance, to provide function in even the simplest organisms, will disappear - they can't be expressed by, or reduced to, physical equations. Thus, if the theistic evolutionist starts with God creating `the laws of nature,' he lacks the explanatory resources to generate organisms later. The physical laws and regularities are too information-poor. That is, they won't generate specified functional (or informational) structures. Well, how about giving those laws some help, by rigging the starting conditions? (Trick shots in billiards displays often begin with the shooter arranging the balls in some carefully specified pattern.) Again, I don't think that helps. The information required won't go away: one simply has to encode it at another, lower level. (Mike Behe and I once argued about whether a cosmic ray burst might generate all the mutations necessary for a cilium to arise de novo; I said, sure, it could, but then one has to explain the vastly unlikely event of simultaneous cosmic ray bursts all striking one cell, etc. The information won't go away.) So, when the nun says, `I believe in a God who sinks all the balls with one shot,' she's really describing a created universe that wouldn't work. At least, we can't say how it would work, i.e., bring forth organisms from physical regularities in the fullness of time. What does it mean to say, `we can't say how that universe would work'? Exactly what it means, I think, in the billiards example. Suppose someone said, `it's possible to sink all the balls with one shot.' `Yes, in principle,' we respond. `In reality? Never.' That's equivalent to rejecting naturalistic evolution probabilistically. Then the nun says, `OK, but God could have done it.' Sure, he could have. But, scientifically speaking, we face all the same problems. God's knowledge is not `our' knowledge, and our science is always relativized to our limitations. Thus, to say, `God could have done it' does absolutely nothing to solve the problem of getting enough information out of the Big Bang to build organisms, and so on. That's why most theories of theistic evolution, when one looks at them closely, really involve God acting all along the way. One can't tell the other story - where God acts only at the beginning, setting up just physical laws - and get organisms out several billion years later. Standing in the line for dinner and discussing this with David Wilcox, we agreed that Ken's story about the nun's billiard metaphor, far from making theistic evolution more plausible, actually made it much less so. Sitting next to Ken at dinner, I mentioned this problem, saying, `do you realize how much information has to be in the head of the cue stick?' - and he smiled. Then I said, `but of course the story is a great way to get out of the question' - and he nodded. ". (Nelson P.*, "A Report on the ASA Conference Debate on Pandas and People Textbook," Access Research Network. September 1, 1995. http://www.arn.org/docs/asa795rpt.htm) 17/04/2005 "Aside from the dasyuroids [small-to-medium-sized insectivores, carnivores, and omnivores], all other adequately known Australian marsupials share a specialization of the rear foot in which digits 2 and 3 are greatly reduced and incorporated in a single sheath of tissue, a configuration termed syndactyly (Figure 19- 21). These specialized digits are used in grooming. Genera with syndactyly include two very distinct groups, the Perameloidea, or bandicoots, and the Diprotodontoidea, a much more diverse assemblage.. ... The diprotodonts include three superfamilies, the Vombatoidea (including the wombats of the modern fauna and a variety of extinct groups), the Phascolarctoidea (koalas), and the Phalangeroidea, which encompasses the modern phalangerids, kangaroos, and gliding and pygmy possums. The diprotodonts are united by the derived condition of the lower incisors, which are reduced to two procumbent teeth. The group consists of primarily herbivorous forms." (Carroll, R.L., "Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 1988, p.436) 17/04/2005 "When marsupials first appeared in the fossil record of Australia in the late Oligocene, they were already very diverse and the interrelationships of the various lineages have not been satisfactorily established. The dasyuroids appear to form an ancestral stock that is comparable to the didelphoids in the New World. The carnivorous Tasmanian wolf and Tasmanian devil converge closely on the pattern of the South American borhyaenoids. All other Australian marsupials are specialized in having digits 2 and 3 greatly reduced and incorporated in a single sheath of tissue. This condition is termed syndactyly." (Carroll, R.L., "Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution," W.H. Freeman & Co: New York NY, 1988, p.440) 18/04/2005 "In the beginning, the course of the world was guided by the hand of God; but when the appointed number of generations had been born from the earth and had returned again to her, the Creator ceased His directing care; the Universe fell to chaos, and all living creatures perished. A new race succeeded; the evil which is inherent in matter reasserted itself, and the world went from bad to worse, until the Creator at last again interposed, and restored order, to creation. At the same time He introduced a new principle of life; the earth no longer brought forth men and animals, but they reproduced their species, each after their kind. Men were at first poor and helpless; gradually, however, by the aid of the Gods, they learned the arts of life and formed themselves into communities." (Jowett B., transl, "The Essential Plato," [1871], The Softback Preview: London, 1999, p.1190) 18/04/2005 "The theory about the history of Life that is now generally accepted, the Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection, is meant to explain two different aspects of the appearance of the living world: diversity and fitness. There are on the order of two million species now living. and since at least 99.9 percent of the species that have ever lived are now extinct, the most conservative guess would be that two billion species have made their appearance on earth since the beginning of the Cambrian period 600 million years ago." (Lewontin R.C., "Adaptation," Scientific American, September 1978, Vol. 239, No. 3, p.157) 18/04/2005 "There are millions of different species of animals and plants on earth-possibly as many as forty million. But somewhere between five and fifty billion species have existed at one time or another. Thus, only about one in a thousand species is still alive-a truly lousy survival record: 99.9 percent failure!" (Raup D.M., "Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck?," [1991], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, 1993, reprint, p.3-4. Emphasis original) 18/04/2005 "Condensation reactions. Once prebiotic compounds (such as amino acids, sugars, and nucleotide bases) assemble and accumulate to form either global or localized `primordial soups,' the stage is set for the next phase of life development. In this phase, prebiotic compounds react with one another to form more complex molecules that eventually result in important biomolecules, including proteins and nucleic acids (RNA and DNA). These biomolecules consist of chainlike structures that form when smaller subunit molecules link together. Chemists refer to reactions thought to have produced complex biomolecules on early Earth as `condensation reactions.' When condensation reactions take place, the reactants collectively lose two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom in the form of a water molecule. For example, if two glycine molecules (amino acids) condense, the product is diglycine and a water molecule. Because water is a by-product, condensation reactions are thermodynamically prohibited in an aqueous environment, such as a prebiotic soup." (Rana F.R.* & Ross H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical And Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004 p.52) 19/04/2005 "There are two definitions of science at work in the scientific culture, and a concealed contradiction between them is beginning to come out into public view. On the one hand, science is dedicated to empirical evidence and to following that evidence wherever it leads. That is why science had to be free of the Bible, because the Bible was seen to constrain the possibilities scientists were allowed to consider. On the other hand, science also means `applied materialist philosophy.' Scientists who are materialists always look for strictly materialist explanations or every phenomenon, and they want to believe that such explanations always exist. This raises the question: What will the scientists do if the evidence starts to point away from materialism and toward the possibility that a Creator is necessary after all? Will they follow the evidence wherever it leads, or will they ignore the evidence because their philosophy does not allow it to exist?" (Johnson, P.E.*, "Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1997, pp.80-81) 19/04/2005 "Behe's molecular examples illustrate dramatically what is true also in fields like paleontology, genetics, and embryology: the empirical evidence and the materialist project are going in opposite directions. Give that possibility serious consideration and the Darwinists will have to choose: do we follow the evidence wherever it goes, or do we stick to materialism regardless of the evidence? They can't face that crisis, and so they try to bluff their way out of it." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Dogmatic Materialism," The Boston Review, Vol. 221,No. 1, February 1997. http://bostonreview.mit.edu/br22.1/johnson.html) 19/04/2005 "At the heart of the problem of scientific authority is the fact that there are two distinct definitions of science in our culture. On the one hand, science is devoted to unbiased empirical investigation. According to this definition, scientists should follow the empirical evidence wherever it leads--even if it leads to recognition of the presence of intelligent causes in biology. According to the other definition, science is devoted to providing explanations for all phenomena that employ only natural or material causes. According to the second definition, scientists must ignore evidence pointing to the presence of intelligent causes in biology, and must affirm the sufficiency of natural (unintelligent) causes regardless of the evidence." ("What is `The Wedge of Truth'?" Publisher's review of "The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism," by Phillip E. Johnson. http://ivpress.gospelcom.net/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=2395) 20/04/2005 "Physicalism is self-refuting in much the same way that the example about knowledge is self-refuting. Assuming that theism is false and that a coherent notion of truth can be spelled out on physicalist assumptions (I have already argued against this latter assumption), physicalism could be true and the claim that it is true is not self- refuting. The world could have had nothing but matter in it. But if one claims to know that physicalism is true, or to embrace it for good reasons, if one claims that it is a rational position which should be chosen on the basis of evidence, then this claim is self-refuting. This is so because physicalism seems to deny the possibility of rationality. To see this, let us examine the necessary preconditions which must hold if there is to be such a thing as rationality and show how physicalism denies these preconditions. At least five factors must obtain if there are to be genuine rational agents who can accurately reflect on the world. First, minds must have intentionality; they must be capable of having thoughts about or of the world. Acts of inference are 'insights into' or `knowings of' something other than themselves. Second, reasons, propositions, thoughts, laws of logic and evidence, and truth must exist and be capable of being instanced in people's minds and influencing their thought processes. This fact is hard to reconcile with physicalism. ... Third, it is not enough for there to be propositions or reasons which stand in logical and evidential relations with one another. One must be able to `see' or have rational insight into the flow of the argument and be influenced by this act of perception in forming one's beliefs. ... If physicalism is true, it is hard to make sense of this form of seeing. ... Fourth, in order for one to rationally think through a chain of reasoning such that one sees the inferential connections in the chain, one would have to be the same self present at the beginning of the thought process as the one present at the end. ... Physicalism has difficulty maintaining the existence of an enduring `I' and thus it has difficulty accounting for the need for such an `I' in the process of rational reflection. ... Finally, the activity of rational thought seems to require an agent view of the self ... If one is to be rational, one must be free to choose his beliefs based on reasons. One cannot be determined to react to stimuli by nonrational physical factors. If a belief is caused by entirely nonrational factors, it is not a belief that is embraced because it is reasonable. For a belief to be a rational one, I must be able to deliberate about whether or not I accept it, I must be free to choose it, and I must enter into the process as a genuine agent. ... In sum, it is selfrefuting to argue that one ought to choose physicalism because he should see that the evidence is good for physicalism. Physicalism cannot be offered as a rational theory because physicalism does away with the necessary preconditions for there to be such a thing as rationality. Physicalism usually denies intentionality by reducing it to a physical relation of input/output, thereby denying that the mind is genuinely capable of having thoughts about the world. Physicalism denies the existence of propositions and nonphysical laws of logic and evidence which can be in minds and influence thinking. Physicalism denies the existence of a faculty capable of rational insight into these nonphysical laws and propositions, and it denies the existence of an enduring `I' which is present through the process of reflection. Finally, it denies the existence of a genuine agent who deliberates and chooses positions because they are rational, an act possible only if physical factors are not sufficient for determining future behavior." (Moreland J. P.*, "Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity," [1987], Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1994, Ninth printing, pp.92-96. Emphasis original) 20/04/2005 "Strict Materialism Is Self-Defeating. The pure materialist view is clearly self-defeating (see Lewis, chap. 3). For surely the materialist theory is not made up of matter. That is, the theory about matter has no matter in it. The idea that all is made of molecules does not itself consist of molecules. For the thought about all matter must itself stand over and above matter. If the thought about matter is part of matter then it cannot be a thought about all matter, since being a part of matter it cannot transcend itself to make a pronouncement about all matter. Mind (or its thought) only can transcend matter if it is more than matter. If it is more than matter, then matter is not all that exists. Whatever is material is limited to a region of space and time. If it moves, it moves in space and time. But the mind is not so limited. It roams the universe without leaving the room. Even the materialist speaks of personal thoughts. But if strict materialism were correct there could be no discrete thoughts. They would be a mere stream of electrons or some other material particle. Only a self-conscious being can truly make thoughts. Materialists want people to agree with their doctrine and accept their views. However, this is not possible if the views are correct. If consciousness is merely the result of a flow of electrons, persons are material processes, not free human beings." (Geisler N.L.*, "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics," Baker Books: Grand Rapids MI, 1999, p.445. Emphasis original) 20/04/2005 "Modified Materialism Is Self-Defeating. Some materialists admit that mind is more than matter but deny that mind can exist independent of matter. They insist that mind is more than matter the way the whole is more than the sum of its parts. And yet the whole ceases to exist when the parts do. For instance, a whole automobile engine has something more than all its individual parts spread over the floor of the garage. Nonetheless, when the parts are destroyed, the "whole" engine is destroyed too. Likewise, a mind is more than matter but it is dependent on matter and ceases to exist when man's material parts dissolve. Although this materialistic argument is less apparently self-defeating than the first one, it is nonetheless equally wrong. It affirms that mind is ultimately dependent on matter. But the statement "mind is dependent on matter" does not claim to depend for its truth upon matter. In fact, it claims to be a truth about all mind and matter. But no truth about all matter can be dependent for its truth upon matter. One cannot stand outside all matter to make an affirmation about all matter and yet simultaneously claim he is really standing inside matter, being dependent upon it. If my mind is completely dependent on matter, then it can't make statements from a vantage point beyond matter. And if its statements are not from a standpoint independent of matter, then they are not really statements about all matter. For one must step beyond something to see it all. The whole cannot be seen from within. It claims to have transcendent knowledge with only an immanent basis of operation." (Geisler N.L.*, "Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics," Baker Books: Grand Rapids MI, 1999, p.446. Emphasis in original) 20/04/2005 "Thought (or desires more properly) being hereditary it is difficult to imagine it anything but structure of brain hereditary, analogy points out to this.-love of the deity effect of organization, oh you materialist!-Read Barclay on organization!! Avitism in mental structure a disposition & avitism in corporeal structure are facts full of meaning.-Why is thought being a secretion of brain, more wonderful than gravity a property of matter? It is our arrogance, it our admiration of ourselves." (Darwin C.R., "C Notebook," in Gruber H.E., "Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity," together with Barrett P.H., "Darwin's Early and Unpublished Notebooks," E.P. Dutton & Co: New York NY, 1974, pp.450-451) 20/04/2005 "The materialist man of the moment was the flamboyant professor of medicine at University College, John Elliotson. A self-proclaimed `cockney,' Elliotson displayed astonishing bravura. He championed the London University over the `barbarous' Oxford and Cambridge, and colleagues considered him the `strongest materialist' of his day. His stock provocation was that the brain exudes thought as the liver does bile. It was Darwin's bon mot exactly: `thought, however unintelligible it may be, seems as much function of organ, as bile of liver.' But Darwin's goading had a sting that even Elliotson's lacked. Everyone accepted that gravity was an intrinsic `property of matter;' no one made it a spiritual adjunct. So `Why is thought' not seen as `a secretion of [the] brain' in the same way? `It is [because of] our arrogance, it is our admiration of ourselves.' [Barrett P.H., et al., "Charles Darwin's Notebooks, 1836- 1844," Cambridge University Press, 1987, C:166]" (Desmond A.J. & Moore J.R., "Darwin," [1991], Penguin: London, 1992, reprint, pp.250-251) 20/04/2005 "In the notebooks Darwin resolutely applied his materialistic theory of evolution to all phenomena of life, including what he termed "the citadel itself" - the human mind. And if mind has no real existence beyond the brain, can God be anything more than an illusion invented by an illusion? In one of his transmutation notebooks, he wrote: Love of the deity effect of organization, oh you materialist! ... Why is thought being a secretion of brain, more wonderful than gravity a property of matter? It is our arrogance, our admiration of ourselves. (Gould S.J., "Darwin's Delay,", in "Ever Since Darwin", [1978], Penguin: London, 1991, reprint, p.25) 20/04/2005 "Instincts are biologically inherited patterns of behaviour carried out automatically without conscious purpose. Morality is something quite different. So far as ethnological research has been able to push its enquiries back into the simplest forms of human society, men are always found to be governed by complex codes of behaviour. But these rules are not instinctive. They are not biologically inherited. They are institutions whose origins are referred to remote ancestors; they are inculcated by education; they involve the use of language. In short, they belong to the realm, not of instinct, but of mind. They are human facts, not animal facts. Nowhere in Darwin's writings can we find proof that he grasped this distinction. Hence his constant endeavour to bring the life of the mind under the laws of biological evolution. There are some crude speculations in his Notebooks which have a bearing on this failure. he asks himself, `is thought being a secretion of the brain more wonderful than gravity a property of matter?' He recognizes the crude materialism of this notion but rather likes it. He expostulates playfully with himself: `Oh, you materialists' Then, after more of the same kind, he concludes: `Now that I have a taste of hardness of thought....' He is taking stock of his progress and thinks he is getting on. But what, really, are we to make of his definition of thought as a secretion? On the face of it, it is a failure to distinguish the physiological from the psychological. ... Language is an essential difference between animals and men. What then is the sense of defining language in terms of the physiology common to men and animals? Darwin might have asked himself why the brain, being an organ common to all mankind, secreted Hebrew in Jerusalem, Greek in Athens, and Latin in Rome. He might have but he didn't. The truth is that Darwin never came in sight of the distinction between a biological fact and a mental fact." (Farrington B., "What Darwin Really Said," Macdonald: London, 1966, pp.75-76) 20/04/2005 "What Darwin didn't realize is that the technology of science would eventually make the case for determinism vivid. He saw that "thought, however unintelligible it may be, seems as much function of organ, as bile of liver," but he probably didn't dream that we would start pinpointing specific connections between the organ and the thoughts. [Darwin C.R., in Barrett P.H., et al., eds., "Charles Darwin's Notebooks, 1836- 1844," Cornell University Press: Ithaca NY, 1987, p.614]. Today these connections regularly make headlines. Scientists link crime to low serotonin. Molecular biologists try-with slight but growing success-to isolate genes that incline the brain toward mental illness. A natural chemical called oxytocin is found to underlie love. And an unnatural chemical, the drug Ecstasy, induces a deeply benign state of mind; now anyone can be Gandhi for a day. People are getting the sense-from news in genetics, molecular biology, pharmacology, neurology, endocrinology-that we are all machines, pushed and pulled by forces that we can't discern but that science can. This picture, though utterly biological, has no special connection with evolutionary biology. Genes, neurotransmitters, and the various other elements of mind control are being studied, for the most part, without special inspiration from Darwinism. But Darwinism will increasingly frame this picture and give it narrative force. We will see not only that, for example, low serotonin encourages crime, but why: it seems to reflect a person's perception of foreclosed routes to material success; natural selection may "want" that person to take alternate routes. Serotonin and Darwinism together could thus bring sharp testament to otherwise vague complaints about how criminals are "victims of society." A young inner-city thug is pursuing status by the path of least resistance, no less than you; and he is compelled by forces just as strong and subtle as the ones that have made you what you are. you may not reflect on this when he kicks your dog or snatches your purse, but afterwards, on reflection, you may. And you may then see that you would have been him had you been born in his circumstances." (Wright R., "The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life," [1994], Vintage Books: New York NY, 1995, reprint, p.351) 20/04/2005 "The Astonishing Hypothesis is that `You,' your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll's Alice might have phrased it: `You're nothing but a pack of neurons.' This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people alive today that it can truly be called astonishing. " (Crick F.H.C., "The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul," [1994], Touchstone: New York NY, 1995, p.3) 20/04/2005 "Materialist Theories of the Mind It is in the nature of explanation that one thing is explained in terms of something else that is assumed valid, and to explain the latter as nothing more than a product of the former is to create a logical circle. Yet naturalistic metaphysics is so seductive that eminent scientists and philosophers frequently do employ their own minds to attempt to prove that the mind is `nothing but' a product of physical forces and chemical reactions. One of these is Francis Crick, the biochemist who as codiscoverer of the structure of DNA is almost as famous as Hawking himself. In his later years Crick has been drawn to the problem of consciousness and he expressed his thoughts in the 1994 book The Astonishing Hypothesis. Here is how Crick states his own starting point: `The Astonishing Hypothesis is that `You,' your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules...The hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people alive today that it can truly be called astonishing.' [Crick F., "The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul," Scribner's, 1994, p.3]. Of course the hypothesis is not astonishing at all to anyone acquainted with the recent history of science, because neuroscientists in particular have long taken for granted that the mind is no more than a product of brain chemistry. As Crick says, what makes the hypothesis astonishing is that it conflicts with the commonsense picture of reality most people assume as they go about the business of making decisions, falling in love or even writing books advocating materialist reductionism. The conflict with common sense would become apparent if Crick had presented his hypothesis in the first-person singular. Imagine the reaction of his publisher if Crick had proposed to begin his book by announcing that `I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.' Few browsers would be likely to read further. The plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist." (Johnson, P.E.*, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 1995, pp.63-64) 20/04/2005 "[...] (slm) I. Assumed root of the following. 1923a [...] (selem) image Used sixteen times. The Aramaic is used similarly in Dan 2 and 3. The word basically refers to a representation, a likeness. Five times it is used of man as created in the image of God. Twice it is used of the golden copies of the mice and swellings that afflicted the Philistines (1 Sam 6:5, 11 and see 'opel). Mostly it refers to an idol. There are a number of words used for idol (see under gillul and 'asab). Some, like gillul, refer to their shape; others, like hebel, (KJV vanity) may be just a derogatory substitute (Deut 32:21; Jer 8:19 NIV). selem refers to the image as a representation of the deity. As such, images were strictly forbidden. Notice, not all sculpture was forbidden (cf. the golden cherubim), only the idols. Man was made in God's image (selem) and likeness (demut) which is then explained as his having dominion over God's creation as vice-regent. Ps 8:5-8 [H 6-91 is similar citing man's God-given glory, honor and rule. God's image obviously does not consist in man's body which was formed from earthly matter, but in his spiritual, intellectual, moral likeness to God from whom his animating breath came. The emphasis of the prohibition of idols is that they are all material created things. God is non- material, the creator (Deut 4:15-19). This spiritual aspect of man has been damaged by the fall and is daily tarnished by sin. But it was seen in perfection in Christ and will be made perfect in us when salvation is complete (Heb 2:6-15). (Hartley J.E., "slm (selem) image," in Harris R.L., Archer G.L. & Waltke B.K., eds, "Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament," [1980], Moody Press: Chicago IL, 1992, Twelfth Printing, Vol. II, pp.767-768) 20/04/2005 "It is possible to make a more fundamental distinction between living and nonliving things by examining their molecular structure and molecular behavior. In brief, living organisms are distinguished by their specified complexity.+ Crystals are usually taken as the prototypes of simple, well- specified structures, because they consist of a very large number of identical molecules packed together in a uniform way. Lumps of granite or random mixtures of polymers are examples of structures which are complex but not specified. The crystals fail to qualify as living because they lack complexity; the mixtures of polymers fail to qualify because they lack specificity. + it is impossible to find a simple catch phrase to capture this complex idea. `Specified and, therefore, repetitive complexity' gets a little closer ..." (Orgel L.E., "The Origins of Life: Molecules and Natural Selection," Chapman & Hall: London, 1973, p.189. Emphasis original) 20/04/2005 "A vast literature has grown up around the word yom (Hebrew for day). The flood geologists and the gap theorists vigorously defend the literal-day view and strongly attack the metaphorical interpretation. ... In view of the fact that such a great array of geologists and theologians accept the metaphorical interpretation of the word day, the case for the literal day cannot be conclusive nor the objections to the metaphorical interpretation too serious. In the first two chapters of Genesis the word day is used as follows: (i) in verse 5 it means daylight and (ii) a day marked out by an evening and morning; (iii) in verse 14 it means daylight in contrast to night, and (iv) in the expression `and for days' it means a twenty-four hour day; (v) in Gen. 2:4 it refers to the entire period of creation." (Ramm B.L.*, "The Christian View of Science and Scripture," [1955] Paternoster: Exeter, Devon UK, 1967, reprint, p.145. Emphasis original) 20/04/2005 "Because RNA is unstable and difficult to synthesize, the first genetic material may have used a simpler backbone than ribose. One candidate is peptide nucleic acid (PNA), in which the backbone is polymeric N- (2aminoethyl)glycine (AEG) and the N-acetic acids of the bases (N9 for purines, N1 for pyrimidines) are linked via amide bonds (Figure 1). This is an attractive scenario because AEG forms in spark-tube experiments that also produce amino acids ( [16]), and may spontaneously polymerize at 100. The N-acetic acids of the bases are also accessible in prebiotic syntheses, which suggests that PNA could have been an early genetic material (although the evidence is far from conclusive)." (Knight R.D. & Landweber L.F., "The Early Evolution of the Genetic Code," Cell, Vol. 101, No. 6, 9 June 2000, pp.569-572. 20/04/2005 "The Peptide-Nucleic Acid Proposal Several years ago, Stanley Miller (of spark-experiment fame) formally acknowledged the intractability of the problem of homochirality's origin. Consequently, he proposed that the first self-replicating molecules were the achiral peptide nucleic acids (PNA) 43 He was attracted to PNA molecules because they contain no sugars or phosphates and because they can form base pairs and helical structures just as DNA can. The nucleobases of PNA are joined together through a molecule of acetic acid and a non-naturally occurring achiral amino acid, 2-aminoethyl glycine (AEG). For a PNA origin-of-life option to be viable, an abundant prelife source of nucleobases, acetic acid, and AEG must be found. So far, a source has been identified only for the simplest of these molecules (acetic acid). AEG has not been detected in outer space sites or in the nonorganic terrestrial realm. Stanley Miller's team has made AEG in the laboratory, but the conditions have questionable relevance for early Earth A source of PNA either on Earth or in outer space at the time of life's origin, or a naturalistic pathway for adequate PNA production, also needs to be demonstrated. Perhaps most troubling, PNA molecules, once assembled, are stable-too stable. Highly reluctant to let go of the daughter molecules they may have duplicated, the reproduction of PNA would have been extremely slow, if it occurred at all. Scientists also have yet to demonstrate that PNAs can perform the variety of enzymatic activities that would drive evolution from a PNA world to an RNA world." (Rana F.R.* & Ross H.N.*, "Origins of Life: Biblical And Evolutionary Models Face Off," Navpress: Colorado Springs CO, 2004 p.133) 20/04/2005 "A spontaneous origin for RNA can be judged very implausible, but never impossible. . If life started that way, we would expect life to be quite rare in the universe. ... I helped to launch this trend by pointing out the enormous difficulty in obtaining the sugar, ribose, in the prebiotic world. The case for ribose is even worse than the one for cytosine. Stanley Miller has contributed by measuring the stability of ribose. Even if it could be prepared successfully, half of it would decompose in 300 days at room temperature, as compared to 300 years for cytosine. For these reasons, many scientists have headed for the following escape hatch: Abandon ribose, but keep the idea of a replicator, so that natural selection can operate. Life then began with a simpler replicator, which functioned for a time in a pre-RNA world. At a certain point in evolution, it was replaced by RNA. The search for a suitable substitute replicator has become an exciting game, with several entrants in place. Swiss chemist Albert Eschenmoser ... found one surprising candidate. He had wanted to understand why ribose was the sugar of choice for the backbone of RNA, and also why ribose existed in a particular form, a five-membered ring, in RNA. Under other circumstances, ribose generally prefers to form an alternative sixmembered ring. Using enormous energy and ingenuity, Eschenmoser and his co-workers constructed a number of RNA alternatives, including one that contained ribose in a six-membered ring. Surprisingly, the chemical properties of the six-ring version suggested that it would be a better replicator than the natural RNA. But it is hard to see why, once it got installed, it would ever yield to RNA. I would rather think that RNA assumed its present role accidentally, after functioning for some other purpose in an already existing cell. Professor Eschenmoser has been very reluctant to place any such strong interpretation on his results, though he has given his creation a name, p-RNA; I prefer the name `Swiss RNA' because of its greater efficiency. Other alternatives exist. Stanley Miller prefers PNA, a combination of an amino acid backbone with the information units used by RNA. For this reason he has tried to sabotage ribose while rescuing cytosine. Others have suggested that even proteins themselves have an unrecognized ability to serve as the replicator. But I will argue that all replicators of this general type were very unlikely in the origin of life." (Shapiro R., "Planetary Dreams: The Quest to Discover Life beyond Earth," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, 1999, pp.117-118) 21/04/2005 "In modern everyday speech, `materialism' means a special fondness for wealth, cars, houses, possessions- material `stuff' you can see and touch. In 19th-century science and philosophy, Materialism was the belief that matter is the only `stuff' there is. Evolutionary theory-like classic chemistry and physics-is based on that materialist assumption. Science itself is often defined as `the study of the properties of matter." (Milner R., "Materialism," in "The Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity's Search for Its Origins," Facts On File: York NY, 1990, p.293) 21/04/2005 "The underlying postulate of Materialism (and science) is the unprovable idea that everything-the Earth, the stars, animals, even our minds, dreams and personalities-is a product of physical matter, which is everywhere the same. Although the idea goes back to the ancient Greeks, its acceptance in science really began in the 18th century with Newtonian physics." (Milner R., "Materialism," in "The Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity's Search for Its Origins," Facts On File: York NY, 1990, p.293) 21/04/2005 "Only a century ago, Materialism was still a very hot topic, provoking passionate debate. Because its view of nature excludes demons, gods, ghosts and fairies (they are immaterial), Materialism was considered by many to be an enemy of religion, morality and ethical values. Scientists sought personality in brain rather th