Evillution, Intelligent Design

Richard Dawkins Greatest Hoax in Science

This will be the first article detailing many of the “popular” so-called Atheists currently writing and confusing individuals today.  I promise not to be fair- it is only right to point out stupidity when one steps into and cannot get it off your shoes easily.

Clinton Richard Dawkins is probably the most famous evolutionist, anti-creationist and atheist today, and a staunch admirer of Charles Robert Darwin (1809–1882) the beginner of the muddling mess of science today.  His father  was an agricultural civil servant in the British Colonial Service in Nyasaland (now Malawi). His father was called up into the King’s African Rifles during World War II and returned to England in 1949, when Dawkins was eight.  This background may have had an influence on his further development.  Living in a dusty, sparse area with less than perfect sanitation and then being transported into the luxury of a 100 acre farm in England.

He gained his degree in Zoology at the Balliol College, Oxford, in 1962.   he was tutored by Nikolaas Tinbergen (1907–1988), who shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries about instinct, learning and choice in animals.  Dawkins continued to study under Tinbergen, at the University of Oxford, receiving his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in 1966.

Dawkins then took a position of assistant professor of zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, which in late 60’s was a hotbed of radicalism, I know, I spent some time rioting there.  He returned to Oxford as a lecturer in 1970 and he researched animal decision-making.  Since the 1970s, he has concentrated on improving his writing skills for popular audiences, for which he is far more famous than for his scientific research on animal behavior.

Dawkins’ first book, The Selfish Gene (1976), advocated a gene-centered view of evolution.  In other words, life first began from a ‘replicator’ that could make approximate copies of itself, which would therefore predominate in some kind of primordial soup that no one has been able to duplicate.  Those copies that could make internal biological machines to help them copy better and then would reproduce more.  Dawkins claims that these replicators are our genes, and our bodies are just ‘gigantic lumbering robots’ which are their ‘survival machines’.  This book also independently introduced the idea of the ‘meme’, a set of ideas that is replicated in other minds. (This has had an explosion with the advent of Facebook).

Dawkins regards his second book, The Extended Phenotype (1982), as his most important contribution to evolutionary biology.  This was kind of sequel and defense of The Selfish Gene; whereas in his first book, Dawkins argues that the organism is the gene’s survival machine, in his second he extends the genes’ influence to the environment modified by the organism’s behavior.  If this behavior helps the organism’s survival, then the genes ‘for’ that behavior will reproduce best.  His examples include beaver dams and termite mounds, as well as animal behavior that benefits a parasite afflicting it, hence the genes of that parasite. He also forgot one of his beloved Darwinian concepts, that the environment could have an effect on the organism to change the gene.  How he could forget that is anybody’s guess.  Mine is the advance on the book.

In 1986, Dawkins wrote The Blind Watchmaker, an attack on the argument that design in the living world demonstrates an intelligent Designer.  Instead, apparent design is the result of evolution by natural selection.  He regards that as a vital argument for his own Atheistic faith:

“An Atheist  before Darwin could have said, following Hume: ‘I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.’ I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (BW, p.6)

Dawkins participated in the Huxley Memorial Debate at the Oxford Union one of very few.  He was opposing the proposition, “That the doctrine of creation is more valid than the theory of evolution.”  With him was the leading English evolutionist John Maynard Smith (1920–2004), and they were opposed by two biblical creationist scientists: triple doctorate organic chemist and pharmacologist A. E. Wilder-Smith (1915–1995) and Edgar Andrews (1932– ), then Professor of Materials at the University of London.

The audience of Oxford students voted and it  was a modest win for the evolution side, 198–115. Yet Dawkins was not happy—in his closing comments, he had “implored” the audience (his word) not to give a single vote to the creationist side, since every such vote “would be a blot on the escutcheon of the ancient University of Oxford[i].”  Ironically, it would be a return to Oxford’s roots, since it was founded by creationists.  After that, he is on record refusing to debate any biblical creationist. Somewhat like a baby throwing a hissy fit.

In 1995, he was appointed the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford. This was an endowment by leading Microsoft software designer and billionaire Charles Simonyi (b. Simonyi Károly, 1948) explicitly done just for Dawkins. The endowment stated, “The aim of the Professorship is “to communicate science to the public without, in doing so, losing those elements of scholarship which constitute the essence of true understanding.”  It was established with the express intention that the holder “be expected to make important contributions to the public understanding of some scientific field.”  Whether Dawkins lived up to that lofty goal is debatable.

One report said: “Evolution’s first great advocate, 1860s biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, earned the nickname ‘Darwin’s bulldog’ from his fellow Victorians. I n our own less decorous day, Dawkins deserves an even stronger epithet: ‘Darwin’s Rottweiler, perhaps,’ Simonyi suggests[ii].”  Dawkins retired from this post in September 2008.  You will be unable to find any example from this period were Dawkins aided the public understanding of any real science such as physics or chemistry, or even of the history or philosophy of science. However, during this professorship, Dawkins wrote seven books on evolution/atheism.  It is not surprising that British author Paul Johnson called it “Oxford’s first Chair of Atheism.[iii]

One of them, Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), Dawkins’ admits is one of his own favorites and is aimed to defend slow and gradual evolution. The title is a parable: many structures in living organisms are so complex that there is a vanishingly small probability of producing them in a single step—this corresponds to leaping the high Mt Improbable in a single step.  However, Dawkins says, this mountain has a gently upward-sloping terrain on the other side, where a climber can ascend gradually, constantly progressing to the top.  This corresponds to the neo-Darwinian mechanism of evolution—mutations + natural selection.  Mutations produce gradual improvements, and natural selection means that organisms which have them are slightly more likely to leave offspring provided they are in the right spot at the right time and are compatible to intertwine their chromosomes through what every process is available.  So a later generation of organisms is slightly more complex, or higher up the slope of Mt Improbable.

In his largest book, The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution (2004, 688 pages hardcover), Dawkins aimed to illustrate the history of life on Earth.  This was a series of 40 tales, from the point of view of man’s alleged evolutionary precursors[iv], and the name is a play on the Middle English classic The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343–1400). This has made him probably the best known exponent of evolution in the world.

Richard Dawkins not only regards Darwinism as compatible with atheism, but that atheism is a logical outcome of evolutionary belief- which I tend to agree with.  He has long promoted atheism both individually and as part of Atheistic organizations.  Dawkins is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, a vice-president of the British Humanist Association (since 1996), a Distinguished Supporter of the Humanist Society of Scotland, a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism, and a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. In 2003, he signed Humanism and Its Aspirations, published by the American Humanist Association.

In his 1991 essay “Viruses of the Mind”, Dawkins singled out theistic religion as one of the most pernicious of these viruses, that is, he regards theism as a kind of disease or pathology, and parents who teach it to their children are, in Dawkins’ view, supposedly practicing mental child abuse  But the sorts of criteria Dawkins applies have led critics to wonder whether Dawkins’ own strident atheism itself could be a mental pathology—or ‘atheopathy’- A neologism, coined by Jonathan Sarfati, which combines the word “atheist” and the suffix “-path” (“one afflicted by a specified disorder”) to create a word meaning something like “one afflicted by atheism.

Dawkins criticized those who resorted to prayers after 9/11.  Somehow he overlooked the record-breaking tens of millions killed by Atheistic regimes last century.  This was thoroughly documented by Rudolph Rummel (1932– ), Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, who coined the term democide for murder by government (I have written about it at: https://iamnotanatheist.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/religious-wars-vs-democide/ )

This antitheism continued in the presentation of a Channel 4 program in the UK, called The Root of All Evil?  (2006). The title was Channel 4’s choice, not Dawkins’, but he argued that humanity would be better off without belief in God.  In this program, Dawkins interviewed a number of Christian leaders, and visited several holy sites and communities of major religions.  However, some critics attacked the program for not having informed Christian responses.  For example, Dawkins’ fellow Oxford PhD, Alister McGrath (1953– ), Professor of Historical Theology (with a PhD in molecular biophysics), claimed that after his responses Dawkins seemed uncomfortable, so he was not surprised that his own contribution to the show remained on the cutting room floor[v].

Dawkins’ defense of atheism produced his best-seller to date, The God Delusion (2006), with 1.5 million copies sold.  Many high-profile Atheists praised it, and naturally Christians criticized it.  For example, Philip Bell, M.Sc. and former cancer researcher, published a detailed review[vi], and there are other books responding to it[vii]. However, leading logician and Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga (1932– ), currently “John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame”, was not impressed with Dawkins’ excursions outside biology into philosophy, claiming that they could be called sophomoric were it not a grave insult to most sophomores[viii].  Now, I am not sure about you, but since it is my money, before I buy a book I read as many reviews, both positive and negative that I can before buying it. Stupidly, I bought this one and was not disappointed.

Prof. McGrath himself responded to the book (co-authored with his wife)[ix]. This also revealed that Dawkins’ support among Atheists was not universal—famous evolutionary philosopher Michael Ruse writes in the blurb, “The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an Atheist, and the McGraths show why.”  Ruse also said that the “new Atheists” led by Dawkins are “a b****y disaster”[x], and said the following about the book:

“Question: What do you think of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins? Your approach is a lot milder? (The book lays open on his bed in the hotel room in Amsterdam where Ruse is interviewed.)

“Answer: I am just as critical of this book as of the work of Intelligent Design authors like Michael Behe, despite the fact that I, as an agnostic, am closer to Dawkins, and am 99% in agreement with his conclusions. But this book is stupid, politically disastrous and bad academics.  If someone spoke about biology and evolution as he does on theology, Dawkins would react without mercy.

“A good academic will inform himself in depth in a subject he is writing about. Dawkins did not. He is neither a philosopher nor a theologian. I am not a biologist myself, but at least I study the subject in depth before I write about it. And that arrogance and that pedantic attitude of his. …

“Dawkins’ book confirms my analysis of evolution as pseudo-religion.  His secular humanism has quasi-religious characteristics.[xi]

Another Atheist , Terry Eagleton, Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway, began his review of The God Delusion with these words:

“Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology[xii].”

Eagleton continues:

“… does he imagine like a bumptious young barrister that you can defeat the opposition while being complacently ignorant of its toughest case? Dawkins, it appears, has sometimes been told by theologians that he sets up straw men only to bowl them over, a charge he rebuts in this book; but if The God Delusion is anything to go by, they are absolutely right.12

Dawkins publicly debated his book with John Carson Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford.  Lennox is also a Christian apologist and Intelligent Design supporter, and teacher of Science and Religion at Oxford, and the author of several books on the relations of science with religion and ethics.  This debate did not cover evolution, but the wider Christianity vs atheism topics covered in The God Delusio[xiii]n. Dawkins seemed quite red-faced and uncomfortable during the debate.

However, Dawkins refuses to debate best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza, author of What’s So Great about Christianity[xiv] among others, even though D’Souza is a theistic evolutionist not a creationist[xv]. Yet many of Dawkins’ fellow ‘new Atheists’ such as Christopher Hitchens and Daniel Dennett have been willing. In an open letter, D’Souza contrasted Dawkins’ eagerness to entrap non-scientist Christians on his TV shows with a refusal to debate a strong opponent on level terms:

“To be honest, I find your behavior extremely bizarre.  You go halfway around the world to chase down televangelists to outsmart them in an interview format that you control, but given several opportunities to engage the issues you profess to care about in a true spirit of open debate and inquiry, you duck and dodge and run away. …

“If you are so confident that your position is right, and that belief in God is an obvious delusion, surely you should be willing to vindicate that position not only against Bible-toting pastors but also against a fellow scholar and informed critic like me!

“If not, you are nothing but a showman who takes on unprepared and unsuspecting opponents when you yourself control the editing, but when a strong opponent shows up you manufacture reasons to avoid him.[xvi]

Now for a little rehash of what has been covered so far.  We will go into his next book on another post.  It is the information age- little information at a time. Dawkins started off as a “real scientist” and then moved on the showbiz aspect of popularity.  If even his own “kind” (Atheists) have harsh words for him you can image what others believe.

——————————

[i] Cooper, G. and Humber, P., Fraudulent report at AAAS and the 1986 Oxford University debate, http://www.samizdat.qc.ca/cosmos/origines/debate_gc.htm.

[ii] Downey, R., in Eastsideweek, 11 December 1996.

[iii] Johnson, P., If there is no God, what is the Oxford atheist scared of? Spectator, p. 19, 16 March 1996.

[iv] See review by Weinberger, Lael, Long tails, tall tales, J. Creation 22(1):37–40, 2008; creation.com/ancestors-tale.

[v] McGrath, A., “Do stop behaving as if you are God, Professor Dawkins”, Mail Online, 9 February 2007.

[vi] See Bell, P., Atheist with a Mission: Critique of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, J. Creation 21(2):28–34, 2007; creation.com/delusion.

[vii] Slane, R., The God Reality: A critique of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, Day One, UK.

[viii] Plantinga, A., The Dawkins Confusion: Naturalism ad absurdum, Christianity Today (Books and Culture), March/April 2007; http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc.

[ix] McGrath, Alister and McGrath, Joanna Collicutt, The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine, SPCK, UK, 2007.

[x] Kumar, J., http://talk.thinkingmatters.org.nz/, 19 August 2009

[xi] Ruse, Michael, interview with De Volkskrant (Netherlands), p. 7, 7 April 2007, (translated by Frans Gunnink).

[xii] Eagleton,T., Lunging, flailing, mispunching, London Review of Books 28(20), 19 October, 2006, last accessed 25 January, 2007; http://www.lrb.co.uk.

[xiii] See The God Delusion Debate (DVD), available from CMI.

[xiv] Regnery, Washington DC, 2007.

[xv] See review by Cosner, L., Mostly masterful defence of Christianity; pity it’s slack on creation, J. Creation 22(2):32–35, 2008; creation.com/souza.

[xvi] D’Souza, cited in: The rout of the New Atheists, http://voxday.blogspot.com, 21 July 2008..

Advertisements
Intelligent Design

Is anything possible?

It is obvious from my discussions with those on Facebook and in other environments, that there is an incredible lack of understanding about the difference between what is possible and what is probable.  Along with it goes the concept of impossible and highly improbable.  As much as I would like to place the blame on the school system (which has a lot to do with) one has to look elsewhere for the complete story.

Our society has gotten on the supercilious concept that anything is possible.  We encourage the concept that nothing is impossible.  We can achieve anything we set our mind to (not withstand environmentally, political, monetary, geographical or educational pitfalls), Girls can grow up to become astronauts like Sally Ride and possibly die alongside men in an ignoble death.  Women can break the ‘glass ceiling’ and become President- if they do not burnout on lies first. Men can join a boy-band with virtually no skills and become rich and famous- and then act like a fool behind his bodyguards.  In other words, we sincerely believe that for anybody ANYTHING is possible.

However, there is such a thing as reality (reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.)

If Stephen Hawking were to believe that it possible for him to drive a stock car at Daytona on race day we would have a problem.  However, even with an incredible amount of reengineering of the controls and safety equipment, it is HIGHLY IMPROBABLE that Mr. Hawking will be able to no matter how much he feels it should be possible.

Bruce Jenner (AKA Caitlyn Jenner) believes it is possible to be a women.  Sorry sir, not going to happen.  Every cell in his/hers/its body contains an XY chromosome.  In addition, that means you are a male, no matter how much hormone treatment and surgery you have had performed on you.

It might help if we define some of the terms we will be using:

Reality: the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them:

Probable and possible are two commonly used words in the English language. Even though these words do not share the same roots, they convey an idea very slightly different from each other.  Therefore, as always with such things, there is confusion regarding the meaning and the usage of the words.

Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines ‘probable’ as “likely to happen, to exist or to be true”, while ‘possible’ is defined as “that might exist or happen but is not certain to”

Probable implies that there is a very high chance or likelihood that a certain event might occur.  On the other hand, possible means that the subject [whatever the word possible is describing about] might happen or might not happen, but there is no certainty of the outcome.

The most common use of possibility and probability is in flipping coins and rolling die.  It is simple when you do it once.  If you do it many times you can get into all sorts of trouble when you try to “play the odds.”

We have taken a circuitous route to get to the point of this post.  A recent Facebook post I had mention that extreme improbability of chemicals in the ‘pre-biotic soup’ to chemical combine with the other chemicals and then to form together to create a building block of what would become life. Because of this discussion one of the poster provided this answer:

“Realistically, this is the problem of an infinite number of monkeys typing away randomly at an infinite number of keyboards and given an infinite amount of time, one of them will produce Shakespeare. The problem with all that is when the first monkey writes the first sonnet, then you no longer have an infinite number, it has then become finite. And the predicted result has occurred. Just because you calculate the odds against a random set of complex proteins forming as being too great to ever happen only means that when it did, the experiment was over. Life formed. The monkey wrote ‘To be or not to be. — ‘The measure of time is impossible for humans on this scale.”

One overriding mistake by this learned individual: Modern cosmogony (the branch of science that deals with the origin of the universe, especially the solar system)  accepts finitism, in the form of the Big Bang, rather than Steady State theory which allows for an infinite universe, but on physical rather than philosophical grounds.

I figure a lot of it may be that we do not normally imagine things so huge, that often it is beyond our ability to even fantasize even if we think we have and can.  I even did a visual image of the amount of debt that Obama added to our total debt.   Those graphics are at: https://larrythecontrarian.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/our-national-debt-graphically/

However, let us go further and respond to the obvious misunderstandings inherent in the response and produce some actual visually understandable images.  I mean when one says a billion, billion, billion, billion to 1 possibility what does that really mean.

Within any given alphabet of x possible characters (where each character has an equal chance of occurring), the probability of any one of the characters occurring is 1 chance in x. For instance, if a monkey could bang randomly on a simplified typewriter possessing only keys for the 26 English letters, and assuming he was a perfectly random little monkey, there would be 1 chance in 26 that he would hit any particular letter at any particular moment.

The ‘famous’ atheist Richard Dawkins wrote “I don’t know who first pointed out that, given enough time, a monkey bashing away at random on a typewriter could produce all the works of Shakespeare[1].”  The idea originated with French mathematician Émile Borel, who pointed out in 1913 how unlikely it would be that a million monkeys typing ten hours a day would produce exactly all the books in the world’s libraries. Borel used this to illustrate the extreme unlikelihood of certain events, but Darwinists such as Dawkins now use the image of typing monkeys to illustrate the opposite: the likelihood that random processes can produce information.  According to the “infinite monkey theorem,” an infinite number of typing monkeys (or a finite number of monkeys typing for an infinite time) will eventually produce the works of William Shakespeare[2].

In theory, an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite amount of time would write the works of Shakespeare—mixed in with an infinite amount of utter nonsense.  But the real world isn’t infinite. On July 1, 2003, a Monkey Shakespeare Simulator was posted on the Internet.  The simulator does not use real monkeys, of course; it is a computerized random letter generator in which each “monkey” type’s one letter per second and the number of monkeys is continually increasing.  The simulator compares its output with the works of Shakespeare and reports matches—though it waits for such matches to appear on their own instead of selecting for a target sequence, as Dawkins’s did in a simplified program he wrote. After a year and a half, the longest match produced by the Monkey Shakespeare Simulator was twenty-four letters from a line in The Second Part of King Henry IV, which took the equivalent of 2,738 trillion trillion trillion monkey-years to produce. (A year later, the record had been extended to over thirty letters, which took trillions and trillions more monkey-years to produce[3].)

The poster believes that along about say 1,502 trillion, trillion 768 billion, 532 million, 456 thousand two hundred and one time a monkey actually typed something worthy of Shakespeare and the rest since then has been useless typing.

If you want to believe that, then please get in touch with me, I have some sea front property in Yuma, AZ I would like to sell.

I believe I have shown that not only is it IMPOSSIBLE for the monkeys to type anything remotely similar to a Shakespeare sonnet, it is also completely IMPROBABLE.  However, one can always hope that anything is possible..

Or let us take another approach: This has a somewhat comical appeal to me, is that of a blind monkey typing. Suppose that, instead of 26 letters plus spaces and punctuation in our English alphabet, there are only 20 possible choices for the monkey for each keystroke. We’ll use 20 because that’s the number of different kinds of amino acids our cells link together to make proteins (for now, we’ll ignore substitutions of amino acids; the math is so overpowering it works either way, and some proteins allow little or no substitution). We can compare the odds of a monkey accidentally typing a specified sequence of letters with the odds of the accidental formation of a specified sequence of amino acids.

Here’s a line from Shakespeare: “What fools these mortals be.[4]”  It has a total of 27 letters/ spaces. How likely is it that a monkey will accidentally type this exact sequence?  Again, we assume the monkey has a choice of exactly 20 letters/ spaces for each keystroke and is equally likely to type, completely at random, any particular letter/ space in any position. Of course, our blind monkey could get lucky and type this exact sequence the very first time.  But what are the odds?

Because there are 27 letters/ spaces, the number of possible sequences of this length is 2027, or about 1035. The number of seconds in the history of the universe, since the big bang, is about 4 × 1017.  So, even if we have a billion (109) quick-typing monkeys, who type the entire 27 characters every single second since the beginning of the universe (obviously this is fanciful, the monkeys couldn’t have existed at the beginning of the universe, but we are just trying to get a sense of the magnitude of the problem), we “only” get a total of 4 × 1026 sequences, and the chance that any of these monkeys ever typed “what fools these mortals be” is about 1 in 250 million (because 1035 is about 250 million times bigger than 4 × 1026).

So the odds of accidentally forming a precise sequence of 27 amino acids are laughingly small. Let’s now expand our imaginations to assume that every star in the universe has a planet with 1 billion monkeys typing. If we use a large estimate for the number of stars in the universe, we can expect that one of these monkeys will type “what fools these mortals be” within about 10 seconds[5].

But that’s just the beginning of complexity. Now let’s estimate the odds of accidentally creating a specified string of 75 amino acids. There are 75 letter/ spaces in “What a piece of work is a man how noble in reason how infinite in faculties.” There are a total of 2075 or about 4 × 1097 amino acid sequences of this length. Suppose, instead of a mere billion monkeys, each star in the universe has a planet with a billion billion billion billion monkeys, or 1036 monkeys, and each monkey can type even this 75 letters/ spaces sequence in just 1 second, to keep it simple[6]. OK, maybe too much math, definitely too many monkeys, but the likelihood of any of these blind monkeys ever typing our specified sequence in a time equal to the history of the universe is less than 1 in 1019, or less than one part in ten billion billion. So the odds of forming a single, relatively short specified protein with 75 amino acids by accident are vanishingly small, regardless of how many stars with Earthlike planets may exist. We are beyond laughingly small to pretty darn ridiculous.

Don’t tell me amino acids can be created by accident. Don’t tell me about “billions and billions” of years for life to arise. Don’t tell me about “countless” stars and planets in the universe. It all doesn’t matter. Using simple concepts of number— exponents— one can expose as false claims that life arose by accident.

Case made.  And then you have to worry about the possibility of amino acids gathering together into polypeptides and then proteins.  A simple quick view of that is at http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=amino+acids+linked+together&&view=detail&mid=DD31E1EE7A5798B02B01DD31E1EE7A5798B02B01&FORM=VRDGAR

I promised to give you counterarguments, and here is one from Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, among others. They say it is “false” that Darwin’s theory rests on chance alone; they say it works by “cumulative selection.” Say you start with a piece of gibberish and you want to transform it into meaningful text— you want to transform gibberish into “what fools these mortals be.” You give the gibberish a spin— you randomly change letters, or mutate the DNA code in the world of life— and some of the resulting English letters/ DNA letters may be correct. Not many, but perhaps one or maybe more. You hold on to any that are correct. You give the remaining English letters/ DNA letters a second spin/ mutation, and perhaps you get another one or more that are correct, and now you hold on to those also. You keep doing this. This process will converge in a reasonable period of time to yield the English phrase, or the DNA code, you are looking for. Dawkins and many others, with umpteen degrees and peer-reviewed articles to their credit, claim this “cumulative selection” drives Darwinian evolution. To which I meekly respond, in the words of the great John McEnroe: “YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!” How does the gene know what it is looking for? How does it “cumulatively select” good letters and keep mutating only the bad letters? You get a designed product, and we’re not supposed to notice the wizard behind the curtain running the show? You sneak intelligence in the back door but still claim the process is “natural”? So to Dawkins and many others, “cumulative selection” works like this. You have an ordinary gene (let’s call him “Joe”) just sitting there, hiding out in the DNA, minding his own business.  Not a lot happens in the genome. Sure there’s replication, but the error rate on that is only one letter in a billion.  But one day there is a mistake, and a DNA letter is changed by accident.  Joe says, “Hey, that feels good, I might be able to use that someday” and decides to hang onto that change for future generations.  It’s a slow process, but Joe is patient. Sure enough, just 125,314 generations later, somehow, inexplicably, a string of DNA letters from Joe’s buddy Hal gets inserted by accident when Joe is being replicated, and Joe says, “You know, that feels good too. I’ve got a hunch I might be able to use those extra letters someday, particular if another 27 changes are made in just the right spots in my DNA code.”  Well what do you know, but it all works out perfect for Joe in just 72,437,197 more generations.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=amino+acids+linked+together&&view=detail&mid=A558CA27923DC3BC2FD0A558CA27923DC3BC2FD0&rvsmid=DD31E1EE7A5798B02B01DD31E1EE7A5798B02B01&fsscr=-1485&FORM=VDQVAP

Reality is a far cry from possibility.

 

[1] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design (New York: W. W. Norton, 1986), 47–49.

[2] “Infinite Monkey Theorem,” Answers.com. Available online (April 2006) at: http://www.answers.com/topic/infinite-monkey-theorem.

[3] The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator http://user.tninet.se/~ecf599g/aardasnails/java/Monkey/webpages/index.html.

[4] The quote is attributed to Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger.

[5] Some current estimates are about 1023 stars in the universe, but let’s say 1025 to be generous. So this calculation assumes 1034 imaginary monkeys typing!

[6] Now, over the life of the universe, all of these monkeys can be expected to type about 4 × 1078 sequences. For this calculation we multiply 4 × 1017 (the number of seconds since the big bang) times 1025 (number of stars) times 1036 (number of monkeys on each star), to get 4 × 1078 sequences.

Education vs Common Core

Teaching ID in Public School

Teaching ID in Public Schools

In Origin of Species, Charles Darwin cautioned that “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” Unfortunately, the vast majority of public schools today reject Darwin’s advice, and only teach students about the pro-evolution view.  What follows are some crucial Dos and DON’Ts to follow whenever trying to positively influence education:

 

DO contact individuals in the Intelligent Design movement before changing your teaching methods. This is a must. Most of us have extensive experience working with public schools, and can provide you with many resources or connect you with others who can. There are many unforeseen obstacles you’ll encounter when dealing with public education, and we can offer important information unique to your specific situation to help you navigate these tricky areas.

 

DO NOT push intelligent design into the public school curriculum. All of the major pro-intelligent design organizations oppose any efforts to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. The mainstream ID movement agrees that attempts to mandate teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scientists and within the scientific community.

 

DO teach both the scientific evidence for and against neo-Darwinian evolution in an objective fashion.  Instead of mandating intelligent design, we seek to increase the coverage of evolution in textbooks. We believe that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny.

 

DO protect teacher academic freedom to teach good science on this topic. We can offer you examples of successful state and local academic freedom policies that permit teachers to teach both the scientific evidence for and against Darwinian evolution. Pro-ID organizations oppose efforts to persecute individual teachers who may wish to discuss the scientific debate over design in an objective and pedagogically appropriate manner.

 

DO NOT ask that evolution be removed or diminished from the curriculum. Even if you personally disagree with it, the scientific case for Darwinian evolution should still be presented to students. Students need to learn about evolution to be informed citizens—especially if they plan to attend college. However students shouldn’t only learn the pro-Darwin view. Rather than taking this subject out of the classroom, students should study Darwinian evolution objectively, learning about both the scientific evidence for and against the theory

DO point out that leading science education theorists agree that the best way to teach science is to let students engage in critical thinking where they can weigh alternative evidence and debate controversial issues. As a 2010 paper in the journal Science explained, students learn science best when taught “to discriminate between evidence that supports … or does not support”[1] a scientific concept. When science is taught in this manner, students learn the critical thinking skills they need to think like good scientists

———————–

[1] See J. Osborne, “Arguing to Learn in Science: The Role of Collaborative, Critical Discourse,” Science, 328:463-66 (April 23, 2010).