Evolutionary and Global Warming Theory: Predictable Responses with No Empirical Evidence

Evidence relating to or based on an experiment. In order for evidence to be considered empirical, it must remain the same no matter who observes the evidence. Empirical evidence is needed if a theory is going to be accepted. Sometimes scientists run similar experiments but get different results. If different information is obtained, scientists must come together and explain their findings. More experiments, more evidence, and more communication is needed to ensure concrete results.

Guest opinion; Dr. Tim Ball

Most of the loudest and most vociferous responses to my last article were predictable. Several topics trigger immediate, irrational, and emotional responses. The mention, or at least the questioning, of Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory, is one of them. All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory. This is the same response you get when you ask for empirical evidence to prove the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW).

There is another parallel between the two. Many call AGW a hoax, but it is not, partly because a hoax has a humorous component and there is nothing funny about the deception and its impact. A real and very effective scientific hoax involved the obsession with proving Darwin’s theory. It is called the Piltdown Man Hoax after the quarry in which the event occurred. As a traditional hoax, it was designed to prick pomposity, to underscore the weakness of unjustified and arrogant claims, to open eyes closed by obsession. The irony is the victim of the hoax, Charles Dawson, was determined to find the so-called ‘missing link. He sought the empirical fossil evidence that would provide the final link in the evolution of man from apes.

Dawson was so obsessed with his search and the belief that such a fossil existed that he was easy prey. It is this kind of blind obsession that is the sad situation with all those arm-waving supporters of Darwin’s theory. What is amazing is that the academic and professional world of museums and societies believed Piltdown for 41 years. There were doubters, but they were brushed aside. Eventually, in 1953, the hoax was revealed when it was shown that the Piltdown skull comprised a cleverly aged mandible and some teeth of an orangutan and the cranium of a human.

A major problem with this search for human ancestry is the entire fossil record more than 1 million years old fits on a dining room table. It is as sparse as the data for anthropogenic warming. However, this is only one part of the entire problem of determining evolutionary theory from the fossil record.

Estimates indicate that on average it takes 15 million in a species for one to survive in the fossil record. How many of today’s species will show up in tomorrow’s record? Don’t forget that is in species that have parts that can become fossilized. A remarkable discovery put this entire issue into perspective in a quarry called the Burgess Shales. This is on the boundary between the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. Ironically, the original discovery by Charles Walcott occurred in 1909 before the Piltdown hoax. He recognized the importance of the discovery because it consisted of soft-bodied creatures that rarely survive in the fossil record. Unfortunately, the full significance of these fossils was not recognized until 1962 when Alberto Simonetta re-examined the fossils and realized the full extent of their significance.

Today, we are no further ahead because we have no idea how many species exist on our planet. Of course, that does not prevent the fanciful speculators who will do what Mark Twain said,

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

Consider the fact that we don’t know how many plant or animal species exist. A 2011 estimate said approximately 8.7 million, 6.5 on land and 2.2 in the ocean. This sounds definitive until you learn that the error range is ± 1.3 million. In a recent ten-year span more than a million new species were discovered. How many remain undiscovered? PLoS Biology suggests,

“…a staggering 86% of all species on land and 91% of those in the seas have yet to be discovered, described and catalogued.”

In 2012, a story appeared with the headline, “One Million New Plankton Species Found.The expedition led by Dr. Chris Bowler was actually looking at the uptake of carbon dioxide in the oceans. Bowler said, “It’s the first time that anyone’s done this expedition looking specifically for plankton life, and that’s why we found so many.” How does that change the formulae for CO2 cycles in the Earth’s system?

It is not just about small species. There are stories all the time.

2010 report said, 30 unknown species found in Ecuadors highland forests by a team of U.S. and Ecuadorian researchers,

• 2010 report said, Over 200 New Species Found In Papua New Guinea. The lead scientist said, there are, “large areas of New Guinea that are pretty much unexplored biologically.

2012 report New species of monkey identified in Africa.

The importance of the Burgess Shales event entered the public awareness with Stephen Jay Gould’s book, “Wonderful Life” and a cover story in National Geographic. The discovery pushed the origin of the earliest species back 50 million years before the previous estimates. It also seemed to indicate a different evolution scenario than the Darwin tree of life. It suggested that there was an explosion of life with a multitude of species most of which became extinct. In other words, it was a decreasing number of species, not increasing. By the way, it was Darwin who likened his ideas to a tree. In his comments on Alfred Russel Wallace’s work he said, it was nothing new and “Uses my simile of a tree (but) it seems all creation with him.” But more of that later.

I was always disturbed by the number of biology students who didn’t know the definition of species. The Oxford English Dictionary provides this definition.

A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. The species is the principal natural taxonomic unit, ranking below a genus and denoted by a Latin binomial, e.g., Homo sapiens.

That sounds clear and concise, but it is not the case even among today’s species. It is even more difficult in the fossil record. For example, we know that mules and horses cannot produce viable offspring. If we found such similar species in the fossil record, there is no way of knowing. How many other natural hybrids exist today or in the fossil record?

The designation of species originated with the system of classification developed by Carolus Linnaeus and known as the Linnaean System. Classification systems are a wonderful idea for trying to make sense out of a plethora of data. The trouble is, like all structures, they are rigid and fail to accommodate new discoveries. The classic example that challenged the Linnaean system was the Platypus. Not surprisingly, and appropriate to our story, many scientists considered it a fake and a hoax. Just like with Piltdown some believed an Asian taxidermist sewed a beak onto a water-dwelling mammal. The reality is the Linnaean Classification is a fanciful, arbitrary rigid system that determined most thinking about evolution.

Some of the more fanciful, such as birds evolving from dinosaurs illustrate the problem (Figure1).

 

Figure 1

There is no empirical evidence to support this supposition. A good deal of this is based on the fact that some creatures look alike. This is clear in the case of humans and apes (Figure 2).

Figure 2

I don’t mind being descended from a gorilla. They are better than some of the relatives I have, however, many people do. That resentment speaks to the issue Darwin knew about but never dealt with effectively.

Alfred Russel Wallace published a paper on natural selection in 1858, a year before Darwin’s Origin of Species. Some say it pushed Darwin to publish. Others say it caused Darwin’s supporters to push for publication. Wallace’s paper challenged Charles Lyell because it opposed his idea that species were immutable.

The ongoing Wallace and Darwin debate is not over the idea of natural selection. It focused on the place of humans in the pattern of evolution. Wallace publicly supported Darwin’s work. In 1889, he published a book titled, Darwinism. His differences with Darwin emerged from a different area, the large gap between humans and all other species, especially apes. He said a theory must include an explanation for that difference and Darwin evolutionary ideas didn’t. Darwin tried to address the issue twelve years after Origin in his book The Descent of Man. He failed. He did not explain how humans are superior to every other species. His ideas led to the satire about how if you had a number of chimpanzees working on typewriters they would eventually type Shakespeare’s plays (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Former genetics professor David Suzuki provides a good example of the bizarre thinking when he said,

“Economics is a very species – chauvinistic idea. No other species on earth – and there are may be 30 million of them – has had the nerve to put forth a concept called economics, in which one species, us, declares the right to put value on everything else on earth, in the living and non-living world.”

He is incorrect about the number of species. He is wrong about putting a value on things. All animals put a value on everything. Can I eat it? Only humans put other values on things. No other animal could even think of a concept like economics. Instead of realizing that humans are achieving success and adaptability better than any other species, as Darwin suggested, he considers these as failures. He doesn’t even see the philosophical contradictions in his view.

The question is what is really behind all of this illogic and attacks on anyone who questions Darwinism or the prevailing wisdom of his Evolutionary Theory? The gap between humans and any other animals is one of them. It is so great Wallace had the audacity to introduce the idea of what we now call “intelligent design.” His challenges are part of the questions today that speak about the origin of the Universe. The problem for Darwin and the Big Bang theory people is that the ultimate question remains. Who or what created the material for the bang and who triggered it.

Then there is the problem of accurate dating. I recall at a conference on the fur trade, a historian presented a paper about a sequence of events he claimed changed the pattern of exploration. His sequence derived from entries in the Hudson’s Bay Company journals prior to 1752. He didn’t know that in September of that year the government removed eleven days to the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Hubert Lamb devoted a large section of his Volume 2 Climate Present, Past and Future to discussing the methods, limitations, and importance of both absolute and relative dating. The problems exist across all attempts to reconstruct the past, from climate to fossil records.

Incorrect dating makes any attempt to determine cause and effect impossible. Relative dating is when you have a specific date for a known event and can say whether something occurred before or after. Absolute dating is when you have a specific natural measure such as rate of conversion of radioactive material from one form to another. The two most common are radiocarbon and Potassium/Argon (K/A) dating. This has caused problems in climate reconstructions before. For example, the Milankovitch sequence indicated ice conditions in a region of Alaska then radiocarbon on fossilized trees indicated they were growing at the same time. This was a major reason why Milankovitch, who was initially accepted, was later rejected. In my early career mention of Milankovitch immediately triggered derision. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that I attended a conference and Milankovitch was mentioned and nobody reacted. climate conference. Of course, it turned out the fancy new ‘scientific’ measure of carbon dating was wrong because it assumed a constant rate of solar energy output. As recently as 2012 a new calibration method developed to provide more accurate reconstructions. Then, in the first week of June 2018, we learn,

Archaeologist Sturt Manning and colleagues have revealed variations in the radiocarbon cycle at certain periods of time, affecting frequently cited standards used in archaeological and historical research relevant to the southern Levant region (Israel, southern Jordan and Egypt). These variations, or offsets, of up to 20 years in the calibration of precise radiocarbon dating could be related to climatic conditions.

The problems with K/A dating are more profound, especially for the fossil record. A study in Hawaii gave an age for rock of 2.3 ± 0.3 million years. I don’t care about the specific age except that it is relatively recent geologically. What troubles me is the ± 0.3 million years. That is 300,000 years or a full error range of 600,000 years. How much happened in the last 600,000 years? Of course, as you go back in time the error increases. A one-million-year error range is not unusual.

It is interesting that when you search the web for information of accuracy of geologic dating methods, several appear that are sponsored by religious groups. Some specifically identify themselves as creationists.

I am not arguing for creationism, but it appears to influence science so that there is irrational and blind determination to confirm Darwin’s Theory. Ironically, we witness belief in the environment and AGW taking religious, blind belief, positions. So it is with Darwin. The minute you even raise the topic you get hysterical arm waving responses, with no empirical evidence to support their position.

People outside of science have warned about these irrational reactions. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, speaking through his character Sherlock Holmes wrote,

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”

Alternatively, as Mark Twain said,

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.

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785 thoughts on “Evolutionary and Global Warming Theory: Predictable Responses with No Empirical Evidence

    • I’m sorry, I just couldn’t.

      The problem for Darwin and the Big Bang theory people is that the ultimate question remains. Who or what created the material for the bang and who triggered it.

      There is no need for “anyone”, or “anything” to “create” the material or trigger the bang. These kind of questions can be posed because humans, due to our limited mental power, are unable to pose the right questions, those that have an answer.

      My own thinking goes along the lines that the universe exists and is what it is, because it doesn’t have any option to not exist. In particular, whatever the ‘reason’ (which is probably not a very good word for this purpose) for its existence is, there is absolutely no worse explanation than a bit superhuman-like ‘thingy’ with the properties of a god of a certain religion. It doesn’t explain anything, just makes the problem more complex as then you need to explain both the god and the rest of the universe.

      In all, ‘who triggered the big bang’ is philosophically speaking one of the worst rhetoric questions ever posed.

      I am not arguing for creationism, but it appears to influence science so that there is irrational and blind determination to confirm Darwin’s Theory.

      The evolution is now much more than Darwin’s idea. And I don’t quite believe you were not arguing for creationism. What you in fact did, was exactly that.

      • The one thing that separates humans from other creatures is the possibility of evidence-free conjecture. For example, if we accept that God created everything, we are left with the problem of how God came into being.

        Suppose that we accept that the world is supported on the back of a turtle. What supports the turtle? Another turtle … it’s turtles all the way down.

        • Which is arguing for the previous post “…the worst rhetoric questions…”

          To say what created the Creator assumes that time and space are absolutely required. How do you deal with the eternal and omnipresent when you arbitrarily require locality in a temporal universe?

          The monotheistic religions assume a deity that transcends time and space. Just because someone refuses to accept these terms doesn’t make the assertion false.

          Looked at in a different way, if you knew that you existed in a simulation, and your entire universe was a part of the simulation, what questions and evidences would you seek from that which transcends and is facilitating the simulation?

          • The assertion is not so much false as it is absurd. What does it even mean to “transcend time and space?” This are nothing more than a way for the religious to sound sophisticated while avoiding having to admit that they haven’t the slightest idea what they’re talking about.

            For example, physicists come up with a theory, the “Big Bang” to try to explain the existence of the universe we can observe. The theory raises lots of questions. And the religious say they can explain the Big Bang. They say, “God did it!” But if you ask them what God is, they can’t tell you. They get all metaphysical about it and claim it’s “a spirit.” So you ask, “What’s a spirit?” “Well, it’s this thing that transcends space and time.” “It’s a life force.” “God is love”, etc.

            But these are all place holders for, “I don’t know.”

            Why can’t they drop all the nonsense and just say, “I don’t know.”

          • Why do protons and electrons attract each other? Fundamentally, they do but we don’t know why. Science is based on physical behavior for which we have no explanation, just observations.

          • “…transcend time and space…” was perhaps a poor choice of words, maybe a better selection would be “unbounded by time”. This is how I believe we can still have free will, but still be guided by God, because at any point we make a decision, God is unbounded by time and thus already ‘at’ the consequences of your decision, there is no doubt, no guessing, because He is there. Quite a mind-boggling concept, but actually easier to grasp than the Theory of Relativity, perhaps.

          • “The assertion is not so much false as it is absurd. What does it even mean to “transcend time and space?” ”

            Hmm . . let’s hold that question for a bit . .

            “For example, physicists come up with a theory, the “Big Bang” to try to explain the existence of the universe we can observe. The theory raises lots of questions. And the religious say they can explain the Big Bang. They say, “God did it!” ”

            Who said that? Did you actually hear/read some “they” say it? Or merely conjecture/imagine/conjure someone saying it? . . outside of actual space and time ; )

          • They should say “I don’t know” but that is not in itself empirical evidence that they are wrong.

          • Peter: I don’t know. But if I believe, I’m good with that. For those who don’t believe, an occasional “I dunno” would be helpful.

          • What does it mean to transcend time and space?

            It means that a being which could create the spacetime continuum of our universe, would have to exist independently of it.

            You might dispute the existence of such a being, but the logic behind the concept of its independence from its creation, is fairly straightforward.

          • “Just because someone refuses to accept these terms doesn’t make the assertion false.”

            Likewise, just because someone asserts nonsense we don’t have to accept it.

        • God didn’t ‘come into being’ at all. He Himself said He has always been. He called Himself ‘the I am.’ The problem with our understanding is that God exists outside our universe of understanding, which is always finite. God exists in the infinite – the timeless. He created all things and is therefore more complex and powerful than all things. If we cannot understand His realm, then it is only logical that we will never understand Him.

          • Too complex. I cannot sense God. I can sense the universe (or at least part of it) It is less complicated if you settle on the idea that the universe is self sufficient and self existent. Proposing a creator as an explanation does not help. It is turtles all the way down, like commieBob says.

          • Revelation is the manner in which God makes Himself known as well as man’s natural \apprehension that something greater is out there. It’s called Natural Law and it is why human societies ‘invent’ religion. Then you get to Christ and C.S.Lewis “Mere Christianity” in which he declared that Christ is either Who He said He is or stark raving mad. See Blaise Pascal for your choices. The ID people(Behe, Meyer, Axe et al) are very good at deconstructing the simplistic errors of neo-Darwinism. Darwin, Marx and Freud all seemed geared to deconstruct Western civilization and its basis in Christianity. If you don’t believe in evil please read “Hostage to the Devil” – you might have second thoughts.

          • Proposing a creator may not help develop a scientific understanding, but neither does disregarding the conservation of matter and energy, which would be required for the universe to be self existent.

            There may be an explanation which involves only natural processes, but it all still had to come from somewhere.

            We are just lucky that whatever that original source was, it got divided into such a perfect balance, that we can mathematically model the behavior of the universe, without having to account for it.

          • I am is a he? Does “I am” have male equipment. That sounds sort of silly.

          • “it is only logical that we will never understand Him.”

            So we will never understand that he didn’t come into being, called himself “I am”, exists in the infinite, and the various other things you pretend to understand about him.

          • You are exactly correct in all of the things you have said about your God. I know this because my GODD# exists in a realm that encompasses your God. And my GODD# actually made your God, but did not tell him. So your God decided he had always existed and was all powerful and called himself “I am”. I am so proud of my GODD# for being humble enough to not correct yours. My GODD# came first and is actually (as far as I know) the largest turtle of all and the bottom-mostest.

          • Why would god be ‘he’ or ‘him’? Why would god have sexual differentiation? Does god reproduce god? How many gods are there?

          • God is “He” because in English the masculine noun includes both masculine and feminine when the sex of the person referred to is unknown. In other languages God could be “She” or “It” if that noun included both sexes – or non-sexed – persons.

            One may conclude that the same occurs in Hebrew where God is referred to as “Father”. But you would have to get a philologist – or whatever, to consider whether this conclusion is correct or not.

            In Latin, Egyptian and Greek, Gods are multiple and have sexual differentiation.

          • No. The Christian JHWH is a he, father and a son, and a spirit capable of and willing to making virgins pregnant.

            For me, the whole idea sounds crazy. Why would a world-creator, eternal spirit have a sex? That’s a biological, evolutionarily explainable thing gods definitely wouldn’t need.

        • The one thing that separates humans from other creatures is the possibility of evidence-free conjecture

          I can assure you, our dog Penny is very much capable of ‘evidence-free conjecture’.

          ~¿~

        • I’ve always felt that earth is an electron in a stable orbit around a nucleus of an atom that is part of molecule that is a constituent of a universally large dog turd.

          And nobody can prove me wrong!! LOL

          • >>
            I’ve always felt that earth is an electron in a stable orbit around a nucleus of an atom that is part of molecule that is a constituent of a universally large dog turd.
            <<

            The attempt to compare a planet orbiting a star to electrons “orbiting” a nucleus leads to major problems. If an electron orbited the nucleus, it would instantly lose all its energy and crash into the nucleus. Therefore, electrons do not orbit the nucleus. The model of an atom as a tiny solar system is wrong to begin with.

            However, you’re on the right track, but not thinking big enough (or small enough). Try visualizing the entire Universe as a quark in a much larger universe. That would mean that quarks in our universe would each contain tiny universes of their own.

            So like turtles, it would be quarks all the way down AND quarks all the way up. Try to prove THAT wrong!

            Jim

          • Dr Deanster

            I’ve always felt that earth as similar to an electron in a stable orbit around a nucleus of an atom that is part of molecule that is a constituent of a universally large bird dog’s brain that pinched a universally large turd on the neighbor’s lawn.

        • “if we accept that God created everything, we are left with the problem of how God came into being.”

          If we accept that God created everything (which would include time and space
          as we understand them), we can recognize that as to the supposedly left over problem we are incapable of understanding the question, much less the answer.

          Those who blindly support evolution just to oppose the idea of creation, don’t recognize/comprehend that there are some questions that are and always will be beyond our ability to answer.

          • No. Gödel was mad, but his incompleteness theorem is just about writing mathematical laws and proofs.

          • If we accept that God created everything (which would include time and space as we understand them),

            The old argument which makes no sense. There is no ‘created’ if there is no time.
            For anything to create anything else, there has to be time for the creator to start with. So the problem can’t be solved this way.

            A simpler explanation is, that time just exists and reasons for its existence are logical. The reasons don’t do, but just are. In your terms, the god is not personal. But that would an oxymoron, because your God is a person.

            Those who blindly support evolution just to oppose the idea of creation

            You got it backwards. I find support for evolution because I’m not making myself blind by supporting a specific religional dogma called creation.

          • “There is no ‘created’ if there is no time.”

            You’ll face that conundrum whatever dogma you prefer. Your fallacy here is argumentum ad lapidem.

          • What? I just said timeless god doesn’t create. You need time to have someone creating, and more time to put it in past tense.

            Universe may exist without an actor acting in time. So you have a fallacy there.

          • I object, Hugs. If God created time (which would be a reasonable assumption) then God’s timelessness would by default subject time to God, not the other way around.

          • No matter your point of view, there is a singular point at which time comes into existence. So, you always face the question of, how did the process of time come into being when there was no time in which to launch it?

            We are like blind men fumbling in the dark, and you are insisting that there is no such thing as sight, based on the fact that none of us can see.

          • While there might be scientific means of exploring what came before the Big Bang, that question is still largely speculative.

            According to all models of the BBT, spacetime started inflating at the Big Bang. It’s not just time, but spacetime which was “launched”. Gravitational waves show that spacetime, or something like it, exists.

          • Doppler radar and GPS demonstrate the coupling of space and time well enough, not to mention a whole slew of other applications. You don’t need to appeal to the recent confirmation of gravitational radiation to sell the concept.

            Inflation generally refers to the accelerated expansion of Guth et al., which is not a feature of all BB cosmologies. But, if you don’t buy an initial singularity, you then are just trading one conundrum for another, to wit, how can an entropy governed universe have no beginning or end?

      • Lets look at things the way they are currently in our universe and see where things go from there. Based on the “best” science, the universe started as a singularity with infinite mass/energy. E=mc^2. It started expanding in what is known as the “big bang” and went from infinitesimally small to gargantuan in a matter of seconds. I think it is tiny fractions of a second, but seconds would encompass that smaller value as well, since it did not shrink immediately after. It then inexplicably stopped this rapid expansion (inflation) abruptly, and has been instead growing very very slowly, but at an ever accelerating pace.
        This ever accelerating pace pretty much today is arguing that the universe will never collapse back into an infinite mass/energy singularity. Thus, this is a one off event, never to be repeated.
        Now they say we are not the center of the universe as people believed we were long long ago. But they say that the expansion in every direction of us is perfectly uniform. That space is stretching uniformly around us, which causes a red shift. They can calculate the distance to a galaxy tens of billions of light years away from us based on the red shift. They say that the Universe is about 13.7 billion years old, and we can see out to about 13.3 billion years, the furthest galaxy known.
        How is it that in every single direction we look, things that are 13.3 billion years away from us are inflating at the same rate away from us? This would only make sense if in fact we were directly in the center of the universe. Because if we were anywhere else, anything closer to the center of the universe would appear to be receding at a slower pace than those things that are further away from the center of the universe. And we can see pretty far out, such that there would most certainly have to be a measurable difference.

          • I could name a politician* who evidently believes in an egocentric universe in which the planets, galaxies, etc., revolve around his posterior.

            * possibly not the one you’re thinking of

          • A pretty good description of ANY politician! Particularly once looking for one of the top jobs. Anybody who actually wants to be POTUS should probably be disqualified from standing. Douglas Adams had a great take on this in the Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy. The Galactic legislators would pick people at random, give them options and evidence and ask them to make a decision. No money, no big house, no public adoration, no pension.

        • Those of us in central Virginia know exactly where the center of the universe is. It is Ashland, VA, a few miles north of Richmond along US 1 and I-95, and for many years has been known as the Center Of The Universe (COTU). The assumptions and arguments in the above post are every bit as presumptuous as those of the good folk of Ashland, who, after all, are close enough to the Center Of Things to know what they are talking about.

        • ADS
          Good comments!
          Since I was a teenager sixty years ago, I have never bought into the Big Bang theory. I always favored Fred Hoyle’s arguments against it.
          Cosmologists have a lot of explaining to do. What form does Dark Matter take? How is Dark Energy generated – remember E=MC squared? Inflation – faster than light speed?
          Fred Hoyle’s ideas might be reconsidered when pondering the existence of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. He also said that the cosmic background radiation is not proof of the Big Bang as many like to claim.
          Fred may have had some quirky ideas but that does not dissuade me from respecting him as a theoretician.

          • There is nothing wrong with a preference for Hoyle’s cosmology – if you understand and have weighted the evidence against it. If you choose to only consider only the arguments and data favoring Hoyle and can’ retain the arguments of his critics, then you are suffering from confirmation bias. To refresh your memory, see:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steady_State_theory

            Partisan social media (like this website) and regular media are filled with propaganda designed to enforce your current beliefs. In this post, Dr. Ball is trying to recruit the religious belief of some to reject the basic tenets of AGW.

            The existence of Dark Matter has nothing to do with whether the universe is expanding or in a steady state. We’ve known for more than a half-century that stars at the edge nearby galaxies are moving too fast to be held in stable orbits by the mass associated with the visible stars in the galaxy. Bringing Dark Energy and Hoyle together could be interesting.

          • It has to do with the wrong application of Kepler’s laws. With a 4million solar mass object at the center but 800 billion+ solarmasses around it, the Kepler rotation curve for a planetary system (90% mass at center) is of course violated. 26 stars are confirmed to orbit the supermassive object as expected.
            It gets worse : Surprise Discovery Shows We Have Been Totally Wrong About The Size of Andromeda Galaxy https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.03949

          • Bonbon: In sure you realize that the consensus position is that the mass of galaxies calculated by rotational speeds is larger than estimated by the visible light emitted. As best I can tell, the paper you cite refines the rotational mass of Andromeda, but doesn’t contradict the consensus position. (If it did, the news that the Andromeda galaxy doesn’t contain dark matter would have reached the popular scientific media immediately.) People have been studying this problem for many decades, so I expect evolutionary, not revolutionary, refinements. If I understand paragraph (ii) correctly at the end of the paper, the visible mass of the galaxy is about 1/10 of the mass deduced by rotation.

            The presence of dark matter has also been inferred by other methods. It would be nice if our picture of the universe weren’t complicated by the presence of dark matter (and dark energy). As Feynman says:

        • While we are being empirical, unless you are sure there are no more and never will be more such singularities ready to pop, you can not say “Thus, this is a one off event, never to be repeated.” Until we know what caused this one we cannot say it will be the last or even that it was the first.

          • Quite right., We cannot even say that the sun will rise tomorrow with any certainty.

            Oh BTW causality is a property of a universe – not something that causes a universe…

        • Everything we see is on the surface of an Nth dimensional expanding balloon. Since everything on the surface of the balloon is symmetrical to each other, no matter where you are on that surface, you would always observe that you seem to be the center.
          On the balloon’s surface, light travels along the surface and nothing goes inside or through the balloon. But since our observation is limited to the 3rd dimension, we don’t observe light to curve. This is similar to how we observe ourselves living on the surface of the Earth. For most of us, the Earth is flat until we ride a boat or plane or a spaceship and see Earth in a different point of view.

        • How is it that in every single direction we look, things that are 13.3 billion years away from us are inflating at the same rate away from us? This would only make sense if in fact we were directly in the center of the universe.

          Er no. Consider say blowing up a balloon, having covered it with inkblots representing stars. You will find that from any position on the balloon, it looks like all the other positions are receding from you at a rate proportional to their distance from you.

          So you just imagine the universe to be a 5 dimesnional hyperballoon, and it all makes perfect sense.

          • Paul Sarmiento & Leo Smith
            Are you guys even remotely serious? Magical Dark Matter and Magical Dark Energy are enough to make current “science” absolutely no better than religion with respect to empirical evidence based knowledge. And you two want to argue that the entirety of the universe is a two dimensional balloon surface that is being blown up?
            Well, thank you for making my religious beliefs that much more rational looking to the God haters in the world.

          • The Tap (God that fills holes) always emerges in these discussions. No, the limits of current science do not mean you should start filling the holes with religious mortar. It is ok to say I don’t know. Dark matter is a question posed, that does not have yet an answer. Many are working on it.

          • Why would I imagine there are holes in any of it? If God is all powerful as I know him to be, then his method would be flawless.
            I have no problem investigating his creations to the greatest depth for which you can.
            My faith does not need any evidence. Any evidence you present, if acceptably robust, just simply fills in the voids of my understanding of his method.
            There is not even the tiniest bit of evidence that we are smeared on the surface of a sphere. That thought requires faith. I would argue an insanity level of faith. All the three dimensional stuff we see is really just 2 dimensional!

          • Surely you jest!

            That Earth is an oblate spheroid, with lumps, is an observation, ie scientific fact. No faith required.

        • A singularity? Really? So a mathematical concept started the universe! A singularity cannot exist by definition of the idea. Infinite mass? Please tell us what that can mean, another mathematical concept rather than a physical reality! Zero size? That is simply 1/infinity! Try using English, it tends to prevent this nonsense!

        • Based on the “best” science, the universe started as a singularity with infinite mass/energy.

          You probably meant ‘infinite energy density’, but even that is just wrong mathematics for the masses. We don’t know all details, far from it. Never will know all. But what we *do* know, is already spectacular.

      • Spot on.
        The only reason so many people feel there must have been someone who “created the material for the bang and … triggered it” is because they have trouble getting their head around the concept of infinity: The material was always there. It’s been there forever. No one had to create it.

        • …because they have trouble getting their head around the concept of infinity: The material was always there. It’s been there forever. No one had to create it.

          Except that in my conception of God, it is He that has always been there, so in my case, I don’t have a problem with the concept of infinity. What’s your explanation for my belief?

          What’s your evidence for the proposition that the material “was always there”, had “been there forever”, and that “[n]o one had to create it”?

          • “What’s your explanation for my belief”

            You are delusional.

            If I was to expand a belief that, I have fairy’s or trolls at the bottom of the garden, I would be definitely be considered, a nut job, crazy, insane or even delusional and eventually taken away by the “men in white coats”. A delusion is a false belief that is based on an incorrect interpretation of reality.

            Instead of saying, I don’t know the answer to, “whats the answer to life the universe and everything” (pun intended). People invent constructs to get around the “I don’t know”, (why? maybe because they do not want to be considered ignorant, or to save face) and this includes, religion, big bang theory and even ‘global warming’.

            You cannot prove the existence of ‘god’ and I cannot prove that god does not exist.

            c’est la vie

            Regards
            Climate Heretic

          • You are delusional.

            But at least I’m rational. Nice ad hominem.

            You cannot prove the existence of ‘god’ and I cannot prove that god does not exist.

            You mean belief or not is by faith?

            That’s kind of my point…see farther down.

          • Not an ‘ad hominem’. Because I’m stating a fact. When people experience delusions or hallucinations there is some loss of contact with reality. One of the signs of delusional belief in a person is: “they’re very resistant to being challenged, no matter how inconsistent they are with reality.”

            You ‘sycomputing’, have amply demonstrated that in your reply to me.

            ‘You mean belief or not is by faith? ‘

            No, my statement means exactly what it means. Its not a matter of belief or faith, it’s a matter of fact.

            I suggest that you watch the video link about religious delusions, in another post that I made.

            Regards
            Climate Heretic

          • Delusions and hallucinations are what we all do all the time.

            Except that when we share them with enough other people, we all get together and call it ‘the real world’…

            The delusional or hallucinatory element is not the problem. Its the dysfunctionality of them that is the problem.

          • No, calling someone delusional because you don’t like their worldview foundation is definitely an ad hominem, definitely a personal attack, and in this case not a fact, just your arrogant, smug opinion

          • Actually, it need not be ad hominem, it could be one answer to the question, “What’s your explanation for my belief.” Of course there may be others, but you have been unable to disprove that one so far. 🙂

          • Actually, it need not be ad hominem…

            Except that it was in this particular OP’s context:

            “If I was to expand a belief that, I have fairy’s or trolls at the bottom of the garden, I would be definitely be considered, a nut job, crazy, insane or even delusional and eventually taken away by the “men in white coats.”

          • You say, quite rightly: “You cannot prove the existence of ‘god’ and I cannot prove that god does not exist.” Therefore you can not prove sycomputing is delusional – it is only your belief that they are (while we are being empirical).

          • I’ve got no evidence for it – I was just suggesting it as a possible idea. However, the idea that some sort of sky fairy made all of this is, to me, laughably daft.
            BTW Why is God always assumed to be male? The pussy hat brigade won’t be happy.

          • You can certainly dismiss the idea of a “sky fairy” on the ground that it is certainly absurd. Do you hold alternative ideas to a similar test of absurdity?

            Matter and energy from nothing. Time starting itself up in a universe where there is no time. Fine tuning by accident. Have you ever tested those for absurdity? How about biogenesis, despite its mathematical impossibility? Acceptance of Materialism, despite the findings of quantum mechanics. The Cambrian explosion, the lack of transitional fossils… The list goes on an on.

          • Why is God always assumed to be male?

            God … most powerful … male … reasonable logical assumptions, if someone is into that.

            (and besides, he has a long flowing white beard, so female is unlikely)

        • That may be, but you have to take it on faith. You can provide no evidence for that conjecture.

          • that’s ok. i’m here now – and i brought you the reductio ad absurdum you crave!
            get this thru your head: there is no such thing as nothing.
            how did you ever miss something so simple?
            because you have accepted a lie.
            this is the correction. try to administer it to yourself:
            A = A the law of identity. existence exists. a thing is itself.
            -A != A the law of contradiction. nonexistence is null. nothing contradicts itself but a lie.
            THE LAW OF THE EXCLUDED MIDDLE:
            it’s one or the other- it exists or it does not. there is no ‘supernatural’ netherworld. that fantasy is false.
            your lie is full of holes…lol

          • What is a “concept”, is it something?…or is it nothing?…how could it be measured, if it is something?
            (and being aware of it, “the concept”, what could mean?..should it be taken in faith, or it is faith in some way?)

            Just asking….

          • what do your pixels say?
            your condition is called ‘concrete bound’ and the person so afflicted struggles with high level abstractions such as logic.

          • A concept is what we think the world is, when its really something at a completely different level.

            So your existence, the world, the big bang, Michael Mann’s underpants – these are all concepts.

            whereas in reality all there is is ‘whatever is the case’ the unknown and unknowable reality we presume causes all or experience to happen.

            If the world is like a computer, concepts are like what is on the screen…as distinct from the billions of logic circuits and the power supply that are in fact what its all made of….

          • The law of the excluded middle is not valid in the world of quantum mechanics. That is, prior to opening the box, Schrodenger’s cat is both alive and dead.

          • That is, prior to opening the box, Schrodenger’s cat is both alive and dead.

            Which is why such a feature of QM is somewhat useless in reality. In truth, the cat is still one or the other, you just don’t know which. Prior to opening the box, you have a “Null” value, e.g., empty data fields in an SQL database.

            A value of “Null” doesn’t invalidate excluded middle in a practical environment, as is evidenced by the fact that your SQL db needs to be consistent if it’s to be trusted. Once your data field is populated, it had better not contradict another one with a different answer for the same question. If your environment isn’t consistent, why should I trust it?

          • In the real world (as per your request) there is a sequence of bits in every SQL data field. One program can interpret it as “null” another could interpret as something else. So “null” is an actual real bit pattern. Likewise a QM wavicle has wave or particle properties depending on how you interpret what you are looking at.

          • One program can interpret it as “null” another could interpret as something else.

            But in neither system will it be interpreted as the other, i.e., it won’t be “null” and “~ null” at the same time in the same system. Otherwise the system would contradict itself and be useless would it not?

            Likewise a QM wavicle has wave or particle properties depending on how you interpret what you are looking at.

            I don’t follow your logic. It would seem the QM wavicle is something else entirely from an SQL null value. You’ve argued the former is whatever you interpret it to be, but the latter seems rather to be an object of finite definition.

          • And that makes it MORE useful than if it JUST was all orange.

            I can’t see the image…FF is complaining about a security certificate error…don’t know what you’re referencing but it sounds like properties of something.

            Regardless, whatever it is that isn’t “JUST” all orange, it’s there is it not? It’s not ~there (null) and there (~null) at the same time in the same system for the same question is it?

          • Are you sure that’s what I’m doing Leo?

            Is that objectively true or “disney” true?

          • I see that passed you by completely.

            Along with all of quantum physics, upon which the computer you are reading this on depends for its operation…so FSVO ‘useful’ quantum physics is very useful indeed.

          • I see that passed you by completely.

            You’ll be sure to be patient with me while I try to catch up won’t you Leo?

            You’ll be patient?

            While I try to catch up?

          • Which is why such a feature of QM is somewhat useless in reality. In truth, the cat is still one or the other, you just don’t know which

            I think Einstein thought so, but I think he was wrong on that. What really happens is described by the quantum mechanics. I have only superficial knowledge on that, despite actually studying physics in a university.

            I’d say our observations are ‘real’, and the quantum behaviour is ‘complex’, and there is a mapping between the behaviour and the real observable variables that is considered statistical. What it really is, is a subject of a heated discussion, but the Einstein’s position is commonly seen impossible to be consistent with measurements. Also, the mathematics is not really questioned, only how we should think about it.

            About ternary logic; there are cases where it is valid. It is not either or, rather different logics describe different frameworks that can apply to things, or then may not be applied. The binary logic applies to some cases, but you must be careful to not trust you choice of logic necessarily is the right one. “I’m lying now.”

            Mathematics is a ‘creation’ from one side, creation of the person who described the invention. It is also a ‘finding’, something that just exists and which a mathematician writes down as accurately as it can.

          • I think Einstein thought so, but I think he was wrong on that. What really happens is described by the quantum mechanics.

            Disagree. In this case QM “describes” nothing at all, but rather quite conclusively derives within itself a contradiction. Any system wherein a contradiction is derivable is logically inconsistent and should be distrusted until the inconsistency is fixed.

            Hypothesis: If I leave this cat in this box long enough, it will die.
            Experiment: Cat in the box.
            Confirmation: Open the box.

            When I open the box, only 1 of 2 possibilities will ever occur, no matter how many times I open the box. This regardless of who and where they are in the world that opens their box to test my hypothesis, into infinity and beyond (see what I did there…wove in a Toy Story reference? Hah! I made a funny!):

            1) the cat will be dead

            2) the cat will be alive

            That is the definition of the scientific method. Felix said so, by golly!

            If you want to play with “sky fairies and unicorns,” that are derivable within the QM system, then by all means go ahead and play with QM, but aren’t you then guilty of hypocrisy when you criticize me for believing in God?

          • yeah, well once i put Schrödinger’s cat in a clear plastic box and Schrödinger’s dog in another one so they could see each other.
            i haven’t decided what happened yet. so it hasn’t. that’s disney’s second law.
            disney’s first law is ‘wishing makes it so’

          • disney’s first law is ‘wishing makes it so’

            Indeed.

            I notice Leo making an awful lot of objective truth claims lately when his own belief system denies the notion of objective truth.

            Don’t you contradict yourself, Leo?

        • So the singularity was self-existent and eternal? Sounds like Pantheism to me. How very religious.

          By the way, we theologically inclined times don’t have a problem with the concept of infinity. It is integral to our understanding.

          • In the limit religious and scientific explanations are all (one presumes) attempting to explain the same things so their explanations must ultimately have extremely similar properties.

            Both the Big Bang and indeed the Act of Creation arise from an error in our thinking, that the Universe as we understand it, is a product of causality, rather than the other way around.

            Once you understand that Time and its progeny, Causality are just ways in which we struggle to come to terms with our experience of memory…and realise that apart from distinctly dodgy memory we have no real reason to even suppose that Time exists at all…

            Eastern mysticism is far better at just saying with a nice degree of enigmatic humour ‘the Tao is that which exists through itself’ .

            I..e the underlying substance of everything is just there because its just there, and the rest is all the mental bollocks we go through trying to make sense of it, which ultimately cannot be done.

            If a tree falls in the woods, and no one hears it, in quantum interpretations it doesn’t make a sound.

            The distinction between what is, and what we are aware of, starts to get called into such question that the existence of a world independent of our conceptions of it is being sorely tested.

            We live in interesting times

          • If a tree falls in the woods, and no one hears it, in quantum interpretations it doesn’t make a sound.

            But in the non-Disney (i.e., real) world, when we place a recording device in the forest we can confirm (after an unnecessary $100,000 gov’t grant study, no less) what we already knew using our own common sense.

            There’s a sound…

            Because that’s what happens when trees fall in the real world…

            They make…a sound.

        • It is more a problem around the concept of time than around the concept of infinity, me thinks.

        • Unfortunately for your point, is that it has long been proven that you cannot have an infinite collection of finite objects. Otherwise, you get absurdities such as 1day=1week=1month=1year. If your point is true, you better have a replacement for Einsteins theories because if they are true (and they are to the best of our knowledge) then space, time, and matter have not always existed. It was the overwhelming evidence that Einstein’s theories were true which led to the “Big Bang” theory.

        • Or worse, they have trouble getting their head around the concept of causality, that its not an inherent property of the real world, just a way of looking at how one thing follows another in (subjective) consciousness…

      • There is no need for “anyone”, or “anything” to “create” the material or trigger the bang.

        The “Argument from Need” ends up being less than convincing in my view. From the idea that something isn’t “needed”, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it doesn’t exist. I don’t need any number of things to exist, yet they certainly do, e.g., some new species of animal that will be discovered in the near future, as Dr. Ball has already pointed out.

        These kind of questions can be posed because humans, due to our limited mental power, are unable to pose the right questions, those that have an answer.

        This seems like the “Argument from Authority” fallacy in reverse. You’ve presupposed that because we’re too stupid to do so, we haven’t asked the right questions yet. But how will you prove that unless you first prove God doesn’t exist? Aren’t you forced to presuppose by faith that God doesn’t exist for this argument to be true? If so, why is your faith better than mine?

        • From the idea that something isn’t “needed”, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it doesn’t exist.

          Those who present the idea (Creator), seem to think that it is needed. I can’t prove your God nonexistent for some good logical reasons. But I can point out it is unnecessary for a certain reason. Was it Newton who also applied this attitude, though he was apparently believing in a Christian manner?

          You’ve presupposed that because we’re too stupid to do so, we haven’t asked the right questions yet.

          I see, you want to find a logical error in this. No, this is rather my humble opinion on trying to improve the badly understood ‘Big Bang Theory’ with a Creator.

          I don’t think I need a proof to point out we have not solved the existence of the universe, so my point is there. We seem to be too simple. And there is a good reason. A creature that lives inside the very complex universe is so much simpler than the universe that it is only natural it has difficulties in understanding the whole, which contains itself.

          • I can’t prove your God nonexistent for some good logical reasons. But I can point out it is unnecessary for a certain reason.

            Then at best it would seem you’ve just restated the “Argument from Need” into the “Argument to Unnecessary,” in which the case the original objection moves along as well. Simply because something isn’t necessary, it doesn’t follow it doesn’t exist.

            Prior to germ theory, it wasn’t necessary for germs to exist in the minds of men in order for them to posit some alternative reason (note: the wrong reason) for why they were dying from disease. The same is true for your argument. You simply just might not have enough information to make an informed decision about the existence of God.

            In fact, I would argue you make my point for me in your argument re: the complex universe and difficulties understanding the whole. Naturally, if the created thing is attempting to understand that which created it (God), there would by definition be difficulties in doing so.

            I don’t think I need a proof to point out we have not solved the existence of the universe, so my point is there.

            Your point isn’t there for the same reason it wasn’t before. Maybe we have solved the origin of the universe by positing that God built it. Your assumption that God didn’t is still just that, i.e., a belief by faith.

            Why is your faith better or more logical than mine?

      • It’s the same problem either way. Either the universe is eternal and there is no uncreated creator, or there is an uncreated creator who created the universe. Seems to me that you have to pick your faith one way or the other.

        • @Rich: True, true. Both are beliefs, not science. The question is which belief best fits the evidence? The philosophy “scientism” which undergirds modern science rules out any explanation which cannot be empirically proven (i.e. by the scientific method-data->hypotheses->theory->expermient… etc.) History of ***ANY*** type including Paleontology, geologic history, and Beginnings is Forensic Science; The study of non-repeatable events. If one doesn’t believe in a Supreme Being (notice I did not say a god) who brought this space/time continuum into existence then one is forced to believe that the universe (space, time and matter) brought itself into existence. A belief which Steven Hawking espoused a couple of years ago, for which he was rightfully ridiculed by his peers.

          • Well its possible for nothing to create everything. For some values of nothing and everything.

            But of course you are completely wrong in ]your binary logic.

            “If one doesn’t believe in a Supreme Being (notice I did not say a god) who brought this space/time continuum into existence then one is forced to believe that the universe (space, time and matter) brought itself into existence.”

            One is not forced to believe anything. Especially when one understands that the words and concepts expressed above are completely inadequate to represent the world of either science or religion.

            My advice to you is to read my long response to Tim Ball, and understand that the map is not the territory, and that there is no way to understand the ultimate objective truth, only less than adequate maps of it.

        • No, not at all. You don’t have to posit a creator for things we currently do not know or understand. Sure Big Bang throws up questions. So what? Why claim those questions are utterly insolvable just because currently we can’t?

        • Nah. Too simplistic. Too many assumptions.

          Particularly egregious is te extrapolation of the concepts of time and causality beyond the Universe of which they are components.

          ‘The ‘creation of everything there is’ is a meaningless statement.

          Creation implies something before to do the creating.

          So nothing (or only nothing), can create everything there is…

          • Nah. Too simplistic. Too many assumptions.

            Creation implies something before to do the creating.

            So nothing (or only nothing), can create everything there is…

            Don’t you contradict yourself? Haven’t you made an assumption that there was “nothing” at some point? If you have, how many assumptions are you allowed before there’s “[t]oo many”? If say, you’re allowed one (as you’ve done here), or a few assumptions don’t you contradict yourself again by being “[t]oo simplistic”?

            Also, your assumption appears to be a faith claim. If it is, why is your faith claim better or more rational than mine, e.g., if I claim there was always something, i.e., ~nothing?

            My goodness what a mess you’ve made here Leo…don’t you agree?

            🙂

        • It’s the same problem either way. Either the universe is eternal and there is no uncreated creator, or there is an uncreated creator who created the universe. Seems to me that you have to pick your faith one way or the other.

          I don’t think these are the only two options, but I don’t either think faith is a word to apply when I say merely my opinion which I can’t show evidence for.

          What’s worse, is that you represent these two as they were symmetrical starting points. They’re not symmetrical, nor they are starting points.

          • I don’t think these are the only two options…

            If I understand the argument correctly, it goes something like this: “Either God exists or God doesn’t exist.”

            What’s the third option?

            …but I don’t either think faith is a word to apply when I say merely my opinion which I can’t show evidence for.

            If you make a truth claim for which you have no evidence, by what other method do you believe your truth claim to be true, if not by faith?

          • The third option is: Probability (God exists) = .5 and Probability (God doesn’t exist) = .5
            ..
            Which is exactly like the problem of a photon being either a wave or a particle.

          • You’re giving God a 50/50 possibility to exist? So, like Schrodinger’s cat, if one was to observe that there was a God, it would resolve God into existence.

            Well, there was this one guy about 2000 years ago who spoke with God.

          • I don’t give any chance, but it is a formally unprovable fact.

            Besides I think many people with faith are better when they’ll keep their faith.

            His followers said he was the God, and that the God was his father, and they were the same God. I stopped paying attention after that. There’s a limit on how much theology you can digest.

          • The third option is: Probability (God exists) = .5 and Probability (God doesn’t exist) = .5

            Ok, so you’re saying there’s a 1 in 2 chance that God exists. In other words, either God exists or God doesn’t.

            That doesn’t appear to be a third option at all?

            Which is exactly like the problem of a photon being either a wave or a particle.

            No, by definition, the problem of a photon “either” being a wave or a particle is “either” it is or it isn’t.

          • Keith:

            When you’ve sufficiently convinced me of your case against my current belief system, I’ll be happy to look at something else to replace it.

            🙂

          • sy, you asked for a third option, I just provided one of them for you.

            You didn’t. You just recouched the original proposition into the same proposition, only this time with probabilities.

            That’s not a new option, it’s the same option described a different way.

            Or if it is a new proposition, why is it?

          • Let me put it better terms……the third option requires you to reject the law of the excluded middle. That is the basis of your objection. (A and ~A) is not false by definition in trivalent logic.

          • …the third option requires you to reject the law of the excluded middle.

            Thankfully it doesn’t. I can reject your system entirely using the same language and evaluate it in mine.

            (A and ~A) is not false by definition in trivalent logic.

            1) Then it sounds like your system says, “God both exists and does not exist at the same time.”

            I reject the premise as a contradiction. If I have to reject the fact that contradictions are false, then I have to reject truth as false. If I have to reject truth as false, then I’m stuck where Leo is.

            No one should want that.

          • First, logic systems are not a “belief system.”

            Mine is.

            Second, I know better than to argue against what someone “believes.”

            Fair enough. Take care!

          • Both gods exist and gods don’t exist give multiple options. The universe can be eternal or it can be closed with time as its feature. Gods may create a subuniverse or just be observers. But gods can’t bootstrap the system so that you’d get an explanation. From that theory you get just a refuge, permission to stop searching for answers.

            I don’t have faith in my opinion. I don’t know enough nor understand the question well enough for that. It is just that Ball is wrong on available options.

            I think explaining the universe requires some seriously hard maths, and will be hardly possible for humans. It could be possible with future tools and cross-diciplinary philosophy. But I’d not bet on that.

          • Hugs; “But gods can’t…”

            Once limited it ceases to be (a) god.
            Omnipotence is an absolute.
            (and includes the possibility of self creation)

      • Hugs …. just for discussions sake …. you say it is what it is ….. God said to Moses …. I Am. God is simply an existence, just like the universe. Thus, the Bible is correct when it says that before anything … I Am. .. the whole Alpha and Omega stuff. AND … Since time is relative, as in being able to fast forward your favorite movie, and dimensions are endless, and as you said …. pp. we humans are limited by our limited mental abilities, …. it’s as likely that God is the sum of all being as it pertains to reason right along with the inorganic particles that, just so happen exist in a manner that allows for interaction and “creation” of all elements and molecules that can exists.

        Bottom line, God is as likely as not. The receiver that can detect and comm7nicate with God exists in the creative realm of thought. Until science can create a machine that literally reads your thought out of thin air (I’m not talking about a machine that requires wires be connected to your head) … and can distinguish from whom a particular thought arose, there can be no empiric data to prove or disprove the existence of God, and thus that is why the existence of God remains outside of the realm of science.

        So for now, we will have to rely on the human brain to detect God. Those who insist God doesn’t exists will continue to “believe” in so called scientific theories that are no more provable than the existence of God.

        • To qualify as scientific, theories have to be based upon observations and hypotheses tested by making falsifiable predictions. No faith required, only doubt.

          The God hypothesis is not testable, so isn’t scientific. It requires faith.

          • There are very few people who have ever claimed that they can prove the existence of God.

          • Felix For evidence see Jesus’ predictions of his death and resurrection, supported by the historical record of eye witnesses who saw and reported those events. Those prophecies are the hypothesis that God exists with the consequent confirming evidence. See William Lane Craig on the resurrection evidence. There is no alternative basis for the big bang / creation. https://www.bing.com/search?q=william+lane+craig+resurrection&src=IE-SearchBox&FORM=IENAE2&pc=EUPP_

          • “Felix For evidence see Jesus’ predictions of his death and resurrection, supported by the historical record of eye witnesses who saw and reported those events. Those prophecies are the hypothesis that God exists with the consequent confirming evidence.”

            All written well after the fact. There’s no way to verify.

          • A Computational Model/Theory somewhat analogous to Conway’s Game of Life, and employing strong AI for a sentient universe:

            With no beginning is the Word – the ‘Software’ – the Cellular Automata Rules – upon which all other higher rules and laws of physics are an outgrowth.

            With no beginning is Matter/Energy/Space – the ‘Hardware’ – in which the Software virtually exhibits its existence.

            With no beginning is Time – which simultaneously updates the Universe with each succeeding chronon.

            Just as a normal living human has a brain which, as it matures, is capable of being aware of its own existence through biochemical processes in a finite neural net; I conjecture that the omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient ‘mind’ of God has always inhabited the infinite Universe overseeing his/her/its objectives.

            Thus:
            God is the Universe.
            The Universe is God.

            … no need to separate ‘science’ and ‘religion.’

          • Science and religion are separate because they use totally different methods of “knowing” reality.

          • Philosophically, your own awareness of existence is not scientifically testable. Each person can only vouch to him-herself of their own sentience. I am aware of my own existence – all other beings could just be non-sentient simulants in my environment. However I have faith, via strong analogous interactions with other beings, that they too are sentient – but there is no way to test/prove this – partly because implementation of sentience itself in the strong AI sense is currently unknown.

          • God is the Universe. The Universe is God. Or Energy is the Universe. The Universe is Energy.

          • I don’t believe God IS the universe; as the universe is matter and energy and not terribly intelligent. It is more likely that the universe resides INSIDE God. Thus he is all ever-present.

            Even God couldn’t explain where he came from. So I think it’s a bit tough for us to speculate on such things.

          • If God were omniscient, He would presumably know whence He came.

            But surely He has no beginning, or what’s the point?

          • Greg; “Even God couldn’t explain where he came from.”
            God didn’t explain where he came from – not quite the same thing.

      • “The problem for Darwin and the Big Bang theory people is”
        No problem. There is no evidence to use to test any postulate so its no longer science. The only evidence there is for no God is smugness.

        • “The only evidence there is for no God is smugness.”

          Where is the evidence FOR god. “Evidence for no God” is a silly statement.

          • Do you appreciate how much science is faith? The greatest evidence for God is the thinking behind this argument. If we were primitive cells bumping heads in a primordial soup I might be tempted to agree with you
            If I could.

          • What part of science is faith?

            There is no evidence of God, and that’s just the way that God wants it.

            For faith to have value, He must remain hidden.

            The conception of Gog of biblical authors evolved toward this understanding. First God instructed Adam and Eve personally, then escorted them out of the Garden. Later, He still walked with Abraham under the terebinth trees. Later still, He talked to Moses via burning vegetation and delivered commandments out of storm clouds atop Mt. Sinai. But eventually the realization that”to see God is to die” dawned.

            And since that point, God has remained hidden, except for the prophets’ claims that He intervened in history, unseen, when His people ticked him off.

          • Apart from you don’t have a cyclotron or one of the many other expensive bits of equipment to gather data independently, me thinks you would struggle to even prove that the Sun is the centre of the Solar System even if you didn’t record the movement of the planets yourself.

          • Maybe Felix. Here’s another possibility. For our love / friendship to have value it must be freely given. If God revealed himself directly that free choice or free will would be taken away (how could you not do the will of God once you knew him?).

            Imagine the crushing, endless loneliness before creation and then ask “Why would God create? What’s it all for? Why am I here?”. After an eternity on your own imagine the gifts you would bestow on new friends / lovers – the latitude you might give such precious companions when they (repeatedly and painfully) disappoint – the sheer delight when they use your gifts to create something beautiful of their own (however insignificant in the great scheme of things).

            All of which would mean so much less if God were empirically proven.

        • On te contrary there is considerable evidence for no God of the sort described by a typical Christian.

          Take intelligent design. Frankly the human body is way worse than any Microsoft software. Mixing up the urinary and reproductive tracts and putting the waste disposal next to them is the sort of idiocy only a socialist government could come up with.,

          Then sharing the same passageway with food and breathing so people can choke to death is beyond belief stupid.

          And passing it all off as evidence of a Purpose beyond our Understanding is just a total cop out.

          I mean they had to introduce Sin to explain why life is so full of pain and suffering…and then we are supposed to assume that its all our fault, when if God had has his thinking cap on he wouldn’t have made Sin possible in the first place.

          No, if God exists and He made the world, he is either completely uncaring or a stupid incompetence sadistic son of a bitch who doesn’t deserve any respect al all.

          • +1000
            Spot on, Leo.
            A supposedly loving god who lets children die horrific deaths? Ridiculous.

            PS A variation on your (superb) comparison to socialist central planning:
            “Why do we know God was a civil engineer?”
            “Only a civil engineer would put the leisure park by the waste outfall”

      • You say “…the universe exists and is what it is, because it doesn’t have any option to not exist.”

        Next you’ll be saying “it has to be CO2 because I can’t explain it any other way.”

        Easier just to say “I don’t know”

        • I don’t know. I admit I don’t know. But if you ask, it appears the university exists, and there maybe is some logic behind it. And what I think is that when (if) we find out how come, then the logic just shows there is no other option than that the universe exists. This we would call a theory of everything. I think I have heard this term somewhere?

          This is a very simple description how explanations emerge. And if we are intelligent enough, that is possible. Where would you place the God then? The point is, we don’t know, but that is not a reason to postulate a God.

          I think temperature has many components, so don’t go there.

          • I think I know where you are coming from here Hugs. Descartes aside the universe does exist and (QM aside) it can’t both exist and not exist. I would only ask that you stay open to the possibility “when (if) we find out how come” that the answer is God.

      • Folks will always have a problem with God- which is eternal, all-powerful, all knowing from which our universe came via a big bang or otherwise.
        We can form a concept of God, but as humans we can’t form a complete idea because God is not a part of the universe. All our knowledge is only part of the universe. This brings to mind Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, Hilbert’s Entscheidungsproblem, and Turing’s halting problem. While aimed mainly at mathematics, logic and algorithmic processes they suggest the real possibility that there are ideas we can concieve that we can’t prove.

        There are things we can never know or prove. When faced with that people turn to beliefs which can be made but exist only in an individual mind.

      • The author gratuitously challenges a well proven theory using the banal arguments of creationists, while denying the obvious source of his evolutionary skepticism and denying the overwhelmingly vast array of proof of evolution … And then conflates his science denialism with the very real science that is the bulwark of AGW skepticism???

        The author could not possibly harm the science of AGW skepticism more than he has with this post. No thinking person need ever pay any attention to this flake again.

        • You put it so harshly. You know why I snipped my first slip?

          You are also right on all accounts. That’s why I was so devastated. Why was that written?

      • I believe the point was that the reactions which arise, when the limitations and unresolved questions surrounding Evolution and The Big Bang are brought up, are characteristic of a belief being challenged, instead of a scientific theory being criticized.

        Science isn’t supposed to need emotionally charged personal attacks in order to defend it.

      • Yes, this is the first cause argument in the end. There must be a first cause… and that will be God.

        The first thing every philosophy student learns is that this argument depends on a premise that cannot be shown to be true, which is then used to derive a conclusion which does not follow from it.

        The most sophisticated of Acquinas’ five proofs is the one from necessity and contingency. Though it too fails, even if correct, to establish the nature of the necessity that it argues must exist.

      • Here is one possible answer to ‘who triggered the big bang’. In keeping with the worst rhetorical questions theme (:

        Pastafarianism Automated Creationism

        A controversial theory of Pastafarianism that has been adopted by many believers since the theory of Evolution was first put forward, is that of Automated Creationism. This theory proposes that the Flying Spaghetti Monster designed a process by which all of creation would come into existence through natural progression, initially triggered by Him in one significant event, called the Big Boil*. Such natural progression would also serve to mislead scientists, something that causes the Flying Spaghetti Monster much delight. Due to its similarity to the much touted Big Bang Theory, this proposed version of the universe’s creation received much popularity among Pastafarians who sought to accommodate both scientific and religious opinion, as the Big Boil denies neither faith nor science. The theory also received benign acceptance by the majority of the scientific community.

        The orthodox Pastafarian sect, however, labeled this theory as a heresy supported only by weak and disloyal disciples, and in the interest of peace and harmony began a long-running crusade of intimidation and harassment. This crusade was tempered in later years by the influence of more sympathetic leaders of the faith who felt that, rather than condemning the divisionists as evil, they should instead be seen as victims of their own weakness of spirit and thus prone to the evil influence of science. Accordingly, compassion was shown to them and their souls cleansed by means of beheading.

        The last known mention of Automated Creationism by a high-profile Pastafarian in a public forum was allegedly made in 1936 by the prophet Barry Foster, who had begun to consider the merits of the theory late in his life – specifically on his last day of life, which ended shortly after leaving the aforesaid public forum.

        NOTE: The Big Boil Event took longer than He expected until He created salt and added it to the mix. This initiated the Big Boil and also explains why the sea is salty. Rituals Failure If done wrong, Godzilla may appear instead of Flying Spaghetti Monster. Please call 911 123-789 for help, they will fly it to Japan.
        http://flyingspaghettimonster.wikia.com/wiki/Pastafarianism

        • And oh yeah, the angels dancing on the head of a pin discussion and other such nonsense can start here.
          Oh, Wait…

          • With all of that spaghetti, I thought he was going to work in the origins of string theory!

          • Now, that is funny!

            Except that it has now morphed into M Theory.

            Maybe M for marinara sauce.

  1. Ironically, we witness belief in the environment and AGW taking religious, blind belief, positions. So it is with Darwin. The minute you even raise the topic you get hysterical arm waving responses, with no empirical evidence to support their position.

    Hear Hear!

    Go get ’em (again) Dr. Ball!

    • For some time now, I have questioned whether “survival of the fittest” combined with genetic mutations is the sole mechanism for evolution. I still think evolution is plausible, but I do not think we have all of the mechanisms understood. How do behaviors find their way into an organism’s genetic make-up? Just asking.

      • Behavioral adaptation develops from within an organism and is epigenetically transmitted to its offspring. Darwinists and all the other evolutionists insist external stimulus “orders” the mutations or adaptation.

        For example: the platypus supposedly developed all of it’s characteristics in response to external stimuli. That stimuli caused adaptation. Either the stimuli sorted the mutations (helpful mutations survive to be passed on to the offspring) or more simply as Darwin thought, the struggle for survival caused the helpful characteristics to develop and evolve.

        It is wildly improbable that the platypus casually was conjured into its present form, shape and function by external stimuli. Venomous mammalian claws, in only the male? The female lays eggs and lactates & nurses without teats? The duckbill? Marsupial? What did the platypus evolve from?

        It takes a greater act of faith to believe external stimuli “created” the platypus than to believe the platypus created itself. What can’t be denied is the design.

        • You don’t understand evolution in general and apparently have never studied mammalian evolution in particular.

          Darwinian evolution, ie evolution by means of selection, which means differential reproductive success based upon variation, doesn’t “order” anything. If by “external stimulus” you mean changes in the environment, then OK.

          The platypus is a holdover from when all mammals still laid eggs. It and its monotreme kin survived on Australia because that continent split off from Gondwanaland before placentals arrived there. Since marsupials can’t live in the water, or else their joeys would drown, monotremes managed to hold onto that niche on Australia. Everywhere else, they were replaced by placentals.

          Similarly, on Australia, marsupials radiated into niches elsewhere occupied by us placentals.

          • You didn’t explain the male’s venomous claws or his unique bifurcated, four-headed penis which is used only for sex. But continue, very interesting science you present, all these facts about the evolution of male & female platypus.

        • “A Camel is a Horse designed by a committee”.
          Joking aside, the marsupial/mammal parallel evolution on continents seperated by ocean is something very like our good technological ideas being tried out again and again. Looks like the platypus was a test case.

      • Via biological mechanisms such as the interactions of hormones, neural transmitters, brain structures anspd so on. Learning to walk us hard wired into our brains, so why not fighting over sex?

      • Well ist not survival of the fittest. Its elimination of the totally dysfunctional.

        Otherwise why else would we have democrats, liberals and greens?

        Natural selection ensures that this is the worst of all possible worlds, in that an even worse one simply couldn’t exist. 🙂

  2. Firm believer in creationism over evolution. Everything that evolution presents as a pattern of from goo to you would also support a creator version.

    • How dare you buck the consensus.

      Surely you must agree that since Darwin, we don’t “need” a creator any longer, hence we’re allowed to dismiss with prejudice the case for Him!

    • Yes but you can’t dictate the methods God chooses.

      And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?” link

    • ADS, so you prefer the easy, snap your fingers version, instead of scientific inquiry to find out what really happened.

      • Nice strawman you have there.

        We all have the same evidence, there just happens to be a disagreement on the required assumptions. The Creationists have the benefit of not having to constantly change their assumptions as scientific inquiry updates what we know about the world around us.

        For example: adaptation. Its evidence that can be seen, measured and to some degree understood. Creationists state that “each reproduces after its own kind” and that is exactly what the evidence continues to prove. Evolutionists make contrary claims but the evidence produced only supports Evolution if certain unsubstantiated assumptions are used to interpret this evidence. (e.g. Uniformitarianism).

        One of the take-aways from this mini-series of articles is that AGW seeks to refute Uniformitarianism in order to push forward its own predictions. So for the misotheists, which is more sacred Evolution or AGW? Pick one.

        • Please define “kind”. Thanks.

          There is no genetic barrier that keeps one species from evolving into a new species, or from higher categories evolving, ie genera. families, orders, classes, phyla, kingdoms or domains. Transitions from one such category to another abound, based upon every possible line of evidence, without any evidence against these factual observations.

          Every prediction of creationists has been shown false. There is no evidence whatsoever supporting the repeatedly falsified, antiscientific religious doctrine of creationism, which is as faulty theologically as scientifically.

          If you truly believe that there is evidence in favor of creationism, please provide it. Thanks, again!

          • “Transitions from one such category to another abound, based upon every possible line of evidence, without any evidence against these factual observations….If you truly believe that there is evidence in favor of creationism, please provide it.”

            Back at ya, Felix. Where’s the evidence of one species “evolving” into another?

            And not your tired old 1995 link to a confused mish-mash that does not show any such thing.

            Thanks.

          • Kent,

            You’ve been shown numerous instances. What good will it do to show more, if you don’t read them, or say they’re only “traits”, not new species? If the new species is interfertile, but can’t produce fertile offspring with its parental species (one or more), then it’s a new species, but the strictest definition.

            Not just new species, but new genera have been made in the lab, as I already showed you.

            Yet again, here’s the instance cited by Tty of an observed speciation event from the 1870s:

            http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-1680

            As noted, most plant species probably arose in a single generation, via whole genome duplication. If even half did so, that’s about 150,000 instances of new species arising from existing species.

            Hybridization also can make new species from old in a single generation. It has been repeatedly observed. In the case of South American butterflies, the hybridization observed in the wild was repeated in the lab.

            Same with nylon-eating bacteria. The simple point mutation which turns sugar-eating bacteria into nylonophages in the wild has been recreated in the lab.

            I could go on endlessly, but you’re not subject to persuasion based upon evidence. It’s obvious that you want to remain ignorant, which is sad, since it would be easy to educate yourself:

            https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(08)01268-2.pdf

          • Felix,

            Each time you arrogantly assert that others are not reading your links, I’ve reported to you what your “evidence” actually shows–and none show evidence of “evolution.”

            The “Observed Speciation” link is nonsense. It shows nothing of the kind.

            You link to an article about a new variety of water grass is not “evolution” observed.

            Changes in “ploidy” are NOT “evolution” of a new species.

            The Origin of the Species theory of evolution posits one species becoming something else altogether–a chicken becoming a lizard, or vice versa. And that there are “missing links” between the various species that will be soon discovered and prove the theory.

            For example, the “common ancestor” of gorillas and man was a different species. Not a different variety of gorilla or man, but a different species. Gorillas are different species from man. The theory posits that gorillas and man “evolved” from the common ancestor, with many (?) missing links in between.

            Please provide evidence of one species “evolving” into another?

          • I’ve repeatedly given you instances. You just can’t handle the truth.

            Changes in ploidy most certainly is evolution. Clearly you have no clue what evolution is.

            When a plant doubles its genome, it usually becomes a new species, ie breeding only with members of its own species and not its parental species. How many times does this need to be explained to you?

            Please state specifically (!) which instances from the 1995 link and other examples I’ve provided you you find faulty and why.

            You won’t because you can’t. All you can do is hand-wave, deny and go “Na-na-na-na-na! I can’t hear you!”

          • Your take on evolution is absurd. Your lies are ridiculous.

            Clearly you’ve never studied it, nor obviously read Darwin or any other biologist.

            Evolution doesn’t say that a chicken will turn into a lizard. It says that chickens and lizards descend from a common reptilian (diapsid) ancestor.

            Chickens and crocs are archosaurs, one branch of the diapsid line. Lizards belong to another branch, the lepidosaurs, with snakes and tuataras.

          • Felix,

            Are you familiar with the psychological phenomena of “Projection?”

            When you start with your ad hominems, please look in the mirror first!

            Your repetitions of sources provides no evidence of one species becoming another species.

            The “reference” you linked to multiple times, in the last discussion is here:

            http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html#part5

            You appear to think he reports on observations of species “evolving” into different species. It is not what you think it is.

            Take at random one of the pitiful “examples” he thinks proves “observed speciation.” How about, “5.6 Flour Beetles (Tribolium castaneum)”

            What did the “observed speciation” in this case actually mean? Hold on, here comes the proof of evolution we’ve been waiting for!

            Heavy and light beetles had preferences for mating with others of similar size! Or something…..!

            “Positive assortative mating on the basis of size was found in 2 out of 4 experimental lines.”

            Or at least in 50% of the cases! Yeah! There it is! Flip a coin, and a big beetle may mate with a little beetle–or–it may mate with another big beetle!

            His examples are all of this quality and value.

            Again, check your source. It is total nonsense.

            Only by semantic games can he even convince himself that he’s talking about “speciation.”

            That’s hand-waving attempts to obfuscate bunkum. Sorry. But it’s not evidence.

            The theory of evolution does NOT predict that Flour Beetles will prefer mating with others their own size!

            The theory predicts that mutations will spontaneously create new species–completely different species from the original species–uniquely adapted (survival of the fittest) to their environment.

            In case you’ve forgotten the theory, here’s Darwin’s “Tree of Life:”

            http://dc37.dawsoncollege.qc.ca/humanities/gabriel/DTP/treelife.jpg

            This clearly shows the theoretical transmorgrification of a hypotehtical proto-fish into chickens, frogs, and humans, among other species.

            Maybe you don’t like the plain talking–but the theory requires one species (proto-fish for example) to change into completely different, and vastly dissimilar species.

            Any evidence for that?

            Thanks.

          • “Back at ya, Felix. Where’s the evidence of one species “evolving” into another?
            And not your tired old 1995 link to a confused mish-mash that does not show any such thing.”

            Sounds like you won’t accept any evidence.

          • Gosh, Jeff, can you provide any?

            Check out Felix’s “evidence.”

            It’s weak beer. No evidence of a species becoming another species. Just evidence of micro-evolution, changes in a species–beetles that might (or might not!) prefer to mate with beetles their own size!

            How about the most studied species in the history of science? The fruit fly?

            Must be thousands of generations of fruit flies studied in the lab. Thousands of spontaneous and induced mutations. Weird appendages growing out of heads.

            Has there ever been a new species created from these fruit fly experiments? Any observation of a fruit fly laying eggs that hatched into house flies? Or any other species?

            Here’s UC Berkely’s pitiful grasping at straws on how fruit flies might “evolve” in the future:

            https://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evo_45

            And Florida State’s prediction that fruit flies will be a new species–40 million years from now!

            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170809140249.htm

            It would be great to see evidence.

            Please share!

            Thanks.

          • This is the problem with Crevo discussions. Both side don’t share the same domain language, and the Evos are too arrogant to even care.

            In this case, the red herring is “define ‘kind'”. Creationists didn’t invent that word, “kind” is the English word chosen to represent ‘miyn’ in the ancient Hebrew. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t map to the 20th century taxonomy, but its pretty much universally understood that a cat is a different ‘kind’ than a horse or sparrow (except to the Evolutionist). So blathering on about transitioning between one arbitrary unit of taxonomy to another defined in the world-view of the Evolutionist isn’t helping to build that bridge either.

            Furthermore, moving goal-posts is not really an honest way to keep a discussion amiable. In point “no evidence supporting…” is very different than “evidence is consistent with”. In this case the claim “after its own kind” has not been contradicted by any available evidence. That is, we don’t see one kind bringing forth a different kind. Evolution, OTOH, makes this a bedrock part of their faith yet we get hoaxes as proof.

            Now if Evolutionists concoct a system of taxonomy that is based on their world-view, so that species differentiation can still be of the same kind but can also be attributed to variation which everyone agrees takes place, we still have the same evidence that are consistent with the claims (sans any links from one kind to another), but still have a gulf between both parties because the domain language and the assumptions differ.

            So you can claim that evolution is true, but it doesn’t negate Creationism because your evidence requires a different set of assumptions and a different standard of measure.

        • Calling it a strawman doesn’t make it one.

          “The Creationists have the benefit of not having to constantly change their assumptions as scientific inquiry updates what we know about the world around us.”

          You call that a benefit? I call it ignorance, seemingly willful.

          • Creationists constantly change their story.

            Whenever new discoveries fill gaps in the history of life on Earth, they say, “Ah-ha! Now you have two gaps where before they was just one!”.

            Except that eventually even those gaps get filled, as with Gish’s claim that no protomammal with two different jawbone-skull attachments existed. Then such fossil animals with both the “reptilian” and mammalian jaw joints were found, in which the rear little jawbones were already used for hearing. Egg-laying mammals in which these bones had moved into the middle ear had previously been found.

          • What story do we change? The fact is that until you hand us verifiable evidence of witnessed and recorded evolution in which the new organism has new and never before present in the species DNA which produces an improved new never before possible in that species function, you have not proven evolution in the least bit.
            But lets say that you do provide said such new positive DNA with new positive functionality. As a believer in God, I would just see it as a miracle, and move on.
            But you have yet to provide said evidence, and you likely will not be able to in my lifetime. I am all for the science, study the stuff all you want. It will never change my view that there is God.
            Breeding one species of life repeatedly aiming to accentuate a certain characteristic of that life which is already present, but maybe not frequently present, or present in high degrees is not evolution. That is just simply selective breeding.
            Antibiotic resistance is not evolution. It is just simply the result of killing off bacteria that is not resistant and giving more room to grow for those that are resistant. The DNA to be resistant was always there, but because it came at a cost with no benefit it used to be the rare variation to present upon division. Now, after having the non resistant bacteria wiped out, they are becoming more and more dominant. Take away the medication, and after a while, the ones that expend the extra energy to be resistant will return to being the tiny minority.

          • You are dead wrong on every singly ignorant creationist talking point lie.

            1) I’ve provided hundreds of thousands of instances in which speciation has been observed in the wild and made in the lab, or both. In every instance, the speciation is thanks to genetic changes. The evolution of novel DNA with new species is also abundantly evident in the record of life on Earth.

            No miracles required. Just nature.

            Your argument is from ignorance. Because you’ve never seen it happen and have been told by professional liars that it hasn’t happened, you’re totally gullible and fall for such blatant falsehoods.

            2) Clearly, you don’t know what evolution is, ie descent with modification. In the lab we make new species all the time, and observe it in the wild. For sexual species, that means that the new species can’t produce fertile offspring with the parental species.

            3) Microbes evolve DNA resistance. That’s simply a fact. Some microbial populations do already have defenses against some antibiotics, because our early antibiotics were often based upon naturally occurring substances, which the microbes’ ancestors encountered in the soil, air or water.

            But the evolution of novel resistance, ie new genetic material, has also been observed over and over again. It’s a fact. Genomes aren’t engraved in indelible stone. They change in every generation. Indeed, they do so in individual organisms during their lives.

            How can you fall for the absurd lie that DNA doesn’t change? It can’t help but do so. If you want to inject God into the history of life on Earth, which is an antiscientific endeavor, but feel free, then blame Him for designing DNA and RNA to be able to change so easily.

            Evolution also works so as to conserve genetic material essential for basic biochemistry.

            No one is asking you not to believe in God. The fact of evolution and every other scientific fact says nothing about the existence or lack thereof of God. Why is that so hard to understand?

            Nature works without continuing divine intervention. But you can insert God into the history of the universe at any point you want. It’s just not science. The belief in God isn’t subject to the scientific method.

      • Nothing prevents us from investigating the creations of God and learning from them. As an engineer I think I have a firm handle on inquiry, no finger snapping explanations needed.
        As a believer in evolution, a semi science based direction of inquiry, the burden of evidence is upon you to prove beyond doubt that it is and that it is not driven by a behind the scenes God. Like I said, everything that evolution presents can also be attributed to creationism.

        Look at it as if our universe is an immense game. 30 years ago the characters written into games were very basic and very limited. Over time they grew in complexity and abilities. They did not do this through evolution, but through creationism.

        Now move on to our “future” AI dreams with computers and spooky action at a distance quantum computing running these AI “games”. We could create a world for the AI to live in, it might start off limited. We might have enough time to individually converse with each AI in the beginning. We would have upgrades. We could control the speed of “time”, we could shut it down and start it up without any ability of the AI to know. We might make them self replicating and dynamic in nature. We would certainly want them to have an environment that challenges them. What is the point of AI if we cannot make it learn and advance. And we would watch them grow and keep track of them. We might even want to limit their lifespan to prevent build up of errors from corrupting them beyond the point of repair. Each would grow from the last. And if they go off the desired path, we would destroy them individually or in large numbers.

        So, think about that, we could, in the next 30 to 100 years create a universe from nothing, and inflate it into position in a near instance. Turn it on. It would be significantly less than what our universe is. But I read an article about a 4k color TV. It can show so many colors on so many pixels that there are more images possible on the color tv than atoms that exist in the entirety of the known universe. 8,251,200 pixels with 68,719,476,736 possible colors per pixel. Who says the universe God resides in is not as much advanced from our universe as our universe is from the the potential universes we could create? Or even vastly more so.

        I believe in God without evidence, and no evidence has been shown to make God impossible.

        • That’s right. No evidence can show God impossible, since the belief that He exists isn’t subject to the scientific method.

          However it’s not true that the religious belief in creationism and the scientific fact of evolution both equally well explain the observed history and function of life on Earth. Creationism explains nothing, nor can it explain anything. Evolution explains everything, or offers the potential to do so. Creationism is supernatural, thus (false) religion. Evolution is natural, hence genuine science.

          • OK, then explain everything.
            The universe is supernatural. Everything from a nothing in an instant.
            Magical invisible matter to hold galaxies together
            Magical invisible energy to push galaxies way from one another at an ever accelerating rate.
            Experiments show that a photon can go back in time in order to decide if it wants to present as a wave or a particle.
            The universe is not analog, it is digital, there is a Planck distance that is the smallest distance possible to have any meaning.
            Subatomic particles magically appear and disappear.
            The difference between the human and the next animal on Earth is orders of magnitude different. We have near absolute control of our environment which allows us to live on nearly any point on the surface and many below it. If even for short periods of time. And even into outer space all the way to other heavenly bodies.

          • I said that evolution explains biology, not cosmology, although obviously the universe evolves, too.

            The difference between humans and other animals is not orders of magnitude different. Please show how you quantified that difference.

            In terms of biomass, many other species outweigh us. Microbes can survive in outer space where humans can’t, even with space suits.

          • Explain everything biological then.
            My arguments above are just showing that religion is not the only supernatural thing people believe in.
            Biology for instance…
            Based upon the size and age of the universe, and the sheer number of chemical reactions required to produce the first living organism, let alone the number of living organisms that would die off long before they were perfectly attuned to reproduce long enough to really start off long surviving life, there just has not been enough time for it to have actually occurred.
            That is chemistry, physics and mathematics in action. The chances of having already having life in the young universe we have is too small to even contemplate.
            That we are here with even just single celled organisms let alone unimaginably advanced life such as us humans is supernatural.

          • Felix: “Creationism explains nothing, nor can it explain anything.”

            It does not try to explain; but I think this might be the time to point out that Creation and Evolution are not mutually exclusive. Creation is unfinished.

        • “the burden of evidence is upon you to prove beyond doubt that it is and that it is not driven by a behind the scenes God.”

          The first burden of evidence is to show that there is a behind-the-scenes-God who may or may not be driving the process.
          The second burden of evidence is to show that this God is, in fact, driving the process.

          Burden of evidence usually falls on the positive claim. “God didn’t do it is a negative claim”, so no burden to prove it. Only when the negative claim goes against a pretty well supported claim (yes, I know that is vague) is there a burden of proof on the negative.

          There is no supporting evidence for the “God did it” claim.

          • I admit my belief is based upon faith. I have nothing to prove to you. If you chose to give up the possibility of eternal life in heaven because you argue that science disproves God, that is a choice you make. God cannot be disproved, just as he cannot be proven to exist, unless he decides to reveal himself.
            I have had no special events in my life to make me know there is a God. I have seen no miracles that force me to believe in him. I ask for no such evidence. At the end of the day, you believe or you do not.

            But, arguing evolution is real and that is how all life after genesis progressed. There is your positive claim. Since evolution requires the creation of new physical features or cellular functions which never existed before, all you have to is provide the evidence of said new DNA coming from where it was impossible before. Should be simple. Evolution argues that since the start of life on earth there have been 5 billion species that have gone extinct. Since the Earth is less than 5 billion year old, that means that we should see a new, unique, never before seen, species. Every single year. You should look harder. Much harder. And find that event that happens every single year, where one species becomes another.

            You should also be able to create a sterile environment with the chemicals of life and have it eventually spontaneously erupt with new life. That new life of course would have to be completely foreign to the DNA life that we all love and experience today… Funny that with controlled experiments where you can make the most life forming friendly environment [possible that evolutionists have never been able to accomplish it. The problem with the formula of life is that the environments in which the components of life can occur are hostile to one another. You need a protective shell that lets the good things in, the bad things out, and is able to be grown once form, and divided. You need the worker parts inside. And you need coded molecules. Which is why life is a miracle. There is no single environment in which the piece parts of life can be created simultaneously and be able to come together, and then be programmed instantaneously such that they can reproduce.

            Without a way for that spark of life to happen, that leaves a creator beyond the universe we live in to have started it. And of course, if he started it, and evolution does actually happen, that is due to his initial programming of a language of life. DNA.

            You have a large amount of work to prove evolution, and even if you do prove evolution, then you have to prove that life can start on its own in a singular environment or group of attached environments that mix at the edges, and that such an environment or group of environments was possible on Earth 4.3 billion years ago.

            Then, and only then can you credibly challenge my belief in God, and it still would not disprove him. It would just simply be a challenge. Because now I can just argue that he set up those environments to make it happen and see what went on.

            To truly shake my belief you would basically have to trace back genetically and with physical evidence the path from me to what ever monkey species we supposedly evolved from after having proven evolution and genesis.

          • As I keep pointing out and you keep failing to notice, no one is asking you to give up a belief in God. The fact of evolution says nothing at all about God.

            Science technically doesn’t “prove” things, although that term is sometimes used colloquially.

            I’ve showed you instance after instance of the evolution of novel genetic changes leading to functional differences in new species. That’s evolution.

            If for some warped religious belief you can’t handle the truth, that’s your problem. You’re free to be happy being lied to by blasphemers who tell you that God is cruel, incompetent and deceptive, as the evil creationist Creator must be.

            Evolution is a fact, going on around us all the time. Our own bodies show its effects. But if ignorance is bliss for you, great.

            You’re lucky that scientists recognize and use the fact of evolution to improve life on Earth.

          • “If you chose to give up the possibility of eternal life in heaven because you argue that science disproves God, that is a choice you make.”

            I don’t argue that science disproves God. But why should making that argument exclude the possibility of eternal life in heaven? I cannot see a logical connection there. If you can, please expound it.

            In the meantime, recall that Buddhists reject the idea of a creator God, but believe that all life is eternal and each being is continually reborn in various realms until that being attains enlightenment.

            “But, arguing evolution is real and that is how all life after genesis progressed. There is your positive claim.”

            And I will let the experts on evolution argue for it. It is not my argument.

            “that leaves a creator beyond the universe we live in to have started it.”

            The fact that you cannot imagine any alternative means of starting life does not show that there is no alternative.

            And, as I pointed out above, Buddhists do not believe that life started.

            “Then, and only then can you credibly challenge my belief in God, and it still would not disprove him. It would just simply be a challenge. Because now I can just argue that he set up those environments to make it happen and see what went on.”

            And still without supporting evidence for that claim.

    • Sorry but that doesn’t work. We have strong evidence that the mechanism is mutation and strong evidence that mutation is random.

      Random means no creator.

      Unless you can show that it’s not mutation that drives evolution or that mutation is not random, you are obviously wrong.

  3. “not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory”

    There are some things you just can’t convince some people of, so why bother?
    CO2 and evolution are similar in this one way. So I will shut up about evolution, almost.
    But turn it around, how would you prove creationism?

    The concept of “proof” is valid in mathematics. In science or anything but mathematics, it’s not that easy.
    Even in religion, how do you prove God exists? or doesn’t? Or heaven or hell?

    • But turn it around, how would you prove creationism?

      Even in religion, how do you prove God exists? or doesn’t? Or heaven or hell?

      You can’t.

      Hence, the question becomes, “Why is your faith better than mine?”

          • You are asking for Jeff Alberts to prove a negative? Go on!

            Well I wasn’t thinking specifically along those lines.

            Are you making the claim that one cannot prove a negative? If you are, that claim is in itself a negative, in which case, not provable under your own assumptions…

            :-p

          • nope
            it is the contrapositive of “anything that exists can be proven’
            bone up on the logic, mate.

          • “You have demonstrable evidence that God does or does not exist?”

            Nice spin. I was speaking of evidence for Evolution. Therefore it’s not faith. It’s an ongoing investigation, instead of “I already know everything”.

          • I was speaking of evidence for Evolution. Therefore it’s not faith. It’s an ongoing investigation, instead of “I already know everything”.

            It can’t be both at the same time, i.e., either evolution is “an ongoing investigation,” or it isn’t faith (and therefore, you “know everything”).

          • “It can’t be both at the same time, i.e., either evolution is “an ongoing investigation,” or it isn’t faith (and therefore, you “know everything”).”

            Bafflegab.

        • An observation supporting a theory that supports a theory that supports a …. etc.
          That is not evidence.
          Mann observed the flooding in Houston and claimed it was evidence Man’s CO2 caused it.

        • Exactly, Jeff. If the evidence for a god existed, there would be no need for the armies of sycophants who make their living from the donations of believers.

          I believe in Darwin’s theory, because it is logical, & matches the evidence we see around us. The decoding of our genetic inheritance in DNA has, for me, provided the proof of this theory.

          However, even before that, I could not accept that any god would have the patience to create the vast number of life forms that exist on earth, especially those that we are continually finding living in seriously extreme environments. If god created all of nature, why would he bother to also create single celled creatures that live in rocks hundreds of metres underground? Or viruses that can dry out for hundreds, even thousands of years, & then return to life when conditions are suitable?

          Another ungodly creation is radioactivity, the driving force that makes our planet habitable? Can any creationist give a plausible explanation of how an omnipotent god came up with that idea, when it can also be explained as a natural process occurring in stars which have simply grown to massive sizes under the force of gravity when enough raw material is available nearby?

          The big bang theory, & most of cosmology are another matter entirely (no pun intended). Humans might be better served by accepting that the universe as we see it exists, & keeps getting bigger because we keep developing instruments that can see further. 2000 years ago the Romans thought that the sun was a fire carried in a chariot across the sky. Today? ….

          • The fiery chariot was before the Romans, at least during the Empire.

            Their model of the “universe” did indeed still have the Sun going around Earth, but riding on a sphere in a series of nested spheres, on out to the sphere of the fixed stars and the prime mover beyond that.

            There are ancient coins from the Levant which show YHWH riding in such a chariot, like Apollo, the Greek sun-god.

        • “When you have evidence, it’s not faith any more.”

          When you hear from God, you will believe. But no matter what you tell other people, they just will not.

          There is plenty of evidence of God if you want to open your eyes. The bible told the story of Israel’s exile and scattering among the people, long before it happens. And it also told of God bringing those people back into their homeland, long before it happened. Many ancient sites were found because the archaeologists read the bible carefully and found the towns that nobody knew existed. Healing miracles which doctors witness can not be proven, but they sure do happen.

    • The question assumes there is no possibility of communication or direct revelation as a social phenomenon.

    • I really don’t understand the claims of no empirical evidence. We know about plate tectonics. We know that means species got split into separate groups. We can show that two separated groups are closely related by DNA and that they are now separate species. We can show why they changed by looking at how environments change and we can match DNA mutation rates to geological timescales.

      In some cases we even have intermediate fossils showing it.

      And this can be shown for many, many species.

      So what, God split the plates and then fiddled around with the DNA? Or what?

  4. I’ve been waiting for a post like this, for I have always been as skeptical about Darwinian evolution as anthropogenic warming for the same reasons provided in this post. Skeptics of faith-based Darwinian evolution are subject to the same ridicule and discrimination as skeptics of Darwinian evolution. In 1989, Scientific American cancelled my assignment to write “The Amateur Scientist,” the longest running column in US magazines, when the editor learned I reject Darwinian evolution and abortion. (Full details are on my website. They published three of my columns, including one on how to make DIY solar UVB radiometers, which led directly to my first hand-held total ozone monitors, my first publication in NATURE, a Rolex Award and my career doing atmospheric science.)

    Rather then enter the debate, I’ll simply ask that advocates of Darwinian evolution answer just one question: how did kinesin molecules evolve? These remarkable protein nanomotors implement many vital functions within our cells, including transporting nutrients and cell division. One class of kinesin nanomotors actually walk along microtubules in our cells, which are formed in advance and may dissolve thereafter.

    So that’s my question: How did kinesin molecular motors evolve? Just the facts, please. No speculation.

    • “So that’s my question: How did kinesin molecular motors evolve? Just the facts, please. No speculation.”

      I don’t know the answer, but because we may not know doesn’t mean it was caused by a god. To me, that’s the lazy way out.

      • I don’t know the answer, but because we may not know doesn’t mean it was caused by a god.

        Because we may not know means it’s faith either way.

        If your faith is better than mine, why is it?

      • You don’t know the answer, so you automatically accept an evolutionary origin. This has the ring of faith that goes way beyond science. The same holds for climate modelers, who have yet to come close to modeling the impact of water vapor, clouds and particulate matter on their forecasts. Yet they retain their faith in what they have not proved.

        • As with Dr. Ball, right about “climate science”. Wrong about biology.

          What makes you imagine that Jeff “automatically” accepted an evolutionary origin? Maybe he has actually studied biochemistry and microbiology, so has read the papers and conducted lab work himself in order to learn how motor proteins work and evolved.

        • Moderators

          Yesterday I made a (rather lengthy) comment right about here, beginning with “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”, I even reread it after it posted to see if it needed any edits, I never got a notification it went into moderation, but now it is gone. Did I say something verboten? If I said something I’m not allowed to say, can you send me a copy of my comment via email? I’m rather proud of my wordsmithing on that one. I appreciate the help!

      • Walking in the woods, hundreds of miles from anywhere, you come upon an elaborately constructed and decorated structure, with hundreds of finely crafted details and systems. You’re not sure of its function, its inhabitants, its materials, or many other details.

        Using your intelligence, scientific reasoning, and your senses, you intuit:

        A. This building put itself together, organized its own plumbing, heating, and roofing systems, entry and exits, drainage, decorations, and all the other finely detailed and crafted elements of the structure–it “built itself.”
        or
        B. An intelligent being (as yet unknown to you) designed and built the structure.

        If you chose A, then you may want to consider owning a bridge in Brooklyn

        Our reason and intuition are sufficient for us to understand that massively complicated systems, designed and built on a foundation of huge amounts of information, do not “build themselves.” And a small hut does not “evolve” into a castle by itself.

        It takes a special sort of mental gymnastics to defeat our reason and intuition.

        • It takes only observation of nature to discover that populations of living, reproducing organisms evolve. A single non-living thing, like a house, is not a population of organisms.

          I’d have thought that that distinction to be obvious.

          Today we’re able to compare the genomes of the simplest prokaryotes with the most complex eukaryotes to see exactly what steps evolution took in going from those like the one to the other.

          • A complex construction–multiple systems built by intelligence using information systems, functioning in unison to achieve a purpose.

            In the case of a castle, the purpose is to provide for the needs of the inhabitants. The information and knowledge required to build and maintain the castle is massive.

            It is clear to an open-minded (unfettered by theoretical bias) observer that an intelligence was involved in designing and building the castle.

            What’s the difference when the observed subject is living? A living being is greatly more complex than a castle. The systems required for survival and reproduction require an unimaginably greater amount of information than do the castle’s systems.

            Bias is a nasty blinder. Tends to blind observers to what they are seeing. Group-think hobbles one’s natural ability to intuit the work of intelligence.

            Your claimed observations of “evolution” are theoretical, never observed. There is no evidence that one species has evolved into another species. Micro-evolution happens all the time. Fish lose their eyesight when they live in caves–but they’re still fish! They don’t become slimemold! Dogs are bred to emphasize certain traits–dachsunds are great rat hunters, but they’re still dogs! They don’t become ferrets!

    • The evolution of kinesins (there are many subfamilies) and other motor proteins has been understood for at least 20 years, since electron microscopy revealed their detailed structures, after their sequences had previously been discovered.

      https://www.slideserve.com/etana/evolution-of-kinesin-and-myosin-motors-and-the-roles-they-play-in-degenerative-diseases

      Both motor and G proteins evolved from nucleotide switches. The structures and sequences of kinesins and myosins, in muscle, show that they share a common ancestral motor protein precursor, called kyosin, derived from such switches.

      Nucleotide switches in molecular motors: structural analysis of kinesins and myosins

      http://www.sci.ccny.cuny.edu/~gunner/Pages-422/PDF/motor/sabin.motor.pdf

      Besides being the building blocks of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA, nucleotides carry packets of chemical energy around cells (such as ATP), participate in cell signaling and are found in important cofactors of enzymatic reactions.

      The case for a common ancestor: kinesin and myosin motor proteins and G proteins

      https://valelab4.ucsf.edu/external/publications/1998kulljmusrescellm.pdf

      • Should have mentioned dyneins, as well, which move in the opposite direction to kinesins, with which they share sequences, which myosin doesn’t. But all have similar architecture and components.

      • Okay Felix, you know how they came about and how they work… make one yourself from raw existing materials. If you can’t make one, then it is unlikely that it made itself.

      • Felix Try a serious examination of Ball’s discussion. Foundational to the kinesin evolution is the greater mystery of abioggenesis – the formation of a living reproducing cell converting and using photosynthesis from inorganic concentrations of molecules. The probability of both are astronomically small relative to the maximum possible combination of all particles in the universe, at the maximum recombination rate of inverse Planck time, over the entire age of the universe. Try grappling with the amazingly improbability of your position. e.g. see writings of mathematician/philosopher of science Dr. William Dembski The Logical Underpinnings of Intelligent Design http://www.libertyparkusafd.org/Paley/Reports/logical%20underpinnings.pdf
        See publications at the Evolutionary Information Lab
        http://evoinfo.org/publications.html

        • Dembski is utterly ignorant of biology. So is Dr. Ball. Also way outdated on geology.

          Evolution and abiogenesis aren’t the same thing.

          The chemical steps from complex organic compounds to the simplest organisms, protocells, is mainly just a matter of polymerization. All the constituent monomers and oligomers self-assemble.

          I urge you to read real origin of life research rather than the mendacious Dembski’s ignorant blathering and outright lies.

        • David: Felix is correct: The development of living systems from a soup of organic molecules is far hard to imagine than the evolution of new species by random mutation and survival of the fittest. Using DNA sequencing, we can even see how eukaryotic cells evolved when one a gram negative bacterium learned to survive inside a gram-positive bacteria and specialize in metabolism as the mitochondria. (Mitochondria have their own DNA and protein synthesis machinery, which is separate from DNA found in the nucleus and protein synthesis machinery found in ribosomes. Likewise, plant cells evolved when a photosynthetic bacterium began living inside a eukaryote.)

          If you are looking for a role for intelligent design, stick with the origin of life – or perhaps the design of new phyla.

          • “Soup” is a misleading analogy. What was required for complex organic compounds, monomers such as nucelobases, sugars, phosphates, lipids and amino acids to develop into simple life forms, ie self-replicating, metabolizing and evolving polymers, was chemical concentration.

            A dilute, diffuse “soup” wouldn’t provide the needed concentration for polymerizing reactions to take place. This might have happened around deep sea hydrothermal vents, with energy flows, in ponds on land around geothermal springs, or, as I favor, in pockets of liquid water in ice around the crystals. Freezing, as you know, excludes impurities such as salts and organic chemicals. RNA oligomers form naturally in such water pockets in ice.

          • Agreed. A dilute soup isn’t the proper description. However self-replicating molecules trapped inside a lipid membrane are miles from what we consider life. While RNA provides the catalytic machinery for protein synthesis even today, dozens of other ancillary functions need to be found inside the same membrane. RNA’s with catalytic activity have been evolved in the laboratory, but survival of the fittest requires something complicated enough to “survive” and evolve. (Perhaps my imagination is limited.)

            If we ever find that life has evolved on other planets like ours and we observe what kind of machinery exists, maybe we will have a better idea of how life itself might have begun here.

          • Self-replicating molecules inside a lipid membrane, with metabolism and capable of splitting, taking those contents with the two daughter membranes, is a protocell, ie life, capable of evolution.

            The Harvard and Mass General lab of Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak, among many others, is working on protocells:

          • Felix: Does Szostak’s work illustrate evolution of life or intelligent design of life?

            I understand how RNA could provide all of the genetic and enzymatic needs of life, but I can’t imagine how survival of the fittest would permit evolution of superior molecules without the machinery already “being alive”. In the laboratory, Szostak and other do artificial selection of superior molecules, a form of intelligent design.

            But – as I’ve said before – my imagination may be too limited.

          • There is no work illustrating “intelligent design” of life. That’s not only a pseudo-scientific belief, but anti-scientific. If you can imagine ID, then surely your imagination isn’t limited by reality.

            Again, origin of life research isn’t about biological evolution. It’s about abiogenesis, ie how life developed in the first place.

            Dunno to what “machinery” you refer. Oligomers (short chains) of RNA self-assemble spontaneously. The enzymatic function of RNA begins with surprisingly short chains on nucleotides.

            Self-replicating polymers (long chains) of RNA are in effect life, so just that process alone is “useful for life”. A protocell would include these polumers, with simple metabolism inside a membrane.

            If you’re interested in origin of life research, without recourse to any such supernatural agency as imagined by ID adherents, then I’d urge you to watch Szostak’s videos, although they’re now out of date.

    • I can barely cook mac-n-cheese, and if you gave me a billion years, I might finally be able to figure out a way to keep it off my shirt.

      Hope endures.
      (it ain’t the nanomotors, it is something more insidious).

    • Dr Mims, thank you for your inspiring work over the years. Your column was always my must read section of sciam. I was always amazed at your ability to adapt technology to build useful instrumentation you made me marvel at the possibilities. I am deeply appreciative

    • Forrest: What happened to the argument about flagellar motors? Does this mean that you continue to look for more obscure examples of irreducible complexity to falsify evolution and support your favourite creator hypothesis. Your argument for facts, no speculation shows a mind closed to theory (because you can’t prove it I’ll believe whatever I want to).
      It should be surprising to you that as vulnerable as the theory of evolution is to the origins of even the most humble proteins the theory has remained vigorous for over 15o years. Read the post from Felix above and don’t despair, take a good look as those potassium channels, they look pretty irreducible to me.

      • Malcolm, I cited only one clear example of irreducible complexity: the astonishing kinesin nanomotor, for which no evolutionary explanation has been offered. As you seem to know, many other examples exist. Accepting an evolutionary theory for their origin requires faith.

        • I already showed you how motor proteins evolved. The process has been understood for 20 years or more.

          No instances of “irreducible complexity” exist, “clear” or obscure. It’s antiscientific, when confronted by a biochemical or microbiological feature, to toss up your arms and say, “It’s too hard to figure out what happened here! So God must have done it!”

          Every supposed example of “IC” has been already or is being solved by real scientists, ie workers looking for natural explanations so as to improve our understanding of and ability to use nature.

          There is no evidence for “Intelligent Design”. All the evidence in the world shows intensely Idiotic Design.

          • All the evidence in the world shows intensely Idiotic Design.

            Amen to that. As a design engineer for 60 years I can attest to the fact that God is a total Cnut. No way if I wanted to create a functional human being would I ever lay the body out the way it is.

          • seconded. As to survival of the fittest I’d add as I have before, it’s more like survival of the ‘meh, that’ll do’. It takes energy to achieve excellence and the driving forces in life aren’t going to waste energy when ‘good enough’ does the job – As such there’s heaps off less than ideal systems in the biotic world that would suggest some pretty basic fundamental structures and processes developed only sufficient to achieve their goals – were there an intelligent designer I’d imagine they’d have started from a position of excellence

            .. and to the question of eyes – why hundreds of variants on eyes?

        • Forrest: over the past century creationists have gone from complex organisms to complex organs to complex molecules in an ever dwindling attempt to find something, anything to poke a stick at evolution. The very fact that the arguments are getting more and more esoteric appears to be a confirmation of evolution.

          • Indeed. If there is a God, he most certainly is not personally concerned with human suffering.

            As modern medicine, which has found many ways to reduce it, that God didn’t see fit to build in, confirms…

    • Forrest – picking on something really complex and fascinating and pointing at it saying “look at that – how do you evolutionists explain something so incredibly complex?” is not the same thing as presenting a credible hypothesis that gives an alternative explanation for it.

      When faced with something so complex, evolutionists are under no obligation to provide a detailed explanation of how it resulted from natural selection. The PROCESS is the explanation. And further research will surely lead to at least a partial explanation of the evolutionary steps that led to your chosen complex phenomenon.

      To make a generalization, anti-evolutionists, creationists and intelligent-designers all tend to make the implicit assumption that the current level of scientific knowledge and theory is fixed and monolithic (it’s implicit because to say it explicitly makes you look silly). Not so, of course, science is evolving (there you go!) at exponential rates, especially in things like molecular genetics. If you don’t see an answer now, wait for a year or two.

      • Wait a year or two? Molecular nanomotors have been studied for well over a decade. Those based on kinesis molecules are the most fascinating in view of their many roles and their astonishingly small size. What’s especially inexplicable is how large numbers of them are organized to work together to achieve an end goal (e.g., cell division).

        I might add that I don’t speculate about evolutionary origins of life just as I don’t speculate about the origins behind climate change. Since May 1988 I’ve made tens of thousands of measurements of the atmosphere’s aerosol optical depth, the total column abundance of water vapor (the key “greenhouse” gas), the total column abundance of ozone and direct, full-sky and diffuse solar radiation at wavelengths from 300 nm in the UVB to 1020 nm in the near infrared. These measurements are accompanied by thousands of digital photos of the solar aureole, the sky over the north horizon and fisheye images of he entire sky. Most of my instruments have been annually calibrated at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory since 1992 and will again be calibrated there later this year. My science is not based on a preconceived hypothesis (e.g., evolutionary theory). Instead, it is based solely on the facts formed by my measurements. It’s these facts, not speculations, that end up in my scholarly papers and books. Journals devoted to evolution have very different requirements and a high level of tolerance for speculation and theories that cannot be proved.

        • Evolution, descent with modification, is a fact, ie an observation, not a preconceived hypothesis. Motor proteins have been studied for a lot longer than a decade. How they evolved has been known for 20 years.

          Evolutionary theory, the body of science seeking to explain these observations, naturally advances, as do other such theories, ie the heliocentric theory, the theory of universal gravitation, the oxygen theory of combustion, the atomic theory of matter, the theories of relativity and QM.

    • So askith did: Forrest M. Mims

      So that’s my question: How did kinesin molecular motors evolve? Just the facts, please. No speculation.

      First of all, why are you referring to said as …… “kinesin molecular motors”, ….. instead of referring to said as …… “kinesin molecular engines”?

      “DUH”, motors are more often than not, assumed to be a stationary entity for providing a source of power to perform work, …. whereas engines are more often than not, assumed to be a mobile entity for providing a source of power to perform work.

      But it matters not a twit because I think it is both silly and asinine to refer to a “chemical reaction” as a motor or an engine.

      Try solving a simpler problem, and that is, …… does the body’s “sense organs” (eyes, ears, nose, etc.) use the same “data code” for uploading their environmentally sensed data/info to the brain’s subconscious mind, …… or is all said “data codes” different and the brain’s subconscious mind translated them to a per se “brain code” for memory storage, recall, muscular & organ instructions, etc., …. and for communicating with the conscious mind?

      And just the factual answers, please. No speculation.

    • Your question is a good one, Forrest, answered by my assertion that the details of atoms, molecules, matter, & particularly, life, are way too complex to be the creation of anything other than pure chance over a very, very, long period of time.

      • Their functionings are also way too Rube Goldbergish and clunky kludgey to have been designed “intelligently”. If there be a Designer, He, She or It is obviously a Moron. While obviously intensely stupid, if the Designer were intelligent, then also necessarily cruel and deceptive.

    • “How did kinesan molecular motors evolve?”
      Dang! Ya got us there Forrest!

      Now you mention it, it’s obvious, ain’t it?!!
      Gotta be, “God did it”!

      That’s intricate work, hard on the eyes and fingers, and he must be gettin on a bit, so he deserves a thumbs up for that one.

    • “So that’s my question: How did kinesin molecular motors evolve? Just the facts, please. No speculation.”

      That’s a very good question. It’s a very, very messy universe. In fact (as you ask for facts), it is an overly complex and extraordinarily inelegant universe… full arbitrary coupling constants strewn about among a milieu of principles, laws, etc.

      It appears peculiar to believe in a deity so twisted and, let us be honest, so incompetent in light of its alleged omnipotent and omniscience.

    • Forrest M. Mims: I’ll simply ask that advocates of Darwinian evolution answer just one question: how did kinesin molecules evolve? These remarkable protein nanomotors implement many vital functions within our cells, including transporting nutrients and cell division. One class of kinesin nanomotors actually walk along microtubules in our cells, which are formed in advance and may dissolve thereafter.

      First things first: Do you imagine that all the kinesin nanomotors are the same? That they have exactly the same chemical constituents in the same number and arrangement? That they all work equally well? Studies of molecular mechanisms in large numbers of individuals show them to be different among the members of all species, with similarities and differences among species. Differences have been clearly related to differences in the genes that code for and regulate the development of the molecular motors, as for all other molecular structures that have been studied in large numbers of individuals within species and lineages. Do you imagine that they never fail, or that they fail with exactly the same failure modes and frequencies in all individuals?

      In populations of biological organisms, most prevalently among the young but at all age groups, all of the formerly presumed “designed” mechanisms fail sometimes. The adults in each population, those left over after the slaughter of most offspring, the few remaining to reproduce, are those among whom the failures have been the least frequent or least costly or both.

      • The evolution of the 14 different groups of kinesin has been elucidated in great detail.

        Disease’s such as Lou Gehrig’s result from kinesins’ going haywire.

  5. Instead of the article title being, Evolutionary and Global Warming Theory: Predictable Responses with No Empirical Evidence, I wonder how much more intense objections might be if the title were, Evolutionary and GREENHOUSE THEORY: Predictable Responses with No Empirical Evidence.

    You think questioning Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory gets you flack, try questioning Greenhouse Theory. (^_^) Even fellow skeptics will bite into you for doing that. “Of course, there is a greenhouse effect due to CO2”, they will say, “it’s just not that big a deal”.

    Of course there is Darwinian evolution, it’s just not that big a deal. Somehow, such a position doesn’t work out the same. Or does it? — maybe evolution is not the ONLY deal ? — maybe some entirely different deal overrides evolution’s small effect ? I don’t know. I’m not set on this. I surely don’t think it’s as orderly and smooth as the popular conception of it seems to be.

    Let the heated debate begin. And you thought global warming was hot !

  6. I can’t remember if it was here, but somewhere I found a link to a retired UGA biology professor who has a theory about humans coming from chimp-pig hybrids.

    I don’t have enough biology knowledge to critique it, but I couldn’t find anything that violated any other science I do know, and it seemed plausible based on his evidence.

    There’s a whole lot of Kuhn happening right now. Something big must be approaching to shake up the status quo.

      • Nice one Karlos, I saw that last time and I am still mulling it over. It’s a great theory – right or wrong. I used to like a strange subtitled chinese TV series in my youth called ‘Monkey’, I come from the UK, it ran in the 1970’s I think. It was (I find out much later) based on the important Chinese myth story ‘Journey to the west’ or something, anyhow, there was the young buddha accompanied by two gods, monkey and pig. They could be viewed as sort of proto-humans, half humans, etc., anyhow, I considered that in relation to the pig-monkey hybrid idea… interesting how ancient people interpreted the evidence they saw around them, or in this case in/on and of them.

    • Peter Morris @July 1, 2018 11:17 am

      ” … a theory about humans coming from chimp-pig hybrids.”

      You’ve been watching too much Seinfeld.

    • Humans are not hybrids of chimps and pigs. There are no uniquely pig sequences in our genome, for starters.

      Humans share a common ancestor with chimps, splitting off millions of years ago. The last common ancestor of humans and chimps on one hand, and of pigs, lived tens of millions of years ago.

      • the geneticist who wrote the theory is happy to discuss it with folks.. he had a few papers published on the theory along with others speculating that hybridization drove evolution – and his text books on the thousands of hybrids of avians are standard text in Uni’s.

        Hybridization is extremely common, and while variations exist within the genetics of a species, few to no species have been observed ever altered by starting as one, ending as another.

        As many have said, once a hybrid becomes commonplace, it’s often accepted as the norm, and his back crossing explanation for a lack of discrete pig genes sounds pretty similar to issue folks in genetics face finding ‘pure’ bison given the almost universal crossing with cattle that occurred over the years, yet many would point and say ‘bison’.

        have a peek at his site, it becomes more convincing (I found it by accident when looking one day, struck with the revelation that *maybe* convergence of species created new ones rather than divergence – it seems more and more likely to me than what my texts in biology taught)

        • Of course hybridization occurs and is important to evolution.

          That’s not the issue.

          The question is, did humans evolve as a result of hybridization between humans and pigs. The answer is no, because there is no genetic evidence of its having happened, and the two species are too far apart to hybridize. In a lab, mabye you could get an embryo going, but it wouldn’t last long.

          • you are assuming the proto-pig genes remain in a contemporary pig to which we can compare. It wasn’t so much as a ‘pig’ and a ‘chimp’ he speculated hybridizing..

            GO look over the site- he’s published criticisms and even published a reply to them in phys.org . He also stated clearly he’s NOT saying it occurred, he’s theorizing. Sure it’s brave stating theories having only anatomical anomalies and shared traits to base the theory on – heck, even Newton wouldn’t even state a theory on his gravitational observations, concluding that gravity was so preposterous no sane person would believe in it 😉

            “That one body should act upon another through a vacuum without the mediation of anything else is so great an absurdity that no man suited to do science…can ever fall into it,…..Gravity must be caused by an agent…but whether that agent be material or immaterial I leave to my readers.”
            ― Isaac Newton

          • I’d also like to add that my UWA genetics lecturer was unknowingly one of the first to realize the actions of epigenetics when studying the South West Trigger plants – these were populations of plants in isolated communities – each little plant looking identical, breeding happily within that population – and yet the genetic material was in total flux with wildly varying numbers of chromosomes, mismatched alleles and in all, a total dogs breakfast of stuff that shouldn’t have even been there. Every population he looked at was the same. Phenotype was a near perfect copy from plant to plant but each was a shambles in it’s genetic reproductive material. Of course being trained by such a person and mentioning this – or the later (restricted to botany) theories of epigenetics caused many to shake their heads and declare stupidity and suggestions I go read genetics. Of course now it’s accepted.

            Look about – almost every book on biology talks of the dangers of hybridization stating incorrectly that it *mostly* results in infertile hybrids with citations of the mule – despite the opposite being more broadly true.

            Anyone who’s studied hybrids in depth will let you know that successful back crossing generally only works with specific genders, and in time it can be very hard to identify with certainty what the original parent contributing to the bulk was without knowing precisely beforehand.

            In looking over his discussions of the total lack of vertebral, hormonal, skin type, hair placement and many other things present in humans and not represented anywhere in the monkey lineage (even Darwin cites some of the anomalies and cannot explain them, comparing them to only being present in pigs) I found his theory acceptable. He may be wrong – he states clearly there’s no way to find out since we no longer have the proto-pig and the proto-chimp to work with – but his information on gorillas may be more palatable to those averse to porcine ancestry. /hugs

    • There’s a whole lot of Kuhn happening right now. Something big must be approaching to shake up the status quo.

      Apropos of nothing I can put a finger on, I sense that you are right..

      Read my long winded post elsewhere in thus thread for what I sense it needs to be.

      Essentially the deconstruction between ‘what works’ and ‘what is true’

      Religion and science, in different ways, both work.

      Neither has any provable truth content at all, let alone a monopoly of the truth: the arguments are all between those that consider that they have…

  7. Great posting. My concern is with the simple idea of “the search for truth.” This is a simple idea found in religion, science, even law. This is where we rely upon logic, structure,cause and effect and mostly upon prediction. Your article clarifies the problems with our AGW debate. Prediction seems to be a problem that mere logic points out.

    • Great posting. My concern is with the simple idea of “the search for truth.” This is a simple idea found in religion, science, even law. This is where we rely upon logic, structure,cause and effect and mostly upon prediction. Your article clarifies the problems with our AGW debate. Prediction seems to be a problem that mere logic points out.

      Unfortunately Gee Dee, the search for truth can be shown to be ultimately impossible, if by truth we mean absolute knowledge that is completely consistent with the data.

      Because all knowledge is relative to the metaphysical assumption used to formulate the concepts that comprise it.

      And God, bless his little cotton socks, has not seen fit to equip us with omniscience, so we are left with a terrible dilemma. We have no way of discovering the truth. All we have are limited tools for discovering a lie.

      An alibi proves a person did not commit a crime, but nothing proves he or she did.

      Even direct eye witnesses might have been hallucinating, or the Devil himself might have grabbed the person and forced him to do it. Or any amount of improbable but distinctly possible explanations…might be true.

      Sherlock says that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left no matter how improbable, must be the truth. Unfortunately there is not a single solution to that equation.

      There are always a zillion improbable explanations. And even applying Occam’s Razor to pick the simplest one, has nothing to say about Truth.

      Intelligent design, CAGW and Darwinism are all, on the face of it, plausible hypotheses, but they are not in the same class.

      Intelligent design is essentially metaphysical. It makes no testable predictions. OK God might turn up and design something a bit more intelligently one day, but even its most ardent supporters are not predicting that He will. This immediately removes it from the class of scientific hypotheses.

      CAGW is scientific. It makes detailed and pretty precise predictions about what the climate will do under rising CO2.

      Sadly for its adherents, the climate has utterly failed to conform to its expectations. It is as a scientific theory, debunked beyond repair. It lives on as a sort of religion though, and article of faith rather than science, by those self important enough to be conditioned to feel guilty about their very existence.

      Darwinism as a combination of random mutation and natural selection to kill the totally unfit before they can reproduce, is likewise a perfectly respectable scientific theory, and it hasn’t been refuted yet. Not only does it explain the haphazard and incoherent nature of life and species far better than actual design, it also predicts things, such as genetic variation occurring over narrow bands to create new species, not radically different genetic makeup in every possible species, plus things like inter-species breeding, which shows that species are close enough to have viable offspring.

      And yet it COULD be refuted if tomorrow an Act of God introduces a SuperHuman with an arsehole as far from its mouth and reproductive tracts as possible – say in the sole of one foot, sex organs utterly distinct from its urethra – so let’s locate that to the sole of the other foot, airways distinct from the food and mastication process, so the nose goes straight to the lungs via trachea that is not connected to the oesophagus by the pharynx…having a completely different genetic makeup..

      And He might even give it some bloody common sense. But I doubt it. ANYWAY an example of miraculous supernatural intelligent design would go a long way towards disproving Darwinism, although of course it wouldn’t be ‘proof of God’ . Just that weird stuff we didn’t understand had happened. And today we would be far more likely to believe that it was simply an alien from another galaxy, rather than a proof of God’s existence.

      As I said once you have eliminated the impossible there is still an awful lot of stuff left over.

      TRUTH = NOT LIE is a proposition that doesn’t stand up.

      Even though LIE= NOT TRUTH does.

      And its that lack of commutation that people do not understand.

      Even if genetic drift and natural selection were disproved tomorrow, it would not prove intelligent design…

      • “Sherlock says that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

        Again, quotes from fictional characters. This one doesn’t really make sense. What’s left doesn’t have to be the truth.

  8. I won’t get into my thoughts on evolution vs creationism, but the first graphic showing what empirical evidence is so germane to the continuing CAGW deception. Exactly what is the empirical evidence and what is not and what the public should be be told are what Climategate, and also the Bates revelations last year, were all about. We still see this everyday here, with graphs presented and other graphs presented, some saying that the data is this and others saying it is that. I guess Climategate got swept under the rug and the data tampering has gone on unabated and that is why the data is now so muddy.

    • Maybe we should discuss the evolution of data.

      I’m trying to think of a good graphic similar to the classic rise-of-man graphic used to illustrate human evolution from apes.

      I’m thinking now that the best graphic would show DE-evolution of data, from a highly organized entity to a one-celled entity, or from a broad-minded entity to a closed-minded entity — from a guy wearing glasses, holding a slide rule (what’s THAT!) to a mouth breather holding an IPCC executive summary. … It’s a mental work in progress.

  9. I’m a firm believer in
    the “I don’t know theory”
    of common sense,
    rather than making up,
    or believing
    some unproven theory,
    when there’s a question
    no one can answer.

    How were humans created?
    I don’t know

    What will the climate be like in 100 years?
    I don’t know.

    Sometimes the person who says “I don’t know”
    is the ‘smartest person in the room’.

    Throughout history, most of what was
    called “science” turned out to be wrong,
    ranging from slightly wrong,
    to completely wrong, even when it seemed
    to make sense (a consensus) at the time.

    And that’s why I would never buy a used car,
    from a scientist.

    My climate change blog:
    http://www.elOnionBloggle.Blogspot.com

    • I don’t know if they are the smartest, they have something better and in the long run more useful, honesty . At least you don’t have to undo all the damage of having to be “Right” at all costs.

  10. It’s one of the reasons I nicknamed and refer to him as Michael “Piltdown” Mann.

    (BTW, until contrary evidence emerges, I subscribe to the Darwin/Russell theory of evolution by means of natural selection)

  11. The theory of natural selection has plenty of holes (I would hesitate to call it a full-on theory), but it’s a much better attempt to explain things than the concept of some sky-fairy making everything.

      • Is there any creationist lie for which you won’t fall?

        Darwin conceived of natural selection long before Annie’s death. Whatever religious faith he might still have had in 1851 might well have been washed away by his grief. But he discovered common descent and selection in 1837, if not before.

  12. A singularity contradicts all other physics. Singularities have not been proven. Black holes have not been proven. The big bang has not been proven because the background microwave radiation that was supposedly discovered was in fact radiation noise from the worlds oceans which fooled the readers of the instruments that purportedly measured it. When you think about it, the big bang is impossible because the pressure had to be immense. You cannot have that much pressure without heat. You cannot have that amount of heat in that small amount of space. The idea of the one way arrow of time brings up a conundrum. For every moment in time there was always a moment in time before that. That would mean that the universe always existed; if you assume that something cannot be created from nothing. If a God existed his throne would have to reside somewhere. Evolution theory may have a lot of holes but creationism is one massive hole.
    The predicted heat death of the universe is really only viable if the galaxies are all moving away from each other. This has been contradicted in some recent studies. Hubble may have been wrong. Galaxies are not formed by gravity. The universe is made up mostly of plasma. We live in an electric universe. Dark energy and dark matter do not exist. The electric plasma theory of the universe is overturning Einstein’s gravity /space time view.
    The fact is that energy/matter and time never had a beginning.
    So because there can never be a start in time and you can’t create something out of nothing then matter and or energy must have always existed. Therefore the universe always existed. That is the real miracle of our existence.

  13. ” Many call AGW a hoax, but it is not, partly because a hoax has a humorous component and there is nothing funny about the deception and its impact. “

    B I N G O !

    • The presupposition that hoaxes must necessarily have a humorous content is not correct. Just think ‘Enron’.

      • Eric Stevens @July 1, 2018 2:07 pm

        “The presupposition that hoaxes must necessarily have a humorous content is not correct. Just think ‘Enron’.”

        Agreed.

        And also:
        Rossi and his efraud
        Shawyer and his emdrive fraud
        Keely and his motor fraud
        Randell L. Mills and his hydrino fraud

        The list goes on ‘forever’.

  14. Oh, claiming too much certainty is a problem in science, as with anything. However, modern versions of descent with modification (Darwin’ original terminology) is productive, and creationism is not.
    Why else would there be a common coding system for DNA/RNA to amino acids? And the weird coding in that system, with some redundancy for triplets, and some not?

    • Tom Try dealing with “junk DNA”. Darwinism dismisses it. Intelligent Design predicted useful information in it. Evidence for that prediction is now being found – disproving Darwinism’s prediction. e.g. see UncommonDescent.com on “Junk Science”

      • In the first place, there is no such thing as “Darwinism” as some sort of belief system. There is only science. We do use the term “darwinian” to refer to evolution involving selection.

        In the second place, so-called “junk DNA” was discovered and explained by scientists who know that evolution is a scientific fact, ie an observation of nature.

        You have been lied to by shameless charlatans.

  15. I’m too pragmatic to take one over the other…..so I’m hedging my bets….. 😉

    My God thought it would be really cool to create something that’s constantly evolving….just like we are also constantly evolving
    ..walk run wheel plow tractor car Tesla

    I have no problem with a God that created evolution…..God doesn’t use a Timex

  16. Thank you for this spot on treatment of Science, the process for finding the truth. As a retired Science public school teacher, after a 22 year military career, I quickly found out my 8th graders had no Idea on how Science works. Sure they knew about the “Scientific Method” but not really. They knew about Theories but not really. So I started every year with a month long study of history of Science and then looked at how does Science work. Every year the same misconceptions popped up and the things you talk about in your article were always topics for discussion. My complaint about this whole climate issue is how it has harmed Science or my concept of how it has worked in the past. My first question when I heard people make the CO2 claims was “what is your theory so I can test it”. I wrote so many letters to individuals and proponents of climate change but none ever replied. So I applaud you for your article and think we need to step back and revisit how are we going to conduct Science so that it can be taught to our next generation of Scientist.

    • Thank you for this spot on treatment of Science, the process for finding the truth.

      Unfortunately you exemplify my point that even scientists don’t understand that science is not a process for finding the truth

      As a retired Science public school teacher, after a 22 year military career, I quickly found out my 8th graders had no Idea on how Science works.

      Neither it seems, do you.

      Perhaps Popper should be required reading for all science teachers.

  17. I’m pretty sure that religion also drives the push to find life on Mars, or some other planet or moon in our solar system, something to point to and say “See? Life isn’t all that special or rare”.

  18. There are plenty of good reasons to question the evolution theory open to a reasoned discussion. Of course marxists innate fear of anything hinting at Christianity has them screaming insults on their way to the nearest gay bakery. Personally I share their distaste for origin stories written by the ferverent of the middle east, but the marxists foaming at the mouth about haha Christian anytime it’s suggested evolution is incomplete makes them look much more hysterical than the average Christian

    • Jacob: A little more objectivity and a little less passion might help us see more clearly. There is nothing unique about the Jews in the Middle East; apparent all societies no matter how isolated have stories of how their people began and what happens when you die. Apparently, there is a deep human need to believe in something when it comes to these issues. And the current story of how we began (a Big Bang, self-replicating and catalytic RNAs, survival of the fittest+random mutations) may be as oversimplified as Genesis might seem to be to us. If a God revealed the existence of a Big Bang to man thousands of years ago, it wouldn’t have been understood well enough to be passed down to us today.

      And there is a perfectly good reason why gays were unpopular: When populations were increasing, societies that failed to reproduce as fast a purely non-gay societies died out, lost wars, and suffered from more sexually-transmitted disease. If you can’t view religion as revealed truth, you can still recognize it (in part at least) as the distilled practical wisdom derived from millennia of experience.

      • Yeah, well, this is Anthony’s site, and he can do what he likes, and if you don’t like it you can leave.

        At least that’s what he’s told me and many others if they dared to raise such objections. Which makes his statement there look, well, not so crash hot.

  19. “The science is settled!” Looks like a telling common denominator among confessing AGWarmunists and confessing Neo-Darwinists. Similar too the level of discourse (surprisingly even here), if the dominant faction does allow any discourse at all – instead of suppressing it by whichever inquisitorial means deemed efficacious.

    R.F.

    • But I see a better analogy between the blind faith exhibited by the “AGWarmunists” and the anti-evolutionists, at least the Creationist variety.

      • I did not comment on blind faith but on inquisitorial suppression of skeptics such as

        • denial of lecture halls within academia for open controversy between proponents and opponents – even after initial settlements,
        • threat of economic boycott against academic publishers of ‘skeptic’ publications and even subsequent breach of already signed contracts of ‘controversial’ proceedings,
        • denial of tenure for skeptics brave (or stupid) enough to voice their skepticism,
        • bullying around of already tenured scientist until they leave,

        all this is hardly typical for creationists. May be they would if they could, at present this is the level of discourse among Darwinist and AGWarmunists.

        R.F.

        • PS: I forgot to mention sacking of insubordinate editors of scientific journals who dared to publish – after regular and more rigorous than usual review – controversial papers.

  20. A real and very effective scientific hoax involved the obsession with proving Darwin’s theory. It is called the Piltdown Man Hoax after the quarry in which the event occurred.

    “Piltdown Man” type “stuff” is definitely involved in CAGW, but I think “Nebraska Man” type stuff is also involved.
    No attempt at deception or a “hoax”, just wrong because they had bought into it. That is, they fit what the observed into what they believed.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebraska_Man

    • “That is, they fit what the(y) observed into what they believed.”

      This is a pitfall that we all have to avoid. Even climate skeptics. I often see it in comments here at WUWT.

  21. It seems that everyone is confusing Darwin’s natural selection with abiogenesis. The two are completely separate. Natural selection only attempts to explain the change in species over time, while abiogenesis posits that life arose spontaneously. The real question is, if life suddenly appeared in the goo, how could one prove it was spontaneous, or the hand of God?

    • Origin of life research aims to show how life arose naturally, via organic chemistry, without recourse to the supernatural.

        • Yes. And they’re all worse than worthless packs of lies and unwarranted, idiotic assumptions.

          Furthermore, I’ve read the many papers on origin of life research which show how close we are to creating protocells.

          It is wrong theologically and scientifically to base your belief in God on the need for Him to be found in biology. That God has failed and is sure to do so again.

  22. Dr. Ball,

    What exactly would the evidence you’re looking for, that would satisfy you that evolutionary theory is correct, look like? What would it take to convince you?

    • Given that Darwinian gradualism has been refuted by the fossil record (evidence for “punctuated equilibrium”, Niles Eldredge, Stephen Jay Gould et al.), and by the ever increasing preponderance of convergent structures (Simon Conway Morris, Eva Jablonka et al.) – all of them atheists – and been rendered less plausible by annual discoveries of intricate molecular machineries, compelling evidence for the aleatoric emergence of new “baupläne” probably could only be furnished by Richard Goldschmidt’s “hopeful monster”. Gerd B. Müller and his ilk are exploring the Evo-Devo route towards this miracle – but it yet has to happen, or at least made conceivable.

      R.F.

      • What an outrageous falsehood. You’re dead wrong about everything.

        Gould was not only wrong, but even he didn’t say he had falsified natural selection. Morris is a Christian.

        Clearly you’ve never read the works of any of the people whom you cite.

        How dare you presume to comment upon topics about which your’e totally ignorant?

    • Isn’t it correct that theories can never be shown to be ‘correct’? The most that can be done is to show that they are the best idea that we have at the moment.

      • Agreed, as far as you consider Neo-Darwinism a theory to be tested. Exactly this is negated by confessing Darwinists. Apart from population dynamics dealing with micro-evolution hardly any undisputable empirical evidence does corroborate Neo-Darwinism. Whether you consider this “best” is any ones choice. Nevertheless, “The Science is settled!”

        R.F.

        • “But I must here remark that I do not suppose that the process goes on so regularly as is represented in the diagram, though in itself made somewhat irregular, not that it goes on continuously; it is far more probable that each form remains for long periods unaltered, and then again undergoes modification.
          –Charles Darwin describing a “punctuated evolution”, Origin of Species. p.p. 118-119

          Note that Origin of Species was published around 90 years before Gould–the Magisteria for Marxism guy–was even born.
          Gould manufactured a non-existent controversy, branded it, then sold it to a naive and gullible public not versed in the primary literature. He did this because he had a huge ego, but nothing new or interesting to add to the discussion.
          http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Debate/CEP_Gould.html
          At least nobody talks about his”spandrels” anymore.

          • Agreed. Gould contributed nothing lasting to evolutionary theory, but was motivated by Marxism. That sometimes evolution works rapidly and sometimes gradually is simply an observation, not a grand reimagining of evolutionary theory.

            His take on the Burgess Shale is also hogwash.

        • You assert things that are patently not true. Darwinism is up for refutation any time anyone can refute it with empirical evidence. Unfortunately no one can.

          Science doesn’t work by evidence corroborating a theory, it works by predictions made by that theory coming true, or not.

          If not its refuted.

          The science is not settled and no one claims it is. Its just the best theory out there right now.

      • Yes. That is the essence of part of Popper’s discourse.

        We can’t discover what is true, only what is not.

        And that statement is ubiquitous and 97% of people would instantly deny it, without thinking about it, because if you do, you have to accept it as the one and only exception to the rule that ‘the truth is unknowable’

        The truth is that only the statement ‘the truth is, apart from this statement, unknowable’ is true.

        🙂

        • We can’t discover what is true, only what is not.

          The truth is that only the statement ‘the truth is, apart from this statement, unknowable’ is true.

          I’m thinking about it. I think, “What a particularly contradictory (i.e., useless) belief system, where the only true statement can’t be true at all because it’s contradicted by the first premise of the system itself?”

          Why would I adopt such a nonsensical system of belief?

      • Theories have no truth content, only functional effectiveness.

        Is that your theory? If so, based on the following don’t you contradict yourself?

        No evidence could satisfy me that any theory is correct.

        🙂

        • sy, Leo does not contradict himself. For example, the following statement if made by Leo would not be contradictory: No amount of laundry detergent could satisfy me that any theory is correct” Any form of this last statement is true, because the underlying logical form is that of an implication. (Evidence implies correctness) The conclusion of the implication is irrelevant (indetermanate) because “correctness” is not a property of a theory. Any implication with a false premise is true by the definition of implication

          • Hey I missed this but great try Keith! I’m looking forward to a response to my objection below:

            Your example contradicts Leo’s definition of a theory, hence it can’t apply.

            Theories have no truth content, only functional effectiveness.

            The proposition, “No amount of laundry detergent could satisfy me that any theory is correct,” has no functional effectiveness in the real world, since laundry detergent can’t possibly verify “any theory.”

            Now, “laundry detergent” might satisfy one or a number of other theories depending on the theory. But those aren’t the theory you’ve postulated.

  23. Tim
    – your information on radiometric dating methods is a bit out of date. K-Ar dating was the first widely used method because potassium occurs at levels in the percent range in most igneous rocks, so analytical techniques in the 1950s and early 1960s were able to measure the K-40 (the radioactive isotope) and Ar-40 (the decay product) with moderate accuracy and precision. The big problem with K-Ar dating is that argon is a gas, and it doesn’t take much for minerals to start losing argon if they are heated above about 300°C. Hence giving younger ages than the actual age of formation.

    When I was a student in the 1960s, two superior methods were being developed and widely used. Rubidium-strontium and uranium-lead. Both give much more precise dates than the K-Ar method. Since then a dozen or more radiometric dating methods have appeared like rhenium-osmium and neodymium-samarium.

    Things have got to a fair level of accuracy. In the Archean, which is where I mostly work, I’m always seeing published ages in the 2,700 million-year range with estimated errors of ±1 to ±5 m.y. For igneous rocks only, of course.

    The point of this comment being, that radiometric dating has improved hugely during my lifetime and yours, as would be expected in any branch of science that depends on chemical analyses. For a climatologist to not be aware of those improvements is nothing to be ashamed of. Live and learn!

    I also have something to say about natural selection, but not quite ready to post a comment yet.

  24. There are those questions that need answers:
    Who, What, Where, When, Why and How?
    Science provides answers for What, Where, When and How?
    Science will never answer the Who and Why.
    Science only uncovers more questions.
    The Who and Why is the realm of the theologians.

    • Hans Erren

      So, where the difference lies in between “Goddidit” or “Mandidit” or “Manndidit”?

      Seems like the point made by Dr. Tim Ball.

      As Darwin puts it in his Theory “Evolution comes through variation”…thus the question arising “what kind of hypothesis or wanabe theory the AGW-ACC consist as”…..maybe as not evolutionary in principle?! (after all) ;
      Like, man creates man’s “climate change”!!
      Would not that be intellectual laziness?

      cheers

      • So, where the difference lies in between “Goddidit” or “Mandidit” or “Manndidit”?

        Man(n) exists, God does not exist.

        • God does exist…I have proof! Why else would hops exist? They are not good for anything except flavouring beer….ergo….God must exist, as he created them to flavour our beer. Seems obvious to me!

          • I see you haven’t read ‘the Sirens of Titan’

            A small component on Salo’s spacecraft breaks and strands him here in the Sol System for over 200 millennia. He requests help from Tralfamadore, and his fellow Tralfamadorians respond by manipulating human history so that primitive humans evolve and create a civilization in order to produce the replacement part. Rumfoord’s encounter with the chrono-synclastic infundibulum, the following war with Mars and Constant’s exile to Titan were manipulated via the Tralfamadorians’ control of the UWTB. Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China and the Kremlin are all messages in the Tralfamadorian geometrical language, informing Salo of their progress.

            As it turns out, the replacement part is a small metal strip, brought to Salo by Constant and his son Chrono (born of Rumfoord’s ex-wife). A sunspot disrupts Rumfoord’s spiral, sending him and Kazak separately into the vastness of space. An argument between Rumfoord and Salo moments before concerning the contents of Salo’s message, left unresolved because of Rumfoord’s disappearance, leads the distraught Salo to disassemble himself, thereby stranding the humans on Titan. It is revealed that the message was a single point, meaning ‘Greetings’ in Tralfamadorian. Chrono chooses to live among the Titanian birds; after thirty-two years, his mother dies and Constant manages to reassemble Salo. Using the part delivered so many years previously by Chrono, Constant repairs the Tralfamadorian saucer. Salo returns Constant to Earth where he dies of exposure in wintertime Indianapolis while awaiting an overdue city bus and as he passes away, he experiences a pleasant hallucination secretly implanted in his mind by a compassionate Salo.

  25. “So it is with Darwin. The minute you even raise the topic you get hysterical arm waving responses, with no empirical evidence to support their position.”
    I read through many of the comments to that previous article and there were a lot of calm, reasoned, dispassionate responses that pointed out some of the many lines of evidence that support evolution. Darwin may have started the ball rolling (pun intended) but there have been many additions and refinements to the original. It is now better described as Evolutionary theory. Evolution was not a new theory proposed by Darwin, many earlier thinkers had speculated on the relatedness of life before The Origin of Species including Erasmus Darwin, Charles’ grandfather. Darwin added the motive force, natural selection. He proposed, with evidence, that the selection of traits could be natural not just artificial as in the agricultural breeding of plants, horses and dogs. Darwin made little attempt to give a mechanism for the beginnings of life (the warm little pond) and made no attempt at all to explain the creation of matter. Nor did he have to explain it all. We do not have to apply Sherlock’s dictum to science and have all of our facts before we begin to theorize. Speculation about the facts we know, leads us forward. We hypothesize new experiments that will further refine our understandings.
    Darwin’s Origin has been a very robust theory, sure there have been modifications and additions but considering the time it was written, a half century before genetics became a science, it is surely a work of genius.

  26. “All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory. ”

    In that former thread I pointed to a case of speciation that was observed as it happened: Spartina anglica in the 1870’s. That apparently did not count as “empirical evidence”. What would count under your rules?

    “Some of the more fanciful, such as birds evolving from dinosaurs illustrate the problem
    There is no empirical evidence to support this supposition. ”

    In a way you are right in this case. Birds didn’t evolve from dinosaurs. They are dinosaurs, albeit rather specialized ones. And thanks to Jurassic konservatlagerstätten in Liaoning (Northern China) we have very good information on how this specialization occurred, and know that feathers were widespread among dromaeosaurs.

    • Liaoning is Early Cretaceous, but there are Jurassic konservatlagerstätten, such as in Germany, which also show the evolution of birds from maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs.

    • Dinosaurs fall into two basic divisions: 1) Saurischia or reptile-hipped–also lizard-hipped; and 2) Ornithischia or bird-hipped. What’s interesting is that today’s birds apparently evolved from the lizard-hipped branch and then developed bird-hips.

      (Felix will probably tell me I’m full of it again.)

      Jim

      • No, you’re right on.

        There is a newly suggested taxonomy of dinos, grouping theropods with ornithischians instead of sauropods, but it’s almost certainly wrong.

    • Not just feathers but the similarity of avian and dinosaur lungs, the existence of airsacs etc. clearly indicate the relationship.

      • Every possible line of evidence shows that birds are dinosaurs. There is no argument against that observation. Noted ornithologist Feduccia had an argument, based upon finger development, but this last gasp has been shot down.

        But even he recognized that birds are at least archosaurs very close to dinosaurs.

  27. “Who” created the universe is a false premise. The creation of the universe by “god” is the ancient’s way of explaining something they didn’t understand. The unverse was created by physics. I know science tells us that the universe will expand forever, but what if it does eventually collapse back into a sigularity? You have the material to manufacture the next universe, big bang, start again. Things that seem to work best in nature are those that operate in cycles.

    • You are just repeating the author’s point – wave of hand denials.

      By what authority can you definitely state that “Who created universe is a false premise?” Were you there? Your statement alone is akin to proving a negative.

      • Scale of 10 for scientific evidence of the two – Evolution = 7, Creationism = 0. So who’s doing the arm waving?

        • Evolution is a 10, ie an observation, hence a scientific fact.

          The level of correctness of the current body of theory explaining that fact might rate as low as a 7. But in that case the theory of universal gravitation must rate only a 5.

      • You miss Geoff’s point.

        Assuming that a God, Whatever or Whoever That might be, created the universe isn’t a scientific question. The God conjecture isn’t a scientific hypothesis, because it can’t make testable predictions capable of being shown false. It’s not subject to the scientific method.

        Anyone can believe that his or her God made the universe, but that’s a supernatural faith, not a scientific proposition. Science seeks natural explanations for observations of nature. Science is based upon doubt, not faith.

        The only assumption in science is that the same physical laws have applied throughout the history of the universe. If by the scientific method that can be demonstrated not to be the case, then even that “faith” would be overthrown.

        Indeed my Baptist religion, the most radical Calvinist denomination, requires that God remain hidden. If His existence could be demonstrated empirically, then where is the value of faith?

        As Early Church Father Tertullian wrote, c. AD 203, in De Carne Christi, “Prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est”. Freely translated, this means, “I believe precisely because it is absurd”.

        The founder of Protestantism, Luther, similarly wrote, “In order to be a Christian, one must tear the eyes out of his reason”.

        Thus, at least in Protestantism, it’s a grave theological error, as well as antiscientific, to try to mix religion with science. Even the Catholic Scholastics, who sought “proofs” for the existence of God, recognized that He remains hidden. Some scientists have said that they pursue science to know the mind of God, or some similar sentiment, but that’s not what creationists do.

        • Felix

          Maybe I am wrong, but from my point of knowledge the word “believe” is far much more used in modern scriptures of science than it is used in the Holy Bible and Torah put together…

          And when it comes to English, the word “faith” does not necessarily mean theological or religious , for some weird reason….

          • Science isn’t scripture. I never use the word “believe” in scientific writing. Science isn’t about belief. It’s about your hypothesis being confirmed or shown false.

            If you’ve counted up the instances of usage of “believe” in a statistically significant number of scientific papers and books, then you’re way ahead of me.

            Of course the authors of scripture don’t talk about belief much. They expected readers to believe. But St. Paul talks about faith often. Protestantism is based upon the passage in Romans about justification by faith rather than “works”.

          • Faith is to act as if you had certainty when you have none

            It is sometimes a useful tool.

            It is the flip side of the precautionary principle which tend to say when you don’t know, do nothing.

            But the world is more full of people who, finding themselves in deep water, struck out and reached a bank than people who, finding themselves in deep water and not knowing whether there was a bank or where it was, simply did nothing for fear of making it worse.

            Faith has its uses. Don’t knock it. Just don’t think it has any more truth content than science

        • Felix: you are a modern day Renaissance man. I have really enjoyed the breadth of your comments.
          I think that one who has faith does so because logic doesn’t steer them in the direction they want to go.

          • Thanks. Misspent youth.

            Your thought about the basis of faith might be right for many, if not most believers.

            But also IMO it seems that some are inclined to accept the gift of faith, while others aren’t.

            Also IMO, it’s better to ascribe to a traditional religion, as long as it doesn’t condone murder, slavery and the subjugation of women, than to a fake substitute like CACA.

          • Felix

            Let me ask you a silly stupid question, in the prospect that it remains as such, as otherwise it could end up to be disturbing.

            How real are your own memories to you, Felix?
            (the memories of your own life, actually what consist as your own life from your point of address)

            My point here is, that maybe you bound to bent them according to your feelings or a temporary view point , if no faith there!

            Only a silly question, no need to be upset about it.

            cheers

          • Not sure where faith comes into it. Faith in the reliability or reality of my memories?

            I rate the reliability of my memories as I do military intelligence reports, ie A, B or C.

            At this late date, some of my memories may be memories of memories.

          • I think that one who has faith does so because logic doesn’t tell him WHICH way to go, just that staying here is probably not so good.

        • The probability of abiogenesis has been modeled and found to be utterly improbable over all combinations of the entire universe at the fastest possible rate over all time. Objective experiential evidence for Jesus’ resurrection provides evidence for the alternative.

          • Your biblical evidence only works if you imagine that the New Testament can be taken at its word, equivalent to observation of the natural world. Most people in the world don’t share your faith.

            Such “models” of abiogenesis are far worse than climate models. They make absurd, unphysical assumptions. Again, you’ve been lied to by crooks taking advantage of the credulity of people who haven’t studied biochemistry.

            The scientific fact is that the monomers of life’s molecules self-assemble, to include amino acids, constituents of proteins, and nucelobases, sugars and phosphate groups, constituents of nucleic acids. So do lipid vessicle, ie proto-membranes.

            All these building blocks of life form spontaneously not only on Earth but in outer space. They arrive here on meteorites.

            As I’ve said, the crux of origin of life research now is on how polymerization occurred before biological enzymes. Various fruitful avenues are being pursued.

        • The only assumption in science is that the same physical laws have applied throughout the history of the universe. If by the scientific method that can be demonstrated not to be the case, then even that “faith” would be overthrown.

          There’s a lot more assumed than that actually.

          The existence of a material world, space, time and causality for a start on which science can be practised and observations made.

          The assumption that the observed behaviour of the aforesaid world is governed by natural laws that are immutable – i,.e. do NOT change with time and not by the capricious whims of sentient but incorporeal entities would be another.

          The only difference between Ariel and Gravity is that Ariel is sentient, and is mutable, and gravity is immutable and mathematical. Both are otherwise ‘spiritual’ entities…

          And we already are coming to understand that these human scale assumptions are at best deeply dodgy, if not downright erroneous.

          Cosmology and the big bang presents us with the issue of whether time could be said to have existed ‘before the Big Bang’. The consensus is that no, it didn’t. and therefore causality cant be applied to the Big Bang. Its a singularity that explains where we are now, but has nothing to say about its own existence.

          Likewise at the sub nano scale quantum physics is revealing deeply disturbing questions about our assumption that the world exists independently of our perception of it. In the case of Schrödinger’s cat, as far as we can tell the probability wave cannot be said to resolve itself into a dead or a live cat until we open the box. Or find some other way to peer inside. Polarised quantum particles can be detected that violate relativity, in that information appears to be transmitted instantaneously between them as quantum entanglement implies that instantaneous action at a distance is the norm!

          These are such serious issue that most particle physicists simply ignore them and carry on as ‘instrumentalists’ It is forcing home the idea that a theory isn’t ‘true’ – it just has to generate the correct answer.

          However it seems to me that a simpler way to resolve all these issues is easily apprehensible if we simply dispose of the assumptions on which the above classical view of the world is made.

          If we assume that time space and materiality and causality are nothing more or less that pretty abysmal attempts by human beings to account for the world that they seem to find themselves in, and that something else entirely is really going on, then everything takes on a new set of relationships. We don’t need ‘many worlds’ just like this one to explain schrödinger’s cat, just one where we only have limited perception of one solution to a multi solution equation.

          It is said that the photoelectric effect was the single thing that led to the destruction of classical physics and the start if quantum theory. I suspect that the big bang and quantum physics will be two things that lead to the destruction of the classical world view of the world as a material entity in space and time, and with its replacement by a far more strange – almost supernatural and godlike entity, that is somewhat malleable to our consciousness.

          But that means challenging and discarding – or at least transforming and reducing from ‘immutable and ubiquitous’ – many of the very useful assumptions that make up the world of the classical scientist, and few are ready for that.

          Ultimately classical science and religion have both proved inadequate: We need a new view and some new tools.

      • The real point is that the language that forces us to structure the issue as ‘created the universe’ is inadequate for the task. If the universe is, by definition, everything that there is, there could have been no one or nothing to ‘create’ it.

        Once you realise that even framing the question is a moronic extrapolation of ‘language created by one ape to tell another ape where the best banana tree was’ and not express the Totality of the Cosmos, the problem and the stupidity of the question vanish in a puff of sanity.

        Stuff is.

        The rest is stories we tell to each other and ourselves about it. At a human scale, causality is a concept that has utility. At a cosmic scale its above it’s pay-grade. It has no meaning.

    • The jury is still out on expansion forever.

      The consensus among cosmologists is that the universe will expand forever, but skeptics also have a case.

      • The jury is out on the entire field of cosmology… It wouldn’t be cosmology otherwise.

  28. What’s up with the odd links? They look like links, but I see no destination URL when I hover on them, and clicking them does nothing.

  29. One of the things I love about evolution through natural selection is that you can “see” it happening within definite time frames. One example I really like is called “industrial melanism” and I first read about it in an article in the Guardian (back when it was called the Manchester Guardian and it had a lot of good science – sigh).

    In and around the “dark satanic mills” of northern England, where everything was coated in soot, whole ecosystems of insects and spiders developed that were no different from their country cousins, except that they were all black. Obviously, they hadn’t decided to make themselves black, but equally obviously, any small variation that made an insect darker would slightly enhance its chances of not being eaten by a bird and so passing its genes on to the next generation. And over multiple generations that would lead to whole populations being essentially black. And the time frame is established as starting around 1750 or so.

    The black insects of industrial England started to stand out when older buildings (many of which were architectural gems) started being cleaned up and sand-blasted. They’ve probably all mutated back to their “pre-industrial” coloration now.

    Another thing I love about natural selection is that you can do thought-experiments with it. One thought experiment I would recommend for doubters is trying to devise answers to “how could evolution by natural selection possibly NOT happen?”

      • No, it hasn’t. Please stop spreading blatant lies.

        http://what-when-how.com/insects/industrial-melanism-insects/

        In 1896, the prominent lepidopterist Tutt proposed bird predation to explain observed industrial melanism in moths.

        In the 1950s, Kettlewell tested this hypothesis, and found it valid. The link above takes up the story:

        “Since 1998, the case of the peppered moth has been attacked by antievolution lobbyists, who have emphasized both weaknesses in Kettlewell’s experimental procedures and differences in opinions between scientists who have worked on or commented on the case. The case has thus been at the center of the evolution vs. creation debate, with calls being made, particularly in the United States, for it to be removed from biology text topics. It is notable that the focus of these criticisms is almost invariably the well-known experiments of Kettlewell, whereas later independent experiments in which improved protocols have been used, and which have led to the same basic deductions as Kettlewell’s work, are not cited. The controversy took another turn in 2002, when a journalist, Judith Hooper, published a topic in which she makes thinly veiled accusations of data fudging and scientific fraud aimed at Kettlewell, and a conspiracy of silence aimed at the scientists who have conducted the experimental work on the peppered moth.”

        “The controversy over the peppered moth case has engendered new interest in the case, with scientific historians examining the accusations of fraud aimed at Kettlewell. The conclusion of these examinations is that there is not one shred of evidence to support Hooper’s accusations. In addition, a new series of experiments have been undertaken to address the flaws in Kettlewell’s experiments and address other issues raised by the antievolution lobby. In brief, these have shown that (1) the peppered moths do rest by day on the bark of deciduous trees, most commonly on the underside of lateral branches (Fig. 4) but also sometimes on the trunks; (2) that bats feeding on peppered moths at night do not differentiate between the forms of the peppered moth, refuting the suggestion that they, rather than birds, could be the agent of selection; (3) that greater levels of bird predation of carbonaria, compared with typica, in a 6-year period from 2002 to 2007, is entirely sufficient to explain the observed decline in carbonaria frequency in Cambridge, England, over this period. This work fully supports Tutt’s differential bird predation hypothesis.”

    • Interesting! Worldwide there are likely dozens of similar short time scale natural selection examples related to human activity (aside from intentional selection).
      One example that I have observed is that which is related to the common dandelion evolving ultra short flower stems to avoid being decapitated by lawn mowers. This occurs in long-established urban areas that are isolated from the open areas where their long-stemmed cousins flourish. My guess is that it takes less than 50 generations to adapt.
      My lawn in the San Francisco Bay area was more than 95% of the short stemmed variety. Newly established neighborhoods bordering the countryside have lawns that are plagued with the long stemmed dandelions.

      • Under such heavy selective pressure, you bet they’ll shorten up.

        Next they’ll evolve resistance to Weed-B-Gone.

      • It was not a hoax. Please read the link I provided, with real science, not a pack of shameless creationist lies.

  30. I’m not interested in arguing about evolution which I think is probably an accurate description of how life developed. It’s a religious question whether evolution was directed or not. Arguing about religion is insane. Nobody can provide evidence to prove or disprove religious claims like that.

    What seems relevant to me though is to point out that CAGW adherents behave like religious zealots. They have articles of faith that they cannot abide anyone questioning. They twist and torture evidence to make it fit the dogma.

    • “I’m not interested…..”
      ===========
      For someone who is not interested, you sure show an interest 🙂

      • What position am I accused of taking? Am I guilty of accepting the likelihood that evolution is an accurate theory, or of accepting that the question of evolution being a directed process can’t be disproven?

        I’ll readily plead guilty to both charges.

  31. As a Christian with 45 years of faith and Bible study invested, here’s my two-penneth.

    I don’t subscribe to the traditional view of ‘Creationism’ ie that God made everything in the last 6000 years.

    There is something called the Gap Theory – between Gen 1.1 ‘In the beginning God created ..’ and Gen 1.2 when ‘the earth became formless and void’. ‘Formless and void’, Hebrew ‘tohu and bohu’, are only used in the Bible in the case of God’s overwhelming judgemental annihilation of a wicked people. The gap between 1.1 and 1.2 allows for any length of time you can imagine, several billions of years in fact between the geological creation (inc dinosaurs) and the much more recent entrance of man over the last few thousand years (not necessarily 6000). This also suggests the existence of a pre-Adamic race of humanoid beings.

    Furthermore, days and years recorded in the old testament are not necessarily the same as our 24 hours and 365 day systems of today. When we try to interpret the Bible ‘literally’ we adopt a form of omniscience, assuming we know exactly what the writer meant, the language and numbering system he used, and the context of the account. The error is to read modern thinking into ancient culture and language.

    Regarding the evolutionist, they have more faith than I. I believe God created man and the animals. They believe a chain of events occurred involving elements, gasses, mud, cells, fish, lizards and monkeys and hey presto, man appeared. They can’t prove it, neither can I. But on the balance of probability I’m happy with my decision that an eternal, omnipotent and omniscient Creator spoke it into being.

    • Neil, I think the other error is in thinking it’s over….evolution is still going on and so is God

      • If God created evolution….and evolution is on going…then God created a way to evolve past that….and guess what, we did

      • Ah yes cjw, the Christians are notorious for their desire to restore chattel slavery. It’s what jumps immediately to mind when I think of Mother Teresa for example.

        I suppose that your self-image is one of being tolerant of others? But no space in the public square for Christians apparently.

        • mother Teresa was as evil as they come . no compassion for a dyeing person. suffer for your so called sins.

          I have no tolerance for any faith based religion. they hold us back.

          • cjw—Without tolerance there is nothing left but to start the killing. Is that your ideal? You have no tolerance for the beliefs of billions of people, likely the vast majority? Yet many of them would pray for you.

            Fortunately you have no power.

    • Science doesn’t do “proof”. But we can show that the history of life has followed the path which every bit of evidence showed occurred. We don’t yet know with a high degree of precision when eukaryotes arose, when sex began, when the first true multicells (animals, fungi and plants) appeared, but our knowledge increases all the time, and we do know the general sequence of main events.

      There is simply no way to make the two irreconcilably contradictory creation myths in Genesis 1 and 2 agree with each other and observed reality. Any attempt to do so, such as the “God of the Gaps”, is doomed to ignominious failure.

      The attempt makes for bad theology and even worse biology.

      Men and women evolved together, unlike in Genesis 2, where first there was a man made of clay, then animals, then a woman made from her mate’s rib bone, for but one instance out of many.

      • Felix,
        Where you get wrapped around the axle, it seems to me, is in thinking that religion is primarily an alternative cosmology when in fact it is primarily a question of moral theology.

        As a scientific theory of the origins of life, the majority of Christians would most likely concede that the Bible’s stories are not literally accurate, and acknowledge the physical process of evolution. Your appeal to Occam cannot rule out that the mutation events are directed, as you are aware.

        I understand that you want to contest the claim that there is no evidence for evolution, which is fine. But extending that to the claim that there is no God is an unnecessary overreach that you can’t support except by taking it on faith.

        • When did I ever claim that there is no God?

          I said that God’s existence isn’t subject to the scientific method, so must therefore be taken on faith.

    • ” .. an eternal, omnipotent and omniscient Creator spoke it into being.”
      OK here’s my unprovable/unfalsifiable hypothesis.
      An omnipotent being created the universe last Tuesday afternoon, together with utterly convincing evidence of a multi-billion year prior history.
      (omnipotent, remember).

      • Life is but a dream Stefan. But I think we ought to stop wasting time on this irrelevant argument. What is the public policy proposal being made in light of evolution that threatens to devastate the ecomomy and redistrbute wealth and power into the hands of the policymakers? Instead of pointless disputes over traditional religion, can’t we get back to debunking the dangerous new religion of CAGW?

      • That is pretty much the Creationist position

        It is logically unassailable.

        It is however not very USEFUL.

        Personally I prefer to consider that the universe of my perceptions is an artefact created at the surface of intersection between consciousness and something so weird I can’t even think about it let alone describe it.

        This makes it possible for my perception of the world to change as I know it can without it becoming entirely a creation of my imagination, which despite many attempts to emulate Harry Potter, it has always failed to be.

  32. Many theories from the past have been shown to be false.
    Example 1: the element phlogiston (the fourth form of matter [that is plasma])
    Example 2: spontaneous generation of life
    Example 3: winds are the responsibility of various Gods
    Example 4: discretionary bleeding eases a fever
    Example 5: the Sun will soon go dark, as it will run out of oxygen
    I could go on. There are many more facts which are now known not to be true.
    Questions about the evolution of life:
    1. How did cellular membranes evolve to contain a cell? Would not the primordial soup dissolve two molecules as soon as they had latched?
    2. How did the DNA / mRNA cycle develop? One needs mRNA to read DNA; one needs DNA to construct mRNA
    3. How did chlorophyll develop? Quantum tunneling may be happening here.
    4. Our industrial civilization is founded on thermodynamics, especially the increase of entropy. Life decreases entropy by producing organization. Huh?
    5. How do beneficent changes occur in both male and female simultaneously in order for the change to be heritable?
    6. Why have none of the induced mutations of the fruit fly proven advantageous?
    7. post hoc, ergo propter hoc has long been known to be a fallacy.
    8. I would really like to know how the Krebs cycle evolved. Seems like a lot of changes are needed at once for this to work.
    9. Most violins look the same. Did they all evolve from one ur-violin? Or was it just a good design?
    10. It seems like every trip into a rain forest or into the ocean abyss comes up with new life. How many beetle species are there now? Oops, still counting.
    These are just a few “innocent” questions about Evolution of Species by Natural Selection. It certainly selects for the best bull to lead a herd. I grant that. But no species change is involved.

    • 1. No mystery about membranes. Fatty acids naturally form spherical vessicles in lipid bi-layers, due to having water-loving and water-hating ends. Please see the work in the Szostak lab on membranes.

      2. RNA came first. It’s able to act as both a library of information and as an enzyme, thanks to its ability to form complex shapes. The sugar in DNA lacks an oxygen molecule, so it forms the more stable double helical structure. This makes it work better as a library. Short chains of RNA nucleotides form spontaneously in aqueous solution. The trick in kick-starting life is to keep them forming longer chains (polymers) without today’s enzymes.

      3. The evolution of chlorophyll was detailed 22 years ago.

      http://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/93/5/1930.full.pdf

      4. Life increases entropy in a closed system, not an open one, as should be obvious. Organisms decrease their internal entropy at the expense of free energy obtained from their surroundings.

      5. Again, as should be obvious, beneficial changes can arise in either sex and still be passed on. A beneficial mutation might occur at only one locus, but be dominant, hence expressed in the adult. But more than one individual in a population might well enjoy the same mutation. Every human is born with on average four mutations, and we acquire more as we age. If the new, beneficial mutations are in eggs or the cells which produce sperm, they’ll be selected for.

      6. Researchers didn’t care whether the mutations were beneficial to fruit flies in the wild, or not. They just wanted them to be obvious and not lethal.

      7. Not sure about your logical point. I’ll guess that you mean because we observe changes in living things over time, we conclude that natural selection or some other evolutionary process was the cause. We do so because that’s what the evidence shows. We now have the ability to see the genetic changes underlying observed phenotypic changes.

      8. The Krebs cycle appears to have evolved repeatedly, but converged via selection on the similar forms in which it’s now observed. The origins of key reactions in the citric acid cycle are found in the more primitive ancient anaerobic organisms. Two branches of the Krebs cycle, the oxidative and the reductive branches can be linked by the 2-oxoglutarate oxidoreductase system.

      This discusses hypotheses to explain the evolution of these pathways:

      https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/Metabolism-Evolution.aspx

      9. Designers of violins converged on a similar form because of acoustics.

      10. Why does the discovery of nondescript organisms make you doubt the fact of evolution?

      • The short version is Darwin’s (who didn’t use the term “evolution” in “Origin”): descent with modification.

        Various longer versions are preferred by workers in one scientific field or another, but they all know it when they see it.

        As a genetics student in the early ’70s, the standard definition was change in allele frequencies in a population over the generations. This view reflects the “modern synthesis” (1920s-30s) of genetics with evolutionary theory.

        Paleontologists and geologists generally emphasize phylogeny, the sequence of succession in the fossil record, as new species and higher classifications replace older.

    • >>
      4. Our industrial civilization is founded on thermodynamics, especially the increase of entropy. Life decreases entropy by producing organization. Huh?
      <<

      First off, the Second Law of Thermodynamics only applies to isolated systems. (Even Stephen Hawking knew this. See page 102 of his: "A Brief History of Time.") Closed systems (and open systems) need not obey the second law. In fact, if a closed system couldn't violate the second law, then nothing would ever cool down or lose heat.

      Second, don't confuse information entropy with Thermodynamic entropy. The two are not the same. The second law only applies to Thermodynamic entropy.

      (http://entropysite.oxy.edu/shuffled_cards.html)

      Jim

    • Most violins look the same. Did they all evolve from one ur-violin? Or was it just a good design.

      They evolved from one Ur-design, into the Cello, the viola, the double bass, the guitar the harp, the banjolele, the Fender stratocaster….

      Most design is evolution not revolution.

      A while ago I read a report on an early AI attempt to ‘evolve’ a design. It was aeronautics in play, and they started with a cube, and varied each point on it until they got a better lift to drag ratio and more stability. Then they did it again..and again.. Within the constraints of being possible not to collapse at 5G as a real world structure. And they simply let the program run until it couldn’t come up with a better shape.

      What came out looked remarkably like a seagull…

      I suspect that almost no people who ascribe to intelligent design have ever designed anything in their lies, the amount of sheer guff they talk…

      THIS is intelligent desigm…

      https://vps.templar.co.uk/PenPal/penpal7.png

  33. Dr. Ball,

    You write, in reference to your prior post, that, “All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory”. This is not true. Clearly, you didn’t read the comments or check out any of the references. So I guess I have to repeat myself and the replies of others, in hopes that this time you’ll read and respond, rather than ignoring our efforts.

    You got reams of empirical evidence. All the evidence in world demonstrates the fact of evolution. There is no evidence against it. In biology, “evolution” means two things, as does “gravity” in physics. One meaning is the observations of evolution all around us, all the time, in nature. The other is the body of theory explaining these observations.

    In the comments, instance after instance of speciation and the formation of new genera observed in the wild, as per Tty’s example of a new grass, or made in the lab, were provided. Hundreds of thousands such instances have been observed in the wild, and numerous created in the lab.

    There are around 300,000 known species of seed plants. An estimated 30 to 80% of them arose in a single generation due to polyploidy, ie the multiplication of all or part of the genome. The most common is complete duplication. Sometimes the daughter species are capable of limited reproduction with the parent species, but they are still valid species. The most recent estimates are the highest, but even if only half of seed plants arose via polyploidy, that’s around 150,000 instances.

    You might consider the observation of evolution of new species by polyploidy to be an inference rather than an observation. But in that case, you need to explain how these species came to be, which have the same genome as their most closely related species, only double.

    Other instances of rapid speciation have been observed in the wild and created in the lab via hybridization. In the case of South American butterfly species (and maybe others about which I don’t know) the same hybrid species have been made in the lab as occurred naturally in the wild, due to successful mating between different species.

    It takes more time to make new species in the lab via artificial selection, or recreating natural selection, but it has been done repeatedly, using species with short generation times, such as insects and microbes. The fact of MRSA alone should tip you off to the reality of natural selection.

    The point of your discussion about the number of species is obscure. Their number tends to increase with time, but of course this tendency has been interrupted by mass extinction events. Not knowing how many species exist with any precision says nothing about the fact of evolution.

    A dictionary definition of the word “species” doesn’t cut it in biology. There isn’t a hard and fast scientific definition of “species”, for the good and simple reason that not all groups of organisms can easily be arranged into this classificatory category. It’s especially difficult with microbes. The basic concept for sexually-reproducing organisms is a group capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. But even that doesn’t draw a bright line, since some related species are able to produce fertile offspring, but for one reason or another don’t. They may have behavioral differences, or be geographically isolated. If they’re reproductively isolated long enough, they will accumulate differences and become indubitably separate species.

    But even with microbes, it’s often possible to determine when one species has evolved into a new one, by whatever definition. Sugar-eating bacteria evolve into nylon-eating bacteria in a single generation, thanks to a simple point mutation. Cosmic rays must have made this mutation countless times before nylon entered the bacterial environment, but it was always lethal until humans provided this new food source.

    I guess you might consider the new bacterium species just a variety, but it’s functionally genetically distinct from its parental species, and obviously in metabolism. Same applies when sap-sucking insects evolve into blood-suckers.

    I’ll respond to other aspects of your post when I have time. I hope that this time you’ll have the courtesy to reply directly, rather than engaging in vague, hand-waving denials.

    • Felix @July 1, 2018 2:31 pm

      Excellent post.

      “… I hope that this time you’ll have the courtesy to reply directly…”

      Science makes predictions. I predict that he won’t. My guess probability that he does < .01.

    • Felix,

      None of your “references” show what you apparently think they show. Your confident assertions do not make your assertions true! But your confidence is a great example of why it’s called a “con game!”

      Hybrids are not new species.

      I carefully checked all of the “references” you provided last time Tim brought up this issue.

      None of your links provide any evidence of new species.

      Your favorite link, a 1995 blog post “Observed Speciation” is especially ludicrous. He blusters and bloviates, provides multiple lists of experiments that altered traits, and hybridized species, and finally can’t even convince himself that he even knows what a species is.

      Again, evidence for a species “evolving” into another species, please.

      No hand-waving allowed!

      • Hybrids and polyploids are most certainly new species.

        Had you ever studied biology you’d know that if a sexually reproducing daughter species can’t produce fertile offspring with its parent species, then its a new species.

        Deny reality all you want, but you should know that you’ve been lied to by professional liars.

        Evolution is a result of reproduction.

      • No hand-waving allowed!

        Then dont eh?

        He blusters and bloviates, provides multiple lists of experiments that altered traits, and hybridized species, and finally can’t even convince himself that he even knows what a species is.

        Hand waving

        • Leo,

          Did you read Felix’s “Observed Speciation” link?

          Try it. Read it carefully and critically.

          The author blusters and bloviates.

          That’s not hand-waving. That’s describing the author’s dilemma.

          • You obviously have no clue what constitutes a new species or genera.

            Every year more speciation events are observed or created. Since 1995, they’ve been legion, including those made by me.

            You’re blinded to objective reality by your false faith.

          • Felix,

            Do tell…if you’ve created “legions of new species,” why in heaven’s name is your proof of new species a link from 1995?

            Please share–entirely new species–as required by the theory–slime mold to man–with intermediary species in between. Please share just one of your legion of new species, you big miracle-worker, you!

            “You’re blinded to objective reality by your false faith.” And can you stop with your ad hominems? You’re quite tiresome and juvenile.

            You’re sort of making yourself foolish by constantly asserting that I’m an easily fooled rube.

            Just let me know, and I’ll share some of my case studies of frauds I’ve exposed. Say the word, big talker!

            Thanks.

          • I haven’t made legions myself. One genus and some species, the number of which depends upon your definition of species.

            The 1995 link was but one list of many instances of new species both observed and made in labs. Not that there’s anything wrong with examples from before that time.

            We are watching many in the process of evolving right now, around the world in the wild. A new lizard species, for instance, is evolving on an Adriatic island, which has evolved new organs no present in its ancestral species.

            As I keep pointing out, for instance, and you keep ignoring, it’s common among plants for new species to arise in a single generation via polyploidy. Among ferns, it’s practically all of them. These are often new species in the strictest possible sense, ie unable to produce fertile offspring with their closest relatives.

            Hybridization also makes new species and genera in one generation among both plants and animals. In the case of hybrid South American butterflies, the process has even been reproduced in the lab:

            https://phys.org/news/2006-06-hybrid-butterfly-scientists.html

            A single passing cosmic ray can and does make new microbial species.

            Transitions to new families, orders, classes, phyla, kingdoms and domains is typically more gradual.

            Many major transitions in the history of life are well-documented, such as prokaryotes to eukaryotes; from unicells to multicellular kingdoms, as in plants, fungi and animals; from simpler animals to more complex; from radial to bilateral symmetry; from protostomes to deuterostomes, from invertebrate to vertebrate; from jawless to jawed fish; from cartilaginous to bony fish; from lobe-finned fish to tetrapod; from amphibian to amniote; from synapsid to mammal; from egg-laying to placental mammal; from insectivore to primate; from prosimian to simian; from simian to ape to African great ape to human.

            Sorry, but evolution is a fact. Deal with it.

          • So, if you’ve created new species, why are you not providing a link to evidence of your creations? Again, do tell…would love to see your handiwork!

            Read the 23 year old link you provided numerous times–it’s ludicrous. No new species, just variations and hybrids. And the guy is confused as to what a species is. No evidence of a new species anywhere. And it ends with…”I’ll update this as new evidence appears…” But it was never updated! I don’t think your link says what you think it says.

            “Many major transitions in the history of life are well-documented, such as prokaryotes to eukaryotes; from unicells to multicellular kingdoms, as in plants, fungi and animals; from simpler animals to more complex; from radial to bilateral symmetry; from protostomes to deuterostomes, from invertebrate to vertebrate; from jawless to jawed fish; from cartilaginous to bony fish; from lobe-finned fish to tetrapod; from amphibian to amniote; from synapsid to mammal; from egg-laying to placental mammal; from insectivore to primate; from prosimian to simian; from simian to ape to African great ape to human.”

            Documented?

            What do you think “documented” means?

            There are fossils and evidence of the various species–but there is NO “documentation” of one species changing to become another.

            Every one of your “major transitions” is a Just-so story, created by “scientists” to explain the evidence. Conjecture and hand-waving, vivid imaginings and

            I guess you could call the reams and reams of written verbiage of the Just-so stories “documented.” But I don’t think that’s what you’re using “documented” to mean.

            Scientists put the fossil Iguanadon’s thumb on its nose, and told a Just-so story about it–hey, it’s Science! Believe it!

            http://from-bedroom-to-study.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-dastardly-doings-of.html

            They “documented” their science. Is that what you mean by “well-documented?”

            Blizzards of words do not make things true.

            Evidence please. A species “evolving” into another species.

            Thanks.

          • Kent, your request for evidence has been granted. You’ve been recommended to read “The Greatest Show on Earth” before. It has thorough, comprehensive evidence. If you don’t want to read it, fine. But stop asking for evidence if you are going to refuse it when it is offered. Don’t you see how illogical that behavior is?

    • There’s not a single mention of ring species. I would think they alone are indicative of how variation can lead to new species.

      Jim

    • Dr. Ball,

      Now to address some other aspects of your verbiage. Others have already commented on many of your grievous errors, so I’ll just touch on those.

      You say you’re not arguing for creationism. Please then state whence you imagine new species to come, if they neither evolve nor have been created somehow. Thanks!

      1) Your statement of what constitutes empirical evidence is sorely wanting. “Empirical” means “based upon experience”, hence includes not just formal experiments but observations of nature. Experiments are tests of predictions made on the basis of an hypothesis. Experiments testing the predictions made on the basis of evolution are confirmed. Upon creationism, never.

      Numerous lab experiments have demonstrated evolution both via selection and stochastic processes. But much more frequently, evolution has been observed in the wild. As noted, probably most plant species arose in a single generation via polyploidy. Other plants, fungi and animals have also evolved in “overnight” via hybridization.

      But gradual evolution has also been observed. Did it not happen, then MRSA wouldn’t have evolved. Resistant pathogen strains is what convinced the devout Catholic Pasteur that Darwin was right about natural selection.

      So evolution has most certainly been repeatedly found valid empirically. It is better understood than gravitation.

      2) Most if not all scientific disciplines show instances of fraud and hoax.

      At the time of the Piltdown Man hoax, two models of human evolution competed, but there was as yet insufficient fossil evidence to decide between them. Piltdown Man appealed to those who thought that our bigger brains evolved first, followed by upright walking. Darwin’s colleague Wallace had argued (correctly, as evidence would show) way back in the 1860s that bipedalism came first.

      So, yes, those who favored the brains first hypothesis were easy suckers. That hardly means that evolution isn’t a fact.

      3) I’ve already commented on species. The Linnaean system has been superceded by cladistic taxonomy, based upon phylogenetic relationships among natural groups, but it still has its uses. Again, a dictionary definition isn’t a scientific definition, “Species” are hard to define in many cases, such as ring species, where those subspecies closest to each other can interbreed and produce fertile offspring, but those at the two ends (geographically or genetically) can’t.

      4) That birds are dinosaurs is shown by every single line of evidence. All of them. You name it. Paleontology. Comparative anatomy. Physiology. Biochemistry. Embryology. Developing bird embryos grow “hen’s teeth”, then resorb them. Same with the long tails, which fuse into the “parson’s nose”, ie pygostle. The three fingers, with claws, of avian ancestral dinos still exist in some birds, in young or adults, rather than two being fused. The “thumb” is still free to act as a leading edge slat, the alula, ie “little wing”.

      Conversely, “early bird” relative Archaeopteryx had the second sickle toe characteristic of maniraptoran dinos, ie “raptors”, as did other members of the group Avialae, which includes modern birds and their nearest dino relatives.

      Nor are birds the only dinosaurs with feathers. Most, if not all, coelurosaurs had feathers. Plus other theropods and even ornithischians. Maybe even pterosaurs, should their “picnofiber” integument be shown related to feathers. The beta keratin of feathers is the same as in crocodilian scales. Theropod and sauropod dinosaurs had air sacs, so breathed like birds. The list of shared, derived traits is long and overwhelming conclusive to anyone with an open mind.

      Cladogram showing shared, derived traits en route to modern birds from their closest dino ancestors:

      https://paleopetshop.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/104coelurosauria.png

      5) Your view of evolution is cartoonish. Humans did not evolve from gorillas. Both genera are African great apes and share most genes and such proteins as blood groups. But humans split off from our common ancestor with chimps several million years ago. The common ancestors of chimps and humans, on the one hand, diverged from the ancestor of gorillas around ten million years ago.

      6) Your geology is hopelessly out of date. As Smart Rock has shown, radiometric dating has progressed greatly since you were in college. Also, as I mentioned in your prior post, geologists have known for decades that there have been dozens of glaciations in the Pleistocene, not just four.

      All the empirical evidence in the world demonstrates the fact of evolution, ie descent with modification, common descent, production of new species, genera, etc, via natural selection and stochastic processes. The body of theory explaining these observations is more robust than the theory of gravitation and other comparable scientific theories. There is no evidence against the fact of evolution.

      So to compare evolution with “climate science” is ludicrous, preposterous, outrageous and only confirms the alarmist slur against skeptics that we are “anti-science”.

      • I’m glad I scrolled down this far well worth the read Felix. I took Evolutionary Biology in university and have only loosely kept up with it in the past decades. Thank you for the refresher. Can you point us towards a website or two or some additional references?

        • Gosh, the Web abounds with good sites on recent advances in evolutionary biology. There are lots of good lectures on YouTube, for instance. The most popular evolution blog used to be Pharyngula, but its host, PZ Myers now seems more interested in promoting atheism than science.

          The PBS Eon series, while sometimes erroneous, has interesting topics related to evolution.

          Or you can just search the Net for topics of interest to you, from scholarly papers to popularizing videos.

          • “PZ Myers now seems more interested in promoting atheism than science.”

            He’s been that way for a long time. And don’t show a hint of CAGW skepticism there. You’ll be called all sorts of nasty names.

          • True. But about a dozen years ago, at least he mixed in some new findings with his preaching.

  34. The post starts out by defining empirical evidence as that relating to or based on experiment. That is only a partial definition. Empirical means relying on or derived from observation or experiment. I don’t intend to read any further, since the premise of the post is erroneous ab origine.

    • Jub. Tim starts from a total misunderstanding of science and terms like ’empirical’ and uses false assumptions to produce a case that is nothing to do with the reality of the science.

      He may be a climate skeptic, but if he is is for all the wrong reasons…

  35. In the late 19th century, as I’ve read, it was not uncommon for scientists to think that “we” were close to explaining everything in the universe.

    Then there was Michelson-Morley.

    Now it’s mysteries all the way down.

    I love it, and I’m so happy to have lived in this age of inquiry.

    Which is now under siege from the neo-Lysenkoist climate cabal.

  36. “Who or what created the material for the bang and who triggered it.”
    Ah yes, perhaps we need the wisdom of Lazarus Long. There is so much to choose from. How about this?

    “God split himself into myriad parts that he might have friends.” This may not be true but it sounds good — and is no sillier than any other theology.

    Robert A. Heinlein

    • I always prefer the story of the the man who searched the universe looking for the Creator, and then finally cornered him jn a dingy bar on an obscure planet..

      “Why were we all created to suffer and to die!??” he demanded.

      There was a pause whilst the Creator finished his drink and put down the glass.

      Then he looked him in the eye and said: “Why not?”

  37. “I don’t mind being descended from a gorilla.”

    Very sorry to see you say that, Dr. Ball —because it’s one of the most common objections to Darwinian theory, and it just ain’t so.

    Darwin posited that hominids, including chimps, gorillas, orangutans and humans, evolved from an ancient common ancestor.

    https://www.quora.com/Did-Darwin-ever-argue-that-humans-descended-from-monkeys-or-apes-Is-this-historically-accurate-Where-does-the-allegation-that-the-theory-of-evolution-says-humans-descended-from-monkeys-come-from-Is-it-completely-a-misconception-or-slander

    “Humans and apes are closely-related, and doesn’t mean that we descended from apes. We both share a common RECENT ANCESTOR, with its evolutionary lineage at the point of divergence split into two main paths, namely humans, and apes. Our two species have thus diverged over the course of millions of years ever since, resulting in what you now observe as the modern man, and the various species of great apes.”

    If you’re still carrying around that kind of misinformation after all these years, it’s no wonder you’re so skeptical.

  38. It could be postulated (but impossible to prove) that when exposed to an external energy impact e.g. a powerful gamma radiation burst from our or a nearby galaxy, some creatures’ would have had their DNA ‘fatally’ affected by destroying reproductive ability and soon after became extinct an mass.
    Certain other creatures being more resistant or shielded by their natural habitat may have parts of the DNA only partially damaged, with damaged helix strands naturally fusing together, producing a somewhat different or even substantially more complex DNA strand, which is subsequently transferred to the immediate offspring now appearing as a new species of similar or even more advanced kind.
    This could explain large diversity e.g. of ‘singing birds’ species (of the same complexity) due to the ‘minor’ natural DNA reconstruction or for that matter sudden jump from primates to the humanoids due to a major natural DNA reconstruction process.
    Thus the ‘evolution’ is not a slow transition, but a sudden qualitative step sideways or upwards (no, not ‘quantum leap’ that widely misused term).

  39. When I see a book, the one thing I know is that it has an author. When I see programming code, I think the same thing. DNA is essentially code, though I’ve never seen an evolutionist explain how such order came into being – for this reason, they wisely stopped claiming the evolution explains how life began, but the view skips life’s first moments and rather tries to explain how species arose through differentiation. The view necessarily accepts that humans became more ordered and sophisticated through mutations that they can now devise theories such as ECON. That means we are gaining order, though death/disorder is our physical end.

    • Evolution is about changes in the genetic code over time, not about how it came to be in the first place.

      Other scientific disciplines seek to explain how the genetic code came to be.

    • One thing I know, is that when see a creationist, I will find someone creating a God in the image of themselves.

      As a design engineer, I cannot ultimately believe in creationism. If I created a God in the image of myself he would have done a WAY better job, with far less arrogance and unnecessary suffering.

      Assuming he actually loved mankind. Frankly I would say that if God created Man in his own image, then he is a evil, twisted, malicious, jealous, narcissistic SOB.

  40. All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory.

    The general idea is that you don;t try to prove a theory only falsify it – as in the dubious Einstein quote about no amount of evidence can prove a theory correct.

    When people demand empirical evidence to “prove” a theory I suspect they don’t want to accept it and will reject any evidence on the grounds that it doesn’t prove the theory.

    I’ve seen this a lot with creationists – there’s a huge amount of evidence supporting the theory of evolution, but this can always be rejected as not being definitive proof. All you can really do is show that the evidence supports evolution and doesn’t agree with any other known theory. Unfortunately as the other theory is “God did it” that is an unfalsifiable theory as any evidence to support evolution can be dismissed as a fraud on the part of God.

    • Chimp DNA is a very close match to modern human DNA. Also, the hypothesis that birds came from dinosaurs came from observing the similarities such as pelvis structure, egg laying and beaks. There is compelling fossil evidence for the links between humans and apes as there is between birds and reptiles. Using the variety of methods for determining the age of things has shown the immense age of the earth and allowed us to make sense of the fossil record by organizing this evidence into chronological order, thereby indicating evolution. Whether change happens slowly or not at all it depends on what is going on. I think that life as a whole finds ways of perpetuating itself, which also includes changing if required, and this can be slow or fast or not at all. The Coelacanth hasn’t changed since it first showed up in the fossil record maybe because it didn’t need to. The Polar Bear hasn’t changed because it’s just turned up and evolved from the Brown Bear. Based on fossil evidence the Polar Bear first turned up about the time of the last inter-glacial. Anyway, this does assume there are no other bones out there that are older!
      Either way, the poster child for AGW is actually the poster child for Evolution. It’s a funny old world.

  41. welp… this is why we can’t have nice things.
    it doesn’t dry up like a raisin in the sun.
    the stupid suppurates and runs.

  42. Dr. Ball writes: “All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory. This is the same response you get when you ask for empirical evidence to prove the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW).”

    When you live on a planet with chaotic unforced (or internal) variations in climate, it is impossible to obtain absolutely conclusive OBSERVATIONS supporting the theory of anthropogenic global warming. With a massive reservoir of very cold water at the bottom of oceans and chaotic currents bringing that water to the much warmer surface, the temperature of our planet can and does change without any apparent “cause”. El Ninos are partially due to a slowdown of upwelling of cold water off of South America. When GMST can rise and fall up several tenths of a degC within one year, observational evidence can never “prove” or “disprove” AGW. So let’s STOP PRETENDING we can ever “prove” or “disprove” AGW using a problematic temperature record several decades long and a century or so of more dubious data.

    The IPCC acknowledged this problem in the FAR, but has since relied upon AOGCMs to simulate unforced variability. Since AOGCM’s are parameterized, such models can’t provide scientifically rigorous evidence “proving” the theory of AGW.

    However, AGW theory is merely a consequence of two well-accepted theories: the law of conservation energy and quantum mechanics. We don’t need to waste time proving that they apply to our planet. Quantum mechanics and the IR spectrum of CO2 predict that rising CO2 is going to slow down the rate at which our planet radiatively cools to space. The law of conservation of energy demands that such a reduction must cause our planet to warm. It will warm until our planet again emits as much energy as LWR as it receives as SWR.

    Dr. Ball has a PhD and has been involved with climate change for decades. He understands perfectly well why quantum mechanics and conservation of energy predict that rising CO2 will cause some warming (and that the crucial issue is how much). And he understands the chaotic nature of our climate and one shouldn’t look to observations for “proof”.

    • For example, many accept that neither energy nor mass is not conserved and that the interconversion of energy and mass is given by E = mc^2. Emulating Dr. Ball, I could ask: “Where is the observational evidence that support the theory that E = mc^2 ????” I refuse to believe it without observational proof!

      We know that the sun is currently powered by converting H to He, and we know how much power it puts out every second. Unfortunately, there is no way to measure how fast H is being converted into He and how much mass is being lost. Have we exploded an atomic bomb and measured how much U235 ends up as other nuclei that weigh less? No. Calculating how much energy should be released by using various techniques to compress a critical mass and hold it together long enough to fission is an incredibly challenging calculation (assigned to Feynman’s team at Los Alamos). Those calculations depend on quantum mechanics and laboratory measurement of the cross-section for U235 to absorb a neuron – just like the radiative forcing of CO2 depends on laboratory measurements of the cross-section of a photon by CO2. We don’t prove the existence basic phenomena like E=mc2 and the conservation of energy and the interaction of IR and CO2 by studying very complex phenomena like our climate or an atomic bomb. The behavior of complex systems is derived from the study of simpler systems.

      • Have we exploded an atomic bomb and measured how much U235 ends up as other nuclei that weigh less?

        No, but we can measure the weights of isotopes of atomic fission or decay. And we can measure the rough energy released by an atom bomb, and the concentration of the fallout to determine how much U235 or Pu238 DID fission, compute its weight loss and…compare.

        And people have done that and not challenged Einstein.

    • “Quantum mechanics and the IR spectrum of CO2 predict that rising CO2 is going to slow down the rate at which our planet radiatively cools to space. ”
      It must depend of how much CO2 has been added. AGW proponents will show a graph of the increase of atmospheric CO2 in relation to itself, showing an increase of 30%. In relation to and as a proportion of the atmosphere the increase in CO2 has been 0.01%.

      • More to the point, it’s also a small increase in total of so-called GHGs, of which H2O remains far and away the most important. Its absorption bands also largely overlap with those of CO2.

      • Water vapor and CO2 are the main molecules that influence radiative cooling to space. Nitrogen, oxygen and argon (99+%) don’t absorb or emit an appreciable amount of thermal IR, so the small % of GHGs in the atmosphere are is irrelevant. One only needs to ingest a few ug of Vitamin B12 every day, but that smallness of that quantity or percentage is irrelevant. A very thin layer of PABA (far fewer molecules than CO2 that OLR passes on the way to space) can prevent sunburn. Quantity is part of the story, but potency is equally important.

        Water vapor is clearly the more important GHG near the surface, but CO2 absorbs mostly different wavelengths. Higher in the atmosphere, cold has precipitated most of the water vapor, leaving CO2 as the most important GHG. (Near the tropopause and in the stratosphere, there is about 5 ppm of water vapor and still 400 ppm of CO2.

        The current increase in CO2 is 42% (400/280 – 1), which is half of a doubling of CO2. 1.42^2 = 2.0. The effect of CO2 depends on the log of the change in concentration: 1, 2, 4, 8 represents three doubling. Log2 of 1, 2, 4, 8 is 1, 2, 3, 4. 400 is halfway on a log scale from 280 ppm to 560 ppm.

    • When you live on a planet with chaotic unforced (or internal) variations in climate, it is impossible to obtain absolutely conclusive OBSERVATIONS supporting the theory of anthropogenic global warming.

      Actually it is impossible to obtain absolutely conclusive OBSERVATIONS supporting the theory of ANYTHING. In ANY situation, and it is erroneous to believe that you can.

      All we have is the possibility first and after a few decades the incontrovertible facts of observations that more or less completely REFUTE the theory of (catastrophic) anthropogenic global warming.

      That is, climate change has moved more or less completely INDEPENDENTLY of the variations in CO2. One doesn’t need to deny that climate changes, nor yet to deny that CO2 has some effect, to sit there, point at the data and say ‘whatever effect CO2 may have on a changing climate its COMPLETELY SWAMPED by something else that is absolutely NOT CO2.

      That is enough to refute CAGW, even if it leaves AGW as a bit part player.

      • Thanks for the correction, Leo. We never prove that a theory is correct by experimentation, we simply fail to invalidate that theory when observation are consistent with the theory.

        In the case of climate, we can postulate an ECS (or range of ECSs) and combine it with the observed ocean heat uptake from ARGO to obtain a postulated TCR. Then we can convert current forcing (or range of forcing) to a predicted amount of warming. (Or, one can take observed warming and ocean heat uptake and determine and ECS. This is what energy balance models do, and ECS usually comes out between 1.5 and 2.0 K/doubling.) However, in both cases, we assume that all temperature change is forced temperature change, an assumption we know isn’t true. Unless we have some way to quantify unforced variability in climate, then we have no way to invalidate a hypothesis that ECS is (for example) between 2.5 and 3.5 K/doubling. The IPCC gets around this problem by considering the unforced variability produced by models.

        • you can’t. everybody else who does it can.
          your problem. but go ahead and project your failure.
          it’s what you do. project failure. you raise kids this way?

      • “Actually it is impossible to obtain absolutely conclusive OBSERVATIONS supporting the theory of ANYTHING.”
        can you prove that or is this a divine revelation?
        nope- it’s a self contradiction = it is a lie.
        you are a liar. lie some more. it’s what liars do.

        • Which toe did I step on?

          The only true statement is that there are, apart from this one, no other true statements about induction.

          Let me give you an example.

          1. The world was created 6000 years ago by a god who decided to test the faith of Man, by designing it in such a way that it was *impossible* to distinguish from a world created by a big bang N billion years ago, with one exception. He gave Man a Book that told him the only Truth there is, the Truth of God.

          2. The world was created by a big bang N billion years ago. The Book is a load of cobblers.

          3. We live in a computer simulation created by pan dimensional white mice, who have created it as a laboratory experiment to see how stupid we all are.

          All of these narratives explain the world we live in, EXACTLY. Which one is ‘true’?

          The ONLY truth there is is DEDUCTIVE, i.e. conditional

          IF A THEN B.

          Deduction is how we test Induction.

          IF we are living in a computer simulation THEN IF we can find a way of disconnecting ourselves the world would disappear.

          But since we cant, we can’t test the Inductive theory

          All ‘facts’ can be explained by any amount of theories. Some of these will meet Popper’s criterion of falsification, and be shown to be false, some will
          meet Popper’s criterion of falsification, but fail to be found false.

          So out of 1000 wackdoodle theories, we have 100 that haven’t been shown to be false.

          Doesn’t make any of them true.

          • “The only true statement is that there are, apart from this one, no other true statements about induction.”

            everything you say is a lie except that.
            can you be any more puerile with the sofistry?

          • “…there are, apart from this one, no other true statements about induction.”

            Which statement is the true statement about induction again?

  43. Careful. If we disprove evolution all those crims convicted on DNA evidence might have to be set free.

  44. I’ve been told by many, that if you believe that God guided evolution, rather than everything being nothing more than blind chance, this is the logical equivalent to believing that God created everything some 5000 years ago.

    I guess once you have convinced yourself that God cannot exist (as much of a statement of faith as is the claim that he does exist) then anything that invokes God is all nonsense and there is no need to differentiate between levels of nonsense.

    Another infantile claim is that since God doesn’t measure up someone or others standards, that they have proven that God doesn’t exist. One can’t judge whether a plan is good or not without knowing the entire plan. If God is infinite, with the power to speak the universe into being, isn’t it possible that any plan he comes up with is larger than human minds can comprehend?

    • Mark,

      Of course you can inject God into the history of life on Earth at any point, which is what I told my fundamentalist students when I taught genetics at a traditionally Baptist college.

      It’s just that there is no need for supernatural “explanations” at any point in that history. Natural processes can explain all observations made to date. Assuming divine intervention isn’t warranted in the evolution of any trait yet observed.

      Evolution explains observations of the natural world. Positing that “God did it!” explains nothing. Biology obviously doesn’t “prove” that God doesn’t exist. It’s just that it works fine without resorting to Him.

      As the devout Orthodox geneticist Dobzhansky observed, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”.

      • Mark wrote: “Evolution explains observations of the natural world. Positing that “God did it!” explains nothing. Biology obviously doesn’t “prove” that God doesn’t exist. It’s just that it works fine without resorting to Him.”

        I disagree. “God did it” can explain anything we see. However, that is a hypothesis that can’t be tested (and developed into an established theory), because no experiment can disprove the existence of an omnipotent God. So, we have moved away from the domain of science as a way of learning what is true into other ways of learning; religion or “revealed truth”, postulate, or philosophy. So, “God did it” isn’t a scientific hypothesis. Science can’t answer lots of questions, but the answers it has provided seem very reliable.

        One may ask why an omnipotent God would create man to look like a species that could have evolved from an common ancestor of all primates. However, theologians have given up asking some questions about the motivations of an omnipotent God: For example, why does evil exist in a world made by God is considered to be an unanswerable question for humans.

        • The Bible says that God created evil.

          But you’re right that God or a Designer who made the world to appear as if it were 13.7 billion years old and that humans are apes would be a deceptive deity. Also cruel and incompetent.

          • But the Bible doesn’t try to answer the question of why God created evil. If I understand correctly – and I may not – it says some things are beyond the understanding of man and are the exclusive province of God.

        • The study of that question is known as ‘theodicy.’ Modern approaches assume that God is not fully present in this dimension set, possibly for reasons having to do with maintaining our free will.

        • “I disagree. “God did it” can explain anything we see. However, that is a hypothesis that can’t be tested…”

          In other words, it’s a cop out.

          • It if “explains” everything, it explains nothing.

            Evolution explains observations. Genesis is made up stories, prescientific “explanations” for such natural phenomena as the rainbow.

          • Jeff says: “In other words, it’s a cop out.”

            It is a cop out if you think the scientific method is the ONLY way of learning anything about the world. The scientific method may be the best way to gain reliable information about the world, but you must be aware that mathematicians start with a set of axioms and follow with logical deductions. They may devise a hypothesis or conjecture, but they don’t believe that testing conjectures experimentally proves anything. They don’t use the scientific method. Can how many lines can be drawn through a point not on an adjacent line and never intersect the line? That question is the subject of axioms, not experimental testing! Philosophy and religion are systems for learning that are further divorced from science. I don’t think mathematics, philosophy, religion, or simple authority always deserve to be called “cop outs”, but they are certainly have nothing to do with the scientific method. Science may be providing you (and me) personally with the more convincing explanations for the origin of man and whether the Earth is at the center of everything, but I don’t feel a need to insult those who rely on other systems. It is far better to point out the many great things the scientific method has produced and convert others to paying more attention to science. Take AIDs. The scientific method has produced treatments that keep victims alive indefinitely and information useful for preventing its spread.

          • you are so nuts.
            that’s all you have left when you abandon reason.
            why do you preach these lies? are you so desperate to recruit more idiots? how foul.

          • Well if REASON, is the application of LOGIC to make DEDUCTIONS. then we don’t know ANYTHING for SURE because ALL knowledge of any real use is INDUCTIVE.

            We TEST it with DEDUCTION, but that doesn’t tell us if its TRUE, only if it’s FALSE.

            There are a BILLION possible explanations for EVERYTHING, of which maybe half can be shown to be FALSE.

            That doesn’t make any one of what is left over TRUE however.

          • Since you don’t know anything for sure, wtf are you babbling?
            and stop waving your wee ‘we’.
            frikn amateur hour for the mystics here today… sheesh.

          • Well if REASON, is the application of LOGIC to make DEDUCTIONS. then we don’t know ANYTHING for SURE because ALL knowledge of any real use is INDUCTIVE.

            Then WHY are you COMMENTING on THAT which you CANNOT say for SURE?

            DON’T you…after ALL…CONTRADICT…yourself?

          • man’s primary distinction and means of survival is his reason.
            a creature which struggles to contradict it’s identity and survival is a monstrosity.
            leo is declaring war on humanity’s greatest virtue.
            he’s a self harmer but he’s not content to harm himself alone. he wants to mangle others. we know this because that’s what he is employing his time and best effort to do.

          • he’s a self harmer…

            Bah…he’s not a self-harmer…see this is what gets me.

            I guarantee you this, when Leo wakes up in the morning he lives his life just exactly like the rest of us do, despite the nonsensical belief system he claims to espouse.

            For example:

            1) He does NOT walk out into TRAFFIC before LOOKING both WAYS because he KNOWS it’s objectively TRUE that he might be KILLED if he DOESN’T.

            And this despite the fact that his belief system tells him that he can’t know any such thing before he tests the theory to see if it’s false if he does.

            The Practicality of Popper is as much Peculiarly Pathetic as it is Patently Preposterous!

          • The scientific method is not simply “reason”.

            The whole history of the philosophy of science has been away from “pure reason” (a critique thereof) toward experience, ie empiricism. Cue Francis Bacon.

            Aristotle concluded on the basis of “reason” that the moon and higher spheres were perfect, in his “theory of gravity”.

            Galileo showed by experiment that this “reasoning” was wrong.

            The scientific method requires making hypotheses based upon observations, then making predictions upon the hypotheses, capable of being tested and found false.

          • The scientific method is not simply “reason”.

            What the __________ does the scientific method have to do with whether or not one is going to be killed if one doesn’t look both ways before crossing the street?

            I know it without testing the theory, because I’m not a moron; the same as I, my dog, my cat, my horse, my [name your dumb animal] know(s) by instinct that jumping off that 50 story cliff onto the rocks below is likely to kill me, hence I’d better not do it.

            Are you unaware that gnomish is critiquing a particularly impractical and useless system of truth or do you really believe he’s critiquing the scientific method?

          • I wasn’t responding to Gnomish, but to Leo.

            My bad for not addressing him in my comment. Present formatting requires that.

            I hadn’t read Gnomish’s comment, because he hadn’t yet made it when I started writing my comment at 6:16 Pacific Time, but was interrupted by dinner, then returned to finish the comment.

          • I wasn’t responding to Gnomish, but to Leo.

            Oops…sorry for the harshness there guy.

            🙂

          • No worries.

            Had I seen Gnomish’s comment, I’d have addressed mine to Leo.

            It wasn’t just dinner. It was Taco Tuesday at my high school classmate’s restobar, so lasted longer than dinner would normally have.

            Normally, my cousins don’t come by until 6:20 to go to TT, but they were early, so I had to drop my comment in midstream. My wife is South American, but loves tacos.

          • In her country, they don’t know from tacos. They call triangular tortilla chips “nachos”, because that’s the form in which they first encountered them, instead of “totopos”, their name in Mexican Spanish.

            I had to explain to her that totopos with cheese and salsa were invented during WWII by a chef on the Mexican border with Texas named Ignacio, ie “Nacho”, when US Army wives arrived at his restaurant hungry, but all he had left was totopos, queso y pico de gallo.

          • sorry this is turning into a turing test, but nope:
            your argument will be presented using logic and reason.
            your investigation will be decided by application of reason.
            your conclusions will be derived by application of logic.
            your proof will depend on logic.
            your hypothesis doesn’t pop out of the clouds.
            you can’t know anything without conceiving it and validating it by logic.
            you won’t claim to know something you can hot prove.
            so stop quibbling. what i say is true and you know it.
            sometimes, though, you need to know that you know it.
            i suggest a good dictionary. then you won’t have these rhetorical obstacles to clear thinking..
            the philosophy of science can never leave reason behind – that would make it mysticism.
            as you know, since you are considerate enough to credit me with some intelligence and follow the link i provided, everything i have said has been extensively studied and documented so you know my comments are not mindless babble.
            right?
            furthermore,, you will not be able to show a single flaw in my reasoning because to reason is human and i’m a very good human.
            you can never ever use logic to disprove logic.
            you can never ever use reason to devalue reason.
            so just don’t try. it’s purely a losing proposition- only for you.

      • there is no need for supernatural “explanations” at any point in that history.

        Cf William of Occam. If you don’t need it don’t introduce it., He was a monk too.

        Doesn’t mean there is no god. Just means it is – from the point of construction of a hypothesis that works, not any use.

    • In the end ‘god guided evolution’ is just another way of saying ‘god created natural laws’.

      Its a way of saving the God theory that adds nothing to science.

      God theories are not anti-science and science is not anti-god. They are different metaphysics, that’s all. Alternative narratives for different purposes.

      The mistake is in believing that either one of them is the One True View.

      Both are stories.

      One is a story that is successful at predicting the future, the other is a story that is successful in making people feel good about themselves and play nice.

  45. Dr Ball,

    I usually enjoy your work, but not this time. There is a planet full of empirical evidence that life on earth has undergone an evolutionary process!

    I’m not hand waving, there is just not the place and space to elaborate here. Your use of that kind of terminology is too dismissive of the depth of the issue.

    It seems to me you are doing to evolution what the AGW crowd do: Focusing on small details and ignoring the big picture. They talk in hockey sticks and ignore the millions of years of climate.

    Don’t get bogged down in the minutia of details, look at the pattern of life and life forms, geology, and geological structure/s; fossil layering and it relation to the geologic column, so called.

    I am with you on climate change, but I am not with you on the evolution thing for the same reasons I joined your side of the climate debate:

    Empirical Evidence.

  46. To cast doubt over the reliability of science, Dr. Ball brings up controversies about evolution … and distorts and ignores some of the evidence. We know from laboratory experiments that spontaneous random mutations are introduced by errors made during replication of DNA. Using species that reproduce quickly and produce many off-spring, we can show that mutants that have superior capability to thrive and reproduce will “evolve” and come to dominate a population. So the theory of evolution is a consequence of two things we can observe, spontaneous random mutagenesis and survival of the fittest. The fact that all species use the same basic molecular machinery for performing the most basic chemistry of living (encoding and replicating genetic information as DNA and synthesizing proteins from that information) is reasonable evidence of a common origin.

    Man, of course, did not descend from the apes; we both evolved along different paths from a common ancestor. Birds and reptiles have a closer common ancestor (dinosaurs) than other mammal. We don’t need to rely on common appearance (though that is often correct). Today we can assess the relative relatedness of species and therefore descent by DNA sequencing. We don’t need to rely on fossil evidence suggesting feathered dinosaurs.

    • Humans not only descend from apes. We are apes, just as we are primates and mammals.

      Birds not only descend from dinosaurs. They are dinosaurs. Also reptiles.

      • Humans did not descend from apes. We share a common ancestor. We are in the same taxonomic family as the great apes, chimps and bonobos. Hominidae.

        Depending on your definition of “dinosaur,” birds did descend from them. Modern birds aren’t reptiles, according to the current taxonomic definition.

        This all just demonstrates the difficulty that exists because there ARE no natural categories of things. The entire system of taxonomy is artificial. It allows humans to exchange information using a standard vocabulary.

  47. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
    I have to disagree. While you always postulate with reasoning based on observation, you do need conjecture before you design your experiments and get the data that you need so that that the philosophical musings evolve into science. Such bloody hard work that you need the stubbornness of someone like Felix. You just need to grow up as well.

    • I always find it odd that people quote a fictional character for scientific guidance.

      I’m going to start quoting Gandalf.

      Here’s my first one:

      “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

      -Gandalf

  48. Yes, Tim, never, ever, ever even suggest that evolution might have problems or point out that it can never be verified. You get a horrified look, like you just accidently stepped on someone’s new puppy. You become a horrible person. Truly, there are some sacred things in “science” that are 100% exempt from any of the rules. Evolution is one.

    • Evolution obeys the rules of science. It’s not sacrosanct. Just the facts, ma’am.

      Creationism, as espoused in Dr. Ball’s spew of gibbering gibberish above, is not only unscientific but antiscientific and a huge embarrassment to this allegedly scientific blog.

    • My outrage is not that he said that evolution is not proven to be true, but that he thinks that a scientific theory – any scientific theory – can be ‘proven to be true’.

      Such a total misunderstanding of what science actually is, from a well respected and qualified scientist, is alarming.

  49. Excerpted comments posted by Dr. Tim Ball

    All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory. [Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory]

    IMLO, the one piece of empirical evidence that proves Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory of “descent with modifications” is the fact that all known past and present life forms are/were the product of their inherited/mutated DNA.

    He did not explain how humans are superior to every other species.

    And just who was given the right to say that humans are superior? Because humans are superior predators, maybe? But so were some dinosaur species. And cockroaches are far superior survivalists as a species than are/were any of the Homo species.

    Only humans put other values on things. No other animal could even think of a concept like economics.

    Is there not several different animal species that put a “high value” on their chosen “hunting territory” because of it economic value to the survival of its members ….. by marking its boundaries and avidly defending said from trespassers?

    Estimates indicate that on average it takes 15 million in a species for one to survive in the fossil record.

    There were literally billions of Passenger Pigeons, which are now extinct, and no fossil record of their ever existing. Fossils are actually the result of “natural occurring accidents”.

    Today, we are no further ahead because we have no idea how many species exist on our planet.

    And how would “knowing that number” …… put us further ahead. Or ahead of what?

    Sea levels are normally (geologically speaking) 400+- feet lower than present, therefore the vast majority of fossil evidence is surely buried under the aforesaid water depth.

    • I personally think trees are superior beings. Just sitting there, contemplating, taking nutrition from soils and atmosphere, serenely harming no-one (other than the odd accidental falling limb).
      Surely, with all this global warming alarm, humans are intent upon doing just this?

      • Any post modern techno shaman will tell you that the trees themselves influence humanity, when humanity cut down so many of them, to dig for coal in order to burn it to release CO2 into the air to help trees grow back bigger and better,

        I myself have hugged trees and not one has told me otherwise.

        Which proves my case completely…

    • >>
      Is there not several different animal species that put a “high value” on their chosen “hunting territory” because of it economic value to the survival of its members ….. by marking its boundaries and avidly defending said from trespassers?
      <<

      For many, many weeks, I’ve been listening to robins singing. They sing to claim their territory, and they are very territorial–at least to other robins.

      Jim

    • Probably not too many species lost due to lower MSL for most of the Pleistocene. When sea level rises, the animals can move and the plants’ seeds are carried inland on wind, by water and animals.

      • When sea level rises” ….. they can also build an ark like Noah did, and float away to dry land.

        Get a clue, Felix, ….. SLR has nothing to do with it other than its hiding the fossils thus preventing their discovery.

        Its all about the “length of time” that earthly land animals expended on solid ground during “short” interglacial periods (30K+- years ) …….. verses ……. extremely “long” glacial periods (200K+ years).

  50. Theory: Natural evolution, defined as the natural processes by which “goo” turns to “you” is un-testable in a laboratory and therefore, unscientific.

    Assumptions:

    1) Per Felix above: “To qualify as scientific, theories have to be based upon observations and hypotheses tested by making falsifiable predictions.”

    2) Per Dr. Ball: “Empirical evidence is evidence relating to or based on an experiment.”

    3) Per the IPCC: The climate system is a “non-linear, chaotic, system.”

    4) Per #3): The biological system, by its nature dependent upon the climate system, is therefore by necessity also a “non-linear, chaotic system.”

    Therefore:

    It is impossible to empirically test natural evolution in a laboratory environment. By definition, in order to test the processes by which natural evolution are theorized to occur, the experiment must be at least as non-linear, random and chaotic as the climate system.

    If this is true, then designing an experiment to test the hypothesis of natural evolution would necessarily be logically impossible, since the designers, by their “designing,” would invalidate assumptions 3 and/or 4 or both.

    What say you?

    • The fact of evolution can be and has been repeatedly confirmed by observation and experiment in the wild and in the lab. Creationism, never.

      There is no theoretical or physical reason for evolution not to be subject to observation and experiment.

      It’s disturbing that Dr. Ball didn’t bother to read the numerous instances of such observations and experiments provided him in his prior post, instead dismissing all commenters’ work as “arm-waving”.

      • You didn’t address my argument, you simply restated your premises again. I’m interested in the former, having heard all about the latter.

        🙂

        • Yes, I did address your “argument”.

          Of course we can and do make experiments testing natural selection, reproductive isolation and other evolutionary processes. They work.

          • Of course we can and do make experiments testing natural selection, reproductive isolation and other evolutionary processes. They work.

            Then I would argue you must deny assumptions #3 and #4.

            Why do you disagree with them?

          • No, I didn’t. You’re spouting gibberish.

            The biological system isn’t chaotic. Natural selection is in a particular direction. If the climate changes, living things will change in response. It got colder during the Pleistocene, so northern populations of steppe mammoths evolved into woolly mammoths.

            You simply fail to understand biology. Nor do you know what “chaotic” means in the context of climate, which includes chaotic systems, but is in fact cyclical, under the control of repeating phenomena.

          • No, I didn’t.

            You did if my assumptions are true.

            You’re spouting gibberish.

            Fallacy #1: argumentum ad hominem

            The biological system isn’t chaotic. Natural selection is in a particular direction. If the climate changes, living things will change in response. It got colder during the Pleistocene, so northern populations of steppe mammoths evolved into woolly mammoths.

            1) You’ve confirmed the subjection of the biological system to the climate system (assumption #4), in which case, the biological system must also be subject to chaos. As evidence, if natural selection were enough to counter chaos, extinction would never happen. Hence, the biological system must also be chaotic.

            2) Natural selection’s processes are subject to the biological system, so if they do appear to move “in a particular way” (if they do, Leo would argue otherwise) doesn’t preclude the system subsuming those processes from being chaotic any more than the ability to predict weather means the climate system is also predictable.

            3) I deny the premise that natural selection is natural evolution (“goo to you”). Natural evolution (chaotic processes in the wild producing “goo to you”) doesn’t presuppose natural selection, nor vice versa. You don’t need one to prove or disprove the other.

            You simply fail to understand biology.

            Fallacy #2: argumentum ad verecundiam

            1) You contradict yourself. For example, you comment about the fallacy of AGW consistently here, yet you “fail to understand” the climate system any better than the best climate scientist, otherwise you wouldn’t be here, you’d be lecturing where everyone was listening and I’d be reading about you in the news. That’s not a criticism of you personally, because:

            2) No one understands the climate system with any real clarity to have much of really practical use to say toward describing it at this point, therefore, I object to your objection on the basis of your own hypocrisy regarding the subject matter.

            3) My argument doesn’t depend on understanding biology at all, just as my argument against AGW doesn’t depend on understanding climate science in any depth. I object to both for logical reasons; to natural evolution as I’ve described above.

            Nor do you know what “chaotic” means in the context of climate, which includes chaotic systems, but is in fact cyclical, under the control of repeating phenomena.

            1) You contradict your own argument again. If the systems are chaotic, then by definition they’re “under the control” of nothing at all. The observation that the system is cyclical is true, but you have no inkling of why its “under the control of repeating phenomena,” other than you believe by faith that it is. As evidence, you’ve designed no experiment to test your theory (because it can’t be done) and therefore, you’re theory is unscientific.

            Therefore, the best you can say is that so far, the chaos of the system has produced observed cycles. You can’t prove it won’t in the future. More importantly, in this context your objection to my argument is nullified.

            So, on the basis of your acceptance of assumption 4), then by default you must also accept 3); in which case in order to design an experiment to test the theory of natural evolution (“goo to you”), one would be forced to recreate the entire universe (or at least, earth) in a bottle and watch it from there. Since that can’t be done, natural evolution (“goo to you”) is an untestable hypothesis and therefore by your own definition, unscientific.

            I’m still having fun, and you’re the one making me smile!

          • Your scholastic nonsense is meaningless, but glad you’re enjoying your pointless, idiotic passtime.

          • You’re not mad at me are you?

            I wouldn’t do it to you if I didn’t think it would be a challenge.

            You don’t have to be so serious all the time, you know…have some fun, it’s good for you!

            xoxo

            🙂

          • Your dumb attempt to refute science and objective reality with twisted “logic” might amuse yourself. It doesn’t me. It’s a waste of time.

            Thomas Aquinas did it a lot better. He, like you, are only unintentionally funny.

            I’m not serious. If someone is actually funny, I laugh. When someone is idiotic, I’m just sad or ticked off.

          • Please feel free. If you enjoy wasting time.

            Logic games are never a waste of time in my mind…so okay!

          • Your material, sir, what you wrote, it’s not funny, sir. I’m begging you, don’t go on air with it:

          • See? It’s true. You’ve already postulated that talking about this is “a waste of time,” however, you’re still talking about it.

            People don’t do that unless they’re mad…I didn’t mean to make you mad!

          • Nope. Talking about your “logic” was a waste of time.

            Pointing out that it isn’t funny is a different topic.

          • Oh, “logic” in quotes…now you’re just trying to hurt me. You wouldn’t do that unless you were mad.

            Would you?

          • Your scholastic nonsense is meaningless, but glad you’re enjoying your pointless, idiotic passtime.

            Oops…before I forget (because you’re mad and I want to put that out of my mind)…

            Fallacy #3a: argumentum ad hominem

            Therefore:

            QED

            Nope…wait:

            Fallacy #3 (no ‘a’): argumentum ad lapidem

            Therefore:

            QED

            There, fixed it for me.

            Would you forgive me if I got you a fun logic book, Felix…say from Popper…then you and Leo can hang out and talk about how the only thing we can really know is that the entire universe is a big lie?

            🙂

  51. I was always disturbed by the number of biology students who didn’t know the definition of species. The Oxford English Dictionary provides this definition.

    “A group of living organisms consisting of similar individuals capable of exchanging genes or interbreeding. The species is the principal natural taxonomic unit, ranking below a genus and denoted by a Latin binomial, e.g., Homo sapiens.”

    There are several speciation concepts in biology and they aren’t taken from the OED! Here are some.
    The Biological Species concept is one:
    The biological species concept defines a species as members of populations that actually or potentially interbreed in nature.
    Also the Phylogenetic Species Concept:
    The concept of a species as an irreducible group whose members are descended from a common ancestor and who all possess a combination of certain defining, or derived, traits.
    And the Morphological Species Concept:
    Characterizes a species by body shape and other structural features and is applied to asexual and sexual organisms and useful when information on gene flow is unknown.

    They don’t all give the same designation of species between two populations.

    That sounds clear and concise, but it is not the case even among today’s species. It is even more difficult in the fossil record. For example, we know that mules and horses cannot produce viable offspring.

    Mules are the hybrid offspring of horses and donkeys, and are sterile indicating that horses and donkeys are separate species.

    If we found such similar species in the fossil record, there is no way of knowing. How many other natural hybrids exist today or in the fossil record?

    The idea that somehow the fossil record is invalidated because we don’t know if any of the fossils were sterile hybrids is rather stupid.

    • Did you just equate not accepting the conjecture from little evidence with the evidence being invalidated?

    • Mules are the hybrid offspring of horses and donkeys, and are sterile indicating that horses and donkeys are separate species.

      I wouldn’t go there. Some interspecies crossbreeds are in fact fertile

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wholphin

      Pretty much all dog species are – wolves coyotes dingoes jackals etc all interbreed successfully. With each other and with domestic dogs.

      Homo sap. apparently interbred with homo neanderthalensis.

      Creating the modern ‘liberal’ 🙂

      • “Homo sap. apparently interbred with homo neanderthalensis.

        Creating the modern ‘liberal’”

        That made me laugh! I should probably be ashamed of myself but I just couldn’t help it. 🙂

  52. Roger Pielke Jr exposes the fantastical solutions for global warming, fudging the evidence, presuming irrational improvements, that under gird current climate policy. See
    Opening Up the Climate Policy Envelope
    We need to confront reality, solid foundations, and seek possible solutions.

  53. You are talking crap.
    The evidence for conventional evolutionary theory is overwhelming and
    what’s more its fundamentals are basically common sense.
    Just my 2 cents.

  54. 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    I once had dinner with the Pastor (had I known it was to be an Inquisitional dinner, I might have demurred, but I digress) and he asked me, “What are your thoughts on how we came to be…?” (or something like that). And I replied, “It’s not worth arguing about.” He looked startled, “What do you mean?” So let me elucidate to y’all as I did to him:

    My Bible tells me God created the Heavens and the Earth, and I believe that 100%, and how he did it is entirely up to him. Science will always delve into the question of exactly how, but they’ll never get all the way to the bottom of it. It will be like if I bake a cake, and I bring it to a Scientist and tell him I made a cake, and he takes the cake into his lab and analyzes and dissects and etc. (which seems like a waste of a perfectly good cake), and comes back out to tell me I took flour and milk and eggs and sugar and… Or, I opened a box from the store, added an egg and some oil, stirred and… He still hasn’t changed the fact that I made a cake. He has only expounded upon the way(s) I might have accomplished that (and don’t anyone for a minute think that I’m trying to pretend I’m God, far from it).

    So, when God created the Heavens and the Earth, and we look back on it from our perspective today, and analyze and etc., we may be able to prove the way God did it looks a lot like the idea we now call The Big Bang. Or we may analyze further, when we know a little more, and have better instruments, and find it looked like something else entirely. Likewise,

    24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.
    25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
    26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

    And I believe through faith that God did this. Looking back on it from today’s perspective, we may conclude the way God did it looked something like the process called Evolution. Or it may have looked like the process we call Creation. Or it may have looked completely different, and I still believe God did it.

    All these things, Science should look into. Knowledge is good. Many times we will find things that are useful and can be applied to make life easier for all of Mankind. But every question we answer should raise multiple more questions for us to look into. For after all,

    Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for? – Robert Browning

    Now, just to prove that this relates to the original post, I agree with Dr. Ball, the Theory of Evolution remains unproven. We can be sure Natural Selection exists, else we would have only one dog breed, for example, not thousands. But that was only one element in Darwin’s theory (really it should still be labeled a Hypothesis, because it only moves from a Hypothesis to a Theory after some experimentation and/or collection of data, that support the original Hypothesis; or refute the Hypothesis and it’s back to the drawing board, come up with another Hypothesis. It remains in the literature only because it has not been disproven), and there has still been no experiment designed, nor data collected, that so much as proves a scintilla of it. My own personal belief…? It may be a good starting point. But too much remains unexplained, most especially…

    the large gap between humans and all other species, especially apes. [Wallace] said a theory must include an explanation for that difference and Darwin evolutionary ideas didn’t. Darwin tried to address the issue twelve years after “Origin” in his book “The Descent of Man”. He failed. He did not explain how humans are superior to every other species.

    And I have run on well past my threshold of knowledge. Bring on the Peanut Gallery!

    • The actual history of the universe, galaxy, solar system, Earth and life upon it looks nothing at all like the two contradictory creation myths in Genesis 1 and 2, and elsewhere in both Testaments.

      Evolution is a fact, not an hypothesis. As such, it has a body of theory explaining it, composed of hypotheses confirmed by testing according to the scientific method.

      In 1864, Wallace published a paper applying the theory of natural selection to humanity. Darwin hadn’t yet specifically addressed human evolution, which is why Wallace said it was necessary to do so.

      Wallace was prescient in attributing our evolution to upright walking, freeing up our hands and elevating our gaze across the grasslands. He was unfortunately interested in spiritualism, so got our brains wrong. He thought that the gap in imagined mental function between humans and other animals was too great to be explained naturally. The subsequent discovery of extinct members of genus Homo and advances in genetics showed that after a key mutation, our brains grew gradually from H. habilis through H. erectus to the size of H. sapiens.

      Chimp brain volume ranges from 282–500 cm^3. Our australopithecine ancestors’ brains weren’t much bigger, if any, averaging ~400 cc. The modern human brain, in contrast, is about three times larger, with a reported average volume of about 1330 cc. H. habilis’ volume was about 680 cc, and H. erectus 900 cc.

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248413001358

      How exactly do you imagine that Darwin “failed” in the “Descent of Man”? Humans aren’t superior to every other species. Being smarter than most in some ways doesn’t make us “superior”. Chimps have better spatial memories than people. Dogs and bears have far superior senses of smell. Antarctic krill have greater biomass. Cetaceans are bigger, can drink seawater and echolocate. Bats can fly and also echolocate. Other animals have electric sensory organs. Ants developed agriculture tens of millions of years before humans.

      Every species has adapted and evolved to improve its ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.

    • “My Bible tells me God created the Heavens and the Earth, and I believe that 100%, and how he did it is entirely up to him.”

      But that’s not getting to the bottom of it either. I agree that we’ll never know, because we can’t go back in time and observe. But I just can’t bring myself to believe, without evidence, any such nonsensical thing as a god.

      • On the other hand it could just be a parable of consciousness.

        God the holy ghost being your consciousness, which ‘creates the phenomenal world’ (god, the son) from whatever existence really is made of (God the father).

        Moving on, we find that before a person is self-conscious, life is idyllic and no sense of sin or guilt is possible, but the apple of Knowledge induces self consciousness, and with it the possibility of shame guilt and so on.

        Perhaps the mystics who wrote genesis were a lot smarter than you are…

        • “Moving on, we find that before a person is self-conscious, life is idyllic and no sense of sin or guilt is possible, but the apple of Knowledge induces self consciousness, and with it the possibility of shame guilt and so on.”

          In other words, ignorance is bliss. The sense of sin or guilt is also possible when it’s hammered into you day in day out through scripture and preaching, that you’re a sinner whether you did anything or not.

          “Perhaps the mystics who wrote genesis were a lot smarter than you are…”

          Maybe, I don’t claim to be smart. But you’re reading into what they wrote, as opposed to what they actually wrote. One could interpret things in many ways.

  55. “The problem for Darwin and the Big Bang theory people is that the ultimate question remains. Who or what created the material for the bang and who triggered it.”

    Okay, you’re losing credibility. That’s not an ultimate question. It’s not even a question we necessarily need to ask. Nothing created the material for the big bang. Nothing had to. It’s always been here. To dispute this you’re going to have to falsify laws of conservation of matter/energy.

  56. Good God. The personification of God in the Bible is a literary device. The God of Abraham is that which 1) created and governs the universe, 2) watches and judges, and 3) determines a particular future from all potential futures. Bronze Age men called this God; we call it the laws of physics and society. Read the Bible as you would a novel like “Animal Farm” and the truth of it in its lessons are apparent.

    • “Read the Bible as you would a novel like “Animal Farm” and the truth of it in its lessons are apparent.”

      I would add: Throw out all the supernatural garbage, and the inane laws, and keep the obvious words of wisdom, written by humans.

  57. Just to keep this discussion from winding out of control:

    Please NOTE that Tim Ball wrote in the 2nd-last paragraph above:
    “I am not arguing for creationism”

    • Tim also wrote above:
      “A real and very effective scientific hoax involved the obsession with proving Darwin’s theory. It is called the Piltdown Man Hoax…”

      And here is the irrefutable link between evolution vs creationism and global warming alarmist fraud – it’s called “the Piltdown Mann Hoax”.

      Mere coincidence? I think NOT!!! 🙂

      Ta Daaahhh!

      • uk us:

        Several people on this thread have already started to foam at the mouth because they did not read Tim’s sentence: “I am not arguing for creationism”

        Repeating: Ta Daaahhh!

        • But he is, despite his baseless disclaimer.

          He proposes no alternative to evolution but creation.

          Who is foaming?

          • Who is foaming? Right now, you Felix!

            How can you contradict Tim on what he thinks when he has clearly stated his position? He is simply saying “where is the evidence”?

            BTW, I do not like Tim’s argument, but that is another story. I think the relatively small differences in DNA between different species is a significant piece of evidence that tends to support evolutionary theory – but that is just my prejudice – I suppose others could claim it supports an alternative theory.

          • If there’s any foaming going, it’s the creationists here, who have nothing but packs of lies, which they keep spewing. I’m presenting science.

            I can easily point out that Tim’s claiming not to be a creationist is BS because all of his ignorant drivel is straight out of the lying creationist playbook.

            As I said, if he really doesn’t believe in creationism, let him present what alternative he sees to the fact of evolution. He won’t because he can’t. All he has is creationism.

          • Right-O Felix – you know what Tim thinks better than he does.

            How about telling us next what Michael Mann thinks?

            How about the Pope? Trump? Hillary? Let us hear more of your incredible insights into the minds of others.

            Repeating: Ta Daaahhh!

  58. Well, that’s pretty much it. I’ve never been very impressed by what you write about climate, Tim Ball, but now I have confirmation that you write about things you have no clue whatsoever.

    From now on I will pass on your articles.

    • False in one, false in all?

      Maybe in a court of law, but not necessarily in science. Dr. Spencer is also a creationist. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good scientist in his own speciality.

      IMHO.

      • Dr. Spencer is also a creationist.

        I don’t care about anybody’s beliefs. Roy Spencer has my respect as he writes about things he is an expert. My problem with Tim Ball is for what he writes, not what he believes. Everybody is entitled to their beliefs no matter what I might think of them.

      • That’s what he said, but what is his alternative to the fact of evolution, if not creationism. He doesn’t say.

        Dr. Ball is not arguing. He’s spouting errant nonsense, out of preposterous, ludicrous, total, complete, utter and deep ignorance.

      • That is just his apology. A case where his reactions speak louder than a few words.

  59. In the broad sense, there isn’t any “theory of Darwinism” to be proved wrong. No more than one could prove “science” is wrong.

    The simple distillation of Darwinism is really just a common sense illustration/explanation of how small accumulated changes in living organisms (or self-replicating molecules) can lead to very large changes over time. That, in itself, is very difficult to argue against or prove to be generally “wrong”.

    If someone has a specific disagreement over human evolution or how the Burgess shales should be interpreted, then they are welcome to take it up with geologists or someone who cares. It matters not one jot to the general thrust of Darwinism.

    • Evolution of new species can also happen in a single generation, so the process of speciation and evolving new genera doesn’t have to gradual.

      For higher classifications, ie families and above, yeah, it’s usually gradual.

  60. The question is what is really behind all of this illogic and attacks on anyone who questions Darwinism or the prevailing wisdom of his Evolutionary Theory?

    What is it that you are disputing?

    Random variation?

    Natural selection?

    All reconstructions of possible evolutionary histories?

    Temporal ordering?

    Overconfidence in particular dates?

  61. Mr. Ball, I would like to add that another similarity between these two conceptualizations is how people are forced to pay for the indoctrination of their own children into these beliefs (without exposure to any alternatives), even though they themselves don’t believe, and don’t want their children indoctrinated.

    (Way to get suckered into backing a dreadful precedent, O Evo Justice Warriors ; )

    • Science is the study of natural law, not supernatural.
      Evolution isnt a faith, it’s merely the only explanation we have that matches all the data without invoking a steady stream of miracles.

  62. It will ease your mind, Tim, to learn that humans share 98.8% of their genome with chimps, according to numerous studies based on DNA — thus proving unequivocally that chimps and homo sapiens have a common ancestor. See https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/human-origins-and-cultural-halls/anne-and-bernard-spitzer-hall-of-human-origins/understanding-our-past/dna-comparing-humans-and-chimps/

    While there are a great many other reasons to accept the Darwinian view of evolution, this evidence should settle the matter. As for all the many other questions you raise, many have been explained, others remain to be explained. But the basic idea behind Darwin’s theory has held up very well over many years of careful study. Climate change is another matter entirely.

    • Sexual selection and natural selection 100% explains human evolution, just as the Bible represents it in narrative form. “Eve” the animal selects mates critically and the result is knowledge of right, wrong, future, death, and taxes (lol), etc. and eventually “Eve” the human.

    • Ah but you are assuming some relationship between DNA and inheritance you see. In short you assume Darwin, and find evidence to support it!

      I could as easily say that the keratin in our hair is 100% the same as the keratin in a chimps fur, this proving almost anything.

      🙂

      It behoves us to look into the philosophy of science carefully to understand what the relationship between theory and evidence is, before jumping in feet first..

      • What shows incontrovertibly that humans and chimps share a common ancestor is that we have the same nonfunctional sequences in our genomes, among other irrefutable evidence.

        Having sequenced both genomes, we can see precisely which genetic changes led to our phenotypic divergences. The difference is mainly in control sequences, not in “genes”, ie the protein-coding sequences. We have the same number of body hair follicles per square inch of skin as chimps. The difference is that our hair grows shorter rather than longer. Ours legs grow for relatively more time, while our arms for less, for instance.

          • It’s not just a story. It’s an unavoidable inference from the observations.

            In fact, when you look at human chromosome #2 and compare it to the two smaller standard great ape chromosomes which fused to form it, our common descent can only be considered a fact.

          • No Felix, it is neither an inference, nor unavoidable.

            I respect utterly your knowledge of the biological sciences.

            Respect my knowledge of the philosophy of science.

            Everything we know is a narrative, a model..science is just a subset of narratives that can be tested and shown to be not in accordance with the observations they predict.

            Creationism COULD BE TRUE. And all the history of the world back to the big bang an implanted trick by a malicious Creator, and you and I were in fact born yesterday complete with false memories.

            That is a narrative that explains everything. And it cannot be shown to be false because it is a METAPHYSICAL narrative.

            But it makes no predictions and cannot be tested, so its not a scientific narrative.

            The world is a story we tell ourselves to remember and categorise our experience. Its all a narrative.

            Do not confuse ‘facts’ with reality, and do not confuse theories about facts, with facts.

  63. its very sad, quite alarming, and ultimately depressing when people who evidently have minds, and allegedly have scientific qualifications appear to utterly and completely misunderstand the philosophical relationship between ‘evidence’ and ‘theory’ to the point where such an article could even be contemplated, let alone written.

    One might always say that the existence of this article shows that Darwin has been refuted, and that the most unfit descendants of homo sapiens are thriving.

    Ecce homo paleas!

    • Sad indeed, made sadder by the likelihood that alarmist stooges are even now altering the Wiki entry to use Dr. Ball’s posts on evolution, a scientific discipline in which he is clearly profoundly ignorant, and all that he imagines he knows is false, to demonstrate that, as per their frequent charges, “climate change” skeptics oppose all science.

  64. This turns out to be a great post. Not for what Dr. Tim Ball wrote, but for the discussion he has provoked. Even if a theory has achieved consensus, we still have to keep an open mind. Evolution is an every day fact; the “evolution” that is being argued here is “the mechanism of evolution of species”, and for that there is considerable evidence for and very little evidence against. That doesn’t mean it is proved as Dr. Tim Ball demands; but the theory is so good that very few see any point in looking for evidence against it. Just like most researchers are trying to confirm that CO2 causes global warming. If that is Dr. Tim Ball’s point, it is a valid one.

    I am not arguing for creationism, but it appears to influence science so that there is irrational and blind determination to confirm Darwin’s Theory. Ironically, we witness belief in the environment and AGW taking religious, blind belief, positions. So it is with Darwin. The minute you even raise the topic you get hysterical arm waving responses, with no empirical evidence to support their position.

    Humans are known for taking religious, blind belief, positions. So what? First, you have to expect that. Second, you invent the scientific method. Scientists (and pundits and journalists and politicians) are still human, prone to above mentioned errors. And then there is the “scientific method”, an evolution from certain religious thought, and there is no bible for it, although some think Popper wrote that bible.

    Popper was a philosopher who was not impressed with Freud’s theories, so he expanded on Kant, Marx, and Hume and invented “falsifiability”. The idea of falsifiability caught on, although it’s not the last word.

    Popper removes “the demand for empirical verification in favour of empirical falsification”. Scientific theories, for him, are not inductively inferred from experience, nor is scientific experimentation carried out with a view to verifying or finally establishing the truth of theories; rather, all knowledge is provisional, conjectural, hypothetical—we can never finally prove our scientific theories, we can merely (provisionally) confirm or (conclusively) refute them; hence at any given time we have to choose between the potentially infinite number of theories which will explain the set of phenomena under investigation. Faced with this choice, we can only eliminate those theories which are demonstrably false, and rationally choose between the remaining, unfalsified theories. Hence Popper’s emphasis on the importance of the critical spirit to science—for him critical thinking is the very essence of rationality. For it is only by critical thought that we can eliminate false theories, and determine which of the remaining theories is the best available one, in the sense of possessing the highest level of explanatory force and predictive power. It is precisely this kind of critical thinking which is conspicuous by its absence in contemporary Marxism and in psychoanalysis.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/

  65. I’m not sure why, or whether anyone else has already notice or posted on this, but Dr Tim Ball’s head post is reader-editable. Might this be a glitch associated with the new WUWT web host which I believe allows Comments to be edited for a brief time after they are posted? Or perhaps Tim simply forgot to turn something off before posting? A bit risky, Tim, you could be misquoted!

  66. Let me give two examples on differing results relating same type of experiments or analysis:

    When I was a M.Sc. [Tech] student my uncle was doing Ph.D. on aerobiology. While conducting experiments I used to go and help him in the field trials. He submitted his thesis to his guide. He found that these results are exactly opposite to what his earlier student got and received Ph.D. for that thesis. The guide asked my uncle to take up another topic. He agreed and completed his thesis and got Ph.D. — He worked as head and prof. of environmental studies.

    When we do analysis in climate, based on the selected truncated data, people are getting contradictory results. Based on the influence the person holds get publicity over the other. Here, instead of trying to understand why differing results are observed!!! Now World Bank released a sensational report relating to climate change with reference India. Media is interested in such bogus reports. Politicians are interested in such reports. In India lot of institutions are there, no body cares to get feedback on such trash reports.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  67. I had never thought about the theory of evolution until I recently had a heart attack.
    As a consequence of this, I have been placed on a couple of blood thinners and anti-clotting agents.
    I recently had a minuscule cut on my finger; it was about 1/8 inch long and barely broke the surface. Yet, it bled for three days, and only stopped when I flooded it with crazy glue.
    Apparently, for blood to clot, 13 individual things need to happen; all in precise sequence. If any one of those steps is missing, blood will not clot. Apparently hemophiliacs are missing step 9.
    Darwinian theory states that this clotting process evolved as a consequence of numerous random mutations, occurring over millions of years.
    Do I really need to explain the total implausibility and stupidity of that proposition?
    Now that my consciousness has been awakened, I can go through numerous biological processes which are similarly implausible under the Darwinian scenario.
    I am embarrassed to admit that I once believed in the Darwinian nonsense; but I was young and stupid. All of twelve months ago.

    • That countless mutations occur is a fact. Genetic variation also results from other sources.

      It’s not the innumerable mutations that matter, since there will also be lots of those. It’s what natural selection does with them. Selection is the opposite of random.

      Step-by-step evolution of vertebrate blood coagulation.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19667012

      Understanding the evolution of clotting has helped us understand diseases of its dysfunction.

      Evolution provides clue to blood clotting

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110720151545.htm

      • Sorry, these arguments and the links just don’t cut it.
        The fact that the genome has genes related to clotting doesn’t say anything about the sequence at which these appeared, or when.
        Think about it logically: I am a creature going about my business; but without a blood clotting mechanism. I cut myself, as inevitably I would do.
        Then, while waiting for evolution to occur, I bleed to death.
        In other words, I don’t live long enough for a blood clotting mechanism to evolve, regardless of the sequence or the timing. I either have a blood clotting mechanism, or I am dead.
        My eyes were opened when a trivial cut, which I previously would not even have noticed, bled for three days.

        • Please read how clotting occurred, instead of using what you imagine to be “logic”. This is the same lame thinking which imagines that eyes and kidneys can’t evolve.

          The mammalian clotting system evolved from steps which on their own were advantageous.

          • Yes, I have read several hypotheses regarding how clotting is supposed to evolved.
            The common factor in all of them is that they are highly speculative, not testable, and require several miracles to occur.
            In the meantime, while waiting for those miracles, the organism bleeds to death.
            I am a non believer in miracles. But I did have a cut that bled for three days.

          • Clearly, you haven’t read them. They are not speculative. They are based upon observations. No miracles required.

            You just can’t handle the truth.

        • Then, while waiting for evolution to occur, I bleed to death.

          Exactly. You fail to reproduce and natural selection removes your genes from the gene pool.

        • Och William . . come on! Bleeders don’t breed (bcause they won’t live long enough) is maybe the crudest way to put it, but optimised coagulators will . . You are imagining the necessity of a Lamarckian mechanism . . . . .

    • >>
      Apparently, for blood to clot, 13 individual things need to happen; all in precise sequence. If any one of those steps is missing, blood will not clot.
      <<

      Shades of Michael Behe and his "Black Box!"

      Behe made the same claim long before you. He also didn't know that dolphins and a certain sea snake didn't read his book. They are missing steps in the clotting sequence and don't have any trouble with blood clotting too much or too little.

      Jim

    • Do I really need to explain the total implausibility and stupidity of that proposition?

      I am afraid you have to do more than that.

      You really also need to explain the total implausibility and stupidity of your statement above.

      Massive complexity from simple laws iterating over time (or space)is the norm

      The mandlebrot set is as simple as can be in terms of the ‘natural laws’ that govern its construction.

      But the complexity of structure is breathtaking

      https://vps.templar.co.uk/Odds%20and%20Ends/Mandelbrot_Set-3-VALLEY_ZOOM.jpg

      Or listen to the wind in the trees – no gods involved
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNk1B8H4wmQ

      Complex or what?

    • William: I recently had a minuscule cut on my finger; it was about 1/8 inch long and barely broke the surface. Yet, it bled for three days, and only stopped when I flooded it with crazy glue.
      Apparently, for blood to clot, 13 individual things need to happen; all in precise sequence. If any one of those steps is missing, blood will not clot. Apparently hemophiliacs are missing step 9.

      Do you imagine that the clotting mechanism always works the same? Or that it even always works other than in hemophiliacs?

      What you read is a schematic of a process that isn’t exactly the same in everyone, and can fail (as it evidently did with you). Every measurable, estimable, or countable attribute varies from person to person: thrombin coagulation rate; composition and count of platelets; specific binding sites on the platelets; rate of production of the platelets, and so on. Besides hemophilia, people are plagued with disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, phlebitis, idiopathic thrombocytopenia (a relative of mine had this), and others. People die of these disorders every day; for those who have not died yet, it looks as though the mechanism is fine. There are similarities and variations across species (exact composition and structure of prothrombin and platelets, for example), but no two individuals of the same species (or lineage, when lineages can be studied) are exactly the same.

      Random variation and natural selection (the dying out of the individuals with the least adequate clotting before they can reproduce) through long descent, is far and away a more reasonable explanation of all the documented details and failures than any other alternative such as “design”. It is not complete explanation for all details, but neither is design or anything else.

  68. We have empirical evidence of creation/intelligent design. Scientists all over (myself included) have intelligently designed and created new genetically engineered animals with traits that have never existed before.

    We are creating nucleotides that have never existed before. New tRNAs and new amino acids. New synthetic genomes.

    One of the BIG QUESTIONS is about information. How did life spring forth from the cosmos? A self replicating molecule is a favorite theory. Sure, replication is essential. But one of the other things modern scientists have done is try to reduce life into its most simplistic form by eliminating all non essential genes. Even under optimal controlled conditions, the number of distinct essential genetic elements and associated functions is somewhere between 150 and 250.

    How do you generate the information in those 150 distinct elements, collect it all in one place, and simultaneously exclude any other elements that would interfere with the essential ones?

    Monkeys on typewriters, right? That just makes it worse, because some monkeys would have to type a sentence, others a paragraph, others a letter. If they stop too soon or go on too long, that sequence gets tossed on the garbage heap.

    • Design by humans might be intelligent, but “design” by nature isn’t. It’s intensely stupid.

      The first protocell may have had only one gene, ie a protein-coding sequence. Or maybe even none, if an RNA ribozyme catalyzed its own replication.

      A self-replicating molecule isn’t a favorite theory. It is life, if combined with metabolism and the ability to evolve.

      • A functional protein coding sequence?
        Please calculate the probability of that occurring by random chance.

        • Again, you fail to understand elementary biology.

          Mutations arise more or less randomly, but selection is the opposite of random. It’s highly directional.

          The probability of sequences coding for proteins is 100%. Maybe you don’t know how the system works. Three nucleobases code for an amino acid, based upon their shapes. RNA strings these together at the ribosome (itself functionally made of tRNA) to form proteins.

      • Intensely stupid? When scientists can achieve miraculous things by mimicking nature?

        There are plenty of brilliant people mimicking nature, i don’t see many tossing it all aside and starting from scratch.

        When someone begins from first principles and generates a life form without all the intensely stupid biochemistry we currently study, let me know.

        • We mimic those features, structures and products of nature that work well, thanks to millions of years of evolution.

          But what competent engineer would design a foot like ours? Clearly, it’s a jerry-rigged adaptation of a grasping foot to a plantigrade walking foot.

          Only an Idiotic Designer would have mammalian gonads develop in the fish position, ie in our chests, then migrate into and, in the case of males, out of the abdomen, leaving behind two holes, hernias waiting to happen.

          We use evolution to make new drugs and other useful products.

          The more you know about biochemistry, the more you realize how needlessly clunky it is. So is the way in which most organisms are “designed”. It’s Rube Goldberg all the way down.

          There is no evidence in support of ID, ie creationism, and all the evidence in the world against it.

        • Mimicking nature?

          If by that you mean copying te result of a million years of natural selection thats has evolved creatures that can do things, well then yes, that’s not a bad starting place if you want to build machines that work like animals

          Airliners look like seagulls because the same aerodynamics and
          material structure properties govern their shapes.

          But I can’t think of a single bird that flies using a gas turbine 🙂

          Man, not God, designed those.

  69. Paleontology certainly corroborates evolution and most of the development of the fossil record development post dated Darwin. The fossil record neednt be dated precisely. Superposition of strata will suffice and did so a century before radioactive dating and was found to have been sequenced correctly. Indeed, sedimentary beds that had been turned over or fault- thrusted over younger beds were identified by the fossil records of these beds.

    I dont like the reader to be de-educated by overstatement of your cases. The evolution of the horse from a 5 toed to a 3 toed to a one toed animal in a sequence of beds is compelling evidence. The 3- toed horse had two vestigial ‘splints’ of bone beneath the skin. The one- toed modern horse has two splints as reminders of the 3- toed relative. This is explained by the appearance of the vast grasslands where the former forest dwelling small horse raised up on three toes and so 9ne as the animal converted over to this new developing ecology. The grasses were getting taller and sowas the horse, partly by rising up on his tip toes and partly by growth in length of limbs.

    Also check the “keyhole” brachiopod (a bi-valved shellfish). Earliest strata show two lobes of shell protruding out from the hinge-line. Intermediate strata show development of the lobes fanning- out and rejoining at the peripheries to leave a hole through the shell. The youngest strata show only the immature shells to have a ‘keyhole’ which fills in as the shell matures.

    The keyhole brach illustrates perhaps something about evolution that neither Darwin or Wallace knew and it was formulated (apparently) in 1820. It is termed “Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recapitulation_theory

    The idea is that embriology from one fertilized cell through growth and maturation repeats a creatures evolutionary development. In the case of humans, the single cell develops as a sea creature (fish) in its saline world until it is born (ventures out onto land). Raising a large family, I felt they had ended the evolution of a human too early: they have a pre language simion stage, and then the child goes through a demanding, bullheaded Neanderthal stage, a more reasoned Cromagnon stage and finally, when you are about to crack, they suddenly begin to civilize at about 18 or so!

    Okay, it aint perfect, but it is a hellofalot more beautiful and wondrous a science than you would have your readers believe. You are not a paleontologist but have read the iconolastic literature, a lot like the stuff these days that attacks Shakespeare as a fraud, or Newton as a religious idiotic alchemist. Ive even seen the ugly deligitimization of Einstein. Its all in fashion these days.

  70. Many in this thread have stated as fact this, that, or the other about very complex systems that span enormous periods of time. But I suggest a little humility as some of those statements take on the mantle of knowing everything there is to know about those systems and I bet that we don’t know everything about anything; so, its wise to leave a little room for doubt whether discussing origins of the universe, evolution or AGW.

    • That evolution is a fact is observed daily.

      I’ve made not only new species but a new genus in the lab. Or rather, in the case of triticale, the hybrid of wheat and rye, I’ve made stable versions of the hybrid genus (Triticosecale) which can reproduce naturally. Thus helping to feed the world.

      Sterile triticale was already made in the 19th century.

      Creationism, OTOH, has contributed nothing but lies.

      • So imagine that global warming exterminates all humans, but your hybrid plant survives.

        Aliens come to earth and begin to catalogue the various species and notice something odd about this hybrid. They consider that perhaps it was intelligently designed by some being, but reject this as needless complication when a very unlikely and complicated evolutionary process could achieve the same. Occam might be happy, but they would be wrong.

        • Hybridization is not “a very unlikely and complicated evolutionary process”. It’s an observation.

          As is the evolutionary history of life on Earth.

          OTOH, there is no evidence whatsoever of “Intelligent Design”. Quite the opposite, the history of life shows only Idiotic Design.

        • >>
          They consider that perhaps it was intelligently designed by some being, but reject this as needless complication when a very unlikely and complicated evolutionary process could achieve the same.
          <<

          But they would also have to explain all those old, rusty watches lying around too.

          Jim

      • Just to be clear, I am a biologist and agree that natural selection is very observable (not just the English moths but look at bacterial resistance to antibiotics) and one can understand how a summation of that process can lead to the development of an increasingly complex biological community over time (although certainly may not be that observable in real time!); but, I also have some healthy skepticism about parts of the process, one of which is mutation rates, particularly in a changing environment. Pielou and others began tackling that issue mathematically decades ago but that remains a theoretical issue.

        Even if one wholeheartedly accepts a theory, skepticism to any theory, whether to one’s own or a competing thought, is a friend to one’s understanding, and challenges to a theory should be met and accepted with enthusiasm and respect as the challenge will either validate, refute or improve one’s understanding. One may not “like” competing theories or challenges but science is not about “liking”, its all about discovery and understanding.

        My preceding post advocates for skepticism.

  71. 1. Based on random chance, it would not be possible to discern species in the geologic record as virtually all individuals found should be one-time experiments. 2. There is no ability to identify species in the geologic record. You have two clams, one large, and one small found next to each other. Is the small one sick? Female? A juvenile? Another species? Poor soul that grew up in suboptimal conditions? We will never know. Species is the key to evolution, but we can only identify genus in the fossil record. You cannot identify plant species, woods particularly, in the fossil record as the trunks alone are often insufficient information. 3. Darwinists call gene changes to animals, new species. Doctors call them diseases. This indicates a biological intolerance to genetic change. 4. We don’t have a binary choice of nature or God. There can be one of more rule makers that are part of our natural world as well. Why do we have RNA if DNA is sufficient, and why 23 chromosomes instead of one and why 4 kinds of DNA when one will do? Perhaps some are rule makers that enforce a certain set of design constraints. 5. Because two things look alike from fossils does not prove they are the same species or related or one was derived from the other. 6. Lastly, Hubble showed that red shift of star light shows the star is moving away from us, and acquired enough star plots to propose an expanding universe and big bang. But unfortunately for Hubble, there are two ways to make light from materials red shift. Hubble did not understand how infrared works sufficiently to know the other way. That data sits at a journal on infrared at some 70 pages I wrote in collaboration with Caltech Univ. That took 10 years to write. I have already told them that within 5 minutes that paper is published on infrared theory for mineralogy, I will send a Note to Nature about Hubble and his problem with infrared.

    • Sometimes there are enough samples to discern species, but more often new finds are assigned to genera rather than separate species within them.

      Evolution produces not only new species, but new genera, families, orders, classes, phyla, kingdoms and domains.

      The changes which occur in evolution are often in anatomical traits, biochemistry, etc, not diseases. There is not “intolerance” of such changes. Mutations can be negative, beneficial or neutral, and changed conditions can and do make previously negative mutations beneficial, as in the case of nylon-eating bacteria.

      We have RNA and DNA because DNA isn’t suitable as a messenger and transfer agent, but it’s better than RNA as a library.

      DNA is packaged into different numbers of chromosomes because of evolution.

      These days, comparative genetics shows that organisms which look similar are related, but even before genomes were sequenced, the fossil record, embryology, comparative anatomy and every other line of evidence showed the same thing.

      It’s not just looking alike in general, but sharing derived traits which shows descent with modification, ie evolution.

    • Everyone forgets Mitochondria DNA, arguable more important for evolution.
      And Hubble did not propose the redshift was doppler contrary to many claims. His exact statements here :
      http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/2003HisSc..41..141K
      Please use the full string not fully parsed by the URL linker.

  72. How terribly depressing to see someone preaching creationism on this site. The warm mongers often level the criticism that us “deniers” are so dumb that we are creationists and flat earthers too. I had always presumed that it was just name calling, but seeing the article here and some of the comments, I am just profoundly sad. I invite creationists to go watch Richard Dawkins on YouTube.

    • Agreed – this nonsense will forever be there for the CAGW crowd to point at as the “typical ignorance of deniers”. Why Anthony or the mods allowed this post is puzzling and worrying.

    • Still, more than 500 comments so far. There must be some logic in their madness.

      Jim

      • Just think how many comments the blog could get by advocating the four elements, a flat earth, geocentric system, planets moved by angels, phlogiston and the miasma or humors theories of disease?

        I guess spewing gibbering gibberish sells.

  73. Let me put the origin of the universe problem to bed once and for all.
    1. Cats are so important that they simply could not fail to to exist. (If you don’t believe me, ask your cat.) That is, their existence is logically necessary.
    2. In order for cats to exist, a universe of this type is nomologically necessary to develop and sustain them.
    3. Therefore, the existence of the universe is also a logical necessity.
    4. Since it is a logical necessity, there is no time at which it did not exist.

  74. Come on guys; surely you can admit that there are difficulties with current theories about the origin and development of life without signing up to a philosophical or religious position?

    Or maybe that is the problem; religious believers have a choice of beliefs about origins: evolution directed by God (Francis Collins, Mary Schweitzer) young earth creationism (Morris), intelligent design (Wilder Smith). Atheists don’t: if Darwin fails their world falls apart

    • None of those religious beliefs is science. Collins and Schweitzer don’t propose directed evolution as a scientific theory. Rather, they are their personal beliefs. Creationism and ID are anti-scientific.

      Nor is there any need for a religious belief to replace evolution, since it’s a scientific fact.

      What difficulty do you imagine to exist with the repeatedly observed fact of evolution, or with the body of theory explaining it?

      • Nor is there any need for a religious belief to replace evolution, since it’s a scientific fact.

        There are no scientific facts. It’s a scientific theory that hasn’t been refuted.

        • Of course there are scientific facts. Science is based upon observations, which are scientific facts, if made validly.

          It is for instance an observation that day and night alternate. Copernicus offered an hypothesis to explain that observation, ie that Earth turns. This hypothesis was later directly observed, so is now itself a scientific fact.

          • That isn’t what you called a scientific fact there.

            You called the theory of evolution a scientific fact.

            Not the observations that have failed to refute it.

            I know you think I am nit-picking, but read your Popper.

            And if you can bear it my very long post. There is a distinction between theory and observation. Observation can by consensus of description and metaphysics, give us ‘facts’ on which we can all agree.

            But theories that agree with those observations are not ‘facts’.

            Creationism is also a theory that agrees with all those ‘facts’.

            But creationism predicts nothing testable, because God can do anything, so without knowing the mind of God, nothing can be predicted.

            Where you fall down is equating – as many many scientists do – the proposition that ‘it hasn’t been disproved (yet)’ with ‘it’s a fact’.

            Scientific theories are mathematical narratives that have stood the test of time.

            That does NOT make them independently ‘true’ or ‘factual’. Theories do not occupy the same ‘space’ as facts.

  75. Thunderstorms and earthquakes are the wrath of god/s ya know, oh wo/men of little faith (prove that they ain’t)

    I am just wondering which god. Maybe they have turns

  76. Climate change is the religion for those who think they’re too smart for religion. At its most basic level “EvolutionDiddit” is no more intellectual than “GodDiddit”.

    • The fact of evolution is supported by all the evidence in the world, with none against it.

      It’s infinitely more “intellectual” that throwing up your arms and saying, “I can’t explain it, so God did it”, if “intellectual” means “scientific”, ie looking for natural explanations for observations of the physical world. Natural explanations lead to more understanding, hence more ability to use nature.

      Saying “God did it” improves life not at all. Indeed is anti-intellectual, where human intelligence is used to improve life, as in science.

      • Felix: “The fact of evolution is supported by all the evidence in the world, with none against it.”

        The Theory of Evolution offers nothing to reason with, it is a vacuous theory.

        There are no laws, axioms, postulates, nor formulae within the Theory of Evolution to use when attempting to answer simplistic questions. It shares these qualities with CAGW.

        We can express the objective limitations of the Theories of Evolution and CAGW without necessarily endorsing some contrarian theory.

        The “Fact of Evolution” is that it offers no scientific value. In fact, there are blatant unresolved contradictions within the theory. Indeed it is anti-intellectual to claim otherwise.

        • There are many options to choose from but these two should, if you’re open minded, reveal that your claims are entirely without substance: Daniel Dennet’s book “Darwin’s dangerous Idea”, and Sean B Carroll’s “The Making Of The Fittest.”

          • jim hogg – your complete inability to include any substance in your reply bolsters my claim.

        • There are no “blatant, unresolved contradictions within the theory”. If you imagine that such exist, please produce them.

          You won’t, because you can’t.

          The fact of evolution is of the highest scientific value. It explains observations of nature and allows us, for instance, to develop new drugs and pesticides.

          • Felix – Why haven’t you responded with your favorite Law of Speciation?

            You won’t because you can’t.

            You say: “The fact of evolution is of the highest scientific value” – why does no one say this about sound scientific theories, only the ones that offer no scientific value?

            Anyone that believes there is science to apply to derive answers to simple speciation questions has never attempted to apply that science.

            Since you haven’t provided any Laws, I’ll get you started:
            1. missing link
            2. random genetic mutation

            Those are the pillars of the “highest scientific value”?

            I know you won’t adjust your lack of objectivity on this subject, but you should really examine how you’ve reconciled contradictions. Do you still want help in finding them?

          • You are clearly utterly ignorant about biology.

            Since I make new species and genera in the lab all the time, I obviously don’t need your “help” in understanding the fact of speciation.

          • Felix: “You are clearly utterly ignorant about biology.

            Since I make new species and genera in the lab all the time, I obviously don’t need your “help” in understanding the fact of speciation.”

            Then please respond with a contradiction and how you’ve reconciled it. Or you can ask for help if you’re humble enough, and I’ll spell it out for you.

            Also: Why haven’t you responded with your favorite Law of Speciation? I’d like to see one that’s deterministic if that’s not too much to ask, ‘Random’ and ‘missing’ don’t offer much to reason with.

          • No “reconciliation” is required. You’re spouting gibberish. I don’t have a favorite law of science.

            That speciation occurs is an observation, ie a scientific fact. Speciation results from a number of different evolutionary processes, both rapid and gradual.

            Had you ever studied biology, you’d already know this and could avoid embarrassing yourself by your display of abject ignorance.

          • ok, then any law … you’re defending a 150+ year old theory that has no laws? How long do you figure you’ll need?

            Here I am, wallowing in my “abject ignorance”, but how does that preclude you from enlightening me? It’s a straightforward question.

            Have you ever tried reasoning with your theory? Let’s give it a try:

            Consider if man were able to send a self supporting colony to Mars, and then lose all contact. When do the two colonies (Earth and Mars) become different species? And, which one is no longer human?

            This is where the whole “there are no laws, axioms …” is so readily apparent, there is no way to formulate an answer. Because it’s a vacuous theory.

          • Clearly, you have no idea what a scientific law is, and why nomenclature doesn’t matter in this case.

            What does matter is whether an hypothesis, a theory or a law, based upon observations, makes predictions capable of being shown false by repeatable tests. That’s it, the scientific method in a nutshell.

            Evolution is not “my theory”. It is a scientific fact, ie valid observations, with a body of theory explaining them.

            If humanity were to evolve into two separate species, they’d still both be human. Your cluelessness is revealed as more complete with each new idiotic utterance. How many generations it would take for separate species to emerge depends on too many variables to forecast. Since humans can now control our own evolution, it could be quite rapid, if we chose to go that route.

            Therefore, you are a vacuous ignoramus, trying to play stupid, meaningless word games around a topic about which you know nothing.

          • Felix: “If humanity were to evolve into two separate species, they’d still both be human.”

            What did you base this claim on? Is this your chance to establish the first rule of Evolution? We’ll call it the: Felix Rule

            How do you want to word it? Want some help?

            Felix Rule: Once your human you’re always human.

            or maybe

            Felix Rule: Humanity, Evolution stops here.

          • >>
            Thomas Homer
            July 2, 2018 4:37 pm
            . . . you’re defending a 150+ year old theory that has no laws?
            <<

            What is this stupid law business? Laws are at the bottom of the pecking order in science. That Feynman lecture that’s posted here often starts out with: “How do you come up with a new law?” The first thing Feynman writes on the blackboard is “guess.” Any John or Jane Doe can come up with a new law. The only requirement is that they are true and valid–otherwise, out they go.

            Our real gold standards are theories. They explain why laws are valid and why they work the way they do. The “Principle (Law) of faunal succession” works, but evolution theory explains why.

            For some reason, people think laws are proven theories. That is a load of horse you-know-what. No theory is ever proven. But they are disprovable.

            Jim

          • Thomas is simply regurgitating the creationist garbage stuffed into his ignorant, experience-free, sorry excuse for a noggin by his puppet masters.

            What a waste of brain fat.

            Semantical sound and fury, signifying nothing. Less than nothing.

          • Pejorative vitriol? I thought you had command of your science, why not invoke it in a debate about science?

            You and Jim have confirmed my initial claim that the Theory of Evolution has no Laws, Axioms, Postulates, nor formulae and offers nothing to reason with. Did that come as a surprise to you?

            We haven’t even broached the contradictions that you need to address, but I’ll leave those as an exercise for the reader.

      • Plenty of renown scientists and intellectuals through the ages and today have started with a belief that “GodDiddit”, and then asked HOW?

        There are hundreds of millions if not billions of people alive today who accept/believe that “EvolutionDiddit” and never ask HOW?

        Which is more intellectual? Which is more scientific?

        It’s the person asking HOW, regardless of their starting point.

    • You are very wrong. Evolution is an intricate and detailed explanation that produces predictions tahat can be tested.

      “Goddidit” produces no testable predictions at all. It is an explanation that adds nothing of any use.

      You might as well say ‘Que sera, sera’ and kill yourself.

  77. Oh my.
    I did not believe WUWT will host such nonsense on its pages.
    This article is Creationism 1 on 1 .
    So sad.
    And for those who will claim I did not address the topic:
    To ask a”WHY” is human.
    In nature there is no “why”. Nature don’t care about humans.
    To ask the (silly, or naive) question “what was before the big bang/universe/etc is human example of our inability to grasp infinity.
    If you realize you cannot understand infinity you will not be afraid to admit you do not know.
    This article is a blow to WUWT’s reputation.

  78. All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory. This is the same response you get when you ask for empirical evidence to prove the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW)

    Let’s stop right there, because as a foundation statement on which to base the article, it is as egregious a straw man as any climate alarmist would use.

    Worse, if it is held to be a representation of the way science works, it is as benighted and ignorant a statement as a Michael Mann would make.

    In what universe does ’empirical evidence’ ‘prove’ a scientific theory?

    Certainly not the one I inhabit, or Karl Popper, or indeed any other philosopher of science.

    Whilst there is argument about much of what Popper wrote, there is indeed broad agreement that the nature of scientific theories – and indeed all statements of logic of an inductive nature – is that they cannot be ‘proved’ and certainly not by ’empirical evidence’.

    Indeed the total thrust of Popper’s work ‘Conjectures and Refutations’ is that the role of evidence is to refute the conjecture, or hypothesis, and if the conjecture can’t in principle be refuted at all – like for example saying ‘God is Great’ without any definition of what is meant by ‘God’ or Great’ or a statement like ‘We live in a a material world and that is all there is’ it is considered a metaphysical statement. Now I have my own ideas about what the purpose and use of metaphysical statements are, but for the moment one may simply affirm Popper’s position, that metaphysical statements do not cannot and should not form part of any scientific theory.

    So that is one of Popper’s criteria. A theory should not be metaphysical, i.e. it should be, in principle, capable of refutation. And by refutation it is understood that we mean ‘shown to be in conflict with empirical evidence that is commonly held to be ‘true”.

    In addition a theory should predict something that was not predicted before. This is less Popper, more Occam. Theories that predict the same outcomes as existing theories are pointless.

    Note however that there is an interesting implication buried in Occam. And indeed Popper. Neither make any claim whatsoever concerning the truth content of theories. And this is where most run of the mill scientists with no appreciation of what science really is, come unstuck. They consider that the fact that a theory works, or seems to work, implies that there is truth content in it. And the fact that it hasn’t been refuted by the evidence becomes, in their minds, a statement that the ’empirical evidence’ ‘supports the theory’, and the theory is ‘correct’ and ‘true’.

    This is a massively important point and is at the heart of so much misconception by the popular mind, and indeed my most scientists too. Who believe that science and the scientific method can in some sense arrive at the truth, and prove it to be correct.

    This is entirely false. What science can and does do is establish models of the world – like AGW and Darwins theory, that can be shown to both predict future events, and can, in principle be shown to be wrong, when compared with empirical evidence. Science is inductive. Sherlock Holmes did not practice deduction, but in fact induction. One does not deduce a theory from known facts, one constructs a hypothesis from known facts, and tests it to see if it is consistent with all of them.

    Deduction is an exact methodology for explicating facts implicit in an axiomatic proposition.

    E.g. given the axioms of plane geometry – the definitions of what a line, an angle, a plane and flatness actually MEAN, it is then possible to deduce all the geometrical theorems from those basic propositions. The three angles that constitute a triangle IMPLICITLY add up to either a half circle of rotation for the inside ones or a full circle for the outside ones. This can be proven to be incontrovertibly true.

    Deduction is the art of unfolding – explicating – knowledge about a theoretical object – a triangle for example, from the implicit properties inherent in the definition of what a triangle is.

    Deductive logic is how we test a proposition., IF statement A is true THEN Statement B is true.

    And that is how we test scientific theories. IF the earth is flat THEN it has an edge ….

    But deductive logic is not commutative. The existence of an edge does not make the proposition that the ‘world is flat’ TRUE. At best it makes it only ‘not demonstrably false’.

    This is where Tim Ball’s article becomes nonsense and a total straw man. It is not down to us to prove evolutionary theory to be ‘true’ using ’empirical evidence’. It is down to him to refute it, using ’empirical evidence’.

    So what is science really all about then? It is obviously not what Tim thinks it is. Philosophers of Science have pondered the issue, but the broad consensus is that there is no ‘inductive method’ by which we can arrive at the truth. That is not how it works.

    No one is sure how we construct hypotheses, but its fairly obvious why we do. It is far easier to deal with general rules about the world, than with every single case on its own merits. As humans we feel that – and our survival is reasonably supportive of such a general thesis – that there is an order in the world of our experience. Stuff doesn’t just happen by chance. This is a metaphysical statement. We start by making a general statement to ourselves that the world of our experience is governed by some sort of invisible entities – Gods, or Natural Laws – that constrain it to be the way it appears to be rather than another way it might appear to be. Western culture at least does not shrug its shoulders and say insha’Allah.

    From this perspective it is fairly easy to understand religions as simply colourful qualitative attempts to describe the way the world works. In which personalities – the Gods – constrain things that happen. As such once the deities are depersonalised to become natural laws, we have the Enlightenment picture of the world, as not governed by sentient personal entities, but by blind mechanistic laws. And it is this particular mechanistic metaphysical proposition that science addresses itself to and analyses..

    This view of the world is useful, and it works. Instead of saying ‘that snake, because it is of the species Bitis arietans is dangerous, and should be avoided’, we simply say ‘all snakes are dangerous’ .

    This is less true a statement, but it is functionally more effective. Since not much good comes from snakes, but a lot of harm may, there is no real problem in indulging what the modern politically correct mind would probably call ‘specism’ in bundling all snakes into category ‘avoid’.

    So deriving simple general rules about the world, even if they are not really accurate or totally true, is something we have found to be useful. It is in our natures to do this. Science is the most polished and precise example of this that we have.

    Looked at from this perspective, (and you must decide if this perspective is informative or not) we can make some statements about knowledge and science in general.

    1. All empirical knowledge is relative to a metaphysical structure of some sort. Because our direct raw experience is not of objects in space time. It is unformed and chaotic. Out of that we introduce criteria of space, time , materiality, causality and so on, and structure our experience in those terms. I personally consider that the fundamental mistake we make is to consider that these qualities exist in the real world, rather than in our perception of it. But that is a subject not germane to this issue here. So our so called ’empirical knowledge’ already has a huge subjective content. There is no such thing as objective empirical evidence, at best there are phenomena that we can agree about, because we interpret them in similar ways. If one man says ‘that tomato is red’ and another says. ‘I call that blue’ then we have an impasse.

    2. Given that we agree on the metaphysics, we can then agree on the phenomena – what Tim calls the ’empirical evidence’ . This is as close to ‘undisputed truth’ as we will ever get. And sadly it is all about consensus. We agree on metaphysics by consensus. “The cat is sitting on the mat” is only empirical evidence if we all agree what is meant by all the words and have some knowledge of the general class of experience for which they are references. Again the average person implicitly and unconsciously assumes a 1:1 correlation between the world, as he describes it to himself using language, and the world, as it really is. This is once again functionally effective – but is manifestly not demonstrably true. The world, as we understand it, is just another theory about our experience.

    Once we start splitting up the world into species of creature for example, some sort of relationship between species becomes a possibility, and with evidence of cross species breeding to produce new species – a mule is neither a horse nor a donkey – that relationship would seem to be mutable. Then if we look at the fossil record and consider that these creatures were in fact species that have died out and preceded our own existence (rather than having been placed their by Satan to distract us from the truth of Creation) then the idea of mutability over time is really not such a big leap.

    3. So faced with empirical evidence of – say – interspecies breeding, and potential mutability of species over time – and dog breeding by humans is a massive example of that – the idea of formulating a conjecture that the evolution of species is constrained into the species we see today by natural selection is not so very far fetched, and represents a perfect example of how a scientific theory is and should be formulated. We have posited (NOT deduced) a general rule from a plethora of ’empirical evidence’ that seems to ‘explain’ that evidence and also gives rise to some useful predictions, that can be tested. One of which is that new species will not arise spontaneously having completely different characteristics from existing ones. The evidence of such an event would severely put Darwin into question, but, like apples falling upwards, with respect to gravity, it hasn’t happened yet…

    4. Note that none of the above implies that Natural Selection, or indeed Gravity, are ‘real’ things that exist in the same way that species or apples do. Again this is a fundamental mistake made by most people. Gravity is not ‘real’ or ‘true’. The theory of Gravity posits a noumenous entity just as ‘spiritual’ as any pagan god, that governs the behaviour of amongst other things, apples.
    (In metaphysics, the noumenon (/ˈnuːmənɒn/, UK also /ˈnaʊ-/; from Greek: νούμενον) is a posited object or event that exists independently of human sense and/or perception. The term noumenon is generally used when contrasted with, or in relation to, the term phenomenon, which refers to anything that can be apprehended by or is an object of the senses.: Wiki)
    That is, science may be considered to be a development of pagan and indeed Judaic ideas about the world as being governed at the intermediate level by angels or lesser gods…and as we have depersonalised the world, these entities have morphed into ‘natural laws’, but they still live in a realm that is one step (or more) removed from our direct experience. The only thing that marks science out from any other religious or other interpretations is that science is more functionally useful. i.e. it is more successful at predicting the outcome of events than other methodologies.

    5. What this leads to – and here I am voicing a personal perspective, rather than what is consensus amongst philosophers – that knowledge is a hierarchy. At the bottom , is raw unformed experience. From raw experience we intuit, or develop a hypothesis, about the nature of the world that is metaphysical, We arrive at an understanding that the world is comprised of objects and events in space time connected by some form of causality. From the consequences of this, we can now actualise our experience into experience OF these entities. And develop languages – internal and external – in order to describe ‘what is happening’ in terms of these entities – like space, time, materiality, causality and so on. We cannot say that any of this is true however. We could be in the Matrix, and we could never, absent of a red pill, know different.

    Once we have established a world view that does agree with the consensus metaphysics, we are free to add the next layer of knowledge. So that, taking our concepts and notions of time space energy materiality and causality, we are free to postulate theories that form even more general descriptions of classes of phenomena. This is where Western science parts company with Western (Semitic) religion. In order to do science, we find that the idea of personality in natural laws is inhibiting, so science is in the true and correct meaning of the word a-theistic. That is, it does not have anything to say about Gods. (Here we see the true stupidity of e.g. Dawkins. The functional effectiveness of science is not the same as it being true, and it therefore has nothing to say on the matter of religion, other than it doesn’t need it to do what science does).

    At this level in the hierarchy we are now two steps away from the most real thing there is, our experience. (Unless you are a creationist, who hold that there is only one real thing, and that is the Word of God as laid down in the King James Bible.)

    6. Taking the concept of the hierarchy of knowledge a bit further, we can see that, at the bottom lies raw experience, then above that is structured experience that can be described in language – the commonly held world of our perceptions – and from that we develop generalised theories about ‘what is going on’ that exist in a different level of thought all together, in theory space, so to speak. I find it very helpful to work out where any statements about the world belong in this model. If you like, the three levels described correspond to ‘what we subjectively experience as going on’, ‘what we commonly understand to be going on’ and ‘what is causing what is going on, to go on’. And the logical steps to pass downwards from a higher level to a lower is the logical process of deduction IF gravity behaves in such and such a way THEN apples will fall in such and such a way. Or going a layer below, IF such entities as apples exist THEN my experience of ‘appliness’ is consistent with that hypothesis. IF…THEN is deduction if it produces a logically irrefutable single conclusion. But the fact of apples falling DOES NOT PROVE GRAVITY.

    In the reverse direction what seems to me to be the case is that we are in the business of constructing arbitrary and almost random hypotheses about the world. We imagine it to be almost anything, until one imagination or another seems to result in the reality we perceive being consistent with it. There is no such thing as ‘inductive reasoning’ . No means to arrive at the truth, just means to arrive at a plethora of hypotheses about the world, by constructing entities in ‘theory space’ whose existence will provide the causal linkages between phenomena that we desire.

    So e.g. we cannot say IF apples fall THEN gravity exists. Because there might be many many other reasons why apples fall . IF Apples fall THEN they are sentient beings desirous of travelling to the earth where they will lay their seed upon it and thereby procreate’ . This is what William of Occam understood when he said more or less ‘Entities should not be constructed beyond necessity’ . The popular misconception that “the simpler theory is more true” as Wiki claims is a total misunderstanding of the statement. Once you realise that William, and others, realised that theories have no demonstrable truth content at all, the dictum becomes much easier to understand. Given that the best we can hope for in a theory is functional effectiveness, don’t pick elaborate complex ones. Even if they are true! The truth is outside of the sphere of competence of the theoretician.

    Where this leaves the search for Truth of course, is up sh1t creek without a paddle. If you want Truth, just pick any religion and Believe In Its Final Truth and be thereby comforted. We are not in the business of seeking Truth as scientists, or indeed philosophers. No. We are in the business of exposing lies. And creating plausible explanations about the world as we commonly agree it to be, that can be tested to see if they are functionally effective which is as close as we can get to the Truth.

    Darwin’s theory is a plausible useful explanation that predicts certain things that could be, but haven’t been, shown to be inconsistent with ’empirical evidence’ …yet… Darwin’s theory stands.

    CAGW is a plausible explanation that predicts certain things that could be, and have been, shown to be inconsistent with ’empirical evidence’ . AGW falls.

    It ill befits Tim to use the sort of logic and ignorant portrayal of science that is used by the CAGW believers to prove that Darwinism is wrong. CAGW is refuted on its own terms. Darwinism is not – yet.

    That 97% of the total population including practising scientists do not know what in fact science really is, or its relationship with the truth, is, is a matter that is not – or has been not – especially problematic. As I have pointed out functional effectiveness is what humanity actually needs, not Truth, per se. And we use the word ‘truth’ when we mean ‘functional effectiveness’. But there is a downside to this shorthand – whilst many ideas about the same thing can be functionally effective, only one can be true. And therefore people who have grasped the idea of absolute objective Truth from religion, and seek to apply it to science, become like Dawkins, arrogant dogmatic buffoons, and objects of derision, to philosophers.

    We posit the existence of an objective Truth, that the world is, to corrupt Wittgenstein, ‘whatever is the case’ Because its a functionally useful theory that there exists beyond us and our imaginations, a reality that is more or less there whether we are aware of it or not.

    But the only truth we probably have, is that the exact nature of it, is forever unknowable. Science does not, and never has, discovered any part of its nature, beyond reasonable doubt. Science and indeed all human knowledge merely comes up with shorthand descriptions of it that are at best functionally useful.

    The great triumph of science was to discredit explanations which were not true. Not-trueness is demonstrable. Because the linkage from theory space to phenomena is via deductive logic: IF theory A, THEN unequivocally specific prediction B. (This is another way of expressing Popper’s criterion of falsifiability, in that it implies the ability to construct such a statement. If the prediction is not specific or equivocal then its not science. ‘IF God THEN everything else’ is plausible, but not subject to falsification, because its not specific and its not unequivocal).

    97% of the time its is not necessary to even touch philosophy with the soft end of a bargepole, but sometimes when you need it, you really need it. It seems to me reading the guff that passes for popular science and the position science is being placed in, in the popular mind, that now is one of the 3% of times when its really, really important to go back to first principles and get a clue as to what we really mean by truth, evidence, science, logic, deductions and so on. The amount of human conflict that is down to two camps each believing that they have a monopoly on the Truth is alarming. As is the massive abuse of peoples’ consciousnesses where they are led to believe generalities – like ‘all scientists are trustworthy’ – when in fact its demonstrable that all scientists these days are, – unlike Darwin – public sector employees, whose jobs depend on them being consistent with the policies of the governments of the time. Or employed by companies to further the aims of those companies.

    I believe we must attack these certainties, that have served us well to date, because they are now no longer functionally effective. They cause more problems than they solve. We need a new level of sophistication in those who profess to be the custodians and the pioneers, of human knowledge.

    Once we stop looking for the Objective Truth, and worse claiming that we have in fact found it, when its clear to me that we never can, then we can look at stuff like Science and Religion and judge them merely on how functionally effective they are at, in the case of Science, predicting the future, and, in the case of Religion, presumably making people feel a lot better about themselves than Karl Marx ever did.

    Judged from this perspective, there is no conflict between them. Neither is the custodian of the One Truth. Both are limited attempts to produce a useful picture of the world.

    People who are hung up on Truth, are a ready repository for every sort of lie.

    People who understand that human knowledge is only true with respect to its metaphysical assumptions, and is at best barely approximate, are natural sceptics.

    • Plus a Zillion!

      Everybody should read this, if they can. Science is hard, math is hard, logic is hard. Not everybody can do it, including many who call themselves scientists.

      Religion has a core belief, the existence of one or more gods or immortals.
      Science has a core belief, that there are no supernatural forces.
      To that extent science and religion are incompatible.

      However, there should be no conflict between science and religion. It is possible to believe in a god and science, if you are careful. But you cannot believe in both science and in the literal truth of the Bible, or in the creation myths of any religion.

      Both religion and science are attempts to explain things as best they can in terms of things there is already a consensus upon. In the case of science, the explanations get updated with time. In the case of religion, we are dealing with stories from ancient Mesopotamia or who knows where or when.

      For example, the English language has evolved from some indo-european language many ages gone. The evolution can be traced. Do you believe that or the Tower of Babel story?

      So when science and religion conflict, sometimes religion should just get out of the way gracefully.

      Another example is the Jewish kosher laws. Some of these (maybe all? I don’t know them all) have a good scientific basis (or did at the time). They were empirically based. The right answers for the wrong reasons perhaps, but the point is that they worked.

      Over time, through the process of trial and error informed by reason and faith, we accumulated some conclusions about how society should operate. These conclusions became dogmas. Dogma is simply the word we use for settled questions we no longer want to reopen. Not all dogmas are good. Some are evil, to be sure: child sacrifice, slavery, etc. But the process of refining our dogmas is what makes us, if not human, then certainly humane. Conversely, the process by which we unthinkingly smash dogmas without understanding their function is the fastest route to barbarism. The Bolsheviks rejected the dogma of universal human dignity and slaughtered people with an abandon more closely resembling the Aztecs than anything resembling secular humanism.

      Read more of this here:
      https://www.nationalreview.com/g-file/dogma-abortion-advocacy-political-differences/

      There are many cultures, each with their own creation myths and religions. Without science and critical thought we would all still be practicing a religion which demanded us to sacrifice humans to please the gods.

      • Science doesn’t necessarily say that there are no supernatural forces. It does however seek only natural explanations for observations of nature.

        The scientific method can show some supernatural claims false, but it doesn’t allow supernatural explanations for observations of nature.

        • I attended an informal chat with Roger Scruton at Cambridge Divinity faculty.

          He was asked, ‘do you believe in the Supernatural’

          ‘What is the supernatural’? he replied….

          Really its just natural that we cant explain (yet), because surely God is natural?

          • “Really its just natural that we cant explain (yet)”

            Or, a mis-interpretation of natural things/events.

      • >>
        . . . we would all still be practicing a religion which demanded us to sacrifice humans to please the gods.
        <<

        Yup, it’s called socialism.

        Jim

      • @Toto
        “Science has a core belief, that there are no supernatural forces.”

        I term it more an assumption than a “core belief”, although I’ve crossed paths with many that don’t believe in the supernatural because “science”. But at it’s core it must be assumed by science that there is no supernatural, otherwise all observations are unreliable because the supernatural may have changed them, and science is DOA.

        By assuming that there is no supernatural, science, meaning the study of the natural world, can proceed. But by assuming there is no supernatural, science is then incapable of disproving the existence of the supernatural because assuming something and then showing it to be the case is circular reasoning.

        There are many who are confused, believing that science has disproved the existence of God, when it is incapable of doing so.

        As applied to evolutionary theory, an accurate statement might be something like “Assuming that life arose naturally, it did so by random mutation and natural selection.” This is really what evolutionary science says. It says nothing about a creator. If somehow science comes to a contradiction after assuming there is no creator, it could be argued that it has proved its assumption incorrect.

        • Biological evolution isn’t about how life arose, but about it has changed over time, since it first arose, by whatever means.

  79. I don’t understand the point. Evolution has lots of evidence, empirical and otherwise. It explains our observations and has both a logical mechanism (natural selection) and a biological mechanism (DNA mutation). It fits the observations far better than any and every alternative and does so in an extremely simple – if not the simplest (Occam’s Razor) – way.

    Evolution is also an extremely powerful tool to explain things like behaviours and things like sex that otherwise make little or no sense.

    Objecting that it’s somehow not proven is like claiming gravity isn’t proven because there are still things we cannot work out.

  80. ” All I got was arm-waving and references, but not one piece of empirical evidence to prove the theory. This is the same response you get when you ask for empirical evidence to prove the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW).”
    Dr Ball, I have great respect for you, but what you’re saying here is complete nonsense.
    There is a vast difference between Darwin’s theory and AGW. There isn’t a scrap of evidence that supports AGW, just a bunch of fantasy computer models adjusted to get the “right” answer.

    In contrast, the world is filled with evidence that strongly supports evolution – and it doesn’t depend on dodgy computer models. Lots of the “missing links” have been found now – the fossils show how species have evolved over millions of years. We can see bacteria and viruses evolving almost minute by minute – this is causing the antibiotics crisis.

    From our modern knowledge of genetics, evolution is completely predictable: each time the genetic code is copied to make a new generation – whether it’s elephants or bacteria – inevitably there will be copying mistakes, leading to often subtle changes in the genetic code. If the change makes the animal more successful – e.g. stronger muscles so it can run faster and longer – then the change will be carried on to later generations. If the change is bad, then the change will be weeded out, because it will be less likely to live long enough to have children.

    I’m completely non-religious so I don’t have any religious beliefs to affect my judgement. I try to base my position on evidence and proof. I hate to say it, but I think anti-evolutionists are in the same boat as the AGW extremists. They are both more religion than science.
    Chris

  81. “I don’t mind being descended from a gorilla.”

    This sentence alone, even if intended as a joke, highlights the amazing ignorance of evolutionary theory displayed throughout this article.

  82. I’m a sceptic by choice, based on experience. People (including the highly intelligent and/or well educated) frequently talk and write rubbish, and scepticism keeps me in the realm of the real if I work hard enough at it – so far as I can tell. I’ve been sceptical of AGW since I first looked into it because it seemed pretty clear, fairly quickly, that we don’t yet have sufficient knowledge to support the theory and because there appears to be plenty of evidence to throw it into doubt -at this stage!

    I believe that smoking causes cancer, and that 9/11 was not an inside job, and I’m very sceptical of the idea of a single big bang, because I believe it’s very likely that in infinite time and space there will have been plenty of scope for many big bangs with plenty more to come, and that the idea of a singularity – from not a lot – origin for the known universe seems like a desperate position. I don’t believe in ghosts because there hasn’t been a single, reliably documented sighting – though it would only take one such sighting to change the game completely!

    I also believe its very probable that people cling to their beliefs because those beliefs become invested with emotion at a subconscious level, and thus become operative as if they are almost part of the identity of the individual, to the extent that the individual will go to great and often irrational lengths to protect those beliefs (and thereby themselves) from attack.

    But I am convinced that Darwin was on the money – though he was beaten to the punch by Scotsman Patrick Matthews in 1835 in an appendix to a book on arboriculture and naval timber of all things! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Matthew For those who can’t abide Dawkins, a couple of good and very persuasive sources are Dan Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, and Sean B Carroll’s The Making Of The Fittest.

    As for belief in a God like creature, of the type posited in the religions of this world, I think the idea is utterly absurd in this day and age, but many, if not most humans cleave to the irrational to some degree, some more than others. Those brought up in an environment which is steeped in belief may find it very difficult to escape belief. Some need to belong, and religion can provide the kind of haven such people yearn for. Of course it’s possible that there might be alien life forms out there in the “universe” with powers beyond our ken, but that’s a different issue.

    For those who are concerned with understanding, with evolution as part of that, reality/the natural world offers more than enough to be going on with.