Atheist question

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
DBowling
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Re: Atheist question

#196

Post by DBowling » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:16 am

DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:56 am
One example of empirical evidence involves comparing the ability of malaria to develop resistance to atovaquone (which requires one amino acid change) and chloroquine (which requires 2 coordinated amino acid changes).
The observed rate of malaria to adapt to atovaquone (which requires 2 coordinated amino acid changes) is 1 in 10^20 cells.
I made an error in my post above...
The last line should say
The observed rate of malaria to adapt to chloroquine (which requires 2 coordinated amino acid changes) is 1 in 10^20 cells.

Which brings us to an upper limit for the observed capabilities of random mutation.
Scientists estimate that there have been less than 10^40 living cells in the existence of life on our planet.
So any mutation that is twice as complex as malaria's ability to adapt to chloroquine (ie 4 coordinated amino acid changes) exceeds the capability of the number of cells that have ever existed on our planet.

So a probability of 1 in 10^70 is orders of magnitude beyond the observed capabilities of random mutation.

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Re: Atheist question

#197

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:35 am

Of cource he can't, natural science isn't about proof, it is about evidence. Nobody can prove that there is gravity everywhere on the earth but still everyone assumes that the gravitation theory is correct. The evidence is total. The same with evolution.
Wow.
So Gravity is a LAW.
We can replicate, in real time, gravity, we even have a formula for gravity:
There is a gravitational constant even.

Don't compare the too, that is a bad move.

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Re: Atheist question

#198

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:41 am

Its should be noted that the DARWINIAN view of evolution has been and is being revised:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/scie ... eria-news/

Science is NEVER settled by the way.
Never.

There are also 3 main theories of evolution by the way.

There are many issues with the TOE:
https://evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_are_the_to_1/

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Re: Atheist question

#199

Post by Philip » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:10 am

Nils: Again... show me the empirical evidence...
DB: "They're working on it" is not evidence and it is not a compelling argument either.
But "they're working on it" is what many assume to be proof - per how many scientists believe a theory is correct, yet without proof. And individual facts and data are not proof. While they might fit a theory, they still are not proof. People will tell you that evolution is a fact of proven science and that only the variance of certain details are unsettled. But that is because they have already decided for themselves that evolution is the only thing that makes sense.

And at the beginning of supposed evolution, abiogenesis would have had to happen - with the window for such a mathematically improbable thing having been a VERY narrow one. As the the first lifeforms appeared about 3.5 billion years ago on our 4.5 billion-year-old planet. So, the very first life forms would have had to have occurred within less than a billion years of the planet's initial formation.

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Re: Atheist question

#200

Post by DBowling » Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:35 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:41 am
Its should be noted that the DARWINIAN view of evolution has been and is being revised:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/scie ... eria-news/
Interesting article!

The following paragraph caught my eye...
But horizontal gene transfer has revealed that nature does sometimes make leaps, whereby huge lumps of DNA can appear in an individual or population quite suddenly and then natural selection acts on them. That can be a very important mechanism in the evolution of new species.
I find it very interesting that they acknowledge that huge lumps of DNA have appeared in populations quite suddenly.

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Re: Atheist question

#201

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:29 am

DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:35 am
PaulSacramento wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:41 am
Its should be noted that the DARWINIAN view of evolution has been and is being revised:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/scie ... eria-news/
Interesting article!

The following paragraph caught my eye...
But horizontal gene transfer has revealed that nature does sometimes make leaps, whereby huge lumps of DNA can appear in an individual or population quite suddenly and then natural selection acts on them. That can be a very important mechanism in the evolution of new species.
I find it very interesting that they acknowledge that huge lumps of DNA have appeared in populations quite suddenly.
Actual evolutionary biologist WITHOUT an agenda, talk about these things.
Look up Brett Weinstein for example.

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Re: Atheist question

#202

Post by Nils » Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:44 pm

DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:56 am
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:21 am
DBowling wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:05 am
You have yet to demonstrate anything inaccurate in what Meyer has said.
My first comment on Meyer was on his clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c9PaZzsqEg, which you referred to, #179. Between 4:33 and 6:08 he discusses the possibilities of proteins and says that the chance to find a new protein is one in 10^70 and the age of the earth isn’t long enough for generating a new protein. He concludes: “The bottom line is that the new Darwinian mechanism is not a plausible mechanism for generating new functional biological information”.
Is this reasoning correct? And this argument is one of only two argument for dismissing the evolution theory in this video clip.
I have seen nothing to indicate that Meyer's statement is factually incorrect.
The statement is correct but explain to me how it is possible to come from the statement to the conclusion. How does he reason?

(When we have cleared this issue we can continue with two completely ignorant statement he does in the end of the clip, just a teaser)
If you have data to prove your assertion, I'm all ears.
But you need to do better than fact free assertions.
And your primary point shows that you don't even understand Meyer's position. Which is why it might be beneficial for you to spend some time understanding Meyer's position before you make factually inaccurate assertions about his position.
Meyer actually understands and agrees with the stepwise nature of the Darwinian process in the clip you referenced.

The issue Meyer brings up involves the rarity and size of functional steps, which are important because Natural Selection requires functional steps in order to propagate a mutation.
Observed random mutations in malaria have demonstrated that a step of up to 3 coordinated random mutations goes beyond the capability of all life that has ever existed on the planet.

As Meyer points out Natural Selection selects for functional advantage.
So any path guided by random mutation would require steps of less than 3 coordinated random mutations which have functional advantage in order for the mutation to be propagated.
But the evolution theory doesn't rely on several coordinated random mutations!! Is that so difficult to understand.
Are you claiming that there are no functional steps that are separated by three or more coordinated mutations at the molecular level?
This is what differs Meyer and you from the evolution theory. According to the evolution theory, generally, every step is beneficial (that’s what you call “functional” if I understand you correctly) and is generated by one mutation.
Ok... I think I finally see the problem.
You and I are referring to different things when we use the word 'mutation'.
I think by 'mutation' you are referring to the change of an organism from one functional state to another functional state.
When I (and Meyer) use 'mutation' I am referring to changes to amino acids in a protein at the molecular level that cause the change in functional state of the organism.

So the issue becomes how many coordinated amino acid changes in a protein are required to move a biological organism from one functional state to a new more beneficial functional state.

This may be where we were talking past each other.
I use the standard definition of mutation as a change in the genetic code or more specific: “In biology, a mutation is the alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal DNA” from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation. Do you use the same definition, I'm not sure? And what you mean by “functional state” I’m not sure that I understand? What is then a non-functional state? Please explain this.
You didn’t comment (and even deleted it in your response) what I said about mutations. I repeat it here:
According to the evolution theory, generally, every step is beneficial (that’s what you call “functional” if I understand you correctly) and is generated by one mutation. I’m not an expert on evolution theory but this is what I learnt.
See for instance: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation “One study on genetic variations between different species of Drosophila suggests that, if a mutation changes a protein produced by a gene, the result is likely to be harmful, with an estimated 70 percent of amino acid polymorphisms that have damaging effects, and the remainder being either neutral or marginally beneficial”
They talk about a single mutation. No where in that article I find anything about coordinated mutations.
Another source of information is a current article: https://quillette.com/2019/09/09/david- ... ng-darwin/ by Jerry A. Coyne where he discusses https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/ by David Gelernter. Coyne’s article is of special interest in our discussion because Gelernter has several claims that are similar to Meyer’s which I haven’t discussed here.”
Coynes article is instructive and you don’t have to go to any library to read it.

As Meyer says, random mutation and natural selection do an excellent job of describing "survival of the fittest"
However, it totally breaks down when it attempts to explain the "arrival of the fittest"
All this depends on that he (and you) seem to assume several coordinated mutation that certainly may be very rare
Meyer is relying on empirical evidence
- Empirical evidence tells us the maximum step size of a mutation that random mutation is capable of producing within the time span of the existence of life on our planet.
I think this is a computation, “doing the math” Meyer says, not empiricism.
One example of empirical evidence involves comparing the ability of malaria to develop resistance to atovaquone (which requires one amino acid change) and chloroquine (which requires 2 coordinated amino acid changes).
The observed rate of malaria to adapt to atovaquone (which requires 2 coordinated amino acid changes) is 1 in 10^20 cells.
It seems that you cite some scientific article. Do you have the reference?
- Empirical evidence tells us that the distance between functional states in many biological organisms in existence today exceeds the maximum observed step size that random mutation is capable of.
I disagree completely
Of course you disagree... but your disagreement is based on inaccurate assumptions.

I would recommend going to your local library and checking out Darwin's Doubt.
Chapter 12 Complex Adaptations and the Neo-Darwinian Math has a good discussion on this topic with specific examples (such as the bolyerine snake). The Chapter is only 25 pages long, so you should be able to survive. :)
As I said before, I don’t trust Mayer so I would prefer to have a reference from some independent source.
- Empirical evidence tells us that random mutations primarily involve deletions not additions.
Yes, so what? There are some beneficial mutations, that’s enough.
No that's no where close to enough...
The vast majority of 'beneficial' mutations that we observe in the lab and in nature involve deleting information at the molecular level.
So the existence of beneficial mutations does not equate to adding information to the DNA.

We do not see any empirical evidence to support the premise that random mutation is able to infuse new information (which requires insertions not deletions) into the DNA that we see in life today.
Read the wikipedia article about mutations (se above). Then we have the information question ....
- Empirical evidence tells us that there is extremely complex information encoded in the DNA of life on our planet.
Yes, so what?
That is the big question.
We know that information has been infused into the DNA of the biosphere of our planet.
Empirical observation demonstrates that random mutation is incapable of infusing information into the biosphere of our planet.
[(quote] What empirical observations do you talk about?
So...
What is responsible for infusing information into the biosphere of our planet?
The answer if of course evolution :-) So this is the information question again. I have to take that later.
- Empirical evidence tells us that the generation of information requires mind or intelligence.
Certainly not, I will discuss this later.
I can't wait to see your empirical evidence for that…
Sorry, you have to wait. I haven’t got time to discuss that in parallell.
- There is zero empirical evidence to support the premise that unguided random processes are capable of generating the information that we observe in the DNA of life today.
You couldn’t be more wrong. You dismiss a clear majority of biologists worldwide and say that they have been working on a theory for over hundred years in spite of there is ZERO evidence!
Again... show me the empirical evidence...
What about 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ (about 100 pages).
And note again: This is not a “proof”, only a lot of evidence, much much more than zero evidence.
"They're working on it" is not evidence and it is not a compelling argument either.
Well, if you think that it possible that thousands of scientist can spend their lives on a project without any evidence at all, what can I say.

However, if you ask for compelling evidence that the evolution is natural and not governed by some intelligence you are right. If the intelligence chooses to mimic natural evolution it will never be possible to find evidence for either case.

Nils

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Re: Atheist question

#203

Post by DBowling » Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:30 pm

Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:44 pm
DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:56 am
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:21 am
DBowling wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:05 am
You have yet to demonstrate anything inaccurate in what Meyer has said.
My first comment on Meyer was on his clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c9PaZzsqEg, which you referred to, #179. Between 4:33 and 6:08 he discusses the possibilities of proteins and says that the chance to find a new protein is one in 10^70 and the age of the earth isn’t long enough for generating a new protein. He concludes: “The bottom line is that the new Darwinian mechanism is not a plausible mechanism for generating new functional biological information”.
Is this reasoning correct? And this argument is one of only two argument for dismissing the evolution theory in this video clip.
I have seen nothing to indicate that Meyer's statement is factually incorrect.
The statement is correct but explain to me how it is possible to come from the statement to the conclusion. How does he reason?
Meyer's reasoning from the quote above is factually accurate...
If the probability of finding a new protein is 1 in 10^70 then he is correct that the age of the earth isn't long enough to generate a new protein.

If you wish to prove Meyer is wrong you only need to demonstrate that the possibility of finding a new protein is significantly less than 1 in 10^70.
That would support your assertion.
Again... data free assertions do nothing to help out your argument.
And your primary point shows that you don't even understand Meyer's position. Which is why it might be beneficial for you to spend some time understanding Meyer's position before you make factually inaccurate assertions about his position.
Meyer actually understands and agrees with the stepwise nature of the Darwinian process in the clip you referenced.

The issue Meyer brings up involves the rarity and size of functional steps, which are important because Natural Selection requires functional steps in order to propagate a mutation.

So the issue becomes how many coordinated amino acid changes in a protein are required to move a biological organism from one functional state to a new more beneficial functional state.
I use the standard definition of mutation as a change in the genetic code or more specific: “In biology, a mutation is the alteration of the nucleotide sequence of the genome of an organism, virus, or extrachromosomal DNA” from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation. Do you use the same definition, I'm not sure? And what you mean by “functional state” I’m not sure that I understand? What is then a non-functional state? Please explain this.
Yes I agree with that definition
But that definition does not specify the number of amino acid changes involved in the alteration of the nucleotide sequence...
The key principle that you are evidently not understanding is functional/beneficial mutations (ie mutations that Natural selection can propagate) often involve changes to multiple amino acids in a protein (such as the two amino acid changes that are required for malaria to develop resistance to chloroquine).

So if the distance between functional states that Natural Selection can propagate involves 4 or more amino acid changes in a protein, then that step between functional states of an organism cannot be breached by random mutation.

Since you evidently don't even understand Meyer's position, its not terribly surprising that your critique of his position has no basis in fact.
Meyer is relying on empirical evidence
- Empirical evidence tells us the maximum step size of a mutation that random mutation is capable of producing within the time span of the existence of life on our planet.

One example of empirical evidence involves comparing the ability of malaria to develop resistance to atovaquone (which requires one amino acid change) and chloroquine (which requires 2 coordinated amino acid changes).
The observed rate of malaria to adapt to atovaquone (which requires 2 coordinated amino acid changes) is 1 in 10^20 cells.
It seems that you cite some scientific article. Do you have the reference?
Meyer discusses that (with references) in...
you guessed it...
Darwin's Doubt.
Chapter 12 Complex Adaptations and the Neo-Darwinian Math

The library is your friend
- Empirical evidence tells us that the distance between functional states in many biological organisms in existence today exceeds the maximum observed step size that random mutation is capable of.
I disagree completely
Of course you disagree... but your disagreement is based on inaccurate assumptions.

I would recommend going to your local library and checking out Darwin's Doubt.
Chapter 12 Complex Adaptations and the Neo-Darwinian Math has a good discussion on this topic with specific examples (such as the bolyerine snake). The Chapter is only 25 pages long, so you should be able to survive. :)
As I said before, I don’t trust Mayer so I would prefer to have a reference from some independent source.
Well... who you choose to trust or not to trust is not terribly relevant.
If you don't trust people who actually know what they are talking about then that says more about you than it says about them.
I have a hunch you won't trust anyone who doesn't share your set of presuppositions no matter how factually accurate their position is...

But lets give you the benefit of the doubt and try another source.
The Edge of Evolution Chapter 3
The Mathematical Limits of Darwinism

Did I mention...
The library is your friend
- Empirical evidence tells us that random mutations primarily involve deletions not additions.
Yes, so what? There are some beneficial mutations, that’s enough.
No that's no where close to enough...
The vast majority of 'beneficial' mutations that we observe in the lab and in nature involve deleting information at the molecular level.
So the existence of beneficial mutations does not equate to adding information to the DNA.

We do not see any empirical evidence to support the premise that random mutation is able to infuse new information (which requires insertions not deletions) into the DNA that we see in life today.
Read the wikipedia article about mutations (se above).
Read it...
There's nothing there that I disagree with
or that disagrees with me for that matter
You couldn’t be more wrong. You dismiss a clear majority of biologists worldwide and say that they have been working on a theory for over hundred years in spite of there is ZERO evidence!
Again... show me the empirical evidence...
What about 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ (about 100 pages).
And note again: This is not a “proof”, only a lot of evidence, much much more than zero evidence.
Again you evidently do not understand my position (or Meyers either)
I am not arguing against common descent, and I will be the first to acknowledge that there is genetic and fossil evidence to support some sort of shared ancestry.

The argument that I (and Meyer) am making is that random mutation (as empirically observed in the lab and nature) is totally incapable of infusing information into the biosphere that we can observe in genetics and the fossil record.

The short version is that genetics and the fossil record demonstrate that lots of information has been infused into the biosphere at certain times during the existence of life on our planet.

Empirical evidence tells us that random mutation is incapable of generating that information.
We have empirical evidence of only one cause of information ...
And that cause is intelligence.

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Re: Atheist question

#204

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:28 am

Here is an interesting one, not from Meyer:

https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/

An exert:

Building a Better Protein

Now at last we are ready to take Darwin out for a test drive. Starting with 150 links of gibberish, what are the chances that we can mutate our way to a useful new shape of protein? We can ask basically the same question in a more manageable way: what are the chances that a random 150-link sequence will create such a protein? Nonsense sequences are essentially random. Mutations are random. Make random changes to a random sequence and you get another random sequence. So, close your eyes, make 150 random choices from your 20 bead boxes and string up your beads in the order in which you chose them. What are the odds that you will come up with a useful new protein?

It’s easy to see that the total number of possible sequences is immense. It’s easy to believe (although non-chemists must take their colleagues’ word for it) that the subset of useful sequences—sequences that create real, usable proteins—is, in comparison, tiny. But we must know how immense and how tiny.

The total count of possible 150-link chains, where each link is chosen separately from 20 amino acids, is 20150. In other words, many. 20150 roughly equals 10195, and there are only 1080 atoms in the universe.

What proportion of these many polypeptides are useful proteins? Douglas Axe did a series of experiments to estimate how many 150-long chains are capable of stable folds—of reaching the final step in the protein-creation process (the folding) and of holding their shapes long enough to be useful. (Axe is a distinguished biologist with five-star breeding: he was a graduate student at Caltech, then joined the Centre for Protein Engineering at Cambridge. The biologists whose work Meyer discusses are mainly first-rate Establishment scientists.) He estimated that, of all 150-link amino acid sequences, 1 in 1074 will be capable of folding into a stable protein. To say that your chances are 1 in 1074 is no different, in practice, from saying that they are zero. It’s not surprising that your chances of hitting a stable protein that performs some useful function, and might therefore play a part in evolution, are even smaller. Axe puts them at 1 in 1077.

In other words: immense is so big, and tiny is so small, that neo-Darwinian evolution is—so far—a dead loss. Try to mutate your way from 150 links of gibberish to a working, useful protein and you are guaranteed to fail. Try it with ten mutations, a thousand, a million—you fail. The odds bury you. It can’t be done.

A Bad Bet

But neo-Darwinianism understands that mutations are rare, and successful ones even scarcer. To balance that out, there are many organisms and a staggering immensity of time. Your chances of winning might be infinitesimal. But if you play the game often enough, you win in the end, right? After all, it works for Powerball!

Do the numbers balance out? Is Neo-Darwinian evolution plausible after all? Axe reasoned as follows. Consider the whole history of living things—the entire group of every living organism ever. It is dominated numerically by bacteria. All other organisms, from tangerine trees to coral polyps, are only a footnote. Suppose, then, that every bacterium that has ever lived contributes one mutation before its demise to the history of life. This is a generous assumption; most bacteria pass on their genetic information unchanged, unmutated. Mutations are the exception. In any case, there have evidently been, in the whole history of life, around 1040 bacteria—yielding around 1040 mutations under Axe’s assumptions. That is a very large number of chances at any game. But given that the odds each time are 1 to 1077 against, it is not large enough. The odds against blind Darwinian chance having turned up even one mutation with the potential to push evolution forward are 1040x(1/1077)—1040 tries, where your odds of success each time are 1 in 1077—which equals 1 in 1037. In practical terms, those odds are still zero. Zero odds of producing a single promising mutation in the whole history of life. Darwin loses.

His idea is still perfectly reasonable in the abstract. But concretely, he is overwhelmed by numbers he couldn’t possibly have foreseen: the ridiculously large number of amino-acid chains relative to number of useful proteins. Those numbers transcend the details of any particular set of estimates. The obvious fact is that genes, in storing blueprints for the proteins that form the basis of cellular life, encode an awe-inspiring amount of information. You don’t turn up a useful protein merely by doodling on the back of an envelope, any more than you write a Mozart aria by assembling three sheets of staff paper and scattering notes around. Profound biochemical knowledge is somehow, in some sense, captured in every description of a working protein. Where on earth did it all come from?

Neo-Darwinianism says that nature simply rolls the dice, and if something useful emerges, great. Otherwise, try again. But useful sequences are so gigantically rare that this answer simply won’t work. Studies of the sort Meyer discusses show that Neo-Darwinism is the quintessence of a bad bet.

The Great Darwinian Paradox

There are many other problems besides proteins. One of the most basic, and the last I’ll mention here, calls into question the whole idea of gene mutations driving macro-evolution—the emergence of new forms of organism, versus mere variation on existing forms.

To help create a brand new form of organism, a mutation must affect a gene that does its job early and controls the expression of other genes that come into play later on as the organism grows. But mutations to these early-acting “strategic” genes, which create the big body-plan changes required by macro-evolution, seem to be invariably fatal. They kill off the organism long before it can reproduce. This is common sense. Severely deformed creatures don’t ever seem fated to lead the way to glorious new forms of life. Instead, they die young.

Evidently there are a total of no examples in the literature of mutations that affect early development and the body plan as a whole and are not fatal. The German geneticists Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for the “Heidelberg screen,” an exhaustive investigation of every observable or inducible mutation of Drosophila melanogaster (the same patient, long-suffering fruit fly I meddled with relentlessly in an undergraduate genetics lab in the 1970s). “[W]e think we’ve hit all the genes required to specify the body plan of Drosophila,” said Wieschaus in answering a question after a talk. Not one, he continued, is “promising as raw materials for macroevolution”—because mutations in them all killed off the fly long before it could mate. If an exhaustive search rules out every last plausible gene as a candidate for large-scale Drosophila evolution, where does that leave Darwin? Wieschaus continues: “What are—or what would be—the right mutations for major evolutionary change? And we don’t know the answer to that.”

There is a general principle here, similar to the earlier principle that the number of useless polypeptides crushes the number of useful ones. The Georgia Tech geneticist John F. McDonald calls this one a “great Darwinian paradox.” Meyer explains: “genes that are obviously variable within natural populations seem to affect only minor aspects of form and function—while those genes that govern major changes, the very stuff of macroevolution, apparently do not vary or vary only to the detriment of the organism.” The philosopher of biology Paul Nelson summarizes the body-plan problem:

Research on animal development and macroevolution over the last thirty years—research done from within the neo-Darwinian framework—has shown that the neo-Darwinian explanation for the origin of new body plans is overwhelmingly likely to be false—and for reasons that Darwin himself would have understood.

Darwin would easily have understood that minor mutations are common but can’t create significant evolutionary change; major mutations are rare and fatal.

It can hardly be surprising that the revolution in biological knowledge over the last half-century should call for a new understanding of the origin of species.

Building a Better Protein

Now at last we are ready to take Darwin out for a test drive. Starting with 150 links of gibberish, what are the chances that we can mutate our way to a useful new shape of protein? We can ask basically the same question in a more manageable way: what are the chances that a random 150-link sequence will create such a protein? Nonsense sequences are essentially random. Mutations are random. Make random changes to a random sequence and you get another random sequence. So, close your eyes, make 150 random choices from your 20 bead boxes and string up your beads in the order in which you chose them. What are the odds that you will come up with a useful new protein?

It’s easy to see that the total number of possible sequences is immense. It’s easy to believe (although non-chemists must take their colleagues’ word for it) that the subset of useful sequences—sequences that create real, usable proteins—is, in comparison, tiny. But we must know how immense and how tiny.

The total count of possible 150-link chains, where each link is chosen separately from 20 amino acids, is 20150. In other words, many. 20150 roughly equals 10195, and there are only 1080 atoms in the universe.

What proportion of these many polypeptides are useful proteins? Douglas Axe did a series of experiments to estimate how many 150-long chains are capable of stable folds—of reaching the final step in the protein-creation process (the folding) and of holding their shapes long enough to be useful. (Axe is a distinguished biologist with five-star breeding: he was a graduate student at Caltech, then joined the Centre for Protein Engineering at Cambridge. The biologists whose work Meyer discusses are mainly first-rate Establishment scientists.) He estimated that, of all 150-link amino acid sequences, 1 in 1074 will be capable of folding into a stable protein. To say that your chances are 1 in 1074 is no different, in practice, from saying that they are zero. It’s not surprising that your chances of hitting a stable protein that performs some useful function, and might therefore play a part in evolution, are even smaller. Axe puts them at 1 in 1077.

In other words: immense is so big, and tiny is so small, that neo-Darwinian evolution is—so far—a dead loss. Try to mutate your way from 150 links of gibberish to a working, useful protein and you are guaranteed to fail. Try it with ten mutations, a thousand, a million—you fail. The odds bury you. It can’t be done.

A Bad Bet

But neo-Darwinianism understands that mutations are rare, and successful ones even scarcer. To balance that out, there are many organisms and a staggering immensity of time. Your chances of winning might be infinitesimal. But if you play the game often enough, you win in the end, right? After all, it works for Powerball!

Do the numbers balance out? Is Neo-Darwinian evolution plausible after all? Axe reasoned as follows. Consider the whole history of living things—the entire group of every living organism ever. It is dominated numerically by bacteria. All other organisms, from tangerine trees to coral polyps, are only a footnote. Suppose, then, that every bacterium that has ever lived contributes one mutation before its demise to the history of life. This is a generous assumption; most bacteria pass on their genetic information unchanged, unmutated. Mutations are the exception. In any case, there have evidently been, in the whole history of life, around 1040 bacteria—yielding around 1040 mutations under Axe’s assumptions. That is a very large number of chances at any game. But given that the odds each time are 1 to 1077 against, it is not large enough. The odds against blind Darwinian chance having turned up even one mutation with the potential to push evolution forward are 1040x(1/1077)—1040 tries, where your odds of success each time are 1 in 1077—which equals 1 in 1037. In practical terms, those odds are still zero. Zero odds of producing a single promising mutation in the whole history of life. Darwin loses.

His idea is still perfectly reasonable in the abstract. But concretely, he is overwhelmed by numbers he couldn’t possibly have foreseen: the ridiculously large number of amino-acid chains relative to number of useful proteins. Those numbers transcend the details of any particular set of estimates. The obvious fact is that genes, in storing blueprints for the proteins that form the basis of cellular life, encode an awe-inspiring amount of information. You don’t turn up a useful protein merely by doodling on the back of an envelope, any more than you write a Mozart aria by assembling three sheets of staff paper and scattering notes around. Profound biochemical knowledge is somehow, in some sense, captured in every description of a working protein. Where on earth did it all come from?

Neo-Darwinianism says that nature simply rolls the dice, and if something useful emerges, great. Otherwise, try again. But useful sequences are so gigantically rare that this answer simply won’t work. Studies of the sort Meyer discusses show that Neo-Darwinism is the quintessence of a bad bet.

The Great Darwinian Paradox

There are many other problems besides proteins. One of the most basic, and the last I’ll mention here, calls into question the whole idea of gene mutations driving macro-evolution—the emergence of new forms of organism, versus mere variation on existing forms.

To help create a brand new form of organism, a mutation must affect a gene that does its job early and controls the expression of other genes that come into play later on as the organism grows. But mutations to these early-acting “strategic” genes, which create the big body-plan changes required by macro-evolution, seem to be invariably fatal. They kill off the organism long before it can reproduce. This is common sense. Severely deformed creatures don’t ever seem fated to lead the way to glorious new forms of life. Instead, they die young.

Evidently there are a total of no examples in the literature of mutations that affect early development and the body plan as a whole and are not fatal. The German geneticists Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus won the Nobel Prize in 1995 for the “Heidelberg screen,” an exhaustive investigation of every observable or inducible mutation of Drosophila melanogaster (the same patient, long-suffering fruit fly I meddled with relentlessly in an undergraduate genetics lab in the 1970s). “[W]e think we’ve hit all the genes required to specify the body plan of Drosophila,” said Wieschaus in answering a question after a talk. Not one, he continued, is “promising as raw materials for macroevolution”—because mutations in them all killed off the fly long before it could mate. If an exhaustive search rules out every last plausible gene as a candidate for large-scale Drosophila evolution, where does that leave Darwin? Wieschaus continues: “What are—or what would be—the right mutations for major evolutionary change? And we don’t know the answer to that.”

There is a general principle here, similar to the earlier principle that the number of useless polypeptides crushes the number of useful ones. The Georgia Tech geneticist John F. McDonald calls this one a “great Darwinian paradox.” Meyer explains: “genes that are obviously variable within natural populations seem to affect only minor aspects of form and function—while those genes that govern major changes, the very stuff of macroevolution, apparently do not vary or vary only to the detriment of the organism.” The philosopher of biology Paul Nelson summarizes the body-plan problem:

Research on animal development and macroevolution over the last thirty years—research done from within the neo-Darwinian framework—has shown that the neo-Darwinian explanation for the origin of new body plans is overwhelmingly likely to be false—and for reasons that Darwin himself would have understood.

Darwin would easily have understood that minor mutations are common but can’t create significant evolutionary change; major mutations are rare and fatal.

It can hardly be surprising that the revolution in biological knowledge over the last half-century should call for a new understanding of the origin of species.

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Re: Atheist question

#205

Post by DBowling » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:47 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:28 am
Here is an interesting one, not from Meyer:

https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/
The following quote from your link directly relates to the ongoing discussion
What proportion of these many polypeptides are useful proteins? Douglas Axe did a series of experiments to estimate how many 150-long chains are capable of stable folds—of reaching the final step in the protein-creation process (the folding) and of holding their shapes long enough to be useful. (Axe is a distinguished biologist with five-star breeding: he was a graduate student at Caltech, then joined the Centre for Protein Engineering at Cambridge. The biologists whose work Meyer discusses are mainly first-rate Establishment scientists.) He estimated that, of all 150-link amino acid sequences, 1 in 10^74 will be capable of folding into a stable protein. To say that your chances are 1 in 10^74 is no different, in practice, from saying that they are zero. It’s not surprising that your chances of hitting a stable protein that performs some useful function, and might therefore play a part in evolution, are even smaller. Axe puts them at 1 in 10^77.

Per Nils...
My first comment on Meyer was on his clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c9PaZzsqEg, which you referred to, #179. Between 4:33 and 6:08 he discusses the possibilities of proteins and says that the chance to find a new protein is one in 10^70 and the age of the earth isn’t long enough for generating a new protein. He concludes: “The bottom line is that the new Darwinian mechanism is not a plausible mechanism for generating new functional biological information”.
Is this reasoning correct?
Short answer, yes... Meyer's data and reasoning are correct.
And Paul's link shows that Axe's analysis supports Meyer's claim about the probability of folding into a stable protein.

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Re: Atheist question

#206

Post by Nils » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:59 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:28 am
Here is an interesting one, not from Meyer:

https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/

An exert:
.......
As I wrote in #202:
"Another source of information is a current article: https://quillette.com/2019/09/09/david- ... ng-darwin/ by Jerry A. Coyne where he discusses https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/ by David Gelernter. Coyne’s article is of special interest in our discussion because Gelernter has several claims that are similar to Meyer’s which I haven’t discussed here.”
Coynes article is instructive and you don’t have to go to any library to read it. "

Unfortunately Meyer isn't alone.

Nils

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Re: Atheist question

#207

Post by Nils » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:19 pm

DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:30 pm
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:44 pm
DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:56 am
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:21 am
DBowling wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 4:05 am
You have yet to demonstrate anything inaccurate in what Meyer has said.
My first comment on Meyer was on his clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c9PaZzsqEg, which you referred to, #179. Between 4:33 and 6:08 he discusses the possibilities of proteins and says that the chance to find a new protein is one in 10^70 and the age of the earth isn’t long enough for generating a new protein. He concludes: “The bottom line is that the new Darwinian mechanism is not a plausible mechanism for generating new functional biological information”.
Is this reasoning correct? And this argument is one of only two argument for dismissing the evolution theory in this video clip.
I have seen nothing to indicate that Meyer's statement is factually incorrect.
The statement is correct but explain to me how it is possible to come from the statement to the conclusion. How does he reason?
Meyer's reasoning from the quote above is factually accurate...
If the probability of finding a new protein is 1 in 10^70 then he is correct that the age of the earth isn't long enough to generate a new protein.

If you wish to prove Meyer is wrong you only need to demonstrate that the possibility of finding a new protein is significantly less than 1 in 10^70.
That would support your assertion.
Again... data free assertions do nothing to help out your argument.
OK, I have to repeat. Meyer’s reasoning is correct if we talk about creating a new protein from scratch. If that was a correct description of how evolution is assumed to function his conclusion would be correct, Darwinian evolution would not be possible. Now, evolution theory assumes that new proteins are created by small changes in old proteins or, long ago, in simpler structures. This makes the probability of finding a new protein considerable bigger than 1 in 10^70. That also makes Meyer’s conclusion erroneous and he certainly knows that. Why he still argues as he does I don’t know but it is remarkable.

I stop here today.

Nils

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Re: Atheist question

#208

Post by Nils » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:44 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:35 am
Of cource he can't, natural science isn't about proof, it is about evidence. Nobody can prove that there is gravity everywhere on the earth but still everyone assumes that the gravitation theory is correct. The evidence is total. The same with evolution.
Wow.
So Gravity is a LAW.
We can replicate, in real time, gravity, we even have a formula for gravity:
There is a gravitational constant even.

Don't compare the too, that is a bad move.
It is true that Gravity is regarded as a law. But still, it is not possible to prove it. If you experiment on it you just add evidence but still you don’t prove it. Natural scientist don’t talk about proofs, they talk about evidence.
Nils

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Re: Atheist question

#209

Post by Byblos » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:49 pm

Nils wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:19 pm
DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:30 pm
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:44 pm
DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:56 am
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:21 am

My first comment on Meyer was on his clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c9PaZzsqEg, which you referred to, #179. Between 4:33 and 6:08 he discusses the possibilities of proteins and says that the chance to find a new protein is one in 10^70 and the age of the earth isn’t long enough for generating a new protein. He concludes: “The bottom line is that the new Darwinian mechanism is not a plausible mechanism for generating new functional biological information”.
Is this reasoning correct? And this argument is one of only two argument for dismissing the evolution theory in this video clip.
I have seen nothing to indicate that Meyer's statement is factually incorrect.
The statement is correct but explain to me how it is possible to come from the statement to the conclusion. How does he reason?
Meyer's reasoning from the quote above is factually accurate...
If the probability of finding a new protein is 1 in 10^70 then he is correct that the age of the earth isn't long enough to generate a new protein.

If you wish to prove Meyer is wrong you only need to demonstrate that the possibility of finding a new protein is significantly less than 1 in 10^70.
That would support your assertion.
Again... data free assertions do nothing to help out your argument.
OK, I have to repeat. Meyer’s reasoning is correct if we talk about creating a new protein from scratch. If that was a correct description of how evolution is assumed to function his conclusion would be correct, Darwinian evolution would not be possible. Now, evolution theory assumes that new proteins are created by small changes in old proteins or, long ago, in simpler structures. This makes the probability of finding a new protein considerable bigger than 1 in 10^70. That also makes Meyer’s conclusion erroneous and he certainly knows that. Why he still argues as he does I don’t know but it is remarkable.

I stop here today.

Nils
But Nils, that's not what the last article says (new proteins from scratch). It says the creation of useful proteins. Here's the quote again:
What proportion of these many polypeptides are useful proteins? Douglas Axe did a series of experiments to estimate how many 150-long chains are capable of stable folds—of reaching the final step in the protein-creation process (the folding) and of holding their shapes long enough to be useful. (Axe is a distinguished biologist with five-star breeding: he was a graduate student at Caltech, then joined the Centre for Protein Engineering at Cambridge. The biologists whose work Meyer discusses are mainly first-rate Establishment scientists.) He estimated that, of all 150-link amino acid sequences, 1 in 10^74 will be capable of folding into a stable protein. To say that your chances are 1 in 10^74 is no different, in practice, from saying that they are zero. It’s not surprising that your chances of hitting a stable protein that performs some useful function, and might therefore play a part in evolution, are even smaller. Axe puts them at 1 in 10^77.
Note the italicized, bolded, and underlined. The idea here is not that proteins are being created from scratch but that errors (mutations) are largely useless and the probability of a mutation turning the protein into a different but useful protein is 10^74.

I must say I have no ax to grind on either side of the debate (to some extent, obviously). But I just wanted to clarify this point.

carry on.
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Re: Atheist question

#210

Post by DBowling » Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:09 am

Nils wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:19 pm
DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 7:30 pm
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:44 pm
DBowling wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:56 am
Nils wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:21 am

My first comment on Meyer was on his clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7c9PaZzsqEg, which you referred to, #179. Between 4:33 and 6:08 he discusses the possibilities of proteins and says that the chance to find a new protein is one in 10^70 and the age of the earth isn’t long enough for generating a new protein. He concludes: “The bottom line is that the new Darwinian mechanism is not a plausible mechanism for generating new functional biological information”.
Is this reasoning correct? And this argument is one of only two argument for dismissing the evolution theory in this video clip.
I have seen nothing to indicate that Meyer's statement is factually incorrect.
The statement is correct but explain to me how it is possible to come from the statement to the conclusion. How does he reason?
Meyer's reasoning from the quote above is factually accurate...
If the probability of finding a new protein is 1 in 10^70 then he is correct that the age of the earth isn't long enough to generate a new protein.

If you wish to prove Meyer is wrong you only need to demonstrate that the possibility of finding a new protein is significantly less than 1 in 10^70.
That would support your assertion.
Again... data free assertions do nothing to help out your argument.
OK, I have to repeat. Meyer’s reasoning is correct if we talk about creating a new protein from scratch.
And I have to repeat, you don't know what you are talking about (as Byblos points out in his post) ... again.

Your argumentation in this thread has two significant problems.
1. You simply do not understand Meyer's position (or possibly are deliberately misrepresenting it)
2. You choose not to do the research necessary to understand Meyer's position even when you are given specific references.

If you don't want to go through the effort to actually understand Meyer's position then don't pretend that you have the knowledge to rebut a position that you don't even understand.

So to support your assertion with data, you need to demonstrate that Doug Axe's research on folding proteins is incorrect and the probability of finding a new protein is significantly less than 1 in 10^70.

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