Evolution Archives

Behind the Curtain of Macro-Evolution

Professor James M. Tour is a highly-credentialed chemist, and a Christian. Check this link for the list, and for his contention that there is no scientist alive today who understands macro-evolution. Tour, of course, comes at this from a chemical point of view, and has no idea how something like that can happen at the molecular level. He’s asked over and over for someone to explain it to him, but so far no takers.

In an article about an insider’s view of the National Academy, he explains the situation behind the curtain.

Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public – because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said – I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go “Uh-uh. Nope.” These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, “Do you understand this?”And if they’re afraid to say “Yes,” they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.

I was once brought in by the Dean of the Department, many years ago, and he was a chemist. He was kind of concerned about some things. I said, “Let me ask you something. You’re a chemist. Do you understand this? How do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA? And how does all this come together from this piece of jelly?” We have no idea, we have no idea. I said, “Isn’t it interesting that you, the Dean of science, and I, the chemistry professor, can talk about this quietly in your office, but we can’t go out there and talk about this?”

If you understand evolution, I am fine with that. I’m not going to try to change you – not at all. In fact, I wish I had the understanding that you have.

But about seven or eight years ago I posted on my Web site that I don’t understand. And I said, “I will buy lunch for anyone that will sit with me and explain to me evolution, and I won’t argue with you until I don’t understand something – I will ask you to clarify. But you can’t wave by and say, “This enzyme does that.” You’ve got to get down in the details of where molecules are built, for me. Nobody has come forward.

The Atheist Society contacted me. They said that they will buy the lunch, and they challenged the Atheist Society, “Go down to Houston and have lunch with this guy, and talk to him.” Nobody has come! Now remember, because I’m just going to ask, when I stop understanding what you’re talking about, I will ask. So I sincerely want to know. I would like to believe it. But I just can’t.

Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab. I understand this. But when you have speciation changes, when you have organs changing, when you have to have concerted lines of evolution, all happening in the same place and time – not just one line –concerted lines, all at the same place, all in the same environment … this is very hard to fathom.

He does not claim the Intelligent Design label because:

I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion.

He is searching for the scientific proofs, but for macro-evolution, they just aren’t there, and no one in academia can provide them.

    Creation Debate: Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham

    Tickets sold out immediately for the Answers in Genesis Museum’s night of debate between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and Ken Ham, proprietor of Answers in Genesis. The topic is “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”

    Since tickets sold out so fast, the debate will be live-streamed on the Internet at http://debatelive.org/ . The debate will be on Tuesday, February 4th, at 7pm. Should be interesting.

      The Data Storage Unit That Evolved From Nothing

      Well, allegedly. You think sophisticated man-made computers and the amounts of data they store are a lot, just wait until you find out what’s inside you.

      Looking at both digital memory and analog devices, the researchers calculate that humankind is able to store at least 295 exabytes of information. (Yes, that’s a number with 20 zeroes in it.)

      Put another way, if a single star is a bit of information, that’s a galaxy of information for every person in the world. That’s 315 times the number of grains of sand in the world. But it’s still less than one percent of the information that is stored in all the DNA molecules of a human being.

      If you found a disc drive in the middle of the jungle, you’d just know that it was man-made. But we have something far more capable (and small) inside of us, but that just worked itself out on its own. Riiight.

        Ed Morrissey Interviews Dinesh D’Souza

        One of the podcasts I listen to is Heading Right Radio with Ed Morrissey of “Captain’s Quarters”. He gets some great interviews, and last week (I’m behind in my podcast listening) he got Dinesh D’Souza and they talked about D’Souza’s book “What’s So Great About Christianity”. Fresh from his debate at King’s College with Christopher Hitchens, D’Souza covers a number of interesting topics from his book, including the truth about the Gallileo’s persecution, the limits of reason, why the recent increase in atheist apologetics, the supposed “war” between science and religion, thank-you letters to Portugese inquisitors, and other light topics. >grin<

        Click here to listen to any of Captain Ed’s shows, and stick it in your podcatcher.

        Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

          Ben Stein on Intelligent Design

          In February, 2008, Ben Stein (yes, that Ben Stein) is coming out with a movie that exposes the scientific community’s rather non-scientific silencing of those not towing the line.

          Evolution – and the explosive debate over its virtual monopoly on America’s public school classrooms – is the focus of the film “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”

          In the movie, Stein, who is also a lawyer, economist, former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he discovers – an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma. Even worse, say publicists for the feature film, “along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection.”

          “Big Science in this area of biology has lost its way,” says Stein. “Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it’s anti-science. It’s anti-the whole concept of learning.”

          Nice to see someone taking on this issue in what looks to be a funny and informative, Ben Stein sort of way.

          Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

            Evolutionary Theory Challenged By Fossils

            CBS News reports on new discoveries that are rewriting what evolutionists have thought about who begat whom.

            Surprising research based on two African fossils suggests our family tree is more like a wayward bush with stubby branches, challenging what had been common thinking on how early humans evolved.

            The discovery by Meave Leakey, a member of a famous family of paleontologists, shows that two species of early human ancestors lived at the same time in Kenya. That pokes holes in the chief theory of man’s early evolution — that one of those species evolved from the other.

            And it further discredits that iconic illustration of human evolution that begins with a knuckle-dragging ape and ends with a briefcase-carrying man.

            Scott Ott at ScrappleFace nails it as usual.

            Far from casting doubt on Darwin’s theory, experts say that the lack of evidence and contradictory discoveries have helped to build “a consensus of certainty in the field.”

            “Finding little physical evidence to substantiate the theory only means there must still be a great deal of supportive evidence out there to be found,” said an unnamed editor of the journal Nature, which plans to publish a paper on the African skulls this week. “The more we realize how little we know, the more certain we are that we’re right. As I once read in a scholarly paper somewhere, ‘faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’.”

            Technorati Tags: , , , ,

              Artificial Life

              And not the robotic kind.

              Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they’re getting closer.

              Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of “wet artificial life.”

              “It’s going to be a big deal and everybody’s going to know about it,” said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. “We’re talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways—in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict.”

              What’s interesting to me is how they plan to solve some problems.

              One of the leaders in the field, Jack Szostak at Harvard Medical School, predicts that within the next six months, scientists will report evidence that the first step—creating a cell membrane—is “not a big problem.” Scientists are using fatty acids in that effort.

              Szostak is also optimistic about the next step—getting nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA, to form a working genetic system.

              His idea is that once the container is made, if scientists add nucleotides in the right proportions, then Darwinian evolution could simply take over.

              “We aren’t smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened,” Szostak said.

              This will be an interesting test of the evolution theory, but we’re years away from that.

              Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

                The Last Cancer Treatment You’ll Ever Need

                Or ever have.

                Biologists have uncovered a deep link between lifespan and cancer in the form of a gene that switches off stem cells as a person ages.

                The critical gene, already well known for its role in suppressing tumors, seems to mediate a profound balance between life and death. It weighs the generation of new replacement cells, required for continued life, against the risk of death from cancer, which is the inevitable outcome of letting cells divide. To offset the increasing risk of cancer as a person ages, the gene gradually reduces the ability of stem cells to proliferate.

                The new finding, reported by three groups of researchers online Wednesday in Nature, was made in a special breed of mice that lack the pivotal gene, but is thought likely to apply to people as well.

                The finding indicates that many of the degenerative diseases of aging are caused by an active shutting down of the stem cells that renew the body’s various tissues, and are not just a passive disintegration of tissues under life’s daily wear and tear, as is often assumed.

                “I don’t think aging is a random process – it’s a program, an anti-cancer program,” said Dr. Norman E. Sharpless of the University of North Carolina, senior author of one of the three reports.

                I find this article interesting on a number of levels. Let’s start with the idea that this scientist says that aging is not a “random process”, rather that it is “an anti-cancer program”. This, to me, really stretches the credulity with which one must view evolution. Somehow, over the years of random changes, a program emerged through natural selection. But since the vast majority of mutations result in a degradation of the organism, the odds of such a program being written are astronomical, on top of all the other odds-beating events like the formation of life itself. (Talk about having faith in your religion.)
                Read the rest of this entry