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Discovery Institute Takes on Gravity Myth

Simple organisms such as birds are said by the Discovery Institute to easily disprove science's current understanding of so-called
Nigel Jones | The Naked Loon↑ click to enlarge ↑Simple organisms such as birds are said by the Discovery Institute to easily disprove science's current understanding of so-called "gravity."

Hot on the heels of a recent Louisiana victory in the fight against evolution, the Seattle-based think tank Discovery Institute held a press conference Thursday to announce their latest initiative: defeating the myth of gravity.

Robert Crowther, Discovery’s director of communications was visibly excited as he detailed the Institute’s plan for attacking what he refers to as the sloppy, inaccurate, and overtly biased portrayal of the theory of gravity.

“Gravity is just a theory, and a poorly-supported one at that,” said Crowther.

At the press conference, the Discovery Institute introduced an alternate explanation for the apparent attraction of masses to each other. With its “Intelligent Motion” thesis, the Institute claims that the forces we call “gravity” can also be explained by an intelligent cause acting on masses, not a mysterious “natural” process.

“The so-called consensus in the scientific community is that gravity is allegedly described by the general theory of relativity,” explained Crowther. “They’re piling theory on top of theory here, and feeding it to us as if it were fact.”

As evidence that the theory of gravity is suspect, Crowther pointed to examples in nature that seem to literally fly in the face of the accepted explanations. “Take birds, for instance,” he said, “why doesn’t gravity seem to affect them as they soar majestically through the air? These are the questions that the news media and scientific establishment don’t want anyone to ask.”

Crowther emphasized that the Institute’s Intelligent Motion argument was not based on religious doctrine, but should instead be treated as a scientific alternative to the current understanding of gravity.

“Too many scientists have been afraid to speak out against the powerful gravity lobby,” said Crowther. “With Intelligent Motion, we are looking forward to imposing balance on yet another heavy-handed field of science.”

The Institute plans to begin their campaign against gravity by lobbying the state legislatures in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Kentucky to pass a bill stating that Intelligent Motion must be taught in physics classes alongside Einstein’s theory of relativity.

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28 Comments on “Discovery Institute Takes on Gravity Myth”

  1. John Fostr misstates the position of the Discovery Institute. Intelligent Motion does not deny that natural gravitation exists. We deny only that it has the power asserted by naturalistic physicists. Therefore, we divide gravitation into two parts, micro-gravity and macro-gravity.

    Micro-gravity is observable. Drop an anvil on your foot to observe it in action. Natural forces are adequate to explain the attraction of small objects to earth. We admit that recent research has extended observations of micro-gravity to objects relatively large by a human scale; even tall buildings may fall by its power.

    However, atheistic physicists claim that naturalistic gravity also makes the planets ďfallĒ in their orbits. This is demonstrably false. The moon, for example does not fall, but remains suspended in the heavens. There is simply no such thing as macro-gravity. The only explanation is the existence of an Intelligent Designer that established the orbits of celestial objects. Even Newton, the founder of the now discredited theory of gravity, believed that God (his version of the Designer) keeps orbits from collapsing, when his calculations showed that they were unstable.

    Claiming that observable micro-gravity and hypothetical, unproven macro-gravity arise from the same naturalistic force is as untenable as atheistic biologistsí claim that a single mechanism of evolution suffices for observable changes in finches and the development of the human spleen from a bit of primitive algae. Micro-gravity, like micro-evolution, may possibly arise from natural forces. But macro-gravity cannot.

  2. I know I speak for all believers in Intelligent Falling when I think the Discovery Institute for their defense. I have some questions for all the Einsteinists who are no doubt going to rush to the defense of this UNPROVEN THEORY.

    The supposed warping of space-time has never been directly observed. NOTHING in relativity can be replicated since it requires huge masses or extreme speed.

    Einsteinism doesn’t explain the formation of the first matter. You need matter to have gravity, but you need gravity to pull matter together.

    Einsteinism leads directly to a circular argument. Gravity is the force exerted by all mass, but mass is measured solely in terms of its interaction with gravity.

    NOBODY has been able to explain gravity in terms of quantum mechanics.

    NOBODY knows what dark matter is. But BELIEVERS know: it is the waters spoken of in the opening of Genesis.

    The secular theory of gravity is responsible for people pushing other people out of windows. Further, Einstein supported NUCULAR WAR! How can you support a theory that leads to such a destructive outcomes?

    There is a lot of scientific debate on Einstism.

    IntelliHand of Godlling is a scientific, unreligious answer to all of these questions. Why can’t public schools should TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!!!

  3. I don’t see ANY evidence of macro gravity in the fossil record!!!

  4. There are too many holes, flaws and deliberate omissions in Discovery Institute’s heinous lies to even start anwering them, and they wouldn’t listen anyway.

    (Willful)ignorance doesn’t hurt, but it can kill…

  5. wow. i find it hard to believe that any rational thinking person could equate gravity with evolution. despite what you may think there is a difference between micro and macro evolution. in my humble opinion i think it is unscientific and dishonest to believe that complex systems can arise naturally. we trust gravity every day, it is literally a life or death belief and we see it’s effects everywhere, but i wouldn’t trust evolution (darwinian or modern) as far as i can throw a neandertal skull. if the theory is so airtight then you folks have nothing to worry about. there will be controversy for a while and then the striking and powerful evidence for evolution will win out against the conservative quasi-religious lobbyists. if the theory isn’t as solid as we are made to believe maybe it’s worth an honest open-minded investigation, sans rhetoric. after all, nobody wants to be told what to believe.

  6. Poor Jeremy,

    You said, “i think it is unscientific and dishonest to believe that complex systems can arise naturally”

    In your world crystals don’t exist. Eggs do not grow into animals. Ecosystems cannot form. Planets cannot orbit. Chemistry does not work… etc.

  7. E pur si mueve!

  8. Well… I personally believe it the famed “Dark Sucker” theory. Just TRY to debunk THAT!

  9. Stupidity is an amazing thing: It is both infinite and rapidly spreading. I can’t wait until the discovery institute starts telling us a “Revolutionary” theory stating that diseases are in fact caused by evil spirits.

  10. Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines. At least, not until the weasel work out that the only thing keeping them on the floor is a beleif in a force that does not exist…

  11. Is this serious? I mean, can such ignorance of physical processes not only relating to gravity, but also aerodynamics, fluid motion, and fundamental science really exist? This all seems like a hoax to me.

    A hoax of a hoax. This seems about as physically possible as being beaten to death with your own skull.

  12. “i wouldnít trust evolution (darwinian or modern) as far as i can throw a neandertal skull”

    that’s the great thing about intelligent motion. if it is His will I can throw a neanderthal skull into orbit (real far).

  13. i think we need to remember that no one is trying to refute gravity, but if they did your article would be a well pointed argument. as for my comment about complex systems there is a difference between an egg growing into a living being (based on the instructions built into it’s own cells) and inanimate chemicals forming the instructions to build that system on their own. that is what i meant by unscientific. until i see concrete evidence as to how dna could form through completely natural processes then i am the one who is thinking rationally by saying it doesn’t make sense. there is no plausable and tested theory as to where dna originated and how new systems could be added to it. that is a fact.

    you all probably think that i will deny evolution despite whatever evidence you may bring to the table, you probably think i am closed minded and have a hidden agenda. the fact is i am open minded enough to question what i was taught and my agenda is transparent; i don’t think the physical evidence is in favour of evolution as an explanation of our origins. whatever metaphysical implications this has are irrelevant.

  14. to the moon jeremy! the moon!

  15. i guess i should’ve just said “that was a funny article”

  16. there is no plausable and tested theory as to where dna originated and how new systems could be added to it. that is a fact.

    These are two separate questions. How new systems could be added to a genome is a well-studied problem and there are many well-known mechanisms, and many instances of this happening have been observed both in the wild and in the laboratory. Adding additional complexity and additional information to a genome is a problem that was solved decades ago.

    As for the formation of the first DNA, that is another issue entirely. How the first genome came about is a question that is being actively studied as we speak. There are no definitive answers, although there are a number of plausible scenarios. However, whatever the answer it doesn’t have any relevance to how organisms evolved once the first one came about. Once you get past the first simple, self-replicating molecules the well-understood processes of evolution take over.

    To compare to gravity, that was my point in bringing up quantum gravity. Nobody rejects the existence of gravity because we do not understand gravity in terms of quantum mechanics, just like pretty much nobody rejects evolution just because we cannot yet explain how the first organism appeared. This is because the effects of gravity can be directly observed, just as the effects of evolution can be directly observed.

  17. Jeremy wrote:
    “there is a difference between an egg growing into a living being (based on the instructions built into itís own cells) and inanimate chemicals forming the instructions to build that system on their own”

    It’s chemistry in both cases, furthermore we know that the basic building blocks of life are easily formed given the right conditions: aminoacids, fatty acyls, simple sugars and we know about emergent properties of matter so we can’t be so far away from a complete explanation of the whole enchilada .. but, what the heck has this to do with evolution !!?? Evolution takes on when replicating capabilities and genetic expression are already in place.

    And no, you are not being open-minded. The whole ID/creationism concept is all about refusing to accept the scientific evidence as this hilarious piece so cleverly portraits.

  18. swedenrlz: firstoff we know from 60 years of lab experiments that the simplest building blocks of life are not easily formed and even less likely to remain stable once formed. secondly we have no idea what the initial conditions of the earth were, it is purely speculation. and thirdly life is a hell of a lot more complex than a bunch of amino acids and simple sugars.

    the black cat: granted, theories about the origin of the first self replicating cell are not officially a part of the theory of evolution and it is true that evolution, if true, would work upon pre-existing beings. but you have to admit that the lack of an explanation for the first cell sort of throws a monkey wrench into the whole idea. i do not mean to sound patronizing but i would love to see any examples you can cite of cells gaining genetic information that is both unique and novel. thanks.

  19. swedenrlz: firstoff we know from 60 years of lab experiments that the simplest building blocks of life are not easily formed and even less likely to remain stable once formed.

    Most can be formed in conditions that were present, and can remain stable. Some were more difficult, but they may not have been necessary for the first organism.

    secondly we have no idea what the initial conditions of the earth were, it is purely speculation.

    Sure we do. Well, the initial conditions were unknown due to a planetoid colliding with Earth, but once the period of asteroid bombardment ended we know a great deal. Plenty of material has survived from that time, both in space and on Earth, and that material tells us what the conditions were like.

    and thirdly life is a hell of a lot more complex than a bunch of amino acids and simple sugars.

    Modern life. But we are not talking about modern life here. The first organism may not have involved amino acids at all, since it is known that nucleic acids can have catalytic properties and are probably even able to catalyze their own synthesis.

    but you have to admit that the lack of an explanation for the first cell sort of throws a monkey wrench into the whole idea.

    No it doesn’t. It is no more of a problem than not knowing how the first matter came about throws a monkey wrench in relativity, or not knowing the inner nature of an electron throws a monkey wrench in electrical circuit theory. Knowing how life first arose is an important question, but it has no impact on the validity of evolution.

    i do not mean to sound patronizing but i would love to see any examples you can cite of cells gaining genetic information that is both unique and novel. thanks.

    I would suggest doing some research on nylonase activity. Nylon, and a number of intermediate chemicals, do not appear anywhere in nature. However, bacteria were able to evolve an entirely new enzyme, totally unrelated to any previous enzyme, from scratch when placed in an environment where the only food was the byproducts of nylon synthesis. This happened in the wild and happened again in the laboratory. Because they were able to monitor the bacteria in the laboratory, they were able to find that the enzyme evolved when a copy of a plasmid (a small bit of DNA) undergoing a frame-shift mutation that completely changed the protein sequence it coded for, and then several other mutations. This is an entirely new gene without requiring the elimination of any existing gene.

    Another case is in cmsT maize, a form of male-sterile maize. In this case a new gene evolved by being coblled together from a number of non-coding regions of the maize mitochondrial genome. The result was a ligand-gated ion channel, an protein with four highly specific active sites.

    There are many such examples. The process of gene duplication followed by the two genes mutating and evolving independently is a very powerful technique that can and does create new proteins, even whole metabolic pathways if it involves several such events. As long as the two genes remain active there is no way such a process could avoid producing more information.

  20. “The first organism may not have involved amino acids at all”
    excuse my ignorance but what evidence is there to suggest that this ancestral simple organism existed other than an evolutionary need for a simpler being to start the whole process off. you are right that not knowing the origin of the first organism is not a knock against the theory, i see your point.

    i am familiar with the nylon digesting bacteria. i have read explanations of the research but i am not educated enough to understand all that is said. it seems though that describing what has happened to the bacteria as a beneficial mutation based on a frame shift error is a little simplistic. from what i’ve read these copy errors generally generate a large amount of stop codons, whereas this strand is a long non-stop frame. this would seem to me to suggest a mechanism in the dna that is yet to be understood. also the fact that the bacteria evolved this ability in nature as well as in a lab in nine days would seem to be quite the coincidence and would either suggest again that there is a mechanism for this change or that the process of evolution is actually a guided process. i assume neither of those conclusions are acceptable to you. this specific bacteria also has the ability to adapt to many poisonous substances such as toluene, naphthalene, camphor, salicylates and alkanes; perhaps this is no coincidence but a built in survival tool. there is other evidence for this argument that deals with the plasmids of the bacteria. once again i am a novice at understanding a lot of the intricacies of organisms and though the arguments seemed to make sense to me i don’t have enough of a grasp on them to repeat them. here is one article that i read a while back regarding this subject.
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v17/i3/bacteria.asp

    thanks for the other citations. i’m not familiar with those examples but am definitly interested in looking into it.

  21. from what iíve read these copy errors generally generate a large amount of stop codons, whereas this strand is a long non-stop frame. this would seem to me to suggest a mechanism in the dna that is yet to be understood.

    The key word here being “generally”. The mechanism is well-understood, it is called “probability”. If you have enough genes to work with, and enough organisms doing the working, just by chance low-probability events will occur. It is called “the law of very large numbers”, and it is inevitable. So the issue is not that frame shift mutations inevitably create stop codons, it is that frame shift mutations have a high probability of causing stop codons. But if you have enough trials and a little luck you might end up with a functioning gene.

    You also have to remember that this is just one of a great many different synthetic molecules bacteria cannot normally digest, so you have to think about the probability that the enzyme will work with any synthetic, indigestible molecule. It is only in hindsight, after the gene has evolved, that we are focusing on nylon. It could have been any synthetic molecule and the result from our perspective would have been the same. It is the same thing with, say, flagella. We look today and see one (or actually two) families of related (but not identical) flagella. But to know the probability of it evolving we need to look at all possible flagella, and all other possible means of locomotion (since it doesn’t really matter from an evolutionary standpoint how exactly the bacteria moves).

    When you look at all of that you are dealing with a massive number of trials and a huge number of results that would have counted as successful hits. It really isn’t that big of a surprise that something like this turned up.

    also the fact that the bacteria evolved this ability in nature as well as in a lab in nine days would seem to be quite the coincidence and would either suggest again that there is a mechanism for this change or that the process of evolution is actually a guided process…

    It is well-known that when faced with stressful environments many bacteria are able to increase the rate of mutation in their genome (often some increase the rate of mutation while others go into a sort of hibernation). Combining this increased mutation rate with all the genes in the genomes of a large numbers of organisms with rapid reproduction rates, then add the ability to exchange genes through plasmids, allows for a very large number of random trials to work with. Once again it is nothing surprising, just basic probability at work. That is part of the power of evolution, it works with a large number of random trials to isolate those results that are most beneficial.

    If you don’t know why plasmids are so important, it is because they are small bits of genes that can be duplicated independently of the main genome and exchanged between cells. Generally bacteria keep their critical genes in the main genome and have a variety of other genes in the plasmids. A single cell can have a large number of copies of the same plasmid, allowing for a large amount of different “experiments” with different mutations in the same plasmid. This mechanism, similar to our own chromosomes (which bacteria do really not have), allows for much more rapid evolution than the cells would have if they only had one strand of DNA. There is nothing supernatural or designed about it, it is just one of many different techniques organisms have evolved that allow them to exchanged genetic information and thus evolve more rapidly. To put it another way, the ability to evolve more rapidly is a trait with evolutionary advantages (and disadvantages), this it is a trait we have seen evolve independently several times.

    And I should warn you, nobody is going to take you seriously if you quote answer in genesis. It is a cesspool of the worst young-earth creationist garbage on the internet. It is a collection of distortions, omissions, misrepresentations, and out-right lies that has become notorious even amongst some creationists.

  22. Love it. And the ‘macro gravity’ post is an awesome addition.

    Then we get the ‘TARDs, complete with “open mind”s (TM). bleh.

    /es

  23. Theblackcat writes : “The secular theory of gravity is responsible for people pushing other people out of windows” That statement is as disconnected from reality as it gets.

  24. thanks for the quick explanation of plasmids.

    i am well aware of the stigma attached to answersingenesis but i think the article should be judged on it’s own merit. and for a layman like myself the sources i can go to are fairly limited seeing that i cannot sift through the technical jargon in most technical articles. to be fair though you need to acknowledge that errors happen on both sides of the controversy. infact the talk origins website had an article dealing with the answersingenesis article and the author made this statement

    “Nylon is an artificial polymer not found in nature. Indeed, not only is the nylon polymer not found in nature, neither are the linkages that bind the subunits together.” (http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/apr04.html)

    the first half of this is true but the second half is false. should all info on the talk origins website be disregarded because of this error? certainly not but this authors conclusions definitely need to be questioned. i came across this error not because i am schooled in chemistry but because i did a little research. if i wasn’t inquisitive i would have just taken his word for it and would of course have been misled.

    here is a response to this data from the post that alerted me to this error

    “As far as I can tell, nylonase is an example of adaptive molecular recognition, such as is found in the immune system, which would explain why it “evolved” so quickly: because the system of transposable elements (whose relocations are partly random, but also in fact considerably constrained by marker sequences) that assembles it is so elaborate, the information gap is small enough to be crossed by chance.
    Thus “mindless” evolution works in this case. However, it just highlights a technology behind it that is still far beyond human technology. That is the pattern in molecular biology. That is why ID makes sense.”

    i think it is more prudent to say that perhaps this is an example of a yet to be understood function than to say it is a random assemblage that came about by trial and error and probability. to extrapolate this example over the animal and plant kingdom is also quite misleading. we are talking about an organism whose generation length is around 2 hours long and who has passed through more generations in the time we’ve been studying it than humans would have in 2.5 million years. that’s a long time to wait for one “random” beneficial mutation.

    as for flagella, what reason is there to assume that the two types of flagella are related other than the assumption of common ancestry? common ancestry and common designer could both be explanations for similarity, therefore similarity cannot be used as proof by either theory.

    BlackCat, thank you for the real discussion. i would love to continue it but i don’t think this is the proper forum. i’d love to hear your response to my comments and would love to investigate the other examples you gave me. please respond to me at jerboyd at sympatico.ca

    ciao

  25. i am well aware of the stigma attached to answersingenesis but i think the article should be judged on itís own merit.

    True, that is why I refuted their conclusions then criticized them as a source.

    and for a layman like myself the sources i can go to are fairly limited seeing that i cannot sift through the technical jargon in most technical articles.

    Let me explain this simply: you will know less about the issue after reading AIG then you would if you had read nothing at all. They are liars, flagrant, blatant liars. There is a difference between occasional, accidental errors in one source like talkorigins and nothing but intentional errors in another source like AIG. You are better off reading nothing than reading AIG.

    i think it is more prudent to say that perhaps this is an example of a yet to be understood function than to say it is a random assemblage that came about by trial and error and probability.

    That is not prudent at all. That basically amounts to “it seems too incredible to come about by chance, therefore I am going to assume there exists some other mechanism for which there is absolutely zero evidence.” Unless you can provide some quantitative evidence that there must be some other mechanism, all evidence points to it being ordinary evolution.

    to extrapolate this example over the animal and plant kingdom is also quite misleading. we are talking about an organism whose generation length is around 2 hours long and who has passed through more generations in the time weíve been studying it than humans would have in 2.5 million years. thatís a long time to wait for one ďrandomĒ beneficial mutation.

    Irrelevant. As I said, this is just one of many such examples. I gave an example in corn, which is at the same level of complexity as humans. You have ignored that example and focused on the nylonase example, and now are presenting it like it is the only example out there.

    Plus we are not looking at 2.5 million years. Even if we assume a 20 minute generation period for the bacteria, and a 30 year generation period for humans, if we use the same number of generations that passed over the 9 days for the bacteria then we are only talking about 20,000 years for humans, less than 1/10th the amount of time anatomically modern humans have existed. And modern humans are extremely recent developments. Further, most animals have much shorter generations than that, often one or even two orders of magnitude shorter.

    And it completely misses the point: the claim is made that evolution cannot create new biological systems. You claimed that evolution cannot create new complexity. This example shows both statements to be false. You were wrong. You can talk about exceptions and how you don’t believe it can be generalized but it doesn’t change the fact that your position was incorrect.

    Let me say this again: gene duplication combined with random mutation cannot possibly avoid generating additional complexity and additional information. It is mathematically inevitable.

    as for flagella, what reason is there to assume that the two types of flagella are related other than the assumption of common ancestry?

    They are not similar. They are completely and totally unrelated. What I was referring to being similar was the members of each family. So the bacterial flagella are all similar in nature, but have fairly major differences in the details. The archae flagella are similar to each other and also differ in the details, but are totally different in every way from the bacterial flagella. It is called convergent evolution.

    common ancestry and common designer could both be explanations for similarity, therefore similarity cannot be used as proof by either theory.

    This is the problem people have with creationism and ID: it can be twisted to fit any possible observation. Organisms are fundamentally different? The designer made each one specially. Organisms are fundamentally similar? The designer used the same tools to make each one? Some organisms are fundamentally different and some are fundamentally similar? The designer used some tools for one group and other tools for others. There is no possible observation that could conflict with an omnipotent deity who can and does do whatever it feels like.

    And I don’t see any reason to change the location of the conversation, nor do I like giving me email address out to strangers. This is a perfectly reasonable place for this discussion unless the owner of the blog says otherwise. That is what blog comments are for.

  26. i am not avoiding your other example, in fact i clearly stated i want to look into it and wanted to discuss it with you. the reason i have not mentioned it is that i am ignorant of the facts on that issue and would like some time to read up on it.

    i am familiar with convergent evolution. that is what could cause bats and birds to both evolve wings and animals to evolve different types of eyes etc. my point about arguing from similarity stands. in fact i couldn’t have argued it better. all you need to do is relate the argument to convergent evolution. organisms are fundamentally different? they have evolved differently. organisms have similarities? the evolved from a common ancestor. this is not proof, it is speculation and circular reasoning just as it is when the creationism/ID side uses it.

    my argument in this case is that it is entirely possible that these mutations that brought about these two new nylon digesting enzymes were non-random. you said “It is well-known that when faced with stressful environments many bacteria are able to increase the rate of mutation in their genome” an organism that increases it’s mutation rate in the presence of material it cannot digest seems to indicate that the organism has a mechanism for just such a case. has this been investigated, or is science happy with the current explanation?

  27. i am not avoiding your other example, in fact i clearly stated i want to look into it and wanted to discuss it with you. the reason i have not mentioned it is that i am ignorant of the facts on that issue and would like some time to read up on it.

    Then what is the point of saying it is not generalizable to “higher” organisms? It doesn’t help your case because I have already provided an example from a higher organism that shows it is generalizable.

    all you need to do is relate the argument to convergent evolution. organisms are fundamentally different? they have evolved differently. organisms have similarities? the evolved from a common ancestor. this is not proof, it is speculation and circular reasoning just as it is when the creationism/ID side uses it.

    It is not at all similar in the case of evolution. This is because multiple different lines of evidence all point to the same conclusion. For instance, lets think about humans, house mouse, and pufferfish. Looking at their outward appearance, you would expect humans and mice are more similar to each other than either is to a pufferfish. How can you test this? Well, you can look at different hereditary aspects to the species. So you look with more detail at their skeletal structure. Indeed, the human and mouse skeletons are much more similar than either is to a pufferfish. Of course you complain that humans and mice look similar so it is not surprising that their skeletons are similar. But this applies even to aspects of their skeleton that are not externally visible, like the bone (in mammals) or bones (in fish) in their jaws. But still, you decide to look further. How about their developmental sequence? The results are the same. Their brains? Same. The hemoglobin molecule in their blood? Same. Their genetic sequence? Same. Non-coding regions of their genome? Same. Everywhere you look mice are more similar to humans than they are to pufferfish. If any of those results had been different it would have been strong evidence against evolution. But what if you look at creationism? What if everything is the same except fish brains are more similar to human brains than mice brains are? Well, God works in mysterious ways. There is no possible piece of evidence that can contradict this conclusion.

    It is no different with convergent evolution, say with wings for example. Bird wings are much more similar in their form to human hands than they are to insect wings. There is no reason that should be the case, you would have an internal bone structure for bird wings that looks very much like insect wings without compromising their function. But given that bird wings look more like human hands than they do like insect wings, you would expect the rest of their skeleton, their brains, their development, their genes, their proteins, and various other aspects of the organism to follow this pattern as well. They do. You would expect the development of bird wings would be more similar to the development of human hands than to the development of insect wings, that the genes that regulate their formation to be more similar to the genes that regulate human hands than the genes that regulate insect wings. You would expect the molecules that make up bird wings to be more similar to the molecules that make up human hands than the molecules that make up insect wings. All of these are indeed the case. There is no outside reason for any of them to be the case unless birds share a common ancestor more recently with humans than they do with insects. The sequence of non-coding repetitive regions doesn’t make any difference. Nor does the sequence of telomeres. Nor does various neutral changes between different genes. Nor does the genes regulating the formation of the structures. Yet they all follow this pattern. That was a prediction of evolution, one that did not have to be the case but is. This is something that people thought would be the case, then went and checked and found it is indeed the case. Creationism makes no such predictions, or rather it does and then they turn out to be false and then the creationists deny ever having made the predictions or use ad-hoc explanations to dismiss them.

    my argument in this case is that it is entirely possible that these mutations that brought about these two new nylon digesting enzymes were non-random.

    You have provided no evidence whatsoever to support this conclusion, other then “I can’t believe mutations can happen that fast” (argument from incredulity). It is also possible that when we are looking the atoms climb out of the DNA and start dancing around, but without any evidence to back up that conclusion it is nothing but idle speculation.

    you said ďIt is well-known that when faced with stressful environments many bacteria are able to increase the rate of mutation in their genomeĒ an organism that increases itís mutation rate in the presence of material it cannot digest seems to indicate that the organism has a mechanism for just such a case. has this been investigated, or is science happy with the current explanation?

    The mechanism has been investigated a lot. I am not going into the relatively small amount I know about the process in just one organism we studied in class (E. coli), but there has been a massive amount of research on the subject. Besides being important to understanding evolution, it also has serious implications for disease control since antibiotics are another form of stressor that can trigger increased mutation. You should check up on lambda phage, a virus that infects E. coli and co-opts this mechanism to use against the bacteria.

  28. [...] think Intelligent Falling from The Onion was funnier, but Intelligent Motion is still pretty [...]

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