Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


Ode on a Grecian Flypaper Strip

posted by David Klinghoffer
2821153794_365088b94f.jpg

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? This bears upon our earlier discussion of whether a horribly vile Lovecraftian creature would satisfy God as the ultimate product of an undirected process of evolution as imagined by Darwin. Impoverished island-dwelling family that we are, we can’t afford normal pest-elimination measures. Instead we have a couple of long, pendulous strips of flypaper stuck to the ceiling of our kitchen to catch specimens of Drosophila melanogaster — fruit flies — that are plentiful where we live this time of year. Lately, our youngest, Saul, age 2, has been walking around the kitchen area pointing up at the strips of flypaper and proclaiming, “Pretty! Pretty!”



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 11:32 am


David, you keep bobbing and weaving on this one.
Why can’t your unnamed “Designer”, whom you are careful to state–in court–that need not necessarily be God, produce horrible Lovecraftian creatures?
Since the “Designer” isn’t necessarily God, it could be Cthulhu itself, who would be perfectly happy with Lovecraftian monsters.
So in what sense is ID superior to theistic evolution, which assumes God set the initial conditions of the universe so that His desired end would be achieved?
Theistic evolution ASSUMES God. Intelligent design–you tell the judge–could be ANYTHING. Clearly theistic evolution is superior, theologically, to ID, and is compatible with known science.
Unless ID requires the God of Abraham as an assumption, it cannot help you avoid the Lovecraftian monsters.
Please acknowledge and answer for once. Your intellectual cowardices is getting embarrassing.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 14, 2009 at 11:55 am


Oh my, let’s run through all of the creatures that humans find distasteful, asking each time if in a Lovecraftian world this would be the object of god’s affection. No spiders? No tapeworms yet?
Of course you’re begging the question of why god lovingly designed HIV, tapeworms, Behe’s favorite, P. falciparum, to infect the supposed objects of god’s affection. You know, God gave man incredible powers, divine benevolence, and painful loathsome deaths by inventing malaria, which could never have evolved on its own, of course.
How dare we make such judgments, when the IDists demand that we don’t? Because you can never ever avoid the fact that the “designer” is god and only god. Behe himself does not, and yet he whinges about our pointing out that his god would be presumed not to kill little children by expressly designing P. falciparum, while, and this is crucial, the competition for resources over the course of evolution readily explains the existence of malarial parasites.
We’re simply not supposed to judge anything about ID at all–which is why it is charged with being unfalsifiable. Well, it is and it isn’t, because “design” has meaningful connotations regardless of rhetoric designed to reduce intelligence, although, taken at face value, IDists won’t countenance any meaningful test of ID. But it’s a fact that malaria fits the evolutionary scenario extremely well (not it per se, but all parasitic organisms), while at the very best it is meaningless in ID, and contrary to the motives of the designer that IDists actually believe in.
Sorry, you can’t use your own revulsion at flies, cephalopods, etc. (btw David, you’re revealing problems you have with organisms more than you’re affecting those of us who see cephalopods, if not flies, rather equinanimously) to turn people away from theistic evolution, without telling us why god designed flies and other “vile creatures” to afflict us. You’re demonstrating your own revulsion at “god’s designs,” without in the least explaining why god would design organisms that you detest.
See, we want explanation–science–not a worldview that passes muster with your particular phobias. The reason why we don’t get along with the DI is that it appears to be doing little other than you are doing, demanding that life be much more deliberate and rational than one in which flies and P. falciparum simply evolve without guilt or malice to torment us. Except that you don’t in the least tell us how flies and P. falciparum fit in with “god’s design,” thus failing to provide anything that science could possibly build upon, let alone giving us an alternative science.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Phil

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm


And yet you use the religious overtones of, God would not have done it that way, to make your case for evolution when the actual evidence gathered from P. falciparum/malaria crushes evolution in the first place. You cannot establish scientific integrity for evolution by presuming to know what the Creator would have or would not have done. Do you presume the existence of evil negates the existence of ultimate good. This is fallacious reasoning on you part for if you admit evil exists then you must of necessity admit the existence of good. How do you justify this from an atheistic/materialistic worldview which holds evil and good is an illusion?
The evidence from Malaria:
The malaria parasite, due to its comparatively enormous population size, has in 1 year more mutation/duplication/selection events than all mammal lineages have had in the entire +100 million years they have been in the fossil record. Moreover, since single cell organisms and viruses replicate, and mutate/duplicate, far more quickly than multi-cellular life-forms can, scientists can do experiments on single celled organisms and viruses to see what we can actually expect to happen over millions of years for mammals with far smaller population sizes.
Malaria and AIDS are among the largest real world tests that can be performed to see if evolutionary presumptions are true.
“Indeed, the work on malaria and AIDS demonstrates that after all possible unintelligent processes in the cell–both ones we’ve discovered so far and ones we haven’t–at best extremely limited benefit, since no such process was able to do much of anything. It’s critical to notice that no artificial limitations were placed on the kinds of mutations or processes the microorganisms could undergo in nature. Nothing–neither point mutation, deletion, insertion, gene duplication, transposition, genome duplication, self-organization nor any other process yet undiscovered–was of much use.” Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, pg. 162 Swine Flu, Viruses, and the Edge of Evolution
http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/05/swine_flu_viruses_and_the_edge.html



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Glen Davidson

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm


Phil utterly misses the point, yet again.
And Behe established nothing at all, least of all his “two simultaneous” (why simultaneous, anyhow?) mutations, since resistance to chloroquine involves rather more than two. Only two existed in all cases, but there were no known cases which involved only two. He also ignored (or possibly didn’t know) the fact that resistance to chloroquine apparently is selected against where chloroquine doesn’t exist.
Most of all, the evidence of non-teleological evolution exists throughout P. falciparum‘s genome, including an apicoplast which apparently evolved from a chloroplast. As Behe noted, evolution can only use physical precursors, while design can utilize conceptual precursors. A good test for evolution vs. design, if not the only one. And what do we see in malarial parasites? Only physical precursors, not the conceptual precursors rampant in honest design processes. You lose, Phil, and Behe actually provided the test which shows that you lose.
And Phil’s junk science sources explain nothing, above all giving us no evidence for design. Evolution explains malaria quite well, it is true, but, even if it didn’t, there would still be no evidence for malaria’s design, which would be needed for any honest science of ID. There being no honest science of ID, a pseudoscientific smokescreen is thrown over evolution, with no alternative explanation being given (no, an unknown designer designing for unknown reasons and with unknown capabilities is not an explanation).
How absurd to write this, “And yet you use the religious overtones of, God would not have done it that way,” when that is exactly what we hear from the IDists constantly, especially here. I pointed out how that is an attempt to avoid the falsification that real science is open to (it’s a rule of thumb, but generally a good one), and of course Phil doesn’t in the slightest save ID from the charge of effecting such dishonesty.
Only attack, no matter how ignorantly, and hope that you’ll get it right some day. The mere fact that you hope to destroy actual science and replace it with no knowledge is not your concern, of course, because you have no regard for intelligence, learning, science, or proper intellectual standards. Nevertheless, you’ll take the results of science to use to try to destroy science.
Meaning that you’re using “materialism” to fight intelligence for “your god,” a most hypocritical stance. If you really believed in your religion, you’d eschew science and the results it provides, and simply use magic. But you don’t believe that magic or the “power of god” actually is better than computers and the results of what you malign and oppose. Your contradictions are breathtaking.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Phil

posted July 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm


Glen, and yet, despite all your bluster, the P. falciparum is still a P. falciparum despite its far greater replication, and mutation, rate. Something tells me you could care less about the truth of the matter and would defend you nihilistic worldview no matter what. Truly sad Glen.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:04 pm


Glen, and yet, despite all your bluster, the P. falciparum is still a P. falciparum despite its far greater replication, and mutation, rate. Something tells me you could care less about the truth of the matter and would defend you nihilistic worldview no matter what. Truly sad Glen.

Explaining nothing about the apicoplast, eh Philly? Can’t do it, can you?
The nihilistic view is that the apicoplast is merely incidental, and that its similarities with the chloroplast means nothing at all. The nihilistic view is that billions of pieces of evidence only coincidentally converge on the causes of evolution, but were in fact designed in a manner that we have never seen any design (save GAs, which mimic “darwinian evolution”) produce.
The nihilistic view is that science means nothing, yet its results can be used to smear anybody who disagrees with Phil’s know-nothing view.
What you’re projecting onto others, Phil, your total commitment to a nihilistic view of the world, is true. And what’s sad is not so much that it is belongs to you, but that you’ll use it without any respect for truth.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Turmarion

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:30 pm


I used to use flypaper a lot, and I’ve actually thought that when it hangs near a window, it shimmers and gleams in a warm, honey-golden way that is rather attractive, really–somewhat like a suncatcher. Of course, after it fills up with dead bugs it’s much less appealing, but that’s life.
When God finished creating the world, He “saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31, NIV, emphasis added). Among the “all” that He made are tapeworms, viruses, leeches, malaria-causing plasmodia, cancer cells, tsetse fly, Drosphila melanogaster, and so on. In fact, from the Jewish perspective, one of the things He also made was the yetzer ha-ra` (“evil impulse”) that He put in humans’ souls. Presumably, then, all of these are “good” in some sense, from the Divine perspective. Or as the corny song has it, “Everything is beautiful, in its own way.”. Right?
Put it another way: If God had seen fit to create a universe peopled by intelligent beings that looked like Cthulu, then if one of their writers, H. P. Yog-shuggoth, wrote horror stories containing beings that were the epitome of repulsiveness, he would probably describe them as looking like we do!



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Turmarion

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm


Phil: Sharks, turtles, and cockroaches haven’t changed much in millions of years, either; other organisms have. If an organism is sufficiently well-adapted to its niche and there are no selective pressures acting on it (because the environment is stable, for example), it may remain unchanged for long periods of time. You misunderstand evolutionary biology if you think that it implies that an organism necessarily will alter or speciate over many generations. It all depends.
I might also point out that the evidence is excellent that the AIDS virus actually has mutated from the older SIDS (simian immunodeficiency syndrome) virus within the last sixty years or so. Flu viruses mutate all the time, hence the different flu vaccines every year.
Glen, kudos for your points on Behe. People like him baffle me. He claims to believe in 99% of the current paradigm of evolution (ancient cosmos, common descent, humans and chimps have common ancestry, etc.) and yet he still insists that evolution can’t explain it all. It makes no sense. At least for a Biblical literalist, it makes sense that he rejects evolution, given his presuppositions (even though they’re wrong). To believe, as Behe apparently does, that God ordains evolution, except when He doesn’t, isn’t even coherent. As I’ve said before, it’s like Minnesota Fats beginning a pool game with some amazingly elaborate shots, then picking the balls up and dropping them in the pockets by hand, then doing more elaborate shots. A very weird way to view God!



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Your Name

posted July 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm


I don’t know much about evolution. Why are people who believe in evolution called Darwinists and not evolutionists? If evolution exists, I would guess we have come a long way in understanding it from the time of Darwin.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 2:13 pm


If evolution exists, I would guess we have come a long way in understanding it from the time of Darwin.
Obviously. They are called “Darwinists” so creationists can pretend it’s the Church of Darwin.
In reality, decades of work by thousands of biologists has improved Darwin’s theory to the point where he’d need a couple of years of college to figure it out.
Darwin knew nothing about genes, for example, and had only educated guesses about how heredity works. Darwin also believed in the possibility of Lamarckism.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 2:15 pm


Phil, cutting and pasting from creationist websites will not make you a biologist, and you will be embarrassed in short order if you keep it up. Verb. sap.



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Phil

posted July 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm


Gabriel, You call for shame on me and your the one who believes your great great grandpappy was a mud puddle? It seems you have already embarrassed yourself severely. I see no need to add to your humiliation of intellect in this life nor the humiliation you are sure to face in the next.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm


You call for shame on me and your the one who believes your great great grandpappy was a mud puddle?
I would rather be descended from a mud puddle than from a man who thinks name-calling is argument. (Apologies to T. H. Huxley.)
See what I mean about ignorance of history? If you had read your history, you’d know what the comeback was going to be.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 3:11 pm


I see no need to add to your humiliation of intellect in this life nor the humiliation you are sure to face in the next.
Because any idiot can get a Ph. D. in physics, I suppose. And God delegated the execution of His judgments to YOU?



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Your Name

posted July 14, 2009 at 5:13 pm


Are we:
a. Humans
b. Primates
c. Both



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Your Name

posted July 14, 2009 at 7:27 pm


I understand that the reason flu developes new strains so readily is because the virus has a preexisting mechanism for swapping genes, not due to mutations. When two different strains of flu infect an organism they swap genes and produce a “new” strain. This is why new strains often come from pigs. Pigs can be infected with viruses from humans and from birds. And pigs are often raised on farm in close proximity to birds and humans. Please correct me if I’m wrong.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 7:37 pm


I understand that the reason flu developes new strains so readily is because the virus has a preexisting mechanism for swapping genes, not due to mutations.
What on earth do you think a mutation IS?



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 7:44 pm


Look, Your name, thanks to the efforts of biologist–which no member of the Discovery Institute has ever contributed to–we know that there are many ways of producing the genetic variation that natural selection acts on.
Mutation is one way. Horizontal gene transfer is one way. Genetic engineering is one way. Sexual reproduction is by far the most common way.
If viruses mix their genes with one another, that no more invalidates evolution by natural selection than sexual reproduction does. Because that is what sexual reproduction IS. The offspring gets x% of its genes from one parent and (100-x)% from the other; x is usually 50 but not always.
Reshuffling genes means more variation. Natural selection acts on variation. It does not matter what mechanism was responsible.



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Your Name

posted July 14, 2009 at 10:07 pm


Mixing genes can only owrk with what is there. It only gives yuo so much variation. Flu virus still remains flu virus.
And Michael Behe says that we know the chlorquinine resistance requires two mutation because we know the mutation rate for one nucleotide is one in 10^8 organisms. That means that to get two mutations you need 10^16 organisms. Chlorquinine resistance shows up once in approximately that many organisms, so the numbers match.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 14, 2009 at 10:55 pm


That means that to get two mutations you need 10^16 organisms. Chlorquinine resistance shows up once in approximately that many organisms, so the numbers match.
So what if you need 10^16 organisms? Given the rate at which flu viruses replicate, and enough time, even rare mutations are a big factor in providing new genetic variation.
Numbers don’t mean anything by themselves, you need a number to compare to. 10^16 is an unreasonable population of humans, but a much less unreasonable population of viruses. That’s about one gallon of viruses.
Give flu virus enough to time and space to specialize and diversify, in a few hundred or thousand years you will get viruses that are no longer flu viruses. It’s like watching a mountain erode, it doesn’t happen like throwing a switch.



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Your Name

posted July 15, 2009 at 7:32 am


The problem is that if you need four mutations for resistance, then you need 10^32 organisms. There are about 10^20 malaria organism alive in the world at any given time, so you need to increase that time frame by 10^12. This is a long time. And animals that don’t reproduce at the of microorganisms will have a very hard time producing that many organisms.



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Your Name

posted July 15, 2009 at 7:38 am


According to this article:
http://www.genetics.org/cgi/content/full/180/3/1501
it woudl take ~200,000,000 years for teh simplest sort of mutation that cancasue genomic change to work its way through a population of organisms that reproduce at the rate humams do.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 15, 2009 at 11:45 am


And Michael Behe says that we know the chlorquinine resistance requires two mutation because we know the mutation rate for one nucleotide is one in 10^8 organisms

No he does not say that. What you write doesn’t make any sense at all, as you can’t get the number of mutations needed for resistance from the mutation rate. It’s basic logic, something you never exhibit. Apparently you have a serious reading impediment, since you can’t ever properly paraphrase what anybody said.
He said that chloroquine resistance requires two mutations because two appear in all forms of chloroquine resistance. Which is about as intelligent as your rendition of same, in fact, because there were no examples of chloroquine resistance which appeared to the result of only those two mutations. I already explained that, and then you wrote your non-sequitur, your illogical stream of consciousness.
Behe makes very basic errors in “reasoning,” even more so when he fails to note that his examples of “design” in fact have the same characteristics as his examples of evolution. Which makes design very easy to claim, because you simply take what evolution predicts, call it design, and state (another non-sequitur) that design must have done it because, you know, not all of the details are in hand as yet.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Turmarion

posted July 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm


Originally from “Monty Python’s Contractual Obligation LP”, via http://www.geocities.com/fang_club/All_things_dull.html
All Things Dull and Ugly
All things dull and ugly,
All creatures short and squat,
All things rude and nasty,
The Lord God made the lot.
Each little snake that poisons,
Each little wasp that stings,
He made their brutish venom.
He made their horrid wings.
All things sick and cancerous,
All evil great and small,
All things foul and dangerous,
The Lord God made them all.
Each nasty little hornet,
Each beastly little squid–
Who made the spikey urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!
All things scabbed and ulcerous,
All pox both great and small,
Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
The Lord God made them all.
Amen.
Lyrics: Eric Idle
Music: Traditional
Arranged by: John Du Prez



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Your Name

posted July 15, 2009 at 4:53 pm


Behe doies write that the time needed to make three mutations is not consistent with the frequency of mutation rates. Two mutations is.



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Glen Davidson

posted July 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm


Behe doies write that the time needed to make three mutations is not consistent with the frequency of mutation rates. Two mutations is.

And I explained why that’s a crock, with Behe ignoring the relevant data.
So sure, he’s a failure as a science writer.
Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p



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Your Name

posted July 15, 2009 at 5:02 pm


He sites the literature that had the mutation rates. The mutation rates are known by observing them. They were not calculated by seeing how many mutations were needed to produce something beneficial. What’s known about mutaion rates fits the data on adaptive mutations.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 16, 2009 at 6:28 pm


He sites the literature! Spoken like a true scientist!
Our anonymous “Your name” is one more person who knows nothing of science, cutting and pasting sentences he doesn’t understand, and unable to understand the refutations posted by people who know what they are talking about.
So he is just going to cut and paste something else.
What’s known about mutaion rates fits the data on adaptive mutations.



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Your Name

posted July 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm


I sited the math on mutation rates that Behe mentioned above. Behe bases it on the research he quotes in his book. And the article I sited uses a mathematical model to get similar results. I guess it’s now your tun to site a soruce that gives different numbers.



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Gabriel Hanna

posted July 18, 2009 at 12:02 pm


Anonymous “your name”, why don’t YOU study something OTHER than Michael Behe? Then maybe YOU would be qualified to have an opinion.
You do not understand what you are posting, or else you could explain it yourself without cutting and pasting somebody else’s disputed work.



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