JoeG's Case Against Common Descent

Full disclosure, JoeG is not a Christian. He has said he believes in a higher power, but that is about the extent of it. @JoeG, please correct me or clarify, if you see fit.

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Hi Allen- I would say that every Christian is an IDist- that is if they accept that God did it.

We have detected intelligent design. Definitive evidence for ID can be found in ATP synthase: Structure of ATP synthase

If you take a look at ATP synthase you can see it consists of two major subunits (F0 & F1) that are connected together by an external tether. This tether doesn’t have anything to do with the functionality of either subunit but without it no ATP synthase. The problem for evolution by blind and mindless processes is exacerbated. Not only does it need to produce the two subunits but one has to be embedded in some membrane so that a gradient can be formed. And the other has to to be stably tethered to the membrane the proper distance away. The tether looks like the membrane subunit F0 somehow formed an external docking site the proper length with F1 forming an external mating site.

Again these two different protein subunits, the tether and mate, have nothing to do with the function of the protein complexes they are attached to and tether together. And without them there is no way to get the two working subunits together to produce ATP.

There you have it- A simple external tether that stably holds the major F1 subunit/ rotary motor the proper distance away from its F0 motor force is evidence for the Intelligent Design of ATP synthase. The two major subunits and how it works is just icing on the cake.

Not only that but blind watchmaker evolution cannot account for it

So yes, ID makes testable claims that can be potentially falsified. ID has all of the hallmarks of science whereas blind watchmaker evolution doesn’t have any

Is that why all the different species of voles still resemble each other?

Common Design is associated with similarities- genetic and anatomical

Classic example of the Irreducible Complexity argument, type 1. Falsified a long time ago: Which Irreducible Complexity?.

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Can you see what you just did there?

You just tried to negate common descent because of the real effect of convergent evolution. You are using these terms out if context, in ways that are not sensible.

  1. Common Descent applies to the discussion of creatures that LOOK or ACT differently … but have unusually similar genetics. A case study would be the 3 major branches of marsupials in Australia
    (all descended from a single ancestral pooulation)
    that are very different from each other:
  1. Vegetarian mole;
  2. Omnivore coot;
  3. Carnivorous hunter (Tasmanian devils).

Within this topic, convergence applies in discussions of how a marsupial mole looks her much like a placental mole… etc.

Convergence has nothing to do with Common Descent per se. Convergence is a demonstration of the internal logic of natural selection.


All I needed to do was demonstrate to @JoeG that NATURAL selection has been demonstrated many times …

I’m not making any claims about anything else.

@JoeG , did you ever accept This? So that I could proceed to primates? Because you can’t say it has never been proven just because I’m not using primates as the test case.

Understood. Thank you for clarifying.

Clearly you didn’t read my post. IC has not been falsified and you don’t appear to understand the concept. Also no one can say how unguided evolution produced it and that is what it takes to falsify IC as evidence for ID. So clearly you are mistaken.

Irreducible Complexity:

IC- A system performing a given basic function is irreducibly complex if it includes a set of well-matched, mutually interacting, non-arbitrarily individuated parts such that each part in the set is indispensable to maintaining the system’s basic, and therefore original, function. The set of these indispensable parts is known as the irreducible core of the system. Page 285 NFL

Numerous and Diverse Parts If the irreducible core of an IC system consists of one or only a few parts, there may be no insuperable obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism explaining how that system arose in one fell swoop. But as the number of indispensable well-fitted, mutually interacting, non-arbitrarily individuated parts increases in number & diversity, there is no possibility of the Darwinian mechanism achieving that system in one fell swoop. Page 287

Minimal Complexity and Function Given an IC system with numerous & diverse parts in its core, the Darwinian mechanism must produce it gradually. But if the system needs to operate at a certain minimal level of function before it can be of any use to the organism & if to achieve that level of function it requires a certain minimal level of complexity already possessed by the irreducible core, the Darwinian mechanism has no functional intermediates to exploit. Page 287

If you have an issue with it being Dembski rest assured the Dr Behe agrees- ask him. In Darwin’s Black Box the definition was basic and general. You had to read the entire explanation to understand it. Quote-mining the definition doesn’t help.

The number of parts is crucial, as is the mechanism. The claim is IC cannot evolve via blind and mindless processes such as natural selection and drift. Evolution by design can produce IC. And seeing the mousetrap example had 5 distinct parts that would be the place to start. Show that natural selection can produce a protein machine that requires 5 different parts and ID can no longer say that an IC system composed of 5 parts cannot evolve by means of blind and mindless processes. It says nothing about 6 or more parts. As Dr Behe said:

Blockquote One last charge must be met: Orr maintains that the theory of intelligent design is not falsifiable. He’s wrong. To falsify design theory a scientist need only experimentally demonstrate that a bacterial flagellum, or any other comparably complex system, could arise by natural selection. If that happened I would conclude that neither flagella nor any system of similar or lesser complexity had to have been designed. In short, biochemical design would be neatly disproved.- Dr Behe in 1997

And tell George to stop putting words in my mouth. I NEVER said that natural selection doesn’t happen I have said that he does not understand the concept. Seeing that I have very limited responses I will not respond to his false accusations and misrepresentations. But someone needs to calm him down

Natural selection is a process of elimination in which the less fit are eliminated over time (Mayr “What Evolution Is”) Mayr also says that the heritable variation for natural selection is entirely a chance event. If it isn’t then it isn’t NS. The point is that NS is not the designer mimic Darwin was hoping for.

See you tomorrow… @swamidass

But that is not what ID theory is about. Those who advocate Intelligent Design Theory as real science are claiming that ID can be established by the scientific method. Yet nobody has done that. All we see so far are philosophical claims which happen to involve scientific phenomena.

So the fact that I believe God intelligently designed everything is not the same thing as claiming that there’s A Comprehensive Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design which can survive falsification testing. Indeed, nobody has yet published a Comprehensive Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design. (In fact, some years ago a board member at the Discovery Institute shocked many of us by admitting to the press that the lack of such a theory was definitely a shortcoming of the ID movement. I can’t remember the name of the gentleman but I remember that the statement got a lot of coverage in some segments of the media.)

How is that not a clear example of The “ID of the Gaps” Argument?

It sounds like you are saying: “I can’t think of any way to explain this phenomenon so, therefore, there must have been an Intelligent Designer behind it. That’s the only possible explanation!”

Have you ever written EAs (Evolutionary Algorithms) to solve programs in a variety of fields? If you have, then you know that “dumb luck” and “blind evolution” has incredible power in solving very difficult problems in countless non-biological applications as well as biological ones. I’ve used them to engineer all sorts of problem solutions and I often have marvelled that they produce solutions which I (an “intelligent agent”) probably would have never managed to find on my own… EAs basically work by employing the same kinds of “blind problem solving” strategies which biological organisms rely upon. (I’m not saying that biological organisms know that they are a part of “survival strategy problem solving”. Rather, their descendents benefit from evolutionary processes even though evolution is blind.)

Until I had used EAs to solve problems, I had a difficult time grasping how evolution works. EAs made a huge difference for me.

By the way, whenever I mention EAs on most Internet forums, some ID defender will say, “But you are an intelligent designer because you wrote the EA.” Of course, that tells me that they’ve never written an EA and don’t understand how they work. The writer (designer) of an EA does not somehow “embed” the desired solution into the program. Far from it.

Is a solution generated by an EA an “intelligently designed” solution? No.

Leading ID advocates in the Dover Trial presented their “testable claims” and they were totally destroyed one by one in the courtroom. Indeed, all the opposition attorneys had to do was point out how the ID advocates only thought that their claims had survived falsification testing. Michael Behe even admitted on the witness stand that he had never heard of the various journal articles which destroyed his Irreducible Complexity claims.

Frankly, I would have to say exactly the opposite. The “ID of the Gaps” argument is not science at all. It is a failed philosophical claim which happens to refer to various scientific phenomenon. That doesn’t make it science.


Allen by your logic forensic science is a gap argument. Archaeology is just a gap argument. ID uses our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. That means we have found an explanation for certain phenomena. And to refute all you have to do is show thagt nature is capable of doing it without help. But you can’t.

ID is an argument against blind watchmaker evolution having sole dominion over evolutionary processes. God’s guidance would be telic and as such part of ID.

Evolutionary algorithms use telic processes. They do not use blind and mindless processes. They are driven towards solutions. All telic processes.

Dover was a joke and no one destroyed any ID arguments there. Read Dr Behe’s response: Dr Behe easily refutes Judge Jones

BlockquoteThe Court’s reasoning in section E-4 is premised on: a cramped view of science; the conflation of intelligent design with creationism; an incapacity to distinguish the implications of a theory from the theory itself; a failure to differentiate evolution from Darwinism; and strawman arguments against ID. The Court has accepted the most tendentious and shopworn excuses for Darwinism with great charity and impatiently dismissed evidence-based arguments for design.
All of that is regrettable, but in the end does not impact the realities of biology, which are not amenable to adjudication. On the day after the judge’s opinion, December 21, 2005, as before, the cell is run by amazingly complex, functional machinery that in any other context would immediately be recognized as designed. On December 21, 2005, as before, there are no non-design explanations for the molecular machinery of life, only wishful speculations and Just-So stories.

No one has ever shown that blind and mindless processes can produce IC.

Evolutionary algorithms like Dawkin’s weasel? Any time you simulate a protein sequence by using another sequence like the english language you need a target to find the sequence. This is an insurmountable problem for blind unguided processes.

In order to find functional information through a search that functional information must be part of the program. The origin of new functional information is the unsolved problem of the origin of new animal types.

I would like to make a point here. Gaps in understanding will often be filled by some assumption or the other. In science, natural causes are the assumptions that are used to fill the gaps… A materialism of the Gaps.
There is no philosophical compulsion to do so. And there is no evidence that all natural effects can explain all effects we see. In fact we know that there is an entire class of existence which is not caused by natural means -the things that we design.

What is required for real neutral science is to prove assumptions. To develop statistical methods to show whether design is more parsimonious than common descent. Intuitively Intelligent design is more parsimonious. It is in one sense a valid natural mechanism of change.

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How about non “ID of the Gaps” arguments?

The best explanation for observed biological functional information is a conscious mind.

No it isn’t. That is non-sense. In the beginning there was Physics, after a few million years Chemistry emerged. Biology didn’t emerge on the planet until 4 billion years ago, a full 9.8 billion years after the universe started. Conscious minds are only at most several million years of existence. How could something that emerged so late be responsible for biology that emerged 4 billion years ago?

Yep. Isn’t that a cool mystery a murder and no one near the scene. :slight_smile:


The guiding philosophy of ID might be termed Teleology.

But the CLAIM of Intelligent Design is that IS science… and that God’s involvement in creation is testable.

This last claim is not only erroneous… but it is politically motivated.

And support of evolution is not?

In the beginning there was physics… Talk about cognitive dissonance!.. :slight_smile:

Actually as per one prominent atheist physicist…In the beginning, there was nothing which was not really nothing…

The political support for Creationism has triggered a political response. But Evolution, like Geology before it, obtains the support of institutions on the cutting edge of science.

Now molecular evolutionary theory is embraced by drug companies… because it makes them PROFITS!

How does this work?