The Genetic Code and Universal Common Ancestry

They aren’t intended as ontological statements.

Consider the statement “Oxygen has six electrons in its outer shell”. Is it an ontological statement? Well, it might be, spoken by someone who really believes the atom is a nucleus surrounded by shells. Or it might be spoken by someone trying to pedagogically explain the atom, without bogging their listener down with details about energy levels and probability clouds.

In the same way, when I talk about the designers being of human-like intelligence, it’s really a short-hand way of saying “whatever process resulted in life on earth, it acted in such a way as to make its effects best explainable by assuming life on earth was designed by designers of human-like intelligence”.

How about I don’t?

  1. I don’t claim my views are science.

  2. I’m not a creationist.

And, most importantly:

  1. I’m not demanding that you share my views and therefore have no need to jump through whatever hoops you set up.

@Jonathan_Burke, please keep in mind our forum guidelines:

@Krauze has consistently said that they are agnostic and not a creationist.

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When someone says they think “life on earth was designed by designers of human-like intelligence”, but denies that they are a creationist, then I’m going to say they’re playing with words. Sure they might not be a religious creationist, but they’re still asserting creationist origin to life on earth. I would need to see evidence that it’s not possible for agnostics to believe that life on earth was created by a non-human intelligence.

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See, that’s not hard. Double points if you can turn it into a question that invites dialog rather than just issuing a terse dismissal.

I too am curious how @Krauze distinguishes between Intelligent Design and Creationism. Is it based on the presumption of a deity?

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So now I’m allowed to call him a creationist? Could it be that what happened here is that you assumed I was saying he was denying he was a Christian?

I invited dialogue by asking him to present evidence for his claims. Ironically, I was met with terse dismissal (“How about I don’t?”). He doesn’t want dialogue.

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I’m saying that @Krauze has consistently identified as “ID but not creationist”. It’s an unusual position but we need to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s not to say you can’t ask for clarification or probe for consistency, but it should be for understanding and not dismissal.

You missed the subsequent 3 points of clarification that @Krauze made right after your selective quote:

That should give you plenty to discuss, @Krauze has a very unusual take on origins.

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Krauze is welcome to claim that their view that life was created by a non-human intelligence doesn’t constitute creationism, but they need to understand not everyone is going to see it that way. I don’t see it that way, and I’m going to make that clear.

No I didn’t. They’re simply his justifications for rejecting dialogue. They are not comments saying “Let’s discuss these issues, I want to discuss this with you, let’s have a conversation, I want some dialogue on this”. Krauze flat out refused to discuss the issue at all.

Apparently not, because he’s refusing discussion. Just look at his response; do you see any discussion there? Any dialogue? No. A terse dismissal.

This is why I don’t see the Peaceful Science approach as very useful. It looks like this.

  • “Yeah some of us think evolution is a fact, but we acknowledge maybe it isn’t a fact, and if you don’t think it’s a fact that’s an entirely valid view of equal worth”

  • “Yeah some of us believe gay people should have the same civil rights as others, [although I haven’t seen any Peaceful Science representatives actually say this yet] but we also acknowledge that maybe they shouldn’t, and if you think they shouldn’t that’s an entirely valid view of equal worth”

  • “Yeah some of us believe AGW is a fact, [though I think I have seen only two Peaceful Science representatives actually say this] but we also acknowledge that maybe it isn’t a fact, and if you think it isn’t a fact that’s an entirely valid view of equal worth”

  • “Yeah some of us believe the earth is very old, but we also acknowledge that it might be very young, and if you think it’s very young that’s an entirely valid view of equal worth”

Biologos has its issues, but one thing they do better than Peaceful Science is take the science seriously. Peaceful Science is more about theology, putting the science aside and saying “You don’t have to accept the science if you don’t want to, so let’s look at how we can preserve your theology and prevent it being affected by the science”.

I realise it might not look like that to you, but that’s how it looks to me.

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Hey… we aren’t going to add Gay Rights, Abortion and whatever else to the “Devil May Care” attitude around here, are we? I once saw a movie called “The Dogs of War!”… I thought it was going to be a Shakespearean re-make…

I suppose you could say it was … if you mean a remake of HAMLET!
It didn’t turn out so good for anyone around those war dogs… nor so good for the dogs themselves.


SO MUCH could be resolved with decorum and dignity if we just had a sound-proof discussion area:

As a reminder to those who worry about what I mean by a sound-proof discussion area:

  1. It is not locked; anyone can enter the area.

  2. It is sound-proof in the sense that the only way to know which threads are active is to enter that section (much like BioLogos had a Home School section that was not “audible” to the main forum, but anyone could visit the Home School section if they wanted.

  3. There would be a much looser concept of moderation and guidelines for what was acceptable protocol in the sound-proof room.

4) As soon as a thread in the main area started to drift into:

A. Hey Atheist, prove evolution could do this without a god?
or
B. Hey I.D. proponent, how can science prove God?

…the thread could be moved to the sound-proof area without any molestation of the discussion.

Creationism is commonly defined as a rejection of evolution and as an adherence to a scriptual account of creation:

Creationism

noun

  1. the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.
  2. (sometimes initial capital letter) the doctrine that the true story of the creation of the universe is as it is recounted in the Bible, especially in the first chapter of Genesis.
  3. the doctrine that God immediately creates out of nothing a new human soul for each individual born.

Creationism | Definition of Creationism at Dictionary.com

My position, in which I tentatively infer intelligent design at the origin of life, and in which I see all life on earth as having evolved from one or a few forms (the grand view of life, as expressed in the final paragraph of The Origin of Species) is explicitly pro-evolution, and I don’t see it as conforming to any scriptual view of life.

Of course, one can always construct one’s own definition of creationism, in which suggesting even the smallest whiff of design is enough to label one a creationist. Such a definition, however, doesn’t correspond to how most people would use the word, and seems destined to create more heat than light.

Let’s consider the context: You resurrect a long-abandoned thread about the standard genetic code and universal common ancestry and demand that I put forward my scientific theory of creationism. I don’t have a scientific theory of creationism. I don’t claim to have a scientific theory of creationism. So apart from correcting your misunderstandings, what dialogue is it you expect me to engage in?

Now, I’m perfectly willing to discuss my views and the reasons I hold them, and I have done so several times on here. But when someone barges in, attributes false beliefs to me, and produces a list of demands of what I should do, my desire to walk that extra mile takes a nose-dive.

Are you truly interested in engaging in a dialogue concerning my views? Then why don’t you start by asking me about my views, instead of assuming that you know what they are?

PS. I’m a “he”. No need for “they”. :slight_smile:

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(Note: @Jordan is quoting someone else, but my comment is about the relevance of that quote).

Are you suggesting that creationism should be considered nefarious?

No, not at all, creationism had nothing to do with it. My point of warning was because @Krauze specifically said he was not a creationist and @Jonathan_Burke replied with “Yeah right.”, and considering his history at PS, I wanted the conversation to avoid going down the road of “you’re just trying to hide that you are a creationist”, which would be attributing nefarious motives.

Both @Krauze and @Jonathan_Burke have clarified and expanded their positions, and so I hope discussion can either continue without any further action or die a peaceful death. :slight_smile:

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@Krauze

I think the problem was in the rather indirect way of attributing Intelligent Design. Most people who get kind of fancy and nuanced about intelligent design are usually trying to obscure a Creationist tendency.

I endorse 100% evolutionary processes, guided/ruled/decided by God.

For some creationists, it doesn’t even compute that God could intentionally use Evolutionary processes in order to create and shape life on Earth.

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I don’t know about God, but it makes sense to me that designers would want to use evolutionary processes, for at least two reasons:

First, evolution makes your designs more robust (or rather antifragile, to borrow a page from philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book of the same name). Life is unpredictable, and your designs will be faced by all sorts of challenges. Instead of trying to anticipate each and every challenge and equipping your designs with the means to handle them all, by employing evolution you give your designs the ability to improvise and adapt to challenges as they arise.

Second, evolution may be required to bring about complex megastructure organisms like animals. Think about the most complex megastructures humans have designed: Cities, the internet, the economy, etc. None of them arose ready-made, like Athena from the head of Zeus. They all arose in a stepwise organic fashion, intelligently evolved if you will. As the Soviet Union learned when it tried to centrally plan the economy, some things may require a more evolutionary process.

Maybe do a bit more than a hasty Google, copying the first definition you find. The word is used in a far broader context than this. There’s this whole thing called evolutionary creationism, there’s ID creationism, and there are other models of creationism. There’s even “life on earth was created by extraterrestrial beings”, as in Raëlism and similar movements. It isn’t true that creationism necessarily requires rejection of evolution, or “adherence to a scriptural account of creation” (whatever that means).

You make a claim and I request evidence for it. You characterize my request as a “demand”, and refuse to present any evidence.

Do you have a scientific theory of your view of the origin of life on earth?

I haven’t seen you correct me yet. I made it clear what kind of dialogue I wanted you to engage in. You promptly refused.

Well I gave you an opportunity to do that, and you refused.

By “barges in” you mean “made a post in a thread”. It’s a discussion forum. Making posts in threads is what we do here. By “attributes false beliefs to me” you mean “described my beliefs accurately, but used a word I don’t like associated with them”. By “produces a list of demands of what I should do”, you mean “requested evidence for the view I was arguing for”.

Now I have asked you directly the questions I want to know about your views, specifically the evidence supporting them. If you’re not prepared to discuss your views further, and especially if you’re not prepared to provide any evidence for them, then yeah this won’t go any further I guess.

How would we falsify this hypothesis? It looks to me that design and natural evolution are indistinguishable from one another. Unless you can point to evidence that could only be due to design, then parsimony would favor natural evolution as the cause.

Technology didn’t evolve through the same mechanisms. Human designs tend to be top down while biological evolution is bottom up. We create designs that we like, and then figure out how to make them work. Evolution starts with what works.

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There shouldn’t be much objection to saying God used evolution to create us all, especially when one isn’t attacking evolutionary science to make this point.

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I suppose one could say the same about an advanced alien civilization planting life on Earth and using it’s subsequent evolution to create us.

I can’t prove this didn’t happen, but I’d like to know what scientific evidence we should expect to find that supports that claim? Particularly when self-appointed “Alien Scripture interpreters” come running informing us that the advanced alien civilization demands we behave a certain way, and are able to telepathically communicate with us in a “self-authenticating” way if only we open our hearts and listen to the “Sensus Xenomorphitus” we all were created with.

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@T_aquaticus

So far, it is only Behe that I could say this sentence about. Oh, and also most Old Earther I.D. folks:
for most I.D. folks, they are either Old Earthers who believe God made thousands of new species independently of each other.

But for Young Earth ID folks, the difference is readily apparent in that millions of years of fossils have to be compressed into 6000 years of Earth’s sediments.

I could have quoted other sources on this common definition of creationism as involving a rejection of evolution and an adherence to a scriptual account of creation:

The term creationism most often refers to belief in special creation; the claim that the universe and lifeforms were created as they exist today by divine action, and that the only true explanations are those which are compatible with a Christian fundamentalist literal interpretation of the creation myths found in the Bible’s Genesis creation narrative.

Creationism - Wikipedia

Creationism, the belief that the universe and the various forms of life were created by God out of nothing (ex nihilo). It is a response to modern evolutionary theory, which explains the emergence and diversity of life without recourse to the doctrine of God or any other divine power. […] Thus, the theory of biological evolution is disputed by all creationists.

creationism | Definitions, History, & Facts | Britannica.com

But if you disagree with this definition, what is your own definition of creationism? And what is your evidence that it corresponds to the way the word is commonly used?

As for “evolutionary creationism”, it seems proponents themselves use “creationism” in an even more narrow context than I proposed, as something that excludes non-Christian views:

First, we prefer EC [Evolutionary Creation] because we are, essentially, creationists. We are not mere theists. We believe that God—by the authority of the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit—created all things. Our beliefs about God and creation come first. “Evolutionary” is simply an adjective that describes creation and marks our acceptance of evolutionary science as the best scientific explanation we have for the diversity and similarity of life.

What is Evolutionary Creation? - Common-questions - BioLogos

As for Raëlism, on what basis do you consider it creationism? Do its adherents identify themselves as creationists? What commonly used definition groups Raëlism under a “creationism” label, together with Evolutionary Creationism?

I have never claimed to have a scientific theory. In fact, I have said repeatedly that I do not consider my views as science.

I have been over this objection with you numerous times before. I honestly doubt that we will ever come to a closer agreement on this. However, for the record my response to this objection is:

Conventional evolutionary theory is capable of “explaining” a wide range of observations as well as their opposites. For example, conventional evolutionary theory lead researchers to expect that “the search for homologous genes is quite futile except in very close relatives”, as Ernst Mayr put it. When it turned out that the development of limbs in insects and vertebrates were regulated by homologous genes, conventional evolutionary theory could explain that as well.

In the same way, evolution is expected to result in kludges and frozen accidents. Except if a biological structure turns out to be an engineering marvel, in which case it becomes evidence of the power of selection.

With this amorphous ability to accommodate contradicting observations, the demand that a design approach must find things that “evolution can’t explain” asks the design proponent to go on a fool’s errand, looking for Precambrian rabbits before being allowed to make a case for design.

I take a different approach: Instead of basing my investigation of what conventional evolutionary theory can and cannot explain, I start by looking at what my own design conjecture leads me to expect, and what kinds of evidence would strengthen or weaken my conjecture.

To reiterate, I tentatively infer design at the origin of life. My suspicion of design is raised by the fact that at the cellular level, life is based on highly sophisticated nanotechnology. This means that I would expect reconstructions of the earliest lifeforms, through comparative genetics, to converge on sophisticated cells, comparable in complexity to extant cells. On the other hand, if such reconstructions showed the earliest lifeforms to be simplistic replicators, the case for design would become much weaker.

In a similar way, I see the designers as being of human-like intelligence. After all, if the designers were capable of engineering life, they must have been as last as intelligent as we are, as such a feat is currently beyond our reach. This means that I expect those earliest lifeforms to be characterized by what would be considered “good design”. If the earliest lifeforms turned out to be characterized by the kludges seen in, for example, the recurrent laryngeal nerve of the giraffe, the case for design would become much weaker.

I agree, which is why I used the phrase “intelligently evolved”. The point is that both cities and ecosystems are constructed in a stepwise organic fashion. Even though cities are ultimately constructed by humans acting as intelligent designers, no one person or committee of persons decided on the current design of, say, Paris. The first builders made what suited their needs, with no way of knowing how the city would look today. And those who came after them built on what already existed.

Those aren’t contradictory observations. At best, they are contradictory expectations based on a specific scientist’s subjective opinions. A process can produce both kludgy and well designed adaptations. There is nothing contradictory about that. There can be homologous genes limted to just a few branches, and genes that are shared by most branches. Again, this is not a contradiction. What the theory of evolution predicts is a branching pattern.

Would this include a single ancestor for prokaryotes and eukaryotes?

The major problem with this approach is that it will only take you back to the last common ancestor, not the first life forms. You might want to consider that in your analysis.