17 thoughts on “Michael Mann still attacking Roy Spencer on evolution vs. creation”

  1. That is a very old-age view of evolution; you will find it difficult to engage any of the modern scientists on this view. As Gamecock observes, “Darwinism” is a label made up by outsiders. Go to any university and look for “Darwinism” in the list of courses taught. The closest you’ll find will be Evolutionary Biology or Developmental Biology, or evo-devo taught as one course. If you look into details, you will find input from Darwin acknowledged in many places, but nowhere will you find “Darwinism” or the definition that you gave us.

    The phrase “higher or more complex” betrays old age. The idea of a “higher organism” is now thought to be meaningless in biology. You see, evolution has no direction. Complexity is not the goal of evolution, but fitness is. In many situations, a less complex organism will be more fit than a more complex one. That’s why we gave up the idea of “higher plants”, which are now called “vascular plants”. The former term, which used to imply complexity, is not really meaningful, while the latter at least names a feature that one can easily identify and that we have reasons to believe is a fairly recent feature, in evolutionary terms. We can no longer say, “all vascular plants are more complex than non-vascular plants”. As knowledge accumulates, we change our terms to accommodate it. The upshot of this is that the use of long-discarded terms and ideas allows us to spot an outsider 🙂

  2. I think I clearly defined the terms in my post. Evolution is the term used to define the scientific observation that organisms mutate to adapt to their environment. Darwinism (or some have termed ‘Neo-Darwinism’) is the theory that one organism through random mutations and natural selection becomes a higher or more complex organism.

  3. “Thank you for your intellectually honesty in recognizing that ‘Neo-Darwinism’ does not address the issue of the origin of life even though many Darwinist attempt do exactly that.”

    Darwinism isn’t a scientific term. It’s a pejorative term made up by creationists. It only means something to them, and they never tell us what that meaning is. If you have a problem with evolution, get on with it. Talking about Darwinism is prattle.

  4. Agreed. That is why I used the term, ‘higher organism’. I do tend to use the word species too much and that concept as you so aptly have shown is a highly debatable concept itself.

  5. I suggest that if you really want to understand biology, forget the word “species”. It obviously derails you. H5N1, the avian flu, is five mutations away from becoming a human flu. Three of those have already been found in nature. The remaining two, when done in the lab, make it transmissible to ferrets. It takes a trivial change to turn something into something else.

    Every time you get a duplicate gene and the second copy mutates, you become what you were not. You are what your 1000-greats-grandmother was not, with such degree of certainty that if she was still around, you’d be unable to mate. You and your 1000-greats-gradmother are different “species”, get used to that.

  6. The problem is random mutations. If random mutations are not feasible vehicles of transferring information between species (and I am sorry, Neo-Darwinists completely lose me when they start talking about ‘information’ in the gene because that means ‘programming’ which means a designer) then the entire theory of Neo-Darwinism falls apart. He did not pick this randomly. He picked this because it is the vehicle that Darwinist use to explain their theory and therefore they need to defend it.

    Unlike ‘frame shifts, regulated epressions, post-translational modifications’ which are part of the already established mechanism for organisms to adapt to environmental changes but offer no ability for the organism to become something that it is not, random mutations presently are the only vehicle known to offer any hope to Neo-Darwinists for a way one species to evolve to another species. A monkey to a man for instance.

    So yes, the attack on random mutations is warranted. Unless all of my research is in vain and I missed something (which I may have), there is no scientific evidence yet of RNA replication methods that allows for DNA manipulation or change of gene structure that would result in the ability of a species becoming a more highly organized organism.

    If this is the case then Neo-Darwinism is in trouble.

  7. Spetner is not a competent reviewer of the theory of evolution. He takes a simple mathematical model and misapplies it to a non-theory — to his perception of what the evolutionary biology is about. He call it “synthesis”, but he fails to synthesise many of its important components in his mind. He is not familiar with genetics (I can’t blame him — it is difficult and requires strenuous efforts and good memory to understand); he is not familiar with population biology, biochemistry, and many other elements of “synthesis”. He latched on to a couple isolated ideas to criticise. Even the title of his book is fallacious. Nobody in biology believes that evolution is a “chance” process, so he argues with nobody about nothing.

    The most nonsensical proposition of his is that mutations do not create “information”. I’ll give you two reasons for why it’s nonsense. One, the mathematical definition of information is not really meaningful in biology. Imagine picking a lock. You’re not interested in the informational qualities of the lock; you just want it open. The difference between a professional lock picker and an amateur is that the professional does not see lock-picking as a random process. He uses mechanical cues to arrive at the solution faster than the combinatorial complexity of the lock would allow. Spetner is like an amateur lock-picker. He has only a vague idea of the mechanism and is stunned by its combinatorial complexity. The other reason why his information-theory analysis is meaningless is because he applies it to a wrong subject — to abstract code of fixed length. Genetic code is more interesting than that. Spetner does not seem to know about gene duplication, splicing, frame shifts, regulated expression, post-translational modification and many other mechanisms that invalidate his “no new information” meme and betray him as an amateur lock-picker.

    I understand he has been poking at biology long enough to learn most of it, but instead he chose some random elements of it (that I suspect he acquired second-hand) and ignored everything else. All he needed to avoid having to write a book like that was a single look at the lambda-phage genome. That is clearly not the kind of code he has in mind.

  8. I’ve read “The Ancestor’s Tale”. Good book, but disagreed. I haven’t read the “The Selfish Gene” yet, need to. The one I would recommend for you is “Not by Chance” by Lee Spetner. He attacks the physical mechanisms of mutations and natural selection and their ability to evolve species to higher levels of organization.

    Thank you for your intellectually honesty in recognizing that ‘Neo-Darwinism’ does not address the issue of the origin of life even though many Darwinist attempt do exactly that.

    Just read on Wiki about ‘ring species’. Interesting. That will warrant further study.

  9. As a rule, scientists explain and clarify; non-scientists obfuscate. Exception: mathematics — the engine of obfuscation.

    Evolution is defined as the acquisition of features, under selective pressure, by mutation or by direct transfer. People (non-scientists) misuse the term when they want to talk about the origin of life. The theory of evolution says nothing about the origin of life — only about the mechanism whereby life, well, evolves — for want of a better word — and about the end result of its workings — the family relationships between all living things and those that are no longer with us.

    “Species” do not mutate. It is the code that mutates, and it does not mutate to adapt. It mutates for a whole lot of reasons, none of which has to do with adaptation. For more insights, have a read of “The Selfish Gene” by Dawkins.

    The whole idea of species is a historical error. It does not even apply to most forms of life; where it does seem to make sense, it does so by accident. If you want to “witness” the evolution of what we (mis)characterise as species, read about the so-called “ring species”. You will find much about them online, but for a really superb discussion of it, I can again refer you to Dawkins, “The Ancestor’s Tale”.

  10. This is a perfect example of how scientists purposely obfuscate the word ‘evolution’. I agree that there is plenty of evidence for the scientific term ‘evolution’ which is defined as a species mutates to adapt to its environment. However, that is not what they mean. When they say the term ‘evolution’ what they mean is that a species through random mutation and natural selection becomes another species.

    Not only is there only weak historical evidence for what I call ‘Neo-Darwinism’, but it has never been witness to occur in known human history. This is what they call ‘evolution’ saying its a scientific fact fully aware they are not referring to the scientific term of Evolution.

  11. Nullius in verba.
    Never believe when somebody tells you that somebody else says or thinks such-and-such.
    Mind-reading is self-delusion, and believing someone who claims to be a mind-reader is simply folly.

  12. “I know a couple world class researchers in evolution theory, they aren’t concerned with creation, but how evolution works post creation.”

    Why would they be? Evolution and creation are displaced by billions of years.

  13. If Spenser said that evolutionists tend to treat it as a religion, I’d have to agree with him, especially when they seem to respond to ID’ers not with a molecular biologist or researcher in evolution theory but with sociologists or cultural anthropologists. Mann’s attempt to equate evolution with creation shows his ignorance of the subject or that he is not that bright. I know a couple world class researchers in evolution theory, they aren’t concerned with creation, but how evolution works post creation. I don’t believe the creation chemists have made much progress in elucidating the creation mechanism since my stereochemistry post doc in a creation chemistry lab.

    Mann can’t refute Spenser on the facts so he resorts to really stupid ad hominem attacks.

  14. Did Roy Spenser say that? It is not in his written testimony. If he did say that, it was a bad move: “evolution is like a religion to many” can be interpreted in more than one way, not necessarily the way he meant it.

    The word “evolution” certainly represents a religion to the likes of Mann, whose total lack of knowledge on the subject does not prevent them from screaming about it.

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