Evolution Archives

Science Saturday: Progressive design of the internal combustion engine

[Note: Cross-posted at New Covenant]

As a follow-up to my February 9th post, Science Saturday: Declaring the existence of transitional species post, I’d like to give you a lesson plan (of sorts), with the purpose of illustrating the concept of gradual, progressive engineering and design.

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Science Saturday: Declaring the existence of transitional species

(Cross-posted at New Covenant)

At the Thumb, we have a post titled, The Inner Fish speaks: Neil Shubin makes a guest appearance on Pharyngula, in which we’re given a glimpse into how natural process evolution views template fossil forms which appear fully functional for the environment, and time, in which they existed: They’re declared as gap-filling transitional forms (the kind OEC types like myself say don’t exist).

The human ancestor in question, this time, is the fish Tiktaalik roseae. Yes, that’s correct, a fish. How, you may ask, is a fish an ancestor of us humans? Well, you see, it all has to do with the fact that the bone structure of the fish fins is eerily similar to the bone structure for human hands. Over time, it is supposed, such early structures transformed into the variety of similar structures we see today. For the Tiktaalik roseae this, Great Transformation, is but one of the many transformations that obviously occurred  over the millions of years of life’s history. Watch this clip from the PBS series, Evolution, particularly noting the quick animation of a fin to hand skeletal structure. Or take a look at the Flash animation, on page 1, from this NOVA site. (note: Evidence for Evolution, a NOVA Vodcast from 11/9/07, provides another glimpse of the thought processes involved here)

But wait, there’s more.

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To evolve morality

A fatal flaw for the notion of natural process evolution is that it has no way to explain the abstract. In a world of the strictly natural, what are we to make of, say, love?

At the pro-evolution site, Panda’s Thumb, we see a post titled, Evolution of altruistic cooperation and communication in robot societies. The author states,

Discovery Magazine reports on a continuation of experiments involving evolvable robots, communication and concepts such as altruistic cooperation and lying.

By the 50th generation, the robots had learned to communicate—lighting up, in three out of four colonies, to alert the others when they’d found food or poison. The fourth colony sometimes evolved “cheater” robots instead, which would light up to tell the others that the poison was food, while they themselves rolled over to the food source and chowed down without emitting so much as a blink.

Some robots, though, were veritable heroes. They signaled danger and died to save other robots. “Sometimes,” Floreano says, “you see that in nature—an animal that emits a cry when it sees a predator; it gets eaten, and the others get away—but I never expected to see this in robots.”

Fascinating how simple processes of variation and selection can explain the evolution of altruism, cooperation as well as cheating. What has ID done recently that increases our understanding of how cooperation, cheating and altruism arose?

Is he serious? A contrived experiment (PDF), with designed parameters, mimicking established social group characteristics explains the evolution of altruism, cooperation as well as cheating?

Be on the lookout, whenever natural process evolutionists attempt to explain the abstract, they always end up sneaking in the back door and stealing concepts that don’t belong to them. You see, in the world of naturalism (i.e., the strictly natural), there is no basis with which one can declare that some action is altruistic or someone is a cheater. Without an objective moral understanding that altruism is good, and cheating is wrong, the words lose their meaning.

Ed Morrissey Interviews Dinesh D’Souza

One of the podcasts I listen to is Heading Right Radio with Ed Morrissey of “Captain’s Quarters”. He gets some great interviews, and last week (I’m behind in my podcast listening) he got Dinesh D’Souza and they talked about D’Souza’s book “What’s So Great About Christianity”. Fresh from his debate at King’s College with Christopher Hitchens, D’Souza covers a number of interesting topics from his book, including the truth about the Gallileo’s persecution, the limits of reason, why the recent increase in atheist apologetics, the supposed “war” between science and religion, thank-you letters to Portugese inquisitors, and other light topics. >grin<

Click here to listen to any of Captain Ed’s shows, and stick it in your podcatcher.

[tags]Ed Morrissey,Dinesh D’Souza,Christianity,Christopher Hitchens,Richard Dawkins,atheism[/tags]

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