A Reply to Mr. Darrell

I’ve gotten my first evo troll.  I’m not sure whether to be happy about it or not.  Of course, this troll is like most Materialists, completely unable to mount a logical, coherent defense of his worldview.

On the appendix thread Mr. Darrell has shown a fundamental lack of understanding of what ID science is by repeatedly trying to link me to Creationists, has stereotyped me and others, and has refused to acknowledge when I answer his questions.  It’s rather sad really.  This is a person that is so dogmatically tied to his worldview, that he is physically incapable of recognizing when his question has been answered.

The real reason for this post, however, is that Mr. Darrell continues to assert that the appendix is evidence for evolution.  In the not too distant past, the appendix was labeled as non-functioning, thus showing that it is vestigial (the vestige of our supposed evolution from earlier mammalian forms) and thus as evidence for evolution.  So, from Mr. Darrell’s point of view, whether the appendix works or not, it still amounts to evidence for evolution.

In science, however, this is not how we operate.  If everything and anything is evidence for your hypothesis, then your hypothesis is useless.  Considering that evolution proponents are claiming this very thing, I think it is safe to say that evolution is not in a good place, scientifically.  The defense of evolution, by people like Mr. Darrell, is strictly a reactionary measure as an attempt to prop up their worldview.

ID science, however, does have something at stake in this question.  It would not make sense for the designer to simply put non-functioning pieces of material into an organism.  It would be wasteful.  If the appendix truly had no function, this would count against ID science.  The fact of the matter, however, is that the appendix does have a function, thus a prediction of ID is borne out, much like how we are finding that junk DNA is not so much junk after all.

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25 responses to “A Reply to Mr. Darrell

  1. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    I was under the impression that ID stays away from discussing the intent of the designer. Perhaps I was wrong.

  2. professorsmith

    Intent? I see no intent. The comment about putting non-functioning material into your design is simply design common-sense.

    That said, it may be possible to discern some intent of the designer from the design in the future. This is not something that I rule out. We are not there yet, however.

  3. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Common sense, according to Merriam-Webster online, means sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts. In other words, you seem to think that the designer and you share views about design. If you want to claim that this is science you’ll need to come up with an experimental proof that the designer indeed agrees with you on the subject.

  4. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    And what’s with capitalizing materialism? It wasn’t named after a dead guy. 🙂

  5. professorsmith

    I would similarly capitalize Atheism or Christianity or Judaism.

    Are you really going to argue that it is not common sense for a designer to keep out unnecessary elements? I would argue that an unnecessary appendix would require energy of the design without granting any benefits. A waste of energy would presummably be a design that would be discarded by all designers (excluding those in the arts, although I could argue that they seek some other purpose which means the energy used does go towards a purpose).

  6. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Precisely my point. The designer could have put in the appendix as a cruel joke. Or maybe he was required to keep the appendix by his boss. Or whatever. The common problem with these interpretations is that they are not testable, unless of course you are planning to run into the designer and ask him upfront. That isn’t science.

    The word Christianity has been derived from the name Christ. That’s why it is capitalized in English along with Marxism and Darwinism. Judaism derives from the Greek word Ioudaios, i.e. Jewish, and is thus capitalized as referring to a people.

    There is no good reason to capitalize theism or materialism.

  7. professorsmith

    Point taken on the capitalizations. Thank you for edifying me.

    As to design principles, yes it could have been placed there as a joke, but those types of questions are unanswerable as you state. Working from known design principles (gathered from the empirical designs that we have) is a different matter.

  8. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Again, known design principles are derived from our human experience. Extending them to a designer of a totally different nature is a leap of faith. Don’t you think so?

  9. professorsmith

    Everything is derived from our human experience. I’m not prepared to say that everything is a leap of faith.

  10. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Keep focused. I’m not questioning everything. My point is very simple. We have observed human designers at work. What justifies extrapolating that knowledge to non-human design?

  11. You’re conflating arguments about the appendix — ironically, again you resort to the old creationist bag of stuff. I said nothing about vestigial forms. You brought that up. Whether the human appendix has a function or not, it is a vestigial form of the appendix our mammalian ancestors had that they used to help digest cellulose. Modern humans don’t have that ability. Similarly, our Jacobsen’s organs are vestiges of our reptilian ancestry (all mammals have them), whether they function or not. Current evidence suggests they do function similarly to our olfactory senses, but on a subliminal level. Our Jacobsen’s organs are not nearly as good as a snake’s at finding prey. Our Jacobsen’s organs are vestigial in that sense. Modern research indicates they play a role in our selection of mates, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are vestigial in humans, even in their location far up our nostrils.

    Similarly our olfactories are vestiges of our mammalian ancestry. Ours are nowhere nearly as sensitive as most other mammals. They have a function in humans, but they are “mere” vestiges of the olfactory senses in our mammalian ancestors. Our vagus nerve is a vestige of a long ancestry, probably from early fishes, which had that nerve passing through the aortic loop in a straight line from brain to throat. In mammals, however, that is not a straight line. The aorta is below the neck, and the vagus, still passing through the aortic loop, runs from the brain, down to the heart, and back up to the neck. That path is vestigial, regardless the function of the nerve. In the giraffe, which has the same vestigial path, the nerve must be about 15 feet long, to make a connection that a 7-inch nerve could make more easily and efficiently. The nerve works, but the path is vestigial.

    Creationists try to make much of what they claim are unworking vestiges. There are probably a few of those, but those are not the vestiges that make the case for evolution so powerfully as do the working vestiges.

    And nothing I can do to link intelligent design to its predecessor, creationism, can do it so powerfully as your reliance on those old creationist shibboleths. If ID has a case to be made in science, make that case. The non-science, proven false claims of creationism do not make such a case at all.

    If you answered my questions on the other thread, I regret that I missed them. I can’t find them there right now — perhaps the post was deleted?

    What you said was that a finding of a purpose for the human appendix was a blow to conventional biology. I asked why you made that claim. In the original post you said that “conventional biology that has long held that the appendix does nothing more than take up space in the body,” a claim which you didn’t provide evidence for, and a claim that I think is simply incorrect. Anatomists have argued for years that we did not know of the purpose of the organ; experimentally, it was demonstrated that humans can get along well without it. Evolutionary biologists note that the same organ in other mammals plays a role in immune systems, and there had been some conjecture that it may play such a role in humans, too.

    In any case, a discovery of a purpose is no blow to conventional biology, which prospers with new knowledge. So I asked that question, and to the best of my knowledge, you never have answered why you think the paper you referred to is a blow to conventional biology. I regret missing your answer, if you posted it. But I don’t think that your frequent, unevidence and un-cited claims that I should somehow know what you were thinking make the case for you.

    You also said that the paper makes a case for intelligent design. The paper itself says that the organ has evolved in humans to perform a specific function in immunity, repopulating our guts with beneficial flora after infections or other trauma removes the bacteria we have there normally. Since the paper makes reference to evolutionary processes, which would seem to contradict any claim of intelligent design, I asked why you think the paper supports intelligent design. I am particularly interested since your conclusion differs from the authors’ conclusions. Surely you must be a well-informed person to make such a judgment, and surely you would not make such a judgment as a well-informed person, without evidence to back your claim. Alas, you don’t explain your qualifications, you don’t explain any evidence you might have, and so far as I can find, you don’t explain at all why you draw the conclusions you draw.

    Again, I apologize for having missed your response, if you posted it. Could you explain it now, or point me specifically to the place you made the response?

    You have accused me, and I believe you accuse me falsely, of failing to understand your answers, and of being dogmatically attached to a “worldview” different from yours.

    I’m a Christian, and I think we have an obligation to stick to the facts, and provide answers when we make assertions and allegations.

    I think those are two other areas where you fail to understand my view, and one more way you have attempted to dodge the questions.

  12. professorsmith

    Mr. Tchernyshyov,
    I am focused. You asked a rather open-ended question and I answered. FYI, however, we do have more than simply human designers. Further, SETI seems to think that our catalog of design is enough to find a signal in the heavens.

  13. professorsmith

    Mr. Darrell,
    I suggest you try harder if you want to make a credible link from Creationism to ID science. Nowhere have I claimed that non-functioning organs/etc. are evidence for Creationism or ID. If Creationists do use this argument, then it is quite separate from mine as I have not used that argument…quite the opposite actually.

    I have answered your questions on the other thread, and no, I have not deleted any posts. Your penchant for burying your head in the sand and accusations of deletions makes your “apology” seem rather hollow. If you are sincere, then I am sorry for not taking you at face value, but that is not the impression that I am getting from you.

    As to why this supports ID (and note I never said the authors support ID), I again refer you to the original post. Just because you don’t like the answers doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Further, simply because the paper says that this supports evolution don’t make it so. You can accuse me of not providing support, but I have laid out my case. All you have done is say, “Well, the paper says it’s evolution so that proves it.”

    And, I do accuse you of being dogmatically tied to evolutionism. I think your comments speak for themselves on this issue and I’ve explained why I believe this is so.

  14. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Do tell us more about non-human designers.

  15. Nowhere have I claimed that non-functioning organs/etc. are evidence for Creationism or ID. If Creationists do use this argument, then it is quite separate from mine as I have not used that argument…quite the opposite actually.

    What is your claim about vestigial organs, then?

  16. You’re case is laid out then: vapor.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Odd, isn’t it? You’ve acquired your first troll, and it’s in your mirror.

  17. H’mm:

    I note that there is a tendency to capitalise proper names, and in the case of both Theism and Materialism, they are worldviews.

    Onlookers, cf the thread on the Appendix for the response to Mr Darrell there.

    GEM of TKI

  18. professorsmith

    Welcome Kairosfocus. Your posts were in the spam filter, so I pulled them out and posted them. Hopefully your posts will simply show up now.

    Mr. Darrell,
    Was I supposed to answer your question in the span of 1 minute? Thank you for being so generous before pronouncing victory. Your magnanimity surely knows no equal.

    Mr . Tchernyshyov,
    Humans are not the only animals capable of design on this planet. Apes and chimpanzees build tools, birds, beavers, insects, etc. also design things. True, their designs are rudimentary when juxtaposed with a car, for instance, but they are further instances that we can study.

  19. I don’t expect you to even try to answer the question. It’s over your head. You can’t answer it, and you know it.

  20. professorsmith

    Too bad I already did answer it Mr. Darrell. You seem to be afflicted with an ideological blind spot that simply does not allow you to take in information that conflicts with your worldview. I’m feel sorry for you.

  21. I know you answered it. Alas, the answer isn’t anywhere to be found on your blog anymore. I can’t find it in the archives of the ‘net, either, and you refuse to point me or anyone else to where the answer is hiding.

    If it doesn’t quack like a duck, doe,sn’t walk like a duck, lacks the duck’s bill, yes, it may be a duck in disguise. But I doubt it.

  22. professorsmith

    Are you now accusing me of deleting material from my own blog? Back up that accusation or withdraw it.

  23. I’m only pointing out that you have not answered my questions, at least, not that I can find or that you will point to.

    Where are the answers you say you’ve made? I can’t find them. I’ve combed your blog, they don’t pop up.

    What is your hypothesis for what happened to your answers? Why can’t you point me to them?

  24. professorsmith

    I have answered your questions and pointed you to them. Your insistence that I have not done so, even in the face of clear evidence that I have is making you cross the line from annoying to excessively annoying. This is your last warning.

  25. Prof

    Thanks.

    GEM of TKI

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