Category Archives: Athiesm

Intelligent Design and the Manufacturing Process

In my working days we built a complex distributed system consisting of 4 subsystems distributed over a large geographical space,  interconnected with data links and including a subsystem containing a multitude of fast moving and maneuvering jet fighter aircraft.

In constructing these systems, we used a process called ‘Engineering Release (ER)’ where the various components of each subsystem, as well as the subsystems themselves, were released to manufacturing via a series of ‘Shop Travelers.’ These travelers contained detailed instructions on how the components were to be manufactured and assembled as well as a detailed parts list. 

When the manufacturing process was complete, the various components and subsystems were integrated and tested in a lab setting, and then deployed and tested on site for use by fighter squadrons.

Preceding all this of course was the necessary design work – a goal oriented, purposeful and intellectual expression of the vision of those who saw a need for such a system.

It would seem that the human cell operates on much the same scheme. A cell containing complete and detailed information describing an end product and the shop travelers that guide that cell to its final use as a heart muscle, bone brain and more.    

It’s called Intelligent Design (ID), and is the way all complex systems are constructed, whether they be human designed or the natural life we see all around us and within us.   To think otherwise is folly.

  __________________

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
you
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand
when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

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Challenging Darwinian Evolution

Some of the fundamentals of Darwinian Evolution, as I understand it are:

  • The complexities of life we see all around us, and within us are assembled from the bottom up in a Natural Selection process which chooses beneficial mutations among a long series of such changes, while allowing less beneficial changes to wither away, or perhaps allowed to remain as flotsam or “junk.”
  • The resulting “designs” we see from such a process are merely illusions, the appearance of design … not actual design as we see in all of the human artifacts we dwell among such as the automobile and computers.
  • Evolution is said to be without purpose, without direction and without goals. What we may see as purpose, direction and goals are simply the result of the workings of natural processes – simply illusions of and the appearance of design,

So then why do we see purpose, direction and goals at every level of life – from the cellular level, to the systems level to the completed body plan?

We see purpose in the various machines and structures within each of several trillion cells in our bodies. We see the Kinesin motor transporting cargo from one place on the cell to another. We see the marvel of DNA which, coupled with other cellular components, represents not only a massive mass storage capability, but also represents a type of blueprint package defining all aspects of the end product body. This DNA package also contains what can be described as a complete set of “shop travelers” which, much like a manufacturing process, provides step by step instructions and bills of materials for the manufacture of the myriad parts making up the completed human body – bones, hair, brain, liver, eye, nose … and more.

And each of these subunits exhibits purpose — specific purpose.  What is finally assembled as an arm and hand for example, takes on a myriad of functional purposes such as accurately throwing a baseball, playing a musical instrument such as a violin and cradling a new born baby. Each of our vital organs play specific and necessary roles in keeping our body alive and functioning – there are goals and purpose expressed in each and every one of our body parts.

What we see and experience in the finished goal directed and purposeful human body is beautifully expressed in many ways, such as when we witness a magnificent choral and orchestral performance such as Handel’s Messiah. What we experience in that concert hall is not an illusion — it is real and is the culmination of a multitude of designs, both in the natural as well as the realm of human intelligence and ingenuity.        

About Those Self Driving Cars, Trucks and Buses

image

We hear more and more about the coming of self driving vehicles. Some are already on the road, and at least one – a Tesla – has already killed its passenger.

It seems feasible, but just a bit on the scary side don’t you think?

So how do you envisage these self driving things are being designed and engineered?

Do you see a team of mathematicians, physicists and engineers applying the known laws of science and inventing the Google car or the Tesla self-driver?

I don’t see it happening that way. Oh yea, those smart guys and gals are certainly necessary and part of the teams, but I’d wager that the front-line designers are Intelligent Design biological scientists.

What?

Yea – and what they are most likely doing is studying – for example – How Hummingbirds Avoid Collisions. You see these small agile birds have been doing this for – who knows how long.

image

But haven’t I been told for 150+ years now that “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” And now you are telling me that Intelligent Design principles can be used to develop highly complex and sophisticated machines like self-driving vehicles?  

Exactly. It’s called biomimetics, which is the study of how nature accomplishes a wide variety of things, such that those same techniques and devices can be used for human benefit such as the self-driving car.

You can bet that if biology is a part of this new technology, evolution has no part in it. Nor is it likely that human ingenuity and brilliance alone will produce the final product that must be at least as good as the hummingbird.

Scientists, as shown in the article above, are studying this amazing design in nature, and it is likely that many are using these studies for applications such as the self-driving car.

Evolution? Could take millions of years and millions of trial and error deaths to evolve  the same product.

Why not use the same technique we often use in software development – stand on the shoulders of giants and reuse that which has been previously designed and developed?

 

Don Johnson – July 2016

Censorship in Academia

choir

Yesterday my wife and I attended a yearly gathering of about 500 middle school musicians and singers from around the state of Connecticut — our 13 year old granddaughter was among the 500.

My attention was especially drawn to the hands of the many participants and of the conductors. Watching the conductors leading the several choirs with many body queues, especially with hand and finger gestures was fascinating — as was watching the many hands and fingers producing amazing music as many fingers danced across the whole range of orchestral instruments. 
Truly an amazing day of talent and music as well as a fine demonstration of the wonders of the human hand.

___________________________

Now to put the above comments into context, I invite you to read the following:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/03/mob_with_pitchf102658.html

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/03/censorship_in_r102659.html

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/too-hot-to-handle-update-on-the-plos-one-paper/

A scientific study was made on the dexterity of the human hand. In the report, several references were made to “ .. the Creator.”

Much negative reaction ensued resulting in the paper being retracted.  The retraction was entirely due to the remarks referencing “the Creator”, and not disagreement with the technical content of the paper. 

The following are my remarks regarding the paper and its retraction.

___________________________

I find it entirely appropriate, and even commendable, that a group of researchers studying the intricacies of the human hand should (intentionally or not) credit the design they are trying to capture to a “Creator” and to ascribe the language of design to their model – the human hand … even in a so called “scientific” journal.

As far as I could tell, the end purpose of this study was for robotic or prosthetic purposes, and not to prove the existence of a “Creator.”

I read through many of the on-line comments to the PLoS ONE paper, and was appalled at the bigotry and small/closed mindedness of many of those professing to be the gate-keepers of this journal. It’s as if they have their heads inside a barrel with their fingers firmly stuck in their ears lest they hear the incessant drum beat of design coming from outside the barrel.

What I would suggest to these gate-keepers is to avail themselves of the many opportunities within their own campus and city to study first hand the beauty, adaptability and intricacies  of the human hand. Get out of the laboratory … get out of the lecture hall … get out of the book you are writing. Go to an orchestral and choir event. Go to a baseball game and witness the execution of that perfect double play. Go to a football game and watch that amazing throw and fingertip catch that wins the game in the final seconds. Go to a fine art museum and gaze at the fine paintings and sculptures created by those many human hands. Go to the surgical unit at a local hospital and watch the skilled and trained hands at work on needy patients. Go to you library and scan through some of the hand written manuscripts you might find there – and carefully look at and read the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence written carefully by human hands.

Then I would suggest a retreat back to the office, lab and lecture hall to ponder a bit:

1) Did I perhaps witness just a bit of that “divine foot in the door” in any of what I’ve seen around campus?

2) How many generations of folks like me before we stumble on the origin of the hand by evolutionary means? Will we ever even approach it?

3) About that report – it’s been retracted with seemingly little concern over the validity and/or use of the data and insights collected. Is it possible that some young enthusiastic researcher/engineer could have made use of the study in providing a somewhat useful hand to that wounded soldier? Guess that doesn’t matter as long as the feelings, yes feelings, of the Atheists is protected. 

  

 Don Johnson – March 2016

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Scientist or Ideological Propagandist?

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the latest pretty faces of Atheistic science.

Neil_deGrasse_Tyson_at_Howard_University_September_28,_2010_(cropped_to_shoulders).jpg

Smooth, attractive, well spoken, well educated (PhD), persuasive, great stage presence …

And a man of “cutsie“ statements like the following:

“I think of, like, the human body, and I look at what’s going on between our legs,” Tyson said. “There’s like a sewage system and entertainment complex intermingling. No engineer of any intelligence would have designed it that way.”

This is not an intelligent comment from a much educated man – or should we say a much indoctrinated man – but rather a shallow comment intended to influence and convince. In other words, it’s a statement of propaganda, and  this comment shows Tyson is a master of it.

This comment is not original with Tyson, and exhibits a desire to further an ideological and religious agenda, the agenda of Atheism. The attempted veneer of science and engineering falls flat when we take a deeper look at the human body and its design. Some examples:

  • Many of us have watched Olympic ice-skaters with admiration.
  • Or watched those incredible one-handed catches by NFL wide receivers.
  • Or stand in awe as that shortstop – second baseman – first baseman executes that perfect double play in baseball.
  • Or have attended that concert where we see and hear beautiful and inspiring music written by brilliant and talented composers, played and sung by talented and well practiced musicians on instruments designed and crafted by inventive designers.
  • Or have read or are reading one of those millions of books in the homes, bookstores and libraries around the world.
  • Or have designed or built many of those beautiful buildings many of us have visited and spent time exploring.
  • Or have taken part in the design, engineering and manufacturing of those many machines and software packages we use day-by-day in our everyday life.
  • Or have produced one of those spectacular movie sagas.
  • And no small matter – the human body is capable of reproducing itself, and has been doing so for as long as humans have inhabited the earth.
  • … and more …

No, an honest, thoughtful and  in-depth comment about the design of the human body would take a look at the total package and not set up a contrived straw man caricature of a few cherry picked parts of anatomy in an attempt to indoctrinate and propagandize. 

Properly restated, Tyson’s comment would be concluded by saying “No engineer of any intelligence could have designed it that way.” Tyson is no biologist of any sort, nor is he an engineer of any sort.

What Tyson is, is a man who has stayed way too long in the indoctrinating ivory towers of academia. A man with no real-world, hands-on experience in the design, engineering and manufacture of real world things. A man who has been drinking his own bathwater for years and desires to pass that bathwater to all who will listen, especially the young and impressionable.  

Don Johnson – November 2015

if you have evidence of design then surely you should be able to tell us exactly what that evidence is and what the mechanisms are that are responsible? — A dialog with a commenter at NCSE

The following is outfall from a comment I made at an article titled “Arbiter Declines Advertising from Creationist Groups”  My initial comment prompted quite a response, in particular from one named Ian Nicholas.

Here is my initial comment:

It is claimed on this site that Intelligent Design is not science, and that evolution is undisputed fact. Then I would like to see a response to the fact that life is full of purposeful machines such as the Kinesin motor as described here and at the following link:
” … Kinesin offers a fascinating example of undiscovered information in action. What programs and machinery are required to assemble the structure and function of kinesin? What information is needed for kinesin to achieve its “runtime” functions? How does kinesin know where to go to pick up a load, what load to pick up, what path to take, and where to drop its load? How does it know what to do next? All this functionality takes information, which must be encoded somewhere.
Indeed, the level of complexity is monotonically increasing, with no end in sight. … “
http://www.evolutionnews.org/…/evolutions_gran097591.html
and here to see an animation of these amazing machines in action:
http://www.evolutionnews.org/…/did_kinesins_ar085951.html
Fossils may be interesting and fascination, but they are dead, NCSE stays well clear of the actual science that is going on in studying, understanding and reporting on the “live” designs and machines that are all around an within us. Take a look, you might be surprised and awed by it all.

And here are several comments among many, from Ian challenging the idea of “purposeful machines” and “evidence.”

“Your second link is also creationist apologetics which makes rather grandiose claims of “purposeful machines” in spit of the fact that you can’t tell us the “purpose” of any of these things. “

“Evidence is irrelevant to your position.”

“And if you have evidence of design then surely you should be able to tell us exactly what that evidence is and what the mechanisms are that are responsible?”

What follows is my response to some of the challenges that Ian has thrown out. I have tried to post it directly to the NCSE Facebook page, but for some reason my comments failed to upload.

____________________________________________________

My goodness you were sure busy yesterday. I feel I must owe you an apology for causing you to spend so much time and energy responding to me. But then I realize that what I am seeing is your passion, and that is a good thing. I’ve been a passionate person for many years about quite a range of things, so I relate quite well to the passions of others.

You mentioned the so called “Gish gallop” earlier, and I guess that’s what I’m seeing in your flurry of responses. I have followed the Institute for Creation Research for years, so I am familiar with Dr. Dwayne Gish. I know he was noted as quite a formidable debater although oddly enough I never have heard even one of his debates, but I can infer what is meant by the term “Gish gallop.” He attended the same church in San Diego as we did, and I would see him and his wife there on a regular basis and actually met him personally one time.

I see you have read some of my blog posts and I thank you for that. These posts are from an interested lay person and not from a PhD practitioner in the fields of life science or medicine – and I gather you are in the same category as an interested lay person. You can see from my writings that I touch on many aspects of life and how it perhaps developed and flourished here on planet Earth. So perhaps I have addressed a fair number of your topics and criticisms of my world view, and I will not take the time to respond to each of your topics in turn. Many of my essays have been directed towards pointing the reader to the work and research of others who have a great deal of expertise and hands on experience with biological systems such as the human body.

But there are a few of your statements and criticisms that I will address here, and for the most part I will restrict my comments to the human body.

First is evidence. I have covered that previously, and on many occasions on my blog, and have pointed out that evidence of design is all around and within us. That evidence being the existence of purposeful machines and systems found at all levels of a human body from the cell containing its many machines, to the many purposeful organs each of us have, as well as the completed body itself.

One such machine (of many) I find particularly interesting is the Kinesin motor. As you can see from the animations of Kinesin, its main “purpose” is to transport cargo from one place in the cell to another. A fascinating adjunct to this machine is the roadway that the Kinesin traverses along its journey … this roadway as it turns out is constructed in a “just in time” fashion ahead of the Kinesin and its cargo, and is deconstructed after it is used.

I’ve been seeing these animations over the years, but always had the questions of how accurate they are in depicting what is actually going on in the cell, and is the instrumentation these days actually good enough to see what is happening. Another question I have had is why the animations in the first place and not just the actual video taken of the biology itself.

Well over the past year or so I’ve had a couple of opportunities to ask those questions of a couple of scientists actually working in the field. One was a researcher at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the other was an MIT researcher at a lecture I attended at Yale this past year. The answers to my questions were the same from both gentlemen – yes the instrumentation is that good that it can see the kinds of things that the animations depict. And the animations are quite accurate in replicating the activities of such things as the Kinesin motor. As to the reason for the animations — as I recall, the reason is twofold; one is to isolate the object under investigation from all of the other busyness going on in the cell so it can be studied somewhat in isolation, secondly, the animations being computer programs avail the researchers the opportunity to manipulate and tweak the object in their investigations.

You can read more of my brief but interesting encounters with these two researchers at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/interesting-people-i-have-met-e-michael-ostap-ph-d/

Kinesin is but one of a number of machines that have been identified in the cell as having purpose – and yes, the researchers do refer to them as machines. Kinesin can be likened to the freeways and roadways we see and use on a daily basis – functional and designed with the purpose of transporting cargo.

Another mechanism within the cell is that which replicates DNA strands. I don’t have an animation at the ready for you, but I’m sure a search will find one quickly and I encourage you to find one and watch. An interesting and purposeful part of this DNA replication is what is referred to as Quality Control (QC) where a machine like mechanism traverses the newly replicate DNA strand looking for errors in the transcription. When an error is found, the replication is paused while an attempt is made to repair the problem, or failing that the new strand is killed off so as not to cause problems downstream.

So there is much identified “purpose” within each of the trillions of cells making up our body. I hope this addresses your question “What’s the “purpose” of kinesin then? And how’d you figure that out?” I didn’t figure it out Ian, those much smarter than I figured it out.

Then we can move up from the cellular level to the various organs we all have. The major organs and systems within the human body each have specific purpose(s), and I won’t dwell on each of these organs and functions.

But I would like to pass on to you a purposeful part of the circulatory system that I leaned about just yesterday. Here is a snippet from the article:

“ … There are sensors located in the main arteries directly supplying blood to the brain, which can detect wall distension. These are the baroreceptors, which by sensing the stretching within the arterial walls are able to detect the arterial blood pressure. They are a type of mechanoreceptor that senses movement, in contrast to the chemoreceptors which detect chemicals like oxygen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen ion. The baroreceptors send their data on the blood pressure by way of nerves to the brain. The brain integrates this information, and if the blood pressure is too low, it causes the release of more norepinephrine and epinephrine from the sympathetic nerves. By attaching to specific receptors, increased sympathetic stimulation affects all three of the factors mentioned above, which makes the blood pressure rise. … “

You can read the full article at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/09/controlling_blo099611.html

So here we have an answer to another of your statements/questions –

“ … if you have evidence of design then surely you should be able to tell us exactly what that evidence is and what the mechanisms are that are responsible? “

This evidence being the very well-regulated circulation of blood – and the mechanisms are in part the baroreceptors and mechanoreceptors identified in the referenced article.

So I find it interesting Ian that somehow the so-called undirected mechanism of Natural Selection somehow results in very directed and specifically functional and purposeful end products – from the cellular level on up to the completed body itself which is functionally capable of achieving a wide variety of functional tasks from writing the great American novel — to holding a baby– to executing that perfect double play in baseball.

Yes Ian … we do indeed see purpose in the things that make up life – at all levels.

And where do we find such marvels reported? Not in this NCSE site where topics such as “Computational Biology” and “Systems Biology” are seldom (I would venture to say never) mentioned let alone seriously reported on. No Ian, what you find here is an abundance of stories of fossils, the Grand Canyon and court cases but very little of what is happening in the laboratories of places such as the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

As a layman where do I find an abundance of good reporting in cellular level biology and other fascinating stories of cutting edge research?, I find many of these reports at places like http://www.uncommondescent.com/ and http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/09/controlling_blo099611.html You might want to spend a little more time in such places Ian … they could be dangerous to your world view, but very rewarding to your curiosity in the long run.

I do thank you for your responses Ian. I don’t get angry or defensive at what you write, but rather take them as opportunities for communication and sharing and contrasting often contrary and conflicting world views.

Best regards,

don

Either Modern Evolutionary Biology is Goal-Directed, or it is False!

DoublePlay

Philosopher of biology Will Provine died recently.  Provine was an Atheist (I capitalize Atheist, because I view it as a faith based religion). Here is his own summary on evolutionary biology:

Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear — and these are basically Darwin’s views. There are no gods, no purposes, and no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either. (Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy April 30 1994)

Let me present my own summary as to why Provine’s statement that “There are  … no goal-directed forces of any kind.” is false, and why modern evolutionary biology must indeed be goal-directed, or it must be false.

Virtually all of life, and all of the components of life appear to be goal-directed. From the smallest component of a human life form … the cell, to the various organs contained therein, to the finished product —  all across the board we have items that achieve specific purposes, often multiple purposes.

Internal organs

In the case of human organs we see that each of our internal organs achieves a specific purpose:

  • The heart pumps blood and life sustaining oxygen and nutrients to each part of our body, and to each cell, while also removing carbon dioxide and other wastes.
  • The visual system – eyes, nerves and brain – gathers, processes and stores visual information from our external world allowing us to function smoothly in a very complex, beautiful and often threatening world.  
  • The kidneys serve several essential regulatory roles in vertebrates. They remove excess organic molecules from the blood, and it is by this action that their best-known function is performed: the removal of waste products of metabolism.
  •           
  •          And on and on for each of our parts.

So if the evolutionary “just-so” tale is to be believed, each of these very specific and sophisticated organs arrived on the scene simultaneously by a process that had no intention to produce such intentional, purposeful and goal oriented machines. Or … they arrived on the scene by some other means.

And what of the final product – the human being? What you see in the lead-in picture above is the intentional and goal directed execution of a very complex maneuver in baseball called the double play.

Somehow, evolution which is not goal-directed has created a massively complex and synchronous machine which is – at all levels – purposeful and goal directed. Goal directed towards multitudes of goals:

motherorchastra1th2XNA3IJ9th70QBZ4LVth722DC36QthU3SODEVU 

I would dare to suggest that the false god of evolution, undirected “Deep Time”  casts a shroud over observationally obtained truth.

Coperfield

The high priests of this false god of “Deep Time”: Will Provine, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Stephen Hawking and others peddle this just so tale simply because, in the words of Richard Lewontin – “ … we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. ” And they are adamant in keeping this Divine Foot out of the culture, out of education, out of science … and indeed, and perhaps most importantly, out of their own life and life style.

 

don johnson – September 2015