The Humpty Dumpty argument - the wit and wisdom of Jonathan Wells.

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noctiluca

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Nov 24, 2006, 1:18:57 PM11/24/06
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Apparently my attendance at a May ID event at Biola (Bible Institute of
Los Angeles) got me on a mailing list. As a result of this I received a
copy of Lee Strobel's "The Case for the Creator" DVD (produced,
by the way, by our old friends Illustra Media, more on them here -
http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/6786_unlocking_the_mystery_of_illus_7_1_2003.asp)
in the mail a few days ago, along with a request for a donation.

Finally got a chance to pop it into the player. Before I get to my main
item of interest I'll just note that in watching this DVD it becomes
clear that the differentiation between ID and scientific creationism
has diminished, with the generous help of several DI fellows, to the
slimmest of veneers. But more on that another time.

I was amazed, and prompted to transcribe for the edification of all
(especially those who believe their ID heroes represent thoughtful,
reasoned opposition to the vast majority of scientists) the following
argument from Jonathan Wells.

[He is here commenting on the work of Stanley Miller]

> It comes down to this: no matter how many molecules you can produce with
> early earth conditions, plausible conditions, you're still nowhere near
> producing a living cell.
>
> And here's how I know: If I take a sterile test tube and I put in it a
> little bit of fluid with just the right salts, just the right balance of
> acidity and alkalinity, just the right temperature - the perfect solution
> for a living cell, and I put in it one living cell, this cell is alive, it
> has everything it needs for life. Now I take a sterile needle and I poke
> that cell, and all its stuff leaks out into this test tube, you have in this
> nice little test tube all the molecules you need for a living cell, not just
> the pieces of the molecules but the molecules themselves, and you can't make
> a living cell out of them.
>
> You can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. So what makes you think
> that a few amino acids dissolved in the ocean are going to give you a living
> cell? It's totally unrealistic.

My wife didn't know if I was laughing or crying.

RLC

Ron O

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Nov 24, 2006, 2:06:41 PM11/24/06
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This is high science by ID standards. They seem to have sunk below
scientific creationist standards, though.

Ron Okimoto

Glenn

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Nov 24, 2006, 4:26:21 PM11/24/06
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I see it as a little better than the common evolutionists claim that
life could have as easily began and developed with the opposite
chirality (and perhaps did, and did not survive), as evidence of the
"unity"of life from a single ancestor. Both *are* totally unrealistic
but at least Wells acknowledges the importance of empiricism, and what
is unrealistic there is that amino acids would dissolve. What you have
are arguments such as the recent one about space objects providing for
inferences of what is no longer there. "We can determine what was out
there by what is out there." Sure.

catshark

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Nov 24, 2006, 5:41:57 PM11/24/06
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I knew that reminded me of something:

<http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/d79b8fb0a78db2da?hl=en&>

--
---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

[I]n its relation to Christianity, intelligent design
should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation . . .

- William A. Dembski -

Desertphile

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Nov 24, 2006, 5:50:00 PM11/24/06
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> I seE it as A LIttLE BETtEr thAn the cOmMON eVOlUtIoniSTs CLaIm thaT
> LIfe CoULd HAVE as eaSILy beGan anD dEVElopED wiTH tHE opPosite
> cHiralIty (aND pErHAPS did, aND diD not suRvivE), aS eviDeNCE of thE
> "Unity"of liFe FRom a siNgle ancestor. BotH *are* Totally UnRealIStIc
> but at lEAst wells ACknowleDgeS thE ImpoRtANce oF EmpirICism, And what
> is uNRealistIc tHEre IS thAT AMIno acIds wouLd disSOlVe. whAt yOU HAVe
> are aRgumEnts suCh aS THe rEcEnT oNe ABOut spAce OBJEcTs pRoviDInG FoR
> iNFeREnces Of WhaT iS NO LonGER There. "We CAn DEterMInE WHAt waS OUt
> TheRe bY wHaT IS oUt there." sure.


Oh, how *DARE* they?!

Now then: please provide a better explanation for life on Earth than
evolution and evolutionary theory. Thank you.

Desertphile

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Nov 24, 2006, 5:52:11 PM11/24/06
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Well there you go: the Discovery Institute's shining most glorious
hour--- their highest form of science. And they get $60,000 a year for
this? Sheeeish.

Glenn

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Nov 24, 2006, 6:04:41 PM11/24/06
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"Now then"? You are truly a giant among men. Dude, you haven't got
enough sense to pour piss out of a boot. My dog has more sense than you
have. There is little doubt that you haven't the brains to understand
or argue the reason why that is not support or evidence for or against
anything. If someone less loony comes along and makes "not having
another explanation" an argument, I'll deal with it then.

Desertphile

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Nov 24, 2006, 6:14:19 PM11/24/06
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> "noW thEN"? YOu ARe truLY a gianT AmoNg MEN. DUde, YOU HaVen'T got
> eNOugh senSE To POur piSs oUT Of A BoOT. my Dog has More SensE tHAn yOU
> HaVE. theRe is LitTle dOUbt thAt YoU hAVEN't thE BRAInS to UnDerStAnd
> Or ARGUE tHe ReAsOn whY tHaT IS Not SUppOrt Or evIDeNCe fOr Or aGaInst
> AnYtHing. iF somEOnE lESs loony comeS aLong ANd maKES "NOt hAvINg
> aNOtHeR EXPlANATION" aN arGumeNT, i'Ll DeAl wIth iT THen.

Oh, how *DARE* me?!

chris.li...@gmail.com

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Nov 24, 2006, 6:14:05 PM11/24/06
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Really. I don't think anyone's claimed that. A cite would be nice, and
shouldn't be too hard to find if it's so common.

> Both *are* totally unrealistic

They seem at least as realistic as a skypilot pointing at some dirt and
all of a sudden it's walking, talking, breathing, eating and shitting.

> but at least Wells acknowledges the importance of empiricism, and what

Oooohhhh. It has a test tube in it! So it's EMPIRICAL.

That's not an experiment. That's an idiot doing Vaudeville to an
audience of the retarded.

> is unrealistic there is that amino acids would dissolve. What you have

Really? Amino acids don't dissolve? Are you aware that proteins are
made of amino acids? And that when you make a protein, all the
reactions take place in solution? And that if the amino acids were not
dissolved, they could not be used to make a protein?

Learn a LITTLE chemistry, please.

> are arguments such as the recent one about space objects providing for
> inferences of what is no longer there. "We can determine what was out
> there by what is out there." Sure.

Well, that's just another form of "Were you there?" And in fact, while
we were not there when it happened, the rocks in question were. So we
can make inferences about what things were like back then, because
we're asking rocks who were there.

And the answers we get from rocks are a lot more intelligent, not to
mention interesting, than those we get from Wells.

Chris

Frank J

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Nov 24, 2006, 6:45:15 PM11/24/06
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If he had one, it would have been in the previous answer. Try an easier
question, such as when did life originate on Earth.

Frank J

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Nov 24, 2006, 6:42:32 PM11/24/06
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noctiluca wrote:
> Apparently my attendance at a May ID event at Biola (Bible Institute of
> Los Angeles) got me on a mailing list. As a result of this I received a
> copy of Lee Strobel's "The Case for the Creator" DVD (produced,
> by the way, by our old friends Illustra Media, more on them here -
> http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/6786_unlocking_the_mystery_of_illus_7_1_2003.asp)
> in the mail a few days ago, along with a request for a donation.
>
> Finally got a chance to pop it into the player. Before I get to my main
> item of interest I'll just note that in watching this DVD it becomes
> clear that the differentiation between ID and scientific creationism
> has diminished, with the generous help of several DI fellows, to the
> slimmest of veneers. But more on that another time.

Why wait? Everyone knows that, as pure pseudoscience centered on
misrepresenting evolution, "scientific" creationism, ID, and the
designer-free phony "critical analysis" are just slightly different
approaches to the same scam. And most nonscientists who are fooled by
their feel-good sound bites infer YEC, regardless of what the promoter
personally believes, or tries to promote.

But even though the arguments sound progressively more pathetic to
scientists and others who know the scam, the increasing reliance on
"don't ask, don't tell" for the proposed alternative is sheer
brilliance. They know that calling attention to the fatal flaws and
irreconcilable differences between YEC, OEC and the "OEC + common
descent" (the only position ever offered by ID) is just too risky, even
for nonscientist audiences.

Bodega

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Nov 24, 2006, 7:03:52 PM11/24/06
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Glenn wrote:
>
> "Now then"? You are truly a giant among men. Dude, you haven't got
> enough sense to pour piss out of a boot. My dog has more sense than you
> have. [snip]

In other words, there is no better explanation. There is only childish
name-calling.

-- Mike Palmer

Bodega

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Nov 24, 2006, 7:05:07 PM11/24/06
to

Glenn wrote:
>
> "Now then"? You are truly a giant among men. Dude, you haven't got
> enough sense to pour piss out of a boot. My dog has more sense than you

Glenn

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Nov 24, 2006, 7:20:03 PM11/24/06
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No, it means that you snip context and made it appear that there was
only childish name-calling. Nice work. What you snipped "means" is that
there needs no other explanation to criticise or falsify an existing
theory or any part of one. Good show, evo.

Peter Barber

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Nov 24, 2006, 7:39:51 PM11/24/06
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Are they? Most of the biological amino acids used by living organisms
have been detected in meteorites, all with excesses of their L-isomer.
A mechanism for formation of AAs in interstellar ice under UV
irradiation has been tested (see
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002Natur.416..403M) and also produced a
5%-10% excess of L-amino acids. It is known that the early Earth was
bombarded with such meteorites in its early history. Why is it
unrealistic for organic molecules of meteoritic origin that make it to
the surface of the planet to become involved in chemical reactions?

It may or may not be worth pointing out - yet again - that the
chemists and physicists are the experts in abiogenesis, not the
biologists, so it doesn't particularly matter what "evolutionists
claim". What matters is that chemists have come up with various simple
self-replicating molecules or catalytic cycles, using compounds and
conditions known to have existed on Earth in its early history.

> but at least Wells acknowledges the importance of empiricism,

Empiricism (or the philosophical view that knowledge is gained from
sense-experience) is the foundation of the scientific method, and
scientists such as the authors of the paper I cited above will have
based their conclusions on the data they collected. Since, as far as I
am able to tell, Wells has done no research on abiogenesis, he must be
approaching the problem from a rationalist viewpoint (i.e. reason is
superior to experience as a source of knowledge). Of course, in real
life most scientists are both rationalist and empiricist, since you
need to apply reason to develop hypotheses to test, and to assess the
data your experiments collect.

However, Wells appears to have completely foregone empiricism, and you
yourself say that his little thought experiment is "totally
unrealistic". Could you therefore explain how "Wells acknowledges the
importance of empiricism"?

> and what
> is unrealistic there is that amino acids would dissolve.

See solubility curves of the natural amino acids here:
http://www.ajinomoto.co.jp/amino/e_aminoscience/bc/b-56.html . You'll
notice that all natural AAs except tyrosine and cysteine are soluble in
water at > 5 g/L at physiological temperatures. What did you mean here?

> What you have
> are arguments such as the recent one about space objects providing for
> inferences of what is no longer there. "We can determine what was out
> there by what is out there." Sure.

I'm afraid I don't follow this at all. Could you rephrase it for me?

Desertphile

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Nov 24, 2006, 10:08:43 PM11/24/06
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Under the catagory of "I refuse to follow an animal act!"

Desertphile

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Nov 24, 2006, 10:10:51 PM11/24/06
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Oh, how *DARE* me?!

Desertphile

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Nov 24, 2006, 10:10:19 PM11/24/06
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Oh, how *DARE* me?!

Bodega

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Nov 25, 2006, 1:21:18 AM11/25/06
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Glenn wrote:

> Bodega wrote:
> >
> No, it means that you snip context and made it appear that there was
> only childish name-calling. Nice work. What you snipped "means" is that
> there needs no other explanation to criticise or falsify an existing
> theory or any part of one. Good show, evo.

Desertphile:

>Oh, how *DARE* they?!
>Now then: please provide a better explanation for life on Earth than
>evolution and evolutionary theory. Thank you.

Glenn:


No, it means that you snip context and made it appear that there was
only childish name-calling. Nice work. What you snipped "means" is that

there needs no other explanation to criticise or falsify an existing
theory or any part of one. Good show, evo.

If you don't know what "context" means, above is the context that
prompted your reply. You must have a bad case of Internet rage.

Incidentally, if someone attacks an idea, it is quite good manners and
mere common sense to ask what the replacement theory might be.

-- Mike Palmer

Dr.GH

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Nov 25, 2006, 3:09:18 AM11/25/06
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Finally an ID experiment with a real test tube and every science like
thingy. I'll bet Jon could even wear a labcoat. Cue the thunder
storm, Igor!

Dr.GH

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Nov 25, 2006, 3:17:08 AM11/25/06
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MY WORD! You could recall that from 4 years ago? I am overwhemed.
Well, neck deep whemed anyway. ;-)

Ron O

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Nov 25, 2006, 9:03:27 AM11/25/06
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Who is using that argument? I've seen work where they are trying to
look into the structural stability differences between left and right
handed amino acids. The ratio at equalibrium favors left. I don't
know if that would make it more probable that the first self
replicators used left, but with more left handed ones around.... What
catalytic sites developed would dictate which was used. Selection
would favor the ones that used left handed for the simple reason that
there would be more of them. Other enzymes use the D form instead of
the L form of the molecule like glucose. The D form just happens to be
the most abundant at equalibrium too. Could be design or selection.

What is your alternative and how does it work? We know how selection
would work. The enzymes that used the most abundant form would do
better than the ones that got stuck using the less abundant form. How
does your mechanism work and what is the evidence that it even exists?

>Both *are* totally unrealistic
> but at least Wells acknowledges the importance of empiricism, and what
> is unrealistic there is that amino acids would dissolve. What you have
> are arguments such as the recent one about space objects providing for
> inferences of what is no longer there. "We can determine what was out
> there by what is out there." Sure.

Amino acids are less stable in the present environment. Put some out
in your yard and see how long they last. How long did the amino acids
have to exist before they were used? What made them? Why would they
stop being made? Would this equalibrium not be enough for life to have
gotten started?

I don't know what the argument about space is.

Ron Okimoto

catshark

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Nov 25, 2006, 2:30:29 PM11/25/06
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It helped that someone pointed out that if Erik really put some water
into a pot, added proteins, amino acids and other building blocks of
life, electrically charged the soup and let it sit for a very long time
and wound up with nothing living in the soup, he should try for a
patent for the most effective sterilization process in the world.

--
---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

Intelligent Design is creationism with the serial number filed off.

- Richard Clayton -

Glenn

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Nov 25, 2006, 4:46:50 PM11/25/06
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You talk about sense, and your literary skills are sophisticated. I
wonder why you impersonated Desertphile above.

I won't assume that you are actually capable of understanding that a
response like Desertphile's to an argument critical of a specific
subject that the ToE is not even dependent upon, can be seen as
anything more than a childish tactic.

Dr.GH

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Nov 25, 2006, 6:31:43 PM11/25/06
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This opens the discussion to "spontanious generation" theories, and why
they are not equivelant to modern theories of abiogenesis (beside the
different names of course). I have yet read a better discussion than
in Iris Fry, 2000 "The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and
Scientific Overview" Rutgers University Press. Creationists like Wells
conflate the two ideas.

catshark

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Nov 27, 2006, 9:32:28 PM11/27/06
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Dr.GH wrote:
> catshark wrote:
> > Dr.GH wrote:
> > > catshark wrote:
> > > > On 24 Nov 2006 10:18:57 -0800, "noctiluca" <rober...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > > >

[...]

Except for Wilkins', you meant, of course.

<http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/spontaneous-generation.html>

>Creationists like Wells
> conflate the two ideas.

Wells has ideas to conflate?

--
---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

Having tasted of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,
there is no turning back. There is no salvation in ignorance.

noctiluca

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Nov 27, 2006, 10:12:53 PM11/27/06
to

catshark wrote:
> Dr.GH wrote:
> > catshark wrote:
> > > Dr.GH wrote:
> > > > catshark wrote:
> > > > > On 24 Nov 2006 10:18:57 -0800, "noctiluca" <rober...@hotmail.com> wrote:

<snip>

>
> >Creationists like Wells
> > conflate the two ideas.
>
> Wells has ideas to conflate?

Only when Rev. Moon whispers in his ear.

Dr.GH

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Nov 27, 2006, 11:55:22 PM11/27/06
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Opps. John's piece is very good.

Erik

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Dec 11, 2006, 1:03:46 PM12/11/06
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> It helped that someone pointed out that if Erik really put some water
> into a pot, added proteins, amino acids and other building blocks of
> life, electrically charged the soup and let it sit for a very long time
> and wound up with nothing living in the soup, he should try for a
> patent for the most effective sterilization process in the world.

Thank you, thank you very much.

<takes bow>

Erik

noctiluca

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Dec 11, 2006, 1:37:06 PM12/11/06
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Look out, knowledgeable indiviudals! Rewarding Erik's trolling usually
reaps nothing substantial.

> Erik

Erik

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 8:05:29 AM12/12/06
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Ah, but I gave up trolling over a year ago. Done, complete, finis.

DJT

ErikW

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Dec 12, 2006, 9:07:56 AM12/12/06
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Yay, I can drop the 'W'.

Erik

noctiluca

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Dec 12, 2006, 11:12:19 AM12/12/06
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Did I miss something, or have you (Dana) already admitted to being the
Erik of t.o story, song and Nordic acronym?

RLC

Richard Clayton

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Dec 12, 2006, 6:52:52 PM12/12/06
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That was YOU?

Wow. You do a genuine fruit loop so well it's scary. And I mean that in
the kindest possible way. (^_^)
--
[The address listed is a spam trap. To reply, take off every zig.]
Richard Clayton
"Remember, always be yourself. Unless you suck." — Joss Whedon

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