Tag Archives: Genetic

Casey Luskin and Stephen C. Meyer discuss the design inference

This episode of ID the Future is 17 minutes long. It’s the third in a series – here are parts one and two.

Details:

On this episode of ID the Future, Casey Luskin and Stephen Meyer finish up their talk with a discussion of why intelligent design presents the best explanation for the Cambrian explosion.

Special limited time offer: Save 43% and get 4 free digital books when you pre-order Darwin’s Doubt.

You can grab the MP3 here.

Topics:

  •  What sort of reasoning did Darwin use in The Origin of Species?
  • Can this method of “inference to the best explanation” be applied to the Cambrian explosion
  • The importance of appealing to causes that we have experienced ourselves
  • Example: explaining from an effect (volcanic ash) to a cause that his adequate (volcanic eruption)
  • We have experience of how volcanoes cause the ash, so we should infer based on what we know
  • In the case where the effect is information in biology, we see that naturalistic mechanisms are inadequate
  • But we know from our own experience that intelligent agents can generate information
  • Many people think that science must confine itself to materialistic explanations
  • If so, then it is possible miss out on the true explanation by ruling it out before looking at evidence

If you haven’t yet read Meyer’s first book, “Signature in the Cell”, you should probably grab that one. It’s the best book on intelligent design that’s out right now. It talks about the origin of the first living cell, surveying all naturalistic explanations for it, and concluding that the best explanation – the one most consistent with what we know now – is intelligent design.

Casey Luskin and Stephen C. Meyer discuss information outside the genome

This episode of ID the Future is 20 minutes long and it’s a follow up to a previous podcast I posted.

Details:

On this episode of ID the Future, hear the second part of Casey Luskin’s interview with Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, author of the forthcoming book Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. Dr. Meyer discusses how the origin of information in the Cambrian explosion poses a problem for evolutionary biology.

Special limited time offer: Save 43% and get 4 free digital books when you pre-order Darwin’s Doubt.

You can grab the MP3 here.

Topics:

  • Last time, they discussed how the sudden origin of animal body plans requires an infusion of new information
  • Also, the sudden origin of animal forms is inexplicable naturalistically, because there are no transitional forms
  • New body plans require new genetic information
  • The Cambrian explosion involve a sudden increase of body plans, which means a sudden increase of information
  • For example, a new body plan requires dozens of new cell types
  • Each cell type will be composed of new proteins and enzymes
  • Proteins are composed of functional sequences of amino acids – genetic information
  • Can the neo-Darwinian mechanisms generate new functional sequences?
  • The problem with making functional sequences by chance: Product Rule
  • When calculating probabilities of forming a functional sequence, you multiply to calculate probabilities
  • A bike lock with 4 dials and 10 possibilities has 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 10,000 possibilities
  • Each sequence is equally likely to get by random guesses
  • But it’s far more likely that any random attempt will NOT work
  • Getting one or two settings right has no value to opening the lock, and will not be saved for later attempts
  • There is no credit for partial success: you have to get the whole combination right the first time
  • In addition, there are other sources of information other than DNA that are required for new body plans
  • For example, there is information in cell membranes, cytoskeletons, etc. which is also needed
  • Neo-Darwinism can only work on mutating genes – even in the best case it would just give you new proteins
  • Neo-Darwinism cannot add information in non-genome areas, which are required for new animal forms
  • The information in these non-genome areas are required to arrange the proteins to make new body pans
  • Genetic inofrmation = information in the genome, Epigenetic information = information outside the genome
  • This problem of information outside the genome is called “the problem of the origin of form”

So those last few points are, I think, a sneak peek into the contents of the new “Darwin’s Doubt” book.

If you haven’t yet read Meyer’s first book, “Signature in the Cell”, you should probably grab that one. It’s the best book on intelligent design that’s out right now. It talks about the origin of the first living cell, surveying all naturalistic explanations for it, and concluding that the best explanation – the one most consistent with what we know now – is intelligent design.

New study finds that alcoholism increases marital instability

Look at this new study from CNN.

Excerpt:

Alcohol dependency not only affects people who drink excessively, but also spouses, friends and family. Now a new study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research finds that alcoholism has a strong connection to when people get married and whether those marriages are successful.

“For young adults who are drinking, if their drinking continues to levels of problem use, it could impact their likelihood of marriage as well as likelihood of having a really lasting marriage,” said study author Mary Waldron, assistant professor in human development at Indiana University. “What we found is yes, it’s true that alcohol dependence is a strong predictor of separation and we’ve known that for quite a while, it was really the predictor of delayed marriage that was surprising to us.”The study looked at 5,000 Australian twins, ages 28-92, all of whom reported a history of alcohol dependence sometime over their lifetime.

The researchers found the association between alcoholism and getting married for the first time at a 23% lower likelihood for women. For men it was 36% lower only after age 29. For both sexes, the researchers concluded that the chance of separation was twice as likely and earlier. They also found that genetics played a role.

“What we found by using both fraternal and identical twins is that genetic influences appear to contribute to the association … but the processes underlying the genetic effect, we really don’t know yet and that will be a focus of future research,” Waldron said.

The reason I am worried about this is that there seems to be so much drinking that goes on on university campuses. It’s like the young people are really getting addicted to it, and there seems to be a lot of peer pressure on everyone to drink and drink and drink. I think alcohol is very interesting (I was recently visiting friends and got to try whiskey for the first time – it was horrible!) and it makes people feel at ease when you are having a good serious conversation. But I am not so sure about drinking it all the time. It’s expensive, and it alters your moods. How can you be good at making sense when you drink too much? So I think in moderation it’s OK, but not too much.

I think that reading articles like this are important to me. It’s good to know WHY the Bible says things are right and wrong. If being drunk is “wrong” then why is it wrong? Why does God not want us to do this? With a little study and some good research, we can find the answers. And then when we talk to non-Christians about right and wrong, we can explain the reasons for the moral positions we hold using scientific evidence. It’s a lot easier to talk about morality in public when you have solid evidence that doesn’t assume the Bible.

New study finds abused children more likely to be gay or bisexual

The study was done by Otago University in New Zealand. (H/T Glenn Peoples of Beretta blog)

Excerpt:

Otago University researcher associate professor Elisabeth Wells has looked at the connection between adverse childhood events and sexuality and found those who experienced trauma were significantly more likely to be non-heterosexual.

The study used results from the New Zealand Mental Health Survey, which surveyed almost 13,000 people aged over 16 between 2003 and 2004.

Participants were asked whether they thought of themselves as bisexual, heterosexual or homosexual and if they had same-sex sexual experiences or relationships.

Less than one per cent of people identified themselves as homosexual, but three per cent had a same-sex encounter.

Wells said the more “adverse events” experienced in childhood – including sexual assault, rape and domestic violence – the more likely the person identified with one of the non-exclusively heterosexual groups.

She said most people from disturbed backgrounds were heterosexual.

However, the study showed a clear relationship between negative events in childhood and homosexual or bisexual relationships later in life.

This Otagu University seems to be doing a lot of cutting edge research on social issues. Last year, I blogged about their study about the mental harm suffered by women after their abortions. I actually got hold of that paper (using my Wintery powers) in case I ever needed to use it while discussing abortion.

I actually studied the issue of what causes homosexuality and whether it can be repaired using therapy a while back using books by medical doctors like Jeffrey Satinover and Joseph Nicolosi. (Nicolosi’s new book is here) It turns out that there are some genetic factors that make homosexuality more likely, but the real causes are environmental, e.g. – sexual abuse during childhood or failure to bond emotionally with the same-sex parent.

I wonder how many people actually go after the research when forming their opinions on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage? I always head straight for the research and debates. I think that my opponents prefer personal attacks and speech codes!

Comments to this post will be strictly filtered to stay clear of Obama’s laws restricting free speech on controversial issues.