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June 01, 2006


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Poor old Kennesaw. Like a tornado in a junkyard, he keeps blowing and blowing, and nothing ever happens. You'll keep us informed if he pops up again, won't you?

I'm guessing he never addressed the all the shortcomings of ID we left in the comments.

I just love the "irreducible complexity" arguments. When the proponents say "This could not possibly work if it were any less complex," they really mean "Sitting back in my lounger with a beer at my side, I cannot see how this could work..."

I'm a great admirer of arch-skeptic Dawkin's books, and I have them all. He demolishes the old "irreducible eye" chestnut beautifully in "The Blind Watchmaker". Yet it still gets quoted by the ID woos at every opportunity.

One of his other points is that some structures operating to great effect in certain biological systems didn't use to be "used" for that purpose at all - for example, the analogues of delicate ossicles of the inner ear function as extra jaw articulation in reptiles, enabling that wide snake's gape, for example.

I really would like an IDer to answer me one question: if we animals were all designed completely ad hoc by a beneficent Creator,

- why do we have the retinal nerves on the "wrong side" of the retina?
- why can we not have a voice without the dangerous flaw that we can drown if we try to drink while breathing, and a delicate little hyoid bone that breaks with even a fairly gentle blow to the throat? (Just shows what a tremendously powerful advantage speech has been)
- why do mayflies resemble other insects so closely but have no gut, condemning them to death within a day? (Of course, this is "the wrong way" to think of it)
- Why are some people weak and others strong, some short and others tall? (Of course, this is the meat and drink of natural selection)

The usual answer is "It is not for us to question God's work," or the like. I would reply with, "Then why did he give me a questioning mind? Sounds a bit of a waste if I'm not meant to use it."

Bye-bye, Donkey, don't let the door whack you in the ass on the way out! ;)

THis bit:

"Question is, which evolved first, the wing or the feathers? (And don't try to tell me we first had birds flying around without feathers, because, besides being preposterous, there is just no scientific evidence for that. "

Reminds me of that Fundies Say the Darndest Things Website you blogged about (and your choice quote from it) a while back. Truly priceless.

Since you mentioned the "what use is half an eye?" argument used by creationists, I though I'd mention
article about it. It's about a simulation done by some scientists, which showed that, with conservative assumptions, an eye quite like those used by fish can evolve in about 400,000 generations.

Yeah, cbane, that page is taken from "The Blind Watchmaker", an excellent Dawkins book that just trashes a large number of ID misrepresentations of Darwinian evolution.

The man just loves to burn those IDers, but he does it with evidence rather than rhetoric.

On the other half of the equation, there are plenty of reasons why a wing would evolve without flight (with or without feathers) that can easily transition to flight. A two legged velociraptor like critter with large skin covered forelimbs could (as hypothesized by a recent discovery channel show) use them to change direction faster when running or a smaller critter could use them while running up a tree to gain some speed.

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