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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Marsupial frogs: Another reason to check out of Darwinism

Jonathan Wells, surely the most hated of the ID guys, explains one reason that he, as an embryologist, has little use for the Darwinian tree of life - marsupial frogs:
Marsupial frogs are very interesting from both a developmental and an evolutionary point of point. As land-dwellers, their development omits the free-living aquatic larval (i.e., tadpole) stage found in other frogs; instead, the embryos develop in a pouch on (usually) the mother’s back. Even more striking is the fact that their earlier development resembles that of birds and mammals, with the embryo developing in a disc on the surface of the egg yolk. (In frogs with a larval stage, the embryo develops as a ball, with cleavage planes passing all the way through the yolk.) Despite their radically different development, adult marsupial frogs look just like other adult frogs.

One genus of New World marsupial frogs (Eleutherodactylus) is the largest known genus of living vertebrates, with over 400 named species. Marsupial frogs put the lie to two Darwinian myths: (1) that homologous features arise through similar developmental pathways, and (2) that development replays evolutionary history.

But the Dawinists can always go to court and force kids to learn (1) and (2) in school, can't they? Why should facts matter as long as the general direction of education supports materialism?
If you are interested in the intelligent design controversy, check out my book, By Design or by Chance?

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Intelligent design: Like the Big Bang theory?

Mike Behe, one of the original ID guys, who put forward the idea of irreducible complexity, is interviewed here .
He contrasts the current status of intelligent design with that of Big Bang theory in the beginning of the 20th century, when many scientists refused to accept Big Bang theory because they didn’t like the philosophical implications.
This is from the 2006 Intelligent Design Under Fire conference.

Many people do not realize how unpopular the Big Bang theory was when it was first advanced. For example, astronomer Fred Hoyle christened the theory the ‘Big Bang’ in derision, but the name stuck. Arthur Eddington (1882–1944), said “Philosophically, the notion of a beginning to the present order is repugnant to me. I should like to find a genuine loophole.” Albert Einstein preferred to think of the universe as eternal, and he is not alone.

Why? Well, one reason is that it was bad news for materialism because placing any time limit on the origin of the universe means that theories like Darwinism (mud creates mind) become subject to laws of probability.

(If the universe were infinitely old, anything might be possible, but once we say that it is only a certain number of billion years old, we are n the realm of calculable probabilities.) And Darwinism basically flunks. You do not get from mud to mind in the period of time allowed.

Now, I don't know if intelligent design will turn out to be as significant - or more or less - than the Big Bang theory, but I do know the size of the debt that ID owes to the Big Bang.

Stories at Mindful Hack: I have put up several stories today at my other blog, The Mindful Hack, on the neuroscience implications of a non-materialist universe, including one on sexual jealousy, which discusses that precise issue - evolutionary psychology vs. consciousness in understanding human behaviour.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God , my backgrounder about peer review issues, or the evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin and of academic ID publications.

My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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