Thursday, October 18, 2007

What would it take for you to abandon a fundamental principle?

"But, as my teacher Haldane pointed out, a single fossil rabbit in Cambrian rocks would falsify evolution." - John Maynard Smith

An important question that I think creationists should ask themselves more often: What would it take for you to abandon your belief in creationism?. What experiment can you imagine that would satisfy you that intelligent design/creationism is wrong?

If you can't answer that question, read no further, as you have religious belief. Every time I demonstrate something in the lab, I think to myself "How could I be wrong? What can I do to prove myself wrong?" If I am indeed correct, I will fail in my attempt to prove myself wrong.

So, in this regard, I will list a few biological discoveries that would weaken/invalidate evolution for me. Please add your own in the comments, for those of you who have different backgrounds from mine:

1) Discovery of an organism on earth that uses a truly unique genetic code. Better yet, an organism based on something other than nucleic acids (i.e. demonstrating that there is another fundamental way that life can exist on earth, a separate pathway if you will).

2) Discovery of an organism on earth that uses fundamental metabolic systems that bear no resemblance to any system on earth (i.e. no DNA polymerase, no ribosomes, no RNA polymerases that bear the fundamental similarities that we see).

3) God stepping out of the sky and repeatably creating a woman from a man's rib. <-- Okay, this one's a friendly ribbing for the creationists out there.

4) Fossilized human skeleton found inside the belly of a fossilized tyrannosaur.

What else?



John Evo-Mid said...

I suppose the notion of irreducible complexity is interesting enough that IF you could find something that was clearly unexplainable on a developmental basis, it would cause me some doubts.

That's why I think it's great every time the ID crowd comes up with a new "irreducibly complex" feature - only to have science close the door on them by proving how it evolved.

The only problem is, you show them how a flagellum evolved and two weeks later someone asks them to name a irreducibly complex creature or feature and they yell, "Flagellum"!

I guess that goes on for 20 years or so until they give up.

The Factician said...

Yeah, an irreducibly complex result isn't informative, even if such a thing could ever be found. It leaves you with 3 possibilities:

1) The reason it hasn't be reduced is that we're too stupid.

2) The reason it hasn't been reduced is that intelligent design is true.

3) The reason it hasn't been reduced is that it was built by scaffolding (evolutionarily) and the scaffold is now gone.

None of these possibilities can be distinguished from each other, meaning that irreducible complexity isn't informative.

scripto said...

I heard on a episode of ID the Future the exciting news that "we" have discovered that some irreducibly complex structures are themselves composed of irreducibly complex structures.

I don't get it. How low do you need to go?