Bacteria evolve over a weekend

Some people think evolution is a myth. Others insist it happens randomly and accidentally, and takes very long. Watch this bacterium evolve in real time and repair damage in a single weekend:

46 Responses

  1. Sounds mysterious doesn’t it?

    After frustrating an atheist in a recent debate, he posted (completely off of topic) a video clip of a Sam Harris railing against religion during a debate with William Lane Craig.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSdGr4K4qLg

    At the 4:20-4:50 mark Harris make the claim that Christians and the bible says that God is good, but when the pain and suffering of life are questioned, we are told that God is ‘mysterious’ and that that is a non answer.

    Harris is decrying the ‘God works in mysterious ways’ meme. But there is an entire branch of theology that deals with this issue called ‘theodicy’. His characterization is simply false.

    For those of us who are skeptical of truth claims and seek to probe the philosophical limits of reconciling God’s goodness with evil, there are substantive treatments of the subject to consider, and many of us have explored them and been thoroughly satisfied.

    But when it comes to evolution, we notice that behind the faith that materialists have that ‘life can find a way’, there are no substantive answer to explain how. Rather, it is implied that ‘nature works in mysterious ways.’

    When it comes to men like Sam Harris who disavow non-answers shrouded in mystery, it would seem that the shoe is entirely on the other foot.

    As a teenager, I became disenchanted with church life because it seemed that no one addressed my questions during the sermons. It often made the questions worse. And if I asked directly I was told to ‘have faith’, or that ‘this is the way we do things and see things, we do not have to understand the answer to such daunting questions’.

    I learned much later that substantive answers to my questions were there all along, I just didn’t seek them out with all my mind, heart, and strength. And honestly that was convenient for me at that time in my life.

    But now I am struck by the fact that it is the materialists who have no answers. They continually defer to arguments that encourage us to have faith and live in awe of natures mysterious ways and magical powers. And they often seem frustrated beyond measure when meddling philosophers challenge them with legitimate questions.

    This video is a perfect example of that.

  2. I wanted to add an addendum to my last comment because I can foresee someone making the charge that I am comparing apples and oranges with regard to HOW the mechanics of life came to be vs how to deal philosophically with the problem of evil or other theological issues.

    When it comes to the mystery surrounding the origin of life, it would appear to be even money between evolution and design as neither can explain HOW life came to be.

    A design paradigm has a level of explanation that materialistic models cannot match. To illustrate, I want to borrow from a message John Lennox gave entitled ‘The Word of God in Creation’. http://rzim.org/let-my-people-think-broadcasts/the-word-of-god-in-creation-part-1-of-2

    Paraphrasing Lennox, “The bible says relatively little about how it was done. Wouldn’t you like to know much more? You know, if I had written the bible I would have said much more, but the little it does say, CONCENTRATES on the central idea that behind the created order is WORD. And that corresponds with all our intuition.

    Here are the cosmologists and physicists, and they describe the universe in terms of LAWS, that are written in mathematical symbolism in compressed form. Some of the most brilliant equations, Einstein’s equation, Maxwell’s equations, Newton’s laws of motion. LAWS, describing regularities, to say nothing of the language of life contained in its genetic code.

    The idea that all things were made through the WORD is not some silly primitive notion. It fits PERFECTLY with all of our experience and observation that flows out of science.”

    The point I am trying to make is that there are different levels of explanation and we tend to conflate them. Furthermore, when it comes to explaining the objective existence of information or consciousness, morality and ethics, a materialistic philosophy is impotent to provide those quality answers that good theology offers us.

    So it is not an apples and oranges comparison at all. No matter what the subject, be it science or philosophy, the quality and coherence of the answers is decidedly on the side of a theistic framework in spite of the fact that much mystery remains.

    We do not have to know every detail to see a clear and consistent pattern emerging.

  3. What is interesting about this research is that it is a mutation that drives the repair and has nothing to do with bacteria wriggling about in search of others with flagellum genes. It is a prime example of a mutation adding positively to the health and success of the organism.

    In this case there a gene that the researchers refer to as the I Am Starving gene. When the flagellum is removed this gene goes into overdrive. So much so that the activity bleeds over into other genes that co-opt flagellum making processes. This shouldn’t be surprising since of the 23 proteins that make up flagella only 2 are unique to it. Why natural selection would favor this set is easy to see and no other design characteristics are required.

  4. Robert Lockett says:

    Dennis, the ‘I am starving gene’ terminology is a rather vague (ergo ‘natural marvel’, ‘magic’, ‘life works in mysterious ways’). Trying to be scientific, this ‘
    gene’ sounds more like an assemblage of of complex back up files than anything else.

    Error correction is NOT mutation, but a repair OF mutation.

    • The “I am starving” description comes from a popular piece written by the researcher. The biochemistry is more accurately described in the published research if you prefer. What she describes is not error correction and only applies to a portion of the bacteria with flagella removed. The proximity of the I Am Hungry process genes and genes that can be co opted for flagella manufacture is interesting and might give some hint to the evolution of flagella since 21 of the necessary 23 proteins are present outside the tail.

  5. The ‘I’m starving gene’ comes from the researchers popular write-up of the work. If you haven’t read it it’s a good read.

    The flagella repair does not come from a ‘back-up’ repair file. The repair comes from an identified mutation in a protein that causes it to take over take over repair mechanics. As I stated before, this isn’t surprising. Only two of the 23 proteins in flagella are unique to the structure. It stands to reason that another protein could be kick started into taking over protein expression. This is not planned or programmed error correction. Read the papers.

    • How is

      “causes it to take over take over repair mechanics” compatible with “this is not planned or programmed error correction”?

      Is this accidental error correction?

      • Unless the mutation is not a mutation, yes.

        • Your answer is vague.

          Definition of Mutation: “the changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form that may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.”

          Transpositions are mutations. So is Horizontal Gene Transfer.

          So are accidental copying errors.

          World of difference between the former and the latter.

        • Carol Sperling says:

          Dennis, I tried to explain to Perry over 7 months ago how this was not a case of error correction. You might be interested in the discussion:
          https://disqus.com/home/discussion/premierchristianmedia/unbelievable_02_01_2016_1430/#comment-2439837145

          • Yes, Dennis, I encourage you to read the whole thread he references here. Read the replies as well. Look for any place where Carol proved that this change in the genome happened by accident.

            I do not find any.

            Dennis, you say a protein accidentally fell into the soup and “caused it to take over take over repair mechanics”?

            McClintock’s plants repaired their genomes through transposition events but this bacterium repaired itself completely by sheer accident?

            Can you explain to me how an identified mutation in a protein that causes it to take over take over repair mechanics is an accident instead of a systemic response?

            And can you explain to me why preferring “accident” over “systemic response” honors the spirit of science itself – if science is defined as

            the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

            (Emphasis mine)

            Please explain how your accident, which you insist is not a system, is systemic application of science.

            You too, Carol.

            I think it’s funny that I am advocating for a systematic explanation that can be classified and categorized as a repair system; while you, who claim to be “scientific” are advocating for random accidents and attempting to call them science.

            • >Yes, Dennis, I encourage you to read the whole thread he references here.
              > Read the replies as well. Look for any place where Carol proved that this
              > change in the genome happened by accident.

              You, me, and Carol all know that the business of science isn’t proof but confidence. Carol cannot prove this. Nor can you prove your ID position.

              > Dennis, you say a protein accidentally fell into the soup and “caused it to
              > take over take over repair mechanics”?

              This is not what I am saying. It looks as though a gene adjacent to another hyperexpressing gene mutates to co-opt flagellum construction. I’m starting to wonder if you’ve read the paper?

              > McClintock’s plants repaired their genomes through transposition events but
              > this bacterium repaired itself completely by sheer accident?
              >
              > Can you explain to me how an identified mutation in a protein that causes it
              > to take over take over repair mechanics is an accident instead of a
              > systemic response?

              Not fully. But the protein is NOT – in normal bacterium – used for flagellum construction. So something changes. And the fact that only a portion of bacteria grow new tails tells me that this is not a repair tool that is part of the standard kit. Unless your designer isn’t very good at what they do?

              It might very well be that the adjacent positions of these protein has been selected for. This would easily fit into an evolutionary predictive model. It makes simple sense to me that if an organism needs a tail to survive then natural selection will favor an arrangement like this. If you consider this a ‘systematic response’ then we are close to the same page. But there is nothing here to make me think that the system is ‘designed’ this way or that the cell starts looking for bits to cobble together to save itself (your description of anti-biotic resistance).

              Thanks

              • This is not an ID position. This is the position McClintock took: That the cells are repairing their genes because they sense damage.

                You are taking the position that they are accidentally repairing themselves. My position is science. Your position is magik.

                “Unless your designer isn’t very good at what they do”

                Please explain EXACTLY what you mean by this statement, because it suggests you do not understand what I am saying at all.

                • To be more clear I am not positing that they – cells – accidentally repair themselves, but that they are repaired without design or awareness or agency. The happy accident is the apparent selection of a gene, gene group, or gene fragment sitting near the gene signaling that food is needed.

                  Only some cells in this particular research grow new flagellum. If I were designing a fix for losing bacteria tails I would want it to work in every case. Or at least in virtually all cases. If it only worked sometime I would think that it needed more work. If your Ford speakers only worked six times out of ten when the stereo was turned on would you be happy with your work?

                  • Please explain EXACTLY what you mean by

                    “The happy accident is the apparent selection of a gene, gene group, or gene fragment sitting near the gene signaling that food is needed.”

                    That is a very vague statement. It’s a passive sentence (thus avoiding any clear relationship of cause and effect) and it doesn’t explain anything at all.

                    Please provide much more detail of exactly what you think is happening here.

                    This is not Ford speakers that only work six times out of ten. That is a bad analogy.

                    A much more accurate analogy would be: These are speakers that, after being damaged (in innumerable, completely unpredictable ways!) repair themselves – and they repair themselves successfully only six out of ten times. Or maybe only one out of ten. Maybe only one out of 100.

                    • “”Please explain EXACTLY what you mean by

                      “The happy accident is the apparent selection of a gene, gene group, or gene fragment sitting near the gene signaling that food is needed.”

                      That is a very vague statement. It’s a passive sentence (thus avoiding any clear relationship of cause and effect) and it doesn’t explain anything at all.

                      Please provide much more detail of exactly what you think is happening here.””

                      I am beginning to wonder if I can explain anything EXACTLY PERFECTLY enough for you? And English is my first language, too!

                      Let’s ditch the analogy: If you make something that’s supposed to work and it doesn’t? I fire you. Trump points the finger at you. “Perry. You’re fired.” In this case, if flagella repair is *designed* by a designer then they didn’t do their job unless for some mysterious reason they meant to fix only certain bacteria. Natch!

                    • Thus far you have yet to make one single exact detailed scientific statement about the flagellum repair. Every thing you’ve said has been vague and/or contradictory.

                      You said:

                      “if flagella repair is *designed* by a designer then they didn’t do their job unless for some mysterious reason they meant to fix only certain bacteria.”

                      Oh, now you are making theological statements. That’s new.

                      I thought we were talking about science. Suddenly you changed the subject. You’re making statements about designers now.

                      I’m not afraid of theological questions. But I don’t debate theology with atheists. Atheists don’t believe theology in the first place. Which means they’re not allowed to use it. Not on my website anyway.

                      I insist that you stick to science.

                      Dennis, did the bacterium repair its flagella through a systematic structured repair mechanism or by accident?

          • Carol – thanks! I followed a bit of the thread earlier until seeing that it goes that way most of these do. Your comment that PZ makes it his business to inspect sewers is great.

  6. “”This is not an ID position. This is the position McClintock took: That the cells are repairing their genes because they sense damage.””

    People assign teleological meaning to all kinds of things. Physicists and engineers seem to be the worst at it. Occasionally a biologist doing fine work might fall into the same trap. Who knows what she would think now, sixty years after her work?

    • You still haven’t explained anything at all about HOW the bacterium evolved over a weekend. I’m waiting.

      • It looks like we’ve come to the end of the conversation. I admit to writing without strict nomenclature – it often gets in the way in these kinds of threads and adds little to the general discussion.

        I’ll summarize what we know about the research at hand:

        >>

        Bacteria need to eat and to move as moving facilitates eating and helps protect them from harmful environments.

        Bacteria move about through use of a flagellum.

        Without flagellum, bacteria are unable to move or to eat.

        Flagellum construction in these bacteria is controlled by FleQ.

        In this research, FleQ is knocked out and bacteria can no longer make flagellum.

        When inadvertently left over a long weekend, it was noticed that some bacteria had regained flagellum.

        Sequencing revealed that the protein NtrC, which shares a 30% amino acid identity with FleQ, had mutated (sequence had changed) and had been co-opted to construct new flagellum. It is surmised that the mutated minimal identity with FleQ is enough to regulate FleQ targets.

        In the paper written for the popular press, the researchers explain that it appears the NtrC mutation comes from the extreme upregulation of the adjacent ‘I am hungry’ gene.

        It’s interesting to note that the bacteria with new flagella exhibit a reduced ability to regulate nitrogen.

        >>

        So here is the gist of what we know. This is how the bacteria mutated over the weekend.

        You have stated that this is not an example of evolution but of design. Of course, no one can argue against such a statement. My only comment is that if this set-up was designed by a so-called intelligent designer then they didn’t do a very good job. Only some of the bacteria are repaired and those that are have a crippled nitrogen regulation. Again, if I buy some speakers from you that only work sometime and, when they do, I can never hear the bass, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend you to my friends!

        Thanks for chatting. Always good. Cheers!

        • You said,

          “You have stated that this is not an example of evolution but of design.”

          I never said any such thing. Ever. This is a crass misrepresentation of all my work.

          I don’t have any idea where you even got such a statement. It makes me wonder whether you are really paying attention to what I’m saying at all.

          OF COURSE this is a product of evolution.

          The bacteria evolved itself – by sensing the problem and switching on its repair mechanisms. (Repair systems are ipso facto teleological. http://evo2.org/pz-mcclintock/)

          In your own description, you link the “I am hungry” signal to modification of the FleQ targets.

          My thesis is:

          Bacteria have the ability to not only repair, but also innovate when necessary, using built-in repair and editing machinery that surpasses anything humans are currently capable of designing.

          These systems are exactly as Barbara McClintock described them during her entire career, as having the ability to make “wise” decisions. She asked, “What does a cell know about itself?”

          My thesis is that we know from the mathematics of communication theory – as well as everything that is known in computer science, engineering etc – that random accidents, copying errors and noise are only capable of destroying such systems, not evolving, repairing or building them. And therefore traditional Neo Darwinism is an anti-scientific fraud.

          My thesis is that evolution is driven by the kinds of systems that McClintock won a Nobel Prize for discovering. And that all of this falls under the umbrella of testable empirical science.

          Everything I am saying here has been known to some degree for at least 50 years.

          Does all of this imply a designer at some level – or at least a universe which is itself far more fantastic than most people even believe it to be?

          Of course it does.

          Or at the very least it raises a LOT of questions that atheists can’t even begin to answer. Otherwise people like Dawkins and Coyne would tell you about this stuff in their books. They don’t.

          • Sorry about the design aspect. It makes me wince as well. And FWIW I’m not an atheist.

            Cheers!

          • Hi Perry – as I read through the thread I wonder just what you think about how genes, mutations, evolution ever got started. You recoil from the labels of creationist or IDer and – believe me – I feel that pain. But you also reject materialism and the standard evolutionary model. I know that you are a Christian AND AND ENGINEER. It seems that you must, if anywhere, fall on the side of ID. It’s all besides the point of course.

            • I am sympathetic to many of ID’s critiques of Darwinism. But I am disturbed at their being satisfied with “therefore it’s designed” as though it’s an endpoint or a practical scientific answer. It’s not. To me it’s only a starting point because the cell clearly in some sense designs itself. The closest thing we have to a word for this is autopoesis.

              I would imagine you would be fairly simpatico with this article where I take ID to task: http://evo2.org/id-blind-spot/

              There is SO MUCH that cells do to modify their genomes etc and from an engineer’s point of view there is clearly a LOT LOT LOT that we can still study and understand better.

              The ID people aren’t doing this and frankly the Darwinists aren’t either.

              We know, on a surface level, how many of these things happen. Transposition and so on. We can show that transposition and horizontal transfer obey certain rules and show certain patterns.

              But if you’re holding scientists to an engineer’s standard of actually understanding something – which is being able to build it and replicate it – we are MILES from understanding it.

              I’m not sure anyone really knows at all why or how a bacterium is able to repair its own DNA. Or how Barbara’s plants “knew” how to fix those broken Chromosomes – especially given that the original information had been lost and was probably unrecoverable.

              Also, very little of what we call “origin of life” can even be properly classified as science.

              So I believe in God and I believe in intelligent design (lower case i and d); design in the ultimate sense. I am at odds with the approach of Discovery Institute (ID capital letters). We live in a universe that is so amazing it demands an explanation.

              How and why cells reverse information entropy is a mystery. Randomness and Natural Selection don’t explain it. The traditional Darwinian explanation is a non-starter.

              The mechanisms that drive evolution have been known in some cases for 100 years and yet the public knows nothing.

              Fundamentalists on both sides claim to already have solved it when it’s not solved at all. So the two extremes keep this thing in deadlock.

              Where did all this amazing stuff come from?

              Well, I suspect that the same physical phenomenon (unknown law of physics) that caused life to emerge the first time may very well be the same mechanism that causes cells to “know” how to mutate in a positive constructive way.

              This deserves an answer. So I’ve gone to considerable inconvenience and expense (and I mean a lot) to organize the Evolution 2.0 Prize http://www.naturalcode.org.

              More thoughts about that here – is it winnable etc? http://evo2.org/evolution2-winnable/

              We are barely, barely getting started at understanding how life actually works and where it came from. Some reverence for the process is in order.

  7. Carol Sperling says:

    Teacher: “Your assignment is to write an error-correction mechanism that can detect when any section of a block of code has been deleted, and restore it to it’s previous state”

    Student, one day later: “I completed the assignment. My mechanism takes 96 hours and the program has to copy itself a few hundred times first. And it does not restore the previous state exactly, but gets back close to original functionality, after breaking a few other things in the process.”

    Teacher: “You get a D-minus grade. The only reason I don’t give you an F is that at least the program doesn’t crash.”

    • Student:

      “And oh by the way, the machine was not able to digest nylonase before. Now it can, because the adaptive algorithm searched for, and found, a coding sequence that does it.”

      • Carol Sperling says:

        And YOUR assignment, Perry, is to look at the genome, locate that adaptive algorithm for us, and show us exactly how it works.

        • That is exactly the task of bioinformatics and genomics in the 21st century. I salute everyone who is working on it. Notables who ARE approaching the problem much this way include Adras Pellionisz, Jean-Claude Perez, James Shapiro, Eva Jablonka, Mae-Won Ho, Denis Noble and many others. I am doing my part to fan the flame.

  8. Carol Sperling says:

    And, by the way, nylonase is what Flavobacterium and Pseudomonas aeruginosa synthesizes, not what they digest. Nylon, or more specifically, its byproducts, are what get broken down/digested. If you are going to try to deflect, at least get your terminology right.

  9. Robert Lockett says:

    Dennis writes: “You, me, and Carol all know that the business of science isn’t proof but confidence. Carol cannot prove this. Nor can you prove your ID position.”

    So when you say it is not error correction, what you mean is that you have confidence (ie. trust (ie. faith)) that it is not error correction.

    No further questions from me, thanks.

    • Thanks to you!

    • Carol Sperling says:

      Faith/trust/confidence can be founded upon evidence, logic, and reason. Or it can be totally unfounded. As an engineer, I have used and benefited from error correction code. My empirical evidence and reason tells me that the re-evolving of the flagellum is not error correction because it is so much poorer than the error correction that I know humans have designed. Any entity capable of designing living things should be able to give it error correction capabilities at least as good as what humans can devise. It would work quickly and would fix the actual problem. It would NOT take 96 hours, hundreds of generations, result in a workaround solution, and end up degrading other functions within the bacteria – which is what happened in the experiment. This is simple “reductio ad absurdum” . The observed result of the experiment screams trial-and-error mutation and selection.

      • I don’t know of any human designs that do what Barbara McClintock’s corn plants did.

      • Robert Lockett says:

        Carol, I fully agree that faith can be and SHOULD be based in logic. Mine certainly is. I just appreciated the admission of trust (or faith) in the perspective Dennis has on the subject. I can respect that.

        But as for the incompetence of the designer, before we can judge a designers work, we must understand the goals and parameters set by the designer from the beginning.

        I remember this coming up in a debate I had long ago in which the human eye was being mocked. It was said that we can create eyes (that is -telescopes) far superior than any supposed designer of the human eye.

        I simply reminded him that the reason the human eye does not have X-Ray vision might result from the fact that teenage boys would use them to look through women’s clothing.

        If life is designed, we are in a very poor position to judge the designer, especially if said designer is an omniscient designer as I believe him to be.

        If I might digress for a moment on theological matters, this same basic problem was brought up by the following question:

        “So your omnipotent and omniscient God, with all this power and wisdom and glory, could not devise even one way to make this world a perfect world?”

        I said, “Actually that is exactly what he did. There was one way to do it. He did know one way to do it, and it is still playing out. This stage of history is only part of the process.”

        Judging the designer equates to Epicurus’ dilemma:

        “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call Him God?” -Epicurus

        His judgement is only valid if he knows HOW and WHEN God will handle it. Epicurus knew neither.

        We live in a novel. Many chapters have passed, there are more to come. There is no point in saying we hate the ending when we have not read it yet. But actually, some of us have. And it is a very good ending.

        • Robert – my confidence in on-demand repeatability, verifiable predictability, and falsifiability is a long, long way from your faith.

          And please tell me that you are kidding about teenaged boys looking through women’s clothing? I’m still working out whether this is laughable or sad or both.

          • Robert Lockett says:

            I will gladly describe myself as at least, if not far more interested in empirical adequacy as you are Dennis. But I am also well acquainted with its boundaries, as well as what phenomenon are subject to its power.

            When it comes to cosmological and biological origins, and also the resurrection of Jesus, we are dealing with phenomenon that, by their very nature, are one-offs. There can be no repeatabilty.

            However, that does not preclude the resurrection from being empirically falsifiable.

            As for teenage boys, I see that my simple illustration worked even better than I hoped, your incredulity notwithstanding.

        • Carol Sperling says:

          So your designer came up with something indistinguishable from trial-and-error mutation and selection? Parsimony tells me he is not needed here. You’d better start looking for another gap to hide him in.

          • Robert Lockett says:

            The point is that you are not in a position to judge such phenomenon as inadequate Carol, and neither do I, precisely BECAUSE we do not know the mind of the designer.

            It is YOU presuming to know Dennis, not I.

            This is getting rather boring… How do you put up with these people Perry?

            Be careful with that ‘gaps argument’ axe, Carol. It is especially threatening to mother nature which is what my very first comment in this thread was all about. Darwin’s tree of life is a prime example of a nature of the gaps argument. And it is still missing, though I suspect that Dennis will drop his stance on empirical necessity for that count.

            The reason is so clear. What you are guarding is not your science, but your philosophy. Welcome to the club.

            • Carol Sperling says:

              Tiny gaps in a huge wall of Nature, and you don’t like people filling them with Nature? If that’s not Slothful Induction, I don’t know what is.

              • Robert Lockett says:

                Tiny she says… we do not know what matter and energy are which means we really don’t even know what nature is. We also don’t know what consciousness is, but in Carol’s ‘mind’… it is all so clear.

                Materialists! Can’t live with em. Can’t say get a good laugh without them.

      • Good points. Carol. I’ve said something similar. If we are to attribute this to design then I wonder why it only works sometimes and leaves the organism with a weakened ability to metabolize nitrogen? All of this is handily explained by mutation but makes a designer look like a tech school drop out.

        What’s funny is that over in the 7 myths thread biologists are held to the most exacting standards of perfection. Here a simple genuflect and an ‘aw shucks, who can know the mind of the maker’ passes as good theology/ science/mythology.

        • Robert Lockett says:

          Sorry for the first of the last two posts in which my lack of skill in using my new smartphone and the auto correct feature really reflects poorly on me. Since we have no way to edit in this format I will be more careful.

          Dennis, from one angle it is no more complicated than constrained design. You don’t look at a lap top and snarl at its processing power, presuming the designer to be incompetent. It is made to be portable and we sacrifice computing power to accomplish that.

          So, if we know what the purpose and meaning of life and this universe are, we can then make a right judgment.

          That last statement is a fact, not an opinion. Incredulity will not help you.

          From another angle, biology does indeed appear to be seriously deficient. The problem for us is knowing what a sufficient world and biology would look like. Certainly it would be glorious compared to this dark world of fleshly puppets and two headed snakes, but just what exactly are you and Carol imagining. And make no mistake, you must imagine it.

          Now, I find all of this to be a very curious thing because the competent designer that I know and worship for his genius and goodness specifically tells us that the world (and humanity in particular) DID have that glorious sufficiency to start with. We were truly alive and living in a real world (the paradise now lost). But we (that is- humanity) decided to do something in secret and attempt to play God. The lack of transparency killed us. And we died that day, ceasing to be fully alive and glorious, and reduced to mere decaying yet replicating biology, mucus, limbs, and torsos. And we are embarrassed and even disgusted with our zombie-like life.

          So in one sense we CAN judge this world as lacking. All I am pointing out is that whether we believe the bible or not, there is a much larger context in our judgments of such things. And that context lies far beyond the reach of empirical inquiry alone.

          Both of you are assuming an awful lot in your condemnation of a proposed designer by demanding a burden of proof that poor mother nature (and her mysterious mind and ways) cannot answer.

          I though Lewis did a fantastic job of helping us get a handle on the evils of nature.

          This should start at the 13 minute mark and will only require 2 minutes of your time: https://youtu.be/Uv4kx2QP4UM?t=791

          • Dennis mitton says:

            So your creator/designer doesn’t build lousy houses – he just has a unique way of stacking wood for pallets! Pure genius.

            Have you tried the “lousy is all about perspective” over in the 7 Myths thread?

            I’m signing out. Nothing new here.

            Cheers Robert!

            Enjoy

  10. Robert Lockett says:

    Dennis, You have not summarized my argument correctly at all. You did a bang up job of destroying a straw man however. Good for you.

    I BELIEVE my creator designer builds houses far more majestic and sound than either you or I can envision. But neither Epicurus, yourself, nor I know the best way to do that. Because the houses have free will (a mind of there own), getting their cooperation requires not taking what we might assume (in your ignorance) the direct approach.

    I see the deficiency of the design too. But it requires making some assumptions that we do not and cannot know or prove. You have conceded the ‘prove’ part and I appreciate that.

    It appears to me that we live in a world that is almost real. But it lacks enough dimension/s to be quite complete. That tells me it is incomplete. But by no means does that necessarily infer that the designer is incompetent. As I said, it means he must have purposes we are not comprehending.

    But as I also said, some of us have read the story, and we DO perceive those purposes.

    This world is a cage, almost a game, to see who will settle down, humble themselves, and listen to the designer whom has spoken quite clearly. They will have proven themselves worthy of the final product.

    You don’t let the insane out into the real world until they are well. You don’t let children run the world. History shows us why.

    So for me, not only is the designer capable, but very wise in the way and chronology he builds.

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