PZ Myers Responds to RSR's Trochlea Challenge
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2011 UPDATE: A year later, as quoted below, PZ Myers replied to RSR and to his credit, he acknowledged that he does not have an answer for our trochlea challenge...
Aug. 17, 2012 UPDATE: PZ's blogged about the Enyart/AronRa debate and Bob's post on that thread was removed. It's now below...
The PZ Myers Trochlea Challenge on Real Science Radio: Well-known evolutionist PZ Myers published a blog titled Bob Enyart's wants me to respect his intelligence. Myers quoted the nicest thing ever written about Bob by anyone he's ever debated (from British Darwinist James Hannam):
"Richard Dawkins once said that 'if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).' It rapidly became clear that Bob was none of these things. For a start, I know a fair bit about evolution and genetics. But when it came to familiarity with the arguments, he was way ahead of me. On epigenetics, RNA/DNA chemistry, and animal physiology, I was hopelessly outclassed. Bob is not ignorant. And it is pretty clear he is neither stupid nor insane. He came across, in fact, as extremely intelligent. So perhaps he is wicked? Well, despite a brush with the law a few years ago, I am sure he is nothing of the sort. Comments such as those made by Dawkins only further undermine the presumption of good faith on the part of creationists and Darwinists." -British Evolutionist Richard Hannam quoted by PZ Myers
PZ Goes ad hominem On Us, So We Went All ad hominid On Him: So we posted to his blog: "PZ, since you won't debate him, Bob Enyart has now posted what he's calling his one and only question to you: The PZ Myers Trochlea Challenge. It's a sketch of the human eye with the question in its caption." -A Bob Enyart Live staffer
* PZ Responds to Our Trochlea Challenge: "...Enyart has challenged me to explain how this feature evolved. I have an answer. It’s easy. I don’t know. I don’t see any obvious obstacle to an arrangement of muscles evolving, but I don’t know the details of this particular set." Of course though pretty much everyone else posting on his blog has an answer. :) And as Bob posted at Myers' site and at RSR, when PZ asks whether or not the muscle could have attached without the trochlea he is obfuscating. Of course that or any muscle could be fastened somewhere without first passing through a trochlea. Intentionally or not, PZ is missing the point of the trochlea diagram.
* Warning: PZ Myers Blog is Filthy. The New York Times article Unnatural Science is spot on about PZ Myers filthy blog. Like many evolutionist blogs, Myers' is filled with vulgarity and constant references to defecation and sex acts. The vulgar site drips with intolerance, anger, and hatred toward those who disagree. The Times article generally describes (anti-creation) science blogs like that from "PZ Myers [who] revels in... blasphemy", have a "weird vindictiveness", "religion-baiting", "preoccupied with... name-calling", "incendiary rhetoric that draws bad-faith moral authority from the word 'science'.” The Times writer Virginia Heffernen asks, "Does everyone take for granted now that science sites are where... researchers... go not to interpret data... but to... jeer at... churchgoers?" And she answers that, "the most visible" of "the science bloggers..." are "charged with bigotry". Then, atheist Prof. Massimo Pigliucci of the City University of New York described the science webs of PZ, et al., as "a culture of insults... spouting venom or nonsense" and urged these bloggers to "enroll in the nearest hubris-reducing ten-step program" and suggested that they give "the best possible interpretation of someone else’s argument before you mercilessly dismantle it," and finally, "Engage... your opponents in as civil a tone as you can muster." PZ mocked Bob Enyart and RSR friend Will calling them idiots in the title of his blog: Bob Enyart and Will Duffy, partners in idiocy. To his credit though, PZ acknowledged that he did not have an answer for our trochlea challenge (above). And on this program Bob and Fred Williams discuss PZ's response and our posts on his blog in a show titled Flat Earth Society & PZ Myers Believe in Evolution.
* June 2012 UPDATE: Dinosaurs, PZ Myers, and the Soft Tissue Deniers: RSR hosts the web's most complete catalog of peer-reviewed journal papers, from Nature, PNAS, Science, etc., confirming the discovery of original dinosaur tissue from many dinosaur species. It's all on a single page at DinosaurSoftTissue.com! On his Pharyngula blog PZ Myers has been a soft tissue denier. On what is the greatest paleontology discovery in history, PZ joins those evolutionists who are science deniers and science doubters, all because they intuitively know that even simple changes in temperature gradually breakdown complex biological molecules which all of science uniformly maintained could not exist for even one million years. Now, they've got to deal with Harvard sequencing hardrosaur proteins, blood vessels from a T. rex, biological materal from archaeopteryx, and a whole boatload of other related problems, including carbon 14, left-handed amino acices, and a world looking them square in the face and saying: "If you believe soft tissue can last for 65 million years, you'll believe just about anything, won't you?" So, for the short-term, it's a lot easier to be a soft tissue denier.
Show is a Special Edition of Real Science Radio: Further, for years now PZ Myers has been a See also, the YouTube of Bob Enyart's chat with paleontologist Jack Horner. Bob offers $20,000 to the scientist of Jurassic Park fame to Carbon-14 date the soft-tissue T-rex that he excavated. Take a look at the video, the $23,000 grant letter that Bob then sent to Montana State University, and see also photos of the T-rex soft-tissue that is not 65 million years old!
* Why Didn't PZ Claim the Sling Evolved Elsewhere and Was Coopted? Because the challenge above is so simple to comprehend, it helps to illustrate irreducible complexity and it exposes the unworkable nature of the evolutionist response. First, pushing off the basics of the sling mechanism above to have evolved initially somewhere else doesn't answer the logic dilemma for natural selection couldn't begin to fine tune the system anywhere else either until if functioned minimally. Second, if the genetic instructions existed to build a trochlea sling mechanism elsewhere in the human (or other species') body, and by transposition or horizontal gene transfer, the whole ensemble was coopted and tried out in thousands of different places and orientations in the human body until it found a useful nitch with one particular muscle of the human eye, then does that mean that evolution "attempts" to install a sling variously in hundreds of locations in billions of organisms from a million species? Do we find these sling systems (and a thousand other anatomical systems) being tried out here and there whereever muscles are found? If evolution were true, the average autopsy should provide the most bewildering evidence of systems in transition. But what cadavers actually show is the same thing that many paleontologists say that the fossil record shows: stasis.
* DETAILED DISCUSSION OF DARWINISM AND THE TROCHLEA: In a debate on Entroy and Evolution prompted by an American Journal of Physics paper by Dan Styer (in which Styer himself joined in), Bob Enyart presented the detailed explanation (copied here) of why evolution could not bring about the trochlea. Prompted by his opponent Johnny claiming that, "...evolution only has to win a little every once in a rare while," Bob replied:
Once in a rare while? There are more than a million claimed interrelated species to evolve, each with millions of supposed changes in amino acid pairs. Just for a three-foot Australopithecus afarensis ape with inner ear balance support for knuckle-walking to evolve into a human being with our upright stature (and a thousand other differences), would require millions of randomly-generated mutations then replicating through the entire population, and all that in just a few million years? Rare? Slow? So slow we can’t discern it? Scientists are monitoring a million species, so we should see dramatic Darwinian breakthroughs in plants and animals every year, not unlike if we were watching a single species for one million years. And you wrote:
Originally Posted by Johnny
Evolutionists have no problem with the idea that the information content in the genome can increase. That's part of what natural selection can explain
Natural selection cannot select anything until it exists. And the googols of permutations of amino acid pairs in the quadrillions of eventually viable base pairs of the DNA information banks of all living species would need googols of eons of millions of years to occur by random chance before natural selection could even begin an attempt to select those variations.
The Bob Enyart Live staff commissioned the trochlea diagram (above) from Denver Bible Church member Apryl List as an illustration of one of the tiniest design hurdles that Darwinism faces in overcoming its challenge of information entropy.
How Would the Trochlea Have Evolved? Let’s assume evolution is true, and go back to when the development of the environ of the eye had been coming along well. I'm not a biologist or anatomist but have looked at the eye's trochlea and can see that to continue progressing, the evolving system had a need to re-route a muscle that helps rotate the eyeball. In order to rotate the eye downward, say to look where you’re walking, the muscle that's attached to its top had to overcome a minor technical challenge. Whether there were too many muscles needing access to too many structures in too small a space, or simply to improve the angle of attachment, this muscle would work best by traversing an indirect route:
Today we call this muscle the Superior Oblique. Back then, before the re-routing, the skull at a point near the frontal bone for no reason began to randomly mutate (over centuries, or millennia) and a defect began to form. But it turns out that the defect was a base in a place that would turn out to be in just the right location that permitted a further defect to form, in the shape of a loop, which we now call a Trochlea. The Superior Oblique, having no intention to re-route itself through the Trochlea (in fact, having no intention of any kind), begins by random mutation to in fact re-route itself, threading itself through the Trochlea. However, the eye muscles have a wide shape more like a belt than a cord, and a cord-shape would function better just for the portion of the muscle threaded through the Trochlea, so the nerve modified itself into a cord shape just along the section adjacent to the Trochlea. In the end, the re-route provided relief to muscular overcrowding in the orbit and significantly improved one of the angles of attachment:
Yes, this design change required hundreds of random mutations to occur. They had to happen somewhat simultaneously (in epochal terms) and coordinated between different tissue types and systems (nerves, skull, cartilage, muscles), in order to re-route and thread this muscle through the Trochlea sling and then back to the eyeball. Of course this had to happen without the overall system possessing any goal whatsoever of accomplishing that task, and even without any awareness that there even is a task of re-routing a muscle to be accomplished. And symmetry being as useful as it is, whatever design improvements develop, they’d have to be replicated to function the same for both eyeballs, and inverted. And all of these developments must begin as random changes, yes, but NOT EVEN to the Superior Oblique itself, that would be challenging enough. But before natural selection can favor a re-routed tendon, these random changes must hit the correct thousands of amino acids, out of billions, without ANY pressure or tendency to aim at, or hit, i.e., mutate by random chance and targeting, the correctly corresponding acids:
So the mutations must occur, not in the eye muscles, bones, cartilage (the only cartilage in the skull's eyeball cavity by the way) or nerves, but they must occur on the nucleotide rungs on the DNA ladder! Even though this muscle was enduring increasingly poor working conditions, of needing more space and a better angle from which to operate, by Darwinism, those factors could have absolutely no bearing on any random changes to the amino acid rungs of the double helix.
How many amino acid pairs (rungs) are there in the human double helix DNA molecule? Three billion. That's the equivalent of text characters in average-sized books in a library of 4,000 titles in its stacks. Evolutionists make fun of creationists saying that we argue from incredulity, but with every utterance they should look in the mirror and realize that they have taken the reverse approach, and exercise seemingly infinite credulity. Believing almost anything is not the mark of a skeptical scientist. Imagine that all the genetic changes for re-routing of the Superior Oblique are almost complete, and there remain only five rungs of the DNA ladder to be altered, and then the Trochlea system will function! So at this point, random chance mutations must hit the five correct letters in the correct stacks in the correct books on the correct pages in the correct lines in the correct words, all by random chance, and then at that point they have to make the proper changes to the existing acids. Not in the muscle, but in here:
Natural Selection gets its shot at this only AFTER random mutations bring about the improved functionality from the sling.
This muscle's routing requirement is only one of millions of sophisticated random design changes that must occur in a Darwinian development of the vision system. How much more complex than the routing of a cord is the overall system? The complexity of developing vision like that shared by primates and humans is probably a million times greater than the complexity of re-routing this one muscle (well, okay, two muscles, for both orbs). For example, there is no "projector" inside the brain displaying the analog image hitting the lens, but rather, the impact of the incoming photons is converted to an electro-chemical signal that symbolizes the image, which symbolic data is then transmitted to the brain, and then interpreted. And Johnny (and Dan), the packing and unpacking of that visual information would have been especially difficult to evolve since Darwinism is supposed to work by way of the physical laws, yet, being "physical" laws, they have no symbolic logic functions. So chemical reactions, cell divisions, electrical pulses, enzymes doing their thing, etc., none of this has any correspondence to symbolic logic and the decoding of an effectively digitized image. The whole system is so wildly complex, and then, the system must begin the extraordinarily difficult process of moving from black and white to color?
Taking unavoidable missteps into account, the slow reproductive system would have to process quadrillions of random alternatives, just in a single protein, and then quadrillions of variations on how to fold that protein, before giving Natural Selection something to consider (and then getting that fortuitous mutation to spread through the genome is itself improbable, even with improved organism functionality).
So now Johnny, this brings us back to your three comments:
Originally Posted by Johnny
Evolution is not about "an increase in information."
…evolution only has to win a little every once in a rare while. [And]
Evolutionists have no problem with the idea that the information content in the genome can increase. That's part of what natural selection can explain
And so, when Dan includes in his heat entropy calculations those DNA permutations that yield living organisms, he is unaware that he is encapsulating an enormous amount of information theory into his thermodynamics equations.
And that's not allowed.
-Pastor Bob Enyart
Denver Bible Church &
* Permission Granted to Use Sketch: On the conditions that notice of your use is emailed to Bob@KGOV.com and that the complete sketch is used unaltered, including the full caption and copyright notice, KGOV.com hereby grants permission to reproduce the Trochlea image above.
Today’s Resource: Have you browsed through our Science Department in the KGOV Store? Check out especially Walt Brown’s In the Beginning and Bob’s interviews with this great scientist in Walt Brown Week! You’ll also love Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez’ Privileged Planet (clip), and Illustra Media’s Unlocking the Mystery of Life (clip)! You can consider our BEL Science Pack; Bob Enyart’s Age of the Earth Debate; Bob's debate about Junk DNA with famous evolutionist Dr. Eugenie Scott; and the superb kids' radio programming, Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins! And Bob strongly recommends that you subscribe to CMI’s tremendous Creation magazine!
Hello PZ, thanks for mentioning my debate with Ra. Sadly, AronRa ended it.
7-25: Both of you blogged about the “no contest” debate. Aron wrote, that Bob Enyart’s “next submission ought to be interesting whatever it is…”
8-14: We posted on the debate forum, “Please feel free to ask AronRa if he’d like to set a limit between posts, say, 48 hours or one week [as I think I originally had proposed], and perhaps a limit of 10 rounds (I’m about to post Round 6.) ”
8-15: Aron quit, although thankfully he extended to me an invititation to add a concluding post.
PZ your readers might like a link to the actual debate, hosted by a UK site that I think is run by atheists: http://www.leagueofreason.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=51&t=9320
You wrote above that you were going to give a “sample of the back-and-forth” in our debate, but you forgot to include the “forth” part. :)
So, for those interested:
In our debate AronRa was a dinosaur soft tissue denier (something common on your site PZ), so we put up http://DinosaurSoftTissue.com and that also formed my Round 3 post:
And as for the underserved praise you gave me in the OP (I myself did NOT write the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics; you’d have to credit other creationists for that, like James Joule and Lord Kelvin), I did however debate the subject and the author of the Am. Jour. of Phys article, Entropy and Evolution, Dan Styer, joined in the debate via the comment thread at our church website, all of which you can find at http://realscienceradio.com/entropy
In that debate, I did respectfully correct two serious related errors made by creationist Henry Morris on the topic.
2nd Post (not removed):
Genetic science seems to strongly affirm YesYouNeedJesus when he says that biological life is not so much carbon-based as it is, far more fundamentally, information based.
On this topic PZ’s blog fans (commenters) seem to be half-a-century behind the science. Like carbon, silicon could support lengthy polymers, and the discussion of carbon chauvinism for forty years now illustrates that scientists can postulate in a straightforward, theoretical way, how a non-carbon-based biological life form could function. In fact, the next time atheists really want to show that they don’t need God to create life, there efforts would be more credible if they tried making something living out of silicon, instead of just tweaking some existing carbon-based organism. (The last atheist who said he could make life without God’s help grabbed a handful of dirt, and God said, “Hey, you get your own dirt.”)
So, it’s relatively straightforward to create a non-carbon-based life form schematic. But to lay out a theoretically functional diagram for how a biological life form could live and reproduce while possessing NO genetic information, that’s something that would win someone a Nobel Prize. So, we can understand conceptually how you would do without the carbon, but we have not been able to posit how you could do without information.
Thus, the experience of all of the scientific community to this day strongly affirms YesYouNeedJesus, in observing that it is far more fundamental to say that life is information based.
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