…Or Maybe He Was Just Late (two DpSU’s)

It’s later than usual, but it is here. Brian Thomas is arguing that nature could not produce the spiders’ diving bell (see also) or the Hornets’ “well-developed heat pump system” (which is part of a system that turn ultra-violet light into something that it can use for energy). This is because that “is something that’s not easy [for us] to do.” which means that, according to him, “If it’s not easy for a person with foresight to do, then it is surely impossible for nature, which has no foresight.”

The problem here is that the argument that it is harder for “nature” (evolution/Natural Selection) to solve a problem than it is for humans is fallacious. That is not (necessarily) the case. As an example, in 1996 Adrian Thompson conducted an experiment with evolving electronics (see here, slides 21-26, for an overview, here for more detail). The idea was to evolve a circuit that could differentiate between inputs of 1 and 10 kHz (well, actually “1.042 kHz and
10.416 kHz”) to output 0 and 5V for the different frequencies (it doesn’t matter which voltage corresponds to which frequency. It actually flipped during the experiment, between generations 2550 and 2800). The circuit had to do this without the aid of any kind of timing device (unless, of course, it evolved its own).

The resulting circuit after ~5100 generations (of which there was “no observable change over last 1,000 generations”) was, shall we say, not something any human would have designed:

The 'Winner' - the best circuit after 5000 generationsLooks pretty complicated!

However, it is possible to remove a large number of the cells, leaving the function of the circuit intact. Here’s the result:

The 'winner' above, after all the superfluous cells have been removedThe grey cells are those that could not be removed “without degrading performance, although they had no possible connected path to the output” (source’s emphasis). As this was a physical circuit, and not a simulation, the cells were capable of having indirect effects on each other, likely due to the cells electromagnetic fields and similar. I reiterate – no human would have made this circuit, and it requires far fewer cells than a man-made one would, as they would try and build some kind of clock into it.

The point I am trying to make is that humans and natural selection go about this kind of thing in completely different ways, and therefore saying that humans couldn’t make something has no bearing on whether or not evolution could.

—   —   —

Today’s DpSU is completely different. I neither know nor care about Solomon’s alleged copper mines, an so I’ll keep this brief. Basically, Brian Thomas is saying that Carbon dating suggests that a copper mine in the dead sea might actually be Solomon’s copper mine, in that it pushes the time back to around that period.

Perhaps aware of the irony that he is crowing about a carbon dating result that supports his claims, Mr Thomas goes on to say:

Carbon dating not only assumes that the rate at which radioactive carbon decays into stable nitrogen has remained constant within the artifact being tested, but also that the ratio of radioactive to stable carbon in earth’s atmosphere has been constant since the time the artifact ceased interacting with the atmosphere. Since these assumptions are generally valid for recent times, carbon dating can provide useful age estimates on carbon-containing objects like wood or bones deposited since the worldwide Flood. (The creation/Flood model predicts that atmospheric carbon levels were very different before and during the Flood, vastly inflating carbon “ages” for material deposited at those times.)

This is a practically textbook example of what has been called elseware “the Shroud of Turin variation of the Creationists’ Scientific Method. Basically, Creationists and similar will only believe scientific evidence if it agrees with their prior opinion.

A more in-depth description of what the “creation/Flood model” predicts about exactly what atmospheric carbon levels were (were they higher or lower?) would be nice, as well as some actual evidence that they have changed so wildly. However, I doubt we’ll ever get that – creationist do so love covering all the bases.

Ah, well, on with the next ones…

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9 thoughts on “…Or Maybe He Was Just Late (two DpSU’s)

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