1) "As pointed out in previous chapters, Teaching about Evolution frequently dismisses creation as ‘unscientific’ and ‘religious.’ Creationists frequently point out that creation occurred in the past, so cannot be directly observed by experimental science—and that the same is true of large-scale evolution."
We observere every facet of evolution from mutation to speciation, including speciation making significant changes to organisms. Much of what we see is microbial in nature, but that's not a barrier. We see it all happen. We test it. We learn more every day about these things. Why isn't a microb mutating over generations into highly dissimilar organisms accepted?
"But evolution or creation might conceivably have left some effects that can be observed. This chapter discusses the criteria that are used in everyday life to determine whether something has been designed, and applies them to the living world."
Intentional design would leave signs, of which there are none before life. Only once life arose can we difinitively say something was intentionally designed. Prior to life, there are no such strong signs. Perhaps this chapter has some evidence I've not enountered before, so we shall see if my current understanding is wrong or if I'm to be presented with the standard fare of design arguments.
2) "People detect intelligent design all the time. For example, if we find arrowheads on a desert island, we can assume they were made by someone, even if we cannot see the designer."
True. But we contrast this with the fact that most rock chips do not attain a specific shape nor were they worked into those shapes. We assume design because natural processes do not account for someone making a tool.
"There is an obvious difference between writing by an intelligent person, e.g. Shakespeare’s plays, and a random letter sequence like WDLMNLTDTJBKWIRZREZLMQCOP.2 There is also an obvious difference between Shakespeare and a repetitive sequence like ABCDABCDABCD. The latter is an example of order, which must be distinguished from Shakespeare, which is an example of specified complexity."
There's a difference, but we're talking about a difference of use of an alphabet and language after language and the alphabet had been created. The natural world is very much ordered, so order cannot be a symptom of design as it is also easily explained by natural processes. Look at a crystal.
"So evolutionists (as are nearly all SETI proponents) are prepared to use high specified complexity as proof of intelligence, when it suits their ideology. This shows once more how one’s biases and assumptions affect one’s interpretations of any data."
No, they're prepared to use high specified complexity as proof of intelligence when it's not explicable by natural processes. This shows once more how creationists try and drive the religion wedge into stuff.
"Life is also characterized by high specified complexity."
Which is explained by natural processes requiring no designer. Red is the color of a stop light and of blood. Seeing red does not indicate one specifically. You need more than specified complexity to indicate design. It is necessary for design, but it is not sufficient.
"But proteins and DNA, the most important large molecules of life, are not ordered (in the sense of repetitive), but have high specified complexity. Without specification external to the system, i.e., the programmed machinery of living things or the intelligent direction of an organic chemist, there is no natural tendency to form such complex specified arrangements at all."
Yes, the basic building blocks of life which make up DNA do, in fact, form naturally. There's nothing magic holding them together. It's just chemical bonds. That they are complex does not indicate a designer any more than order does.
"However, this doesn’t stop many evolutionists (ignorant of Orgel’s distinction) claiming that crystals prove that specified complexity can arise naturally—they merely prove that order can arise naturally, which no creationist contests."
The processes which form crystals are actually quite novel and indicate that natural rules govern the actions of physical objects including amino acids and nucleotides. It is possible to seed a crystal into environments and have it begin organizing other things. It may not be complex, but let's not go around dismissing the awesomeness of crystals because they're rigid repetetive structures.
"The design criterion may also be described in terms of information. Specified complexity means high information content. In formal terms, the information content of any arrangement is the size, in bits, of the shortest algorithm (program) required to generate that arrangement. A random sequence could be formed by a short program:
Print any letter at random.
Return to step 1.
A repetitive sequence could be made by the program:
Return to step 1.
But to print the plays of Shakespeare, a program would need to be large enough to print every letter in the right place."
Let's cheat a bit for ease of understanding. A program needed to write shakespeare could be exactly as short as shakespeare plus code to print the text. Or it could be all the works plus code to randomly generate letters until they matched. Or they could do the random matching and also remember when they got it right. You can program robots to evolve by rewarding them with foods (energy) when they do things. You could make one of these to be rewarded on generating english words, and over time, the little sucker would learn english words. This means nothing for design or creation as you could make the words it learns irrelevent, only that it has a mechanism it can use to collect more resources.
"If it’s unreasonable to believe that an encyclopedia could have originated without intelligence, then it’s just as unreasonable to believe that life could have originated without intelligence."
No, it's not. This is severe abuse of an analogy. Dawkins is comparing only size, and the author here is extending that into content. Yes, a book needs a designer. Just because something has the volume of information of a book does not mean it needs a printing press or paper.
"Even more amazingly, living things have by far the most compact information storage/retrieval system known. This stands to reason if a microscopic cell stores as much information as several sets of Encyclopaedia Britannica. To illustrate further, the amount of information that could be stored in a pinhead’s volume of DNA is staggering. It is the equivalent information content of a pile of paperback books 500 times as tall as the distance from earth to the moon, each with a different, yet specific content."
Yes, tiny things are very dense and can do things with much less room than macroscopic things can. This is not shocking or revelatory, it's a function of their size. We, being made of these things, are astounded to learn things. However if we could see it with our own eyes it would be no more astounding that how many leaves are on a tree or how many ants are in a hill. It is astounding only because it is new, not because it is inherently awe-ing.
3) "Biochemist Michael Behe, in his book Darwin’s Black Box, calls this minimum number irreducible complexity. He gives the example of a very simple machine: a mousetrap. This would not work without a platform, holding bar, spring, hammer, and catch, all in the right place. If you remove just one part, it won’t work at all—you cannot reduce its complexity without destroying its function entirely."
Irreducible complexity was first proposed by a Nobel Prize winning evolutionist who pointed out that evolution would produce irreducibly complex systems. He did not say pre-cursors would be without function. As an example, keep the bar, the spring, and the platform, and you have a tie clip. It is not a mouse trap, but it is a perfectly functional machine with fewer parts than the trap had. Irreducibly complex or limited in imagination?
"The blood-clotting mechanism also has many different chemicals working together, so we won’t bleed to death from minor cuts, nor yet suffer from clotting of the entire system."
Ah, so a wizard did it, I see. Oh or maybe it was something like this. (This is the short version, wooooo biochemistry.)
4) "For natural selection (differential reproduction) to start, there must be at least one self-reproducing entity. But as shown above, the production of even the simplest cell is beyond the reach of undirected chemical reactions."
Thank the maker we don't need a fully functioning cell to self replicate and begin the whole process. You see, we don't think the cell was the start. Or even stuff with DNA. I believe the current idea on the original self replicators were vastly simpler than a cell and require nowhere near the giant army of requirements the author lists prior to this statement. If creationists find the cell to be the minimum level of life, then it might not actually be any wonder why they're confused about the whole of evolution.
5) "Even if we grant evolutionists the first cell, the problem of increasing the total information content remains."
No it doesn't. Gene duplication has been seen and studied in labs for quite awhile. Again, the bacteria which can consume Nylonase. Genetic information which could not have been usefull prior to the invention nylon appeared in bacteria. This required a pathway to be added. It was.
"To go from the first cell to a human means finding a way to generate enormous amounts of information—billions of base pairs (‘letters’) worth."
Well, we had about 3.5 billion years to do it, so whatever the method it wasn't a fast one.
"However, the examples of ‘contemporary evolution’ presented by Teaching about Evolution are all losses of information."
So the book used lossy evolution as an example. This is an indictment of the book, not the theory.
"Recent discoveries have shown that there are indeed ‘wheels’ in living organisms. This includes the rotary motor that drives the flagellum of a bacterium."
The flagellum was originally a device bacteria used to infect other organisms with disease that grew into a motive device. Evolution explained it. The system was built upon until it was a motive device. Much like the tie-clip > mouse trap.
"These molecular motors have indeed fulfilled one of Haldane’s criteria."
A communist evolutionist in 49 made a satemenout about what would falsify evolution. A) Why does communism have anything to do with this? and B) Why does Haldane's criteria matter half a century later? Darwin started the ball rolling, but he got a lot of shit wrong. That's fine, that's how the process works. No one man is the spokesperson for reality. People can bet their lives on some fact based on a lifetime of research and be wrong, that's why you don't give serious weight to appeals to authority or education. Truth doesn't care where you went to school or who's ministry you're running. Not to discredit experience, but honestly, this isn't a criticism. Either Haldane was wrong or the criteria don't match as well as stated. Oh no. Some dead Brittish commie said a wheel in an organism would falsify evolution. Ok, well, the color blue will falsify evolution. Oh! I found blue! Clearly the century and a half of supporting research has now crumbled. Or do I need a Ph.D before I can have that power? I can never tell.
6) "The genetic information in the DNA cannot be translated except with many different enzymes, which are themselves encoded. So the code cannot be translated except via products of translation, a vicious circle that ties evolutionary origin-of-life theories in knots. These include double-sieve enzymes to make sure the right amino acid is linked to the right tRNA. One sieve rejects amino acids too large, while the other rejects those too small."
So evolution created well suited organisms to perform their duties and functions? This is a criticism? This seems more like a "LOOK HOW AWESOME EVOLUTION IS! IT MADE TINY SIEVE NANO-BIOBOTS! SUPER KAWAII DESU ^_^."
"The genetic code that’s almost universal to life on earth is about the best possible, for protecting against errors."
Because we have seen alternatives? Oh and universal life code supports universally related life through biological means, not through a common creator. I know a guy who built two bridges with different materials because wood is good in some places and steel is good in others.
"The genetic code also has vital editing machinery that is itself encoded in the DNA. This shows that the system was fully functional from the beginning—another vicious circle for evolutionists."
No this shows DNA is super awesome now and makes no claims on how super awesome it was back in the day. We're pretty sure it was less awesome and got more awesome because that's what evolution said it did. Provided this description is accurate.
"Yet another vicious circle, and there are many more, is that the enzymes that make the amino acid histidine themselves contain histidine."
Yeah, well who made god? (Seriously there are better answers, but let's not have two standards on this sort of stuff.)
"The complex compound eyes of some types of trilobites (extinct and supposedly ‘primitive’ invertebrates) were amazingly designed. They comprised tubes that each pointed to a different spot on the horizon, and had special lenses that focused light from any distance. Some trilobites had a sophisticated lens design comprising a layer of calcite on top of a layer of chitin—materials with precisely the right refractive indices—and a wavy boundary between them of a precise mathematical shape. The Designer of these eyes is a Master Physicist, who applied what we now know as the physical laws of Fermat’s principle of least time, Snell’s law of refraction, Abbé’s sine law and birefringent optics."
And the armor was fucking livid when scientists pointed out bats were using their new fangled radar system without permission. Snell didn't invent refraction, he discovered it. Oh and the master physicist also seemed to forget that his awesome creation should last. Guess those awesome eyes were not awesome enough.
"Lobster eyes are unique in being modeled on a perfect square with precise geometrical relationships of the units. NASA X-ray telescopes copied this design."
Evolution does what works. If magic eyes work, evolution keeps them going. Plus what is this lobstrosity was related to the trilobites!? [Note: I have no idea if they were.]
"The amazing sonar system of dolphins was discussed in chapter 5. Many bats also have an exquisitely designed sonar system. The echolocation of fishing bats is able to detect a minnow’s fin, as fine as a human hair, extending only 2 mm above the water surface. This fine detection is possible because bats can distinguish ultra-sound echoes very close together. Man-made sonar can distinguish echoes 12 millionths of a second apart, although with ‘a lot of work this can be cut to 6 millionths to 8 millionths of a second.’ But bats ‘relatively easily’ distinguish ultra-sound echoes only 2 to 3 millionths of a second apart according to researcher James Simmons of Brown University. This means they can distinguish objects ‘just 3/10ths of a millimeter apart—about the width of a pen line on paper."
Bats are actually a lot more awesome than that. Read the blind watch maker for a pretty neat go over of all things batty in respect to evolution.
"The neural system of a leech uses trigonometric calculations to work out which muscles to move and by how much."
So get a leech to do your seventh grade math homework. Oh wait, you can't, because the leech is using its body, not busting out a TI-92 and some scratch paper.
"From my own specialist field of vibrational spectroscopy: there is good evidence that our chemical-detecting sense (smell) works on the same quantum mechanical principles."
That is actually pretty neat and has nothing to do with how it arrived here.
This list is awesome, but it's all the highlights. What I want is an explanation from god about my fucking unecessary wisdom teeth. For fun I looked up poor design on google and found a bunch of results, this seems to be the most fun and informative list.
7) "The real reason for rejecting the creation explanation is the commitment to naturalism."
Yes, but that's because naturalists of this variety expect evidence. As I mentioned earlier, the supernatural isn't part of that. They don't hate god, they just never saw the cat.
"As shown in chapter 1, evolutionists have turned science into a materialistic ‘game,’ and creation/design is excluded by their self-serving rules."
As I showed earlier, it's not a game and creation/design are excluded for failing to provide evidence. It's one thing to say "Well we have problems with all these answers." - That's fine. It's another to go further into "So a wizard did it."
"Therefore, although Teaching about Evolution dismisses creation science as ‘unscientific,’ this appears to be derived more from the rules of the game than from any evidence."
What evidence is there for creation again? Not this past nine chapters of "This is a problem we see with evolution." but the part about "So this book is the answer." None? Was it absolutely none? Oh, alright then. The infallibility of the bible has no impartial evidence.
"Even some anti-creationist philosophers of science have strongly criticized the evolutionary scientific and legal establishment over these word games. They rightly point out that we should be more interested in whether creation is true or false than whether it meets some self-serving criteria for ‘science.’"
Yes, it's dumb to argue semantics except when relevent. Who cares if some people say words games are dumb. When someone's trying to foist answers-first research-second style religious science on others, they're going to meet a lot of resistance and have a lot to answer for first. Just like applying for a job with a government while being a known anti-government activist. But all that aside, I've just read 9 chapters of creationist theory and don't actually know what they're saying other than "the bible is true" and "we have problems with evolution." The bible's at the very least not 100% true, and problems with evolution are great. Bring them all, they shine light on things and clarify them.
"Many of these word games are self-contradictory, so one must wonder whether their main purpose is to exclude creation at any cost, rather than for logical reasons. "
People who hate god more than they like learning will do this. Pretty much everyone else is just interested in the information, and creationism lacks it. Here's the statement they're all riled up about: "The ideas of ‘creation science’ derive from the conviction that God created the universe—including humans and other living things—all at once in the relatively recent past. However, scientists from many fields have examined these ideas and have found them to be scientifically insupportable. For example, evidence for a very young earth is incompatible with many different methods of establishing the age of rocks. Furthermore, because the basic proposals of creation science are not subject to test and verification, these ideas do not meet the criteria for science."
So they deny it on grounds of current knowledge and understanding of science. Oh no.
"However, Teaching about Evolution claims that the ideas of creation science have been examined and found unsupportable, then they claim that the ‘basic proposals of creation science are not subject to test and verification.’ So how could its proposals have been examined (tested!) if they are not subject to test?"
That's a pretty clever catch, but you have to realize they're not applying both statements to the same things. Some things are testable - a global flood, creation in kinds, six thousand year old earth, etc... Some things are not - creation in kinds doesn't say anything about what we should expect to see other than stuff looking similar. That's really suprficial and facile, but it's also not solely support for creationism. God in some aspects is testable, and fails every one of those tests. Everywhere else he's untestable. Creation does put forth some testable ideas, and it also puts forth untestable ideas. Phew, crisis averted.
The bigger issue here is simply that creation isn't something you can teach in a scientific setting. Some aspects of it are ok, but as an entire theory, there's nothing to teach that's testable/experimentable. It's just not something you can teach in a scientific atmosphere. God created the world is literally the entire lesson. God made man, then some cats and a bull elephant. All creationism would be is biology with a lot ripped out replaced by "A wizard did it." This is why it doesn't get taught in science class, because where it agrees, it accepts science, and where it doesn't, it removes it and replaces it with either nothing or with unclear, conflicted, confusing theories that have little support and generally only last as long as it takes for someone to look into it critically.
"We have not yet encountered any good in principle reason to exclude design from science. Design seems just as scientific (or unscientific) as its evolutionary competitors … .
An openness to empirical arguments for design is therefore a necessary condition of a fully rational historical biology. A rational historical biology must not only address the question, ‘Which materialistic or naturalistic evolutionary scenario provides the most adequate explanation of biological complexity?’ but also the question ‘Does a strictly materialistic evolutionary scenario or one involving intelligent agency or some other theory best explain the origin of biological complexity, given all relevant evidence?’ To insist otherwise is to insist that materialism holds a metaphysically privileged position. Since there seems no reason to concede that assumption, I see no reason to concede that origins theories must be strictly naturalistic."
They must be naturalistic because the other options is the supernatural, which is by definition not testable and not something we can interact with. That's all natural means - it's within the universe. If you insist god is there, he can be tested for. When we fail you have to either accept the test is flawed, he's not a natural thing, or he's not there. Nobody excludes god because he's god, they end up excluding him because he's not something you can test for or interact with. That's it. No grand conspiracy, no bias other than the one towards things you can see and interact with.
"This book has addressed the main arguments for evolution presented by Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science and found them wanting. By contrast, the evidence for creation is cogent."
By found them wanting you mean "nobody was there so we don't know if all the stuff they say is true!" and by cogent you mean "We don't have an argument we just point out flaws in evolution and hand wave what's left as our own" then yes, there was wanting and cogency all around.
1) "Facts do not speak for themselves, but must be interpreted according to a framework. The leading evolutionists are biased towards naturalism, to the extent that many are outspoken atheists. This is especially true of the National Academy of Science, the producers of Teaching about Evolution. Conversely, creationists admit that they are biased in favor of creation as revealed in the Bible. Although they have the same facts as evolutionists, interpreting them according to a biblical framework results in a more scientifically cogent theory."
Facts are facts. You don't interpret what 50% means. You know it means half of whatever. That's not interpretable. What is interpretable are things like languages and phrases. Yes, you do have a philisophical framework of what constitutes knowledge and all of that jazz, but that's not an interpretation of fact, that's just an entirely different worldview and what I see as a fact you may not, but that has nothing to do with interpretation. And of course the bible offers nothing cogent based on this book. It may do so, but this author failed to do anything other than nitpick at evolution and say "Well wouldn't it be great if..." followed by a lot of hand waving. That is not a solid argument for anything, but it is a great distraction.
2) "Adherents to both the biblical creation/corruption/flood framework and the particles-to-people evolution framework teach that organisms change through time, and that mutations and natural selection play a large part in this. But evolutionists assume that the changes eventually increase the information content, so that a single living cell (which they claim arose from non-living chemicals) was the ancestor of all other life."
Evolutionists also point out specific examples of all points of their theory with the sole exception of things we can't observe as we don't live long enough to see larger organisms morph, into wholly other ones, but we do see this in smaller organisms and the fossil record. PS Evolution doesn't actually postulate anything about the origin of life, just its development. A lot of people do believe in some form of abiogenesis though.
"Creationists believe that separate kinds were created, and that changes generally either remove information or leave the total information content unchanged. The examples of ‘evolution in action’ presented by Teaching about Evolution do not demonstrate the information increase required by evolution. Rather, they are examples of variation within a kind, and are consistent with the creation framework."
Creationists cannot point out the original kinds or what kinds are specifically and when asked about a hybrid like Archaeopteryx make statements claiming it's clearly one when there's equal evidence for it being another. So the kind thing is at least tenuous if not abominable. And while evolution in action may not show an increase in this book, that's a book's failings. We've seen additions and see records of additions. Detailed examination of genetic material also implies a great wealth of addition, but since nobody recorded it on tape apparently that's all a wash.
3) "Evolutionists since Darwin have predicted that the fossil record would show many intermediate forms linking one kind of organism to a different kind. Instead, the fossil record shows that animals appear abruptly and fully formed, with only a handful of debatable examples of alleged transitional forms. It is also doubtful whether one can even imagine functional intermediates in many cases."
Thank god we've seen these things. Archaeopteryx, as previously shown, is not clearly a bird or a dinosaur, it exhibits diagnostic characteristics of both and some features neither posess. Further records of transitional fossils, that is fossils containing diagnostic features of various sorts of animals or animals with hybrid physiology, can be found all over the web and in numerous books. Feel free to look into them here, here, and here.
4) "Birds are unique creatures, with wings and feathers designed for flight, and special lungs completely different from those of any reptile. Some evolutionists propose that birds evolved from gliding tree reptiles, while others propose that birds evolved from running dinosaurs. Each group refutes the other so convincingly that a reasonable conclusion is that birds did not evolve from non-birds at all."
They do not refute eachother so convincingly. The gliding idea has been well refuted, the running dinosaur theory is still strongly supported and more recent evidence has filled in the idea. The statement made by this author is out of date for the time it was written, and simply stating the arguments within evolutionary circles are equal when they are not is either poor research, ignorance, or deceit.
5) "Whales are mammals designed for life in water, with many unique features. Teaching about Evolution asserts that whales evolved from land animals, and presents an alleged series of whale intermediates. But on close analysis, none stands up. For example, we find that the fossil evidence for one alleged key intermediate, Ambulocetus, is fragmentary. Another alleged intermediate, Basilosaurus, is actually 10 times the size of Ambulocetus although the book draws them the same size. And an evolutionary vertebrate paleontologist points out its peculiar body and tooth shape mean that Basilosaurus ‘could not possibly have been the ancestor of modern whales.’ "
Yes and Ambulocetus and Basilosaurus are 5-15 million years apart and have two other stages between them. Additionally fragmentary evidence is incomplete, not wrong. It's ok to work with what you have -say just a skull - and talk about comparisons of what you have with other fossils. This can lead to some issues, but we are wary of these and try to work within the limits the evidence places on us. We can also make guesses at other features, but these would remain simply guesses and require a large amount of research and work to make anything of them. Again, however, this is fine.
6) "Humans are very different from apes, especially in intelligence and language. Teaching about Evolution presents a series of alleged apeman skulls. But the evidence shows that humans and australopithecines are distinct kinds. This includes analysis of the semicircular canals in the ear and the canal that carried the nerve to the tongue. DNA similarities between humans and chimps are exaggerated; the dissimilarities correspond to encyclopedic differences in information. A common creator is a better explanation for both similarities and differences. Proper drawings of embryos show that different kinds have very different embryos, not similar ones, despite the claim of Teaching about Evolution."
The similarities between chimps and humans may have been exagerated, but the chapter itself listed these starting at 96% and going up. I won't argue that the numbers have been presented differenty, but if the argument is between 96% and 98%, I don't see this as a serious refutation. Look more into the who ordeal with the number difference here. A common creator is not an explanation in the sense that it does not actually explain anything. It is functionally equivalent to saying "A Wizard did it." This is not an explanation if that is the entirety of the information it provides.
7) "Teaching about Evolution presents the usual big bang theory. However, there is no satisfactory evolutionary explanation to explain how the universe could come into existence without a cause, or for the formation of stars and solar systems after such an alleged ‘big bang.’ Teaching about Evolution also discusses the Galileo controversy, but misses the point. The church had adopted the Ptolemaic framework and interpreted the Bible accordingly. Secular defenders of the framework persuaded the church leaders that Galileo was really contradicting the Bible. Moreover, the verses (mis)used to teach Ptolemaic astronomy were often from the Psalms, Hebrew poetry (unlike Genesis) that was clearly not intended to teach a particular cosmological model. Also, other biblical passages (mis)used were using the earth as a reference frame, a scientifically accurate procedure."
Without a cause? No one said it didn't have a cause. We simply do not know what it is, which is fine. The beginning of the universe as we understand it is also the beginning of time as we understand it, so the origins of the universe is equivalent to asking what happened before time. Right now we don't know. We may find out, we may not, but that isn't bad. And of course the genesis isn't poetry and psalms is thing is weird to me since you can interpret genesis just like you can psalms, it just depends on who you ask. Some religious folk even suggest that genesis is simply a poetic imagining of the creation events and not a literal historical document. Of course they don't follow the exact same church the author does, but I wouldn't go around saying they were any less Christian.
8) "Teaching about Evolution teaches that the earth is billions of years old, and uses the fossils and radiometric dating as ‘proof.’ However, there is evidence that many rocks and fossils were formed by catastrophic processes, which is consistent with the biblical framework that includes a global flood. Radiometric dating theory relies on several untestable assumptions about the past, and the methods have often proven false and even self-contradictory in practice. Ninety percent of the methods that have been used to estimate the age of the earth indicate an age far younger than that asserted by Teaching about Evolution. "
The only catastrophe the bible discusses on a global scale is the flood. This may even take care of all earthly evidence found lower than Mount Ararat. That still leaves us with plenty of materials from metorites, Mars, the moon, etc... The flood had no affect on these, yet they also consistently show ages in accordance with eachother and other terrestrial rocks. Radiometric dating theory and the bible both say things about the past for which there was no witness. By examining the whole of our current body of evidence we can test the predictions both theories make and compare them for accuracy. The bible's flood has little to no support in any global scale, while radiometric dating has not only been found to satisfy the information we see, but has produced usefull information for finding other information. The bible predicts little and fails in what it does predict, radiometric dating predicts things such as what we ought to see in various strata and allows us to discover things such as Tiktilaak, a transitional fossil.
9) "Living organisms have encyclopedic quantities of complex, specific information coded in the DNA. Interestingly, this is precisely the criterion that would prove that a signal from outer space has an intelligent source. DNA itself is the most efficient storage/retrieval system in the universe. The information it stores is the blueprint for all the enzymes required for life, and the recipe for building the complex organs needed. Some of these include sonars of dolphins and bats, and the miniature motors driving flagella or making the ATP molecule. These are far more complex than anything humans have built. Other structures have inspired human inventions; for example, the lobster eye inspired an x-ray telescope design. Finally, it is shown that the design explanation is legitimate, and that the only reason to reject it is an a priori faith in materialism."
No it's not the precise requirement for an intelligent signal from outer space. Recall we have a naturalistic, non-intelligent explanation for DNA. A signal of that complexity in space would be ok as we do not have any idea how it would show up - this is why we had to exclude things like repetetive signals and things of that nature. We looked at what would naturally send us signals and had to raise the bar above that. Whether or not DNA is more complex than things we make is not any indication that it was made. Again, the author compares human intelligence to a natural process with billions of years. Additionally, what exactly is the comparison between a human and DNA and god and a human? The only thing I recall is we were made in god's image, but I don't recall anything saying we operate anything like god, especially lacking the vast majority of the qualities we'd need to be anywhere near the same level. With this vast gulf of difference, why does it matter what man can or can't do when relating him to something divine or inhuman? The design argument is not legitimate as anything else other than a bridge for people to walk on the way to accepting the mountains of information regarding the world they live in. Even then it's not really all that hot, but lots of people have lots of reasons for doing things.
10) "Thus, there is good reason to take the biblical creationist framework seriously, and every reason that students should hear the evidence against evolution."
The first part of this statement is weak. There's little reason to take it seriously. However the second half is absolutely true. Students should be taught the issues with the evolutionary theory, where it's weak, where we're missing things. This is because that is how a new generation of students are introduced to the parts of the theory which are still being researched and they can have a hand in if they want. Not that old information or theories cannot also be challenged, but it's a lot more exciting to work in new and emerging fields and ideas.
Well, A for effort is all I can really say. The book spent the majority of its text trying to find flaws in evolution, pointing out flaws we're already aware of, and ignoring the fact that many of these flaws had been taken into account. The biggest problem I have with this book is that the author uses appeal to authority as the core of their argument against evolution. Who cares if you have a Ph.D or twenty years of experience in a field - you're either right, or you're wrong. The fact that some of the people they quote later retracted their statements or were misquoted is further evidence that this is a weak tactic.
Closely following the tactic of founding your assault on words more than evidence is the whole "Well you weren't there!" thing. Nobody in the debate was. If the creationist side wishes to submit the bible as an eye witness, they can do that, but they're going to have to provide a lot of evidence for it, which has yet to be done. Beyond the fact that the point they're trying to make - (You weren't there, but the bible was!) - is the fact that this entire concept is ridiculous. Nobody lives their life only accepting what they've seen, that's the borderline of solipsism. Every hour of every day we take non-eye witness evidence into account as we live our lives. I see that the login name of my computer has changed. I never saw anyone do it, but I know someone did, and given the name that it was changed to I have a good idea of who it was. I wake up in the morning and I see snow everywhere. I didn't see it snow, but I am pretty sure that's what happened. I had some beers in the fridge and now they are gone - they didn't just drink themselves. These examples are so commonplace it's almost impossible not to come up with an unending string of them. All of this is usefull and valuable in determining the past. Sure, most of it's the very recent past, but the concept is the same when dealing with fossils and rock layers and other things.
Now I get that the premise of this argument is that you can't be sure of the evidence, but it's one thing to not know what happened out of the gate and to constantly, constantly, constantly call into question things said about the past based on this alone. When you have something like radiometric dating which is held to very high standards and is confirmed by various methods, samples, and other features of the universe, you're not making a valid point about the method anymore, you're just harping on the same point without moving on. Yes, the information radiometric dating is based on could be wrong, but you can't just say "Well, you don't know for sure!" You have to look at the evidence it's built upon and say "I have a problem with this feature here" or "I think this is wrong." and not just "I think this is wrong" but "I think it's really this other way, and here's why." But "I think the decay rates may have changed." "Oh, why is that?" "Well, nobody recorded it, so it's possible." is not an actual argument. That argument could apply to anything. "I don't think you're really a human! I think you're a zombie robot!" "What? Based on what?" "Well, I mean, it's possible you are." This entire line of thought is weak. It's ok to question things. It's ok to to point out flaws. It's even ok to be highly skeptical. However, you can't simply reject everything based on something as weak as "It's possible it was another way." You need to couple that to evidence beyond "Well, here's a couple times it failed and a couple times it produced weird/wrong results." when the people you're assaulting can say "Yes, here's why it failed, here's why it was wrong, and here's the vast majority of the cases where it worked."
If you remove the weak arguments used in this book, you have almost nothing. Creationism doesn't postulate anything. God created kinds, ok, what does that mean on a microbiological level? So they look alike, but what about the kinds statements in genesis predicts anything about genes or DNA? Sure you can incorporate it, but what does it predict we should see? Nothing specific. It could cover any number of realities and situations, however evolutionary theory only describes a narrow window. The fact that we simply keep finding out more and more that supports it despite the fact that many of these discoveries could falsify it is testament to the accuracy of its statements.
In the end there was nothing really new in terms of clarifying creationism or adding any robustness to it. It's just another log of the same information, though I did get to read up on some of the specific examples I hadn't before such as whales and more detailed information Archaeopteryx.