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  1. #1
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    Ken Miller on evolution

    The Ken Miller lecture video that was linked to from here previously has a couple of amazing examples of evolution that I wasn't aware of until watching the video, so I'm going to type out a transcript now of a part of the video.
    Also if any of you want to download the video so you can watch it from your computer instead of having it stream from the web browser, here's the direct link http://www.20mm.net/misc/ken_miller_on_id_cwru.edu.wmv

    The part I'm going to type for you is located at around 1:50 (one hour and 50 minutes) into the video.
    It's in response to a question posed by an audience member.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Miller
    We don't know how long it took for the blood-clotting system or the bacterial flagellum to evolve, but we can look, for example, at how long it has taken entirely new genes to evolve, and one of my examples that I always love is that in the 1970s a group of Japanese scientists were hanging around a chemical factory where there was a big waste dump of plastic waste and they noticed that growing on the surface was what looked like a lawn of bacteria.
    This made no sense to them because what was being dumped in there was nylon polymer waste, which is synthetic and bacteria can't grow on it. Nonetheless there they were.
    They took the bacteria and cultured it in the laboratory and they discovered that these were pseudomonas bacteria that had evolved an entirely new enzyme called nylonase and it breaks down nylon.
    This enzyme actually evolved from junk DNA - from repetitive DNA - into which there had been a little flipping around of the genetic code so a promoter popped up, transcribed it and then evolved an enzyme with more and more activity.
    How long did it take for this entirely new protein to evolve, and obviously it presents very great selective advantage because now the bacteria can grow where it couldn't before? Less than 65 years, and the reason we can say that with some degree of certainty is that it was only 65 years ago that nylon was synthesized for the first time.
    So that's one example.
    My other favourite example is a seven-step pathway - with seven different enzymes - that breaks down 2,4-dinitrotoluene, this is one of the components of TNT, it's an explosive. This too was first synthesized in the 1930s and 2 years ago an Air Force laboratory in Florida was able to show that the soil bacteria in the grounds of Air Force bases that had soil contaminated with this explosive residue had evolved the seven-step pathway by co-opting enzymes from other bio-chemical pathways that served different purposes to break this down, and this clearly and also happened since the 1930s.
    So, where you have the proper opportunity, evolution can work very quickly and can produce some remarkable changes.

  2. #2
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    I haven’t had the time to look into this but Ken Miller makes some interesting observation here about a new field of study ‘Micro-evolution’. I have reviewed some info on the net but studying this could prove to be overwhelming. I’m glad Ken Miller is presenting these issues to a wide audience so that lay people like me have an opportunity to learn more about ’Micro-evolution’
    Here’s another example:
    At Three Mile Island the damaged reactor was contained and let to sit for a while before a cleanup was attempted. Since the vessel had extremely high radio-activity readings caution was well advised. When they were finally able to poke around in the damaged vessel[ I believe they used robots first] they found an algae bloom growing in the very radio actively hot water still puddled in the container.
    Some how the algae had evolved, very quickly, to adapt to this toxic environment to everyone amazement.

    We need to study these events in more detail.

    "So, where you have the proper opportunity, evolution can work very quickly and can produce some remarkable changes."
    Last edited by Phinnly Slash Buster; 05-28-2006 at 02:36 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    The Ken Miller lecture video that was linked to from here previously has a couple of amazing examples of evolution that I wasn't aware of until watching the video, so I'm going to type out a transcript now of a part of the video.
    Also if any of you want to download the video so you can watch it from your computer instead of having it stream from the web browser, here's the direct link http://www.20mm.net/misc/ken_miller_on_id_cwru.edu.wmv

    The part I'm going to type for you is located at around 1:50 (one hour and 50 minutes) into the video.
    It's in response to a question posed by an audience member.
    Thank you for that link.
    It is 2 hours of absorbing commentry on the battle between the evolutionists and the intelligent designists fought out mostly in the Dover court case.
    I only wish we could vote on school governers in the same way.But alas in the UK/EU all such matters are more centralised.
    The most interesting part for me was the comment on the difference in chromosome numbers between say Pandas and human beings(34 to 36)
    This is used by the anti evolutionists to refute the evolutionary link between certain mammal groups, However only 18 months ago researchers pondered on the difference and wondered whether in fact two chromoses had become fused for some reason in humans
    Sure enough chromosone number two is *fused*.The proof is there.
    Well worth the two hours.
    I am humbled by the depth of learning and the debating skills and the inate modesty of Ken Miller.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Science ability drops in U.S. high schools
    By Sam Dillon The New York Times

    THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2006

    WASHINGTON The first science test administered in five years across the United States shows that achievement among high school seniors has declined across the past decade, even as scores in science rose among fourth-graders and held steady among eighth-graders, the U.S. Department of Education has reported.

    The falling average science test scores among high school students, announced Wednesday, appeared certain to increase anxiety about American academic competitiveness and to add new urgency to calls from President George W. Bush, governors and philanthropists like Bill Gates for an overhaul of American high schools.

    The drop in science proficiency appeared to reflect a broader trend in which some academic gains made in elementary grades and middle school have been seen to fade during the high school years. The science results come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a comprehensive examination administered in early 2005 by the Department of Education to more than 300,000 students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on U.S. military bases around the world.

    "Our fourth-graders are doing better - that's the good news," said Darvin Winick, chairman of the bipartisan body set up by Congress to oversee the test. "But the 12th-grade results are distressing, there's no other way to slice it."

    The science test, which was administered during the first months of 2005, covered the earth, physical and life sciences, and was last given in 2000 and in 1996. The test administrators translate scores into three achievement levels: advanced, proficient and basic.

    On the most recent test, 68 percent of fourth-graders achieved at or above the basic level, compared to 63 percent on the 2000 and 1996 tests.

    The rising science achievement among fourth graders mirrored similar trends on nationwide reading and math tests released last fall. In interviews, analysts attributed those increases to the broad movements for higher standards and accountability that began in most states during the 1990s and gained force when Bush signed the No Child Left Behind law in 2002.

    Eighth-grade scores were largely unchanged from 10 years ago, with 59 percent of students scoring at or above the basic level in 2005, while 60 percent of students were at or above basic in 1996. Officials called those results disappointing, but the results from secondary schools were worse.

    Among high school seniors, 54 percent performed at or above the basic level in science in 2005, compared to 57 percent in 1996. Eighteen percent of high school students performed at the proficient level in 2005, down from 21 percent in 1996.

    To achieve at the basic level on the National Assessment, high school seniors must demonstrate knowledge of very basic concepts about the earth, physical and life sciences, and show a rudimentary understanding of scientific principles.

    There was some debate about how to explain the 12th-grade declines. Assistant Secretary of Education Tom Luce said they reflected a national shortage of fully qualified science teachers, especially in poor regions, where physics and chemistry classes are often taught by teachers untrained in those subjects.

    "We lack enough teachers with content knowledge in math and science," Luce said. "We have too few teachers with majors or minors in math and science. That clearly is a problem."

    Michael Padilla, a professor at the University of Georgia who is president of the National Science Teachers Association, said that the problem is not that universities are failing to train sufficient numbers of science majors or that too few opt for classroom careers, but that about a third of those who accept teaching jobs abandon the profession within five years.

    "What happens is that the system tends to beat them down," Padilla said. "Working conditions are poor, it's a difficult job, and the pay isn't that great."

    http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/25/news/science.php

    I’d like to see a break down on this state by state. I’m sure that in some states where ID has had an impact [in or outside of the school system] scores are lower. Ohio has changed their definition of science in apparent conflict with a more accurate definition. Ken Miller made mention of this as a possible trend if the religious right continue destroying the way science is taught.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    i actually like the idea of intelligent design.takes the religion OUT OF IT!?evolution as it is called is just another way of stating the fact that stuff gets improved!?no explanation as to WHY or HOW!?or at least not satisfactory to me!?i aint takin NOBODY'S word on NUTHIN!?LIFE FORCE!!say it any way you please!?hehe!!

  6. #6
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Well, seeing that the book "of Pandas and People" was originally worded with Creation until the Supreme Court ruled Creation could not be taught in public school....Creation was then removed from the book and replaced with Intelligent Design but, there was no change to so-called scientific content of the book.

    So how does this take religion out of it???

  7. #7
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Wow, those examples are incredible SubJunk, I will have to watch that video.

    Lexx, it is true that one of the failings of evolutionary theory is our inability to postulate prior evolutionary changes with any accuracy. We simply can't know with any accuracy what order genes mutated, what elements recombined in what order and so on, but that does not stop the explanative power of Evolutionary theory in a modern day sense.

    Evolutionary theory is used every day to guide research practices, to assist in choices related to genetic manipulations and so forth. Evolution is used to explain everything we see in nature accurately. Intelligent design does not explain anything because it presumes the ends for the means.

    Shane

  8. #8
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Roger that.

  9. #9
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    THE BATTLE RAGES ON:

    Authors Will Discuss New Book Critiquing Controversial Dover Intelligent Design Court Decision

    By: Staff
    Discovery Institute
    June 8, 2006
    WASHINGTON DC – Discovery Institute continues to further the cause of academic freedom and critical thinking with Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision, a penetrating analysis of Judge Jones' opinion in the Kitzmiller v. Dover School District case.

    To celebrate the publication of the book Discovery Institute is hosting a panel discussion and book party with the authors. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at Discovery Institute in Washington DC, located at 1015 Fifteenth Street, NW Suite 900. There is no cost to attend.

    As Steven D. Smith, Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, University of San Diego, says: “The mainstream science establishment and the courts tell us, in censorious tones that sometimes sound a bit desperate, that intelligent design is just a lot of fundamentalist cant. It's not. We've heard the Darwinist story, and we owe it to ourselves to hear the other side. Traipsing Into Evolution is that other side.”

    Traipsing is the first book critiquing federal Judge John E. Jones’ decision in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, the foremost trial to attempt to address the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design. In this concise yet comprehensive response, Discovery Institute scholars and attorneys expose how Judge Jones’ Kitzmiller decision was based upon faulty reasoning, non-existent evidence, and an elementary misunderstanding of intelligent design theory.

    “Anyone who believes in genuine academic freedom and who sees the value of fully disclosing to students all sides of the controversy about neo-Darwinism and Intelligent Design will want this helpful volume,” said Angus Menuge, Ph.D., DCA, professor of philosophy and associate director of The Cranach Institute at Concordia University Wisconsin.

    Now Discovery Institute is inviting the public to come and meet two of the authors and join in a discussion of the case and the impact of the ruling: Casey Luskin, attorney and program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute and John West, associate professor and chair of the political science department at Seattle Pacific University, and associate director of Discovery’s Center for Science & Culture.

    To register, contact Logan Gage at (202) 558-7084, or by email at lgage@discovery.org.
    http://www.discovery.org/scripts/vie...=discoMainPage


    UPDATED: South Carolina Standards Inspires Creative Reporting
    Education panel approves wording on biology standards



    (Columbia-AP) June 13, 2006 - The state Education Oversight Committee approved high school biology standards Monday that require students to "critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."

    The wording of standards had caused an impasse between the committee and the state Board of Education.

    Education Board members and state Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum worried the change would open the door to teaching alternative theories such as intelligent design...........................

    http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.as...21027&nav=0RaP

    Judge in intelligent-design case still fighting
    BY AMY WORDEN
    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    HARRISBURG, Pa. - U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III could have taken the safe route and retreated to the privacy of the courthouse after issuing his landmark ruling in December against intelligent design. Most judges are loath to go public about their cases at all, let alone respond to their critics.

    But Jones - angered by accusations that he had betrayed the conservative cause with his ruling, and disturbed by the growing number of politically motivated attacks on judges in general - came out from his chambers swinging.

    "I didn't check my First Amendment rights at the door when I became a judge," Jones said in a recent interview.

    While keeping his normal caseload, Jones has embarked on a low-key crusade to educate the public about the importance of judicial independence. He has been flooded with more invitations than he can accept to speak to organizations and schools about issues that arose from the Dover, Pa., case on intelligent design and other emotionally charged cases................

    http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansas...n/14779324.htm

  10. #10
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    "“Anyone who believes in genuine academic freedom and who sees the value of fully disclosing to students all sides of the controversy about neo-Darwinism and Intelligent Design will want this helpful volume,” said Angus Menuge, Ph.D., DCA, professor of philosophy and associate director of The Cranach Institute at Concordia University
    Wisconsin."

    hhhhmmmmmm....Angus Menuge, Ph.D, DCA...of Philosophy???...What science is that???...at The Cranach Institute.....mmmmmmmm....I wonder what type of school that is....

    "The Cranach Institute is a research and educational arm of Concordia Theological Seminary devoted to working out the implications of the Lutheran doctrine of vocation and engaging contemporary culture with the truths of the Lutheran confessions."

    aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh......Scientist????

    LOL...There is no controversy. The only people who believe ID is valid are religious fundies. As brought out in the Dover trial, the draft cope of the ID text book "Of Pandas and People" was originally worded with Creation. Following the Supreme Courts ruling in 1987 declaring Creation was unconstitutional to teach in the public schools, the words Creation was replaced with Intelligent Design...WITH NO CHANGE TO THE MECHANICS OF THE BOOK!!!

    ID IS CREATION...CREATION IS ID.

    Dr. Behe of the Discovery Institute, himself said that Intelligent Design was not a science and should not be taught in school.

  11. #11
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Phinnly Slash Buster
    neo-Darwinism
    Ha! I love it how they put "neo" before everything they want to sound bad as if it actually has negative connotations of it's own. I know it's the correct term here as well, don't get me wrong, but the choice of words is very deliberate. Neo-Darwinism is supposed to go *ding ding* neo-nazis omfg darwinism is evil!

  12. #12
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by SubJunk
    Ha! I love it how they put "neo" before everything they want to sound bad as if it actually has negative connotations of it's own. I know it's the correct term here as well, don't get me wrong, but the choice of words is very deliberate. Neo-Darwinism is supposed to go *ding ding* neo-nazis omfg darwinism is evil!
    I’ve read stuff at the Disco web site, their literature is loaded with new nonsense words and phrases. If you have ever watched early Star Trek Episodes you hear the same sort of thing. Pseudo-techno, Pseudo-intellectual babble. “Neo-Darwinism” fits right in. The thing that I think this article brings out is that the Disco folks are so desperate they are now forced to continue ‘preaching to the choir’ just to maintain the few adherents to ID that they have left. Evidenced by "There is no cost to attend." I wonder if they could fill the house if they paid people to attend. Most people, including many ID supporters, realize that ID will never have success in the courts.
    Last edited by Phinnly Slash Buster; 06-15-2006 at 02:15 AM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by Phinnly Slash Buster
    “Neo-Darwinism” fits right in.
    Neo-Darwinism is however the correct scientific term. Darwinism is the original theory expressed by darwin, which was correct as a concept, but most of the theories Darwin postulated to explain how it could happen were wrong.

    Neo-Darwinism is the modern version of evolution which combiens Darwins basic concept with all of the knowledge we ahve since gained about genetics. the most basic fact of all is that of 'Particulate inheritence' which ironically was published the same time as Darwin published his works, by Gregor Mendel, yet Darwin never found out about it... It was this lack of knowledge that led Darwin to postulate theories for how characteristics are passed down in the blood and they are blended through the generations... the problem being that his own explanation contradicted the very concept he was trying to explain. how can 'blanding' lead to greater variation?

    hence neo-Darwinism is the much more sophisticated version of darwinism that accounts for particulate inheritence of genes.... (plus all the other cool stuff we have learnt in the last 50 years with regards to Genetics and molecular biology...)

    Shane

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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    BTW, origin of the species is just about one of the most brilliant books to read. I really recommend it to everyone.

    Even without any idea what a 'gene' was, or what molecular biology was (remember, this we before they even know that 'DNA' was the genetic material) Darwin manages to go through this concept and systematically show evidence after evidence after evidence for its validity, arguments why it explains things even better than the alternative theory of the day (the commonly accepted one: Creationism) and offers up a whole host 'falsifiability tests' (before Karl Popper even entered the scene).

    Even without all of the evolutionary tracking we can now see in the genomes of the different species, the evolutionary paths of proteins, and chemical pathway developments (like those referred to by Miller in that film)....even without all of that Evidence, the arguments presented by Darwin are very conclusive.

    It is clear that animals have progressed through successive generational divergence.... intelligent design is not necessary nor explanatory.

    Shane

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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by aegist
    BTW, origin of the species is just about one of the most brilliant books to read. I really recommend it to everyone.
    Yeah it's alright. Here it is if anyone is interested http://www.literature.org/authors/da...in-of-species/

  16. #16
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    Re: Ken Miller on evolution

    Quote Originally Posted by aegist
    Neo-Darwinism is however the correct scientific term.

    Shane
    Aegist,
    My rant was not intended to trash Neo-Darwinism. It was meant as criticism of the Disco. Inst.’s annoying use, misuse or abuse of valid te-rms or … invention of every manner of Pseudo-techno, Pseudo-intellectual babble in their propaganda.
    I was just kind of agreeing with SubJunk:

    "Neo-Darwinism is supposed to go *ding ding* neo-nazis omfg darwinism is evil!"

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