Our Websites

Journey to Peru—Day One

Well guys, thanks for praying for me. I am in Pisco, Peru, enjoying a great adventure with a group on a scientific expedition. We spent the day traveling on Monday, got up this morning and took a tour of Lima, the capitol city. One of the stops was the square where the city was founded in 1535 by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro.

The second stop was the San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs where there are the remains of some 25,000 people buried under the cathedral. It was interesting to learn that the priests and “donors” got to be buried closest to the temple!

The highlight of the day has to be the Museo Larco Museum in Lima.  It was founded in 1926 by Rafael Larco Hoyle and has the largest private collection of pre-Columbian artifacts—more than 45,000 ceramics with 4000-plus years of history. It is there that we discovered some incredible artifacts. Can’t wait to let you see what we found there!

Tonight we are in the fishing town of Pisco, and believe me, you can tell from the smell of driving into town that fishing is the main occupation! We are staying in a small hotel for a few hours of rest, then it’s off on a boat tomorrow to see some more ancient artifacts.

More info as the adventure continues ….

,

Leave19 Responses to testJourney to Peru—Day One

  1. Mark James April 7, 2011 at 5:48 am #

    Sorry to do this Eric, but I missed the cutoff for a previous thread.

    Hi Geno,

    You wrote: “There’s no need to do calculations in an exercise that is so clearly GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).”

    Let’s take a look at some of your reasoning:

    “1) Chemical reactions do not take place randomly nor do elements combine in random fashions.”

    You are so right in regard to the assembly of proteins in biological systems. The assembly instructions for each protein are coded into DNA. A set of three bases in the DNA molecule is required to code for one amino acid and the code is read along the chain to add different amino acids in precisely the correct order. So the code to create haemoglobin would be in excess of 1700 bases long, in precise order, constructed using 4 bases. The probability of this DNA sequence occurring by chance (and each base has to be added by chance before it can be selected by natural selection) is 4^1700. This adds a layer of complexity that boggles the mind and we’re still only scratching the surface.

    “2) Any alleged “calculation” claiming rather common chemicals we see forming by natural chemical processes all the day exceeds the number of possible particles in the universe is clearly flawed.”

    It is only appears flawed if you assume there is no design involved. It is the incredibly sophisticated systems put in place to manufacture these chemicals that makes the chemicals common. Without these systems the chemicals would not exist.

    “3) I’ve seen a number of these “calculations” from various sources (all of them creationists). The “odds” they cite vary from something like 10^83 to something like 10^8400. It’s pretty clear the “calculated” probability is seriously wrong when the sources can’t agree within 8000 orders of magnitude.”

    What “odds” are we talking about here? If it is the odds of proteins forming by chance then the variation in probability is to be expected because proteins vary in length from 2 amino acids to in excess of 2000.

    “4) It is not possible to calculate a reliable probability without knowing the pathway. (Which is likely the reason the “odds” from various sources vary by thousands of orders of magnitude.) Go ahead and tell me the distance from San Francisco to New York without knowing the route.”

    In the same way that you can determine the shortest distance between San Francisco and New York without knowing the pathway, you can also determine the best odds of a protein forming by knowing the starting point (individual amino acids) and the ending point (the finished molecule) without knowing the pathway. The actual pathway will undoubtedly lengthen the distance and lengthen the odds.

    The major difference occurs when you add a guide. A guide will never shorten the shortest distance between San Francisco and New York but a guide can reduce the odds of a protein forming considerably. (And no, natural selection would not work as the ‘guide’ in this case.)

    GIGO? Only if you ignore the evidence for design.

  2. Mark James April 7, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    Duane (again),

    I wrote: “You have used your world view to set the definition so that the only possible outcome justifies your world view.”

    You replied: “I did no such thing. Mine’s based upon reality, not some first century understanding of the world.”

    You can’t prove that miracles don’t happen so you define anything that might be a miracle as ‘something we don’t understand yet’. This is based on your PERCEPTION of reality which is governed by your world view.

  3. Mark James April 7, 2011 at 6:09 am #

    Hi Duane,

    You wrote: “I believe I pointed out the fallacy here before. Why would we expect a modern protein to spontaneously appear?”

    It doesn’t matter if the protein formed gradually over 20 billion years, each of the amino acids had to be added at some stage in the precise order we see today and every time an amino acid is added there is a 1 in 20 chance that it is the ‘correct’ one. All the extended time does is give random chance more opportunities to get it right.

    But 20 billion years is only 10^17 seconds, which means there would need to be 10^633 attempts per second over that time period to ‘guarantee’ the formation of haemoglobin.

    And again I point out that this is just one of 100,000 known functional proteins in biological systems.

  4. John Bebbington April 7, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Mark James wrote:

    You can’t prove that miracles don’t happen so you define anything that might be a miracle as something we don’t understand yet. This is based on your PERCEPTION of reality which is governed by your world view.

    Mark, may I butt in?

    What was the last miracle of which you have personal experience and may we have full details please?

    P.S. So that we remain on topic, may I say that I am looking forward to discovering what it was about a collection of 45,000 almost identical small, brown clay pots which particularly interested Eric.

  5. Chase Braud April 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I expect some new Creation Minute’s when you get back, Eric! (=
    That was a pretty cool idea!

  6. Mark James April 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    Hi John,

    You wrote: “Mark, may I butt in?

    What was the last miracle of which you have personal experience and may we have full details please?”

    Please fell free to butt in anytime :-)

    My daughter went blind in one eye a couple of years ago. Medical treatment restored her sight to where she could make out vague outlines in grey scale. She was prayed for at her church and her sight was restored completely and instantaneously.

    Was it a miracle? According to my world view, yes. According to Duane’s world view, no.

  7. Geno Castagnoli April 8, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    I said:
    “1) Chemical reactions do not take place randomly nor do elements combine in random fashions.”

    Mark James replied (in part):
    You are so right in regard to the assembly of proteins in biological systems.

    ####
    Geno answers:
    No, I’m right for ALL chemical reactions.
    ####

    I said:
    “2) Any alleged “calculation” claiming rather common chemicals we see forming by natural chemical processes all the day exceeds the number of possible particles in the universe is clearly flawed.”

    Mark replies:
    It is only appears flawed if you assume there is no design involved. It is the incredibly sophisticated systems put in place to manufacture these chemicals that makes the chemicals common. Without these systems the chemicals would not exist.

    ####
    Geno replies:
    I make no assumptions at all about design. The fact is we directly observe these chemicals being formed by completely natural processes. There are trillions of examples of in each of our bodies.

    If design adovates want me to agree with them, it’s a really simple matter. I ask the same validation of ID’s test protocol as would be expected of any scientific test. Demonstrate the test is actually capable of doing what it is claimed to to….. differentiate between a molecule that is known to be designed and one that is not in a blind test.

    It would help a lot if the IDists would take their efforts to persuade to the forums of sciencel.

    I’m fully justified to consider ID a political/philosophical movement when its adovcates spend more time before legislatures and school boards than in the lab.

    Keep in mind, scientists are a skeptical lot, so it can take a L-O-N-G time to get your idea accepted. It took about 60 years for Plate Tectonics to gain general acceptance.)
    #####

    Mark said:
    GIGO? Only if you ignore the evidence for design.
    #####
    Geno answers:
    No. It’s GIGO if you understand scientific methodology.

    If ID decides to leave the forums of government and make their case in the forums of science with a test they can demonstrate actually does what it is claimed to do, I’ll be on board.

    Until then, based onthe absence of ongoing scientific research projects by the leading IDists; the failure of ID to produce a properly validated test; the public declarations of ID advocates; and the political/theological emphasis of ID my position will remain that ID is nothing more than “creationism in a lab coat.”

  8. Duane April 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    @Mark

    Exactly. Show me a miracle. Mundane coincidences are not miracles. Improbable, but possible, events are not miracles. Something like, for instance, one baby surviving a plane crash while everyone else died is not a miracle. A bullet missing your heart by a mm is not a miracle. And you know what else isn’t a miracle? 2500-2000 year old textual accounts by anonymous (or known, really) authors of events they didn’t understand or completely made up. Nor is alleged fulfillment of alleged prophesies by those same anonymous authors who were completely familiar with those alleged prophesies (or simple textual correlations that aren’t even prophetic).

    Say what you will about science, but scientists can show you the data. You might not like when they draw conclusions based upon data, but it’s all we have. All you have is a fictional holybook and 2000 years of empty promises and false claims. Scientists who do not take into account “God” are doing their job. Prove your God is not just a shared delusion.

  9. John Bebbington April 8, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Mark James wrote:

    My daughter went blind in one eye a couple of years ago. Medical treatment restored her sight to where she could make out vague outlines in grey scale. She was prayed for at her church and her sight was restored completely and instantaneously.

    Was it a miracle? According to my world view, yes.

    Which must have been a very happy event for you all. I’m pleased it turned out well.

    But, unfortunate though it may be, having partial sight in one eye is not a life-threatening condition. There are vast numbers in the world who have no sight at all but for whom no miracles are available.

    So what was so special about your daughter that God did for her what He cannot be stirred to do for others?

    Also, if your daughter, instead of losing her sight, had lost the top joint of a finger through accident, how much prayer would it have taken for it to be restored? Salamanders can regrow their tails without prayer but human fingers do not regrow however much you pray for them.

    Many people temporarily lose their sight for one reason or another, my own sister-in-law for one. But, with medical intervention and the body’s own ability to restore much of itself, eyes do recover well. So what was it about your daughter’s particular condition that only a miracle could remedy?

  10. Mark James April 9, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    Hi Geno,

    You wrote: “Chemical reactions do not take place randomly nor do elements combine in random fashions.”

    So you’re saying that a mixture of the 20 amino acids required for life, in equal amounts, in the ideal conditions for protein formation would produce 100% predictable and reproducible results?

  11. Mark James April 9, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    Hi Duane,

    You wrote: “And you know what else isn’t a miracle? 2500-2000 year old textual accounts by anonymous (or known, really) authors of events they didn’t understand or completely made up. Nor is alleged fulfillment of alleged prophesies by those same anonymous authors who were completely familiar with those alleged prophesies (or simple textual correlations that aren’t even prophetic).”

    It astounds me that you make such sweeping and certain statements calling into question the character of people you’ve never met, concerning events that you could not possibly have witnessed.

  12. Mark James April 9, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Hi Geno,

    On the previous thread you wrote: “The teacher is absolutely correct. Public schools are required to adhere to the law and relevant court decisions.”

    On this thread: “I’m fully justified to consider ID a political/philosophical movement when its adovcates spend more time before legislatures and school boards than in the lab.”

    So, ID can’t be taught in schools until the law is changed and to gain your respect ID proponents should just accept the situation?

    Don’t forget, there was a time when the boot was on the other foot and evolutionists were having to press their case in the courts.

  13. Jack Napper April 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    My daughter went blind in one eye a couple of years ago. Medical treatment restored her sight to where she could make out vague outlines in grey scale. She was prayed for at her church and her sight was restored completely and instantaneously.

    Was it a miracle? According to my world view, yes. According to Duane’s world view, no.

    Your worldview is utterly irrelevant. What does the evidence say? Would you be willing to submit your daughters medical records to provide evidence of this claim? Why would I or anyone else ask this? For the same reason I ask quack doctors for actual evidence and peer-reviewed studies. Testimonials and anecdotes mean absolutely NOTHING.

    However, I’m sure that according to your “worldview” if the doctor had completely cured your daughter you would have still been more than happy to give all the credit to your magical sky daddy.

    I laugh when Creationists throw around the word WORLDVIEW. Apparently none of you have ever bother to actually look it up. Does you WORLDVIEW say believe despite evidence to the contrary?

  14. Geno Castagnoli April 11, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Mark asks:
    So you’re saying that a mixture of the 20 amino acids required for life, in equal amounts, in the ideal conditions for protein formation would produce 100% predictable and reproducible results?

    ######
    Geno:
    What I said was explicitly clear. Chemical reactions do not take place randomly. Are you claiming they do?

  15. Geno Castagnoli April 11, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Mark James asks (of me):
    On the previous thread you wrote: “The teacher is absolutely correct. Public schools are required to adhere to the law and relevant court decisions.”

    On this thread: “I’m fully justified to consider ID a political/philosophical movement when its adovcates spend more time before legislatures and school boards than in the lab.”

    So, ID can’t be taught in schools until the law is changed and to gain your respect ID proponents should just accept the situation?

    #####
    Geno:
    No. Under existing constitutional law, public schools are prohibited from teaching religious beliefs. If you want ID taught in public schools under the current circumstances, you will need to change the Constitution or ID will need to become a generally accepted scientific theory.

    Further, I do not expect IDists to “just accept the situation.” I expect them to do exactly what every other scientific theory has done…. ID should EARN its place in science… no more…. no less. That is, they need to convince the scientific community, not legislators and school boards.
    #####

    Mark:
    Don’t forget, there was a time when the boot was on the other foot and evolutionists were having to press their case in the courts.
    #####
    Geno:
    Not until AFTER evolution had gained general scientific acceptance. That is the difference. ID wants to be in the science curriculum without gaining scientific acceptance. In fact, of all the scientific proposals I can think of, ID is unique in this respect.

    As I said, the process is FIRST gain acceptance, THEN be taught in the public school science classes. Is that so difficult to understand? Is there something wrong with that?

  16. Duane April 12, 2011 at 3:00 am #

    Mark James April 9th at 6:00 am

    Hi Duane,

    You wrote: “And you know what else isn’t a miracle? 2500-2000 year old textual accounts by anonymous (or known, really) authors of events they didn’t understand or completely made up. Nor is alleged fulfillment of alleged prophesies by those same anonymous authors who were completely familiar with those alleged prophesies (or simple textual correlations that aren’t even prophetic).”

    It astounds me that you make such sweeping and certain statements calling into question the character of people you’ve never met, concerning events that you could not possibly have witnessed.

    And you did? I don’t have to call into question their character. They lived in a pre-scientific age and did not understand how the world works. Everything was magic to them. Doesn’t matter if they were highest standing members of their communities, NO textual account is sufficient to prove a “miracle”. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The trouble with text is that non-fiction is indistinguishable from fiction or mistaken individuals or victims of hoaxes. You need to have corroborating evidence, of which there is exactly none for the Bible. None. We do not have any original autographs and we have evidence of addition and redaction over time.

    I know it probably helps you sleep at night to believe you have a direct hotline to the creator of the universe and you are so special that He will suspend the laws of physics just for you. I’m happy for your daughter but forgive me if an anecdote about how she regained her sight after medical intervention doesn’t impress me. It’s not uncommon for a delay in the body healing nor is it uncommon for the body to heal itself. I’ve never been to the doctor for an issue where they didn’t tell me the medicine should make me better in a few days. If she was in church when it happened, then that’s a mundane coincidence and confirmation bias. How many times was she in church and her eye did not spontaneously heal? And what was so special about your daughter over, say, the thousands of people who go blind and are not healed despite their prayers? Were they doing it wrong? If Christians could demonstrate that their prayers are answered at the exclusion of others, or that they were answered at a rate more than chance, or if Methodist prayers were answered but Baptist were not, or whatever, we can talk.

    Why does God only seem to heal the easy, low hanging fruit? He never makes an arm grow back, or an eye. It’s always something that is not noticeable to the naked eye or subjective.

  17. Mark James April 12, 2011 at 4:31 am #

    Hi Geno,

    You wrote: “If design adovates want me to agree with them, it’s a really simple matter. I ask the same validation of ID’s test protocol as would be expected of any scientific test. Demonstrate the test is actually capable of doing what it is claimed to to… differentiate between a molecule that is known to be designed and one that is not in a blind test.”

    I’m having difficulty getting my head around your logic here. Surely if you CAN differentiate between the two molecules then the test could be interpreted as evidence AGAINST design. And, conversely, if you CAN’T differentiate, it might be evidence FOR design.

    Let’s say you give each of two men (in separate rooms) a huge randomly mixed pile of Lego blocks, 50% red and 50% yellow and ask them to join 500 blocks together. One of the men is sighted and one blind. If you came back to find that both had assembled a chain of 500 yellow blocks, what would you think? My guess is that you would be very suspicious. You might check the blocks to see if there was any way to distinguish them other than by colour. You might test to make sure that the red and yellow blocks link together in exactly the same way. You might even check to make sure that red blocks don’t become yellow when linked.

    If none of these explanations were able to explain the result, I can guarantee you would entertain the thought that your blind subject might have had some assistance. Maybe he’s not blind at all, or maybe there is something else going on. Why? Because the odds of this happening by chance are infinitesimal and we humans are skeptical. Would you eventually accept that it happened by chance? I doubt it, especially if you repeated the test a few times and got the same result. Just ask Duane, John and Jack, miracles don’t happen.

    Amino acids have left and right handed optical isomers. These isomers occur naturally in roughly equal amounts and are equally reactive. There is no known natural process that can separate them and even if there were, the pure isomer would, over time, become a mixture of left and right due to racemisation (this would be like the blocks changing colour but with the trend toward different colours not the same colour). And yet we find all proteins are made up exclusively of left handed amino acids in chains up to 2000 long. And, at the risk of repeating myself, there are in excess of 100,000 known functional proteins in biological systems.

    This is all scientifically verifiable but it can’t be taught in schools, ostensibly because it supports a ‘religious’ point of view, but more likely because there is a possibility the students will join the dots and start to question evolution.

  18. Jennifer Preston April 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    To answer everyone who replied to me on the previous thread.

    John Bebbington wrote
    “I wonder whether you might wish to re-word that statement.

    (i) The universe did not exist so no energy could have been transferred into it. And transferred from where?

    (ii) The expansion of the universe is postulated as occurring a tiny fraction of a second after t=0 long before matter formed.

    (iii) Is it not the case that it is also postulated that the initial conditions were such that it took some 300,000 years for the temperature to cool sufficiently to allow the first sub-atomic particles to “condense” out of the plasma? Expansion first matter much later.”

    Yes, you are right, I could’ve reworded that better, didn’t make myself quite clear enough, must have been in a hurry. Although didn’t the first particles of hydrogen start appearing not long after 1 second after space-time began to expand?

    John Bebbington also wrote:
    ” “Since in our Universe, the Big Bang was the beginning of everything, it is irrelevent to talk about things before the big bang. For me it’s emphasising that whatever happened, God did it.”

    Jennifer, given your thinking that there was no time before the Bg Bang at what stage in his existence did God decide to create the universe?

    For instance, God could not have existed a day before Day 1 because there was no Day -1. Any ideas?”

    I said “In Our Universe”. God is outside our Universe and that Time doesn’t really exist for God.

    Steve Wrote:
    “How do you know “as far as TIME is concerned, there was nothing before the big bang.”? It’s a little strange how you pose your dislike for “creationism” and Intelligent Design. You complain that people resort to “God did it” but at the end of your post, you say you believe in God and Jesus rising from the dead then you further say there is theological and historical evidence that suggests Genesis was never supposed to be taken literally.”

    My faith in God and Jesus is not based on Genesis. It is based on Jesus rising from the dead. I have no trouble accepting that Genesis cannot be literal, but that Jesus rising from the dead means that Jesus is God and the Christian God. A belief that Jesus is God and that Jesus rose from the dead does not automatically lead to a belief in the literal meaning of Genesis, nor do I think it should.

    The problem I have with creationism is creationism’s assumption that there will be irreducible complexity, that we won’t be able to undertand anything past a certain point. We will at some point understand everything. The other problem I have, is that Intelligent Design (not creationism) seems to want to make the Christian God the Intelligent Designer when it could be, say, aliens from another planet that created us. And it’s true. If we throw up our hands at anything remotely complex and say “God did it” we wouldn’t get anywhere. Newton did it to gravity. He described gravity in equations but said the rest was a mind of God and gave up. It was Einstein who went further to explain it, using relativity, which has given us oh, nuclear fusion, GPS, particle accelerators and therefore a deep understanding of the quantum world, space flight and so much more, i.e. the modern world (Well not just Einstein, but the relativity has had a significant impact on the modern world)

    “Hasn’t scientific study determined that humans can’t do that”
    I think Geno answered that very well when he said
    “Humans can’t, God can.

    How silly of me, I thought the Resurrection is used as proof Jesus is God.”

  19. Geno Castagnoli April 13, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    I had written:
    You wrote: “If design adovates want me to agree with them, it’s a really simple matter. I ask the same validation of ID’s test protocol as would be expected of any scientific test. Demonstrate the test is actually capable of doing what it is claimed to to… differentiate between a molecule that is known to be designed and one that is not in a blind test.”

    Mark James replied:
    I’m having difficulty getting my head around your logic here. Surely if you CAN differentiate between the two molecules then the test could be interpreted as evidence AGAINST design. And, conversely, if you CAN’T differentiate, it might be evidence FOR design.

    ######
    Geno answers:
    OK… let’s try it this way. We have segments of DNA that we know are the result of mutations (ie: natural changes). We are now also capable of “intelligently designing” DNA by making our own insertions. Demonstrate the ability to differentiate between the two.

    Just looking at DNA and claiming it MUST be designed won’t do. Each of us has trillions of DNA molecules in our bodies that have been formed (so far as we can tell) by completely natural processes.
    #####

    Mark claims:
    Amino acids have left and right handed optical isomers. These isomers occur naturally in roughly equal amounts and are equally reactive. There is no known natural process that can separate them
    ######
    Geno points out:
    Really? So our bodies use some supermatural process to do this?
    #######

    Mark complains:
    it can’t be taught in schools, ostensibly because it supports a religious point of view, but more likely because there is a possibility the students will join the dots and start to question evolution.
    #####
    Geno answers:
    It can’t be taught in public schools because it IS a religious belief.

    This was clearly demonstrated in Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board in which the reworking of the creationist book by substuting “design” for “creation” and “designer” for “creator.” Further, look up the “Wedge Document” which clearly outlines the religious objectives of ID. If that doesn’t do it, check the comments of the leading IDists when they aren’t testifying before government bodies.

    More accurately stated, ID doesn’t stand for “Intelligent Design”, it stands for “Intellectual Deception.”

    Now, when do you think the IDists will stop trying to persuade government bodies and take their claims where they need to do in order to gain entry to the public school science curricula….. the forums of science.

    Why is ID the only alleged scientific argument that seeks to bypass scientific acceptance BEFORE it is admitted to the public schools?