Bees outsmart supercomputers
©iStockphoto/vicv & ©iStockphoto.com/tobkatrina
One of the most fiendishly complex mathematical computations is the so-called ‘Travelling Salesman Problem’. Given a list of locations (e.g. cities) and the distances between them, it involves finding the shortest possible route in which each location is visited only once. As the number of locations increases past anything more than a handful, the complexity of the problem increases dramatically, to staggering proportions.
‘In nature, bees have to link hundreds of flowers in a way that minimises travel distance, and then reliably find their way home—not a trivial feat if you have a brain the size of a pinhead! Indeed such travelling salesmen problems keep supercomputers busy for days.’—Professor Lars Chittka, University of London
Such computations “keep supercomputers busy for days”, says Professor Lars Chittka, from the University of London.1 Yet scientists from that university, using artificial computer-generated flowers, have found that bees learn to solve such problems, in effect, and extremely quickly.2 They are the first animals found capable of this—and they solve it for hundreds of locations.
Chittka says that bees are able “to link hundreds of flowers in a way that minimises travel distance, and then reliably find their way home—not a trivial feat if you have a brain the size of a pinhead!” Using artificial computer-controlled flowers, the researchers found that bees can do this “even if they discover the flowers in a different order”.
Dr Mathieu Lihoreau, the co-author of the study, says this shows that, despite a limited number of nerve cells in their brains, bees obviously have “advanced cognitive capacities”. The researchers express the hope that one day it might be possible to understand how such amazing processing feats are achieved with such apparently minimal ‘hardware’.
But if the best computer hardware engineers and software programmers have yet to design a supercomputer that can match the bee’s “advanced” computative performance, let alone one with the space efficiency of a bee’s brain, what does that say about the bee’s designer? One doesn’t need to be good at mathematical computations to work that one out (Romans 1:20).
References and notes
- Tiny brained bees solve a complex mathematical problem, Queen Mary—University of London, www.qmul.ac.uk, 25 October 2010. Return to text.
- Lihoreau, M., Chittka, L., and Raine, N., Travel optimization by foraging bumblebees through readjustments of traplines after discovery of new feeding locations, The American Naturalist 176(6):744–757, 2010. Return to text.
To say that you know a Phd Ecologist that is Creationist is the same as to say that I know a Oncologist that believes that Homeopathy can cure its patients. He might believe that but, well, Science and Cancer patients says otherwise
And I do hope that you Phd Ecologist prefers real laboratories and not pictures of one bought on the Internet...
Real Science is done in real Labs, not ones that are projected on green walls just to pretend you do Science.
To use a photo taken from the internet to pretend that one does Science there, hum...
And by the way, can you please show me how many articles have your Phd Ecologist that claims to be an Ecologist published on peer reviewed magazines? Like I said, peer reviewed magazines, please. I kind have a list of the many peer reviewed articles of my professors, all in international magazines... [link removed as per feedback rules]
Had you followed the feedback rules and checked out the site before asking a question (or in this case, bursting into sarcastic overtures), you would have seen example after example of real scientists who believe in creation and are convinced the evidence better supports it. In fact we list heaps of them in one section of the site. Plus in our Creation magazine each issue, for some 30 years, has featured a real scientist with peer-reviewed publications who so believes. In short, you would have saved yourself considerable embarrassment.
Your example about therapeutics is off the mark, because it is an example of real, practical (or operational) science, as opposed to the forensic/historical science that an investigation of origins is limited to utilizing; again, a foray on the site would have shown you many instances and citations showing (or e.g. prominent researchers testifying) that far from advancing that sort of real science, evolution has done nothing of the sort. In fact on occasion it has even hindered and harmed it because of its false philosophy of history. For example, the idea that the non-coding DNA was largely 'junk', an idea required by then-current evolutionary theory to get out of its theoretical difficulties, set genetics back decades.
Please consider laying aside your prejudices for a moment and ask yourself whether or not the issue might just be the interpretation of the facts through the reigning paradigm, which history has shown repeatedly is always fanatically defended even when seriously wrong. And those defending it often can't for the life of them see why others could possibly 'see' things any differently. But however you react, if you are going to comment on things on this site, please follow the rules in future. There are some 8,000 fully-searchable articles, so if you start with the assumption that your challenge has already been thought of and responded to, you will be less likely to have egg on face and also we will be more likely to have a meaningful exchange.
Alex F writes :"It is an important scientific paradigm that a theory cannot be proved, only disproved. No amount of evidence will prove a theory to be universally true because one can never be certain that it will hold true for all possible conditions" So then I guess we can disregard evolution?
Chill pill or any other mood altering concoction is not required thank you! Though the thinking behInd your response needs some measure of mind alterationt. To say the theory of evolution through natural selection is in danger of being replaced by some new theory has not only passed me by but has also escaped the attention of every credible biological research establishment on the planet. Your own theory of creationism has been dismissed not only by main stream academia but has been dismissed by many of your own US courts. I could list the cases but I am sure you are familiar with them all.
But back to the bees. You say I glibly attribute the bee behavior to evolution when every credible biologist would agree with me, so it's hardly a glib statement, but rather one underpinned by science. Your statement that it shows the hands of a creator is not glib, it's fanciful with no credible or testible evidence whatsoever to support it.
The fact that there are so many animal and plant stories similar to that of the bees demonstrates what a wonderful place the earth is and I'm sure that is one thing we can both agree on.
Eric, you really are behind the times, respectfully, and it is frankly embarrassing to have such elephant hurling approaches substituted for rational argument, such as ‘escaped the attention of every credible biological research establishment’ –especially when it is simply wrong. See for example the 2011 book by noted evolutionary biologist James Shapiro (note that he is not the only Shapiro that features within evolutionary science on occasion), called Evolution for the 21st Century. Shapiro is a full-on evolution-believer and right ‘up there’ within academia/establishment biology (btw I am not for a minute claiming that academia gives anything other than short shrift to creationism, but that is another issue, and a red herring in the context of your grandiose claims).
Shapiro’s book is a good summary of the many reasons why he along with others believes that classical neoDarwinian theory is as good as dead. He refers instead to such things as a computer-like built-in ability of organisms to direct their own evolution (which of course leaves gaping explanatory holes).
Keep an eye out on these pages in the next few months for an article by CMI biologist/geneticist Dr Robert Carter about ‘slaying yesterday’s dragons’ which discusses the reasons why this phenomenon is taking place in the upper echelons, why self-organisation and similar things are being touted as causes of evolution, despite the failure to find any mechanisms for them. The reality is that population genetics and the associated math is simply not working for evolutionary theory. Haldane’s dilemma is as much of a dilemma as it ever was, and the rate at which mutations are accumulating is now known to be so rapid that NS has no hope of getting rid of them fast enough. Hence former Cornell university prof John Sanford, a pioneer of genetic engineering, has switched to biblical creation, because the math instead shows that we would be extinct if we (and all higher organisms) were even 100,000 years old (try typing his name into the search engine and do some homework on this site).
Back to my comments about the coming establishment paradigm shift concerning the mechanism of evolution: The first clear signs of this were as far back as 1980. Adaptation by natural selection is the stuff of ‘micro-evolution’, spots on butterflies, that sort of thing. The naïve approach has long been that macro-evolution is simply micro-evolution extrapolated over vast time periods. That is certainly the impression one gets from reading much of the popular stuff. But to quote from an article I did some years ago on Variation, Information and the Created Kind:
In any case, leading biologists are themselves now coming to the conclusion that ‘macroevolution’ is not just ‘microevolution’ [using their terminology] extended over time. In November 1980 a conference of some of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, billed as ‘historic’, was held at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History on the topic of ‘macroevolution’. Reporting on the conference in the journal Science, Roger Lewin wrote:
The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution. At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.
Francisco Ayala (Associate Professor of Genetics, University of California), was quoted as saying:
… but I am now convinced from what the paleontologists say that small changes do not accumulate.
The fact that this article reaches essentially the same conclusion in the following pages can thus hardly cause it to be regarded as radical. Nevertheless, the vast majority of even well-educated people still persist in ignorance of this. That is, they believe that ‘Big Change = Small Change x Millions of Years.’
I hope that this information will start a search for a more nuanced and better-informed understanding of the facts, even if you were to continue to want to believe the evolutionary paradigm. Merely leaning on 'all evolutionary biologists believe' does not really advance the discussion.
@Everybody: This article has trawled through a lot of "observations" which are claimed by both sides to be "evidence" for creation or evolution of essentially biotechnology (bees) at least that was the original point. Open discussion of the science is great for transparency but tends to get our of hand if not moderated. I think that has been done very well in this case. Science is just a logical process aimed at finding the truth.. explanations are someone's best idea of the truth.. a scientific theory is an explanation accepted by a broad group (one could argue the majority) of specialists qualified in the field. As stated before however theories are near impossible to prove and the final 'arbiter of truth' has to be 'falsification'. That is the existence of a single, verifiable, contrary observation.. and the show is over. The really big problem with this is not that it is in the 'negative', but the fact that really dedicated hard working scientists can spend years.. sometimes an entire lifetime working on a basic premise which in the end turns out to be false. 'Spontaneous generation of Life' and the 'Geocentric Solar System' are just two of many examples. It is an extraordinary person by any measure who can admit they were wrong for most of their life! Further if the result confronts their 'world view'.. deeply engrained belief system then for most its an impossible choice and they become the 'old guard' who have to die out before the new thinking takes over. Its real and it does happen.. By the way Ptolemys's mathematics is impeccable and does have a certain elegance. Please keep in mind the goal of science is TRUTH.. The lack of 'falsifiability' itself does not mean a proposition cannot be true.
Back to the bees.. We cannot converse unless we both have an agreed meaning of the words we use.. So science cannot work if there is no agreed meaning of the terms used.. In this case it is the word "DESIGN". Not that difficult if we note what is observationally true about all design..
1. It is specified by semantic information
2. It has a purpose
All human technology meets this criteria.. but so does all natural biotechnology.. including 'bees'.!
We cannot 'falsify' creation by God nor can we prove natural evolution did the design over a vast time scale.. but we CAN apply the falsification test to the evolutionary algorithm.
So the real question for the evolutionary proposition is "Can semantic information evolve.?". It is a basic test of the algorithm of evolution.. can a system of particles subject to random change under pressure of natural selection produce semantic information. Dr Wieland put his finger on it when he quoted the Second Law of Thermodynamics (2LOT) "any system of particles will tend to its most probable state".. suggesting immediately.. no.! random energy input (to any system) would be extremely hard pressed to write an interesting book.! but can we PROVE it?
The technical proof is not as complex as people think it should be. But it does need some more agreed definitions for instance "complexity" and "semantic information". By applying the Boltzmann equation for entropy to semantic information I have shown that for almost any piece of biotechnology.. like a single protein molecule. The number of 'mutation events' required by the 2LOT (to pay the entropy debt) far exceeds the event capacity of the known universe. It is not a conclusion of 'impossibility' it is a conclusion that the algorithm of evolution (by definition based on a very large number of events) is a violation of the 2LOT.. and therefore falsified.. (scientifically).
You will find this proof at [vh-mby.blogspot.com "Dialogue with the Universe"] To assist in verification you might look up the definitions of words like design, complexity and semantic information.
The painfully true meaning of this is that all DNA (bio-thech design specification) in all creatures (bees) must be in decline by the steady accumulation of detrimental mutations and life only persists as well as it does for as long as it does due to the incorporation of code redundancy and error correction features of the original design. [ref Genetic Entropy by Dr J C Sanford]
The Wikipedia article on the 2LOT I am sorry to say is a most abysmal and deliberately confusing rear guard action by a very entrenched 'old guard'.. who could not handle the following truths:
1. Entropy is fundamentally based on probability (Boltzmann - Gibbs)
2. The oft quoted Clausius 'heat' equation for entropy is not the most general form. It is only a special case based on the simplifying assumption (to the Boltzmann equation).. "the only macro-state possible is the most probable" (ie the macro-state having the largest number of micro-states) (Wark- Thermodynamics). This fact alone would preclude evolutionary progression.
The 'reverse' derivation of the Boltzmann Gibbs equation from the Clausius equation (like on TalkOrigins "The Second Law of Thermodynamics, Evolution, and Probability") although nicely done uses the 'kludge' of an impossible reversible system to make it work.. The only way to overcome the violation of the 2LOT.. and only possible by concealing the truth of point 2 above.. I think that is fraudulent?
I made such contributions to correct the Wikipedia article even to clarify the opening sentence but 'they' whoever 'they' are, decided to re-write the whole thing and en couch it in just more techno-babble.. A rather sad outcome for science and humanity in general.
The headline to this piece is inaccurate and misleading, bees can not outsmart supercomputers...can they for instance do a long range weather forecast? no, what they can do is a complex task that shows how they have been honed by evolution to make them as efficient as possible when collecting food. Other organisms such as slime mould can also perform surprising complex tasks, and there is no way you could call them smart as they have no brain. Researchers at Oxford university discovered that slime mould was able to construct and refine over a short period of time an efficient transportation network between a number of food sources. Like the bees the mould performed what we would consider a complex logistical task, but there was no 'intelligence' involved, instead the mould was following a deep routed behaviour, again honed by evolution. The researchers incidentally won an Ig Nobel prize for their work.
Neither of these instances proves the work of a designer, instead it shows how evolution over millions of years refines many aspects of both plant and animal making them better suited to their individual environments.
Eric, may I say with a friendly joviality that maybe you need to take a 'chill pill' as my grandkids would say. I doubt whether the catchy title would have led anyone to assume that the bees themselves were exhibiting intelligence--had they read the article. What is on display, same as for the mould, is programmed instinctual behaviour. But programming is in fact transmitted intelligence, (though it is not the intelligence in the bees brain as such) as far as our common experience goes. To glibly say it is the result of 'evolution' is assuming that which one is trying to prove, a fallacy known as begging the question. That is of course the challenge for evolution all along the way, to have an adequate mechanism to account for all of life's high-level programs. You may not be aware of it yet, but neodarwinism is in the process of being left behind by the next generation of evos as modelling population genetics etc. simply is not working. But there is nothing to replace it other than quasi-mystical notions of self-organisation, and the like.
Finally, note that we do not claim that such examples 'prove' biblical creation, but they are utterly consistent with it, and thus it is perfectly legitimate to claim it as confirmation, just as evos take such things as confirmation of their belief system that it was honed over millions of years. Neither can repeat or observe those one-off past events.
To say that "god did it' every time you come across some wonder of nature is such a simplistic way of looking at the world. On the one hand you revel at at a selected number of scientific stories that emerge that you can put a 'god' spin on while at the same time neglecting those that further prove the age of the cosmos or the earth or that evolution does a mighty fine job of explaining where all life on earth came from. To keep beating the god drum while frantically looking for scraps that you think you can use to bolster your tenuous position smacks of desperation. Why don't you just face up to it, there is no God either your one on the hundreds, of other that have been worshiped throughout the ages.
To Veli-Pekka N.:
The Travelling Salesman Problem is in the NP class of problems. This means that any order (i.e. the bees' order) can be verified as optimal relatively easily (in polynomial time).
To Mike D.:
The bees use nectar for energy, therefore a more efficient search pattern makes a noticeable difference. I agree that bees are designed, but I cringe at vulnerable arguments.
Great article, once again! IF evolution were true, I fail to see why a bee should have anywhere near an optimal search, as it doesn't seem that the energy they save by the efficiency would contribute to their survival - as defined by natural selection - especially given how Bees reproduce and their gene pool would function!
It seems to me our Creator did this as more evidence of His handiwork.
When I read the arguments from evolutionists I have to keep reminding myself the difference between intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. They really only have a few arguments and basic tactics. The arguments are “All Scientists Agree”, “Time Can Explain Anything”, “People Were Too Stupid to Understand Science in the Past”, and “I Don’t Want to Believe in God and You Can’t Make Me” .
The tactics are claiming that only evolutionists are scientists , anyone who disagrees is an idiot, and the always useful name calling , the ad hominem and shouting down your opponent.
They start off sounding as if they may have a real argument but always digress, such as the fellow who said all the evidence points to great periods of time. Evidence does not point, we do. If a bee can do something infinitely better than we can, if the human eye is superior to anything the combined wisdom of man can produce and would take years of supercomputer time to match what we do many times per second that is sufficient evidence for an infinitely intelligent supernatural creator. To claim that random mistakes sorted by Natural Selection could be the creator begs the question, where did the first reproducing organism come from? It is the deep religious faith, the blind faith, of the materialist that allows him/her to ignore the simple logic that nothing creates itself because it would then have pre-existed itself.
@Alex F: Ok, your statement "The mass of evidence points to deep geological time and so far there is no incontrovertible scientific evidence to the contrary" is so outlandish I had to comment. It's certainly true that the mass of ARGUMENTS points to deep time, but not the evidence. I only have to mention 2 words to debunk a huge portion of the arguments and those are "polystrate fossils". These are fossils that extend across multiple strata which supposedly represent millions of years.
A large portion of the rest of the arguments relies on the assumption of a consistency of nuclear decay rates. The findings of the RATE project, particularly those by Andrew Snelling on Uranium and Polonium radiohalos is your incontrovertible proof of a recent (4-5 thousand years) event where decay rates were greatly accelerated for a brief period of time. Those findings, combined with the other findings of C14 in every coal bed and in diamonds demolish the assumptions which give great ages for rocks.
The only reason you don't see "incontrovertible scientific evidence to the contrary" is because you're not looking. And when someone does present sound, logical arguments, instead of considering them objectively you try to knock them down. Now, presenting thoughtful counter arguments is good but that's not what you have done.
Evolution and "deep time" is a house of cards built on the seashore at low tide. But the tide has come in. Evolutionists are a bit like Wile E. Coyote when the Roadrunner tricks him into running off a cliff. His legs keep moving but he doesn't realize there's nothing underneath him. I would challenge you to do some objective studying into the issues before you get further off the cliff.
The reason Bees can solve the problem is a clue to the essence of reality. The World isn't what it appears to be. Most people assume they are made out of matter and argue if it came "chance" or was created by God but the dichotomy is false.
People aren't made of matter, they are an information process the same as Reality, formed by Reality, interfaced to Reality but independent quantum processes.
The real question deists and theists need to explain to differentiate themselves from atheists is what causes God.
I believe the only possible answer is: God is not made from anything but is the relationship of love, truth and will, differentiating beings in the Quantaverse of infinite possibilities.
The possibility of existence can't be explained but the structure of relationships necessary for the possibility to become reality can.
Evolutionists use "god of the gaps" without recognizing they are doing it. The phrase "it evolved" us used to paper over huge gaps that blind evolutionary algorithms have no chance of bridging.
Everything in the universe can be explained in terms of a relationship, Love is the only eternal relationship, therefore God (the creator of reality) is Love.
I would have to dispute much of this. The dichotomy is not false, as you suggest. And people (and other organisms) are indeed made of matter. Of course, matter alone is not sufficient, information is a key issue, and information is a non-material entity, indeed. But in our physical world it always 'rides on' matter. And the introduction of 'independent quantum processes' will (unlike Alex W's comment earlier) come across as gobbledygook, respectfully, to those with knowledge of the discipline. On the matter of God's origin, the article creation.com/who-created-god may be helpful.
The most common sense explanation is divine design and programing - as is the case with innumerable other organisms, 'great and small'. To exclude a wondrous Creator as a reasonable explanation - far and away, the most reasonable - is to do away with common honesty.
That is sooooo cool. It's amazing that God made an animal smarter than man's top of the range technology.
Cool indeed that the bee can perform such feats, so long as we keep in mind, of course, that the bee is not actually smarter per se; the 'intelligence' resides in the programming transmitted generation after generation of bees, which itself had to originate in mind.
Thanks for another piece of evidence to add to my long list of seeming programmed instincts: from trees that drop their leaves seasonally to seem as if dead to then burst forth, to birds that fly long distances by instinct. How do the pelicans know to go to Lake Eyre? How do seeds grow to each pattern? How do bones know to grow? Why is there so much ordered movement? Why do planets 'circle'.How can they do that if everywhere else everything goes in straight lines unless force is applied? Why is there energy at all? Indeed there is everywhere evidence that the world is 'set up' to form patterns, but patterns just that little bit on the edge of variation so nothing is repeated, no two persons the same, no not even twins. As a designer, it's so great to see design about me, and to be inspired by it. I make order, I see order about me. I like that I design buildings that minimize circulation patterns and so the bee also is efficient. I'm so glad that we know that the more we look the more we see- "knock and it shall be opened to you" and "it is the Glory of God to conceal a thing and the honour of kings to find it out" Indeed! Let us keep honouring those who examine the world objectively, to just 'find out' and to not discard evidence if it doesn't fit their theory. To be like children who love Truth.
Bees could indeed be using a quantum solution to the Travelling Salesman Problem. Recent developments demonstrate quantum involvement in the sense of smell, bird magnetic field detection and photosynthesis. Here's an edited quote: “Coherent quantum waves can exist in two or more states at the same time and are able to move through a forest of molecules by two or more routes at once and simultaneously explore a multitude of possible options, automatically selecting the most efficient path.” Kaufmann et al. http://arxiv.org/pdf/1202.6433v1.pdf discovered a phase transition on the edge of quantum chaos that allows coherence to endure long enough at room temperature to explain the photosynthesis application. Apparently thermal noise can be roped in to help quantum effects to endure where we might expect it to destroy them. Exciting possibilities ahead in quantum biology.
Interesting article but what I find more interesting is the rebuttals (right word?) you deliver to all the comments, of whom some authors are utterly ignorant.
I really enjoy that :)
@Carl - You show an amazing (and admirable) amount of patience within the replies to the comments that you have been giving regarding this article! God bless you!
What always surprises me is the comments people make. I sit here thinking, Really? You would rather believe that molecules jumped on each other on a rock, zap, turned to slugs and all living things ... from there. ...These are all theories, no actual facts. They can't get the billion of years right when they date fossils, bones. Not counting the live tissue that is found in some. We take these sciences as facts in what they are saying, because hey, they spout out what they think and have PHD behind their name. I love what one movie said and it saids it all. "We are scientists, we don't have to prove anything." We tell a story and people believe. If we are honest there is no way that billions of years made a bee size his brain down and to a super computer. There is so many examples of God's great design. All the animals including our own design is so complicated and different from one another that there had to be a great designer. God makes it clear that we can see Him in creation alone. You either believe or not. ... I find this magazine has given more facts and intelligent answers than any resources out there. Believe it or not it takes more faith in evolution than just believing in God amazing design. Even for Christians believing there professors of evolution, it takes more faith in their theories then to believe in how God did it. I would rather believe in the great designer in what He says than man. ... Thanks for all that you guys do, we are teaching our generation the other side. Many are very surprise to hear how many contradictions there are in Evolution. If you don't have a open mind, nothing these people will say will help you understand. I didn't know God when I was in school and still could not believe in what they taught in Evolution, due to all the contradictions in the books. It brought me more to God because, no matter what, one cell did not come from nothing, someone more powerful had to create it. Seeing how complicated it is, DNA etc. you can see that it didn't come from a rock. And yes when you break down evolution, you believe we started as a rock. I was kicked out of class for laughing very hard on that one. Thanks again for all your info, God Bless you all.
I refer to the final comment by Alex F. on Sept 14 where he wrote: "I can't leave without pointing out that scientific ‘faith’ (as you put it) in the universality of gravity based on experience is not the same as ‘faith’ in the inerrancy of the Bible. If evidence repeatedly demonstrated that gravity could not operate the same way on Alpha Centauri then the universality theory of gravity would have to be questioned. On the other hand, as so many creationists say, if evidence appears to contradict the Bible then the evidence has to be wrong and there must be a way of reconciling it with Scripture. There is no way that Scripture can be questioned, leading to an approach that is deeply unscientific. On the other hand scientific theories can be challenged..."
I have some history in this area as the inerrancy of the Bible was an issue for me when I studied at both Bible College, Seminary and then on my own. Alex makes a couple of serious errors in his comment. First: can the principle of inerrancy be questioned? Maybe I'm confused, but I think that that is exactly what I (and many others) have done! We have questioned, examined, looked for contradictions and for false reasoning in the process. Personally, I have concluded, after long and careful thought that the Bible IS inerrant and that it is sufficient to give us the information needed to bring us to the point where we have "no excuse" when we determine whether or not we will bow our knees to Jesus Christ as Lord of all.
Secondly, one does not study ANY piece of literature "scientifically" as Alex seems to think "There is no way that Scripture can be questioned, leading to an approach that is deeply unscientific." One studies literature perhaps historically if one is dealing with history, as Carl mentions Genesis 1 and 2 representing themselves as historical events. One studies poetry, for example, in a very different manner however. It is untrue that one cannot study Scripture logically, thoughtfully, contextually, grammatically, etc. Good exegetes do this daily...and are nonetheless challenged by peers who may disagree with them on numerous different grounds. As is typical of one who is a "believer" in our technological superiority, therefore our superior intelligence to previous generations, Alex confuses the idea that only "scientific" verification is legitimate when science is often limited and even inappropriately utilized in many spheres of study. Please "unscientific" does not necessarily mean "illogical".
(I realize this comment does not deal with the article, even peripherally. Thus you may decide not to publish it and I would agree with that decision. However, I felt it important to issue this statement to counteract these common errors of logic. As this submission "become[s] the property of Creation Ministries International" please feel free to use/discard it at your pleasure. Thank you.)
Ah. I think I see the problem here....you believe that the Bible is the perfected Word of God. I do not. Rather, I believe that it is the work of men, who are by nature, fallible (I expect we can agree on that--that Man is fallible, that is.)
Yes, I /do/ take a 'supermarket' approach to the Bible, but not about what I find convenient, but what seems sound--bearing in mind that I'm nowhere near the Hebrew or Greek scholar that I should be. But that is true for all the information I deal with, be it news articles, scientific journals, or Aunt May's latest gossip. Pick it up. Thump it. Smell it. If it's bad, leave it be. By and large, the primary information in the Bible, the rules to live by, salvation through Grace, all pass. Trivia such as Gen. 2--which has Man made first, then the animals, then Woman, in contradiction to Gen. 1's animals first, then Man & Woman--not so much.
As to Death.... since it exists, it must be part of The Plan. (How can anything exist that isn't?) /If/ evolution did, indeed, occur, it /must/ have been God's will. If it wasn't, it wouldn't have happened. (For the record, I find the evidence for God as overwhelming as that for evolution--a slam dunk case, as we called it back in my college days.)
As a final note, I am not an 'evolutionist', someone who 'believes in' evolution--any more that I 'believe in' quantum mechanics. (I've actually met such people--including one fellow who said he believed in evolution precisely because Pat Robertson /didn't/. That is the second worst excuse for believing anything I've ever heard....) But I've never seen one bit of information that contradicts the evolutionary paradigm--90% or so of what I've been shown indicates that the person involved doesn't understand current evolutionary theory, or, often, even, Science (as an institution), and the rest has just quoted the Bible as if I'm supposed to take their favorite translation as infallible. Sorry, guys, go read the preamble to the KJV.....
“Seems sound”--but by what standard, Peter? It seems to boil down to, ‘If I think that’s what I want to believe, I will.’ How do you know, though, without presupposing that God is capable of an inerrant revelation using fallible people, that any part of it, even the bits you like, are not themselves in error? God might not be love at all, he (or she or it – your god could even be a three-horned cosmic cow, for all we could say for sure) might be some sort of deceptive ogre. So when you talk about the evidence for ‘God’, what defines the content behind the word ‘God’, i.e. what sort of God are you talking about, if not the infinite-personal God of the Bible, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? And if the latter, on what basis can you say so, if not on the basis of a reliable communication from God, including about His attributes, and His plans and purposes for humanity? Indeed, you refer to ‘salvation by grace’, but what can that possibly mean in an evolutionary world? Certainly not what Paul meant by it, because how can we be saved from sin if there was no original sin? If mankind and the world never fell from a state of original perfection, what does salvation mean, and if we are not saved from God’s wrath at sin, then what meaning does His ‘grace’ have? What is the world going to be restored back to in the future, if not to a sinless deathless condition that is how it commenced, i.e. it can then only be restored back to billions of years of death and bloodshed. This is sadly all part of the postmodern ‘Christian newspeak’, in which words are emptied of their meaning, so that there is a ‘form of godliness’ which is completely without content, and thus without power to bring others to saving faith. (2 Timothy 3:5). And all this tragic confusion is so unnecessary, and made even more tragic, because you clearly have not bothered to check out the site, or else you could hardly say “I've never seen one bit of information that contradicts the evolutionary paradigm”. I have known of quite a few convinced (and qualified) evolutionists who have found aspects of the information available here on this site truly challenging to their faith. But then, I suspect you’re not going to be looking too hard in any direction that might challenge your comfortable (despite being confused) worldview. After all, you were previously steered in the direction of articles about the alleged contradictions between Gen 1 and 2, and obviously never read them, or you could not have repeated the furphy you did.
Jesus said a great deal about Moses and the Prophets, all of which (not just the bits you find ‘acceptable’) pointed to Him. I know I am being firm here, but this is serious business, Peter. Because with all those logical inconsistencies (by definition, as I have tried to show) in your understanding of ‘salvation’ – I would prayerfully reassess as to what your heart condition is before God. (2 Peter 1:10; Matthew 7:23). And it has nothing to do with any 'favourite translation'.
Carl, I thank you for your quick and thoughtful response—even though I generally disagree.
Since Gen. 1 and Gen. 2 disagree with each other, I find it hard to take either as Authoritative—one, or both, must be wrong, or at least, badly misunderstood. Very badly. As it happens, if you go to the Hebrew, without preconceived notions, Gen 1. fits the Cosmological/evolutionary time-line fairly well—sometimes, extremely well. But Gen. 1 has at least 1 error—plants usually, but not always, reproduce after their own kind. The rare exception is called 'instant speciation', and is responsible for modern wheat.
Myself, I consider the following to be definitive:
- The Ten Commandments. [Apparently not the part where the Sabbath command of six days of work and one day of rest is based on Creation Week, which must therefore also comprise ordinary days—Ed.]
- The Shima—“Hear, oh Israel! The Lord thy God is one! …” If Christ identifies it as the most important Commandment, who are we to argue?
- “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Ditto
- The Sermon on the Mount
- John 3:16.
To steal a line from Rabbi Hillel, “All the rest is commentary.”
And, in passing: I put my faith in God, not men; I feel that His Book of the Grand Canyon is inerrant, and Olduvai Gorge. Not a collection of old stories that doesn't even /claim/ divine authorship—well, not most of it, anyway. …
Peter, thanks for your prompt reply too, though I would have preferred it if you had been less prompt and had first digested the articles I referenced, because then perhaps you may have realized that there is a deep inconsistency between taking the Sermon on the Mount as authoritative, but disputing the truthfulness of the One who preached it when He made other statements. Plus, checking our Q and A section first you might not have been so prompt about bringing up that bit about the alleged contradiction between Gen 1 and 2, but seen that it is a convenient bit of mythology.
It appears that you have a ‘supermarket’ approach to determining which parts of the Bible are true and determinative/authoritative, i.e. pick and choose, but is that really rational (as opposed to being convenient)? Because if you say that parts of the Bible are in error, who is to say that those parts which you like are not also mistaken? E.g. why should you listen to Christ on the first commandment’s importance if He is in error about other things? Including about the absolute authority of the Word of God in everything? (“It is written”). By the way, I also have no problem with the facts (as opposed to the interpretations) concerning both Grand Canyon and Olduvai Gorge. …
First, I’d like to say that this is one of the better creationist sites I’ve visited—one of the few to have the guts to allow comments, and to answer them, for instance. I say this as a creationist and an evolutionary scientist—evolution makes sense to me, but so far I see no actual explanation for the ‘Big Bang’ better than, “And God said, ‘Let there be light’” …
Anyway, my point: We /do/ know how God did it. It’s called, “evolution” …
That’s my take, anyway. …
Peter, if we are talking not about some New Age fantasy ‘god’, but the God of the Bible, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then if He did do it that way, He is culpable for having seriously misled us in His Word, the Bible. And for the vast majority of church history, at that. Because Genesis purports to be definite history, a history that is taken for granted by Jesus and the Apostles, and it is seriously out of sync with the evolutionary approach. You see, it’s not a question of just observing changing gene frequencies; that fits Genesis history very comfortably, as do the facts in general. It is a matter of an alleged history of billions of years of animals bleeding, dying, suffering, (even cancerous tumours in the fossils, so if they formed before man, they are something God calls ‘all very good’) with death as part of the creation process in evolutionary thinking, not ‘the last enemy’ that the NT calls it. The issue ultimately is the truth and authority of the Bible, not some vague philosophical question of how or when some ‘god’ could have created. Please see in particular The use of Genesis in the New Testament and Genesis: Bible authors believed it to be history issues and their relationship to the eternal Gospel in particular—and also, in regard to what Jesus Himself taught and believed, see this article: Jesus on the age of the earth.
Hi Carl. Ok, I’ve had a fair run at this now, but I can't leave without pointing out that scientific ‘faith’ (as you put it) in the universality of gravity based on experience is not the same as ‘faith’ in the inerrancy of the Bible. If evidence repeatedly demonstrated that gravity could not operate the same way on Alpha Centauri then the universality theory of gravity would have to be questioned. On the other hand, as so many creationists say, if evidence appears to contradict the Bible then the evidence has to be wrong and there must be a way of reconciling it with Scripture. There is no way that Scripture can be questioned, leading to an approach that is deeply unscientific. On the other hand scientific theories can be challenged, and indeed are on a routine basis, as the recent apparently ‘faster-than-light’ particle at CERN demonstrated. [But see Neutrinos faster than light? Will relativity need revising?—Editors.]
Best wishes, Alex
PS you’re right, ‘principle’ is better!
I can’t help but try to correct some residual misunderstanding. Creationists also change, question and abandon models. But both creationists and naturalists can do good science within paradigms that are accepted on the basis of faith. In practice, the average evolutionist researcher will be ready to discard (albeit reluctantly) a particular mechanism of how the universe made itself, but not whether. I.e. the paradigm is sacrosanct, just as it is for the creationist. However, both are ultimately free to change paradigms, and that has happened before in both directions. I.e. a Christian might presuppose Scripture, and say that the evidence is to be questioned if it appears to contradict the Bible, just as Schweitzer presupposes millions of years, but both are in principle free to abandon the paradigm. Regards …
Carl. I cannot help but admire the way you so calmly explain (as if to children) the fallacy and foolishness of those who seek to deny God. I would have evolved into a bald man (pulling out my hair) if I had to deal with such utter nonsense. I will pray for you and your continued and obviously Godly wisdom. Keep up the good work.
The “simple” one-celled animals I read about in evolutionary theory are so complicated that there are currently over 1,000 grants from the National Science Foundation to study cell processes. Our vastly “superior” intelligence is still struggling with this.
Thanks for the reference to the Nielsen-Marsh paper. My initial thoughts are as follows. Firstly, the estimates for collagen and osteocalcin survival are from non-published work so there is no way of knowing how applicable they are to fossilisation. For example, under what conditions were the test samples stored—in water or dry, anoxic and adsorbed onto a mineral matrix as would be found in a fossil? Secondly, even at face value, the survival of osteocalcin could be as much as 110Ma, more than enough to account for the presence of immunologically significant traces of osteocalcin in Late Cretaceous dinosaur eggs as reported by Schweitzer. Thirdly, whilst making it unlikely that dinosaur DNA will ever be extracted, the figures are quite in keeping with the proposed ages of Neanderthal remains from which significant DNA has been recovered. And finally, all the figures support fossil ages far in excess of the Young-Earth paradigm of ~6000 years, so I am quite surprised that you think this research support your case in any way!
(BTW Brownian motion is a demonstration of the turbulent movement of molecules in liquids, not the thermodynamic vibration of atoms in a molecule!)
We will reply interspersing with the above. Alex F. wrote:
Thanks for the reference to the Nielsen-Marsh paper. My initial thoughts are as follows. Firstly, the estimates for collagen andosteocalcin survival are from non-published work so there is no way of knowing how applicable they are to fossilisation. For example, under what conditions were the test samples stored—in water or dry, anoxic and adsorbed onto a mineral matrix as would be found in a fossil?
CMI:That paper actually explains the reasoning. An update from last year: “it will take between 0.2 and 0.7 Ma at 10°C for levels of collagen to fall to 1% in an optimal burial environment” [Buckley, M. and Collins, M., Collagen survival and its use for species identification in Holocene-lower Pleistocene bone fragments from British archaeological and paleontological sites, Antiqua 1(e1):1–7, 20 September 2011 | DOI: 10.4081/antiqua.2011.e1]. That’s published work, surely. So how can the survival of collagen be extended to evolutionary dino times, given that even at 0°C, it can last only 2.7 Ma?
AF: Secondly, even at face value, the survival of osteocalcin could be as much as 110Ma, more than enough to account for the presence of immunologically significant traces of osteocalcin in Late Cretaceous dinosaur eggs as reported by Schweitzer.
CMI: But not other evidence, e.g. from Bone building: perfect protein:
“Amazingly (for uniformitarians), enough osteocalcin to produce an immune reaction was found in bones of an Iguanodon ‘dated’ to 120 Ma… . And the fact that it’s a bone protein shows it can’t be contamination from outside. [Embery G., Milner A.C., Waddington R.J., Hall R.C., Langley M.S., Milan A.M., Identification of proteinaceous material in the bone of the dinosaur Iguanodon, Connect Tissue Res. 44 Suppl 1:41–6, 2003; . The abstract says: ‘an early eluting fraction was immunoreactive with an antibody against osteocalcin.’
Also, that generous upper limit is at 0°C, yet it is highly implausible that the fossil was at that freezing temperature for all those millions of years, let alone the fact that all agree that dinos lived in very warm climates.
AF:Thirdly, whilst making it unlikely that dinosaur DNA will ever be extracted, the figures are quite in keeping with the proposed ages of Neanderthal remains from which significant DNA has been recovered.
CMI: More likely, it means that they are younger than people think; Svante Pääbo himself has found that DNA fragments decay a few hours after death into chains 100–200 units long, that water alone would completely break it down by 50,000 years, and that background radiation would eventually erase DNA information even without water and oxygen, Ancient DNA, Scientific American 269(5):60–66, 1993. We have plenty of papers on Neandertal DNA, e.g. http://creation.com/neandertal-genome-like-ours The author of that paper also published “Mitochondrial diversity within modern human populations”, Nucleic Acids Research 35(9):3039–3045, 2007.
But this doesn’t at all affect the problems for dino proteins.
AF: And finally, all the figures support fossil ages far in excess of the Young-Earth paradigm of ~6000 years, so I am quite surprised that you think this research supports your case in any way!
CMI: No, these are obviously upper limits, not ages. I am rather surprised that you could overlook this point.
AF: (BTW Brownian motion is a demonstration of the turbulent movement of molecules in liquids, not the thermodynamic vibration of atoms in a molecule!)
CMI: What was said was not what you have above, but:
Complex molecules will still eventually fall apart to simpler ones, simply because all molecules are continually moving (Brownian motion) and the 2LOT describes the relentless tendency of molecules to adopt the most probable state, which is highly correlated with disorder.
Einstein’s landmark 1905 paper on Brownian motion (Über die von der molekularkinetischen Theorie der Wärme geforderte Bewegung von in ruhenden Flüssigkeiten suspendierten Teilchen, Annalen der Physik 322(8):549–560) showed that it was due to the random motion of fluid (liquid or gas) molecules bombarding much larger particles in liquids, and was one of the first tangible proofs of the existence of atoms, and even their size and number per mole. This random motion, conclusively demonstrated in fluids by Brownian motion, will, over time, drive systems to their most probable state. The higher the activation energy and the colder the temperature, the longer this time.
I think it’s reasonable now to say, as you have acknowledged on this list elsewhere, that you have indeed had a ‘fair run’ now. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify these points.
Hum, saying “evolution did it” is not the same as saying “God did it”. We know the mechanisms behind Evolution but no one can claim to know how “God did it”, it means nothing.
And the claim, “the evolutionist still needs to explain how these things arose gradually”, as related to plants and bees, the subject, as most of the symbiotic relations is well documented. The idea that it’s a problem not explained. …
Well, I learned that in the Secundary in Portugal. And again in the University. I studied many examples, like the one between a blue butterfly (Maculinea alcon), a plant (Gentiana pneumonanthe) and a species of ants (Myrmica [that’s a genus—Ed.]), near my University. Now, if you choose to refuse to use Science in the understanding of the process, yes, you will think that the process is a mystery. The Theory of Evolution allows you to make predictions because of the knowned mechanisms.
“God (to be fair, which God by the way? [see Holy books?—Ed.]) Did it” means nothing. Explains nothing. Again, it’s only confusing if you refuse to understand the information available. symbiotic relationships are very common in the Natural world. In fact, that was the one of first things that I learned in my Ecology classes, and again in my Ecology course. It’s so studied and so important in Ecology. …
Ironically, I am just in the process of interviewing a PhD ecologist who is a convinced biblical creationist. And so this is just a caricature, respectfully, as if one can’t study symbiotic relationships, adaptation, varying gene frequencies, etc. etc. without some blind-faith assumption that one is seeing a process capable of turning microbes into microbiologists. Jose, please consider that it may well be you who is shutting off the mind, by refusing to consider the history laid out in the book of Genesis to see how well it fits the actual facts of the living world. I recommend to you the high-quality documentary we did for the 2009 Year of Darwin, titled The Voyage that Shook the World.
@Carl. Re faith/evidence. It is an important scientific paradigm that a theory cannot be proved, only disproved. No amount of evidence will prove a theory to be universally true because one can never be certain that it will hold true for all possible conditions. For example we observe that the gravity decreases with distance by the square root but we cannot know that it will be true for all places in the universe and therefore we cannot prove that the Law of Gravity is true. On the other hand, if we find just one demonstrable situation where gravity does not operate that way we would have proved that the Law of Gravity is false. Unlikely but true. So if evidence really does “contradict my preferred paradigm” the theory fails. If, on the other hand, the evidence can be explained within the paradigm the theory remains viable. It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of evaluation. The mass of evidence points to deep geological time and so far there is no incontrovertible scientific evidence to the contrary.
“It is not a matter of faith, it is a matter of evaluation”.
That false contrast seems to reveal the loaded way you understand the word ‘faith’, as if it were some blind leap in the dark. Biblical faith as used in Scripture is never that postmodern sort of ‘blind faith’ but rather a reasonable faith, where valuation definitely comes into it. And in fact many secular discussions of science quite properly use the word ‘faith’ to describe the confident assumption that gravity will operate the same on Alpha Centauri as it does here, till proven otherwise. But then such assumptions that make the scientific enterprise possible originated from biblical Christianity—even though today they are based on utilitarianism—i.e. science works because these faith-assumptions work. See The biblical roots of modern science and Why does science work at all?
PS: I don’t think you meant to use the word ‘paradigm’ in your first sentence, but rather ‘principle’.
PPS: I think you've had a fair go now.
alex F, if we follow your logic, then a Ferrari has an "appearance" of design, ERGO we should NOT infer a designer, according to you. So we conclude that human designs were not designed. Which is exactly what evolution is, only evolution denies and infinitely better designer.
The evolutionist attempt to BELITTLE the IMMENSE level of design in creatures, is a bit silly, to call it "appearance" is to avoid the goal being scored by removing the goal completely.
The "appearance" argument is an argument that has not been supported. Merely making a counter-claim called "appearance" of design does not mean we now have to address your argument.
That is like saying, "here is my foot, now you have to stamp on it in order to win the football game".
No - we don't. We don't have to refute an astonishingly weak argument, you in fact have to prove your counter-claim, because all of the evidence supports design, therefore to win the game, we ACTUALLY have to put the football in the goal, which CMI, Dr Sarfati, et al, have consistently done. I suggest you read those articles instead of parroting "appearance".
@Carl “all the laws of physics and chemistry”. I know of no law that states that fragments of organic material should not last millions of years if there are suitable conditions of preservation. We know that biological materials degrade quickly in air or water but we are far from knowing that that is the case under all circumstances, for example, if it is first sealed in a mineral matrix and buried in dry anoxic conditions. And as a scientist you should know that a law is only as good as the evidence that supports it. Any contradictory evidence that really cannot be reconciled with a law is enough to overturn that law, no matter how strongly entrenched – just think of Newtonian and Relativistic mechanics. Science doesn’t lay down immutable laws; scientific laws are the expression of the available evidence.
Alex, permit me to explain a few things to you.
First, while it is technically true that the laws of science are always capable of being overturned in principle (btw, Newton’s laws were not ‘overturned’ by relativity, the law of gravity applies the same as today, they were subsumed within the new paradigm), some laws are so well attested by continual experience and observation (e.g. the Second Law Of Thermodynamics, or 2LOT, which is the one front and centre here, and which is continually on show right around us) that it has been correctly said that if your idea or invention contravenes this law, you have no hope. (To think that it might be overturned means you think that perpetual motion machines of the second and third kind might be possible, for instance. Good luck.)
Second, to expand on my comments, the decay tendency I am referring to here is one that operates relentlessly. It will of course be hastened by exposure to oxygen, heat, bacteria, moisture, you name it. But that is totally beside the point, because one can calculate how long things can last given perfect conditions, i.e. removed from all those influences, even from cosmic rays. Complex molecules will still eventually fall apart to simpler ones, simply because all molecules are continually moving (Brownian motion) and the 2LOT describes the relentless tendency of molecules to adopt the most probable state, which is highly correlated with disorder. Thus a maximum time can be calculated for those identified proteins under ideal conditions, and it falls tens of millions of years short of the 65 MYA minimum of assumed dinosaur ages. If the molecules were kept at 0°C for the entire time (surely being very generous to longagers) the upper limit for collagen, for instance, can be calculated as being 2.7 million years. See Nielsen-Marsch, C., Biomolecules in fossil remains: Multidisciplinary approach to endurance, The Biochemist, pp. 12–14, June 2002.
In closing I will quote Dr Mary Schweitzer, evolutionist and long-age believer, who discovered the first example of this sort of preservation in dinosaur fossils. The quote comes from Nova Science Now, May 2010, and the clip can be seen at cross.tv/21726. She says:
When you think about it, the laws of chemistry and biology and everything else that we know say that it should be gone, it should be degraded completely.
Bee navigation is amazingly complex.
I found an old article in Discover Mag (Nov 1997!) titled “Quantum Honeybee”. [Suggesting that the bee is somehow aware of what is happening the quantum world of quarks—Ed.] I wonder if any follow up work has confirmed this?
Bees did not outsmart supercomputers. The study by Lihoreau, et al., tested bees' ability to find optimal paths among 4 flowers. This size of problem is easily solved by the smallest computers.
You seem to have missed the point, respectfully. The reason why the evolutionist researchers quoted waxed so eloquently about the bees' computational abilities was not because they watched them outsmart supercomputers in their lab. The fact that the bees ability to do this concerns hundreds of flowers comes from what they are known to do out in the field. The study was looking at how the bees do this, i.e. what strategy they apply, and four artificial flowers were presumably sufficient to establish this while keeping the test manageable. As a 'by the way': our article's claims were not from our own understanding of the main research paper, but from the first paper referenced, which was put out by one of the University of London colleges commenting on the research paper; they would of course have known of the parameters of the study, the abstract of which (mentioning that there were four 'flowers') is freely available on the web, incidentally. available on the web at least in abstract form, mentioning the four flowers.
What about time would enable bees to not only solve the Travelling Salesman problem but to be attracted to flowers in the first place? How would they know there is anything about flowers that could serve as a food source?
Assuming the first bees found flowers useful for food, how many bees could have survived a strictly random search of their environment for flowers?
The evolutionist still needs to explain how these things arose gradually. I see complex specified information behind the scenes.
John C., unless you can point to a plausible evolutionary mechanism for the bees’ skill, saying “evolution did it” is just as much wandwaving as saying “God did it”. It has no scientific merit. Plus computers haven’t been evolving, but improving entirely by dint of human intelligent input. Why would bees do better without any initial intelligent programming at all?
Great article Carl!
To John C. That would be micro evolution to be more exact. There is an article on this site about the oldest known bee fossil to found which you may find interesting. I don’t think there is any evidence to suggest these bees were not as smart as today’s bees.
Alex F. said;
“But we really have no idea how they can do it.” Surely this is just an argument from incredulity? … To dismiss it as ‘God did it’ in this cavalier fashion is not only bad science, it is bad theology, reducing your faith to mere idol worship!"
Why call the reader’s comment cavalier? Is everyone who disagrees with you guilty of a cavalier approach to things? Sounds like you’re pretty cavalier yourself in that you accuse him (without warrant) of idol worship.
Christian liberals apparently want to present a version of Christianity that can’t be rationally defended … and claim that any attempt to do so is idol worship. Apparently the God of all creation has left himself without a defense of any kind … and no trace of Him can be seen anywhere in the universe.
Biblical creationists in no way raise the creature to the level of the creator. It’s the Darwinist who makes a god of the created order (i.e. nature) by making it the ultimate source of all things.
Is it your opinion that Romans 1:20 is bad theology?
The fact one can understand how something works doesn't mean it wasn't created. e.g. a computer.
John C. said:
Of course bees are smarter they’ve been evolving for millions of years, computers have been around a mere fraction of that time.
I don’t think it’s correct to say bees are smarter; they have better programs for sure, but this doesn’t make them smart as they aren’t self-conscious agents. i.e. don’t possess human-like consciousness.
The bees found in the fossil layers appear identical to the bees of today. Thus Darwinist theory must deal with a stasis of a hundred million years or so. When you say bees have been ‘evolving’ for millions of years, where’s the data to support such a claim?
Of course bees are smarter they’ve been evolving for millions of years
The only explanation for design which exceeds human-design, is a smarter designer. Why? Because you forget, that logically, in order to get the inferior human design, you need a designer.
But the bee-design is infinitely superior.
If you need a human to get an average design, then logically, what do you need to get an infinitely more brilliant design?
The only sound logical answer is;
An infinitely smarter designer.
It’s like saying; “if we need a fool to figure out that 2 add 2 is 4 then we do not need a mathematical expert to solve a difficult maths problem".”
That is what evolutionists have to argue, and it makes no sense because if you even need a fool to add 2 and 2, then the more complex problem will certainly need someone smarter.
Think about it, it makes no sense to say that you would not need someone smarter to get the bee design when it required a lot of human work just to get inferior human designs!
The article is erroneous as the title is nonsensical. Computers (any and all computers, including supercomputers) are not smart. Computers are faster and more efficient at performing mathematical operations. That is all a computer does, regardless of the output, it all comes down to math and speed. The title indicates that either the author does not have even the basic knowledge of rudimentary computer science, or just being cynical by thinking that the readers are dumber than they are.
John, in choosing the title for this layman’s article, rather than assume that readers were ‘dumber than they are’, I actually assumed that the average reader would be aware that both the mechanisms of a computer and whatever the mechanisms in bees are that solve this problem are not applying intelligence in the normal sense of the word. Especially when the actual article content says nothing of the sort.
I also assumed, I guess, that they would be very comfortable with the usage, especially in a title seeking to be compact, of such perfectly acceptable everyday expressions as referring to a computer today being ‘smarter’ than those of ten years ago (in fact, we even talk of smart phones, yet everyone knows that they are not ‘intelligent’ as such.) And most readers will know that insect behaviour, even when described as ‘smart’, like a spider spinning its web, is largely the outworking of programmed instincts. But that is precisely the point, so thank you for helping me make it—that since it took a very high level of intelligence to both design and program the computer, it is clear that the design and programming exhibited in bees is strong evidence for intelligence, not randomness, involved in the origin of bees.
I suspect that the real issue for you is not that you don’t understand this point, but that it offends you and hence the seeming need to find some point around which to make an ad hominem attack on the writer, rather than address the point of the article itself.
If I'm not mistaken then the aforementioned comparison of the capabilities of bees and computers wasn’t exactly correct. I think there were just a few flowers set up and even then the route that was chosen by bees was not optimal. Of course, it doesn’t take away from the fact that insects are amazing at what they can do.
Please see my response to Mark K. below.
P.S. “Now a materialist will have faith that a naturalistic explanation can be found.” Faith has nothing to do with it—I’ll go with the evidence!
I’ve been around long enough to see how materialists deal with contrary evidence, such as the discovery recently of soft tissue and identifiable proteins in dino fossils that should be gone long ago by all the laws of physics and chemistry (and of course millions of years is indispensable to materialism). It is the normal human response: “I can’t explain this evidence that seems to contradict my preferred paradigm, so I will have faith that an explanation will be found within that paradigm. In that way I can continue to kid myself that I’m following the evidence wherever it might lead.”
So this is unverified. If even the supercomputers can’t verify that the bees indeed solve the travelling salesman problem optimally then why claim it?
That’s not science—that’s “NEWS”
john C from the USA says that bees are smarter than computers because they've been around much longer. So by his logic if I were able to leave my laptop in a suitable and secure place for a billion years it would evolve into a smarter computer. Oh I forgot bees are living things and therefore capable of coming into existence and getting cleverer all by themselves without any intelligent input. Evidence for that? Nil.
Hello Carl. Thanks for your reply (although I would like to hear from the contributor what they meant rather than your opinion of what you thought they meant!). It is not possible to infer design from appearance alone. A quartz crystal, for example, looks designed but isn’t; we understand the essentially simple naturalistic processes that produce crystals. On the other hand a cut diamond looks designed and is, because we know who cut it and how it was done; we have evidence for design. Similarly, mathematical complexity alone is not evidence for design. A tornado is mathematically complex and difficult to model but we know it is the product of natural processes, even if we do not fully understand them; there is no actual evidence of ‘design’. So, faced with the mathematically complex nature of bee foraging, is it acceptable to assume design in the absence of evidence for design, just because we don’t yet understand how it is done? I think you need positive evidence for intelligent input before you can claim that something has been designed. Inferring design from appearance won’t do.
All of these points have been thoroughly discussed in our writings on design arguments. Let me recommend to you as a powerful summary the book by physical chemist and master logician Dr Jonathan Sarfati, By Design subtitled The evidence for nature’s Intelligent Designer, the God of the Bible. Regards.
It seems logical that individual cells have quite a lot of processing ability inside them. The average human neuron has thousands of connections, many with the ability to communicate multiple data strands via different neurotransmitters and ion channels. This would only generate data noise if the individual cell were not a mini computer in its own right. It seems we are only scratching the surface of the complexity that is present.
Of course bees are smarter—they’ve been evolving for millions of years, computers have been around a mere fraction of that time.
“But we really have no idea how they can do it.” Surely this is just an argument from incredulity? As so often in the past, the apparently inexplicable has been understood as more is learned. To dismiss it as ‘God did it’ in this cavalier fashion is not only bad science, it is bad theology, reducing your faith to mere idol worship!
Alex, if you were to become familiar with our site, you would see that we are not ones to promote the God of the gaps, or arguments from incredulity. I suspect you are reading more than is warranted into the words of the commenter whom you were quoting, who presumably meant to imply that we have no idea ‘yet’ (his shorthand would be meant to be read in conjunction with the article itself, which makes this clear, I think, that we are not in any way disapproving of the researchers’ hope to one day understand how they did it. The whole point of the article was that however it turns out to work, it will clearly be a highly ingenious piece of machinery, and using that as evidence of design is a legitimate argument, far removed from wandwaving. I.e. ’God did it’ is legitimate if one can demonstrate evidence of something which requires intelligence, since no human intelligence was present when that programming was first imposed upon matter. Now a materialist will have faith that a naturalistic explanation can be found—not for how bees do it, because we agree that there will be such an explanation, as God created the natural mechanisms—but for how it arose in the first place. There is where we part company, of course.
Typical explanations of this behaviour are instinct and collective intelligence, but we really have no idea how they can do it. These terms are not as scientific as they might appear at first glance. Yet invoking an all wise and knowing God who cares for and instructs his creation, and imparts the knowledge each needs to live is rejected on entirely philosophical grounds. Truly God has chosen some of the most humble things on this planet (bees, ants, termites etc.) to shame the wise.