No assembly instructions required?

Is a skateboard the same thing as a bicycle?

  • both move by the rotation of wheels that are in contact with the ground
  • both provide a platform for the rider
  • both depend upon the rider for power source

importance of assembly instructions

  • left over parts
  • wrong order
  • parts don’t fit
  • missing parts
  • broken parts


’Twas the Bike before Christmas

by P. R. Van Buskirk

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through our house
Not a creature was sleeping, not even my spouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with screws.
(If you can’t find the nails, what else do you use?)
The children were restless, awake in their beds,
While visions of spanking them danced in our heads.
I worked in my bathrobe. My husband, in jeans,
Had gone down to the den with directions and dreams
To assemble a bike that came in small pieces
With deflated tires and fenders with creases.
Soon down in the den there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my task to see what was the matter.
Away to my husband I flew like a flash;
He was shuffling through cardboard; his actions were rash.
The bike on the rug by this now flustered Dad
Soon gave me a hint as to why he was mad.
He needed a kickstand. It had to be near.
I shuffled some papers — he saw it appear!
We twisted the screws; we were lively and quick,
And we soon knew assembly would be quite a trick.
Fast as eagles in flight the pieces were found,
And he whistled and shouted for parts all around:
“Now socket! Now pedal! Now tires! Now brakes!
On handles! On kickstand! On horn! … oh… but wait!”
In the top of the toolbox, he fumbled around;
“I need two more screws!” he said with a frown.
And like all good parents determined to please
When they meet with an obstacle late Christmas Eve,
We shouted and yelled some complaints to each other.
There was never more frustrated father and mother!
And then, in a panic, we heard on the stairs
The prancing and hopping of feet… ’bout two pairs!
I opened the door and was turning around,
When kids burst from the hall with a leap and a bound.
They were dressed all in flannel, from their necks to their knees,
And their nightgowns were soiled with sugar and cheese!
Excuses poured forth from each pair of lips;
They stood in defiance with hands on their hips.
Their eyes were wide open, and each little child
Jumped when I yelled with a voice hardly mild.
They were frightened but cute, though much bigger than elves,
And we laughed when we saw them, in spite of ourselves.
A wink of the eye and a pat on the head
Soon let them both know they had nothing to dread.
They saw not a thing but went straight to their beds,
And we finished the bike and put bows on the sleds.
Then wheeling the bike by the tree (out of sight),
My hubby announced we should call it a night.
He sprang to his bed, to the clock gave a whistle,
As the time had flown by like a large Titan missile.
But I heard him exclaim as he turned out the light,
“Merry Christmas, my dear, but next year NO BIKE!”


Insert Knob A in Hole B

Dave Woodbury and John Hansen, grotesque in their spacesuits, supervised anxiously as the large crate swung slowly out and away from the freight-ship and into the airlock. With nearly a year of their hitch on Space Station A5 behind them, they were understandably weary of filtration units that clanged, hydroponic tubs that leaked, air generators that hummed constantly and stopped occasionally.

“Nothing works,” Woodbury would say mournfully, “because everything is hand-assembled by ourselves.”

“Following directions,” Hansen would add, “composed by an idiot.”

There were undoubtedly grounds for complaint there. The most expensive thing about a spaceship was the room allowed for freight so all equipment had to be sent across space disassembled and nested. All equipment had to be assembled at the Station itself with clumsy hands, inadequate tools and with blurred and ambiguous sheets for guidance. Painstakingly Woodbury had written complaints to which Hansen had added appropriate adjectives, and formal requests for relief of the situation had made their way back to Earth. And Earth had responded. A special robot had been designed, with a positronic brain crammed with the knowledge of how to assemble properly and disassemble every machine in existence. That robot was in the crate being unloaded now and Woodbury was trembling as the airlock closed behind it.

“First,” he said, “it overhauls the Food-Assembler and adjusts the steak-attachment knob sowe can get it rare instead of burnt.”

They entered the station and attacked the crate with dainty touches of demoleculizer rods in order to make sure that not a precious metal atom of their precious assembly-robot was damaged. The crate fell open! And there within it were five hundred separate pieces—and one blurred and ambiguous direction sheet for assemblage.


To Build New Animals, No New Genetic Information Needed? More in Reply in Charles Marshall

by Stephen C. Meyer

In my previous article responding to Charles Marshall, I argued that his review of Darwin’s Doubt in the journal Science (“When Prior Belief Trumps Scholarship”) illustrates what has become all too common in the defense of contemporary evolutionary theory: the tendency to affirm as true what evolutionary theory requires, even if that contradicts what we know from experiment and observation about how biological systems actually work. Now I will show that in order to rebut the central argument of Darwin’s Doubt, Marshall must also deny (or at least push from view) what we know about what new forms of animal life require as a condition of their existence.

In Darwin’s Doubt, I argue that intelligent design provides the best explanation for the origin of the genetic (and epigenetic) information necessary to produce the novel forms of animal life that arose in the Cambrian period. To his credit, and unlike other critics of the book, Marshall addresses this, the main argument of the book, and attempts to refute it. To do so, however, he does not show that any of the main materialistic evolutionary mechanisms can produce the information necessary to build the Cambrian animals. Instead, Marshall disputes my claim that significant amounts of new genetic information (and many new protein folds) would have been necessary to build these animals. Specifically, Marshall claims that “rewiring” of dGRNs would have sufficed to produce new animals from a set of preexisting genes. As he argues:

[Meyer’s] case against the current scientific explanations of the relatively rapid appearance of the animal phyla rests on the claim that the origin of new animal body plans requires vast amounts of novel genetic information coupled with the unsubstantiated assertion that this new genetic information must include many new protein folds. In fact, our present understanding of morphogenesis indicates that new phyla were not made by new genes but largely emerged through the rewiring of the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) of already existing genes.

Yet Marshall’s understanding of how animal life originated is problematic for several reasons.

Rewiring Requires Information

First, “rewiring” genetic circuitry would require reconfiguring the temporal and spatial expression of genetic information. …


I seriously doubt that Marshall’s easily refuted arguments would be published if they had better ones…

No surprise that Science refused to publish Meyer’s response to Marshall.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz: