Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Richard Dawkins and the Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve

In his never ending world tour evolutionist Richard Dawkins has been issuing typical arguments for evolution which are in his latest book. Here is one example:

The recurrent laryngeal nerve is a remarkable piece of unintelligent design. The nerve starts in the head, with the brain, and the end organ is the larynx, the voice box. But instead of going straight there it goes looping past the voice box. In the case of the giraffe, it goes down the full length of the giraffe's neck, loops down one of the main arteries in the chest and then comes straight back up again to the voice box, having gone within a couple of inches of the voice box on its way down. No intelligent designer would ever have done that.

Having never built a giraffe evolutionists do not actually know whether or not their recurrent laryngeal nerve is a shoddy design. In fact, it may well be that there are good reasons for the devious routing of the nerve.

But that is beside the point. Evolutionists forfeit nothing if the giraffe's recurrent laryngeal nerve has some reason to go down and back up its long neck. Regardless of the functions that are discovered, it obviously isn't efficient or elegant--it isn't an intelligent design.

Do you see the metaphysics that is deeply embedded in evolutionary thought? Regardless of how you feel about such designs, put yourself in the place of the evolutionist for a moment. Pretend that you genuinely believe that biology is an endless trail of hodge podge designs. That no creator or designer, otherwise capable of designing such incredible machines, would insert such clap traps into his designs. It would be like finding the steering wheel on backwards in a Ferrari. It makes no sense.

There are many scientific problems with evolution, but evolutionists are not in a position to contemplate any other possibility. Evolution--in one way or another--must be responsible for what we find in biology. Evolutionists have no other choice, regardless of the evidence. If you are convinced that "No intelligent designer would ever have done that" then guess what you will believe about evolution?

This argument from bad design may seem to rebuke the intelligent design theory, but it doesn't. ID is an appeal to the design in nature, not to the quality of those designs. The word "intelligent" is not a claim that the designs are smartly made--it is merely used to distinguish true design from apparent design.

We may not like a design, but that does not mean it was not designed. There may be evidence for evil or inefficiency, but that does not counter the evidence for design. Snake venom may be deadly, but it also is complex.

Judgments of the quality of a design can certainly be scientific. The efficiency, according to some metric, can be computed. The toxicity can be measured. But the use of such findings to determine whether a designer would have designed what we find in nature is necessarily not scientific. Such determinations require metaphysical assumptions.

The point here is not that evolution or ID are good or bad theories, or are true or false. The point is that, regardless of how one judges these ideas, evolution is a metaphysical theory whereas ID is an appeal to the empirical data and our scientific knowledge. This is why evolutionists are certain their theory is true. There is no way to conclude that evolution is as certain as gravity without non scientific premises at work.

Religion drives science and it matters.

38 comments:

  1. "the use of such findings to determine whether a designer would have designed what we find in nature is necessarily not scientific"

    That is precisely why Intelligent Design can never be a part of science. We can not tell how a design wouldn't have done it and we certainly can't tell how a designer would have done it. You are as guilty of this as anyone else Mr Hunter; almost every day you quote mine some research and construe it as an argument for 'complexity' that you claim evolution wouldn't have produced. So what? That isn't evidence for ID, as by your own admission we don't know that a designer would design complexity, maybe he/she/it wouldn't. Maybe complexity is exactly what we would expect under an unguided natural process that has no ultimate foresight.
    In science, all we can work with are natural processes that we can observe, test, and demonstrate.
    Even if somebody were to demonstrate, which nobody has yet, that natural processes were insufficient to produce what we see that still wouldn't even come close to be evidence for ID or something similar; all it would mean is we don't know and we'll just have to keep looking till we find a natural solution to whatever the problem is.

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  2. I imagine that Dawkins already has a list of excuses to use when it is determined that there are good reasons for the nerve to be designed as it is. Just as the evolutionists did when it turned out that Junk DNA was not so junky, they'll spin it to support evolution regardless of what their theory allegedly predicted or supported.

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  3. Anon:

    "So what? That isn't evidence for ID"

    I didn't say it was.

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  4. "I didn't say it was. [Evidence for ID]"

    Then what, exactly, are you saying? The placement of the laryngeal nerve in all mammals is a bit silly, but it is exaggerated to the extreme in the giraffe. Dawkins uses that example because it is not only a strong argument for the lack of a designer, it fits perfectly with the evolutionary model. If it's not an argument for ID, but fits perfectly with the theory of evolution, then what point are you trying to make? And what is metaphysical about evolution? Evolutionists are certain of their theory because every time new data is found, it has fit into the existing model of evolution. This is yet another example.

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  5. Chris:

    "Then what, exactly, are you saying? The placement of the laryngeal nerve ..."

    The statement from anon which I was answering was not in reference to this blog or the laryngeal nerve.

    "Dawkins uses that example because it is not only a strong argument for the lack of a designer ..."

    Why do you bring metaphysics into science?

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  6. "Why do you bring metaphysics into science?"

    I don't at all. I'm just a little confused about what you are saying in your post. Are you saying that the ridiculous placement of the laryngeal nerve is not evidence for evolution? The original position of that nerve, in fish, was just about where it should be, yet through time, as it evolved, it was hooked around the arteries of the heart, and as the two organs separated, it remained hooked there. There is such beauty in the understanding of how these bizarre configurations developed, and mountains of evidence showing why they did.

    Knowing the position of this nerve in the giraffe and other vertebrates, and being a scientist, what conclusion do you make, given these observations?

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  7. Chris:

    "I don't at all."

    Of course you bring metaphysics into science. You *just said* that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is a strong argument for the lack of a designer. Are you unable to distinguish between science and metaphysics?

    This is the problem. Evolutionists make religious / metaphysical claims, and then turn right around and say they do no such thing. This has been going on for centuries and look where we are today.

    Then you say the design is ridiculous. How do you conclude that, aside from the circular logic that evolution is true, and therefore the design must be ridiculous, and therefore evolution is true?

    Are you at all familiar with the design? What do you think about the nerve's interactions with the subclavian artery or the esophagus? Why are these "ridiculous", aside from the usual circular evolutionary reasoning?

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  8. I'm a little bit familiar with the physiology, but I've had some help from my father, who is a neurology researcher. The nerve follows the esophagus, but does not interact with it (in fact it is not always in the same place with respect to the esophagus), and any interaction (I'm not aware of any) between the right recurrent laryngeal nerve and the right subclavian artery is most likely due to proximity, wouldn't you say? It also passes the thyroid artery, so if an arterial interaction was necessary, surely it would happen there.

    I do not ever intentionally bring metaphysics into science. You are on record as believing in a designer, and to understand your point of view, I try to imagine a designer creating a living being. In the beings we have here on earth, I see things that are contrary to a design from scratch. Now if you told me you believed in a designer that created each creature using the building blocks available in another creature, your scenario might match what I see. I just cannot envision a creator/designer that would build a beautiful and graceful creature like a killer whale, and decide to embed a silly little pelvis, useful only in land mammals, deep within the blubber.

    I admit that evolutionists often make claims about religion, but it is due to the fact that their area of study exposes a perceived inconsistency with the Bible's story of creation. Even though an evolutionist may make a claim that falls beyond his area of expertise, it does not diminish the claims that lie within it, or the evidence that supports those claims.

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  9. What a nasty little piece of screed.

    First, let's begin with Dawkins' quite reasonable response to ID advocates' claims. To make things clear, pointing out "poor design" is pointing out an inconsistency in someone else's claim (ID advocates), so brushing it off and then attacking evolution is avoiding the subject to begin with. A bit strange in terms of argumentation.

    So, Dawkins' point, which ID advocates like to think is juvenile or fallacious: if life was intelligently designed, why are there biological examples of inefficient design? Why do they look like variations on a theme (common ancestry) rather than say... a nerve taking a much shorter path than is by all means necessary. At this point, the ID advocate comes in and says hey, wait, you don't know if there isn't some latent function in the roundabout layout of that nerve! Besides being an argument from ignorance, this is forgetting a basic fact about intelligent design: its basis is itself a hodgepodge of vague and poorly-reasoned arguments for design from 'complexity' or 'specificity', at least when they aren't arguing against evolution creationist-style. Intelligent design arguments are vague, depending on notions of what you say designers (the only available analogy being people) do. People connect lines efficiently. Therefore, the laryngeal nerve is inconsistent with intelligent design (a vague idea to begin with).

    Then Cornelius goes off and attacks evolution and "evolutionists" (remember, the overwhelming majority of scientists). Let's ignore the little bits of nonsense interspersed in the post and look at the main parts.

    "Evolution--in one way or another--must be responsible for what we find in biology. Evolutionists have no other choice, regardless of the evidence."

    Complete garbage. Evolution has overwhelming evidence (remember that phrase?), which is why it is accepted and used. ID advocates hardly produce evidence for their ideas, when those ideas are coherent, which is presumably what Dr. Hunter thinks is the evidence contrary to evolution.

    Maybe a note about the nature of science is necessary. Evolution has been demonstrated. Common descent is an extremely powerful predicter and modes of evolution have been demonstrated operationally: selection, drift, contingency, etc. We know that these modes are very powerful, enacting change observable in human lifetimes (not something which is necessary, given the huge amounts of time over which evolution has acted). As such, new discoveries about the history of life on earth raise questions: how old are the specimens? How would they fit into an evolutionary tree? The question of 'Do they violate common descent?' rarely, if ever, comes up. Is it "evolutionist bias?" No, the fossils or molecular evidence quite conveniently create overlapping phylogenies. When evidence conflicting with current ideas of evolution does come up, new ideas are considered. Does the sharing of genes across different bacterial clades shatter common descent? Yes and no, in prokaryotes: it introduced a new concept/mode of inheritance, lateral gene transfer, which is *also* mechanistic and operationally demonstrated. The ID advocate would surely start musing that this is all rationalizations to save an "evolutionary paradigm", when in fact it is following the evidence where it leads. Quite an ironic accusation.

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  10. "This argument from bad design may seem to rebuke the intelligent design theory, but it doesn't. ID is an appeal to the design in nature, not to the quality of those designs. The word "intelligent" is not a claim that the designs are smartly made--it is merely used to distinguish true design from apparent design."

    Nonsense. ID has been redefined repeatedly over the years by its advocates (hilariously) and draws on an analogy to humans. It has no other choice. If your quite vague analogy fails, your attempted explanation (as if it deserves such a label) fails. You yourself like to give examples of interdependent systems and centralized systems, implying they either challenge evolution or support design. One must wonder how the 'arguments' work, if not by analogy to human designers. The fact that one must work in implications makes your particular design arguments even vaguer (and thus open to vague counterclaims) than most.

    "We may not like a design, but that does not mean it was not designed. There may be evidence for evil or inefficiency, but that does not counter the evidence for design."

    Funny, you were accusing "evolutionists" of ignoring evidence and rationalizing before, now that's the entirety of what you're doing when presented with conflicting evidence: appealing to a vague definition of intelligent design which implies the counterargument is inadequate (but is so vague that no one could truly argue either way), then say that the appearance of bad design or inefficiency (when your own implied arguments draw from efficiency) don't damage your position. Project much?

    "But the use of such findings to determine whether a designer would have designed what we find in nature is necessarily not scientific. Such determinations require metaphysical assumptions."

    A more poignant rewrite of this reasoning: 'design arguments cannot be scientifically argued against by such petty things as the measured efficiency of biological systems.' I would then add this: 'also, please don't look at the design arguments drawing from the efficiency of biological systems or the vaguest ideas of what designers (people) do.'

    It looks like, from this rationalization, intelligent design itself is necessarily not scientific, as what's implied is that you need to know the nature of the designer, which is a metaphysical question (for some reason, presumably theological). It's hard to tell, though, as like I keep saying, this attempt at a response to Dawkins is vague as all get-out.

    "The point is that, regardless of how one judges these ideas, evolution is a metaphysical theory whereas ID is an appeal to the empirical data and our scientific knowledge."

    Again, project much? Your claims in this sentence are entirely unevidenced, yet somehow that's "your point"? It's a very poorly-made point.

    "This is why evolutionists are certain their theory is true. There is no way to conclude that evolution is as certain as gravity without non scientific premises at work."

    Rabbits in the precambrian. The consistent failure of Darwin's postulates. The nonexistence of Dr. Lenski's lab.

    Of course, you have your claim to demonstrate, and you don't do it. For some reason, the ID response to all criticisms is, 'here, let me redefine my position in such a way that I don't have to deal with evidence or reason'.

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  11. 4simpsons said, "I imagine that Dawkins already has a list of excuses to use when it is determined that there are good reasons for the nerve to be designed as it is."

    Is common descent, extremely well-demonstrated, an excuse?

    Cornelius Hunter wrote, "This is the problem. Evolutionists make religious / metaphysical claims, and then turn right around and say they do no such thing. This has been going on for centuries and look where we are today."

    You keep failing to demonstrate the metaphysical nature of Chris' and others' claims. There is nothing metaphysical about saying, 'if the designer possesses human characteristics, we could reasonably expect X'. It is taking the claim of ID, i.e. that a designer (by analogy to humans) created life, and looking at the full implications. If the designer only acts like humans to a certain extent and then we know nothing more about it, where is that limit and when did you determine it? The reason for denying such counterclaims is obvious: it takes ID's own implications and uses it against them. The metaphysical basis, however, is lacking. It's merely taking the (claimed to be scientific) justification for design and listing something else that would be expected (predicted).

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  12. Shirakawasuna - every single one of your arguements are the exact same. No need to keep repeating yourself day in and day out on here.

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  13. It's apparently very necessary, Anon. Everyone keeps making the same mistakes.

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  14. If poor design is proof for evolution, then it follows that good design is proof of ID. There is a lot of interest now in biomimickry. This means that engineers are studying organisms to get ideas to designs stuff. This is because there is so much really good design in nature.

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  15. Anonymous, engineers study "design" in nature all the time. It's because evolution works in such a way to favour the best "designed" organisms. The thing is that there is nothing intelligent about this design. It's the selection of random mutations of time that does it.

    And incidentally, poor design is certainly not proof of evolution, and nobody says it is. It's just a refutation of your hypothesis. If ID people were scientists, they would modify their theory, but that doesn't work when you need to make the theory match a predetermined story.

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  16. Chris:

    "I'm a little bit familiar with the physiology, but I've had some help from my father"


    Thanks for looking into this; however, from your summary it doesn't appear that you have much grounds for your claim that the design is ridiculous.





    "I do not ever intentionally bring metaphysics into science."

    Terrific.




    "You are on record as believing in a designer,"

    Well I'm on record as believing in Jesus Christ. He died for all of us and Without him we have no hope. But that doesn't give me the details of how the species arose. One option is evolution, which is a religious theory with enormous scientific problems. So evolution doesn't help much, and I still don't know how the species arose, but the empirical evidence certainly indicates design.





    "to understand your point of view, I try to imagine a designer creating a living being. In the beings we have here on earth, I see things that are contrary to a design from scratch. Now if you told me you believed in a designer that created each creature using the building blocks available in another creature, your scenario might match what I see. I just cannot envision a creator/designer that would build a beautiful and graceful creature like a killer whale, and decide to embed a silly little pelvis, useful only in land mammals, deep within the blubber."

    But it is not only useful in land mammals. Again, this is the evolutionary explanation (contra the evidence). Aside from that, evolutionists still view the pelvis as unlikely to have been designed, and so we need evolution to explain it. So I understand your point--it is the core of evolutionary thinking--but it is not scientific. I'm not saying you need to drop your idea, but please don't fool yourself into thinking it is a scientific conclusion.





    "I admit that evolutionists often make claims about religion, but it is due to the fact that their area of study exposes a perceived inconsistency with the Bible's story of creation."

    Right, modern evolutionary thought, all the way back to the 17th c., has always been mandated by religious premises. But you are slightly off in that evolutionary thought has not so much been targeted against the *biblical* story of creation (which can be interpreted in several ways) so much as the general idea of god designing and creating the world. For more on this you can see my book *Science's Blind Spot* and www.DarwinsPredictions.com (last section).


    "Even though an evolutionist may make a claim that falls beyond his area of expertise, it does not diminish the claims that lie within it, or the evidence that supports those claims."

    Indeed, in fact those religious claims *are* the evidence that support evolution. Far from diminishing evolution, they motivate and mandate evolution. Without them the evidence is weak.

    The challenge for us is to stop allowing other people's religion influence our thinking (unless, of course, we agree with that religion). Evolution is all about religion.

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  17. First of all, I appreciate your willingness to discuss this in a civil way, but I have no idea where you equate the scientific study of the evolution of species to a religion.

    "evolutionists still view the pelvis as unlikely to have been designed, and so we need evolution to explain it"

    The evolution of the pelvis in whales is so ridiculously well explained and documented that I just don't know how you can deny it. We have, as I'm sure you must know, transition fossils all the way back to land mammals, each with progressively receding nostrils as the animal spent more and more time in the water. This is basic. This particular theory of whale evolution has been around for a while. If you have such obvious evidence that refutes it, what is stopping you, or anyone else, from writing a paper on your alternate theory? Heck, all you would ever need to do is find one of those successive species in a geologically "out of place" layer. Just one would be almost enough to throw the whole theory out, and that applies for all species.

    It's not just the whale pelvis - it's the bones in the fins, the inner ear bones, and the unmistakably mammalian movement of the spine during propulsion.

    I'm not a religious person, so the metaphysical is not something that sways my views. Darwin and those that have come after him have only ever mentioned God in response to criticism that invokes Him, or in the case of earlier scientists, in response to current views of the origins of life. Science is not religious in any way at all. There are plenty of Christians who have no problem accepting the scientific views of evolution. You are either ignoring completely a lot of evidence, or you are being paid well to turn the other way. I can't think of another possible reason for your conclusion.

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  18. Chris:


    "I have no idea where you equate the scientific study of the evolution of species to a religion."

    Where evolutionists prove their theory is a fact. There are many examples of this, for instance:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/06/evolutions-religion-revealed.html




    "The evolution of the pelvis in whales is so ridiculously well explained and documented that I just don't know how you can deny it."

    Do you deny geocentrism?





    "We have, as I'm sure you must know, transition fossils all the way back to land mammals, each with progressively receding nostrils as the animal spent more and more time in the water. This is basic."

    You are affirming the consequent.




    "This particular theory of whale evolution has been around for a while. If you have such obvious evidence that refutes it, what is stopping you, or anyone else, from writing a paper on your alternate theory? Heck, all you would ever need to do is find one of those successive species in a geologically "out of place" layer. "

    Really? So you believe trilobites did not evolve?









    "I'm not a religious person, so the metaphysical is not something that sways my views."

    You're fooling yourself. You said that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is a strong argument for the lack of a designer. That is a metaphysical claim.






    "Darwin and those that have come after him have only ever mentioned God in response to criticism that invokes Him, or in the case of earlier scientists, in response to current views of the origins of life. "

    This is whig history.

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  19. "So you believe trilobites did not evolve?"

    I'll infer from your sarcasm that you have an example of a trilobite in a layer dated before or after they were to exist in an evolutionary model. I'll need you to cite something on that.

    "You are affirming the consequent."

    So we can infer nothing from the fossil record at all? What about the genetic and physiological evidence that also supports the fossil record?

    "You said that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is a strong argument for the lack of a designer. That is a metaphysical claim."

    If there was a designer, I'm quite certain that he was not metaphysical, so no, I've made no metaphysical claim. Nice try though.

    I'm going to back off on my comments about Darwin and others and their comments about God. After re-reading my sentence, I was far too strong on that. Darwin was a Christian for much of his life, and he did, in fact mention God quite a bit, as did others after him. What I meant to say was that their theories did not mention God. They often spoke of God because at the time, and even sometimes now, God is the null hypothesis. If we had no explanation for the diversity of life, many more scientists would believe in God.

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  20. "If poor design is proof for evolution, then it follows that good design is proof of ID."

    Poor design is evidence contrary to ID's vague assertions. Evolution doesn't require arguments from ignorance, that's ID's specialty.

    "There is a lot of interest now in biomimickry. This means that engineers are studying organisms to get ideas to designs stuff. This is because there is so much really good design in nature."

    Yes, nature has often arrived at excellent solutions to pressures. Not realizing that hey, maybe a blind process over billions of years can come up with something we didn't (perhaps wouldn't) design, is one of the fundamental misunderstandings of ID advocates. They look at nature, find complexity and dynamic function, then conclude that it must've been made by man-like being(s) ('designer').

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  21. Ah, so there's the "evolution is religion" post. Let's go through some of the basics.

    1) you claim that common descent has a religious basis because shared deleterious or useless characteristics, claimed to be evidence for common descent... well, exist. You vaguely hint at them not being measured and weighed (although this is patently false in the case of pseudogenes) and simply imply that the reasoning is false. I'm sad to tell you this, but the reasoning is fine: apparently useless (or use decreased significantly, leaving obvious remnants) are explained by common descent: vestigiality hints at shared characteristics, often overlapping with the other characteristics of the organisms when compared, despite a difference in function. Blind cave salamanders still develop eyes, still retain genes for constructing eyes, but they hardly use the potential. This is because they're descended from salamanders with sight, determined by phylogenetic comparison. Oh, look, evolution takes data and explains in a mechanistic fashion what it means. So "religious". Are you just now learning that theories are both predictive and explanatory?

    Just like your posts and responses now, you neglect to flesh out your points to make them cogent. You imply, imply, imply, but never actually go out and explain precisely how a statement is religious or scientific. It makes your claims a partially-hidden target, ready to jump away at the slightest hint of refutation.

    Of course, there's also the repetition of your conclusion: 'evolution is religious'. If you say it enough times, maybe you think it will become true? In the meantime, I'll sit comfortably sans rabbits in the precambrian and with these nice overlapping phylogenies.

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  22. When a scientist is talking about unintelligent design he is mocking you! He is clearly using a term that he sees as ridiculous and turning it around in a sarcastic manner.

    It's a British thing and what makes it even more hilarious are creationists taking the statement seriously.

    It's like American conservatives thinking that the Colbert Report is not actually parody about them. That the bizarre logical conclusions drawn form a debate. And this is why Dawkins nor any serious scientist will deign to debate you.

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  23. Cornelius Hunter, you are a fucking stupid piece of shit.

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  24. "I'll infer from your sarcasm that you have an example of a trilobite in a layer dated before or after they were to exist in an evolutionary model. I'll need you to cite something on that."

    This is an example of the confirmation bias that is common in evolutionary thinking. If evidence can be used to support evolution, then it is viewed as normative and is freely used as another proof. If evidence is contradictory, it is viewed as anomalous and a "research problem." Chris, if you want to evaluate evolution from a theory-neutral perspective, then you can find all kinds of problems with the theory, including the trilobites.




    "So we can infer nothing from the fossil record at all [to avoid affirming the consequent]?"

    No, it is not so black-white. For starters I would suggest looking at all the evidence rather them merely the supportive evidence. The question is: are you genuinely interested in testing the theory? Most people are not.




    "What about the genetic and physiological evidence that also supports the fossil record?"

    but they don't. There are all kinds of contradictions in both genetic and physiological evidences.



    *****
    "You said that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is a strong argument for the lack of a designer. That is a metaphysical claim."

    If there was a designer, I'm quite certain that he was not metaphysical, so no, I've made no metaphysical claim.
    *****

    But that, itself, is a metaphysical claim. Furthermore, regardless of what you assume about the nature of the designer, you are bringing metaphysical assumptions into science when you use the *quality* of a design as evidence against (or for) a designer, as I point out above.

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  25. My metaphysical claims are limited to not believing in the metaphysical, and I base that on the fact that I have never seen evidence that a metaphysical being could exist, or if one does exists, that there could be mechanism for it to interact with the physical. That's all I say. If that is a metaphysical claim, then fine, it's a claim I'm comfortable with.

    Look, I'm here on your blog, being polite, and challenging your hypothesis. You've told me I'm wrong on every point I've made, but you have yet to show me why. You have not cited anything that shows me to be wrong on any of my points. I'm completely willing to look at any evidence you have, but all I hear from ID proponents is that there are "problems with evolution".

    Even if there were problems, would you not agree, as a scientist, that evolution is the best way to explain the diversity of life? If you cannot at least admit that, then I respectfully doubt your understanding of the theory and the evidence.

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  26. Chris:

    "My metaphysical claims are limited to not believing in the metaphysical, and I base that on the fact that I have never seen evidence that a metaphysical being could exist, or if one does exists, that there could be mechanism for it to interact with the physical. That's all I say. If that is a metaphysical claim, then fine, it's a claim I'm comfortable with."

    Of course, I would hope/expect that you are comfortable with this claim. But, yes, it is a metaphysical one. And I hope you are aware that it could easily have the effect of biasing you toward an interpretation of the scientific evidence that is overly sympathetic to evolution.



    "Look, I'm here on your blog, being polite,"

    Always a plus ...




    "You've told me I'm wrong on every point I've made, but you have yet to show me why."

    Actually I've done quite a bit of explaining. But I hope you don't expect me to produce lengthy scientific explanations in these comments. I've written 3 books on the topic and a have a website (www.DarwinsPredictions.com which is given in the "Links") that summarizes things. I hope readers of this blog, such as yourself, don't expect rebuttals to all these comments. May I suggest you read through the website.




    "You have not cited anything that shows me to be wrong on any of my points. I'm completely willing to look at any evidence you have, but all I hear from ID proponents is that there are "problems with evolution". "

    Here is the bottom line: You are holding to a scientifically weak theory that is and has been for centuries mandated by metaphysical thought. This is all very obvious when you study the history of thought and the science. You can promote a religious theory, or you can go with the science.

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  27. I have yet to see you demonstrate the metaphysical nature of any of these statements. You simply state that they are and pronounce that it's a problem. Perhaps it's below opponents of entire fields of science to coherently argue their points?

    No, "buy my book" is not a proper response to your lack of cogency.

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  28. I guess they should really be calling him/her/it a Pretty Sharp Designer, On His Good Days Anyway.

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  29. To someone like you, nothing could ever "rebuke intelligent design" because you will abuse the remarkable ingenuity of the human mind to craft some fanciful way to explain away anything that threatens your silly bronze-age mystic mumbo jumbo. But the fact is, all this non-sense about giraffes necks being too long and impossible to evolve is just that--non sense. Those leading the anti reason movement know this and are lying about the evidence, and the rest of you are to stupid and/or lazy to do more than repeat lies that make you feel comfy.

    Well here is the truth about giraffes that neither Darwin nor Lamark knew, but which you would know if you consulted actual scientists instead of anti-reason wackos. Giraffes did, in fact, NOT evolve the long neck. As was the case with many pre-ice age animals, there used to be creatures that looks rather like 12 foot tall giant gazells, and they would have had no trouble having a long neck and giant heart and hearty arterial valves etc. We don't have many fossils from this part of the world, but we have enough. Over time, these giants evolved into smaller animals, but kept the long necks, likely for grazing or sexual selection, but they kept them and the heart and the valves and so on as the rest of the body shrank. There is little mystery here, no magic, and nothing but complete agreement with what one would expect from natural selection. The creationists who fill the web with claims that there are "no transitional fossils" are simply lying, or glibly repeating the lies of others. Just because Darwin didn't know something doesn't mean we don't know it today, and we have a wealth of transitional "missing link" fossils, from hominids to cetaceans, to birds, to snails, to salamanders. And oh by the way, antibiotic resistant bacteria? Yeah--have evolved resistance in only 60 years, and we have, in most case, a detailed genetic map of how they did it. Only a rank moron would insist on denying the reality of evolution given the crushing weight of the evidence, and no matter how much nonsense you repeat on line, you will not change the universe to conform to your tiny, petty view of what God ought to be. If God really exists, he can take the truth. You should accept it to. Science makes it possible to feed 6 billion people on a planet that would only feed 2 billion without fertilizer. You might show some gratitude.

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  30. nothingunreal:

    =====
    To someone like you, nothing could ever "rebuke intelligent design" because you will abuse the remarkable ingenuity of the human mind to craft some fanciful way to explain away anything that threatens your silly bronze-age mystic mumbo jumbo. But the fact is, all this non-sense about giraffes necks being too long and impossible to evolve is just that--non sense. Those leading the anti reason movement know this and are lying about the evidence, and the rest of you are to stupid and/or lazy to do more than repeat lies that make you feel comfy.
    ======

    Score for your first three sentences:

    Two Strawmen
    One canard
    One misrepresentation

    Oh, and one typo. That's a rate of 0.042 fallacies per word. At that rate we can expect a total of 17.77 fallacies for the entire comment. That is, of course, if your fallacy expression rate is uniform. On the other hand, if you follow a punctuated equilibrium model then your fallacy count is more difficult to predict. But recent research suggests that evolutionist's fallacies most closely follow a Poisson distribution. Some investigators hypothesize this pattern is consistent and can be traced back to the epicureans, but this remains controversial as more recent findings suggest at least one distinct shift in the pattern of fallacy production in the history of evolutionary thought.

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  31. First, the Recurrent laryngal nerve was never presented as evidence for evolution. It is used as an example to constrain the type of designer, if there is one. I won't go into the mountains of evidence for evolution here.
    I think it's funny that an ID proponent can use analogies to design by humans to support a designer. But when a scientist replies "okay, that's your proposal. Let's follow up on that," we are being metaphysical. All dawkins and others are saying is: "you propose a designer. Let's look at the work of this proposed designer to see what type of designer we have."
    Consider Evidence from, say, the structure of the lens of the eye. This important structure was not conceived and designed from the ground up. It was made from proteins lying around the cell, doing other jobs. Thus it seems that this hypothetical designer is not into the big picture. She cobbles stuff together from stuff in the garage and just picks whatever works...in other words, she does exactly what genetic rearrangement and selection does. So, why posit the mystical designer in the first place when I have a mechanistic process that can account very well for what I see?

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  32. Anthony:

    "I won't go into the mountains of evidence for evolution here."

    I wouldn't either, given how weak it is.

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  33. Let's play connect the dots:
    http://i.imgur.com/4owI0.png

    I like how you think that such an inefficient detour of the nerve serves any purpose at all. It's cute. Do go on.

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  34. Could it be that the reason for the course of the recurrent laryngeal nerve is not simply where it ends but what it does and its embryological development? The nerve does not simply end in the larynx. It also supplies the heart (which is in the chest),the oesophagus and the trachea.

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  35. My name is Dan Turpin so you wont have to address me as "anon"

    firstly I would like to say how proud I am of the defenders of reason and logic in this topic. great job sirs you should be proud, but realize you are talking to someone void of logic, our talent would be better put into teaching dogs how to speak English (that seriously seems more feasible).

    to Cornelius: although your name is fun to say and reminds me of planet of the apes... I am very disappointed in you as a human. and I would like to say that you are not doing a very good job at conveying anything but empty statements that only answer questions with more empty statements and questions, you are like an episode of "Lost"
    If you are trying turn anyone against evolution, you should have no luck with any learned person with a high school level understanding of evolution (which you seem to have no clue what evolution even means even when dealing with semantics) and for the religious people ( first of all I am sorry that you are apart of the chain of child abuse that is religion, I barely escaped it myself as a gay twenty something who luckily survived a few suicide attempts because I thought myself a sinner who deserved to go to hell) who could only say they understand what cornelius is saying if they where lying please go away from christian sources when looking for scientific fact because you will find none.

    I would like to end with one word...

    fossils.

    seriously, please help the advancement of the human race against people who would wish the world to end.

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  36. also I know this is a cheap shot, but to any Christians... talking snake...seriously.

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  37. Dan mumbled: "also I know this is a cheap shot, but to any Christians... talking snake...seriously."

    What? You've never heard of a snake talking to mindless morons who believe the lies they tell? I'll give you an example, The Zoo Keeper guy, what's his name Dick Dawkins or "Richod" in his cute little metrosexual accent. Yeah, put him in the Genesis account given in the Bible and ya got your talking snake. - Kent Perry, AZ.

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  38. Dan vomited:"to Cornelius: although your name is fun to say and reminds me of planet of the apes... I am very disappointed in you as a human."

    Planet of the apes is it, I presume that movies is rated right up there with Citizen Kane as one of the best all time among you Darwits. You being disappointed in Mr. Hunter, is relevant how again? It's a good thing Mr. Hunter doesn't seek the approval of suicidal homosexuals that insist on making such a personal levels of self disclosure part of the argument.

    Please, your opinions of Mr. Hunter including your sexual proclivities and their cause for your thoughts of suicide you blame the Bible for, are really none of our business.

    Then ended your post in hypocrisy saying and I quote:

    "I would like to end with one word...

    fossils."

    But you didn't end it there did ya Hoss. No,, you went on with yet another ad-hom opinion saying the following:

    "seriously, please help the advancement of the human race against people who would wish the world to end"

    Compared to who? Those who end their world as individuals committing suicide?

    I would like to end with one word...

    Jesus

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