Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Evolution is a Scientific Fact: A Proposition

Evolutionists disagree amongst themselves about the theory of evolution but they agree about the fact of evolution. If there is one point of agreement within evolution-dom, it is that evolution is a scientific fact. A few years after Darwin died Joseph Le Conte explained that evolution is a law, not a theory, and it is a law to which every department of natural studies must adhere. It is not merely as certain as gravity, "Nay, it is far more certain." Similarly, Teilhard de Chardin maintained that "evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow—this is what evolution is."

In 1951 George G. Simpson wrote that there really is no point nowadays in continuing to collect and to study fossils simply to determine whether or not evolution is a fact. The question, concluded Simpson, has been decisively answered in the affirmative. Scientist and social critic Ashley Montagu elevated evolution beyond all other theories. It was, according to Montagu, "the most thoroughly authenticated fact in the whole history of science."

In his biology textbook Neil Campbell informed the student that “The term theory is no longer appropriate except when referring to the various models that attempt to explain how life evolves … it is important to understand that the current questions about how life evolves in no way implies any disagreement over the fact of evolution.”

For Douglas Futuyma evolution “is a fact, as fully as the fact of the earth’s revolution about the sun,” and Richard Lewontin says it is time “to state clearly that evolution is a fact.” Niles Eldredge claims that “Evolution is a fact as much as the idea that the earth is shaped like a ball.”

The National Academy of Sciences explains that in science the word “fact” can be used “to mean something that has been tested or observed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing or looking for examples. The occurrence of evolution in this sense is a fact. Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence supporting the idea is so strong.”

And Harvard's Ernst Mayr explained that the fact of evolution is so overwhelmingly established that it would be irrational to call it a theory.

That evolution is a scientific fact is an important claim. Let’s look at exactly what evolutionists are saying:

Evolution: For evolutionists this word refers to the idea that all the species arose via natural laws. God did not use miracles to create the biological world, instead everything arose by the play of the natural processes and laws we observe. Moths changing color or bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics do not constitute evolution. They are at best tiny examples of evolution. Such examples of adaptation do not prove evolution any more than a flat parking lot proves the flat earth theory. Evolution is a big theory.

Is: This evolutionary claim is not tentative. Evolutionists are not merely saying that some evidence supports their theory. They are not saying parts of evolution are true, or that evolution might be a fact. There is no wiggle room here. Evolution is a scientific fact.

Scientific: What type of fact is evolution? It is a scientific fact? This means that this conclusion is arrived at via logic. Scientific reasoning is, if anything, logical. Fallacies are rooted out and eliminated. And the evidence used in the reasoning is public. There is no private knowledge required to understand evolution and its status as a fact. Also, the premises of scientific reasoning are objective. There are no subjective axioms. One need not adhere to Buddhism or Baptism to understand and agree with scientific reasoning.

Fact: This word can mean different things to different people, but in this context evolutionists are quite clear about their usage. A favorite comparison, as demonstrated by Le Conte above, is with gravity. Evolution is a fact every bit as much as is gravity (or more so according to Le Conte). There’s not much nuance here. Sure evolution may not be true, but only in the sense that gravity might not be true. This existence could be a big dream, with none of what we experience being real. But aside from such Berkeleyan quandaries, we can count on the veracity of evolution.

Now that we understand just what evolutionists are claiming, what can we say about it? There is indeed much to say, but the most important observation that is immediately obvious from the evolution genre is that while evolutionists consistently make this claim, it is nowhere demonstrated.

To be sure evolution is often proved to be a fact, but in every case metaphysical premises are involved. If god wouldn’t have created the mosquito then yes, evolution in one form or another must be a fact. But such theological musings (yes, evolutionists really do assert this very premise) fall far outside of the objectivity criterion.

And while the evolution literature is often scientific, in those cases the theory is never shown to be a fact. This problem is not slight. It is not the case that evolution is quite convincing but just shy of fact-hood. Darwin’s theory, in whatever form it is presented, comes nowhere close to being a fact when we restrict the premises to the realm of empirical science. In fact—if we want to speak of facts—the fact is evolution is highly problematic.

For many years I have searched the evolution genre. I have scanned the journals and reviewed the texts. From Darwin and Le Conte to Carroll and Coyne, I have pored over the literature. I have nowhere found an exposition of this most important fact. I have seen evolution proven to be a fact, and I have seen evolution presented as science, but I have never seen evolution shown to be a scientific fact.

And so I have a proposition for evolutionists. Show me your fact and I will promote it. Explain why evolution is a scientific fact and I will retract my criticisms as unfounded. Back up your claim and I will be an evolutionist.

84 comments:

  1. another article just like the last article. And the before that, and before that, ad nauseum.
    'Evolution looks pretty good but...' and 'evolution is flawed'.

    "I don't offer an alternative' - this from the man who's reason detre is 'committed to biblically centered education, intentional spiritual development and vocational preparation’ and who 'will demonstrate an ability to discuss theories of origins and evolution within the context of a Scriptural view of CREATION’ (my capitals).

    "evolution is metaphysical and driven by religion' - maybe in its Origins days but not in recent history. See 'theory of insanity' yet again.

    You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. You could be presented with a million pure scientific facts delivered in twenty seven different ways but you would still refuse to accept them. Because you are biased by your beliefs.

    Why bother? Your position is fundamentally discredited. You are not operating on a factual basis, your purpose is to drive creation/ID.

    And that's a fact.

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  2. Hunter's speciality is projection. He is a Biblical fundamentalist. He believes what he believes because the Bible says it, he believes it, and that's it.

    Hunter claims in this post to have read vastly in the evolution literature for the fact of evolution, but he can't even get the basic point right, which is that the fact of evolution is DESCENT WITH MODIFICATION, i.e. common ancestry. This fact does not necessarily mean that natural selection is the main driving force, or something else, including something teleological. These, at various points, have been debated as various parts of the explanatory theory. Since the 1930s, natural selection has been on top as the most important force, with numerous challenges on details, just as one can debate the relative importance of erosion versus other forces in geology. But this entire vast debate never questioned DESCENT WITH MODIFICATION, which virtually everyone educated accepted within a decade or two of the Origin. That's the fact of evolution, and that's fundamentally what Hunter would like to disprove and replace with miracles like it says in (his American fundamentalist reading of) the Bible.

    Hunter just ignores the crashingly overwhelming statistical confirmations of common ancestry. The odds of e.g. morphological and molecular phylogenies agreeing as much as they do (there are sometimes disagreements, but they are statistically minor, at least if you are open-minded enough to actually learn about the relevant statistics, and not just quote mine from people who don't) are miniscule. The fossil record shows similar statistical agreement. Etc.

    Hunter's arguments against these published, peer-reviewed, well-known, statistical, empirical tests of common ancestry basically boil down to "well maybe GodDidIt that way cause he creates according to his good pleasure." He apparently thinks anything that contradicts his utterly useless and untestable view is religion. It's no better than the high schoolers that try to get out of math class by claiming that math is against their religion. And he ignores the fact that his argument undermines all statistical hypothesis testing everywhere in science, not just in evolution. In his quest to take down evolution, he takes down all of science.

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  3. Cornelius -

    It rather seems to me that in the quotes you cite, these people are not saying 'evolution is a fact' as in, a single, provable observation. They mean that there is just so much supporting evidence that we should accept it as true unless we have good reason to think otherwise.


    Moths changing color or bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics do not constitute evolution. They are at best tiny examples of evolution. Such examples of adaptation do not prove evolution any more than a flat parking lot proves the flat earth theory.


    We do not observe evolution DIRECTLY. Like gravity or magnestism, we can only INFER it - that is, observe it's effects.


    There is indeed much to say, but the most important observation that is immediately obvious from the evolution genre is that while evolutionists consistently make this claim, it is nowhere demonstrated.


    It is amply demonstrated - in biogeography, vestigial structures, embryology, morphological similarity, comparative anatomy and molecular evidence to name a few fields bursting with such demonstrations.


    To be sure evolution is often proved to be a fact, but in every case metaphysical premises are involved. If god wouldn’t have created the mosquito then yes, evolution in one form or another must be a fact. But such theological musings (yes, evolutionists really do assert this very premise) fall far outside of the objectivity criterion.


    No evolutionists do not assert this very premise. This is simply not a premise the theory of evolution is built on.

    No doubt you will respond by quoting influential evolutionists making such remarks. But I'm sure I could quote evolutionists remarking on their favourite breakfast cereal. That doesn't mean the theory of evolution has anything to do with breakfast cereals either.

    It is NOT based on assumptions about what a deity would or would not produce. It is simply a theory which accounts for the observed evidence. That's all.

    There is no assumption about what a supernatural creator would or would not create, because to do so is to assume that there is such a being at all - which is highly unscientific considering there is no evidence for one.


    And while the evolution literature is often scientific, in those cases the theory is never shown to be a fact.


    No, it is merely evidenced - which is all one can ever do with a scientific theory. The thing is that some people claim there is just SO MUCH evidence, that we should just take evolution as a fact - a prospect I don't find unreasonable.


    Show me your fact and I will promote it.


    It is not a single obervable fact that can be observed. It can only be inferred and evidenced.


    Explain why evolution is a scientific fact and I will retract my criticisms as unfounded.


    The sheer WEIGHT of supporting evidence.


    Back up your claim and I will be an evolutionist.


    I doubt that very much.

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  4. Cornelius wrote: And so I have a proposition for evolutionists. Show me your fact and I will promote it. Explain why evolution is a scientific fact and I will retract my criticisms as unfounded. Back up your claim and I will be an evolutionist.

    Yeah, right. Haven't you signed Biola's doctrinal statement, which says, in the explanatory note:

    The existence and nature of the creation is due to the direct miraculous power of God. The origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of kinds of living things, and the origin of humans cannot be explained adequately apart from reference to that intelligent exercise of power. A proper understanding of science does not require that all phenomena in nature must be explained solely by reference to physical events, laws and chance.

    Therefore, creation models which seek to harmonize science and the Bible should maintain at least the following: (a) God providentially directs His creation, (b) He specially intervened in at least the above-mentioned points in the creation process, and (c) God specially created Adam and Eve (Adam’s body from non-living material, and his spiritual nature immediately from God). Inadequate origin models hold that (a) God never directly intervened in creating nature and/or (b) humans share a common physical ancestry with earlier life forms.

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  5. Cornelius Hunter: It is a scientific fact? This means that this conclusion is arrived at via logic.

    Well, actually hypothetico-deduction, which is only partly logic, but largely empirical verification.

    Cornelius Hunter: Explain why evolution is a scientific fact and I will retract my criticisms as unfounded.

    We start with the evidence for the Theory of Common Descent, the nested hierarchy as it applies to most taxa and traits. In particular, we start with those taxa where Common Descent is most easy to verify. Perhaps we could start with land vertebrates. Or even more narrow groupings; equines, hominids or Darwin's Finches.

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  6. oleg -

    You must be confused. Cornelius is not a religious man. After all he said so!

    Surely he hasn't signed THAT?!!?

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  7. The earth's revolution around the sun is a fantastic example. Surely it is in theory possible to explain the evidence in another way, with miracles that alter the relative position of earth and sun in a manner that misleadingly resembles the earth following a gravitational orbit around the sun.

    Likewise, it will always be theoretically possible to deny evolution, provided one is willing to posit a misleading miracle where observable natural phenomena and forces would be perfectly adequate to account for what we see.

    In the case of evolution, we had pretty reliable evidence even when we simply had the succession of fossils, the evidence of related morphology, and other such data. Now that we have DNA evidence, and can determine relatedness between all living things using genetics, the situation is summed up nicely by Francisco Ayala: "there are no more gaps."

    Of course, it will always be possible to deny scientific facts, just as it is possible to deny historical facts. And so the question is whether one wants to follow the most straightforward reading of the evidence, or whether one prefers to engage in something that is to science what holocaust denial is to history.

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  8. "Evolution simply means change over time."

    That's the equivocation that -- in my experience -- proponents of Darwinism appeal to when you point out that common descent has not been observed. (And, until someone invents a time machine, cannot be observed.)

    Who can deny that change happens over time?

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  9. "Who can deny that change happens over time?"

    Texans, for one.

    About a fifth — 22 percent — said life has existed in its present form since the beginning of time.

    http://www.texastribune.org/stories/2010/feb/17/meet-flintstones/

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  10. Of course the bible nowhere states that living things remain in their pristine, originally created state. The creation was made subject to corruption as a result of man's sin. We see the results of this everywhere and in every living thing.

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  11. Ex N1hilo -

    I don't mean to be offensive, but with all due respect and in a literal sense: who cares what it says in the Bible?

    It is not a scientific book. It is not even scientifically accurate. It recounts miracles, and shows no greater understanding of the workings of the universe than the ideas in common circulation at the time it was written.

    The Bible is not on trial here. The question is the scientific validity on the theory of evolution. Which will stand or fall on its own no matter what it says in the Bible.

    As for common descent not being observable without a time machine, that is perfectly true. So what can we do? Well we can test it to make sure it is scientifically viable as a mechanism (it is) and make predictions of the sorts of things we would find if common descent were true to see if such things exist (we have).

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  12. Cornelius,

    Another fine article. It is unfortunate the scientific understanding is such a rare ability. Your critics can completely ignore the fact the the earliest living creatures were complex colonies with photosynthetic capabilities. This one fact is enough to refute evolution, and yet they persist, reveling in their ignorance. It is fortunate that the great majority of people, with little scientific training can see what your critics can not - that the world was intelligently designed. I guess the Wizard of Oz was correct when he said (much better than I ever could):

    "Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven't got: a diploma."

    .

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  13. Dr. Hunter's continuing proposition is that evolution is based on religion or belief. I can agree with that. Scientists BELIEVE in cause and effect. Scientists BELIEVE they can discover the relationship between cause and effect based on what can be observed. These are central tenets of this "religion," but also shouldn't be controversal.

    Dr. Hunter says: "...in every case metaphysical premises are involved. If God wouldn’t have created the mosquito..." He is describing what scientists actually do, assume God didn't create a mosquito and see what connections they can make.

    This is what they have to do. God cannot be verified, he cannot be proven or disproven. Science treats the universe as a box full of objects and interaction rules. It cannot tell "who" put the box there; no one can. Nobody.
    We cannot describe how the box came to be, only how it behaves. This is the essense of science.

    I haven't been reading this blog for long, but this is the first time I've actually seen the ID philosophy creeping into Dr. Hunters argument. If we don't assume that God didn't create the mosquito, then we are assuming that he did. Although I've suspected it, I now have no doubt that Dr. Hunter is pushing ID, and not merely probing a theory for flaws.

    Science stops when we use the "God made the mosquito" assumption. There's nothing to be done and nothing more to learn about our universe or ourselves: save listening to the people who believe they have cornered the truth. This critique of evolution is not an effort to further understanding, but to halt it.

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  14. Dr. Hunter poses the great epistemological question regarding the theory of evolution and it still remains unanswered.

    Joe G (he has also posted here) at Intelligent Reasoning has also asked that evolutionists demonstrate that the mechanisms of evolution can accomplish what is claimed for them. He has never gotten an answer.

    Whenever I post on the various blogs I ask the same kinds of questions, and I never get a direct answer. I will ask it again.

    Ritchie:
    We do not observe evolution DIRECTLY. Like gravity or magnetism, we can only INFER it - that is, observe [its] effects.

    I agreee with this statement and the fact that the mechanism of evolution has to be inferred.

    Could you briefly outline the reasoning process that leads you to infer from the evidence that undirected, natural processes are responsible for the diversity and complexity observed in living things? (It is very easy to outline the reasoning process for the design inference.)

    Or you could answer this question. What do you think needs to be done to demonstrate the plausibility of the mechanism of evolution? What does science need to know that it does not yet know?

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  15. I think it is worth pointing out that the only way that the *fact* of evolution can be demonstrated is by knowing the *mechanism* of evolution. Without the mechanism, we can't know what features are or are not expected by evolution. The *mechanism* of evolution is extremely hotly debated, and this is admitted by all the sources who say that "evolution is a fact". However, if the mechanism is unknown, then the fact is in doubt, because there is no legitimate way to know if a given feature is or is not consistent with the mechanism if we don't know what it is.

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  16. Just had a random thought which might help highlight Cornelius' philosophical fallacy. Maybe... Worth a try...

    I think the universe was made by magic unicorns. Now we cannot test this, and consequently we cannot disprove it. So when those scientists study their pet theory - evolution - they are making the metaphysical assumption that the magic unicorns are not the actual cause of whatever evidence they come up with. Those darned religous scientists!

    My brother thinks the universe was made by the fairies. Now we cannot test this, and consequently we cannot disprove it. So when those scientists study their pet theory - evolution - they are making the metaphysical assumption that the fairies are not the actual cause of whatever evidence they come up with. Those darned religous scientists!

    My friend thinks the universe was made by the flying spaghetti monster. Now we cannot test this, and consequently we cannot disprove it. So when those scientists study their pet theory - evolution - they are making the metaphysical assumption that the flying spaghetti monster did not the actual cause of whatever evidence they come up with. Those darned religous scientists!

    Cornelius thinks the universe was made by God. Now we cannot test this, and consequently we cannot disprove it. So when those scientists study their pet theory - evolution - they are making the metaphysical assumption that God did not the actual cause of whatever evidence they come up with. Those darned religous scientists!

    Does that help?

    Scientists do not just ASSUME the existence of anything, not magic unicorns, not spaghetti monsters and not God - because there is an infinite number of things which they COULD assume. They deal only in things we have evidence for.

    And it is not religious of them to do so.

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  17. "Evolution is a fact," in the context implied by your quotes, means "you share biological ancestors with monkeys and the trees they swing through." Since Neil Campbell explicitly, and the others implicitly, distinguish between this idea (universal or at least large-scale common ancestry) and various mechanisms for evolution, "evolution is a fact" is not, by itself, a proclamation that no miracles were involved in the process.

    Of course, your problem, at least in this essay, is that scientists are implicitly assuming that no miracles substituted for the process. The argument for evolution isn't "God wouldn't make a mosquito." It's not even "God wouldn't put shared endogenous retroviruses and pseudogenes in humans and other primates, with their differences in sequence similarity falling into a nested hierarchy pattern identical to that expected from branching descent from a common ancestor." The argument is that evolution -- common descent with gradual, opportunistic modification -- would produce such effects, and we have no good reason to suppose that a Designer of life -- supernatural or otherwise -- would choose to do so.

    Your basic complaint is that science refuses to work on the assumption that maybe things were magicked into existence in exactly the patterns we would expect from evolution. It's a conceptual possibility, I suppose, but why exactly would anyone take it seriously?

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  18. Steven J.:

    "Your basic complaint is that science refuses to work on the assumption that maybe things were magicked into existence ..."

    No, my basic complaint is that evolution entails religious / metaphysical premises. I have no problem with MN.

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  19. Doublee -

    I am not a scientist. I have a keen interest on this topic and I like to be read-up on it. Nevertheless I will have a stab at it. But bear in mind it's just a layman's opinion...


    I agreee with this statement and the fact that the mechanism of evolution has to be inferred.


    Good.


    Could you briefly outline the reasoning process that leads you to infer from the evidence that undirected, natural processes are responsible for the diversity and complexity observed in living things?


    Well, how would life look if it was the result of design compared to how it would look like if it was the result of blind forces?

    If the latter, I would expect to see life as a patchwork of kludges - a patchwork of quick-fixes, work-arounds and immediate solutions.

    The spine, for example. Ask any engineer and he will tell you a single column is a lousy support for an upright structure, and indeed, back problems are very common in humans. Evolution has an explaination for this, however: spines were perfectly fine for our fishy ancestors, and even rather servicable for tetrapods. But when our primate ancestors started adopting an upright posture, they had to work with the spine they had - you cannot go back to the drawing board when it comes to things like that.

    When you look for them, you see kludges in nature everywhere. The lyrangeal nerve in the giraffe's neck is another famous example. It makes sense if the nerve had to grow bit at a time because it loops around an artery in the chest. We cannot be SURE a designer wouldn't design it that way, of course, but it does at least make sense. It does not make sense if we assume life is designed.

    Kludges and 'bad design' abound in nature. Here are a few more - making us breathe and eat down the same passage leading to the risk of choking, the hyena's birth canal which hardens and may become so hard it crushes any infant inside, the Goliath bird-eating-spider, which hunts birds in trees, and yet has an exoskeleton so fragile it practically explodes after even a moderate fall, the human appendix which is just a total liability, a blowhole in whales and dolphins rather than just the ability to breathe in water like fish... the list goes on.

    Even the human mind - apparently the apex of creation according to some - goes wrong more often than my flippin' useless computer! One in three people will develop a mental disorder at some time in their life. That's not what I call a good rate for designed objects.

    So that's my answer anyway - the abundance of kludges and 'bad design'. If life was designed, it apparently wasn't designed very well!

    If this isn't quite the answer you wanted, give me the one you had in mind for design and I'll give you my equivalent for blind forces.


    What do you think needs to be done to demonstrate the plausibility of the mechanism of evolution?


    Not a lot. I think much has already been done. I think the question is best directed at you. What do YOU think? What would it take to convince YOU?

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  20. Ritchie:

    "It is amply demonstrated - in biogeography, vestigial structures, embryology, morphological similarity, comparative anatomy and molecular evidence to name a few fields bursting with such demonstrations."

    So how do we get from these observations to the conclusion that evolution is a scientific fact?

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  21. Good summary, Dr. Hunter.

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  22. Cornelius -


    No, the argument is that it is a scientific fact. That's why I parsed the claim.


    So your problem is with people using the word 'fact' instead of 'really, really, really well-evidenced theory?'

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  23. Cornelius -


    So how do we get from these observations to the conclusion that evolution is a scientific fact?


    Simply because there are SO MANY of them.

    That's what the people you cited in your opening post are saying...

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  24. Jon-
    thinks "it is worth pointing out that the only way that the *fact* of evolution can be demonstrated is by knowing the *mechanism* of evolution. Without the mechanism, we can't know what features are or are not expected by evolution. The *mechanism* of evolution is extremely hotly debated"

    Fail: Go back to Evolution 101. Mechanisms of evolution:
    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIIMechanisms.shtml

    "this is admitted by all the sources who say that "evolution is a fact"."

    Give me one properly referenced quote to that effect (after the Discovery of DNA as genetic material).

    Dr. Hunter-

    "Moths changing color or bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics do not constitute evolution. They are at best tiny examples of evolution."

    Tiny examples? Same mechanisms. Is dropping a light weight a tiny example of gravity? No one has measured the forces on the Earth with and without the Moon.

    Evolution is a fact because we directly observe it (the development of novel traits and speciation) in the lab and in nature. Experimentally, in a number of different ways, random mutation and recombination plus selection generates novel functions (sorry ID). Further, common descent is the best explanation for molecular and fossil phylogeny, shared organelles, endosymbionts, and common biochemistry and the semi-universal genetic code, for example.

    What follows are just a few examples of molecular data being collected on evolution in action. What is metaphysical about directly observing evolution, providing volumes of molecular data tracing that evolution in progress, and concluding evolution is a fact because SCIENTISTS WATCHED IT HAPPEN? Sequenced the evolving genomes. Quantified it. Tested hypotheses.

    So where's the metaphysics? Is it metaphysical to conclude something occurred in nature without making reference to the intervention of god? Is it metaphysical to describe and study the formation of hurricanes without invoking the wrath of god, as Pat Robertson would prefer? Is there no such thing as the 'natural' sciences?

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  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. Refs:

    Sympatric ecological speciation meets pyrosequencing: sampling the transcriptome of the apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella.
    BMC Genomics. 2009 Dec 27;10:633.

    "BACKGROUND: The full power of modern genetics has been applied to the study of speciation in only a small handful of genetic model species--all of which speciated allopatrically. Here we report the first large expressed sequence tag (EST) study of a candidate for ecological sympatric speciation, the apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella, using massively parallel pyrosequencing on the Roche 454-FLX platform. To maximize transcript diversity we created and sequenced separate libraries from larvae, pupae, adult heads, and headless adult bodies. RESULTS: We obtained 239,531 sequences which assembled into 24,373 contigs. A total of 6810 unique protein coding genes were identified among the contigs and long singletons, corresponding to 48% of all known Drosophila melanogaster protein-coding genes. Their distribution across GO classes suggests that we have obtained a representative sample of the transcriptome. Among these sequences are many candidates for potential R. pomonella "speciation genes" (or "barrier genes") such as those controlling chemosensory and life-history timing processes. Furthermore, we identified important marker loci including more than 40,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and over 100 microsatellites. An initial search for SNPs at which the apple and hawthorn host races differ suggested at least 75 loci warranting further work. We also determined that developmental expression differences remained even after normalization; transcripts expected to show different expression levels between larvae and pupae in D. melanogaster also did so in R. pomonella. Preliminary comparative analysis of transcript presences and absences revealed evidence of gene loss in Drosophila and gain in the higher dipteran clade Schizophora. CONCLUSIONS: These data provide a much needed resource for exploring mechanisms of divergence in this important model for sympatric ecological speciation. Our description of ESTs from a substantial portion of the R. pomonella transcriptome will facilitate future functional studies of candidate genes for olfaction and diapause-related life history timing, and will enable large scale expression studies. Similarly, the identification of new SNP and microsatellite markers will facilitate future population and quantitative genetic studies of divergence between the apple and hawthorn-infesting host races."

    Rapid evolution and selection inferred from the transcriptomes of sympatric crater lake cichlid fishes.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20331780
    Mol Ecol. 2010 Mar;19 Suppl 1:197-211.

    Adaptive radiations: from field to genomic studies.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19528644
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 16;106 Suppl 1:9947-54. Epub 2009

    Evolution in the Drosophila ananassae species subgroup.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19377294
    Fly (Austin). 2009 Apr-Jun;3(2):157-69. Epub 2009 Apr 12.

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  27. Ritchie wrote, "So that's my answer anyway - the abundance of kludges and 'bad design'. If life was designed, it apparently wasn't designed very well!" "Evolution has an explaination for this, however"

    Ritchie, your examples demonstrate what Hunter so often points out... evolution has an explanation for every observation, as well as its opposite. Evolution can explain designs that increase fitness, as well as designs that decrease fitness (e.g. your examples). In other words, evolution is unfalsifiable.

    The scientific evidence for evolution offered by some commenters exaggerates the coherence between molecular and morphology-based trees; in reality, there are very serious problems with any proposed phylogeny, as many evolutionists admit. See for example http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/04/the_biggest_problem_in_asking.html#more regarding molecular phylogeny based upon cytochrome B, or Philip Ward's comment at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/11/more_from_the_university_of_ch.html
    that "We were grossly misled by morphological similarities." I.e. the molecular data contradict the morphological data when it comes to common descent.

    It's embarrassing how often one sees comments from enthusiastic evolutionists who are unaware of the conflict.

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  28. Steven J.:

    "The argument is that evolution -- common descent with gradual, opportunistic modification -- would produce such effects, and we have no good reason to suppose that a Designer of life -- supernatural or otherwise -- would choose to do so."

    Yes, you can conclude evolution is a fact, but you've included metaphysical premises.

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  29. To correct a faulty notion that has come up in the discussion a number of times:

    When a person designs and builds a machine, that's not called magic. It's called art, engineering, creation. Magic is when a machine designs and builds itself. And there's a name for the belief that the latter occurs: Superstition.

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  30. NickM:

    ====
    Hunter's speciality is projection. He is a Biblical fundamentalist. He believes what he believes because the Bible says it, he believes it, and that's it.

    ..., and that's fundamentally what Hunter would like to disprove and replace with miracles like it says in (his American fundamentalist reading of) the Bible.

    ... boil down to "well maybe GodDidIt that way cause he creates according to his good pleasure." He apparently thinks anything that contradicts his utterly useless and untestable view is religion. .... In his quest to take down evolution, he takes down all of science.
    ====

    Yeah, it's all my fault. Let's see, where's the proof again?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lars-

    What is embarrassing is you quoting the DI's lawyer as an expert on phylogeny.

    BTW, Phillip Ward was speaking of molecular phylogeny revealing cases where convergent evolution has produced morphologies that are similar. These were sometimes clustered-until the molecular data helped resolve the issues.

    OMG! Smoking gun against evolution!

    Or not at all. Most creationist quotes on this are pre-genomic (single protein only), some difficult case, some case where it resolved morphology, etc. Nested hierarchies exist. For animals and plants, they are fairly simple with occasional hybridization, etc. Horizontal gene transfer in prokaryotes is harder to parse.

    More sequences and better methods are clarifying the tree of life even in the hardest of cases.

    En route to a genome-based classification of Archaea and Bacteria?
    Syst Appl Microbiol. 2010 Apr 19.

    "...However, recent studies indicate that the species tree and the hierarchical classification based on it are still meaningful concepts, and that state-of-the-art phylogenetic inference methods are able to provide reliable estimates of the species tree to the benefit of taxonomy. Conversely, we suspect that the current lack of completely sequenced genomes for many of the major lineages of prokaryotes and for most type strains is a major obstacle in progress towards a genome-based classification of microorganisms. We conclude that phylogeny-driven microbial genome sequencing projects such as the Genomic Encyclopaedia of Archaea and Bacteria (GEBA) project are likely to rectify this situation."

    ReplyDelete
  32. The statement "If god wouldn’t have created the mosquito then yes, evolution in one form or another must be a fact," may be a metaphysical premise. We should not suppose that we know what God would or would not do.

    The opposite hypothesis--that God created the mosquito--is equally metaphysical. Dr. Hunter's argument amounts to replacing one metaphysical argument with the one that he preferrs. It defeats his argument about the irrationality of science.

    Any proof of God requires that he is imperfect enough to be explained completely, therefore not God. Any disproof just shows that He didn't want to be found in that way. If we have a phenomenon that includes God as the only explanation then we will have proven his existance. This is the starting point for evolutionary thought and why we actually use the premise "God DIDN't make the mosquito." (At least, not in the way ID/creationists propose.) Its consistent with God's perfection.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Ritchie:
    So that's my answer anyway - the abundance of kludges and 'bad design'. If life was designed, it apparently wasn't designed very well!


    The question is not how well life is designed, if, indeed, it was designed.

    The question is how does science know that evolution is a fact?

    If the only way you can defend the theory of evolution is by questioning the design inference, then the theory of evolution really is in trouble.

    Evolutionary scientists assert that evolution is a fact (a fundamental truth about the history of life), that no reasonable person can doubt.

    Scientists need to tell us how the hierarchical information processing system in the cell came about in the first place, and how that system works when redesigning an organism in the second place.

    We are asking scientists to explain how the putative mechanism of evolution works. Telling us about fossils, common descent, micro-evolution, etc. does not tell us anything about the grand mechanism of evolution.

    If scientists do not yet know enough about the mechanism of evolution to really know that it can do the job, and this seems to be the case (or else, why do they persist with their deflective or defensive answers?), then why don't scientists admit it?

    You ask if an engineer would design the spine a certain way. I don't know what this engineer would do, but I am a skeptic of evolution because I am an engineer. I try to imagine that if I were the process engineer responsible for the land animal to whale "redesign", what it would take in the form of change orders, new design plans, new assembly instructions, etc. to accomplish the task.

    Both Drs. David Berlinski and Richard Sternberg have considered this problem of the land animal to whale transformation. The problem needs to be solved.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Dr. Hunter Wrote:

    Evolution: For evolutionists this word refers to the idea that all the species arose via natural laws. God did not use miracles to create the biological world, instead everything arose by the play of the natural processes and laws we observe. Moths changing color or bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics do not constitute evolution. They are at best tiny examples of evolution. Such examples of adaptation do not prove evolution any more than a flat parking lot proves the flat earth theory. Evolution is a big theory.


    Actually, no "evolution" is "common descent through descent with
    variation and natural selection". Evolution is the origin of species,
    not the origin of life.

    There is no part of any science that
    invokes miracles, or God as part of the any process, for the simple
    reason that these are ad hoc explanations, and not processes at al.
    Science is about processes, not identifying or invoking "ultimate
    causes".

    As far as evidence supporting the notion that evolution exists as
    a phenomenon, the basic lines are taxonomy, faunal succession,
    the fact that organisms don't breed as exact copies, and that
    the organisms are capable of exponential population growth
    if unchecked. These notions have held up, in general throughout
    all of biological investigation. Indeed, evolution is a big theory, with
    the whole of biology as its supporting evidence.

    As far as "fact" is concerned, the point is that evolution is a phenomenon. The common descent view of biology has not received
    a serious challenge in decades. The fundamental process that
    makes evolution operate is reproduction. Just as we don't see any
    serious challenges to common descent, we don't see any serious
    challenges to the process of reproduction. There does not seem to
    be any alternate process of the origin of life in our modern world
    but through reproduction.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Robert -

    "Mechanisms of evolution"

    Let's look at the list --

    1) Descent - interestingly, although ancestry is not observed in the fossil record, common descent is not a distinguishing factor between ID and the theory of evolution.

    2) Mutation, migration (gene flow), genetic drift, and natural selection

    The problem here is the lack of specificity. Obviously two different species have differing genetic codes. So what? In order to demonstrate evolution, you would have to know the common ways that genes are modified *and* link them into the differences between organisms. That work has not been done. In fact, most of the work points against this. In addition, many biologists are questioning whether natural selection plays a major role.

    As PZ Myers has pointed out, macroevolution IS NOT the same thing as repeated rounds of microevolution. There is a fundamental difference in the mode of changes.

    The key *evidences* (as opposed to unwarranted extrapolations) is (a) there are a lot of dead organisms in the ground, (b) they follow a general sequence, (c) there are genetic differences between species, and (d) those genetic differences roughly correspond to their location in the taxonomic tree.

    This is a vastly insufficient for deriving evolution. For evolution, you would have to map out those genetic differences, and then come up with a mechanism that you can test to account for those mechanisms.

    As a possible way this could be framed, one could say, "the genes that dictate the difference between lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods is X, there are Y required changes between the two. Change A can occur and is stable because of Z, change B can occur and is stable because of ZZ, etc.

    Of course, many people differ drastically on proposed mechanisms. Lynn Margulis believes that the mechanism was symbiogenesis, and has nothing to do with mutation and selection -- these come after evolution has occurred. Stuart Kauffman, on the other hand, thinks that metabolic systems simply spring into being fully-formed through complex interactions, and then the DNA changes to stabilize that system come later. The evo-devo people basically presuppose an almost-complete organism with a bunch of switches to control morphology, and then numerous forms can be built by flipping the switches (of course, such a notion presupposes about 90% of the organism's biochemistry...). James Shapiro thinks that organisms actually engineer their own proteins in response to external threats. Lynn Caporale likewise.

    And, in order to distinguish it from ID forms of common descent, those changes would have to not be anticipated in the mechanisms which already exist (see, for instance, the "Front Loading" section of Telic Thoughts or any post in Mike Gene's blog).

    ReplyDelete
  36. I thought the contemporary “the theory of evolution is a fact” statement was just a reaction to the “it's just a theory” statement. But I could be wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Lars -

    "Evolution can explain designs that increase in fitness as well as designs that decrease fitness (e.g your examples). In others words evolution is unfalsifiable."

    Not at all. There is a wonderful way for testing our theory when it comes to vestigial featutes and 'bad design' - intermediate creatures.

    Take, for example, the human appendix. Little more that a total liability in us. It does nothing essential, as evidenced by the thousands of people who have it removed and live perfectly healthy lives, and it might kill us through appendicitus.

    If our theory of evolution is true, we have an appendix because our recent ancestors did - ancestors who needed it. And ancestors we shared with other modern species. Modern species who might need it still. Now when we look at other apes, what do we fund? Functioning appendices. Evidence for our theory.

    The kludges can be followed back too. The lyrangeal nerve in giraffes can be traced right back to the ancestors they (and all mammals) share with sharks! When we look at a shark's body play, the lyrangeal nerve makes sense - it takes the most logical route. It is only as we factor in creatures developing a neck - and subsequently an ever longer neck, that the feature becomes ridiculous.

    We can even predict features of creatures we should find in the fossil record and WHEN we should expect to find them. To pick two famous examples, both Tiktaalik and Archaeopteryx were predicted in meticulous detail years in advance of their discoveries. Scientists preficted what these creatures should look like, and WHEN they should appear in the fossil record. And they stand as a testiment to the predictctive powers of evolution.

    But since you are so keen on theories being testable, how is the design hypothesis testable, exactly?

    ReplyDelete
  38. Doublee -

    "The question is how does science know evolution is a fact."

    By the sheer weight of supportive evidence. I thought we'd already covered that.

    "If the only way you can defend the theory of evolution is to attack the design inference then the theory of evolition really is in trouble."

    You confuse me. I did not just attack the design inference. I imagined how life would look if it was the product of design and how it would look if it was the result of blind forces and concluded that the evidence best fits the blind forces scenario.

    As for your questions about a grand mechanism, I'm not sure I'm qualified to say, but it is my understanding that no-one is claiming all the answers have been found. The thing is, if you have found what you think is a problem with the theory of evolution, are you in the lab performing experiments trying to find the answers? Or are you just holding these problems up and saying 'Look, evolution can't explain EVERYTHING. Therefore we can dismiss it all and replace it with whatever ridiculous explanations we like'?

    I might not be an expert in genetics, but I do know this - you can prove relatedness beyond reasonable doubt without knowing everything about the intermediates in the chain. Genetics can prove two men are brothers, or cousins, or totally unrelated - witbout necessarily knowing anything about the men's parents or families. DNA samples from each is enough. And exactly the same techniques are employed to show relatedness between species. We may not know everything about the common ancestors - or even much at all but we can still tell the degree of relatedness. So I would beware insisting the scientists solve EVERY mystery, and assume their logic is flawed until they have done so.

    And as for the 'land mammal to whale redeisgn', why would you need to redesign anything? Why wouldn't you have gotten it right the first time around?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Jon-

    First let me say what your answer does not do- it does not refute the direct observations of evolution that are accompanied by genomics that I've listed above. These are the OBSERVED FACTS of evolution.

    Secondly, you seem unaware of experimental biology. The genetic differences between organisms can be tested. Key genes can be knocked out, or even swapped between organisms, with changes to body plan (see refs below). The predictions can be tested. Molecular phylogeny has even allowed the reconstruction and testing of inferred ancestral molecules-which show generalized function before diversification.

    Ex: Bridgham, J. T., Carroll, S. M. & Thornton, J. W. Evolution of hormone-receptor complexity by molecular exploitation. Science 312, 97–101 (2006)

    "common descent is not a distinguishing factor between ID and the theory of evolution."

    Hence the name 'Uncommon Descent?' If it isn't a distinguishing factor, lets teach evolution, and we can get into details later. I think it is hilarious the critiques of the niceties of the theory of evolution, when your alternative has zero grounding. YEC, OEC, TE, whatever, it all fits.

    "The problem here is the lack of specificity. Obviously two different species have differing genetic codes. So what? In order to demonstrate evolution, you would have to know the common ways that genes are modified *and* link them into the differences between organisms."

    On the contrary. Do literature searches for "Hox evolution." Or "body plan evolution." These papers aren't just the predictions from evolution-they are the experimental confirmations!

    "In fact, most of the work points against this."

    Reference?

    "In addition, many biologists are questioning whether natural selection plays a major role."

    Who? Quote? Even those, say Margulis, who favors co-operation over competition, acknowledges that that is serving as selection.

    "As PZ Myers has pointed out, macroevolution IS NOT the same thing as repeated rounds of microevolution. There is a fundamental difference in the mode of changes."

    Reference? I'd like to know the context. Same mechanisms. If we prove random mutation and genetic resortment creates diversity that selection can act on to make new traits and novel features, what is there? Speciation, I suppose, but little scary there.

    "The key *evidences* (as opposed to unwarranted extrapolations) is (a) there are a lot of dead organisms in the ground, (b) they follow a general sequence, (c) there are genetic differences between species, and (d) those genetic differences roughly correspond to their location in the taxonomic tree."

    Crude phrasing, but yeah. There is a lot of fossil and molecular data supporting common descent. There are also direct observations of speciation, along with genomic data. And then there is experimental biology, to add a few.

    ReplyDelete
  40. This is a vastly insufficient for deriving evolution. For evolution, you would have to map out those genetic differences, and then come up with a mechanism that you can test to account for those mechanisms.

    As a possible way this could be framed, one could say, "the genes that dictate the difference between lobe-finned fishes and tetrapods is X, there are Y required changes between the two. Change A can occur and is stable because of Z, change B can occur and is stable because of ZZ, etc."

    Experimental biology. Being done.

    The reference above takes an ancestral receptor, and maps its diversification to novel functions, and pathways it must take.

    The 'evo-devo' literature does experiments that perturb body plan-like swapping water flea genes into drosophila, with alterations to body plan. Epistasis can be traced.

    Silencing of an abdominal Hox gene during early development is correlated with limb development in a crustacean trunk.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20433454

    http://patelweb.berkeley.edu/ResSum.html

    http://www.nature.com/nrg/journal/v6/n12/full/nrg1726.html


    And then you list some other people who have various ideas, most of which are not mutually exclusive to evolution. Margulis favors cooperation over competition, some favor the evolution of evolvability, some look at evolution at the network/genome scale. Fine.


    "The evo-devo people basically presuppose an almost-complete organism with a bunch of switches to control morphology, and"

    No. Thats ID, I think. Quote? Not be any definition of evo-devo I know.

    "those changes would have to not be anticipated in the mechanisms which already exist"

    Anticipation? You mean front-loading? What evidence exists for it? Burden is on you buddy. Isn't extinction an argument against it?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Admin -

    Yes, I kinda thought so too...

    ReplyDelete
  42. "If the only way you can defend the theory of evolution is to attack the design inference then the theory of evolition really is in trouble."

    That´s really funny! Almost every paper in the scientific literatur, which deals with evolution, doesn't even mention Intelligent Design, Creationism or design interference.

    On the contrary almost every paper published by IDers and Creationist "attacks" the theory of evolution (or more regularely a strawman version of it) and adds a sloppy "...because of that Intelligent Design is the only explanation" to "proove" ID.

    But I do agree, actually this is the reason why nobody takes ID seriously. A wannabe theory in deep trouble.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Ritchie:
    Evolution is a fact By the sheer weight of supportive evidence. I thought we'd already covered that.

    Maybe you and I are using different definitions of fact. For evolution to go beyond the hypothesis stage and become a theory (a verified explanation for a particular observation in nature), it needs to explain the purported mechanism in some detail. If the theory of evolution is not at its core a theory about a particular mechanism, then what is the theory about?

    Yet, by claiming that evolution is a fact, evolutionists are in effect claiming that the mechanisms of evolution are well understood.

    You and I seem to agree that the mechanisms of evolution are not well understood, for you said:
    I'm not sure I'm qualified to say, but it is my understanding that no-one is claiming all the answers have been found.

    That is my point exactly. Until science gets a more detailed understanding of the actual problems evolution needs to solve when it is undertaking the "redesign" of an organism, science cannot claim that evolution is a fact.

    [A]re you just holding these problems up and saying 'Look, evolution can't explain EVERYTHING. Therefore we can dismiss it all and replace it with whatever ridiculous explanations we like'?

    No, I am holding up these problems and saying that until the putative mechanisms of evolution are understood, there is no theory of evolution.

    The evolutionists are shouting from the roof-tops that their theory is true. I just want some indication that they truly understand how evolution really works, and all the shouting is not mere bluster.

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  44. Jon says:"Obviously two different species have differing genetic codes. So what? In order to demonstrate evolution, you would have to know the common ways that genes are modified *and* link them into the differences between organisms. That work has not been done. In fact, most of the work points against this. In addition, many biologists are questioning whether natural selection plays a major role."

    Firstly Jon, the work cannot at once 'not be done' and also 'point against this'.

    You are correct to say that many question the precise role of natural selection in molecular evolution, although the people questioning this are not typically biologists, more frequently they are molecular geneticists.

    However, their alternative is neutral theory. This alternative is not supportive of a design inference in any meaningful way - if the bulk of nucleotide substitutions are those with no effect on fitness or phenotype then they are truly random.

    Ultimately a combination of neutral theory's premises and selection theory appear to be correct. I would suggest reading Hahn (2008) and its preceding paper Begun et al. (2007).

    http://papaya.usc.edu/Members/magnus/teaching/spring-2008/bisc-499-special-topics/papers/Hahn%202008%20Evolution.pdf

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v450/n7167/abs/nature06341.html

    Note the second link requires a subscription, I cannot find a free available version hosted anywhere.

    Genetic draft (Gillespie 2001, based largely on Maynard-Smith and Haigh 1974) offers a comprehensive explanation for the interplay between the fixation of 'neutral' mutations and selection of positive variants. Begun et al.'s work is particularly interesting on this, as this deals with selection in whole genomes.

    So, much work has and is getting done, and in fact it is supportive of an evolutionary inference, rather than pointing against it.

    ReplyDelete
  45. T. Cook:

    "The opposite hypothesis--that God created the mosquito--is equally metaphysical. Dr. Hunter's argument amounts to replacing one metaphysical argument with the one that he prefers."

    You lost me. What metaphysical argument am I inserting? [hint: none]

    ReplyDelete
  46. Cornelius said: You lost me. What metaphysical argument am I inserting? [hint: none]

    that God created the mosquito. Or should this be the default, hence non-metaphysical, hypothesis for any scientific question? Is God really not a metaphysical consideration, but just the common-sense null-hypothesis answer to any question (How did bacteria aqcuire its flagellum? Why is the sky blue? What is the square root of 10?) until a better answer comes along?

    For example, suppose I am curious how lightning is formed, something which meteorologists have still not fully explained. Should I hypothesize God, and if not, why the heck not? Conversely, is it improper for anyone to present a non-supernatural hypothesis?

    Surely it would be utterly unwarranted metaphysics for a physicist to declare "electricity is a FACT!", especially if she were to insist that its causes are wholly materialistic?

    "Evolution: For evolutionists this word refers to the idea that all the species arose via natural laws."

    Chemical periodicity: For chemists this refers to the idea that all the chemical elements arose via natural laws.

    Germ theory: For medical scientists this refers to the idea that all diseases occur via natural laws.

    What makes biology so special here?

    (Not to mention that that's a really, really terrible way to describe any scientific theory. "What does plate tectonics mean?" "It means that the continents were formed by not-God! In short, it is simply the theory that natural forces alone account for continents and volcanoes." If someone were to hear this answer, they would have learned next to zero about plate tectonics. Same for describing evolution as "Species were formed by not-God."

    Evolutionists aren't being metaphysical, you are. Or, conversely, all scientists in all sciences are being metaphysical in their commitment to naturalism.)

    ReplyDelete
  47. Catchling:

    =========
    Cornelius said: You lost me. What metaphysical argument am I inserting? [hint: none]

    that God created the mosquito.
    =========

    Classic Catch-22. Evolutionists make religious claims, and when you point it out they accuse your of making religious claims, because you pointed out their claims. Hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  48. abimer:

    "Firstly Jon, the work cannot at once 'not be done' and also 'point against this'."

    Yes. The work that *has* been done points against it. The work that points to it hasn't been done. How is that unclear? It's not illogical to postulate that it is possible, it's just that the work to demonstrate it to be real has not been done. I don't count an unsuccessful attempt as having done the work.

    "You are correct to say that many question the precise role of natural selection in molecular evolution, although the people questioning this are not typically biologists, more frequently they are molecular geneticists."

    Aren't molecular geneticists and biochemists the ones who would have the best information about how evolution works at the molecular level?

    "However, their alternative is neutral theory."

    That's one alternative. I'd suggest you also look into Caporale's work (The Implicit Genome) and also BE Wright's work, not to mention much of the work on adaptive evolution in single-celled organisms. These all focus on the cell being predisposed to making beneficial mutations before and during stress periods. In Shapiro's "Natural Genetic Engineering" the organisms are basically constructing their own toolset, behaving as engineers even in the single-cell stage.

    So, I'm not sure why you say that neutral theory is the only other player. Perhaps its the only other player devoid of teleology, but so what?

    I read part of Hahn (2008), and it basically confirms my thesis. Pan-selectionism is undergirded by storytelling, but neutral theory is more about being an elegant way to work with limited data than being a real theory about evolution. Hahn does not leave anyone with a strong sense that we have any idea what the mechanisms for evolution are, but instead merely surveys the strengths and weaknesses of the non-teleological approaches (which are the only ones, if you are a non-teleologist). In fact, nowhere in Hahn do you see him wrestle at all with the question of whether or not a teleological model exists. Instead, it is the non-teleological framework which drives his selection of theories for which to work. Here's the end of Hahn's paper -- decide for yourself how well-understood the mechanism of evolution is on this basis:

    =======
    As I began this essay with a quote from a dead economist, I will also end with one that seems to sum up 40 years of research into molecular evolution: “It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled sea of thought [John Kenneth Galbraith].” Insert “neutrality” and “selection” as needed.
    =======

    I applaud Hahn for tackling the question, but I don't think that Hahn's paper contributes anything to the thesis that the mechanism of evolution is well-understood.

    Of course, it is a common misconception that work done within a framework is the same thing as work which validates that framework. One must only look to the extensive work in alchemy and phlogiston to know that extensive work, progress in theories, and the like do not equate to having demonstrated a thesis.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Ritchie:

    ===
    'Back up your claim and I will be an evolutionist.'

    I doubt that very much.
    ===

    That should be very easy to test.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Doublee -


    Maybe you and I are using different definitions of fact.


    We certainly do seem to have our wires crossed somewhere.


    For evolution to go beyond the hypothesis stage and become a theory (a verified explanation for a particular observation in nature), it needs to explain the purported mechanism in some detail.


    Oh, you want me to explain the mechanisms by which evolution works? That I can tell you: genetic drift, random mutation, natural selection, and gene flow. All these have indeed been studied and can be explained in great detail.

    As a note - this is the sort of thing which is worked out at the hypothesis stage. The one and only thing which makes a hypothesis a theory is that is has passed a certain standard of evidence.


    You and I seem to agree that the mechanisms of evolution are not well understood,


    I'm afraid I do not agree. The basic mechanisms are indeed understood - see above. The points I was making were that: 1) I am not a scientist so don't interpret my own lack of knowledge for a lack of objective evidence and 2) I'm sure there are still holes in the specifics. But that doesn't mean we don't understand the mechanisms by which evolution runs. If we didn't, how would we have a theory in the first place?


    Until science gets a more detailed understanding of the actual problems evolution needs to solve when it is undertaking the "redesign" of an organism, science cannot claim that evolution is a fact.


    Without wishing to be rude, are you certain it is science which lacks understanding of evolutionary mechanisms rather than yourself? How much effort have you really put into finding these things out? You could find out exactly how much we do and don't know with an afternoon on google... Because I rather suspect we know an awful lot more than you imagine we do.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Cornelius -


    That should be very easy to test.


    Indeed. Because I have backed up the claim - see the rest of my post which you have conspicuously not responded to.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Genetic drift, random mutation, natural selection, and gene flow are explanations but they still fall short. Complex species are found in the fossil record without direct ancestry (Trilobite eyes, etc), convergence, and irreducible complexity are very problematic for the theory of evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Neal Tedford -


    Genetic drift, random mutation, natural selection, and gene flow are explanations but they still fall short.


    They are well-evidenced andd clearly outlined mechanisms in their own right.


    Complex species are found in the fossil record without direct ancestry


    ??? Complex species do not just pop up fully formed without direct ancestry. The genetic record shows us that every living thing on Earth is related.


    (Trilobite eyes, etc),


    It is difficult to trace the history of trilobite eyes because trilibites already had eyes at the time of the Cambrian Explosion. It is simply a lack of data which hinders us here. But that is not, in itself, a problem for the theory of evolution.


    ...convergence...


    Again, not a problem for evolution. It just shows us that evolution finds smiilar solutions over again.

    The wings of bats and birds, for example, are convergent. The common ancestor birds and bats share did not have wings, so their lineages both developed wings independently of each other. However, the wings are still notably different. There are features that mark a bird's wing as avian and a bat's wing as mammalian.


    ... and irreducible complexity ...


    I can see why irreducible complexity makes sense as a concept - but it fails the test of evidence. Here are some examples of things which pass Behe's own definition of irreducible complexity, but which clearly evolved naturally:

    http://groups.google.com/group/talk.origins/msg/a41bd4aafb759fc0?dmode=source&pli=1

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/genalg/genalg.html#creationists:ic

    There are also evidenced mechanisms by which irreducibly complex systems might evolve - scaffolding, improvement-becomes-necessity, and cooption, to name three.


    On the other hand, by what mechanisms does ID operate?

    ReplyDelete
  54. ====
    Classic Catch-22. Evolutionists make religious claims, and when you point it out they accuse your of making religious claims, because you pointed out their claims. Hilarious!
    ====

    According to you and other posters here, the religious claim of evolution — and sole claim of evolution — is that God was not involved in the formation of species.

    If you don't get why those are both absurd assertions, I don't think it can be explained any better than I and others on this blog already have.

    I'll just repeat myself hoarse again: The absence of the supernatural in a scientific theory does not make that theory either "religious" or "metaphysical", unless you wish to assert that every single branch of science is religious and metaphysical. Why is it okay with you that meteorologists use only non-supernatural explanations?

    And the absence of the supernatural in a theory does not make that theory consist of the rejection of the supernatural.

    "So, you're an expert on light, right? Tell me something I've been wondering: Why is the sky blue?"

    "Well, the sum total of current arguments on that subject are as follows: God didn't make it that way."

    "Huh, science is dumb."

    ReplyDelete
  55. Catchling:

    ====
    Classic Catch-22. Evolutionists make religious claims, and when you point it out they accuse your of making religious claims, because you pointed out their claims. Hilarious!


    According to you and other posters here, the religious claim of evolution — and sole claim of evolution — is that God was not involved in the formation of species.
    ====

    You're confusing this with some other blog, I never said that. The religious claims of evolution are obvious and unavoidable. Here's an overview if you are genuinely interested in understanding the religion you are promoting, rather than merely throwing out canards:

    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/Figure15.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  56. ====
    You're confusing this with some other blog, I never said that.
    ====

    Well, that's how I interpret this:

    Evolution: For evolutionists this word refers to the idea that all the species arose via natural laws. God did not use miracles to create the biological world, instead everything arose by the play of the natural processes and laws we observe.

    In other words, in your view, evolution can be said to consist of the rejection of God and/or other non-naturalistic explanations in matters of the origin of species. Evolution doesn't just entail God-didn't-do-it, it equals God-didn't-do-it.

    This is nonsense. It is simply false that evolution means "the idea that all the species arose via natural laws". It's the idea that species change over time, arising from other species. The process is indeed understood in a naturalistic way, but it's just a naturalistic process. It's not the set of all possible naturalistic processes. Therefore, evolution — the real thing, not the ID definition of it — is widely testable.

    If evolution were somehow falsified, it would be replaced with another naturalistic account of the origin of species. In your view, that would mean that the predominant biological view would still be "evolution", no matter how radically different from Darwin it was, because it would still be naturalistic. By this line of reasoning, today's physicists still work with luminiferous aether, because they still treat EM radiation as a naturalistic phenomenon not involving any divinity or miracles.

    That tree picture is interesting. However, the philosophical origins of "methodological naturalism" are irrelevant to the question of whether MN makes sense. Simple, simple question: Does cheistry admit non-naturalistic explanations for chemical reactions? If not, should it?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Catchling:

    #############################
    ====
    You're confusing this with some other blog, I never said that.
    ====

    Well, that's how I interpret this:

    Evolution: For evolutionists this word refers to the idea that all the species arose via natural laws. God did not use miracles to create the biological world, instead everything arose by the play of the natural processes and laws we observe.

    In other words, in your view, evolution can be said to consist of the rejection of God ... This is nonsense.
    #############################

    No, your canard is nonsense. How could one possibly conclude that religious people calling for God creating the world without miracles is a "rejection of God." What is it about evolutionists?




    #############################
    If evolution were somehow falsified, it would be replaced with another naturalistic account of the origin of species.
    #############################

    No, not "if." That has already occurred many times. It's still called evolution. What will be the accepted theory of origins in the 21st century? I don't know, but it will be called evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Cornelius -


    No, your canard is nonsense. How could one possibly conclude that religious people calling for God creating the world without miracles is a "rejection of God." What is it about evolutionists?


    Hang on a tick - you think that evolutionists believe that God created the world without miracles?

    Have I read that right? I might not have. I only read the last post or two and it's a little confusing...

    But if I have, what do you think atheist evolutionists believe?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Jon says: "Aren't molecular geneticists and biochemists the ones who would have the best information about how evolution works at the molecular level?"

    Sure - or at least a multidisciplinary approach incorporating molecular geneticists and other professions. However, see my comments re Hahn below.

    "That's one alternative. I'd suggest you also look into Caporale's work (The Implicit Genome) and also BE Wright's work, not to mention much of the work on adaptive evolution in single-celled organisms."

    Caporale's work is interesting but one thing it is not is an alternative to selection theory or neutral theory. Her work is explicitly an expansion of selection theory. Her paper in Annual Review of Microbiology states in the abstract "From site-specific recombination to changes in polymerase fidelity and repair of DNA damage, an organism’s gene products affect what genetic changes occur in its genome. Through the action of natural selection on these gene products, potentially favorable mutations can become more probable than random." That is the point of the implicit genome. In this line, I would also recommend Kashi and King's 2006 paper "Simple sequence repeats as advantageous mutators in evolution".

    I applaud Hahn for tackling the question, but I don't think that Hahn's paper contributes anything to the thesis that the mechanism of evolution is well-understood. Of course, it is a common misconception that work done within a framework is the same thing as work which validates that framework. One must only look to the extensive work in alchemy and phlogiston to know that extensive work, progress in theories, and the like do not equate to having demonstrated a thesis.

    Hahn's paper is a fairly good argument against applying neutral theory to genomics - and yes he clearly outs some frustration at the continued application of neutral theory, despite its failed predictions. In large part, molecular geneticists are at fault for its perpetuations by not taking a multidisciplinary approach.

    Importantly, Hahn provides the outline of a selection-based approach to stochastic nucleotide substitution. This explanatory framework broadly accounts for genome-wide variation in Drosophila.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Oh, something is a bit clearer now. When Cornelius originally said "God did not use miracles to create the biological world", he was (I think?) giving his own views, not continuing with the definition of "evolution" from the previous sentence. I thought he was attributing "God did not use miracles" to the biologists, as an integral part of their theory. Perhaps there should have been a paragraph break in there.

    Nonetheless, he still gave an extremely lacking definition of "evolution". I think I understand why now — he thinks that the evolution to which Darwin referred has long since been repeatedly falsified; hence, biologists have no warrant to claim that they still use "evolution"; hence, the current definition of "evolution" is really "whatever naturalistic theory biologists have settled on lately".

    ReplyDelete
  61. Catchling:

    ======
    Oh, something is a bit clearer now. When Cornelius originally said "God did not use miracles to create the biological world", he was (I think?) giving his own views, not continuing with the definition of "evolution" from the previous sentence. I thought he was attributing "God did not use miracles" to the biologists, as an integral part of their theory. Perhaps there should have been a paragraph break in there.
    =====

    No, you read it correctly the first time.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Cornelius -


    No, you read it correctly the first time.


    Hang on, let me get this straight - you honestly think that evolutionists actively believe there is a God, but that He just did not use miracles to create/direct life?

    Again, I'm not totally sure that's what you're saying...

    But if it is, that's HILARIOUS!!!

    Why on Earth would biologists necessarily assume the positive existence of a God?

    ReplyDelete
  63. Why on Earth would biologists necessarily assume the positive existence of a God?

    Because evolution is religious?

    ReplyDelete
  64. David -


    Because evolution is religious?


    So you are criticizing evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins - cutting edge evolutionary academic and outspoken atheist - for believing in God?

    And there's absolutely no little red warning light popping up in your head telling you that you might have made a miscalculation somewhere along the line?

    Man, this is HILARIOUS!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Ritchie,

    Your passion, though admirable, seems to be clouding your judgement. Surely you know that a question is not an assertion.

    ReplyDelete
  66. David -

    Let me rephrase:

    The theory of evolution is not based upon the premise that there is a God.

    That would be an absolutely ridiculous premise.

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

    Check out this survey. It's from 1998, published by Nature magazine questioning hundreds of members of the National Academy of Sciences. Among them, disbelief in God was at 65% among biologists and 79% among physics scientists.

    What I'm saying is, as a general rule of thumb, most people in the scientific academia do not believe in God.

    How do you and Cornelius reconcile this with your view that they actively believe in God?

    As a secondary point, Cornelius works for Biola university, whose doctrinal statement is drenched in active belief in God - not to mention his association with the Discovery Institute. Moreover, Cornelius has also stated his own belief in God.

    And yet, despite this, you think it is Cornelius's position which is impartial, objective and scientific, while the position of the scientists (65-80% of whom, according to the survey, actively disbelieve in God) is religiously motivated and based on an active belief in God?

    This makes sense to you?

    Even from a cursor glance it is apparent that Cornelius has merely found an tortured train of logic for arguing black is white.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Great article.
    I can use your article in my blog?
    my blog is in Spanish, and I can translate.
    with your credit.

    greetings...

    ReplyDelete
  68. Ritchie,

    Maybe you have me confused with someone else. I have praised Dr Hunter for his willingness to host critical commentary on his blog and his willingness to engage his critics. But I count myself as one of his critics (perhaps more respectful than some).

    I understand that he is a biblical literalist who is trying to discredit evolutionary science. But I enjoy his blog, because he brings up interesting topics.

    The question that I posed - that you took exception to - was rhetorical.

    ReplyDelete
  69. David -

    Oh I see. Sorry. Once I get into a patronising self-righteous rant, I find it hard to switch gears.

    Think I'll go make an omlette from all the egg on my face? xx

    ReplyDelete
  70. Ritchie,

    Not at all. Sometimes I'm too subtle for my own good.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Ritchie:

    ====
    Hang on, let me get this straight - you honestly think that evolutionists actively believe there is a God, but that He just did not use miracles to create/direct life?
    ====

    Whether or not they think there is a god is inconsequential. Some say they do, some say they don't, some don't say. But the arguments for why evolution is a fact are *all* based on various religious and metaphysical premises that are outside of science and entail particular theologies, such as that god (whether existing or not) would not use miracles.

    ReplyDelete
  72. David:

    "I understand that he is a biblical literalist "

    Classic evolutionary posturing and canard. If you are skeptical of evolution's absurdities you are a biblical literalist.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Cornelius:Classic evolutionary posturing and canard. If you are skeptical of evolution's absurdities you are a biblical literalist.

    I find this odd. If you are going to address this comment, wouldn't it be better to either state 'No, I am not a bible-literalist', or 'Yes, I am a bible literalist, but that it not important to the discussion because of X, Y, Z'?

    You say it is 'posturing' and a 'canard', instead of addressing the content of the quotation. If you are going to bring attention to David's words there, why not be direct, open and honest about it?

    ReplyDelete
  74. abimer:

    "why not be direct, open and honest about it?"

    Honest? Evolutionists live a lie, and I'm the one not being honest? In fact I've been completely open about this.

    But when you argue against a myth and the response is that you have a drinking problem, denying it yet again will do no good. Of course I am not a bible literalist, but then again why should that matter?

    You see, unlike evolutionists, I address the claims of what I am criticizing. I do not impute motives that I contrive to avoid the obvious.

    So I address what evolutionists claim, and the response is that I am X. I could be whatever, but that doesn't change the *fact* of what evolutionists are claiming.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Edgar Isaí Ramírez López:

    ====
    Great article.
    I can use your article in my blog?
    my blog is in Spanish, and I can translate.
    with your credit.

    greetings...
    ====

    Yes, thanks Edgar.

    ReplyDelete
  76. "Evolutionists live a lie"

    This is hardly helpful dialogue. Living a lie? You imply, of course, that 'evolutionists' know better but deliberately conceal the truth about evolution. I hope you don't really mean that.

    "...and I'm the one not being honest?

    Honesty is, of course, not relative to what you perceive to be others' lies. Not that I accused you of dishonesty, I simply thought it odd that you would make a point of bringing up a comment and then not addressing its content.

    "but then again why should that matter?

    Perhaps it shouldn't, except that this blog is all about metaphysical commitments, of which the bible literalist has many.

    So I address what evolutionists claim, and the response is that I am X.

    Perhaps some of your comments - such as saying 'evolutionists live a lie' and various accusations of 'absurdities' and 'absurd speculations' in evolution rightly or wrongly lead people to question your motives. In other words passing judgements like this might not help your cause or credibility in everyone's eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  77. abimer:

    ===
    This is hardly helpful dialogue. Living a lie? You imply, of course, that 'evolutionists' know better but deliberately conceal the truth about evolution. I hope you don't really mean that.
    ===

    Yes, I really do mean it, because evolutionists I know personally are clearly living a lie. First, note that one can live a lie, and be part of a lie, without consciously *lying*.

    What exactly is going on in a person's head is another question altogether. But when the evolutionist accuses me of bringing in the religion, and claims to be doing "just science," and claims evolution is scientific fact, while making religious and metaphysical claims, and have done so for centuries, then they are living a lie. Here are specific examples:


    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/02/coyne-evolutionary-arguments-not.html

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/03/evolutionist-is-shocked-shocked-to-find.html

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-jerry-coyne-liar-or-just-in-denial.html

    ReplyDelete
  78. I have never had a constructive debate where either side says the other is 'living a lie'. Whether they are supposedly living a lie through deliberate outward deceit, or self-sabotaging or ignorant inward deceit. I will refrain from the obvious reply.

    You consistently claim a moral high-ground in this debate. Evolutionists are being wilfully ignorant and making absurd claims; you are cutting them back down to size. Yet, selectively pointing to the gaps in evolutionary theory is not a moral high-ground within the domain of science. It has little value, out of context of the theory itself.

    To what extent do those gaps - gaps identified by the evolutionary scientists themselves, often - counter the productive, explanatory side of evolutionary theory? Are those gaps sufficient to make claims such as 'Nothing in biology makes sense in the light of evolution' and so forth?

    You don't provide alternatives; you claim there is no need to do so. The paradigm is right or wrong, independent of whether we know a better alternative. The problem remains, nonetheless, that most working within the evolutionary sciences see the enormous, successful side of evolutionary theory. This cannot be replaced with a theoretical void. Further, the progress I see most frequently within evolutionary theory is toward better and not worse explanatory power over time. The theory improves over time with more and better data and analytical tools. Refinement of the theory does complicate the theory sometimes, as you critically note. However, if it is modelling a complex reality, should it be any other way?

    ReplyDelete
  79. Cornelius -


    Whether or not they think there is a god is inconsequential. Some say they do, some say they don't, some don't say. But the arguments for why evolution is a fact are *all* based on various religious and metaphysical premises that are outside of science and entail particular theologies, such as that god (whether existing or not) would not use miracles.


    I think in one paragraph you have summed up the root of your confusion about the theory of evolution. Without wishing to be rude, my view is that you do not understand it at all, and that is because you keep building these ridiculous strawmen charicatures of what evolution is and says based on this simple fallacy. No wonder it doesn't make sense to you.

    No, the theory of evolution simply is not built on any religious premesis, such as that 'God would not use miracles'. It makes perfect sense and can be perfectly explained with not a single reference to deities or supernatural agents.

    I wish I knew what I could possibly say to make you even CONSIDER the possibility that this conviction of yours is wrong - to persuade you to just examine it in the light of reasonable, rational scepticism rather than clinging to it like a drowning man to a life belt. I really do think it is the root cause of your misunderstandings.

    ReplyDelete
  80. "In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms." --Steven Jay Gould.

    You presume absolute epistemological certainty where none exists, and you're equivocating the scientific definition of a fact with the common definition. Scientific conclusions are ALWAYS based on the best available data, and are ALWAYS open to being disproved. Even, as is the case with evolution, the necessary conditions for it to be disproved are so unlikely as to be outside the realm of realistic possibility. Evolution has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and that's all you get. Not that religiously-motivated straw man arguments are anything resembling "reasonable."

    ReplyDelete
  81. Skeptical Rationalist:


    "You presume absolute epistemological certainty"

    Where did I do that?


    "and you're equivocating the scientific definition of a fact with the common definition."

    Where did I do that?



    "Scientific conclusions are ALWAYS based on the best available data, and are ALWAYS open to being disproved. Even, as is the case with evolution, the necessary conditions for it to be disproved are so unlikely as to be outside the realm of realistic possibility. Evolution has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and that's all you get. "

    Evolution is "ALWAYS open to being disproved" but such disproof is "outside the realm of realistic possibility."




    "Not that religiously-motivated straw man arguments are anything resembling "reasonable." "

    What religious motivations are you referring to?

    ReplyDelete
  82. "You presume absolute epistemological certainty"
    Where did I do that?


    "and you're equivocating the scientific definition of a fact with the common definition."
    Where did I do that?


    By building hidden premises into your definitions designed to make success impossible.

    Evolution: "Moths changing color or bacteria gain resistance to antibiotics do not constitute evolution." No, that's exactly what evolution is. Microevolution x Time = macroevolution.

    is: "This evolutionary claim is not tentative. Evolutionists are not merely saying that some evidence supports their theory." Scientific conclusions are ALWAYS tentative because they are arrived at by induction. You're also playing fast and loose with "theory," [the explanatory model of natural selection] not to be confused with the "facts," i.e., the observations that the geological record reveals a pattern of relatedness mirrored by patterns of genetic similarity, variations in populations responding to changing environmental conditions, etc.

    scientific: "the premises of scientific reasoning are objective. There are no subjective axioms." I see a mound of seeds on the pavement, a sign saying "free birdseed," and Wile E. Coyote overhead on a cliff with a boulder labeled "Reformed Epistemology." Nice try.

    Fact: Do I need to recount for you the instances of observed evolution, past and present? You already have rejected short-term examples of the phenomenon, but when the exact same pseudogene for Vitamin C is broken in the exact same place in humans and chimpanzees, indicating we inherited it from a common ancestor, what else do you say it is other than a fact that we evolved from that common ancestor? If you have read the authors you claim to have, how many more examples of evolution in action do you want? You say that it's "immediately obvious from the evolution genre...that while evolutionists consistently make this claim, it is nowhere demonstrated." It baffles me how you can make that statement. How gilded do you insist the lily be?

    "Scientific conclusions are ALWAYS based on the best available data, and are ALWAYS open to being disproved. Even, as is the case with evolution, the necessary conditions for it to be disproved are so unlikely as to be outside the realm of realistic possibility. Evolution has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and that's all you get."

    Evolution is "ALWAYS open to being disproved" but such disproof is "outside the realm of realistic possibility."


    Go find a fossil rabbit in Precambrian rock strata. Find a pseudogene which is most similar in two species which taxonomists claim are distantly related. I recall one apologist who said what would prove to him evolution is true would be a dog giving birth to a cat--that would actually be a handy disproof of evolution, but it never happens. So, you know, good luck with all that.

    Just because the ability to disprove evolution exists doesn't mean we don't have a very high degree of certainty that it will never happen--a fact by any other name would be so certain.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Skeptical Rationalist:


    "No, that's exactly what evolution is. Microevolution x Time = macroevolution. "

    I didn't know that.


    "You're also playing fast and loose with "theory," "

    No, I'm not the one playing fast and loose with "theory".


    ===
    scientific: "the premises of scientific reasoning are objective. There are no subjective axioms." I see a mound of seeds on the pavement, a sign saying "free birdseed," and Wile E. Coyote overhead on a cliff with a boulder labeled "Reformed Epistemology."
    ===

    Yeah, right. Evolution is based on religious premises, and those who disagree with their claims must be the ones injecting religion in the discussion.


    ===
    Nice try.
    ===

    So evolution is not built on objective premises?


    ===
    Fact: Do I need to recount for you the instances of observed evolution, past and present? You already have rejected short-term examples of the phenomenon, but when the exact same pseudogene for Vitamin C is broken in the exact same place in humans and chimpanzees, indicating we inherited it from a common ancestor, what else do you say it is other than a fact that we evolved from that common ancestor? If you have read the authors you claim to have, how many more examples of evolution in action do you want? You say that it's "immediately obvious from the evolution genre...that while evolutionists consistently make this claim, it is nowhere demonstrated." It baffles me how you can make that statement. How gilded do you insist the lily be?
    ===

    Please see next blog.

    ReplyDelete
  84. So evolution is not built on objective premises?

    I'm aware of religious arguments that say it isn't. If you're one of them, I can't help you, but I'm not going to waste time going down that philosophical rabbit hole.

    Your whole premise reminds me of when Stephen Colbert introduced Richard Dawkins on the Colbert Report: "Watch as I defeat him by believing the same thing at the end of the conversation as I do now!"

    ReplyDelete