Monday, January 24, 2011

The Enduring Warfare Thesis Theses

Though historians tell us that the warfare thesis—the idea that the relationship between science and religion has been mostly one of conflict—is discredited, there seems to be a great many who have not yet learned of its demise. Not only is the warfare thesis alive and well in popular culture, it is also promoted by those who probably should know better. In fact in the origins debate each side has its own version. Why is the warfare thesis so enduring? One reason is that, like any good lie, there is some truth to it. Probably a better reason is its rhetorical power. But perhaps the main reason is that we need it—our religion demands it.

The warfare thesis is usually identified with a nineteenth century evolutionary movement that cast evolution skepticism as religiously driven. Men such as Darwin confidant Thomas Huxley, chemistry professor John Draper and Cornell University cofounder Andrew White promoted the warfare thesis as a general trend in the relationship between religion and science.

A popular prooftext is the Galileo Affair. But the seventeenth century debate about geocentrism versus heliocentrism, involving Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church, was hardly obvious. Subtleties in both the science and religion make simple stereotypes difficult to come by. Rather than serving as supporting evidence, the Galileo Affair is one of many problems with the warfare thesis.

Of course there are people who oppose strong scientific findings on religious grounds. Geocentrism still has its proponents. But the relationship between science and religion has generally been far more complex than one of simple obstructionism and conflict.

What the warfare thesis did provide, nonetheless, was powerful evolutionary rhetoric. This is exemplified no better than in Jerome Lawrence’s and Robert Lee’s Inherit the Wind. I once debated an evolutionist professor directly following the staging of this fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes Monkey trial. It was like arguing against a war after a propaganda film. I made some powerful scientific points but they were met with empty stares while the professor’s metaphysical mandates for evolution received approving nods all around.

It was yet another example of the complexity of the relationship between science and religion. I, though billed as the “science skeptic,” made scientific arguments whereas the professor, though billed as the “science defender,” made religious arguments.

Historians note that religion has provided ideas for science. Did not Darwin learn about scarce resources from the cleric Thomas Malthus? But evolutionary thought does not merely draw on a few religious ideas for inspiration. Evolution rests on a religious foundation and mandate that dates back long before Darwin and remains crucial today.

In evolutionary thought, the relationship between science and religion is better modeled according to the centuries old adage: Theology is queen of the sciences. This view, of course, badly damages evolution’s claim to be a scientific fact and hence the warfare thesis. How better to handle a liability than to assign it to the opposition? Evolutionists need the warfare thesis, their religion demands it.

The other warfare thesis

But evolutionists are not the only ones who have a warfare thesis. Evolution’s skeptics also have one. While evolutionists blame the skeptics for being religious, the skeptics blame evolutionists for not being religious. Consider the seventeenth century Anglican cleric Thomas Burnet who was accused of atheism by Richard Bentley. Burnet was widely read and had lasting influence. He presented a variety of evidences and arguments that god would only use natural laws and processes to create the world. One may agree or disagree with his ideas, but Burnet certainly was no atheist.

A century later the equally religious James Hutton endured the atheist accusation, and after Darwin it became common for skeptics to equate evolution with atheism or naturalism. Most recently Albert Mohler writes:

The debate over Darwinism rages on, with almost every week bringing a new salvo in the great controversy. The reason for this is simple and straightforward – naturalistic evolution is the great intellectual rival to Christianity in the Western world. It is the creation myth of the secular elites and their intellectual weapon of choice in public debate.

In some sense, this has been true ever since Darwin.  …

Darwin’s central defenders today oppose even the idea known as “Intelligent Design.” Their worldview is that of a sterile box filled only with naturalistic precepts.

From the beginning of this conflict, there have been those who have attempted some form of accommodation with Darwinism. In its most common form, this amounts to some version of “theistic evolution” – the idea that the evolutionary process is guided by God in order to accomplish His divine purposes.

But evolutionary thought does not stem from naturalistic precepts. True, evolutionists insist on strict secondary causation in their explanation of origins, but the motivation and justification for this dogma is religious. And just as the evolutionary warfare thesis holds scientific concerns to be inconsequential compared to the supposed religious motivations, so too this warfare thesis holds religious arguments to be inconsequential compared to the supposed atheism or materialism. Such religious arguments are, according to this warfare thesis, nothing but mere accommodationism.

As before, there is much truth to this thesis. Certainly evolution has fueled atheism and materialism. And the growing atheism, in turn, promotes evolution. But evolution also fuels theism. Process theology, for instance, has strong influences from evolution. This is hardly surprising given the religious thought that mandated evolution in the first place. Any atheism to be found is parasitic on the underlying theism. Far from an attempt at accommodation, the theism is the driving force.

Consider, for example, the case of eighteenth century religious skeptic, David Hume. The influential Scottish philosopher promoted evolutionary thought and Darwin was well versed in Hume’s arguments which occasionally even show up in Origins, albeit with the usual Darwinian touch of subtlety.

If ever there was an opportunity to trace the path of atheism’s or naturalism’s influence it would be here. But what we find is exactly the opposite. Hume’s (and Darwin’s) arguments were mostly theological and occasionally philosophical, but never from atheism. Indeed, while Hume was a great rhetoritician and creative in his own right, many of his arguments can be seen in earlier theists.

It is not a large step to move from Malebranche’s and Leibniz’s naturalistic solutions to the problem of evil to Hume’s argument against a divine design of a world so filled with misery. And like any good student of debate, Hume could with equal skill marshal the opposing arguments. Arnauld’s rejection of such theodicies by appeal to the mysteries of the divine can be seen in Hume’s anthropomorphic warning. We must not think we can anywise conceive the perfections of god, so the design inference must be rejected. And Hume’s arguments against miracles came after decades of debate amongst theists.

Hume is by no means an isolated example. Today, for instance, Richard Dawkins argues god would never have designed the blind spot in our retina, and PZ Myers believes god would not have created this universe. And more important than the atheists are the theists who initiated and promoted the many metaphysical arguments that mandate evolution. For centuries they have insisted god would work strictly through secondary causes and be undetectable. This is the foundation of evolutionary thought. It is anything but atheistic.

But while this warfare thesis may not be accurate, it is powerful rhetoric. How better to construct an enemy than to blame it on the secularists or atheists? As with the evolutionist’s warfare thesis, this one is an enduring theme.

And by blaming evolution on the atheists one can avoid the difficult metaphysical and theological issues evolutionists raise. What about Burnet’s and Kant’s greater god argument, and what about Leibniz’s problem of evil? And what about those fossils and design similarities? There is no need to address these evolutionary questions if it can all be dismissed as a secularist agenda. But it isn’t.

In the origins debate each side has its own warfare thesis, and these opposing theses serve many purposes. Unfortunately these theses are misconceptions at best, and self-serving religiously driven fictions at worst.

195 comments:

  1. Semi OT:

    Study: Rising Religious Tide in China Overwhelms Atheist Doctrine
    Excerpt: One of the last great efforts at state-sponsored atheism is a failure.
    And not just any kind of failure. China has enforced its anti-religion policy through decades of repression, coercion and persecution, but the lack of success is spectacular, according to a major new study.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/study-rising-religious-ti_b_811665.html

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,,

    Chairman MAO: Genocide Master
    “…Many scholars and commentators have referenced my total of 174,000,000 for the democide (genocide and mass murder) of the last century. I’m now trying to get word out that I’ve had to make a major revision in my total due to two books.
    I’m now convinced that that Stalin exceeded Hitler in monstrous evil, and Mao beat out Stalin….”
    http://wadias.in/site/arzan/blog/chairman-mao-genocide-master/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hunter:

    Historians note that religion has provided ideas for science. Did not Darwin learn about scarce resources from the cleric Thomas Malthus?

    How does the fact that Malthus was a cleric make his economic and demographic ideas religious? From what theological sources did Malthus derive those ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cornelius Hunter: Rather than serving as supporting evidence, the Galileo Affair is one of many problems with the warfare thesis.

    Galileo, old and nearly blind, was threatened by the Inquisiton, and "pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center and moves". It would be difficult to find a more obvious example of the conflict between science and religion.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "was threatened by the Inquisiton,"

    Threatened in a roman "Villa" at the expenses of the Pontifician States while he was studyng a publishing his books.

    "vehemently suspected of heresy," and condemned to pray once a day, pray finaly made by his daughter a nun.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The Catholic church listened to geocentric based scientists and bought into it long before Galileo. This was not a Bible issue. Galileo believed in the Bible. The Catholic church had put tradition above scripture. During this time it opposed the distribution of Bibles more powerfully than even a devote atheist. The Catholic opposition to Galileo was mild compared to its opposition of those who preached from the Bible and not from the Catholic traditions.

    Many came out of the Catholic church because it was just flat in error about lots of things... mostly the Bible. This gave birth to the Protestant Reformation.

    As CH said, this wasn't a simple religion vs science issue. Geocentric scientists also opposed Galileo and they reinforced the Catholic tradition that they created.

    It's more like bad science influencing religion and then bad science and religion joining together to oppose good science.

    It would be a huge blunder for Christians to be influenced by the bad science of evolution and then join forces and oppose good science. Devote evolutionists today are very much like the traditionalists of Galileo's time. Evolutionists are being dragged to the edge by the information revolution and they are attempting to straightjacket and suffocate dissent from their traditions.

    In this regard, many of the evolutionits on this blog share more with the 16 century Catholic church than I do.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are incredibly sick Cornelius. But that's your job I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Blas: Threatened in a roman "Villa" at the expenses of the Pontifician States while he was studyng a publishing his books.

    Galileo, old and nearly blind, was at least threatened with torture, as per the depositions. It was not a trivial matter, but a capital crime. The penalty for heresy was death by burning.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Neal,

    This gave birth to the Protestant Reformation.

    And of course Martin Luther had no geocentric views, and was a strong supporter of Copernicus. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Under threat of conviction for heresy, Galileo signed the following recantation:

    "I, Galileo, son of the late Vincenzo Galilei, Florentine, aged seventy years, arraigned personally before this tribunal, and kneeling before you, Most Eminent and Reverend Lord Cardinals, Inquisitors-General against heretical depravity throughout the entire Christian commonwealth, having before my eyes and touching with my hands, the Holy Gospels, swear that I have always believed, do believe, and by God's help will in the future believe, all that is held, preached, and taught by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. But whereas -- after an injunction had been judicially intimated to me by this Holy Office, to the effect that I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center of the world, and moves, and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture -- I wrote and printed a book in which I discuss this new doctrine already condemned, and adduce arguments of great cogency in its favor, without presenting any solution of these, and for this reason I have been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center and moves:

    Therefore, desiring to remove from the minds of your Eminences, and of all faithful Christians, this vehement suspicion, justly conceived against me, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and generally every other error, heresy, and sect whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church, and I swear that in the future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in writing, anything that might furnish occasion for a similar suspicion regarding me; but that should I know any heretic, or person suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or to the Inquisitor or Ordinary of the place where I may be. Further, I swear and promise to fulfill and observe in their integrity all penances that have been, or that shall be, imposed upon me by this Holy Office. And, in the event of my contravening, (which God forbid) any of these my promises and oaths, I submit myself to all the pains and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular, against such delinquents. So help me God, and these His Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hands.

    I, the said Galileo Galilei, have abjured, sworn, promised, and bound myself as above; and in witness of the truth thereof I have with my own hand subscribed the present document of my abjuration, and recited it word for word at Rome, in the Convent of Minerva, this twenty-second day of June, 1633.

    I, Galileo Galilei, have abjured as above with my own hand."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Neal,

    Evolutionists are being dragged to the edge by the information revolution and they are attempting to straightjacket and suffocate dissent from their traditions.

    You are bound to win Neal. But this is because the misinformation about evolution is much easier to produce and digest as if it were true than it is to get a proper education and understand real science. You would have to work and think carefully in order to understand evolution and see that it is, actually, science. It is much easier to lie about evolution, than to verify facts, read scientific articles, and properly understand them. Entropy is on your side. Real scientific understanding requires work. Misinformation is almost effortless. Thus, misinformation will prevail. That is the way of the Universe.

    I feel sorry that it will not be truth that prevails, but it has to be good news to you that your misinformation will. Just as astrology and other pseudosciences are here to stay. Very same reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I see nothing about atheism in your citation of Mohler. While your main point may be true for some theists, (they blame any friction between science and religion on atheists) it is not true for most that I've read, and certainly is not true in Mohler's quote.

    Mohler's point is that naturalistic presuppositions are always forced on the results of scientific study, creating a "sterile box" of naturalism. And that even theists find ways to accommodate this worldview. He says, nothing of atheism.

    This removes much of the force behind your second point. While I won't concede that the point is as vast among theists as you make it seem, it has some merit.

    Theist positions are harmed by these "warfare theses" because the culture rewards the seeming "objectivity" of science, over the admitted proselytization of religion. But the objectivity is an illusion because the results of science are forced to support the naturalist's "religious presuppositions" (Mohler's sterile box).

    The battle isn't between science and religion. The battle is for science, between two religious positions. The second being naturalism/materialism not atheism.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I understand that Copernicus was a Catholic Clergyman. And some historians feel that the Vatican was motivated primarily by politics in its persecution of Galileo. Other Historians feel that the Pope was insulted by what was an obvious caricature of him in Galileo's book.

    ReplyDelete
  13. rpvicars:

    ===
    I see nothing about atheism in your citation of Mohler.
    ===

    Mohler characterizes evolutionists as having a worldview the is filled only with naturalistic precepts. He characterizes religion as not playing a significant role, but rather merely as an attempt to accomodate evolution.


    ===
    Mohler's point is that naturalistic presuppositions are always forced on the results of scientific study, creating a "sterile box" of naturalism. And that even theists find ways to accommodate this worldview.
    ===

    Right, that is an erroneous characterization of evolution. Until and unless opposing sides of a debate actually reckon with what the other side is claiming, then how can there be common ground and progress? In this case, this mischaracterization of evolution is quite damaging.


    ===
    This removes much of the force behind your second point. While I won't concede that the point is as vast among theists as you make it seem, it has some merit.
    ===

    What evolution skeptics do you think accurately characterize evolutionary thought?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Cornelius,

    "What evolution skeptics do you think accurately characterize evolutionary thought?"

    You of course.
    .

    ReplyDelete
  15. rpvicars:

    "I see nothing about atheism in your citation of Mohler."

    Thank you, I've fixed the OP.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Galileo, old and nearly blind, was at least threatened with torture, as per the depositions. It was not a trivial matter, but a capital crime. The penalty for heresy was death by burning. "

    I do not find any source about his blindness, maybe your image of this poor old man come from the fact that he was seek when brougth to Rome for thr trial, but he lived very well for others 10 years after that travel. He stayed in different "ville" of Rome and then in Siena and Florence with servants,receiving the visits of his cardinals friends working at his last two books. The major threat was to receive a fist from his former personal friend Pope Urban VIII because make him foul in the book subject to the trial. He bargained his major accusation admiting his minor, and he was found guilty by 7 of the judges, three of the others voted for the dismiss

    ReplyDelete
  17. Cornelius Hunter

    It is really not clear to me what you are saying about atheist biologists like Coyne or PZ Myers what they are really believing or what their metaphysical presumptions are, when they say God would not have designed such and such. Do you think they actually believe in God? Isn't this just a if-then reasoning for purpose of argument (if God existed then he would do so and so, because it makes more sense)? Shouldn't for an atheist the prime reason to believe in the ToE or to reject Creationism / ID be that it does not require God?

    ReplyDelete
  18. second opinion:

    ===
    It is really not clear to me what you are saying about atheist biologists like Coyne or PZ Myers what they are really believing or what their metaphysical presumptions are, when they say God would not have designed such and such. Do you think they actually believe in God? Isn't this just a if-then reasoning for purpose of argument (if God existed then he would do so and so, because it makes more sense)?
    ===

    Good question. For atheists such as Dawkins, Coyne, Myers, etc., I take their statements of atheism at face value. I assume they are atheists because that is what they say. But that is inconsequential. When Dawkins argues that god or a designer, capable of creating the universe, would not have created our retina with a blind spot, or Myers argues that god would not have created this universe, or Coyne makes one of the many evolutionary claims about what a god or a designer would and would not do they are making non scientific, metaphysical, claims.

    These claims go back centuries and in modern times were issued mainly by Christians. But in any case, they are metaphysical claims. Does this make sense to you?

    In other words, if I say god would not create a blind spot, that is a religious claim, entirely exclusive of what I believe about god's existence. If Dawkins is an atheist, that doesn't mean that his belief that god or a designer would not create a blind spot is somehow not metaphysical.

    Dawkins, Coyne, Myers and the rest can (and do) claim they are not making religious or metaphysical claims all they want. That is simply not true. In fact it is *obviously* not true. In one moment they say god wouldn't make this universe, and in the next they say they are free of metaphysics. The claim is prima facie ludicrous.

    Similarly, one does not have a free pass on the excuse that one is "testing" the alternative. Of course evolutionists are testing the alternative. That is what evolutionary thought is about. If I say evolution is a fact because creation is false because god would never have made this universe, that doesn't mean I've somehow escaped metaphysics. Quite the opposite, I am indebted to my metaphysics. The conclusion hinges on the claim that god would never have made this universe, and that is a metaphysical claim which is leading me to turn science upside down and make a scientifically absurd conclusion.

    You might wonder why evolutionists make such obviously fallacious and foolish statements, such as that they are free of metaphysics. It is because they do not consider their premises to be metaphysical. To the rationalist, like the axioms of geometry, their premises are so self-evident that they are in no need of defense. There can be no doubt.

    As Whitehead observed, our most crucial assumptions "appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them.” Evolution is a fascinating example of how people think and reason.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Cornelius,

    You are just twisting words around. Nobody thinks that evolution is true because a god or a designer would not do this or that. Evolution is a fact because what we observe shows it to be a fact. No need for wondering nor for denying what a designer or a god would or would not do. Whether those guys make a metaphysical claim or not does not change the evidences, and the evidences say evolution happens and has happened, and we are relatives of many other living species, if not of all, in the planet.

    You also need to clarify what you mean by metaphysical, because the nature of being and of the world is too wide a concept. Under such a concept, you don't even have a case. Everybody has assumptions about the nature of being and of the world. Science has fundamental metaphysics/philosophy, of course. But that does not mean that those fundamentals are religions. But I bet you use this word (metaphysics) to hide the concept you really want to use lest we have an easier target to debunk. So, what do you truly mean Cornelius?

    Misguided religion drives your pseudoscience and rants, and it matters.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Cornelius Hunter

    Thank you for your answer, and it is an interesting OP by the way. I don't dispute that "God would not have designed that" is a metaphysical statement, but an atheist who by definition does not believe in God can not rationally claim to know what God would do or not do. Thus I can only conclude that Coyne and the others do not really believe their own metaphysics.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Negative Entropy:

    ===
    You are just twisting words around. Nobody thinks that evolution is true because a god or a designer would not do this or that. Evolution is a fact because what we observe shows it to be a fact. No need for wondering nor for denying what a designer or a god would or would not do.
    ===

    Can you explain how "what we observe shows it [evolution] to be a fact?" For example:


    ===
    Whether those guys make a metaphysical claim or not does not change the evidences, and the evidences say evolution happens and has happened, and we are relatives of many other living species, if not of all, in the planet.
    ===

    can you explain how the evidence proves we are relatives, via common descent, of many other living species?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow Pedant, how did you manage to post that brick? Is Blogger finally behaving? I'll give it a try.

    All following quotations from Cornelius.

    ====
    Though historians tell us that the warfare thesis—the idea that the relationship between science and religion has been mostly one of conflict—is discredited
    ====

    Um, perhaps you just didn't mean to actually explain that, but I couldn't find anywhere in this post why the "warfare thesis" is discredited.

    ====
    This is hardly surprising given the religious thought that mandated evolution in the first place. Any atheism to be found is parasitic on the underlying theism.
    ====

    OK. You think evolution is a religious position, but why a theistic one? Where's the god?

    ====
    Today, for instance, Richard Dawkins argues god would never have designed the blind spot in our retina, and PZ Myers believes god would not have created this universe.
    ====

    Most of the time, they are wrong. For most of religions, there is simply no way to know if "god" would have done "this" rather than "that", because everything about "him" is wishy-washy. And that is the reason why it's futile to argue for the existence of gods from the world is.

    Now Dawkins and Myers position may hold for some particular cases in which the god is very specifically characterised. This will not happen in the ID world.

    ====
    Dawkins, Coyne, Myers and the rest can (and do) claim they are not making religious or metaphysical claims all they want. That is simply not true. In fact it is *obviously* not true. In one moment they say god wouldn't make this universe, and in the next they say they are free of metaphysics. The claim is prima facie ludicrous.
    ====

    The scenario of Dawkins, Coyne and Myers only is tenable when a particular theology provides enough detail to enable empirical testing. Let me make an analogy: suppose a particular theology clearly states that god would put no star on the sky that is not apt for the inhabitation of mankind. Then a Dawkins would rightfully say that that god would have not made this universe. That has metaphysical consequences (the hypothesis is of metaphysical origin) but the reasoning is not metaphysical. It is logical judgement informed by scientific evidence. This can happen because many religions are in fact a complicated threading of metaphysical and non-metaphysical claims. It is the same for the eye design argument.

    ITOH, atheism (1), defined as the denial of the existence of gods actually is a metaphysical claim. I don't know if Dawkins and Myers would agree about that, but I think they should. Atheism (2), defined as the lack of belief in gods, is not metaphysical claim. It's a non-claim. The eye design argument can only inform one's decision to hold (atheism 1, theism) or not to hold (atheism 2) a particular metaphysical claim.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Blas,

    Galileo really was blind during the final years of his life. Check the Wikipedia article, with two refs. backing it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Cornelius,

    I would be happy to share a few of these evidences, which you surely already know. But I have to insist that you first clearly define what you mean by metaphysical. I would also ask you not to miss the point that no matter how "metaphysical" these guys get in their claims, that does not makes evidence magically disappear.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Galileo suffered a number of eye ailments over his lifetime, including progressive cataracts. However, glaucoma is suspected for his total loss of sight late in life.

    Watson, The enigma of Galileo's eyesight: some novel observations on Galileo Galilei's vision and his progression to blindness, Surv Ophthalmology 2009.

    ReplyDelete
  26. CH wrote:

    Rather than serving as supporting evidence, the Galileo Affair is one of many problems with the warfare thesis.

    I'd suggest the incident between Galileo and the Inquisition does reflect evidence of the primary conflict between religion and science and we can still see this conflict occurring today. Specifically, this conflict is over the criteria for reality.

    This is not to say Galileo and the Church disagreed about the existence of reality. Both were realists in that each assumed an external reality was reflected in the observations of moving celestial bodies. However, Galileo differed in how he perceived the relationship between this physical reality and human ideas, observation and reason. Specifically, he believed that the universe could be understood in terms of universal, mathematically formulated laws, and that this understanding was accessible to human beings if applied systematically though testing.

    To quote Galileo, "the Book of Nature is written in mathematical symbols". This would be an important fact about reality itself and have important implications.

    For example, If his method was indeed reliable, then wherever applicable its conclusions had to be preferable to those obtained by any other method, including common sense, intuition, incredulity and even religious doctrine and revelation.

    I'm suggesting it was this property of reality, rather than heliocentric theory itself, which the church found dangerous.

    And it's this property of reality that is still the point of conflict today.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'd also not some rather interesting parallels with Evolutionary theory, our current understanding of biology and Cornelius's position here on his blog.

    For example, the Inquisition took no explicit position on the controversy, just as Cornelius supposedly takes no explicit position on evolution. Nor did the Inquisition forbid viewing heliocentric theory as a mathematical possibility or even using it to make predictions about the motions of the planets. After all, God could have used a near infinite number of ways to bring about the night sky

    So, when the church denied the reliability of scientific knowledge in the case of heliocentric theory, it was focused on it's ability to provide explanations, rather than make successful predictions.

    Furthermore, at the time, there were no observations that overwhelmingly supported heliocentric theory over geocentric theory. One could one could always argue Galileo's was being arrogant or even dogmatic himself. Galileo's version of heliocentric theory assumed the planets moved in circles, rather than ellipses.

    Sound familiar?

    ReplyDelete
  28. "Furthermore, at the time, there were no observations that overwhelmingly supported heliocentric theory over geocentric theory. "
    --------------------------------

    Except perhaps the phases of Venus.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Negative Entropy:

    ===
    You are just twisting words around. Nobody thinks that evolution is true because a god or a designer would not do this or that. Evolution is a fact because what we observe shows it to be a fact. No need for wondering nor for denying what a designer or a god would or would not do.
    ===

    Can you explain how "what we observe shows it [evolution] to be a fact?" For example:


    As we've only explained about a hundred times, it's because the evidence that evolution occurred over deep time is so overwhelming that its standing in the scientific community is that of fact. And you already know where to find the evidence CH, you're just being willfully dishonest again. Read any college level textbook on genetics for a summary.

    Negative Entropy:
    ===
    Whether those guys make a metaphysical claim or not does not change the evidences, and the evidences say evolution happens and has happened, and we are relatives of many other living species, if not of all, in the planet.
    ===

    can you explain how the evidence proves we are relatives, via common descent, of many other living species?


    He did't write proves CH, he wrote the evidence says, which it does. Why did you dishonestly switch his words?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Scott: One could one could always argue Galileo's was being arrogant or even dogmatic himself.

    That's right, because it's always best to burn stubborn old men. What was the charge again?

    "vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center and moves"

    Petrushka: Except perhaps the phases of Venus.

    A system consistent with observation can be devised with any point being the center, even Europa, for instance. (Just ask a Europan.) However, once Galileo saw the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus and mountains on the Moon, it was quite obvious what was going on. The Sun, by far the largest object in the Solar System, was the center.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Negative Entropy:

    ===
    I would be happy to share a few of these evidences, which you surely already know. But I have to insist that you first clearly define what you mean by metaphysical.
    ===

    I'm not using the term "metaphysical" in any special sense. In modern science the ground rules are to make some basic assumptions such as uniformity and parsimony. They are OK. Evolutionists also argue that only naturalistic explanations can be allowed in science. I have no problem with that, but I trust it is obvious that one cannot therefore conclude that only naturalistic explanations are real. That would also be a metaphysical claim.

    I trust it is also obvious that personal religious beliefs are "metaphysical." If you believe god likes two-headed unicorns, and because you haven't found any on earth, therefore you predict they will be found on some other planet, then I'd say that is metaphysical.

    $$$
    I would also ask you not to miss the point that no matter how "metaphysical" these guys get in their claims, that does not makes evidence magically disappear.
    $$$

    Agreed. I'm not the one here who is using the warfare thesis to ignore inconvenient evidence. My goal in investigating the evidence is to prove evolution, not disprove it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Scott:

    ===
    So, when the church denied the reliability of scientific knowledge in the case of heliocentric theory
    ===

    The church denied no such thing, as the science was not settled. You are presenting whig history. I'm not defending the actions of the church here, but it is not simply a case of it denying the reliability of scientific knowledge.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Negative Entrophy,

    Evidence for common descent of all life is merely subjective in nature. You have no real evidence and this is why the majority of people in the world resist the grand claims that evolutionists make.

    I have looked for the evidence for over 30 years. Still waiting. Like a poorly perserved crime scene, evolutions interpret the data according to their world view. Even bad theories can offer up some support. Will you offer up more than rhetoric?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Thorton:

    ===
    He did't write proves CH, he wrote the evidence says, which it does. Why did you dishonestly switch his words?
    ===

    I'm not the one who is dishonestly switching words. He said evolution is a fact because what we observe shows it to be a fact. Evolutionists make astonishingly high claims. It is a fact, it is compelling, beyond any shadow of a doubt, it would be perverse to doubt it, it is as certain as gravity--no, more certain, it would be irrational to deny it is a fact, and so on, and so forth. There is seemingly no limit to their claims. But when a skeptic asks for the details suddenly the backpedaling begins.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Scott: Furthermore, at the time, there were no observations that overwhelmingly supported heliocentric theory over geocentric theory.

    Pertruska :Except perhaps the phases of Venus.

    Right.

    However, his observation only collaborates heliocentric theory in the context of particular explanation being correct, in reality (the planets move in ellipses). Again, when the church denied the reliability of scientific knowledge, it denied it's ability to provide explanations, rather than make successful predictions.

    So, due to the conflict, this observation was irrelevant in their eyes. But it's a good point, which I'll elaborate on later.

    Scott: One could one could always argue [Galileo] was being arrogant or even dogmatic himself.

    Zachriel:That's right, because it's always best to burn stubborn old men. What was the charge again?

    The Inquisition didn't explicitly take a position on their own, which gives appearance of neutrality. It's from this appearance that someone could try to argue dogmatism or arrogance.

    However, this appearance was merely superficial. The church did present an implicit theory of their own by simultaneously accepting heliocentric theory as a means to predict the nights sky and forcing Galileo to deny that heliocentric was true, in realty.

    We know the church accepted heliocentric theory as a means of prediction because Galileo's book Dialogue of the Two Chief World Systems, which compared the heliocentric theory with the official geocentric theory, had been cleared for printing by the Church censors. In fact, The Pope had even reluctantly approved of Galileo's writing on the subject before it was published.

    As a site note, a misleading document was produced at Galileo's trial, which claimed he had been explicitly forbidden to discuss the issue at all.

    ReplyDelete
  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  37. CH: The church denied no such thing, as the science was not settled.

    You failed to quote the rest of my sentence, which qualified what was denied.

    I wrote: So, when the church denied the reliability of scientific knowledge in the case of heliocentric theory, it was focused on it's ability to provide explanations, rather than make successful predictions.>

    CH: You are presenting whig history.

    Please see my previous comment. History shows an distinction was made.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I wrote: However, this appearance was merely superficial. The church did present an implicit theory of their own by simultaneously accepting heliocentric theory as a means to predict the nights sky and forcing Galileo to deny that heliocentric was true, in realty.

    To elaborate, the implicit theory Galileo was force to endorse was essentially as follows: the earth is in, in realty, at rest and the Sun and planets are moving around it a complex manner; however the paths in which they travel are defined in a complex way which, when viewed from the surface of the earth, is also consistent with the sun being at rest and the earth and planets being in motion.

    We can call this The Inquisition's implicit theory of planetary motion.

    However, if this theory were true, we'd still expect heliocentric theory to make accurate predictions of astronomical observations made from the perspective of the earth's surface, even though it would be false, in reality. As such, it would appear that any observations that support heliocentric theory would support the Inquisition's theory as well.

    Furthermore, as Pertruska noted, observations of the phases of Venus appeared to supported heliocentric theory. However, one could extend The Inquisition's implicit theory by positing even more complex motions, governed by different laws of physics observed here on earth. These laws could be different in precisely the right way to remain consistent with the earth appearing to be in motion.

    In hindsight, all of this complexity seems contrived to us now. However, the church could have argued it seemed absurd at the time, or that it contradicts common-sense and scripture. Why accept a theory were the planets *and* the earth move when we have a theory that works without it.

    But does The Inquisition's implicit theory really work without adding the complication of heliocentric theory?

    If you asked why someone why a particular planet backtracked across the sky in a particular path based on the The Inquisition's implicit theory, what would be their response? They would consistently reply, "because that's how it would look if heliocentric theory were true." Essentially, we have a cosmology (The Inquisition's implicit theory) that can be only understood in terms of a different cosmology (heliocentric theory) which it faithfully mimics.

    Notice that the Inquisition's implicit theory fails to actually solve the problem it claims to solve. It doesn't explain planetary motion without introducing the complication of heliocentric theory. As such, we can say the The Inquisition's implied theory is a convoluted elaboration of heliocentric theory. Had the Inquisition taken the very theory they forced Galileo to accept as a serious expiation of reality, they would have realized this, even then.

    Also note that we reached this conclusion not by appealing to modern cosmology, but by taking The Inquisition's implied theory seriously as an explanation of observed phenomena, on it's own terms, in reality. We've ruled it out not based on experimental testing, but based on the fact that it offers no explanation of it's own. It's a bad explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  39. The warfare thesis is highly distorted, often times circular reasoning is invoked as a result. For example, Roman Catholicism during the middle ages was against doctrines outside its own and put religious and Christian people to death who refused to convert or take the mass. Would evolutionist accuse Roman Catholicism of being anti-religion? Not all religions are right about things.

    Also, scientists disagree with other scientists, would evolutionists accuse them of being anti-science? Of course not! Not all scientists are right about things. In other words, if one disagrees with a "theory" or "hypothesis" it doesn't necessarily mean the person is anti-science. It's the same with religion, if a clergyman disagrees with a particular 'theory' it doesn't mean he's anti-science.

    The warfare thesis is really about promoting a 'theory' (evolution) to religious status which makes war against other viewpoints even non-religious ones but focuses a lot on making war with Christianity and other religious of the world because of certain government laws that would favor them!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Neal, apart from the fact that you are contradicting yourself because earlier you claimed even ipods were obeying common descent, common descent is not subjective but an outcome of rigorous mathematical analysis. And if we take everything we know about human intelligent design into account the chances of that design producing the appearance of common descent we see in nature are virtually zero.

    ReplyDelete
  41. second opinion:
    ...common descent is not subjective but an outcome of rigorous mathematical analysis.

    How do you analyze common descent mathemaically??

    ...and can you post a link to the analysis?
    It would be VERY interresting to see!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Stephen C. Meyer Explains Why Either I.D. Is Science... or Darwinism Is Not
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyxwt_0NGbA

    ReplyDelete
  43. For the reading pleasure of dalahimself:

    A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry

    Douglas L. Theobald
    Nature 465, 219–222 (13 May 2010) doi:10.1038/nature09014

    ReplyDelete
  44. Scott: Furthermore, as Pertruska noted, observations of the phases of Venus appeared to supported heliocentric theory.

    Not necessarily. The change in apparent size of Venus, along with its phases, shows that Venus revolves around the Sun, but the Earth could still be stationary with the Sun-Venus system revolving around the Earth. Any point in space can be taken as the center. When, you realize that, then you also realize that there is only one reasonable center of the Universe, Zachriel, er, rather, the Sun.

    Newtonian Mechanics puts the question to rest by providing a comprehensive theory concerning center of gravity.

    ReplyDelete
  45. The change in apparent size of Venus, along with its phases, shows that Venus revolves around the Sun, but the Earth could still be stationary with the Sun-Venus system revolving around the Earth.
    -----------------------

    I believe that was a common interpretation.
    http://www.hao.ucar.edu/education/img/tychonian.gif

    ReplyDelete
  46. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Neal,

    Evidence for common descent of all life is merely subjective in nature.

    No, it's not.

    You have no real evidence and this is why the majority of people in the world resist the grand claims that evolutionists make.

    No, most of those people reject evolution on the basis of misinformation. (A few honest ones have said that the theory is fine, but they reject it on the basis of their religion.)

    I have looked for the evidence for over 30 years.

    All creationists say this. Can you show me your understanding of what evolution is? We can take it from there.

    Still waiting. Like a poorly perserved crime scene, evolutions interpret the data according to their world view.

    I know I don't. I started reading Darwin's big book expecting to find chimps changing into humans in a zoo, you know, both the classic creationist cartoons, and the more elaborate cartoons. None of that was there to be found. Darwin's book is a masterpiece of intellectual pursuit. Darwin started almost each chapter with a reason why evolution would not be true, then showed the data, and the data would support the opposite. After realizing that I held cartoons of evolution in my head, I still read creationist, thinking at least some of their arguments would be real, but in the end I found that evolution was truly a beautiful and elegant scientific theory. Anyway, then while studying I have found more and more support for the theory. Sure we don't know how everything evolved, but evolution is undeniable. No subjective interpretation at all.

    Even bad theories can offer up some support. Will you offer up more than rhetoric?

    Sure. Let us start by hearing what you understand about it.

    Best and have a great week (couple of very busy days ahead, but I shall try to answer if you write back.)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Cornelius,

    I'm not the one who is dishonestly switching words. He said evolution is a fact because what we observe shows it to be a fact.

    I have not switched words at all Cornelius.

    Evolutionists make astonishingly high claims. It is a fact, it is compelling, beyond any shadow of a doubt, it would be perverse to doubt it, it is as certain as gravity--no, more certain, it would be irrational to deny it is a fact, and so on, and so forth.

    Not beyond the shadow of a doubt, but beyond reasonable doubt. There is a difference.

    There is seemingly no limit to their claims. But when a skeptic asks for the details suddenly the backpedaling begins.

    What backpedaling Cornelius? You ignored a question, so I asked again. As for the evidence, let us see how my conversation with Neal develops. Be patient.

    -----

    Agreed. I'm not the one here who is using the warfare thesis to ignore inconvenient evidence.

    What inconvenient evidence? Like your "failed" "predictions of evolution" that never were predictions of evolution?

    My goal in investigating the evidence is to prove evolution, not disprove it.

    Right. And I won the Nobel price in physics.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Investigation of any poorly preserved crime scene requires the formulation of hypotheses and the search for evidence the confirms or disconfirms the hypotheses.

    I've never heard of a serious criminal investigation that included the hypothesis that ghosts or spirits committed the crime. I suppose Father Brown might have done so. (Just kidding)

    The best explanation will be that which lacks disconfirming evidence and which is consistent with known physical laws and mechanisms. As Sherlock might add: "however improbable."

    The only cogent argument I've heard against evolution is that sequences coding for functional proteins are too sparse to support incremental change in small steps.

    If, by small steps, we exclude everything but point mutations, perhaps this is a reasonable stance, but we have no reason to exclude other modes of change.

    At any rate, recent research indicates that minimally functional coding sequences are not rare among random sequences. This seems not to have been anticipated by ID proponents.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Pedant:
    A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry

    And how is the theory of "universal common ancestry" (UCA) tested in this paper?
    In the abstract we can read that:
    "I test UCA by applying model selection theory to molecular phylogenies, focusing on a set of ubiquitously conserved proteins that are proposed to be orthologous."

    Testing for UCA by proposing that the proteins are orthologous (ie. are homologous due to common descent) is pretty much the same as testing humans and apes for common descent by proposing that their similarities are due to a common ancestor.

    The question is how do you know that similarities are due to common descent?



    Also, from one of the papers which referenced regarding selection theory, Testing the Hypothesis of Common Ancestry (http://philosophy.wisc.edu/sober/elliot.pdf):

    "It is worth pausing to consider the possibility that there may be no way to find out whether the Hypothesis of Common Ancestry is true."

    And as they write in their conclusion:

    "The hypothesis of common ancestry is central to contemporary evolutionary theory. However, a valid methodology for testing that hypothesis that allows one to look at suites of characters has not, until now, been available."

    And yet, again, this testing needs certain premises which have to be taken as true.
    But making a premise by "proposing" what you want to prove doesn't tell you anything, really.

    How would you prove that certain traits can only be similar if they have a common descent?
    THAT'S the question.

    ReplyDelete
  51. The question is how do you know that similarities are due to common descent?
    _____________________________

    You never *know* in the sense of having God's vision, but you can exclude competing possibilities.

    If you include magical intervention as a possibility, you can accept any historical scenario.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Negative Entrophy, said, "Sure we don't know how everything evolved, but evolution is undeniable... Let us start by hearing what you understand about it."

    Darwin's "big book" was a masterpiece of rhetoric that was able to take advantage of what some people wanted to believe and rationalize it. He put the onus on the skeptics to show why complex things could not have evolved. How he got away with that superfical level of explanation is an interesting study in human psychology. He disparages black people and compares them to gorillas in his big book. It is a complete shame on humanity that his big book is regarded as some kind of scientific breakthrough.

    It is a fact that there are severe limits to complex adaptions that require multiple genetic changes before any benefit exists. Natural selection is not the mechanism that is capable of such change. The theory of evolution (i.e. universal common descent) breaks down when you go beyond superfical observations. It's a beautiful mirage to those who want to believe that way.

    ReplyDelete
  53. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  54. He put the onus on the skeptics to show why complex things could not have evolved.
    ______________________

    Having demonstrated with examples of animal and plant breeding, that large changes can come about incrementally, the onus belongs with those who assert it can't happen.

    Fossil evidence of the evolution of the mammalian middle ear confirms that complex systems can evolve incrementally.

    ReplyDelete
  55. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  56. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Hey Neal,

    Could you please just tell me what you do understand about evolution first? If Darwin's big book wanted to take advantage of what some people wanted to believe I wonder how it convinced me despite I was reading it with the whole intention of laughing at it. Seems like you did not read it. Did you or are you repeating what you have heard from creationist quacks? Because if those are your resources to looking for the evidence for over 30 years, then I am not surprised that you have not found it.

    So, again, pretty please, what is your understanding of evolution? Did you at least get to understand Darwin's evidences? I mean the facts that inspired him about it? Where do we start?

    (About to travel now, but will check when possible.)

    ReplyDelete
  58. The question is how do you know that similarities are due to common descent?

    Petrushka:You never *know* in the sense of having God's vision, but you can exclude competing possibilities.

    How dou you exclude the possibility of similarities existing without common descent?
    Do you have a "scientific method" or do you base your conclusions on "intuition"?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Negative Entropy: Hey Neal, Could you please just tell me what you do understand about evolution first?

    Negative Entropy, it would be MUCH easier if you told Neal what evidence has convinced you that random mutations and natural selection can account for complex lifeforms, rather than Neal starting to explain what he knows about evolution.

    Point Neal to the evidence which has convinced you, and you can discuss it from there. Its alot easier like that, I would think...

    ReplyDelete
  60. How dou you exclude the possibility of similarities existing without common descent?
    -----------------------------------
    Describe a "possibility" that does not involve direct creation.

    If you allow magic, no possibility can be excluded.

    ReplyDelete
  61. One can always postulate that an invisible designer makes large changes in populations through direct intervention.

    But then one might ask why the designer doesn't behave like human genetic engineers, and do lateral transfers from widely unrelated species -- plants to animals, for example. Why do all the similarities and differences fit a nested hierarchy.

    If humans disappeared for a million years, it would be possible to find evidence for genetic engineering done by humans, because there would be artifacts in genomes not fitting the hierarchy expected from descent.

    So if there is a meddling designer, he doesn't behave like human designers.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I wrote: Furthermore, as Pertruska noted, observations of the phases of Venus appeared to supported heliocentric theory.

    Zachriel: Not necessarily.

    Right. I should have been more clear. It collaborated elliptical heliocentric theory, which we now know is correct, but observations can collaborate more than one theory.

    My point was that The Inquisition's implied theory could have implied some even more complex state of affairs to account for the phases of Venus, while still being wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Negative Entrophy said, "So, again, pretty please, what is your understanding of evolution?"

    dalahimself said, "Point Neal to the evidence which has convinced you, and you can discuss it from there. Its alot easier like that, I would think... "

    I agree, it would be a much more direct approach. My understanding of evolution comes from what evolutionists have written in articles, books and websites, as well as correspondence. I can repeat back what you believe, but I don't agree. For every curious example of supposed evolution (mammalian middle ear) many strong contradictory examples can be found: avian lung, avian feathers, bacterial flagella, Trilobite eye, ad infinitum.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I'm curious how you interpret these as contradicting evolution. Lack of intermediates in fossils hundreds of millions of years old does not contradict evolution. (Missing evidence neither contradicts nor supports a theory. It's just missing evidence. Erasing fingerprints does not negate the history of a crime.)

    A single series like the mammalian middle ear, however, does contradict the claim that complex structures cannot arise incrementally.

    Just as the dozens of variant versions of flagella and cilia contradict the claim that the flagellum is irreducible. And contradict the claim that sub-components of the flagellum are not functional without the whole.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I wrote: Furthermore, as Pertruska noted, observations of the phases of Venus appeared to supported heliocentric theory.

    Zachriel: Newtonian Mechanics puts the question to rest by providing a comprehensive theory concerning center of gravity.


    Did it?

    For example, empirical observations alone could never rule out a theory that the earth is surrounded by a giant planetarium which presents a simulation of a heliocentric solar system. Outside this planetarium, there could be anything you like, or even nothing at all. One could even account for modern day observations with the theory that this planetarium further simulates the universe by redirecting radar and laser observations, capturing space probes and sending back simulated telemetry and returning astronauts with fake samples, altered memories, etc. This might sound absurd, but it can't be ruled out because the earth moving sounded absurd at the time. Do we feel the earth moving?

    It's thought that Galileo delayed publicly advocated his heliocentric theory by years, not out of fear or The Inquisition but out of fear of ridicule. It's also thought that Darwin delayed presenting his theory of natural selection and common decent for similar reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  66. not out of fear or The Inquisition but out of fear of ridicule. It's also thought that Darwin delayed presenting his theory of natural selection and common decent for similar reasons.
    -------------------------------------------

    I suppose being shown the instruments would not induce fear in a man like Galileo.
    ;>)

    Darwin's thought processes are reflected in his correspondence, which is so voluminous that not all of it has been made available, but not for lack of effort.

    He was not afraid of ridicule, but he was concerned that he might have overlooked something or failed to respond to some obvious problem. Everyone in the biology community knew what he was up to, and many people critiqued his ideas along the way.

    As a result, there are few big questions that he did not address.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Scott: For example, empirical observations alone could never rule out a theory that the earth is surrounded by a giant planetarium which presents a simulation of a heliocentric solar system.

    Of course, you can propose any manner of extraneous entities. It's angels pushing planets to look just like gravity.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I wrote: To quote Galileo, "the Book of Nature is written in mathematical symbols". This would be an important fact about reality itself and have important implications.

    As I mentioned earlier, both Galileo and The Inquisition were realists. However, The Inquisition's implied theory (see earlier comment) has something in common with solipsism. Both draw an arbitrary boundary where human reason supposedly has no access. In this case, problem solving could not be a path to understanding motions in the night sky.

    In the case of solipsists, this boundary surounds their brains (or possibly their immaterial soul.) But in the case of The Inquisition's implied theory, this boundary surrounded the entire earth.

    However, regardless of where one draws this boundary, we can regard them variants of solipsism. They all consider scientific rationality and problem solving to be inapplicable outside that boundary. It might be useful for making predictions, but it cannot actually explain anything.

    It's also shares similarities with solipsism since it objects to problem solving as a means to gain knowledge without deriving conclusions based on an ultimate source of justification. Inside the boundary, problem solving is accepted, but for regions deemed outside this boundary, they look elsewhere. In the case of religion, divine relation often plays that role. In the case of Solipsists, only the direct experience of their own thoughts are trusted. To quote Rene Descarte's classic argument, "I think, therefore I exist".

    So, again, I think the incident between Galileo and the Inquisition does reflect evidence of the primary conflict between religion and science: religion draws an arbitrary boundary in which scientific reasoning has no access.

    However, Galileo differed in how he perceived the relationship between this physical reality and human ideas, observation and reason. That we, as human beings, can actually know about reality is an important fact about reality itself.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Cornelius Hunter said...

    Thorton:

    ===
    He did't write proves CH, he wrote the evidence says, which it does. Why did you dishonestly switch his words?
    ===

    I'm not the one who is dishonestly switching words. He said evolution is a fact because what we observe shows it to be a fact. Evolutionists make astonishingly high claims. It is a fact, it is compelling, beyond any shadow of a doubt, it would be perverse to doubt it, it is as certain as gravity--no, more certain, it would be irrational to deny it is a fact, and so on, and so forth. There is seemingly no limit to their claims. But when a skeptic asks for the details suddenly the backpedaling begins.


    LOL! Not only did you dishonestly change his words, you got caught and busted. Just like you try and redefine the term 'fact' to mean "whatever I, Cornelius Hunter, personally accept".

    I wonder sometimes if you honestly believe anyone finds your childish rhetorical games clever or persuasive. Anyone besides your handful of scientifically illiterate IDC sycophants that is.

    ReplyDelete
  70. A quite interesting research on the Galileo Galilei Affair:

    http://www.galilean-library.org/site/index.php/page/index.html/_/essays/history/the-galileo-affair-part-1-introduction-r65

    ReplyDelete
  71. Petrushka,

    There were a number of reasons which effected the final publication date. However, I'd suggest that Darwin was motivated to be more thorough in his research because his conclusions could have been perceived by some as being absurd.

    Even now, Cornelius makes the this claim.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Darwin was motivated to be more thorough in his research because his conclusions could have been perceived by some as being absurd.
    ------------------------------
    That doesn't contradict what I said, but Darwin didn't have to guess about the reaction. He had a vast correspondence with everyone whose opinion mattered to him. He countered every objection brought to the subject.

    Some thought him wrong, but no one with knowledge of his work thought it absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Petrushka said, "I'm curious how you interpret these as contradicting evolution. Lack of intermediates in fossils hundreds of millions of years old does not contradict evolution. (Missing evidence neither contradicts nor supports a theory. It's just missing evidence. Erasing fingerprints does not negate the history of a crime.)

    Missing OR never existed? You see, you make the assumption that it is just missing... have you considered that it hasn't been found because it never existed?

    The mammalian ear evolution claim by evolutionists is one of their proudest arguments. It is telling in itself that this argument is among the best that evolutionists can muster. Their claim is not a slam dunk win. The ear is a precision organ. What about the organ of Corti that is essential for mammal hearing but is not found in a single reptile? Was the origin of this organ a saltation event?

    ReplyDelete
  74. Dr Hunter explains metaphysics:

    I'm not using the term "metaphysical" in any special sense. In modern science the ground rules are to make some basic assumptions such as uniformity and parsimony. They are OK.

    That's good metaphysics.

    Evolutionists also argue that only naturalistic explanations can be allowed in science. I have no problem with that, but...

    That's barely acceptable metaphysics.

    ... I trust it is obvious that one cannot therefore conclude that only naturalistic explanations are real. That would also be a metaphysical claim.

    Bad metaphysics.

    I trust it is also obvious that personal religious beliefs are "metaphysical." If you believe god likes two-headed unicorns, and because you haven't found any on earth, therefore you predict they will be found on some other planet, then I'd say that is metaphysical.

    I'd say that's insanity.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Tedford:

    What about the organ of Corti that is essential for mammal hearing but is not found in a single reptile? Was the origin of this organ a saltation event?

    And what about nipples that are essential for mammalian reproduction, but can't be found (after exhaustive search) in reptiles? Another saltation event?

    And what about...?

    ReplyDelete
  76. Missing OR never existed? You see, you make the assumption that it is just missing...
    ____________________


    It's a pretty good assumption. Consider that when you look for intermediate amphibians in likely places, you find them. You need intermediates between birds and reptiles, you find them.

    The difference between intermediates found and those not found is in the conditions that allow preservation.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Tedford the idiot said...

    Petrushka said, "I'm curious how you interpret these as contradicting evolution. Lack of intermediates in fossils hundreds of millions of years old does not contradict evolution. (Missing evidence neither contradicts nor supports a theory. It's just missing evidence. Erasing fingerprints does not negate the history of a crime.)

    Missing OR never existed? You see, you make the assumption that it is just missing... have you considered that it hasn't been found because it never existed?


    Let me get your 'logic' straight Tedford:

    Lots of transitional fossil sequences are know to modern science, but because not every last one has been found that somehow means the ones that have been found don't exist.

    Is that about it?

    ReplyDelete
  78. "What about the organ of Corti that is essential for mammal hearing but is not found in a single reptile? Was the origin of this organ a saltation event?"

    It will always be possible to argue from ignorance but it would be much better if you had positive arguments for an alternative explanation instead.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hunder,

    "Evolution rests on a religious foundation and mandate that dates back long before Darwin and remains crucial today."

    Which religious ground is that specifically?

    ReplyDelete
  80. Hunter,

    "When Dawkins argues that god or a designer, capable of creating the universe, would not have created our retina with a blind spot, or Myers argues that god would not have created this universe, or Coyne makes one of the many evolutionary claims about what a god or a designer would and would not do they are making non scientific, metaphysical, claims.

    These claims go back centuries and in modern times were issued mainly by Christians. But in any case, they are metaphysical claims. Does this make sense to you?"

    It does make sense to me. If somebody does make such claims then this is metaphysical.

    However, it is not metaphysical if somebody says something like:

    According to our scientific evidence it possible that the retina evolved via evolutionary mechanisms.

    Can you see the difference?

    I never had a scientific primary research paper about evolution in my hands that had the word "God" in it. Can you please give me the references for those papers. I would realy love to read them.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Negative Entropy,

    Cornelius Hunter seems to suffer under evolutionvobia and his job seems to be to spread it all over the world.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Petruskia: That doesn't contradict what I said,

    I wasn't trying to contradict what you said. I was trying to clarify what I said.

    but Darwin didn't have to guess about the reaction. He had a vast correspondence with everyone whose opinion mattered to him. He countered every objection brought to the subject.

    I'm not suggesting Darwin's theory was actually absurd then or now. Nor was my comment limited to contemporaries that Darwin had correspondence or to whose opinion mattered to him. I'm suggesting that Darwin was conscious of and concerned about public reception of his theory.

    For example, it was only 12 years after Origin of Species that Darwin directly referenced human beings. I don't think this necessarily represented uncertainty on the part of Darwin, but that he was waiting for what he felt was the right time to present it.

    ReplyDelete
  83. he was waiting for what he felt was the right time to present it.
    ---------------------

    I think he had lots of reason, including one put forth by Gould: He was doing his barnacle book. This was his *dues*, his PhD thesis, his demonstration that he was a serious scientist and not a crank with a crank theory.

    ReplyDelete
  84. Pedant wrote:

    Dr Hunter explains metaphysics: That's good metaphysics. […] That's barely acceptable metaphysics. […] Bad metaphysics. […] I'd say that's insanity.

    So, rather than drawing a boundary around his soul or the earth, Dr Hunter has drawn a boundary at biological complexity. And he presents it under the guise of metaphysics.

    For example, Cornelius has repeatedly chastised those who compare evolution with gravity. Of course, he has never come clean as to if he's referring to gravitational theory or the phenomena that the theory encompasses.

    However, I'd suggest this is because Cornelius thinks this phenomena, among others, fall inside the sphere where scientific rationality and problem solving is applicable. However, biological complexity falls outside this sphere. It might have have value in the context of viruses or cancer cells that become resistant to treatments, but it cant really explain biological complexity.

    So, despite being a realist, in a strict sense of the word, it appears that his skepticism of evolutionary theory represents a variant of solipsism.

    ReplyDelete
  85. emil:

    ===
    "Evolution rests on a religious foundation and mandate that dates back long before Darwin and remains crucial today."

    Which religious ground is that specifically?
    ===

    Great question. I summarize this in Chapter 2 of my book Science's Blind Spot, and I discuss it in my other books. I also discuss it in this blog and a bit at www.DarwinsPredictions.com.

    There is no single religious tradition or thinker behind evolutionary thought. It is rather a common tendency in religious thought, that can be found across a spectrum of traditions.

    Within the modern science era, a convenient starting point is with Nicolas Malebranche, a 17th c. Roman Catholic. But it would be misleading to think Roman Catholicism was significant in building evolution's metaphysical foundation. In fact Malebranche's writings were rejected by Rome.

    More significant were the Anglicans, and on the continent the Lutherans. So the blame lies mainly with the protestants. Of course today there is widespread support across the spectrum.

    If you want to trace back the ideas before modern science, you can certainly find them in antiquity. The Epicureans and Lucretius are a good place to start.

    As for the specific theological and philosophical ideas at play, this takes the discussion into theology, philosophy and the history of thought in these areas. It is a lengthy explanation and for most audiences requires some primer material. Again, there is Chapter 2 of Science's Blind Spot, though that is only the briefest of introductions.

    Also, I have made an attempt at a graphical representation which you can see here:

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

    It is a great question and for those interested in pursuing it further there is much reward waiting. It is one of those studies where your history teacher's lament "if you don't know your history then you'll just repeat the same mistakes" really comes true. It is interesting that many people today are not very familiar with the study of theology, the history of the church, and so forth, and they in fact often make the same sophmoric religious claims (while imagining they are free of religious influence).

    There seem to be consistent tendencies in our religious thinking, and they show up repeatedly, over the centuries, in the literature. It by no means began with Darwin or the Victorians. You can see very much the same claims made in today's evolutionists and in 17th c. thinkers.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Cornelius,

    "I made some powerful scientific points but they were met with empty stares while the professor’s metaphysical mandates for evolution received approving nods all around."

    That is typical of a secular societies. All secular societies are dying societies. St Paul explains it well in Romans. However his quote in 2 Thes. 2:9-12 explains the blank stares:

    "The coming of the lawlessness is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned."

    Faith leads to understanding. Apostasy leads to death. Those who are perishing, secular evolutionists, are incapable of understanding the truth. I know some Christians believe in evolution, but you have to look at the big picture, i.e. what the whole society believes.
    .

    ReplyDelete
  87. Hunter,

    When Darwin came up with the idea that organisms evolved he only had very limited recourses to prove or disprove his idea simply because, nobody knew about the existence of DNA, RNA, and all this.

    So, when I speak of modern science in terms of evolution it doesn’t start in the 17th century. It starts in 1953 when Watson and Crick published their discovery about the DNA.

    Only from there on it was possible to study genetic relationships between organisms. With this, only from there on it was actually possible to proove/disproove the ideas Darwin had.

    It just happened to be that Darwin’s idea turned out to be quite correct. Up to then, nobody could really tell if Darwin was right or wrong.

    Founded on this historical background, my scientific standpoint is that everything that happened before 1953 in terms of evolution can’t be part of the current discussion about the correctness, incorrectness, validity, invalidity, and motivation behind the modern scientific theory of evolution.

    There are certainly people who (want to) drag the old historical (religious) baggage into modern science for whatever reason.

    However, I don’t think it would be smart to use old evolution stuff (everything before 1953) in the discussion about the validity, invalidity, and motivation of modern scientific views of evolution (everything after 1953).

    We should certainly learn from mistakes made in the past, but I think we should not accuse modern science of whatever just because an old idea happens to turn out to be scientifically pretty reasonable.

    ReplyDelete
  88. When I asked the question which religious motivation is behind evolution then I meant which relitious motivation is behind the modern view of the scientific evolution theory (everything after 1953) which is about that we came across the surprising discovery, made possible by Watson and Crick) that organisms are genetically related with one another.

    I think we should be careful that we don't mix up history (everything before 1953) with modern science (everything after 1953).

    ReplyDelete
  89. Charles said, ""What about the organ of Corti that is essential for mammal hearing but is not found in a single reptile? Was the origin of this organ a saltation event?"

    It will always be possible to argue from ignorance but it would be much better if you had positive arguments for an alternative explanation instead. "


    It is the evolutionists that make the grand claim of repile-mammal evolution based heavily on the ear/jaw comparisons. Remember, this was offered up by evolutionists as evidence for evolution. Like Darwin, evolutionists feel like the onus is on others to show that it couldn't happen. Then when we do, they brush it off with empty rhetoric.

    How evolutionists get away with glossing over huge details is absolutely amazing.

    I'm just asking you guys to follow the ear/jaw evolution explanation through. Lots of bad theories have some explanatory power. So what about the organ of Corti... a saltation event?

    ReplyDelete
  90. Neal:

    "Like Darwin, evolutionists feel like the onus is on others to show that it couldn't happen."

    That's where you got it wrong. No one have to show that it couldn't happen. You have to explain how you think it happened, and why it is a better explanation than evolution. The burden of explaining how it happened is on both side!

    ReplyDelete
  91. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  92. So what about the organ of Corti... a saltation event?
    --------------------

    What particular stage in the fossil sequence shapes your question? Be specific.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Charles, are evolutionists secretly waiting for that something better because they know their theory is half-baked?

    Anyways, it would seem that if a hypothesis about the jaw/ear evolution puts forth an explanation as evidence they should follow it through completely. If I wanted a complete explanation of String theory I wouldn't accept its proponents pushing me for a better alternative when they discovery contradictory data. Evolutionists are the ones that are always claiming the scientific high ground and dismissing Design as nonsense from IDiots. That only leaves evolutionists on the playing ground. So follow through with the jaw/ear evolutionary explanation. Was the organ of Corti a saltation event?

    ReplyDelete
  94. emil, on the contrary, the more dna and rna is understood the more of a pandora's box is opened up for Darwinism. Genetic sequencing is undoing the "tree of life". It is busting up the selection criteria that formed the tidy nested hierarchies of biological classification.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Cornelius,

    I'll ask you the question directly.

    When you suggest that evolutionists are misrepresenting science by comparing evolution to gravity, exactly what are you referring to?

    A. Empirical observations of phenomena we attribute to gravity
    B. Gravitational theory, which explains those observations.

    This is not a difficult question. Nor is it irrelevant as you've clearly made this claim several times. Yet you've continued to avoid this issue.

    Perhaps your silence on this issue indicates you do not make a distinction between the two?

    However, empirical observations alone are insufficient to suggest that gravity will continue effect phenomena in a uniform way. Instead, it is gravitationally theory which provides an explanation to why phenomena would effected in a uniform way.

    Without it, all you can say is empirical observations we attribute to gravity will continue to in a uniform way in the future because empirical observations were uniform in the past.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Neal:
    "Charles, are evolutionists secretly waiting for that something better because they know their theory is half-baked?"

    Science works that way, every theory can be pushed away if sufficient evidence accumulate in favor of an alternative. And no, pointing at gap in knowledge is not a valid argument, neither is your own incredulity.

    "Evolutionists are the ones that are always claiming the scientific high ground and dismissing Design as nonsense from IDiots."

    Design is dismissing itself by presenting a false dichotomy between evolution and design. It's focusing it's energy on trying to disprove evolution hoping to win by default.

    You could always try to prove me wrong by explaining what we can learn about the organ of Corti from a design perspective, and how it is a better explanation than evolution...

    ReplyDelete
  97. Neal:
    ====
    You have no real evidence and this is why the majority of people in the world resist the grand claims that evolutionists make.
    ====

    Please show your data, AFAIK evolution denial only flourishes in nations with a high proportion of religious fundamentalism. Take a look to the public acceptance of evolution in Europe: Miller et al 2005 (Science). I can't link here but you can easily find it online for free. I don't know real statistics for other countries, but I can assure you that in South America, if you tell people on the street that evolution is false, you will get laughed over 70% of the time.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Charles, so your admitting the obvious, that the theory of evolution is half-baked?

    Anyways, have you read Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer? If you are interested in a positive explanation of Design regarding origins this would be an excellent resource.

    Design is not hoping to win by default. The bottom line is that evolutionists have failed to provide a sufficient mechanism to support its grand claim. A bad theory should get hammered.

    ReplyDelete
  99. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  100. emil:

    ===
    So, when I speak of modern science in terms of evolution it doesn’t start in the 17th century. It starts in 1953 when Watson and Crick published their discovery about the DNA.

    Only from there on it was possible to study genetic relationships between organisms. With this, only from there on it was actually possible to proove/disproove the ideas Darwin had.

    It just happened to be that Darwin’s idea turned out to be quite correct. Up to then, nobody could really tell if Darwin was right or wrong.
    ===

    Evolutionary truth claims did not begin in 1953.

    ===
    Darwin’s idea turned out to be quite correct.
    ===

    I didn't know that. Can you explain how evolution was proved?

    ReplyDelete
  101. Cornelius Hunter

    It is a bit OT but I realized that in

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

    you bravely – at least to me - list “testability“ as one of these unwarranted metaphysical claims. I assume you mean by that, that other explanations are rejected because they are not testable or at least are said to be not testable and that is taken as a justification for the ToE. Could you elucidate that point? I should admit that I consider testability as one of the key elements of (natural) science.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Geoxus,

    Half of Brits don't believe in the Darwinism.

    They were Darwin's kin. Half don't buy it... it's certainly not for lack of trying and who would characterize Brits as religious fundamentalists?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/01/evolution-darwin-survey-creationism

    You can't sterotype skeptics of evolution. They span all cultures and religious backgrounds. A good presentation of the facts will turn most people into skeptics. Why shouldn't it.

    ReplyDelete
  103. second opinion:

    ===
    you bravely – at least to me - list “testability“ as one of these unwarranted metaphysical claims. I assume you mean by that, that other explanations are rejected because they are not testable or at least are said to be not testable and that is taken as a justification for the ToE.
    ===

    Right.

    ===
    Could you elucidate that point? I should admit that I consider testability as one of the key elements of (natural) science.
    ===

    As you suggested above, questions of testability (what exactly is it? is it required in science?, etc) are not the issue, but rather how such a criterion is used. When testability, or any criterion for that matter, is taken as a prerequisite for legitimate science, then you lose any guarantee of completeness or realism. You must sacrifice at least one of these. Evolutionists consistently fail to reckon with their predicament, and instead want to have their cake and eat it too.

    It would be simple to rectify this. Evolutionists could mandate testability and like Bacon forfeit any guarantee of completeness, or like Descartes forfeit any guarantee of realism. Or they could switch between the two, depending on the day of the week. Then we could remove "Testability" from the evolutionary tree of metaphysics.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Scott:

    ===
    When you suggest that evolutionists are misrepresenting science by comparing evolution to gravity, exactly what are you referring to?

    A. Empirical observations of phenomena we attribute to gravity
    B. Gravitational theory, which explains those observations.

    This is not a difficult question. Nor is it irrelevant as you've clearly made this claim several times. Yet you've continued to avoid this issue.
    ===

    Your question should be directed to evolutionists, not me. After all, they make the claim. But since you are asking, the answer is A. Evolutionists do admit they don't have all the answers, and that there are competing theories of how the details of evolution occurred. But they are concerned that debate amongst evolutionists might be interpreted as weakness, and therefore that there is at least some chance evolution might be not be a fact, which they strongly deny.

    So they carefully make the distinction between theory and fact. Evolution is a theory in the sense there is an explanation for how it occurred, and that explanation may change over time. But none of that detracts, they say, from our knowledge that evolution is a fact. There are questions of *how* evolution occurred, but not *that* it occurred.

    To illustrate this further, they draw a comparison with gravity. You have different explanations for how gravity works (Newton, Einstein, etc) and there may be debate on this question, but no one questions *that* gravity occurs. Here is how Gould explained it:

    ===
    Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.
    ===

    So evolution is compared with objects falling. By the way, evolutionists make plenty of other misrepresentations of science in attempting to promote their dogma. They say evolution is a fact every bit as much as it is a fact that the earth is round rather than flat. They say it would be perverse and irrational to deny the fact of gravity. And so forth.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Cornelius Hunter

    Thank you! From what you said I remember you had a related post, maybe this one:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/question-for-barbara-forrest.html

    so that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Scott, Interpreting the fossil record is subjective, observing an apple fall from a tree is not.

    Another example: Interpreting the evidence from a crime scene long after it happened vs. video taping the crime and playing it back in court.

    That's the difference.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Hunter:

    As you suggested above, questions of testability (what exactly is it? is it required in science?, etc) are not the issue, but rather how such a criterion is used. When testability, or any criterion for that matter, is taken as a prerequisite for legitimate science, then you lose any guarantee of completeness or realism. You must sacrifice at least one of these. Evolutionists consistently fail to reckon with their predicament, and instead want to have their cake and eat it too.

    In this context:

    What is completeness? What is realism? Which is the cake, and which is the eating of it?

    It would be simple to rectify this. Evolutionists could mandate testability and like Bacon forfeit any guarantee of completeness, or like Descartes forfeit any guarantee of realism. Or they could switch between the two, depending on the day of the week. Then we could remove "Testability" from the evolutionary tree of metaphysics.

    That's simple? The fanciful notion here is that the evolutionary hypothesis is employed in a manner different from the employment of hypotheses in physics, chemistry, geology, and other sciences. Every argument that Hunter brings against evolutionary theory applies to all of science.

    ReplyDelete
  108. second opinion:

    ===
    Thank you! From what you said I remember you had a related post, maybe this one:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/question-for-barbara-forrest.html

    so that makes sense.
    ===

    You're welcome. Also, there is this post:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/01/question-for-joe-felsenstein-and.html

    ReplyDelete
  109. Tedford:

    Another example: Interpreting the evidence from a crime scene long after it happened vs. video taping the crime and playing it back in court.

    You have a videotape of God creating the organ of Corti? Is there a link?

    ReplyDelete
  110. Pedant:

    ===
    In this context:

    What is completeness? What is realism? Which is the cake, and which is the eating of it?
    ===

    Completeness refers to the set of all phenomena. If my method requires that all objects have inherent properties which explain their motion, then from the start I'm excluding certain explanations, and so I forfeit any guarantee of completeness. If all objects have such inherent properties, then I'm in luck. It turned out that my a priori method aligned with reality, and was complete.

    Similarly, if my method requires testability, then from the start I'm excluding explanations that are not testable, and again I forfeit any guarantee of completeness. If all real phenomena are testable, then I'm in luck and I have completeness.

    Realism refers to reality. One way to reckon with the loss of completeness problem is to forfeit realism. That is, if my method requires testability, and I want to investigate all phenomena, then I can tell myself that I will deal with phenomena that are not testable by forcing them into my method. That is, I will treat everything *as if* it is testable, regardless of whether it really is or not. That means I may obtain some wrong answers (eg, geocentrism, a good model that is not true or even approximately true). But I will have completeness. Descartes opted for this.

    OTH, I can demand testability but tell myself that when it comes to phenomena that are not testable, I'll back off and not apply my method in that case. Bacon was more along this approach.

    But evolutionists don't play by these rules of science. They mandate methodological naturalism, and insist on both completeness and realism. They can do this because they have their, a priori, metaphysical "truths."

    So evolution is not a scientific research program. Note that I'm not saying evolution is not a scientific research program because it mandates naturalism. Nothing wrong with mandating naturalism. The problem is deeper than that. But the ACLU doesn't care.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Gasp... I almost forgot. Neal, you made a claim about the world population but then only offered data from the UK. Can we see the rest please?

    ReplyDelete
  112. CH wrote:

    Your question should be directed to evolutionists, not me.

    I'm asking you because you're the one suggesting it's a misrepresentation of science. As of yet, this seems to be an assertion on your part.

    But since you are asking, the answer is A.

    I think you misunderstood my question.

    Are, you're suggesting that evolutionary theory doesn't try to explain observed phenomena?

    ReplyDelete
  113. CH wrote:

    But they are concerned that debate amongst evolutionists might be interpreted as weakness, and therefore that there is at least some chance evolution might be not be a fact, which they strongly deny.

    Which represents speculation on your part.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Blogger deleted my post. Here it is again. All the quotes from Neal.
    ====
    Half of Brits don't believe in the Darwinism.
    ====
    The actual report of the poll:

    campaigndirector.moodia.com/Client/Theos/Files/FaithandDarwin.pdf

    The results of that poll are certainly bad, though I couldn't find the figures cited in the Guardian article. I did find this:

    28% say TE[theistic evo] is the most likely explanation

    37% say AE[atheistic evo] is the most likely explanation

    Which is not that bad, but the opinions were often contradictory, so those numbers should not be taken alone. ITHO, the global results of that poll, as reported in the media seem to differ greatly from other polls for the UK population, as you can see from the paper I mentioned and this more recent poll (68% of support):
    www.visioncritical.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/2010.07.15_Origin.pdf
    I wouldn't adventure to conclude anything about the UK population yet.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Cont'd.
    ====
    You can't sterotype skeptics of evolution. They span all cultures and religious backgrounds.
    ====
    Among the leading faces of the evolution denial movements I don't think there is a very high diversity. For what I know nearly all of them are either hard-core Christians or Muslims. Miller et al. 2006 found a .42 coefficient of correlation between fundamentalism and evolution denial for personal positions. I suspect, that the proportion of fundamentalists in the total population is also an important factor in the global trends, as the most they are the best they can spread misinformation.

    ====
    A good presentation of the facts will turn most people into skeptics. Why shouldn't it.
    ====
    I wonder what was the good presentation of the facts that you were given (I mean, a particular book?), unless you've been always a denier.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Neal:
    ====
    What about the organ of Corti that is essential for mammal hearing but is not found in a single reptile? Was the origin of this organ a saltation event?
    ====

    So, structures that are extremely unlikely to fossilise disprove evolution? Why should it be present in extant diapsid "reptiles"?? Don't you know that the corresponding structure in non-mammalians is the basilar papilla? Did you get your "good presentation of the facts" from Duane Gish?

    http://www.icr.org/article/mammal-like-reptiles/

    If you are really interested in the evolution of the cochlea take a look at this:

    http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/07/26/rspb.2010.1148.full

    ReplyDelete
  117. Hunter sayed:
    "Evolutionary truth claims did not begin in 1953."


    Hunter, this is correct but this belongs into the box: Let the past rest in peace.

    It doesn't belong into discussions about current issues about evolution.

    Again, only after we discovered what actually determines the morphology and function of organism (DNA, RNA) we were able to identify specific mechanims by which organisms change over time (evolution) and we came a long way since 1953.

    What would scientists have to do to make you happy?

    ReplyDelete
  118. Scott:

    ===
    "But they are concerned that debate amongst evolutionists might be interpreted as weakness, and therefore that there is at least some chance evolution might be not be a fact, which they strongly deny."

    Which represents speculation on your part.
    ===

    No, this isn't speculation.


    ===
    But since you are asking, the answer is A.

    I think you misunderstood my question.
    ===

    I thought you were asking what is wrong with the evolutionist's use of the analogy with gravity.

    ===
    Are, you're suggesting that evolutionary theory doesn't try to explain observed phenomena?
    ===

    No, I'm explaining that when evolutionist's claim evolution is a fact as much as is gravity, they are saying that we know that a fish (ultimately) turned into a giraffe, that humans evolved from apelike ancestors, etc, etc, *with as much confidence* as we have with directly observed phenomena, such as that things fall down when dropped.

    The point evolutionists are trying to make is that evolution is really, really obvious and inescapable. Yes, we cannot directly observe it, but we may as well be able to. The case is that air tight.

    I am, according to evolutionists, irrational. I'm not merely making some scientific or logical mistakes. I'm not confused about this or that scientific discipline or observation. I'm *irrational*.

    ReplyDelete
  119. emil:

    ===
    Again, only after we discovered what actually determines the morphology and function of organism (DNA, RNA) we were able to identify specific mechanims by which organisms change over time (evolution) and we came a long way since 1953.
    ===

    As I said, evolutionists misrepresent science and make false claims, and when challenged the backpedaling begins. Yet another example of this backpedaling is to equivocate on evolution. They claim it is an undeniable fact that the species arose via common descent, but when questioned they switch to "change over time." It's one lie after another.

    In this case perhaps emil mistyped, but this equivocation is standard fare with evolutionists.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Cornelius Hunter

    A follow up question on completeness if I may. Are you saying that theist evolutionists like Ken Miller, Francisco Ayala, Simon Conway Morris also advocate completeness? If you say that God somehow influenced the process of evolution but you can't test for that influence you are kind of admitting that the theory is incomplete?

    ReplyDelete
  121. second opinion:

    ===
    A follow up question on completeness if I may. Are you saying that theist evolutionists like Ken Miller, Francisco Ayala, Simon Conway Morris also advocate completeness?
    ===

    Oh yes. Evolutionists are pretty united on this, theist or otherwise. Their metaphysics underwrites their restricting of method to methodological naturalism (MN) while maintaining completeness and realism.

    ===
    If you say that God somehow influenced the process of evolution but you can't test for that influence you are kind of admitting that the theory is incomplete?
    ===

    Well first, evolutionists are all over the map regarding god's influence. But a common theme is that whatever divine influence there is, it is not detectable, and cannot be distinguished from the play of natural laws and processes.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Hunter:

    But evolutionists don't play by these rules of science. They mandate methodological naturalism, and insist on both completeness and realism. They can do this because they have their, a priori, metaphysical "truths."

    I don’t understand. What I’m trying to get a purchase on is how evolution fails to fit the mold of other branches of methodological naturalism. Specific examples of insistence on completeness and realism by evolutionary practitioners compared to examples of the lack of such insistence by, say, physicists, might help.

    A listing of those a priori metaphysical truths held by the perpetrators might also help greatly.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Hunter:

    Well first, evolutionists are all over the map regarding god's influence. But a common theme is that whatever divine influence there is, it is not detectable, and cannot be distinguished from the play of natural laws and processes.

    What method have you used to detect and distinguish God's influence on biology from the play of natural processes?

    Has that method been applied to physics or chemistry?

    ReplyDelete
  124. Pedant:

    "What method have you used to detect and distinguish God's influence on biology from the play of natural processes?
    ===

    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask those individuals (Dawkins, Meyers, etc) who claimed to understand and know the mind of what God would and wouldn't do in any particular instance ??? I would be curious to know what repeatable scientific method they used in arriving at such conclusions about something/someone they even claim doesn't exist in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Pedant, compare the physicists in String Theory with evolutionists.

    Do you hear String theorists try to justify their evidence by saying God would not have done it this way or that way? No... At least not that I have read.

    Darwin kicked off the metaphysical parade of justifications for his theory that was often more religious that some Sunday morning sermons.

    What evolutionists need to completely abandon is any kind of mention or notion of what they think a designer would or would not do. After all, their theory insists their was no designer, it is all explained by natural processes. So go for it. The hogwash about how God would not have created the eye the way it is has to go, etc. You guys should be able to support your theory by showing the natural processes that accomplish the grand feats that you say that it has. You can't make the bridge between micro and macro evolution without reverting to subjective interpretations of the fossil record, making ungrounded assumptions, or getting religious.

    Your dog doesn't hunt, and therefore all manner of rhetorical and metaphysical hype must be used to justify its existence.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Tedford:

    Do you hear String theorists try to justify their evidence by saying God would not have done it this way or that way?

    What is the evidence for string theory?

    Should we teach the alternative to string theory in the schools?

    ReplyDelete
  127. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Hunter,

    "As I said, evolutionists misrepresent science and make false claims"

    What exactly are the false claims that scientists make in current literature? Give references of such primary research papers.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Neal Tedford,

    "What evolutionists need to completely abandon is any kind of mention or notion of what they think a designer would or would not do."

    I totally agree with that one. San somebody give me a reference about a current primary scientific research paper that says something like that?

    It is one thing what a person does who can't tollerate religious believes of others or makes some stupid argument out of desperation.

    However, it is another thing that good scientists are inecently dragged into this battle of religious intollerance.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Neal:
    Do you hear String theorists try to justify their evidence by saying God would not have done it this way or that way? No... At least not that I have read.

    I haven't read any religious fundie pseudoscientist attacking string theory either (sure there are some, but they are not conspicuous enough nor they are boycotting public education yet).

    What evolutionists need to completely abandon is any kind of mention or notion of what they think a designer would or would not do.

    Agreed. But that kind of argumentations were responses to similar creations claims of how some particular structure does show god's trademark. Doesn't work both ways? Those are responses to religious fundamentalist attacks, you will rarely find them in real scientific communication. But I guess you don't read much of that.

    You can't make the bridge between micro and macro evolution...

    Becuase the organ of Corti disproves it, right? You have no response for that?

    Pedant:
    Should we teach the alternative to string theory in the schools?

    Quantum loop gravity? Sure.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Emil
    It is one thing what a person does who can't tollerate religious believes of others or makes some stupid argument out of desperation.

    I wasn't desperation. It was just playing the same scenario game of sloppy thinking that fuelled the creationist attacks in the first place. Funny that it seems to me that every single commenter on this blog agrees that the argument from "bad design" are wrong, but it's brought up again and again anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Tedford the idiot said...

    What evolutionists need to completely abandon is any kind of mention or notion of what they think a designer would or would not do. After all, their theory insists their was no designer, it is all explained by natural processes. So go for it. The hogwash about how God would not have created the eye the way it is has to go, etc.


    Except that's not what is argued. The argument is that there's no logical reason for an omnipotent Creator to make a kludged together just barely working design design that looks just like things evolved.

    Feel free to provide one anytime there Tedford.

    You guys should be able to support your theory by showing the natural processes that accomplish the grand feats that you say that it has.

    And indeed science has, in spades. That you choose to remain willfully ignorant is not science's problem.

    You can't make the bridge between micro and macro evolution without reverting to subjective interpretations of the fossil record, making ungrounded assumptions, or getting religious.

    Gee, what a revelation from the idiot. Events that happened over millions of years can't be recreated in real time and need to be determined from trace evidence. BTW idiot, the genetic distances between extant animals that are evidence of common ancestry are determined objectively through rigorous mathematical analysis. So you're wrong about that too.

    And what ungrounded assumption or religious motivations would those be idiot? You keep forgetting to provide evidence for those. You are however exceptionally good at generating lots of ignorance-based hot air - at least you've got that going for you during the cold winter.

    ReplyDelete
  133. If String theorists behaved like evolutionists, they would state that their theory is a fact even though they are still working out the details and tell everyone who disagrees that they are idiots.

    ReplyDelete
  134. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Neal,
    If String theorists behaved like evolutionists, they would state that their theory is a fact even though they are still working out the details...

    No real scientist states that a theory is a fact. Theories explain phenomena. Evolutionary theory explains explains evolutionary phenomena. That's basic scientific terminology. And if you think that all the details must be worked out before being embraced by the scientific community, please, provide an example of a "finished" theory in modern science.

    No answer about the organ of Corti yet? You seemed so excited about it.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Geoxus said, "No real scientist states that a theory is a fact".

    ---

    I guess that means they are not real scientists according to you.

    Evolutionists state that universal common descent is a fact. In their cunningly devised fables, they attempt to split the fact of evolution from the theories of evolution. It's another rhetorical twist to have it both ways. They can claim fact, yet under the disguise of theory, dodge accountability.

    Reptiles don't have the organ of corti, mammals do. The onus is on you to show how it evolved, not on me to show you how it couldn't. So was it a saltation event or not?

    ReplyDelete
  137. Geoxus, Darwin formed and supported his theory very much from the "God wouldn't have done it that way" rational. It wasn't simply a defense from the meanie creationists, it was the backbone of his presentation.

    I think that CH documented all the metaphysical claims by famous Darwinists for the last 150 years quite thoroughly. To deny the metaphysical claim is like denying that there was racism in the South in 1890.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Neal,

    A theory is not a simple factual claim, it's a complex fabric of explanations for a set of phenomena. Theories can posit and support the existence of a particular phenomena but they are not the same as a phenomenon itself. If you don't believe me, check this:

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/528971/scientific-theory

    Is Britannica part of the International Evolutionary Conspiracy?

    You obviously skipped my past comment about the organ of Corti. The organ of Corti is nothing but the basilar papilla of mammals. Same location, same function, very similar cell types. Scroll up and read it. Google for pictures of both if you like.

    ReplyDelete
  139. Pedant:

    ===
    I don’t understand. What I’m trying to get a purchase on is how evolution fails to fit the mold of other branches of methodological naturalism.
    ===

    You'll have a difficult time finding semiconductor researchers using religious claims to argue for empirically unlikely ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  140. emil:

    ===
    What exactly are the false claims that scientists make in current literature?
    ===

    That evolution is an undeniable fact. You yourself claimed evolution was shown to be correct after 1953, and then when asked, you equivocated on evolution, defining it as merely "change over time."


    ===
    Give references of such primary research papers.
    ===

    The primary research papers take the "fact" of evolution for granted. You can look through this blog for many examples of this leading to misrepresentations of the science. Here is a post that further discusses your question:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/01/hierarchy-of-evolutionary-apologetics.html

    ReplyDelete
  141. CH: "But they are concerned that debate amongst evolutionists might be interpreted as weakness, and therefore that there is at least some chance evolution might be not be a fact, which they strongly deny."

    Scott: Which represents speculation on your part.

    CH: No, this isn't speculation.

    All scientific theories separate underlying explanations from the observed phenomena which that theory explains. Where you're speculating is the supposed motivation for this separation. However, this separation is a fundamental part of all scientific theories. Or, are you suggesting this is somehow unique to evolution?

    No, I'm explaining that when evolutionist's claim evolution is a fact as much as is gravity, they are saying that we know that a fish (ultimately) turned into a giraffe, that humans evolved from apelike ancestors, etc, etc, *with as much confidence* as we have with directly observed phenomena, such as that things fall down when dropped.

    Are they? I realize that the argument your'e trying to make, but this is not clear when you present the argument in your posts. Nor are you clear who these evolutionists are. As such it's a blatantly disingenuous argument.

    The point evolutionists are trying to make is that evolution is really, really obvious and inescapable. Yes, we cannot directly observe it, but we may as well be able to. The case is that air tight.

    Cornelius,

    That falling objects and the motion of the planets are both caused by a single, uniform, natural force is not an observation - It's part of gravitational theory.

    Or to rephrase as you've asked others here….

    Can you explain how "what we observe shows [falling objects and the motion of the planets are caused by a single, uniform, natural force] to be a fact?"

    ReplyDelete
  142. Hunter:

    Pedant:
    ===
    I don’t understand. What I’m trying to get a purchase on is how evolution fails to fit the mold of other branches of methodological naturalism.
    ===
    You'll have a difficult time finding semiconductor researchers using religious claims to argue for empirically unlikely ideas.


    Surely you can do better than flippancy and instead actually address a serious question seriously. You ignored my next clarifying sentence:

    Specific examples of insistence on completeness and realism by evolutionary practitioners compared to examples of the lack of such insistence by, say, physicists, might help.

    And the next:

    A listing of those a priori metaphysical truths held by the perpetrators might also help greatly.

    Why are you evasive?

    ReplyDelete
  143. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Hey Neal,

    Long days these days for me. But fun days anyway.

    So, I don't know now where to start. Let us see about those "metaphysical" misrepresentations you have bought from Cornelius.

    Darwin formed and supported his theory very much from the "God wouldn't have done it that way" rational.

    No, he didn't. He compiled numerous data and thought that a combination of common descent and selection could explain the data. His work was more a series of theories, but all around, kinda, what we now call evolution. No "God wouldn't have done it that way" is necessary to understand and see what the data imply: species originate from previous species.

    It wasn't simply a defense from the meanie creationists, it was the backbone of his presentation.

    I read the big book. You did not, I would suggest you first read the book, then come back with this kind of statements with some basis.

    I think that CH documented all the metaphysical claims by famous Darwinists for the last 150 years quite thoroughly. To deny the metaphysical claim is like denying that there was racism in the South in 1890.

    I don't give a dime about these claims whether they were pronounced or not. No such claims are behind any of the data/evidences that support evolution. First understand then talk Neal. Don't become a second-hand liar (by repeating the misrepresentations handed down to you by the likes of Cornelius). Not a single piece of evidence for evolution will disappear no matter how much you claim that such and such guy are making metaphysical claims.

    ReplyDelete
  145. Pedant:

    ===
    A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry

    Douglas L. Theobald
    Nature 465, 219–222 (13 May 2010) doi:10.1038/nature09014
    ===

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/11/eugene-koonin-pot-calls-kettle-black.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/let-worship-begin.html

    ReplyDelete
  146. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Neal,

    Can you tell me where "god would not have done it that way" is necessary to understand the following lines of evidence of common ancestry between humans and chimps (and other apes)?

    1. Biogeographical data: Darwin suggested that archaeologists search for fossils of ancestral human forms in Africa, where the animals most similar to us lived (chimps and gorillas). Africa is where they finally found lots of hominids that look intermediate between human and ancestral apes.

    2. The fossils actually found. Had the found just one fossil, I could think of an odd piece of data, a microcephalic individual maybe (regardless that the anatomical data in that single fossil might deny my interpretation), what have you. Then they find a second. I start to rethink my skepticism. They find more, I start thinking that I might be wrong, maybe we are related to the other apes ...

    3. Our genes look much more like those of chimps, then like those of gorilla (actually it was difficult to decide if we were closer to gorillas than to chimps until much more data was collected), than those of any other species.

    4. Non-coding regions of DNA are also more similar between humans and chimps than to other species. These start to put us closer to chimps than to gorillas. I am talking about regions that contain no promoters, no controlling sequences at all. We know this because these regions also vary among humans, only vary more between humans and chimps, then between humans and gorillas ...

    5. Parasitic inserted DNA sequences, such as transposons and retroviral insertions. We know that these virus insert themselves in a host somewhat randomly. I might have one insertion that you don't, due to an infection after I was born, or, perhaps, an infection in one of my human ancestors not in common with yours. Anyway, we have insertions in common with other species. More with chimps than with other species. The best explanation for these is that an ancestor of both species got the infection, and we inherited the inserted virus.

    6. We have that fused chromosome. It is too obvious that it is a fused chromosome. It has remnants of a second centriole. It has remnants of opposite-side "colliding" telomeres (what would normally be the ends of a chromosome). This shows that our ancestors had two chromosomes where we have one. Curiously, there are two separate chromosomes in chimps and gorillas (and oran-gutans ...) that look a lot like what those two ancestral chromosomes would have looked like.

    7. Comparing the above data between humans, gorillas, chimps, oran-gutans, and a few more, we get that coding genes vary the least, controlling sequences vary a bit more, other regions vary the most. Thus suggesting common ancestry, since, if we assume such we would expect a tendency for divergence to keep the most important parts more conserved than the least useful, or than those useful for reasons other than the precise sequence.

    The best explanation for all of the above is common ancestry. I have no doubt, and I have to accept that we share ancestry with chimps, gorillas and oran-gunats at the very least. (I accept much more, but we have limited space here.)

    So, how would a "gods would not make it this way" influence these lines of evidence? I don't want to know why you don't believe the evidence, but how such "metaphysics" would make the evidence disappear, or how does the evidence rest or depend on such a claim.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Neal,

    While you read the origin of species, please make sure that you keep a record every time darwin says something like (you might substitute "gods" to "God" if you prefer below):

    Because gods would not have made it this way, we can breed organisms and obtain incredibly diversity and shapes that look nothing like the wild organisms.

    or

    Because gods would not have done it this way, it is possible that, just as we can select from the occurring variations in populations for breeding, natural environments might "select" from such variation, and survivors will inherit their advantageous characteristics to their offspring.

    or

    Because gods would not have done it this way, more offspring is born than can possibly survive to reproductive age.

    or

    Because gods would not have done it this way, the geographical distribution of similar species appear to betray a common origin.

    or

    Because gods would not have done it this way, fossils most similar to existing species are commonly found geographically closest to where these species live, thus appearing to betray ancestral forms in such fossils.

    You get the idea. After all, you said this is the backbone of the whole thing. Thus, this task should be easy.

    ReplyDelete
  149. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  150. By the way, I said:

    more offspring is born than can possibly survive to reproductive age.

    If anybody here could please illuminate me to understand how this is a religious idea apparently bought by Darwin from Malthus. I mean, Cornelius said so, or words to the effect. I remain puzzled. I can't see the religiosity in it. Maybe my logic is faulty. Maybe my math is faulty? Maybe the math needs a "god" somewhere in the equations?

    Anyway, I might not see your answers all too soon, which gives you time to tell me: "Entropy, the religiosity is obvious because ..."

    ReplyDelete
  151. NegEn: No, he didn't. He compiled numerous data and thought that a combination of common descent and selection could explain the data. His work was more a series of theories, but all around, kinda, what we now call evolution. No "God wouldn't have done it that way" is necessary to understand and see what the data imply: species originate from previous species.

    Sorry NegEn, but your characterization of Darwin's approach does not mesh with the facts.

    Darwin thought the world cruel and surmised that God would not have made the world cruel. Having come to this conclusion, he decided to seek an alternative explanation that would account for the cruelty in the word, which must have been the result of an absentee God, i.e. having removing Himself from the result of His original creative activity and letting the physical world to its own devices.

    So the idea of natural selection acting on Rrandom mutation and genetic variation is not a conclusion based exclusively on observation, but is highly influenced by the (non-teleological)metaphysical assumption underpinning it. This is what CH is getting at.

    Think about it. Can you provide supporting evidence that natural selection acting on RM/GV is a building contractor and NOT a maintenance junkie?

    Can you do explain it solely in terms of physics and chemistry?

    ReplyDelete
  152. Negative Entropy:

    By the way, I said:
    more offspring is born than can possibly survive to reproductive age.

    If anybody here could please illuminate me to understand how this is a religious idea apparently bought by Darwin from Malthus.


    You’ll get no illumination from the anti-Darwinites here, only the sound of crickets chirping. Way up near the top of this thread I asked Hunter:

    How does the fact that Malthus was a cleric make his economic and demographic ideas religious? From what theological sources did Malthus derive those ideas?

    *chirp*

    ReplyDelete
  153. Steve,

    Your assertions don't work. You would have to do as I asked Neal, find how exactly "god would not do this" changes any of the data. Find how exactly "god would not have done it this way" is necessary to understand any of the data in the origin of species. Otherwise, whatever pronouncements Darwin could have made, or not, after the fact, or for justifying, to himself or to others, that he found a natural way in which species could originate from previous species, with its astounding explanatory power, is inconsequential.

    I don't see how your personal incredulity about the power of natural selection on RM and GV would depend again on "god would not have done it this way" at all. Most importantly if I have witnessed the explanatory power of evolutionary thinking, and the power of directed evolution at producing pretty astounding results. The issue is not whether I have all the explanations for each and every detail you could think about, but that evolution explains so much, that new data fits yet again. Species originate from previous species, and there is no way around it. If you want to fill the parts you don't understand with a god, that's up to you. "I don't see the need for such an hypothesis."

    Tell you what. Show me that "gods would not have done it this way" is necessary to understand the natural workings of thunder/lighting. After all, this was previously thought to be the work of a god. So, its natural explanation must also rest on the assumption of gods not acting some way, if your thesis is correct, and thus, everything is the action of gods past and present, and it is only our stubbornness about what gods would do and not do that keeps us from seeing clearly. Nothing is natural. I mean, let us go all the way. Why stop at evolution?

    ReplyDelete
  154. Negative Entropy,

    You know what would be a good idea besides searching Darwins books and articles for "God would not have...." and such?

    A good idea would be to collect every single comment Darwin made about having problems with his own theory such as the tail of the Peakock which apparently made him quite sick as he sayed.

    Then, take all those problems Darwin had with his own theory and track those problems down in current scientific literature.

    I don't have the time doing this right now, but this is something I would love to - knowing that Darwin was very well aware of quite some problems with his own theory.

    ReplyDelete
  155. Pedant,

    Yeah, I saw your comment too. I wanted to rephrase it in a way that some readers who are not as far gone as most of CH's fans might "see the light" about the rhetorical arsenal that CH is trying to use. The thing about Malthus is obviously rhetorical (A monk! He got an idea from a monk!!). Maybe now a few readers will see it for what it is. Once somebody notices a rhetorical trick, she might start wondering if there are more of those in Cornelius' diatribe ... you know, maybe get a snowball effect ...

    ---

    emil,

    Sure a nice and interesting tracing to follow. I have little time too. Only this little window of time right now. Best in your pursuit for such knowledge!

    ReplyDelete
  156. Negative Entropy:

    Yeah, I saw your comment too. I wanted to rephrase it in a way that some readers who are not as far gone as most of CH's fans might "see the light" about the rhetorical arsenal that CH is trying to use.

    And I thank you for the bump. It's nice to see that people notice when Hunter neglects to support a claim.

    ReplyDelete
  157. CH:You'll have a difficult time finding semiconductor researchers using religious claims to argue for empirically unlikely ideas.

    Cornelius

    So, recent fields that do not explicitly mention God, such as semiconductor research, are non-metaphysical?

    What's problematic with this argument is the underlying assumptions and explanations behind semiconductor operation are based on fields that, based on your definition, would have a very rich history dripping with metaphysics.

    For someone who makes justificationalist arguments, this one just doesn't add up.

    ReplyDelete
  158. Getting a straight answer from Hunter is like trying to pull teeth with splinter forceps.

    He claimed above:

    But evolutionists don't play by these rules of science. They mandate methodological naturalism, and insist on both completeness and realism.

    So, not understanding his claim, I asked for examples:

    Specific examples of insistence on completeness and realism by evolutionary practitioners compared to examples of the lack of such insistence by, say, physicists, might help.

    He responded, not with a straight answer, but by posting three links:

    A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry
    Douglas L. Theobald
    Nature 465, 219–222 (13 May 2010) doi:10.1038/nature09014
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/11/eugene-koonin-pot-calls-kettle-black.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/let-worship-begin.html


    The Theobald paper applies a statistic, model selection theory, to the hypothesis of common descent and six alternative hypotheses, using a data set of 23 proteins found in all of 12 taxa.

    Hunter's criticism in the Koonin thread:

    One of the chief problems with the original paper was its claim to have complete knowledge of all possible explanations for the origins of a set of proteins it analyzed.

    I searched the Theobald paper for the word "complete" and found it in two places, "...incomplete lineage sorting..." and "...resulting complete unmodified alignment..." No claim of complete knowledge. But Hunter says that such a statement is not necessary, because:

    That is, of course, a non scientific claim. It is one of those little known, unspoken and unseen claims with huge ramifications.

    It's an unspoken and unseen claim. Except to the X-ray vision of Dr Hunter. It's just like the corruption of all evolution papers because, as Hunter says in the current thread:

    The primary research papers take the "fact" of evolution for granted.

    Damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

    (To be continued...)

    ReplyDelete
  159. (...Continued)


    Hunter went on to say:

    If I can make up a list of all possible solutions to a problem, and conveniently all are clearly false except my favorite, then I can claim my favorite to be the right answer—a fact. This type of contrastive argument runs all through the evolutionary genre. It assumes there are no alternatives of which I have not conceived.

    Yikes! That infernal contrastive reasoning that only evolutionists employ in their phony science. So, contrastive reasoning is anathema to Hunter, because it recklessly assumes that the alternatives that it's testing are all that are conceivable. This is a variation on the classic argument: "Until you know everything, you can't know anything." In its contrastive incarnation, it is "Until you know everything, you can't do anything."

    OK, now I'm feeling good about getting closer to understanding Hunter's argument about "completeness." It's "contrastive reasoning" in a different set of clothes! Whenever we compare two or more hypotheses, we're unconsciously (or maybe with malice aforethought - who knows otherwise?) claiming "completeness."

    But now we're left with the second part of my request, an example of a physics or chemistry paper that does not employ contrastive reasoning. Is that possible? Perhaps there is a paper explicitly stating that its author has (or has not) ruled out all conceivable alternatives.

    ReplyDelete
  160. Negative Entropy:

    Nowhere have you shown evolution to be an undeniable fact. Furthermore, you haven't even shown evolution to be likely. In fact, all of your evidences are circumstantial while meanwhile evolution cannot even explain how a single protein could have first evolved. But it is even worse than that, for even the evidences that you present for evolution are problematic:



    1. Biogeographical data: Darwin suggested that archaeologists search for fossils of ancestral human forms in Africa, where the animals most similar to us lived (chimps and gorillas). Africa is where they finally found lots of hominids that look intermediate between human and ancestral apes.

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/07/implausible-deniability.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/07/sermon-by-jerry-coyne-on-biogeography.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/06/biogeography-workshop-at-evolution2009.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/06/religion-masquerades-as-science-in.html





    2. The fossils actually found. Had the found just one fossil, I could think of an odd piece of data, a microcephalic individual maybe (regardless that the anatomical data in that single fossil might deny my interpretation), what have you. Then they find a second. I start to rethink my skepticism. They find more, I start thinking that I might be wrong, maybe we are related to the other apes ...

    Fossils appear abruptly and even evolutionists had to invoke "punctuated equilibrium." Here is how Niles Eldredge described the trilobite fossils he studied:

    ###
    I found most of the various kinds, including some unique and advanced ones, present in the earliest known fossil beds. Species persisted for long periods of time without change. When they were replaced by similar, related (presumably descendant) species, I saw no gradual change in the older species that would have allowed me to predict the anatomical features of its younger relative.

    The story of anatomical change through time that I read in the Devonian trilobites of Gond-wana is similar to the picture emerging elsewhere in the fossil record: long periods of little or no change, followed by the appearance of anatomically modified descendants, usually with no smoothly intergradational forms in evidence.

    If the evidence conflicts with theoretical predictions, something must be wrong with the the-ory. But for years the apparent lack of progressive change within fossil species has been ig-nored or else the evidence—not the theory—has been attacked. Attempts to salvage evolu-tionary theory have been made by claiming that the pattern of stepwise change usually seen in fossils reflects a poor, spotty fossil record. Were the record sufficiently complete, goes the claim, we would see the expected pattern of gradational change. But there are too many ex-amples of this pattern of stepwise change to ignore it any longer. It is time to reexamine evo-lutionary theory itself.

    There is probably little wrong with the notion of natural selection as a means of modifying the genetics of a species through time, although it is difficult to put it to the test. But the pre-dicted gradual accumulation of change within species is seldom (if ever) encountered in our practical experience with the fossil record.
    ###

    continued

    ReplyDelete
  161. Negative Entropy:


    ------
    3. Our genes look much more like those of chimps, then like those of gorilla (actually it was difficult to decide if we were closer to gorillas than to chimps until much more data was collected), than those of any other species.

    4. Non-coding regions of DNA are also more similar between humans and chimps than to other species. These start to put us closer to chimps than to gorillas. I am talking about regions that contain no promoters, no controlling sequences at all. We know this because these regions also vary among humans, only vary more between humans and chimps, then between humans and gorillas ...
    ------

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/08/red-ape.html



    5. Parasitic inserted DNA sequences, such as transposons and retroviral insertions. We know that these virus insert themselves in a host somewhat randomly. I might have one insertion that you don't, due to an infection after I was born, or, perhaps, an infection in one of my human ancestors not in common with yours. Anyway, we have insertions in common with other species. More with chimps than with other species. The best explanation for these is that an ancestor of both species got the infection, and we inherited the inserted virus.


    But retro viruses and pseudogenes sometimes conflict with the expected pattern, so even evolutionists must admit common descent is not the explanation, but rather common mechanism.



    6. We have that fused chromosome. It is too obvious that it is a fused chromosome. It has remnants of a second centriole. It has remnants of opposite-side "colliding" telomeres (what would normally be the ends of a chromosome). This shows that our ancestors had two chromosomes where we have one. Curiously, there are two separate chromosomes in chimps and gorillas (and oran-gutans ...) that look a lot like what those two ancestral chromosomes would have looked like.

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/10/ken-miller-and-chromosome-fusion.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/08/evolution-literature-from-immanuel-kant.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/08/bogey-moment-human-chromosome-count.html


    You have claimed evolution is a fact, and when questioned you respond with a hodge-podge of circumstantial evidence full of holes.

    ReplyDelete
  162. Pedant:

    ===
    Getting a straight answer from Hunter is like trying to pull teeth with splinter forceps.

    He claimed above:

    But evolutionists don't play by these rules of science. They mandate methodological naturalism, and insist on both completeness and realism.

    So, not understanding his claim, I asked for examples:

    Specific examples of insistence on completeness and realism by evolutionary practitioners compared to examples of the lack of such insistence by, say, physicists, might help.

    He responded, not with a straight answer, but by posting three links:

    A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry
    Douglas L. Theobald
    Nature 465, 219–222 (13 May 2010) doi:10.1038/nature09014
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/11/eugene-koonin-pot-calls-kettle-black.html
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2010/05/let-worship-begin.html
    ===

    Getting a straight answer? I'm not sure how my response could have been any more of a straight answer than it was. What am I supposed to do? You commended the Theobald paper and I provided two posts directly addressing that paper. One summarizing the lambasting of the paper even by evolutionists, the other summarizing comments by the author himself about the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  163. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  164. Evolutionists could mandate testability and like Bacon forfeit any guarantee of completeness, or like Descartes forfeit any guarantee of realism. Or they could switch between the two, depending on the day of the week.

    Or this could be a false dichotomy.

    Again, I'm suggesting the conflict reflected in the Galileo incident is regarding a criteria for reality.

    To reiterate, it's not that the Inquisition rejected the existence of reality, it drew a boundary where scientific rationality and other problem-solving could not go even jot further to the truth about the motions of the planets. The implied argument was, God could have done it a near infinite number of ways, so further discussion was futile.

    There are few real solipsists, but solipsism is commonly used to attack science as it represents a similar boundary.

    However, just as The Inquisition's implied theory of planetary motion (see my earlier comment) is a convoluted elaboration of heliocentric theory, we can say that solipsism is a convoluted elaboration of realism.

    The solipsist experiences everything you and I accept as external to ourselves, but claims it is somehow internal to themselves. Since solipsism accepts exactly the same empirical observations we observe, this means every every discovery in technology, medicine and particle physics also "supports" solipsism. They just happen to be internal to the solipsist, rather than external.

    Solipsism suggests there are dream-like aspects of myself that act like autonomous conscious beings which surprise me, have different personalities and a vast majority of which are anti-solipsists. And there object-like facets of myself that obey laws of physics-like facets even though, as a non-physicist, I can’t do the math that describes their behavior. Not to mention that these supposed people-like facets of myself discover new things about myself (physics like facets) all the time, which I wasn’t aware of previously.

    However, solipsism makes no attempt to explain *why* object-like facets of one’s self would obey laws of physics-like facets of one’s self, etc. Nor does it explain why should any experiment turn out one way, rather than another. No explanation is given. Instead, the claim is based on a supposed limitation that we cannot know anything exists outside of ourselves.

    In other words, Solipsism consists of the theory of realty with the added exception of it all being elaborate facets of the internal self. As such, solipsism is a convoluted elaboration of reality which can be discarded.

    Again, as in my earlier comment, note that we reached this conclusion not through experimental testing, but by taking solipsism seriously. In assuming solipsism true in reality and that all explanations must conform to it, it self destructs. This is because solipsism presents an implied theory by accepting what we experience as external to ourselves as internal. it's indefensible.

    ReplyDelete
  165. CH: It assumes there are no alternatives of which I have not conceived.

    Non-conceived alternatives cannot be defended as explanations for observed phenomena because they represent explantations that have yet to be conceived.

    You might claim there could be an infinite possible true state of affairs, in reality, but none of them represent explanations of anything in particular.

    So, in addition to explanation-less theories, such as solipsism and the inquisitions implied theory of planetary motion, we can add yet to be conceived theories to the list of indefensible theories.

    ReplyDelete
  166. Cornelius,

    Do you think science could ever explain biological complexity? Or, perhaps we should start with more general question.

    Has science ever explained anything?

    For example, I wrote:

    So, when the church denied the reliability of scientific knowledge in the case of heliocentric theory, it was focused on it's ability to provide explanations, rather than make successful predictions.

    You replied: The church denied no such thing, as the science was not settled.

    Of course, you failed to quote the part in bold, where I qualified what was being rejected. The inquisition allowed heliocentric theory to be used as a means to predict the night sky, but not explain it.

    Note: this was covered in detail in the link posed earlier by pos-darwinista: http://www.galilean-library.org/site/index.php/page/index.html/_/essays/history/the-galileo-affair-part-1-introduction-r65

    So, exactly what can science explain, if anything?

    ReplyDelete
  167. Hunter:

    Getting a straight answer? I'm not sure how my response could have been any more of a straight answer than it was.

    A paragraph containing declarative sentences that were directly responsive to the question I asked would, in my view, have been a strong contender.

    Be that as it may, I am more concerned about understanding your claims than I am about beating you over the head about them (entertaining though that may sometimes be). Having digested completeness, may we now turn to the part of the claim that concerns realism?

    But evolutionists don't play by these rules of science. They mandate methodological naturalism, and insist on both completeness and realism.

    Do you have any examples of evolutionists mandating realism? That is, as you explained, where they treat everything *as if* it is testable, regardless of whether it really is or not. (I find this concept extremely hard to understand without some kind of example.)

    ReplyDelete
  168. Cornelius,

    I would appreciate if you learned the meaning of the word "circumstantial." I would also appreciate it if you focused on the issues at hand, instead of jumping all over the place to harder to explain phenomena such as origin of the first protein, while denying the obvious: that we are relatives of the other apes.

    Also, I did not say "undeniable" fact. Denying is always possible. I said "beyond reasonable doubt." Your doubts are not reasonable and are full of fallacies and holes.

    1. Your "answer" to the fact that biogeographical / evolutionary thinking lead to the discovery of hominids with brain capacities (among other anatomical clues) intermediate between what other apes show today and what we have today in humans is convoluted at best, and does not change the fact that such thinking lead to discovering such fossils. You fail to show how this is circumstantial.

    2. Your "answer" to the hominid fossils actually found was that because the fossil record of trilobites show stasis punctuated with bursts of speciation thus these hominid fossils don't exist? As I said, denial is always possible, the challenge is to keep it reasonable.

    3,4. Your "answer" to molecular similarities at different levels is that because we share characters with other relatives, thus the molecular data is false? Right. That was ... devastating Cornelius. Now I seriously doubt our common ancestry with other apes.

    5. Your "answer" to parasitic elements in common is a few "conflicting" cases? I can easily answer those few conflicting cases (if allowed a few pages of explanations). If you understand both population genetics, and the way these viruses insert and jump (which has been experimentally confirmed), you would understand that we expect such few conflicting cases, and not common independent insertion (you talk about "common mechanism" as if we did not know how these virus insert). A problem would be if the insertions put us all over the map in relationships with the rest of life. But they don't. That they don't is what you would need to explain away. But you can't, can you?

    6. Another non answer to the chromosome fusion. I don't care about Ken's arguments agains ID. My point is that the chromosome is clearly a fusion, and that its analysis confirms similarity with the other apes even at one of the most catastrophic molecular "differences" we have with them. Other chromosomes are just too similar too.

    Evolution is a fact, the evidence is not circumstantial, since every way we analyze the data, and every kind of data, confirms our relationships. Unless you can find me something that explains better the data than common ancestry. That you have to deny the evidence one by one, at times by attempting to move the goal posts (first protein, trilobites), and recurring to other forms of fallacies, attest to the strength of the evidence and the explanatory power of evolution. I chose the clear cut example of human evolution for a reason. No surprise that you would have no real answers.

    Note Neal how easy it is for Cornelius to misrepresent and mislead. Each of his paragraphs is loaded with such misunderstanding that it would take forever to show each of the problems. This is why your side is bound to win. It took only one fundamentalist guy to deter the scientific advance of muslims. Cornelius and the like are the equivalents of this guy in our society. They will succeed for the same reasons that muslim guy did: fear, religious tendencies, and misinformation are so much easier to produce and spread like a virus in the population.

    ReplyDelete
  169. Pedant:

    ===
    Do you have any examples of evolutionists mandating realism? That is, as you explained, where they treat everything *as if* it is testable, regardless of whether it really is or not. (I find this concept extremely hard to understand without some kind of example.)
    ===

    No, you're mixing method and realism. Mandating MN, testability, etc., is a restriction on method. Mandating realism is a different restriction (it means that (short of this being a big dream) I want my science only to produce explanations that are true or approximately true. Make sense?

    ReplyDelete
  170. A question to the audience. If we are not relatives to the other apes, why do we have variable regions in common? Why do these regions behave in such a way that they can unambiguously confirm paternity. Why do they then show a somewhat higher variability when comparing humans with chimps, as if the chimps were relatives to us, only farther removed than other humans?

    Why does the same thing hold for gorillas only slightly more variable?

    Why does the molecular thing look as if differences accumulated with time from separation with very important sequences varying the least, and less crucial ones varying the most as confirmed within species and then among species?

    You get the idea.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Guys,

    I am off this blog for another few days. Lots to write. Among that an article that I should really finish this weekend. I will make sure to wirte something like "a remaining problem in evolution is XXXXX, most scientists expect that YYYYY, however, our results show that ZZZZZ." This way Cornelius will be able to use the article as "another failed prediction of evolution," whether what I say is an actual prediction of evolution, or just a question about what happens which way.

    So, its up to you to see if you can get somewhere with Cornelius' diatribes. I guess you can see that it is just a matter of exposing his lousy thinking.

    By the way, I think I found a way to answer the "conflicting" insertions that might not require knowledge of how these things insert/jump, nor of population genetics, and pages of explanations. Who is the next "champion" after chimps given these "conflicting" insertions? By any chance is it gorillas? Who is next after gorillas? Oran-gutans? Well then, how does the order of "championship" conflict with our common ancestry then? We see that "conflicting" data appear in the next in line to our common ancestry, which is what we predict from common ancestry and the proper understanding of the facts and processes involved. So?

    Anyway, enjoy your weekends and beyond!

    ReplyDelete
  172. Negative Entropy:

    ===
    I would appreciate if you learned the meaning of the word "circumstantial."
    ===

    Circumstantial evidence is evidence in which an inference is required to connect it to a conclusion of fact [Wikipedia]. You listed

    1. Biogeographical data
    2. Fossils
    3. Genetic similarities between species (presumably coding regions)
    4. Genetic similarities between species (non coding regions)
    5. Genetic similarities between species (transposons and retro viruses)
    6. Human chromosome #2 fusion

    All of these are unequivocally circumstantial evidences -- there is no question about this. I mean, for those interested in what is a fact, as evolutionists seem to be, it is a fact that these evidences are circumstantial. As evolutionists put it, It is beyond any "reasonable doubt." It is like gravity, nay even more certain than gravity. It would be irrational to doubt that these evidences are circumstantial. And yet ...

    I point this out and the professor responds: "I would appreciate if you learned the meaning of the word 'circumstantial.' "

    Evolutionists are so convinced evolution is a fact they cannot critically examine the evidences. They cannot think straight about this. It is just so obvious to them that the evidence isn't even circumstantial. If you point this out you will be told to go consult a dictionary.


    ===
    I would also appreciate it if you focused on the issues at hand, instead of jumping all over the place to harder to explain phenomena such as origin of the first protein, while denying the obvious: that we are relatives of the other apes.
    ===

    Actually those "harder to explain phenomena" are important. In science, when we propose a theory we can't just say "let's skip those harder cases." The harder cases need to be considered as well as the easy cases.




    ===
    Your doubts are not reasonable and are full of fallacies and holes.
    ===

    Oh, good, I'll be glad to learn that I am wrong on this. Let's see what you have to say ...



    ===
    1. Your "answer" to the fact that biogeographical / evolutionary thinking lead to the discovery of hominids with brain capacities (among other anatomical clues) intermediate between what other apes show today and what we have today in humans is convoluted at best, and does not change the fact that such thinking lead to discovering such fossils. You fail to show how this is circumstantial.
    ===

    And I'm the one who is supposed to learn the definition of "circumstantial"? Biogeographical evidence has to do with the geographical locations of the different species, and over time. It does not show *how* the species got there. That is circumstantial evidence.

    continued ...

    ReplyDelete
  173. Negative Entropy:

    ===
    2. Your "answer" to the hominid fossils actually found was that because the fossil record of trilobites show stasis punctuated with bursts of speciation thus these hominid fossils don't exist? As I said, denial is always possible, the challenge is to keep it reasonable.
    ===

    Let's see, I wrote that "Fossils appear abruptly and even evolutionists had to invoke 'punctuated equilibrium.' " and I gave an extended quote from an evolutionist to illustrate the point. To that the professor responds that I said hominid fossils "don't exist." This gives you an idea of the difficulty in trying to have a rational evaluation of the evidence with an evolutionist.



    ===
    3,4. Your "answer" to molecular similarities at different levels is that because we share characters with other relatives, thus the molecular data is false? Right. That was ... devastating Cornelius. Now I seriously doubt our common ancestry with other apes.
    ===

    In this case the evolutionist's evidence is the genetic similarities between humans and apes, and in particular chimps. The similarities show in the protein-coding genes as well as non coding regions. I pointed out problems* with this evidence, and to this the evolutionist says I claimed "the molecular data is false." No, I didn't say the data are false. The problem is not with the data, but rather the force fitting of the data in into the evolution framework.

    *So what were the problems I pointed out? Yes, genetic similarities between species are, themselves, consistent with evolution. They are also circumstantial evidence. Genetic similarities tell us how the genes compare. They do not tell us how the species arose. But I didn't want to leave it at that because, in fact, these evidences present important problems for evolution. I discussed these problems in a post, so I provided the URL:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/08/red-ape.html

    These are serious evidential problems. Does it mean the data are false, as the evolutionist charged? Of course not. Evolutionists may wish they were false, but what it means is that the evidence does not provide the kind of support for evolution that they claim. According to the evolutionist's own assumptions and theory, the evidence forces them to draw heroic conclusions.

    continued ...

    ReplyDelete
  174. Negative Entropy:

    ===
    5. Your "answer" to parasitic elements in common is a few "conflicting" cases? I can easily answer those few conflicting cases (if allowed a few pages of explanations). If you understand both population genetics, and the way these viruses insert and jump (which has been experimentally confirmed), you would understand that we expect such few conflicting cases, and not common independent insertion (you talk about "common mechanism" as if we did not know how these virus insert). A problem would be if the insertions put us all over the map in relationships with the rest of life. But they don't. That they don't is what you would need to explain away. But you can't, can you?
    ===

    Here, the professor explains that the evidential problems I pointed out can be explained away. Yes, they can be explained away. He then explains that if the problems I point out were more pervasive then, yes, that would be a problem. But since they are not very common, then there is no problem.

    But that is not how such problems have been handled in the past. Evolution has had false predictions in the past that evolutionists had earlier said would be show stoppers. But strangely enough, when the false predictions were discovered, evolutionists decided they really weren't show stoppers after all.

    In this case, it is true that the problems with these circumstantial evidences are not very common. Perhaps this case is different, but that has not been the track record. For now, we can give evolution the benefit of the doubt, and say it has a successful prediction. But a successful prediction does not make a theory a fact.


    ===
    6. Another non answer to the chromosome fusion. I don't care about Ken's arguments agains ID. My point is that the chromosome is clearly a fusion, and that its analysis confirms similarity with the other apes even at one of the most catastrophic molecular "differences" we have with them. Other chromosomes are just too similar too.
    ===

    For this chromosome fusion evidence, which according to the professor helps make evolution a fact, he says the problems with the evidence I provide are a "non answer." But, as I explained, the chromosome fusion event we infer has nothing to do with evolution. Nowhere is evolution needed to explain the evidence. I provided the details of this in my previous posts, and the professor dismisses this as a "non answer."


    ===
    Evolution is a fact, the evidence is not circumstantial, since every way we analyze the data, and every kind of data, confirms our relationships.
    ===

    So after presenting a hodge-podge of mostly problematic evidence, making illogical responses to those problems, claiming the circumstantial evidence is not really circumstantial (but of course not explaining why), ignoring substantial circumstantial evidences against evolution, and ignoring substantial direct evidences against evolution, the professor concludes that evolution is, indeed, a fact.

    He says "every way we analyze the data, and every kind of data, confirms our relationships." It would be hard to imagine a more blatant misrepresentation of science. Yes, there are circumstantial evidences that support evolution. But there also are plenty of circumstantial and direct evidences that contradict evolution. We can argue about the details of all this, and about just how damning is the evidence. We can argue about just how badly evolution fares, and how the theory could be fixed, and how perhaps future findings can help.

    But we are nowhere close to evolution being a fact. And it is not controversial that various data contradict evolution. It is not remotely conceivable that "every kind of data, confirms our [evolutionary] relationships." That is a misrepresentation of science.

    ReplyDelete
  175. Hunter:

    No, you're mixing method and realism. Mandating MN, testability, etc., is a restriction on method. Mandating realism is a different restriction (it means that (short of this being a big dream) I want my science only to produce explanations that are true or approximately true. Make sense?

    OK, I think I’m starting to get it. Going back to your earlier comments and your post on Barbara Forrest, you countenance a combination of naturalistic method and realism or a combination of naturalistic method and completeness, but not both. Since completeness is unrealistic short of omniscience, we are left with your endorsement of naturalism and realism. That combination was Forrest’s position.

    But that endorsement evidently was only for the sake of argument, because realism demands, in your view, taking account of the supernatural, and that would violate the methodology of naturalism. So you really don’t countenance the combination of naturalism with realism or the combination of naturalism with anything. I conclude that considerations of completeness and realism are actually peripheral to your central concern: your core complaint is that evolution rules out the supernatural!

    Make sense?

    ReplyDelete
  176. Pedant:

    ===
    OK, I think I’m starting to get it. Going back to your earlier comments and your post on Barbara Forrest, you countenance a combination of naturalistic method and realism or a combination of naturalistic method and completeness, but not both. Since completeness is unrealistic short of omniscience, we are left with your endorsement of naturalism and realism. That combination was Forrest’s position.

    But that endorsement evidently was only for the sake of argument, because realism demands, in your view, taking account of the supernatural, and that would violate the methodology of naturalism. So you really don’t countenance the combination of naturalism with realism or the combination of naturalism with anything. I conclude that considerations of completeness and realism are actually peripheral to your central concern: your core complaint is that evolution rules out the supernatural!

    Make sense?
    ===

    No, it is exactly the opposite. There is nothing wrong with the supernatural. The problem with evolution is that it rules *in* the supernatural. It is rationalistic beliefs about the metaphysical that underwrite evolution's mandate of method, realism and completeness simultaneously.

    IOW, if you insist on a particular method, which is going to place a restriction on the set of acceptable explanations, then by definition you have ruled out certain explanations, a priori. You cannot know, before doing the science, whether or not you have ruled out some true explanations. You might have, you might not have. So you have no guarantee of realism. One way to remedy this is to restrict your science to those phenomena that fit your method. If you mandate naturalism, for instance, then you can have realism *if* you analyze only naturalistic phenomena. But then you have lost completeness.

    By simple logic, you cannot have all three. You cannot have a restriction on method, while maintaining guarantees of realism and completeness. That is, unless you have non scientific (metaphysical) knowledge that informs you that your method is appropriate for all phenomena. If naturalism is a good model for all phenomena, then OK, you can make the method restriction without loss of realism or completeness. But now your science, and its conclusions, are beholden to your metaphysics.

    Now evolutionists insist that science must allow only explanations that are testable, naturalistic, and so forth. IOW, they restrict their method to MN. That's fine insofar as it goes. But they also insist that evolution is a fact. And they insist evolution accounts for everything. We just had S. Hawkings telling us it is now unquestionable that even the entire universe evolved naturalistically, including the Big Bang. All of biology, all of cosmology, even something as sublime as consciousness is not beyond its purview.

    So evolutionists have method, realism and completeness. And they do this not by arguing illogically. Far from it, they are perfectly logical. Their reasoning is that it is clear that god wouldn't have directly created this world, so it must be naturalistic. God must have worked strictly via secondary causes. This reasoning goes back to the eighteenth c. Enlightenment where Christians strongly argued this case. And these ideas trace back to the seventeenth c. where the core foundation was laid down for modern science. Make sense?

    ReplyDelete
  177. Pedant:

    ===
    But that endorsement evidently was only for the sake of argument, because realism demands, in your view, taking account of the supernatural, and that would violate the methodology of naturalism. So you really don’t countenance the combination of naturalism with realism or the combination of naturalism with anything.
    ===

    No, that endorsement was *not* only for the sake of argument. Naturalism + realism is fine. But then you either forfeit completeness, or you need metaphysics to underwrite having all three.

    Evolutionists, of course, have all three, underwritten by their Enlightenment metaphysics. That also is perfectly fine, but as I said it makes your science beholden to your metaphysics. Theology is (still) queen of the sciences.

    ReplyDelete
  178. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  179. Cornelius,

    You still have to learn the meaning of circumstantial. When so many avenues of evidence point to our common ancestry with the other apes, it is not circumstantial. You did not show a single point that falsified the evidence I presented. You just repeated the same non-answers. Not only that, you insisted on red-herrings and other fallacies.

    1. Biogeographical ideas helped us find those fossils. You can kick the ground as much as you want, yet the fossils are right there, no matter how much you cry about first proteins.

    2. The fossils are right there, with intermediate characteristics. No matter how much you misquote and mislead your red-herring about punctuated equilibrium. Those fossils are still there.

    3,4. You insist that your non-answer about red-apes answers something. Well, for most of our characteristics, my brother and me look more similar than either to my cousin. Yet, my belly is a bit more like that of my cousin, while my brother has no belly at all. I have seen cases where one brother has blue eyes, the other brown, most similar to each other otherwise. Then a cousin of them has blue eyes too! I guess all that means is that there is no brothers and cousins. The higher number of characteristics in common with my brother don't count. They are circumstantial. We all sprung into existence separately, and all appearances of brotherhood and cousinghood are due to "god would not have done it this way" religious underpinning. After all, I share some characteristics with my cousin that I don't share with my brother.

    5. I didn't say "explained away." I said that those things that you interpret as "conflicting" cases are actually part of the prediction. There is a difference that I would appreciate if you learned to make instead of going through your rhetorical games.

    6. I already answered that. The chromosome fusion is yet another example that shows that our relationship with the other apes is evident even when examining the most catastrophic of our molecular differences.

    You are using the word "circumstantial" as a rhetorical tool. You are trying to say "casual" to your public. You are trying to dismiss the data as if it is minimal compared to data against the relationship. Yet, you can't show a single phenomenon that better explains the data, only red-herrings, and then supposed contradicting data based on your "misunderstanding" of genetics and heredity.

    Good job Cornelius, keep giving me fuel!

    (Well, I might not have much time to make a fire next time, but maybe others who are seeing CH's fallacies will do the favour?)

    Misguided religion drives your pseudoscience and rants, and it does indeed matter.

    ReplyDelete
  180. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  181. CH" All of these are unequivocally circumstantial evidences -- there is no question about this. I mean, for those interested in what is a fact, as evolutionists seem to be, it is a fact that these evidences are circumstantial. As evolutionists put it, It is beyond any "reasonable doubt." It is like gravity, nay even more certain than gravity. It would be irrational to doubt that these evidences are circumstantial. And yet …

    Cornelius, I'll ask yet again.

    Can you explain how "what we observe shows [falling objects and the motion of the planets are caused by a single, uniform, natural force] to be a fact?"

    How are falling apples and moving planets not circumstantial evidence?

    Yes. We can predict their motions by taking into account their mass, but, as I've mentioned several times before, predictions represent an underlying explanation of a theory. They are not the theory itself.

    This seems to be yet another indication that you've mistaken predictions of scientific theories with empirical mandates of reality.

    Evolutionists are so convinced evolution is a fact they cannot critically examine the evidences.

    Since physicists are so convinced that gravity is a fact they cannot critically examine the evidences.

    We observe violations of gravitational theory at the very small scale (When gravity interacts with the strong nuclear force) and very large scale (at extremely hight energies.) We do not have a working theory of quantum gravity. No one has observed the curvature of space and time. We do not feel gravity, we feel our bodies pushing down on the earth's surface, etc., ad nauseum.

    After all, the phenomena of apples falling an planets moving could be due to one or more intelligent agents that pull and push objects according to their mass. Or it could be that gravity is actually unstable, but some intelligent agent constantly intercedes to offset the variation.

    Of course, In both cases, this intelligence just so happened to intercede in a way that faithfully mimics mathematically models of general relatively.

    They cannot think straight about this. It is just so obvious to them that the evidence isn't even circumstantial.

    However, in the case of gravity, physicists are thinking straight? It's obvious to physicists that falling apples and moving planets are not circumstantial evidence?

    ReplyDelete
  182. Cornelius Hunter:

    I have to admit that I am a little bit lost here:

    “One way to remedy this is to restrict your science to those phenomena that fit your method. If you mandate naturalism, for instance, then you can have realism *if* you analyze only naturalistic phenomena. “

    How do I determine that my method fits my phenomena? How do I determine what a naturalistic phenomenon is? Isn't that circular? Isn't science defined as the study of "natural phenomena"? Isn't science due to that definition automatically complete irrespective of the method used?

    “But they also insist that evolution is a fact. “

    Okay, maybe you could clarify that. Two statements:

    1) Gravity is a fact.
    2) The theory of gravity is a fact.

    Now are these two statements violating the triangle? If I make any of these statements, am I claiming methodological naturalism, realism and completeness at the same time?

    ReplyDelete
  183. second opinion:

    ===
    I have to admit that I am a little bit lost here:

    “One way to remedy this is to restrict your science to those phenomena that fit your method. If you mandate naturalism, for instance, then you can have realism *if* you analyze only naturalistic phenomena. “

    How do I determine that my method fits my phenomena? How do I determine what a naturalistic phenomenon is? Isn't that circular?
    ===

    Good questions. I don't have easy answers, but I suspect it need not be circular. For instance, one way to determine that my method fits my phenomena would be evaluate the resulting theory/explanation in terms of accuracy and simplicity. As I explain at www.DarwinsPredictions.com, a theory can always be accurate if simplicity is disregarded. And vice-versa. What scientists seek are explanations that are both reasonably simple and reasonbly accurate. So if a theory fails at this, then a tentative conclusion could be that the method isn't right.


    ===
    Isn't science defined as the study of "natural phenomena"? Isn't science due to that definition automatically complete irrespective of the method used?
    ===

    Or you could say science due to that definition is automatically *in*complete, in that non natural phenomena are excluded from study. Another way to define science is that its explanations are restricted to natural causes. But both definitions leaves open the question of completeness. Is science supposed to analyze all phenomena and ignore the issue of realism? Or is science supposed to divine what is and isn't a natural phenomena? Or as with evolutionists, is science supposed to assume all phenomena go according to natural laws, so completeness and realism become non issues?

    ReplyDelete
  184. second opinion:

    ===
    How do I determine that my method fits my phenomena? How do I determine what a naturalistic phenomenon is? Isn't that circular?
    ===

    By the way, in this post I presented a view of intelligent design as addressing these questions:

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2009/08/sympathetic-view-of-intelligent-design.html

    ReplyDelete
  185. Negative Entropy:

    ===
    You still have to learn the meaning of circumstantial. When so many avenues of evidence point to our common ancestry with the other apes, it is not circumstantial.
    ===

    What you mean is that when substantial evidence agrees then we have higher confidence. The evidence itself does not change from circumstantial to direct, if the overall case is getting better. You criticize me for misusing the word, but in fact you consistently misuse the word "circumstantial."

    ===
    You did not show a single point that falsified the evidence I presented.
    ===

    Agreed. The evidence you discussed is quite real. The problem is in your narrow view that the evidence powerfully supports evolution such that there is no reasonable doubt about evolution. Even if you assessments of the evidence were spot on, your conclusion would still be fallacious. Verified predictions do not prove a theory. You are committing the fallacy of affirming the consequent.

    But it is worse, because (i) the evidences are not as good as you describe them to be and (ii) you ignore myriad problematic evidences. Here are some examples.

    (i) the evidences are not as good as you describe them to be.

    You present the fusion event which is evident in human chromosome 2. It would have been a problem for evolution if apes and humans had different number of chromosomes without any fusion events. We do have fewer chromosomes, but a fusion event was discovered. So evolution dodged a bullet. Great, we can erase a problem. But the fusion event *itself* has nothing to do with evolution. We infer that such an event occurred, but there is no need for evolution to be true for the event to occur. So the evidence is interesting, and evolution dodges a bullet. But there certainly is nothing powerful here in support of the theory. Yet you describe this evidence as demonstrating an evolutionary relationship:

    "The chromosome fusion is yet another example that shows that our relationship with the other apes is evident even when examining the most catastrophic of our molecular differences."

    A similarity does not demonstrate an evolutionary relationship. You are misrepresenting the evidence. The fact that we share the same number of chromosomes with apes, or that we have a similar body plan, or that species share the same genetic code, or that different species of fish share similar gills, etc, do not demonstrate evolution. Yes, these similarities are predictions of evolution, so we have successful predictions. But you are again affirming the consequent to conclude these demonstrate evolutionary relationships.

    continued ...

    ReplyDelete
  186. Negative Entropy:


    (ii) you ignore myriad problematic evidences

    I mentioned the problem of evolving proteins, as an example of a basic, important evolutionary problem you are ignoring. Yet you dismissed this problem as too hard. Your point was that, regardless of such problems, our evolutionary relationship with apes is a no-brainer. You wrote:

    ===
    I would also appreciate it if you focused on the issues at hand, instead of jumping all over the place to harder to explain phenomena such as origin of the first protein, while denying the obvious: that we are relatives of the other apes.
    ===

    What is obvious is that we share similarities with the ape. You have consistently been conflating *similarity* with *evolutionary relationship.* Those are two different things. That humans and chimps, or any other pair of species, are highly similar does not mean they share an evolutionary relationship. This is simple logic that you seem to be lacking in your evaluation of the evidence. Instead, your evaluation is biased to favor evolution, even if that means engaging in fallacy.

    Furthermore, if you can't evolve even a protein, then how are you going to turn a prehistoric ape-like species from millions of years ago into a human? It is a basic tenet of science to consider *all* the evidence, not to cull the evidence that supports my theory and ignore the rest.

    You have failed to support your claim that the evidence makes evolution an obvious fact. And that's putting it kindly.

    ReplyDelete
  187. Hunter:

    The problem with evolution is that it rules *in* the supernatural. It is rationalistic beliefs about the metaphysical that underwrite evolution's mandate of method, realism and completeness simultaneously.

    Hold on. I smell a grotesque conflation of the term “supernatural” with the term “metaphysics.” You’ve admitted that evolution’s method is naturalism, which rules out the supernatural. Insofar as biologists practice naturalism in their experimental work, your claim that supernatural beliefs, whether or not “taken for granted,” are essential elements of that practice, is unsupported.

    Now evolutionists insist that science must allow only explanations that are testable, naturalistic, and so forth. IOW, they restrict their method to MN. That's fine insofar as it goes. But they also insist that evolution is a fact.

    Some do. Some may not. In any case, I haven’t found that claim to be an essential element of everyday empirical biological research that employs an evolutionary heuristic. The papers I read in the primary scientific literature treat evolution as an hypothesis continually being tested.

    And they insist evolution accounts for everything. We just had S. Hawkings telling us it is now unquestionable that even the entire universe evolved naturalistically, including the Big Bang. All of biology, all of cosmology, even something as sublime as consciousness is not beyond its purview.

    Another bizarre conflation. Hawking is not a biologist! Everyday empirical biology research makes specific claims based on hypothesis testing. In that respect it’s no different from everyday empirical chemistry research. The Big Bang is beyond its purview.

    Consciousness may be sublime, but it is not beyond the purview of neuroscience. Why should it be?

    So evolutionists have method, realism and completeness.

    Yes, that’s your repeated claim. But I repeat: neither realism nor completeness is entailed by everyday empirical biology research employing an evolutionary heuristic. I base that on the ever-growing mountain of empirical evidence in the primary scientific literature which lays before you.

    ReplyDelete
  188. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  189. Hunter:

    Furthermore, if you can't evolve even a protein, then how are you going to turn a prehistoric ape-like species from millions of years ago into a human? It is a basic tenet of science to consider *all* the evidence, not to cull the evidence that supports my theory and ignore the rest.

    A creationist canard: “If you don't know everything, how can you know anything?” On the contrary, it is a tenet of science to focus efforts as much as possible on narrowly defined questions. You are demanding completeness of evolutionary science. But evolutionary science does not claim completeness anymore than chemistry does.

    Or as with evolutionists, is science supposed to assume all phenomena go according to natural laws, so completeness and realism become non issues?

    Precisely. Has it escaped your notice that all of science operates exactly in that manner? (Realism being taken in the Hunterian sense of including the supernatural.)

    ReplyDelete
  190. CH,
    "Furthermore, if you can't evolve even a protein, then how are you going to turn a prehistoric ape-like species from millions of years ago into a human?"

    This is a non-sequitur, as there are no de novo novel proteins in humans.

    ReplyDelete
  191. Again, as part of his attempt to prop open the door for the supernatural, I'm suggesting that Cornelius is presenting a false dilemma.

    Either everything is "just a dream" or you're a realist. The problem is that, as I've illustrated above with the planetarium example, one can draw a boundary at any arbitrary point and claim that further knowledge is unobtainable by via human reasoning.

    So, rather than drawing a boundary around his brain / soul, as solipsist do, or the earth, as The Inquisition did, Dr Hunter has drawn a boundary at biological complexity.

    Of course, there will be some who will say that solipsism and its variants are still plausible in that they cannot be proven false or ruled out by experiment. So did we actually achieve anything by calling solipsism indefensible?

    But this question implies an assumption.

    Again, to quote CH:

    No, that endorsement was *not* only for the sake of argument. Naturalism + realism is fine. But then you either forfeit completeness, or you need metaphysics to underwrite having all three.

    What Cornelius is suggesting is that theories are ranked in order of decreasing reliability: mathematical, scientific, then philosophical. Of course, this assumption is, itself, based on philosophical arguments, of which are classified as being least reliable! We can say the same regarding inductivism, which suggests we can be absolutely certain of mathematical arguments because they are deductive, reasonably sure about scientific arguments because they are inductive, and eternally undecided in regards to philosophical arguments, which are viewed as a matter of taste.

    But this hierarchy isn't applicable for explanations. This is because explanations are justified by their ability to explain phenomena better than rival explanations, rather than justified by the means they were derived. A prediction or assertion that cannot be defended might still be true, but an explanation that cannot be defended no longer meets the definition of an explanation.

    Great apes and human beings do not share abstract features, they share concrete features. The phenomena we're attempting to explain is why we share these specific features, rather than some other specific features. Why do we see the concrete patterns in biological complexity that we observe, rather than some other patterns we do not observe.

    These observations can provide us a reliable means to discern between competing explanations of biological complexity; just as I've illustrated we can discern between solipsism an reality, The Inquisitions implied theory of planetary motion and Galileo's heliocentrism, etc.

    Intelligent design doesn't explain the concrete similarities we share. That's just what the designer must have wanted. ID cannot go beyond an abstract designer. But this is yet another arbitrary boundary, which is a variant of solipsism.

    ReplyDelete
  192. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  193. Cornelius,

    Nope, you used "circumstantial" as an attempt to hand wave the importance of the evidence. When I told you so you started playing with the semantics of the word.

    Your new first non-answer summarizes as: "affirming the consequent." Well, when several lines of evidence agree, it is no longer affirming the consequent. I knew there would be a point where I could let your fans know what you are doing: in science guys, we test a candidate theory again and again in several ways. Each instance by itself is not necessarily "the test," as if we had only one, we could still doubt the candidate theory instead of "affirming the consequent." But once several lines agree, well, saying something like "he affirmed the consequent 20 times" is ludicrous. If Cornelius says this he means that somebody gave him 20 evidences for evolution.

    (ii) you ignore myriad problematic evidences

    Curiously enough you did not mention a single one of these "myriad problematic evidences" against the common ancestry of humans and the other apes (other than your pretended misunderstanding of genetics). You had to go fishing outside trying to get me running after a red-herring so that your fans would not notice that you actually had nothing against human evolution. Had I gone after the red-herrngs (as tempting as they are, since they are answerable), your fans would have thought you answered something. Yet, let us take note: you moved the goal posts, sent red-herrings, misrepresented population genetics, added a non-sequitur (pointed out by nanobot74--thanks!) ...

    Oh and lately you tried to dismiss the evidence as mere similarities between humans and chimps. I did not present similarities alone. Biogeographical data, and how it lead us to find fossil hominids, is not similarity (unless you want to play semantic games), the fossil record of hominids with intermediate characteristics is not a similarity. Parasitic insertions are not mere similarities except, again, if you will try semantic games. An insertion in common attest for common ancestry given what we know about these parasites. Even those cases you misrepresent as "conflicting" actually support common ancestry.

    I guess the game is over Cornelius. You lose. Evolution is a fact as far as humans and the other apes are concerned. We can play further into evolution next time and see if you can produce anything at that point.

    ReplyDelete
  194. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  195. I'd also note that If you're as software engineer you may be familiar with the concept in my previous comment.

    For example, in writing a mobile or desktop application you're solving a particular problem for users. The development process represents a number of steps you must take to solve that problem. With each step, your ability to solve the user's problem becomes more complete.

    However, in a majority of cases, your application needs to call out to it's environment to interact with user input and output devices, storage systems, etc. You do this by calling API (Application Programming Interface) methods or functions provided by the operating system that is running your application.

    While you likely have documentation that gives a brief description of what each API does and the parameters it takes, in the case of commercial libraries you may not have access to it's implementation details. In these cases, you lack an explanation as to how that API actually performs the task at hand.

    Most of the time this isn't a problem for developers. In fact, this sort of abstraction can be an advantage since the API provider can optimize the API's implementation to without breaking your application. When the APIs you call get faster, your program gets faster without any work on your part. When you move that code from the desktop to a mobile device, you don't have to worry if it's running on an Intel Core 2 or an ARM Cortex 9 CPU.

    However, occasionally, your may application will crash after calling an API when passing a specific parameter value. Or it may might receive intermittently wrong data, no data, etc. This is problem because it represents an incomplete step in solving the users problem. Furthermore, since it's code you didn't write, you can't know exactly what steps the API is uses internally to provide that functionality.

    At this point, you could throw up you hands and claim there's nothing else you can do. Since the API is essentially a black box of which the contents you cannot observe, we can't make any progress in solving the users problem.

    But, as a developer, you know that software is not magic, it's fundamentally comprehensible.

    As such, you can create multiple hypothetical logical models of how the API could have implemented that task. Then, based on these logical models, you can devise different input parameter values which you feed to the API and see how it reacts, such as changing the output.

    Using this process, the data you feed in and the output you receive will likely eventually favor one of these logical models as representing an explanation to how the API performs the task.

    Armed with this information, you might be able to create a workaround that allows you to exploit some aspect of the APIs internals to perform the task. Or you can pre-process / filter the data as to avoid the problem. At a minimum, you can use this series of inputs to tell if the underlying implementation has been changed or fixed in a newer or older version, which you could use instead.

    If the former, this API no longer presents a stumbling block in solving the client problem. If the latter or it's predecessor, you've made progress in the right direction.

    Note that in both cases, you didn't to have an exact knowledge of how the API performed the task. You did not open the black box to observe how it actually operated. A logical model was all that was required. Even then, the model was incomplete as it didn't necessary reflect all of the steps the API took.

    Even if it's possible that the details of the logical model represented a complete different set of observations than was actually found inside the API, in reality, there was still something about that model that represented real knowledge about how that API actually worked. We know this because we were able exploit it that knowledge to make progress in solving the user's problem.

    That knowledge represents an explanation of how that API works.

    ReplyDelete