Friday, September 16, 2011

How the Protein Amyloid State Once was a Good Thing: Evolution’s Lurking Anti-Realism

If there were the equivalent of a “Most favored nation” status in science, evolution would be granted it. If there was an Emperor of science, evolution would be it. If there was a “Get Out of Jail” card in science, evolution would have it. For evolution is special. It can lack the evidence and still be a fact. It can fail and still be true. It can get it all wrong, and still be right.

It is not uncommon for scientists to use false ideas. The flat earth model, for example, is often used. In that case everyone knows the model is wrong. In other instances the status of the model or theory may not be so obvious. Four centuries ago different cosmological theories competed. Did the cosmos revolve about the earth or the sun? Such radically different models could, both, produce reasonably accurate predictions. So it was well understood that a scientific model could be accurate but not true, and that scientists could develop and use a theory with no claim of realism.

In science there is a long history of using models and theories and have limited or no correspondence with reality. Theories fill the spectrum from realism to anti realism and everything in between. For instance, realism may be intended in one part of a model but not another part.

Scientists know the difference and have no difficulty juggling different ideas with different levels of realism. Scientists don’t become confused and make truth claims for theories that have no basis in reality.

Evolution, on the other hand, is different. Evolutionists routinely devise all manner of mechanisms and processes that have no correspondence with reality while simultaneously making high truth claims.

For instance, evolutionists say that the important, information-bearing, DNA molecule was once not so. Instead, they say it was an RNA world. According to this idea the RNA molecule held and processed the information. There is a wealth of information missing from this story. This is not too surprising since it has no correspondence with reality.

Or again, evolutionists say that there was a time when biological cells exchanged genetic information on a massive level, in sophisticated networks using never-observed processes. Evolution, they say, was more horizontal than vertical. But these processes are far beyond anything actually observed in biology.

Evolutionists also say that there was a time when evolution experimented with different DNA codes. What is observed today, on the other hand, is that the DNA code is robust. New and different codes do not easily evolve.

Evolutionists also say that there was once a time when the amyloid state of proteins was a good thing, which evolution made use of. Did not the self-complementary stickiness of short segments of proteins turn them into useful building blocks?

That is in sharp contrast to what is actually observed. Only a relatively small set of particular proteins stick together normally. Usually protein aggregation is harmful and cells have a range of sophisticated strategies to eliminate any such possibility.

Unlike most theories, evolution is special. It can employ any number of just-so stories which have no basis in reality. Like a good bed-time story, the narrative can take any turn at any time, with no need for justification. For as evolutionists say, their theory is a given.

Religion drives science, and it matters.

18 comments:

  1. Cornelius,

    Don't forget man made global warming. That too is a special theory. For it is incontrovertible regardless of the facts. Man made global warming also brings in millions of dollars of funding. Man made global warming also re-enforces the the self-loathing of people who's material worldview has diminished their self worth. Do you see the connection?
    ,

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  2. Peter:
    Man made global warming also re-enforces the the self-loathing of people who's material worldview has diminished their self worth. Do you see the connection?

    Do you have any evidence of this " self-loathing"? Were you self-loathing in the past? What is your favorite evidence that gw is both wrong and a conspiracy? Do scientists really make millions of dollars?

    To be on topic CH :
    Evolutionists also say that there was a time when evolution experimented with different DNA codes. What is observed today, on the other hand, is that the DNA code is robust. New and different codes do not easily evolve.

    Do these scientists have any reasons why they think that? Seems like the survivor DNA would be the most robust ,it survived, of the different codes. I bet that if there was only evidence of one code that would be an argument that Darwinism is wrong. Strong evidence of early optimal design.

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  3. Evolution, on the other hand, is different. Evolutionists routinely devise all manner of mechanisms and processes that have no correspondence with reality while simultaneously making high truth claims.

    It seems that Dr Hunter is incorrectly equating hypotheses with something he calls “high truth claims.” Each of the examples he gave:

    For instance, evolutionists say that the important, information-bearing, DNA molecule was once not so.

    Or again, evolutionists say that there was a time when biological cells exchanged genetic information on massive level…

    Evolutionists also say that there was a time when evolution experimented with different DNA codes.

    Evolutionists also say that there was once a time when the amyloid state of proteins was a good thing…


    is an hypothesis about past events, based on current observations, not, as best I can tell, a garden variety truth claim, let alone a "high truth claim."

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  4. Oh dear. Cornelius spirals further and further down into his delusional little Creationist world.

    I wonder how long until he starts claiming evolutionary scientists are actually alien seed pods in human form, sent here to weaken our spiritual strength before the big invasion.

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  5. You are ascribing "evolutionists" a certainty which they do not claim and seem unfamiliar with the way science works. Science deals with most likely scenarios qualified by caveats, not the strawman dead certainty that you are ascribing to it. No one says that the RNA world has to be the first and only alternative to the origin of life, just that based on the existing evidence it seems like a really good bet. Don't misrepresent the true claims of science and set up a strawman.

    -That is in sharp contrast to what is actually observed. Only a relatively small set of particular proteins stick together normally.

    Last time I checked there were an estimated 25,000 or so protein-protein interactions even in yeast. The number in humans is bound to be much more (and this is kind of obvious given the large number of proteins in the first place). I won't call these "small sets".

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  6. In addition to Pedant's observations I'd add that many of these statements are worded to appeal to a perceived lack of importance and respect due to incoroporating changing roles in their explinations.

    "Evolutionists" do not appreciate the wonder and magesty of DNA, which "obviously" reflects the designer's handy work, because they think it was optional in early cells. As such, it's an "absurd" and "silly" theory. That evolution is "scientifically unlikely" is just an false pretense, which we debunk regularly.

    Again, this "obvious reflection" is an assumption that Cornelius smuggles into his argument, which is shared with his target audience.

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  7. CH: In science there is a long history of using models and theories and have limited or no correspondence with reality. Theories fill the spectrum from realism to anti realism and everything in between. For instance, realism may be intended in one part of a model but not another part.

    What you seem to be implying in that evolutionary theory falls somewhere between idealism, which suggests there is no objective reality at all in the first place, and instrumentalism, which I've discussed at length in other threads.

    However, this is particularly humorous as I've already pointed out that it's you who keep interpreting evolution's predictions as if they were not real, in reality, in claiming what we *experience* has falsified it.

    Specifically, Instrumentalism is a position of science that intentionally decides to eschew objective reality in favor of accurate models and predictions of phenomena. Yet you keep claiming evolution is false because it supposedly does not accurate models and predictions of phenomena!

    Which is it?

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  8. Furthermore, Instrumentalism considers accurate models and predictions of phenomena and reality two separate and things that can exist independent of each other, which is a relic of various forms of logical positivism and empiricism. I've already outlined this in a previous thread, starting here.

    Note: this is precisely what I keep accusing Cornelius of doing when he claims evolution has been falsified by what we *experience* rather than how things *are* in reality. This is sort of conclusion is clearly instrumentalist in nature.

    Cornelius, why don't you remind us exactly what kind of empiricist you are? Oh, that's right, you can't because this is yet another aspect of your position you have yet to disclosed in the first place, despite numerous clear and direct requests to do so.

    An example of an instrumentalist theory is the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum mechanics, which is highly successful at making predictions, but includes aspects of the theory that are not claimed to represent objective reality. From the Wikipedia entry on CIoQM…

    The Copenhagen Interpretation denies that the wave function is anything more than a theoretical concept, or is at least non-committal about its being a discrete entity or a discernible component of some discrete entity.

    This is in contrast to Einstein's theory of general relatively, which is not instrumentalist in nature. This is because Einstein assumed that space-time actually does warp in the presence of mass, as does everyone else. It should come to no surprise that Einstein rejected the CIoQM precisely because it was instrumentalist in nature. This is what Einstein meant when he said..

    "I, at any rate, am convinced that He (God) does not throw dice." and "Do you really think the moon isn't there if you aren't looking at it?"

    Bohr, who developed the CIoQM along with Hesenburg, replied, "Einstein, don't tell God what to do".

    Again, In contrast to Bohr's interpretation of QM, Einstein assumed space-time really does warp in the presence of mass in objective reality, despite the fact that we cannot actually "observe" space-time warping. This unobserved assumption was the underlying explanation behind his prediction of the variation of Mercury's orbit. As such, to evaluate them independently would be a mistake.

    To summarize, you seem to be attempting to conflate in this post are (1) that your claims that what we observe in reality conflicts with evolutionary theory with the claim that (2) that evolution is an instrumentalist theory which contains aspects that are not assumed to reflect reality.

    Of course, in regards to (1), you still have yet to explain how you can extrapolate observations without first placing them in an explanatory framework.

    This sort of equivocation either represses ignorance on your part or is highly dishonest attempt to misrepresent evolutionary theory to your target audience.

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  9. Cornelius,

    Given that you have a coherent and comprehensive criteria for what makes any particular scientific theory religion or not, why don't you tell us if quantum mechanics is religion, and the details of exactly why that is the case?

    Oh that's right, you can't because you have yet to present a coherent and comprehensive criteria for what makes any particular scientific theory religion or not.

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  10. Wavefunction:

    You are ascribing "evolutionists" a certainty which they do not claim and seem unfamiliar with the way science works.

    Evolutionists dogmatically insist that evolution is an obvious fact, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It would be perverse and irrational, they say, to doubt it. It is as well established as the fact that the earth is round. It is as much a fact as is gravity, they say. The only way evolution is not a fact, they say, is if this is all a dream.

    Yes, evolutionists are certain.


    Science deals with most likely scenarios qualified by caveats, not the strawman dead certainty that you are ascribing to it.

    Then evolution is not science.


    No one says that the RNA world has to be the first and only alternative to the origin of life, just that based on the existing evidence it seems like a really good bet.

    Antirealism pervades evolutionary thought. The RNA world subhypothesis is merely one example. Competing subhypotheses are no less antireal.


    Last time I checked there were an estimated 25,000 or so protein-protein interactions even in yeast. The number in humans is bound to be much more (and this is kind of obvious given the large number of proteins in the first place). I won't call these "small sets".

    Those are functional quaternary interactions, including different proteins. Totally different phenomenon than the self-complementary segments causing dangerous protein aggregations.

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  11. Dr. Hunter's point today is that evolution has a protected status on par with a real emperor's protected status such that even when the emperor has no clothes, no one's going to say so for fear of being blackballed in their respective publication or college professorship.

    So the critics flop all over the deck like they always do straining away at the nats and missing (again) the opportunity to show that evolution isn't protected by metaphysical commitments and just-so stories.

    All they have to do is show that the the 4 hypotheses listed by Dr. Hunter actually do correspond to mechanisms in reality as opposed to being utter fabrications that "explain" biological reality in terms that satisfy metaphysical commitments.

    In other words, we know gravity is true because when I let go of the apple, it drops. But the massive gene transfer? That is only something that "must have" happened. We don't see it today.

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  12. Cornelius, you're blithering again.

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  13. Red Reader said...

    In other words, we know gravity is true because when I let go of the apple, it drops. But the massive gene transfer? That is only something that "must have" happened. We don't see it today.


    Why do you think a process that takes millions of years should be visible to you in real time today? That's not very smart, now is it?

    Do you accept the theory of plate tectonics? If so, why? Have you ever in real time seen Africa touching South America, then move thousands of miles?

    BTW Red Reader, we're still waiting for you to provide those details on the mechanisms of Intelligent Design. You've run from the question at least four times now by my count.

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  14. -Yes, evolutionists are certain.

    Could you quote a couple of "evolutionists" who are certain about the RNA world and claim that this is the only possible scenario for the origin of life?

    -Then evolution is not science.

    I don't know if you have a background in science but this statement makes me think that you don't. If you think science hinges on complete certainty then you are mistaken. No scientist worth his or her salt would claim complete certainty in the RNA world for instance.

    -Totally different phenomenon than the self-complementary segments causing dangerous protein aggregations.

    Yes, so what? You still haven't explained why amyloid poses a challenge for evolution.

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  15. Thorton said...
    BTW Red Reader, we're still waiting for you to provide those details on the mechanisms of Intelligent Design. You've run from the question at least four times now by my count.
    ....
    By "we" you mean??
    Geesh Thorton, I thought you were keeping up. I answered you here.

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-science-really-says-theory-of.html?showComment=1316281924005#c7886793264319805364

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  16. CH: Antirealism pervades evolutionary thought. The RNA world subhypothesis is merely one example. Competing subhypotheses are no less antireal.

    How is the theory that the knowledge of how to build each species, as found in the genome, was created by vacation and natural selection, unintuitive or anti-realism?

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  17. Red Reader said...

    Thorton said...
    BTW Red Reader, we're still waiting for you to provide those details on the mechanisms of Intelligent Design. You've run from the question at least four times now by my count.
    ....
    By "we" you mean??
    Geesh Thorton, I thought you were keeping up. I answered you here.

    http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/09/what-science-really-says-theory-of.html?showComment=1316281924005#c7886793264319805364


    Make that five times you cowardly ran from the questions.

    You didn't answer the questions or provide any details on ID's mechanisms in that post.

    Why do you IDC guys always, always resort to lying when you get called on your bunk and backed into a corner?

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  18. Lies, fairy tales, and blustering are all the IDCs have. It's funny that they think that their delusional beliefs are scientific evidence.

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