Friday, June 15, 2012

Drat! Evolutionists Get Away Again

Evolution Professor Jerry Coyne, who believes all of biology spontaneously arose by itself, has done it again. Coyne insists evolution is a fact, and like all evolutionists he has plenty of religious reasons for his confidence which he gives after blaming creationists for religious reasoning. And like all evolutionists he misrepresents science, such as when he claims that “All vertebrates begin development looking like embryonic fish because we all descended from a fishlike ancestor with a fishlike embryo. We see strange contortions and disappearances of organs, blood vessels, and gill slits because descendants still carry the genes and developmental programs of ancestors.” Of course that isn’t true, but Coyne has once again gotten away with it, this time with the help of a fancy new blog from an NCSE member.

The NCSE member says it’s perfectly fine to misrepresent science and say mammalian embryos have gill slits because, after all, evolutionists have been doing this all along and even before Darwin, natural theologians noted the strong similarities between mammalian and fish embryos. So when the field was in its infancy naturalists noted such similarities so now, two centuries later, it’s OK to say mammalian embryos have gill slits even though they don’t.

Whatever. Coyne escapes again with a fast one, and certainly is happy about it. He calls it a “wonderful new post” which takes those creationist rascals “completely apart” and it is “really educational.”

Not surprisingly, of course, this “wonderful” new post has all the usual misrepresentations (embryology “remains one of most compelling subsets of evidence for evolution”) and fallacious similiarity-implies-evolution reasoning (“We can, informally, call pharyngeal clefts ‘gill slits’ in the same way we call kiwi ‘wings’, wings, or cetacean  ‘limb buds’, limb buds, because despite the fact they no longer develop into functioning wings, limbs, or gills, in the organisms that bear them, because they are clearly homologous to those characters in organisms where they do retain those functions.”) so familiar to Coyne.

Most important though are the non scientific, religious mandates that underwrite evolution. You can see some of Coyne’s examples here, here, here, here and here. Misrepresentations and fallacies hardly matter when your religion tells you evolution must be true.

In this “wonderful” new post there is the venerable argument from dysteleology and its poster child example, the giraffe recurrent laryngeal nerve which is “of comic proportions” and makes “no obvious sense.” And there is the obligatory argument from the intellectual necessity of evolution. After all, “what is their [creationists] explanation for this pattern of embryological similarities amongst vertebrates that develop into very different adults?” And saying such similarities are a consequence of design is no better:

In reality their use of the term “common design” does nothing but relabel our ignorance. Worse it creates whole new sets of unanswerable questions. Designed by whom? Was it one designer or many (as in car companies)? How did he/she/it/they implement their design? Why did they design things the way they did? Why did they implement their designs in the timetable that they did? And on and on.

It gets worse if the “designer” is transcendent and omnipotent. This makes the concept completely untestable (and therefore unscientific) as such a creator could create anything, in any way, for reasons known only to itself.

Without evolution, there simply is “no coherent, testable, alternative explanation.”

So there you have it. Once again the evolutionist gets away and evolution wins the day. Evolution must be true, we may have no idea how such heroics occurred, but we certainly know that they did occur. Our religion demands it.

H/T: Schenck

13 comments:

  1. I guess there's no point in taking issue with any of the fallacies in this post, as you are very unlikely to respond to them, and will simply repeat them in your next, or next-but-one.

    But let me enumerate them anyway:

    Equivocation with the word "fact":

    Coyne insists evolution is a fact,


    No reference is given for this allegation, so we have no way of telling what Coyne meant by "fact" (if indeed he said this at all), and so we have no way of checking whether Cornelius is equivocating or not. I am fairly sure he is.

    and like all evolutionists he has plenty of religious reasons for his confidence which he gives after blaming creationists for religious reasoning.

    Another unreferenced assertion, together with a poisoning of the well, and an ad hominem.

    And like all evolutionists he misrepresents science,

    A gross and unreferenced generalisation from a single example, which he supports with a mere unreferenced assertion:

    Of course that isn’t true,

    Then we have:

    The NCSE member says it’s perfectly fine to misrepresent science and say mammalian embryos have gill slits because, after all, evolutionists have been doing this all along

    Here, Cornelius, as so often, fails to identify the person he is maligning, although at least on this occasion, he gives a link, so we know he is attributing this opinion to Troy Britain. And we can also check the link to see whether Troy Britain actually says anything remotely like this. Which he does not.

    Nor does he say anything like this:

    So when the field was in its infancy naturalists noted such similarities so now, two centuries later, it’s OK to say mammalian embryos have gill slits even though they don’t.

    So either Cornelius is deliberately misrepresenting Troy Britain (the very thing he accuses Coyne of doing) or he lacks reading comprehension, in which case perhaps he should stop writing these repetitive blog posts until he has actually engaged with some of the rebuttals littering the comments.

    And here, Cornelius, without any supporting argument, alleges that:

    Not surprisingly, of course, this “wonderful” new post has all the usual misrepresentations (embryology “remains one of most compelling subsets of evidence for evolution”) and fallacious similiarity-implies-evolution reasoning (“We can, informally, call pharyngeal clefts ‘gill slits’ in the same way we call kiwi ‘wings’, wings, or cetacean ‘limb buds’, limb buds, because despite the fact they no longer develop into functioning wings, limbs, or gills, in the organisms that bear them, because they are clearly homologous to those characters in organisms where they do retain those functions.”) so familiar to Coyne.

    which, far from revealing that Britain is "misrepresenting" anything, merely reveals that Cornelius does not understand the concept of homology, which is rather fundamental to understanding evolutionary theory.

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  2. And we can perhaps understand the source of this ignorance when we note that here:

    Most important though are the non scientific, religious mandates that underwrite evolution. You can see some of Coyne’s examples here, here, here, here and here. Misrepresentations and fallacies hardly matter when your religion tells you evolution must be true.

    all Cornelius's references are to his own blog posts. If all you ever do to support your own assertions is to reference your own previous assertions, then you will inevitably get locked into a circular, self-feeding ourobouros within which learning is impossible. Cornelius, you need to get out more.

    Finally we have yet another misrpresentation:

    Without evolution, there simply is “no coherent, testable, alternative explanation.”

    No, this is not what Coyne is saying, which you can check for yourself by actually reading the words that Cornelius has quoted (which he appears not to have read).

    Coyne does NOT say that there is no testable explanation without, or apart from evolution. He says that the hypothesis of a transcendent and omnipotent designer is untestable.

    So there you have it. Once again Cornelius gets away and wilful ignorance wins the day. Design must be true, we may have no idea of how such heroics occurred, but we certainly know that they did occur. Our religion demands it.

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth.

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  3. Correction: it is Britain, not Coyne, whom Cornelius misparaphrases as saying that "Without evolution, there simply is 'no coherent, testable, alternative explanation.'"

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  4. …with the help of a fancy new blog from an NCSE member.

    Troy Britain’s pigeonchess.com blog was started in 2008. It’s fancy, but hardly new.

    The cited post by Britain is an excellent review of vertebrate embryology, showing how evolutionary thinking has enriched the field of developmental biology – and vice versa.

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    1. 'showing how evolutionary thinking has enriched the field of developmental biology'

      And yet the truth is that 'evolutionary thinking', as with everything else 'evolutionary thinking' touches, has polluted the field of developmental biology by making erroneous connections that are fraudulent and severely misleading to researchers studying in this area:

      The mouse is not enough - February 2011
      Excerpt: Richard Behringer, who studies mammalian embryogenesis at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas said, “There is no ‘correct’ system. Each species is unique and uses its own tailored mechanisms to achieve development. By only studying one species (eg, the mouse), naive scientists believe that it represents all mammals.”
      http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57986/

      Modern Synthesis of Neo-Darwinism Is Dead - No Evidence For Body Plan Morphogenesis From Embryonic Mutations - Paul Nelson - video
      http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5548184/

      Understanding Ontogenetic Depth, Part II: Natural Selection Is a Harsh Mistress - Paul Nelson - April 7, 2011
      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/04/understanding_ontogenetic_dept_1045581.html

      Revisiting Those Early Developmental Stages: A Response to PZ Myers - Jonathan M. June 22, 2011
      Excerpt: Let's take an illustrative example. Anurans and urodeles are both modern amphibian groups which we would consider to be closely related. However, there is significant difference in the source of their primordial germ cells. For instance, in urodeles, they arise from unspecific ectodermal cells at the blastula stage; whereas, in anurans, they arise from specific cells of endodermal origin, the cells possessing cytoplasmic granules that originated in the unfertilized egg. Now, here's the conundrum. The difference relates to organs of extreme importance -- i.e. the germ cells. The difference is not only substantial, but it occurs extremely early in development.
      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/06/revisiting_those_early_develop047571.html

      Evolution Just Took Another Hit—Right Where it Counts - Cornelius Hunter - May 2012
      Excerpt: These reproduction subsystems, according to evolution, should align with the other biological subsystems to form a consistent evolutionary tree. This consistency is, evolutionists say, a powerful confirmation of their idea. Except when it isn’t. Now a tiny lizard from Africa has been found to have a reproduction subsystem that is unique and remarkably similar to that of humans.
      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/04/evolution-just-took-another-hitright.html

      A Piece from the Developmental Symphony - February 2012
      Excerpt: Embryonic development is an astounding process that seems to happen "automatically.",,, The timing of each step is too precise and the complexity is too intricate to assume that these processes are the mere accumulation by happenstance of changes to regulatory genes. Each gene plays its role at a certain time, and like a symphony, each is activated and silenced in turn such that the final result is a grand performance of orchestrated effort that could only have occurred through design.
      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/02/a_piece_from_th055921.html

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    2. Thanks Pendant, that is (not sure why it put this here).

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  5. Oh my, looks like Cornelius and I aren't going to be besties...

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    1. Sorry Pigeon, hypocrisy just doesn't go down well.

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    2. While that photography of Anders Breivik remains to illustrate your piece on PZ Myers, your complaints of hypocrisy are, well, hypocritical.

      As well as false, but, whatever.

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  6. I would quote myself here, but that would be redundant.

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  7. Darwin said embryology was , to him, a best persuasive point for evolution and ever since They have thought so.
    yet there is no reason to see minor details in embryo as being anything other then basic structures, or painting panel, to start off the painting.
    It just works out some fish gills look like these structures but nothing to do with biological relationship.
    Too quick to see in embryos a memory of stages of evolution for all of us.
    Too quick to see what they wanted to see.
    Embryos show minor needed stages for that creature to develop and don't show stages of its evolutionary stages, lasting some time, like a played back tape.
    their seeing things!

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