Friday, February 8, 2013

New Study Indicates Geomagnetic Imprinting in Salmon

The Battle Continues

Salmon swim thousands of miles out into the open ocean only later to return to the precise fresh water stream where they were born and a new study suggests that this navigational miracle, in part, is due to geomagnetic imprinting. That is, the salmon sense, remember, and later use a map of the Earth’s magnetic field in and around their home river inlet.

These findings add yet more wonder to the salmon story. For when these fish transition between fresh water to sea water they must make substantial physiological adjustments, including new gill tissues that enable the salmon to maintain the correct salt balance. As one researcher explained, it is a metamorphosis that is almost as dramatic as a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly.

Evolutionists insist all of this arose by chance (no natural selection doesn’t help, it cannot induce new designs but rather only kills off bad designs). Every mutation leading to the incredible salmon would have had to occur by chance, without reference to any final design. That means there would have to be gradual pathways leading to geomagnetic imprinting, gill replacement capability, and all the rest.

Of course there is no scientific evidence for any such thing. Once again it is metaphysical certainty versus the empirical evidence as evolution continues to wage its battle against science.

242 comments:

  1. Natural selection can only sign its signature on what is offered by pure chance ...

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  2. Just a question, why is it important that the fish return to the exact same stream? What design need does it reflect?

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    1. What do you mean by 'design need'? The design of its navigational capabilities, involving geomagnetic imprinting, sense and impressive memory, makes it possible for the salmon to find its way home.

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    2. Yes, but the question is why design the fish to return to exactly the same spot? There's an awful lot of time and effort involved. You could understand it if there was some obvious and real advantage but there doesn't seem to be any. Plenty of species give birth pretty much wherever they happen to find themselves. They're not driven to return to the exact same point where they were born and they don't appear to be disadvantaged by it.

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    3. velikovskys:

      Just a question, why is it important that the fish return to the exact same stream? What design need does it reflect?

      I get your point. IOW, what's the purpose here? Right?

      Well, you tell us.

      Wouldn't it be easier to stay in the same pond where you're spawned and breed there instead of having to spend so much energy to migrate away and then have to come back, all the while having to develop a novel migratory system in order to do so?

      So, what is the increased fitness that brought this about, that drives this "evolutionary" change? You tell us.

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    4. Lino,
      So, what is the increased fitness that brought this about, that drives this "evolutionary" change? You tell us.

      So the ID answer is evolution doesn't have an answer. Ok, how would one if they accepted ID research that question or is off limits to ID?

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    5. Has anyone besides me considered the fact that all salmon don't return to the same stream?

      Does anyone here actually believe that no salmon has ever spawned in a stream that it wasn't born in?

      Does anyone here actually believe that all salmon were poofed into existence by 'the designer' in a particular stream and that all of their descendents always return to exactly the same stream to spawn?

      And does everyone realize that there are other genera/species of anadromous and otherwise migrating fish besides salmon?

      If anyone is looking for a reason for migration, here's a word to consider: food.

      Some interesting tidbits:

      "The adult salmon then return primarily to their natal streams to spawn. In Alaska, crossing over to other streams allows salmon to populate new streams, such as those that emerge as a glacier retreats."

      And:

      "Typically, salmon are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. However, populations of several species are restricted to fresh water through their lives."

      And:

      Landlocked salmon (Salmo salar m. sebago) live in a number of lakes in eastern North America and in Northern Europe, for instance in lakes Onega, Ladoga, Saimaa and Vänern. They are not a different species from the Atlantic salmon, but have independently evolved a non-migratory life cycle, which they maintain even when they could access the ocean."

      From here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmon

      "Some sockeye live and reproduce in lakes and are commonly called kokanee..."

      From here:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokanee_salmon

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    6. the whole truth: "Does anyone here actually believe that all salmon were poofed into existence by 'the designer'(...)"

      Please don't start about poofery. The real poofery is done by naturalists. The 'emergence' of of agency, *poof* consciousness from matter. How can matter be conscious? Naturalism is simply *poof* too farfetched *poof* to even consider, but here we are talking about it as if it is an option.

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    7. Lino D'Ischia February 8, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      [...]

      Wouldn't it be easier to stay in the same pond where you're spawned and breed there instead of having to spend so much energy to migrate away and then have to come back, all the while having to develop a novel migratory system in order to do so?

      So, what is the increased fitness that brought this about, that drives this "evolutionary" change? You tell us.


      That was my point, too.

      What the salmon do appears to be a wasteful and expensive process. A human designer would not be so extravagant without a very good reason. An extraterrestrial intelligent designer would probably be bound by the same considerations.

      Evolution, on the other hand, cares nothing about extravagance or waste, only what works better than any alternatives in a given situation - survival of the best fitted.

      Take another example, at the worst estimate upwards of fifty percent of human concepta abort spontaneously, mostly before the woman is even aware she's pregnant. From a design perspective, that's an incredibly wasteful process.. Unless there's a very good reason for doing it that way, it smacks of gross incompetence.

      Again, however, according to the theory, evolution isn't concerned about waste. If it works well enough, that's all that counts.

      So, given that, from a design perspective, what we see see in nature are some structures which appear to be exquisitely designed but a lot of other other processes which seem to be extravagantly wasteful, which explanation is the better fit to what we observe, design or evolution?

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    8. Ian Spedding:

      A human designer would not be so extravagant without a very good reason. An extraterrestrial intelligent designer would probably be bound by the same considerations.

      What if the Designer is also the greatest Artist that ever existed? Then what?

      Again, however, according to the theory, evolution isn't concerned about waste. If it works well enough, that's all that counts.

      You're not thinking through your position. There has to be some kind of selective advantage for something like this to occur. What is it? Why would blind chance stretch so far?

      An "Artist" might make an heroic effort simply for the sake of the 'art' that's involved.

      The problem here is not with what God wants, or doesn't want, to do, the problem is with a proposed mechanism that has no explanatory power in cases such as this.

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    9. The whole truth,

      "Has anyone besides me considered the fact that all salmon don't return to the same stream?

      Does anyone here actually believe that no salmon has ever spawned in a stream that it wasn't born in?"

      I'm sure you're right and it has happened. However, they do know the vast majority of Salmon return to the same stream in which they were born. This information comes from many, many years of tagging and tracking their life cycle.

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    10. Lino Di Ischia February 9, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      [...]


      What if the Designer is also the greatest Artist that ever existed? Then what?


      Then we are one of the greatest works of art ever created which, while it is flattering, makes us nothing more than entertainment for the Creator. I don't know about you but, remembering back to when I was Christian, I'm pretty sure that isn't what man's purpose was supposed to be.

      There has to be some kind of selective advantage for something like this to occur. What is it? Why would blind chance stretch so far?

      Remember it doesn't have to be advantageous. It could just have been selectively neutral.

      We can speculate, though. For a freshwater species, adaptation to salt water would give it access to the vast resources of the open ocean. That could be an advantage. On the other hand, adapting the other way might give a saltwater species access to freshwater breeding grounds which are more secure, less vulnerable to predation.

      The simple answer is that, at present, we simply don't know exactly how it happened. Perhaps we never will, but that doesn't negate the evidence for evolution from other sources.

      The problem here is not with what God wants, or doesn't want, to do, the problem is with a proposed mechanism that has no explanatory power in cases such as this.

      You're confusing a proposed mechanism with our knowledge - or lack thereof - of how it applied in a particular case.

      As I wrote above, we don't know what happened in the specific case of the salmon. But that does not mean that it didn't or couldn't happen, particularly if we have evidence from other sources that the proposed mechanism - or something like it - does work.

      And in terms of how, evolution is the only explanation on the table. God or EID only proposes who not how.

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  3. Dr. Hunter, Though salmon are surely a wonder, I think this following little guy deserves the trophy for long distance navigation:

    Featherweight songbird is a long-distance champ – February 2012
    Excerpt: A tiny songbird weighing just two tablespoons of sugar migrates from the Arctic to Africa and back, a distance of up to 29,000 kilometres (18,000 miles), scientists reported on Wednesday.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-02-featherweight-songbird-long-distance-champ.html

    Notes:

    Fish & Dinosaur Evolution vs. The Actual Evidence – video and notes
    http://vimeo.com/30932397

    Bird Evolution vs. The Actual Fossil Evidence – video and notes
    http://vimeo.com/30926629

    An interesting side-note to this is that it is found that flying fish are remarkably similar to birds, and even jet airplanes, in many superior attributes of gliding ability:

    Flying Fish Glide as Well as Birds, Researchers Find – Sept. 2010
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100910082308.htm

    As well flying fish are ‘surprisingly’ unchanged in the fossil record for at least as far back as 95 million years:

    Flying Fish Fossil – pictures of 95 million year old fossil
    http://www.fossilmuseum.net/fishfossils/Excoetoides-minor/Excoetoides.htm

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  4. Earlier today, I posted an article on salmon from CMI at The Question Evolution Project. As soon as I saw this, I made haste to link to your article, too. How good is that for timing?

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  5. Evolution is a religion of cretins, created by cretins for cretins.

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    1. Cornelius why do you tolerate comments such as the one above? It is crude and inane, and adds absolutely nothing to the conversation. It would be one thing if there was some wit involved, but there is not.

      I appreciate the freedom you have given people here to comment, but I think allowing such commenting only reflects poorly on you and your inability to provide a forum for civilized discussion.

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    3. JDRick, bitching like a little boy:

      I appreciate the freedom you have given people here to comment, but I think allowing such commenting only reflects poorly on you and your inability to provide a forum for civilized discussion.

      Do you ever complain when Thorton spews out his rude comments? Of course not. Hypocrite. And since when were discussions about evolution ever civilized? Dummy. LOL.

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    4. JDRick:

      Cornelius why do you tolerate comments such as the one above? It is crude and inane, and adds absolutely nothing to the conversation. It would be one thing if there was some wit involved, but there is not.

      I appreciate the freedom you have given people here to comment, but I think allowing such commenting only reflects poorly on you and your inability to provide a forum for civilized discussion.


      Well evolution is not motivated by the science. I realize that will sound strange to evolutionists, but the motivation, justifications and proofs for evolution are not scientific. In fact the theory very must opposes science. If you step back and take an objective look, it becomes easy to see. But objectivity can be difficult. It doesn't matter to me whether evolution is true or not, but I do think we need to be honest about the science.

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    5. Dr. Hunter, I really don't understand your response. Regardless of the issue, whether it is evolution or collecting postal stamps, do you really want your blog clogged up with such borderline invective? How is that going to help anybody see your side of the story? Your reluctance to moderate, means an implicit approval of their behavior (would you allow such talk in your church?).

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    6. I am being frank. I am not saying anything that others have not already said, in different words, of course, but with the same intent. In his book Against Method, German mathematician and philosopher of science, Paul Feyerabend, had this to say about scientists:

      ...the most stupid procedures and the most laughable results in their domain are surrounded with an aura of excellence. It is time to cut them down in size, and to give them a more modest position in society."

      OK, fine. He said 'stupid' and I said 'cretin'. Oh well.

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    7. JDRick:

      Your reluctance to moderate, means an implicit approval of their behavior

      No, Darwin's God does not delete comments merely because we do not agree or approve. For instance, evolutionists commonly misrepresent science in their comments here, which we of course do not approve of.

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    8. It's your blog, and you can do what you like. I can also of course decide not to read it, and probably won't as much. Especially since your posts seem really to be a repetitive rehash of the same point. Still waiting for you to provide an alternative theory or hypothesis to evolution (and what does it say that it doesn't appear to exist?).

      But if one of your goals for this blog (as you have stated previously) is to win people over to Jesus, I'm not sure how it helps to allow such abusive trash talk helps that goal.

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    9. JD:

      Still waiting for you to provide an alternative theory or hypothesis to evolution

      Do you agree that evolution goes against the scientific evidence?

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    10. JDRick:

      But if one of your goals for this blog (as you have stated previously) is to win people over to Jesus, I'm not sure how it helps to allow such abusive trash talk helps that goal.

      This is so funny. An evolutionist preaching morality to a Christian. ROTFLMAO.

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    11. This isn't a science blog, it's a right wing Christian propaganda blog. Cornelius Goebbels gets paid by the Discovery Institute to lie about evolutionary theory and smear honest scientists. It's all part of their ongoing culture war against anything that contradicts their Fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

      All's fair in love and war, which is why CH allows clowns like Joe G and Louis to post the most vile obscenities, things like "evos eat shit" and "evos rape little boys", or worse. Apparently CH thinks that will help win people over to Jesus. I know it sure makes me want to convert.

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    12. CH: "Do you agree that evolution goes against the scientific evidence?"

      I really have no idea of what you personally mean by "scientific evidence". Nearly everything you post here is just criticism of evolution. If you are referring to scientific evidence, then what is it evidence of? Isn't the meaning of evidence that it it is supposed to be pointing to some truth - then what truth is it that you have in mind and does the evidence support it? I'm quite certain you think God is somehow responsible, but how do you connect the dots (except of course by some personal conviction that has really nothing much to do with science...)


      I do know you said this on Jan 29th:

      "Don’t make more out of evolution than what it is. Jesus died for our sins and without Him we have no hope."

      So I think that makes it quite clear what is most important to you. Given that religious convictions like this have a tendency to color how people see everything, is it not just possible your own scientific viewpoints have been influenced by them?

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    13. Throton belched:

      This isn't a science blog, it's a right wing Christian propaganda blog.

      And you propagandize for what religion? Atheism, you say? Darwinism? Oh, I see. Your dirt-worshiping religion is threatened by the other guy's religion. Got ya.

      It's all part of their ongoing culture war against anything that contradicts their Fundamentalist Christian beliefs.

      So? What if they are right about evolution being a pile of crap (which it is) and you being wrong (which you are)? Sir Isaac Newton was a professed Christian who even calculated the end of the world to come in 2030. He did it from interpreting Biblical metaphors. Yet he is the father of modern physics! What have you done for yourself lately, Mr. Big Mouth Atheist? LOL.

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    14. Throton regurgitated:

      All's fair in love and war, which is why CH allows clowns like Joe G and Louis to post the most vile obscenities, things like "evos eat shit" and "evos rape little boys", or worse. Apparently CH thinks that will help win people over to Jesus. I know it sure makes me want to convert.

      LOL. You know why this bothers you so much, Throton? Because Neither Joe nor I fit the cookie-cutter strawman Fundie/Christian image that you have carefully constructed over the years. All of a sudden the target is no longer where you thought it was. All of a sudden, the target no longer says "please Mr. Atheist, hit me on the other cheek." Instead you get a 2-by-4 between the eyes and spit on your face. You love to dish it out but can't take it. Wussies.

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    15. JDRick

      CH: "Do you agree that evolution goes against the scientific evidence?"

      JD: I really have no idea of what you personally mean by "scientific evidence".


      I’m referring to the findings of the life sciences and how they bear on evolutionary theory. Do you agree that more evolutionary predictions have failed and that evolutionary explanations are not motivated by the science, but rather are in spite of the science?

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    16. JD:

      Isn't the meaning of evidence that it it is supposed to be pointing to some truth

      No, evidence can show that theories are faulty.


      So I think that makes it quite clear what is most important to you. Given that religious convictions like this have a tendency to color how people see everything, is it not just possible your own scientific viewpoints have been influenced by them?

      No, it is evolutionists who have the religiously-motivated views. No one would believe in evolution just from the science. As for me, I have no problem with evolution being true or false.

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    17. CH: "No, evidence can show that theories are faulty"

      Yes, but evidence is also given to support of a hypothesis. You talk about scientific evidence and how it doesn't support evolution, but never mention what your hypothesis is. So what does the evidence support then? Or is it because you believe you know what it supports, but can't quite make the science work in favor of your belief?

      Why do you not have a hypothesis? Why do you seemingly not support the ID hypothesis, despite being a Fellow of the DI? Don't you think ID is a good hypothesis?

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    18. CH: "I’m referring to the findings of the life sciences and how they bear on evolutionary theory. Do you agree that more evolutionary predictions have failed and that evolutionary explanations are not motivated by the science, but rather are in spite of the science?"

      What evolutionary predictions? Who? When?

      I'm not a scientist, but as an explanatory framework evolution seems about the most plausible and comprehensive fit to the evidence so far, but of course much is not known. Of course if somebody else provides a better framework, that could change everything. Just like Big Bang theory has replaced steady-state - ultimately I think science progresses by new knowledge, new hypotheses, new theories.

      But you seem content just to constantly criticize evolution. Perhaps you think you are doing your bit. And maybe it keeps the faithful happy, but in terms of moving science on, it seems like a dead-end strategy. Your posts here aren't saying anything different from what you said 4-5 years ago.

      Until somebody in the ID community grasps this (and perhaps Stephen Meyer has done that best), it's hard to see ID really making much progress.

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    19. JD:

      but as an explanatory framework evolution seems about the most plausible and comprehensive fit to the evidence so far

      So you hold to the non scientific belief that evolution is plausible and comprehensive to some respectable degree. The evolutionary belief that the biological world spontaneously arose is today’s version of Epicureanism. But from the perspective of modern science, it is simply a ridiculous view. Evolutionists make the claim, and yet when you point out the scientific problems they want to change the subject. They want you to solve the origins problem, as though it somehow is your responsibility, and as though they objectively interpret the scientific evidence. So they make the claim, can’t defend it, and then switch the subject when the problem with their claim is pointed out.

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    20. JDRick:

      But you seem content just to constantly criticize evolution.

      What is wrong with you? This is precisely how science progresses, through constant self-criticism. It does not progress by criticizing Christianity or other religions, which seems to be the favorite pastime of all brain-dead evolutionists. The fact is that evolutionists will not allow their assumptions be criticized by anyone. Anybody who dares to criticize their mediocre, dirt-did-it religion is immediately called a fundie or worse. But when I call them dirt worshipers or cretins, they get righteously offended and start bitching like little schoolchildren. LOL.

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    21. CH: "But from the perspective of modern science, it is simply a ridiculous view."

      OK, it's ridiculous - if you say so. But where does that get us? Sure, it's OK to criticize evolution (and yes of course such criticism has its place in science and is vital), but that seems as far as you want to go.

      What, then, does a non-ridiculous view look like? Why do you have so much trouble articulating that? Where's your hypothesis?

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    22. Louis:

      What is wrong with you? This is precisely how science progresses, through constant self-criticism. It does not progress by criticizing Christianity or other religions, which seems to be the favorite pastime of all brain-dead evolutionists.

      Which is where evolutionists get their confidence. Evolution is a fact not from the science, but from the religion. If it weren't for the religion we would never have heard of Darwin and there would be no evolutionary theory.

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    23. CH: "Which is where evolutionists get their confidence. Evolution is a fact not from the science, but from the religion. If it weren't for the religion we would never have heard of Darwin and there would be no evolutionary theory."

      What would we have had or should have instead? A vacuum? Evidence without a hypothesis? Evidence of what?

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    24. JD:

      OK, it's ridiculous - if you say so.

      No it is not me saying so. This is basic science. We all agree that Epicureanism is ridiculous. Swerving atoms aren’t likely to create the world by chance. It’s safe for us to agree on this because that was two millennia ago. Well evolution is no different, except there is skin in the game because this is now. So evolutionists make their ridiculous high truth claims and everyone goes along. But that doesn’t change the science.


      But where does that get us? Sure, it's OK to criticize evolution (and yes of course such criticism has its place in science and is vital), but that seems as far as you want to go.

      Unlike evolutionists, I have made no claims about little things like, oh, how the world arose. I have made no claims for the simple reason that I don’t know. I also can’t tell you how quasars, or natural laws or consciousness arose. These are not simple problems.

      But evolutionary thought is a powerful movement today that needs to be understood. There is substantial ignorance about it and regardless of where one stands, and regardless of whether it is true or false or somewhere in between, people need to understand what it is about.

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    25. JD:

      What would we have had or should have instead? A vacuum? Evidence without a hypothesis?

      It’s fine if people want to construct religious theories that are not supported by the science. But we need be honest about the science. The problem is with the truth claims and the misrepresentations of science, not with the theory itself.

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    26. JD:

      Your posts here aren't saying anything different from what you said 4-5 years ago.

      Well I’m sorry but evolutionists have been making the same misrepresentations of science for the past 4-5 years. There is a Trojan Horse inside of science that hasn’t gone away.

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    27. Cornelius said:

      "No, it is evolutionists who have the religiously-motivated views. No one would believe in evolution just from the science. As for me, I have no problem with evolution being true or false."

      Wow.

      Isn't bearing false witness a 'sin'?

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    28. Cornelius said:

      "The problem is with the truth claims and the misrepresentations of science, not with the theory itself."

      Huh? How can you be okay with the theory if you don't accept the science that supports it? And if you're okay with the theory of evolution, why do you constantly bash the theory of evolution and evolution itself?

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    30. CH: "It’s fine if people want to construct religious theories that are not supported by the science. But we need be honest about the science. The problem is with the truth claims and the misrepresentations of science, not with the theory itself."

      OK, so you think the science is wrong. So one can make an assumption then that if the ToE is not a good explanation of the evidence, then something else must be (or is it Something Else?).

      Since CH considers himself a scientist (although with no apparent recent output other than this blog), he must have some idea, however speculative of what this "something else". A hypothesis even. That's what science and scientists do.

      Given that Cornelius is himself a religious person, we know that God and Jesus play a part in that hypothesis (he has said so previously on this blog).

      The question then why such reluctance to share this hypothesis? Given that he is a leading figure at the DI, does he not in fact have a responsibility to do so? If ID as a viable scientific movement is to progress, it is going to need people like CH to put their money where their mouth is and put something forth.

      And if that hypothesis has a religious content, well so what, that's fair enough. Or he is embarrassed to admit that what he ultimately believes does in fact have a faith element to it? Even the likes of Kent Hovind at least has the courage to put his hypothesis out there and admit it is faith-based.

      I personally would be much more willing to listen to CH if he would stop with the run-around and lay his cards on the table. We all know that CH believes that God had part in evolution/creation (whatever you want to call it), so why continue with this pretense?

      Does CH really expect us to just accept that even though he is a person of faith, and a professor at a evangelical Bible college (Bible Institute of LA), that somehow his religious views have not infected his scientific viewpoint. Now THAT I find incredulous.

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    31. JD:

      Does CH really expect us to just accept that even though he is a person of faith, and a professor at a evangelical Bible college (Bible Institute of LA), that somehow his religious views have not infected his scientific viewpoint. Now THAT I find incredulous.

      You're projecting. Remember, I'm not an evolutionist. I don't share those religious convictions that mandate a naturalistic origins. I'm a Christian, I can go with naturalistic or supernaturalistic origins, or anywhere in between. Christians are all over the map on this. But that's the difference you see. I can go either way. Evolutionists cannot.

      What I cannot do is twist the science, contrive whig histories, and promote fallacious arguments.

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    32. Remember, I'm not an evolutionist. I don't share those religious convictions that mandate a naturalistic origins. I'm a Christian, I can go with naturalistic or supernaturalistic origins, or anywhere in between. Christians are all over the map on this. But that's the difference you see. I can go either way. Evolutionists cannot.

      Total nonsense.

      1) Members of practically every religion have accepted evolution. Even the Pope declared it was not at odds with Christian belief.

      Science is only at odds with religion when religion certain religions demand their beliefs be supported by real-world evidence.

      2) Biola's Mission Statement:

      "The mission of Biola University is biblically centered education, scholarship and service—equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ."

      You are NOT free to believe anything that conflicts with your pre-decided conclusion of Intelligent Design. Not just by Biola, but also your own religious bias.

      It is scientists who are free to follow the evidence, unencumbered by religious bias. You, plainly, are not, and the fact that you can be so deluded on this point is hysterical.

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    33. It is scientists who are free to follow the evidence, unencumbered by religious bias.

      Right.

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    34. Right.

      Yes, that is right.

      As evidenced by the thousands of biologists who practice who freely accept ToE, despite being of many and diverse religious beliefs.

      And who are NOT bound to institutions who freely declare the promotion of religious mandates as part of their mission statement no matter what the evidence actually is.

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    35. Ritchie:

      As evidenced by the thousands of biologists who practice who freely accept ToE,

      Right again. Aside from the fact that they would lose their jobs, standing, grants, tenure, appointments, letters, admissions, passing grades, etc. and would be blackballed for life, they do indeed freely accept ToE. You are exactly right.

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    36. No, CH, they wouldn't. Even Michael Behe, the great icon of ID wasn't kicked out of his post at a secular university.

      You, however, would lose your job at Biola if you stopped promoting "Jesusdunit".

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    37. No, CH, they wouldn't. Even Michael Behe, the great icon of ID wasn't kicked out of his post at a secular university.

      You, however, would lose your job at Biola if you stopped promoting "Jesusdunit".


      Looks like we're reaching that breaking point where the evolutionist loses it and meaningful discussion becomes impossible. (Oh and Behe wasn't "kicked out" because he already had his tenure)

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    38. Really? Because it looks like we are reaching the breaking point where you try to handwave because you have been backed into a corner.

      Scientists who accept evolution are not bound to any religious stance.

      You are.

      Scientists who accept evolution are free to accept whatever evidence they find, no matter what conclusions they infer.

      You are not.

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    39. Scientists who accept evolution are not bound to any religious stance.

      You are.

      Scientists who accept evolution are free to accept whatever evidence they find, no matter what conclusions they infer.

      You are not.


      You have it backwards. It makes no difference to me if evolution is false or true. For evolutionists it must true.

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    40. You have it backwards. It makes no difference to me if evolution is false or true. For evolutionists it must true.

      Cornelius, how can you project like this?

      You have signed a statement of religious faith! Your mission statement at Biola is an beautiful document of assuming your conclusion.

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    41. Cornelius:

      Which is where evolutionists get their confidence. Evolution is a fact not from the science, but from the religion. If it weren't for the religion we would never have heard of Darwin and there would be no evolutionary theory.

      Oh, there would be an evolutionary theory, alright. It just wouldn't be the brain-dead Darwinian theory. It would be a theory based on the well-known concept of intelligent design evolution. The theory of Intelligent Design Evolution explains why objects designed over time inherit traits from their ancestors and can thus be classified within a hierarchical structure. This not-strictly nested hierarchy is what is observed in architecture, automobiles, computing machinery, and living organisms.

      Delete
    42. CH: "What I cannot do is twist the science, contrive whig histories, and promote fallacious arguments."

      OK, so you can't twist the "science". What exactly is it that you "do" with the science? Certainly you aren't out there writing for the journals anymore. I'm not really sure you're really doing any actual science, since you cannot offer any hypothesis - yet talk endlessly about "scientific evidence". You're kind of like a film critic who endlessly pulls apart movies, but has no clue how to make one themselves. And of course the irony is that you're criticizing others' labor, but never seem to do of your own research.

      I'll ask again - what does the evidence point to? What is a non-riduculous view of the science?

      (And again, if your hypothesis needs to mention Jesus, we'll understand that).

      Delete
    43. JDRick:

      (And again, if your hypothesis needs to mention Jesus, we'll understand that).

      What is this "we" shit? Since when did science belong to you? Why don't YOU come up with an alternative scientific hypothesis instead of the voodoo crap you've been preaching?

      Delete
  6. Dr. Hunter:

    I don't understand why you make such a big thing about this. Give random mutations and natural selection enough time, and, of course, it's going to come up with geomagnetic imprinting. It's simple: survival of the fittest.

    Isn't this all obvious?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dawkins Weasel didit, Lino.

      End of story.

      Delete
  7. I like your point Dr Hunter. Science can definitely tell us what the fish does and what it's made of, but it really can't speak to why it does what it does...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok,why did the designer wish for fish to return to a precise stream?

      Delete
    2. I have no idea why God created this fish to behave in this way. I could speculate...

      Delete
  8. I love it when naturalistic UCA'ists say ID'ists should have an alternative before criticizing naturalistic UCA. They do have an alternative. It's called claim what's knowable by sound inductive/deductive argument and admit you're speculating about all else. IOW, quit lying.

    As a benevolent theist that can't figure out how to explain the existence of warranted belief apart from benevolent/competent design, I know I can't prove naturalistic UCA is false. But I also know there's no inductive evidence for it. Because it requires more ad-hoc hypotheses than does SA.

    And I also know UCA is not a fruitful working hypothesis. Because it can't be falsified. All we can do is just keep studying what mutations cause and what their frequencies are. Then we model that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeff -

      I love it when naturalistic UCA'ists say ID'ists should have an alternative before criticizing naturalistic UCA.

      Critically examining UCA and supporting ID are different things. This is the critical point. One does not support one's own theory merely by criticising a different theory. Because they might both be wrong.

      Which is important because in practical terms, ID does nothing but criticise evolution. Every single ID book, blog, website (this one included) that I am aware of focusses exclusively on criticising ToE. Not a single one that I can find has ever made a positive case for ID. No proposed mechanisms, no testable hypotheses - nothing. ID is totally barren. It fails even to qualify as a scientific hypothesis, let alone a theory.

      I know I can't prove naturalistic UCA is false. But I also know there's no inductive evidence for it.

      Then you 'know' wrong.

      The best evidence for UCA is genetics. Every living thing on Earth is built from the same genetic code. And we can trace the relationships between living organisms to create the Tree of Life.

      You know how geneticists can do paternity tests? And how they can figure out how a group of people are related? Well those exact same techniques show the relatedness between species as well.

      And the fact that the Tree of Life drawn up by genetics so closely matches the Tree of Life drawn up by morphological comparison just goes to reinforce the validity of those trees. Separate lines of reasoning - separate fields of study - bringing about the same complex trees of life act as extremely strong evidence that such trees are accurate.

      Here is a simple, user-friendly guide through genetics and what is says about Darwinian evolution:

      http://www.astro.umd.edu/~miller/teaching/astr380f09/slides08.pdf

      And I also know UCA is not a fruitful working hypothesis. Because it can't be falsified.

      Neither statement is remotely true.

      Delete
    2. R: It fails even to qualify as a scientific hypothesis, let alone a theory.

      J: UCA is unfalsifiable. Nothing specific follows from it.

      R: Well those exact same techniques show the relatedness between species as well.

      J: Wrong. They work in paternity tests because of analogical extrapolations from observations. We have no way of knowing whether the posited lineages you posit for UCA are possible. No naturalistic theory implies them. We have not observed them. They are not analogical extrapolations.

      R: And the fact that the Tree of Life drawn up by genetics

      J: The only genetics used in cladistic tree generation is stuff like over-simplified mutation rates, etc. Phenotypic/morphological/extinction effects of mutations are not known for such non-analogical phenotypical extrapolations, so they are not used in the tree generation.

      R: closely matches the Tree of Life drawn up by morphological comparison

      J: No naturalistic theory implies those relationships. That's teleological think (story-telling) you're doing. But you deny a designer existed at the time. So you're being inconsistent.

      R: Neither statement is remotely true

      J: What would falsify UCA, naturalistic or non-naturalistic?

      Delete
    3. Jeff -

      Wrong. They work in paternity tests because of analogical extrapolations from observations. We have no way of knowing whether the posited lineages you posit for UCA are possible.

      We can trace relatedness between individuals because subtle changes in the genome act as markers. Can infer direct lineage using these markers.

      This process is exactly the same whether we are talking about individuals or species genomes.

      The only genetics used in cladistic tree generation is stuff like over-simplified mutation rates, etc.

      Nonsense. We can infer an entire tree of life from the genetics of living species alone. We group species into hierarchies from genetic similarity.

      No naturalistic theory implies those relationships.

      Common Descent is a naturalistic theory and it implies these relationships.

      That's teleological think (story-telling) you're doing.

      No, it is scientific inference.

      But you deny a designer existed at the time.

      There is no evidence for a designer.

      What would falsify UCA, naturalistic or non-naturalistic?

      It would falsify UCA if no species had the same DNA. Or even if there was a single species found somewhere which did not have it.

      I mean, if UCA is false, then why should all species share the same DNA?

      Delete
  9. CH

    Evolutionists insist all of this arose by chance (no natural selection doesn’t help, it cannot induce new designs but rather only kills off bad designs).

    *facepalm*

    There are even some ID/Creationists who accept natural selection as a working mechanism, Cornelius - one that does indeed produce new designs.

    The fact that you deny this basic tenet of ToE really does mark you out as quite an extreme fanatic. This is absolutely elementary science you are getting wrong here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ritchie:

      *facepalm*

      Thank you for providing yet another vivid example of the inevitable Aristotelianism in evolutionary thought.

      Delete
    2. And what precisely is wrong with Aristotelianism?

      Apart from the fact that is disqualifies you from inserting your religious bias into science, of course...

      Delete
    3. Ritchie:

      And what precisely is wrong with Aristotelianism?

      Many would say nothing, but in this context, it contradicts evolution. The religion driving evolutionary thought mandates no teleology and no final causes. Inheritable biological variation, such as from mutations, must be random with respect to need. Just as with Epicureanism, the world arose via chance events which don't anticipate any design.

      So far so good. A religious theory that is scientifically challenged, but that's OK. But in order to sell the idea, evolutionists inevitably resort to teleological language. Rather than own their mandate that selection cannot induce change, and that mutations must be random, they switch hats to Aristotelianism. See this for example from earlier this week:

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2013/02/evolutionist-evolutionary-processes-not.html

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. CH

      So far so good. A religious theory that is scientifically challenged, but that's OK.

      No, it is not religious. The supernatural is forbidden not because there is a presumption that the supernatural does not exist; it is forbidden because science is utterly impossible if we allowed it.

      The supernatural is banished from science for practical, not religious, reasons.

      Rather than own their mandate that selection cannot induce change...

      Selection working on random mutation can induce change. That was exactly why I facepalmed above.

      Random selection provides constant new variation within the gene pool and natural selection winnows out the less advantageous of them. By these means, active, AND DIRECTIONAL progress is made.

      Delete
    6. CH is having a field day with the sentence "Nature probably uncovers new topologies in order to fulfill new functions, and optimizes existing topologies to increase their performance"? So funny.

      Cornelius, the subtitle for this thread ("The battle continues") conjures an image of Baghdad Bob. You lost this battle long ago. Go home. Fly a kite. Enjoy life.

      Delete
    7. Ritchie:

      No, it is not religious.

      Journalists ought to be familiar with the topic.


      The supernatural is forbidden not because there is a presumption that the supernatural does not exist;

      Who ever said that?


      it is forbidden because science is utterly impossible if we allowed it.

      So evolution is anti realism without admitting it, but instead falsely claiming to be a fact.

      Delete
    8. Science (including evolutionary biology) isn't anti-realism. It merely knows its limitations. You can't study the supernatural via the scientific method. Maybe every single species was specially created by God. Science cannot investigate that.

      Delete
    9. So evolution is anti realism without admitting it, but instead falsely claiming to be a fact.

      Oleg has it perfectly.

      Science is not "anti-realism" at all. But certain spheres are simply beyond investigation. The supernatural realm, if it exists, is such a sphere.

      Delete
    10. Oleg:

      Science (including evolutionary biology) isn't anti-realism. It merely knows its limitations. You can't study the supernatural via the scientific method. Maybe every single species was specially created by God. Science cannot investigate that.

      Oops, there you go again. If evolution is realism but incomplete, then provide us with some examples. Where have evolutionists backed off because the science isn’t working? Origin of the genetic code? Origin of proteins? Origin of the cell? Origin of life? Origin of consciousness? Origin of the universe? Hmm, guess not. And if there are so many scientific problems, and evolution is realism but incomplete, then how could evolutionists insist it is a fact? Of course they couldn’t, and evolution are by no means Cartesian realists embracing incompleteness. You’re living in an alternate reality.

      Delete
    11. Where are you getting 'realism but incomplete' from? Why incomplete?

      Where have evolutionists backed off because the science isn’t working? Origin of the genetic code? Origin of proteins? Origin of the cell? Origin of life? Origin of consciousness? Origin of the universe? Hmm, guess not.

      Of course not. Biologists will continue to investigate every mystery. And if any mystery does, in actual fact, have a supernatural explanation, then science will simply forever be unable to account for it.

      But that is not to suggest that scientific mysteries are therefore evidence of the supernatural. That is just God of the Gaps reasoning.

      And if there are so many scientific problems,

      Define 'problems'.

      ...and evolution is realism but incomplete, then how could evolutionists insist it is a fact?

      It is a scientific fact. Which are always provisional.

      You’re living in an alternate reality.

      No, you are if you think science could possibly account for the supernatural.

      If you think it could then explain how.

      If you accept that it cannot then stop insisting this is due to religious biases.

      Delete
    12. Ritchie:

      Define 'problems'.

      Kidding right? How about false predictions? How about no scientific explanations for what we observe?

      http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2012/06/blog-post.html

      Delete
    13. Ritchie:

      Where are you getting 'realism but incomplete' from? Why incomplete?

      If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness. That is, you have excluded a set of explanations a priori (such as non naturalistic ones). Since you don’t know what the true explanations are, a priori, that means you don’t know whether or not you are excluding true ones, a priori. So you are left with two options. You can say “so what, I don’t care if my explanations do not describe reality, I’m sticking to my method regardless.” Or you can say “I want to maintain realism and my method, so I will only work on problems for which the reality matches my method.” Those two options are anti realism and incompleteness, respectively.

      Of course all of this pertains to science and so doesn’t apply to evolution. Evolutionists know no such limits and don’t acknowledge or engage in such questions, because it never was about science to begin with.

      Delete
    14. How about false predictions?

      Can you point to a single one which actually undermines the entire framework of ToE?

      How about no scientific explanations for what we observe?

      It's as though you think ToE should be a set of ready answers for every discovery we will ever make in biology.

      That's not how scientific theories operate. They are a framework for further investigation - which is ongoing until you come across a discovery which actually breaks that framework.

      Do you have anything which qualifies as that?

      We currently have no idea how gravity operates at the centre of a black hole. Does this undermine our theory of gravity?

      Delete
    15. Those two options are anti realism and incompleteness, respectively.

      I see.

      Under that definition then yes, I suppose science is 'realism but incomplete'. But that is by absolute necessity. There is no possible way science could function if it included non-naturalistic forces.

      Unless you can explain how it could, of course...?

      Of course all of this pertains to science and so doesn’t apply to evolution. Evolutionists know no such limits and don’t acknowledge or engage in such questions, because it never was about science to begin with.

      Categorically wrong. Evolution is science through and through. Your whole problem with it is that it won't allow 'Goddidit' as a valid explanation. And in doing so it is behaving perfectly in keeping with a scientific theory.

      Delete
    16. CH: Oops, there you go again. If evolution is realism but incomplete, then provide us with some examples. Where have evolutionists backed off because the science isn’t working? Origin of the genetic code? Origin of proteins? Origin of the cell? Origin of life? Origin of consciousness? Origin of the universe? Hmm, guess not.

      Cornelius, that rant was totally silly. You conflate under the rubric evolution everything and the kitchen sink. The word evolution in biology refers to the development of various forms of life.

      Wikipedia: Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the study of the evolutionary processes that have given rise to the diversity of life on Earth. Someone who studies evolutionary biology is known as an evolutionary biologist; evolutionary biologists study the descent of species and the origin of new species.

      So, under the standard definition, the origin of the genetic code is a separate problem. So is the origin of life and the rest of the things you mentioned. The origin of consciousness is an entirely different field. And don't get me started on the origin of the Universe. That has nothing to do not only with evolutionary biology, but with biology overall.

      This is how science works, Cornelius. (I guess they failed to teach you that in college.) Theory of electromagnetic fields can be a successful scientific theory even if we do not understand the structure of atoms and the nature of electric charge.

      Likewise, we can study evolution without having to first ascertain how life, not to mention the universe, started.

      Delete
    17. CH: If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness. That is, you have excluded a set of explanations a priori (such as non naturalistic ones).

      Welcome to the real world, Cornelius! Science has been like that for the last 4 centuries or so.

      Delete
    18. CH: If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness. That is, you have excluded a set of explanations a priori (such as non naturalistic ones).

      Cornelius wants to include 'and then Jesus performed a miracle' in scientific explanations. I would be fine with that if Cornelius were a bit more specific about the when and where and how of the miracles. Of course he will never do this. He's just a liar for Jesus.

      Delete
    19. Ritchie:

      Your whole problem with it is that it won't allow 'Goddidit' as a valid explanation

      There you go again with another strawman. This is the way evolutionists argue.

      Delete
    20. Oh, don't be coy, Cornelius. You complained about supernatural explanations not being allowed less than half an hour ago. If by that you didn't mean divine intervention, what did you mean?

      Delete
    21. Oleg:

      Welcome to the real world, Cornelius! Science has been like that for the last 4 centuries or so.

      More evolutionary logic. Let’s see, science has been restricting explanations to naturalism for the last four centuries (false, but we’ll overlook the usual whig history for now since it is not germane), so therefore we needn’t concern ourselves with minor problems such as evolution’s fallacious claims.

      Delete
    22. False? Give me an example of a scientific theory relying on the supernatural. Preferably one that is still in use.

      Delete
    23. Oleg:

      Oh, don't be coy, Cornelius. You complained about supernatural explanations not being allowed less than half an hour ago. If by that you didn't mean divine intervention, what did you mean?

      Well perhaps we’re getting somewhere. When evolutionists make undeniably false claims right in front of your eyes, then we’re making some kind of progress aren’t we? Of course I made no such complaint of any sort, so it’s another sign of the evolutionary logic (or lack thereof).

      Delete
    24. Heh. All of a sudden Cornelius can't explain what he meant when he wrote this: If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness.

      His bluff called, he protests that this wasn't about God. If the supernatural isn't about God, what is it about? 'fess up, Cornelius.

      Delete
    25. Oleg:

      His bluff called ...

      Well at least the pattern is repeatable. How many times have you evolutionists displayed this sort of irrationality. It seems the half life is about 3-4 comments before the irrationality takes hold. It is like a shell game with you.

      Bluff? There was no bluff. I explained the relationship between method, realism and completeness to Ritchie. Even Ritchie got it.

      Delete
    26. There you go again with another strawman.

      It is not a strawman, it is the elephant in the room which you have trained yourself to ignore and be coy about.

      Let’s see, science has been restricting explanations to naturalism for the last four centuries (false, but we’ll overlook the usual whig history for now since it is not germane), so therefore we needn’t concern ourselves with minor problems such as evolution’s fallacious claims.

      What nonsense.

      Cornelius, do you or do you not accept that science absolutely must restrict itself to naturalistic explanations?

      Please deliver a yes or no answer. This is an absolutely vital question that I implore you to answer. Please do not be coy and dance around it, or obtuse and simply ignore it - please give a direct and frank answer.

      If your answer is yes, then please state outright that ToE is behaving perfectly scientifically when it restricts itself to only naturalistic explanations. Because if you believe this then that point really is not coming across at all.

      If, however, your answer is no, then please explain exactly HOW science might accommodate the supernatural. How could science possibly sensibly operate when lack of supporting evidence for a theory, and the presence of contradictory evidence, could both be explained away by supernatural interventions.

      Please take the time to consider this and answer as honestly as you feel able. Because my hunch is that I've got you in a bind. I hope you prove me wrong.

      Delete
    27. And are we going to get an example of a scientific theory relying on the supernatural to back up your charge in this comment?

      Delete
    28. Ritchie:

      Ritchie: Your whole problem with it is that it won't allow 'Goddidit' as a valid explanation

      CH: There you go again with another strawman.

      Ritchie: It is not a strawman, it is the elephant in the room which you have trained yourself to ignore and be coy about.


      Of course it is a strawman. What is astonishing is how you continue to dig yourself ever deeper into your hole. You are providing a vivid demonstration of the kind of thinking required to be an evolutionist. It’s like an asylum.

      Delete
    29. CH: You are providing a vivid demonstration of the kind of thinking required to be an evolutionist.

      Cornelius, with the definition of evolution as broad as yours, you might as well replace the word evolutionist with scientist. The result looks quite striking:

      You are providing a vivid demonstration of the kind of thinking required to be a scientist.

      LOL

      Delete
    30. Ritchie:

      CH: Let’s see, science has been restricting explanations to naturalism for the last four centuries (false, but we’ll overlook the usual whig history for now since it is not germane), so therefore we needn’t concern ourselves with minor problems such as evolution’s fallacious claims.

      Ritchie: What nonsense. Cornelius, do you or do you not accept that science absolutely must restrict itself to naturalistic explanations? Please deliver a yes or no answer. This is an absolutely vital question that I implore you to answer. Please do not be coy and dance around it, or obtuse and simply ignore it - please give a direct and frank answer.


      Coy and dance around? Of course it is not true that “science absolutely must restrict itself to naturalistic explanations.” Have you ever heard of SETI?


      please state outright that ToE is behaving perfectly scientifically when it restricts itself to only naturalistic explanations

      Of course it is.

      Delete
    31. Wait, aliens are supernatural? Who knew? Are people and animals supernatural also?

      Delete
    32. Oleg:

      It is you who faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations.

      But of course I did no such thing. This is how evolutionists must argue. Because facts, evidence and logic reveals what is going on.

      Delete
    33. Of course it is not true that “science absolutely must restrict itself to naturalistic explanations.”

      Then you are wrong. Because it must. There is simply no way science can function if it does not assume naturalism.

      If it did not, then scientist would be free to invoke miracles and supernatural intervention to explain away any contradictory evidence. That would simply not do.

      Telling, I notice you neglected the part where I asked you to explain HOW science could function without assuming naturalism...

      Of course it is.

      Was this sarcasm then?

      Delete
    34. Have you ever heard of SETI?

      Of course. And they are not doing anything supernatural. They too are assuming naturalism.

      Delete
    35. CH: If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness. That is, you have excluded a set of explanations a priori (such as non naturalistic ones). Since you don’t know what the true explanations are, a priori, that means you don’t know whether or not you are excluding true ones, a priori.

      OT: It is you who faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations.

      CH: But of course I did no such thing.

      That is laughable, Cornelius. Of course you did.

      Delete
    36. Oleg:

      OT: It is you who faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations.

      CH: But of course I did no such thing.

      OT: That is laughable, Cornelius. Of course you did.


      Oh, very well, if you say so. I must have made a typo. So if you could be so kind as to show us where I faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations, then I can fix the typo. We won’t hold our breath.

      Delete
    37. Ritchie:

      Ritchie: please state outright that ToE is behaving perfectly scientifically when it restricts itself to only naturalistic explanations

      CH: Of course it is.

      Ritchie: Was this sarcasm then?


      No, it was not sarcasm. There is nothing unscientific about restricting explanations to naturalism.

      Delete
    38. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    39. No, it was not sarcasm. There is nothing unscientific about restricting explanations to naturalism.

      Okay, now I'm confused.

      If restricting one's explanations to naturalism is perfectly scientific, then why do you reject the claim that 'science must restrict itself to naturalistic explanations'? That seems like a contradiction.

      Delete
    40. CH: Have you ever heard of SETI?

      Ritchie: Of course. And they are not doing anything supernatural. They too are assuming naturalism.


      No, they are not “assuming naturalism.” We detect a range of cosmic radiation that is caused by a range of on-going physical processes. SETI searches for signals that are *not* caused by such processes, and so do not fit into one of those categories, but instead is caused by a distant civilization. Science gives us a set of natural laws, and they are looking for signals that do not fit the known natural laws. They are looking for signals that fall outside of natural law. If we tune in to some distant star and hear jazz music, then SETI concludes they have detected extra terrestrial intelligence.

      Delete
    41. Ritchie:

      Okay, now I'm confused.

      If restricting one's explanations to naturalism is perfectly scientific, then why do you reject the claim that 'science must restrict itself to naturalistic explanations'? That seems like a contradiction.


      There is nothing unscientific about restricting explanations to naturalism, but that doesn't imply that science must be so restricted. Otherwise SETI would be unscientific.

      Delete
    42. CH: So if you could be so kind as to show us where I faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations, then I can fix the typo.

      In this comment, you stated the following:

      If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness. That is, you have excluded a set of explanations a priori (such as non naturalistic ones). Since you don’t know what the true explanations are, a priori, that means you don’t know whether or not you are excluding true ones, a priori. So you are left with two options.

      Restriction to naturalistic explanation is the hallmark of the scientific method. So right there you faulted science for being less than realistic because it excludes supernatural explanations. And now you are going through amazing mental contortions pretending that you did not make this charge. That looks rather disingenuous.

      You have also stated that my claim about the lack of supernatural explanations in science was false. Yet so far you have not provided one example of a scientific theory incorporating the supernatural. A reference to SETI is not very convincing as (a) aliens aren't supernatural any more than humans are and (b) SETI is not even a scientific theory. It's a hunch with no theoretical framework.

      Delete
    43. CH: There is nothing unscientific about restricting explanations to naturalism, but that doesn't imply that science must be so restricted.

      That's better—the first part. The second part is nonsense: how do you incorporate the supernatural in a scientific framework? How do you experiment with the supernatural? How do you even access it? It falls entirely outside science.

      CH: Otherwise SETI would be unscientific

      You got that right. SETI isn't science.

      Delete
    44. CH: Science gives us a set of natural laws, and they are looking for signals that do not fit the known natural laws. They are looking for signals that fall outside of natural law. If we tune in to some distant star and hear jazz music, then SETI concludes they have detected extra terrestrial intelligence.

      You are conflating intelligence with the supernatural. Are humans supernatural? I don't think so.

      Delete
    45. Oleg:

      You got that right. SETI isn't science.

      Astonishing. The boldness with which evolutionists insist they can dictate pretty much anything.

      Delete
    46. CH -

      They are looking for signals that fall outside of natural law.

      No, CH, they are absolutely not looking for signals which fall outside of natural law. That is a ludicrous suggestion.

      They are simply looking for signals which might indicate extra-terrestrial life - signals which they would identify and pick out from the background noise by being artificial.

      Here is a SETI worker himself explaining (in plain, simple language) exactly what SETI is doing and how it is going about it.

      http://www.space.com/1826-seti-intelligent-design.html

      Neither anything their are doing nor anything they are looking for, is supernatural.

      There is nothing unscientific about restricting explanations to naturalism, but that doesn't imply that science must be so restricted.

      Then how could science possibly function if a scientist could attribute any evidence which contradicts his theory as the product of supernatural interference?

      Otherwise SETI would be unscientific.

      There is nothing supernatural whatsoever about SETI. See above.

      Delete
    47. Oleg:

      You are conflating intelligence with the supernatural. Are humans supernatural? I don't think so.

      No that would be you, remember? I said nothing of the sort.

      Delete
    48. Ritchie:

      Then how could science possibly function if a scientist could attribute any evidence which contradicts his theory as the product of supernatural interference?

      Who said that?

      Delete
    49. The why are you giving SETI as an example of the supernatural in science? (Prediction: this wil be followed by another denial.)

      Delete
    50. CH

      Who said that?

      Cornelius, if scientists are not restricted to naturalistic-only explanations, then they will be able to invoke supernatural ones, won't they?

      Delete
    51. oleg

      The why are you giving SETI as an example of the supernatural in science?


      Yeah, that was one of the dumber things CH has offered out of a whole batch to pick from.

      Delete
    52. Oleg:

      CH: So if you could be so kind as to show us where I faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations, then I can fix the typo.

      OT: In this comment, you stated the following: “If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness. That is, you have excluded a set of explanations a priori (such as non naturalistic ones). Since you don’t know what the true explanations are, a priori, that means you don’t know whether or not you are excluding true ones, a priori. So you are left with two options.” Restriction to naturalistic explanation is the hallmark of the scientific method. So right there you faulted science for being less than realistic because it excludes supernatural explanations.


      Astonishing. And you are a professor?

      Faulted science for being less than realistic? I literally made no such criticism. I explained various ways science can operate, including realism and anti realism. There is nothing even controversial here. Your need for evolution to be true is driving you to irrational, bizarre conclusions.


      And now you are going through amazing mental contortions pretending that you did not make this charge. That looks rather disingenuous.

      There are no contortions to go through. You have put words in my mouth.

      Delete
    53. Ritchie:

      Here is a SETI worker himself explaining (in plain, simple language) exactly what SETI is doing and how it is going about it.

      http://www.space.com/1826-seti-intelligent-design.html


      Yes, that is a good explanation. You are making my point. It reads:

      =====
      If SETI were to announce that we're not alone because it had detected a signal, it would be on the basis of artificiality. An endless, sinusoidal signal - a dead simple tone - is not complex; it's artificial. Such a tone just doesn't seem to be generated by natural astrophysical processes.
      =====

      As I said, SETI is not “assuming naturalism.” We detect a range of cosmic radiation that is caused by a range of on-going physical processes. SETI searches for signals that are *not* caused by such processes, and so do not fit into one of those categories, but instead is caused by a distant civilization. Science gives us a set of natural laws, and they are looking for signals that do not fit the known natural laws. They are looking for signals that fall outside of natural law. If we tune in to some distant star and hear jazz music, then SETI concludes they have detected extra terrestrial intelligence.

      Delete
    54. Faulted science for being less than realistic? I literally made no such criticism. I explained various ways science can operate, including realism and anti realism. There is nothing even controversial here.

      In fairness to Cornelius, I think I can see what he was getting at here. Insisting on naturalistic-only explanations does eliminate potential explanations; non-naturalistic ones. I think that's all he was trying to say. And thus far it does make sense.

      Where it falls apart is the idea that science could possibly operate any other way (much less the idea that SETI actually does this presently). I think we're waiting for you to explain how that could happen, CH...

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    55. Cornelius Hunter

      As I said, SETI is not “assuming naturalism.”


      CH, please tell us you're not dumb/dishonest/clueless enough to mistake the SETI researcher's "natural causes vs. artificial causes" differentiation with "naturalism vs. supernaturalism".

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    56. "If SETI were to announce that we're not alone because it had detected a signal, it would be on the basis of artificiality. An endless, sinusoidal signal - a dead simple tone - is not complex; it's artificial. Such a tone just doesn't seem to be generated by natural astrophysical processes."

      The difference he is speaking of is the difference between 'natural' and 'artificial', not 'natural' and 'supernatural'.

      We detect a range of cosmic radiation that is caused by a range of on-going physical processes. SETI searches for signals that are *not* caused by such processes, and so do not fit into one of those categories, but instead is caused by a distant civilization.

      No, SETI can identify a range of sonuds and signals which space gives off naturally. This is normal background noise. They are looking for signals which do not fit this background noise - they are artificial. That is to say, they are efficient and narrowly-broadcast.

      They are not trying to detect anything supernatural.

      Science gives us a set of natural laws, and they are looking for signals that do not fit the known natural laws. They are looking for signals that fall outside of natural law.

      No they aren't. Such signals as an alien civilisation might give off - such signals as SETI are searching for - are perfectly natural. They would be distinct from the background noise of space by being artificial, not supernatural.

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    57. CH: There are no contortions to go through. You have put words in my mouth.

      Right. Your own words.

      Cornelius, you're channeling Newt Gingrich: "any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood."

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    58. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    59. Ritchie:

      This is normal background noise. They are looking for signals which do not fit this background noise - they are artificial.

      Right, I think you getting it. They are detecting artificial signals indicating intelligence.

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    60. But not the supernatural.

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    61. Right, I think you getting it. They are detecting artificial signals indicating intelligence.

      But not the supernatural.

      Exactly.

      Which does not help you at all to explain how science could operate without assuming naturalism.

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    62. Cornelius,

      CH:"What is astonishing is how you continue to dig yourself ever deeper into your hole. You are providing a vivid demonstration of the kind of thinking required to be an evolutionist. It’s like an asylum."

      OUCH!

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    63. Oleg:

      OT: It is you who faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations.

      CH: But of course I did no such thing.

      OT: That is laughable, Cornelius. Of course you did.

      CH: Oh, very well, if you say so. I must have made a typo. So if you could be so kind as to show us where I faulted science for excluding supernatural explanations, then I can fix the typo. We won’t hold our breath.

      OT: In this comment, you stated the following: “If you mandate a constraint on method (such as all explanations must be strictly naturalistic), then you forfeit either realism or completeness. That is, you have excluded a set of explanations a priori (such as non naturalistic ones). Since you don’t know what the true explanations are, a priori, that means you don’t know whether or not you are excluding true ones, a priori. So you are left with two options.” Restriction to naturalistic explanation is the hallmark of the scientific method. So right there you faulted science for being less than realistic because it excludes supernatural explanations.

      CH: Astonishing. And you are a professor? Faulted science for being less than realistic? I literally made no such criticism. I explained various ways science can operate, including realism and anti realism. There is nothing even controversial here. Your need for evolution to be true is driving you to irrational, bizarre conclusions. You have put words in my mouth.

      OT: Right. Your own words. Cornelius, you're channeling Newt Gingrich: "any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood."



      No, not my own words. What I said was: “If you mandate a constraint on method, then you forfeit either realism or completeness.” In your evolutionary world that equates to faulting science for excluding supernatural explanations. But in fact there is precisely zero criticism of science in what I said. It is a factual observation of different ways science can work.

      This is like one of those dorm room arguments where the drunk freshman makes a fool of himself. I would understand if this were an Internet chat room or the like, but with a professor? Of science no less?

      But this is what a discussion with an evolutionist looks like. You see if you ever so much as suggest that evolution’s dogmatic claims might not hold water, then evolutionists go into this sort of knee-jerk reaction, making all kinds of false accusations. At this point the evolutionist is making no sense. This is embarrassing.

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    64. Ritchie:

      Which does not help you at all to explain how science could operate without assuming naturalism.

      The point is, as Shostak explained, SETI looks for signals that don't seem "to be generated by natural astrophysical processes." If you insist that that "assumes naturalism" then it's just symantics. At least you understand they are detecting intelligence.

      Delete
    65. CHL No, not my own words. What I said was: “If you mandate a constraint on method, then you forfeit either realism or completeness.” In your evolutionary world that equates to faulting science for excluding supernatural explanations. But in fact there is precisely zero criticism of science in what I said. It is a factual observation of different ways science can work.

      I am not sure what "my evolutionary word" means. I am a physicist, not an evolutionary biologist. Of course, under your definition of evolution even cosmologists are evolutionists, so I guess that includes all of natural science.

      Be that as it may, you have said that science (or that which you call evolution) has to shed realism if it does not include the supernatural. To which I answered that yes, science knows its limitations, but the inability to study the supernatural does not make it anti-realist.

      The word anti-realist was injected into the discussion by you. So one can reasonably infer that you think science is anti-realist because it rejects the supernatural.

      Your words, not mine.

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    66. The point is, as Shostak explained, SETI looks for signals that don't seem "to be generated by natural astrophysical processes." If you insist that that "assumes naturalism" then it's just symantics.

      Not in this case it isn't.

      May I remind you how we got onto this topic? You claimed that science did not have to assume naturalism, and you posited SETI as an example of this.

      However, your example fails to support your point. SETI does assume naturalism. So you are back to square one.

      Please explain to us how science could POSSIBLY operate if it did not assume naturalism.

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    67. Let's look at Hunter's definition of the supernatural:

      Science gives us a set of natural laws, and they are looking for signals that do not fit the known natural laws. They are looking for signals that fall outside of natural law.

      By "natural law," I presume he means the current scientific knowledge. (Correct me if I am wrong, Cornelius.)

      This does not work well. We can take as an example the motion of Uranus, whose orbit did not conform to the laws of planetary motion (natural laws). That anomaly was not an indication of the supernatural. Instead, it led to the discovery of Neptune.

      Along the same lines, the precession of Mercury's perihelion could not be fully explained by the natural laws—as they were known in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Again, the anomaly had nothing to do with the supernatural.

      I think you need to rethink your definition, Cornelius.

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    68. Oleg:

      you have said that science (or that which you call evolution) has to shed realism if it does not include the supernatural.

      No, I said science must shed either realism or completeness if it places a restriction on method. So it can either remove the method restriction, or chose been anti realism or incompleteness. Of course evolutionists such as yourself will have none of this. Because evolution doesn’t play by the rules of science.

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    69. Ritchie:

      CH: The point is, as Shostak explained, SETI looks for signals that don't seem "to be generated by natural astrophysical processes." If you insist that that "assumes naturalism" then it's just symantics.

      Ritchie: Not in this case it isn't. May I remind you how we got onto this topic? You claimed that science did not have to assume naturalism, and you posited SETI as an example of this. However, your example fails to support your point. SETI does assume naturalism. So you are back to square one. Please explain to us how science could POSSIBLY operate if it did not assume naturalism.


      SETI searches for signals not the result of natural law. That means that SETI is not “assuming naturalism.” The fact that you won’t acknowledge that fact doesn’t change that fact.

      Delete
    70. CH: No, I said science must shed either realism or completeness if it places a restriction on method. So it can either remove the method restriction, or chose been anti realism or incompleteness.

      Science is certainly not anti-realism. As to incompleteness, that is not very persuasive. Science cannot study Russel's teapot, either, but somehow this does not bother me much.

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    71. SETI searches for signals not the result of natural law.

      No it doesn't. That is precisely it does not do. It searches for signals that are unlikely to be caused by 'natural' background noise.

      There is nothing at all un-, sub- or super- natural about what SETI is doing. It is all well within the bounds of 'natural law' and the fact that you won't acknowledge that fact does not change that fact.

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    72. The funny thing is Cornelius's attempts to make aliens supernatural also make human supernatural.

      Behold my supernatural powers! I am about to violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics!

      Delete
    73. Cornelius Hunter

      SETI searches for signals not the result of natural law. That means that SETI is not “assuming naturalism.”


      Er CH, "not the result of natural law" does not equal "supernatural".

      I don't know what's funnier - watching you make the beginner's mistake or watching your gyrations after, trying to save face over the blunder.

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    74. Ritchie:

      CH: SETI searches for signals not the result of natural law.

      Ritchie: No it doesn't. That is precisely it does not do. It searches for signals that are unlikely to be caused by 'natural' background noise.


      Ah, thank you for a classic distinction without a difference. Amazing.

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    75. Thorton:

      Er CH, "not the result of natural law" does not equal "supernatural".

      Er, who said it does?

      Delete
    76. Cornelius Hunter

      T: "Er CH, "not the result of natural law" does not equal "supernatural".

      Er, who said it does?


      You did, right above. But keep those wild face-saving gyrations going CH. I hear Jesus loves break dancing.

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    77. Cornelius,

      Perhaps you should explain how science can regain, in your view, both realism and completeness. If I read you correctly, it would have to go beyond just naturalistic explanations. Would that not mean that science has to include supernatural explanations?

      Delete
    78. Oleg:

      Perhaps you should explain how science can regain, in your view, both realism and completeness. If I read you correctly, it would have to go beyond just naturalistic explanations. Would that not mean that science has to include supernatural explanations?

      That position was occupied by the Royal Society in the 17th century. People who opted for no restriction on method like Boyle, Newton and Glanvill. You know, guys who weren’t “real scientists” like you are.

      Delete
    79. Great. I will take that as a "yes, science should include supernatural explanations."

      Assuming that this is correct, can you name a scientific theory, preferably currently in use, that relies on a supernatural explanation?

      I know of one example where Newton thought natural laws—as he knew them—could not explain a certain phenomenon and therefore he thought that an explanation could be supernatural. What is the status of this phenomenon now? Is there a naturalistic theory that explains it?

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    80. Cornelius Hunter

      That position was occupied by the Royal Society in the 17th century. People who opted for no restriction on method like Boyle, Newton and Glanvill. You know, guys who weren’t “real scientists” like you are.


      CH, there's a reason why the idea of including the supernatural in science didn't make it out of the 17th century. Care to guess what it is?

      Delete
    81. CH

      Ah, thank you for a classic distinction without a difference. Amazing.

      A classic case of deliberately trying not to understand. You really are wriggling like a fish to insist that what SETI is doing is supernatural. It really is an incredible performance...

      There is a difference. You are just consciously, deliberately, desperately trying to confuse the two.

      Imagine being lost in the jungle. You might wander around in search of other humans. But it's dark or your sight isn't very good or whatever. So as you stumble around you are listening out for sounds of human civilisation.

      You are listening out for sounds which are different from the background noises. In that sense you are listening out non-natural noises. But you are not listening out for SUPERNATURAL noises, are you? There is nothing supernatural about what you are doing or what you are listening out for, is there?

      Delete
    82. Thorton:

      You did, right above.

      Ah, right. Another evolutionist.

      Delete
    83. Oleg:

      Great. I will take that as a "yes, science should include supernatural explanations."

      You're confusing an is with an ought. Fallacy number ...

      Delete
    84. CH: Ah, right. Another evolutionist.

      If this comment is any guide, CH really means to say another scientist.

      And that would be correct.

      Delete
    85. The LULZ in this face plant by CH is approaching his thylacine debacle!

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    86. Ritchie:

      to insist that what SETI is doing is supernatural.

      Who said that?

      Delete
    87. CH: Who said that?

      You did.

      Here you wrote:

      Coy and dance around? Of course it is not true that “science absolutely must restrict itself to naturalistic explanations.” Have you ever heard of SETI?

      SETI was clearly an example of going beyond naturalistic explanations.

      I then asked you to explain what you meant by going beyond natural explanations. You confirmed, in this comment, that it would mean including supernatural explanations.

      Thus any reasonable observer might conclude, as Ritchie did, that SETI was an example of the supernatural.

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    88. Ritchie:

      Let’s remember we got onto this topic I said science does not have to assume naturalism, and gave SETI as an example. You then fallaciously claimed I was wrong because what SETI is doing is not supernatural. Do you see your mistake?

      SETI searches for signals that are unlikely to be caused by natural law. Now if you want to, you can call this “signals that are unlikely to be caused by 'natural' background noise.” But that is a distinction without a difference. SETI is not assuming naturalism, which was my point. Indeed, it is explicitly looking for signals that are not caused by the known natural sources.

      Delete
    89. CH, if SETI is not an example of the supernatural (as we all seem to agree), you need to provide an example of the supernatural used in a scientific theory. Preferably one in use today.

      Delete
    90. Oleg:

      Thus any reasonable observer might conclude, as Ritchie did, that SETI was an example of the supernatural.

      Are you evolutionists allowed to drive together?

      Delete
    91. Oleg:

      you need to provide an example of the supernatural used in a scientific theory. Preferably one in use today.

      Why do I need to provide such an example?

      Delete
    92. CH -

      Do you see your mistake?

      No I do not. The only mistake I see is yours, in claiming that SETI does not operate on the assumption of naturalism.

      SETI searches for signals that are unlikely to be caused by natural law. Now if you want to, you can call this “signals that are unlikely to be caused by 'natural' background noise.” But that is a distinction without a difference.

      No it is not. It is a very obvious and important difference. An artificial signal is not a supernatural signal. SETI is looking for artificial signals. You are claiming they are looking for supernatural ones. The difference is as plain is it is farcical.

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    93. Cornelius Hunter

      Why do I need to provide such an example?


      Maybe if you posted a photo of the SETI researchers, then posted the mirror image of the same photo and claimed it was a different group looking for the supernatural... :)

      Delete
    94. Because it seems like you agreed that going beyond natural explanations means including supernatural explanations. I would like to see some examples of that in science.

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    95. Thus any reasonable observer might conclude, as Ritchie did, that SETI was an example of the supernatural.

      Wait, what?

      I never concluded SETI was an example of the supernatural.

      Cornelius was the one who brought up SETI - as an example of science not assuming naturalism. And I have been trying to get him to see the error in his entirely broken logic for quite some time now.

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    96. Ritchie

      Wait, what?

      I never concluded SETI was an example of the supernatural.


      I think you misread. He was saying you interpreted CH as claiming SETI was an example of the supernatural. Which CH did BTW, and why it's so hilarious to watch him try to squirm out of it.

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    97. Ritchie:

      No I do not. The only mistake I see is yours, in claiming that SETI does not operate on the assumption of naturalism.

      Tell me, what is it about "Such a tone just doesn't seem to be generated by natural astrophysical processes," that you don't understand?

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    98. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    99. CH -

      You know you really might help yourslef understand if you stopped using the term 'non-natural'.

      Use the terms 'artificial' and 'supernatural' instead.

      Now, what sort of signals are SETI looking for? Are they looking for artificial signals? Or are they looking for supernatural signals?

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    100. Cornelius Hunter

      Tell me, what is it about "Such a tone just doesn't seem to be generated by natural astrophysical processes," that you don't understand?


      The part where things that aren't "natural astrophysical processes" means "the supernatural" as you keep claiming.

      I bet Jesus is laughing his butt off at you right about now.

      Delete
    101. I think you misread. He was saying you interpreted CH as claiming SETI was an example of the supernatural. Which CH did BTW, and why it's so hilarious to watch him try to squirm out of it.

      Ah yes. Gotcha. That does indeed all make sense.

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    102. Oleg:

      Because it seems like you agreed that going beyond natural explanations means including supernatural explanations. I would like to see some examples of that in science.

      Oh, I think I see what you’re asking. Imagine a civilization on a distant planet and on Earth an astronomer collecting radio signals. He insists that all signals he collects must be explained according to known natural laws. Therefore he forfeits any guarantee of realism. And not surprisingly, when he collects the signals from the distant civilization his modeling of the signals doesn’t work very well. Oh well, he concludes it is a future research project. After all, one must never give up on naturalism.

      But a second astronomer has a similar project except he places no such restriction on explaining the signals he collects. If the signal fits a known natural source, then he’ll go with it. If it doesn’t, he’ll scratch his head and think about it. In fact he even classifies the known natural sources to help in distinguishing signals that don’t fall into those categories. That would be an example of maintaining realism and completeness by avoiding restriction on method.

      Delete
    103. Is that your example of the supernatural in science, Cornelius?

      Delete
    104. Ritchie:

      Now, what sort of signals are SETI looking for? Are they looking for artificial signals? Or are they looking for supernatural signals?

      I explained this several times already and was careful to avoid confusion which you introduced. They are looking for signals that do not appear to be from known natural laws or sources. Or as Shostak put it, do not seem to be generated by natural astrophysical processes.

      If you need a label for that, then fine. Use whatever label you like. Artificial, not background noise, whatever works for you.

      Delete
    105. CH -

      I explained this several times already and was careful to avoid confusion which you introduced.

      No Cornelius, you were the one to introduce the confusion, by trying to imply that 'artificial' and 'supernatural' were the same thing.

      If you need a label for that, then fine. Use whatever label you like. Artificial, not background noise, whatever works for you.

      Artificial does indeed work for me. But supernatural does not.

      It is obviously too painful an admission for you to make, so I'll make the leap for you:

      SETI are looking for artificial signals. They are not looking for supernatural signals.

      There. It is said. You can breathe a sigh of relief that I did not force you to actually write the words.

      But unfortunately this still leaves you in the same logical conundrum. Because there is nothing non-natural (in the sense of methodological naturalism) about artificial signals, nor in looking for them.

      So this leaves you once again without an example of science operating without methodological naturalism. Which you claimed was possible.

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    106. Oleg:

      Is that your example of the supernatural in science, Cornelius?

      Oh, sorry, you wanted a supernatural example. Of course there are plenty of such examples (from Aristotle's Prime Mover to today's creationists), but the problem is that you, being a rationalist, believe that MN is the only legitimate science so, by definition, all such examples are not legitimate. So I can't give you an answer that will satisfy you.

      Delete
    107. Ritchie:

      No Cornelius, you were the one to introduce the confusion, by trying to imply that 'artificial' and 'supernatural' were the same thing.

      Ah no Ritchie, that was your strawman, remember? I never said any such thing.

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    108. Ritchie:

      But unfortunately this still leaves you in the same logical conundrum. Because there is nothing non-natural (in the sense of methodological naturalism) about artificial signals, nor in looking for them.

      OK, so let's summarize. You agree that SETI is looking for signals that are not caused by natural sources, but you deny that they are looking for signals that are not caused by natural sources. Do I have that right?

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    109. CH: Oh, sorry, you wanted a supernatural example. Of course there are plenty of such examples (from Aristotle's Prime Mover to today's creationists), but the problem is that you, being a rationalist, believe that MN is the only legitimate science so, by definition, all such examples are not legitimate. So I can't give you an answer that will satisfy you.

      I think the problem is different. Neither Aristotelean metaphysics, nor creationist theories fall within science. Or do you disagree with that?

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    110. Oleg:

      I think the problem is different. Neither Aristotelean metaphysics, nor creationist theories fall within science. Or do you disagree with that?

      I don’t see why Aristotelian physics doesn’t qualify as science. His Prime Mover was not an a priori belief, but rather a move to resolve an infinite regress in motion.


      Delete
  10. Ritchie, natural selection is a phrase used to denote the fact that some species go extinct, etc. It's not an explanation of variation. That's all CH is saying. You need a naturalistic theory that IMPLIES the relevant effects from relevant initial conditions. You can't even explain common ancestry for chimps and humans yet. You assume it and then assume that ad-hoc hypotheses about mutation rates, etc can provide ways to deduce greater detail. It's circular reasoning through and through.

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    Replies
    1. Jeff -

      Ritchie, natural selection is a phrase used to denote the fact that some species go extinct, etc.

      Incorrect. It is the process by which the least fit to survive are eliminated, but the more fit to survive thrive and populate the next generation with their advantageous genes.

      Imagine being big is beneficial to the survival of, say, a mouse. We call that a selection pressure. So within a group of mice, the big ones are at a survival advantage to the small ones. So the small ones are more likely to die, and the big ones are more likely to survive and reproduce. Therefore, over time, the average size of the group of mice gets bigger. See? Positive change brought about by natural selection.

      It's not an explanation of variation.

      True but it's not meant to be. That would be random mutation. Random mutation ensures there is variation. And as long as there is variation, natural selection ensures only the fittest survive. Random mutation provides the raw materials; natural selection shapes it.

      You can't even explain common ancestry for chimps and humans yet.

      Ummm, yes we can. Approx 7 million years ago, in East Africa there lived a common ancestor of chimps and humans. Ta-dah.

      You assume it

      By 'assume' I presume you mean it cannot be proved absolutely? In which case the word is misplaced because every fact is science is provisional. That is the nature of science. But that alone does not mean there is any reasonable doubt over it.

      The relationship between humans and chimpanzees is not a blind assumption. There is a lot of evidence to back it up. Firstly, genetic. Is it just a coincidence that we are so similar? If we are unrelated there is absolutely no reason we should be so.

      There there is the fossil evidence of early hominids showing the progression of features which separates we humans from the other apes. How anyone who denies a connection between humans and chimps explains them away I have no idea.

      And if that weren't enough, we even use this 'assumption' as the basis of testable hypotheses. All great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes. Humans have 23. If UCA was true, then one of the chromosome pairs in humans must actually be a fusion of two. And when we looked, that is exactly what we found. A beautiful vindication of common ancestry between humans and apes.

      No circular logic. Just ration scientific inference.

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    2. R: It is the process by which the least fit to survive are eliminated, but the more fit to survive thrive and populate the next generation with their advantageous genes.

      J: Right, but this doesn't explain the specific lineage/trajectories you posit. SA could be true if all we had is what you say above.

      It's not an explanation of variation.

      R: Random mutation provides the raw materials; natural selection shapes it.

      J: But not in a knowable way by which we can deduce phenotypic/morphological trajectories. That's all CH is saying. It doesn't get us from SA to UCA, or even lots of SA's to few.

      J: You can't even explain common ancestry for chimps and humans yet.

      R: Ummm, yes we can. Approx 7 million years ago, in East Africa there lived a common ancestor of chimps and humans. Ta-dah.

      J: That would indeed be an explanation if you meant that chimps and humans both descended in one generation from the exact same non-chimp, non-human parents and that those parents just had those propagational capacities. But that's not what evolutionists posit. They posit that mutations over lots of generations account for the descent story. But we don't know enough about mutations to know that's logically possible in the time-frame and the successive environments. You just BELIEVE it.

      R: By 'assume' I presume you mean it cannot be proved absolutely? In which case the word is misplaced because every fact is science is provisional.

      J: That's not what I mean. I mean your assumption is ad-hoc. There is no inductive evidence for UCA.

      R: That is the nature of science.

      J: That is the nature of induction. And science, to be demarcatable in a non-arbitrary way must simply be the voluntary application of induction and deduction to our experience.

      R: But that alone does not mean there is any reasonable doubt over it.

      J: Indeed.

      R: Is it just a coincidence that we are so similar? If we are unrelated there is absolutely no reason we should be so.

      J: All kinds of things are similar that are not related genealogically. That doesn't mean there is no reason why they have the properties that they have that are similar.

      R: There there is the fossil evidence of early hominids showing the progression of features which separates we humans from the other apes.

      J: There is no neat progression. Fossil finds have over-turned hypotheses over and over.

      R: How anyone who denies a connection between humans and chimps explains them away I have no idea.

      J: How anyone thinks common design can be arbitrarily limited independent of inductive criteria is beyond me.

      And if that weren't enough, we even use this 'assumption' as the basis of testable hypotheses. All great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes. Humans have 23. If UCA was true, then one of the chromosome pairs in humans must actually be a fusion of two. And when we looked, that is exactly what we found. A beautiful vindication of common ancestry between humans and apes.

      No circular logic. Just ration scientific inference.

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    3. Jeff -

      It's not an explanation of variation.

      That would be speciation.

      But not in a knowable way by which we can deduce phenotypic/morphological trajectories.

      I don't know what you're saying here.

      That would indeed be an explanation if you meant that chimps and humans both descended in one generation from the exact same non-chimp, non-human parents and that those parents just had those propagational capacities.

      No, they had a single common ancestor species, but not individuals.

      Speciation is a well-recognised process.

      http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/news/100201_speciation

      All kinds of things are similar that are not related genealogically. That doesn't mean there is no reason why they have the properties that they have that are similar.

      It is not merely the fact that humans and chimps are so genetically similar. It is the PATTERN the genetics gives us.

      It tells us that we humans are more closely related to chimps than we are to gibbons; lemurs further still, cows further still, frogs further still, sharks further still... it is the very pattern it gives us - the tree of life it draws, and the fact that this so closely matches the tree of life we get from comparative morphology, which is the evidence for UCA.

      There is no neat progression. Fossil finds have over-turned hypotheses over and over.

      Like what?

      You need to read more. Because it most certainly is circular.

      No, it really is not. A prediction made, based on a theory, and then tested and verified, acts as supporting evidence for that theory.

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    4. R: I don't know what you're saying here.

      J: The cause of an effect can only by conceived of as a condition (the cause) which is necessary and sufficient for another, subsequent condition (the effect). A naturalistic theory explains by attempting to show that certain conditions invariably (this requires analogy by enumeration) follow antecedent conditions and then starts with initial conditions and deduces predictions (or implications, if both cause and effect are historical). There is no extant naturalistic theory that explains any of the lineages posited by any UCA'ist. Cladistic tree generation doesn't require any causal criteria at all.

      R: No, they had a single common ancestor species, but not individuals.

      J: But you haven't explained that. Because you haven't provided the cause of the effect. You just believe it.

      R: Speciation is a well-recognised process.

      J: What is not well-recognized is that historical biological variation can be represented by a UCA tree as opposed to SA's.

      R: It is not merely the fact that humans and chimps are so genetically similar. It is the PATTERN the genetics gives us.

      J: Amazing. The literature is full of "unexpected" DNA data and it's implications for mutation rates, there are no known causal accounts of the posited lineages, UCA branching is non-analogical extrapolation, but somehow the pattern of the data indicates common ancestry.

      State the pattern and then explain naturalistically (i.e., using event regularities) what you're talking about.

      R: It tells us that we humans are more closely related to chimps than we are to gibbons; lemurs further still, cows further still, frogs further still, sharks further still... it is the very pattern it gives us - the tree of life it draws, and the fact that this so closely matches the tree of life we get from comparative morphology, which is the evidence for UCA.

      J: You're surprised there's some correlation between cladistic trees and morphology? Cladistics uses traits. Morphology has to do with traits. Regardless, at no point is actual explanation going on (i.e., reasoning in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions for trait generation).

      J: There is no neat progression. Fossil finds have over-turned hypotheses over and over.

      R: Like what?

      J: Like hypothetical ancestor-descendant relationships being over-turned as new data becomes available. Remember, Ritchie, science is tentative. It discards hypotheses as necessary to accommodate new data.

      R: No, it really is not. A prediction made, based on a theory, and then tested and verified, acts as supporting evidence for that theory.

      J: There is no theory that implied the fusion. Thus, that it can be explained differently means you're using circular reasoning.

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    5. The cause of an effect can only by conceived of...

      That is no clearer at all.

      But you haven't explained that. Because you haven't provided the cause of the effect. You just believe it.

      The cause of the effect? Speciation is the cause of the effect. Which is a process we have observed in action.

      What is not well-recognized is that historical biological variation can be represented by a UCA tree as opposed to SA's.

      UCA tree accounts for the genetic evidence. SA does not.

      If UCA were true, there is a REASON that life falls into nested hierarchies. UCA makes sense of that pattern.

      If SA were true, there is no reason that life would fit that pattern. SA does not account for this.

      The literature is full of "unexpected" DNA data and it's implications for mutation rates, there are no known causal accounts of the posited lineages, UCA branching is non-analogical extrapolation, but somehow the pattern of the data indicates common ancestry.

      UCA is the most parsimonious explanation of nested hierarchies.

      You're surprised there's some correlation between cladistic trees and morphology?

      SOME?

      A dolphin more close resembles a fish than a monkey. But genetics tells us that it is far more closely related to the monkey.

      Like hypothetical ancestor-descendant relationships being over-turned as new data becomes available.

      No, I'd like specific discoveries, please. Smoethnig which categorically throws a spanner in the works of UCA.

      There is no theory that implied the fusion.

      Of course there was!

      If all other great apes have 24 pairs but humans have only 23, and yet we share a common ancestry, then the human lineage must have had 24 pairs in past, and lost a pair since the last ancestor they shared with chimpanzees.

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    6. J: The cause of an effect can only by conceived of...

      R: That is no clearer at all.

      J: It's as clear as it gets for the generic meaning of "cause" and "effect."

      R: The cause of the effect? Speciation is the cause of the effect. Which is a process we have observed in action.

      J: We haven't observed which species evolve into which species to know if any of the synthesized UCA trees are logically possible, much less whether they correspond to history. Remember, no analogical extrapolation is being done. So you need a BONA-FIDE naturalistic explanation. You have none.

      R: UCA tree accounts for the genetic evidence. SA does not.

      J: On the contrary. DNA sequences don't tell us how they got that way. Ad-hoc assumptions are made. Lots of them. Then trees are synthesized. This is the equivalent of story-telling--i.e., teleological explanation.

      R: If UCA were true, there is a REASON that life falls into nested hierarchies. UCA makes sense of that pattern.

      J: Not at all. UCA trees could be generated without nested hierarchies. If there is an evolutionary reason for it, it has yet to be conceived of in terms of naturalistic explanation. This hasn't been done yet. The trees generate in with nested hierarchies WITHOUT using the hypothetical transitional traits, thus evolution has no knowable relation to the trees. As Theobald admitted, Linnaeus generated the same kinds of nested hierarchy just by using human classification criteria independent of any evolutionary assumptions.

      R: If SA were true, there is no reason that life would fit that pattern. SA does not account for this.

      J: There is no non-teleological explanation of it.

      R: UCA is the most parsimonious explanation of nested hierarchies.

      J: UCA is not an explanation. It's an hypothesis. It is consistent with kazillions of trees and causal and a-causal event sequences.

      R: A dolphin more close resembles a fish than a monkey. But genetics tells us that it is far more closely related to the monkey.

      J: No. Genetics doesn't "tell" us that. DNA sequences, when interpreted with lots of ad-hoc assumptions, implies things. But those implications are no more plausible than the tons of ad-hoc assumptions used in the interpretation.

      R: No, I'd like specific discoveries, please. Smoethnig which categorically throws a spanner in the works of UCA.

      J: We were talking about human evolution. Those hypotheses change with new data. UCA, per se, is unfalsifiable. It implies nothing specific.

      R: If all other great apes have 24 pairs but humans have only 23, and yet we share a common ancestry, then the human lineage must have had 24 pairs in past, and lost a pair since the last ancestor they shared with chimpanzees.

      J: If humans had 24 pairs in the past, the could fusion could occurred in the human lineage itself. No common ancestry is needed to explain it.

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    7. There is some question as to whether it's a fusion at all. But regardless, common ancestry isn't necessary to account for a fusion event.

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    8. Remember, no analogical extrapolation is being done. So you need a BONA-FIDE naturalistic explanation. You have none.

      Right, give me a hypothetical example of what you would accept as such a naturalistic explanation. Just pluck one out of the air. Because I am not following what exactly is missing here.

      On the contrary. DNA sequences don't tell us how they got that way. Ad-hoc assumptions are made. Lots of them. Then trees are synthesized.

      What you're basically saying is that we can never know humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor because no-one saw it happening...?

      Of course not. It is in the past. We have to infer how it happened. There is no way around that.

      Not at all. UCA trees could be generated without nested hierarchies.

      How? UCA necessitates speciation, and speciation gives nested hierarchies as a pattern of relatedness. The idea that UCA does not necessitate nested hierarchies is nonsense.

      UCA necessitates nested hierarchies. SA does not. The pattern we observe from comparative genetics is nested hierarchies. This therefore supports UCA and not SA. This is quite simple. You are just trying to make it complicated.

      UCA is not an explanation.

      Of course it is. It explains the pattern of relatedness we observe - because we are all related. That is an explanation - one which fits the observed data. SA does not.

      No. Genetics doesn't "tell" us that.

      Yes it does. The dolphin is genetically far more similar to the monkey than the fish. This is most parsimoniously explained by saying it is more closely related to the monkey.

      We were talking about human evolution. Those hypotheses change with new data.

      Contrary to what you were suggesting before, I do not believe there has been a single discovery every made which casts even the smallest doubt over the idea that humans share common ancestry with chimpanzees.

      UCA, per se, is unfalsifiable.

      No it isn't. If it were not true then there would be no reason why every living thing on Earth shared the same genetic code. If even one terrestrial species was found which did not, that would falsify UCA.

      If humans had 24 pairs in the past, the could fusion could occurred in the human lineage itself. No common ancestry is needed to explain it.

      That makes no sense. The prediction was very specific - if we shared common ancestry with the apes, then we must have lost a pair of chromosomes within the last 7 million years, which is a short amount of time in evolutionary terms. Chromosomes do not just disappear - but they can fuse. There must be some trace of the 'missing' chromosomes. This is a very specific prediction - highly falsifiable. But it was verified! This is very good, very strong, very solid evidence for common ancestry with apes.

      There is some question as to whether it's a fusion at all.

      Says who, exactly?

      But regardless, common ancestry isn't necessary to account for a fusion event.

      No, but it was the assumption of common ancestry which made us predict that humans had a fused chromosome.

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    9. R: Right, give me a hypothetical example of what you would accept as such a naturalistic explanation.

      J: To explain naturalistically, you have to posit relevant initial conditions, then apply some event regularities to those conditions such that a UCA tree is implied. Short of that, you posit ad-hoc hypotheses to fill in the explanatory gaps. The more ad-hoc hypotheses you posit, the more speculative is the explanation.

      R: What you're basically saying is that we can never know humans and chimpanzees shared a common ancestor because no-one saw it happening?

      J: I'm saying what I said just above.

      R: Of course not. It is in the past. We have to infer how it happened.

      J: If an inference is not naturalistic in the inductive sense, it is teleological or else it's just more or less speculative depending on how many ad-hoc hypotheses render it explanatory.


      R: UCA necessitates speciation, and speciation gives nested hierarchies as a pattern of relatedness. The idea that UCA does not necessitate nested hierarchies is nonsense.

      J: There are kazillions of equally non-explicable ways saltational evolution could produce UCA trees. These wouldn't necessarily produce the kinds of nesting you're talking about.

      R: UCA necessitates nested hierarchies. SA does not. The pattern we observe from comparative genetics is nested hierarchies. This therefore supports UCA and not SA.

      J: Linnaeus generated nested hierarchies without assuming a thing about UCA. The trees generated by cladistics don't use hypothetical transitional traits. Thus, those trees and their nestedness imply nothing about how one explains the morphological/phenotypical gaps.

      R: It [UCA] explains the pattern of relatedness we observe - because we are all related. That is an explanation - one which fits the observed data.

      J: On the contrary. No UCA'ist posits that all morphological gaps are bridged, evolutionarily, by saltations. SA doesn't need to explain the large gaps. You do, but you can't. UCA'ists have explained nothing without tons of ad-hoc hypotheses that is inconsistent with SA.

      R: I do not believe there has been a single discovery every made which casts even the smallest doubt over the idea that humans share common ancestry with chimpanzees.

      J: Of course not. It's an unfalsifiable hypothesis.

      R: If it [UCA] were not true then there would be no reason why every living thing on Earth shared the same genetic code.

      J: If God created SA's with DNA as a common design, that would be a reason. A reason in this context is just an inferred cause.

      R: If even one terrestrial species was found which did not, that would falsify UCA.

      J: No it wouldn't. UCA doesn't even imply the existence of the genetic code. That's an observation that we extrapolate analogically. UCA is articulable in one proposition. That proposition would be something like "a primordial organism was the ancestor of every other living organism that has existed thus far on earth."

      The truth of a single proposition implies nothing more than the falsehood of its negation. Falsifiable theories HAVE to involve multiple propositions from which actual implications can be deduced.

      R: That makes no sense. The prediction was very specific - if we shared common ancestry with the apes, then we must have lost a pair of chromosomes within the last 7 million years, which is a short amount of time in evolutionary terms. Chromosomes do not just disappear - but they can fuse.

      J: But if the fusion can occur WITHIN the human lineage, as you admit, common ancestry had nothing to do with it necessarily. On the other hand, common ancestry doesn't IMPLY it, thus it's NOT a prediction of common ancestry. A prediction is a specific deductive IMPLICATION of a more general causal theory.

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    10. To explain naturalistically, you have to posit relevant initial conditions, then apply some event regularities to those conditions such that a UCA tree is implied.

      No, I'd like an actual EXAMPLE please. A hypothetical one would be fine. Simply state it and how it does or does not fall foul of these philosophical booby traps you keep mentioning, and how ToE is or is not similar in that regard.

      There are kazillions of equally non-explicable ways saltational evolution could produce UCA trees.

      Irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that UCA makes sense of the data we find and SA does not.

      Linnaeus generated nested hierarchies without assuming a thing about UCA.

      True, and those nested hierarchies still show common ancestry nevertheless.

      On the contrary. No UCA'ist posits that all morphological gaps are bridged, evolutionarily, by saltations. SA doesn't need to explain the large gaps. You do, but you can't.

      What absolute nonsense.

      There are gaps in the fossil record, to be sure, but that is entirely to be expected, given the nature of fossilization. The fact that the fossil record is, and will always be, incomplete is not a fact which is surprising, nor needs an explanation. It is perfectly in keeping with what we know and does not cast the smallest doubt over UCA.

      Meanwhile, more fossils keep turning up, and each one is an extra piece in the pattern that UCA necessitates.

      SA, however, continues to make no real-world claims, to necessitate no patterns, and is therefore the far weaker hypothesis for having no supporting evidence.

      Of course not. It's an unfalsifiable hypothesis.

      Rubbish. It is highly falsifiable! The fact that it hasn't been is not evidence that it is unfalsifiable - it is evidence that it is likely correct.

      If God created SA's with DNA as a common design, that would be a reason.

      But there is no reason why God should have used the same DNA code to create each species, see?

      No it wouldn't.

      Yes it would. Of course it would.

      But if the fusion can occur WITHIN the human lineage, as you admit, common ancestry had nothing to do with it necessarily.

      Common ancestry did not CAUSE the fusion to happen. But it did give us reason to think the fusion happened. And the fusion's discovery is its validation nevertheless.

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    11. R: No, I'd like an actual EXAMPLE please. A hypothetical one would be fine. Simply state it and how it does or does not fall foul of these philosophical booby traps you keep mentioning, and how ToE is or is not similar in that regard.

      J: Gravitational theories posit causal relationships that are CORROBORATED when their implications (i.e., predictions) are OBSERVED.

      R: The only thing that matters is that UCA makes sense of the data we find and SA does not.

      J: Wrong, because no hypothetical transitional traits are used in the cladistic analysis. THus, the trees generate whether the explanation for the morphological gaps is saltational, non-saltational, or SA.


      R: The fact that the fossil record is, and will always be, incomplete is not a fact which is surprising, nor needs an explanation. It is perfectly in keeping with what we know and does not cast the smallest doubt over UCA.

      J: Of course not. UCA is unfalsifiable. It predicts nothing specific. On the other hand, large morphological gaps are not explicable by any naturalistic theory.

      R: Meanwhile, more fossils keep turning up, and each one is an extra piece in the pattern that UCA necessitates.

      J: What pattern is that? I've already explained to you that nested hierarchies generate independent of the explanation of the missing, unexplained transitional traits.

      R: SA, however, continues to make no real-world claims, to necessitate no patterns, and is therefore the far weaker hypothesis for having no supporting evidence.

      J: SA is what you get when you don't posit kazillions of ad-hoc hypotheses.

      R: But there is no reason why God should have used the same DNA code to create each species, see?

      J: Sure there is. You see, we've looked at relatively few genomes under the microscope to even observe the "same DNA code" you're talking about. What we do is analogically extrapolate and infer they exist in all other organisms we haven't observed. Thus, if for no other reason whatsoever, if the same Designer that designed me to infer analogically also designed organisms, that analogical relationship would be a REASON for designing organisms that way. What's more, we don't know there is another or more parsimonious way to design organisms consistent with the other designs of the universe.

      R: Common ancestry did not CAUSE the fusion to happen. But it did give us reason to think the fusion happened. And the fusion's discovery is its validation nevertheless.

      J: You're thinking non-parsimoniously. If there is nothing about the chromosome that LOOKS like a fusion occurred, there's no reason to INFER a fusion occurred. If it DOES look fused, then common ancestry is still not knowably relevant to its occurrence. Has science abandoned even parsimony, now?

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    12. "What pattern is that? I've already explained to you that nested hierarchies generate independent of the explanation of the missing, unexplained transitional traits."

      The above should have read:

      "What pattern is that? I've already explained to you that nested hierarchies generate independent of the explanation of the missing, non-naturalistically-explained transitional traits."

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    13. Gravitational theories posit causal relationships that are CORROBORATED when their implications (i.e., predictions) are OBSERVED.

      And we can do exactly the same with ToE.

      Wrong, because no hypothetical transitional traits are used in the cladistic analysis. THus, the trees generate whether the explanation for the morphological gaps is saltational, non-saltational, or SA.

      Rubbish. Because it is not 'trees' plural; it is 'tree' singular. And SA by definition cannot generate the pattern of tree singular.

      Of course not. UCA is unfalsifiable.

      I wish you would stop parroting this ridiculous lie. Of course UCA is falsifiable. Highly so.

      It predicts nothing specific.

      Rubbish. It predicts many things. 'We will never find a creature that does not use our DNA code' for example. Consider how many new species are being discovered all the time, that is a highly falsifiable claim. And one that has borne out thus far.

      On the other hand, large morphological gaps are not explicable by any naturalistic theory.

      Yes they are. No fossil record remains of the intermediary species. Ta-dah. There's an explanation for you.

      What pattern is that?

      The tree of life.

      I've already explained to you that nested hierarchies generate independent of the explanation of the missing, unexplained transitional traits.

      And that is just so much hot air.

      SA is what you get when you don't posit kazillions of ad-hoc hypotheses.

      SA is the ultimate ad-hoc hypothesis. There is nothing else to it at all.

      Thus, if for no other reason whatsoever, if the same Designer that designed me to infer analogically also designed organisms, that analogical relationship would be a REASON for designing organisms that way.

      But there is no reason to suppose that is actually TRUE.

      You are just inventing new excuses. You are inventing ad-hoc explanations. You are doing exactly what you were accusing UCA-ists of doing.

      If there is nothing about the chromosome that LOOKS like a fusion occurred, there's no reason to INFER a fusion occurred.

      But there is. A fused chromosome looks very different from a normal one.

      If it DOES look fused, then common ancestry is still not knowably relevant to its occurrence.

      It was relevant to us predicting it. So the fused chromosome's dicovery is a vindication of it just the same.

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  11. R: And if that weren't enough, we even use this 'assumption' as the basis of testable hypotheses. All great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes. Humans have 23. If UCA was true, then one of the chromosome pairs in humans must actually be a fusion of two. And when we looked, that is exactly what we found. A beautiful vindication of common ancestry between humans and apes.

    No circular logic. Just ration scientific inference.

    J: You need to read more. Because it most certainly is circular. And the assumption is ad-hoc, regardless. Any inference is no more plausible than it's premises. Ad-hoc premises per se have no plausibility whatsoever. Thus, when explanations require ad-hoc hypotheses, that which requires the least is less speculative.

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  12. I was always told that evolution works by increasing an organism's fitness in the local environment. So if the proto-salmon was living in freshwater, it couldn't move to salt water until it developed the adaptations fro salt water. But those would not be an advantage in fresh water. So how did the salmon evolve adaptations for living in fresh water?

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  13. natschuster February 9, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    [...]

    So how did the salmon evolve adaptations for living in fresh water?


    A good question, so what's the best way to set about finding an answer?

    Broadly speaking, there are two approaches on offer:

    1) Extraterrestrial Intelligent Design (EID)

    2) Evolution

    I suggest we call it Extraterrestrial Intelligent Design (EID) because there is no suggestion that we designed ourselves nor is there any evidence of any other intelligent species on Earth that could have done it. That leaves extraterrestrial intelligence. Simply calling it ID sounds as if you are being shy about admitting that little fact.

    So how does postulating EID is responsible for the salmon's remarkable abilities help us explain how it happened?

    The answer is that it doesn't. EID tells us nothing about the nature and powers of such a being. They are left carefully unspecified. In other words, EID proposes a who but not how. As a source of new ideas, new explanations, new lines of research it is sterile.

    Evolution, on the other hand, does offer mechanisms for how biological variation has occurred and still happens and it is based on observations of the way the natural world behaves.

    Animal and plant breeders knew long before Darwin that living things were plastic to some extent, that their forms and properties could be manipulated by selective breeding. Darwin simply asked the obvious question: if living things could be shaped by artificial pressures, why not by natural pressures?

    His answer was random variation coupled with natural selection. Subsequent research has filled in some of the gaps in his knowledge and also found that it's a bit more complicated than he thought. Nonetheless, the evidence is that he was on the right track.

    Evidence such as the strain of Flavobacterium that was found to have enzymes that enabled it to digest waste byproducts of nylon manufacture. These byproducts were not known to have existed in nature previously which suggested that the bacterium had undergone a recent adaptation which enabled it to eat them.

    The theory of evolution can account for such adaptations, it proposes mechanisms which explain how they might happen and it generates the lines of enquiry which investigate them. EID does none of this.

    We may never know exactly how the salmon evolved the capacity to live in both salt and fresh water. The mutation or sequence of mutations that brought it about may have left no trace - at least, nothing that is detectable by us at this time. That lack doesn't make it an argument against evolution, though, As the old saying goes, absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

    The fact is, evolution offers a naturalistic explanation of how observed biological variation might happen. EID does not and cannot deny that possibility and can only suggest who might have been responsible not how.

    Given all that, which is the better means to finding an answer to the question of how?

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  14. Ian H. Spaulding:

    So evolution wins because it is more intellectually satisfying, not becuase of the evidence?

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    Replies
    1. I believe it was merely a demonstration of how scientific theories operate, and why ID fails to qualify as one.

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    2. natschuster February 9, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Ian H. Spaulding:

      So evolution wins because it is more intellectually satisfying, not becuase of the evidence?


      Not quite. It wins because because it is more intellectually satisfying and because of the evidence.

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