Sunday, January 5, 2014

What Evolutionists Have Vigorously Denied For Decades Is Now “An Exploding Field”

Holding Back Science

A new study has added yet more evidence to the claim that organisms respond to environmental challenges with non DNA, epigenetic, changes that are heritable. That may sound like detailed scientific jargon that has little importance outside of the dry, technical journal papers, but nothing could be further from the truth. Evolutionary theory has traditionally viewed heritable changes as being strictly channeled through DNA. For it is the DNA that can be altered by those chance mutations. The idea is that these chance mutations sometimes just luckily happen to improve the organism, and so it is selected. Thus all change that ever occurs to a species is, ultimately, from a source that is random. Non random change that might be directed, that is that might address the environmental challenge at hand, is not allowed. No teleology, no final causes, no design. Those are the metaphysical ground rules and the new study, far from merely addressing detailed scientific issues, has significant philosophical implications regarding evolutionary dogma. As one science writer put it:

For some evolutionary biologists, just hearing the term epigenetics raises hackles. They balk at suggestions that something other than changes in DNA sequences—such as the chemical addition of methyl groups to DNA or other so-called epigenetic modifications— has a role in evolution.

Or as one researcher explained:

People are really stubborn about accepting that that’s possible.

Aside from violating evolution’s ground rules against heritable directed change, otherwise known as the inheritance of acquired characteristics, epigenetics takes the unlikeliness of evolution to an entirely new level.

We would have to believe that evolution’s undirected, random change somehow created an astonishingly complex adaptation machine. Not only do the sheer intricacies and interdependencies of epigenetics, and the lack of an evolutionary fitness pathway rule out a random origin, but the violation of Occam’s Razor is colossal. We must believe that evolution created a profoundly complex machine which facilitates an entirely new form of evolution.

Religion drives science, and it matters.


  1. So what happens next? Do evolutionists shut down science? Or does science finally kick out evolutionists?

    1. Neither.

      Science continues as before. Resistance to new ideas is a part of the process. They don't just get accepted on someone's say-so. They have to prove themselves.

      And a simple glance at the Wikipedia entry on epigenetics will show you that the idea has been around in various forms for quite a while and, obviously, is still being developed by those evolutionary biologists that religious zealots are so keen to kick out of science.

      As for astonishing complexity, consider that Dr Hunter is a mind-bogglingly complex arrangement of uncounted trillions of sub-atomic particles. The probability of that utterly unique arrangement coming about at this time and this place must be astronomically small. Yet here he is and upwards of seven billion like him. Does the incredible improbability of all of us mean we must have been designed on the spot or are we all the product of the perfectly natural process of sexual procreation?

      Nobody is trying to shut down intelligent design/creationism (ID/C). If they want do do more than write books and blogs, which is mostly all they seem to do, they're welcome to put their money where their mouth is. ID/C, on the other hand, would clearly like to just shut down evolutionary biology if it had the chance

    2. "Here he is" says nothing about how the vastly improbable Dr Hunter came to exist. Suggesting that vastly improbable events can happen is not an explanation. In order to introduce some science supportive of the materialistic Darwinian worldview into your assertion, you would need to estimate the probability of Hunters existence and show that this probability was in accordance with the probability resource of our observable universe.

    3. Dr Hunter and his fellow Paleyists argue that there are biological phenomena so highly improbable that natural processes could not possibly have accounted for them. For them, the only credible alternative is an Intelligent Designer (usually unspecified for political and legal reason). Having made that claim it is for them to provide evidence to support it, that is if they are concerned about persuading others of its merits.

      My counter-claim is that incredibly improbable events happen all the time and cited Dr Hunter and seven billion other highly improbable biological phenomena as support for that claim.

      I would agree that the chances of an incredibly complex arrangement of matter and energy like Dr Hunter arose de novo are so remote as to be virtually impossible. But that isn't what evolution claims. Like the seven billion other human beings on this planet was the natural progeny of his parents, as they were of their parents and so on back along the lineages as far as we can trace. It looks like a natural process of descent with modification. if anyone can find evidence of intelligent alien intervention then bring it on.

    4. Ian:

      Dr Hunter and his fellow Paleyists argue that there are biological phenomena so highly improbable that natural processes could not possibly have accounted for them.

      Actually I haven't argued that. True, evolution is extremely improbable. But is different than "could not possibly" have evolved.

    5. CH: Actually I haven't argued that. True, evolution is extremely improbable.

      J: And more specifically, it is only improbable per the only way we can calculate the probability at this time. Science is tentative. Things can change. But the continued pontifications about extant "overwhelming evidence" are patently absurd.

    6. I'm glad we can at least agree that evolution is not impossible even if we disagree about estimates of probability and their significance.

    7. We don't know that it's possible. That's the point. We know NEITHER that it's possible NOR that it's impossible. And it's hard to imagine how one could ever falsify the proposition "Historical UCA on earth occurred, and naturally so." Just like it's hard to imagine how one could ever falsify the proposition "Features of earth's biota required, as necessary conditions, one or more libertarian choices for their instantiation."

  2. Epigenetics makes the difference between a flower and a root, between a brain cell and a liver cell, and between a caterpillar and a butterfly. Some epigenetic traits may be heritable, especially in plants. Not sure why you consider this a problem.

  3. It does sound like "detailed scientific jargon" to me (layman) as you say but the overall thrust of your argument seems right as usual. Happy new year and keep up the fight for truth and honesty. Will make a donation to a worthy cause with you in mind Cornelius.