Sunday, December 20, 2015

Jason Rosenhouse: “I Think You Get the Idea”

The New Priesthood

I once heard an evolution professor insist that all of the biological evidences support and confirm the theory of evolution. Since then I found that this view occupies the consensus position. All of the findings in the life sciences are exactly what we would expect from an evolutionary perspective. You can see it everywhere from textbooks to evolutionary journal papers. A good recent example of this thinking comes from professor Jason Rosenhouse.

The idea that all of the biological evidences are exactly what evolution would expect is a misrepresentation of the science. The misrepresentation is striking given the extent to which the evidence contradicts evolutionary theory. You can see examples of these contradictions here.

It is important to understand that evolutionists are not merely saying their theory is an interesting idea that merits investigation. They are not merely saying their theory deserves to be considered or has some degree of merit. Such circumspect sentiment is not, and never has been, what evolutionary thought is about. Evolutionary thought is about high truth claims, with complete certainty, which contradict what we know about the world.

This cognitive dissonance is maintained by evolutionists using two moves. First, because evolution is taken to be true from the start (for non scientific reasons), the evidences naturally undergo interpretation and filtering.

The body of evidence, as understood by evolutionists, is what philosophers refer to as theory laden. For instance, contradictory evidences are often set aside. They may be viewed as incomplete, erroneous, not normative, or anomalous. One way or another they are not ready for prime time.

For example, evolutionists compare homologous genetic sequences between species to evaluate their evolutionary relationship. But the very act of comparing homologous sequences ignores, and filters out, the many sequences for which there is no homology.

The second move is to discount and delegitimize scientific objection as insignificant or nefarious. If you point out the many scientific problems with the Epicurean belief that chance events, coupled with natural laws, explain the origin of the world, then ironically the tables will be turned and you will be blamed for having the religious agenda.

Rosenhouse expresses these points, in typical fashion:

every scrap of evidence discovered by scientists points strongly in that direction [naturalism and evolution]. If evolution is false, for example, then it should have been trivially easy to disprove. And yet every scrap of data we have is consistent with what evolution tells us to expect.

Every scrap of evidence points strongly in the direction of naturalism and evolution? Even though I have seen such claims many times now, I still wince. They are, as they say, not even wrong. This is one of those rare times where superlatives really are appropriate. This is not just absurd, it is very absurd. Not just a misrepresentation but a perversion. Not just a lie, but a damn lie.

From the age-old evidence of breeding and twentieth century fly experiments to the more modern protein evolution studies and the violations of the common descent pattern across the species (a mere four of many examples), the “scraps” of evidence we actually have unequivocally do not point in the direction of naturalism and evolution.

This is simply a bald faced lie.

Rosenhouse then proceeds to discount the actual science as insignificant and merely the product of those religiously-driven creationists trying to prove their creator. What would evolutionists do without the Creationists?

Of course there is a reason for all the machinations. Evolutionists do not insist their modern-day Epicureanism is a fact, in spite of everything around us, without reason. Not surprisingly, that reason is really no different than that of the Epicureans. Modern thinkers have substantially elaborated on the theological details, but it boils down to religious beliefs about how a Creator would and should interact with the world.

First, if a creator were specifically design and create a world, it certainly would not look like this one. Beyond that, a truly great god would not use miracles anyway, and even if he would, the lowly things of this world are beneath his dignity to begin with. Furthermore science becomes impossible with an interventionist god.

The arguments go on and on, and they mandate a naturalistic origins. So not surprisingly, Rosenhouse explains that whatever concerns one might have with evolution, the real problem lies with the alternative:

For example, those biomolecular systems we were talking about never look quite so impressive after you study them in detail. … However superficially implausible they [the problems with evolution] seem, the only alternative on offer is much harder to believe.

After all, we just can’t really understand God:

Whatever mysteries you think you have found in the naturalistic view of life pale in comparison to what happens when you try to comprehend an entity with the attributes God is said to have.

For instance, how can God cause physical actions if he has no physical existence?

God is said to be mind without brain. For all the experience we have with actual minds and actual brains, that just looks like a contradiction in terms. God has no physical existence, yet acts of His will can cause whole universes with finely-tuned fundamental constants to appear where there was nothing before. How does He do that?

And what is the connection between His will and the creation of matter? Did you ever think of that?

What’s the connection between His will and the creation of matter? God knows what everyone is thinking at every moment of every day. How is that possible? How can he process and store all of that information? He exists “necessarily,” whatever that means, in contrast to the more mundane sort of existence we see all around us each day. I could go on multiplying the implausibilities, but I think you get the idea.

Yes, we certainly do get the idea. Evolutionists are driven by religious dogma in spite of the obvious evidence staring right at them. As even Rosenhouse must admit:

Personally, I find it incredible that the four fundamental forces of physics, operating from the moment after the Big Bang, could rearrange matter into everything that we see today. That unintelligent causes can ultimately lead to the creation of intelligent creatures, who can then rearrange matter and energy in clever ways, is, I entirely agree, hard to believe. And Darwinian evolution strains credulity as well. I am very sympathetic to the view that natural forces do not construct delicate, biomolecular machines.

But of course none of that matters because, after all, don’t forget the creationists. We must not allow God to interact with the world.

Young children are content with magical, supernatural explanations for things. But as we grow up most of us come to realize that invocations of God never really explain much of anything. They just create big mysteries where only small ones existed before.

Of course they are evolutionists, their religion requires it. Religion drives science, and it matters.

19 comments:

  1. I "mined" this jewel after reading your insightful blog. A confirmation from the evolutionist camp.

    “Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit in this one complaint… the literalists [i.e., creationists] are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.”
    Michael Ruse

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    1. Phillymike:

      Professor Ruse is an expert in this field, for sure, but I do not agree that evolution is advanced as an alternative to Christianity. Christians have promoted naturalism for centuries, and evolution today, very much as consistent with Christianity. It would be difficult to defend the notion that evolutionary thought arose as an alternative to Christianity.

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    2. I "mined" this jewel after reading your insightful blog. A confirmation from the evolutionist camp.

      Sorry Mike but that is indeed an out-of-context quite-mined quote. Ruse himself, like S.J. Gould, got so tired of Creationists misquoting him he wrote a whole other article explaining what he meant.

      Ruse: "Is evolution, Darwinian evolution in particular, a religion? To sound like the philosopher that I am, it all depends on what you mean by "religion."

      So, what about Darwinism? I don't think believing that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution through natural selection (his version or today's version) commits you to religious belief. I think that if, as I myself would, you extend the scope of the theory to an understanding of knowledge acquisition and justification and the same for morality -- evolutionary epistemology and evolutionary ethics -- then it can act as a religion substitute or alternative.


      He even pointed out he expected Creationists to ignore this clarification and keep quote-mining him.

      Ruse: "So the answer to the question "Is Darwinism a religion?" is varied, interesting and insightful. But I bet a million dollars that for the next 10 years it will be the first paragraph and only the first paragraph of this piece that will be quoted and requoted by those who are more interested in using my words for their own ends rather than for understanding what I am really trying to say. "

      Is Darwinism a Religion? Michael Ruse

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    3. "Ruse: "So the answer to the question "Is Darwinism a religion?" is varied, interesting and insightful. But I bet a million dollars that for the next 10 years it will be the first paragraph and only the first paragraph of this piece that will be quoted and requoted by those who are more interested in using my words for their own ends rather than for understanding what I am really trying to say. "

      Is Darwinism a Religion? Michael Ruse"

      I can imagine Ruse being a bit annoyed when he said that...
      I wonder what Darwin would have said, had he known that his famous text about the eye would have been selectively quoted by creationists to this very day.

      Sadly, creationism is not science. It is a religious/political movement that has nothing to offer but rethorics.

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    4. Ruse seems to be saying that Darwinism has implications for epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of mind, and it's any one person's choice as to whether one applies it to these things making it religious in nature. Sometimes Ruse seems to hold a position bordering on presuppositionalism, as to whether one's belief in Darwinism follows from assumptions one makes about the world. But the choices one makes about such assumptions is somewhat religious in nature. Ruse has elsewhere implied that Darwinists have routinely used the university to blur the line between Darwinism as explanation for patterns and Darwinism as religion, which is why many of his fellow Darwinists have turned on him, since it only begs the question why they can use tax dollars in a public institution to promote a view of mind, cosmos, and purpose based in evolutionary materialism. Sure, you could be an ID advocate like Asa Gray or a miracle-believing antisupernaturalist like Ken Miller (or whatever you call it). After all, why would a viewpoint only supposing "natural" causes lead to a Weltanschauung in which there are only "natural" causes? How silly to think it does!

      Sure, the evolutionary story is the latest creation myth--it's advocates assure us that unlike other myths it is in fact the truth, not infallible but unquestionable, does not have religious implications about who we are and what our place in creation is (unless of course that's what an individual professor chooses to believe and teach, and is the only truth that can be taught with public funds by order of supreme unelected lawmakers.

      Ruse is great at infuriating his peers by sounding like a postmodernist. He's a postmodernist until it is a matter of whose truth will be taught and whose truth will be questioned in the classroom.

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    5. Of course evolution theory is science. The fact of evolution has implications, certainly for those who, like me, learned that we were specially created by a supernatural entity that had us in mind. Finding out that we are not specially created, that laws of nature did not have us in mind as outcome, that is a revelation.

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  2. if evolutionists had biological scientific evidence for evolution it would be presented. So where is it?
    Instead they present TRIVIAL foreign evidences
    WELL this Rosenhouse guy only needs to present his number favorite bio sci evidence and have a cage matcj, if he knows what that means, with a creationist on whether it is bio sci evidence.
    It should be so trivial easy to defeat criticisms of evolution.
    How are they doing?

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  3. "Sorry Mike but that is indeed an out-of-context"

    Sorry ghostrider but you failed to show the quote from Mike is out of context.


    "quite-mined quote."

    What does "quite-mined" Mean?


    " Ruse himself, like S.J. Gould, got so tired of Creationists misquoting him he wrote a whole other article explaining what he meant."

    Where was Gould misquoted?

    I haven't seen Ruse misquoted yet either.


    "He even pointed out he expected Creationists to ignore this clarification"

    You mean that Ruse didn't like the fact that they made hay with his moment of honesty.

    "and keep quote-mining him."

    I see that you continue to quote whine. You have failed to show anything else.

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    1. Jack Jones: What does "quite-mined" Mean?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context

      Typically, quote-mines are collected and reposted, often with typos intact and other distinctive features intact.

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    2. Jack Jones

      ghostrider... the quote from Mike... is out of context.


      Glad you agree. :)

      See how easy it is to create a false impression by quote-mining? That's why dishonest Creationists love to do it so much.

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  6. Zach "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context"

    If something is out of context then people say "out of context" and show it is out of context, When they can't show something is out of context then they quote whine instead.

    Zach "Typically, quote-mines are collected and reposted, often with typos intact and other distinctive features intact."

    Quote whines are resorted to when a quote cannot be refuted, If a person can show a problem then they do, When they can't, then they resort to quote whining with the term "quote mine

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  7. ghostrider "See how easy it is to create a false impression by quote-mining?"

    I would say it is out of context because I can show my words and the trimmed version of my words side by side.

    When Evolutionists can't do this then they resort to using the term "quote mine"


    Evolutionists more often than not cannot show quotes out of context so they do not say "out of context" and then show it, they rely on the term "quote mine" Quote mine is a phrase that hand waves away quotes that cannot be refuted.

    That's why dishonest Evolutionists love to use the term so much.

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  8. Jack Jones

    ghostrider "See how easy it is to create a false impression by quote-mining?"

    I would say it is out of context because I can show my words and the trimmed version of my words side by side.


    You mean that you didn't like the fact that I made hay with your moment of honesty.

    :D


    Sure is different when you're the guy being quote-mined and misrepresented, isn't it?

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  9. This is so ridiculous and Jack is so obviously correct! The first paragraph by Mike Ruse is a resume of his conclusion; then he goes an entire article with explanations, nuances and qualifications; which is fair enough, but does not disqualify the main message. His final warning could read "... And any creationist that uses my words in a argument should be damned and must be cursed as "quote-miner."

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  10. ghostrider "You mean that you didn't like the fact that I made hay with your moment of honesty."

    I didn't see Mike trim the sentences of Ruse.

    Evolutionists have a habit of false comparison so it must be ingrained.







    ghostrider "Sure is different when you're the guy being quote-mined and misrepresented, isn't it?"

    Let's break that down in to two parts.

    1. Sure is different.

    It certainly is. You resort to the term "quote mine" when you cannot disprove any quotes. I on the other hand use the specific phrase out of context because it can be shown than I have been taken out of context.

    You on the other hand cannot show ruse being taken out of context and thus you resort to the term "quote mine" in desperation.



    2. "when you're the guy being quote-mined"

    I never claimed being quote mined, I do not endorse the use of that phrase, it is a term used by Desperado's like you when they cannot show anything wrong with quotes.

    3 "and misrepresented, isn't it?"

    We can use the term misrepresented and the term out of context when it comes to your quote of me, these are specific terms to show how somebody has misused quotes.

    You on the other hand resort to the sophomoric phrase "quote mine" because you are unable to show anything wrong with the quotes being posted.

    The term quote mine is reserved for Desperado's like you.

    :)

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  11. "This is so ridiculous and Jack is so obviously correct! The first paragraph by Mike Ruse is a resume of his conclusion; then he goes an entire article with explanations, nuances and qualifications; which is fair enough, but does not disqualify the main message. His final warning could read "... And any creationist that uses my words in a argument should be damned and must be cursed as "quote-miner."


    Well said Renato.

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