Monday, May 10, 2010

Biting the Hand That Feeds You

After arguing Ad nauseam (examples here, here, here and here) that the evil and dysteleology in nature prove evolution and then denying that he ever did such a thing, evolutionist Jerry Coyne is now sharing more of his theological wisdom. After telling us what god would and wouldn't do, he now adds that the best conclusion is for atheism or Aristotelianism:

In the end, evolution is not a “welcome partner” for religion or theodicy, for it raises more problems than it solves. It’s easier and more parsimonious to simply discard the notion of God, or even to posit a malicious or unconcerned god, than to believe that a powerful and loving deity is author of the world’s ills.

So Coyne is sure god would never create this world (and so evolution must be true) but, oh by the way, there is no such god anyway. He either doesn't exist or he is none other than Aristotle's Prime Mover.

The silliness never ends as Coyne has now drifted into the deep end. Does Coyne not have the slightest idea of his own internal contradictions? Does Coyne not realize that he cannot simply swap his silly theistic notions for atheism or Aristotelianism without losing his proofs of evolution? The entire premise of his recent book is a belly-flop. Religion drives science and it matters.


  1. Dr. Cornelius's two definitions of science:

    Defintion #1 (for use when supporting Dr. Cornelius' hypotheses): speculation about deities interacting with matter are permitted hypotheses.

    “I have no religious argument or support for creation/ID. My support for creation/ID is from empirical evidence.” (Cornelius Hunter, commnet, May 2, 2010 8:57 PM)

    Definition #2 (for use when rejecting other scientists who point out defects of ID): speculation about deities interacting with matter are *NOT* permitted hypotheses. If you point out that an Intelligent Designer can do whatever he wants, that Intelligent Design can accomodate *ALL* data sets, thus predicting nothing-- you have violated Science Definition #2.

    So Dr. Cornelius was using Science Definition #1 on May 2, 2010 8:57 PM.

    Can you please clarify for me which of your two Science Definitions you're using here?

    It's Defnition #1 for you, Defintion #2 for everybody else, isn't that the rule Dr. Cornelius? By the way, have you ever done accounting for Lehman Brothers?

  2. And we're still waiting for you to explain this giant whopper:

    ==== Cornelius wrote: ====
    "molecular phylogeny ..."
    Which contradict evolution.

    Still waiting for the peer-reviewed research proving that giant whopper...

    Oh, and the explanation for the genetic similarities between whales and hippos *NOT* being due to common descent. We haven't forgotten those, Cornelius, we're still waiting...

  3. The silliness never ends

    I'll bet my bottom dollar that RobertC, diogenes, Zach, ritchie et al. will be here in a moment contending that it never started.

    How "silly" can they get? It's both amazing and amusing to watch them chase their evolutionary vestigial tails trying to deny the obvious.

  4. Oops they beat me to the punch!

    Just wow.

    These guys are all dead from the neck up or what?

  5. Hitch -

    Always a pleasure to see you bring substance rather than personal remarks to a discussion. Any plans to start doing so...?

    Cornelius -

    I can see why it's so confusing for you to make sense of Jerry Coyne's remarks here given your conviction that evolution is built the assumption of what a God would or would not create. The fact of the matter is that it is not built on such a premise.

    I know I must have said this a hundred times, but if I'm repeating myself ad nauseam it is because you are repeating this mistake ad nauseam too.

  6. Scientific failure drives intelligent design, and it matters.

  7. Not surprising that Jerry does this, many evolution proponents hold to a double standard, trying to twist, turn, shape, arrange and rearrange their so-called evolutionary story while attacking, blocking and obstructing other alternatives which is more common in communist countries...

    Another example...

    1)Claims of creationism or ID cannot be tested but some science papers try to address the design issue but only in a negative way otherwise it would not be accepted because it would be considered "religious".

  8. I can't undestand why all these atheists care what Dr Hunter says. Is it for the science. If so please tell us your credentials. I suspect it's only the theology that they disagree with. If Dr Hunter is right and evolution is wrong then society will (shutter) become Christian again. That would be terrible for the atheists. Dr Hunter must be stopped at all costs. Not for the science but for the religion! I guess even his critics confirm him. Pretty smart!


  9. "Dr Hunter is right and evolution is wrong then society will (shutter) become Christian again"

    Dr. Hunter-you called me out recently for arguing that ID proponents see evolution as an atheist religion.

    Would you care to correct Peter here?

    By the way Peter-there are more than a few people who believe in evolution and God. The head of the NIH, for one.

  10. Peter Wadeck -

    You have missed the points Cornelius Hunter is making. He is saying evolution is driven by religion. So if it was to be discredited and dismissed, it would not at all encourage an upsurge in religion.

    At least, that is Dr Hunter's logic.

    Make of that what you will.

  11. == RobertC writes: ===
    Dr. Hunter-you called me out recently for arguing that ID proponents see evolution as an atheist religion.

    Yeah, and if you want to see a creationist recently calling me an atheist *simply* because I believe in evolution, check out this Biblical literalist creationist who calls me an atheist and goes on at great length about it, and various stereotypes about atheists. His only evidence on this point being, I wrote a blog post about a creationist cult that practices sex slavery, videotaped sex, blackmail, Holocaust denial, antisemitism, the usual.

  12. Jerry Coyne is applying reductio ad absurdum to the concept of
    design. In fact, this is what all "bad design" or "god would
    (or would not) do it
    that way" arguments are. There are no rules in the world of ID,
    so there is no prevention of contradictions. Hence doing reductio
    ad absurdum arguments on ID is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel

    Please note, anti ID arguments are not part of evolution. Evolution
    stands on physical evidence and the usefulness in understanding
    biology that the notion of evolution provides.

  13. John Stockwell:

    "Please note, anti ID arguments are not part of evolution. Evolution stands on physical evidence"

    I didn't know that. So can you explain or cite why evolution is a scientific fact?

  14. Cornelius -

    "I didn't know that. So can you explain or cite why evolution is a scientific fact?"

    Because there is so much supporting evidence from a wide variety of fields that we may simply accept it until we have reason to think otherwise.

    But if this is not to your taste (perhaps you believe a theory should never be considered a fact, no matter how well-evidenced), it is still perfectly acceptable (and, yes, more technically correct) to refer to evolution not as a 'fact', but merely as a theory.

    Theory = evidenced hypothesis. It is just that in this case, the evidence is enormous.

  15. Cornelius: "I didn't know that. So can you explain or cite why evolution is a scientific fact?"

    Let me just re-post 2 of my favorite lines of evidence. Direct empirical evidences.

    1) Molecular phylogeny.

    2) Direct observations:

    Evolution- of antibiotic resistance, citrate utilizing E. coli, nylonase, results from directed evolution, HIV resistance, H1N1, nmalarial resistance, herbicide resistance, stickleback adaptation to fresh water.


    Sympatric ecological speciation meets pyrosequencing: sampling the transcriptome of the apple maggot Rhagoletis pomonella.
    BMC Genomics. 2009 Dec 27;10:633.

    Rapid evolution and selection inferred from the transcriptomes of sympatric crater lake cichlid fishes.
    Mol Ecol. 2010 Mar;19 Suppl 1:197-211.

    Adaptive radiations: from field to genomic studies.
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jun 16;106 Suppl 1:9947-54. Epub 2009

    Evolution in the Drosophila ananassae species subgroup.
    Fly (Austin). 2009 Apr-Jun;3(2):157-69. Epub 2009 Apr 12.

    Ahearn, J. N. 1980. Evolution of behavioral reproductive isolation in a laboratory stock of Drosophila silvestris. Experientia. 36:63-64.

    Boraas, M. E. 1983. Predator induced evolution in chemostat culture. EOS. Transactions of the American Geophysical Union. 64:1102.

    Crossley, S. A. 1974. Changes in mating behavior produced by selection for ethological isolation between ebony and vestigial mutants of Drosophilia melanogaster. Evolution. 28:631-647.

    Dobzhansky, T. and O. Pavlovsky. 1971. Experimentally created incipient species of Drosophila. Nature. 230:289-292.

    To name just a very few studies, of only 2 lines of evidence for evolution.

  16. RobertC:

    Cornelius: "I didn't know that. So can you explain or cite why evolution is a scientific fact?"

    "stickleback adaptation to fresh water."

    That is not evolution.

  17. ""stickleback adaptation to fresh water."

    That is not evolution.

    Are the other ten or so things I listed, and the direct observations also not evolution?

    Do you have any analysis on the sticklebacks, other than that you've posted before, and decided it isn't evolution.

    What creationist explanation is it this time? Is it devolution? Too fast? Micro-evolution?

    Oh, right, not creationism, ID. So, frontloading, I guess? What criteria did you use to detect the design that specifies it from non-design?

    In the classic example of spine loss, natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a marine population to produce potent, inheritable change in phenotype.

    I'd say this is a change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations. Change in allele frequency under selection.

    This is so undeniable, you'll have to call it something else. Pressure-reduced variability? Hereditary phenotypic adaptation? Genetic reduction of formerly favorable, but now deleterious alleles? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...

    More recently, population genomic approaches track the exact changes to the entire genome parallel populations have encountered:

    PLoS Genet. 2010 Feb 26;6(2):e1000862.
    Population genomics of parallel adaptation in threespine stickleback using sequenced RAD tags.

    "Next-generation sequencing technology provides novel opportunities for gathering genome-scale sequence data in natural populations, laying the empirical foundation for the evolving field of population genomics. Here we conducted a genome scan of nucleotide diversity and differentiation in natural populations of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). We used Illumina-sequenced RAD tags to identify and type over 45,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in each of 100 individuals from two oceanic and three freshwater populations. ... These data illustrate the complementary nature of laboratory crosses and population genomic scans by confirming the adaptive significance of previously identified genomic regions, elucidating the particular evolutionary and demographic history of such regions in natural populations, and identifying new genomic regions and candidate genes of evolutionary significance."

    This sets the stage for real-time laboratory and wild population genomics:

    "They are working on lakes formed when the 1964 Alaska earthquake lifted several offshore islands 10 meters (32.8 feet) in four minutes. "We hope to learn something about these fish while they are still evolving, literally, from an ocean population to a freshwater one," Cresko said."

    Population genomics is going to leave you little room to run. The evidence supporting evolution is now direct observation.