Skip to comments.Junk Science Exposed In Evolutionary Theory
Posted on 12/17/2009 3:15:42 PM PST by ezfindit
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Imagine what it would be like to do that your whole life and never find any really significant discovery. I guess one may be tempted to rationalize an exciting back story for what they do find. Making the the detachment necessary to look for evidence falsifying such notions very difficult.
You've shoved the goalposts. NicknamedBob certainly did, in his reply, directly and relevantly respond to -- and refute -- your assertion. You claimed it flatly impossible for legs to exist in a purely aquatic creature because there was no way they could be adaptive:
Why would a fish that is adapting to a water environment grow legs and walk out on land?
Natural Selection, by definition, would select the legs out of the process because there would be no survival advantage in a water environment.
NicknamedBob gave you both a fully aquatic creature that did have actual legs, down to digits (Acanthostega) and an environment conducive to such an adaptation (the shallow, swampy, vegetation choked waters which living Acanthostega appear to have inhabited).
Now, to catch up with your goalposts...
Is any of this actual science? Does any of it meet the scientific method....observable, testable, repeatable, falsifiable?
NicknamedBob already did a fine job answering this. Science does indeed combine speculation with fact. Scientists formulate questions, conjectures, hypotheses and theories, and then test those against observed fact.
I'll just add that the particular case of Acanthostega (and similar fully aquatic tetrapods) illustrates that such conjectures are falsifiable. Because, in fact, you had it backwards, at least as to the older evolutionary speculations. Most evolutionists did not initially presume that fish first grew legs in the water and then walked out on land.
The predominant view used to be that the first fish to start spending time on land, i.e. ancestral tetrapods, did so with far more primitive limbs, little more than modified fins. The general idea was of a proto-amphibian with limbs somewhat more robust than, but otherwise similar to, those of lobe-finned fishes. Only after these creatures began spending time out of the water would they have started to develop full legs with digits.
This view was falsified when Acanthostega and his kin were discovered. These fossils made it clear that fish had developed full limbs, and thus become tetrapods, before they moved onto land. Precisely because they were behaving like scientists and responding to contradictory facts, evolutionists had to change their view about the evolutionary sequence of events.
Right. And, in exactly the same sense, facts, experiments and observations are not science.
OTOH, conjectures, guesses and postulations consequentially connected to facts, experiments and observations, are science.
Both the speculating and the testing are necessary. It's not science without both.
What worldview you start with determines what conjectures, guesses and postulations you come up with.
Maybe so. Maybe not. But the most important point is that this is strictly irrelevant.
The process whereby, or the basis upon which, you construct a scientific hypothesis, literally does not matter. Sure, as a practical matter, some ways will tend to work well and others not so much, but the point is the validity of a hypothesis is completely independent of how or why you formulated it.
The only things that matter are if your hypothesis or theory is structured in a scientific fashion (avoids ad hoc explanation, is consistent with known facts, is testable by yet unknown facts, differs in crucial implications from alternative explanations, etc) and how it fares on testing against observation.
Science has to do with the observable present, not the unobservable past.
This distinction is likewise artificial and irrelevant. Again, the only thing that matters is that your theory or hypothesis is well constructed and has testable implications. Whether those implications relate ultimately to events presently occurring, or to events that occurred long ago, doesn't matter, at least as to whether or not your conjecture and it's testing constitute science.
First bear in mind that almost nothing is really ever "directly" observed. In the strictest, most literal truth, it's not just the past that is "unobservable," but also the present. For instance, I believe it is only in the last decade or two that scientists were able to actually image an atom. Does this mean that all prior atomic theory has to be thrown out as based on the unobservable? Of course not.
Or consider chemistry. Even if you can, very occasionally, with great difficulty, and under very special circumstances, in some sense "see" an atom, chemical reactions are a different matter. They occur FAR too quickly and are FAR too dynamic to ever directly image and observe. And yet, without ever having witnessed a single, solitary chemical reaction, but only by observing their putative (i.e. "guessed at") effects and consequences, we have been able to construct the entire science of chemistry over only a few hundred years.
But since chemistry is about chemical reactions, and chemical reactions are always unobserved, you would be telling us that chemistry is not science.
Secondly, just because some events natural science is interested in occurred in the past -- it's not as if they occurred in some different universe. Since they occurred in this universe, under the same natural laws that presently govern it, those events are liable to have consequences that are observable in the present. Or, rather, our theories about their causes are liable to have consequences as to facts that are presently observable.
So, in short, it's not the events themselves, about which you theorize, which have to be observable. They almost never are. It's the consequences of your theory which must be observable.
Have to wait for the weekend.
Ahem, (cue swelling background guitar music, adopt Darryl Worley voice), actually, it sounds like Life to me. It ain't no fantasy ...
(Clears throat, /Darryl Worley voice) Ah, yes, anyway. Sure it would be tempting to fake a significant find, and garner all the prestige and accolades that had previously been so elusive. But man that's hard to do.
If you think you're a skeptical observer, that's nothing compared to the scrutiny that a scientific review gets. It's not the press that has to be convinced; we all know of their clueless gullibility. It is one's peers that have to be convinced. They're a tough crowd. Look at the treatment of Pons and Fleischman over their claims of "cold fusion".
You can't just make stuff up, even if you're tempted to do so. That's probably harder than the science.
“My point is that the title betrays the utter ignorance of the author. Stanley Millers experiment showed an interesting fact, that several amino acids can form spontaneously. Nothing junk about it, and nothing about evolution either. So the title Junk Science Exposed in Evolutionary Theory is not supported by the article.”
Learn to read, man. The “junk science” claim refers to the textbooks:
“Millions of high school and college biology textbooks teach that research scientist Stanley Miller, in the 1950s, showed how life could have arisen by chance. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
My point is that “how life could have arisen” is not part of evolutionary theory. Neither is Miller's experiment “junk science”. If the textbooks actually read as ‘reported’ then yes, the textbooks are making a rather grandiose claim on scant evidence; but it is NOT “junk science” but “bad textbook writing”, and it has nothing to do with evolutionary theory.
But I guess it IS too much to ask that people actually KNOW about a subject before they write about it. The author of this is either completely ignorant, or engaged in propaganda to those who he assumes (correctly) don't know much about science - his target audience, creationists.
The claims for Miller’s experiment are not just “rather grandiose.” They are just plain bogus. And, according to the article, these claims appear widely in science textbooks. That *is* junk science being perpetrated on future scientists, and THAT is what should alarm you — NOT some semantic quibble about what is or is not “evolutionary science” or “junk science.”
Do you have any idea how hard it is to refrain from calling pedantic fools like you what you are?
Guess that's why all archeological finds will always be accredited to evolution. If it just might be a missing link, the skepticism is quite a bit lower than something challenging evolution. And the missing link will get you fame...until they eventually find it was a fraud, but even a valid challenge to evolution will get you mocked and derided.
The peer review process is not the scientific method in action. Its dogma in action. Science is about trying to falsify the leading theory. The scientific review is all to often about protecting it. Its easiest to see this nonsense in the "climate change" community now a days.
That's my understanding, too. Just speculation on his part.
That's my understanding, too. Just speculation on his part.
From one that does protein chemistry and antibody-antigen reactions all day...
Very well put.
True indeed....my first PI was a trained entomologist and immunology of infectious disease type specializing in vector-borne diseases, mainly ticks and skeeters, and was on the review board of a few journals in his time and absolutely LIVED to find faults in submitted works.....it was his second career. To him, finding faults in others works was “the real science”...
There seems to me a scale here, where we go from science to speculation:
1) Micro evolution: something fairly well established by science.
2) Theory of macro evolution--species can change from one to another: the prevailing theory which actively ridicules competitors...but not really a hard science. The empirical evidence lends itself to hand waving arguments both for and against. One can attempt to apply the scientific method to test this theory, but there are too many confounding factors to make such investigations definitive (as there are in psychology for instance).
3) Assertion of a single common ancestor of all species: realm of speculation. Not really testable.
4) Presumption that that single ancestor must have sprang from inorganic matter by some kind of chance (either here or on some other planet): Wholly speculative, neither testable with science, nor something which can be derived from reason.
5)Problem of where matter/energy/stuff itself came from (for which life could later spring). A compelling philosophical case for a transcendent super nature. But not something which is testable by science except on occasion and indirectly. For instance the Big Bang theory which suggests that the universe has not simply always existed--a notion which if accepted forces a reasonable man to reject naturalism.
So on the one end we have philosophy and the other end we have the scientific method as the best ways to approach the questions. In the middle is no-mans land.
Micro vs. Macro-evolution -- an argument for those unwilling to accept definitions. All evolution is micro, but it is as inexorable as erosion. You seem to think that "micro evolution" is like some editor tweaking a submission. A bit of spelling correction here, and deleting a superfluous adjective there, and voila! the work is complete!
The work is never complete. We are all too wearily aware that evolution occurs because of random events. Let us surmise that an isolated species has had more than enough minor changes to exceed any definition of micro, and yet it may or may not be a new species. What defines whether it is or not?
Generally, it is accepted that it would be a new species if it cannot successfully interbreed with other species. Then it is necessarily on its own, to prosper or perish, as fortune determines. Eventually, it may go on to parent yet more divisions, more species. Or it may simply end like the dodo.
Such isolations can occur in just a few generations, or over thousands and thousands of years. The problem is, micro just doesn't know when to stop.
"a single common ancestor" -- Well, if you think multiple origin makes more sense, you can go with that. Some forest fires have multiple points of ignition, caused by lightning strikes. And many earthquakes are preceded by "micro-quakes".
Life is pretty diverse, but not quite so diverse that some relationship seems unlikely. The discovery and analysis of DNA gave us the opportunity to see whether, and to what degree, we are all related. Not just speculation, but chemical results. And guess what? We're all related.
"that single ancestor must have sprang from inorganic matter by some kind of chance" -- Here you are entirely correct. This is neither testable nor deducible. What will we conclude if we find life existing on other worlds?
"where matter/energy/stuff itself came from" -- What good is time and space? If you had the ability to create time and space, what could you use it for? Maybe it's just an arbitrary, random event, like the dance of dust motes in sunlight.
"the Big Bang theory which suggests that the universe has not simply always existed--a notion which if accepted forces a reasonable man to reject naturalism."
The Big Bang Theory comes out of simple forensic analysis. When it was deduced that galaxies were moving apart from each other, it became a natural mental exercise to wonder what it would look like to reverse the action. Reversing the action makes it look as though there was a tremendous explosion about thirteen billion years ago.
But I cannot infer a reason that a man should reject naturalism, or even alcoholism, simply because the Universe has not always existed. Who gives a snap what was happening thirteen billion years ago?
Prior to the Big Bang theory, naturalists viewed the universe as simply eternal. They would not allow for a beginning because that would mean defending the notion that stuff could simply come from from nothing.
Along came observations that the universe seemed to have a definitive beginning. If this is correct then there seems to be some less desirable more speculative positions naturalism must retreat to:
a) That stuff really can just pop out of nothing...and yet not do to any magic or super natural influence.
b) That the Big Bang is just a cycle in an eternal universe, that may have collapsed into itself.
c) That the "universe" is really a part of a larger natural world (or "cosmos") which is eternal, from which the universe sprang as a subset.
None of these positions is particularly attractive, but I think the least "fantastic" and most attractive to a naturalist would be "b". And on that point, I understand that the physicists do not think that the universe is going to collapse, but its just a one way ride to heat death...if this is so science is sending even more rain on naturalisms parade.
Last I heard, the naturalists in physics were all about multi-universe cosmos theories, so I guess the option "c" is the latest rationalization. The interesting, and actually entertaining to us non-naturalist part about this is that they have to presume an infinite number of these universes in order to make the systems they invent eternal.
The motion of dust in sunlight is fairly arbitrary. Just as an important difficult decision a man makes after careful consideration and reflection is deliberate...but wait...along comes naturalism...and sorry I guess we must conclude they are both just arbitrary and random...as is everything else such as reason and morality.
Sorry, naturalism asks me to conclude too many idiotic things, so I can't accept it.
I don’t see the limitations on how the Universe came to be as having anything to do with my understanding of naturalism.
The way I see it, Naturalism would say, “What is, is.” It wouldn’t concern itself with how it came to be.
Either the Universe popped into existence all at one time, as described in the Big Bang model, or it has been there all along, with matter popping into existence from nothingness at random intervals in empty space as in the discredited Steady State model.
Or maybe it is cyclic, expanding and contracting. Aside from being something to talk about and think about, what practical relevance does it have to how one chooses to live his life? One can be evil for any reason, or good for none at all.
Some of us ask these questions because we seek understanding. Others seek guidance. They’re probably on equal footing with getting a satisfactory answer.
Just about every philosophy says "What is, is". If that is all you mean by Naturalism than its is certainly easy to defend, but is sadly void of any content.
My understanding of Naturalism is one where it is more ambitious. It includes the assumption that no events may have super natural causes. For example if I claim I recovered from a sickness because Jesus healed me, it would say, no, you must have gotten healed from natural causes. And if I claimed something that excluded natural causes such as my leg suddenly grew back in an instant then it would say, that I was either delusional or lying, or possibly nature works quite a bit differently than we thought. However it would never allow for a super natural agent such as God to have decided to heal my leg.
Naturalism presumes that there is no God, or other super natural agents that transcend nature.
I'm not up to speed on that, but I'm fairly confident air-filled bones are only found among theropod dinosaurs (bipedal, primarily carnivorous, saurischians such as Tyrannosaurus, Deinonychus, etc). So the hollow bones came later.
Since some reptiles/dinosaurs are warm-blooded and some are cold-blooded (as you seem to indicate) what might have been the sequence of events?
Again, not up to speed. I read bits and pieces of the research, and many popular accounts, back in the 1980's, when the cold-blooded / warm-blooded debate started to heat up. But I haven't kept up to date much since.
Certainly, considering their diversity, vast differences in size, different eating habits, and etc, dinosaurs as a whole must have had many different thermoregulation strategies and regimes. We see the same in living creatures. There are several instances of living "cold-blooded" creatures where certain groups/species have the ability to elevate metabolic rates, even to the point of maintaining constant or near constant body temperatures. Off the top of my head I know that reptiles like sea turtles, and fish like tuna and some sharks, have this ability. OTOH, some mammals, namely the monotremes, have low metabolic rates and are often functionally close to being ectotherms (warmed by their environment rather than internally).
My best guess is that there were probably both full (or close to full) ectotherms and full (or close to full) endotherms among dinosaurs, and various in-between conditions. But understanding the details of thermoregulation has been difficult and taken many years to even partially sort out, even among living animals. So I'm not going to delve into this issue having not kept up with the latest controversies.
Although I will say that, AFAIK, it does remain a controversial area, with multiple competing hypotheses. I do get the impression, however, that most scientists think at least some dinosaurs were full endotherms or close to being.
Archaeopteryx supposedly proved that birds came from dinosaurs....except that was refuted by many bird experts (See Alan Feduccia)who have concluded that Archaeopteryx was 100% bird.
Yes. Archaeopteryx is 100% bird. That is, after scientists found a specimen with feathers, and then noticed faint feather impressions on older specimens. Before that it was 100% reptile.
Everything is 100% percent something. It is an artifact of the biological classification system that you have to put each individual species into one or another larger group, even if has characteristics of more than one group. In those cases you have to, often somewhat arbitrarily, pick one or a few characteristics you consider most characteristic to make the division.
Feathers used to be the deciding character for birds. If it had feathers, it was a bird. If it didn't, it wasn't. Of course this blew up when feathered dinosaurs were discovered.
Feduccia does indeed hold a minority position arguing that feathered dinosaurs (those with clear, pennaceous, as opposed to downy, feathers -- he thinks the downy feathers so-called are really something else) are actually misidentified birds and not dinosaurs at all. BUT THIS JUST ILLUSTRATES HOW CLOSE THE TWO GROUPS REALLY ARE!
In searching about for a proper response to your post, I came across an interesting article. In a nutshell, the contention is that if you want to talk about thinking, it is necessary to think about talking.
This is a long article, but it is surprisingly rewarding. I also feel confidant that you will learn a few new words, as well as a new way of looking at a few things. You'll be surprised at which names and historical events get mentioned.
Initially, I researched Naturalism. I can see why you think it is a limited philosophy. It is by definition a limited philosophy.
Then I went looking for Scientific Empiricism. Gradually I came to a focus on the linked article. This is interesting stuff. Try not to discard it as too convoluted, off the subject, or difficult to understand. After all, if this can exist in our world ...
... then such as the rest of us can comprehend the meaning and import of the article I linked.
Where does it lead?
To the question why Plato had not developed science, ... because he got things backward.Later, speaking not of Plato, but of the author of this philosophy ...
... Plato started from rhetoric, which had displaced myth and poetry as processors of knowledge. But rhetoric was based upon persuasion in the vernacular. ... Consequently it was unsuited for dealing with the Form of wisdom in the realm of Idea.
... he was looking for rules for the behavior of phenomena rather than causal properties of matter as such..
Anyway, this is going to require a great deal more study and reflection, for me as well as anyone else who wants to follow these faintly echoing footsteps.
Thanks, Bob. I’ll print it out later when I can use the computer that’s hooked to the printer. DP is configuring something at this time.
But honestly, I don’t believe Marilyn read a single word of Joyce.
According to her, she read them, but she found them difficult.
I love the photo.
No really? It reminds me of the scene in "Northern Exposure" where Shelly is reading a D.H. Lawrence novel that she found supporting a wobbly table-leg. "I mean, I'm trying to read it ... but there's, like, so many words and everything!"
Indeed their definition is close to what I had in mind.
I used to think of Naturalism as compelling, and even felt threatened by it (as I was raised Episcopalian). However, I have an insatiable appetite for thinking things through, and eventually realized Naturalism had irreconcilable flaws. After that I resented the hold it had on me, and I currently am inclined to lampoon it.
More fraud by the evildoers.
I don't think that's necessary. I don't really see anyone defending it to the exclusion of other philosophies, and it is somewhat self-lampooning in its definitive deficiencies.
Occasional posters will hark to the benefits of keeping emotionalism out of scientific investigations, but most will admit that invisible is not identical to nonexistent.
Got it printed - 18 pages.
Dude, you’re just not thinking right.
Millions and millions of years of absolutely pointless and useless intermediate forms that served no purpose and left no evidence.
Now, get back in line!
Trial and error takes a lot of trials, and a lot of errors.
Ah yes; but who as the try-er?
That question answers itself. Anyone other than Mother Nature would not need to experiment so much, or to be so ruthless in the trials.
One thousand legs. Wasteful.
One hundred legs. Interesting.
Eight legs. Kinda scary. I like it!
Six legs. Good, good. Maybe I'll add some wings, too.
Four legs. Great!
Two legs. Funny no matter which one it's on!
One leg. Doesn't work so well, but I'll save it for Kangaroos, and let them act as if they have only one. Maybe I'll let them have a purse.
Mother Nature, counting down in binary math.
So you worship a female deity you call “Mother Nature.” How can she be known? Served? What is her character? What exactly is her will? Does she provide a transcendent ground for ethics?
So you worship a female deity you call Mother Nature.
"How can she be known?"
If you don't know the answer to that, you must be too much a city person. Get out into the country for a bit.
Serve Mother Nature? Her ants can have the leftovers from my picnics.
"What is her character?"
The difference between a jungle, and a rainforest is this: When you're flying over it in a small plane, you can look down and admire the rainforest.
When your plane goes down into it, it becomes a jungle. You will be eaten. That is the character of Mother Nature. Keep your plane in good repair.
"What exactly is her will?"
That's a good one. I'd say her will is curiosity, with a nasty disposition.
"Does she provide a transcendent ground for ethics?"
Only by negative example.
From your first paragraph, I take it you’re not up to a two-way conversation that seriously engages your public words. So, adieu.
If I thought that was intentional irony, I would consider it humorous.
You got that || close.
God be with you too.
Natural selection is a machine that makes almost impossible things. Consider a typical protein such as whale myoglobin. That molecule is but one of a hundred thousand or so proteins in the animals body and contains a hundred and fifty-three units called amino acids. These come in about twenty forms. The number of possible combinations of amino acids in a structure the size of myoglobin is hence twenty raised to the power of a hundred and fifty three. The figure, ten with about two hundred zeros after it, is beyond imagination and is far more than all the proteins in all the whales, all the animals and all the plants that have ever lived. Such a molecule could never arise by accident. Instead, a rather ordinary device, natural selection, has carved out not just myoglobin but millions of other proteins and the organisms they build.
I was reminded, in reading your post,
“... a machine that makes almost impossible things ...”
... of a book I read in 1987. “Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology” by K. Eric Drexler.
At that time, Drexler made the point that nanotechnology only borrowed a principle of miniature assemblers from the already existing biological assembly devices called living cells.
Somehow an acorn has within itself the miraculous ability to seek out the materials it needs to assemble a living oak tree. Not only the instructional guidelines, but the proper miniature tools as well.
Having such a tough act to follow, I adhere to Joyce Kilmer’s advise and stick to poetry.