Skip to comments.The Dini-gration of Darwinism
Posted on 04/29/2003 10:43:39 AM PDT by Remedy
Texas Tech University biology professor Michael Dini recently came under fire for refusing to write letters of recommendation for students unable to "truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer" to the following question: "How do you think the human species originated?"
For asking this question, Professor Dini was accused of engaging in overt religious discrimination. As a result, a legal complaint was filed against Dini by the Liberty Legal Institute. Supporters of the complaint feared that consequences of the widespread adoption of Dinis requirement would include a virtual ban of Christians from the practice of medicine and other related fields.
In an effort to defend his criteria for recommendation, Dini claimed that medicine was first rooted in the practice of magic. Dini said that religion then became the basis of medicine until it was replaced by science. After positing biology as the science most important to the study of medicine, he also posited evolution as the "central, unifying principle of biology" which includes both micro- and macro-evolution, which applies to all species.
In addition to claiming that someone who rejects the most important theory in biology cannot properly practice medicine, Dini suggested that physicians who ignore or neglect Darwinism are prone to making bad clinical decisions. He cautioned that a physician who ignores data concerning the scientific origins of the species cannot expect to remain a physician for long. He then rhetorically asked the following question: "If modern medicine is based on the method of science, then how can someone who denies the theory of evolution -- the very pinnacle of modern biological science -- ask to be recommended into a scientific profession by a professional scientist?"
In an apparent preemptive strike against those who would expose the weaknesses of macro-evolution, Dini claimed that "one can validly refer to the fact of human evolution, even if all of the details are not yet known." Finally, he cautioned that a good scientist "would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs."
The legal aspect of this controversy ended this week with Dini finally deciding to change his recommendation requirements. But that does not mean it is time for Christians to declare victory and move on. In fact, Christians should be demanding that Dinis question be asked more often in the court of public opinion. If it is, the scientific community will eventually be indicted for its persistent failure to address this very question in scientific terms.
Christians reading this article are already familiar with the creation stories found in the initial chapters of Genesis and the Gospel of John. But the story proffered by evolutionists to explain the origin of the species receives too little attention and scrutiny. In his two most recent books on evolution, Phillip Johnson gives an account of evolutionists story of the origin of the human species which is similar to the one below:
In the beginning there was the unholy trinity of the particles, the unthinking and unfeeling laws of physics, and chance. Together they accidentally made the amino acids which later began to live and to breathe. Then the living, breathing entities began to imagine. And they imagined God. But then they discovered science and then science produced Darwin. Later Darwin discovered evolution and the scientists discarded God.
Darwinists, who proclaim themselves to be scientists, are certainly entitled to hold this view of the origin of the species. But that doesnt mean that their view is, therefore, scientific. They must be held to scientific standards requiring proof as long as they insist on asking students to recite these verses as a rite of passage into their "scientific" discipline.
It, therefore, follows that the appropriate way to handle professors like Michael Dini is not to sue them but, instead, to demand that they provide specific proof of their assertion that the origin of all species can be traced to primordial soup. In other words, we should pose Dr. Dinis question to all evolutionists. And we should do so in an open public forum whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Recently, I asked Dr. Dini for that proof. He didnt respond.
Dinis silence as well as the silence of other evolutionists speaks volumes about the current status of the discipline of biology. It is worth asking ourselves whether the study of biology has been hampered by the widespread and uncritical acceptance of Darwinian principles. To some observers, its study has largely become a hollow exercise whereby atheists teach other atheists to blindly follow Darwin without asking any difficult questions.
At least that seems to be the way things have evolved.
Another "form letter" response, eh?
Your failure to actually rebut any of the many points I've made is duly noted.
Pretending that I haven't said anything is a poor substitute for being able to deal with what I say, but if that's how you want to play it, I have no objection whatsoever. It saves me time, and makes the paucity of your rebuttal (and your "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" sophistries) apparent to all.
I'm not interested in now discrediting every statement you find the time to craft.
Fine by me. Feel free to continue failing to do so.
I said it was "fair" and "comprehensive". I didn't say that it didn't reach a conclusion. It fairly discusses the many arguments for and against evolution, and it fairly finds one set of arguments to hold water while the other set doesn't.
Now, as for comprehensiveness... quite astoundingly comprehensive. I'd be curious to see if there are any creationist arguments that aren't rebutted somewhere on this site.
It presents and examines all the pro-con arguments, and rebuts the ones that don't have proper merit. The fact that most (although not all) of those are on the anti-evolution side is hardly the fault of the website's authors.
I generally inhabit only one crevo thread at a time -- if I tried to keep active on all of them, I'd never have time to sleep. So when a new crevo thread becomes the "hot" one, I don't usually bother to go back to threads that are petering out.
And when I'm getting really short of free time, I often just purposely ignore the "My Comments" page, so as to not be seduced by the siren call of provocative posts aimed at me.
But the origin of birds topic is one that interests me -- which posts here did I miss regarding that issue that you think I should look at?
Not to mention his claim that our skin can't detect infrared radiation (known to the layman as "radiant heat").
Funny, I could have sworn mine did.
The late, great Stephen J. Gould is widely quoted in the material, waxing eloquent on the beauties of uncertainty and how Evolution is "one of the half dozen 'great ideas' developed by science. It speaks to the profound issues of genealogy that fascinate all of usthe 'roots' phenomenon writ large." Intellectuals just love the phrase, "writ large", do they not? On and on he rambles while a treacly layer of verbosity suffocates the facts. Within these ramblings we find this:
The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. (underlined emphasis in the original)
Gould thinks he's being clever but here he reveals for all to see what a poor scientist he really is. The very power of all physics derives from the discovery that mathematics does have an extremely high correlation to the real world, in many instances to exceedingly fine tolerances. Physics is the most revered of the sciences for that very reason.
Gould was a Sophist and a scientific fraud.
Actually, you had originally promised to show that the authors of the website are, in your words, "liars" and "just possibly the most dishonest site on the web". Changing that to just "parsing" or "deconstructing" at this point is rather a retreat from your original claims.
Now you The way to start this exercise is as the lawyers (not my favorite people) do, with definitions. From Merriam-Webster: "Theory: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another; a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena (wave theory of light); a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject (theory of equations). Synonym: see 'Hypothesis' ... implies insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation. Theory implies a greater range of evidence and greater likelihood of truth."
"Fact: a thing done; the quality of being actual; something that has actual existence; an actual occurrence; a piece of information presented as having objective reality; - in fact : in truth." So a fact is something actual and a theory describes the relationship among actualities, often temporal (cause-and-effect).
"Theory: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another; a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena (wave theory of light); a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject (theory of equations). Synonym: see 'Hypothesis' ... implies insufficient evidence to provide more than a tentative explanation. Theory implies a greater range of evidence and greater likelihood of truth."
Close enough for government work, but be aware that there are often subtle differences in how the words are applied in various fields, which are crucial to the nature of the study in question. Words have multiple definitions for good reason, don't try to shoehorn everything into just the *above* single definitions, or else the mistake will be your own, and not the fault of those who use the words in different contexts.
Can something be both? Not really.
Can a *single* thing be both? No, generally (although I'm sure possible exceptions could be found if one tried hard enough). But the mistake you make in your subsequent exegesis (see, I can use pretentious words even when common ones would suffice, too) is to misunderstand that there are *several* aspects of the field of evolution, *some* of which are facts, and *some* of which are theory. The web page you're "deconstructing" discusses both varieties. In fact, it specifically says so in the VERY FIRST SENTENCES:
"When non-biologists talk about biological evolution they often confuse two different aspects of the definition. On the one hand there is the question of whether or not modern organisms have evolved from older ancestral organisms or whether modern species are continuing to change over time. On the other hand there are questions about the mechanism of the observed changes... how did evolution occur?TalkOrigins is using a rhetorical device to attempt to give strength and objectivity to the Theory of Evolution.
[Emphasis mine -- Ich.]
Noooo, they're specifically trying to bring light to an oft misunderstood topic. The only one "using a rhetorical device" here is you, when you try to pretend that they're talking about a single, indivisible thing when in fact, as they plainly point out, there are several aspects to a field as broad as evolutionary biology. For someone who claims to be "parsing" what talk.origins has written, it's hard to see how you could have failed to understand the opening sentences of the page in question...
Therefore, any wordplay we encounter along the way that does not comport with the above, that does not maintain the separateness and the integrity of their meanings, will be accordingly labelled as empty rhetoric and thrown out, and Gould, the Sophist, will not be allowed to endlessly bend and twist these words to suit his purposes.
"Therefore", you are making your excuses ahead of time for those parts you are going to try to sweep off the table and fail to address.
Academicians have convinced themselves that words are the only, or at least the highest, reality. This is, in my view but with a great deal of support, a conceit borne of insecurity,
Oh, puh-leaze... When you decide to stop flogging your own personal monomania and get back to discussing the contents of the web page, let us know. At least this explains your fondness for the terms "parsing" and "deconstruction"...
and the authors of TalkOrigins will thus not be allowed to indulge this vice in what follows.
No worries, they don't.
Those of us who live in the real world and earn our daily bread think in simpler but more honest terms. Complexity and hair-splitting serve better to deceive than enlighten.
Self-congratulatory digression over? Good. Now, on with the alleged topic:
I also noticed that a great deal of ink was spilled trashing Creationism and Creationists.
What page were *you* reading? Oh, excuse me, "parsing"? The page you purport to be "deconstructing" in fact hardly "spills a great deal of ink" in the service of "trashing Creationism and Creationists". You did actually *read* it, didn't you? Most of it is spent on discussing the aspects of evolution itself, as promised. The closest this lengthy page comes to mentioning creationists/creationism *at all* are the following:
"Thus the power of the creationist argument: evolution is "only" a theory and intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory."Is this what constitutes "a great deal of ink [...] spilled trashing Creationism and Creationists" in your book? Gee, you're not overly *sensitive*, are you?
"Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us falsely for a style of argument that they themselves favor)."
"It is time for students of the evolutionary process, especially those who have been misquoted and used by the creationists, to state clearly that [...]"
"There are readers of these newsgroups who reject evolution for religious reasons. In general these readers oppose both the fact of evolution and theories of mechanisms, although some anti-evolutionists have come to realize that there is a difference between the two concepts. That is why we see some leading anti-evolutionists admitting to the fact of "microevolution"--they know that evolution can be demonstrated. These readers will not be convinced of the "facthood" of (macro)evolution by any logical argument and it is a waste of time to make the attempt."
This is a very bad habit having nothing to do with the verity of the Theory of Evolution or with science and, in not too much of a stretch, it can be viewed as a sign of psychological dysfunction if the writer cannot let it go.
No, surely, in an essay trying to make clear the distinctions between different aspects of the field of evolution, there's *no* reason to mention common sources of misunderstandings or philosophical disagreements, it must be a "sign of psychological dysfunction", eh? That was great, tell us another knee-slapper. These threads could always use more levity.
We are therefore going to ignore any such side-trips as irrelevant.
Yes, that *would* be wise, given that any attempt to actually address them would make your charges of "trashing" and "psychological dysfunction" so obviously bereft of real substance...
So, we continue our odyssey into substance with (surprise!) another definition.
"Biological evolution is a change in the genetic characteristics of a population over time. That this happens is a fact. Biological evolution also refers to the common descent of living organisms from shared ancestors. The evidence for historical evolution -- genetic, fossil, anatomical, etc. -- is so overwhelming that it is also considered a fact. The theory of evolution describes the mechanisms that cause evolution. So evolution is both a fact and a theory." See FAQ.
The astute reader will note that Phaedrus has pulled a bit of a bait-and-switch here. Phaedrus claims to be parsing/deconstructing the page, Evolution is a Fact and a Theory, by Laurence Moran, but suddenly has switched to yanking a short answer (the passage above) from this FAQ page instead. Not only is Phaedrus suddenly changing context without warning, but that FAQ page specifically notes at the top, "Brief answers are given for each question along with a pointer to one or more relevant files." Talk.origins has repeatedly stated that for full understanding, readers should consult the linked "relevant files" and not rely on the "quickie" FAQ answer as if it were the entirety of their statement on the matter. In fact, elsewhere on the site they take Jorge Fernandez to the woodshed for doing that very thing:
The answers to all seven questions in the original Archive version include a short response, and links to where a more in-depth answer can be found. In all seven cases, Fernandez omits the links to the in-depth responses. [...] By omitting without acknowledgement the sentence with the links to the in-depth responses, Fernandez makes it appear that he is addressing the entire Talk.Origins response to each question. In fact, his entire claim that the Archive responses dishonestly omit material rests on the assumption that he is addressing the entire Archive response. Mr. Fernandez's behavior, not that of the Archive, demonstrates deception by omission in its purest form.Phaedrus has done the same, omitting the following links from the end of the above passage, where the quickie answer is addressed in much more depth and clarification:
See the Evolution is a Fact and a Theory FAQ, the Introduction to Evolutionary Biology FAQ and the Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution FAQ: Evolution is Only a theory[Biological evolution is a change in the genetic characteristics of a population over time.]
Change happens every time a baby is born. Change is ubiquitous, applying to all aspects and events of/in the Universe over time.
Yes, exactly. That's what makes this aspect of evolution (change in a population over time) part of the "fact" portion of biological evolution. Don't think you have to disagree with *everthing* just to be contrary...
Change is not an Evolutionary theory, it is a simple observation applying to all of physical reality and this observation is not a scientific statement, it is a given. It is context.
Correct. That's why this is some of the "fact" part of evolution, not the "theory" part.
For someone who likes "parsing" and "deconstructing", you seem to be having some serious difficulties with simple declarative statements.
Science explains how things change over time, deducing the general rules by which facts and events relate to one another.
...and that's the "theory" part. Thus the title of the essay, "evolution is a fact *and* a theory". This isn't rocket science, try to keep up.
[That this [biological evolution, presumably] happens is a fact.]
A bald, unsupported assertion, and false.
Strange, then why did you just consider it so inarguably obvious above, by calling it a "given"? Arguing with yourself so soon?
[Biological evolution also refers to the common descent of living organisms from shared ancestors.]
"Also refers"? We have an "is" in the first sentence, which makes the statement definitional. This statement expands the definition.
Why yes it does. Good Phaedrus. Here's a cookie.
Biological evolution is a broad field of study which has *several* components, not all of them identical to each other. The Talk.Origins website is pretty good about signaling when they're talking about one aspect versus another, just as they do above, but apparently they overestimated the ability of some of their readers to keep up...
[The evidence for historical evolution -- genetic, fossil, anatomical, etc. -- is so overwhelming that it is also considered a fact.]
Another bald, unsupported statement, not shown and wrong.
Nice try, but the website most certainly *does* support the statement. For you to claim that a website as enormously comprehensive as Talkorigins.org leaves that statement "unsupported" is simply ludicrous on your part. You may *disagree* with some of the support (and from the way you kick and scream whenever someone dares link anything from there, you apparently do), but for you to flatly declare that they *don't* provide support for their statements -- when you know that they do, because you've seen the many links -- speaks very poorly for your own honesty, frankly.
Would you care to revise that silly accusation, or are you going to let it stand and speak for your reputation as is?
It has never been shown that one species transforms into another and that would be evidence.
From the same site you dishonestly declare leaves the statement "unsupported" and "not shown":
From the same website which you claim leaves the matter "unsupported"
Quick, complete this sentence: "There are none so blind..."
[The theory of evolution describes the mechanisms that cause evolution.]
No, it does not.
See above for enlightenment. If you're able.
As shown by the following which is taken from the article itself, the Evolutionists have been groping for answers for over 100 years and they still don't have them.
Still don't have *all* of them, sure. No field of science does. But that doesn't make the notion that matter is made of atoms, for example, any less of a fact. But are you truly going to try to (mis)represent and say that evolution doesn't have *any* answers? I would strongly advise you not to shoot yourself in the foot that badly, but if you really want to, don't let me stop you.
[... biologists readily admit that they are less certain of the exact mechanism of evolution; there are several theories of the mechanism of evolution. (Moran)]
"Less certain of the exact mechanism"?
Yes, in context that quote says that they are of course less certain of the *exact* mechanism *than they are of the uncontested facts*. What, would you prefer that they say they are "equally" certain of the theory as of the facts, or *more* certain of the theory than of the facts? What exactly is your nitpick here, if indeed you have any valid one?
"Several theories of "the mechanism" of evolution"?
Yes, just as there are "several theories of the mechanism" of gravity, or of light propagation, or subatomic particles. However, in truth the mechanisms of evolution are at this point better understood than the ones underlying various aspects of physics. Unlike physics, where if you go small enough, large enough, or fast enough, the signs still read "here be dragons", in evolution the debate isn't over which mechanism (e.g. natural selection, sexual selection, genetic drift, punctuated equilibrium, etc.) are true, because they all have been factually demonstrated, the real debate is only over which mechanism(s) contribute most heavily and which are more minor factors, and/or which one was in play to drive a particular historical evolutionary change.
Meanwhile, I've never heard you complain that:
"The theory of universal gravitation is also independent of the specific explanatory mechanism for gravity, and in fact Newton never gave a mechanism for gravity. Why does the force between two masses follow the inverse square law and not another law (perhaps an inverse cube law)? It took nearly 300 years before any plausible mechanisms for gravity were proposed (by quantum field theorists). None of these proposed mechanisms currently have any experimental support."
From 29 Evidences for Macroevolution: Closing remarks by Douglas Theobald, Ph.D.
This is an absurd statement if it is meant to denote science (which it is). Science tells us how cause relates to effect. It generalizes, finds general rules. It doesn't say "It might be this or it might be that, in 'uncertain' fashion." This statement is an admission that Evolution is not science.
This only shows that you really haven't a clue as to what science is or how it works. Science most certainly *does* deal in the tug-of-war among competing theories. See: Evolution and Philosophy: Is Evolution Science, and What Does 'Science' Mean? and 29 Evidences for Macroevolution: Scientific Proof?
[And ... we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms. (Gould)]
Or, to be blunt, Evolutionists are still looking for answers they don't have.
Of course -- there are always more answers to be found. So?
Science has answers or it's not science.
Evolution *has* answers, quite literally tons of them (see above links). They're just admitting they don't have *all* the answers, but they're out looking for them, and finding more all the time. For this you give them hell? Would you prefer they tried to claim that they *did* have all the answers? Admit it: There's no pleasing you.
[humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered.]
Which word didn't you understand?
(Hint: Feigned incredulity is a poor substitute for reasoned response.)
"... some other mechanism yet to be discovered"? Gould admits that the Evolutionists do not have the answers.
No, he does not. Try reading the passage again for content this time.
Reading comprehension quiz: If I wrote, "Phaedrus posts on Free Republic, whether he/she does so by computer or by some other method yet to be discovered", would that be an "admission that Ichneumon does not have the answers", or simply a declaration that Phaedrus' participation in FR is a fact regardless of the method that he/she might conceivably be using to accomplish it?
And again, science without answers is not science.
And a rebuttal without substance is not a rebuttal. The science of evolution does have answers, it just doesn't pretend to have *all* answers. No science does. No science *can*, since there is always the possibility of discovering something new.
[So evolution is both a fact and a theory."]
A bald and false assertion, and shown above to be false.
Really? Where? I haven't seen you actually "show" that yet. What you *have* shown is that you have trouble with your reading comprehension from time to time, and are unfamiliar with how science actually works, and are curiously apt to declare things "bald" or "not shown" or "unsupported", when in fact they most certainly are, in detail.
But let's do a little further parsing. I particularly liked this segment purporting to prove Evolution by allusion.
"By allusion" is not what they're doing, actually. Time to get a new "word of the day" calendar.
[It is a fact that the earth with liquid water, is more than 3.6 billion years old.]
I can accept that the earth is very old, based on science.
And there was much rejoicing.
[It is a fact that cellular life has been around for at least half of that period and that organized multicellular life is at least 800 million years old.]
We will accept this, too.
"We"? The mouse in your pocket browses the internet also?
[It is a fact that major life forms now on earth were not at all represented in the past.]
And we accept this.
That's one well-read mouse.
[There were no birds or mammals 250 million years ago.]
[It is a fact that major life forms of the past are no longer living. There used to be dinosaurs and Pithecanthropus, and there are none now.]
[It is a fact that all living forms come from previous living forms.]
But NOT this, because it has never been shown!
Sigh -- what, your parents found you under a rock somewhere? Storks really bring babies after all? Rats spring fully-formed from piles of garbage and are *not* born? Are you really arguing for the age-old idea of spontaneous generation now? Based on what evidence, please?
This is a leap of faith, NOT science.
No, actually, science is the discipline which *refuted* the notion of spontaneous generation, and established that complex life forms don't spring up out of nowhere, they are actually born of parental organisms.
Hint: All he's saying here is that complex living things don't just pop in out of nowhere, they are born of prior living things. You came from your parents, my cat came from a mommy and a daddy cat, even bacteria come from other bacteria. So stop hyperventilating.
And that is why Darwinism is accused by some, myself included, of being religion. And it is anti-Christian religion as shown by Darwinists' fixation with bashing Creationists. The referenced article itself, and Gould himself, expend a fair number of words doing nothing but bashing Creationism. None of this is science, folks.
Are you done ranting now? Care to return with us to the topic at hand?
[Therefore, all present forms of life arose from ancestral forms that were different.]
Nonsense, "therefore ...". This conclusion has no warrant.
Actually, it does, in quite logical fashion. 1) Modern life is quite different from ancient life, 2) living things are born from each prior generation, they don't crawl out of the woodwork fully formed, 3) therefore modern life must be descended from past life which was quite different, if you look back far enough. QED.
1) and 2) are quite well established by that "science" thing you've heard about. If instead you want to claim that 1) is false, or 2) is false, *you're* the one who has a heavy burden of proof to meet if you want to be taken seriously.
If 2) is your focus, be sure that your alternative theory explains a) why your "poof here's a new life form out of nowhere" theory clashes with Genesis and why the religious creationists shouldn't denounce you as another godless infidel, b) why your "out of the blue" life form(s) -- be sure to name them -- always seem to be preceded in the fossil record by reasonably obvious evolutionary ancestors, and c) why your "new" species shares genetic errors with other "unrelated" species in a way that only makes sense if they actually did share a common evolutionary ancestor.
We'll wait -- this ought to be amusing.
In support of the foregoing and in rebuttal to Ich's dismissal and trashing of the work if not the person of Spetner, all of what follows comes from Not By Chance!
Ah, I see you've stopped critiquing what the talk.origins page actually says, and moved on to attempting counterarguments.
That really should have been a separate post, as it in no way counts as "deconstruction" of the talk.origins pages anymore. So I'll deal with Spetner and your other quote mining in a separate post of my own (tomorrow at the earliest, time for me to go to bed).
I do, however, find it ironic that in a post in which you whined and complained about talk.origins daring to speak of creationists while discussing evolution, you ran off on a wild tangent of your own and started irrelevantly arguing against evolution (by quoting others, mostly) in a post where you claimed to be discussing why the talk.origins website was allegedly a gang of "liars" and just possibly the most dishonest site on the web".
Sorry, but whether or not evolution turns out to be mistaken, as your bag-o-quotes tries to imply, that in no way helps support your claim that the talk.origin folks are knowingly telling falsehoods.
Now that you've failed in your attempt to prove them as "dishonest" as you originally asserted, would you care to retract your accusation, or are you going to try again to prove it, perhaps more successfully next time than you've managed here?
Your current attempt was, in a word, pitiful, and only demonstrated that you had a hard time keeping up with the discussion on that site. Far from showing that there's anything actually wrong with the material there, much less that it's "lies", as you claimed, all you've done in this post is sophistic word-splitting, trivial nitpicking, and "is not!" foot-stamping.
My posts at #438 and #445 speak for themselves.
Well, they certainly do speak for your dishonesty, ignorance, and anti-science fanaticism.
No, little girl. There is no reason to let your typically dishonest, unresponsive, and misleading post to go without comment.
Thank you for your brilliant and exhaustive post.