Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Blinded by Science
Discovery Institute ^ | 6/2/03 | Wesley J. Smith

Posted on 06/02/2003 1:46:54 PM PDT by Heartlander

Blinded by Science


Wesley J. Smith
National Review
June 16, 2003


Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience, & What Makes Us Human, by Matt Ridley HarperCollins, 336 pp., $25.95)

This is a very strange book, and I am not quite sure what the author is attempting to achieve. At the very least it appears that he wants to shore up genetic determinism as the key factor in understanding human nature and individual behavior.

Genetic determinism is rational materialism's substitute for the religious notion of predestination; taking the place of God as puppet master are the genes, whose actions and interactions control who we are, what we think, and how we act. This reductionist view received a body blow recently when the mappers of the human genome found that we have only about 30,000 genes. Because of their understanding of human complexity, the scientists were expecting at least 100,000 -- and that means there are probably too few genes for strict genetic determinism to be true.

Ridley, a science writer and former U.S. editor of The Economist, tries to ride to the rescue. In doing so, he adds a twist that he hopes will overcome our apparent genetic paucity: Yes, he says, our genes decide who we are, what we do and think, and even with whom we fall in love. But, he posits, our molecular masters are not rigidly preset when we are born. Rather, they change continually in reaction to our biological and emotional experiences.

Hence, 30,000 are more than enough for a soft genetic determinism to be true -- which means that the battle between those who believe we are the product of our biology (nature) versus those who believe we are the result of our environment (nurture) can now end in a truce in which both sides win. We are indeed controlled by our genes, but they in turn are influenced by our experiences. Ridley says that the mapping of the genome "has indeed changed everything, not by closing the argument or winning the [nature versus nurture] battle for one side or the other, but by enriching it from both ends till they meet in the middle." To Ridley, the core of our true selves isn't soul, mind, or even body in the macro sense; we are, in essence, merely the expression of our genes at any given moment.

If this is true, then my perception of Nature via Nurture as so much nonsense was the only reaction I could have had, given my original genetic programming, as later modified by my every experience and emotion from my conception, through the womb, childhood, high school, college, practicing law, the death of my father, indeed up to and including the reading of this book. If that is so – if I was forced by my gene expression of the moment to perceive this book as I have -- what have we really learned that can be of any benefit to humankind? We are all slaves to chemistry and there is no escape.

Even aside from such broader issues, Ridley does not make a persuasive case. Maybe it is my legal training, but I found his evidence very thin. He doesn't present proofs so much as resort to wild leaps of logic predicated on questionably relevant social science and facile analogies based on a few animal studies. These are simply not strong enough to be the sturdy weight-supporting pillars that his thesis requires to be credible. Let's look at just one example. He cites studies of monogamous prairie voles to suggest that humans only think they fall in love, when, in reality, what we call love is merely the expression of genes resulting in the release of the chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin. Claiming that he is not going to "start extrapolating anthropomorphically from pair-bonding in voles to love in people," he proceeds to do just that. Citing the vole studies and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream -- in which a love potion makes Titania fall in love with a man with a donkey's head – Ridley writes:

Who would now wager against me that I could not do something like this to a modern Titania? Admittedly, a drop on the eyelids would not suffice. I would have to give her a general anesthetic while I cannulated her medial amygdala and injected oxytocin into it. I doubt even then that I could make her love a donkey. But I might stand a fair chance of making her feel attracted to the first man she sees upon waking. Would you bet against me?

But shouldn't it take far more than measuring the physical effects of oxytocin on prairie voles to prove that something as complex, maddening, unpredictable, and wonderfully and uniquely human as romantic love can, in reality, be reduced to the mere expression of genes leading to chemical secretions? Not, apparently, to Ridley. "Blindly, automatically, and untaught, we bond with whoever is standing nearest when oxytocin receptors in the medial amygdala get tingled." Gee, if he'd known that, Bill Clinton could have purchased fewer copies of Leaves of Grass.

The most fascinating thing about this book is that Ridley inadvertently makes a splendid argument for intelligent design. At this point, I am sure Ridley's "I am utterly appalled" genes are expressing wildly. He is, after all, a scientific materialist in good standing. Yet, throughout the book, in order to make his arguments understandable, he resorts explicitly to the imagery of the guiding hand. He even gives it a name: the "Genome Organizing Device," or "G.O.D." Ridley claims that the G.O.D is "a skillful chef, whose job is to build a souffle," consisting of the various parts of us and all other life on the planet. Note the language of intentionality in his description of the evolution of the human brain:

To build a brain with instinctive abilities, the Genome Organizing Device lays down separate circuits with suitable internal patterns that allow them to carry out suitable computations, then links them with appropriate inputs from the senses. . . . In the case of the human mind, almost all such instinctive modules are designed to be modified by experience. Some adapt continuously throughout life, some change rapidly with experience then set like cement. A few just develop to their own timetable.

But according to my lay understanding, this violates the theory and philosophy of evolution. The hypothesis of natural selection holds that species origination and change are promoted by genetic mutations. Those mutations that change the organism to make it more likely than its unchanged peers to survive long enough to reproduce are likely to be passed down the generations. Eventually, these genetic alterations spread among the entire species and become universal within its genome. It is through this dynamic evolutionary process of modification, the theory holds, that life fills all available niches in nature. It is also the process, although the details are not known, by which the primates now known as homo sapiens became conscious.

The philosophy of Darwinism posits that this evolutionary process is aimless, unintentional, purposeless, and without rhyme or reason. This means it has no biological goal: It just is. Hence, G.O.D. would not want to "build a brain," develop nature via nurture in species, or do any other thing. Yet, throughout the book, Ridley seems able only to describe what he thinks is going on using the language of intention. Could this be because Ridley's theories would require interactions that are so complex and unlikely that they would seem laughable if described as having come together haphazardly, by mere chance?

So what are we to learn from his insights? In terms of how we live our lives, not much beyond what common sense already tells us: Parents matter and should engage with their children; human teenagers enjoy doing what they are good at, and dislike doing what they are bad at; and so on. That much is harmless; but Ridley's deeper point is subversive of human freedom and individual accountability. He denies the existence of free will: Our actions are not causes but effects, "prespecified by, and run by, genes." Indeed, he claims unequivocally, "There is no 'me' inside my brain, there is only an ever-changing set of brain states, a distillation of history, emotion, instinct, experience, and the influence of other people -- not to mention chance."

Ridley asserts this as if it would be a good thing to learn that the complexity and richness of human experience could accurately be reduced to merely the acts of so many slaves obeying the lash of chemical overseers acting under the direction of our experience-influenced gene owners. "Nature versus nurture is dead," Ridley concludes triumphantly. "Long live nature via nurture."

Sorry. Maybe it's my genes, but I just don't buy it.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; wesleyjsmith; wesleysmith
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-50 ... 301-350351-400401-450 ... 951-984 next last
To: cherry_bomb88; AndrewC
Unspun & AC...why do you even...

Maybe it's a phase I'm going through. Pretty soon though, it'll be time to circulate petitions for candidates....

351 posted on 06/07/2003 10:41:42 PM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 349 | View Replies]

To: unspun
It's the thrill of the chase, isn't it????? LOL

Need some help with those petitions?

352 posted on 06/07/2003 10:43:06 PM PDT by cherry_bomb88 ("It's easier to fight for one's principals than to live up to them" ~Alfred Adler)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 351 | View Replies]

To: general_re
Well, naturally the process requires something to do the processing. It is the configuration of matter and energy engaged in the process that is alive.

I'd say fire is too simple to be considered alive. Similarly prions and an automobile assembly line. IBM, otoh, is starting to get up there in complexity.

353 posted on 06/07/2003 11:20:24 PM PDT by edsheppa
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 337 | View Replies]

To: cherry_bomb88
It's the thrill of the chase, isn't it????? LOL

Laugh hearty, cherry bombo. What you boys imagine you chase, is in reality gaining on you.

It's called rationality.

354 posted on 06/07/2003 11:28:54 PM PDT by tpaine (Really, I'm trying to be a 'decent human being', but me flesh is weak.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 352 | View Replies]

To: tpaine; unspun
What you boys imagine you chase, is in reality gaining on you.

Well....I'm not a *boy*, or even a man...lol...I'm a woman, that's the way God created me, and I love being a woman. :o)

Can you rationalize EVERYTHING? I suppose you could, then you don't have to worry about it....but, ya know, when it comes to rationalizing with God, well, that just won't work. :o)

On that note, I'm going to say my prayers and go nite nite b/c I need sleep, funny...no matter how far we've "evolved" we still can't seem to go without that. Hmmmmm

355 posted on 06/07/2003 11:41:09 PM PDT by cherry_bomb88 ("It's easier to fight for one's principals than to live up to them" ~Alfred Adler)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 354 | View Replies]

To: unspun
I haven't noticed any value which the Evolution/Materialism mentality has added to our culture

I have often said the same. Evolutionists cannot point to any benefit to mankind from their theory. However, there have been many benefits derived from ignoring evolution. For example, if we had believed that it takes a mutation for an organism to be able to fend off illnesses we would not have immunization which in essense teaches the body how to fight disease. Another example, evolution claiming that genes are the only working part of our bodies has delayed the finding of a cure for cancer for decades. Only when scientists threw out evolutionist premises did they find that there is not a 'cancer' gene, but that cancer is caused by the misworking of the DNA which controls cell reproduction.

356 posted on 06/08/2003 3:17:54 AM PDT by gore3000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 348 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
All Darwin had, in his day, was the fossil record

No, he had just about as many living species as we have know to examine and to learn from. That he chose to ignore life and postulate his theory on dead things which cannot reproduce shows quite well how far he had to go to be able to justify his silly theory.

357 posted on 06/08/2003 3:21:39 AM PDT by gore3000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 304 | View Replies]

To: Doctor Stochastic
No one (except you) claims that lack of fitness results creation of anything new.

Evolution certainly does, it says that the destruction wrought by natural selection creates new species. This of course is total nonsense. Creation is the opposite of destruction and what evolution needs in order to get from a bacteria to a human is a lot of creation. Since the only means which evolution proposes for such creation is natural selection, evolution is certainly asserting that lack of fitness creates something new.

I am glad that you agree with me that such a claim is totally ridiculous. However, you need to realize that since natural selection could not be the engine of evolution, it leaves the theory an empty, meaningless shell which just says 'change happens'. Not much of a theory is it?

358 posted on 06/08/2003 3:30:41 AM PDT by gore3000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 289 | View Replies]

To: general_re
So a person who does not believe that God was personally responsible for the development of man's physical form, but believes that God acts to instill a soul within all men is a "practical atheist"? Huh?

Yes indeed. Reason is quite simple, if one believes that God is the Creator, then the only way in which the changes in species could have occurred without divine intervention at various points in time is if all the species were DESIGNED ahead of time to change themselves. Once you say that changes in species are due to random material forces you are taking out God completely out of the equation and denying his being the Creator.

359 posted on 06/08/2003 3:35:48 AM PDT by gore3000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 288 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
So what if DNA can corroborate or establish fossil relationships?

DNA cannot corroborate fossil relationships for the simple reason that we do not have DNA from fossils (except very recent ones - less than 50,000 years old or so).

360 posted on 06/08/2003 3:44:33 AM PDT by gore3000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 312 | View Replies]

To: unspun
" Evolution/Materialism mentality"

Evolution is not materialism, it is a subpart of biology. Materialism is a worldview and is not limited to the strict holding that only what exists is real. See Websters. Anyone can and will corrupt something to foster the shaping of the world to goals of their own will. Whether it's materialism, theology, biology, or anything else.

"not in matters technical, nor in matters of the humanities"

Biology, of which evolution is a subpart, is technical. There is no place in it for the humanities.

As far what is to be gained by evolution. It covers the relationships of structure and composition of organisms. Because my body is and has components related to other organisms, I can use an animal physiology text to learn about my own components. That is of course if I heed my relative position on the evolutionary tree. I can also do so to with any animal, as long as I heed the tree.

"Then there is the wonderful impact upon schoolchildren, by telling them repeatedly that they are animals and forget about an afterlife"

That is a corruption. There is no valid reason for addressing an afterlife in a public school whatsoever. In fact, they don't tell them that there is no afterlife, they tell them that they will- just go to a nice place, where they can do whatever makes them happy with others like them. Religion should be kept out, just as politics should be kept out. There is no justification for using the public schools as a socialist indoctrination center as they are.

361 posted on 06/08/2003 6:42:43 AM PDT by spunkets
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 348 | View Replies]

To: spunkets; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; unspun
All of biology is and should be restricted to the mechanical. That is, to the mechanics of what is. Not to the esthetics, or purpose of life.

Were this so, the so-called crevo debates here on FR would not exist. As it is, biology textbooks still make much of abiogenesis and Discovery Channel still promotes Evolution with its Apeman glorifications. So Evolutionist disclaimers notwithstanding (that itself is a fairly recent phenomenon), promoters of Evolution do indeed trod on forbidden philosophical territory, and with a vengeance, at least judged by the 20th Century. This alone is a "mortal sin" but it gets worse. Evolution does not even show that one species transforms into another or explain the mechanics of such transformation, and it does not therefore even qualify as science. "Mutation" and "chance" are suppositions, not explanations, and neither is supported by the evidence. From day one, Evolution has been an exercise in rhetoric only, as laid out in exquisite detail by Gertrude Himmerfarb in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (written in 1959 but still avialable at Amazon.com in paperback).

The debate should have ended. So the relevant question to me is: "Why has Darwinism not long since gone the way of the Dodo?" And the answer that constantly springs to my mind is that Darwinism still represents the last best hope for a science-based counterforce to Christianity. This "answer" is supported by the constant Creationist-bashing committed by the Evolutionists on the "crevo" threads.

Until biology struggles into the 20th Century by abandoning Materialism and Reductionism, Darwinism will require continued refutation. The physicists have stepped back (to say the least!) from these modes of thought. Will the biologists begin to listen to the physicists?

362 posted on 06/08/2003 6:44:55 AM PDT by Phaedrus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 343 | View Replies]

To: cherry_bomb88
<.."...that's what evolution is all about, living a life without accountability for right & wrong.

Evolution is a subpart of biology, nothing more, nothing less.

363 posted on 06/08/2003 6:53:39 AM PDT by spunkets
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 349 | View Replies]

To: gore3000
The very phrase "natural selection" is deceptive. Nature selects nothing.
364 posted on 06/08/2003 7:19:44 AM PDT by Phaedrus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 358 | View Replies]

To: Phaedrus
"Evolution does not even show that one species transforms into another or explain the mechanics of such transformation, and it does not therefore even qualify as science. "Mutation" and "chance" are suppositions, not explanations, and neither is supported by the evidence. From day one, Evolution has been an exercise in rhetoric only, as laid out in exquisite detail by Gertrude Himmerfarb in Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution (written in 1959 but still avialable at Amazon.com in paperback)."

Changing the genetic code sufficiently, so that one species transforms into another is not a one step process. As for what processes do occur and the mechanics of them, they are known and a long while back I studied them. Your statement indicates you are not familiar with molecular biology and the mechanics of genetics. If you were, you would not have said that. These are not suppositions, they are fact. Also, just because something is not known and/or well understood, does detract from what is known and understood.

"Darwinism still represents the last best hope for a science-based counterforce to Christianity."

Evolution is a subpart of biology, nothing more, nothing less. It is not a counterforce to Christianity whatsoever. In as much as it is the truth, it tells us about one small defined part of existence. If someone uses it as part of a con, that does change its original nature.

"Until biology struggles into the 20th Century by abandoning Materialism and Reductionism, Darwinism will require continued refutation. The physicists have stepped back (to say the least!) from these modes of thought. Will the biologists begin to listen to the physicists?"

Biology doesn't contain the things you say it does. The fact that there are people that construct corruptions of other things does not mean that what was used to form the corruption is now corrupt. I haven't noticed a slowing in attempts to corrupt things.

365 posted on 06/08/2003 7:20:02 AM PDT by spunkets
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 362 | View Replies]

To: spunkets
Changing the genetic code sufficiently, so that one species transforms into another is not a one step process. As for what processes do occur and the mechanics of them, they are known and a long while back I studied them. Your statement indicates you are not familiar with molecular biology and the mechanics of genetics. If you were, you would not have said that. These are not suppositions, they are fact. Also, just because something is not known and/or well understood, does detract from what is known and understood.

Parsing ...

Changing the genetic code sufficiently, so that one species transforms into another is not a one step process.

Over long spans of time, species retain their genetic integrity. They resist change. Transformation is not only not the rule, it has not been shown at all.

As for what processes do occur and the mechanics of them, they are known and a long while back I studied them.

I think it's fair to say that these need to be specified, and in plain language.

Your statement indicates you are not familiar with molecular biology and the mechanics of genetics. If you were, you would not have said that.

You must realize that this is an appeal to authority, an approach that I reject. Again, please state the case in plain language. The physicists do it all the time.

These are not suppositions, they are fact.

Saying so doesn't make them so. With suitable irony, I say they are suppositions.

Also, just because something is not known and/or well understood, does ["not", I presume] detract from what is known and understood.

Now I agree with this. Science is, however, about what is known and how it is known. Any conversation about what is not known falls outside the boundaries of science and circumscribes what science can legitimately claim.

366 posted on 06/08/2003 7:37:58 AM PDT by Phaedrus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 365 | View Replies]

To: spunkets; unspun; tame; sultan88
Evolution is a subpart of biology, nothing more, nothing less.

Ah, but it is something less....most of "biology" has been proven...evolution is still just a "theory"....look back to the fossils, supposedly millions of years old, and they find fosseils of moths...hmm...we still have moths today. Evolution at it's purest would mean the elimination of species...or rather the evolution of species into something else. We see today many animals on "endangered" species lists, and ones that have gone extinct....Now, we know they're extinct, they did not evolve into something else, so where is the basis for evolution???? I just don't get it.

Perhaps you need to develop a new "theory", one I personally think is closer to right, the theory of adaptation. Species have never evolved into other species, they have merely adapted to different environments over time. It's also genetics. For example...A tall man marries a tall woman, genetics would calculate they will have a tall child (more than likely), the population gradually gets taller. In Shaekesepere's time it was theorized that the "average" height of man was "about" 5'3", short by today's average. That's not a fact, just a theory, so I am not quoting it.

If we evolved from ape, than why are their still apes?

Evolution has too many exceptions to be accurate. It has become a "religion" any more. People going around with the Christian symbol with Darwin in it. So many evolutionist mock religion that it's almost like being part of WICCA. In fact, I would gather that many Darwinists are also part of WICCA. So, you are still partaking in the belief of a "higher being" or "higher power". You need that to answer just what started that big bang???? Don't say "gases"...because then I will say "where did those gases come from???"

You might as well believe in Greek Mythology as believe in evolution as the end all be all answer for being here.

(Big '88, Tame...you guys want to jump in this debate?)

367 posted on 06/08/2003 7:43:29 AM PDT by cherry_bomb88 ("It's easier to fight for one's principals than to live up to them" ~Alfred Adler)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 363 | View Replies]

To: Phaedrus
Very well said, Phaedrus.
368 posted on 06/08/2003 7:44:39 AM PDT by cherry_bomb88 ("It's easier to fight for one's principals than to live up to them" ~Alfred Adler)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 366 | View Replies]

To: cherry_bomb88
Bump for later read!
369 posted on 06/08/2003 7:47:47 AM PDT by tame (If I must be the victim of a criminal, please let it be Catwoman! Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 367 | View Replies]

To: cherry_bomb88
I just don't get it.

Neither do I. This comment sums it up quite nicely.

370 posted on 06/08/2003 7:48:54 AM PDT by Phaedrus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 367 | View Replies]

To: Phaedrus
What's even more intriguing to me is that we ACTUALLY sit here and debate with these people that have as many flaws in their theories as the demonRats have lies that they rationalize with illogical rhetoric.

I suppose it's the humor in the debate...the wanting to see what inane answer they will come up with next. Like a game of chess, only we know the outcome, we will win, their *strategy* is far inferior to ours. :o)

371 posted on 06/08/2003 7:51:28 AM PDT by cherry_bomb88 ("It's easier to fight for one's principals than to live up to them" ~Alfred Adler)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 370 | View Replies]

To: cherry_bomb88
People going around with the Christian symbol with Darwin in it.

Yes. If Darwinism is not religion, or is not at least a shot at Christianity, what's the point? The Darwin symbol, mocking Christianity, that we see on the back of autos speaks volumes as to what the Evolutionists are really all about. I've considered buying one of those Darwin symbols and placing it upside-down, feet in the air, on the back of my vehicle, but that has to do with my warped sense of humor, not science ... ;-}

372 posted on 06/08/2003 7:55:37 AM PDT by Phaedrus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 367 | View Replies]

To: BMCDA
I'm glad the link was useful to you and thank you so much for the kudos! I look forward to reading your views also, BMCDA, even though as you say we stand on different sides of the fence.
373 posted on 06/08/2003 7:58:31 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 291 | View Replies]

To: Phaedrus
I've considered buying one of those Darwin symbols and placing it upside-down, feet in the air, on the back of my vehicle, but that has to do with my warped sense of humor, not science ... ;-}

ROTFL....that's hysterical!!!! Only, we need to make it a bumper sticker, and there should be a smoking gun aimed at the thing!!!! ROTFL

374 posted on 06/08/2003 7:59:42 AM PDT by cherry_bomb88 ("It's easier to fight for one's principals than to live up to them" ~Alfred Adler)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 372 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry
Thanks for the heads up and link! Hugs and *smooches*!
375 posted on 06/08/2003 8:00:23 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 296 | View Replies]

To: spunkets
Religion should be kept out, just as politics should be kept out.

This is pretty much impossible, spunkets. There is no content-neutral education. Supreme Court Justice Scalia was wise enough to note this about public education. There is no content-neutral education. We are human beings and only through analysis do we separate what in real life exists integrally. Your earlier response was good, and I concur with your sentiments about Ridley, that he abuses science and that he misapplies its principles. It is also possible to swing another way, to pretend like Patrick Henry that the principles of science "is what it is." Science, as in physics or biology, is the product of an interaction of human thinking about something else.

If we can fault Ridley for thinking mind is the extension of body, we could also fault (as does general_re) for making body the extension of mind. We rarely want to confess to the same error that we've seen in others. There is no pure science that can be equated with isness. If you do, you collapse the distinction between mind and body, you make them coeval. Raising phenomena to the status of law may be useful, but it is an abuse of reason to equate that law with isness. For science is partial. It cannot be equated with an "is what it is." Sometimes scientific theories mate happily with the things it studies, sometimes not. But they are not one and the same, otherwise the mind loses its object. It's quite possible to come close to objectivity by getting rid of the objects.

376 posted on 06/08/2003 8:16:13 AM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 361 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
Thank you so much for your excellent post! Hugs!!!

Need I say how pathologically reductionist I think this view of man is. It effectively turns man and all of nature into a machine. There is no life here, no consciousness, no spirit.

Evolutionary theory doesn’t deal with life. And because it doesn’t, it can’t deal with consciousness. And it’s hostile to spirit.

IMHO, you've "hit the nail on the head." It would be tolerable to say that consciousness/spirit is outside the scope of biology were it not for the fact that some of the scientists turn right back around and say that neither consciousness nor spirit can exist because they are not material.

Personally, I find that attempt at being clever rather humorous. But, sadly, many people trust scientists absolutely, pretty much the same way they trust medical doctors. But there are dangerous doctors just like there are scientists with ill motive.

377 posted on 06/08/2003 8:16:40 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 299 | View Replies]

To: Canticle_of_Deborah
oxytocin alert
378 posted on 06/08/2003 8:28:10 AM PDT by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Phaedrus
Thank you oh so very much for your excellent post!!!

Until biology struggles into the 20th Century by abandoning Materialism and Reductionism, Darwinism will require continued refutation. The physicists have stepped back (to say the least!) from these modes of thought. Will the biologists begin to listen to the physicists?

Indeed! I imagine some molecular biologists working in pharmaceuticals will be first to appreciate the distinction.

379 posted on 06/08/2003 8:30:56 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 362 | View Replies]

To: Alamo-Girl
It would be tolerable to say that consciousness/spirit is outside the scope of biology were it not for the fact that some of the scientists turn right back around and say that neither consciousness nor spirit can exist because they are not material.

Well, A-Girl, whatcha gonna do with some of these guys? You can't censor scientists who express personal philosophical beliefs, even when they go way beyond what their science literally indicates. And you don't want to literally outlaw science because of those who make such statements. However, people who select high school texts should take care that they contain only science, and not the author's unsupportable philosophical agenda. (There's a tendency to get carried away here, which is a topic for another thread.)

Besides, it's not just scientists who do this kind of thing. All kinds of people make all kinds of unsupportable claims that go well outside of their areas of professional competence. Preachers do it too. Personally, I wish they'd stop telling us about economics and taxes and all that Great Society stuff. But it's precisely because all fields of learning have blowhards that we must learn to do our own thinking. Life just ain't easy.

[Wildly enthusiastic hugs!]

380 posted on 06/08/2003 8:46:43 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Felix, qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 377 | View Replies]

To: Alamo-Girl; spunkets; PatrickHenry; unspun; Doctor Stochastic; Phaedrus; logos; Dataman; ...
It would be tolerable to say that consciousness/spirit is outside the scope of biology were it not for the fact that some of the scientists turn right back around and say that neither consciousness nor spirit can exist because they are not material.

Personally, I find that attempt at being clever rather humorous. But, sadly, many people trust scientists absolutely, pretty much the same way they trust medical doctors. But there are dangerous doctors just like there are scientists with ill motive.

A-G, you've hit my double concern right on the head here: the cultural effects of scientistic popularization of a bastardized evolutionary theory, and damage done to the integrity of science itself in the process.

Yet somehow, arguments based on such concerns get translated into "proof" that I am engaging in the defense of creationist doctrine. To me, that looks like a gross (and possibly willful) misdirection. I wonder why it seems to happen so often.

Thanks so much for your post, A-G! Hope you're enjoying your company this weekend! Hugs!!!

381 posted on 06/08/2003 9:55:35 AM PDT by betty boop (When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent. -- Jacques Barzun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 377 | View Replies]

To: Phaedrus; Alamo-Girl; unspun; spunkets; PatrickHenry; logos; Dataman; Ten Megaton Solution; ...
Darwinism still represents the last best hope for a science-based counterforce to Christianity.... Will the biologists begin to listen to the physicists?

Don't hold your breath, Phaedrus. They'd have to dump quasi-religious social indoctrination and get back to doing science. Some of them don't even seem capable, let alone willing, of making such a transition.

I'm in such a cheerful mood today! Thank you for your brilliant post.

382 posted on 06/08/2003 10:04:28 AM PDT by betty boop (When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent. -- Jacques Barzun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 362 | View Replies]

To: spunkets
[to Phaedrus] Changing the genetic code sufficiently, so that one species transforms into another is not a one step process. As for what processes do occur and the mechanics of them, they are known and a long while back I studied them. Your statement indicates you are not familiar with molecular biology and the mechanics of genetics. If you were, you would not have said that.

You are making the usual false evolutionist claim that because science knows something, it supports evolution. This is not the case here. Genetics has in fact taught us that it is very hard for a new mutation to spread throughout a species. In fact, unless it has a very high selective advantage it will never do that. The problem that DNA has created for evolution is that because a mutation affecting only one bit pair of DNA would necessarily not achieve much, it would provide only a very small selective advantage and instead of spreading throughout the species to provide a likelihood of further gradual mutations accomplishing a large change, it would most likely dissappear from the individuals that had it and thus provide no basis for further gradual change.

383 posted on 06/08/2003 10:12:29 AM PDT by gore3000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 365 | View Replies]

To: gore3000
DNA cannot corroborate fossil relationships for the simple reason that we do not have DNA from fossils (except very recent ones - less than 50,000 years old or so).

"Well, isn't that special."

Thanks for the interesting information, gore3000.

384 posted on 06/08/2003 10:34:49 AM PDT by betty boop (When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent. -- Jacques Barzun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 360 | View Replies]

To: unspun; Alamo-Girl; general_re; Phaedrus; Dataman; PatrickHenry; Doctor Stochastic; ...
I haven't noticed any value which the Evolution/Materialism mentality has added to our culture, not in matters technical, nor in matters of the humanities.

I have, Brother Arlen: The doctrine of survival of the fittest has had enormous cultural consequences. It has fed every species of racism and eugenics; and, making struggle and conflict the basic norms of human life, justifies force and brutality.

385 posted on 06/08/2003 10:42:27 AM PDT by betty boop (When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent. -- Jacques Barzun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 348 | View Replies]

To: edsheppa
Well, naturally the process requires something to do the processing. It is the configuration of matter and energy engaged in the process that is alive.

I don't think it's inaccurate to regard a "process" as merely a sequence of causally-connected events, though. That notion covers the sorts of things that biological organisms do, to be sure, but it also opens up the field to a whole host of things that have nothing to do with biology - I think it's entirely accurate and fair to describe a volcanic eruption as a "process", so what we're going to end up doing is discussing where life begins and ends, probably.

I'd say fire is too simple to be considered alive. Similarly prions and an automobile assembly line.

Based on what? Complexity? The number of discrete processes that happen to occur comtemporaneously? My CPU has more transistors than IBM has employees - is it alive, based solely on its complexity?

386 posted on 06/08/2003 10:48:50 AM PDT by general_re (ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 353 | View Replies]

To: unspun; betty boop
Has anyone noticed any value, heuristic or otherwise, coming out of Darwinist dogma specifically

Of course. It's useful for answering questions about why things are the way they are. What could be more useful than beating back the borders of ignorance?

387 posted on 06/08/2003 10:52:37 AM PDT by general_re (ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 348 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
The doctrine of survival of the fittest has had enormous cultural consequences. It has fed every species of racism and eugenics; and, making struggle and conflict the basic norms of human life, justifies force and brutality.

Yes, exactly, this is the rub. And this doctrine would be only barely tolerable even if it was science.

388 posted on 06/08/2003 11:02:54 AM PDT by Phaedrus
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 385 | View Replies]

To: Phaedrus
The Darwin symbol, mocking Christianity, that we see on the back of autos speaks volumes as to what the Evolutionists are really all about.

Something makes me doubt that Darwin Fish is an evolutionist, although he does mock what he considers to be false doctrines quite a bit. Personally, I think he's a crackpot, but then again, he's not an evolutionist, so that's someone else's mess to clean up...

389 posted on 06/08/2003 11:08:01 AM PDT by general_re (ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 372 | View Replies]

To: general_re
Of course. It's useful for answering questions about why things are the way they are. What could be more useful than beating back the borders of ignorance?

Well, since utility is a matter for objectivity, can you relate instances?

(Keep in mind, that I'm not talking about open minded research of life sciences and origins, within the eschatological boundaries of theoretics, 'forensics,' and the modicum of actual science involved. I'm talking about Darwinism the ideology masquerading as science, not intellectually honest engagement to actually ascertain what we can make of the various elements of evolution and creation theories.)

390 posted on 06/08/2003 11:12:19 AM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 387 | View Replies]

To: unspun
Well, since utility is a matter for objectivity, can you relate instances?

Is knowing why mitochondria have their own DNA better than remaining ignorant about the matter?

I'm talking about Darwinism the ideology masquerading as science, not intellectually honest engagement to actually ascertain what we can make of the various elements of evolution and creation theories.)

Your turn - got any specific instances of what you wish to dispute here?

391 posted on 06/08/2003 11:17:46 AM PDT by general_re (ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 390 | View Replies]

To: general_re; gore3000; AndrewC; Dataman; Alamo-Girl; Rachumlakenschlaff; jennyp
Is knowing why mitochondria have their own DNA better than remaining ignorant about the matter?

And this is something we wouldn't have learned from an honest investigation of life sciences? How does the attempt to obviate God by overextending what we may imagine and/or research of evolution provide unique impetus for the research you cite?

I'm talking about Darwinism the ideology masquerading as science, not intellectually honest engagement to actually ascertain what we can make of the various elements of evolution and creation theories.

Pinging a few others, due to my limits of knowledge of cellular biology.

392 posted on 06/08/2003 11:26:14 AM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 391 | View Replies]

To: unspun
And this is something we wouldn't have learned from an honest investigation of life sciences?

It's something that was learned from an honest investigation of life sciences.

How does the attempt to obviate God by overextending what we may imagine and/or research of evolution provide unique impetus for the research you cite?

If an exploration of the development of life obviates God, then I submit that this is because our understanding of God is limited and imperfect. We will simply have to rethink the nature of God, given that our current understanding is inherently flawed. Needless to say, this is our fault, not God's.

393 posted on 06/08/2003 11:32:38 AM PDT by general_re (ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 392 | View Replies]

To: general_re
What could be more useful than beating back the borders of ignorance?

Beating back one's own borders of ignorance first?

You asked a rhetorical question, and I answered it rhetorically. So no offense intended.

394 posted on 06/08/2003 11:36:08 AM PDT by betty boop (When people accept futility and the absurd as normal, the culture is decadent. -- Jacques Barzun)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 387 | View Replies]

To: betty boop
None taken. It's a very good answer, actually. Personally, the development of life on earth is something that's always interested me, and so I resolved to remedy the fact that I knew next to nothing about it. Having found a pretty compelling approximation of the truth, I find that I am less ignorant on the subject than I was before.
395 posted on 06/08/2003 11:39:59 AM PDT by general_re (ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 394 | View Replies]

To: Alamo-Girl
"Moreover, even if all of these were discovered - it would nevertheless require a bootstrap on the front end to initiate the process. And the existence of such a bootstrap, if algorithmic, would point directly to intelligent design. IMHO, the randomness pillar of evolution theory is in deep peril due to these contributions from mathematics.

What a beautifully stinging statement!

396 posted on 06/08/2003 11:47:44 AM PDT by ALS ("No, I'm NOT a Professor. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: general_re
I find that I am less ignorant on the subject than I was before.

Sounds like general_re found religion. Welcome home, brother. : )

397 posted on 06/08/2003 11:50:12 AM PDT by cornelis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 395 | View Replies]

To: unspun; general_re
Is knowing why mitochondria have their own DNA better than remaining ignorant about the matter? - general_re-

And this is something we wouldn't have learned from an honest investigation of life sciences?

Indeed the investigation of life proceeds in spite of evolution. Scientists did not ask themselves before discovering DNA if it was in accordance with evolutionary theory or not, they went to try to find out what made humans tick regardless of what any theory might say and regardless of what the new discovery might disclose.

As to mtDNA, the evolutionists use it to prove evolution, but only when it fits the theory. A quite interesting example of evolution "science" can be found at Mammalian Genome. First evolutionists tried to use mitochondrial DNA to show the relationships between the monotremes (platypus), the eutherians (kangaroos) and the placentals (all other mammals). The mtDNA did not give them the desired results "The value and accuracy of decades of morphological study have been discounted recently by mytochondrial DNA evidence". So of course the evos could not let that happen, so they had to try again. They then tried DNA hybridization. However, under this method also Darwinian theory was refuted "It is significant that apomorphies of the theran ancestors, such as the braincase, cranial nerve architecture, and reproductive physiology" had to be reclassified as convergences under these two tests. So of course they had to pick another test to get the results they wished - a totally new one called MP6/IG2FR!

When evolutionists claim that DNA of any kind supports their theory it is because they have been very selective in their choices.

398 posted on 06/08/2003 11:55:39 AM PDT by gore3000
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 392 | View Replies]

To: general_re
It's something that was learned from an honest investigation of life sciences.

Well good. Then it didn't need Darwinism afterall now did it? Just an intellectually honest investigation within the proper eschatological boundaries of such systmatic methods as science and such theories as those of evolution.

If an exploration of the development of life obviates God, then I submit that this is because our understanding of God is limited and imperfect. We will simply have to rethink the nature of God, given that our current understanding is inherently flawed. Needless to say, this is our fault, not God's.

No, that is of course, not what I referred to when I asked "How does the attempt to obviate God by overextending what we may imagine and/or research of evolution provide unique impetus for the research you cite?" This is what I said:

(Keep in mind, that I'm not talking about open minded research of life sciences and origins, within the eschatological boundaries of theoretics, 'forensics,' and the modicum of actual science involved. I'm talking about Darwinism the ideology masquerading as science, not intellectually honest engagement to actually ascertain what we can make of the various elements of evolution and creation theories.)

None of this requires anyone who believes about God only what is revealed in the Bible and by the Holy Spirit, for example to rethink the nature of God the Creator. Did someone tell you it would? Darwinists?

399 posted on 06/08/2003 11:59:07 AM PDT by unspun ("Do everything in love.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 393 | View Replies]

To: cornelis
Well, you could say that I opened my eyes, anyway. Reason where possible, faith where necessary ;)
400 posted on 06/08/2003 11:59:25 AM PDT by general_re (ABSURDITY, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 397 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-50 ... 301-350351-400401-450 ... 951-984 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson