Skip to comments.Darwinism the root of the culture of death: expert
Posted on 02/17/2012 4:17:50 PM PST by wagglebee
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LOL, dear YHAOS, not at all! Your essay/post at #499 is excellent! Thank you so much for writing!
It is amusing to watch certain scientists fall all over themselves avoiding the word function because the word itself suggests final cause. I suspect they consider biological function, like mind, to be an epiphenomenon - a secondary phenomenon which cannot cause anything to happen.
Rosen points to this failing in his book "Life Itself" - and clearly illustrates the mathematical model required for life cannot ignore final cause.
Thank you so very much for sharing all your insights and for those important quotes concerning Gould and "punctuated equilibrium."
Thank you for sharing all your insights, dear YHAOS!
Thanks Spirited, your remarks are always a treasure.
If you will go back and read metmom's posts that I was responding to, you will see that I gave an appropriate response. She essentially said that PhDs should not be granted to scientists, I guess because (for the most part), we don't delve into the existentialist nonsense that is typical of the subject philosophy. The PhD degree and the subject of philosophy use two different meanings of the word "philosophy".
As for your assertion that science is merely about the gathering of information: it is MUCH more than that. It doesn't take a PhD to gather information; it doesn't even take a person. But to analyze and understand that information, to place it within the context of a greater body of knowledge, to use that information to make predictions about other information which is currently unknown, and then to design the appropriate experiments to gain that new information--that takes a certain kind of thinking. There is both knowledge and wisdom--both meanings of the Greek word sophos--involved.
Restating an idea in different terms does not make the restatement a false statement.
In my view, so-called "theories" in the historical sciences - e.g. evolution biology, archeology, anthropology, Egyptology - are more akin to paradigms. Or if you prefer a blueprint into which new evidence is fit.
But unlike the hard sciences (e.g. physics) where falsification of the theory causes the theory to be discarded - if the evidence will not fit the historical science paradigm, then it is explained away with a "just-so" amendment to the story.
Again, you are making a false dichotomy between supposed "historical" sciences (e.g. biology) and "hard" sciences (e.g. physics).
I'm not even going to try to imagine how you think biologists do their work, but doesn't it raise the slightest bit of doubt in your mind that, in 170+ years, no one has falsified the ToE? Do you really think no one has tested the theory? Since the GIGO paradigm (garbage in, garbage out) applies to biology and every other science as much as it applies to computer programming, doesn't the fact that the last 170 years have seen great medical and biological advances make you hesitate even the slightest in dismissing out-of-hand the unifying theory of biology that allowed for those advances?
Not that I expect any literal creationist to actually want to learn anything about genuine science, but if you are going to claim that we life scientists do not test our theories, you have to provide evidence. Cherry-picked quotes from literal creationist websites don't count. One place to start looking for that evidence would be www.pubmed.org. Other places would be the various scientific societies: AAAS, ASM, ACS, etc.
I fully understand why literal creationists invest so much effort into criticizing science and the scientific method. Unfortunately, no matter how much you criticize scientists for not doing so, they cannot provide evidence that Genesis is a literal account. I suggest that if you feel your faith troubled by the lack of concrete evidence, you need to meditate and learn to accept it.
To get from information gathering to wisdom you seemed to feel obliged to use knowledge as a portal: knowledge | noun 1; facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject (my MAC OSX dictionary; an Oxford Dictionary product, I believe).
Gets you a little closer, I guess, if only marginally. You go on to declare that science is so much more than information gathering, and illustrate your point by describing an ever more sophisticated and elaborate method for gathering information. Admirable, laudatory even, but simply a more sophisticated and elaborate method of information gathering.
we don't delve into the existentialist nonsense that is typical of the subject philosophy.
Existentialist nonsense such as all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights? Existentialist nonsense such as In the beginning? (That there was a beginning at all was not commonly acknowledged by Science until 1964, but it was known to nonsensicalists from earliest recorded history if not before). Existentialist nonsense such as the concept freedom of inquiry without which the Science you tout as the fount of all wisdom would not even exist? Existentialist nonsense such as freedom of association without which you and I would not even have a forum on which we could gather and argue? Old hat, you say? Past glories, long forgotten? OK, something more modern.
A simple formula (which physicists now say may be wrong). It enabled Mankind to unlock the secrets of the atom (at least some of them). So tell me, which part of Einsteins magnificent inspiration impelled the Truman Administration to go into days of agonizing Existentialist nonsense before a decision was made to drop the bomb that ended WWII? There was no scientific reason to not just go ahead and drop the bomb without a moments hesitation beyond the technical considerations involved in the bombs effective delivery.
Which leads us to the issue; whence comes the ethics of science? Are there any ethics in science? Should there be (think the Tuskegee study)?
Granted, there is a lot of Existentialist nonsense out there, but before you start contentedly counting the ways, let me remind you of all the blind alleys and sidetracks that Science has gone galloping happily down, and of the raging snit into which scientists fall whenever they are reminded of those galloping goofs.
The sources I offer are carefully chosen, authoritative and mainstream - though you did not recognize at least one of them, i.e. Popper.
And I have not even been as dismissive of historical sciences as one of your own:
Senior Editor, Biology, London
Education: BSc, University of Leeds; PhD, University of Cambridge.
Areas of responsibility include: integrative and comparative biology (including palaeontology, evolutionary developmental biology, taxonomy and systematics), archaeology and biomechanics.
From his book In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life (emphasis mine)
For example, the evolution of Man is said to have been driven by improvements in posture, brain size, and the coordination between hand and eye, which led to technological achievements such as fire, the manufacture of tools, and the use of language. But such scenarios are subjective. They can never be tested by experiment, and so they are unscientific. They rely for their currency, not on a scientific test, but on assertion and authority of their presentation.
I'm certain because within the historical sciences the absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence whereas in the experimental sciences (especially the hard ones like physics) the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.
Interestingly, in the conclusion of her article, she observes:
Alternative explanations are not seriously entertained.
So, ironically, in attempting to defend the historical sciences the author has revealed the poison pill of evolution theory.
For example, the evolution of Man is said to have been driven by improvements in posture, brain size.... But such scenarios are subjective. They can never be tested by experiment, and so they are unscientific. They rely for their currency, not on a scientific test, but on assertion and authority of their presentation.
Spirited: In other words, an “unseen something,” an “energy-force” mysteriously “drives” improvements. It cannot be seen or sensed in any way thus fails to meet rigorous scientific standards.
But because contemporary antitheist Gnostics (i.e. Lewontin, Dawkins) demand that God’s foot not be allowed in the door, they do what they must and brazenly foist a great deception off onto a gullible public. Make them believe a lie. Make the lie credible by dressing it up as modern science. Force everyone to partake of the lie by teaching it as science education. And destroy anyone who questions the lie. Destroy their good name. Paint them as insane, authoritarian, fundamentalist, antiscience, backwards, superstitious-—say anything so long as they are utterly destroyed.
We are talking here about the doing of evil. Even though man deceives himself into believing that he can lie, betray, and destroy and yet remain “good,” he cannot. For no man can think, speak, and do evil without becoming evil.
After-the-fact, Dawkins tried to minimize his own remarks in this essay (emphasis mine and notice the egomania of the first sentence):
Lewontin's remarks were made in reviewing a book by Carl Sagan:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.
And to quote the article I linked in my previous post to this thread, historical sciences (like evolution biology) improve their respectability among the science disciples when they proliferate and seriously entertain alternative explanations for the historical record:
God's Name is Alpha and Omega.
You quote Lewontin quoting Lewis Beck to the effect: To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.
A few questions from a scientific illiterate:
From a Materialists perspective would not a miracle be viewed as an unexplained natural phenomenon?
Are there not, a great number of unexplained natural phenomena?
One such example being the Cambrian Explosion? A very large example?
Does not the Cambrian Explosion offer the prospect of a falsification of the Theory of Evolution? Subject as always, of course, to further discovery?
Would not the term a sudden burst of evolution amount to a contradiction in terms?
Could not the hostility of Science to the term miracle be explained as a negative reaction to the suggestion represented by miracle, that Science cant reasonably claim that it holds the promise that ultimately nothing is beyond its comprehension?
Are not alternative explanations (be they miracles or something else) consequently a threat to Materialistic orthodoxy?
Your posts are an unfailing blessing.
Would not the term a sudden burst of evolution amount to a contradiction in terms?
But as yet there is no adequate explanation for why body plans arose in the Cambrian but new body plans did not arise in periods following large extinctions. In other words, if the circumstances were right for the Cambrian Explosion - they should have been right again after mass extinctions.
Indeed, the most theological statement to ever come out of modern science (Jastrow) was back in the 60's after the mounting CMB measurements. The measurements showed there was a beginning of real space and real time. In other words, space and time do not pre-exist but are created as the universe expands.
This not only put all steady state theories in the archives but sent the physical cosmologists into a tailspin attempting to obviate the obvious: God the Creator of the beginning.
But none of the physical cosmologies offered since (multi-verse, multi-world, ekpyrotic, cyclic, imaginary time, etc.) were able to explain the beginning of real space and real time.
In the absence of time, events cannot occur.
Both space and time are required for physical causation.
The issue does not go away, but it makes it easier for the atheists to ignore.
Atheism requires the plenitude argument, that anything that can happen, did. They lost the steady state universe model but must have hope in an infinity past in order to consider themselves bright in denying God the Creator.
It's a shell game. We are not fooled or amused.
By the way, we see similar goalpost moving in the reaction to the unexplained phenomenum of information content of DNA. Here they appeal to panspermia. In effect, if it cannot be explained by material/efficient cause on earth then appeal to alien seeding for final cause. IOW, they are saying that "aliens are ok in a clinch, but the word "God" is obscene and not to be mentioned in public..."
For your interst: “Dawkins Admits He Cannot Prove God Does Not Exist”.....says he is an agnostic
Popper stated that all theories must withstand attempts at falsification. The Theory of Evolution has never been falsified. The Theory of Evolution cannot possibly be true (according to the literal creationist). Therefore, no one has ever tried to falsify it.
Of course, that kind of reasoning is extremely circular.
Please, actually read Popper, not paraphrases of folks who purport to have read him.
who is relatively unknown among scientists
It's always a mistake to assume one's own ignorance to be characteristic of others in one's own profession. Karl Popper is generally regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century. He was also a social and political philosopher of considerable stature, a self-professed critical-rationalist, a dedicated opponent of all forms of scepticism, conventionalism, and relativism in science and in human affairs generally, a committed advocate and staunch defender of the Open Society, and an implacable critic of totalitarianism in all of its forms. One of the many remarkable features of Popper's thought is the scope of his intellectual influence. In the modern technological and highly-specialised world scientists are rarely aware of the work of philosophers; it is virtually unprecedented to find them queuing up, as they have done in Popper's case, to testify to the enormously practical beneficial impact which that philosophical work has had upon their own.
So much for his being "relatively unknown among scientists."
Please note that I did not comment on anything Popper may or may not have said, nor will I. I figure that after being filtered through "creation science" think tanks, his true meaning is as distorted as the original meaning of a Chinese document machine translated into English through the intermediaries of Norwegian and Swahili. The paragraph after the colon was an expression of my hypothesis as to why literal creationists seem to think Popper is important. So far, a few posts of others on this thread are consistent with my hypothesis, and no posts contradict it.
I will point out that your link to the Popper bio bit goes to the Stanford philosophy department. That does not support the hypothesis that Popper is influential or well-known among scientists. Out of curiosity, I went back and checked the indices of various textbooks: Molecular Biology of the Cell, Genes IV, Cell, Physics, Genetics, Biochemistry, etc. In none of them did I find mention of Popper. True, not all of them mention names in the indices, but even among those textbooks that index scientists by name, I did not find Popper mentioned. Then I went to PubMed and did a search on popper, karl, which returned 72 items, of which 9 (12.5%) were articles having Popper, HH, as an author and were therefore unrelated to the subject of my search.
So much for the contention that Popper is either well-known or influential among scientists.
It (the sudden burst of evolution hypothesis) was taken quite seriously. The reaction however was to revise the 'gradual change over time' model to allow for sudden bursts followed by stasis (punctuated equilibrium).
An example, I take it, of what you call a just-so story. A narrative, unverifiable and unfalsifiable, but held to be valid, contradicting a theory that likewise continues to be held valid.
The theories (multiple universe) amount to nothing more than "moving the goalpost" - relegating the issue of the beginning of space and time to some prior universe.
Another just-so story about which, no evidence exists, I presume?
There does not appear to be a problem proliferating alternative explanations providing those explanations do not entail the possibility of a supernatural cause.
I take your point. Nevertheless, I foresee a threat posed by any emerging explanation. Accommodations must be proffered. Accommodations threaten upsetting the existing apple cart. The Cambrian Explosion, for instance.
Its interesting to note that Dawkins has gone from a flat scientific affirmation of Atheism, to the more reasonable attitude of Agnosticism. We must think that this change of mind has been caused by the terrific intellectual headwinds he has been bucking by attempting to pass off a statement of faith (as A-G describes it) as a scientific fact of ontological certitude.
Dawkins has done this before (retreat from an Atheistic attitude to a more moderate Agnostic perspective), so dont be surprised if you find him back later at the same old Kool Aid stand, selling the same old Atheist Kool Aid on the same old street corner.
I am truly astonished to discover that you apparently hold no one to be of account who is found in a philosophy department (or in a encyclopedia of philosophy?). Really?! Scientists are held to be of no account if they are associated with Philosophy?
I did a quick check on a few names in my Oxford Companion to Philosophy (new edition). Just a few. Imagine what I found:
Niels Bohr - Danish physicist who made fundamental contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics.
Nicolaus Copernicus - the first astronomer to formulate a scientifically-based heliocentric cosmology that displaced the Earth from the center of the universe.
René Descartes - philosopher, mathematician, scientist, and writer.
Albert Einstein - theoretical physicist - widely considered one of the greatest physicists of all time.
Galileo Galilei - Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher.
Sir Isaac Newton - an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, alchemist, and natural philosopher.
Max Planck - discoverer of quantum physics.
Aristotle - Greek philosopher and scientist.
Apparently, none of these worthies fit your definition of influential or well-known among scientists.
OK. Thanks for that insight.
My paraphrasing was an accurate assessment of the Popper quote that was posted earlier. Being able to rephrase an idea in one's own words is the best demonstration one can make of one's comprehension of the idea. The corollary that once falsified, a theory is no longer a theory, is implicit. Still, as far as I can tell, the only reason for throwing around this particular Popper quote is to introduce by inferrence the notion that the Theory of Evolution is untested and untestable, without actually having to present evidence to support that notion (because such evidence does not exist).
This is precisely what the historical sciences, most notably including Darwinist theory, refuse to do. They don't try to falsify their theory. Rather, they select evidence on the basis of what can validate their theory and ignore all the rest anything to uphold the "just-so story," even though it is increasingly difficult to do that.
Once again, you brought up this false dichotomy between "historical" disciplines (biology) and "real-time" disciplines (physics). If, in fact, biologists do not try to falsify their theory, it should be trivial to find evidence of that. Just look in PubMed (www.pubmed.org) and find some research articles that illustrate that we do not try to falsify our theories. Show your evidence here, with appropriate quotes and links back to the original articles, and explain how they fail to include tests designed to falsify incorrect theories, and what those tests should have been.
I see Stephen Jay Gould quoted a lot here. No doubt he's rolling in his grave right now, seeing his work which was essential to helping to refine the ToE, taken out of context to try to show that he didn't think evolution occurred. Selectively quoting people to make it look like they're proving exactly the opposite of what they thought is actually quite a common meme when it comes to anti-science movements; it is not surprising to see that meme pop up here.
Relatively unknown? Really?!
Absolutely, Karl Popper is almost unknown among scientists. I do not recall ever hearing his name before, either during the several years I spent in college getting my PhD, or in any of the thousands of research/review articles I have read. In post #515, I explained how I checked my textbooks and the largest, oldest, most complete, and up to date scientific database in existence, and found very little mention of him.
I honestly do not expect the majority of scientists to be aware of the work of even major philosophers, even if those philosophers tried to phrase scientific methodology in the existentialist mumbo-jumbo language of philosophy. Philosophy (the discipline) is almost the antithesis of what science is all about: a very lot of thought exercises, which have no evidentiary basis whatsoever. I have no use for it.