Blocking Evolution

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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby davidm on August 15th, 2018, 6:22 pm 

Reg_Prescott » August 15th, 2018, 1:29 pm wrote:Yes, it's a wonderful example of natural selection vacuity.

Given that organisms have traits, and given competition, and given that at least some traits are heritable, well, what did you expect? Those organisms with traits less beneficial to survival and reproduction will tend to outdo the competition?

The last shall be first?

Hmm, where have I heard that before?


Er, so now, here, you actually agree with me?

You really have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

Have you reconciled yet how you said, in one post, that many people question the fact of evolution, and in a different post, you said you know of no one that questions the fact of evolution? (Microevolution IS evolution. As I explained earlier, so-called macroevolution is just cumulative microevolution over time.)
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Re: Re:

Postby davidm on August 15th, 2018, 7:03 pm 

Brent696 » August 15th, 2018, 11:43 am wrote:"" Scientist speak about common descent, but this term is misleading because what they are really referring to is ascent.


No, they aren't.

To devolve would be an descent, evolving is an ascension from less complexity to a greater complexity.


No, it isn't. It's often just the opposite.

Second to that is the origin of the first replicating cell, because the simplest cell we have been able to come up with is not simple at all. And so far there is not enough randomness or time in the entirety of a block universe to haphazardly assemble such a cell.


As has already been explained to you, the first replicator was not a cell. Cells came way later.

Oh, it just occurred to me. You don't understand what descent means in evolution, do you? You think it means the opposite of "ascent"?

:-D Just, wow.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby DragonFly on August 15th, 2018, 9:13 pm 

If a block universe is here, the events/interactions/processes do not play out all at once, from our view, but are constrained, by whatever, just as if we were in a universe of presentism; however, the block universe needs to have been made, since it is particular in its fixed events.

Thus, the block at birth all at once goes through all its events/interactions/processes, we presumably later more slowly traverse this block in such of a kind of replay way as not being able to tell the events being of eternalism or presentism.

Else why the bother of brains and processes seeming to have to figure out things that would be already have been set in the block initially? Thus brains and processes really did figure out everything once, and once only, long ago, when the block was created.

Still, we run into a seeming problem that our 4D block had to have been made in the 5th dimension, since then an infinite regress ensues…

Plus there is the problem of the 4D block's extent going infinite into the 'future' end of the block, we then having the infinite held all at once in completeness without it being able to have more added to it.


A simpler block would be to just represent a 4D-like film in which just the 3D images go by, although the movie still has to have been completely designed/made in the first place.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Brent696 on August 15th, 2018, 9:25 pm 

Braininvat » August 15th, 2018, 4:39 pm

Perhaps start reading with a simple question --- pick whatever area of evolutionary biology most puzzles you. Maybe you wonder why staph infections are now so resistant to antibiotics. Or why certain pesticides don't work like they used to. Or why gray tree frogs live north of green tree frogs. Or why the bacterium Pseudomonas can now eat nylon (OK, you probably weren't wondering about that...). Or why sharks have white bellies and darker backs. Or why the gene for sickle cell anemia has actually become more common in Africa, despite the illness that can result.


You have expressed the problem perfectly, all of these events above, selection, or resistance, or adaptability, like the processes of drift, flow, or hitchhiking, or even all of Micro-evolution, are without thought, simply plugged into what is already assumed by your mind. Since you believe in Evolution, every fact you hear automatically becomes supporting evidence but what you and David are missing, is the blind spot in which you and your mind alone is making its "interpretation".

I do not mean to be insulting, this is not about ignorance or dishonesty, at least not with intentionality.

Let me focus on one narrow analogy, this was eve expressed by one of the scientists bemoaning Belinsky, basically the appearance of the zygote or fetus as it matures. One stage it might look like a bird, then a lizard, then a chicken or what have you, and the scientist states how this is obvious evidence that we have evolved through these stages.

But the only thing which is truly obvious is that the complexity of a homo-sapiens "incorporates" the lesser complex models. IOWs, Lizards are not made from Lincoln logs, and then at some point humans are made of Legos. there is the expectation that we share the same building blocks. Since he is blind to his own interpretation, to him it appears as obvious.

Ask yourself how obvious is evolution to you, as Reg suggests, are you not arguing from a point of "its as plain as day", because the more self assured you are, then the more likely it is you are looking at your mental idols and not truly assessing the facts.

This does not mean you have to become a Christian or start believing in God, but if you remove the assumptions, remove all that seems obvious and reexamine what is pure fact divided from any interpretation. I am sure for decades you have been just piling on the weight as if every new proposition from science to support it has simply reinforced it.

Debate is good for me, it helps my mind and its critical thinking, but I don't believe for a minute I can change someone else's mind, but I know from time to time I have to scrap everything and re-examine my assumptions. Has it been 40 years or what, how long has it been since you truly scraped evolution out of your mind and just started over, go back to the basics and see it those interpretations have just become conditional habits. Chances are you won't but I thought I would make the challenge anyway.

If you need some help, go back and look at the site you posted, Orr gave a good stab at it but the other posters descended instantly into mocking and belittling Belinsky and misrepresenting his arguments. Something is wrong when that happens,
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 15th, 2018, 11:00 pm 

Brent696 » August 16th, 2018, 10:25 am wrote:
If you need some help, go back and look at the site you posted, Orr gave a good stab at it but the other posters descended instantly into mocking and belittling Belinski and misrepresenting his arguments. Something is wrong when that happens,



Exactly right!!

Anyway, I give up. I've been through this kind of thing before, and it's invariably an exercise in futility.

It's happened before with David Stove. Response: "Oh him. Even though I've read nothing or almost nothing of his work, he's clearly an ignorant hillbilly who doesn't understand evolution, attacks straw men, doesn't know how to reason correctly, gets his facts wrong. Oh yeah, and he's an ass and a moron and liar too. A closet Creationist, no doubt. Probably fat and ugly too".

It's happened before with Jerry Fodor, another ignoramus with the gall to critique neo-Darwinian faith. Last time I brought up Fodor here, it was manifestly obvious not one of the promptly assembled lynch mob even understood his purported refutation of natural selection. Not that that made any difference, of course. All that matters is to discredit, humiliate and silence the contumacious bastard as quickly as possible.

It's happened before with countless others I could name.

Quite frankly, it's pathetic. These men are thinkers of the very highest order and extremely well read on the relevant literature, yet treated here and elsewhere as poor misguided fools and liars. If we were gonna bet who knows more about the subject matter -- them or us -- well, I know where my hard earned dosh would be put.

But science is nothing like religion. Or so the wise men say...
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby davidm on August 16th, 2018, 12:32 am 

Reg_Prescott » August 15th, 2018, 9:00 pm wrote:
Brent696 » August 16th, 2018, 10:25 am wrote:
If you need some help, go back and look at the site you posted, Orr gave a good stab at it but the other posters descended instantly into mocking and belittling Belinski and misrepresenting his arguments. Something is wrong when that happens,



Exactly right!!

Anyway, I give up. I've been through this kind of thing before, and it's invariably an exercise in futility.

It's happened before with David Stove. Response: "Oh him. Even though I've read nothing or almost nothing of his work, he's clearly an ignorant hillbilly who doesn't understand evolution, attacks straw men, doesn't know how to reason correctly, gets his facts wrong. Oh yeah, and he's an ass and a moron and liar too. A closet Creationist, no doubt. Probably fat and ugly too".

It's happened before with Jerry Fodor, another ignoramus with the gall to critique neo-Darwinian faith. Last time I brought up Fodor here, it was manifestly obvious not one of the promptly assembled lynch mob even understood his purported refutation of natural selection. Not that that made any difference, of course. All that matters is to discredit, humiliate and silence the contumacious bastard as quickly as possible.

It's happened before with countless others I could name.

Quite frankly, it's pathetic. These men are thinkers of the very highest order and extremely well read on the relevant literature, yet treated here and elsewhere as poor misguided fools and liars. If we were gonna bet who knows more about the subject matter -- them or us -- well, I know where my hard earned dosh would be put.

But science is nothing like religion. Or so the wise men say...


This is a load of twaddle.

I've read Berlinski, and Dembski, and others. They're wrong, that's all. The people you invoke are not thinkers of the highest order.

And you -- here you come and tell us, in one post, that many people do not think that evolution is an observed fact, and in a later post you tell us you know of no one who denies that evolution is an observed fact. And we are supposed to take you seriously?

You mix up "target of selection" with "evolution" and when this is plainly pointed out, you refuse to address your error and throw tantrums like the above instead. And we are supposed to take you seriously?

You accuse Jerry Coyne, in his essay to which I linked, of ad hom argumentation, when in fact he refutes Berlinski's blather -- and when challenged to address his refutations, you simply ignore the challenge. And you expect us to take you seriously?
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 16th, 2018, 1:02 am 

davidm » August 15th, 2018, 11:32 pm wrote:This is a load of twaddle.

I think so too.

davidm » August 4th, 2018, 7:42 am wrote:Science does not operate on faith. Just the opposite: it is anti-faith.

However, I do also object to this, not that I find anything in the post of Reg_Prescott I would even remotely agree with. Science most certain does operate on faith -- AND I would say that it is one of the most stellar example of faith in modern times which puts the faith of all the religious to shame. Science puts its faith in the scientific methodology (the honesty of accepting tests of an hypothesis rather than trying to prove what you decide to believe, and the objectivity of putting its results in the form of written procedures which anyone can follow to get the same results). It operates on the premise that there are no demons out there arranging the evidence to deceive us. You cannot prove this premise is the case and cannot prove that the methods of science will get to the truth. Thus science most certainly does operate on faith, clinging to this premise and methodology - in a faith which actually WORKS! It is a more rational faith that the majority of what you find in religion, which is often rather blind in its willful refusal to acknowledge opposing evidence.

The posts of Reg and Brent I see as examples of blind faith, using pure and dishonest rhetoric to avoid facing the objective evidence for scientific findings such as evolution. Reg's use of the term "Darwinism" rather than "evolution" as an excuse to treat this issue as a philosophical proposition is rather obvious and I have explained the problems with doing so already.

As for Brent's next generation Calvinism, although as a open theist and incompatibilist I will disagree with everything he says, I would remind davidm that the issues of determinism and compatibilism, which is all this boils down to, is not one which objective evidence can decide. I think quantum physics can rule out physical determinism but I don't think Brent falls into that category. So this is a matter on which we must accept a diversity of opinion.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 16th, 2018, 1:41 am 

davidm » August 15th, 2018, 11:32 pm wrote:I've read Berlinski, and Dembski, and others. They're wrong, that's all. The people you invoke are not thinkers of the highest order.

I have talked to Reg about Berlinski before. His objections have to do with an abhorrence of social Darwinism --- and the fact is that most evolutionist would agree with him on the rejection of social Darwinism. But this hardly requires any opposition to science of Biology. But perhaps it is past time for the biology old guard to re-evaluate the analysis of the role of the community in protecting the weak, because I believe this is a stimulus for an new phase in evolution rather than an end to evolution. The latter is founded on a rather narrow perspective which would have human evolution ending in a race of Daniel Boones.

davidm » August 15th, 2018, 11:32 pm wrote:You mix up "target of selection" with "evolution" and when this is plainly pointed out, you refuse to address your error and throw tantrums like the above instead. And we are supposed to take you seriously?

You accuse Jerry Coyne, in his essay to which I linked, of ad hom argumentation, when in fact he refutes Berlinski's blather -- and when challenged to address his refutations, you simply ignore the challenge. And you expect us to take you seriously?

I always take the opposition to science seriously. Science is worth fighting for.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 16th, 2018, 2:29 am 

Brent696 » August 16th, 2018, 1:14 am wrote:REG,

AS BEING SCIENTIFICALLY ORIENTED THERE IS A TENDENCY FOR THESE GUYS TO CATEGORIZE AS IF THAT EQUALILLED UNDERSTANDING. I KNOW NOTHING OF THIS GUY EITHER OTHER HE APPARENTLY SHOWS AN ABILITY FOR CRITICAL THINKING. STRANGE THOUGH HOW THOSE WHO WOULD FOLLOW THE MOB STILL THINK OF THEMSELVES AS CRITICAL THINKERS.


This is typical us and them ideological rhetoric.

It doesn't matter to such ideologues that "them" represents a huge variety of differences in opinion (one expressed just a few posts ago), because they think one difference is only one which is important. Nonsense. For those of us not ideologically driven to such blind ignorance, ALL differences are important.

So no, I most certainly will not paint Reg and Brent with the same label. But I will point out the similarities they display in their behavior/posts. I will agree that science is pretty important, but I cautioned davidm on going too far precisely because there are other things which are important here also.

Brent, pay attention. Here is a hint: This is not a team sport. Confusion on this will lead to inconsistencies rather quickly when Reg disagrees with you on something and suddenly he will belong to the "MOB" you are imagining also.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 6:40 am 

Just to set the record straight...

David, in-between fulminating against my own ignorance, as well as that of Brent and David Berlinski, has repeatedly told us, passim, that among myriad other failures of understanding, I fail to grasp the difference between the units/targets of selection and evolution. Just as one example, take this comment from near the bottom of page 2:

Yes, you have been corrected. Go back and read my corrections. You are confusing targets of selection, which may well be individuals, with evolution, which is a change in allele frequencies of populations. You seem not to grasp that selection and evolution overlap, but are not the same thing.


Well, let's review how this came about. First of all, in the first post on page 2, I wrote the following:

According to orthodox Darwinian natural selection, under which selection acts on individual organisms, there should be no such thing [as altruism]. Or if it does appear through random mutation, it should be eradicated immediately.


David's immediate response (in which he quotes me directly), towards the middle of page 2, reads:

No, it does not operate on individuals. It operates on populations. Furthermore, natural selection may not be the dominant motive force of evolution, at least at the genotypic as opposed to phenotypic levels. That would likely be drift.


Now, both appearances of "it" in the first two sentences can only possibly be construed as referring to natural selection.

How, then, is the charge that I am confusing the targets of selection with evolution to be upheld?

The defence rests.

The condescension of the Darwinian faithful never ceases to astound me. Why must it always be assumed that your skeptical interlocutor is some kind of brainless idiot who cannot even grasp the fundamentals of that which he critiques?

This applies to you too, BiV, with respect, of course, me old mucker. We had exactly the same experience last time on the topic of Jerry Fodor's Darwinian assault, where you treated him as if he was some kind of ignorant hillbilly who has failed to grasp the basics.

It is simply not plausible that men of the sophistication of Berlinski and Fodor are too dense to comprehend the fundamentals of Darwinian theory which after all, most 13-year olds, I assume, could master with ease.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 7:00 am 

Oh, just noticed this remark from David (page 3):

"I stated that evolution acts on populations, not on individuals."


Er, no, you didn't, at least not in response to my remarks (see post above). Unless you have a theory of pronoun reference ("it") unknown to me.

What you said was selection does not act on individuals.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 7:14 am 

@ Braininvat

I've been -- once again -- reading through H. Allen Orr's reply to Berlinski's essay "The Deniable Darwin" (you linked it on another page, and I have the book beside me). The final paragraph goes like this:

In the end, I am afraid that Mr. Berlinski’s criticisms do not fare any better than those of other anti-evolutionists. I will be the first to admit, though, that Mr. Berlinski is not a traditional anti-evolutionist. I know him well enough to know that he, unlike them, is neither anti-scientific nor doctrinaire. His criticisms—like those from any good scientist—are, I think, both sincere and tentative.


Well, at least Mr Orr does not seem to think Mr Berlinski is a fraud or a liar. That's a start, I suppose.

Might Berlinski be wrong in his critique? Of course, and he's the first to admit it.

Might H. Allen Orr be wrong? And all the rest of us? Given the track record of scientific theories, I'd bet highly on it.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby davidm on August 16th, 2018, 10:21 am 

mitchellmckain » August 15th, 2018, 11:02 pm wrote:
davidm » August 15th, 2018, 11:32 pm wrote:This is a load of twaddle.

I think so too.

davidm » August 4th, 2018, 7:42 am wrote:Science does not operate on faith. Just the opposite: it is anti-faith.

However, I do also object to this, not that I find anything in the post of Reg_Prescott I would even remotely agree with. Science most certain does operate on faith -- AND I would say that it is one of the most stellar example of faith in modern times which puts the faith of all the religious to shame. Science puts its faith in the scientific methodology (the honesty of accepting tests of an hypothesis rather than trying to prove what you decide to believe, and the objectivity of putting its results in the form of written procedures which anyone can follow to get the same results). It operates on the premise that there are no demons out there arranging the evidence to deceive us. You cannot prove this premise is the case and cannot prove that the methods of science will get to the truth. Thus science most certainly does operate on faith, clinging to this premise and methodology - in a faith which actually WORKS! It is a more rational faith that the majority of what you find in religion, which is often rather blind in its willful refusal to acknowledge opposing evidence..


I take your point, but I’m not sure that “faith” is the right word here, for scientific practices. I think something softer is needed — that scientists have “presuppositions” or maybe just “assumptions” about the things that you mention above. I would add too that scientists operate on the assumption that the world is intelligible and will always remain so, because it has always done so — an assumption vulnerable to Hume’s induction problem.

Sure, it’s possible that a demon is deceiving us, that we live in a Matrix and the “true” external world is nothing like what we think it is, that our instruments are actually unreliable without us knowing it, or that, like the forum administrator, we are all brains in vats. But unless any of these things are detectable in some way, and can impinge on observations or experiments, I think most scientists would dismiss such concerns as irrelevant. It’s pretty much the same reason that scientists ignore God in scientific practice — unless God shows up in the data somewhere, what good is he?

The key point, as you say, is that science works — and that is its own justification.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby davidm on August 16th, 2018, 11:02 am 

Reg_Prescott » August 16th, 2018, 5:19 am wrote:David Berlinski's response to H. Allen Orr's response to his essay...


In maintaining that evolution is a process that has not been observed, H. Allen Orr writes, I appear to have overlooked examples of evolution like the speckled moth, which undergoes mimetic changes in wing coloration as the result of environmental pollution, or the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Mr. Orr is correct that there are such examples; I scruple only at the conclusions he draws from them. Changes in wing color and the development of drug resistance are intraspecies events. The speckled moth, after all, does not develop antlers or acquire webbed feet, and bacteria remain bacteria, even when drug-resistant. The most ardent creationists now accept micro-evolution as genuinely Darwinian events. They had better: such are the facts. But the grand evolutionary progressions, such as the transformation of a fish into a man, are examples of macro-evolution. They remain out of reach, accessible only at the end of an inferential trail.


This argument, common among creationists (and no, I don’t care whether Berlinski calls himself a creationist or not — this is a creationist argument), never ceases to amaze me; no, it never ceases to stun me.

First, note that if the speckled moth spouted antlers or webbed feat, evolutionary theory would be wrong. It precisely predicts that moths will NOT do this.

Of course the observed changes are intraspecies events — exactly as evolutionary theory predicts.

The real point is this: What in heaven’s does Berlinski think happens when microevolutionary changes are strung out over millions of years? There is utter silence from him on this.

We know exactly what happens — populations evolve, and they speciate. And these are changes are not out of reach — they are inferences supported by mountains of evidence, including the fossil record, molecular biology, population genetics, direct observations (we have witnessed speciation events) and by the fact that we can construct clades, a dramatic demonstration of common ancestry.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 11:10 am 

Evolutionary theory predicts (as opposed to retrodicts - still pretty lame in my opinion) precisely nothing, besides the utterly trivial (those who survive survive). And given what we're told about random mutation, how could it possibly be otherwise? That which is random is, by definition, unpredictable. Otherwise it wouldn't be random.

If the point is not clear (I'm constantly amazed by the inability of Darwinian nuts to grasp the obvious), suppose I present you with a random number generator. Can you make any predictions -- besides the utterly trivial ("It will be a number, duh") -- and besides sheer guesswork, about what the next number will be?

If you can, the number generator is not random.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 11:21 am 

davidm » August 17th, 2018, 12:02 am wrote:
The real point is this: What in heaven’s does Berlinski think happens when microevolutionary changes are strung out over millions of years? There is utter silence from him on this.



Yes, you're right. His position is we don't know.

As Brent correctly pointed out earlier in the thread, you're making an inference that, at least in my view, is not warranted by the evidence. It appears that despite the best efforts of pigeon and dog breeders, dogs remain dogs and pigeons remain pigeons. And when the tampering ends, they soon revert to the archetypical scruffy mongrel look.

davidm » August 17th, 2018, 12:02 am wrote:
We know exactly what happens — populations evolve, and they speciate. And these are changes are not out of reach — they are inferences supported by mountains of evidence, including the fossil record, molecular biology, population genetics, direct observations (we have witnessed speciation events) and by the fact that we can construct clades, a dramatic demonstration of common ancestry.


We know exactly what happens? I don't think so, though I could be wrong, of course. If I understand Gould and Eldredge et al correctly, the fossil record is characterized by stasis and discontinuity: most species we know of enter the fossil record unannounced, do pretty much nothing for a few million years, then vanish equally mysteriously with apparently no evolution having taken place.

I'm no expert. Correct me if I'm wrong. But your most recent comments strike me as an article of faith.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby TheVat on August 16th, 2018, 12:13 pm 

In inserting a Head Monkey into Richard Dawkins’s thought experiment, my aim was to show how the mechanism of design, purged on one level of Darwinian analysis, makes a stealthy reappearance at another. Mr. Orr is unpersuaded. “The monkey analogy,” he believes, “shows that by saving favorable random changes, evolution can gradually build fancy structures.” Such indeed is the perennial hope of Darwinian theorists, but Mr. Orr has, I believe, underestimated the force of my criticism. Favorable changes are one thing; changes that will be favorable, another. If the mechanism of Darwinian evolution is restricted to changes that are favorable at the time they are selected, I see no reason to suppose that it could produce any fancy structures whatsoever. If the mechanism is permitted to incorporate changes that are neutral at the time of selection, but that will be favorable some time in the future, I see no reason to consider the process Darwinian.
(excerpt of Berlinski quote, response to H. Allen Orr)

Confusion about teleology. Again. Randomness is part of allele changes. The environment, as it changes and creates certain adaptive needs, interacts with the random changes of mutation and genetic drift. Neither process is going to necessarily create physical structures that are advantageous at the moment they arise. Some will be neutral, i.e. they won't block growth and reproduction. Say, folks that are heterozygous for sickle cell. They get along okay. Then malaria shows up, as their area of savannah gets wetter and boggier. The sickle cell gene now actually confers, by accident, some protection against malaria. NO TELEOLOGY. SHIT HAPPENS. Sometimes it's good shit. Now there's actual selective pressure for an increase in the sickle cell alleles.

As for fancy structure, it's a matter of understanding the concepts and evidence in macroevolution. Some creatures has a rough patch of light-sensitive cells. That's "good enough" for millenia. Then, the climate gets cloudier and skies are darker. A mutation that's been around for a while, which causes a flap of clear tissue to flop over that light-sensing patch, suddenly goes from neutral to positive. Because that tissue flap now focuses the weaker light a bit better on the photosensitive patch. NO TELEOLOGY. THE ENVIRONMENT just happened to render something that was useless a bit useful. Step by step, eons pass, and you have little improvements that offer some adaptive advantage in light-gathering. Each step is, for that organism, "good enough," and the result eons later is that fancy structure called an "eye."

I mean no unkindness to Berlinski, but his inability to see the range of mechanisms in evolution (some "Darwinian," some not) and to accurately characterize them, means that I find his critique to be weak and unpersuasive.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby TheVat on August 16th, 2018, 12:31 pm 

I moved this to anything science forum, since it looked for a while like the chat was shifting back towards facts and evidence. I am done participating for a while, but I'll keep an eye (fancy structured one) on things. If its shifts back more to philosophy, it will move back over there. Putting it here, I was hoping some other members might take the opportunity to weigh in on the questions of scientific evidence raised here. And I want to thank David M. for his efforts to clarify some aspects of evolutionary theory and noticing that I float in a vat.

Reg - to your latest question: I don't think Berlinski is unaware of what biologists say. My impression is that he does not fully understand the meaning or implications of their words. Or the findings to which those words refer. And that he is selective in the segments of theory that he chooses to gnaw on. If I see bias and confusion, it is not condescending to say so. I see bias and confusion. Many of his misunderstandings are so profound, that I am simply not personally equipped to tackle them, e.g. his notion that all errors in DNA code must result in gobbledegook. He makes a bad analogy, because he doesn't understand how DNA coding works.

If I don't answer you next post, please don't take it personally. I have other commitments and I trust that your active intellect is one that will continue to study this fascinating field and the many many debates within it that are the source of its vitality and intellectual rigor.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Brent696 on August 16th, 2018, 12:49 pm 

davidm » August 16th, 2018, 11:02 am

This argument, common among creationists (and no, I don’t care whether Berlinski calls himself a creationist or not — this is a creationist argument), never ceases to amaze me; no, it never ceases to stun me.


So it's a "them" type of thing, logic would dictate that if he were a Creationist, he would be arguing FOR creation or the like. Instead he has made it quite clear that the only honest position is one of ("not knowing" paraphrased). Basically, evolutionary theory is insufficient, a shallow observation might seem to suggest evolution, but in digging deeper science is no longer drawing FROM the facts but imposing the theory upon them. The theory has far surpassed the factual evidence.

First, note that if the speckled moth spouted antlers or webbed feat, evolutionary theory would be wrong. It precisely predicts that moths will NOT do this.

Of course the observed changes are intraspecies events — exactly as evolutionary theory predicts.


He is dividing Micro from Macro, using simply a bit of sarcasm, as much as it is a tenet of faith to the evolutionists that Micro automatically culminates into Macro, there is no real evidence of this, this is one of the gaps of knowledge where complexity magically increases, and how does this happen,

The real point is this: What in heaven’s does Berlinski think happens when microevolutionary changes are strung out over millions of years? There is utter silence from him on this.


"Millions of years", So what does evolution actually offer, "randomness" as far as any guiding principle, and then when we hope to focus in on some Macro change, it is said to be hidden in the dark cave of millions of years. You absolute know it is there, you just can't see it.

"Millions of years" is not a thing, it is not a scientific principle, it IS a valley of ignorance, of blindness, why do you expect everybody to simply believe that Micro, which is very easily understood as adaptability within a structure, can actually grow into something of a much greater complexity. This is the cave where some magical flow of added information supposedly happens.

We know exactly what happens — populations evolve, and they speciate. And these are changes are not out of reach


No you don't KNOW, you just admitted it can only be observed over millions of years, and somehow only to "populations" which seems idiotic since populations are made up of individuals. I suppose you mean that the same gene drift happens to multiple individuals at the same time and then breeding stabilizes the new gene form. Although to me it does seem that this appeal to "populations" is once again saying the truth of the process is hidden in multiples as in millions of years.

"Speciation" is a joke as it is a shell game of classifications. Is this really the best science can do to prove Macro, because it says nothing about the issue of increasing complexity.

And then finally you admit also "And these are changes are not out of reach" because deep down you know authority attributed to evolution is one of blind belief, and not a true accumulation of scientific evidence. You simply believe it is possible,

Yet since you deceive yourself into believing it is established fact, your final defense, as with so many other scientists, is belittling, mocking, shaming, and dismissing. The self deception can easily be equated to the blind beliefs of some of the religious who feign to believe something they really do not understand, but the vitriolic response to those who would question such a resolve can easily be compared to one of addiction.

they are inferences supported by mountains of evidence, including the fossil record, molecular biology, population genetics, direct observations (we have witnessed speciation events) and by the fact that we can construct clades, a dramatic demonstration of common ancestry.


You realize all this mountain of evidence just followed after ""And these are changes are not out of reach"

I can only then suppose this mountain of evidence has led you to the absolute conclusion that "IT'S POSSIBLE"
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby davidm on August 16th, 2018, 1:07 pm 

Having read all your posts, I know for sure you have no understanding whatever of evolutionary theory. You are simply not to be taken seriously. You're a guy who actually thinks that in evolutionary theory, "descent" means the opposite of "ascent." I mean, really! :-D

Here, go educate yourself for the first time in your life.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 1:12 pm 

Braininvat » August 17th, 2018, 1:31 am wrote:I moved this to anything science forum, since it looked for a while like the chat was shifting back towards facts and evidence. I am done participating for a while, but I'll keep an eye (fancy structured one) on things. If its shifts back more to philosophy, it will move back over there. Putting it here, I was hoping some other members might take the opportunity to weigh in on the questions of scientific evidence raised here. And I want to thank David M. for his efforts to clarify some aspects of evolutionary theory and noticing that I float in a vat.

Reg - to your latest question: I don't think Berlinski is unaware of what biologists say. My impression is that he does not fully understand the meaning or implications of their words. Or the findings to which those words refer. And that he is selective in the segments of theory that he chooses to gnaw on. If I see bias and confusion, it is not condescending to say so. I see bias and confusion. Many of his misunderstandings are so profound, that I am simply not personally equipped to tackle them, e.g. his notion that all errors in DNA code must result in gobbledegook. He makes a bad analogy, because he doesn't understand how DNA coding works.

If I don't answer you next post, please don't take it personally. I have other commitments and I trust that your active intellect is one that will continue to study this fascinating field and the many many debates within it that are the source of its vitality and intellectual rigor.



Thank you for allowing those with opposing viewpoints to be heard, BiV. I read all your posts very carefully, and take everything you say very seriously. (except the crap about trucks and brains in vats). Why, if I had to do it all again I think I'd marry you and.... Whoops.

On this particular issue, we're obviously divided. But I do enjoy that unorthodox viewpoints are given an airing, and that we can think critically about these matters.

That goes for other contributors too. Like David :-). You're clearly well read and intelligent, though I do believe you're quite wrong on a few things. As you feel about myself.

You have a terrific site here.

Well done, chaps.

I'm also pleased to see that Brent's thread was moved to a more obvious area of the site. I hadn't even noticed his new, thought-provoking thread till lately on the grounds that it had been relegated to "Odds and Ends" which doesn't show up when I click on "What's new".
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 1:32 pm 

Brent696 » August 17th, 2018, 1:49 am wrote:
First, note that if the speckled moth spouted antlers or webbed feat, evolutionary theory would be wrong. It precisely predicts that moths will NOT do this.

Of course the observed changes are intraspecies events — exactly as evolutionary theory predicts.


He is dividing Micro from Macro, using simply a bit of sarcasm, as much as it is a tenet of faith to the evolutionists that Micro automatically culminates into Macro, there is no real evidence of this, this is one of the gaps of knowledge where complexity magically increases, and how does this happen,



Exactly right again, Brent. David (our David, not Berlinski) is once again treating Mr Berlinski as some kinda imbecile who believes, on the evolutionary account, that moths might wake up tomorrow with antlers.

David (our David) is either being very stupid or very disingenuous.

There's a clip on Youtube where Berlinski advances skepticism towards the "land-dwelling cow evolves into a sea-dwelling whale" argument.

And as he notes, at this juncture, some halfwit Darwinist inevitably comes crawling out of the woodwork and ejaculates, "Aha! There were no cows back then. You idiot! You know nothing about evolution!"

But I can't find the clip. Sigh!
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby TheVat on August 16th, 2018, 4:48 pm 

Enormous amounts of evidence from DNA, stratigraphy, cladistic analysis relating to morphological similarities between whales and hippopotamuses....consistently point to whales evolving from land herbivores. This herbivore was a common ancestor of Anthracotheres (which led to riparian foragers like hippos) and Pakicetus, which led to more aquatic species like Ambulocetus. The theoretical basis here, in terms of lines of evidence, is on a par with "penicillin ruptures bacterial cell walls." The evidence for this sort of macroevolution is quite strong and the land ancestry of whales would not be in dispute even if most of the stratigraphic data vanished tomorrow. It would be far more unlikely, given the cladistics, that the oceans independently evolved a separate class of mammals which just happened to have all the morphological traits of the land mammals. If Berlinski understands basic laws of probability, and the available evidence, then his skepticism would seem to come from data the rest of the scientific community is not privy to.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Brent696 on August 16th, 2018, 5:48 pm 

Reg_Prescott » August 16th, 2018, 1:32 pm

Exactly right again, Brent. David (our David, not Berlinski) is once again treating Mr Berlinski as some kinda imbecile who believes, on the evolutionary account, that moths might wake up tomorrow with antlers.

David (our David) is either being very stupid or very disingenuous.


Well you do remember my theory....

""" Yet since you deceive yourself into believing it is established fact, your final defense, as with so many other scientists, is belittling, mocking, shaming, and dismissing. The self deception can easily be equated to the blind beliefs of some of the religious who feign to believe something they really do not understand, but the vitriolic response to those who would question such a resolve can easily be compared to one of addiction.""""

And like any good theory, it makes certain predictions. Now that's science.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 16th, 2018, 6:31 pm 

davidm » August 16th, 2018, 9:21 am wrote:I take your point, but I’m not sure that “faith” is the right word here, for scientific practices. I think something softer is needed — that scientists have “presuppositions” or maybe just “assumptions” about the things that you mention above.

I am sure. Faith and presuppositions/assumptions are synonymous as far as I am concerned and any distinction between them just looks like special pleading and snobbery to me. The only real distinction is between blind faith and rational faith -- based upon how obstinate you are in the face of opposing evidence. Rational faith will give things the benefit of the doubt until there is reason to believe otherwise and that is EXACTLY how you described science. Only blind faith will insist on things in total disregard of the evidence.

davidm » August 16th, 2018, 9:21 am wrote:I would add too that scientists operate on the assumption that the world is intelligible and will always remain so, because it has always done so — an assumption vulnerable to Hume’s induction problem.

I am not sure I can even agree that this is a premise of science. I would even argue that this is more the premise of many philosophers and religious. I suppose part of the problem is different ideas of what constitutes "intelligible." Perhaps it is true that many scientist do have this premise and it may be why they were so outraged by the findings of quantum physics.

davidm » August 16th, 2018, 9:21 am wrote:Sure, it’s possible that a demon is deceiving us, that we live in a Matrix and the “true” external world is nothing like what we think it is, that our instruments are actually unreliable without us knowing it, or that, like the forum administrator, we are all brains in vats. But unless any of these things are detectable in some way, and can impinge on observations or experiments, I think most scientists would dismiss such concerns as irrelevant. It’s pretty much the same reason that scientists ignore God in scientific practice — unless God shows up in the data somewhere, what good is he?

The key point, as you say, is that science works — and that is its own justification.

The problem is that this is ultimately a subjective judgement. The religious look at lives changed and people happy and say exactly the same thing that their religion works and they add that to the list of justifications. Furthermore, they can point to various problems from lives lost to disruptions of their way of life as examples of how science does not work for them or a lot of other people.

Don't get me wrong here. It is not my argument and never has been that science and religion are equivalent. But the difference is a bit more subtle than your characterization of faith versus "anti-faith." The real difference is found in the honesty and objectivity of the scientific methodology as I have described above which provides a reasonable basis for expecting other people to agree on its findings. For pete sake, if anyone can follow the procedure and get the same result then denial is nothing but dishonest, obstinate, and willful. This fact is what justifies my claim that science must be granted a superior epistemological status (however marginal you might argue this superiority to be).

It is not that scientists are incapable of (self) deception, interpretive bias, and error. The methodological distinctions are an ideal that the scientific community must strive for, fight for, and defend. But however successful they may be this still beats out the useless "Goddidit" explanations and "Biblesaysso" justifications. In the end, their (the religious) methodology is rhetoric, which to be frank, is the foundation of human civilization, not to mention every forum like this one. Our positions on issues will never change the simple fact that rhetoric is what we do here, and I will not support any claims that any of us speak for either science or God. But the findings and evidence of science are a matter of record which is easily found and checked. Not so the dictates of supposed gods, which will never be more than a matter of opinon.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby davidm on August 16th, 2018, 7:41 pm 

Reg_Prescott » August 16th, 2018, 11:32 am wrote:
Brent696 » August 17th, 2018, 1:49 am wrote:
There's a clip on Youtube where Berlinski advances skepticism towards the "land-dwelling cow evolves into a sea-dwelling whale" argument.

And as he notes, at this juncture, some halfwit Darwinist inevitably comes crawling out of the woodwork and ejaculates, "Aha! There were no cows back then. You idiot! You know nothing about evolution!"

But I can't find the clip. Sigh!


This is typical of the creationist approach — to accuse people who know what they’re talking about of rebutting creationist nonsense merely by resorting to insults or mockery. Yes, the insults and mockery are there — and well deserved — but so are the refutations of the creationist dogma, which we see in the Jerry Coyne essay to which I linked, and which of course was predictably ignored by Reg_Prescott.

Notice, too, how the creationists whiners who whine about being insulted are so quick to pile on the nasty little insults of their own — “half-wit Darwinist,” for example. Of course as usual the creationists still can’t grasp that there is no such thing as “Darwinism.” And evolutionary biologists are not half-wits.

Oh, and since you can’t find the clip you are looking for, here’s a clip of my own — land mammal to whale evolution, millions of years reduced to ten minutes. A fascinating illustration of the power and beauty of the blind watchmaker.

Yes, yes, we know — videos aren’t evidence, nor is this intended as such. It’s just so damned cool. And this is substantially what happened, whether creationists like it or not. I know they don’t like it one little bit.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby DragonFly on August 16th, 2018, 8:42 pm 

mitchellmckain » August 16th, 2018, 5:31 pm wrote:
I am sure. Faith and presuppositions/assumptions are synonymous as far as I am concerned and any distinction between them just looks like special pleading and snobbery to me. The only real distinction is between blind faith and rational faith -- based upon how obstinate you are in the face of opposing evidence. Rational faith will give things the benefit of the doubt until there is reason to believe otherwise and that is EXACTLY how you described science. Only blind faith will insist on things in total disregard of the evidence.


In science, presuppositions/assumptions are taken further in the cases where they can be shown/repeatable and so the original 'faith' (or good intuition) turns into 'trust', such as that we've seen atoms and know how to apply chemistry and physics to them.

'Faith'/'hope'/'wishes' etc. is more about unshowable unknowns, like a supernatural realm, Heaven/hell/Holy Ghost/Angels/God, although the ancient meaning of 'faith' is that of a direct acquaintance with 'God'.

So, the word 'trust' may be better to employ rather than overloading 'faith' with adjectives. I trust that morning will come tomorrow because it's been known to happen, although the world may end tomorrow. The objects of 'faith' are not known to be so.

mitchellmckain » August 16th, 2018, 5:31 pm wrote:I am not sure I can even agree that this is a premise of science [intelligible]. I would even argue that this is more the premise of many philosophers and religious. I suppose part of the problem is different ideas of what constitutes "intelligible." Perhaps it is true that many scientist do have this premise and it may be why they were so outraged by the findings of quantum physics.


Quantum physics remains somewhat mystifying, but only somewhat since it's relied upon to build devices. We also don't know what underlies quarks but they seem to have to 1/3 of something deeper. Other science areas are much better understood.

mitchellmckain » August 16th, 2018, 5:31 pm wrote:The problem is that this is ultimately a subjective judgement. The religious look at lives changed and people happy and say exactly the same thing that their religion works and they add that to the list of justifications. Furthermore, they can point to various problems from lives lost to disruptions of their way of life as examples of how science does not work for them or a lot of other people.


Not exactly the same because we know a lot about why science works, even its real horror of fusion and fission.

mitchellmckain » August 16th, 2018, 5:31 pm wrote:Don't get me wrong here. It is not my argument and never has been that science and religion are equivalent. But the difference is a bit more subtle than your characterization of faith versus "anti-faith." The real difference is found in the honesty and objectivity of the scientific methodology as I have described above which provides a reasonable basis for expecting other people to agree on its findings. For pete sake, if anyone can follow the procedure and get the same result then denial is nothing but dishonest, obstinate, and willful. This fact is what justifies my claim that science must be granted a superior epistemological status (however marginal you might argue this superiority to be).


Yes, "superior", and I am with davidm, Braininvat, and you on this. I am not a 'God' believer. Although I believe that something has to be eternal, it would be an unwarranted leap of faith to say that it is a Being. We may never know, so I give anything possible a 'maybe' status, with degrees of likelihood applied to it. No fully honest person can ever preach 'God' or 'No God' as if it were fact and truth.

mitchellmckain » August 16th, 2018, 5:31 pm wrote:It is not that scientists are incapable of (self) deception, interpretive bias, and error. The methodological distinctions are an ideal that the scientific community must strive for, fight for, and defend. But however successful they may be this still beats out the useless "Goddidit" explanations and "Biblesaysso" justifications. In the end, their (the religious) methodology is rhetoric, which to be frank, is the foundation of human civilization, not to mention every forum like this one. Our positions on issues will never change the simple fact that rhetoric is what we do here, and I will not support any claims that any of us speak for either science or God. But the findings and evidence of science are a matter of record which is easily found and checked. Not so the dictates of supposed gods, which will never be more than a matter of opinon.


Good, and scientific theorists in error eventually fall by the wayside. "Supposed gods" as opinion can't go forward, since both "case closed" and not showable (thus 'faith').


0. Certain accounts, such as those written in Genesis, seem to doom the idea of divine inspiration, for Genesis is the polar opposite of what has been found by science, which is the worst state, as diametric.


1. Events proceed from the most basic and tiny, even from the simplest continuous functions with little or no parts, unto greater and greater complexities, not the other way around. We might better look for higher beings in the future, not in the past.

For example, a proton cannot be first and fundamental, for it has parts that must precede it.


2. The events were not instant, made as is, immutable, in their modern form. Cosmic and biological evolution took billions of years.


3. There is one tree of life, not two (with a separate one for the animals).


4. More… of the ABCs not seeming to work, casting doubt on the further xyzs layered on.


The 'maybe' remains, but that doesn't mean the opposites are equiprobable. All we will ever have are our subjectives to go on, yet one side is better informed by the more objective science findings.


We may not know all the science details, but they seem to get surrounded by naturalism. Once there was something like quark soup and now there is a full universe. Once there was no life on Earth and now there is. In consciousness, what goes into it gets portrayed accordingly, albeit in a unique way. Etc.

As for a block universe, which is what should be more discussed here, it appears that what makes no difference (in the implementation) to presentism is no difference, to the message, which is that processes occur in time. (See my recent post on the block universe.)

(davidm: I'm only answering for myself, not you, as to better get into the thread.)
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby DragonFly on August 16th, 2018, 8:56 pm 

davidm » August 16th, 2018, 6:41 pm wrote:
This is typical of the creationist approach — to accuse people who know what they’re talking about of rebutting creationist nonsense merely by resorting to insults or mockery.…


Yes, as if it can't be seen through in an instant by us who've seen it all over the years as a kind of last resort but one that exposes the poor tactic, which doings only harm the poster in others eyes, not to mention the wasting of the forum with posts that have no meat. Sweeping generalizations can never stand in for the lack of specifics.

A creationist who I spoke with the other day said that one of the triple confirmations of evolution, namely the fossils in the geological strata (that even match our DNA and our unused DNA and match to some of the embryonic stages such as three kidneys developing, from the primitive to the midling to the modern) turned completely upside down (not just slanted, as mountains are), thus with higher life on the top, making that which we thought to be old to be new. Also, no methods of dating fossils actually work at all. Wow!

Also, the likes of that a jet cannot be built by chance when a tornado sweeps though a warehouse. Well, chance is not the scientific alternative to ID; natural selection is. Plus evolution is not all at once but is a slow accumulation of changes upon already stable platforms.
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby Reg_Prescott on August 16th, 2018, 9:52 pm 

Braininvat » August 17th, 2018, 5:48 am wrote:Enormous amounts of evidence from DNA, stratigraphy, cladistic analysis relating to morphological similarities between whales and hippopotamuses....consistently point to whales evolving from land herbivores. This herbivore was a common ancestor of Anthracotheres (which led to riparian foragers like hippos) and Pakicetus, which led to more aquatic species like Ambulocetus. The theoretical basis here, in terms of lines of evidence, is on a par with "penicillin ruptures bacterial cell walls." The evidence for this sort of macroevolution is quite strong and the land ancestry of whales would not be in dispute even if most of the stratigraphic data vanished tomorrow. It would be far more unlikely, given the cladistics, that the oceans independently evolved a separate class of mammals which just happened to have all the morphological traits of the land mammals. If Berlinski understands basic laws of probability, and the available evidence, then his skepticism would seem to come from data the rest of the scientific community is not privy to.



Uh oh! Here we go again.

Fer crying out loud, BiV, the man writes books on mathematics!! The suggestion that he may not understand the basic laws of probability -- another scurrilous attempt to smear and discredit the poor sod -- is, quite frankly, preposterous.

Your pal, H. Allen Orr, in his review of Berlinski that you linked on another page, even admits to having "thoroughly enjoyed" Berlinski's "A Tour of the Calculus".

From Wiki:

Berlinski has written works on systems analysis, the history of differential topology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics. Berlinski has authored books for the general public on mathematics and the history of mathematics. These include A Tour of the Calculus (1995) on calculus, The Advent of the Algorithm (2000) on algorithms, Newton's Gift (2000) on Isaac Newton, and Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics (2005).


Now, to emphasize once more, Berlinski does not deny that the orthodox "land-dwelling mammal to sea-dwelling whale" account may be correct. What he does do is express a certain intellectual unease, an unease shared by myself. Part of this unease derives from what he considers to be the mathematical implausibility haunting the traditional Darwinian evolutionary scenario.

Perhaps if we understood mathematics a little better, we might share his unease.

As for the "rest of the scientific community", similar unease is not unknown. Given the amount of change that has supposedly occurred from, say, 50 million years (or whatever - correct the timing, pls. Too lazy to look it up) to the modern whale, if we extrapolate backwards at the same (intuitive) rate of change then there would not seem to have been anything like enough time for that proto-whale to get to where it was from its piscine ancestors.

(Are you familiar with this line of attack, BiV? Not sure but I think I got it from Niles Eldredge. Could be wrong.)

Anyone interested can hear Berlinski elaborate on the reasons for his skepticism over evolutionary theory in the following video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S89IskZI740
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Re: Blocking Evolution

Postby mitchellmckain on August 16th, 2018, 10:08 pm 

DragonFly » August 16th, 2018, 7:42 pm wrote:In science, presuppositions/assumptions are taken further in the cases where they can be shown/repeatable and so the original 'faith' (or good intuition) turns into 'trust', such as that we've seen atoms and know how to apply chemistry and physics to them.

'Faith'/'hope'/'wishes' etc. is more about unshowable unknowns, like a supernatural realm, Heaven/hell/Holy Ghost/Angels/God, although the ancient meaning of 'faith' is that of a direct acquaintance with 'God'.

Sorry, but I quibble on these things for a good reason. I draw the line where it is defensible and the line you are drawing is not. There is always a gap between theory and application, and a line between the visible/obvious and the invisible/subtle. The religious too can point to what they do and which repeatedly works for them. If you can say show me God, they can say show me the Higg's boson -- and both can respond to the other with doubt for the roundabout indirect means the other will use to do so. If you show them chemistry and physics applications they will show you changed lives.

Again, it is never my argument to say there is no difference -- only that considerable caution is required in explaining the difference so that you don't sound just as much like a religious true believer as they do, with a different religion. There is a difference in the universality of what science shows, which does not depend on what you believe. They will say you have to believe, have faith, be approved by God, or whatever. Science does not. This is why the scientific community has a unity that the religious can only dream about. It is not that there are no disagreements in science. But there is a consensus for a good reason. The difference is more subtle than what you describe but the difference is most certainly there.

DragonFly » August 16th, 2018, 7:42 pm wrote:So, the word 'trust' may be better to employ rather than overloading 'faith' with adjectives. I trust that morning will come tomorrow because it's been known to happen, although the world may end tomorrow. The objects of 'faith' are not known to be so.

No. This is rhetoric which simply does not work. Do you really imagine that religious people do not talk about trust? Get real. The religious use the exact same reasoning which you just used. The transition from faith to trust applies just as much to religion as it does to science. All you have done is what every cultist has done from the beginning of time, "unlike you, we KNOW our god is real." The words are the same and so I cannot credit where you put the line. The only demonstrable state of knowledge is the fact that the one who knows live accordingly, and thus I refute all the hot air and will only accept this as a definition of knowledge. Thus the objects of their faith ARE known. The only thing I think is justifiably denied is that they have a reasonable expectation that others should agree with them -- that is a line which is completely defensible.

DragonFly » August 16th, 2018, 7:42 pm wrote:Quantum physics remains somewhat mystifying, but only somewhat since it's relied upon to build devices. We also don't know what underlies quarks but they seem to have to 1/3 of something deeper. Other science areas are much better understood.

LOL I am sorry but I cannot help but laugh. I think that quantum physicists are likely to say the same thing of some other areas of science. There are gray areas of puzzlement everywhere. The merit of science is found in exposing them rather than hiding them.

DragonFly » August 16th, 2018, 7:42 pm wrote:Not exactly the same because we know a lot about why science works, even its real horror of fusion and fission.

And that shows where your priorities are. Expecting others to adhere to your priorities is not reasonable. As much as I am personally addicted to understanding (knowing how things work), I still know this often grossly overrated.

DragonFly » August 16th, 2018, 7:42 pm wrote:No fully honest person can ever preach 'God' or 'No God' as if it were fact and truth.

Incorrect. You can only say this for yourself. With a personal experience of God an honest person certainly can preach God as if it were a fact and truth (perhaps an even an experience of 'No God' is possible, though that is more difficult to imagine). Again I bring this back to the defensible line to say that what they cannot do is reasonably expect other people to agree with them, because their personal experience is personal. It is that simple.

The basic human experience of reality is personal or subjective. The objective is an abstraction which takes considerably more work to obtain -- but the case for science having achieved this is a strong one. It is on the strength of this which the claim of epistemological superiority lies. The fact that this is not immediate but abstract, however, is good reason to point out the subtlety of this justification and thus to be more cautious.

DragonFly » August 16th, 2018, 7:42 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain » August 16th, 2018, 5:31 pm wrote:It is not that scientists are incapable of (self) deception, interpretive bias, and error. The methodological distinctions are an ideal that the scientific community must strive for, fight for, and defend. But however successful they may be this still beats out the useless "Goddidit" explanations and "Biblesaysso" justifications. In the end, their (the religious) methodology is rhetoric, which to be frank, is the foundation of human civilization, not to mention every forum like this one. Our positions on issues will never change the simple fact that rhetoric is what we do here, and I will not support any claims that any of us speak for either science or God. But the findings and evidence of science are a matter of record which is easily found and checked. Not so the dictates of supposed gods, which will never be more than a matter of opinon.

Good, and scientific theorists in error eventually fall by the wayside. "Supposed gods" as opinion can't go forward, since both "case closed" and not showable (thus 'faith').

This talk about scientists and theory in error falling by the wayside is classic "FAITH" in capital letters. I have that faith too, LOL. The concern of the religious is going forward with their lives and they do that just fine. They also slowly learn what works in religion and what does not -- it is a slow process and practically every new religion has go through it again reinventing the wheel. This is indeed symptomatic of the difference between science and religion. The inherent diversity of thought in religion makes learning from each other more problematic.
Last edited by mitchellmckain on August 16th, 2018, 10:20 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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