Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Jerry Coyne Gets A Richard Dawkins Award

Jerry Coyne Receives 2015 Richard Dawkins Award!
Atheist Alliance of America is pleased to announce that Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D., is the 2015 recipient of the Richard Dawkins Award, presented annually at AAofAmerica’s national conference. Dr. Coyne is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Why Evolution is True as well as the soon-to-be-released Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible.
Next up, Dawkins will be celebrated with a Jerry A. Coyne Award.

Coyne's claim to fame is his book, "Why Evolution Is True". This book uses the same type of "truth" that is used in the book, "A Universe From Nothing", by lawrence Krauss. In both books the title refers to a concept which is both false, and which is not proven in the book. Like Krauss' book, Coyne's book is also completely false, as he admits toward the end. But starting early in the book, page 16, Coyne makes this claim:
"A theory becomes a fact (or a truth) when so much evidence has accumulated in its favor - and there is no decisive evidence against it - that virtually all reasonable people will accept it."
Let's parse this. First, "fact equals truth". This is a redefinition. Coyne takes the language into his own hands, for his own purposes. Krauss took the same presumptuous liberties with the word, "nothing", a term used in an inflammatory fashion to garner book sales. Fact is not the same as truth. A fact is a contingent thing which has limits; truth is not. For example it is fact as I write this that today is Tuesday. But that fact is contingent on my location, since that is not the case just across the international date line, even at this moment. The "fact" then, is merely a reporting of a volatile variable based on a human convention. Truth, as philosophers would have it - and as Coyne would pretend it - is immutable, incorrigible and non-contingent. Evolution is none of those things.

But it is worse than that. Coyne also says,
"This does not mean that a "true" theory will never be falsified. All scientific theory is provisional, subject to modification in light of new evidence. There is no alarm bell that goes off to tell scientists that they've finally hit on the ultimate, unchangeable truths about nature. As we'll see, it is possible that despite thousands of observations that support Darwinism, new data might show it to be wrong. I think this is unlikely, but unlike zealots, scientists can't afford to become arrogant about what they accept as true."

By this point, Coyne has claimed that (1) true = fact; (2) that true might be false; (3) that there are thousands of observations supporting Darwinism; (4) that only zealots and not scientists are arrogant about what they accept as true. None of these claims are correct, as is obvious by their inspection.

Despite these non-coherences, Coyne proceeds:

Evolution is predictive, Coyne claims on page 223:
"We've also seen that evolutionary biology makes testable predictions, though of course not in the sense of predicting how a particular species will evolve, for that depends on a myriad of uncertain factors such as which mutations crop up and how environments may change."
Short version of the above: Evolution can't predict evolution. Undaunted by this admission of evolutionary failure as actual useful, objective knowledge, Coyne charges ahead on the next page:
"Now, when we say that "evolution is true", what we mean is that the major tenets of Darwinism have been verified. Organisms evolved, they did so gradually, lineages split up into different species from common ancestors, and natural selection is the major engine of adaptation."
No. none of that is true. None of that is even contingent fact from the empirical science point of view. In fact, most of that is not even accepted theory by the elite evolutionists of today.

Consider this statement from "The Extended Synthesis" which is the compendium written as a result of the efforts of the Altenberg 16 conference on the status of evolution in 2011 (Coyne's book was written in 2009; he did not attend Altenberg).
"The overcoming of gradualism, externalism, and gene centrism are the general hallmarks of the Extended Synthesis, whether in the forms presented here or in the various other accounts to a similar effect published since the late 1990's."
Gradualism, the need for deep time, was defeated early on by the recognition that the Cambrian explosion created in a geologic moment (5 to 10 mya) all of the phyla (except one smaller one). Externalism refers to mutations as the mechanism required to leave the current genome in order to create a new one. In fact, the genome itself is now rejected as causally central to the creation of the phyla, new organs, new species and new information as is required by interpreting the fossil record as having "evolved".

In other words, Darwin's theoretical mechanisms, aka Darwinism, is dead. The mechanisms have been defeated for decades. The only remaining hope for Darwin is the fossil record and the story-telling that goes along with it. Beyond that, there are no - NO - data which show immutably and incorrigibly that evolution from protokaryotes to all the eukaryotic phyla was observed (not thousands of observations), nor that evolution of beneficial new organs or naturally selectable features ever actually even happened.

The fossil record provides objective knowledge of just one, single category of information: different animals lived at different times in history, the evidence being that their fossils are found in separate strata. (Note that no common ancestor for the eukaryote phyla has been found).

Evolution is not found in fossils. Evolution is a proposed, invented process which has been created in order to provide an explanation for the location of fossils, an explanation which does not exist either observably occurring in the fossils themselves, or empirically, experimentally reproducible in the fossils or using fossils. To even claim that would be absurd, yet the claim is that the concept of evolution is "true".

What Coyne and others consider to be true is demonstrated by Coyne in his chapter on the evolution of birds. Discussing "what is the use of half a wing?", Coyne launches into this narrative:
"But if you think about it a bit, its not so hard to come up with intermediate stages in the evolution of flight, stages that might have been useful to their possessors. Gliding is the first step."
Thus he veers off into bedtime stories which he, and other evolutionists, take to be truth (=fact). He finishes off the page with the obligatory use of Archeopteryx, which has long been unseated as a precursor to actual birds.

Coyne's actual value to Dawkins is not his book, it is his virulent and nasty Atheism which he displays on his website/blog, "Why Evolution Is True".

So we see that Dawkins and Coyne are built of the same intellectual stuff: what they want to be true will be true if they say it is true and write a book about it. THAT is their definition of truth.

1 comment:

Stefani Monaghan said...

"unlike zealots, scientists can't afford to become arrogant about what they accept as true."

Not that atheists would know anything about arrogant truth claims, thank the FSM.