Friday, June 19, 2015

Evolution and Science of Today: Does Breaking Things Explain How They Evolved?

Much of what passes for science these days is not experimental, it is destruction/analysis.

By "experimental" is meant the activity performed under the standards of empiricism: induction of set members, formation of proposed rules for the set, deduction of hypotheses regarding testable, falsifiable predictions from the rules proposed for the set, experimental design to test the hypotheses, performance of the experiments and replication for potential falsification, with rigorous data taking, analysis and peer reviewed publication of the data for open, general knowledge of the set, its characteristics, and its rigorous analysis.

Destruction is not an empirical experiment; it is not hypothetico-deductive, it is not predictive, it is merely destruction accompanied by unwarranted inference declaration, as we will see below.

Breaking things is different, regardless of whether it is called "experimental" or not. There is a very good analogy given at Science Against Evolution this month regarding the claims of having turned chicken embryos into creatures without beaks but instead having "snouts" which are claimed to be like dinosaurs.

Here's the analogy to the destruction procedure: Can the 8 cylinder engine be shown to have "evolved" from a 6 cylinder engine by cutting two of the spark plug wires on an 8 cylinder, and watching to see if it would run? What results is 6 cylinders banging away with gaps in the firing cycle, and a rough running engine on its way to an early demise. It is not a 6 cylinder engine, it is a defective 8 cylinder engine. And here is a major point: one cannot take a 6 cylinder engine, and by adding two more spark plug wires turn it into an 8 cylinder engine. In other words, having broken the 8 back to a 6 does nothing to explain the necessary differences between a 6 cylinder engine and an 8 cylinder engine. The procedure is simplistic and logically absurd.

But some forms of science now depend on breaking things in order to make declarations about their components and their origins. Not only evolutionary biology, but high energy particle physics does this type of destruction/analysis.

As for the dino-chickens, even the researchers admit to not really having made a complete dino-snout, but having made something - someTHING - which was not a chicken beak exactly, nor exactly a snout, either. So they made the following conclusion: there must be some intermediate forms between the dinosaurs and the chickens which are not yet found, but which if they could be found would look like their embryonic destruction.

You see, everything (unrestricted by hypothetico-deductive experimental fact) fits into the evolutionary criteria of predicting "everything and nothing", and falsification is not expected and is not considered or discussed.

There are some actual biological facts which get in the way, though: homeobox genes and Hox genes, for example. These are trigger genes which set off cascades of many downstream subsequent triggers, and those triggers make specific decisions in the development of an individual's phenotype. Breaking the pathway in some fashion does not recreate past histories, because the past histories of homeobox and hox genes in dinosaurs is not known, cannot be known, and cannotbe used for judgment or comparison. So breaking the cascading pathways, no matter how it is done, is merely destruction, not recreation. The results of doing this are in no manner relevant to theories of evolution, because they prove only the ability to corrupt and/or destroy certain members of an embryo, and nothing more.

A similar situation exists in the pursuit of subatomic particles with high energy particle accelerators. The crashing of particles together goes on and on, until a piece is found which is close to the right size. In the case of the Higgs Boson, not even that, because they look for a piece of the piece (like a subharmonic of a signal), because the Higgs is speculated to be too large for the energy capacity of the equipment.

My analogy for this is the broken plate theory. I can speculate that a huge platter exists, which I demonstrate mathematically, and which I can find by breaking smaller plates and looking for a smaller plate shard which is a perfect fraction of the size of the proposed platter. The existence of that fractional smaller plate shard will "prove" the existence of the huge platter, at least by scientific standards of today. So I break plate after plate after plate looking for that one perfect shard, (stop to sweep up and go out for more plates, then resume breaking plates; repeat as required) until finally, after numerous broken plates, there appears a broken plate shard which approximates (not exactly, but close enough for government work) the proposed sub-platter shard. And VOIlA! The existence of the platter is demonstrated, and the platter's existence becomes part of science lore.

That is the state of high energy subatomic particle physics.

I am a fan of reverse engineering, having done a considerable amount myself. But these models of scientific misadventure are not the same as reverse engineering. Reverse engineering usually if not always looks for principles, not things. (Not the same as failure analysis which looks for aberrant things). Discernment of the principles of design used to create the object are the usual goal, and the presumption is that some intelligence designed the object being analyzed, using some sort of principles for designing it.

With evolution, the assumption is that accidents of mutation can indeed cause incredible complexity to arise for no reason at all, and then be selected as superior to the old, less complex organism, and further, that this presupposition must be applied to all of biology, no matter how ridiculous or contrary to logic and common sense. All investigation is force fit into the box created by that (logically absurd) restriction which is imposed and enforced on reality.

Unprovable presuppositions which are forced onto the definition of reality are the currency of blind ideology, held with blind belief. Evolution, high energy subatomic collider physics, and cosmology all fall into the same trap of ideology due to unfalsifiability.