[UPDATE: Corrected two typos]
The recent article by Tania Lombrozo has persuaded me to issue the author a challenge.
A challenge, regarding your article entitled "Don't Believe In Evolution? Try Thinking Harder"
Tania Lombrozo: http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/06/29/418289762/don-t-believe-in-evolution-try-thinking-harder
This article describes a study which is based on the premises that (a) evolution is Truth; therefore, skepticism is either (b) vastly ignorant, (c) cognitively disconnected, or (d) mentally disturbed. For example, the first sentence is this:
"The theory of evolution by natural selection is among the best established in science, yet also among the most controversial for subsets of the American public." [Note 1, 2]The following is intended to imply - not rational conclusions being drawn better in differing cultural settings - but to imply that the denizens of certain regions cannot think because they do not recognize the truth value of the first sentence.
"For decades we've known that beliefs about evolution are well-predicted by demographic factors, such as religious upbringing and political affiliation. There's also enormous variation in the acceptance of evolution across different countries, all of which suggests an important role for cultural input in driving beliefs about evolution. A child raised by Buddhists in California is much more likely to accept evolution than one raised by evangelical Protestants in Kansas." Yet as with all evolutionary apologetics, there is no empirical data provided which demonstrates experimentally and objectively that premise (a) is even contingently non-falsified using empirical techniques which are the currency of Enlightenment science for producing objective knowledge. If premise (a) is not grounded, but is based only in inference and fictions of imaginary scenarios, then the subsequent dependent premises are not valid, either. In fact, skepticism of subjective, inferential claims and the fictions of imaginary scenarios is always warranted, and is, in fact, an intellectual responsibility. It is the presumption that any truth is produced by inference and fictions surrounding the unreproducible causes for historical effects which is irrational under Aristotelian logic as well as Popperian logical demarcation.
I challenge you, Ms Lombrozo, to either a debate regarding the validity of evolution, or if you choose not to do that, then I challenge you to address the following issues surrounding evolution:
Ignoring the pseudointellectual condescension in your article, I challenge you to provide an empirical mechanism for an evolution event, even one, which provides objective knowledge of the process surrounding the creation of an all new, deterministically expected, heritable, selectable feature which benefits the selectablity of the organism or group of organisms which contain this selectable feature. By “empirical” I mean one that satisfies the Enlightenment scientific directive for obtaining objectively valid knowledge: the hypothetico-deductive, replicable and falsifiable (which is both replicated and non-falsified) experimental data which is both open and peer-reviewed, and which is, at a minimum, objective yet contingent knowledge of a single evolution event producing a new feature or features which produce obvious non-reductive speciation.
If you cannot do that, then provide at least speculative reasoning which defeats the Kimura neutral theory “box” which demonstrates statistically that positive mutations to DNA are statistically unselectable, and that negative mutation accumulations are ultimately selectable due to their proliferation. Which means, of course, that species deteriorate rather than being created from prior species.
Alternatively, provide empirical evidence for abiogenesis (for confirmation of Lewontin’s demand for Philosophical Materialism) in the manner of replicating metabolic systems (ADP to ATP conversion by the means of the ATP Synthase stepping motor/generator molecule, with all the enzymes and membranes created simultaneously): i.e. “Metabolites First”. This will be difficult, as others have found and abandoned it.
Or, provide empirical evidence for self-replication of RNA along with the simultaneous creation and existence of all the ancillary enzymes required – RNA World. You might check with Jack Szostak, the researcher who abandoned that pursuit after decades of laboratory attempts to do so, non-randomly, with intelligent guidance.
Since you will not be able to do these things, you will not have proven any possible validity for Materialism. So then possibly you can show how to avoid the internal contradiction (self-referencing) involved in the materialist claim to know that there is no non-material existence, while being unable to materially investigate non-material claims. In other words, Materialism cannot prove its own premises while being restricted to its own existential claims, and therefore is paradoxical and thus, irrational
But returning evolution, then, possibly you can show a modern biological knowledge development that was originated by being predicated on “evolution” as the hypothesis. Well, no, because evolution predicts everything and nothing, simultaneously and without differentiation. And that renders evolution non-falsifiable, and under Popper’s demarcation, it is therefore not knowledge, not even contingent knowledge, much less objective knowledge or even “truth” as some evolutionists claim (Jerry Coyne); it is blind belief without actual proof.
For example, let’s look at the T-cell, and its “education” (a molecular biological term) which is required before it is of any use. Among other things it must be educated in the Thymus not to attack the cells that are “self”, i.e. the cells of the organism which the T-cell must protect rather than attack. This is a pure process of differentiation, which is not a physical, molecular thing that evolved, but a rational process relationally involving three entities: a source actor; an object actor which is to be attacked; an object actor which must not be attacked. The complexity is high, and the evolutionary failure at any point renders the host organism vulnerable, even self-destructive. This is similar to the “three body problem” in physics, which Poincare showed is insoluble analytically. There are many more evolutionary conundrums of this type and many are simultaneously required for cellular life to exist (DNA, RNA and RNA polymerase are another example).
Now for cognitive thinking.
To elaborate on cognitive thinking: if one should actually investigate the science maunderings of the elite evolutionary scientists, one would find a blatant lack of any belief in actual empirical science. What one finds is a belief in the power of storytelling as an avatar for non-existent causal evidence regarding actual cause and effect. Evolution cannot be held to any principle of cause and effect specifically because it predicts everything and nothing simultaneously, and is therefore logically internally contradictory and without a rational basis. That is why evolutionary theorists are engaged in creating fictional accounts which they apply to existing (incomplete) fossil records. These fictional accounts are declared to be “plausible” if they have been massaged sufficiently to eliminate blatant contradictions. And having been bestowed the mantle of “plausibility”, the fictions become entrenched as “truths”. Yet they remain fictions, they remain non-falsifiable, empirically, and they remain NOT objective knowledge.
Yet it is also claimed that because there are a lot of these fictions which are declared “plausible”, that the sheer quantity (“ a mountain of evidence”) renders the overall narrative to be Truth, and thus unassailable except by the irrational. How many fictions does it take to make a single Truth? Ten? Ten thousand? Ten million? The concept is logically absurd, and fails Reductio Ad Absurdum. But that does not stop it from being a tenet of evolutionary cant.
It is falsely claimed that evolution is the unifying theory of biology, yet no (zero) biological advances are dependent upon evolution, and a great many modern biological principles cannot show consistency with evolution or First Life as abiogenesis. Both RNA World and Metabolism First theories have cratered and are in the dust bin of biological history. The existence of simultaneous mutual dependency of RNA, DNA, and RNA-ase as well as many necessary enzymes which are necessary for transcription is merely one example of many, many instances which rationally falsify materialist creationism of life from minerals.
Cognitive thinking, if it were actually activated, would appreciate this, rather than make claims against skeptics regarding their capability to think.
If you would care to either respond to these issues or to debate the issue of cognitive thinking and evolution in general, I’d be happy to oblige. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the blog, http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/ and we can chat about it.
1. Selection has been falsified by the segment of evolutionary theorists known as the Altenberg 16. "Evolution; the Extended Synthesis"; Piggliucci/Muller, eds; MIT Press; 2010; pgs 13, 14.
2. The term "established" is non-specific and prejudicial; further it is not the case that any evolutionary event is empirically substantiated under the hypothetico-deductive experimental method of Enlightenment science, which is dedicated to the production of objective knowledge.
3. This is little more than class-driven bigotry; there is no assessment made of the intellectual process for being skeptical of evolution; skepticism is presumptively a mindless derivative of acculturation. The pseudoscience and its basis in prejudice is obvious.