Saturday, August 13, 2016

Evolutionary Theories, Macroevolution, Quality of Evolutionary Science

[Caution: very long]

The experts on Evolution who show up here have made some serious errors, including claiming that whatever I write is wrong. It’s not as if I made these facts up; I did not. The problem is that the experts on Evolution who show up here are quite ignorant of the facts which are internal to Evolution, and are in denial. This should (but probably won’t due to cultish denialism) set them straight, since the following is a series of statements made by actual Evolution researchers and mathematicians. The choice of statements is made to include how and whether Evolution is a reputable science; whether macroevolution exists or merely gradualism of normal variations within a genome; whether there is or is not a single Evolutionary theory which is agreed upon by all evolutionary researchers; and the mathematics of plausibility, probability and impossibility as is related to evolution.

Darwinism and The Modern Synthesis
Sedgewick, Darwin’s teacher and mentor: Review in The Spectator, March 29, 1860:
”I must in the first place observe that Darwin’s theory is not inductive, - not based on a series of acknowledged facts pointing to a general conclusion. … I look on the theory as a vast pyramid resting on its apex, and that aapex a mathematical point. … Each series of facts is laced together by a series of assumptions which are mere repetitions of one false principle. You cannot make a good rope out of a string of air-bubbles.”

From James Shapiro; “Evolution: A View From the 21st Century”; FT Press Science; 2011; pg142.
”Conventional views of evolution were formulated before we learned about the structure of DNA and embarked on the molecular analysis of cells, morphogenesis, and the genomic record. They were formulated in the mid-19th century and reformulated in the mid-20th century, when the prevailing attitude was characterized by atomistic, mechanistic, and statistical thinking. The basic elements of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis included an ad hoc assumption about the random nature of hereditary variation, the diversifying effects of Mendelian segregations according to the rules of quantitative population genetics, the positive action of natural selection, and a belief that geological time was sufficient for the positive action of selection-guided accumulation of small adaptive changes to produce new life-forms.”

Popper on Darwinism:
”Darwin showed that we are all completely free to use the teleological explanations in biology – even those of us who happen to believe that all explanation ought to be causal. For what he showed was, precisely, that in principle any particular theological explanation may, one day, be reduced to, or further explained by, a causal explanation.

Although this was a great achievement, we have to add that the phrase, in principle is a very important restriction. Neither Darwin nor any Darwinian has so far given an actual causal explanation of the adaptive evolution of any single organism or any single organ. All that has been shown – and this has been very much – is that such explanations might exist (that is to say, that they are logically possible).”

Karl R. Popper; “Objective Knowledge”; Oxford; 1979; pg 266.

And From Physicist Ian Hutchinson:
”For Darwin, and evolutionary theorists since, the nature of explanation is taken not to be to demonstrate that phenomena observed are a necessary consequence of the underlying laws or principles – which is the gold standard that Newton set. Instead it is taken to be to set forth a plausible history for how the observed phenomena could have been a consequence of natural selection. This is a profoundly different standard of explanation. … What I am drawing attention to, rather, is that what constitutes Darwinian explanation is at best a pale shadow of the explanatory standards of Newton, and virtually all of physical science. ”
Ian Hutchinson; ”Monopolizing Knowledge”, Natural Law and Natural History; Fias Pubs; 2011; pg 101.

And From Stephen Jay Gould;
“The Structure of Evolutionary Theory”; Belknap Harvard; 2002; pp 520-3:

”In this section I shall try to illustrate one example in extenso – the central and defining case, I believe – of the narrowing suffered by a synthesis that became augmented in power but downgraded in the art and tactic of questioning. I call this increasing confidence, bordering on smugness, the ‘hardening’ of the Synthesis. Thus I contrast the positive restriction of the first phase – the elaboration of a generous and comprehensive theory, and the invalidation and fruitless alternatives – with the negative tightening that occurred over the ontogeny of the second phase. This hardening – still our legacy today – must serve as a starting point for any current attempt to introduce more amplitude into evolutionary theory. The hard version of the Synthesis provides a standard for judging (by contrast) the interest and importance of modern revisions – from neutralism, to punctuated equilibrium, to a common feeling that the theme of developmental constraints not only gives substance to an old truth, but also confutes the hardened versions commitment to Darwin’s (I really should say Fisher’s) billiard ball against Galton’s polyhedron.

My example shall trace the transformation of adaptation from an option to be ascertained (albeit favored and granted a dominant relative frequency) to an a priori assumption of near ubiquity (save in derivative or trivial situations without evolutionary importance) – in other words the burnishing of Galton’s polyhedron to the billiard ball of pure functionalism (allowing no significant pushing back from internal structure upon the direction of evolutionary change. This hardening buttressed (or rather in my view, overly rigidified and scleroticised) one leg on the essential Darwinian tripod of support – the second theme of functionalism against internalist and structuralist forces.”

But hardening pervaded all major themes of Darwinian central logic, and the other two legs of the tripod also experienced their own petrifaction. Pluralistic (and, admittedly, often loose) thinking about levels of selection yielded to an explicit promulgation of organismic selection as the only acceptable mode – as a virtual campaign to root out group selection accompanied by the battle of Williams (1966) against Wynne-Edwards (1962). Thirdly, a willingness to grant some independence, or at least some puzzlement , to patterns in macroevolution … ceded to the hard view that all phenomena measured in millions of years must be explained by smooth extrapolation from palpable causes on generational scales in modern populations – and that the paleontological record can therefore only present a pageant of products generated by known causes, and not provide an independent theory or even a set of additional causal principles.

[…]

I began to check early and late works of other key figures, particularly Dobzhansky and Mayr. All had moved from pluralism to strict adaptationism – and along a remarkably similar path. I began to view this transition as the major ontogenetic event of the synthesis during its second phase. I christened this change as the ‘hardening’ of the Synthesis, and wrote four papers on the subject.”

E. O. Wilson expresses his continuing faith in the Modern (hardened) Synthesis in 2006:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-01-15-faith-edit_x.htm
”Modern biology has arrived at two major principles that are supported by so much interlocking evidence as to rank as virtual laws of nature. The first is that all biological elements and processes are ultimately obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry. The second principle is that all life has evolved by random mutation and natural selection.
Although as many as half of Americans choose not to believe it, evolution, including the origin of species, is an undeniable fact. Furthermore, the evidence supporting the principle of natural selection has improved year by year, and it is accepted with virtual unanimity by the biologists who have put it to the test.”

Ending, of course, with the obligatory Appeal to Authority which always accompanies evolutionary claims. But when you get down to the granular level, things just aren’t that way any more.

Here’s Richard Dawkins:
Richard Dawkins; “Blind Watchmaker”; page 141:

”So cumulative selection can manufacture complexity while single-step selection cannot. But cumulative selection cannot work unless there is some minimal machinery of replication and replicator power, and the only machinery of replication we know seems too complicated to have come into existence by means of anything less than many generations of cumulative selection!

[…]

This is a transparently feeble argument, indeed it is obviously self-defeating. Organized complexity is the thing we are having difficulty in explaining. Once we are allowed to simply postulate organized complexity, if only the organized complexity of the DNA/protein replicating engine, it is relatively easy to invoke it as a generator of yet more organized complexity. Indeed that is what most of this book is about. ”

[Emphasis original]

Postulating organized complexity in order to hypothesize organized complexity is, indeed self-defeating. So is postulating mutations without specifying mutations. As is postulating all phyla as derived from a common ancestor without any common ancestor identified or any mechanism identified or any falsifiable material evidence that it actually happened that way. Logical falsifiers for these, however, do exist. But they are ignored as being applicable to evolution, which is immune to logic since it predicts nothing and everything, yet another fallacy: Fallacy of Special Pleading.

Here’s Stephen Jay Gould:
”Gould; ‘The Structure of Evolutionary theory’; 2002; p33.

“For reasons beyond the mere self-indulgence or egotism, I believe that defenders of such general theories about large realms of nature owe their readers some explanation for the personal bases and ontogeny of their choices – for at this level of abstraction, no theory can claim derivation by simple logical or empirical necessity from observed results, and all commitments, however will defended among alternative possibilities, will also be influenced by authorial preferences of a more contingent nature that must then be narrated in order to be understood. Moreover, in this particular case, the structure of this book includes a set of vigorously idiosyncratic features that, if not acknowledged and justified, might obscure the far more important raison d’etre for its composition: the presentation of a tight brief for substantial reformulation in the structure of evolutionary theory, with all the threads of revision conceptually united into an argument of different thrust and form, but still sufficiently continuous with its original Darwinian base to remain within the same intellectual lineage and logic.”

[Emphasis added]

So the “Modern Synthesis” became dogmatic, and still is dogmatic, to the point of cultism. Its adherents have locked down a concept which is “hardened” yet demonstrably false under many findings of modern biology, yet which the cultists demand must be accepted as Truth by everyone from researchers to the courts to the general public, who are ridiculed and slandered as anti-science religious zealots if they demonstrate skepticism.

Charles Hodge:
Charles Hodge; “But Is It Science?”, Ch 6: “What is Darwinism”; Pennock and Ruse, Eds.; Prometheus, 2009; pg 96.
”The third cause of the alienation between religion and science is the bearing of scientific men towards the men of culture who do not belong to their own class. When we, in such connections, speak of scientific men, we do not mean en of science as such, but those only who avow or manifest their hostility to religion. There is an assumption of superiority, and often a manifestation of contempt. Those who call their logic or their conjectures into question, are stigmatized aas narrow-minded, bigots, old women, Bible worshippers, etc.”


Macro/Microevolution vs. Darwinian Gradualism.
Gradualism a la Darwin demands that there be no difference between microevolution and macroevolution, that only a single “evolution” exists and is sufficient to explain every twist of biological history. Further, the claim is that the micro- / macro- distinction is not even a topic amongst evolutionists.

False and demonstrably so. Grabbing a few books off the shelf:
“Evolution, the Extended Synthesis”; Pigliucci, et. al.; Entire Macroevolution Section VI, containing three chapters on Macroevolution.


Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology”; Ayala and Arp, Eds.; 2010; PART V: Are Microevolution and Macroevolution Governed By the same Processes?

This section contains the following:
Microevolution usually refers to the changes in allele frequency within a species that ultimately affect the phenotype of the organisms that make up that species.Macroevolution refers to the changes that are across species, such as when a new genus, phylum, or family emerges (forms of speciation), or when species go extinct. This is why, in the first paper in this part, Michael Deitrich notes that: “Patterns of variation within a species are classic examples of microevolutionary phenomena, while patterns of phyletic change associated with either punctuated equilibribium or mass extinction are recognized as examples of macroevolutionary phenomena.

With respect to microevolution, common examples of patterns of variation within a species exist all around us, including the emergence of coloring that camouflages several species of animals like birds, butterflies, beetles and moths.

[…]

Conversely, with respect to macroevolution, patterns of phyletic change are most readily available from fossil evidence. Consider the so-called “Cambrian Explosion” of a multitude of new species that probably arose as a result of punctuated equilibrium (morris, 1998).”

And next:
”The Structure of Evolutionary Biology”; Stephen Jay Gould; 2002; pg 894/5:

“Yet however successful we have been in executing this greatPHILOSOPHICAL shift at the level of microevolution – where we understand that no archetype for the sea horse, a sequoia or a human being exists; where an enterprise called “population genetics” stands at the core of an explanatory system; and where we have all been explicitly taught to view change as the conversion of intrapopulational changes into interpopulational differences – we have scarcely begun to execute an equally important reconceptualization for our descriptions and explanations of macroevolution. We still encapsulate the pageant of life’s history largely as a set of STORIES about the trajectories of ABSTRACTED DESIGNSthrough time.

So not only is macroevolution not the same as microevolution, as Dietrich goes on to say:
”Many of the well-known controversies in biology have been ‘relative significance’ disputes” (Beatty, 1997).

[…]

Like many disputes in biology over the last 100 years, the dispute over the existence of distinct processes for microevolution and macroevolution is a matter of relative significance.

Dietrich resolves the “significance issue” thus:
”My claim is that these [macroevolutionary processes] form a small portion of the domain of evolutionary phenomena” that includes evolution, both above and below, the species level. This does not deny their existence or historical impact as evolutionary processes – it merely notes their current relative significance.
So Dietrich recognizes that microevolution uses processes other than Deep Time, as does macroevolution, but that speciation/macroevolutionary events are currently relatively rare, so microevolution without those processes weighs more important purely due to its current frequency. I.e., we can see microevolution so it has relative priority over speciation due to macroevolution.


Dietrich includes a “counterpoint” from Erwin:
”In his contribution, Erwin argues for a “hierarchical ordering of the evolutionary processes through time” that renders it immune to reduction to microevolution, because explaining the origins of these hierarchies requires “a historical theory of evolution, one that encompasses an understanding of how evolution itself changes the evolutionary process.”
In other words, the addition of complexity makes it more complex (difficult) to effect more change to even higher complexity.

Reverting to Dawkins’ claim above, even by postulating the primary existence of high complexity does not, in reality, give cause to expect more complexity by microevolution, especially if microevolution is just Deep Time.

And here is one series of places where modern Biological Science contradicts the Modern Synthesis:
”Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of biology; Laubichler, Manfred; 2002; Ch 11, p203.
Laubicher:
”In addition, the views of the Modern Synthesis on the agents of evolutionary change, especially in its “hardened’ form, were soon challenged by individuals trained in different fields such as morphology, paleontology, comparative embryology, and developmental biology. What were first individual voices of dissent would, by the late 1970s and early 1980s, be organized into a movement that would soon be known as evolutionary developmental biology, or evo-devo (Hall, 1998). Initially each group objected to specific shortcomings of the Modern Synthesis. Paleontologists argued that the implicit gradualism of evolutionary models does not correspond to observed patterns of the fossil record and proposed a whole range of macroevolutionary principles, some, like heterochrony, having a developmental base. Morphologists complained that the gene-centered perspective of the Modern Synthesis does not explain the structured hierarchy of forms and the nested nature of homologies. They also provided alternative theories of morphological evolution that included developmentl principles, such as burden or developmental constraints , in explaining the conservation of certain characters. Developmental biologists also objected to the gene-centered view, arguing that the mechanisms of morphogenesis need to be an important part of any explanation of form.”
And this:
”Many of these proposals were attempts to fill the void left by what Peter Bowler (1983) has called the eclipse of Darwinism, referring to the dissatisfaction with natural selection as the main explanatory mechanism of organic evolution. The argument in this context was that additional ‘internal’ forces are needed to understand the observed types of phenotypic evolution.”
From Michael Polanyi:
Michael Polanyi; “Personal knowledge”; University of Chicago Press; 1962; pg 168-170:
”The decisive reason why such obviously inadequate formulations of the principles of science were accepted by men of great intellectual distinction lies in a desperate attempt to represent scientific knowledge as impersonal. We have seen that this is achieved by two alternative recipes: (1) by describing science in terms of some secondary feature (simplicity, economy, practicality, fruitfulness, etc.), and (2) by setting up some formal model in terms of probabilities or constant conjunctions. In both cases the scientist would be left uncommitted; in the first because he would say nothing more than a telephone directory, in the second because he would have a machine to speak for him, impersonally. Since the latter solution still leaves over the personal acy of accrediting the machine, this act may be played down on the lines of recipe 1 by describing it as a mere ‘policy’. But to justify a scientific procedure by its practical advantage as a policy, is to conceal the fact that this advantage is expected to accrue only because we hold certain beliefs about the nature of things which make this expectation reasonable.

I shall presently have more to say on the curious logical dilemma in which any formal axiomatization of science (or mathematics) leads itself ad absurdum. At the moment I only wish to explain how the paramount desire for impersonal knowledge could succeed in rendering plausible such flagrantly inadequate formulations of science as given either by recipe 1 or 2. We owe this immense power for self-deception to the operation of the ubiquitous tacit coefficient by which alone we can apply any articulate terms to a subject matter described by them. These powers enable us to evoke our conception of a complex ineffable subject matter with which we are familiar, by even the roughest sketch of any of its specifiable features. A scientist can accept, therefore, the most inadequate and misleading formulation of his own scientific principles without ever realizing what is being said, because he automatically supplements it by his tacit knowledge of what science really is, and thus makes the formulation ring true.

[…]

This is how they made the answers come out right [they stopped when the expectation is reached, and do not consider falsification]; and this is exactly also how philosophers make their descriptions of science, or their formalized procedures of scientific inference, come out right.

They never use them to decide any open scientific problem, whether past or present, but apply them to scientific generalizations which they regard as indubitably established. This belief eliminates all the ambiguities which the formal procedures of constant conjunction – or of the progressive confirmation of hypotheses according to their increasing probability – leave open, and thus makes either process invariably give the right result…. For a belief which can be touched by no shadow of doubt remains unaffected by such understatements. So these formulae can safely be uttered to appease a strictly empiricist conscience. It is only when we are confronted with the anxious dilemma of a live scientific issue, that the ambiguity of the formal processes and of the various attenuated criteria of scientific truth become apparent and leaves us without effective guidance.”

Excerpts from an interview with Marcel-Paul Sch├╝tzenberger: “The Miracles of Darwinism”:
http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od172/schutz172.htm

Q: What is your definition of Darwinism?
S: The most current, of course, a position generically embodied, for example, by Richard Dawkins. The essential idea is well-known. Evolution, Darwinists argue, is explained by the double action of chance mutations and natural selection. The general doctrine embodies two mutually contradictory schools -- gradualists, on the one hand, saltationists, on the other. Gradualists insist that evolution proceeds by means of small successive changes; saltationists that it proceeds by jumps. Richard Dawkins has come to champion radical gradualism; Stephen Jay Gould, a no less radical version of saltationism.

[…]

Q: Would you argue that the genome does not contain the requisite information for explaining organisms?
S:Not according to the understanding of the genome we now possess. The biological properties invoked by biologists are in this respect quite insufficient; while biologists may understand that a gene triggers the production of a particular protein, that knowledge -- that kind of knowledge -- does not allow them to comprehend how one or two thousand genes suffice to direct the course of embryonic development.

[…]

Q: You assert that, in fact, Darwinism doesn't explain much.
S: It seems to me that the union of chance mutation and selection has a certain descriptive value; in no case does the description count as an explanation. Darwinism relates ecological data to the relative abundance of species and environments. In any case, the descriptive value of Darwinian models is pretty limited. Besides, as saltationists have indicated, the gradualist thesis seems completely demented in light of the growth of paleontological knowledge. The miracles of saltationism, on the other hand, cannot discharge the mystery I have described.

[…]

Q: Let's return to natural selection. Isn't it the case that despite everything the idea has a certain explanatory value?
S: No one could possibly deny the general thesis that stability is a necessary condition for existence -- the real content of the doctrine of natural selection. The outstanding application of this general principle is Berthollet's laws in elementary chemistry. In a desert, the species that die rapidly are those that require water the most; yet that does not explain the appearance among the survivors of those structures whose particular features permits them to resist aridity. The thesis of natural selection is not very powerful. Except for certain artificial cases, we are yet unable to predict whether this or that species or this or that variety will be favored or not as the result of changes in the environment. What we can do is establish after the fact the effects of natural selection -- to show, for, example that certain birds are disposed to eat this species of snails less often than other species, perhaps because their shell is not as visible. That's ecology: very interesting. To put it another way, natural selection is a weak instrument of proof because the phenomena subsumed by natural selection are obvious and yet they establish nothing from the point of view of the theory.

Q: Isn't the significant explanatory feature of Darwinian theory the connection established between chance mutations and natural selection?
S:With the discovery of coding, we have come to understand that a gene is like a word composed in the DNA alphabet; such words form the genomic text. It is that word that tells the cell to make this or that protein. Either a given protein is structural, or a protein itself works in combination with other signals given by the genome to fabricate yet another protein. All the experimental results we know fall within this scheme. The following scenario then becomes standard. A gene undergoes a mutation, one that may facilitate the reproduction of those individuals carrying it; over time, and with respect to a specific environment, mutants come to be statistically favored, replacing individuals lacking the requisite mutation. Evolution could not be an accumulation of such typographical errors. Population geneticists can study the speed with which a favorable mutation propagates itself under these circumstances. They do this with a lot of skill, but these are academic exercises if only because none of the parameters that they use can be empirically determined. In addition, there are the obstacles I have already mentioned. We know the number of genes in an organism. There are about one hundred thousand for a higher vertebrate. This we know fairly well. But this seems grossly insufficient to explain the incredible quantity of information needed to accomplish evolution within a given line of species.

Q: A concrete example?
S: Darwinists say that horses, which were once mammals as large as rabbits, increased their size to escape more quickly from predators. Within the gradualist model, one might isolate a specific trait -- increase in body size -- and consider it to be the result of a series of typographic changes. The explanatory effect achieved is rhetorical, imposed entirely by trick of insisting that what counts for a herbivore is the speed of its flight when faced by a predator. Now this may even be partially true, but there are no biological grounds that permit us to determine that this is in fact the decisive consideration. After all, increase in body size may well have a negative effect. Darwinists seem to me to have preserved a mechanic vision of evolution, one that prompts them to observe merely a linear succession of causes and effects. The idea that causes may interact with one another is now standard in mathematical physics; it is a point that has had difficulty in penetrating the carapace of biological thought. In fact, within the quasi-totality of observable phenomena, local changes interact in a dramatic fashion; after all, there is hardly an issue of La Recherche that does not contain an allusion to the Butterfly Effect. Information theory is precisely the domain that sharpens our intuitions about these phenomena. A typographical change in a computer program does not change it just a little. It wipes the program out, purely and simply. It is the same with a telephone number. If I intend to call a correspondent by telephone, it doesn't much matter if I am fooled by one, two, three or eight figures in his number.

Q: You accept the idea that biological mutations genuinely have the character of typographical errors?
S: Yes, in the sense that one base is a template for another, one codon for another, but at the level of biochemical activity, one is no longer able properly to speak of typography. There is an entire grammar for the formation of proteins in three dimensions, one that we understand poorly. We do not have at our disposal physical or chemical rules permitting us to construct a mapping from typographical mutations or modifications to biologically effective structures. To return to the example of the eye: a few thousand genes are needed for its fabrication, but each in isolation signifies nothing. What is significant is the combination of their interactions. These cascading interactions, with their feedback loops, express an organization whose complexity we do not know how to analyze (See Figure 1). It is possible we may be able to do so in the future, but there is no doubt that we are unable to do so now. Gehring has recently discovered a segment of DNA which is both involved in the development of the vertebrate eye and which can induce the development of an eye in the wing of a butterfly. His work comprises a demonstration of something utterly astonishing, but not an explanation.

Q: Even when they dissent from Darwin, the saltationists are more moderate: they don't pretend to hold the key that would permit them to explain evolution...
S: Before we discuss the saltationists, however, I must say a word about the Japanese biologist Mooto Kimura. He has shown that the majority of mutations are neutral, without any selective effect. For Darwinians upholding the central Darwinian thesis, this is embarrassing... The saltationist view, revived by Stephen Jay Gould, in the end represents an idea due to Richard Goldschmidt. In 1940 or so, he postulated the existence of very intense mutations, no doubt involving hundreds of genes, and taking place rapidly, in less than one thousand generations, thus below the threshold of resolution of paleontology. Curiously enough, Gould does not seem concerned to preserve the union of chance mutations and selection. The saltationists run afoul of two types of criticism. On the one hand, the functionality of their supposed macromutations is inexplicable within the framework of molecular biology. On the other hand, Gould ignores in silence the great trends in biology, such as the increasing complexity of the nervous system. He imagines that the success of new, more sophisticated species, such as the mammals, is a contingent phenomenon. He is not in a position to offer an account of the essential movement of evolution, or at the least, an account of its main trajectories. The saltationists are thus reduced to invoking two types of miracles: macromutations, and the great trajectories of evolution.

Q: In what sense are you employing the word 'miracle'?
S:A miracle is an event that should appear impossible to a Darwinian in view of its ultra-cosmological improbability within the framework of his own theory. Now speaking of macromutations, let me observe that to generate a proper elephant, it will not suffice suddenly to endow it with a full-grown trunk. As the trunk is being organized, a different but complementary system -- the cerebellum -- must be modified in order to establish a place for the ensemble of wiring that the elephant will require to use his trunk. These macromutations must be coordinated by a system of genes in embryogenesis. If one considers the history of evolution, we must postulate thousands of miracles; miracles, in fact, without end. No more than the gradualists, the saltationists are unable to provide an account of those miracles. The second category of miracles are directional, offering instruction to the great evolutionary progressions and trends -- the elaboration of the nervous system, of course, but the internalization of the reproductive process as well, and the appearance of bone, the emergence of ears, the enrichment of various functional relationships, and so on. Each is a series of miracles, whose accumulation has the effect of increasing the complexity and efficiency of various organisms. From this point of view, the notion of bricolage [tinkering], introduced by Francois Jacob, involves a fine turn of phrase, but one concealing an utter absence of explanation.

UPDATE:
Now, from the famed Wistar Conference of 1966:
"[A]n opposite way to look at the genotype is as a generative algorithm and not as a blue-print; a sort of carefully spelled out and foolproof recipe for producing a living organism of the right kind if the environment in which it develops is a proper one. Assuming this to be so, the algorithm must be written in some abstract language. Molecular biology may well have provided us with the alphabet of this language, but it is a long step from the alphabet to understanding a language. Nevertheless a language has to have rules, and these are the strongest constraints on the set of possible messages. No currently existing formal language can tolerate random changes in the symbol sequences which express its sentences. Meaning is almost invariably destroyed. Any changes must be syntactically lawful ones. I would conjecture that what one might call "genetic grammaticality" has a deterministic explanation and does not owe its stability to selection pressure acting on random variation."

(Murray Eden, "Inadequacies as a Scientific Theory," in Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution (Wistar Institute Press, 1966, No. 5), pg. 11)


"[I]t seems to require many thousands, perhaps millions, of successive mutations to produce even the easiest complexity we see in life now. It appears, naively at least, that no matter how large the probability of a single mutation is, should it be even as great as one-half, you would get this probability raised to a millionth power, which is so very close to zero that the chances of such a chain seem to be practically non-existent."

(Stanislaw M. Ulam, "How to Formulate Mathematically Problems of Rate of Evolution," in Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution (Wistar Institute Press, 1966, No. 5), pg. 21)


"We do not know any general principle which would explain how to match blueprints viewed as typographic objects and the things they are supposed to control. The only example we have of such a situation (apart from the evolution of life itself) is the attempt to build self-adapting programs by workers in the field of artificial intelligence. Their experience is quite conclusive to most of the observers: without some built-in matching, nothing interesting can occur. Thus, to conclude, we believe that there is a considerable gap in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology."

(Marcel Schutzenberger, "Algorithms and Neo-Darwinian Theory," in Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution (Wistar Institute Press, 1966, No. 5), pg. 75)

20 comments:

Hugo Pelland said...

Stan,

The post forgets to mention that this was supposed to be a follow-up to the conversation found here:
http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/2016/03/discussion-zone-for-evolution.html
It does not address anything regarding the specific claims you made regarding macro-evolution nor the Cambrian period. It's a quote mining / 'Gish Gallup' type of argumentation, which only serves to show the lack of intellectual rigor in studying the topic of evolution.

Here are some key points from that supposedly long post, which in reality offers very little content.

First, a commentary on this:

"This should (but probably won’t due to cultish denialism) set them straight, since the following is a series of statements made by actual Evolution researchers and mathematicians."

From the very beginning, you start with an attack on the character of people who disagree with you regarding Evolution. In fact, since I am one of very few people talking to you about that right now, it's clear that this is a personal cheap shot. But it only shows how desperate you are. You're the one who is at odd with the scientific world and thus have to reduce to that kind of behavior. Your accusations are thus completely empty and, I would even say, childish... har, har ?

Hugo Pelland said...

Now, here's what looks like a summary of the entire set of points made by the blog post:

"The choice of statements is made to include how and whether Evolution is a reputable science; whether macroevolution exists or merely gradualism of normal variations within a genome; whether there is or is not a single Evolutionary theory which is agreed upon by all evolutionary researchers; and the mathematics of plausibility, probability and impossibility as is related to evolution."

1) Evolutionary Biology is a branch of Biology. It studies living things with a focus on how they evolve today and how they evolved in the past. It is no more no less reputable than the rest of Biology or the rest of science. Every single science department of top universities, every single multi-disciplinary science magazine, or every single science museum, has no special place for Evolution. It is just part of their knowledge base, within Biology, next to the other sciences.

2) Macroevolution happens; there is no doubt about that. No scientists in 2016 would claim that it may or may not occur. The fact that animals that look completely different, yet are closely related as shown independently by DNA analysis, morphology and the fossil records, proves that they must have evolved from a common ancestor: this is what macro-evolution is.

3) "Gradualism of normal variation within a genome" is a vague expression that holds no weight, as there is never any definition of what the limits of the so-called 'genome' are. As far as we know, all life is related and there are no kinds of 'silo' nor 'individual genome'. This goes back to the constant avoidance of defining a "line" between different "kinds" of animals or 'independent species'. The evolution denier cannot explain where that line is. Are all felines the same 'genome'? Yes, or no? If yes, clearly macro-evolution happens since no one would pretend that a cat, a lion and a cheetah were the product of "micro" evolution alone. If no, then where is the line between felines? This is the kind of facts that are constantly being avoided... It makes no sense outside the evolutionary framework.

4) The term 'Theory of Evolution', just like any other scientific 'Theory', includes all the knowledge currently available to build the Theory. There are facts, evidence, reasoning, experiments, but also hypothesis and sub-theories, which attempt to explain more specific aspects of Evolutionary Biology. The implication here seems to be that, if there are 'many' theories of Evolution, then nothing can be certain. This is a red herring; it distracts from the objective set of facts. The facts are independent from any of these specific sub-theories. And no, not all researchers agree on every single thing, obviously. That's again a distraction, to claim that nothing is settled in evolutionary biology. And to be clear: it also keeps changing, because of these disagreements. But we know more and more; not less. This doesn't change the basic facts.

5) The possibility, in terms of mathematical expressions, is extremely complex to compute, as it relates to the number of possible mutations, generations, years elapsed, and other factors such as changing climatic conditions, tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity, and tons and tons of other factors. It can be done to a certain degree and that's why there are actually things called "DNA clocks", which are a tool to try to estimate the speed at which genes change. They can be used, for example, to predict a range of years within which certain animals should be found, if the specific hypothesis is correct.

Next, the quotes should relate to these points. Let's examine:

Hugo Pelland said...

A) "Darwinism and The Modern Synthesis
Sedgewick, Darwin’s teacher and mentor: Review in The Spectator, March 29, 1860: [...]
"

Sedgewick, in 1860, shared his opinion about Darwin's theory. He did not sound convinced at all, saying that the theory is basically like a pyramid on its apex, likely to fall at any moment. Nothing specific; just vague rejection of the theory.

B)
" From James Shapiro; “Evolution: A View From the 21st Century”; FT Press Science; 2011; pg142."
Great description of how some ideas changed and what we learn over the last 150 years. Yes, there were assumptions made. They were investigated and either confirmed or re-visited to continue refining the Theory of Evolution.

Who is Shapiro btw?

James A. Shapiro proposes an important new paradigm for understanding biological evolution, the core organizing principle of biology. Shapiro introduces crucial new molecular evidence that tests the conventional scientific view of evolution based on the neo-Darwinian synthesis, shows why this view is inadequate to today’s evidence, and presents a compelling alternative view of the evolutionary process that reflects the shift in life sciences towards a more information- and systems-based approach in Evolution: A View from the 21st Century.
Shapiro integrates advances in symbiogenesis, epigenetics, and saltationism into a unified approach that views evolutionary change as an active cell process, regulated epigenetically and capable of making rapid large changes by horizontal DNA transfer, inter-specific hybridization, whole genome doubling, symbiogenesis, or massive genome restructuring.

And as a response, I found this interesting
" Yes, these new discoveries are exciting, but they have absolutely no bearing on two issues: 1) whether natural selection acts on these new bits of the genome, and 2) whether natural selection is the primary process that produces “adaptations” in organisms. After all, all these units of the genome are still bits of DNA residing within the genome (usually on chromosomes), and therefore must obey the laws of population genetics. And those laws say that if a bit of DNA helps the organisms’s reproduction, it proliferates. If it hurts the organisms’s reproduction, it gets expunged from the population. That’s natural selection. Ergo, all of those genomic things that regulate other genes are subject to natural selection (and, of course, genetic drift). "

Hugo Pelland said...

But more importantly, what does Shapiro himself has to say?
Here are some interesting quotes
James A. Shapiro says:

"I checked my email — only to find out that I had myself been the victim of skillful misquoting for an anti-science purpose. [...] I was astonished to see that my book was being cited by the opponents of evolution in textbooks. [...] The opponents of evolution are trying to confuse and mislead the public and the Texas school board textbook review committee. They have taken a real scientific debate and made it appear as a challenge to the legitimacy of evolution science itself. [...] It is true that I disagree with the Neo-Darwinist theory that Natural Selection is the major creative force in evolution. I see the generation of novel genome structures as a more important source of evolutionary innovation. Traditionally, what I call natural genetic engineering has been called Variation in the evolution literature. To me Natural Selection operates post-Variation as a purifying force eliminating novelties that are not adaptively useful. The difference between my view and traditional Neo-Darwinism is a legitimate and typical scientific disagreement.

There is no question that evolutionary novelties arise. We see them in the genome sequence record. And we know in considerable detail the underlying molecular mechanisms for many of these changes. We regularly observe the same processes occurring in real time in our laboratories and fields.

The fact that evolution science changes over time with new molecular evidence should not be surprising to anybody. That is how science works. [...] There is much that remains to be learned about the evolutionary process. Many problems remain without known solutions. But the sources of genome variation, including rapid changes throughout the genome, are no longer mysterious. We can describe how dozens of them occur in detail, down to the level of individual phosphodiester linkages in novel DNA structures.

The school textbook board members who misquoted my work are not just against evolution. They are against freedom of speech in scientific research, honesty in public decision-making, and suitable modern education for the students of Texas. That sounds counter to the ideals of liberty, democracy and opportunity on which this nation was founded.
"

In short: Shapiro completely disagrees; you are wrong Stan. And the sources you use to come up with that kind of quotes are exploiting the confusion around evolution to mislead people like you into thinking that Shapiro's quote that you included is supposedly a good argument against the Theory of Evolution. It is not.

Hugo Pelland said...

C)
"Popper on Darwinism:"

His general description of logical explanations is accurate, but does not change any of the facts about evolution. It's not because we cannot know how every single mutation happen, in which order and by what they were caused, that we cannot know anything at all!

It's not because we cannot know exactly which specific rock moved in which direction that we cannot know that South America and Africa used to be much closer to each other. In the same way, it's not because Popper rightfully points out that we cannot know the exact 'causal explanation' of every single evolutionary change that we cannot know anything at all. We know a lot about how evolution works, including many of the causes, mechanisms and their variations.

Popper said, about Darwinism:
'And yet, the theory is invaluable. I do not see how, without it, our knowledge could have grown as it has done since Darwin. In trying to explain experiments with bacteria which become adapted to, say, penicillin, it is quite clear that we are greatly helped by the theory of natural selection. Although it is metaphysical, it sheds much light upon very concrete and very practical researches. It allows us to study adaptation to a new environment (such as a penicillin-infested environment) in a rational way: it suggests the existence of a mechanism of adaptation, and it allows us even to study in detail the mechanism at work. And it is the only theory so far which does all that. (Popper 1976, 171-172)'

Also see:
https://ncse.com/cej/6/2/what-did-karl-popper-really-say-evolution
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA211_1.html

D)
"And From Physicist Ian Hutchinson:"

He is pointing out the differences between Biology to Physics, which are not using the same exact tools, even if they follow the same rigorous scientific method. There is no problem here. He 'thinks' there is a problem of course but nothing is described here. It's his opinion, his physicist's opinion. There are no arguments made, no details, no biological facts to base arguments on. Basically, he argues that Scienticism is bad; this idea that some people use science 'too much', or read too much into the findings. Of course, that's an interesting question and people such as Dawkins have been quoted saying philosophical things about how evolution can inform one's worldview. But again, nothing to do with the facts of evolution, which are not discussed here. Basically, it's just another outspoken Christian who insists that his religion matters. He has nothing to say about Evolution itself.

E)
"And From Stephen Jay Gould;"
He starts with his first paragraph by expressing an interesting point about how being too stubborn can lead you to not re-evaluate your already existing ideas. Makes sense; we should all listen to that and make sure we learn new things and correct wrong ideas we hold. Right Stan?

Hugo Pelland said...


That's all I could do for now because, yes, it’s long when one takes the time to reply to every single mistake in your post Stan. But the post itself is meaningless nonetheless. It's quotes after quotes that does NOT explain your views in any way.

Just more quotes from Stephen Jay Gould to finish:

Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.

Creationist critics often charge that evolution cannot be tested, and therefore cannot be viewed as a properly scientific subject at all. This claim is rhetorical nonsense.

Evolution is one of the two or three most primally fascinating subjects in all the sciences.

What an odd time to be a fundamentalist about adaptation and natural selection - when each major subdiscipline of evolutionary biology has been discovering other mechanisms as adjuncts to selection's centrality.

The proof of evolution lies in those adaptations that arise from improbable foundations.

Stan said...

”The post forgets to mention that this was supposed to be a follow-up to the conversation found here:
http://atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com/2016/03/discussion-zone-for-evolution.html
It does not address anything regarding the specific claims you made regarding macro-evolution nor the Cambrian period. It's a quote mining / 'Gish Gallup' type of argumentation, which only serves to show the lack of intellectual rigor in studying the topic of evolution.


So even by mentioning the stated viewpoints of actual experts in the field is false according to you? The pejorative, “Gish Gallop” is applied because you are overwhelmed, obviously. That’s exactly when Gish Gallop is applied: when the information content is too comprehensive for the opposition to deal with.

”First, a commentary on this:

"This should (but probably won’t due to cultish denialism) set them straight, since the following is a series of statements made by actual Evolution researchers and mathematicians."

From the very beginning, you start with an attack on the character of people who disagree with you regarding Evolution. In fact, since I am one of very few people talking to you about that right now, it's clear that this is a personal cheap shot. But it only shows how desperate you are. You're the one who is at odd with the scientific world and thus have to reduce to that kind of behavior. Your accusations are thus completely empty and, I would even say, childish... har, har ?


When you produce actual evidence for your claims, you will finally be seen as something other than a believer in completely imaginary fantasies. Congregations of believers in the imaginary are cultish by their very behaviors which define them. Don’t like that? Too bad.

Stan said...

”Now, here's what looks like a summary of the entire set of points made by the blog post:

"The choice of statements is made to include how and whether Evolution is a reputable science; whether macroevolution exists or merely gradualism of normal variations within a genome; whether there is or is not a single Evolutionary theory which is agreed upon by all evolutionary researchers; and the mathematics of plausibility, probability and impossibility as is related to evolution."

1) Evolutionary Biology is a branch of Biology.


No it’s not, despite its claims to be. Biology is biology and it produces objective if contingent knowledge of the present biomass; evolution is pure fantasy regarding historical paleontology and unwarranted extrapolations backwards in time, in the form of science fiction.

’It studies living things with a focus on how they evolve today and how they evolved in the past. It is no more no less reputable than the rest of Biology or the rest of science.

Evolution produces no deductive hypotheses which are testable, replicable, falsifiable with open data. It produces no predictions of evolutionary future paths, yet predicts anything and everything due to the completely abstract nature of the narrative. Evolution cannot even successfully produce validation of its historical claims. Evolution produces no Objective Knowledge, especially not of evolution outside of normal variation restricted to genomes, which is the trivial concept of microevolution. Yet evolutionists claim that it MUST be believed due to “mountains of evidence” in the form of science fiction stories.

No REAL SCIENCE could get away with this sort of behavior and lack of objective credibility.

”Every single science department of top universities, every single multi-disciplinary science magazine, or every single science museum, has no special place for Evolution. It is just part of their knowledge base, within Biology, next to the other sciences. ”

So what? That proves nothing about the capacities of biology vs the capacities of evolution.

”2) Macroevolution happens; there is no doubt about that.”

Then admit that your concept of gradualism a la Darwin is incorrect, and that your criticism of my use of the term has been correct all along.

”No scientists in 2016 would claim that it may or may not occur.”

Anyone using the term “no X” should be forced to prove that claim.

”The fact that animals that look completely different, yet are closely related as shown independently by DNA analysis, morphology and the fossil records, proves that they must have evolved from a common ancestor: this is what macro-evolution is.”

That is the macroevolution claim alright. But the proof is in the imaginings of those who must force evolution to be True. There is no other validation even possible, as you admit elsewhere. It is purely imaginary.

Stan said...

”3) "Gradualism of normal variation within a genome" is a vague expression that holds no weight, as there is never any definition of what the limits of the so-called 'genome' are.”

That’s odd, because the terminology is used by Experts, and according you that is sufficient.

”As far as we know, all life is related and there are no kinds of 'silo' nor 'individual genome'. This goes back to the constant avoidance of defining a "line" between different "kinds" of animals or 'independent species'.”

So now there is no line between species because there are no such things as species?

”The evolution denier cannot explain where that line is. Are all felines the same 'genome'? Yes, or no?”

Well, what is it? Yes or no? Why do felines produce only felines? Or is that a forbidden issue now?

” If yes, clearly macro-evolution happens since no one would pretend that a cat, a lion and a cheetah were the product of "micro" evolution alone.”

Yet that’s exactly what you have said all along: there is no micro/macro evolution, there is just evolution by selection on variation over time. Pure, ancient Darwinism without a hint of recognition of macroevolution as an actual legitimate subject in the real world of evolutionistas.

”If no, then where is the line between felines? This is the kind of facts that are constantly being avoided... It makes no sense outside the evolutionary framework.

Of course not; there is no room outside evolution because it is all encompassing, like unto a god. Evolution claims to explain ALL things AND nothing. The perfect non-discriminating and non-discerning theory which cannot be falsified and is therefore True. In the strictly religious sense of True. And the following claim substantiates that, fully.

”4) The term 'Theory of Evolution', just like any other scientific 'Theory', includes all the knowledge currently available to build the Theory.”

There is no “knowledge” which is objective, falsifiable, or even pertinent to evolution. All that exists is imaginary scenarios of science fiction. Your next statement is false: there are no experiments which show anything other than micro-evolution. There are no actual facts other than those.

Stan said...

”There are facts, evidence, reasoning, experiments, but also hypothesis and sub-theories, which attempt to explain more specific aspects of Evolutionary Biology. The implication here seems to be that, if there are 'many' theories of Evolution, then nothing can be certain. This is a red herring; it distracts from the objective set of facts.”

You’d like it to be a Red Herring because there ARE NO OBJECTIVE FACTS. You proved that with your list of websites which had ONLY and SOLELY science fiction/imaginary claims.

”The facts are independent from any of these specific sub-theories.”

Yes. Any facts which exist only millions of years ago certainly are independent of these “sub-theories”.

”And no, not all researchers agree on every single thing, obviously. That's again a distraction, to claim that nothing is settled in evolutionary biology.”

Well when you produce actual science-grade, falsifiable evidence for all your claims, then you can say that. Until then, nothing is settled in evolutionary non-biology, because it is a fact that there are no facts with which to settle it.

”And to be clear: it also keeps changing, because of these disagreements. But we know more and more; not less. This doesn't change the basic facts.”

Again: you have neither facts, nor any objective knowledge to “know”. You believe; you do not “know”.

”5) The possibility, in terms of mathematical expressions, is extremely complex to compute, as it relates to the number of possible mutations, generations, years elapsed, and other factors such as changing climatic conditions, tectonic plate movement, volcanic activity, and tons and tons of other factors.”

In other words, it cannot be done because the knowledge can’t be had, only guessed, imagined, and hoped.

”It can be done to a certain degree and that's why there are actually things called "DNA clocks", which are a tool to try to estimate the speed at which genes change. They can be used, for example, to predict a range of years within which certain animals should be found, if the specific hypothesis is correct.”

DNA has no clock; DNA clocks are another imaginary feature of evolutionary conceptualization of science fiction.

Stan said...

”Next, the quotes should relate to these points. Let's examine:

A) "Darwinism and The Modern Synthesis
Sedgewick, Darwin’s teacher and mentor: Review in The Spectator, March 29, 1860: [...]"

Sedgewick, in 1860, shared his opinion about Darwin's theory. He did not sound convinced at all, saying that the theory is basically like a pyramid on its apex, likely to fall at any moment. Nothing specific; just vague rejection of the theory.


The theory itself is vague with nothing specific, only abstractions, no facts: no causation is even proposed by the theory other than the mystery of deep time and the mystery of selection on the mystery of variation.

What is not specific can be rejected for being non-specific without specifics.

”B)" From James Shapiro; “Evolution: A View From the 21st Century”; FT Press Science; 2011; pg142."
Great description of how some ideas changed and what we learn over the last 150 years. Yes, there were assumptions made. They were investigated and either confirmed or re-visited to continue refining the Theory of Evolution.

Who is Shapiro btw?


FYI: I quoted Shapiro straight out of his book. If he’s offended by that, well, tough. The reason I quoted him is to provide you with knowledge that Darwinian evolution is not the only theory of evolution, contrary to your prior assertion as "fact"; there are more which were developed because Darwinian theory was purely microevolution and could not produce macroevolution – which you apparently still deny because there are no genomically fixed species according to you. So apparently anything can happen without the necessities of mutation, epi-genetic translations and mislocations, or anything other than just deep time and selection. And now out of the other side, you claim that macroevolution really is thing, these days…

Stan said...

”C)"Popper on Darwinism:"

His general description of logical explanations is accurate, but does not change any of the facts about evolution. It's not because we cannot know how every single mutation happen, in which order and by what they were caused, that we cannot know anything at all!”


Actually it’s that what you can “know” is trivial, because it is not falsifiable.

”It's not because we cannot know exactly which specific rock moved in which direction that we cannot know that South America and Africa used to be much closer to each other.”

That is falsifiable, and has been non-falsified by measurement, just like Einstein’s relativity. But not like evolution, of course, which under no amount of imagination or science fiction can be falsified.

” In the same way, it's not because Popper rightfully points out that we cannot know the exact 'causal explanation' of every single evolutionary change that we cannot know anything at all.

No. Not “every single evolutionary change”; you cannot know the “exact causal” forcing function for ANY evolutionary change producing (what used to be called) speciation, or all life on earth.

”We know a lot about how evolution works, including many of the causes, mechanisms and their variations.”

No you don’t. You have convinced yourself that imagined scenarios, speculative extrapolations and science fiction stories are “knowledge” which you “know”. You don’t have any legitimate knowledge, none.

”Popper said, about Darwinism:
'And yet, the theory is invaluable. I do not see how, without it, our knowledge could have grown as it has done since Darwin. In trying to explain experiments with bacteria which become adapted to, say, penicillin, it is quite clear that we are greatly helped by the theory of natural selection. Although it is metaphysical, it sheds much light upon very concrete and very practical researches. It allows us to study adaptation to a new environment (such as a penicillin-infested environment) in a rational way: it suggests the existence of a mechanism of adaptation, and it allows us even to study in detail the mechanism at work. And it is the only theory so far which does all that. (Popper 1976, 171-172)'


Microevolution, only.

”Also see:
https://ncse.com/cej/6/2/what-did-karl-popper-really-say-evolution
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA211_1.html”

Been there, done that, didn’t even get a T-shirt for my trouble.

Stan said...

D) "And From Physicist Ian Hutchinson:"

He is pointing out the differences between Biology to Physics, which are not using the same exact tools, even if they follow the same rigorous scientific method.


False. False. False. He is comparing the legitimacy of evolution to that of physics. Evolution fails. Your denialism is very deep and wide, as expected:

”There is no problem here. He 'thinks' there is a problem of course but nothing is described here. It's his opinion, his physicist's opinion. There are no arguments made, no details, no biological facts to base arguments on.”

You are right. There are NO biological facts. None. But his comparisons of legitimacies is, well, legitimate. Imaginings are indeed a “pale shadow of the explanatory standards of Newton, and virtually all of physical science.”

” Basically, he argues that Scienticism is bad”

While that is true, Hutchinson argued no such thing in the quote I took from his book.

”this idea that some people use science 'too much', or read too much into the findings”

Again, not present in his quote.

”Of course, that's an interesting question and people such as Dawkins have been quoted saying philosophical things about how evolution can inform one's worldview. But again, nothing to do with the facts of evolution, which are not discussed here.

Again, the FACT that there are no facts is precisely what Hutchinson is claiming: totally without the rigor and credibility of Newton’s science.

”Basically, it's just another outspoken Christian who insists that his religion matters. He has nothing to say about Evolution itself.”

When you can’t address what’s being said, go straight to the Ad hominem: stupid Christian can’t address facts which do not exist. What he said is that Newton’s science has rigor and credibility which evolution can’t match. I’ll add “-ever”. You do not address that because you can’t. So it’s deflection via Ad Hom time.

Stan said...

”E)"And From Stephen Jay Gould;"
He starts with his first paragraph by expressing an interesting point about how being too stubborn can lead you to not re-evaluate your already existing ideas.’


Ah! So you did get it. I re-evaluated mine a decade, no 14 years ago, when I studied the actual “facts” surrounding both Atheism and Evolution. Neither has a single fact to support it. What they both have is believers who don’t care about the nature of objective facts, and claim facts which do not exist but rather are ideological and/or imaginary. That is intellectually repugnant.

”Makes sense; we should all listen to that and make sure we learn new things and correct wrong ideas we hold. Right Stan?”

But not for Hugo; his facts are TRUE facts which need no testing or non-falsification.

”That's all I could do for now because, yes, it’s long when one takes the time to reply to every single mistake in your post Stan. But the post itself is meaningless nonetheless. It's quotes after quotes that does NOT explain your views in any way.”

The post demonstrates fully that your charges against me were completely false. All of them. And they continue, without facts, because you have none – only the imaginings of the True Believers, which you call fact. If you do not admit that your charges were false, then it’s time to part ways. You don’t need actual factual facts. You accept any imaginary scenario which supports the overall narrative. That is intellectual dishonesty, and I’m really getting tired of it swamping this site.

”Just more quotes from Stephen Jay Gould to finish:

Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty.”


Absolutely. You refused to admit to the existence of macroevolution until I posted this series of quotations. Now you act as if you never rejected it.

Your entire demeanor, though courteous, is dishonest. Explain why I should continue to converse with someone who cannot admit to making false charges?

”Creationist critics often charge that evolution cannot be tested, and therefore cannot be viewed as a properly scientific subject at all. This claim is rhetorical nonsense.”

That statement is rhetorical nonsense.

”Evolution is one of the two or three most primally fascinating subjects in all the sciences.”

It might be if it had a chance of being a science with actual capability to provide predictions via hypotheses, testable, falsifiable, replicable, and completely objective data for validation and falsification. But, of course, that’s not in the cards; it’s all fantasy, imaginary, with no proof possible or even intended.

”What an odd time to be a fundamentalist about adaptation and natural selection - when each major subdiscipline of evolutionary biology has been discovering other mechanisms as adjuncts to selection's centrality.

Then why did you insist on it? Now you claim that Darwinism is “fundamentalist”!! Yet up until now you claimed it was TRUTH. Good Grief.

The proof of evolution lies in those adaptations that arise from improbable foundations.

My Gawd, I love that completely meaningless, abstract bit of intellect-free mental fuzz!

JBsptfn said...

Hugo Pelland: ”Basically, it's just another outspoken Christian who insists that his religion matters. He has nothing to say about Evolution itself.”

Stan: When you can’t address what’s being said, go straight to the Ad hominem: stupid Christian can’t address facts which do not exist. What he said is that Newton’s science has rigor and credibility which evolution can’t match. I’ll add “-ever”. You do not address that because you can’t. So it’s deflection via Ad Hom time.

Good point, Stan. That reminds me of what Im Skeptical used to do. He would say things like "I don't wish for reality to be a certain way. I leave that to the Theists". He also accused you (on the CADRE blog) of saying God did it when you never said (or nobody ever said) anything like that.

Hugo, you seem to be getting a serious challenge to your precious materialist BS ideology. Insults aren't going to win your argument, my friend.

Hugo Pelland said...

Let me just address your comment JB, and what Stan said on the same topic:

- No I have not called anyone 'stupid Christian'. Stan added the adjective. I don't think being a Christian makes anyone stupid. There are certainly stupid Christians, just like there are stupid non-Christian, of course.

- Look at who is insulting whom here. I constantly insist that Stan is a smart person that should just take the time to learn more about evolution, instead of taking sound bites from unreliable sources, instead of adding confusion, instead of denying the basic facts, instead of acting as if this was just a cult when, in reality, it's just good science done the right way.

- What I am talking about regarding Evolution has nothing to do with materialism, atheism, or any other philosophical discussion. It is not an argument against the existence of gods, nor can it be used as arguments supporting divine intervention of some sort. The fact that all life is related, that all mammals share a common ancestor, just like all felines, canines, reptiles, etc... all of these facts, have no bearing on philosophical position and, more importantly, should 'not' be influenced by philosophical positions.

- Yet, this is exactly what Stan is doing: he insists that the philosophical implications matter. He insists that this is all a big conspiracy by the Atheo-Left who tries to push some sort of evil agenda. He insists that he knows what the implications of the quotes he shares are; even if his conclusions are directly opposite to those of the people he quotes.

- The problem with Physicist Ian Hutchinson is that, first, he is a physicist and not a biologist.
Second, he does not talk about anything related to Biology in the quotes Stan posted; he just shares his opinion as to what we can infer from that field he is not working in.
Third, he has a professional bio available here: http://hutchinson.belmont.ma.us/hutchinson/ian.html and another page here: http://www-internal.psfc.mit.edu/~hutch/ where he mentions the church he attends and the importance of Jesus Christ in his life. He is the one who, for some reason, thinks it's relevant to point out his religion on pages closely related to his work. Not my choice; completely his. So I am merely pointing out that his is clearly an outspoken Christian who thinks his religion matters. But it does not. Nobody should care what his religion is. And to be fair: the pages are supposed to be 'personal' pages and not purely 'professional' page, but the problem is that the links to his professional pages don't even work... so clearly we see what matters more.
In other words, find me an Atheist who does the same and I will make the same comment: nobody cares if a scientist is an Atheist or not so they should not mention it on their professional page.

Stan said...

”- No I have not called anyone 'stupid Christian'. Stan added the adjective. I don't think being a Christian makes anyone stupid. There are certainly stupid Christians, just like there are stupid non-Christian, of course.”

Your implication is abundantly clear to anyone who reads it. There was no mention of his religion in the quote. None. You are the one who made an issue of it. (Pure bigotry). And you did it specifically to derail and deflect the argument, an argument which you cannot deny: Newtonian principles of scientific validation/falsification are far superior to the evolutionary principles of non-validation of non-provable, non-falsifiable, opinion based fantasy scenarios.

”- Look at who is insulting whom here. I constantly insist that Stan is a smart person that should just take the time to learn more about evolution, instead of taking sound bites from unreliable sources, instead of adding confusion, instead of denying the basic facts, instead of acting as if this was just a cult when, in reality, it's just good science done the right way.”

You have actually proven completely that there are no facts. You gave me links to top universities which proved it. There are only stories and more stories. So I’ll add your links to my case file for proof that there are no facts in support of evolution.

So it’s time for you to admit that:

a) Evolution is not science which produces facts that are testable, falsifiable, and therefore,

b) only subjective opinion exists which has been hardened into so-called theories which have, in turn, been rejected as the fact-producing REAL science of modern biology marches forward, producing falsifications of evolutionary theories as it goes, and

c) that actual evolutionary story tellers do not claim that their abstract theories are fact, or contain facts.

Only the evangelists such as you, Hugo, make the claim of “facts” regarding evolution.

And that claim places you directly in the category of blind belief in the patently unprovable. A belief so strong that you make up claims for facts where there are none. None of your university links claim “facts”. That is a claim made only by the followers, the ones for whom the materialist, Scientistic stories fill a need, the camp-followers who form the cult of evolution.

”The fact that all life is related, that all mammals share a common ancestor, just like all felines, canines, reptiles, etc... all of these facts, have no bearing on philosophical position and, more importantly, should 'not' be influenced by philosophical positions."

One fact, one presupposition. Fact: all life is together in the category called “life”. All in the same class, sharing the features of life. Related in that sense, only. Regarding your other falsely designated "facts", however, there is no necessary (much less sufficient) case to be made that DNA requires that all mammals share a common ancestor. That is very specifically a philosophical thought – a speculated opinion, a projection of actual knowledge of current knowledge regarding DNA - and not a scientific, deductive hypothetical testable, falsifiable/verifiable and non-falsified contingent conclusion. So it doesn’t even come close to fact. And it certainly is not objective knowledge. You merely presuppose it to be Truth.

Stan said...

”- Yet, this is exactly what Stan is doing: he insists that the philosophical implications matter. He insists that this is all a big conspiracy by the Atheo-Left who tries to push some sort of evil agenda. He insists that he knows what the implications of the quotes he shares are; even if his conclusions are directly opposite to those of the people he quotes.”

Pure projection from a non-objective position which cannot be supported. When evolution “experts” say exactly the same thing that I do, then either you accept that, or you reject the experts on the basis that they agree with me. You are rejecting the experts now. That’s an interesting psychological revelation into your emotional attachment to a non-factual set of stories: you accept only those experts who share your opinion; the other experts are rejected based not on the intellectual content of their statements, but upon their disagreement with you.

So now much expert opinion becomes anathema to you:

”- The problem with Physicist Ian Hutchinson is that, first, he is a physicist and not a biologist.
Second, he does not talk about anything related to Biology in the quotes Stan posted; he just shares his opinion as to what we can infer from that field he is not working in.”


Perhaps you should send him some links to evolution stories and science fiction fantasies… maybe that would impress him. Or you could show him some actual deductive-hypothetical predictions which have been tested (because they are testable) and non-falsified by multiple replicated validations, with open data, and other accoutrements of actual empirical, objective, contingent knowledge. Which is what I always ask for, but what I always get is stories. But I'm sure that he would appreciate your expert input.

But you insist on this falsifier for his comments:

”he mentions the church he attends and the importance of Jesus Christ in his life.”

Yes, that definitely disqualifies him from being amenable to the Cult of Evolutionary Stories. He is disqualified from doing any science whatsoever. He should be shunned by all True Believers... RIGHT???

Hugo, you are clearly a bigot. Pure and simple.

You even make up the morality for posting on personal websites:

”In other words, find me an Atheist who does the same and I will make the same comment: nobody cares if a scientist is an Atheist or not so they should not mention it on their professional page.”

This relates in NO MANNER to the subject at hand; it is a desperate deviation away from dealing with the actual content.

Actually, Hugo, it’s getting to the point that nobody cares what you think. I certainly don’t. It’s always the same set of false claims, which you back up with stories.

Here’s what I think: it’s time for you to take time off from your proselytizing here for storytelling-as-science, and go get your MBA. Then let that percolate a while, and come back and tell us how important evolutionary stories are in the process of getting an MBA. OK?

I’m going to do my part by not responding to any more of your false claims of having facts and everyone must accept these faux facts because they are important to all aspects of life.

OK? So we’re done here.

Russell said...

Thank you for compiling this list, Stan.

Stan said...

Certainly. You're welcome.