Doubting Evolution

 

“Scientific journals now document many scientific problems and criticisms of evolutionary theory and students need to know about these as well. … Many of the scientific criticisms of which I speak are well known by scientists in various disciplines, including the disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry, in which I have done my work.”

− Philip S. Skell,

Member National Academy of Sciences, Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University

Cited: There Is Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. “It deserves to be heard

Advertisements

64 thoughts on “Doubting Evolution

  1. Prayson: “Why would I line up with a VERY VERY small minority with the knowledge you hold? Because truth does not depend on number. (If you argument was sound, then one would be out of his mind to be an atheist.)”–can’t comment right under it…written right before (after?) I was mysteriously blocked…:I can finally answer –or realize I can answer, don’t know — more than a month later (seemed like longer to me, though)…

    Well, no, that’s incorrect…the religious aren’t working on something that you’ve got to be an expert in to understand…they don’t go looking for evidence when concocting their theories…they don’t value evidence (on the contrary)…they don’t see why they believe in the things that they do…they don’t deserve the trust that we should place in scientists who meet all those conditions…so even if they’re a majority, there’s no reason to line up with them, while I’d recommend that to a layman when it comes to science…

    • On the one hand, I agree that the religious sometimes make bad scientific claims. Sometimes, this is to allow them to hold their religious beliefs that they are emotionally attached to, because to them they are tied together (which I think is a bad religious idea as well as a bad scientific idea).

      On the other hand, I think the non-religious sometimes take it too far and take this as a way to discard all aspects of all religion. I think there is such a thing as good religious practice that addresses non-scientific issues like meaning, experience, fulfillment and happiness without denying scientific evidence. (And in fact making integral use of it.)

      Kenneth Miller (Finding Darwin’s God) is a religious scientist that comes to mind when I think of somebody who has a good balance.

      • I do agree that sometimes Christians make bad scientific claims but I have to add that atheist do also make bad scientific claims(scientism). 😀 Probably because the philosophical assumptions and biases that we hold.

      • I don’t know about their non-scientific claims (if we can really call them “non-scientific” anyway — I heard about some psychologists studying happiness), but what I’m talking about is their theology itself. For instance, if the majority believed that Hell existed (I guess most religious people believe in some sort of Hell or something), I wouldn’t believe it simply because of that. To reach that conclusion, evidence was not used, the folks coming to it were not unbiased (well, they were often brought up with the belief). Something equivalent to the scientific method was not employed, etc. I hope you see what I’m actually talking about, we can always discuss meaning, experience, etc, the things that you’re talking about, NaughtyGnosiophile…but I’d bet science will start delving into that too, it’s very possible that the religious are like the folks speculating about psychology before the young field was really developed. But again, that’s not what I’m talking about, Prayson said that it wouldn’t make sense to be a nonbeliever if my majority-thing was right…

      • As for my friend Prayson, héhé, we were talking about theology itself, as I just explained to NaughtyGnosiophile, not science. You said that my majority-argument implies that I shouldn’t be a nonbeliever, that I’d be “out of my mind” to be one. There aren’t Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Hindu scientists (I think I heard of a religion where the members were called “Christian scientists”, something about not wanting medical help or something)…there are Christians who happen to be scientists, like Francis Collins…

      • Prayson,

        Oh definitely there are atheists who make bad scientific claims. “This icecream is good for me.” =) I think it’s human nature to tend to believe the things we want to believe in order to make us feel better, whether we’re theist, atheist or other.

        Hehe,

        I don’t know what the majority argument is, and I’m too lazy to look for it, but let me explain what I mean by “non-scientific”. I think Theology makes both scientific claims and non-scientific claims. “There was a man named Jesus who died and came back to life.” is a scientific, falsifiable claim. But what science doesn’t cover are the internal, ultimately subjective experiences. Yes, science can study happiness in the sense of looking at what neurons are activated when people say they are happy, the conditions required for this to happen, etc. But it is always from the outside view looking in, never from the inside view looking out. I think that is the proper domain of religion/spirituality.

        You don’t need to prove to yourself that you are happy, or fulfilled, you just need to experience it. It’s kind of hard to explain, because explanation itself is an “outside” tool. I know that’s lousy as an explanation, but it’s kind of the point. It’s like the buddhist koan’s. They’re not meant to explain meaning to you, they’re external devices designed to get you to experience meaning.

        Aldous Huxley has an essay about the difference between knowing and understanding, which I think is related to this. In short, knowing is the external, scientific knowing. Understanding is that moment where you experience something your parents told you that you always knew intellectually, but then you go, “Oooh, that’s what they meant!”

  2. Prayson wrote: “ID has the best explanation to explain the irreducibly complex systems both in existence of biological beings and the fine tuning of the universe compared to the naturalistic evolutionary ones.”

    The best explanation for me would need to include some description of “how” it works. I’ve never seen any attempt from the ID crowd to explain how ID works (I assume they think God did it), whereas the simple, basic underlying “how” evolution works is just DNA copying errors. No DNA copying errors = No evolution.

    • ID explains how it works and from that draws a conclusion that that could not be a product of blind and random evolutionary process.

      ID does not assume God though it may serve as premisses in a philosophical argument for a conclusion having religious significance.(Notice there is a number atheists promoting ID)

      • “ID explains how it works and from that draws a conclusion that that could not be a product of blind and random evolutionary process.”

        ID does nothing to explain how the Intelligent Designer actually “does” anything. (Meyer’s “Signature In The Cell” doesn’t, anyway. I have Dembski’s “Intelligent Design” and Collins’ “The Language of God” on my shelf of books to read.) The main focus of ID is using the concepts of “irreducible complexity” and “information” to conclude some things could not be a product of blind and random evolutionary processes.

        How does the Intelligent Designer do what he/she/it does, and what evidence is there to support it? Is anyone even trying to figure how the Intelligent Designer does what he/she/it does? That would be science.

  3. NaughtyGnosiophile:

    “I think this is bad for atheists because it’s a crutch for them to deny spiritual Truth, to keep looking for fulfillment in pure materialism.”

    Unfortunately, thinking something doest not give it weight.

    For example, in order to make this statement relevant you would have to:

    1. Define “spiritual”. I’ve never seen it defined in any way that says *anything* about what it actually *is*. That is to say, when anyone has made concrete definitional claims, they are simply using it as a more magical way to say personality, or consciousness, or emergence. I have never seen anyone define it that in any way separates it from the working of the brain. You’d be the first to do so.

    2. After defining “spirit”, you’ll have to demonstrate the existence of what you have defined.

    3. After defining and demonstrating the “sprit” and the “spiritual”, you will have to demonstrate its – so far vague in your comments – relationship to “truth”.

    Good luck. Given how I’ve seen “spirit” defined the multitude I’ve asked this question in the past, you’re going to need it.

    • Hej TkReacher,

      If I understood correctly, NaughtyGnosiophile is saying that atheist are bound by their belief within the naturalistic explanation of evolution. In that sense “crutch” to deny any non-naturalistic explanation prior to the evolution and examination its evidences.

      I would be thankful if both of you could correct me if I am got it wrong:)

      Thank you for the input 🙂

      • If by “bound by their belief within the naturalistic explanation” you mean to say “bound by their ‘belief’ in the observable, demonstrable, testable… that is to say, that which can be shown empirically to exist”, then yes… critically minded individuals are “bound” by this.

        A basic introduction to Philosophy of Science will (or at least should) address this issue.

        The idea that, “every single time we have tested whether it can conduct electricity, every metal has been able to conduct electricity. Therefore, we can say ‘metal can conduct electricity” is a matter of *inductive* logic. The idea that a human being cannot, by thought, will himself to grow to the size of a galaxy and shoot suns out of his eyes is an *inductive* claim.

        Or, in terms of the very existence of other human beings outside of one’s own mind, is a matter of *inductive* reasoning.

        That is to say: one cannot make an absolute claim about *anything* without using inductive, rather than deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is a matter of absolutes.

        “If a is b and b is c then a is c”. Deductive logic. It is absolute. On heaven and on earth, in one language or another, regardless of beliefs… even a god could not make this any different.

        “Out of 80 billion tests and observations, metal conducts electricity, therefore metal conducts electricity”. Inductive reasoning.

        Is it possible that some classified metals do not conduct electricity some of the time and we just have never seen it by incredible statistical anomaly? Sure.

        So, if this is what is meant, if it is merely a matter of “just because all evidence ever known or seen shows that something is true, doesn’t make it true”.

        Well, technically, that’s true. But this has *no value* in purporting a belief. If that is the counter-evidence for a position, then any and every position is equally valid. Perhaps there are invisible fairies that circle a distant star singing Bob Dylan songs in frequencies humans cannot detect by any current means. I cannot *prove* otherwise.

        Maybe. Maybe Yahweh, the God of Abraham, depicted in a loosely combined collection of selectively added texts over 400 years, based on what appears to be the mythology of Bronze aged, superstitious sheep herders is absolutely “real” and the creator of all things.

        Maybe one or both are “true”… but to neglect everything that actually *seems* to work in terms of understanding our world, everything that leads to scientific advancements, technological innovations, medical wonders, successful progression… ect. ect. leads to pragmatic absurdity if one *actually* neglects them.

        Hardly anyone does. Nobody who has responded in this thread does. You tie your shoes, you eat and breath and live. You’ve learned language. You follow, or attempt to follow (heh) the rules of logic. Only through empirical implication can one even use a computer.

        So, nobody here is some insane person defecating on themselves and being fed through and intravenous tube, “believing” in “whatever the hell you hear or see* because “who knows, it’s all based on *belief* anyway”.

        So, empiricism is not a crutch. Believing in evidence is not a crutch. The inductive reasoning behind reason itself, and logic and critical thought and pragmatism isn’t “faith”.

        One cannot honestly assert a position that, if actually believed, would make it impossible for them to actually assert a position.

        So one shouldn’t pretend as if this is a “crutch” that avoids seeing some “other truth”, else the fact they can type coherent sentences on a computer self-defeats their position.

      • Well I guess I wasn’t done yet, just a few more comments…

        That is to say: one cannot make an absolute claim about *anything* without using inductive, rather than deductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning is a matter of absolutes.

        I assume you mean *anything* “in the real world out there. 1+1=2 deductively, absolutely! because we made it up.

        Also, science is not just inductive, it’s a seesaw between inductive and deductive logic:

        a) observe x, y, z.
        b) come up with a hypothesis to explain them (induction)
        c) if this hypothesis is true, then x1, y1, and z1 must also be true (deduction)
        d) see if we can observe x1, y1, z1 (back to induction)

    • TkReacher:

      Your objections are reasonable, and yes my brief blurb is vague, so let me fill in where I am coming from. My thought is heavily influenced by Ken Wilbur’s holonic system and Robert M. Pirsig’s Quality (from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance).

      When I say “spirit”, I mean Ultimate Reality, the Tao, the “everything and nothing” of the Hindu tradition, etc. Yes, this is still vague, but that is an intrinsic problem of what we are talking about and to which Pirsig spends a lot of time trying to address. To try and ground things a bit, we can think in terms of the hierarchical abstraction tree of knowledge. Things near the leaves are more concrete and specific, while things nearer the root are abstract and general. When we follow these abstractions all the way to the root, “the Ultimate Abstraction” if you will, we end up at complete generality and in some sense we aren’t saying anything at all, which is why so many theories of everything end up to be theories of nothing.

      Because we are talking about this Ultimate Abstraction, any time we say anything about it, we are already moving away from it by being more specific than Ultimate Generality. So we cannot say the Ultimate Reality is “here”, but can only see the direction in which our specifities point to. This is the answer given in the Tao and I think Pirsig is also saying.

      Wilbur talks about the internal view of holons and external view of holons. The external view is the scientific, objective view. The internal view is the subjective, experiential view. He gives extensive examples from psychology where he compares the work of behaviouralists (externalists) to internalists like Jung, who focus more on the subjective *experience* of neuronal activity (the view from the inside). While the behaviouralist will look at neuronal firing patterns in the brain and what behaviours they produce, which can be measured and engineered mechanically, the internalist will look at the corresponding feelings and emotions of the person experiencing those firing patterns.

      What I meant by “crutch” was not that logic, science, reason, empiricism (external views) are not valuable, but that over emphasis on these can be a crutch to deny the value of internal subjective experience. Many people associate this internal experience with spirituality, but I’m more in line with Wilbur who views the holistic embracing of both the internal and external views as spirituality. Having only the internal view with complete disregard for the external is simply delusional, but the opposite of only having the external while denying the internal is equally dangerous, because then we might as well be rocks.

      On your comments about truth and “what *is*”, I’ll take your example of scientific induction. I completely agree with you that the leprechaun theory of electrical conductivity is not equally valid with the atomic theory of electrical conductivity. But I think we come to the same conclusion based on different criteria. Scientists view increasing inductive evidence to mean we are getting closer to understanding what actually *is* out there. To me, this is a philosophical overstatement. We have to remember that science operates on a very defined ontological assumption, namely that there is subject-object differentiation and that there is an objective reality “out there” that we (the subjects) can view objectively. I’m more in Kant’s camp that we cannot know things as they actually are. Scientists often find this nit-picky and often misinterpret philosophers to mean all possible hypotheses are equally valid. There’s a feeling of “oh come on, it’s more than likely to be true, so just say it’s true!”. I would say that atomic theory of electrical conductivity is more valid because it is more *useful* than the leprechaun theory. The world reacts to us in a way that seems like the the atomic theory is “actually out there”, and so we use it as our working model of the Universe.

      Lastly, “After defining “spirit”, you’ll have to demonstrate the existence of what you have defined.”

      I think we have to define what we mean by existence when we are talking about such abstract things. Do mathematical equations and theorems “exist”? If I write an equation on the blackboard, *is* that the equation or a representation of the equation? I can store that same equation in the bits on my hard drive or in the neurons in my head. If the equation exists, then where is it?

      Sorry if I’m a bit verbose, and I still don’t feel like I’ve covered everything (can we ever?). Please let me know if I’ve misinterpreted anything you’ve said. By the way, this is fun. =)

  4. I have a few questions for you regarding your views on evolution:

    1) To you, is evolution and Christianity mutually exclusive? (i.e. If one is true, the other must be false.)

    2) Do you believe that evolutionary algorithms work — that is, produce fit candidates given selective pressure? (e.g. genetic algorithms)

    • Hej 🙂

      1. No evolution and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. 🙂

      2. Sadly it is above my knowledge to attempt to answer this question 😦

      Thank you so much for you comments once again 🙂

      (Comment box is a new feature in wordpress 🙂 )

      • This is encouraging. I see Christians and atheists who both think that stronger evidence for evolution is detrimental to religious faith. I think this is bad for atheists because it’s a crutch for them to deny spiritual Truth, to keep looking for fulfillment in pure materialism. For theists, it’s bad too because when your faith hinges on particular scientific knowledge, what happens when we acquire new knowledge, or when the theory is disproven?

        My second question is related. You’ve identified as a proponent of intelligent design if I remember correctly. Most intelligent design proponents are actually against evolution. But to me, all intelligent design says is that “some intelligent being designed everything we see”. It says nothing about how It designed or how everything got assembled. So, isn’t it possible that It used evolution as a design tool? Computer scientists and engineers often use evolutionary algorithms to “design” things instead of designing them explicitly. So if we can do it, It certainly can. I’m interested to know what you think about this.

        (Oh, I haven’t updated my wordpress in a while then…heh.)

      • Hej 🙂

        You have noted what Immanuel Kant in Critique of Pure Reason also note, namely the most the design argument can establish is “an architect of the world who is constrained by the adaptability of the material in which he works, not a creator of the world to whose idea everything is subjected”

        When one notice the difference between creation, which is about source of being of the world and design which is the arrangements of pre-existing materials that point to an intelligence, then indeed one could say, it possible that it used a guarded evolution as a design tool. 🙂

        I am proponent of Intelligent Design, though not in the traditional movement that focuses on the examples of design in biological systems, but the the remarkable fine-tuning of the cosmos to support the biological systems in the first place 🙂

        I also believe that ID has more explanatory power in accounting for the specified, irreducibly complex systems both in existence of biological beings and the universe when compared with the naturalistic evolutionary ones. 🙂

        (Brilliant critical thinking NaughtyGnosiophile and thank you for your comment)

      • I also believe that ID has more explanatory power in accounting for the specified, irreducibly complex systems both in existence of biological beings and the universe when compared with the naturalistic evolutionary ones.

        I’m interested to know how ID has more explanatory power than evolution? To me, it seems that ID has almost no explanatory power whatsoever. It’s just a novel metaphysical position. Whereas all our advances in vaccines, medicine, food science, genetics are due to the explanatory power of evolution. I guess here I’m restricting the discussion to biology, since evolution doesn’t really say anything about the nature of matter/energy/the cosmos. Or are you saying that ID also has more explanatory power than quantum physics, relativity, etc?

      • By evolution, I mean the scientific theory of evolution. By ID, I mean number 6 on your link. (But perhaps you are more of an expert on what you believe than I am. =))

        Also, to clarify, I don’t think evolution or ID has absolutely more explanatory power over the other, just that they explain on different levels all together.

        For example, if we had to explain why the water is boiling, the following are different, yet not incompatible explanations:

        a) The molecules of the heating element are in an excited state and transfer their energy to the water.
        b) I want to make tea.

      • Hej 🙂

        It is your understanding of what is the scientific theory of evolution is, I am after. 🙂 I would like to know so that we can discuss the subject using same definition of terms.

        Prayson 😉

      • You mean:

        [Evolution is] the change over time in one or more inherited traits found in populations of organisms.
        Inherited traits are particular distinguishing characteristics, including anatomical, biochemical or behavioural characteristics, that are passed on from one generation to the next.

        [That] may occur when there is variation of inherited traits within a population. The major sources of such variation are mutation, genetic recombination and gene flow.

        [That] has led to the diversification of all living organisms from a common ancestor, which are described by Charles Darwin as “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful”(Source Wiki)

        This is the definition of Evolution, you understand yes? And if so, Is it the Naturalistic Evolution or the Directed Evolution?

        I need to know this so that we could avoid a collision, of other detail inserted in the term Evolution.

      • This too: TalkOrigins

        What I mean is everything on the wiki page and also on this page above. But this is not all inclusive. The theory of evolution is big if you go into all the details. What I mean is the theory that the vast majority of scientists in the world adhere to. If you ask the National Academy of Science or the Royal Society what is evolution, their answer is what I mean. But yes, what you wrote would be the gist of it.

        If by Directed Evolution, you mean when humans consciously direct evolution like breeding and controlled environments in a lab, then I would consider that on 2 levels:

        a) You could say that that is an application of our theory of evolution, or
        b) You could say that it is an adaptation of the human species, which would be explained partly by biological evolution and partly by cultural evolution. (In humans these are tightly linked.)

        (It depends on if you are speaking from with the human context, or outside of it as a scientist.)

        Perhaps this is complicating the matter. We could limit the discussion to biological evolution to explain the biological diversity we see today. I think that should be enough to deal with.

        As for Naturalistic Evolution, well, most scientists don’t call it that. They simply say Evolution, because science does not deal with the supernatural at all, so saying Naturalistic Evolution would be redundant. We would have “Naturalistic Law of Thermodynamics”, “Naturalistic Theory of Relativity”, etc.

        I appreciate you taking the time to go through definitions and intended meanings. I think apologists and atheist often jump in too fast and tear down positions that neither one is holding. Actually, I have a blog post where I wrote “Agreement is a *prerequisite* to disagreement.” You can’t really disagree unless you first agree upon what you are disagreeing about — you’d just be talking about different things. =)

      • I believe it is very important to know the terms used 🙂 Just one more, term before I explain why ID has more explanatory power than “Evolution” account.

        What is your understanding of the term Explanatory Power?

      • Explanatory power is…kind of hard to explain. Ha! This is a good starting point: Wiki: Explanatory Power, but I’d like to add my own input as well.

        I think that often an explanation won’t have more explanatory power over another in any absolute sense, because explanations work on different contexts, and some explanations may be more powerful in one dimension, while another explanation is more powerful in another dimension.

        I’m going to mention my example with the boiling water again.

        Why is the water boiling?
        a) The molecules of the heating element are in an excited state and transfer their energy to the water.
        b) I want to make tea.

        Both explanations are valid, explain different things, and would be more or less useful depending on the context.

        When it comes to ID versus evolution, I think the same thing is going on. When it comes to explaining the workings of the Universe, like if we could rewind time and watch the biology on Earth unfold, evolution explains everything that we would see. Therefore, evolution has more explanatory power than ID in this sense.

        If we are asking the question, why is it that the Universe is configured in this way, and not another way, then ID has more explanatory power because evolution (and science in general) doesn’t even address this question.

        To me, ID and evolution just work on completely different dimensions (although proponents of either side will often over-implicate the results of one dimension onto the other, like the belief that evidence for evolution is evidence against the existence of God.)

      • I believe I found the error, and I is mine to bear. The error was on my use of More Explanatory Power, instead of Best Explanation.

        Thus I would like to rephrase as follows:

        ID has the best explanation to explain the irreducibly complex systems both in existence of biological beings and the fine tuning of the universe compared to the naturalistic evolutionary ones.

        Sorry for my faux pas 😦

        Prayson 😉

      • Okay, let’s go with “best explanation”. Also I’d like to make a note that “best” depends on the context and criteria too. “The water is boiling because I want to make tea” is not the best explanation for science class, and “the molecules are excited” is not the best explanation when conversing with somebody just walking into the kitchen. So we have to sort of say what we mean by “best” in the context.

        When it comes to fine tuning of the Universe, I think ID wins the “better explanation” over evolution by default, because evolution has nothing to do with that.

        Now I think we come to the interesting part. I remember seeing a video about irreducible complexity and was quite convinced about the argument. It was kind of thrilling, actually. But I’ve since seen arguments for how evolution does account for irreducibly complex systems. I’d like to see your analysis and how you come to your conclusions.

        Thanks! =)

      • Hej 🙂

        I will try a new approach 🙂 to explain the understanding of best explanation:

        When a person x comes to you(assume you are medical doctor), having loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, inability to pass gas and having a dull upper abdomen pain that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen, and you are to give an explanation, which one do you think fits the criteria best explanation?

        1. x ate too much food(with strong chilli), and was bunched at the upper abdomen
        2. x has symptoms of Appendicitis

        And why do you think it is the best explanation?

      • I’m not 100% sure what you are contrasting in the 2 explanations, so maybe let me clear this up. Is it:

        a) 1. is a different way of saying 2. (please excuse my lack of medical knowledge, I’m not really a doctor. =))

        b) 1. is an unlikely but possible explanation while 2. is a more likely explanation.

        c) some other contrast?

        (BTW, I’m assuming in 2. that you mean “x has appendicitis” — if we are saying x has symptoms of appendicitis, then that’s just an observation and we aren’t actually explaining those symptoms.)

        In our context, I think we want the explanation that most closely matches an objective reality. As such, there are 2 criteria that need to be balanced: accuracy and specifity. For example, if you say, “because something happened”, you’ll be 100% accurate, but you haven’t said anything really. If you are more specific and say, “well you have a genetic predisposition to appendicitis”, you are stating more, and are thus more open to error, and have more on the line, but have more to gain if you are right. Thus, it is possible to have more than 1 “best” explanation (e.g. we can have an explanation x which is more accurate, but less specific and an explanation y that is the opposite). The “best” would be some sort of balance between the two, but it’s more of a judgement call than a precise mathematical model.

        Also note that “you are experiencing abdomen pain because pink hippopotamuses are flying outside my window” could be the best explanation if we are looking for the most creative/whimsical explanation.

        “Best” depends on what we are looking for!

      • Hej you:)

        Sorry it took long to reply 😦

        Thank you for the correction:

        1. x ate too much food(with strong chilli), and was bunched at the upper abdomen
        2. x has Appendicitis

        Additional: Explaining the details:

        The aim of too much food was to explain loss of appetite and vomiting, strong chill to explain the high temperature(fever), and the bunch, to explain the dull upper abdomen pain.

        Your Comment:

        I agree with you when you said:

        b) 1. is an unlikely but possible explanation while 2. is a more likely explanation.

        But my question is not what is more likely explanation, but what is the best explanation.

        I did not understand your a)1. is a different way of saying 2. How is 1. a different way of saying one has Appendicitis? 🙂

      • Don’t worry about late replies! I’m not too timely myself. =)

        “I did not understand your a)1. is a different way of saying 2. How is 1. a different way of saying one has Appendicitis? ”

        Never mind this, it’s just my own misinterpretation. I understand what you mean by your two examples now, thanks for the clarification.

        To me, given the context and information, the best explanation would include a criterion of likelihood, in which case your explanation b) would be better because it is simpler and more likely to be true.

        You make the distinction between best and most likely explanations, which I agree there needs to be a distinction.

        So I guess the question now is why do you see ID as a better explanation for biological diversity and irreducibly complex systems (over evolution), and what are your criteria for “better”?

        Thanks!

      • Hi again,

        Now we are almost on the road with terms, I would like to know your understand of Micro- and Macro-Evolution. This is the last terms need to be define 🙂

        Prayson

      • Hi Prayson!

        Just got back from a long vacation. =)

        My understanding of micro vs macro evolution is just the scale of changes. Micro just means small changes while macro is describing the big changes. There’s no clearcut line between the two, like there’s no clearcut line between a big dog and a small dog; how big is big?

        You changed your picture! I kind of miss the happy smiley face…=)

      • Hej,

        I do hope you enjoyed your vacation 🙂 Let me know if you agree with my understanding of the terms:

        Micro-evolution is the adaptations and changes within a species while macro-evolution is the addition of new traits or a transition to a new species.

        BTW: Should I get the happy smiley face back?

      • I enjoyed my vacation very much, thank you! It was a great quiet getaway with lots of time for collecting myself and reflecting, something we all need more of in these fast times.

        I don’t think I can agree or disagree with a definition, because it’s just a definition that we will be working with, but I guess I can point out some characteristics of it, as it may affect the character of our ultimate conclusion.

        To me this definition is sort of ill-defined. Like what’s the difference between an adaptation and a new trait? If an some pandemic threatens to wipe out humanity one day and some people develop a mutation that makes them resistent to it, is that an adaptation or a new trait?

        Also, the line between species is fuzzy, especially in the world of asexual reproduction. How many mutations “away” do we have to get in order to declare something a separate species?

        For sexual reproduction, we sometimes say things are no longer the same species when they can’t interbreed, but again this is a arbitrary line imposed on nature by humans. There are also cases where things like donkeys and horses, which we consider separate species, but can interbreed.

        It’s a good definition to help us understand the general realm of which we are talking about, so a bit of fuzziness is okay, as long as we don’t assign too much weight in making them somehow clearly qualitatively different.

        Now about your picture, the old guy is cool (I’m assuming he’s some dead philosopher), but I really liked your smiley face because it epitomizes your way of expressing yourself. You are always humble and polite, even in the face of outright animosity towards you. You have class, and I respect that. (Which is more than I can say for myself sometimes. =)) If I know Christians well, I’m guessing you would say it’s from your Faith?

        • I would like to clear out: Micro-Evolution is a hard fact, so when I as ID has a best explanation than that Naturalist Evolution, I mean ID has best explanation than that of Macro-Evolution.

          Before we dive in: I would lie down what ID theory claims:
          1) Empirical evidence warrants
          2) A scientific design inference using
          3) Reliable design detection criteria

          I would like to hear your take on the claims 🙂

          BTW: Face back 😀

      • Ah the smiley face is back! You didn’t have to change it back on my account, but it’s much appreciated. Here’s my smiley: (^_^).

        If I’m interpreting you correctly, you’re saying that ID is a better explanation than evolution is in accounting for the diverse species that we see on Earth today. Does this mean you think evolution is a better explanation for things like the different breeds of dogs that we see?

        Design Inference
        Let’s say the first time humans explored the side of the moon facing away from Earth, we discovered rocks arranged to form the letters “Bob was here”. Would this empirical evidence infer design? Well, let’s look at some possible explanations:

        a) A meteor hit the moon, shattered, and the pieces fell into place to form that sentence.
        b) A previously advanced civilization on Earth made it, then left Earth with no trace of themselves.
        c) An alien race secretly learned English on Earth and made it.

        Which of the 3 explanations is more likely? To be honest, I don’t know as they all seem so far fetched to me. I just know that none of them are impossible. But if we think that b) and c) are more likely than a), then I guess you could say that the evidence infers design.

        The Best Explanation
        I know you said ID isn’t necessarily the most likely explanation, but the best explanation. And I agree with you that ‘most likely’ is not equal to ‘best’. To me, likelihood is a component of best, along with things like predictive power. I think different explanations are better at different things. I’d like to hear what your criteria are for “better”.

        (^_^)

      • Hi Prayson,

        It’s been a while! I miss our conversations. Hope you are doing well. My brother is getting baptised this coming Sunday and it made me think of you. =)

        Okay, talk to you later!

      • How are you doing, my friend? Guess what? I’m going to church every week now with my grandparents and participating in the Bible study. Really quite enjoying it! I see you’re keeping busy too! I wish I worked as hard on my blog. Heh.

        By the way, do you have your answer for me yet? I’m really eager to hear what you have to say. I answered all your questions, and you promised me that after that you would tell me! No fair! =)

        Talk to you later! ❤

        • Hello there,

          I am so glad to hear you are going to church every week and are in Bible Study. I do pray that God will pour his grace on you that you may find joy and delight in knowing Him.

          I have being away for a while and I think two weeks past without updating my blog. A lot is happening in this month of December.

          Unanswered Question Macro-Evolution and ID.

          The difference in the two is not that of “Why is the water boiling?”, but “What cause the water to boil?”. Both Macro-Evolution and ID look at the same evidences (thus a person who says that their are evidences for macro-evolution does not understand what he or she is talking about). Both Macro-Evolution and ID seek to explain the evidences at the table.

          I find ID as the best explanation because Macro-Evolution fails to explain the irreducibly complex structure. Moreover, I agree with S. N. Salthe comment that :

          As seen from a hierarchical viewpoint, macroevolution is neither a functional process nor a series of events in the past. It is a record only. For this reason macroevolutionary laws are all statistical laws.

          Natural selection is a process that operates from one generation to the next at the population level in the hierarchy. Yet structures at the organism level are found to “evolve.” It is possible to formulate only a tautological form of the concept of natural selection at the population level alone; the bridge between levels in this case is the phenotype. The phenotype (i) exists at the boundary between the organismic and population levels of the hierarchy; (ii) is a functional manifestation of the interaction between the genotype and the local environment only during the period of a single generation; (iii) should ideally be defined so as to exclude traits not reviewed by natural selection; (iv) is factorable into many individual functional traits if one views viability selection as being instituted by a sequence of environmental catastrophes, each of which emphasizes a particular set of traits as being temporarily important to survival.

          ( Problems of Macroevolution (Molecular Evolution, Phenotype Definition, and Canalization) as Seen from a Hierarchical Viewpoint Amer. Zool. (1975) 15(2): 295-314; Department of Biology, Brooklyn College C.U.N.Y., Brooklyn, New York 11210 © 1975 American Society of Zoologists)

          Last, I believe that believing in Macro-evolution to be true is a self-defeating concept from a naturalistic worldview. It was Alvin Plantinga who helped me see the conflict to which added my belief that ID has a ground for believing it to be truth while it cannot be said the same with Macro-evolution. This argument was build out of Darwin’s own doubt in the introduction of his work: The Origin of Species.

          In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist, reflecting on the mutual affinities of organic beings, on their embryological relations, their geographical distribution, geological succession, and other such facts, might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. Nevertheless, such a conclusion, even if well founded, would be unsatisfactory, until it could be shown how the innumerable species inhabiting this world have been modified so as to acquire that perfection of structure and co-adaptation which most justly excites our admiration. Naturalists continually refer to external conditions, such as climate, food, &c., as the only possible cause of variation. In one very limited sense, as we shall hereafter see, this may be true; but it is preposterous to attribute to mere external conditions, the structure, for instance, of the woodpecker, with its feet, tail, beak, and tongue, so admirably adapted to catch insects under the bark of trees. In the case of the misseltoe, which draws its nourishment from certain trees, which has seeds that must be transported by certain birds, and which has flowers with separate sexes absolutely requiring the agency of certain insects to bring pollen from one flower to the other, it is equally preposterous to account for the structure of this parasite, with its relations to several distinct organic beings, by the effects of external conditions, or of habit, or of the volition of the plant itself.

          I would ask you to take a time to listen to this argument by Alvin Plantinga.

          Until then, have a wonderful Christmas and Happily and blessed new year

          Prayson

      • Hi Prayson!

        It’s my turn to be delinquent! I hope this year has been treating you well so far! Thanks for your always thorough replies. I’m going to take some time to go through it before getting back to you.

        Thanks! =)

  5. Meh, your* not you’re, and probably a number of other mistakes.

    Sorry, reeled the post off quickly. Go for content not form. 😛

  6. Prayson, you seem like a nice enough guy. You seem to have respect for reason, logic and critical thought. So, while I think you’re religious beliefs are absurd, and your willful, or unnoticed ignorance regards the compartmentalization, confirmation bias, and cognitive dissonance taking place as you defend your magical beliefs, I don’t want to come off too harsh.

    But you are missing the point entirely. 1% of working biologists doubting evolution is irrelevant. If you can find 10 – and I very much doubt you can – working, published, PhD level atheist biologists that “believe” that human beings have not evolved via natural selection and genetic mutation… it is irrelevant.

    The evidence on the matter is overwhelming. It is not in question. There is no controversy or doubt. The fact that evolution occurs is precisely as certain as the fact that gravity occurs. It is as certain that life evolves as it is that, if you drop a bowling ball under normal earthly conditions, the bowling ball will fall down.

    I recommend using Google Scholar, using the various peer-reviewed journal sites online, visiting Talkorigins, heading to the library and picking up a few books that translate evolutionary biology into laymen terminology (The Selfish Gene, for example), and speaking with working biologists – if you have any interested on actually educating yourself on the subject.

    This will not destroy your beliefs, if that is a subconscious issue here. You can easily just add “goddidit” after coming to the glaringly obvious realization that we were not “created” as is.

    More important, you will be taken far more seriously by the people who also have an interest in some of the things you talk about on your blog: reason, logic, critical thinking, ect. ect.

    As it stands, denying evolution puts you squarely in the “Jesus, this dude will deny blatant observational reality due to his delusions. Pitiable.”

    • Thank you for a great tune in your comment. I am not denying “evolution” but skeptical about Macro-evolution. Remember if Macro-evolution is true, then it will stand this raising wave of skepticism on it. 🙂

  7. Prayson, it is simply not true that a “growing number of scientists doubt [evolution]”. That is just a lie.

    As was mentioned, the number of working biologists who “doubt” evolution is less than 1%. That less than 1% happen to be religious.

    You are absolutely right, however, to say that truth is not a democracy. At one point there were very few people who believed the earth revolved around the sun. As your religious text does, they supposed that we were at the center of everything.

    This particular vanity has been exposed as the nonsense it is (At least to those whose brains aren’t deluded by religious absurdity).

    The reason that evolution is stone cold fact, the reason evolution is the very foundation of much of modern biology and paleontology, the reason it influences successful medicine isn’t because nearly every scientist and educated human being “has faith” in it… it is because it is so overwhelmingly, smack-your-forehead-when-you-hear-someone doesn’t “believe it, blatantly, spectacularly well-evidenced.

    There is no debate. There is no controversy. Wishing it away does not help. And deluding yourself on the issue does you absolutely no good.

    I very much doubt you’ll end your superstitious beliefs any time soon, but at the very least you can, as many of your magical thinking group has, accept that evolution by natural selection occurs. You can tack on “and god done it”, if it makes you feel better.

      • As has been mentioned multiple times in this thread, there is fraction of a percent of reliously deluded scientists that “dissent” from the theory of evolution. Having them sign a petition is not evidence that their number is growing.

        Even if the number *were* growing, and suddenly over the next few years and it grew to a whole *gasp* 1%, what that would have to do with the overwhelming evidence for evolution is beyond me.

        As a humourous aside, years ago there was a petition singed by scientists for the same dissent. It had something like 400 signatures. Hilariously, a counter petition in support of evolution was made, but it asked only for scientists named Steve (or some single, particular name… I think it was Steve). It had far more signatures. lol

  8. Evolution is a fact nowadays…way too much evidence to call it a theory anymore, but thats how science works.
    See theory of gravity and the germ theory, to name just a couple.

  9. Of course, that’s not to say that one should remain in one’s ignorance…I personally find biology interesting, though I don’t study it (wouldn’t EVER study it, héhé), I inform myself, know a couple things (wouldn’t claim to be an expert, though)…I find the arguments for evolution compelling…but again, even if I thought it were boring and I didn’t learn about it, I would still line up with the majority of scientists for the reasons explained above…it’s a matter of probability, the majority is more likely to be right (can always be wrong, of course, HAS been wrong countless times in the past against a minority…but it’s irrational to readily assume that)…that goes for all sciences…

  10. Héhéhé…where are those nice little journals?

    I spoke to a Jehovah’s Witness lately, gave me this book, “Life. How did it get here? By evolution or by creation?”…makes me feel REALLY smart when I read it, héhéhé…they don’t understand the basics of evolutionary biology…they’re a little honest, though, in there…they always say “some scientists”, “some journals”, “a couple scientists”, “some criticism”, etc, never pretend it’s overwhelming…the thing is, yes, science isn’t about voting on issues, but at the end of the day, us laymen have to go with the majority of scientists when we don’t know any better (yes, you can pull out the “appeal to authority”-fallacy-thing, but it’s needed here, héhé…and you use it quite often yourself, haha)…and the overwhelming majority of biologists and other scientists accept evolution as the “backbone” of biology, without which the poor science would be crippled, paralyzed, through which everything else should be seen (I’ve read, and I didn’t verify this, I admit, that there are more historians who doubt the Holocaust than biologists who doubt evolution)…when some of us laymen line up with the minority in spite of our ignorance, it inescapably looks suspicious to me…it’s hard for me to believe, in that case, that there’s absolutely no bias involved…

    • I love speaking to Jehovah’s Witness, though not in creationism but in who Christ Jesus is.

      I am not a creationist nor a Darwinian evolutionist, and am still weight Intelligent Design theory.

      As a Christian, I have nothing to lose but much to gain if Darwinian Evolution is trialed and found guilty, unlike our Atheist brothers whom faith hangs largely on the treads of evolution theory. A Christian, can follow Francis Sellers Collins’ way of thinking(Evolution) or Michael J. Behe’s(I.D)

      A growing number of scientists are becoming skeptical about Darwinian evolution, I believe time will come when Darwin theory has to stand the test.

      • Héhéhé…exactly what William Lane Craig always says…only, it’s kinda interesting that the people against evolution are also coincidently religious (including himself)…just an interesting correlation…

        Again, the majority of scientists accept evolution (just read somewhere that only 0.13% don’t)…whether the group is growing or not, it’s illogical to line up with them against the majority (as far as I can tell, you aren’t a biologist…some of the quotes you present as if they in some way attack evolution aren’t a terrible testimony to your understanding, even at the (possible) layman’s level, about the whole issue, but I won’t go to far there)…at the end of the day, why would you line up with a VERY VERY small minority with the knowledge you hold (maybe you don’t realize how small a minority it is)?…

        Do you say “I’m a Newtonian physicist?”, héhéhé…no, it’s called evolutionary biology, it’s not a movement like Marxism…intelligent design isn’t a scientific theory; for one thing, it doesn’t make predictions, it vaguely says things should be “irreducibly complex” and that can’t be shown…

        As a Christian, if evolution is true it doesn’t make much sense that God would single out a single species that almost went extinct countless times…it wouldn’t look terribly economical as a means to arrive at our race, to ensure our salvation…as a Christian, evolution would contradict Genesis, but so many of you have already thrown it out…

        I’m pretty sure the number isn’t really growing, it’s easy to say that without providing any proof (than the word of the folks that have set out to show that in the first place)…again, they compiled a longer list (heard it was double or something) of scientists supporting evolution…and all were named Steve…but that’s not the point, as a layman you (or I) shouldn’t be supporting a tiny minority, as I said already…it would be a little more understandable if you were a biologist yourself (héhé, once met a biology PhD student who didn’t believe in evolution (I had brought up the subject thinking he would explain me things about it)…a religious man…he didn’t understand what I was talking about — trust me, I don’t know much — when I politely asked him questions…he told me that’s the “part” he doesn’t believe in, that it all comes down to opinions. Horribly sad…well, he had just began the program, surely he’ll wake up in time)…

        • Why would I line up with a VERY VERY small minority with the knowledge you hold? Because truth does not depend on number. (If you argument was sound, then one would be out of his mind to be an atheist.)

      • Hello Prayson Daniel,

        You write:
        “A growing number of scientists are becoming skeptical about Darwinian evolution, I believe time will come when Darwin theory has to stand the test.”

        Well the fact of evolution has stood up to 150 + years of being constantly tested by many many scientists. The only people who have a problem are those people who believe in a magical God. And only the fundamentalist groups at that.

        The Catholics who are the largest bunch of Christians believe in evolution. Mainline Protestant denominations believe in evolution.

        Perhaps you can check out the link below…all about the “demise” of evolution. It is to my blogsite.

        http://thewordofme.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/the-imminent-demise-of-evolution-the-longest-running-falsehood-in-creationism/

  11. I would recommend reading more from the National Academy of Sciences. Including their unified statements concerning the “controversy” of evolution.

    You’ll find this singular quote, and the source material from which it comes is… well. I’d just look into it.

    Also, visit Talkorigins website.

    • I got the quoting from There Is Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. They are question the truthfulness of the theory and I believe “It deserves to be heard” 🙂

Comments are closed.