Friday, October 23, 2009

A Question For Intelligent Design Proponents

Here's something I posted on one of my favorite internet forums, Is God Imaginary? :

I'd love for someone here to present me with evidence for intelligent design. Intelligent Design, as I understand it, entails that one or more conscious intelligent agents designed life or altered living things in some way after they came into being. ID Theorists generally refrain from commenting on the nature of the designer, so the designer could (potentially) be of any intelligence level, have any number of possible desires, and have any general nature possible (Could be a supernatural God, or Super Evolved Aliens). If anyone commenting wants to discuss a particular ID hypothesis, rather than a general ID hypothesis, then feel free to state the hypothesis.

Now, what I want to know is this: Can someone show me some Arguments-to-the-Best Explanation for Intelligent Design? How about some empirical predictions made by Intelligent Design? Be sure to state the argument(s) and/or prediction(s) entailed by ID, and of course why these predictions follow from ID (or why the Argument leads directly to ID).

One more thing: Before you give an argument to design based on ordered complexity, you should be aware that other theories account for ordered complexity, too. Genetic Algorithms which work on the principles of Natural Selection generate incredibly complex and orderly systems that perform specific functions.

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/genalg/genalg.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF011.html

Here's how one member responded:

I was listening to a debate involving Kenneth Miller recently, and his contention was that all the evidence for creationism (I refuse to call it ID as it's the same thing and I never take well to rebranding. I still call "Snickers" bars "Marathon" bars for example) is so called "negative" evidence.He did this very well as the other side of the debate presented what he thought of as evidence and each and every time Miller showed how it fit "negative" evidence.Essentially what "negative" evidence means is that instead of proving theory 'X' you attempt to disprove theory 'Y' as if by doing so, no matter how successfully, you have proved 'X' by default. Essentially then the "evidence" for Creationism is to try and falsify evolution. Not only have they not even come close to doing this, even if they did falsify evolution to the point of literally decimating it entirely, this would not constitute a single scrap of evidence for Creationism.

And Here's How I Responded:

I don't think negative evidence is necessarily a problem. Perhaps if they showed that ID could explain more than Evolution they would have an argument. But it can't: ID can explain complexity in general, as Evolution can, but they haven't come up with any mechanisms the designer might have used that would predict anything more than the existence of complex structures (Which Evolution already predicts). And they also do not attempt to explain exactly how the designer thought of/designed any particular structure. Which means that they are in no position to criticize Evolutionists who haven't come up with a why and how for the evolution of certain biological structures.

41 comments:

ZDENNY said...

Let's make a hypothesis and say, "A mind designed a building?"

What predictions can we make based on that hypothesis?

I think the prediction is that the building would have structure, design and be irreducibly complex. At the same time, a person should be able to follow the blueprint of how it was put together by looking at the parts and how they fit together to complete a process.

Darwinians simply attempt to understand the process without looking at the blueprint or other aspects of structure, design and irreducible complexity.

Darwinians sort of stick their head in the sand on this stuff which is what they do with the beginning of the universe also.

Some things in a building would preclude natural causes such as a round column or drywall.

I really don't know how anyone really could deny ID. Once one understands the operation of the cell, you immediately become an ID proponent based on the evidence.

You have language, process, beauty, organization, structure, information, transcription, and pathways. The process is not random at all.

The cell itself cannot be explained by natural processes. Abiogenesis is an abject failure at this time also.

Darwinians have to stick their heads in the sand on literally all of their major premises.

Where is the evidence for Darwinian evolution? Lenski is now trying to demonstrate it with E. Coli and is experiencing a dismal failure too.

We just don't have any evidence that functional genetic information can be added to the Genome. We just have a lot of Darwinian pronouncements and sites like 29 evidences for macro evolution without demonstrated scientific confirmation of their claims.

Anthony said...

ZDenny: Once one understands the operation of the cell, you immediately become an ID proponent based on the evidence.

Yes, and all of the world's cell biologists are just flocking to ID huh.

The process is not random at all.

You continue to show that you do not understand evolution. Sigh.

Darwinians have to stick their heads in the sand on literally all of their major premises.

Typical creationist rhetoric. It would be nice if creationists would take a little time to investigate what evolution is really about and the evidence for it.

Z, I was a creationist for about 25 years of my life and an advocate of ID since the mid 90s, so I know where you are coming from. But, I decided to actually read a book or two by evolutionists (these were by Christian evolutionists) to see what evidence they actually had, and you know what I discovered? That I was wrong and that the evidence for evolution (common descent) is overwhelming. I then realized that creationism is mostly based upon assumptions of the Bible and not science and that ID really didn't have any real evidence for it either.

Brelas said...

There's really not that much intelligence in anything. For example:

Why do ostriches have hollow legs when they are land bound while bats have solid bones when they are flying creatures. (Birds - hollow bones, mammals - solid bones)

Additionally, cellular respiration (human metabolism of glucose) is only 39% efficient. If there was intelligence in the design, wouldn't it be more efficient?

Their pretend god isn't a very good designer. Actually sort of pathetic. A 9 year old with tinker toys could do better considering logic skills.

AIGBusted said...

"Let's make a hypothesis and say, 'A mind designed a building?'"

No, buildings are something we routinely observe human beings building, so there's no question that they were designed.

"I think the prediction is that the building would have structure, design and be irreducibly complex."

Lots of things have structure which aren't designed, for example, snowflakes. Also see here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure

Now, what do you mean by 'design'? Give a specific defintion. Design can mean a lot of things. It might just mean the general pattern that something follows. And general patterns are found in nature.

As for irreducible complexity, if you had bothere reading what I wrote, you would know that super complicated, "irreducibly complex" things do result from natural selection and random mutation. READ THE THINGS I WRITE AND LINK TO BEFORE YOUR STUPID ASS LEAVES A COMMENT!!

"Some things in a building would preclude natural causes such as a round column or drywall."

Fine. But has nothing to do with cells or cellular structures.

"You have language, process, beauty, organization, structure, information, transcription, and pathways. The process is not random at all."

Neither is natural selection random.

"The cell itself cannot be explained by natural processes. Abiogenesis is an abject failure at this time also."

The cell and the origin of life are beginning to be explained. Your comments only reveal your utter ignorance on the subject. You are talking about something you know nothing about. The rest of your comments are likewise ignorant and completely dumbass and could be answered by searching my blog. I've tolerated quite a it from you, and I'm going to warn you: If you make comments without first learning what the fuck you're talking about or even doing a search for the answers to your questions online, then I am just going to delete your comments. Know your shit before leaving rambling comments here.

mynym said...

No, buildings are something we routinely observe human beings building, so there's no question that they were designed.

Why do you say that they were designed if the biological brains that supposedly designed them have their roots in blind, unthinking processes? You claim to recognize the "design" of "intelligent" beings when evolution easily explains the illusion intelligence in terms of unthinking, unknowing processes.

Ironically your concern that people read words rooted in nothing more than the illusion of your intelligence is itself only an artifact of a mind of the synaptic "gaps" which evolution will inevitably and overwhelmingly fill with a knowledge rooted in unthinking processes.

ZDENNY said...

The basic difference between Darwinians and ID proponents is the priority of mind and matter:

A true Darwinian understands that nature is random. There can be no rhyme or reason for the mutation.

If a Darwinian argues that there is in fact a non-random mutation, then they have just become an ID proponent.

You have to be honest with the facts. We just don't see people walking around missing noses or missing ears due to a random mutation that turned a gene off. We don't see this at any level.

Darwinian evolution is caught in a contradiction. They reject mind while at the same time arguing that the mutations are not in fact random.

If the Darwinian makes this argument, they just became an ID proponent since mutations have to be random and if they are not random, then you just became an ID proponent because a mind is then controlling the process.

mynym said...

Neither is natural selection random.

Natural selection is generally observed to be preservative and destructive to the functional forms of complexity found in living things. Natural selection tends to refute or say nothing of constructive evolution while providing an explanation for stasis and destruction/extinction. So there is little or no link between natural selection and Darwinian creation myths rooted in constructive and progressive forms of "evolution," whatever evolution may be given that the term is often rooted in hypothetical goo which lacks theoretical specification and form.

mynym said...

If the Darwinian makes this argument, they just became an ID proponent since mutations have to be random and if they are not random, then you just became an ID proponent because a mind is then controlling the process.

Unfortunately some people seem intent on losing their minds if given half a chance. It's a psychology which seems to be linked to a rejection of Plato's advice closely followed by attempts to crawl back in the womb of Mother Nature and away from Father God. Richard Dawkins is an extreme example of the Darwinian urge to merge which causes many to accept imaginary events in the past as the epistemic equivalent of science. At any rate, ironically the notion of chance tends to be a science/knowledge stopper as it is an argument which stops the study of cause and effect. A scientific view rooted in the study of cause and effect would be that chance is an illusion brought about by an absence of knowledge. Even the examples that people use to argue for the creative power of “chance” combined with a process of filtering like "natural selection" can be surrounded by knowledge based on an actual scientific view. For instance, some use a coin toss to illustrate the concept of chance but if chance is actually just an illusion brought about by the absence of knowledge one could point out that if the trajectory of the coin, its mass, the force it was flipped with, etc., was all known then “chance” would disappear as one advances toward a knowledge of how the coin will come to rest. Chance is ignorance, chance is nothing, yet it’s typical for proponents of Darwinism to argue as if "chance" is something which explains all there is to know. It seems that among those who have lost their minds something is nothing and ignorance is knowledge.

Anthony said...

Wow ZDenny and Mynym! You two have just completely destroyed the foundations of modern science! Please lead us back to the truth of the Bible and its science.

Okay, enough sarcasm. Seriously, do you two really think that you have a good enough understanding of the issues and the underlying science to make the kind of statements that you do? Come on, neither of you have spent any real time reading anything of substance from an evolutionary point of view. You both have demonstrated that you neither understand the theory of evolution, nor the overwhelming evidence for it.

In other words, you continue to show that you are ignoramuses and just a couple of creationist hacks.

mynym said...

You two have just completely destroyed the foundations of modern science!

You don't speak for the foundations of modern science/knowledge. In fact it would seem that you're ignorant of the foundations of science as we know it.

At any rate, the foundations of modern science have little to do with Darwinian creation myths. In fact, history shows that Darwinian hypotheses about evolution have been linked to pseudo-science.*

Come on, neither of you have spent any real time reading anything of substance from an evolutionary point of view.

That's incorrect. In fact, many of my criticisms are mentioned in disagreements among biologists themselves. E.g.The viewpoint of Coyne et al. (1988) is one in which past events are argued to explain, in a causal sense, the world around us. Such explanations cannot be verified or tested, and the only biological observations they require are that variation and differential reproduction occur. This is not a caricature, as a reading of Coyne et al. will verify. In keeping with this general viewpoint, proponents claim that species are explained with reference to history. Important characters are hence “mechanisms” that have established and maintained the separation between diverged lineages of an ancestral population. According to Coyne et al., even the adaptive purpose of the changes that resulted in these mechanisms is irrelevant.
We would ask where biology enters into this schema. The answer is that it does not. Rather, biology is interpreted in terms of a range of historical processes, including selection of variation over time. This could, with equal relevance, be used to understand any nonbiological phenomenon such as the development of the automobile, agricultural methods, culture, or men’s suits (Lewontin, 1976).
(Points of View
Species and Neo-Darwinism
By C. S. White; B. Michaux; D. M. Lambert
Systematic Zoology, Vol. 39, No. 4. (Dec., 1990), :400-401)


In other words, imagining things about the past is not actually evidence. Unfortunately biologists debate each other while pretending to ignorant schoolchildren that their so-called "theory" is as certain as the theory of gravity. No general trajectory of adaptation can be predicted based on the theory of evolution because there is no theory of evolution, there is only a collection of hypotheses that trace back to hypothetical goo which comports with all observations. If complexity is observed then that can be explained, if it is not observed then that can be explained as well. If men a promiscuous then evolutionary theory, whatever it may be at any given time, explains it perfectly. If men are monogamous then it explains that just as well. If men are homosexual then evolution explains it. And so on. Evolution is always verified because it can never be falsified because it is not scientific. The mental illusion of evidence (e.g. Men are observed to be promiscuous, therefore evolution is verified.) that hypothetical goo of this sort creates is often said to be overwhelming. It's curious that the limited intellects taken in by the illusion of evidence so often settle on that word when they're being overwhelmed with hypothetical goo and imaginary evidence.

You both have demonstrated that you neither understand the theory of evolution...

There is no unified theory of evolution, there is a collection of hypotheses.

...nor the overwhelming evidence for it.

You seem to be easily overwhelmed. Again, what general trajectories of adaptation has the so-called "theory" of evolution been used to predict? Biologists have asserted that their theory is the epistemic equivalent of the theory of gravity for well over a century, so it seems to me that they should meet similar standards. One last question, if the foundations of modern science are rooted in "evolution" or naturalism instead of a systematic pursuit of the truth then why did Newton think that his scientia/knowledge refuted naturalism?

AIGBusted said...

"They reject mind while at the same time arguing that the mutations are not in fact random."

No. Mutations are random in the sense that they do not occur more often when they are needed.

"Natural selection is generally observed to be preservative and destructive to the functional forms of complexity found in living things. Natural selection tends to refute or say nothing of constructive evolution while providing an explanation for stasis and destruction/extinction. So there is little or no link between natural selection and Darwinian creation myths rooted in constructive and progressive forms of 'evolution,"'whatever evolution may be given that the term is often rooted in hypothetical goo which lacks theoretical specification and form."

Red Herring. I said that Natural Selection is not chance, and you go off on a tangent about how it doesn't produce anything new. Natural Selection doesn't produce anything new, mutations do. And don't bother with the 'mutations never increase information' bullshit, as I've refuted that OVER AND OVER again. Just search the blog.

AIGBusted said...

"Evolution is always verified because it can never be falsified because it is not scientific."

Wrong. The theory of Evolution (also called the Theory of Common Descent) is that all living things come from one or a few common ancestors. The process of evolution is genetic change over time through random mutation and mechanisms such as natural selection.

The theory of common descent can indeed be tested:

http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/evo_science.html

mynym said...

You both have demonstrated that you neither understand the theory of evolution...

Quote what I've said that is a misunderstanding. I don't claim to understand a "theory" rooted in hypothetical goo which comports with all possible observations. Although I have some theories about its origins, all I'm really doing is pointing out that it is goo to begin with.

The simple fact is that any schoolboy can understand the most specified "theory" of evolution based on random mutation and natural selection. It's too biologists credit that they have actually worked to specify a few things, although most still cling to hypothetical goo. The problem is that even ignorant schoolboys can figure out that the most specified theory of evolution has little to do with constructive evolution because preservation and destruction is not construction. How it is possible to get “selection”/construction out of processes of reproduction, culling and destruction isn’t clear, and in fact Darwin was sometimes honest enough to call the process natural preservation instead of the more misleading “selection.” Goldschmidt and others pointed to the fundamental issue of origins by dealing with "The Material Basis of Evolution" as he put it. It's disingenuous to point to a secondary process of preservation and destruction to explain origins. It has been known for well over a century that Darwinism has little to do with origins:That Darwinism is not the whole doctrine of evolution is perceived clearly enough by Mr. O’Neill, who devotes two or three opening chapters to a lucid exposition of the well known fact that Natural Selection does not explain the origin of characters. This truth has for twelve years been maintained by the editors of this journal, as well as by others, and has been epitomized in the statement that “the origin of the fittest” is the primary problem of evolution, while the “survival of the fittest“ (Darwinism) is secondary.
(Review: The Refutation of Darwinism, and the Converse Theory of Development, Based Exclusively Upon Darwin's Facts by T. Warren O'Neill
The American Naturalist Vol. 14, No. 3 (Mar., 1880), :193)


Darwin represented his book to the public as an explanation for the primary problem of the origins of species but focused on natural preservation/"selection". At any rate, arguing that natural selection is not random (when the environment that creates the culling is relatively random and the source of variation is also random) is a relatively meaningless point which apparently demonstrates a lack of understanding on your part.

mynym said...

Wrong. The theory of Evolution (also called the Theory of Common Descent) is that all living things come from one or a few common ancestors.

Is it one or a few?

At any rate, common evolutionary theory is thought to explain promiscuity, monogamy, etc. by those with limited intellects who are easily overwhelmed by mental illusions. All the things I mentioned are explained in evolutionary theory, such as it is.

As to your shift away from the unfalsifiable nature of much of evolutionary theory there have been plenty of biologists who think that common descent is an accurate theory while disagreeing with linking it to a Darwinian focus on random mutation and natural selection. You've apparently been overwhelmed by the Darwinian charlatans of talk.origins but there is no unified "theory of evolution" for you to speak of. One wonders how it can be so overwhelming when there is disagreement about the process and common descent itself may trace back to one or "a few."

The theory of common descent can indeed be tested...

Apparently it cannot be tested to the same extent that the theory of gravity has been, yet biologists often represent their "theory" to the public as the equivalent of gravity. That is what the charlatans at talk.origins recommend.

The first bit of evidence from your link:
"Darwin predicted that precursors to the trilobite would be found in pre-Silurian rocks. He was correct: they were subsequently found."

The general pattern of the fossil record shows that Darwinians are wrong about the process because Darwin predicted gradualism but what can be observed is stasis: Stasis is data.
So if stasis could not be explained away as missing information, how could gradualism face this most prominent signal from the fossil record? The most negative of all strategies-a quite unconscious conspiracy of silence-dictated the canonical response of paleontologists to their observations of stasis. Again, a “culprit” may be identified in the ineluctable embedding of observation within theory. Facts have no independent existence in science, or in any human endeavor; theories grant differing weights, values, and descriptions, even to the most empirical and undeniable of observations. Darwin’s expectations defined evolution as gradual change. Generations of paleontologists learned to equate the potential documentation of evolution with the discovery of insensible intermediacy in a sequence of fossils. In this context, stasis can only record sorrow and disappointment.
Paleontologists therefore came to view stasis as just another failure to document evolution. Stasis existed in overwhelming abundance, as every paleontologist knew. But this primary signal of the fossil record, defined as an absence of data for evolution, only highlighted our frustration-and certainly did not represent anything worth publishing. Paleontology therefore fell into a literally absurd vicious circle. No one ventured to document or quantify-indeed, hardly anyone even bothered to mention or publish at all-the most common pattern in the fossil record: the stasis of most morpho-species throughout all their geological duration.
(The Structure of Evolutionary Theory (Harvard College) by Stephen Jay Gould :759-760)


A broad pattern is more important than a few hypothetical precursors but unfortunately the Darwinian mind is often too busy imagining things about the past to observe empirical data. Try to keep in mind that imaginary events in the past are not empirical data and imaginary links based on imaginary mutations are not the same thing as showing constructive evolution in the lab based on natural selection/preservation. There is no reason that a pattern for the origins of species cannot be observed in the lab. The fact that stasis is generally observed is data.

ZDENNY said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AIGBusted said...

"The general pattern of the fossil record shows that Darwinians are wrong about the process because Darwin predicted gradualism but what can be observed is stasis:"

There is stasis, but there are also times of change. Leaving that aside, Darwinian evolution makes no comment on the rate of change, so long as the rates of change are much faster than what we can observe in the present. In life we see some populations that are not changing at all, and some populations which are changing. It is not unreasonable to think that some populations in the past did not change for long periods of time.

"A broad pattern is more important than a few hypothetical precursors but unfortunately the Darwinian mind is often too busy imagining things about the past to observe empirical data."

The precursors to Trilobites are not hypothetical. Darwin predicted that we would find species that appeared intermediate between trilobites and earlier forms. By intermediate I mean sharing characteristics of both in a way that would indicate an evolutionary transition. We found those. Also, you are correct that a broad pattern is more important than its exceptions. But the broad pattern does not in any contradict the idea that one or a few original species evolved into all living species.

"As to your shift away from the unfalsifiable nature of much of evolutionary theory there have been plenty of biologists who think that common descent is an accurate theory while disagreeing with linking it to a Darwinian focus on random mutation and natural selection."

Correct. One could accept common descent and reject natural selction and mutation, or downplay those two things and insist that other mechanisms were more important in the development of life. I think that mutation+selection, genetic drift, horizontal gene transfer, etc. are all important in explaining life because they are what is observed in the present day. Mutation and selection would be the most important because they are what we see producing diversity today.

In any case though, the hypothesis that Natural Selection was one of the primary mechanisms in the development of life could indeed be falsified. As it said in the link I gave you:

"If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection."
Chapter VI, Difficulties Of The Theory
This challenge has not been met. In the ensuing 140 years, no such thing has been found. Plants give away nectar and fruit, but they get something in return. Taking care of other members of one's own species (kin selection) doesn't count, so ants and bees (and mammalian milk) don't count.

"Is it one or a few?"

I would suggest that there was just one common ancestor for all life because the genetic code appears to be a "frozen accident" but that's another story. The point I wanted to get across is that Common Descent would predict that the original number of species that gave rise to all living things would be a tiny fraction of the number of species alive today. That's the hypothesis.

"At any rate, common evolutionary theory is thought to explain promiscuity, monogamy, etc."

Correct. Evolution explains that some peppered moth populations become white while others become black. The difference is in the selective pressures.

By the way, try to slow down and touch on only a few issues at a time.

mynym said...

...Darwinian evolution makes no comment on the rate of change...

That's incorrect: Gradualism may represent the most central conviction residing both within and behind all Darwin's thought. Gradualism far antedates natural selection among his guiding concerns, and casts as far wider net over his choice of subject for study. .... Gradualism had been equated with rationality itself by Darwin's chief guru, Charles Lyell. All scholars have noted the centrality of gradualism, both in the ontogeny (Gruber and Barrett, 1974) and logic (Mayr 1991) of Darwin's thought. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Gould :148-149)

The primary signal of the fossil record is stasis yet the primary prediction of Darwinian theory is gradual change.

The precursors to Trilobites are not hypothetical. Darwin predicted that we would find species that appeared intermediate between trilobites and earlier forms.

That is nothing more than what any other natural theologian would have predicted based on the ancient doctrine of plenitude.

Based on biology what seem to be simpler or similar organisms based on skeletal remains typically are not that simple when their soft anatomy can be observed, examples of this fact are many. Yet if they are precursors that still doesn't negate the primary signal of the fossil record, not to mention the primary signal of biology itself.

"If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species..."

The functional structures observed in organisms typically have more than one use, his supposed falsification would have more merit if he said "Used primarily for the good of another species..." There is almost always some benefit to a structure but even if there was not Darwinians would imagine that it was vestigial and just happened to benefit another species. Darwin consistently allows for imaginary evidence, therefore all his claims about falsifiability are specious.

An example might help:
The work of Chrystal demonstrates that the larva of the wood wasp Sirex is also peculiarly accommodating towards its predator, the parasitic wasp Ibalia. Sirex bores a hole in the trunk of a conifer, in which it deposits its egg. The egg yields a grub which feeds on the wood. As the grub feeds on the wood it gradually bores a tunnel. After some years the grub turns into a pupa which finally yields the adult wasp, which, using its powerful jaws, bites its way out of the tree. The Ibalia using the hole bored by the Sirex lays its egg in the Sirex grub. The Ibalia grub gradually consumes the tissues of the Sirex grub but does not eat the vital organs until last, thus ensuring a fresh supply of meat until its development, which takes three years, is complete. The presence of the Ibalia changes the behaviour of the Sirex. Normally the Sirex larva bores deeply into the wood but when infected by the Ibalia it bores towards the surface. This is a vital behavioural change for Ibalia because it has comparatively weak jaws and would be unable to bore as far through the wood as Sirex to escape from the trunk. Yet another example of interspecific altruism? What conceivable value [for natural selection to operate on] can the Sirex grub gain by changing the direction of its boring? By what curious sequence of small evolutionary steps did the Ibalias’ predatory habit induce this vital behavioural change?(Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton :223)

Perhaps examples closer to home might help, why is altruism observed throughout human society? Perhaps "evolution," whatever it may be, predicts altruism as well as selfishness?

mynym said...

Taking care of other members of one's own species (kin selection) doesn't count, so ants and bees (and mammalian milk) don't count.

I suppose that animal rights activists don't count either?

The philosopher David Stove commented on so-called "kin selection": ...no one ought to believe that parental altruism in our species, or in any given sexually reproducing species, depends on each parent's sharing half of his or her genes with each offspring. The reason is obvious. Namely, that this characteristic-each parent sharing half of its genes with each offspring-is common to virtually all sexually reproducing species whatever, whereas parental altruism varies in these species as widely as it can vary. Namely, from zero, in all plants and many animals, through countless intermediate degrees, up to its highest degree in the case of man. (Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution by David Stove :206-207)

Is this not the case?

AIGBusted said...

"'...Darwinian evolution makes no comment on the rate of change...'

"That's incorrect: Gradualism may represent the most central conviction residing both within and behind all Darwin's thought. Gradualism far antedates natural selection among his guiding concerns, and casts as far wider net over his choice of subject for study. .... Gradualism had been equated with rationality itself by Darwin's chief guru, Charles Lyell. All scholars have noted the centrality of gradualism, both in the ontogeny (Gruber and Barrett, 1974) and logic (Mayr 1991) of Darwin's thought. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Gould :148-149)."

Several points could be made. One is that even if Darwin believed a proposition, as long as that proposition is not crucial to the hypothesis of common descent or the mechanism of natural selection, then that proposition could be pretty freely discarded or modified based on the evidence.

The second point to make is that Darwin probably did not believe that evolutionary change was slow, steady, stately, and constant as talk.origins makes clear:

It should be noted that even Darwin did not expect the rate of evolutionary change to be constant.

[N]atural selection will generally act very slowly, only at long intervals of time, and only on a few of the inhabitants of the same region. I further believe that these slow, intermittent results accord well with what geology tells us of the rate and manner at which the inhabitants of the world have changed (Darwin 1872, 140-141, chap. 4).

"But I must here remark that I do not suppose that the process ever goes on so regularly as is represented in the diagram, though in itself made somewhat irregular, nor that it goes on continuously; it is far more probable that each form remains for long periods unaltered, and then again undergoes modification (Darwin 1872, 152).
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC201.html

The third point is that "gradualism" in Modern Biology has a different meaning than some make out to be, and is consistent with what Darwin said above. Reading "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins, especially the chapter on "Puncturing Punctuationism" is very pertinent to this issue. Or you could look at Douglas Theobald's definition:

"Genetical 'gradualness', a much misunderstood term, is a mode of biological change that is dependent on population phenomena; it is not a statement about the rate or tempo of evolution. Truly genetically gradual events are changes within the range of biological variation expected between two consecutive generations. Morphological change may appear fast, geologically speaking, yet still be genetically gradual (Darwin 1872, pp. 312-317; Dawkins 1996, p.241; Gould 2002, pp. 150-152; Mayr 1991, pp. 42-47; Rhodes 1983). Though gradualness is not a mechanism of evolutionary change, it imposes severe constraints on possible macroevolutionary events. Likewise, the requirement of gradualness necessarily restricts the possible mechanisms of common descent and adaptation, briefly discussed below."
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/default.html#common_descent

AIGBusted said...

"That is nothing more than what any other natural theologian would have predicted based on the ancient doctrine of plenitude."

I'm not sure what the doctrine of plenitude is, or how it predicts precursors to trilobites. Please explain.


"The functional structures observed in organisms typically have more than one use, his supposed falsification would have more merit if he said 'Used primarily for the good of another species...' There is almost always some benefit to a structure but even if there was not Darwinians would imagine that it was vestigial and just happened to benefit another species. Darwin consistently allows for imaginary evidence, therefore all his claims about falsifiability are specious."

Sure, many structures do have multiple uses. But from a purely logical perspective, there's no reason that some structures might serve only one function, and that that function could be purely for the good of another species. Furthermore, to claim vestigiality one would have to show that the structure was derived from an ancestral structure that evolved for some other reason, and that could be demonstrated by looking at closely related species in which the organ still served its primary function, or at closely related fossil organisms. Also, someone would have to explain why the structure in question had not evolved away.

AIGBusted said...

"An example might help:
The work of Chrystal demonstrates that the larva of the wood wasp Sirex is also peculiarly accommodating towards its predator, the parasitic wasp Ibalia. Sirex bores a hole in the trunk of a conifer, in which it deposits its egg. The egg yields a grub which feeds on the wood. As the grub feeds on the wood it gradually bores a tunnel. After some years the grub turns into a pupa which finally yields the adult wasp, which, using its powerful jaws, bites its way out of the tree. The Ibalia using the hole bored by the Sirex lays its egg in the Sirex grub. The Ibalia grub gradually consumes the tissues of the Sirex grub but does not eat the vital organs until last, thus ensuring a fresh supply of meat until its development, which takes three years, is complete. The presence of the Ibalia changes the behaviour of the Sirex. Normally the Sirex larva bores deeply into the wood but when infected by the Ibalia it bores towards the surface. This is a vital behavioural change for Ibalia because it has comparatively weak jaws and would be unable to bore as far through the wood as Sirex to escape from the trunk. Yet another example of interspecific altruism? What conceivable value [for natural selection to operate on] can the Sirex grub gain by changing the direction of its boring? By what curious sequence of small evolutionary steps did the Ibalias’ predatory habit induce this vital behavioural change?(Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton :223)"

I would suppose that the Ibalia alters the Sirex's behavior (Rather than the Sirex doing this out of the good of its own heart). Daniel Dennett described a phenomenon similar to this in the first few pages of his book "Breaking the Spell":

"You watch an ant in a meadow, laboriously climbing up a blade of grass, higher and higher until it falls, then climbs again, and again, like Sisyphus rolling his rock, always striving to reach the top. Why is the ant doing this? What benefit is it seeking for itself in this strenuous and unlikely activity?
"Wrong question, as it turns out. No biological benefit accrues to the ant. It is not trying to get a better view of the territory or seeking food or showing off to a potential mate, for instance. Its brain has been commandeered by a tiny parasite, a lancet fluke (Dicrocelium dendriticum), that needs to get itself into the stomach of a sheep or cow in order to complete its reproductive cycle. This little brain worm is driving the ant into position to benefit its progeny, not the ant's. This is not an isolated phenomenon. Similarly manipulative parasites infect fish, and mice, among other species. These hitchhikers cause their hosts to behave in unlikely—even suicidal—ways, all for the benefit of the guest, not the host."


"Perhaps examples closer to home might help, why is altruism observed throughout human society? Perhaps 'evolution,' whatever it may be, predicts altruism as well as selfishness?"

What do you mean by 'selfishness'? If an organism does not cheat other organisms because it knows that it will be punished, is that selfish behavior or unselfish behavior?

AIGBusted said...

"I suppose that animal rights activists don't count either?"

Animal Rights Activists are an extreme minority and certainly couldn't represent a trait that natural selection has favored. If it had been favored it ought to be common.

Furthermore, love of animals is not necessarily something acquired genetically. It might be something acquired memetically.

"...no one ought to believe that parental altruism in our species, or in any given sexually reproducing species, depends on each parent's sharing half of his or her genes with each offspring. The reason is obvious. Namely, that this characteristic-each parent sharing half of its genes with each offspring-is common to virtually all sexually reproducing species whatever, whereas parental altruism varies in these species as widely as it can vary. Namely, from zero, in all plants and many animals, through countless intermediate degrees, up to its highest degree in the case of man."

In animals that you say show little or no parental altruism, is there any way that showing more parental altruism might increase the survival right of the species' children? How do you know?

Montag said...

You touch right on the horrendous problem in ID - yet you skip right by it:

"... have any general nature possible (Could be a supernatural God, or Super Evolved Aliens)..."

Intelligent Design is polytheism.

If it is possible that there is a being X, that has God-like properties, and is not the exact same being as God, then you have the possibility of at least 2 gods...and there is no reason to suspend god creation here; we could have a whole pantheon: designers, fabricators, qa/qc, and guardian angels.

ID is opposed to the monotheism of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It strikes at the heart of monotheistic religions. Any right-thinking atheist should SUPPORT "Intel D'zine", not oppose it.

Which only demonstrates how incredibly stupid the entire ID story is.

mynym said...

Several points could be made. One is that even if Darwin believed a proposition...

Proponents of evolutionary creation myths tend to reject the specification necessary to develop an actual scientific theory subject to falsification and verification. This applies to Darwin as well. Darwinists will even argue that something is central to their "theory" and almost the equivalent of science itself while also mentioning that evidence which falsifies their view is meaningless or that they are perfectly well prepared to accept the exact opposite so long as an evolutionary creation myth of some sort is upheld. They often seem more interested in maintaining evolutionary creation myths than an actual scientific theory. So here we have gradualism as the central tenet of Darwinian theory, yet the "theory" also comports with and probably even "predicts" all evidence of stasis and saltation as well. Given this attitude towards the evidence and how easily Darwinism comports with nearly all possible observations, it's little wonder that you're overwhelmed by it all.

mynym said...

The second point to make is that Darwin probably did not believe that evolutionary change was slow, steady, stately, and constant as talk.origins...

Your first problem is that you're apparently so "overwhelmed" and gullible that you've failed to realize that talk.origins is written by charlatans who will apparently say almost anything in order to prop up Darwinism. At any rate, when hypothetical precursors can be imagined based on the skeletal remains of organisms that is not "overwhelming" evidence for anything, let alone an actual scientific theory which accurately predicts or describes biological change. Reasoning of that sort is on the same epistemic level as other creation myths, not scientific theories. Perhaps that's why Darwinists so often seem to focus more on a conflict with other creation myths than actual science.

You also cited this: "Darwin predicted that precursors to the trilobite would be found in pre-Silurian rocks. He was correct: they were subsequently found."
vs.
Paleontologists have now established a good record of Precambrian life. The world did swarm indeed, but only with single-celled forms and multicellular algae... The explosion of multicellular life now seems as abrupt as ever-even more so so since the argument now rests on copious documentation of Precambrian life, rather than a paucity of evidence that could be attributed to imperfections of the geological record (see Chapter 10 pp. 1155-1161). Darwin on the other hand, predicted that complex, multicellular creatures must extend far into the Precambrian. He wrote: "I cannot doubt that all the Silurian [=Cambrian] trilobites have descended from some one crustacean, which must have lived long before the Silurian [=Cambrian] age" (p. 306)
....
Darwin did not always keep the different senses of gradualism distinct. He frequently conflated meanings, arguing (for example) that the validity of natural selection (sense 2) required an acceptance of slow and continuous flux (sense 3). Consider once again the following familiar passage: "It may be said that natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest...We see nothing of these slow changes in progress, until the hand of time has marked the long lapse of ages" (p. 84)
This conflation came easily....to Darwin, in large part because gradualism stood prior to natural selection in the core of his beliefs about the nature of things.
(The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen Gould :148-149)


Darwin attempted to specify a few things (Gradualism being a central tenet, although it's apparently easy to do away with that specification as well.) and attempted to reform the hypothetical goo typical to hypotheses of evolution into some semblance of an actual specification open to verification and falsification. Yet now it seems that "theories" of evolution are degenerating back into the hypothetical goo from which they arose. You don't have a "theory" of evolution. There is no theory of evolution, what you have is a collection of hypotheses which explain everything and therefore nothing. You're only overwhelmed because you do not understand the difference between science and creation myths.

mynym said...

These hitchhikers cause their hosts to behave in unlikely—even suicidal—ways, all for the benefit of the guest, not the host."

Note that Dennett did not even attempt to imagine a creation myth explaining how such things evolved:
The life history of some parasites, which are in themselves astonishing enough, often involve what amounts to a number of metamorphoses. Consider the life cycle of the liver fluke. The adult lives in the intestine of a sheep. After the eggs are laid they pass with the faeces onto the ground. The eggs hatch, giving rise to small ciliated larvae which can swim about in water. If the larvae are lucky they find a pond snail: they must do this to survive, for the snail is the vehicle for the next stage in the life cycle of the liver fluke. Having found a snail the larvae finds its way into the pulmonary chamber or lung. Here it loses its cilia and its size increases. At this stage it is known as a sporocyst. While in this condition it buds off germinal cells into its body cavity which develop into a second type of larvae known as rediae. These are oval in shape, possessing a mouth and stomach and a pair of protuberances which they use to move about. The rediae eventually leave the sporocyst, entering the tissue of the snail, after which they develop into yet another larval form known as cercariae which appear superficially to resemble a tadpole. Using their long tails these tadpole-like larvae work their way through and eventually out of the snail and onto blades of grass, where each larva sheds its tail and encases itself in a sheath. Eventually they are eaten by a sheep. Inside the sheep they find their way to the liver where they develop sexual organs and mature into the adult state. They finally leave the sheep’s liver and migrate to the intestine where they mate and so complete their extraordinary life cycle.
In the case of many of the more dramatic invertebrate metamorphoses not even the vaguest attempts have been made to provide hypothetical scenarios explaining how such an astonishing sequence of transformations could have come about gradually as a result of a succession of small beneficial mutations.
(Evolution: A Theory in Crisis
by Michael Denton :220-222)


I don't agree that imagining things about the past actually means anything. If it is science, it is a low form of it. Unfortunately the very fact that it is often difficult to even imagine that Darwinism is true leads some to cite their own imaginations as the equivalent of empirical evidence because when they can imagine something, it begins to seem like something to them. This can be seen in how Darwinists have treated Behe's arguments about "irreducible complexity." They actually seem to believe that because they can imagine a mouse trap coming about gradually that they have refuted what can actually be observed empirically. Ironically they go further and argue that something we already know to be designed with a purpose in mind can be explained away based on Darwinian "reasoning," such as it is. Ironically this only shows that Darwinian "theory" can be used to explain away forms of complexity that actually are designed by a mind unless we take the unfathomably stupid, ignorant and insane view that our own sight, intelligence and knowledge is all just an illusion. Unfortunately they have little use for reality because they're generally too busy imagining things about the past.

mynym said...

You touch right on the horrendous problem in ID - yet you skip right by it:

"... have any general nature possible (Could be a supernatural God, or Super Evolved Aliens)..."

Intelligent Design is polytheism.


Identifying design comports with all sorts of theologies, philosophies and creation myths. We know that we design things based on our intelligence and sentience so one could even argue that the design we observe in living things was created by other humans because we reached a technological singularity which made time travel possible, etc. No polytheism necessary unless you feel like worshiping other people as if they are like the ancient gods.

ID supports polytheism to the same extent that Darwinism supports atheism.

mynym said...

Animal Rights Activists are an extreme minority and certainly couldn't represent a trait that natural selection has favored. If it had been favored it ought to be common.

Concern for other animals is common to humans (not to mention contraception, celibacy and suicide). So unfortunately you will have to imagine how it was favored in some way given that you cannot accept falsifications of the theory. For any interested in actual empirical evidence which verifies and falsifies the theory of natural selection, simply observe the world around you.

Furthermore, love of animals is not necessarily something acquired genetically. It might be something acquired memetically.

Shrug, now you're falling into pseudo-science.

In animals that you say show little or no parental altruism, is there any way that showing more parental altruism might increase the survival right of the species' children? How do you know?

The theory of "kin selection" = altruism is an artifact of genetic similarity but the empirical evidence = altruism is not linked to genetic similarity.

Conclusion, the theory is falsified or it must be modified. I can provide numerous quotes of Darwinist saying that they'd sacrifice themselves for a brother but not a cousin, etc., to show that they agree with the specification (genetic similarity causes altruism) of a falsified theory.

Anthony said...

Mynym, have you ever picked up a book on evolution and actually sat down to read it and to understand what is being argued? I've read through your postings and all I can say is Wow! Not because you have proved your point, but rather, it shows that you have totally immersed yourself in creationist literature and you haven't even the ability to deal with the issues. The quote mining has become nauseating.

When you can pick up a book like Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True" or Donald Prothero's "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters" and can engage them with a certain amount of scholarship, then I may listen to you. But so far, you and ZDenny haven't said anything of real substance that cannot be easily refuted. Bottom line, my friend, you are not the least bit interested in the nature of reality, or the evidence for evolution, you have come here to preach your gospel in hopes that we will be "saved." Been there, done that, moved on.

mynym said...

Mynym, have you ever picked up a book on evolution and actually sat down to read it and to understand what is being argued?

In a word, yes. And as far as your comments about personal credibility and this sort of thing go I believe you when you say that you were some sort of an ignorant creationist rube for 25 years. Unfortunately you've retained the arrogant ignorance that typifies far too many creationists while shifting to a position that has been falsified.

...it shows that you have totally immersed yourself in creationist literature and you haven't even the ability to deal with the issues. The quote mining has become nauseating.

Apparently you're too busy being "overwhelmed" by charlatanism on the one hand and nauseated by corrections to your credulous assertions on the other to actually deal with facts, logic and evidence. For example, gradualism is a central tenet of Darwinism but the fossil record shows stasis and saltation. If so-called "kin selection" is an accurate theory then altruism should correlate with having shared genes but it does not. If the theory of natural selection generally explains the evolution of all organisms including man as Darwinians argue then things like celibacy, contraception and homosexuality should not exist but they do. And so on.

When you can pick up a book like...Donald Prothero's "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters" and can engage them with a certain amount of scholarship, then I may listen to you.

I doubt that because most of what you say seems to be more about your own psychological dynamics than much else. Prothero's book is full of statements about what God would or would not do based on his infantile and immature theology. The story of the provincial fundamentalist who goes on a journey and finds answers to his religion in the Darwinian creation myth is so common that it is provincial itself. Convenient how this common story of progress matches the new creation myth, is it not? At any rate, the most glaring scientific error is when he cites Haeckel's embryos (page 110). He devotes half a page to a picture of them with no mention of the fact that they are fraudulent other than an oblique reference to Haeckel's "overenthusiam." He comments: Wells, in particular, nags about how some of Haeckel's original diagrams had errors and oversimplifications, but this does not change the overall fact that the sequence of all vertebrate embryos show the same patterns in the early stages, and all of them go though a "fish-like" stage with pharyngeal pouches...and a long fish-like tail, then some develop into fishes and amphibians and others lose these features and develop into reptiles, birds, and mammals. (Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters by Donald Prothero :110)

There is no better example of the Darwinian urge to merge back into the womb of Mommy Nature than the way that they imagine things about embryos. My reply to such "scholarship" is that I imagine that the biological brain events which cause people to think that are recapitulations of their ancestry of reptile like creatures. As far as supporting evidence I could show you a picture of your own embryonic state with a few notes about how reptilian it seems. After all, apparently evidence of this sort is all that mental incompetents need to accept the theory that the form of their idiotic brain events are recapitulations of their reptilian ancestry.

...you have come here to preach your gospel in hopes that we will be "saved." Been there, done that, moved on.

No, I don't believe that correcting you about Darwin's predictions on trilobites has much to do with salvation. I'm here partly for the same reason that I debate Holocaust deniers combined with less noble reasons like gaming.

AIGBusted said...

Mynym,

explain how these two statements of yours are compatible:

"...Darwinism comports with nearly all possible observations..."

"For any interested in actual empirical evidence which verifies and falsifies the theory of natural selection, simply observe the world around you."

mynym said...

"...Darwinism comports with nearly all possible observations..."

"For any interested in actual empirical evidence which verifies and falsifies the theory of natural selection, simply observe the world around you."


For example, the theory of natural selection generally applies to many species of plants, fish and so on but it is clearly falsified in the case of man. To see this, simply observe the world around you. Altruism falsifies Darwinism and leaves proponents once again citing some form of imaginary evidence (It might be that... What if...) against actual, observable evidence. It's to Darwin's credit that he specified the theory of natural selection in a way that can be verified and falsified. It has been both verified and falsified. Unfortunately Darwinians such as yourself apparently cannot admit to its falsifications when you believe that doing so puts evolutionary creation myths in danger. In my experience you have to reassure yourselves that evolutionary creation myths are not in danger before dealing with the facts. Let me reassure you that the hypothetical goo at the root of evolutionary creation myths is not falsified in the least, mainly because it is not a scientific theory that is falsifiable in the first place.

Darwin didn't actually specify a scientific theory:
Charles Darwin surely ranks as the most genial of history's geniuses-possessing none of those bristling quirks and arrogance that usually mark the type. Yet, one subject invariably aroused his closest approach to fury-the strawman claim, so often advanced by his adversaries, that he regarded natural selection as an exclusive mode of change in evolution. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen J. Gould :147)

The equivalent is Newton arguing for his theory of gravity then saying, "But sometimes it does not apply." Of course sometimes it may not apply but if it does not then that is a falsification of the general application of the theory. Or Einstein saying: E=Mc^2 ...sometimes. But with Darwin we're a long way from genius, that's why despite his specification of a valid theory like natural selection he spends much of his time, perhaps the majority, on theological and philosophical arguments in "one long argument" about hypotheses of constructive evolution.

AIGBusted said...

"For example, the theory of natural selection generally applies to many species of plants, fish and so on but it is clearly falsified in the case of man. To see this, simply observe the world around you. Altruism falsifies Darwinism and leaves proponents once again citing some form of imaginary evidence (It might be that... What if...) against actual, observable evidence. It's to Darwin's credit that he specified the theory of natural selection in a way that can be verified and falsified. It has been both verified and falsified. Unfortunately Darwinians such as yourself apparently cannot admit to its falsifications when you believe that doing so puts evolutionary creation myths in danger. In my experience you have to reassure yourselves that evolutionary creation myths are not in danger before dealing with the facts. Let me reassure you that the hypothetical goo at the root of evolutionary creation myths is not falsified in the least, mainly because it is not a scientific theory that is falsifiable in the first place."

So is the theory of evolution falsifiable or not?


"Darwin didn't actually specify a scientific theory:
Charles Darwin surely ranks as the most genial of history's geniuses-possessing none of those bristling quirks and arrogance that usually mark the type. Yet, one subject invariably aroused his closest approach to fury-the strawman claim, so often advanced by his adversaries, that he regarded natural selection as an exclusive mode of change in evolution. (The Structure of Evolutionary Theory by Stephen J. Gould :147)

The equivalent is Newton arguing for his theory of gravity then saying, 'But sometimes it does not apply.'"

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. Gould said that Darwin did not regard Natural Selection as the only mechanism by which populations could change (evolve). That is not the same as someone saying that E=MC2... sometimes.

Anthony said...

Let me reassure you that the hypothetical goo at the root of evolutionary creation myths is not falsified in the least, mainly because it is not a scientific theory that is falsifiable in the first place.

Dude, you are on some freakin crack, aren't you? In typical creationist fashion you throw out all sorts of claims, assertions, and quote mines. It would take more than my current patience to try to deal with all of the errors that you have put forth. It always takes longer to clean up someones mess after blathering all kinds of inaccuracies.

Let's look at one issue. You quote Prothero's book regarding Haeckel's embryos and then make the statement:

My reply to such "scholarship" is that I imagine that the biological brain events which cause people to think that are recapitulations of their ancestry of reptile like creatures. As far as supporting evidence I could show you a picture of your own embryonic state with a few notes about how reptilian it seems. After all, apparently evidence of this sort is all that mental incompetents need to accept the theory that the form of their idiotic brain events are recapitulations of their reptilian ancestry.

First, Prothero is not in any way endorsing Haeckel's incorrect and discredited idea of the "biogenetic law." In fact Haeckel's drawings were published after the Origin of Species. Darwin instead depended on von Baer (who was a critic of Darwin).

Second, no one holds to the idea of recapitulation, that was discredited by evolutionists. PZ Myer's explains it thus:

Wells would also like the reader to think that Haeckel's embryos were a key piece of the puzzle that Darwin himself used to assemble his theory, and that therefore Darwinism was built on a false foundation. He neglects to mention an important matter of chronology, however. Darwin's Origin of Species was published in 1859, after decades of research. Haeckel's theory was first published in 1866, and Haeckel's diagrams were published in 1874. Haeckel did not have any significant input into the Origin, but Darwin (and Lamarck and a number of German philosophers, such as Goethe) did profoundly influence Haeckel. Clearly, the later elaborations by Darwin on the theory of evolution were complemented by Haeckel's ideas, in particular his ideas about heredity, but those are precisely the components of Darwinism that were invalidated by Mendelian genetics and the neo-Darwinian synthesis!

Lastly, your arrogance is just plain uncalled for. Where are your credentials, both academically and professionally that you think that you are in the position to offer such criticisms of evolution? You think that you can sit there in your ivory tower and offer criticism of professionals who have spent their life time educationally and professionally researching these issues in such despairing ways. I find you attitude and ignorance of evolution both frustrating and an offense.

AIGBusted said...

"Note that Dennett did not even attempt to imagine a creation myth explaining how such things evolved:"

SO WHAT?!?! The issue is that you were claiming a species showed a sort of altruism for another species. I showed that you were assuming that, and not proving it. It could be that the parasite has simply hijacked that species' nervous system. You have not falsified evolutionary theory until you show that the former hypothesis (and not the latter hypothesis) is correct.


"Concern for other animals is common to humans (not to mention contraception, celibacy and suicide). So unfortunately you will have to imagine how it was favored in some way given that you cannot accept falsifications of the theory. For any interested in actual empirical evidence which verifies and falsifies the theory of natural selection, simply observe the world around you."

Suicide and celibacy are not common, they're rare. What do you mean by "concern for animals"? Be specific, and be sure and tell how "concern for animals" violates evolutionary theory.

As for contraception, contraception is pretty easily explained: We didn't evolve a love for having children, we evolved a love for the pleasure in the act of sex. The two are basically indistinguishable from the point of view of natural selection. We use contraception so we can gain the joy of sex without the financial and emotional burden of children, which we realize would be a minus for us.

AIGBusted said...

Going on the Offensive:

Mynym,

Since I have so patiently interacted with you in defending Evolution, You should interact with me on defending whatever theory it is that you think explains life.

Could you give me a non-Darwinian explanation for the following fossil sequences:

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/images/fossil_hominin_cranial_capacity_lg_v1-2.png

http://daphne.palomar.edu/ccarpenter/jaws1.gif

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v440/n7085/images/440747a-f1.2.jpg

More to come...

Anthony said...

Mynym: And as far as your comments about personal credibility and this sort of thing go I believe you when you say that you were some sort of an ignorant creationist rube for 25 years. Unfortunately you've retained the arrogant ignorance that typifies far too many creationists while shifting to a position that has been falsified.

Once again, wow! What an arrogant son of a bitch you are. Tell me sir, what are your views of the origin of life and the history of life on earth? It's easy to sit around and criticize, give us some substance on your position.

Just as I was a creationist I was also an advocate of intelligent design, similar to Kurt Wise. Was I an ignorant rube when I held to ID? I then went through a stage when I argued for "progressive creationism," was I an ignorant rube then? I eventually embraced theistic evolution (or evolutionary creationism), was I still an ignorant rube?

gradualism is a central tenet of Darwinism but the fossil record shows stasis and saltation.

When you say "gradualism" in the way you do here, it reminds me how creationists think of "uniformitarianism" as if everything is always uniform throughout geological history. Just as geologists do not hold to that kind of "uniformity" neither do evolutionists hold to that kind of "gradualism." Simply put, evolution as gradualism is a misunderstanding.

If so-called "kin selection" is an accurate theory then altruism should correlate with having shared genes but it does not.

How so? Even if "kin selection" doesn't fully explain altruism, this itself does not overthrow the theory of common ancestry, which is the heart of biological evolution.

If the theory of natural selection generally explains the evolution of all organisms including man as Darwinians argue then things like celibacy, contraception and homosexuality should not exist but they do.

Really? Please explain why. You make all kinds of assertions as if they are self evident.

mynym said...

So is the theory of evolution falsifiable or not?

There is no theory of evolution. You've already admitted the distinction between the theory of natural selection, the theory of common descent and the collection of hypotheses and observations of and about other mechanisms of evolution. Your question here is based on an equivocation over the term evolution. I have been very clear about the theory of natural selection and its general falsification in the case of man. Given that you are clinging to equivocation on the term evolution and making the word into a pollution of language you are no different than the charlatans of talk.origins. Their goal is to pretend that because the theory of natural selection is open to falsification and verification then all their evolutionary creation myths are equally scientific.

Gould said that Darwin did not regard Natural Selection as the only mechanism by which populations could change (evolve). That is not the same as someone saying that E=MC2... sometimes.

You will find no equivalent sentiments in the writings of Newton and Einstein with respect to additional mechanisms or forces or competing hypotheses. This is because Darwin's main goal was not scientific, it was the promotion of evolutionary creation myths. If his scientific theory got in the way of or limited that goal in some way then ultimately that was so much the worse for his theory. The goal of scientists, developing theories with general application, was different than Darwin's as a theologian.

AIGBusted said...

"You will find no equivalent sentiments in the writings of Newton and Einstein with respect to additional mechanisms or forces or competing hypotheses."

No, because Lamarckian evolution (now known to be false) did not contradict evolution by natural selection. You will find that in many historical sciences two or more factors are called on to explain some event. Multiple factors were involved in the fall of Rome, for example. During times of economic crisis, you may hear experts talking about multiple factors leading to the crisis in question. There is nothing fallacious about that.

Now, since you have seen fit to call me a charlatan, I am going to ask you not to comment on my blog anymore, unless you apologize. Calling someone a charlatan because they have a different viewpoint is not something I will tolerate.

AIGBusted said...

Mynym,

You were warned that you must apologize before I would allow you the leisure of commenting on my blog again. Besides that, you need to learn the difference between recapitulation and the embryological evidence for common descent. One says that embryology is an exact replay of evolutionary history, the other says that common structures in embryos are evidence of common descent.

Tahseen Siddiqua said...

I just came across a book “Extraterrestrial Intelligence: Amazing New Insights from Qur’an...” It quotes extensively from Qur’an to prove in an extremely amazing and convincing idiom that biological evolution isn’t at all at variance with the Qur’an. It is available online at HarperCollins' website Authonomy: http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=11309