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Archive for the ‘Darwin’ Category

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clipped from www.y-origins.com
Q.
IS THE ARGUMENT FOR DESIGN BASED ON SCIENTIFIC IGNORANCE?
A. But, today’s intelligent design arguments are based upon a growing body
of scientific evidence concerning everything from DNA to the laws of physics;
and upon our uniform and repeated experience.Design theorists offer extensive evidence that blind, material causes are
incapable of building irreducibly complex and information-rich systems.
They then point out that whenever we know how such systems arose such as
with an integrated circuit, a car engine, or a software program invariably
a designing engineer played a role. Design theorists then extend this uniform
experience to things like molecular machines and the sophisticated code
needed to build even the first and simplest of cells. An increasing number
of leading scholars attest that increased scientific knowledge about such
things has greatly strengthened the argument for design.

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The argument from irreducible complexity suggests that the removal of a single part from a system destroys the system’s function, ergo evolution is ruled out, ergo the system must have been designed by some external force. This is the basic argument advanced by Michael Behe and his followers. Below I counter some of the claims made by the proponents of irreducible complexity.

  • Sometimes the functions are changed so that they do something other than what they did prior to mutation. Such evolutionary development of irreducibly complex systems have been described in the scientific literature in great detail.
  • Even if irreducible complexity does preclude Darwinian evolution, the conclusion of design does not follow. Many other possible conclusions can be argued. It is an example of a failed argument from incredulity.
  • Systems have been considered irreducibly complex that might not be so. For example:
  • Michael Behe’s mousetrap example of irreducible complexity can be simplified by making some minor alterations to the mousetrap. Furthermore, the mousetrap may lose functionality as a mousetrap if a part is removed but then one might craft a fishhook from the spring, turn the nonfunctional mousetrap into a paper weight and so on.
  • The bacterial flagellum is not, in fact, irreducibly complex because it can lose many parts and still function, either as a simpler flagellum or as a secretion system.
  • The immune system example that Behe is so fond of is not irreducibly complex because the antibodies that mark invading cells for destruction might themselves hinder the function o fthose cells, allowing the system to function (although not as well) without destroyer molecules of the complement system.
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Seed Newsvine

The clip below is part of a series of clips available at http://evolutionvscreationsim.info.

What is at stake here is not evolution or creationism, quite the contrary, what is truly at stake in the United States is a reliance on rationalism vs a reliance on revelation. But, then we must ask just whose revelation trumps all others? Rationalism, thoughtful analysis of observable data or revelation, interpretation of the mythical explanations for just about everything based solely on what someone said was revealed to him or her a long time ago (unless you follow Scientology as revealed to L. Ron Hubbard just a few decades ago).

For this educator, I choose to engage in rational rather than mythological debate. Not that I don’t like a good story from time to time, and not that one can’t learn anything from a good story from time to time; it is clear that one can. Rather, I choose rationality because it requires a balance of observations to theoretical predictions that form the basis of clarity and avoids problems of logical fallacies that mythology simply cannot avoid.

clipped from evolutionvscreationism.info

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Seed Newsvine

I thought I would blog about the oxymoron of intelligent design for a while. What better place to start than with the remarks of President Bush on the subject. While Bush made these remarks in August of 2005, I am certain his position has not changed one iota–mostly because he has demonstrated a stubborn streak many times over when it comes to changing his mind.Mr. Bush argues that one must teach both sides of the controversy between evolution and intelligent design. So what could be wrong with that?

First, there is no controversy. Declaring something a controversy does not make it so. Simply declaring that a controversy exists (over fill in the blank) creates a straw man that allows the proponents of intelligent design to have talking points rather than to address the issues advanced by the FACT of evolution. The straw man argument is one of the deadly fallacies in logical argumentation.

Teaching the controversy is a favorite of Michael Behe who claims that evolution must not be taught unless one also teaches the controversy that surrounds it. There are two points I wish to make regarding this claim:

1. Regarding the fundamental tenets of evolution, the facts of common descent and natural selection there is NO SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY. To argue otherwise is an attempt to teach either pseudoscience in classrooms or to introduce a particular religious interpretation of creation into the classroom. Since it appears that the attempt to teach the controversy is based on not teaching bad science, the same standards that the ID proponents wish to apply to evolution should also be applied to ID. If that is the case then ID fails the test.

2. While there are controversies over details of how evolution proceeds, there is NO SCIENTIFIC CONTROVERSY over the foundational positions taken by evolutionary science. The controversies that do exist are not appropriate for beginning level science but, rather, are appropriate for debate among advanced students in biology or related subjects. The only controversy that exists regarding evolution is in the precise details of how relative contributions of sympatric versus allopatric speciation. The scientific controversy is not between differing creation myths versus observable science which is what the ID proponents would have us believe.

Once again the president fails to articulate a clear understanding of a fundamental issue relying, instead, on the Michael Behe straw man. the manufactured controversy, to make his case.

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com
President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about “intelligent design,” a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity.
“Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about,” he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: “Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.”
These comments drew sharp criticism yesterday from opponents of the theory, who said there is no scientific evidence to support it and no educational basis for teaching it.

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Just a little tidbit I found on YouTube. If it weren’t so sad it might actually be funny. As the anti-evolutionists seek to introduce biblical mythology, call it what you will–creation science, intelligent design–into the classroom, they seem willing to turn back the clock to a time more reminiscent of the dark ages and the Inquisition than bring it to the light of the 21st century. Just because the human mind cannot conceive of the possibility of evolution does not mean that evolution is not true. It is all about evidence. The scientific FACTS based on evolutionary theory point to the validity of the theory. Other than a few scribbles in some sacred texts written 3000 years ago, and other than personal revelation (which is not rigorous evidence) there simply is no evidence to support what Richard Dawkins calls the God delusion. I think I’ll put my faith and trust in FACTS and not in the mythology of creation. If I wanted to put my faith in the mythology I would then be forced to choose from among thousands of FACTUALLY unsupported creation myths–what if I pick the wrong one? What then…

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I believe because I want to believe! To hell with the evidence to the contrary, the bible says it is true.

It is absolutely amazing to me how otherwise intelligent people can be so duped by belief that they cannot or will not examine the rigorous body of scientific evidence that exists regarding the geological and biological history of the earth we live on and, in its place, accept the particular mythology, the creation mythology, of a band of desert Hebrews written down some 3000 years ago. Why accept that particular myth and not others. What about the myths of creation that emanate from China, India, or from Native American cultures? Are their gods any less than the god of the Hebrews? Do their gods have answers that are any less appealing (however false) than those of the god of the Hebrews? And what about all of the contradictions in the creation myths of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? The order of creation is different in each chapter, for example. And then, gosh, if Adam and Eve were the very first human beings and they had only 2 sons, Cain and Able and Cain slew Able and what thereupon banished to the land of Nod where there he knew his wife, WHERE THE HECK DID SHE COME FROM?

And dinosaurs lived on the earth along side man,,,Oh please. If your sources are no better than the bible then all you have is a belief that cannot be supported by the facts. That is known as an egocentric belief, a belief that cannot stand the pressure of reason. Oh, I forget, you don’t really care about reason because your mind is already made up regardless of what facts might be presented.

clipped from www.atheists.org
AMERICAN ATHEISTS today announced its full support for the “Rally for
Reason” protest slated for Monday, May 28, 2007 (Memorial Day) at the
grand opening of a creationist “museum” operated by an evangelical
religious group in Boone County, KY.
The $27 million facility is a project of the Answers in Genesis group
which promotes a literal, biblical view of how life and universe
ostensibly began, and challenges mainstream scientific findings about
evolution. The museum will reportedly include exhibits reflecting the
inaccurate claim that dinosaurs and human beings co-existed in a “Garden
of Eden” style Earth, and that our planet was fashioned by the
Judeo-Christian deity approximately 6,000 years ago.
The “Rally for Reason” is calling on all groups – including Atheists,
Freethinkers, Humanists and other non-believers – as well as religious,
civic and educational organizations that support good science to join in
the peaceful protest outside the gates of the “Answers in Genesis.”

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Seed Newsvine

I find it disgraceful that 3 of 10 Republican presidential hopefuls quickly raise their hands to proclaim their disbelief in evolution. I am equally amazed at how long it took John McCain to respond to this question. I can only hope the American people are not so stupid as to accept this form of blatant anti-intellectualism as qualifying for the leadership of the free world. I don’t have high hopes as I remember that this same American electorate split down the middle on the qualifications of George W, Bush and look where that got us.

Here is another YouTube clip that speaks to the dangers of this orchestrated anti-intellectualism.

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Another example of misusing data to fit a theist view of the world. By rejecting scientific evidence and more, Michael Behe is able to convince only the uninitiated, the believer. He is not able to make inroads on well trained biologists or other scientists. The lesson is, it seems to me, is that before one accepts anything at face value one has the obligation to address the appropriate available evidence and then asks the skeptical questions that make that evidence stand up to those questions. It is not good enough to believe in something because you believe in something. That tautology will only run you around in circles causing only severe dizziness.

clipped from www.youtube.com

Michael Behe is one of the most well known ID proponents. However, his arguments must be seen in light of his character and his agenda. This video deals with several problems with Behe’s position:
1. Behe ignores and rejects empirical evidence
2. No major scientific organization, including Behe’s own colleagues, endorse ID
3. In 20 years (some would say a couple of hundred years), ID has failed to make its case to the scientific community
4. Behe rejects the scientific method, and wants to replace it with his own5. Behe’s version of “peer review” is simply dishonest and misleading

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