Author Topic: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution  (Read 371 times)

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Offline jaimehlers

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The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« on: May 30, 2015, 10:56:40 PM »
So, as promised, here's a post detailing BibleStudent's many flaws regarding his knowledge and thinking on evolutionary theory.  I will be basing this just on the Evolution, just too difficult for Christians to understand thread in order to limit the scope.  I am also stopping after the second page of posts, as it has taken close to three days to write this post.  While there is much more in the thread that I could use as examples, I'm already at sixteen different ones, and that's already plenty for my purposes.

I will be rating statements that are completely off-base as -1 point, and statements that are only partially wrong will be rated at -0.5 points.  This is merely for reference purposes, and should not be treated as if I am grading him.

I was originally planning on using direct links to each post, but I have since determined that the forum apparently doesn't like it when I try to do that more than a few times per post.  So instead, I will footnote the reply # that I am referring to.  Furthermore, in order to make this as little like a wall of text as I can, I will be coloring his quotes.

What Evolutionary Theory Is

This seemed like a logical place to start, since he has to know what evolutionary theory is in order to properly argue against it.

"It's an attempt to explain how the various forms of life evolved over billions of years from a common ancestor."[1]

This is about half-right.  Evolution is the process by which different kinds of life forms developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the Earth.  However, it's his statement that they evolved from a common ancestor that counts against him here.  While it's true that evolutionary theory predicts common ancestors, it does not actually predict a single common ancestor as he says here.  -0.5

"Besides, we are discussing the ToE....the theory that the phylogentic tree is built upon where a single commonn ancestor is at the base. If common descent is not assumed, then the base of the tree does not exist and you have a bunch of free floating branches."[2]

There are two partially wrong statements here.  First, he is mistaken as to what he states the theory of evolution is.  The phylogenetic tree is a diagram scientists use to show our current understanding of the evolutionary relationships between species.  That means it's a work in progress, and so there is no reason to assume a single common ancestor, even if assuming that was not circular reasoning.  And second, so what if there is not a single common ancestor?  All that would actually mean is that scientists would have to figure out where those multiple common ancestors came from; it would not pose any real problem for the actual theory of evolution, which is only concerned with variation in life forms.  -1

On Evidence

"Pretty solid evidence for microevolution. Not so good evidence to support macroevolution."[3]

The statement that there is "not so good evidence to support macroevolution" is very misleading.  I did a Google search on "evidence for macro-evolution", and judging from the results, the evidence for macro-evolution is quite substantial.  I took a sampling of the sites that popped up and would have included them except that the forum software balked on including them.

It is one thing to disagree with a scientific theory, but quite another to misrepresent the evidence which supports that theory in order to make it look weaker than it actually is, as BibleStudent has done.  When I can do a Google search and find multiple websites which show the evidence for macro-evolution, it substantially undercuts the assertion that the evidence for macro-evolution is "not so good".  -1

"Actually, you left out a very important word.....a theory is built upon scientific evidence."[4]

The problem here is what BibleStudent considers scientific evidence to be.  From his other posts, especially ones directed at me, it's clear that he thinks that unless it's been demonstrated in a laboratory, it isn't scientific evidence, and on top of that it must also demonstrate a complete beginning-to-end explanatory pathway.  However, the only requirements for evidence to be scientific is that it is empirical, meaning that it is acquired through physical observation or experiment, and that it accords with scientific methodology.  It does not have to be demonstrated in a lab, and it certainly does not have to have the sort of "all i's dotted, all t's crossed" completeness that he seems to expect.  A single fossilized bone is scientific evidence.  A bug trapped in amber is scientific evidence.  A comparison of morphological structures between organisms separated by millions of years is scientific evidence.  If it's based on scientific evidence, then it has a scientific basis.  -0.5

Micro/Macro

"Until a pathway can be identified for producing large-scale biological changes, microevolutionary changes DO NOT equal macroevolution."[5]

This is, at the very least, misleading.  What does BibleStdent mean here by "a pathway for producing large-scale biological changes"?  We already have identified the pathway by which large-scale biological changes can happen; small changes in a genome can cause dramatic physiological changes, such as how the huge size difference between dog breeds is apparently caused by a single gene related to the one that regulates insulin.  Furthermore, the actual means by which a genome can/will change have also been clearly identified; mutations are caused by chemicals, radiation, and transcription errors.

So, we have the means by which a genome can change, and we already know the pathway by which large-scale biological changes can happen; small differences in a genome can cause dramatic morphological differences, such as physical size.  In fact, size is arguably the most dramatic morphological difference of all; it requires everything else to change along with it in order to produce a viable organism.  To give a really dramatic example, let's take the chihuahua (~5 inches tall on its hind legs) and the great dane (~7 feet tall on its hind legs).  That is like the difference between having two foot tall humans and thirty-one foot tall humans.  And it's not just height that changes, either.  A human that tall would have to be be proportionately bigger (and stronger) in almost every way in order to be able to survive at all.

However, even though I've shown that small-scale genetic changes can cause large-scale biological changes, BibleStudent would (probably) say that this doesn't show that cumulative small changes can cause new species to form.  This is where the misleading nature of his statement comes into play.  A species which has recently diverged into two separate species (meaning that the two can no longer regularly produce viable offspring together) is not likely to have any really dramatic morphological differences between them.  For example, let's compare two of the different great cat species, the tiger and the lion...which really aren't that different at all.  There are much more dramatic differences between various dog breeds than there are between tigers and lions, or even the other great cats.  However, you could mate pretty much any dog breed together and get a dog which could itself reproduce with other dogs, but you can't do that with the offspring of the various great cats.  Even on the rare occasions that they produce viable offspring, their offspring are almost invariably infertile.

In short, you don't need large-scale biological changes in order to have macro-evolution, in the sense of producing new, more diverse species.  Macro-evolution, as scientists refer to it, is nothing more than evolution among separated gene pools - meaning, at or above the level of a species, such as Panthera leo and Panthera tigris-1

Scientific Methodology

"How can it be known that the ToE explains macroevolution when the scientific method cannot be employed to determine if the same mechanism responsible for micro can produce macro? In effect, you are making an a posteriori error and using circular reasoning by asserting that because microevolution takes place then so does macroevolution. It is quite possible that evolution is completely incapable of producing large morphological changes because you have never tested it."[6]

Here, BibleStudent states that the scientific method cannot be employed to test macro-evolution.  While I will certainly acknowledge that macro-evolution is difficult to test using the scientific method because it operates over geological time scales, that is not the same thing as saying that it cannot be tested using the scientific method.  It is not even the same thing as saying that it cannot be tested using the scientific method right now.  It simply means that you have to take those factors into account.  For example, statisticians have to employ certain procedures in order to make sure they have a statistical sampling of data.  Paleontologists have to employ certain procedures in order to preserve as much information as possible about what they dig up.  So biologists who wish to investigate macro-evolution must utilize their own particular procedures to account for the quirks of studying something that happens over geological time.  -0.5

"Assumptions are useful in forming and testing various hypotheses but assuming that micro+micro=macro because it cannot be tested is unscientific."[7]

The problem here is that the "micro+micro=macro" statement he refers to is not actually an assumption made for evolutionary theory.  It is shorthand for how a sufficient number of micro-evolutionary changes within different populations of a species will ultimately cause those populations to diverge into two more more closely-related species.  For example, the various great cats are good examples of this; they live in different geological habitats and do not interbreed naturally, and so the micro-evolutionary changes within each population built up until they were effectively unable to interbreed (attempts to interbreed them either do not work or result in sterile offspring).  That is a macro-evolutionary change.  Similar examples of macro-evolution have been shown in other species as well, such as horses and donkeys, which are both equine species; attempts to interbreed them either do not work or result in sterile mules.  -0.5

Rhetorical/Logical Errors

"Unless you ASSUME that common descent is true, you are affirming the consequent"[8]

His argument for why it's an "affirming the consequent" fallacy is that if evolution is true, micro-evolution occurred; micro-evolution occurred, therefore evolution is true.  However, the logic behind evolutionary theory doesn't work like that to begin with.  Evolution is simply the process by which life forms vary over time.  Micro-evolution is variation below the species level, and macro-evolution is variation above the species level.  So, the logic goes that since you have variation below the species level, then it is reasonable to conclude that there's variation above it too.  All it takes is having groups of the same species separated by geography or habitats, and they will eventually vary to the point where they can no longer viably interbreed and become different species, even if they are still physically similar, like tigers and lions.  -1

"Here again, you are affirming the consequent: If evolution is true, then macroevolution is the accumulation of microevolution. Microevolution has occurred. Therefore, evolution is true."[9]

This is the same flawed reasoning he used in reply #26.  As I said before, the logic behind evolutionary theory does not work in the way he describes here, and so my earlier counter will suffice.  Furthermore, science is not a logical proposition as he clearly implies both here and in #26.  Science is an examination of the natural world using predictions of what we will find, and modifying our conclusions (and subsequent predictions) based on that.  So, if evolution predicts that we should find both micro-evolutionary changes and macro-evolutionary changes, and we find micro-evolutionary changes, it strengthens the prediction that we should find macro-evolutionary changes, but it does not mean that scientists assume that we will.  This is like how finally locating the Higgs boson strengthened the rest of the Higgs field theory, but even though scientists expected to find the Higgs boson for at least a decade or two before actually doing so, they still kept looking instead of just assuming they would find it and moving on to something else.  But just as we have to continue testing the predictions made by Higgs field theory, we also must continue testing the predictions made by evolutionary theory.  And not just testing them, but testing them in different ways to see if we can't find a flaw in it somewhere, because that's the most effective way to find out if we got something wrong somewhere.

"Evolutionists ASSUME that similarities in biological structures are the result of common ancestry and ASSUME that evolution is the cause…. which results in the belief that similarities are evidence of evolution. This is a clear case of begging the question."[10]

Except that neither of these are assumed to begin with, therefore his statement that it results in a belief that begs the question is not justified.  In fact, these two assumptions he lists are so blatantly fallacious that evolutionary theory never would have gotten off the ground if it needed to make them.  Evolution predicts common ancestry, so if it has to assume common ancestry to make that prediction, it would be obvious circular reasoning; evolution also predicts that variations will be conserved in descending generations, so to assume that evolution was the cause would also be circular reasoning.  Something that was that blatantly fallacious would not still be around, as mainstream science no less, well over a hundred years after someone came up with it.  It probably wouldn't have been around for ten years.  -1

"Why would you ask that whatever "instead of" I might provide have a scientific basis when macroevolution itself lacks a scientific basis?"[11]

If scientists had accepted something that was non-scientific as science, and it was eventually caught out (as it would be) then it would naturally stand to reason that they would want to make certain that whatever alternative was proposed for it was, in fact, scientific, so as to keep from having the same thing happen in the future.  This is simple logic, and should have been understood by BibleStudent without him having to ask why in the first place.  -0.5

"Let me just repeat that --> even if your conclusions are correct, you are ASSUMING that a biological pathway exists (or existed) that is/was capable of the producing the grand scale of evolution that you believe took place….and assumptions do not equal science."[12]

To reiterate my point from a bit ago, it is neither necessary nor wise to make this assumption, as it would be circular reasoning, since evolutionary theory predicts that such a biological pathway should exist.  Explanations which use circular reasoning don't last long when scientists start investigating them.  -1

"To this day, NOT A SINGLE PERSON has been able to demonstrate how the scientific method was employed to verify that a biological process exists (or existed) that is capable of producing soup-to-humans evolution. The pro-evolutionist claims that micro+micro=macro happens because….well….because they say it happened….not because they have the necessary science to back it up."[13]

The mistake BibleStudent is making here is in his apparent assumption that scientists have to produce a complete picture of his "soup-to-humans" evolutionary pathway in order to back up the statement that "micro+micro=macro".  Science does not work like a logical proof, where you need each step in sequence in order to reach the conclusion, and woe be to anyone who tries to skip a step.  Furthermore, he presumably knows this, since as he indicated later on in Reply #166, science is not in the business of proving things.  So in effect, he is demanding a scientific proof of a "soup-to-humans" evolutionary pathway here, even though he should know better than that.

So, whether he realizes it or not, his demand for a "soup-to-humans" evolutionary pathway, or any other 'complete' evolutionary pathway for that matter, is a red herring.  It is quite simply irrelevant to the discussion; the accuracy of "micro+micro=macro" can be evaluated using different criteria, such as comparisons between existing species (for example, tigers and lions).  The fact that tigers and lions are separate species means comparing them can be used to demonstrate macro-evolution, variation at or above the level of a species.  -0.5

"Does a circular reference necessarily preclude my answer from being adequate?"[14]

It depends on how meaningful the answer is.  In this case, since the object of asking BibleStudent if he could explain what the theory of evolution is was to get an idea of how well he understood the subject, the fact that his explanation included a circular reference indicated that he might not be able to explain it without referring back to it.  For example, if someone were asked what baseball was, and their answer was that it was the sport of baseball, others might reasonably doubt that they actually knew very much about baseball.  -0.5

Misunderstanding Others' Arguments

"The sentence I bolded is intriguing. How does asking for scientific evidence for a scientific fact stem from badly flawed reasoning? Either it exists or it doesn't."[15]

For reference, he is responding to a statement I made in reply #47, namely, "To create the pretense that because scientists have not yet produced the specific evidence you are demanding, that macroevolution somehow does not have a scientific basis, is badly-flawed reasoning."  It should be clear from the context that he badly misunderstood the point I was trying to make, but I will nonetheless elaborate.

What he is doing here is not simply asking for scientific evidence.  He is asking for very specific scientific evidence, and keeps asserting that only the kind of evidence he asks for - a complete evolutionary pathway - can show that evolutionary theory has a scientific basis.  In other words, the badly flawed reasoning is that until someone can come up with the specific evidence he is demanding, evolutionary theory should not be considered scientific.  This despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence out there which is less specific than what he is demanding which still qualifies as scientific evidence.  This is actually a form of special pleading; unlike the typical form which demands special consideration for a particular claim without justifying why it should be, he is instead demanding that it be treated far more stringently without justifying why it should be.  -0.5

"So, basically what you are saying is that unless my “instead of” is scientific in nature, you will dismiss it outright….regardless of its veracity?"[16]

Except I said nothing of the sort.  I said that if he didn't want his particular alternative to evolutionary theory to be criticized as non-scientific, then it should have a scientific basis.  I also pointed out that his...reluctance to confirm that his alternative did have a scientific basis indicated that he knew it did not and that he thought if he could sufficiently discredit the scientific basis of evolutionary theory, then his alternative would not need a scientific basis either.  However, if evolution were somehow shown to be non-scientific, then whatever replaced it would have to have an actual scientific basis, because that's how science works; hypotheses never reach the level of a theory unless the consensus of scientists in that field is that it fits the evidence gathered through science.  Therefore, while his alternative would not be dismissed outright, it would need to conform to scientific evidence, thus showing that it had a scientific basis, in order to be accepted as evolution's replacement.  The fact that he stonewalled me when I asked him what his alternative was and if it had a scientific basis is a very bad sign for it ever being accepted as a scientific replacement for evolutionary theory.  -1
 1. Reply #12
 2. Reply #50
 3. Reply #12
 4. Reply #35
 5. Reply #26
 6. Reply #50
 7. Reply #50
 8. Reply #26
 9. Reply #50
 10. Reply #26
 11. Reply #26
 12. Reply #26
 13. Reply #28
 14. Reply #52
 15. Reply #50
 16. Reply #50
A guide to the many flaws in BibleStudent's understanding of evolutionary theory - http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,28728.0.html

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2015, 02:37:04 PM »
Quote
"It's an attempt to explain how the various forms of life evolved over billions of years from a common ancestor."[1]

This is about half-right.  Evolution is the process by which different kinds of life forms developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the Earth.  However, it's his statement that they evolved from a common ancestor that counts against him here.  While it's true that evolutionary theory predicts common ancestors, it does not actually predict a single common ancestor as he says here.  -0.5
 1. Reply #12

Kindly explain how the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) fits into your position.

”The tree of life is without doubt one of the great achievements in biology (image F). But for some researchers it is merely a means to an end. These researchers are trying to reconstruct LUCA, the cell from which all life has evolved.3 The question they are asking is, “which features of the archaea, bacteria and eukaryotes can be traced back to their common ancestor, LUCA?” http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/poolearticle.html

Quote
"Besides, we are discussing the ToE....the theory that the phylogentic tree is built upon where a single commonn ancestor is at the base. If common descent is not assumed, then the base of the tree does not exist and you have a bunch of free floating branches."[2]

There are two partially wrong statements here.  First, he is mistaken as to what he states the theory of evolution is.  The phylogenetic tree is a diagram scientists use to show our current understanding of the evolutionary relationships between species.  That means it's a work in progress, and so there is no reason to assume a single common ancestor, even if assuming that was not circular reasoning.  And second, so what if there is not a single common ancestor?  All that would actually mean is that scientists would have to figure out where those multiple common ancestors came from; it would not pose any real problem for the actual theory of evolution, which is only concerned with variation in life forms.  -1
 2. Reply #50
See me above response regarding LUCA.

Quote
"Pretty solid evidence for microevolution. Not so good evidence to support macroevolution."[3]

The statement that there is "not so good evidence to support macroevolution" is very misleading.  I did a Google search on "evidence for macro-evolution", and judging from the results, the evidence for macro-evolution is quite substantial.  I took a sampling of the sites that popped up and would have included them except that the forum software balked on including them.

It is one thing to disagree with a scientific theory, but quite another to misrepresent the evidence which supports that theory in order to make it look weaker than it actually is, as BibleStudent has done.  When I can do a Google search and find multiple websites which show the evidence for macro-evolution, it substantially undercuts the assertion that the evidence for macro-evolution is "not so good".  -1
 3. Reply #12

Yet you have STILL not provided a single scientific example of macroevolution. The simple fact the results of your Google search produced a number of hits does not necessarily validate that such evidence exists. This is an ‘argument from ignorance.”

Quote
"Actually, you left out a very important word.....a theory is built upon scientific evidence."[4]

The problem here is what BibleStudent considers scientific evidence to be.  From his other posts, especially ones directed at me, it's clear that he thinks that unless it's been demonstrated in a laboratory, it isn't scientific evidence, and on top of that it must also demonstrate a complete beginning-to-end explanatory pathway.  However, the only requirements for evidence to be scientific is that it is empirical, meaning that it is acquired through physical observation or experiment, and that it accords with scientific methodology.  It does not have to be demonstrated in a lab, and it certainly does not have to have the sort of "all i's dotted, all t's crossed" completeness that he seems to expect.  A single fossilized bone is scientific evidence.  A bug trapped in amber is scientific evidence.  A comparison of morphological structures between organisms separated by millions of years is scientific evidence.  If it's based on scientific evidence, then it has a scientific basis.  -0.5
 4. Reply #35

I do not recall asserting that a lab experiment was necessary. Please point me to the post where I indicated that.  I agree that “A bug trapped in amber is scientific evidence.”…and that “ A comparison of morphological structures between organisms separated by millions of years is scientific evidence. can be construed as scientific evidence. That is not the issue. The issue is that the conclusion is alleged to be evidence of macroevolution. This is not a fact. It is an assumption unless you are abe to demonstrate that such large morphological changes are possible by way of the scientific method.  Are you able to demonstrate this? If not, then you are simply using a form of circular reasoning.

Quote
"Until a pathway can be identified for producing large-scale biological changes, microevolutionary changes DO NOT equal macroevolution."[5]

This is, at the very least, misleading.  What does BibleStdent mean here by "a pathway for producing large-scale biological changes"?  We already have identified the pathway by which large-scale biological changes can happen; small changes in a genome can cause dramatic physiological changes, such as how the huge size difference between dog breeds is apparently caused by a single gene related to the one that regulates insulin.  Furthermore, the actual means by which a genome can/will change have also been clearly identified; mutations are caused by chemicals, radiation, and transcription errors.

So, we have the means by which a genome can change, and we already know the pathway by which large-scale biological changes can happen; small differences in a genome can cause dramatic morphological differences, such as physical size.  In fact, size is arguably the most dramatic morphological difference of all; it requires everything else to change along with it in order to produce a viable organism.  To give a really dramatic example, let's take the chihuahua (~5 inches tall on its hind legs) and the great dane (~7 feet tall on its hind legs).  That is like the difference between having two foot tall humans and thirty-one foot tall humans.  And it's not just height that changes, either.  A human that tall would have to be be proportionately bigger (and stronger) in almost every way in order to be able to survive at all.

However, even though I've shown that small-scale genetic changes can cause large-scale biological changes, BibleStudent would (probably) say that this doesn't show that cumulative small changes can cause new species to form.  This is where the misleading nature of his statement comes into play.  A species which has recently diverged into two separate species (meaning that the two can no longer regularly produce viable offspring together) is not likely to have any really dramatic morphological differences between them.  For example, let's compare two of the different great cat species, the tiger and the lion...which really aren't that different at all.  There are much more dramatic differences between various dog breeds than there are between tigers and lions, or even the other great cats.  However, you could mate pretty much any dog breed together and get a dog which could itself reproduce with other dogs, but you can't do that with the offspring of the various great cats.  Even on the rare occasions that they produce viable offspring, their offspring are almost invariably infertile.

In short, you don't need large-scale biological changes in order to have macro-evolution, in the sense of producing new, more diverse species.  Macro-evolution, as scientists refer to it, is nothing more than evolution among separated gene pools - meaning, at or above the level of a species, such as Panthera leo and Panthera tigris-1
 5. Reply #26

With regards to your comparison of the great dane and chihuahua , a book was published in the fairly recent past by geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig of the Max Planck Institutes in Germany: Unser Haushund: Eine Spitzmaus im Wolfspelz? I can’t read any of it because it’s written in German but I did find some commentary related to the study performed by Mr Lönnig and the findings of degenerative evolution.

” Dr. Lönnig shows forcefully that one of the chief examples Darwinists rely on to convince the public of macroevolution -- the enormous variation in dogs -- actually shows the opposite. Extremes in size and anatomy come at the cost of broken genes and poor health. Even several gene duplications were found to interfere strongly with normal growth and development as is also often the case in humans. So where is the evidence for Darwinian evolution now?” Michael Behe.

In other words, your example is nothing more than degeneration.

Moving on:

Dr. Biedebach is Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Long Beach. He writes:
“Stephen C. Meyer's Darwin's Doubt is a truly remarkable book. Tightly woven in its 413 pages of text are four interrelated arguments. With 753 references, he presents evidence of the serious weaknesses in materialistic theories of biological evolution, and positive evidence for the theory of intelligent design. What are those weaknesses?

First, according to Meyer, no neo-Darwinian (or other alternative materialistic) mechanism has any conceivable way to search the vast number of possible combinations of coded symbols that could generate the complex types of functional genes and proteins found in living organisms. Second, tightly integrated networks of genes, proteins and other complex molecules are required within (and even extending from) cells, which must arrive at the right place at the right time in an embryologically developing organism. For such processes to arise, a materialistic theory of evolution would require vastly more time than has passed on earth since life began.

Third, early-acting mutations that could possibly generate large-scale changes in an organism are invariably deleterious. Fourth, according to Meyer, neo-Darwinian evolution provides no imaginable way to generate (by random mutation) the quantity of epigenetic information that would be required to generate a new body plan.

The focus of Meyer's Part One (Chapters 1-7) is on the many thousands of fossils found in the geologically very short "Cambrian explosion" (530 to 525 million years ago). During this brief period, 16 new animal phyla and 30 new animal classes first appeared in the fossil record. (Only three animal phyla had previously existed in the Precambrian period.)

If one is to believe that each new phylum that suddenly appeared during the Cambrian explosion arrived by the process of neo-Darwinian evolution, then at least some transitional fossils (of the multitude that should have existed from the three Precambrian phyla) ought to have been found by now. According to Meyer, none have been found. Neo-Darwinian evolution works gradually over millions of years. It is a trial-and-error process of mutation and selection through which an organism must obtain and maintain a functional advantage through a series of incremental steps.

Meyer asserts that those who believe neo-Darwinian (or any other conceivable materialistic) processes provide a satisfactory explanation for the existence of life on earth must invariably resort to a metaphysical assertion known as methodological naturalism. This is the view that it is possible to explain all features and events that occur in the natural world by reference to exclusively natural causes. (This has sometimes been called "exclusionary methodological naturalism," because a purposive intelligence, mind, or conscious agency is excluded as a cause.)

But Meyer argues that to restrict methodological naturalism in such a way renders one blind to the possibility that intelligent design is the best, most causally adequate explanation for the origin of the new information necessary for new cellular network circuitry or a new body plan (whenever previous transitional fossils do not exist).

Meyer's attack is really against "macroevolution" (large scale population change). Michael Behe (in The Edge of Evolution) points out that there is abundant evidence for "microevolution" (smaller population change), but there is a boundary at which the evidence for microevolution stops and evidence for macroevolution either doesn't exist, or any clues that do exist are beset with problems so serious that explanatory attempts boil down to "just-so-stories." This leaves macroevolution sitting atop a boundary (or wall) with an outlook no better that that of Humpty Dumpty.”


So you see, Jaimehlers, my position is not something that I just made up out of ignorance. It is shared by a number of scientists far more capable of assessing the science than you or I.

Quote
"How can it be known that the ToE explains macroevolution when the scientific method cannot be employed to determine if the same mechanism responsible for micro can produce macro? In effect, you are making an a posteriori error and using circular reasoning by asserting that because microevolution takes place then so does macroevolution. It is quite possible that evolution is completely incapable of producing large morphological changes because you have never tested it."[6]

Here, BibleStudent states that the scientific method cannot be employed to test macro-evolution.  While I will certainly acknowledge that macro-evolution is difficult to test using the scientific method because it operates over geological time scales, that is not the same thing as saying that it cannot be tested using the scientific method.  It is not even the same thing as saying that it cannot be tested using the scientific method right now.  It simply means that you have to take those factors into account.  For example, statisticians have to employ certain procedures in order to make sure they have a statistical sampling of data.  Paleontologists have to employ certain procedures in order to preserve as much information as possible about what they dig up.  So biologists who wish to investigate macro-evolution must utilize their own particular procedures to account for the quirks of studying something that happens over geological time.  -0.5
 6. Reply #50

See my previous response.

Offline BibleStudent

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2015, 02:49:36 PM »
Quote
"Assumptions are useful in forming and testing various hypotheses but assuming that micro+micro=macro because it cannot be tested is unscientific."[1]

The problem here is that the "micro+micro=macro" statement he refers to is not actually an assumption made for evolutionary theory.  It is shorthand for how a sufficient number of micro-evolutionary changes within different populations of a species will ultimately cause those populations to diverge into two more more closely-related species.  For example, the various great cats are good examples of this; they live in different geological habitats and do not interbreed naturally, and so the micro-evolutionary changes within each population built up until they were effectively unable to interbreed (attempts to interbreed them either do not work or result in sterile offspring).  That is a macro-evolutionary change.  Similar examples of macro-evolution have been shown in other species as well, such as horses and donkeys, which are both equine species; attempts to interbreed them either do not work or result in sterile mules.  -0.5
 1. Reply #50

I do not disagree....however, "speciation will not produce radical biological structure dissimilarity resulting in a different animal, such is needed to support molecules-to-man evolution" http://creationwiki.org/Speciation

Quote
"Unless you ASSUME that common descent is true, you are affirming the consequent"[2]

His argument for why it's an "affirming the consequent" fallacy is that if evolution is true, micro-evolution occurred; micro-evolution occurred, therefore evolution is true.  However, the logic behind evolutionary theory doesn't work like that to begin with.  Evolution is simply the process by which life forms vary over time.  Micro-evolution is variation below the species level, and macro-evolution is variation above the species level.  So, the logic goes that since you have variation below the species level, then it is reasonable to conclude that there's variation above it too.  All it takes is having groups of the same species separated by geography or habitats, and they will eventually vary to the point where they can no longer viably interbreed and become different species, even if they are still physically similar, like tigers and lions. -1
 2. Reply #26

A “reasonable” conclusion does not equal a “scientific” conclusion. Again, "speciation will not produce radical biological structure dissimilarity resulting in a different animal, such is needed to support molecules-to-man evolution" http://creationwiki.org/Speciation

Quote
"Here again, you are affirming the consequent: If evolution is true, then macroevolution is the accumulation of microevolution. Microevolution has occurred. Therefore, evolution is true."[3]

This is the same flawed reasoning he used in reply #26.  As I said before, the logic behind evolutionary theory does not work in the way he describes here, and so my earlier counter will suffice. 1.Furthermore, science is not a logical proposition as he clearly implies both here and in #26.  Science is an examination of the natural world using predictions of what we will find, and modifying our conclusions (and subsequent predictions) based on that. 2.So, if evolution predicts that we should find both micro-evolutionary changes and macro-evolutionary changes, and we find micro-evolutionary changes, it strengthens the prediction that we should find macro-evolutionary changes, but it does not mean that scientists assume that we will. This is like how finally locating the Higgs boson strengthened the rest of the Higgs field theory, but even though scientists expected to find the Higgs boson for at least a decade or two before actually doing so, they still kept looking instead of just assuming they would find it and moving on to something else.  But just as we have to continue testing the predictions made by Higgs field theory, we also must continue testing the predictions made by evolutionary theory.  And not just testing them, but testing them in different ways to see if we can't find a flaw in it somewhere, because that's the most effective way to find out if we got something wrong somewhere.
 3. Reply #50

See bolded.

1.   I have not claimed that science is a logical proposition. However, any conclusion drawn from the evidence needs to be logically sound. Thus,  my position that a logical fallacy is at work within various claims.
2.   Yet, we find that the sequence you outlined is of often contrary to what we see happen. Take Foxy’s example of the chicken teeth. She introduced it as “Undeniable proof that morphology evolves, and that genetic mutations cause morphology to evolve in complex ways” yet she has no scientific evidence demonstrating how this evolution occurred. Not even close. Where is the scientific evidence that validates her claim.

Quote
"Evolutionists ASSUME that similarities in biological structures are the result of common ancestry and ASSUME that evolution is the cause…. which results in the belief that similarities are evidence of evolution. This is a clear case of begging the question."[4]

Except that neither of these are assumed to begin with, therefore his statement that it results in a belief that begs the question is not justified.  In fact, these two assumptions he lists are so blatantly fallacious that evolutionary theory never would have gotten off the ground if it needed to make them.  Evolution predicts common ancestry, so if it has to assume common ancestry to make that prediction, it would be obvious circular reasoning; evolution also predicts that variations will be conserved in descending generations, so to assume that evolution was the cause would also be circular reasoning.  Something that was that blatantly fallacious would not still be around, as mainstream science no less, well over a hundred years after someone came up with it.  It probably wouldn't have been around for ten years.  -1
 4. Reply #26

Personally, I think you are being rather naïve when expecting that your position is ALWAYS adhered to in the scientific community.

Frankly, you could have saved yourself some typing by just asking me to provide some evidence for my claim.

Here is an example of what I’m referring to:

“Most textbooks in biology defines homology as similarity due to common ancestry (as stated earlier), then claim that it is evidence for common ancestry — this type of reasoning commits a logical fallacy known as circular reasoning.  For example, you might ask your evolutionist teacher;
Student: What’s the evidence for evolution?
Teacher: Homology
Student: Would you please explain to me why homology proves evolution?
Teacher: Why, of course, similarities points to common ancestry or better yet common descent.
Student: So homology proves evolution?
Teacher: yes!

Or we can summarize our the dialogues above as follows; Evolution + Homology + Common Ancestry  Equals Evolution. A vicious circular reasoning indeed.

With its arbitrary reasoning, as demonstrated above, we can safely claim that similarities rather indicates a common Designer not “common ancestor.” In addition, the argument from similarity isn’t a conclusive evidence for Darwinism nor does it point for common ancestry. Homology is derived from their own interpretations concerning similarities between man and chimp. But who says that evolutionists interpretation is the only valid one?”
http://truthvanguard.com/2014/05/21/homology-a-common-ancestor/

Quote
"Why would you ask that whatever "instead of" I might provide have a scientific basis when macroevolution itself lacks a scientific basis?"[5]

If scientists had accepted something that was non-scientific as science, and it was eventually caught out (as it would be) then it would naturally stand to reason that they would want to make certain that whatever alternative was proposed for it was, in fact, scientific, so as to keep from having the same thing happen in the future.  This is simple logic, and should have been understood by BibleStudent without him having to ask why in the first place.  -0.5
 5. Reply #26

First, I don’t believe that you are a scientist and I was responding to a request YOU made. Second, your comments are indeed accurate IF you are worldview contains evolution as the exclusive and only explanation for life. Remember, you were asking your question to someone who is open to more than one possible explanation which is why I asked you why my response was confined to a scientific one.

Quote
"Let me just repeat that --> even if your conclusions are correct, you are ASSUMING that a biological pathway exists (or existed) that is/was capable of the producing the grand scale of evolution that you believe took place….and assumptions do not equal science."[6]

To reiterate my point from a bit ago, it is neither necessary nor wise to make this assumption, as it would be circular reasoning, since evolutionary theory predicts that such a biological pathway should exist.  Explanations which use circular reasoning don't last long when scientists start investigating them.  -1
 6. Reply #26

See bolded.
Yet, this is precisely what you are doing in the absence of an identified pathway capable of performing macroevolution.

Quote
"To this day, NOT A SINGLE PERSON has been able to demonstrate how the scientific method was employed to verify that a biological process exists (or existed) that is capable of producing soup-to-humans evolution. The pro-evolutionist claims that micro+micro=macro happens because….well….because they say it happened….not because they have the necessary science to back it up."[7]

The mistake BibleStudent is making here is in his apparent assumption that scientists have to produce a complete picture of his "soup-to-humans" evolutionary pathway in order to back up the statement that "micro+micro=macro".  Science does not work like a logical proof, where you need each step in sequence in order to reach the conclusion, and woe be to anyone who tries to skip a step.  Furthermore, he presumably knows this, since as he indicated later on in Reply #166, science is not in the business of proving things.  So in effect, he is demanding a scientific proof of a "soup-to-humans" evolutionary pathway here, even though he should know better than that.

So, whether he realizes it or not, his demand for a "soup-to-humans" evolutionary pathway, or any other 'complete' evolutionary pathway for that matter, is a red herring.  It is quite simply irrelevant to the discussion; the accuracy of "micro+micro=macro" can be evaluated using different criteria, such as comparisons between existing species (for example, tigers and lions).  The fact that tigers and lions are separate species means comparing them can be used to demonstrate macro-evolution, variation at or above the level of a species.  -0.5
 7. Reply #28

Can you employ the scientific method to demonstrate macroevolution or not? Instead of this long winded blather, why don’t you just explain:
1.   how I am wrong for requesting the use of the scientific method….or
2.   how I might be misinterpreting the scientific method….or
3.   how it has been used to test macroevolution.

Once again, "speciation will not produce radical biological structure dissimilarity resulting in a different animal, such is needed to support molecules-to-man evolution" http://creationwiki.org/Speciation

Quote
"Does a circular reference necessarily preclude my answer from being adequate?"[8]

It depends on how meaningful the answer is.  In this case, since the object of asking BibleStudent if he could explain what the theory of evolution is was to get an idea of how well he understood the subject, the fact that his explanation included a circular reference indicated that he might not be able to explain it without referring back to it.  For example, if someone were asked what baseball was, and their answer was that it was the sport of baseball, others might reasonably doubt that they actually knew very much about baseball.  -0.5
 8. Reply #52

What do the attributes of a circular reference have to do with the depth of my knowledge? I thought that was the whole purpose of your post.  I do not understand why you are even bringing this up.
 
Quote
"The sentence I bolded is intriguing. How does asking for scientific evidence for a scientific fact stem from badly flawed reasoning? Either it exists or it doesn't."[9]

For reference, he is responding to a statement I made in reply #47, namely, "To create the pretense that because scientists have not yet produced the specific evidence you are demanding, that macroevolution somehow does not have a scientific basis, is badly-flawed reasoning."  It should be clear from the context that he badly misunderstood the point I was trying to make, but I will nonetheless elaborate.

What he is doing here is not simply asking for scientific evidence.  He is asking for very specific scientific evidence, and keeps asserting that only the kind of evidence he asks for - a complete evolutionary pathway - can show that evolutionary theory has a scientific basis.  In other words, the badly flawed reasoning is that until someone can come up with the specific evidence he is demanding, evolutionary theory should not be considered scientific.  This despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence out there which is less specific than what he is demanding which still qualifies as scientific evidence.  This is actually a form of special pleading; unlike the typical form which demands special consideration for a particular claim without justifying why it should be, he is instead demanding that it be treated far more stringently without justifying why it should be.  -0.5
 9. Reply #50
Another unnecessary long winded assessment stemming from a very simple question that I asked.  For some strange and unexplainable reason, you seem to be of the opinion that my asking for scientific evidence based on the scientific method is a misunderstanding of how science operates. Why is that?

Quote
"So, basically what you are saying is that unless my “instead of” is scientific in nature, you will dismiss it outright….regardless of its veracity?"[10]

Except I said nothing of the sort.  I said that if he didn't want his particular alternative to evolutionary theory to be criticized as non-scientific, then it should have a scientific basis.  I also pointed out that his...reluctance to confirm that his alternative did have a scientific basis indicated that he knew it did not and that he thought if he could sufficiently discredit the scientific basis of evolutionary theory, then his alternative would not need a scientific basis either.
Quote
However, if evolution were somehow shown to be non-scientific, then whatever replaced it would have to have an actual scientific basis, because that's how science works; hypotheses never reach the level of a theory unless the consensus of scientists in that field is that it fits the evidence gathered through science.
Therefore, while his alternative would not be dismissed outright, it would need to conform to scientific evidence, thus showing that it had a scientific basis, in order to be accepted as evolution's replacement.  The fact that he stonewalled me when I asked him what his alternative was and if it had a scientific basis is a very bad sign for it ever being accepted as a scientific replacement for evolutionary theory.  -1
 10. Reply #50

Your contention here is that I failed to provide an alternative to evolution. Even if what you are asserting here is accurate, what does it have to do with whether I understand evolution or not? Isn’t that the intent of you starting this thread?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2015, 07:39:32 PM »
Kindly explain how the Last Universal Common Ancestor (LUCA) fits into your position.
Learn to read posts accurately, BibleStudent, because that's a big part of the reason you keep having so much trouble here.  You keep inserting your preconceived notions about evolution into people's answers and getting skewed ideas about what they said as a result.  In fact, I'd say that at least partially underlies every mistake of yours I pointed out in this post.

I said that evolution does not predict a single common ancestor, but that it predicts common ancestors.  It is the scientific evidence we have since discovered which has led us to LUCA, not the theory of evolution itself.  Meaning, your assumption that the theory of evolution always required LUCA or something like it is not correct and never has been correct.

Quote from: jaimehlers
There are two partially wrong statements here.  First, he is mistaken as to what he states the theory of evolution is.  The phylogenetic tree is a diagram scientists use to show our current understanding of the evolutionary relationships between species.  That means it's a work in progress, and so there is no reason to assume a single common ancestor, even if assuming that was not circular reasoning.  And second, so what if there is not a single common ancestor?  All that would actually mean is that scientists would have to figure out where those multiple common ancestors came from; it would not pose any real problem for the actual theory of evolution, which is only concerned with variation in life forms.  -1
Quote from: BibleStudent
See me above response regarding LUCA.
Your above response regarding LUCA does not actually address either of the points I raised here, namely that the phylogenetic tree is a work in progress and does not require us to assume that there is a single common ancestor, and that whether or not there is a common ancestor does not represent an actual problem for the theory of evolution.  Do us both a favor and respond to those specific points instead of presenting a statement about LUCA and acting like it answers the points I raised when it doesn't.

Quote from: BibleStudent
Yet you have STILL not provided a single scientific example of macroevolution. The simple fact the results of your Google search produced a number of hits does not necessarily validate that such evidence exists. This is an ‘argument from ignorance.”
Incorrect.  The only criteria for whether evidence is scientific is that it is empirical and that it accords with scientific methodology.  Here is your own analogy for what you expect to be presented as scientific evidence:  "Let's take an automobile as an example. If you asked how an automobile came to be an automobile, I could describe in detail how the raw materials were obtained, where they came from, how they were manufactured into parts and then assembled into the final product. If you had doubts about what I had told you, you would have the ability to observe, hypothesize, and test to your heart's content in order to determine if what I had laid out was accurate or not." (from Reply #181)

As is clearly evident from this post, you have tacked on additional requirements beyond the actual criteria for determining that something is scientific evidence, such as that it must be described in detail from start to finish, and that means that your claim that nobody has "provided a single scientific example of macroevolution" is flawed, to say the least.  Your additional requirements simply have no bearing on whether evidence is scientific or not.  That aside, while it is true that doing a Google search for evidence or even providing links to sites that claim to have it doesn't mean that it's scientific, it is easy enough to show whether the evidence they provide is scientific, by showing that it is empirical and that it accords with scientific methodology.

Perhaps, instead of tacking on additional requirements for you to consider the evidence which supports macro-evolution and dismissing the rest, you could explain why the evidence that the vast majority of biologists accept as supporting macro-evolution does not qualify as scientific - meaning, that it is either not empirical and or it is not based on scientific methodology.  Though if you do so, I recommend you create a new topic for it, or at least do so in a different topic than this one.

Quote from: BibleStudent
I do not recall asserting that a lab experiment was necessary. Please point me to the post where I indicated that.  I agree that “A bug trapped in amber is scientific evidence.”…and that “ A comparison of morphological structures between organisms separated by millions of years is scientific evidence. can be construed as scientific evidence. That is not the issue. The issue is that the conclusion is alleged to be evidence of macroevolution. This is not a fact. It is an assumption unless you are abe to demonstrate that such large morphological changes are possible by way of the scientific method.  Are you able to demonstrate this? If not, then you are simply using a form of circular reasoning.
I'll acknowledge that I was incorrect about you asserting that a laboratory was necessary.

That aside, your statement that, for example, the conclusion of a study (the comparison of morphological structures between organisms separated by millions of years) does not stand as evidence of macro-evolution and is instead an assumption is incorrect.  In order for something to be scientific evidence, it must be empirical and it must accord with scientific methodology.  The conclusion of this study is empirical, as other scientists can go through the comparison themselves and check to see whether the conclusion is accurate.  Furthermore, it can easily be confirmed if it accords with scientific methodology, as other scientists can and will verify that it does and will call it out if it does not.  Therefore, since the conclusion of a study is empirical and accords with scientific methodology, it stands as scientific evidence.  So, your assertion that scientists must be able to demonstrate that large morphological changes are possible in order to use the conclusion of a study as scientific evidence is simply false.  Such a demonstration would undoubtedly serve as strong corroborating evidence of the study, but the study, and its conclusion, are themselves scientific and can certainly be used as scientific evidence by other scientists.

This happens in every field of science, BibleStudent, not just evolutionary biology.

Quote from: BibleStudent
With regards to your comparison of the great dane and chihuahua , a book was published in the fairly recent past by geneticist Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig of the Max Planck Institutes in Germany: Unser Haushund: Eine Spitzmaus im Wolfspelz? I can’t read any of it because it’s written in German but I did find some commentary related to the study performed by Mr Lönnig and the findings of degenerative evolution.

” Dr. Lönnig shows forcefully that one of the chief examples Darwinists rely on to convince the public of macroevolution -- the enormous variation in dogs -- actually shows the opposite. Extremes in size and anatomy come at the cost of broken genes and poor health. Even several gene duplications were found to interfere strongly with normal growth and development as is also often the case in humans. So where is the evidence for Darwinian evolution now?” Michael Behe.

In other words, your example is nothing more than degeneration.
Michael Behe is not exactly the most, ahem, impartial source you could have chosen to support this assertion of yours.  For that matter, neither is this Dr. Lönnig, as he is apparently a member of Studiengemeinschaft Wort und Wissen, a German young-earth creationist organization.  It is no surprise at all to find that he would have written a book asserting that the variation we see in dogs represents "degenerative evolution".  Your example does not actually demonstrate that the variation in dog breeds is degeneration; it simply asserts it based off of a single questionable study done by a known young-earth creationist who had already reached that conclusion before doing that study.

Here is a different study done regarding the genetic variation between 28 dog breeds.  Notably, it doesn't even so much as mention this so-called "degenerative evolution", which is not a part of mainstream biology and should not be considered true simply because a relative handful of creationist scientists argue that it's happening.

Quote from: BibleStudent
Moving on:

----

So you see, Jaimehlers, my position is not something that I just made up out of ignorance. It is shared by a number of scientists far more capable of assessing the science than you or I.
I snipped your quote from Dr. Biedebach in order to save space.  I never argued that your position was made up out of ignorance.  I am well aware that there are some scientists, even biologists, who do not agree with evolutionary theory.  I have no real issue with their disagreement, as disagreement is healthy in science, although I would ask you just how many scientists share your position.  But what you are doing is much more than disagreeing.  What you have been doing in various evolution threads on this forum is asserting that because the specific kind of evidence you keep demanding is not forthcoming, that it does not exist at all and therefore evolution is an unscientific assumption

I realize you are probably taking a cue from things you have read, but the fact of the matter is that the approach you are taking is both unscientific and anti-science.  Neither you nor anyone gets to arbitrarily say that "there is no scientific evidence for macro-evolution" when there actually is scientific evidence for it, accepted as such by a huge percentage of biologists, and attempting to do so is unscientific.  Attempting to exclude that evidence anyway by claiming that it's just an assumption is anti-science.  It doesn't matter whether it's you or one of those scientists doing it.

Quote from: jaimehlers
Here, BibleStudent states that the scientific method cannot be employed to test macro-evolution.  While I will certainly acknowledge that macro-evolution is difficult to test using the scientific method because it operates over geological time scales, that is not the same thing as saying that it cannot be tested using the scientific method.  It is not even the same thing as saying that it cannot be tested using the scientific method right now.  It simply means that you have to take those factors into account.  For example, statisticians have to employ certain procedures in order to make sure they have a statistical sampling of data.  Paleontologists have to employ certain procedures in order to preserve as much information as possible about what they dig up.  So biologists who wish to investigate macro-evolution must utilize their own particular procedures to account for the quirks of studying something that happens over geological time.
Quote from: BibleStudent
See my previous response.
Your previous response does not address the points I raised here.  Do us both a favor and write a response that actually does.

Please wait until I have responded to the second part of what you wrote before responding, so that we can keep things straight.
A guide to the many flaws in BibleStudent's understanding of evolutionary theory - http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,28728.0.html

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 12:30:30 PM »
Incidentally, I found the statement by BibleStudent which led me to believe that he thought lab experiments were necessary to demonstrate macroevolution, in reply #26.  "Where is the scientific evidence (based on observable, repeatable, and falsifiable experiments) to demonstrate that an evolutionary mechanism can produce organs and limbs?"  In other words, his original statement had to do with experiments, not laboratories.  Based on this, it is unfortunately evident that BibleStudent expects scientists to physically reproduce via experiments things like the evolution of organs and limbs, "goo-to-humans", and so on, before he will acknowledge that there is any scientific validity to macroevolution.  This attitude is itself not scientific; it is simply an attempt to shift the burden of proof away from creationists, who have completely and abjectly failed to ever demonstrate the slightest shred of evidence for special creation.

Indeed, he admitted as much in reply #831 - that his approach here was determined by the demands of others that he demonstrate that intelligent design was scientific - that it followed the scientific method and utilized empirical evidence.  He was completely unable to do so, and as such is not even attempting to argue any longer that intelligent design creationism is scientific.  Instead, he has, practically from his first post in that thread, attempted to argue that macroevolution is not scientific, as if that would make any difference.  Even if he successfully had demonstrated that macroevolution is not scientific - which he did not accomplish, despite his declaration to that effect in reply #897; the only thing he actually showed is that nobody was able to give him the specific evidence chains he asked for - all it would do is prompt scientists to look for an alternative that was scientific.  It would not suddenly make them look at intelligent design creationism in a new light, as if its 'failure' to be scientific meant that it was somehow okay to accept other non-scientific things into science.

I think his problem is at a very fundamental level.  As he said in reply #674, science only recognizes natural explanations.  Now, he put this as a complaint, in the sense that various "alternative explanations", such as intelligent design creationism, are unfortunately rejected as scientific regardless of whatever we might learn from them.  Yet this is a misnomer.  Philosophy is not scientific, and yet, it is not automatically rejected because of this.  Therefore his statement is wrong; furthermore, his idea that the solution is to attempt to take something that is science and set an absurdly high standard for it to meet in order for him to consider it scientific is wrongheaded.  If we used a comparable standard of evidence in other sciences, virtually all of them would fail it.  This defeats the purpose of having science in the first place, though I suspect he would have few problems with that since it would seemingly put his beliefs back on par with science.

Except that it would not.  For scientists would simply continue using the real standards of evidence that scientists use, rather than BibleStudent's inflated notion of what they should use, and his beliefs would still not be able to meet it.  And furthermore, macroevolution would still meet that standard - whatever his opinion of experts, per reply #876, I see no reason to doubt that they at least know how to do the jobs they've been trained for.  So, his only rational options at this point are to either concede that his beliefs are not scientific, or to come up with some way to demonstrate them as being scientific.  Of course, there are plenty of irrational options, such as trying to create the pretense that things he disagrees with are not scientific because he's set a standard of evidence that nobody could meet in any discipline - including theology! - but the folly of this approach has already been demonstrated.  Even his fatuous closing statement was nothing more than an attempt to distract people's attention from the fact that he had utterly failed to show that macroevolution was not scientific - as I stated previously, all he really showed is that none of us here could present the excessively high standard of evidence he was demanding.  That is now how you show that something is not scientific.

I intend to put at least a couple more replies in this thread, including the one I promised some time ago.
A guide to the many flaws in BibleStudent's understanding of evolutionary theory - http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,28728.0.html

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2015, 02:28:37 AM »
I corresponded with the author (John Wilkins) of the article that BibleStudent repeatedly insisted fully mirrored his point of view, and with his permission, I am posting my query to him and his response.

Quote from: jaimehlers
I wanted to say that this is a pretty nice article and useful reading.

However, it was brought to my attention by a creationist trying to cherry-pick it to support his arguments that macroevolution is a non-scientific assumption on a forum.  If you'd like a link to the thread in question, I will be happy to provide it.

Here are some examples of what I mean.

"I never said nor even implied that the article indicated macroevolution was an assumption. What I have been saying and what the article pointed out is that claiming micro=macro without supporting evidence is an assumption. Therefore, it was supporting what I have been saying throughout the thread --> no scientific evidence equals assumption and that micro does not automatically equal macro."

"It has been my position that barriers do exist because there is no scientific evidence for anything beyond microevolution....hence, the "this question is still unresolved amongst specialists" comment made in the article."

Basically, he cribbed a few sentences out of the conclusion and asserted that this was exactly what he had been trying to argue all along.  When I tried to point out to him that this was not the case, he accused me of making false accusations and being dishonest.

I realize you may not even see this, and it certainly isn't worth a huge amount of time to combat the misconceptions of a single creationist...but I thought I should draw his misuse of your article to your attention.

Quote from: John Wilkins
Thanks for the nice comments. Of course the creationist has misunderstood what I wrote. In fact I do think macroevolution is just iterated microevolution. And of course there is evidence for macroevolution - so much so that it is embarrassing how much, from speciation to much larger scale evolution.

My article is on the view that there are causal processes beyond what happens in microevolution that cause macroevolution. I believe this is due to a misunderstanding by some biologists of the factors involved in microevolution - I believe environmental factors play a role in both. What is different is that microevolution typically doesn’t involve major geological and climatological variation, but there’s nothing much to distinguish the two types, and in any case I think the distinction is artificial.

I hope this helps
In short, the point he was trying to make by writing the article is that there are possibly causal processes beyond microevolution which contribute to macroevolution (although he disagrees), not that microevolution leading to macroevolution is an unsupported assumption.  In short, neither the article nor its conclusion mirrored BibleStudent's argument in this thread.  At most, he is saying that it is debatable whether there are additional causal factors besides microevolution which contribute to macroevolution, but even if there are, microevolution is still a critically important causal factor of macroevolution.

In short, iterated microevolution + environmental changes over time = macroevolution, with the possibility that there might be other factors involved in that equation.  But the possible existence of other causal factors does not justify treating what we've already discovered as non-scientific assumptions.
A guide to the many flaws in BibleStudent's understanding of evolutionary theory - http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,28728.0.html

Offline median

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2015, 11:05:51 AM »
I just have to say WOW Jaime, a very awesome job here. As is the case with most creationists, what we have found with Mr. BibleStudent is that he is willing to set up false standards of evidence for what gets to count as science (and hypocritical ones b/c he wouldn't use them in other contexts). He is willing to misrepresent the Theory of Evolution, misquote, cherry-pick, and misrepresent what actual evolutionists say about the ToE, and stubbornly pretend that if he can somehow tear down the ToE that it must mean creationism has a stake in the science game. Well, he has failed miserably to do what he initially set out to do (just like Johnson, Behe, Dembski, and Meyer have failed to tear down the ToE as well). Rigid ideology is a terrible thing, it seems.

But you know what? I failed at tearing it down too! When I was a Christian, I remember getting into debates just like this one, and getting schooled on what the ToE actually is (after many, many hours of trying to disprove it). I took classes on Biological Anthropology, Biology, and Geology. It was only years later that my mind was changed.

Aren't there some Universities that now have free online courses? I'm excited about those.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2015, 11:09:34 AM by median »
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2015, 08:37:35 PM »
Aren't there some Universities that now have free online courses? I'm excited about those.

There are some good biology video courses available on YouTube.

Berkeley does a two term course in basic biology 1A and 1B which includes lectures on evolution.

Yale does a course called Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour and another course called Evolution and Medicine, both more advanced.
The Foxy Freedom antitheist website is http://the6antitheist6guide6.blogspot.co.uk

The 2nd edition of the free ebook Devil or Delusion ? The danger of Christianity to Democracy Freedom and Science.       http://t.co/2d1KcJ9V

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: The various flaws in BibleStudent's thinking on evolution
« Reply #8 on: Today at 09:02:16 AM »
The thing is, all of these things that I've pointed out regarding BibleStudent's flawed evolutionary knowledge are merely symptoms, and it usually doesn't do a lot of good just to treat the symptoms.

The core of his problem with evolutionary theory is that because a significant part of it isn't immediately experimentally verifiable, he thinks it's justified to dismiss the parts that aren't as non-scientific.  But that isn't true; the fact that something can't be experimentally verified at a given point in time doesn't mean that it isn't scientific.  It just means that it isn't demonstrated yet.  It took over 40 years and billions of dollars to get to the point where we could even start looking for the Higgs boson via experiments, but that didn't mean it wasn't scientific until the point where we could test it.

It may be hundreds of years, or longer, before we can properly demonstrate macroevolution via experiments, never mind the price tag, but that doesn't justify sitting here acting like it isn't scientific in the meantime.  That attitude is what really isn't scientific, because what it amounts to is dismissing something as science without doing the experiments to show that it isn't.  That's fundamentally irrational and the opposite of doing science.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/qc/when_science_cant_help/
A guide to the many flaws in BibleStudent's understanding of evolutionary theory - http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,28728.0.html