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Civil Discourse Not Tolerated by Darwinist

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Jason Rosenhouse has written a blog about Michael Ruse and William Dembski. His complaint against Ruse, among other things, is that Ruse is too cordial, too civil with ID supporters, Dembski especially.

And while I may dislike and disagree with Ruse’s thinking, it is his actions over the last several years that I loathe and detest. I hate the way he has been doing everything in his power to prop up the ID folks. I hate that he persuaded a presitgious university press to publish a book co-edited by William Dembski, which featured four essays defending “Darwinism” that seemed tailor made to make evolution look bad. I hate that he contributes essays to anthologies designed to celebrate ID promoters and that he tells debate audiences that Dembski has made valuable contributions to science. Go here for relevant links and further details.

Rosenhouse hates quite a lot. What Rosenhouse also finds intolerable is that Ruse would even entertain the idea that an atheist Darwinist like Ruse gives any credence whatsoever to the proposition that religion is not the world’s greatest evil:

Michael Ruse has a very bad op-ed in The Guardian. Jerry Coyne and P. Z. Myers have already laid into him (here and here respectively), but why should they have all the fun? Ruse writes:

If you mean someone who agrees that logically there could be a god, but who doesn’t think that the logical possibility is terribly likely, or at least not something that should keep us awake at night, then I guess a lot of us are atheists. But there is certainly a split, a schism, in our ranks. I am not whining (in fact I am rather proud) when I point out that a rather loud group of my fellow atheists, generally today known as the “new atheists”, loathe and detest my thinking.

Amateur hour.

If the new atheists (folks like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett) are making the party line, Rosenhouse is just towing it like a pack mule. But be forewarned, all you young lurkers, because Rosenhouse can’t tolerate nine year old’s either:

A while back I was a counselor at a summer camp, keeping an eye on a group of rowdy nine year olds. One of the kids was taunted relentlessly by the others for his incessant whining. He did not help his cause by answering such taunts with, “I don’t whine!” said in a pathetically whiny tone of voice.

If you have to tell people you are not whining, you’re whining.

Rosenhouse would, not doubt, maintain that he himself is not whining.

Ruse writes:

Second, unlike the new atheists, I take scholarship seriously. I have written that The God Delusion made me ashamed to be an atheist and I meant it. Trying to understand how God could need no cause, Christians claim that God exists necessarily. I have taken the effort to try to understand what that means. Dawkins and company are ignorant of such claims and positively contemptuous of those who even try to understand them, let alone believe them. Thus, like a first-year undergraduate, he can happily go around asking loudly, “What caused God?” as though he had made some momentous philosophical discovery.

Indeed, it is an uneducated question that Ruse is right to point out. It is based on the assumption that everything, even supernatural things, need a first cause. Natural things do need a first cause, but I don’t see how we could logically apply natural rules to supernatural things. Yet Dawkins is so steeped in materialism, that I presume he smuggles in material necessities, such as the necessary first cause argument, even when thinking about the immaterial and supernatural. I appreciate that Ruse is trying to understand the argument, while the new atheists and Rosenhouse don’t seem to be, or maybe they are just too dense to understand, or too lost to care, or both.

The rest of his blog is much of the same kind of argument. I would say it’s childish, but that would be an offense to children, for children, in their innocence, have more of a sense of fairness and respect for their fellows than Rosenhouse has. Praise for Michael Ruse for having intellectual integrity instead of a rabid dog in the fight. The response that Rosenhouse has is, I suspect, the result of a poor education.

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”

~C.S. Lewis

Although, I have to admit, Rosenhouse is not even clever.

103 Replies to “Civil Discourse Not Tolerated by Darwinist

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    “Although, I have to admit, Mr. Rosenhouse is not even clever.”

    He is also fairly stupid. I know he has a PhD in mathematics but he failed to understand the implications of Behe’s Edge of Evolution and on his blog mocked him because of his short sidedness. So he seems to be a creature of impulses.

    Rosenhouse is an ideologue whose thinking is driven by his internal convictions which may not be anything he can do about. He is an example of someone who might not have free will and can be the result of molecules hitting other molecules and thus “determined.” This phenomena seems to prevalent in a certain class of our society.

  2. 2
    todd says:

    He is an example of someone who might not have free will and can be the result of molecules hitting other molecules and thus “determined.” This phenomena seems to prevalent in a certain class of our society

    Just like astrology! Alignment of molecules, alignment of stars – the difference is only a matter of scale.

  3. 3
    Leslie says:

    Todd, that’s a very interesting point. Figure out the alignment, and you’ll figure out everything else. It’s particularly interesting seeing as Darwinists like to compare ID to Astrology.

  4. 4

    In other news, dog bites man. Is this thread somehow intended to show that evolutionary biologists in general are intolerant of civil discourse? If so, at what level would one accept this hypothesis? When one has shown, via empirical observation, that greater than 95% (i.e. alpha < 0.05) of evolutionary biologists are intolerant of civil discourse?

    How is this "observation" not simply an example of anecdotal evidence?

  5. 5
    Clive Hayden says:

    Allen_MacNeill,

    The title is Civil Discourse Not Tolerated by Darwinist, singular, not Darwinists, plural. But this is the fourth blog I’ve written in as many weeks about censorship and an attack on civil discourse originating with Darwinists. It is anecdotal, and the anecdotes keep pouring in.

  6. 6

    Let them pour in. Anecdotal evidence remains just that: anecdotal. Let me ask once again, is this thread somehow intended to show that evolutionary biologists in general are intolerant of civil discourse? If so, at what level would one accept this hypothesis? And if not (if, as you seem to imply, the intent in this thread is to show that Jason Rosenhouse is intolerant of civil discourse, what precisely is your point in doing so? Do you expect anyone reading this thread to mistake this kind of argument for something resembling rationality or, for that matter, civil discourse?

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    Having witnessed discussions by Darwinists on the internet, I have seen few if any civil discourse by them relative to ID. The exceptions are those sites where the moderator maintains a respect for ID. I bet a fly on the wall at a departmental meeting of evolutionary biologists would have some revealing comments on what they actually say and believe when no one is available to observe or record.

    For example, try Panda’s Thumb which I believe once was described as the best or one of the best science sites on the internet.

  8. 8
    tragic mishap says:

    It never continues to amaze me that atheists think a first cause is such a big problem for God but not for matter.

  9. 9
    PaulBurnett says:

    Leslie (#3) correctly pointed out that “ It’s particularly interesting seeing as Darwinists like to compare ID to Astrology.

    I hope you all know you have Michael Behe to thank for that.

    In the 2005 Dover trial, this infamous exchange took place:

    “Q But you are clear, under your definition, the definition that sweeps in intelligent design, astrology is also a scientific theory, correct? A Yes, that’s correct.” – http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/day11pm.html

    This unfortunate comparison has provided endless delight for the anti-ID crowd.

  10. 10
    Clive Hayden says:

    Allen_MacNeill,

    Let me ask once again, is this thread somehow intended to show that evolutionary biologists in general are intolerant of civil discourse?

    No, I have already answered that question. Like I said, a Darwinist, the subject of my post, was the subject of the post.

  11. 11

    Thank you for that clarification, Clive.

  12. 12
    avocationist says:

    @8,
    It never continues to amaze me that atheists think a first cause is such a big problem for God but not for matter.

    Exactly so! In my opinion, even the existence of one molecule is proof of the existence of something very like God. Because if you look only materially, you can realize that all things as we know them require a cause. We cannot have a situation of true nothingness, giving rise to anything at all. Just ain’t gonna happen. So they say that matter “just is.” Well, that imputes to matter some pretty strange properties – that of endless existence, that of requiring no cause. That of being self-existent and not dependent upon anything. There’s no other choice.

    Anything which exists by its very nature and has no prior cause, being therefore the source of existence, is by definition, God.

    So anyway, either the atheists have not thought very deeply, or they believe that matter has some very, very strange properties that are mind-boggling and mystical.

  13. 13
    avocationist says:

    oops, quote function didn’t work.

  14. 14
    avocationist says:

    And let me add that anything which is self-existent and requires no cause must also be eternal.

  15. 15
    Leslie says:

    Maybe I’m just ignorant here, and I’d be glad to be corrected if I am, but why wouldn’t astrology be a scientific theory? I’m not saying it’s a good one by any means. I just mean, it’s a theory about the way the universe works. You could devise tests to see if it is true or false, I would think. I guess it doesn’t fit the NAS definition, but why should I give a crap how they decide to define a word? Are they the gate keepers of the English language? It seems odd to me for skeptics of ID to jump on comparing ID to astrology based upon semantics.

  16. 16
    Leslie says:

    Sorry, that was at Paul #9

  17. 17
    Upright BiPed says:

    Allen,

    How flakey and disingenuous can you be?

    “Is this thread somehow intended to show that evolutionary biologists in general are intolerant of civil discourse?” (with ID proponents)

    Come on. Even to pretend that evolutionary biologists offer ID a fair hearing is a full load of crap and you know it. And please, save us the junket to Allenland where you have Behe in for the day. That tactic rates right up there with the 3/5th clause, and has the same net effect.

    And don’t pretend that you yourself are one iota any different when it comes to civil discourse. Example (five recent posts of pointless mockery right in a row):

    Let me see if I get this straight: the Intelligent Designer put all that non-coding DNA into the genomes of every eukaryote in order to make it possible for a few restricted clades of nocturnal mice to be able to see better in the dark, right?

    Or, the Intelligent Designer put all of that non-coding DNA in … …right?

    And the Intelligent Designer did this by designing DNA polymerase billions of years ago so that it would… …right?

    And the Intelligent Designer also crafted some of the non-coding sequences to look exactly like… …right?

    Holy Mice Eyes, Batman!

    Wait, those would be Fledermice, wouldn’t they, and the Intelligent Designer crafted the pinnae… …right?
    Just out of curiosity, does anyone here want to hazard a guess…

    And, while we’re at it, stephenB (I know you’re out there), were the biologists who discovered…

    Sorry, I forgot: the Intelligent Designer works in mysterious ways, and always covers His tracks so that there is never a scrap of empirical evidence that can unambiguously reveal His intervention in nature. After all, if He did, the rest of us would eventually figure out that He cared about some nocturnal mice so much that He arranged the last few billion years of evolution of the eukaryotic genome just for them.

    And don’t give us any crap that biology is a tough business, and you were just asking the tough questions. It has long been noted that when you square off with someone of your own level of training you cut and run when the questions get tough. Example:

    Allen to Timaeus:

    “That is, it’s existence is clearly and unambiguously the result of a teleological process, the goal of which was the bringing into existence of the object or process. How would one devise a controlled experiment to do this? Or, if you prefer, what kind of empirical evidence would one collect that would unambiguously eliminate either a non-teleological hypothesis? And please, no arguments by analogy (i.e. it looks purposeful, ergo it is purposeful). Such arguments are not logically compelling.

    Timaeus to Allen:

    As for your last question, exactly the same question can be addressed to Darwinists. What experiment could unambiguously eliminate the Darwinian hypothesis (macroevolution caused by mutations plus natural selection etc.)? If one hypothetical evolutionary pathway from land mammals to whales is falsified, the Darwinists just come up with another one. And they hang on to that one until fossil evidence or genetic evidence or radioactive dating evidence or whatnot makes that one impossible. Then they come up with another one. A while ago it was a hippo-like animal that was the supposed ancestor of the whale; now it’s a wolf-like one. Five years from now it may be a rodent-like one. Never do Darwinists entertain for a moment the possibility that whales *could not* have evolved by entirely naturalistic means from land mammals. For to entertain that possibility would mean to entertain the possibility that whales may have been specially engineered, and that conclusion, even if it is derived entirely from biological data and not at all from any religious teaching, the Darwinists will simply not allow.
    Or am I wrong? Can you give me an example of a “killer observation” or “killer experiment” that would falsify Darwinism completely? And please don’t use “the Cambrian rabbit ploy”. That tired old Cambrian rabbit, whose ears are getting sore from being pulled out of the hat so many times by Darwinists, would indeed falsify common descent. But many ID proponents accept common descent, e.g., Behe, Denton, and they do not expect to find a Cambrian rabbit. Common descent is not the point in debate between ID proper and Darwinism. The issue is, within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided? I have asked this question over and over again, and never have I spoken to or read a Darwinist who has an answer for it. And being somewhat of a Popperian in philosophy of science (unfashionable, I know, but I was never much for fashion), I would argue that any hypothesis for which this question cannot be answered is not really a scientific hypothesis, but a vague, airy speculation. So, is Darwinian evolution a falsifiable hypothesis, or not? If so, how could it be falsified? If not, why should it be regarded as science?

    Allen to Timaeus”

    Sorry, can’t post now. Everyone in my family…(sick)

    …several days later…

    Upright to MacNeil

    Mr MacNeill, would you now consider returning to the conversation you were having with Timaeus.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com…..ent-305327

    Result: MacNeil leaves thread.

    Timaeus to Biped and MacNeil

    I’d be glad to continue that conversation with Allen MacNeill. Dr. MacNeill discontinued that conversation, I thought temporarily, because everyone in his family had caught a flu bug or something. But he never returned to it. If he wishes to, I’m ready, and eager for a reply to my last post on that other thread.

    Result: MacNeil leaves thread

    BiPed to MacNeil

    Mr MacNeill,
    This will now be the fourth time I’ve posted this request to you on threads that you are currently involved in.

    If there is no response this time, I will assume that you do not intend on responding and draw whatever conclusions are appropriate.

    I am requesting that you please return to the conversation you were having with Timaeus, prior to your untimely flu outbreak. He has alreasdy indicated he is prepared to continue.

    The conversation is HERE

    Jerry then says:

    Upright BiPed, You are witnessing the MacNeill gallop as he rushes in and splays the environment with a ray of rhetoric and then rides off.

    Result: MacNeil leaves thread.

    – – – – – – – – –

    Allen is ignoring tough questions part of the process of science in which you say you wish to defend?

    Gimme a break.

  18. 18
    Clive Hayden says:

    I remember when Allen ducked and ran for cover too from Timaeus.

  19. 19

    The H1N1 epidemic that so recently swept through my family has for the moment abated (I seem to be resistant, having been exposed in the late 1950s and early 1970s…knock on wood), and so here is my response Re Timaeus:

    What experiment could unambiguously eliminate the Darwinian hypothesis (macroevolution caused by mutations plus natural selection etc.)?

    Let me rephrase this: What empirical (i.e. observational) evidence would falsify the hypothesis that a combination of variation, inheritance, fecundity, and differential survival and reproduction (the four prerequisites of biological evolution) can produce both microevolution (i.e. changes in the frequencies of identifiable genotypes and phenotypes in discrete populations) and macroevolution (i.e. divergence of single panmictic populations into two or more reproductively isolated populations)?

    This one is actually surprisingly easy, once one lays out the parameters of the question. As in the case of all scientific tests of hypotheses, one would simply have to show that at least one of the foregoing prerequisites for micro- and/or macroevolution were not met (and especially that they were inadequate to produce the observable patterns of adaptation and diversification in nature) to confidently falsify the evolutionary hypothesis. So, here goes:

    1) Variation: Is there sufficient genetic and phenotypic variation to allow for the production of all of the variants observed in nature?

    Yes; see http://evolutionlist.blogspot......awman.html

    Indeed, not only is there sufficient variation to produce all of the forms observed in biology, there is way to much. The interesting question is not “can you get here from there”, but rather “why don’t the ‘engines of variation’ result in the dissolution of coherence in natural populations? The answer is in # 4 (below)

    2) Inheritance: Are the known mechanisms of genetic and phenotypic inheritance sufficient to explain the transmission of all of the relevant biological traits that are proposed to have evolved?

    Yes; see any introductory genetics textbook (I recommend Genetics: From Genes to Genomes, by Hartwell et al: http://www.amazon.com/Genetics.....038;sr=8-8 )

    3) Fecundity: Are the observed rates of reproduction and mortality consistent with the Malthusian hypothesis that not all individuals who are born can live long enough to reproduce?

    Yes; see any introductory textbook on population biology (I recommend Introduction to Population Biology, by Dick Neal: http://www.amazon.com/Introduc.....038;sr=1-2 )

    4) Differential survival and reproduction (demography): Are the observed rates of differential survival and reproduction in natural populations sufficient to demonstrate the demographic shifts now used to characterize evolution?

    Yes: see any introductory textbook on evolutionary biology (I recommend Evolutionary Analysis, 4th Edition, by Freeman & Herron: http://www.amazon.com/Evolutio.....038;sr=1-1 )

    Caveat: All of the references cited above require fairly considerable mathematical skills (equivalent to at least that required to do engineering physics at the university level). As J. B. S. Haldane first noted in the 1930s, modern evolutionary biology is essentially a branch of applied mathematics

    Summary: On the basis of the foregoing, I conclude that current microevolutionary theory is indeed up to the task of explaining the patterns of adaptation/exaptation observed in natural populations of living organisms. Furthermore, it is becoming clear that not only is there sufficient variational resources to allow for such evolution, there is very nearly too much: without natural selection constantly winnowing down the amount of variation that arises in natural populations, such populations would almost inevitably tend to disintegrate into the kind of genotypic and phenotypic incoherence that characterizes the products of artificial breeding (e.g. animals and plants that are incapable of surviving and/or reproducing without human intervention, or which simply go extinct as the result of genetic collapse).

    If one hypothetical evolutionary pathway from land mammals to whales is falsified, the Darwinists just come up with another one. And they hang on to that one until fossil evidence or genetic evidence or radioactive dating evidence or whatnot makes that one impossible. Then they come up with another one.

    This is exactly what the scientific method requires: if evidence is discovered that falsifies an hypothesis, that hypothesis must necessarily be changed to accomodate that evidence. This is why science (unlike religion and some branches of metaphysics) is constantly changing in response to new discoveries. Citing this as an objection to evolutionary theory simply betrays a complete misunderstanding on the part of Timaeus on what science is about and how scientists do science. If the various theories of evolutionary biology were not modified to integrate new findings, they would not be science at all, but just another form of dogma. Evolutionary biology has changed in many significant ways over the past 150 years; such change is a testimony to its quality as a natural science, grounded in empirical investigation.

    A while ago it was a hippo-like animal that was the supposed ancestor of the whale; now it’s a wolf-like one.

    Actually, Timaeus has this exactly backwards. Prior to the advent of comparative genomics, the evolutionary phylogeny of the order Cetacea was based primarily on shared derived anatomical characteristics (especially differences in teeth and skeletal morphology). However, with new data about the underlying genomics of the Cetacea, it is now clear that their closest living relatives are the members of the order Artiodactyla (also known as the “even-toed ungulates”). Furthermore, among the Artiodactyla, the closest clade to the Cetacea is indeed the hippos (family Hippopotamidae). Interestingly, this conclusion rests mostly on genetic sequences that are not adaptive, since such sequences tend to be conserved as a result of natural selection, and are therefore of doubtful utility in reconstructing evolutionary phylogenies.

    Never do Darwinists entertain for a moment the possibility that whales *could not* have evolved by entirely naturalistic means from land mammals.

    This is extraordinarily difficult to do, as proving a negative is virtually impossible using standard logical arguments. Instead, what all scientists do is to formulate empirically testable hypotheses that can be empirically falsified, and then test them using field and laboratory observations and experiments. That’s what you do when you do science; when ID supporters start to do this (and not until then), rather than engage in untested speculation, their published results will be integrated into the body of scientific theory. This was Phillip Johnson’s position on how ID could eventually gain scientific credibility. Unfortunately for ID, virtually no one has taken Johnson’s advice.

    For to entertain that possibility would mean to entertain the possibility that whales may have been specially engineered, and that conclusion, even if it is derived entirely from biological data and not at all from any religious teaching, the Darwinists will simply not allow.

    Again, this is a “diagnosis by exclusion”, which again is virtually impossible using standard investigative methods. Given the way the empirical sciences work, it is quite literally impossible to conclude that any generalized phenomenon can’t happen, except when the phenomenon under investigation has been shown to be demonstrably different than predicted by the hypothesis being tested. This means that until all possible avenues of investigation have been exhausted, the generalizations which have been formulated to guide those investigations are still provisionally acceptable. That this is still the case with evolutionary biology is demonstrated by the increasing volume of empirical results published in the scientific literature. If evolutionary theory had been exhaustively tested and found inadequate, then it would have slowly run out of hypotheses to test. Exactly the opposite has happened: there is now more research being published in evolutionary biology than ever before in the history of science. Furthermore, not only are the underlying concepts of evolutionary biology not fading away, they are being applied to fields of intellectual endeavor formerly thought beyond the scope of biology: economics, psychology, sociology, and even art, literature, and cuisine.

    Or am I wrong? Can you give me an example of a “killer observation” or “killer experiment” that would falsify Darwinism completely?

    Yes; the sudden appearance of the spontaneous origin of a massively coordinated set of integrated genetic code that produces an entirely new suite of adaptive phenotypic characteristics, without any of the currently known mechanisms of genotypic and phenotypic variation (again, see http://evolutionlist.blogspot......awman.html for a comprehensive list of such mechanisms). Nothing like this has so far been published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. If and when it is, rest assured that the person (or, more likely, research group) who publishes it will be a shoe-in for the Crafoord Prize, or even a “modified” Nobel (such as the 1973 prize awarded to the founders of evolutionary ethology, Konrad Lorenz, Niko Tinbergen, and Karl von Frisch).

    The issue is, within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided?

    An empirical observation of the sudden appearance of the spontaneous origin of a massively coordinated set of integrated genetic code that produces an entirely new suite of adaptive phenotypic characteristics, without any of the currently known mechanisms of genotypic and phenotypic variation. This hasn’t been published yet, and so until it is (if it ever is) the “design hypothesis” remains an untested speculation.

    I have asked this question over and over again, and never have I spoken to or read a Darwinist who has an answer for it.

    Now you have.

    [B]eing somewhat of a Popperian in philosophy of science…,I would argue that any hypothesis for which this question cannot be answered is not really a scientific hypothesis, but a vague, airy speculation.

    As a Popperian (and Kuhnian) in the philosophy of science myself, I entirely agree: demonstrate for me exactly how one would empirically falsify the “design hypothesis” and then do so using empirical methods. Then get packed for your trip to Sweden; the Crafoord Prize is given for biology once every four years, but if you’re young (and your published results are sufficiently convincing), I’m sure you’ll make the trip!

    So, is Darwinian evolution a falsifiable hypothesis, or not?

    Yes; evolutionary biologists are trying to falsify their hypotheses every time they go into the field or the lab. And they are succeeding; if they weren’t, it wouldn’t be necessary to constantly update the textbooks.

    If so, how could it be falsified?

    Not by asserting that “you can’t get here from there” (i.e. by asserting that IC and CSI cannot come about by natural mechanisms), but rather by showing empirically that “you can get here from there”, but only by means of a mechanism that is not emcompassed within the currently recognized mechanisms of evolutionary change. That’s how evo-devo and serial endosymbiosis became integrated into evolutionary theory.

    If not, why should it be regarded as science?

    It is regarded as a science, not only by the overwhelming majority of scientists worldwide, but also by the numerous public and private agencies that fund the ongoing research upon which the evolving science of evolutionary biology is based. Believe me, if those agencies thought that evolutionary biologists were somehow engaged in a scam to fleece them without producing results, such funding would immediately and permanently cease. There are no more skeptical inquirers than the people who award grants to evolutionary biologists. If they continue to do so (and they do, at ever-increasing rates in a rapidly expanding group of fields of investigation), it should stand to reason that they 1) believe that such research is in fact productive, and 2) that the people doing such research know what they’re talking about.

  20. 20
    Mark Frank says:

    Clive

    I remember when Allen ducked and ran for cover too from Timaeus.

    In every debate on the internet your opponents appear to be rude, full of irrelevant criticism, and unwilling or unable to listen to your point of view which, of course, you present in a polite but logically compelling fashion. It comes with the medium. It is really hard to avoid. If I said what I really thought about some of the contributions here then I would be banned from this debate in about 5 minutes and also learn nothing in the process.

    Some of the biggest problems I come across are:

    * Being drawn into the same argument a hundred times. You know the moves that everyone is going to make – why do it again?
    * Being drawn into an argument where you have so little in common that nothing is learned by either side. It becomes the equivalent of a shouting match.
    * Being confronted with a 1000 words plus references when you only have 10 minutes to respond. How do you withdraw without appearing to be beaten?
    * Avoiding the desire to have the last word. No one ever finishes by saying “Oh I see – I was quite wrong!”

    I can’t speak for Allen but I guess some of the above were part of his unwillingness to be drawn into the debate with Timeaus. I note that it began by him asking for Timeaus for an experiment or evidence relating to a teleological explanation. In reply Timeaus did not attempt to provide such an experiment or evidence but instead asked for the equivalent for “Darwinian evolution”.

  21. 21

    How is it “ducking” and “running for cover” when I post long responses that aren’t released from moderation for hours, days, and sometimes longer? It’s very frustrating to work on a long, detailed response, and then watch it linger in “moderation hell”, while being accused of not responding. Or is this actually the unspoken intent of the moderators – to give the impression of non-response by preventing timely responses?

    This comment was submitted on Thursday 5 November at 07:29 EST; how long did it take to appear here?

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Mark Frank:

    Hugh Ross has developed a “Old Earth” Creation Model which he compares against all other models (Evolution, Young Earth etc..). Of course the model is successful because not only does it explain existing evidence better than any other model but it also explains (predicts?) the evidence that is currently being discovered better than any other model:

    Here is a video:

    “Creation as Science” – Hugh Ross – A Testable Creation Model – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....3183645446

    This summary lists just 20 of the numerous successful predictions made by the Reasons To Believe model.

    1. transcendent creation event
    2. cosmic fine-tuning
    3. fine-tuning of the earth’s, solar system’s, and Milky Way Galaxy’s characteristics
    4. rapidity of life’s origin
    5. lack of inorganic kerogen
    6. extreme biomolecular complexity
    7. Cambrian explosion
    8. missing horizontal branches in the fossil record
    9. placement and frequency of “transitional forms” in the fossil record
    10. fossil record reversal
    11. frequency and extent of mass extinctions
    12. recovery from mass extinctions
    13. duration of time windows for different species
    14. frequency, extent, and repetition of symbiosis
    15. frequency, extent, and repetition of altruism
    16. speciation and extinction rates
    17. recent origin of humanity
    18. huge biodeposits
    19. Genesis’ perfect fit with the fossil record
    20. molecular clock rates

    http://www.reasons.org/rtbs-cr.....tion-model

  23. 23
    derwood says:

    jerry wrote:

    “He is also fairly stupid…. because of his short sidedness. ”

    I believe the phrase is “shortsightedness.”

  24. 24
    Rude says:

    Whatever the point of this thread, it is my experience that secular materialists in general and evolutionary biologists in particular tend to be intolerant of civil discourse. Let us not forget that it is in the academy, not out amid the unwashed masses, that alternative views are no longer heard but rather shouted down.

    When the first hostages were released by the Iranian terrorists, one was invited to speak at my university. The audience was palpably hostile: How dare anyone speak who might not support our far left agenda! And so not very far into the speech a posse of student “activists” rushed up front with a fuel-soaked, yellow bed sheet all aflame shouting,

    “Here’s your yellow ribbon!”

    Now if that had been perpetrated by a group of Mormon students or some “astroturf” Christian group, do you think anything would have been done about it?

    Well, we weren’t so lucky, and so nothing was done.

    It reminds me of that long ago disappointment that the assassin had not been a right-winger but rather “a silly little communist.”

  25. 25
    derwood says:

    Rude writes:

    “Whatever the point of this thread, it is my experience that secular materialists in general and evolutionary biologists in particular tend to be intolerant of civil discourse.”

    How interesting – my take is the exact opposite. I suppose it all depends on ones criteria and POV.

  26. 26
    Rude says:

    Why would a Darwinist ask that our anecdotes not be anecdotal when Darwinism has never been anything but anecdotal.

    Anyway perhaps the question to ask here is: Who has power?

    Maybe what some want to say is that were ID to control the show then, human nature being what it is, ID would shut down dissent. But that is a hypothetical presumption. The fact of the matter is that the Darwinists have the power now, and they most certainly do shut down dissent.

    The excuse is that ID isn’t science, that it isn’t falsifiable, or that it has been falsified. Whatever the excuse the fact is that ID is shut out a priori.

  27. 27

    Furthermore, comments 22 – 26 have all appeared since my response and comments were posted six hours ago, yet they are all here and mine is not.

  28. 28
    jerry says:

    “jerry wrote:

    “He is also fairly stupid…. because of his short sidedness. ”

    I believe the phrase is “shortsightedness.””

    Thank you. I always like being corrected. Hopefully, I remember better the next time.

  29. 29
    derwood says:

    Rude – What IS ‘Darwinism’?

    More specifically, what is it supposed to mean when YOU use the term?

  30. 30
    Clive Hayden says:

    My point in the thread was to show a Darwinist blogger who actually seems to pride himself against civil discourse. Compared, of course, with a Darwinist (Michael Ruse) who does engage in civil discourse, but is actually met with opposition from his Darwinist colleagues, such as Daniel Dennett and Jason Rosenhouse. What I find amusing about the whole affair is that, by the methodology of explaining all of human existence via evolution, i.e. the brain and all of our mental capacities, that arguments are made against others as if they weren’t just as much the product of evolutionary capacities and outcomes. All thoughts are the “emergence” of a mental pattern which couldn’t have been otherwise by our neurological makeup being developed from the ground up by evolutionary processes. If anyone doesn’t see the self-referential incoherence here, it can only be because you evolved not to see it.

    (I don’t for a second believe this, but those who do must awaken to its incoherence at some point.)

  31. 31
    Rude says:

    Der Wood,

    Good question—why say Darwinism and not evolution?

    Because I don’t mean evolution—which is evidence—evidence of design—for the only evolution we can actually observe and study is human technology which occurs by design. Darwinism, on the other hand, refers to Darwin’s hypothesis which was meant to account for biological evolution. That hypothesis, as Jacques Monod explained, explains everything by chance and necessity sans design.

    There is much confusion out there and a real need to distinguish between the fact and the hypothesis. Evidence for evolution is NOT evidence for Darwinism.

  32. 32
    Upright BiPed says:

    #19

    “The H1N1 epidemic that so recently swept through my family has for the moment abated…”

    Allen is there someone you are hoping to fool by this post?

    Today is November 5th.

    The conversation which you dropped out on with Timaeus took place on FEBRUARY 19th. You then dodged repeated requests to continue the conversation for over two full weeks thereafter – even though you were back happily posting on this forum.

    Sorry Skippy, but the facts are the facts.

    – – – – –

    As for your highly-conditional response, I am certain that its just a wee bit too late for Timaeus, but then again, he might jump back in if he happens to notice.

    – – – – –

    By the way Allen: “This one is actually surprisingly easy, once one lays out the parameters of the question.”

    Yes I can tell. You just posted 10,500 characters on just how easy it is, with links to several thousand more characters. And in all of it, you failed to actually answer the question. Instead you carpet-bombed the issue and simply reasserted your belief.

    Nice try though.

    “I conclude that current microevolutionary theory is indeed up to the task of explaining the patterns of adaptation/exaptation observed in natural populations of living organisms.”

    …well gee thanks.

  33. 33

    As Upright Biped seems unable to post anything with actual content, I will henceforth not respond to her/his posts.

  34. 34

    Allen_MacNeill @ 4

    Is this thread somehow intended to show that evolutionary biologists in general are intolerant of civil discourse? If so, at what level would one accept this hypothesis? When one has shown, via empirical observation, that greater than 95% (i.e. alpha < 0.05) of evolutionary biologists are intolerant of civil discourse?

    How is this "observation" not simply an example of anecdotal evidence?

    Clive has already trounced this, but I want to address it in terms you can understand.

    It doesn’t matter if 20%, 50%, or 99% of evolutionary biologists are Albert Schweitzers – if the leaders are a bunch of rude jerks who prove the man-decended-from-poo-flinging-apes hypothesis every time they write or speak, then the anecdote in question is quite applicable.

    Just like when you find the vast majority of the leadership of a movement are Nazi sympathyzers, former KKK members, Stalinists, Scientologists, John Birchers, or David Icke Lizard People Society members.

  35. 35
    johnnyb says:

    While Clive might not say this, I would say that most Darwinists who participate in the public policy debates on the subject have shown themselves to be against civil discourse on the topic.

    The point is (a) there is a public debate on this, whether or not there is a debate within evolutionary biology, (b) the public is not overwhelmingly convinced, even if the evolutionary biologists are, (c) the Darwinists involved don’t care for a civil discussion on the matter, and instead would rather remove public and civil discourse altogether in favor for a one-sided discourse, or a discourse in which the possible sides are dictated by them.

    Often it is said, “shouldn’t science policy be left to the scientists?” To this I would answer, “should we leave education (and other public interactions) of religion to theologians?” The answer in both cases is no. It is a public policy, and the public has every right to be a part of the conversation.

  36. 36
    Upright BiPed says:

    Allen MacNeil says: “As Upright Biped seems unable to post anything with actual content, I will henceforth not respond to her/his posts.”

    On the contrary, my posts at 17 and 32 were quite laden with content, as anyone who followed along can see for themselves.

    And given that my posts were actual documentation of you being belligerent, petty, and non responsive to well-presented challenges, you’ll have to forgive me for being unmoved by your decision to continue not responding.

  37. 37
    StephenB says:

    —-Clive Hayden: “What I find amusing about the whole affair is that, by the methodology of explaining all of human existence via evolution, i.e. the brain and all of our mental capacities, that arguments are made against others as if they weren’t just as much the product of evolutionary capacities and outcomes. All thoughts are the “emergence” of a mental pattern which couldn’t have been otherwise by our neurological makeup being developed from the ground up by evolutionary processes. If anyone doesn’t see the self-referential incoherence here, it can only be because you evolved not to see it.”

    Well, said Clive. I do wonder why Darwinists, who believe that your moderating policy can be explained solely by evolutionary processes over which you have no control, should hold you accoutable for it. How exactly does that work?

  38. 38
    Clive Hayden says:

    StephenB,

    Well, said Clive. I do wonder why Darwinists, who believe that your moderating policy can be explained solely by evolutionary processes over which you have no control, should hold you accoutable for it. How exactly does that work?

    Thanks StephenB. It doesn’t work, it’s inconsistent. When someone undercuts the traditional mind/body distinction, as I know you’re aware, then they subject their mind to their body, and the same would hold true for everyone if it was true for anyone. This is the fatal flaw in the argument, that any discussion about the evolution of the whole person (and it can only be explained via full-on evolution, or ID, there is no logical or consistent in-between), ultimately ends with the evolution of the brain producing what we think is called the mind, all of it, even the part that tells us that we evolved. And if someone believes this, it is only because they evolved to believe it, and anyone who doesn’t evolved not to, so there is no hope of an objective ability of knowledge that exists outside of the whole evolving show, given that the mind emerges from the matter, and the matter is fully an account of the material arranged by evolution. And anyone that cannot logically see the self-referential incoherence in their position, are themselves evolved not to see it, because we’re no longer talking about truth in the old sense of being separate and apart from nature and having a vantage point at which to objectively study and know nature, we have made ourselves subject to nature; and whatever we know now comes from nature. You know all this, this is really for the lurkers.

  39. 39
    Zach Bailey says:

    Allen MacNeill

    Furthermore, comments 22 – 26 have all appeared since my response and comments were posted six hours ago, yet they are all here and mine is not.

    Why waste your time posting here at all? You do not seem to have a receptive audience.

  40. 40
    Upright BiPed says:

    Zach,

    Receptivity?

    Your comment would carry more weight except that Mr MacNeil dodges important issues when they are presented to him. By the word “dodge” I include both his track record of willfully ignoring direct questions, as well as his tendency to flank difficult questions by repeatedly answering those that are not asked.

  41. 41

    Interesting; apparently civil discourse is not tolerated by the moderator(s) of this website either. Zach Bailey asked in comment #39,

    “Why waste your time posting here at all? You do not seem to have a receptive audience.”

    I posted a response over 24 hours ago, which was held in moderation until early this morning, when it “mysteriously” disappeared completely. I have posted the entire text of my response here:

    http://evolutionlist.blogspot......t-and.html

    but no longer expect any of my comments to appear here. If this one does, please read the comment I have posted above, and ask yourself the following two questions:

    1) was my response to Zach Bailey in anyway “intolerant” or “uncivil”?

    2) if your answer to question #1 is “no”, then why was my response to Zack Bailey deleted?

    This comment (which should be #41) was posted on Sunday 8 November 2009 at 11:47 EST.

  42. 42
    Clive Hayden says:

    Allen_MacNeill,

    You know very well why some of your comments are admitted and some not, as evidenced by the fact that you know how to edit the ones I haven’t allowed to make them less offensive and less of an ad hominem and more of an argument. If you didn’t know, what to edit, and you’re editing is by chance, then I might believe in evolution and not make a design inference. 😉

  43. 43
    Upright BiPed says:

    Allen MacNeil,

    On your blog you spoke of this thread. You said:

    “Other people ask me why I generally treat creationists and ID supporters with respect, rather than taking every opportunity to heap scorn and ridicule upon them.”

    And then you go on to say:

    “Indeed, some commentator’s comments are so insulting that I refuse to respond to them, and I believe that this does not pass unnoticed by readers who are not yet irrationally committed to one side or the other.”

    – – – – – –

    A couple of points on your first comment: You do not respect your opponents, unless of course you think that 1) ignoring their questions, or 2) misrepresenting their arguments, or 3) high-tailing it when the questions get tough is a measure of respect.

    For many of us, such actions are not a measure of respect, but are instead the very obvious indications of political maneuver. The fact that you are a highly trained and intelligent man, and yet you still have to resort to such actions (in the name of science) is quite an eye-opener. It is, no doubt, directly related to the weakness of your position.

    After all, what else could it be related to? Does anyone think these actions by you are a typical part of your daily demeanor? I don’t, and I doubt others do.

    No, it is this conversation itself that forces these actions upon you. It does it to you and to every other person who is faced with these questions from your personal metaphysic perspective.

    – – – – – –

    As for your second comment about being insulted. I can assume you had me in mind for this comment given that it is I that you’ve called out to be ignored.

    Obviously, all of this falls into place behind the fact that you left a conversation when a most polite request was made of you to answer a simple but important question. No one can read the text from that thread (copied above in #17) and reasonably think for a moment that anyone was being abusive to you. Neither Timaeus (asking the question) nor myself (asking you to return to the thread) said anything insulting to you in any way whatsoever.

    Of course, you do not want any onlookers to concern themselves with that thread, instead you would like to focus on the change in tone of my comments to you after you walked out on what was an utterly polite conversation – a conversation with difficult implications for your position.

    So lets add it up: a person who sets himself up as an authority, who is disrespectful to his opponent’s arguments, who refuses to answer questions asked of him in the most polite manner possible, then returns to continue his condescending ways as if he is still a credible authority. And to cap it all off, he feigns being insulted if anyone brings it up.

    Who could have a problem with that?

  44. 44
    Zach Bailey says:

    Your comment would carry more weight except that Mr MacNeil dodges important issues when they are presented to him. By the word “dodge” I include both his track record of willfully ignoring direct questions, as well as his tendency to flank difficult questions by repeatedly answering those that are not asked.

    This is a blog that promotes intelligent design. But often that seems to involve people expressing scepticism of evolutionary theory. Mr MacNeill is a very experienced teacher of biology who is able (and much more importantly, willing – for which you should be grateful IMHO) to spend some time here correcting misconceptions about evolutionary theory. There are a considerable number of Mr MacNeill’s peers who do not think ID is worthy of such consideration.

  45. 45
    Upright BiPed says:

    Zach,

    “This is a blog that promotes intelligent design. But often that seems to involve people expressing scepticism of evolutionary theory.”

    This blog does promote intelligent design, and the manifest issue is that ideologues use the obvious and almost trivial reality of evolution (meaning change over time) as a pathway to promote a great number of ideas that are in no way supported by empirical evidence.

    What is at debate in regards to evolution are the mechanisms of that change, and from a larger perspective, the origin of life to begin with. If this is not something you were aware of, and quite apparently it is not, then I would only suggest you make UD your homepage and read critically of all posts.

    – – – – – –

    “Mr MacNeill is a very experienced teacher of biology who is able (and much more importantly, willing – for which you should be grateful IMHO) to spend some time here correcting misconceptions about evolutionary theory.”

    Mr MacNeil’s qualifications are not at issue. What is at issue is the observable evidence of an act of volition leading to the presence of life on this planet.

    Secondarily, I posted comments from a previous thread where an ID supporter of Mr. MacNeil’s intellectual training politely asked him to defend the falsifiability of evolutionary theory as commonly practiced by materialists within the academy. Clearly Mr. MacNeil ran for cover (and stayed there despite repeated requests for him to rejoin). Is this the treatment you suggest we should be grateful for? If so, then please explain why we should be grateful for it.

    Thirdly, you seem to be operating from the idea that people who are sympathetic to ID are therefore uninformed about evolutionary theory. It’s is a ridiculous assumption that doesn’t stand up to even the slightest scrutiny. You should consider dropping it.

    – – – – – – –

    “There are a considerable number of Mr. MacNeil’s peers who do not think ID is worthy of such consideration.”

    I am going to assume you recognize this to be an argument from consensus (which has nothing whatsoever to do with science) or even worse, and argument from authority (whom are not even named). In either case, you can’t be serious.

  46. 46

    Zach Bailey:

    It has been alleged that I “ran for cover” when asked a question by a commentator posting under the name “Timaeus”. While it is true that I did not immediately post a detailed response to Timaeus’ query, I did so in this very thread in comment #19. You may read my response to Timaeus question there and then judge for yourself if the allegation is therefore valid, and (by extension) who is honestly attempting to respond to a request for information and who is misrepresenting the facts.

    You may also judge for yourself whether the responses to my answers to Timaeus’ query contained substantive rejoinders supported by citations, or whether they constituted ad hominem attacks without any genuine content.

    I am ready to respond to any question or request for further clarification, so long as it is offered in the same spirit of civility and respect with which I have always attempted to respond. However, as I have stated on multiple occasions, I will not respond to ad hominem attacks, character assassination, insults, or ridicule.

    …and, just in case you missed it, my name is not “Skippy”, nor do I post under a pseudonym.

  47. 47
    Clive Hayden says:

    Allen_MacNeill,

    Actually, you are quite wrong: I do not know how to edit comments once they are submitted, and didn’t know it was possible. This has been an occasional problem, in that I sometimes only catch typos, etc. once I’ve submitted a comment, but by then it’s too late, as far as I know.

    No no no. These changes have been on comments that you’ve tried to submit, that I haven’t allowed, and then the comment shows up again, only this time cleaned up. You will not accuse me of lying about this, otherwise I will know for certain that you’re not interested in true and honest dialogue. Allen, to copy the words here would negate the reason I had to not allow it. I won’t showcase your incivility and insults here, that’s why I didn’t allow your comment in the first place, so surely you don’t expect me to give those insults their own place here. Come on Allen, you know better than this. I allow every comment of yours that is not an attack or an insult. Don’t misrepresent me, Allen.

  48. 48
    Upright BiPed says:

    Allen,

    “It has been alleged that I “ran for cover” when asked a question by a commentator posting under the name “Timaeus”. While it is true that I did not immediately post a detailed response to Timaeus’ query, I did so in this very thread in comment #19. You may read my response to Timaeus question there and then judge for yourself if the allegation is therefore valid, and (by extension) who is honestly attempting to respond to a request for information and who is misrepresenting the facts.”
    You gave a response (as it were) to Timaeus on November 5th. The question Timaeus posed to you was posted on February 19th. These are recorded facts accessible by a simple search of the archives. This was followed for weeks by (at least) me politely asking you to return to the conversation, as well as indications from Timaeus that he would like you to return. That was then followed by months of me (having given up asking you to address the questions) occasionally bringing up the incident on other threads that you traveled.

    So…the allegation is that you left the conversation and failed to return even under repeated requests. Is it valid? Yes, demonstrably so.

    And if you now want to step off the precipice and make the suggestion that you were “honestly attempting to respond to a request for information” and implying that others are “misrepresenting the facts” then the previous allegation can immediately be extended to include deception on you part as well.

    And would that allegation be valid as well? Yes, and also demonstrably so.

    – – – – – – –

    “You may also judge for yourself whether the responses to my answers to Timaeus’ query contained substantive rejoinders supported by citations, or whether they constituted ad hominem attacks without any genuine content.”

    Your belated response to Timaeus was a reprise of the evidence for microevolution, followed by an assertion of your personal certainty. It wasn’t even close to answering the question asked.

    Secondarily, no one suggested that you responded to Timaeus with ad hominem comments, only that you did not respond at all.

    – – – – – – –

    It should be remembered that the issue raised by Timaeus was/is critical to the strategic cover of materialists who abuse the institution of science in order to import unsupported conclusions into the output of the institution.

    There is little doubt as to why the question is so well defended – even to the point of pretending archived facts are not obvious to anyone who reads them.

  49. 49
    tribune7 says:

    Actually, you are quite wrong: I do not know how to edit comments once they are submitted, and didn’t know it was possible.

    Allen, I think he means you resubmit the comments with changes.

  50. 50
    Clive Hayden says:

    tribune7,

    Allen, I think he means you resubmit the comments with changes.

    That is precisely what I meant and that is precisely what Allen does. I can give you examples. The comments I don’t approve from him are not deleted, so I can do a comparison from those and the same comments resubmitted with the changes. Allen knows this, and I suspect that sometimes his disdain for ID just gets the better of him.

  51. 51
    Upright BiPed says:

    I see now that mis-read your second comment. I apologize.

    Your response suggests that the evidence for microevolution (which is not under debate) can create “two or more reproductively isolated populations”.

    Apparently you want simply to assume that this is all that is needed to confirm macroevolution. This is woefully inadequate, and doesn’t even touch the original question.

    This is what I meant when I typed:

    “you failed to actually answer the question. Instead you carpet-bombed the issue and simply reasserted your belief”

    and

    “By the word “dodge” I include both his track record of willfully ignoring direct questions, as well as his tendency to flank difficult questions by repeatedly answering those that are not asked.”

    and

    “Your belated response to Timaeus was a reprise of the evidence for microevolution, followed by an assertion of your personal certainty. It wasn’t even close to answering the question asked.”

  52. 52
    Upright BiPed says:

    For the edification of anyone following this thread, the question asked on Feb 19th of Allen MacNeil, which he ignored until Nov 5th is the following:

    Timaeus” What experiment could unambiguously eliminate the Darwinian hypothesis (macroevolution caused by mutations plus natural selection etc.)? If one hypothetical evolutionary pathway from land mammals to whales is falsified, the Darwinists just come up with another one. And they hang on to that one until fossil evidence or genetic evidence or radioactive dating evidence or whatnot makes that one impossible. Then they come up with another one. A while ago it was a hippo-like animal that was the supposed ancestor of the whale; now it’s a wolf-like one. Five years from now it may be a rodent-like one. Never do Darwinists entertain for a moment the possibility that whales *could not* have evolved by entirely naturalistic means from land mammals. For to entertain that possibility would mean to entertain the possibility that whales may have been specially engineered, and that conclusion, even if it is derived entirely from biological data and not at all from any religious teaching, the Darwinists will simply not allow.

    Or am I wrong? Can you give me an example of a “killer observation” or “killer experiment” that would falsify Darwinism completely? And please don’t use “the Cambrian rabbit ploy”. That tired old Cambrian rabbit, whose ears are getting sore from being pulled out of the hat so many times by Darwinists, would indeed falsify common descent. But many ID proponents accept common descent, e.g., Behe, Denton, and they do not expect to find a Cambrian rabbit. Common descent is not the point in debate between ID proper and Darwinism. The issue is, within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided? I have asked this question over and over again, and never have I spoken to or read a Darwinist who has an answer for it. And being somewhat of a Popperian in philosophy of science (unfashionable, I know, but I was never much for fashion), I would argue that any hypothesis for which this question cannot be answered is not really a scientific hypothesis, but a vague, airy speculation. So, is Darwinian evolution a falsifiable hypothesis, or not? If so, how could it be falsified? If not, why should it be regarded as science?

  53. 53
    tribune7 says:

    Clive, and since the meat of the comments is presumably not changed, nobody can accuse of unwarranted censorship i.e. leaving out effective rebuttals.

  54. 54
    Clive Hayden says:

    tribune7,

    That’s very true.

  55. 55
    Berceuse says:

    When I consider Timaeus’ question and the track record of Darwinists, I doubt there will be a satisfying answer. Perhaps that was the point of asking it.

    On a side note, I think Upright BiPed is my favorite poster 🙂

  56. 56
    Upright BiPed says:

    Bereceuse,

    Thank you kindly, but any clarity as to the actual falsifiability of the Darwinian hypothesis that comes about by this exchange was not provided by me, but by Allen MacNeil.

    Again, thanks.

  57. 57

    I don’t have time right now to respond to every comment (I’m very busy grading research papers, preparing final exams, and working on my book and video projects, not to mention being an attentive husband and father), but here’s a very specific response to one of Timaeus’ questions:

    What empirical evidence would verify (i.e. support) or falsify (i.e. undermine) the hypothesis that whales have evolved from a land-dwelling ancestor?

    Please note that this is a hypothesis about macroevolution, not microevolution.

    A basic principle of hypothesis validation in the natural sciences is that if one can find multiple lines of evidence, all of which support the hypothesis, then such evidence is much stronger than if there were only a single line of evidence. This is especially the case if the different lines of evidence come from very widely separated fields.

    Until recently the main line of evidence for the evolution of whales (i.e. members of the mammalian order Cetacea) from even-toed ungulates (i.e. members of the mammalian order Artiodactyla) was anatomical. This anatomical evidence was derived from two sources:

    1) similarities between the anatomy (especially skeletal anatomy) of living (i.e. “extant”) Artiodactyls and Cetacea, and

    2) an evolutionary phylogeny of the transition from terrestrial Artiodactyls to aquatic Cetacea, based on fossils.

    Rather than summarize this comparative anatomical evidence here, I recommend that interested readers follow this link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E....._cetaceans

    What you will find is a fairly detailed summary of the evidence from comparative anatomy, all of it pointing to the conclusion that whales (i.e. Cetaceans) evolved from even-toed ungulates (i.e. Artiodactyls). It is this evidence that most evolutionary biologists have until recently cited as support for the macroevolutionary derivation of Cetaceans from Artiodactyl ancestors.

    However, one can also ask the question Does a comparison of the genomics of Artiodactyls and Cetaceans support the same hypothesis? That is, are there observable similarities and differences in DNA sequences that are similar in both scope and timing to the similarities and differences in the fossil record (and as reflected in the comparative anatomy of Artiodactyls and Cetaceans)?

    This is an easily falsified hypothesis: If the genomic evidence does not support the Artiodactyl into Cetacean hypothesis — e.g. the comparative genomic evidence supported the hypothesis that Cetaceans had evolved from some other clade, or that they had not evolved at all, but rather sprang into existence fully-formed and without genetic evidence of a macroevolutionary transition — then this evidence would not support the evidence from comparative anatomy and the macroevolutionary hypothesis based on comparative anatomy would be falsified.

    So, what does the comparative genomic evidence indicate about the macroevolutionary relationships between the Artiodactyla and the Cetacea? Here’s a summary of the most recent findings from comparative genomics:

    The idea that whales evolved from within the Artiodactyla [is] based on analysis of DNA sequences. In the initial molecular analyses, whales were shown to be more closely related to ruminants (such as cattle and deer) than ruminants are to pigs. In order for the order name to reflect a real evolutionary unit, the term Cetartiodactyla was coined.

    Later molecular analyses included a wider sampling of artiodactyls and produced a more complete tale. Hippos were determined to be the closest relative of whales, ruminants were related to a whale/hippo clade, and pigs were more distant. In addition to producing the controversial whale/hippo clade, these analyses debunked the idea that hippos and pigs are closely related. This had been a popular taxonomic hypothesis (i.e. Suiformes) based on similarities in morphological (i.e. anatomical) characteristics.

    In addition to DNA and protein sequences, researchers tracked the movement of transposons called SINEs in the genome. A transposon is a DNA sequence that will occasionally make a copy of itself and insert that copy into another part of the genome. It is considered highly unlikely that SINEs will insert themselves into the exact same part of a genome by chance. The data indicate that several transposons inserted themselves at the same point in the genomes of whales, ruminants and hippos (sometimes referred to as “pseudoruminants” because although they have four-chambered stomachs like true ruminants, they do not chew the cud). This insertion point is not shared with camels and pigs.

    This hypothesis has been tested with DNA sequences from a host of genes: the complete mitochondrial genome (as well as several of its genes independently), beta-casein, kappa-casein, von Willebrand factor, breast cancer 1, recombination activating genes 1 and 2, cannabinoid receptor 1, and several others. These sequence data and the transposons converge on the same conclusion: that hippos and whales are more closely related to one another than either is to other artiodactyls.

    Sequences analyzed in combined analyses with morphological characters have also produced the same results as sequences alone. Some have argued that the sheer number of characters (one for each nucleotide) in sequences swamps out the effects of morphology. There have been a few morphology-based studies that have suggested (weakly) the same results as the molecular results, but overall most morphological studies have conflicted with the whale/hippo hypothesis of Cetartiodactyla.

    An important exception is a recent conducted by Boisserie et al. (2005). They examined 80 hard morphological characters of fossil and extant cetartiodactylan taxa. Their results suggest that hippopotamids evolved from within a clade of anthracotheres. That anthracothere/hippopotamid clade appears to be sister to the Cetacea and supports the molecular results.

    [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cetartiodactyla (summary article), where you can find links to references from the primary literature]

    Note that much of the genomic data (especially from transposon sequences) supporting the macroevolutionary hypothesis is based on non-adaptive DNA sequences. That is, the transposon DNA sequences do not code for adaptive characteristics, and in many cases that do not code for anything at all.

    This is like figuring out which students have been copying the answers to test questions from other students by comparing their wrong answers. The right answers are the same for everybody, but wrong answers vary from student to student in virtually random ways. If two students have the same wrong answers, you can be reasonably confident that one of them copied the wrong answers from the other. You can then test this hypothesis by looking at seating charts, past test performance (cheaters are often identified by sudden increases in test scores without apparent increases in effort), and – often the last resort – asking them directly if they copied answers.

    Conclusion: The empirical evidence from comparative genomics closely matches the empirical evidence from (both extant and fossil) comparative anatomy

    Is that all, or is there yet another line of evidence that might be pursued to verify or falsify the Artiodactyl into Cetacean hypothesis? Yes, there is. Consider the observable fact that whales reproduce much more slowly than even-toed ungulates, such as deer and hippos. Indeed, there is a general principle in zoology that the larger the members of a species are (on the average) the fewer offspring they have, the more widely spaced those offspring are in time, the fewer offspring they can have over their lifetime, and the longer the average lifespan of individuals.

    For example, deer can have offspring every year, and under good conditions can sometimes have twins or even triplets in one reproductive cycle. By comparison, baleen whales can only have offspring every few years (it can take up to two years for one pregnancy in large baleen whales), they virtually never have more than one calf at a time, they have only a few reproductive life cycles per lifetime, and they have much longer lifespans than deer.

    This means that, if Cetaceans evolved from Artiodactyls, one might be able to find empirical evidence that the rate of the macroevolutionary transition from Artiodactyl ancestors into Cetacean descendants had slowed down as the result of the increase in size, decrease in number of offspring per reproductive cycle, decrease in total number of offspring per lifetime, and increase in average lifespan. In brief, there might be evidence that the macroevolutionary “clock” slowed down as Cetaceans evolved larger and larger size.

    Here’s the latest genomic evidence vis-a-vis this hypothesis:
    (Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19648466 )

    Big and slow: phylogenetic estimates of molecular evolution in baleen whales (suborder mysticeti).
    Molecular Biology and Evolution. 2009 Nov;26(11):2427-40. Epub 2009 Jul 31.
    Jackson JA, Baker CS, Vant M, Steel DJ, Medrano-González L, Palumbi SR.
    Marine Mammal Institute, Hatfield Marine Science Center, Oregon State University, OR, USA.

    ABSTRACT: Baleen whales are the largest animals that have ever lived. To develop an improved estimation of substitution rate for nuclear and mitochondrial DNA for this taxon, we implemented a relaxed-clock phylogenetic approach using three fossil calibration dates: the divergence between odontocetes and mysticetes approximately 34 million years ago (Ma), between the balaenids and balaenopterids approximately 28 Ma, and the time to most recent common ancestor within the Balaenopteridae approximately 12 Ma. We examined seven mitochondrial genomes, a large number of mitochondrial control region sequences (219 haplotypes for 465 bp) and nine nuclear introns representing five species of whales, within which multiple species-specific alleles were sequenced to account for within-species diversity (1-15 for each locus). The total data set represents >1.65 Mbp of mitogenome and nuclear genomic sequence. The estimated substitution rate for the humpback whale control region (3.9%/million years, My) was higher than previous estimates for baleen whales but slow relative to other mammal species with similar generation times (e.g., human-chimp mean rate > 20%/My). The mitogenomic third codon position rate was also slow relative to other mammals (mean estimate 1%/My compared with a mammalian average of 9.8%/My for the cytochrome b gene). The mean nuclear genomic substitution rate (0.05%/My) was substantially slower than average synonymous estimates for other mammals (0.21-0.37%/My across a range of studies).

    CONCLUSION: The nuclear and mitogenome rate estimates for baleen whales were thus roughly consistent with an 8- to 10-fold slowing due to a combination of large body size and long generation times. Surprisingly, despite the large data set of nuclear intron sequences, there was only weak and conflicting support for alternate hypotheses about the phylogeny of balaenopterid whales, suggesting that interspecies introgressions or a rapid radiation has obscured species relationships in the nuclear genome. [emphasis added]

    So, in response to Timaeus’ query, there are indeed empirically falsifiable hypotheses for the macroevolution of whales from land-dwelling ancestors. If whales (Cetacea) evolved from even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla), then the following predictions should be supported by the observable data:
    • that there would be anatomical similarities between extant Artiodactyls and Cetaceans,
    • that there would also be anatomical similarities between fossil Artiodactyls and Cetaceans,
    • that there would be shared similarities and differences between the genomes of extant clades of Artiodactyls and Cetaceans, and that the overwhelming majority of these similarities and differences would mirror the comparative anatomical evidence for the macroevolutionary origin of the various clades of the Cetartiodactyla, and
    • that the inferred slowing of macroevolutionary change during the transition from Artiodactyl ancestors to Cetacean descendants would also be consistent with the hypothesis that the rate of this transition would have slowed as the result of increasing body size, increasing reproductive spacing, decreasing numbers of offspring per life cycle, and increasing longevity.

    And they were.

    Clearly, an ID supporter might then ask for specific empirical evidence on how the various transitions occurred at the genetic and developmental level, and if these details could unambiguously distinguish between natural and supernatural causes for such genetic mechanisms. Evolutionary developmental biologists are currently working on answers to the first part, but I personally cannot imagine how one could empirically test the second part. Furthermore, it seems to me that invoking a supernatural cause for the macroevolutionary transition from Artiodactyls to Cetaceans would be unnecessary, and would add nothing whatsoever to our understanding of the mechanisms by which this transition occurred.

    Ergo, if I were doing this research and publishing my results I wouldn’t mention it, as it would be completely unnecessary for a scientific explanation of this phenomenon.

    P.S. Just out of curiosity, how might one use any of the foregoing as positive or negative empirical evidence for the existence of God? I ask because some evolutionary biologists believe they can use the data of evolutionary biology to disprove the existence of God, and some ID supporters believe they can use the data of evolutionary biology to prove the existence of God. Personally, I believe both attempts are misguided. pointless, and ultimately futile. That’s why I don’t make such attempts, and wonder why anyone would.

  58. 58
    tribune7 says:

    P.S. Just out of curiosity, how might one use any of the foregoing as positive or negative empirical evidence for the existence of God?

    Allen, if God is outside of nature then the means used to understand nature can’t be applied to God.

    Something puzzled me in your post 19.

    With regard to falsifying NDE you said that all that would be required would be to show that one of the prerequisites and you said variation as one those asking “Variation: Is there sufficient genetic and phenotypic variation to allow for the production of all of the variants observed in nature?”

    You then provide a link in which you note the many ways genomic change can occur as evidence of sufficient variation.

    Isn’t that ducking the point?

    That there are many means of producing genomic change does not explain why there are many different, and successful, genomes.

    How can these engines of variation accomplish this without plans?

  59. 59
    Zach Bailey says:

    Upright Biped asks:

    If so, then please explain why we should be grateful for it.

    Because I am assuming that you would prefer not to be ignored, as the vast majority of working scientists appear to be doing with intelligent design. I agree it is a difficulty and somewhat of a dilemma.

    But perhaps if an idea is hard to promote there is not only the possibility that the scientific world at large is conspiring against it. There is also the possibility that the idea is wrong or, worse, not useful.

  60. 60
    Upright BiPed says:

    Allen,

    I’ll give you points for trying.

    Timaeus asked a very straightforward question. He asked it of you months ago. The gist of the question is not hard to follow. This is because he was thorough in adding the context necessary for understanding by any person even remotely familiar with the issues at hand. In fact, the only reasons someone might not answer the actual question is because they a) have no familiarity with the issues, and/or b) must flank the question because they are unable to answer it directly, and/or c) cannot answer it. Of course, from the many ways someone might choose to flank the question, the most common is to change it to one that is not at issue (a move into uncontested territory). These are all common maneuvers, regardless of the topic. They are well understood, they are studied, and they are apparent.

    Timaeus asked:

    Common descent is not the point in debate between ID proper and Darwinism. The issue is, within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided?

    To this question (after nine months to think it over) you first responded with the idea that falsifying any of the factors involved in micro-evolution would somehow (hard to follow the logic here) falsify macro-evolution. Amongst all the qualifiers, you say:

    Let me rephrase this: What empirical…evidence would falsify the hypothesis that a combination of variation, inheritance, fecundity, and differential survival and reproduction…can produce both microevolution…and macroevolution?

    …one would simply have to show that at least one of the foregoing prerequisites…were not met…to confidently falsify the evolutionary hypothesis.

    This is, of course, a complete rewrite of the question. It’s a rewrite which evacuates the question of all its meaning. Your “rephrasing” makes the assumption that what is observed and what is not observed hold the same value position within the evidence, and moreover, it completely ignores the core of the issue. In the face of the question (Common descent is not the point in debate between ID proper and Darwinism. The issue is, within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided?) your answer was nothing more than a cleverly-dressed change to a question that suits you.

    Now, you’ve returned with a second attempt, but this time you’ll be less coy about the changing of the question. In fact you’ll blatantly change the question – as if it hardly matters.

    In Timaeus’ original question to you, he expanded on the idea that Darwinists will often (as a way to ignore the question) take a comfortable stroll through the latest revision of their favorite assumptions. He specifically brought up the whale/land mammal assumption.

    Somehow in your reading of his comment, you apparently (and incredibly so) saw this as a perfect opportunity to take a stroll with the whale story. The entirety of your second volley is based upon it – even though it was presented to you as an evasion of the issue and completely irrelevant. Like a Pavlovian biologist, the issue on the table is falsifiability of unguided evolution (you know, where your assumption is required to be tested against the possibility that it’s wrong) yet you keep reaching for comfortable confirmations that say nothing to the issue.

    Where is the connectedness of your thinking? Are we now to believe that when it comes to the structure of scientific investigation you fail to know the difference between a hypothesis and its required falsifiability?

    I don’t buy it.

    Let’s be honest about it Allen. Grab yourself by the bootstraps. Give yourself a pep talk. You have no answer to the question because there is no answer to the question. You can come back with attempt number three, four, and five and they’ll all be the same. And I’ll be here to tear them down to their bones and prove it by your own words.

    The hypothesis of unguided evolution is not falsifiable – not because of the institution of science, but because of the abuse of the institution.

    You are among those that abuse it.

    However, with a dose of independence, you are free to stop at any time. In either case, it is incumbent upon you as a thinking man (and an educator) to stop badgering those who are willing to explore the forgotten reality that the assumption, which you illegitimately defend from falsifiability, might be wrong after all.

  61. 61
    Upright BiPed says:

    Zach,

    Thanks for your input. I’ll keep it in mind.

    I would say though, being ignored by Allen prior to my comments, is not altogether that much different that being ignored by him prior to my comments.

  62. 62
    Upright BiPed says:

    Zach, feel free to insert the word “after” in either position of my last post. It’s all the same.

    And by the way, judging by the monumental effort on the part of Science to squash the design inference as quickly and as thoroughly as possibly (umpteen books, websites, legal teams, and a national association with nothing else in mind) it would be somewaht near-sighted to conclude that science is “ignoring” it.

  63. 63
    Mark Frank says:

    #60

    Forgive me intruding here but I am sure Allen won’t mind.

    Timeaus asked:

    within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided?

    THis is not as straightforward as it appears – which is perhaps why Allen needed to rephrase it.

    It’s two questions (count them).

    1) The first is quite vague because “Darwinian hypothesis” can mean many things. Allen’s “rewrite” seems like a pretty reasonable interpretation (If not, then it is surely incumbent on Timeaus to explain what he did mean by Darwinian hypothesis). And it is obviously true, as Allen points out, that if the theory entails that macroevolution is the result of many instances of microevolution – then anything that falsifies microevolution also falsifies macroevolution.

    2) It is possible that for Timeaus the Darwinian hypothesis is simply that the process of evolution is unguided i.e. that there is an unspecified natural process which does not involve intelligence. This is indeed very hard to falsify and would be quite unacceptable as a scientific hypothesis (just as bad as an unspecified process which does involve intelligence). But luckily this is not modern (or past) evolutionary theory.

  64. 64
    tribune7 says:

    But perhaps if an idea is hard to promote there is not only the possibility that the scientific world at large is conspiring against it. There is also the possibility that the idea is wrong or, worse, not useful.

    Absolutely. The scientific community only involves itself in the practical. Like string theory and SETI.

  65. 65
    Upright BiPed says:

    Mark Frank,

    No, I doubt Allen would mind you jumping in. What he really really needs now is some good ole’ fashioned obfuscation dressed up as a search for the clarity. ?

    – – – – – – –

    This is not as straightforward as it appears – which is perhaps why Allen needed to rephrase it.

    Allen was forced to rephrase the question in order to remove from himself the burden of its meaning. It had nothing whatsoever to do with clarifying what was being asked. He did so for the reasons I noted in #60.

    – – – – – – – –

    From a defensive position, I can appreciate you wanting to support Allen. You claim that the simple question asked by Timaeus was so completely incomprehensible that it actually was two questions in one.
    You say:

    The first is quite vague because “Darwinian hypothesis” can mean many things.

    You simply have to ignore the context given in the conversation to come to that conclusion. If you’ll take the time to read the passage between MacNeil and Timaues, you’ll see that he makes it abundantly clear what is being asked. Again, Mr. MacNeil was able to discern the meaning – as was evidenced by his need to ignore it for nine months; only to eviscerate it of its meaning went it resurfaced.

    – – – – – – –

    Allen’s “rewrite” seems like a pretty reasonable interpretation

    I am sure it does. However, Allen took the question:

    “within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided?”

    and he returned with

    “What empirical evidence would falsify the hypothesis that a combination of variation, inheritance, fecundity, and differential survival and reproduction can produce both microevolution and macroevolution?” (and then defined macroevolution as) the divergence of single panmictic population into two or more reproductively isolated populations.

    A doorknob could tell the difference between these two questions. Please don’t suggest again that you can’t (because I won’t believe you, no matter how hard you try).

    – – – – – – – – –

    And it is obviously true, as Allen points out, that if the theory entails that macroevolution is the result of many instances of microevolution – then anything that falsifies microevolution also falsifies macroevolution.

    This entire word-babble is simply a continuation of the previous comment, which was nothing but obfuscation of the actual question at hand. But even at that, it is incomprehensibly trivial. “If microevolution is false, then so is macroevolution?
    Who’s asking that? Nobody

    – – – – – – – –

    It is possible that for Timeaus the Darwinian hypothesis is simply that the process of evolution is unguided i.e. that there is an unspecified natural process which does not involve intelligence.

    What’s with this “unspecified” crap? The natural process which does not involve intelligence has been specified for the past 150 years.

    What is with this eternal need by Darwinian ideologues to constantly change what is being asked; to twist questions into either meaninglessness or unintelligibility? Where Mr. MacNeil is concerned to remove meaning from the question, you instead want to quickly add it back in. Both actions are (of course) done for the same reason. Just as I explained in my previous post #60.

    – – – – – – – – –

    Honestly Mark, do you not ever wince at the willful contortions necessary to avoid such obvious questions as the one given by Timaeus? I truly believe UD should start a talent show. Obfuscation as Performance Art. You and Whisker and Hunt can do a routine. Diffaxial can be your manager. Reciprocating Bill, Keiths, and Maya can be in your banned.

  66. 66
    Mark Frank says:

    #65

    Upright Biped

    I am sorry but:

    within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided?

    Is two different questions – count the question marks!

    And “Darwinian hypothesis” can mean lots of things.

    Even if it has only one specific meaning there is no harm in confirming that meaning is there? I think a very reasonable meaning is:

    the hypothesis that a combination of variation, inheritance, fecundity, and differential survival and reproduction can produce both microevolution and macroevolution?

    You say you won’t believe me if I say I can’t tell the difference. I am sorry because I really, really find the second to be a reasonable interpretation of the second. If I am wrong then just give your own interpretation.

    “If microevolution is false, then so is macroevolution?
    Who’s asking that? Nobody

    Let me spell it out. The Darwinian hypothesis (according to the interpretation Allen offered) entails that macroevolution is the result of lots of instances of microevolution. Therefore, if microevolution is falsified then the Darwinian hypothesis is falsified.

    >What’s with this “unspecified” crap? The natural process which does not involve intelligence has been specified for the past 150 years

    The second question Timeaus asked was:

    What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided?

    This does not say what unguided process is being used i.e. the process is not specified.

    Honestly Mark, do you not ever wince at the willful contortions necessary to avoid such obvious questions as the one given by Timaeus?

    This isn’t a contortion. It is an honest attempt to make an ambiguous pair of questions clearer. It is a standard technique when asked a question to repeat it back to the questioner in your own words to make sure you understand it.

  67. 67
    Mark Frank says:

    Just noticed a typo in #66. The eight paragraph should read:

    “You say you won’t believe me if I say I can’t tell the difference. I am sorry because I really, really find the second to be a reasonable interpretation of the first. If I am wrong then just give your own interpretation.”

  68. 68
    Upright BiPed says:

    Mark,

    Timaeus’ entire question was posted at 17 and 52. There was never a need to wonder what about any of this – and so far, you are the only one doing the wondering.

  69. 69
    Mark Frank says:

    #68

    Upright Biped

    Timeaus wrote a lot (it includes no less than 7 questions – some of which may be equivalent) but that does not make it clear. But, in any case, what is the problem with seeking clarification by restating the question in one’s own words?

    Do you think Allen’s restatement:

    the hypothesis that a combination of variation, inheritance, fecundity, and differential survival and reproduction can produce both microevolution and macroevolution?

    is wrong?

    And whatever definition of Darwinian hypothesis you want to use – is it not true that it entails microevolution?

  70. 70
    Cabal says:

    Never do Darwinists entertain for a moment the possibility that whales *could not* have evolved by entirely naturalistic means from land mammals. For to entertain that possibility would mean to entertain the possibility that whales may have been specially engineered, and that conclusion, even if it is derived entirely from biological data and not at all from any religious teaching, the Darwinists will simply not allow

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind if it was derived from biological data that whales were specially designed, but until that happens evolutionary theory as it currently stands is the only theory I know that properly address that subject. Do scientists refuse to take a scientific interpretation of biological data seriously?

    I don’t se any reason not to believe that palaentological and genetic evidence points to just another case of evolution by natural selection.

  71. 71
    Arthur Hunt says:

    Timaeus” What experiment could unambiguously eliminate the Darwinian hypothesis (macroevolution caused by mutations plus natural selection etc.)?

    Can you give me an example of a “killer observation” or “killer experiment” that would falsify Darwinism completely?

    If DNA replication were perfect (no mutation, no spontaneous generation of genetic variability in the course of DNA replication and repair), Darwinism would be decisively and conclusively falsified. There would have to be another way to derive the variety of life on earth.

    Of course, I rather suspect that participants in this thread will make the mistake common amongst antievolutionists of confusing “falsifiable” with “falsified”. Darwinism is falsifiable at many, many levels. The thing that drives antievolutionists mad is that all of the easy experiments have been done and all of the results (NO EXCEPTIONS) bear out the fundamental tenets of Darwin’s theory (all life shares a common ancestry, variety arises by the action of natural selection on randomly-occurring heritable variation).

    (Yeah, yeah, I know I need to insert Kimura in there somewhere, but y’all get my drift.)

  72. 72
    Upright BiPed says:

    Mark,

    Geeez. Only by a rather pathetic need to obfuscate the issue could you think that Timaeus actually asked seven questions.

    Do you think he is incapable of speaking well?

    Do you think he just had some extra time on his hands?

    Or… do you think he was following the very normative coversational routine of driving towards a central question?

    (by the way, that wasn’t three
    questions)

    – – – – – –

    I previously said I would not believe you that you couldn’t understand the difference between MacNeil’s rewrite and the original question. You’ve now tried twice more to convince me that you can’t.

    I still don’t believe you, and I think this conversation now has sunken to triviality.

  73. 73
    Berceuse says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Upright BiPed, but my understanding of the rephrasing of the question is that it allows that which is disputed (macroevolution) to ride the coattails of that which is not (microevolution). Is that why you object to it?

  74. 74
    Mark Frank says:

    #72

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Upright BiPed, but my understanding of the rephrasing of the question is that it allows that which is disputed (macroevolution) to ride the coattails of that which is not (microevolution). Is that why you object to it?

    I will be intrigued to see the answer to this. It certainly confuses me. At the end of all this Allen pointed out that any refutation of microevolution is also a refutation of a theory which entails microevolution. I think anything that goes by the description of “Darwinian hypothesis” would include macroevolution is the result of many instances of microevolution. Given this, it absolutely follows that refuting microevolution refutes “the Darwinian hypothesis”. And, of course, the process of microevolution has been tested many, many times in the field and in the laboratory.

  75. 75
    Upright BiPed says:

    Berceuse,

    The rephrasing my Cornell Biology Professor Allen MacNeil was made for one reason only:

    He could them ignore the actual question so that another question make takes its place

    – – – – – –

    The question is not about whether if macro evolution subsumes/depends upon microevolution…that was just an act of obfuscation intended fog the issue beyond all recognition… the question is about the falsification of unguided evolution.

    DO YOU HEAR THAT MARK FRANK?

    The premise of Unguided Evolution cannot be falsified as it is currently practiced by materialist ideologues within the academy.

    This is the issue that Allen MacNeil cannot address. This is the issue that caused him to abandon the conversation nine months ago. This is the issue that caused him to ignore repeated attempts to have him rejoin the conversation. This is the issue that has now caused him to try to change the subject. This is the issue that caused him to feign being insulted in order to escape the conversation, and this is the issue that has lead Mark Frank to repeatedly act like he just can’t understand the distinction between questions about the relationship of micro/macro evolution and questions about the falisfication of unguided evolution.

    – – – – – –

    Here it is once again for the cheap seats:

    THE QUESTION:

    Timaeus: “The issue is, within the working assumption of common descent, what would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis once and for all? What would force a Darwinian to admit that evolution could not have been entirely unguided? I have asked this question over and over again, and never have I spoken to or read a Darwinist who has an answer for it. And being somewhat of a Popperian in philosophy of science (unfashionable, I know, but I was never much for fashion), I would argue that any hypothesis for which this question cannot be answered is not really a scientific hypothesis, but a vague, airy speculation. So, is Darwinian evolution a falsifiable hypothesis, or not? If so, how could it be falsified? If not, why should it be regarded as science?”

    CHANGE OF TOPIC: ATTEMPT #1

    Allen MacNeil: “What empirical evidence would falsify the hypothesis that a combination of variation, inheritance, fecundity, and differential survival and reproduction can produce both microevolution and macroevolution?”

    CHANGE OF TOPIC: ATTEMPT #2

    Allen MAcNeil: “What empirical evidence would verify (i.e. support) or falsify (i.e. undermine) the hypothesis that whales have evolved from a land-dwelling ancestor?”

    – – – – –

    Truly…is there anything else to say?

  76. 76
    Upright BiPed says:

    EDIT #73:

    “The rephrasing [by] Cornell Biology Professor Allen MacNeil was made for one reason only…”

  77. 77
    Mark Frank says:

    #74

    One more try.

    These are two completely different questions:

    1) What would falsify unguided evolution?

    2) What would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis?

    The answer to the first is demonstration of guided evolution – nothing else could do it because “unguided evolution” is an open-ended concept. Who knows what other unguided evolution concept might crop up.

    The answer to the second depends on what you mean by “Darwinian hypothesis”. However, all interpretations that I am aware of entail microevolution. Therefore, by simple logic if microevolution is false then all these Darwinian hypotheses are false.

  78. 78
    jitsak says:

    Mark Frank is of course correct.

    To falsify unguided evolution, one would have to demonstrate guided evolution.

    What potentially observable mechanisms of evolution guidance are there?

    Perhaps quantum teleportation of a new gene into an existing genome? That seems like an obvious candidate. But how could it be observed? Any ideas out there?

  79. 79
    Clive Hayden says:

    jitsak,

    To falsify unguided evolution, one would have to demonstrate guided evolution.

    Science cannot tell you whether it is random or guided, for that is a metaphysical question.

  80. 80
    jitsak says:

    Clive,

    Science cannot tell you whether it is random or guided, for that is a metaphysical question.

    I think you mean unguided vs guided rather than random vs guided, since natural selection is not a random effect. But that aside, I don’t think it is necessarily a metaphysical question. Sure, if a supernatural force directed every mutation (which, btw, was the opinion of one the greatest evolutionary thinkers, and Christian, Sir Ronald A Fisher), then we’re in the metaphysical domain. But if there were a frontloaded component of genomes that would kick into action at a pre-specified time or state, then that might be detectable by ordinary empirical means.

  81. 81
    Mark Frank says:

    #79

    Science cannot tell you whether it is random or guided, for that is a metaphysical question.

    I thought ID was meant to be the science of identifying if something was guided or not! Of course, I agree that ID is not science.

    (However, it is possible for science to identify specific hypotheses involving guidance.)

  82. 82
    Upright BiPed says:

    As I previously said, Timaeus was asking a central question within his larger comment. He did so in a way that is as normal in conversation as it could possibly be. You ask a question and fill in context, you then re-ask the question and add more context. Then by the end of your comment, you have proceeded to ask the question in it fullest context. It is this question that you pose to be answered.

    Now…the scenario I just outlined is so obvious and normal in average conversation, that I feel like I am talking to a child just by trying to explain it. I dare say there is not a single adult who has not spoken this way. Yet, this is where the defense of entrenched ideology often takes the conversation. One must wade through the obfuscation laid down by those who have nothing left to defend themselves. So, please allow me to offer an example as a way to illustrate this obvious conversational characteristic – one which you have hijacked in order to avoid the central question:

    One friend says to another: “Are you going to be there to help me tomorrow? I know you don’t want to, but I really need your help. The last time it was you who needed the help, so I was there for you, and you said you would help me when it came time. You were serious about that, right? And I know that you don’t want to act happy about it, but I did it for you. I put a smile on my face and did what had to be done. So tell me, are you going to be able to put aside your feelings, be in good spirits, and meet me there at 3 o’clock with all the paperwork and be ready to go – just like I did for you?”

    Now Mark, what do you think is the actual question the friend is asking? Do you think there were three individual questions with an expectation of three individual answers, or, a central question asked in a series of expanding contexts? Seriously, this is the level of inane obfuscation you have forced upon a conversation in which all the participants and onlookers already understood what was being asked. The question being asked is the one in the fullest of context. Duh.

    In any case; I’ll take you at face value, since you demand that these are separate questions. Let me start with your second comment. You say:

    The answer to the second [question] depends on what you mean by “Darwinian hypothesis”.

    Well, perhaps you should have just read the question instead of angling for a way to ignore the final context. Timaeus says right up front (at the beginning) “What experiment could unambiguously eliminate the Darwinian hypothesis (macroevolution caused by mutations plus natural selection etc.)?” There’s your definition, Mark – which is to say, virtually everything you’ve posted was a pointless diatribe.

    You then say:

    “by simple logic if microevolution is false then all these Darwinian hypotheses are false.”

    No one asked for such a triviality, but since you insist on it, let’s look at your logic. By what you’ve said, you are implying that the way to falsify macroevolution is to simply falsify microevolution.

    Allow me to ask two questions:

    1) Does it ever occur to you that microevolution could be true while macroevolution could be false?

    If your answer to this is “yes”, then your whole comment is vacant, and there would be no point for you to repeatedly bring it up. But, if your answer to this is “no”, then you are committing a logic fallacy. The observation of one does not confirm the other.

    2) Are you not implying that if microevolution is true, then macroevolution is also true?

    If your answer to this is “yes”, then you have taken something observed and used it to smuggle something unobserved into the equation. This would be considered bad science and even poorer logic. However, if your answer is “no”, then why do you continue to bring it up as if it was somehow meaningful? Seriously, why?

    – – – – – – –

    And now to your comment regarding falsifiability:

    The answer to the first is demonstration of guided evolution – nothing else could do it because “unguided evolution” is an open-ended concept. Who knows what other unguided evolution concept might crop up.

    This is an incredibly revealing comment so let’s explore it for a moment, starting with the first sentence: “The answer to the first is demonstration of guided evolution – nothing else could do it”

    This is a tacit admission that unguided evolution is not falsifiable. The ground that you’ve fought for is the ground that Mr. MacNeil has the good sense to run from. At the very least he could say that I insulted him and he simply left the conversation, but you – you have staked you flag on it.

    1) Evolution being guided by the act of an agent is a historical fact, and not only is it a historical fact, but the examples of agency-guided evolution will increase by orders of magnitude in the future. There isn’t a materialist alive that would say the fact of agent-guided evolution has falsified unguided evolution. Your comment is non-started.

    2) Perhaps you would now like to strengthen the grounds of your comment by including only those unseen agents…like a deity, or perhaps some other unknown/unseen agent. If that is the case, then what is required to falsify unguided evolution is only that which cannot be observed. This is to say, the hypothesis cannot be falsified by observation, and therefore, cannot be falsified by science. And as Timaeus pointed out, if it cannot be falsified by science, then it cannot be a part of science. And you, gentlemen, have now made that point succinctly clear.

    And now to the second part of your comment: “unguided evolution” is an open-ended concept. Who knows what other unguided evolution concept might crop up”

    This is the second admission in as many sentences that unguided evolution is not falsifiable. Yet, this admission is perceptively different than the first. In the first admission, you simply remove the ability of empirical science to falsify the hypothesis by requiring that the agent be something that we cannot test. But, in this instance you go to the very character of the proponents themselves. Where the first is a methodological inability, the second is more a practical one. You are quite correct to imply that materialism in the guise of science will forever be able to say we just need more time, more experiments, and a brand new speculation to follow. To say that we cannot exhaust our ability to conceive of yet another possibility is to say that we never have to arrive at the point of the discovery. And even more importantly, we never have to question the assumptions we begin with. The fact that these assumptions might be wrong is never put to the test – and therefore, they are not falsifiable.

    – – – – – – –

    And there you have it – the hypothesis that evolution is completely unguided is a non-falsifiable hypothesis in the first sense because to falsify it would require a test of the un-testable, and in the second sense because we never have to subject our prior assumptions to a final test – indeed there is no final test.

    Therefore, as a matter in keeping with the structure of scientific investigation, the hypothesis fails to be science.

    It is a metaphysical assumption driven by ideology, but it is not science.

  83. 83
    jitsak says:

    Upright Biped,

    And there you have it – the hypothesis that evolution is completely unguided is a non-falsifiable hypothesis in the first sense because to falsify it would require a test of the un-testable, and in the second sense because we never have to subject our prior assumptions to a final test – indeed there is no final test.

    Therefore, as a matter in keeping with the structure of scientific investigation, the hypothesis fails to be science.

    It is a metaphysical assumption driven by ideology, but it is not science.

    You are seriously misguided, pun intended!

    The hypothesis “Evolution occurs entirely by unguided processes” is not part of evolutionary theory (ET).

    ET proposes a number of specific testable and tested mechanistic processes that may cause evolution. As it happens, none of the proposed mechanisms includes guidance by an intelligent agent. The reason being that we have no way of knowing how to include the agents in the models. If you do, please let us know, and enjoy your claim to fame! If not, stop misrepresenting ET.

  84. 84
    Upright BiPed says:

    jitsak,

    Put your arms down.

  85. 85
    Mark Frank says:

    #83

    Dear UB

    I think it is worth pursuing this because there are some deeper consequences of what appears to be a trivial debate.

    On multiple questions

    I am familiar with the scenario you describe. However, it is also common for someone to pose a similar series of related questions where it is not clear which is the central question, and when the questioner himself may not realise he is asking multiple different questions. For example imagine a somewhat breathless friend saying:

    “Are you prepared to help me? Will you be there to help me tomorrow? Can you help me at dinner time?”

    The questions are related but have different answers. It is not obvious which is the central question and at least one of the questions needs clarifying (dinner time today or tomorrow, and when is dinner?). It would be completely reasonable to respond “if you mean will I come round at noon tomorrow to help – then the answer is yes”.

    I know I am not going to convince you that Timeaus comment was like this example rather than yours – so I suggest we leave that particular item.

    On question 2:

    What would falsify the Darwinian hypothesis?

    As you know, my concern with this is that “Darwinian hypothesis” is ambiguous. You feel that macroevolution caused by mutations plus natural selection etc. resolves the ambiguity. But it doesn’t. The “etc” could be almost anything. Does it include genetic drift, Lamarckism, epigenetics? Whatever is meant by “etc”, does the hypothesis claim that all macroevolution happens this way, or just some of it? The conditions of falsification vary according to these details. For example, the hypothesis that “all macroevolution is due to mutation in DNA plus natural selection” is not only falsifiable but false.

    But for a very wide range of definitions of Darwinian evolution – falsifying microevolution would falsify Darwinian evolution. Here is what you wrote:


    You then say:
    “by simple logic if microevolution is false then all these Darwinian hypotheses are false.”

    No one asked for such a triviality, but since you insist on it, let’s look at your logic. By what you’ve said, you are implying that the way to falsify macroevolution is to simply falsify microevolution.
    Allow me to ask two questions:

    1) Does it ever occur to you that microevolution could be true while macroevolution could be false?
    If your answer to this is “yes”, then your whole comment is vacant, and there would be no point for you to repeatedly bring it up. But, if your answer to this is “no”, then you are committing a logic fallacy. The observation of one does not confirm the other.

    2) Are you not implying that if microevolution is true, then macroevolution is also true?
    If your answer to this is “yes”, then you have taken something observed and used it to smuggle something unobserved into the equation. This would be considered bad science and even poorer logic. However, if your answer is “no”, then why do you continue to bring it up as if it was somehow meaningful? Seriously, why?

    I think you are getting confused between if A then B and if B then A.

    Yes it does occur to me that microevolution could be true while macroevolution is false. It is however irrelevant to the claim that if microevolution is false then macroevolution is false. And I most certainly am not implying that if microevolution is true, then macroevolution is also true. I am only implying that if macroevolution is true then microevolution is true.

    The logic is a simple modus tollens.

    If A then B. Not B. Therefore not A.

    In this case A is the rather vague hypothesis: “Darwinian evolution is true” and B is “microevolution is true”. As long you accept “Darwinian evolution requires microevolution” then this logic must hold and you have a method of falsifying Darwinian evolution (there are other methods).

    On question 2:

    What would falsify unguided evolution?

    I wrote
    “The answer to the first is demonstration of guided evolution – nothing else could do it”

    And you responded that this is a tacit admission that unguided evolution is not falsifiable. I am not sure why you say this. If someone established that evolution was guided then surely this would falsify the statement that evolution is unguided?

    However, I do admit that the hypothesis:
    “Evolution is unguided”

    is not scientific. It is far too vague. It says nothing about how evolution might work or what outcomes we might expect. It makes no predictions. Exactly the same problems apply to the hypothesis

    “Evolution is guided”

    neither are scientific hypotheses.

    I don’t see that this is a problem for evolutionary biology. All it shows is the importance of differentiating between a generic statement like “evolution is unguided” and specific hypotheses about how and why it happened.

    Finally, you wrote:

    Evolution being guided by the act of an agent is a historical fact

    Do you mean domestic breeding of cattle, dogs, pigeons etc?

    Yours

    Mark

  86. 86
    Upright BiPed says:

    Mark,

    As to the first question of Micro/Macro evolution – that entire line of thought was nothing more than MacNeil’s diversioanry tactic. I have proven that repeatedly with MacNeil’s own words (#75).

    Unless you wan’t to argue that it has an impact on the hypothesis of unguidedevolution, then it should be dropped.

    And with good riddance.

    – – – – – –

    As to the second question:

    “However, I do admit that the hypothesis: “Evolution is unguided” is not scientific.

    Unguided evolution is the core metaphysical concept within NDE++.

    You can now join with me to alert the planet that every time someone hears that “it” all came about by unguided evolution, they are hearing a scientific fraud.

  87. 87
    Mark Frank says:

    #86

    No respectable biologist in the world is putting forward the hypothesis “unguided evolution” as a scientific hypothesis. They are putting forward specific hypotheses which happen to be unguided.

    If someone says the life came about through unguided evolution I will gladly admit that is not a scientific hypothesis – although it is not a fraud.

    Will you join me in similarly condemning someone, if they put forward that hypothesis that life came about through a guided source as a scientific statement?

  88. 88
    Mark Frank says:

    #86

    As to the first question of Micro/Macro evolution – that entire line of thought was nothing more than MacNeil’s diversioanry tactic. I have proven that repeatedly with MacNeil’s own words (#75).

    Unless you wan’t to argue that it has an impact on the hypothesis of unguidedevolution, then it should be dropped.

    Do you now accept that falsifying microevolution would falsify Darwinian evolution?

  89. 89
    StephenB says:

    —-Mark Frank: “No respectable biologist in the world is putting forward the hypothesis “unguided evolution” as a scientific hypothesis. They are putting forward specific hypotheses which happen to be unguided.”

    Mark, please stop giving me these slow, fat pitches right over the middle of the plate.

    Ken Miller:

    From earlier editions of his biological textbook:

    “Evolution works without either plan or purpose”—that is its “random and undirected.”

    From his latest book:

    —-“random, undirected process of mutation had produced the ‘right’ kind of variation for natural selection to act upon” (p. 51)

    —-“a random, undirected process like evolution” (p. 102)

    —-“blind, random, undirected evolution [could] have produced such an intricate set of structures and organs, so brilliantly dedicated to a single purpose” (p. 137)

    —-“the random, undirected processes of mutation and natural selection” (p. 145)

    —-“Evolution is a natural process, and natural processes are undirected” (p. 244)

    He as also agreed with Simpson’s remark that evolution is a purposeless, mindless process THAT DID NO HAVE MAN IN MIND.

    Further, in his book with Levine, he writes this:

    ”Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless–a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, THERE WAS NO DIVINE PLAN TO GUIDE US.”

  90. 90
    Mark Frank says:

    #89

    StephenB – as you know I don’t like to get into debate with you as it tends to get rather acrimonious. However, you have revealed that I have not explained something well so thanks.

    When I say:

    No respectable biologist in the world is putting forward the hypothesis “unguided evolution” as a scientific hypothesis. They are putting forward specific hypotheses which happen to be unguided.

    I don’t mean that it is unimportant that the hypotheses are unguided. It may well be something that the biologist wants to stress about the hypothesis – as you show in your examples. However, the hypothesis is not just “evolution is unguided”. It is far more specific which allows it to be falsified and makes it scientific.

    I guess the “slow fat pitches” are a reference to baseball. In cricket slow bowling is one of the most effective techniques. The slow bowler will often deliberately deliver slow balls with “plenty of air” to deceive the batsman into making an aggressive stroke which is not justified.

  91. 91
    Upright BiPed says:

    This thread began as a discussion of the very public vitriol coming from the materialists community towards the design thesis. The vitriol comes easy, of course.

    Then at comment 17 it morphed into a demonstration of what actually happens when you ask a Professor of Biology at one of America’s leading universities to validate the scientific status of unguided evolution by simply providing a scenario whereby the thesis of unguided evolution may the falsified.

    What followed was an almost comical attempt to change the subject. That attempt was thoroughly rejected for its obviousness, and then after much rummaging around, a second attempt was put forth. That attempt was even weaker than the first, at which point the Professor deplaned the conversation for greener grass among the other threads.

    Then Mark Frank and others appeared, only to pick up on the points of obfuscation left on the ground by the Professor before them.

    Yet, instead of defending the idea that unguided evolution is a falsifiable hypothesis (and is therefore scientific in nature) they have instead shown that the opposite is true, and have as admitted as much.

    Now the only face-saving move is to condition that admission by suggesting that scientist never actually “put forward the hypothesis of ‘unguided evolution’ as a scientific hypothesis.” This of course, is a laughable proposition. Any ID proponent worth their salt could start posting the public quotes and proclamations of scientists presenting that exact idea, and they would die of old age before they got them all posted.

    Having been given some examples of scientists using their status (as scientist) to make the public case for unguided evolution, Mr. Frank then tells us “It may well be something that the biologist wants to stress about the hypothesis – as you show in your examples. However, the hypothesis is not just “evolution is unguided”. It is far more specific which allows it to be falsified and makes it scientific”.

    There are two distinct points to this comment, which is itself a crystalline example of the issue at hand. In the second part of the comment, Mr. Frank tells us that the hypothesis isn’t just about being unguided, but that it has other qualities which can indeed be falsified – and are therefore scientific. This is, of course, a reemergence of the obfuscation that the Professor attempted earlier. The idea is that if the conversation can be focused on the falsifiability of microevolution, then we needn’t concern ourselves with the falsifiability of the larger claim of unguided processes being at the heart of all Life. In other words, we can use microevolution to smuggle in the remainder of our claims, (unfalsifiable or not, unproven or not, unscientific or not).

    This brings us to the second point on display by the comment above – that is, the conscious choice made by scientists to willfully “stress” (as Mark puts it) the part of the claim which is indeed not falsifiable. In other words, there are many facets to evolution; some of those are falsifiable (and are therefore scientific), while others are not falsifiable (and cannot even be considered scientific). So as a matter of record, Science has chosen to stress that which is not science.

    In light of these admissions, the vitriolic claims of materialists against design (the subject of the OP) can be seen in their proper perspective – that is, taken with a grain of salt.

  92. 92
    Mark Frank says:

    #91

    When it comes down to it one of the requests was for something that would falsify the “Darwinian hypothesis”. The response from Allen (and I agree) was anything that would falsify microevolution.

    Do you know – after all these words I have no idea whether you think that response is true or false!

    But of course I am the one guilty of obfuscation.

  93. 93
    bornagain77 says:

    Mark Frank can you prove that ANY micro-evolutionary events are in fact the result of a gain in functional complexity above and greater than was already present in the parent species? and Can you prove that they are not in fact the result of “beneficial degradation” of the functional complexity that was already present as has been clearly demonstrated by Behe in “The Edge”?

  94. 94
    Mark Frank says:

    #93

    BA^77

    Thank for a short comment. However, it is irrelevant. My case is extraordinarily simple.

    Darwinian evolution cannot happen without microevolution.

    Therefore if microevolution were shown to be false Darwinian evolution would be show to be false

    QED

    Where is the flaw?

  95. 95
    bornagain77 says:

    The flaw is that micro-“evolution” is not truly evolution at all, in the sense that you want it to mean, but in reality ALL micro-“evolution” events fall under what is more properly called Genetic Entropy of pre-existing functional information. To falsify this a evolutionists must simply Pass the “fitness test” find the gain in molecular functionality that exceeds 140 FITS (Functional Information Bits). A truly trivial level of proof if you ask me, but yet one level which I see no reason to be violated from foundational principles of physics. i.e. I have no foundation in physics to presuppose evolution to be true.

  96. 96
    Upright BiPed says:

    Mark,

    “When it comes down to it one of the requests was for something that would falsify the “Darwinian hypothesis””

    There was never a request to falsify microevolution (see #82). Please dont make us go through that again.

    “Do you know – after all these words I have no idea whether you think that response is true or false!”

    Look at comments 45, 65, and 82 under the heading of “TRIVIAL”.

    “But of course I am the one guilty of obfuscation.”

    If the shoe fits.

  97. 97
    Mark Frank says:

    #96

    Look at comments 45, 65, and 82 under the heading of “TRIVIAL”.

    I have read this comments and I am no clearer. Could you not just answer “true” or “false”? Is that an obscure request?

  98. 98
    StephenB says:

    —Mark Frank: “When I say:

    —“No respectable biologist in the world is putting forward the hypothesis “unguided evolution” as a scientific hypothesis. They are putting forward specific hypotheses which happen to be unguided. I don’t mean that it is unimportant that the hypotheses are unguided. It may well be something that the biologist wants to stress about the hypothesis – as you show in your examples. However, the hypothesis is not just “evolution is unguided”. It is far more specific which allows it to be falsified and makes it scientific.”

    It is either a part of the hypothesis or it isn’t. Do you not notice how you have moved the goalposts. You can’t reasonably say, on the one hand, that it is NOT a part of the hypothesis and then turn around and say that it is ONLY a part of the hypothesis.

    Indeed, Darwinism in the broader sense, has its own way of moving the goalposts, as its hypothesis, like yours, keeps morphing and morphing in an attempt to find new life as its older manifestations are killed off by the evidence.

  99. 99
    Mark Frank says:

    #98

    StephenB

    It is part of the hypothesis. But only part. Without the additional detail i.e. a specific method of providing unguided evolution it would be unfalsifiable because it could include any unguided method – including those yet to be imagined. With the additional detail it becomes falsifiable. That’s why no biologist would propose unguided evolution as a hypothesis without the additional detail.

    I did not attempt to move the goalposts. I am sorry if it comes across that way.

    Mark

  100. 100
    StephenB says:

    —Mark: “It is part of the hypothesis. But only part. Without the additional detail i.e. a specific method of providing unguided evolution it would be unfalsifiable because it could include any unguided method – including those yet to be imagined. With the additional detail it becomes falsifiable. That’s why no biologist would propose unguided evolution as a hypothesis without the additional detail.”

    But it shouldn’t be in the hypothesis at all, and the fact that it is, in whatever form, or with whatever justification, completely invalidates it as a scientific formulation.

    Let me show you in dialogical form how this works and why Darwinists must characterized evolution as an unguided process:

    D = [Darwinist]

    ID = [ID proponent].

    D: Do you believe in evolution or are you one of those religious fanatics who think that God created the universe?

    ID: I simply follow where the evidence leads, and the evidence points to design.

    D: So, just as I suspected. You are an evolution denier.

    ID: No, not really. I accept evolution as a distinct possibility.

    D: But, as an ID advocate, you don’t really accept evolution because you deny common descent.

    ID: No, not really. While some of us are skeptical about that point, the ID paradigm itself allows for common descent or macro evolution, whichever way you want to put it.

    D: Ah, but do you accept undirected, macro evolution? Simply acknowledging the possibility of macro-evolution, or even accepting it as a fact, will not exempt you from the charge of “creationism.” You must accept undirected, macro evolution or else you are simply allowing your religion to leak into your methods. Either you accept undirected macro evolution [metaphysics posing as science] or you are not a scientist. In keeping with that point, I hereby declare by fiat that science must study nature as if nature is all there is [methodological naturalism, the epistemological guard that protects the metaphysics].

    As a simple institutional strategy for survival, the Darwinist must include the element of “unguidedness” as part of his hypothesis? If he doesn’t, he has nothing more to say once ID confirms that it is not anti-evolution in principle. Thus, Darwinists are “all in” for undirected evolution and depend on this metaphysical intrusion on science as a defense against all evidence to the contrary.

    Hence, a statement [around the year 2000] From the Kansas Board of Education

    “Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”

    See how that works? To protect their psuedo science, Darwinists must establish non-scientific definitions and rules, and enforce them through the use of power. It’s as simple as that.

  101. 101
    Mark Frank says:

    #100

    StephenB

    I was only concerned with the request of Timeaus to show how “Darwinian evolution” might be falsified. We seem to have drifted off the subject a bit.

  102. 102
    StephenB says:

    —Mark Frank: “I was only concerned with the request of Timeaus to show how “Darwinian evolution” might be falsified. We seem to have drifted off the subject a bit.”

    I thought that Upright Biped, confirming Timmeaus, had made the point sufficiently clear, holding that Darwinian evolution cannot be falsified since it posits an “unguided” process.

    As a response, you began by saying that “undirected evolution” is not, in fact, a part of the Darwinist hypothesis, and that no self respecting scientist would characterize it that way. When I throughly refuted both points, you continued on as sleek as ever by saying that, well, it is “only a part” of the hypothesis, as if that constituted a new argument. When I explained that being only a part of the hypothesis is enough to make it unscientific, you responded again by saying that we are drifting.

    My point @ 100 was to explain WHY Darwinists must insist that evolution is an unguided process, because I thought the additional information would edify everyone concerned, including yourself. If, on the other hand, you do not care about the reasons that Darwinists posit unguided, undirected, unplanned evolution, then I trust we can simply agree that they do, and as a result, render their hypothesis unfalsifiable—unless, of course, you want to start all over again by denying the point anew and reducing me to presenting another round of examples.

  103. 103
    Mark Frank says:

    #102

    StephenB

    You are becoming abrasive again: “When I throughly refuted both points, you continued on as sleek as ever” (Ironic given the original title of the post). I am stopping our dialogue.

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