Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

A biophysicist looks at the limits of what science can tell us

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As a scientist, he confesses dismay at the naive popular faith in science, for example,

D. Ignoring Falsification of Key Predictions

Because so many conclusions in modern science depend upon inductive inferences to conclusions that cannot be proved experimentally, falsification has an important role. It tells us if we are on the wrong track. It is very bad science that focuses only on the positive support for a theory while ignoring experimental and observational evidence that falsifies it.

An essential prediction of the Darwinian theory of common descent, for example, is that functional genetic information increases through a process of mutations, insertions, and deletions. Experimental science, however, consistently falsifies this prediction. In reality, the number of harmful mutations is greater than the number of beneficial mutations, with the net result that the genomes of life are slowly degrading. We see this, for example, in bacteria, in the fruit fly, and in human beings. In this case, scientism’s philosophical commitment to common descent sets aside actual experimental results that contradict that belief because, under scientism, the foregone conclusion is required to be true, even if experimental science appears to falsify a key prediction. Scientism’s belief in Darwinian common descent by blind and mindless processes is, as some might say, “too big to fail.” Kirk Durston, “Inferential Science — What Could Go Wrong?” at Evolution News and Science Today:

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See also: Kirk Durston: In Defence Of Experimental Science


Kirk Durston: Backing Up The Particle Physicist Who Says There Is “Baked In” Bias In Science

So Darwin knew about genes, the effects of mutations thereof and modern information theoretic conceptualizing of the process?
The CONCEPT remains the same, ie design without an intelligent designer. The only difference is the addition of genetics as the source of the variation. However that addition was also the end of the Darwinian concept that the given source of the variation could produce the diversity of life via numerous, slight, successive modifications. The discontinuities remain real, they are numerous and they are still unexplainable via scientific means. For example discontinuities exist from: Inanimate matter to replicating RNAs Replicating RNAs to a RNA World RNA world to the coded DNA world Bacteria to eukaryote single-cell to multicell multicell to metazoan metazoan to the various body plans ET
^^^^^ Care to back up all your bluff and bluster with any actual empirical evidence? You know, that whole empirical science thing?
Claim: New Proteins Evolve Very Easily - Cornelius Hunter - April 25, 2017 Excerpt:  It is now clear that for a given protein, only a few changes to its amino acid sequence can be sustained before the protein function is all but eliminated. Here is how one paper explained it: “The accepted paradigm that proteins can tolerate nearly any amino acid substitution has been replaced by the view that the deleterious effects of mutations, and especially their tendency to undermine the thermodynamic and kinetic stability of protein, is a major constraint on protein evolvability—the ability of proteins to acquire changes in sequence and function.” In other words, protein function precipitously drops off with only a tiny fraction of its amino acids altered. It is not a gradual fitness landscape. Another paper described the protein fitness landscape as rugged. Therefore it is not surprising that various studies on evolving proteins have failed to show a viable mechanism. One study concluded that 10^63 attempts would be required to evolve a relatively short protein. And a similar result (10^65 attempts required) was obtained by comparing protein sequences. Another study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and another study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required. So something like 10^70 attempts are required yet evolutionists estimate that only 10^43 attempts are possible. In other words, there is a shortfall of 27 orders of magnitude. But it gets worse. The estimate that 10^43 attempts are possible is utterly unrealistic. For it assumes billions of years are available, and that for that entire time the Earth is covered with bacteria, constantly churning out mutations and new protein experiments. Aside from the fact that these assumptions are entirely unrealistic, the estimate also suffers from the rather inconvenient fact that those bacteria are, err, full of proteins. In other word, for evolution to evolve proteins, they must already exist in the first place. This is absurd. And yet, even with these overly optimistic assumptions, evolution falls short by 27 orders of magnitude. https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/04/claim-new-proteins-evolve-very-easily/ Dan S. Tawfik Group - The New View of Proteins - Tyler Hampton - 2016 Excerpt: Tawfik soberly recognizes the problem. The appearance of early protein families, he has remarked, is “something like close to a miracle.”45,,, “In fact, to our knowledge,” Tawfik and Tóth-Petróczy write, “no macromutations ... that gave birth to novel proteins have yet been identified.”69 http://inference-review.com/article/the-new-view-of-proteins When Theory and Experiment Collide — April 16th, 2011 by Douglas Axe Excerpt: Based on our experimental observations and on calculations we made using a published population model [3], we estimated that Darwin’s mechanism would need a truly staggering amount of time—a trillion trillion years or more—to accomplish the seemingly subtle change in enzyme function that we studied. http://biologicinstitute.org/2011/04/16/when-theory-and-experiment-collide/ "the likelihood of developing two binding sites in a protein complex would be the square of the probability for getting one: a double CCC, 10^20 times 10^20, which is 10^40. There have likely been fewer than 10^40 cells in the world in the last 4 billion years, so the odds are against a single event of this variety in the history of life. It is biologically unreasonable.” – Michael Behe – The Edge of Evolution – page 146 About a Bike Lock: Responding to Richard Dawkins - Stephen C. Meyer – March 25, 2016 Excerpt: Moreover, given the empirically based estimates of the rarity (of protein folds) (conservatively estimated by Axe3 at 1 in 10^77 and within a similar range by others4) the analysis that I presented in Toronto does pose a formidable challenge to those who claim the mutation-natural selection mechanism provides an adequate means for the generation of novel genetic information -- at least, again, in amounts sufficient to generate novel protein folds.5 Why a formidable challenge? Because random mutations alone must produce (or "search for") exceedingly rare functional sequences among a vast combinatorial sea of possible sequences before natural selection can play any significant role. Moreover, as I discussed in Toronto, and show in more detail in Darwin's Doubt,6 every replication event in the entire multi-billion year history of life on Earth would not generate or "search" but a miniscule fraction (one ten trillion, trillion trillionth, to be exact) of the total number of possible nucleotide base or amino-acid sequences corresponding to a single functional gene or protein fold. The number of trials available to the evolutionary process (corresponding to the total number of organisms -- 10^40 -- that have ever existed on earth), thus, turns out to be incredibly small in relation to the number of possible sequences that need to be searched. The threshold of selectable function exceeds what is reasonable to expect a random search to be able to accomplish given the number of trials available to the search even assuming evolutionary deep time. ------- (3) Axe, Douglas. "Estimating the Prevalence of Protein Sequences Adopting Functional Enzyme Folds." Journal of Molecular Biology 341 (2004): 1295-1315. (4) Reidhaar-Olson, John, and Robert Sauer. "Functionally Acceptable Solutions in Two Alpha-Helical Regions of Lambda Repressor." Proteins: Structure, Function, and Genetics 7 (1990): 306-16; Yockey, Hubert P. "A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory," Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977c): 377-98; Yockey, Hubert. "On the Information Content of Cytochrome C," Journal of Theoretical Biology 67 (1977b) 345-376. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/03/about_a_bike_lo102722.html
An essential prediction of the Darwinian theory of common descent, for example, is that functional genetic information increases through a process of mutations, insertions, and deletions.
So Darwin knew about genes, the effects of mutations thereof and modern information theoretic conceptualizing of the process? I think not and neither should Durston
Experimental science, however, consistently falsifies this prediction. In reality, the number of harmful mutations is greater than the number of beneficial mutations, with the net result that the genomes of life are slowly degrading.
Seriously? Are you still pushing that old canard? Life on this planet can be traced back billions of years yet, in spite of a number of catastrophic setbacks currently including short-sighted human stupidity, it has continued to diversify and flourish. That suggests "genomes of life" that are more than sufficiently robust and resilient. If you really want simplistic arguments, the obvious counter is that harmful mutations are those that, over time, are going to be filtered out by natural selection leaving the field to the beneficial ones. So, far from being degraded, the genome should actually be undergoing a sort of constant upgrading. Shouldn't you also be pointing out that a mutation is just a change in the structure of the gene which can come about for a number of reasons? Whether or not that change is going to be detrimental or beneficial to the organism of which the gene may - or may not - be a functional component, depends entirely on the environmental context in which it occurs, either locally or globally. To make matters worse, that environmental context is continually changing, so what was an advantageous mutation at one point could become disadvantageous further down the line and vice versa. There is nothing in evolutionary biology which guarantees humanity a permanent place amongst the stars, which is obviously one reason why it doesn't appeal to believers, but there's a good chance that life of some sort will continue here even if we are gone. And it stretches my credulity to think that, in all this vast universe, this is the only planet which has born life or will ever bear it. Seversky
as to:
"It is very bad science that focuses only on the positive support for a theory while ignoring experimental and observational evidence that falsifies it."
Indeed, whether a hypothesis is falsifiable or not is considered the gold standard of accepting whether or not a hypothesis may be even be scientific or not in the first place. As Popper himself stated,
"In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality." Karl Popper - The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge
Moreover, it is not that Darwinian evolution is not falsifiable, it is that Darwinists themselves refuse to accept falsification of their theory. Here are a few falsifications of Darwinian evolution that Darwinists simply refuse to accept as falsifications of their theory:
Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are found to be ‘directed’. Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute. Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke. Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late). Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species. Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.” Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it.” Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’. Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, 'immaterial' mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place! Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!. The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the "Maxwell's Demon" thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy. Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes 'the truth' from ever being reached by science! Darwinist’s, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.
On top of all that, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on intelligent design and is certainly not based on methodological naturalism as is presupposed by Darwinists. From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science, i.e. that the universe is rational and that the minds of men, being made in the 'image of God', can dare understand that rationality, to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results, from top to bottom science itself is certainly not ‘natural’. Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever just found laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analysed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place. In fact, (as I have pointed out several times now), assuming Naturalism instead of Theism as the worldview on which all of science is based leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science itself.
Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,, – Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – 39:45 minute mark https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387
Thus, although the Darwinist may firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to. It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Bottom line, by any reasonable measure by which someone may wish to judge whether a proposition is even scientific or not, Darwinian evolution fails to qualify as a science:
“There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.” – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17 Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7f_fyoPybw
In short, Darwinian evolution, since it fails to even qualify as a science in any meaningful sense, is much more realistically classified as a pseudoscientific religion for atheists. Darwinists, (and I have no doubt that many of them are sincere in their belief that Darwinism is truly 'scientific'), are simply profoundly deceived in their belief that Darwinian evolution even qualifies as a science in the first place. Verse:
1 Thessalonians 5:21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.

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