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Douglas Axe on scientism

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From Doug Axe’s Undeniable:

Atheists have a pronounced leaning toward scientism, which is the belief that science is the only reliable source of truth. It’s entirely understandable, then, that belief in God might look to them like wishful thinking – as though people of faith have let their hearts overpower their heads. . . . We fully acknowledge that emotion can get in the way of clear thinking, but since we see this as a very general condition of humanity, we would never offer it as a particular weakness of atheism, the way so many atheists offer it as a particular weakness of theism. (P. 7)

Axe is director of the Biologic Institute.

Note: Pot. Kettle. Scientism is the chief cause of belief in unfalsifiable notions such as the multiverse, impossible ones such as a random origin of life, strangeones such as that information is a physical entity …

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12 Replies to “Douglas Axe on scientism

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    “Atheists have a pronounced leaning toward scientism, which is the belief that science is the only reliable source of truth. It’s entirely understandable, then, that belief in God might look to them like wishful thinking – as though people of faith have let their hearts overpower their heads. . . . We fully acknowledge that emotion can get in the way of clear thinking, but since we see this as a very general condition of humanity, we would never offer it as a particular weakness of atheism, the way so many atheists offer it as a particular weakness of theism.”

    I personally find these statements contradictory. Here is why I think they are contradictory:

    “Atheists have a pronounced leaning toward scientism, which is the belief that science is the only reliable source of truth.”

    My problem with this statement is that atheists believe that science is the only reliable source of truth. Why would they believe it rather than being sure of it?

    It may very well be tied to the fundamental belief of being atheists. Many true atheists, including Dawkins, Moran, are actually agnostics. These are their public statements.
    Why are they agnostics? I’m going to leave this issue for discussion… Let’s see what happens…

    2. “…that belief in God might look to them like wishful thinking – as though people of faith have let their hearts overpower their heads. . . . We fully acknowledge that emotion can get in the way of clear thinking, but since we see this as a very general condition of humanity, we would never offer it as a particular weakness of atheism, the way so many atheists offer it as a particular weakness of theism.”

    I again, respectfully, disagree with this statement…

    If atheism had a solid foundation, we would not be talking about its weaknesses would we? But it does have many of them, fundamental ones.

    The major ones starting with the origin of life and its progression of evolution from prokaryotic cell to eukaryotic.

    If these serious gaps or deficiencies do not require scientific evidence, what else have they been based on? If there is not scientific evidence whatsoever for these fundamental, scientific issues, why would atheists be leaning toward scientism? What is it based on? Why would it be “understandable to Doug Axe? Can anyone see my problem? Can anyone see why I have a problem with these statements?

  2. 2
    rvb8 says:

    Scientists (many of whom are atheist), and atheists generally do not ‘believe’, that science is the only reliable source of truth. Scientists ‘accept’ this proposition as they have no way of proving or disproving deities.
    Why is this so problamatic to theists? You have a God you, ‘believe’ in, fine. Scientism (a term BTW, that I heartily embrace. Be careful what words you use as terms of supposed ridicule, look at these ones; Tories, suffragettes, queer, were used as terms of derision, and are now badges of honour), is a new mood, to be sure, and in rational countries outside the emotional (heart rules my head), Middle East, where religion is king, it is a growing movement, thank God.
    Douglas Axe says nothing new, this appears to be a hall mark of criticism against atheism, and Evolutionary Biology generally, the recycling of worn out arguments?

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    the recycling of worn out arguments?

    What are these worn out arguments? Has anyone refuted Axe’s claims about proteins. He claims they haven’t.

    I have never seen an argument for naturalistic evolution that was coherent. Maybe you could provide one that is not worn out but relevant.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    Axe is not talking to the hard core atheist or agnostic with his book. He is talking to the average person with some basic education. He claims that there is an intuition for design which will resonate with most. He claims all children have it and it has to be beaten out of them by the education system.

    I am about 40% finished with the book and so far there is little science but mostly on how we reason and come to conclusions. Interesting but not a hard science book. Examples about his personal career were eye opening.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    a few notes:

    Stephen Meyer (with Doug Axe) Critiques Richard Dawkins’s “Mount Improbable” Illustration – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rgainpMXa8

    Estimating the prevalence of protein sequences adopting functional enzyme folds: Doug Axe:
    Excerpt: The prevalence of low-level function in four such experiments indicates that roughly one in 10^64 signature-consistent sequences forms a working domain. Combined with the estimated prevalence of plausible hydropathic patterns (for any fold) and of relevant folds for particular functions, this implies the overall prevalence of sequences performing a specific function by any domain-sized fold may be as low as 1 in 10^77, adding to the body of evidence that functional folds require highly extraordinary sequences.
    http://www.toriah.org/articles/axe-2004.pdf

    Correcting Four Misconceptions about my 2004 Article in JMB — May 4th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    http://www.biologicinstitute.o.....article-in

    In Response to Meyer-Dawkins Dispute, Misconceptions About My Research Resurface – Douglas Axe – March 25, 2016 – (Doug Axe responds to Art Hunt, Steve Matheson and Dennis Venema)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02723.html

    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
    The emerging picture, once luminous, has settled to gray. It is not clear how natural selection can operate in the origin of folds or active site architecture (of proteins). It is equally unclear how either micromutations or macromutations could repeatedly and reliably lead to large evolutionary transitions. What remains is a deep, tantalizing, perhaps immovable mystery.
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....f-proteins

    Quantum criticality in a wide range of important biomolecules
    Excerpt: “Most of the molecules taking part actively in biochemical processes are tuned exactly to the transition point and are critical conductors,” they say.
    That’s a discovery that is as important as it is unexpected. “These findings suggest an entirely new and universal mechanism of conductance in biology very different from the one used in electrical circuits.”
    The permutations of possible energy levels of biomolecules is huge so the possibility of finding even one that is in the quantum critical state by accident is mind-bogglingly small and, to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”,,,
    “what exactly is the advantage that criticality confers?”
    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    Yockey and a Calculator Versus Evolutionists – Cornelius Hunter PhD – September 25, 2015
    Excerpt: In a 1977 paper published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, Hubert Yockey used information theory to evaluate the likelihood of the evolution of a relatively simple protein.,,,
    Yockey found that the probability of evolution finding the cytochrome c protein sequence is about one in 10^64. That is a one followed by 64 zeros—an astronomically large number. He concluded in the peer-reviewed paper that the belief that proteins appeared spontaneously “is based on faith.”
    Indeed, Yockey’s early findings are in line with, though a bit more conservative than, later findings. A 1990 study of a small, simple protein found that 10^63 attempts would be required for evolution to find the protein.
    A 2004 study found that 10^64 to 10^77 attempts are required, and a 2006 study concluded that 10^70 attempts would be required.
    These requirements dwarf the resources evolution has at its disposal. Even evolutionists have had to admit that evolution could only have a maximum of 10^43 such experiments. It is important to understand how tiny this number is compared to 10^70. 10^43 is not more than half of 10^70. It is not even close to half. 10^43 is an astronomically tiny sliver of 10^70.
    Furthermore, the estimate of 10^43 is, itself, entirely unrealistic. For instance, it assumes the entire history of the Earth is available, rather than the limited time window that evolution actually would have had.,,,
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....ersus.html

    What is the maximum number of trials evolution could have performed?
    Kirk Durston – April 2016
    Excerpt: Extreme upper limit for the total number of possible gene families sampled for all of life over 4 billion years = 2.2 x 10^45 trials.
    I have been extremely generous – by two orders of magnitude in comparison to a peer reviewed estimate for ‘an extreme upper limit’ of 4 x 10^43 trials (3). Since Dryden estimates 10^43 as his ‘extreme upper limit’, and it is peer reviewed, we will use his estimate instead of mine.,,,
    With 10^43 trials, one would think there would be no problem. Unfortunately, there are virtually no sequences that will produce stable, functional 3D structures. For example, RS7 is a universal protein required for all life forms, yet only 1 in 10^100 sequences will produce a functional RS7 protein domain.
    Obviously, in order for evolution to find any RS7 sequences, 10^43 trials is woefully inadequate – by 57 orders of magnitude.
    http://p2c.com/students/what-i.....performed/

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    The Evolutionary Accessibility of New Enzyme Functions: A Case Study from the Biotin Pathway – Ann K. Gauger and Douglas D. Axe – April 2011
    Excerpt: We infer from the mutants examined that successful functional conversion would in this case require seven or more nucleotide substitutions. But evolutionary innovations requiring that many changes would be extraordinarily rare, becoming probable only on timescales much longer than the age of life on earth.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2011.1

    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://www.biologicinstitute.o.....nt-collide

    “Biologist Douglas Axe on Evolution’s (non) Ability to Produce New (Protein) Functions ” – video
    Quote: It turns out once you get above the number six [changes] — and even at lower numbers actually — but once you get above the number six you can pretty decisively rule out an evolutionary transition because it would take far more time than there is on planet Earth and larger populations than there are on planet Earth.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZiLsXO-dYo

    Doug Axe PhD. on the Rarity and ‘non-Evolvability’ of Functional Proteins – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZiLsXO-dYo

    Can Even One Polymer Become a Protein in 13 billion Years? – Dr. Douglas Axe, Biologic Institute – June 20, 2013 – audio
    http://radiomaria.us/discoveri.....institute/

    “Shared Evolutionary History or Shared Design?” – Ann Gauger – January 1, 2015
    Excerpt: The waiting time required to achieve four mutations is 10^15 years. That’s longer than the age of the universe. The real waiting time is likely to be much greater, since the two most likely candidate enzymes failed to be coopted by double mutations.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92291.html

    “Enzyme Families — Shared Evolutionary History or Shared Design?” – Ann Gauger – December 4, 2014
    Excerpt: If enzymes can’t be recruited to genuinely new functions by unguided means, no matter how similar they are, the evolutionary story is false.,,,
    Taken together, since we found no enzyme that was within one mutation of cooption, the total number of mutations needed is at least four: one for duplication, one for over-production, and two or more single base changes. The waiting time required to achieve four mutations is 10^15 years. That’s longer than the age of the universe. The real waiting time is likely to be much greater, since the two most likely candidate enzymes failed to be coopted by double mutations.
    We have now addressed two objections raised by our critics: that we didn’t test the right mutation(s), and that we didn’t use the right starting point. We tested all possible single base changes in nine different enzymes, Those nine enzymes are the most structurally similar of BioF’s entire family We also tested 70 percent of double mutations in the two closest enzymes of those nine.
    Finally, some have said we should have used the ancestral enzyme as our starting point, because they believe modern enzymes are somehow different from ancient ones. Why do they think that? It’s because modern enzymes can’t be coopted to anything except trivial changes in function. In other words, they don’t evolve!
    That is precisely the point we are making.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91701.html

    New Article in BIO-Complexity Addresses the Problem of Biological Innovation – Ann Gauger – January 4, 2016
    Excerpt: Next he, (Doug Axe), tested whether an already existing character with some weak similarity to the target could be evolved by mutation and selection to a proficient version of the target character. Once again, the answer was no. However, if the starting character was only six mutations away from optimization, it improved rapidly upon mutation and selection.,,,
    Our conclusion? Unless the starting protein already exists as a functional fold of the right design, the protein’s activity cannot be optimized to wild-type levels. In other words, you’ll never get an innovation optimized, even with a pre-existing low level of the desired activity if the innovation is not already present in substantial form. By that I mean that the enzyme already has to be arranged to carry out the innovative function — its structure has to be of the right kind. Natural selection cannot create innovation, and it can’t even optimize pre-existing weak functions that are not of the right design to begin with.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02051.html

    Dan S. Tawfik Group – The New View of Proteins – Tyler Hampton – 2016
    Excerpt: To the extent that Tawfik’s selection experiments were successful, it is because mutations were localized and contextualized. Mutation had a key but confined role. If evolution proceeded, the prevailing architecture of the active sites and protein shapes nonetheless remains intact. Changes were not to central structures, but to peripheral loops. A great deal of flexibility was discovered. Still, it is hard to see how any of this could build proteins—that is, in the sense of building their fundamental shapes, or scaffolds; and build proteins in terms of explaining the key catalytic strategies of each active site. Even in the impressive demonstration of a transition through nine orders of magnitude, in which a full exchange of a promiscuous activity for the primary activity was seen, the overall geometry of the protein was unchanged, and, although substrates had changed, the fundamental active site strategy stayed the same. ,,,
    “Modern neo-Darwinism and neutral evolutionary treatments,” remark Leonard Bogarad and Michael Deem, “fail to explain satisfactorily the generation of the diversity of life found on our planet.” It is not that they did not evolve, they say, but that “… most theoretical treatments of evolution consider only the limited point-mutation events that form the basis of these theories.” Their sober conclusion is that “point mutation alone is incapable of evolving systems with substantially new protein folds.”60,,,
    “In fact, to our knowledge,” Tawfik and Tóth-Petróczy write, “no macromutations … that gave birth to novel proteins have yet been identified.”69
    The emerging picture, once luminous, has settled to gray. It is not clear how natural selection can operate in the origin of folds or active site architecture (of proteins). It is equally unclear how either micromutations or macromutations could repeatedly and reliably lead to large evolutionary transitions. What remains is a deep, tantalizing, perhaps immovable mystery.
    http://inference-review.com/ar.....f-proteins

  7. 7
    groovamos says:

    rvb8: Douglas Axe says nothing new….

    Dude I scarcely believe you have bought the book and read it, and have the last word on what is “new” in it. Now so far as the quote above from the book is concerned, the point of it may not be new to you and me, but you know, plenty of people getting tired of the disintegration of our culture are beginning to look for answers from people not like you, and are going to be handed this book by people like me. And it will be new to them.

    BTW I bought the book at last Wednesdays program in Seattle and got it signed. Plenty of his points are not “new” to me, but his examples of analogous thinking are new to me and show he has been thinking for a long time about how to get to the general reader by ways of analogy (since Darwinism is unfalsifiable). Unfortunately for people like you.

  8. 8
    groovamos says:

    And to tell the truth, as many times as yours truly has been called names and been the target of attempted insults by materialists, of course his point is not new to me

  9. 9
    cantor says:

    rvb8 @2:

    limit your scientific research and experimentation and hypotheses to natural causes = methodological naturalism

    believe that science is the only source of truth = metaphysical naturalism = scientism

    Virtually all working scientists practice methodological naturalism.

    But the “scientists” who make the rules and control the discussion are mostly also metaphysical naturalists.

  10. 10
    Axel says:

    And the ones who have actually “made the running” in science, who have initiated the great paradigm-changes, have been almost exclusively deists, Christians and perhaps Synagogue Jews (Arno Penzias and his colleague confirmed the background radiation from the Big Bang radiation that the Belgian priest, Georges Lemaitre postulated).

    Only vile corporate funding has maintained atheism’s hegemony in science. That, alone. Well, since it buys the politicians, why wouldn’t it ?

    ‘The terms, ‘Tories’ and ‘queers’, badges of honour, rvb8 ? It’s a new one on me that the Tories have been rehabilitated. Even the endemically-perjured, mainstream media acknowledge them as the ‘nasty’ party. The fact that too many of the relatively few voters vote for them is, in part, a mark of their cynicism, but perhaps more significantly Labour has become the Number One champion of sexual libertarianism. More ‘Stonewall’ than Keir Hardie’s or Aneuren Bevan’s heirs.

    And if the word,’queer’, has become a badge of honour, why don’t they call their ‘Gay’ Parades, ‘Queer Parades’? People who are proud of themselves don’t thrust their wonderfulness down other people’s throats, although a grateful nation sometimes honours its servicemen with public parades.

    How atheists believe that money and worldly power can turn reality on its head, in such a matter as gender, for the mass of the people, is a never-ending mystery.

  11. 11

    rvb8 @ 2: I get your point. Atheists used to (some still do) attempt to deride Christians with the word creationist. Today, many Christians like myself are proud to be called creationists. Some are old-earth creationists (William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Alvin Plantiga) and some are young-earth creationists (Ken Ham, John Baumgardner, Carl Wieland), but all are creationists.

  12. 12

    rvb8 @ 2: You? You’re just a fool.

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