Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design News

Jerry Coyne: Evolution claims haven’t yielded practical benefits

Spread the love

Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.” Jerry Coyne, “Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?,” reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, Vol 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006).

So why is teaching it supposed to be so important, apart from spreading the new atheism of which it is the creation story, and Coyne seems to be a proponent?

Are there countries with where new atheism is not the established religion?

Note: In the context, “evolution” typically means Darwinism, the “free money” claim that natural selection action on random mutation can create large amounts of complex information. There are good reasons for believing it is untrue.

That, not what dying TV’s braindeads tell us about the “issues of our time”, is the true controversy. Heck, what they are doing isn’t even good TV any more, and they know it. But they can’t stop. They don’t know anything better.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

11 Replies to “Jerry Coyne: Evolution claims haven’t yielded practical benefits

  1. 1
    Popperian says:

    So why is teaching it supposed to be so important, apart from spreading the new atheism of which it is the creation story, and Coyne seems to be a proponent?

    First, if you’re trying to present ID and this site as scientific, not religiously motivated by a specific holy text, you’ve just failed. After all, it’s logically possible that God exists, created the fist replicators, then evolution took over from there. As such, atheism isn’t a necessary component of Darwinism. So, you might as well have posted an article containing the word “cdesign proponentsists” in it.

    Second, isn’t the question of how knowledge grows one of the most important questions we can ask? Doesn’t that have practical value? I mean, given there’s a whole field of philosophy dedicated to it, doesn’t that suggest it’s important? Evolutionary theory is the question of why organisms have the concrete features they do, rather than trying to justify why organisms exist at all. The origin of those features is the origin of knowledge of which instructions should be performed to adapt raw materials into those features. Saying that knowledge was originally located in a designer, then moved to an organism, doesn’t explain the origin of that knowledge. It just pushes the problem up a level with improving it.

    Note: In the context, “evolution” typically means Darwinism, the “free money” claim that natural selection action on random mutation can create large amounts of complex information. There are good reasons for believing it is untrue.

    Let me expand on that for you. There are good reasons to think Darwinism is untrue. That’s because all ideas start out as educated guesses and intuitions, which we then criticize and discard errors we find. As such, all theories are incomplete and contain errors to some degree. So, there is a good reason to think that Darwinism isn’t any different. Appealing to that in the case of Darwinism is just a red herring. IOW, it’s just unfortunate coincidence that it happens to conflict with your favorite holy text.

    In fact, Darwinism is the theory that biological knowledge genuinely grows though a form of conjecture (variation that is random to any particular problem to solve) and criticism (natural selection).

    So, what you should be presenting is good criticisms of neo-Darwinism. However, most of what we get here doesn’t fit that description. For example? Confusing Neo-Darwinism with the theory of the history of life and geology on the earth. Failing to take it seriously as an explanation for how biological knowledge grows. Vastly overestimating the role of probably in selecting theories. Making arguments implicitly assuming empiricism and inductivism, etc.

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Heck, what they are doing isn’t even good TV any more

    We need more ID programs on TV – I mean, aside from YouTube. ID the Future is good for podcasts but it would be create to have at least an hour a week TV program somewhere. Christian networks have some good things on creationism.

    Anyway, that would be a good project for the multi-billion dollar funded DI to take on. 🙂

  3. 3
    groovamos says:

    Popperian: So, what you should be presenting is good criticisms of neo-Darwinism. However, most of what we get here doesn’t fit that description.

    What is in bold is the only passage from the contributor that makes any sense to me. Because while agreeing to the first sentence, I can definitely assess the second as no more than opinion as many posts here are philosophical and tangential to Darwinism.

    What you get from me is a challenge to link to a study which has established beyond question a sequence of “random mutations” meaning such mutations are statistically independent, and each providing immediate selective advantage, and the cluster of mutations are of course what it took to generate novel form or function in the laboratory.

    If no link irrefutably showing such is forthcoming then maybe this post does fit that description.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    Popperian:

    First, if you’re trying to present ID and this site as scientific, not religiously motivated by a specific holy text, you’ve just failed.

    So what if ID is religiously motivated? You got a problem with that? Isaac Newton was also religiously motivated when he wrote his world shaking Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Why are you people accusing us of something that we are not ashamed of? We are not the dirt worshippers here. You are the ones who should be ashamed of your pathetic dirt-did-it, voodoo religion.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    Evolution is not true and couldn’t possibly improve anything. minor selectionism within kind is not evolution .

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Popperian as to:

    “The origin of those features is the origin of knowledge, (i.e. information), of which instructions should be performed to adapt raw materials into those features. Saying that knowledge was originally located in a designer, then moved to an organism, doesn’t explain the origin of that knowledge. It just pushes the problem up a level with improving it.”

    You assume that information can be created by material processes. Whereas IDists assume that information can ONLY be created by a intelligent mind.
    Only when the infinite regress of information is addressed does ID imply a omniscient source for that information, i.e. only then does ID imply Theism.

    Moreover, you have no empirical evidence for your claim that material processes can create non-trivial information. Whereas on the other hand, every time you write a post, you yourself are providing empirical evidence that a intelligent mind can create non-trivial information.

    Thus, as far as science itself is concerned, Intelligent Design is more than verified in its claim that intelligence can create functional information, and neo-Darwinism is found severely wanting for any confirming evidence whatsoever for the claim that unguided material processes can create non-trivial functional information.

    It’s not rocket science!

    Stephen Meyer – The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design – video
    https://vimeo.com/32148403

    “The central argument of my book is that intelligent design—the activity of a conscious and rational deliberative agent—best explains the origin of the information necessary to produce the first living cell. I argue this because of two things that we know from our uniform and repeated experience, which following Charles Darwin I take to be the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. First, intelligent agents have demonstrated the capacity to produce large amounts of functionally specified information (especially in a digital form). Second, no undirected chemical process has demonstrated this power. Hence, intelligent design provides the best—most causally adequate—explanation for the origin of the information necessary to produce the first life from simpler non-living chemicals. In other words, intelligent design is the only explanation that cites a cause known to have the capacity to produce the key effect in question.”
    Stephen Meyer

    Interestingly, the infinite regress of information, the infinite regress which implies a omniscient Being, i.e. which implies God, only comes up when the failure of material processes to generate functional information is analyzed in detail, and the infinite regress does not automatically come up when merely assuming that an intelligence can create functional information.

    Before They’ve Even Seen Stephen Meyer’s New Book, Darwinists Waste No Time in Criticizing Darwin’s Doubt – William A. Dembski – April 4, 2013
    Excerpt: In the newer approach to conservation of information, the focus is not on drawing design inferences but on understanding search in general and how information facilitates successful search. The focus is therefore not so much on individual probabilities as on probability distributions and how they change as searches incorporate information. My universal probability bound of 1 in 10^150 (a perennial sticking point for Shallit and Felsenstein) therefore becomes irrelevant in the new form of conservation of information whereas in the earlier it was essential because there a certain probability threshold had to be attained before conservation of information could be said to apply. The new form is more powerful and conceptually elegant. Rather than lead to a design inference, it shows that accounting for the information required for successful search leads to a regress that only intensifies as one backtracks. It therefore suggests an ultimate source of information, which it can reasonably be argued is a designer. I explain all this in a nontechnical way in an article I posted at ENV a few months back titled “Conservation of Information Made Simple” (go here). ,,,

    ,,, Here are the two seminal papers on conservation of information that I’ve written with Robert Marks:
    “The Search for a Search: Measuring the Information Cost of Higher-Level Search,” Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics 14(5) (2010): 475-486
    “Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success,” IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems & Humans, 5(5) (September 2009): 1051-1061
    For other papers that Marks, his students, and I have done to extend the results in these papers, visit the publications page at http://www.evoinfo.org
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....70821.html

    Dr. Werner Gitt, starting around the 2:00 minute mark of the following video, touches on how the infinite regress of information implies Theism:

    Dr.Werner Gitt Ph.D.”In The Beginning was Information” Part 3 of 3 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWZpG0ye8KI

    (The retired Dr Gitt was a director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig), the Head of the Department of Information Technology.)

    Here is a related quote from Dr. Gitt

    “A code system is always the result of a mental process (it requires an intelligent origin or inventor). It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required. ,,,there is no known law of nature and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.
    Werner Gitt 1997 In The Beginning Was Information pp. 64-67, 79, 107.”

  7. 7
    Popperian says:

    I wrote:

    First, if you’re trying to present ID and this site as scientific, not religiously motivated by a specific holy text, you’ve just failed.

    Mapou:

    So what if ID is religiously motivated?

    I didn’t just say religiously motivated. I said, motivated by a specific holy text. Not all religious texts must necessarily conflict with Darwinism because they are religious. As I pointed out, some designer could have created the first replicators and evolution could have taken it from there.

  8. 8
    Popperian says:

    I wrote:

    So, what you should be presenting is good criticisms of neo-Darwinism. However, most of what we get here doesn’t fit that description.

    groovamos

    What is in bold is the only passage from the contributor that makes any sense to me.

    Let me clarify for you…..

    groovamos

    If no link irrefutably showing such is forthcoming then maybe this post does fit that description.

    Again, this isn’t a good criticism. We cannot prove any theory is true, let alone Darwinism. So, you cannot use that objection in a critical way.

    For example, we know that Einstein’s theory of gravity contains errors to some degree and is incomplete. This is because it conflicts with our theory of quantum gravity. Yet, there are no blog sites dedicated to exposing Einstein’s theory as “false”. Why do you think that is?

  9. 9
    Popperian says:

    BA77

    You assume that information can be created by material processes. Whereas IDists assume that information can ONLY be created by a intelligent mind.
    Only when the infinite regress of information is addressed does ID imply a omniscient source for that information, i.e. only then does ID imply Theism.

    No, I’m pointing out that ID fails to provide an explanation for that knowledge in organisms. Furthermore, should you claim ID’s designer exists in an inexplicable realm in which inexplicable information creation occurs, you would be the one claiming that knowledge cannot be explained, not me.

    So, you’ve got it backwards.

    Moreover, you have no empirical evidence for your claim that material processes can create non-trivial information. Whereas on the other hand, every time you write a post, you yourself are providing empirical evidence that a intelligent mind can create non-trivial information.

    Again, you’ve got it backwards. We do not prove theories are true using empirical true. Rather we use using empirical evidence to criticize them.

    Nor do we actually use induction. This is because no one has actually formulated a principle of induction that actually works in practice. Example? Every intelligent agent we’ve observed has a complex material brain. So, does that mean you think that all intelligent agents have material brains?

    …and the infinite regress does not automatically come up when merely assuming that an intelligence can create functional information.

    Ideas have reach beyond what we originally intend. For example, your designer doesn’t function? It doesn’t need to know just the right genes that would result in just the right proteins, which result in just the right features to design organisms? IOW, your designer exhibits the very same properties that you’re claiming that needs to be explained.

    As such, all you’ve done is push the problem up a level without solving it.

    Dr. Werner Gitt, starting around the 2:00 minute mark of the following video, touches on how the infinite regress of information implies Theism:

    First, we have a theory of information that does not lead to an infinite regress. See this constructor theoretic paper on information.

    Second, choosing theism as a solution for a problem of infinite regress is arbitrary. Claiming we must stop somewhere, otherwise there can be no knowledge is bad philosophy and irrational.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    So Popperian, according to your biased practice of science, you don’t ever have to provide any evidence that unguided material processes can create non-trivial information?

    Popper called and he wants his name back!

    “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
    http://izquotes.com/quote/147518

    It’s (Much) Easier to Falsify Intelligent Design than Darwinian Evolution – Michael Behe, PhD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T1v_VLueGk

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Popperian you state:

    For example, we know that Einstein’s theory of gravity contains errors to some degree and is incomplete. This is because it conflicts with our theory of quantum gravity. Yet, there are no blog sites dedicated to exposing Einstein’s theory as “false”. Why do you think that is?

    and also you state:

    Second, choosing theism as a solution for a problem of infinite regress is arbitrary. Claiming we must stop somewhere, otherwise there can be no knowledge is bad philosophy and irrational.

    So on one hand you claim there is a stopping point of some sort when General Relativity is unified with Quantum Theory, yet on the other hand you say that if we must stop somewhere it would be bad because ‘otherwise there can be no knowledge is bad philosophy and irrational’.

    So which is it? Does science have a overarching stopping point in the hypothetical ‘theory of everything’, or is there an infinite regress in science because ‘otherwise there can be no knowledge is bad philosophy and irrational’?

    More importantly, why should you, an atheistic materialist who believes everything ultimately came into being through chaos/randomness with no rhyme, reason, or purpose, behind it, all of the sudden believe there is such a thing as a ‘theory of everything’? It simply does not follow from your atheistic premise.

    “So you think of physics in search of a “Grand Unified Theory of Everything”, Why should we even think there is such a thing? Why should we think there is some ultimate level of resolution? Right? It is part, it is a consequence of believing in some kind of design. Right? And there is some sense in which that however multifarious and diverse the phenomena of nature are, they are ultimately unified by the minimal set of laws and principles possible. In so far as science continues to operate with that assumption, there is a presupposition of design that is motivating the scientific process. Because it would be perfectly easy,, to stop the pursuit of science at much lower levels. You know understand a certain range of phenomena in a way that is appropriate to deal with that phenomena and just stop there and not go any deeper or any farther.”,,, You see, there is a sense in which there is design at the ultimate level, the ultimate teleology you might say, which provides the ultimate closure,,”
    Professor Steve Fuller discusses intelligent design in Cambridge – Video – quoted at the 17:34 minute mark
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nd-others/

    Stephen Hawking’s “God-Haunted” Quest – December 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Why in the world would a scientist blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed that there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there? Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless? Why should one presume that something as orderly and rational as an equation would describe the universe’s structure?
    I would argue that the only finally reasonable ground for that assumption is the belief in an intelligent Creator, who has already thought into the world the very mathematics that the patient scientist discovers.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92351.html

    “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”
    Albert Einstein – Letters to Solovine – New York, Philosophical Library, 1987

    “Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the universe is at root a unity, that is not governed by different legislation in different places.”
    John D. Barrow

    i.e. Exactly where is this theistic intuition you have for a overarching teleology coming from Popperian?

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65381.html

    Romans 1:19
    since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

Leave a Reply