Vince Torley: Could the eye have evolved by natural selection in a geological blink?:
For some time now, Darwinists have been fighting – and generally winning – arguments against critics who contended that Darwinian evolution was impossible. They have won these arguments in two ways: firstly, by identifying a scientific flaw in their critics’ assumptions, which either invalidates their anti-Darwinian arguments or calls them into question; and secondly, by constructing theoretical models showing that a step-by-step evolutionary sequence from a hypothetical ancestor to its modern-day descendants would have been viable at each and every stage, and that each step along the way would have conferred a fitness advantage on the creature possessing it. (Nilsson and Pelger’s 1994 paper falls into the second category.) Both of these tactics have served well to establish the theoretical possibility of Darwinism, as a scientific theory.
These tactics by Darwinists certainly make for splendid PR coups, but what do they actually prove? At the very most, all they prove is that Darwinism is theoretically possible: it might (in a very weak sense of “might”) have happened. But theoretical possibility and scientific plausibility are two very different things. In order for a hypothesis to attain the status of a respectable scientific theory, the mechanisms to which it appeals have to clear a certain threshold of probability, before that hypothesis can be deemed scientifically plausible.
What I’m arguing here is that Darwinism has secured public (and scientific) acceptance by lowering the epistemic bar from the standard usually required of a scientific theory. Most theories gain acceptance only after it has been shown that they are scientifically plausible, in addition to being supported by powerful evidence in their favor. For Darwinism, however, this requirement was waived. After making a strong scientific case that his theory of evolution was supported by converging lines of circumstantial evidence, Darwin managed to win acceptance for his new theory, simply by mounting an argument showing that its mechanism (natural selection) was theoretically possible. This was due in no small part to Darwin’s rhetorical skills: in terms of sheer eloquence, his Origin of Species was unmatched in the annals of scientific literature.
Science, in other words, is all very well in its place, but to cement Darwinism in the public mind, what is needed is less science and a more plausible script.
Barry Arrington: The “Skeptical” Zone, Where You Can Be Skeptical of Anything ( Except Currently Fashionable Intellectual Dogmas):
It seems that the regular posters at TSZ are skeptical of everything but the received wisdom, accepted conventions and cherished dogmas of the academic left. Perhaps they should change the name of the site ever so slightly to The “Skeptical” Zone. The irony quotes would make the name more honest.
Here’s a clue to the TSZ posters: If you want to be a real skeptic, perhaps you should challenge the beliefs of the secular elite that dominate our universities instead of marching in lockstep with them. The true skeptics of the early twenty-first century are those willing to take on the dogmas of the academic elite, people like Bill Dembski, Michael Behe, and Jonathan Wells.
The posters at The Skeptical Zone are skeptical alright. They are skeptical of skeptics. As for their motto, they certainly think it is possible that someone might be mistaken – anyone who disagrees with them or questions their deeply held beliefs.
At the Skeptical Zone, skepticism is a fashion statement. Like khaki on the catwalk. For poses, not pullups.
Barry Arrington: Wow! Just Wow!:
This has never happened to me until today. I made a prediction about Darwinist debating tactics and the prediction was fulfilled in the very post in which I made it!!!
The tale that follows is classic comedy. You may as well enjoy it because your taxes pay for the same sort of rubbish as a commenter tried fronting to Barry to be repeated to students in classrooms. But then it’s not fun, it’s at best a fantasy and at worst a crusade.