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Tim Standish responds to Terrell Clemmons on Darwinism

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Tim Standish

Recently, we looked at an article by Terrell Clemmons at Salvo: What will Darwin’s faithful do as the edifice slowly crumbles? Tim Standish of Geoscience Research Institute writes to respond,

This is a nice piece, but I disagree with the conclusion:

“If the critics want to answer the challenge this poses, here is what they need to do: positively demonstrate that random, unguided processes can indeed produce constructive biological change.”

Even if they did demonstrate that the Darwinian mechanism can do this, that is just the start; they then have to demonstrate that it did do it. It should read:

“If the critics want to answer the challenge this poses, here is what they need to do: positively demonstrate that random, unguided processes did indeed produce constructive biological change.”

There is a big difference between the two and it is important to keep this in mind with all historical science. Just because someone demonstrates that a pyramid can be built in a certain way doesn’t mean that the pyramids in Egypt were built that way. Even if it was demonstrated that one of the pyramids was built using a specific technique, it doesn’t mean that all of them were built that way: the technology and techniques could well have changed over time to reach the same goal.

The impossible task that Darwinists have is not just to show that what they propose is possible, it is to show that this is what actually happened, not just with one or two genes or traits or morphologies or whatever else you want to look at, but with the whole lot. They are masters at picking ambiguous and exceptional examples and treating them as if they are the rule.

Transitional fossils are a perfect example of this. Darwin himself points out that his theory predicts that the fossil record should be full of missing links, but there are few fossils that can be palmed off as missing links. Even the best molecular examples seem to fall into the same category, with the possible exception of very closely related gene families like the globin genes which get discussed ad nauseum while the real problems for Darwinism, like ORFan genes and most others, are ignored.


See also: At Salvo: What will Darwin’s faithful do as the edifice slowly crumbles? Darwinians have been marketing attitude rather than evidence for decades. It is slowly becoming less effective.

9 Replies to “Tim Standish responds to Terrell Clemmons on Darwinism

  1. 1
    BobRyan says:

    Nothing has been proven true about what Darwin proposed to have happened. Calling something fact does not make it so without evidence to support it, which no Darwinist can submit. No positive mutation has ever been viewed in nature. No fossil shows mutations of any kind to prove transitional stages existed for any species. Every study, no matter how controlled, has ever shown any species to go beyond adaptation, including the 30-year study of E. coli by Richard Lenski.

    Real science is about the evidence, not a preconceived belief about something that happens. Darwinists are the equivalent of the Catholics who believed the Earth was the center of the universe regardless of the evidence. Evidence, not preconceived belief, should be the only thing that matters in science.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    I’m not sure that ‘did happen’ is the crucial test. There are always several plausible explanations for events that already happened.

    A good law or formula should be USABLE by anyone at any time with the proper equipment and setup.

    I can USE Ohm’s Law any time I want when I’m building a circuit on a breadboard. When I want to add a new resistor or capacitor, Ohm tells me which one to use, and Ohm always works.

    I can USE Newton when washing dishes in the sink. When I want more splash power to remove food, I put the dish down lower in the sink. More acceleration = more force. Works the same way every time.

    So far the evolutionists have never shown a gain of function or complexity in their E coli breadboards, and they’ve been trying for many decades.

    If evolution is like Ohm or Newton, it should tell us how much cosmic radiation is needed to create an eye, and we should be able to grow eyes on E coli by blasting the bacterium with the calculated amount of radiation.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    “Materialism is adept at transforming illusions of possibility into settled verities.”
    – William Dembski, Being as Communion (2014), p49

  4. 4
    Fasteddious says:

    I have to disagree with Standish here. It is impossible to say for sure how something complicated in the distant past happened, there are too many variables. Setting the bar that high is like demanding that ID people show how ID occurred and who the designer was.
    If Darwinists could show one or more detailed and credible pathways that could have occurred in the real world to get from A to B, and then do that repeatedly for C, D, E… then their theory could be considered plausible and perhaps even likely, regardless of evidence that those pathways were actually followed in the past. For example, knowing that humans lost the ability to make vitamin-C via a well understood simple mutation (fitting nicely within Behe’s devolution thesis, of course). We do not need to know where and when it first happened in order to accept it.
    Of course, beyond simple things like that, along with adaptations via broken genes, or shifting allele ratios (microevolution), Darwinists have zero evidence There is simply no detailed, credible Darwinian pathway to get wings on dinosaurs, flagella on bacteria, whales, trilobites, or anything else requiring new genetic information.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    You can say there is zero evidence for anything if you refuse to look.

  6. 6

    .

    You can say there is zero evidence for anything if you refuse to look.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    September 2020

    Seversky: I haven’t dismissed anything in the history of science or the literature or the data.

    UB: So in order to start an open-ended description-based replicator (one that is physically capable of what we generally refer to as Darwinian or biological evolution) you have to be able to specify multiple objects (among alternatives) using a common transcribable medium. This requires an irreducible organization made up of rate-independent memory tokens (symbols) and a set of non-integrable constraints, operating together in a semantically-closed system. The products of this system must successfully specify and produce a very particular dissipative process. The objects in this dissipative process must use the laws of nature to cause the medium to be processed, the products to be produced, and the memory to be copied and be placed inside a separate replicant along with a complete set of constraints. And for that pathway to be successful (i.e. semantically closed) requires a simultaneous coordination between the individual segments of the medium that describe the constraints and the individual segments of the medium that describe the various constituents of the dissipative process (i.e. changing the arrangement of one segment, changes the products of all the other segments). These requirements aren’t merely a mouthful, they are an accurate (and heavily abbreviated) summary of what physics and biology have taught us through logic, prediction, and confirmation via experimental result.

    When you are confronted with these well-documented facts of history and observation, and are given the opportunity to research and discover them for yourself, you immediately jump to say (in your safe, detached, and dull retrospective voice) some variation of the defensive rhetoric: “Well, no one knows how life began”. In other words, you run for the tall grass. You pretend we don’t already know what is physically required of the gene system. You hide from the facts.

    Seversky: The fact is that no one does know how life began. That is not hiding from the facts, that is facing them.

    UB: The elements of this description [above] are carefully recorded in the physics and biology literature, and are based on prediction, logic, measurement, and experimental confirmation. None of the material observations involved here is even controversial. Additionally, the logic is both appropriately sparse and impeccable. You’ll also notice that this is about measurement and description, not about denying or supporting any proposed solution to the origin of the system.

    Are you suggesting here that you now agree with these physical requirements?

    Seversky: I have never disputed those requirements. I accept what von Neuman and others have determined are the basic requirements for any self-reproducing system.

    What I do not accept – and neither, apparently, do many of those working in this field – is that the only possible origin for such systems is an intelligent designer.

    UB: So the only thing that can motivate a decision away from your preferred position is if it can be proven that the origin of life is not possible by any unknown natural cause.

    We can talk about the posture of your answer in a moment, but first we need to point out the 600lb gorilla hiding behind the curtains. You are using a non-falsifiable condition as your standard of evidence in a scientific question. You’ve set up a situation where the hypothesis you are opposed to must prove a negative or the evidence in favor of that hypothesis is given no value because it does not meet the threshold. Only the proof of a negative is given the capacity to change your position. This is entirely illegitimate reasoning. Of course, no one can force you to use valid reasoning in your beliefs; that is generally something that comes when it is valued by the person doing the reasoning. But you clearly cannot stand firm and suggest that your conclusions were arrived at with anything even resembling sound judgement. That is simply not true.

    Likewise, when you say that you “accept” opposing evidence (such as Von Neumann and others) it is also simply not true. Under your reasoning, the evidence for your opposition can continue to pile up to the rafters while the evidence in favor of your preferred position remains at zero. Until that opposing evidence proves a negative (something it cannot do) then it does not have the power to affect your conclusion. Physical evidence, indeed, becomes meaningless. This is the ultimate protectionist shield against science and reason; demand something that is not logically possible as your standard for evidence. The bonus is that you get to say you are a person of science and reason, while concealing the fact that you’ve completely eviscerated both of everything they have to offer.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    SEV states, “You can say there is zero evidence for anything if you refuse to look.”

    This is especially humorous coming the man who, (besides refusing to ever concede that he has zero real time empirical evidence that Darwinian evolution is actually true), holds a Darwinian worldview that says there is no ‘You”, and especially that there is no free will, that is necessary for anyone to refuse to do anything.

    As arch Darwinist Jerry Coyne self refutingly stated, “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”

    THE ILLUSION OF FREE WILL – Sam Harris – 2012
    Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

    Free Will: Weighing Truth and Experience – Do our beliefs matter? – Mar 22, 2012
    Excerpt: If we acknowledge just how much we don’t know about the conscious mind, perhaps we would be a bit more humble. We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-brain-social-mind/201203/free-will-weighing-truth-and-experience
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

  8. 8
    ET says:

    seversky:

    You can say there is zero evidence for anything if you refuse to look.

    Millions upon millions of people have looked. No one can present any evidence that supports the claim of universal common descent via blind and mindless processes. No one even knows how to test the claim. Even the alleged best evidence for macroevolution is absent a mechanism.

    You lose, as usual.

  9. 9
    Fasteddious says:

    Sev @ 5: Several times I have looked for firm evidence of the Darwinian view of evolution. They pull out their “best evidence”, and I go through it to find:
    – it is mostly adaptation and microevolution (beak sizes, moth colours), or
    – it is clearly devolution (polar bears, blind fish, etc.), or
    – it fits better with Intelligent Design (i.e. the fossil record, Cambrian explosion), or
    – it is a non credible just-so story (like whale “evolution”), or
    – it is some hand-waving, simplified speculation, or simplistic “model”.
    If you have any – ANY – evidence of macroevolution, feel free to offer it, with a link so we can read and learn!
    Also, thanks @ 6, 7, 8 for defending the zero-evidence statement.

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