Atheism Creationism Culture Darwinism Darwinist rhetorical tactics Eyes Rolling Intelligent Design Logic and First Principles of right reason science education Science, worldview issues/foundations and society Selective Hyperskepticism

“Who de cap fit, let ‘im wear it . . . ” — a (preliminary) collection of seen-in-the-wild Darwinist fever swamp fallacies

Spread the love

I am thinking it is time we began a collection of Darwinist fever swamp fallacies found in the wild.

(Make sure to get your Malaria shot before going there . . . )

After the now standard “your’e a quote miner” false accusation and the “it’s a Gish galloper” smear of a man not present to defend himself and associated false accusation of wholesale lying, we have been seeing a few choice ones recently.

Let’s begin a collection:

The Darwinist 1984-style Orwellian doubletalk definition slip-slide trojan horse.

I think that about captures it: it’s not what it seems like, and it’s what’s inside the wrapper that counts. often used with false accusations like you’re quote mining or you’re on a Gish gallop when challenged.

Then there’s:

The Darwinist toxic rhetorical squid ink cloud to enable escape for oneself (maybe by handy sockpuppet . . . ) or for one’s partners in crime

. . . as well as the longstanding:

Darwinist trifecta red herrings trojan horse led away from the track of truth to strawman caricatures soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, confuse, poison and polarise the atmosphere for discussion

. . . and of course the even more classic:

Fallacy of the closed, hostile, question-begging, self-referentially incoherent, absurdity-clinging a priori materialist mind.

When all else fails we have:

Your’e expelled you creationist mole in the high church of Darwin

. . . and:

We’re gonna out and threaten as well as stalk or harass you and your family and those you care for.

I don’t doubt there are many, many more like this. Maybe it’s time we started to build a collection and then a taxonomy, maybe even we can see if they fit into an evolutionary tree pattern. How about a science, Darwinismology. END

30 Replies to ““Who de cap fit, let ‘im wear it . . . ” — a (preliminary) collection of seen-in-the-wild Darwinist fever swamp fallacies

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Courtesy the various Darwinist fever swamps out there . . .

  2. 2

    I’ve grown accustomed to your face.

    The following scenario is familiar to most of us, particularly as we grow older:

    We walk into a crowded and noisy room full of mostly strangers and unfamiliar heads bobbing up and down. Then off to the side and slightly behind we hear and recognize a familiar voice … we turn our head searching for that old friend we know is there, and after a short search … there she is, head slightly turned away from our view, but recognizable none-the-less. We are surprised and pleased to meet our old friend once more after some number of years and begin renewing the friendship.

    The recognition of the voce and face is instinctive and very quick; and we take it for granted with no thoughts of anything unusual other than the mere co-incidence of the meeting.

    But behind the scenes in our ears, eyes, nerves and brains is a marvelous and miraculous process called pattern recognition. A pattern recognition that is able to pick out and recognize individual faces and voices out of the billions of faces and voices surrounding us in the world. So let’s take a brief tour of what’s involved in meeting up with our old friend.

    The hearing system that most of us have is a partnership between our ears and brain along with the connecting nerves between the two. This stereo audio system is able to sift through the many amplitudes (volumes) presented – the multitudes of widely spread and finely differentiated frequencies – the various timbres presented by the many voices surrounding us in that room full of strangers. And we are able to pick out that distinctive and familiar voice among the multitudes. And by the way, that same set of ears, in the form of the semi-circular canals, is instrumental in our balance system which keeps us from stumbling around in that crowded room.

    And the eyes … my gosh what a gift … a gift of obvious design which enables us to stand in awe at the many wonders of our everyday world.

    The eyes, as with the ears, are continually involved in a massive process of pattern recognition that allow us to function smoothly within our very busy, active and dangerous world. Eyes that are quick to warn us of the dangers of that car moving too close to us on the freeway. Eyes that quickly recognize that old friend even in a crowded and busy room.

    In our modern technological world we have analogies to that busy room. Our Navy ships scan the depths of the ocean with sonar. The pulses transmitted from the sonar antenna bounce off; the ocean floor, schools of fish and even the surface of the ocean, returning a bewildering stream of noise that the computers of the sonar must sift through, filter and cluster to present the operators and commanders an array of potential hazards and threats to the fleet. These sophisticated sonar system require sophisticated computational systems and large amounts of memory storage to accomplish the task in real-time. But most fundamentally they require intelligent designers to create the systems required.

    Pattern recognition in the visual world is no less wondrous. When you take a picture of that group at a reunion with a modern state of the art camera, have you noticed the little boxes surrounding the faces? Somehow some very smart scientists and engineers have figured out how to program a computer in your camera to recognize that human faces are part of the picture and visually highlight them for you. And after you take them you can ‘tag’ the individual faces with names in programs like Facebook. Again, sophisticated computational power and large amounts of memory storage are required for the job. And, as in the case of sonar processing, intelligent designers are necessary to create the systems required.

    Pattern recognition is not a trivial task in the engineering world. Take the time to read about the complexities and mathematics of pattern recognition, for example a Wikipedia article on “pattern recognition.”

    So I ask you my friends who believe that Darwinian Evolution … a belief in unguided, unintelligent and strictly natural processes; is it reasonable and rational that such a process could guide you to that reunion in a crowded room? Can you really believe that? Can you set aside your dogmatic atheism and look at what nature presents to you?
    You atheists at NCSE need to apply real science to the multitudes of designs all around us and within us. Science that takes an honest researcher to wherever the evidence leads. Evidence like I have cited above, evidence that is obvious even to a sea-going corporal. Take the leap and cast off your irrational atheism and discover the secrets of the designs you so flippantly cast aside as illusions or false appearances. Many of you have PhDs, but have not the common sense that should go with it.

    And to those of you who denigrate and insult those of us who believe such natural capabilities are the result of an Intelligent Design (ID), I would ask … which of us is the IDiot?

    I put this scenario up before the folks at NCSE recently, and it sparked quite an exchange between myself and NCSE friendly commenters. Interestingly, even though my post asks for Darwinian explanations and evidence for the scenario I presented (including evidence for the evolution of vision), no one stepped up to the challenge. If you read the responses you get the usual stuff about ID being religion etc.
    So I continue to wonder about that “mountain of overwhelming evidence.” I don’t see it. What I do see is a relatively small set of bones and rocks with the supposed connecting dots of evolution.

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    ayearningforpublius @2:

    Nice piece, even if off topic. As someone who does research in AI, especially in visual and auditory pattern recognition, I know that there is no way this capability could have evolved by chance and natural selection. One of the hardest unsolved problems in computer science is the so-called cocktail party problem, the ability to recognize and focus on a single voice or sound in a noisy environment. The brain handles it with ease. During REM sleep, there is a mechanism that goes through the brain’s cortex and cleans up any bad synaptic connection that was acquired during the day. If that did not happen, we would lose our ability to see and hear within days and likely go mad. You cannot design a sophisticated pattern recognition system such as exists in the brain without knowing in advance that you will need a sleep-activated cleanup mechanism and why it is necessary.

  4. 4
    Piltdown2 says:

    I would add to your list, directly from the Darwinian Ministry of Truth:

    It’s a FACT not a THEORY, and therefore not open to discussion.

    Remember in the Cobb County Georgia Sticker case (, Darwinists argued that

    unless the atheist story of creation was taught as a fact, not a theory, it would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    P2: I guess we can call it

    the fact- theory/”consensus” switcheroo.

    An explanatory model of the deep, unobserved past simply cannot be a fact. Never mind the claim that it is a “consensus” of the scientific community — that’s a no true scotsman fallacy itself — and never mind the 1984 Orwellian double-speech games played to pretend that it is. KF

  6. 6
    Eugen says:

    That’s why I avoid swamps!

    Merry Christmas!

  7. 7
    Piltdown2 says:

    Switcheroo it is. And looking back over some of the one-star reviews of Darwin’s Doubt on Amazon, I believe another is the

    Darwinist peer review paradox memory hole.

    Since science must be peer reviewed and

    ID isn’t science,

    then all peer reviewed ID research isn’t really peer reviewed.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    P2, how could we forget that one! After a contest, UD’s Mrs O’Leary (of our News Desk) selected the name

    “noviews” for hostile, alleged reviews of books or the like, intended to distort, caricature, dismiss and poison rather than honestly read and evaluate critically

    what is in this case a very important book that will long outlive its critics. KF

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:


    The peer review point is also important. By imposing a priori evolutionary materialism, design and intelligence are automatically, implicitly reduced to blind chance and mechanical necessity acting over eons. So,

    intelligence does not exist, and design does not exist, it is an illusion so there can be no science of design. There is nothing there to study.

    Also, as the only properly scientific view is evolutionary materialist atheism — theistic evolutionists who think they can go along to get along are being what Marxists used to call useful idiots —

    anyone who questions materialism must be a religious fundamentalist upstart.

    So, whether they call it design theory or creation science makes no difference,

    it is all that horrid fundamentalist religion that hates and attacks science that is behind it all.

    We rip off the disguise of the lab coat or the teacher’s pose and then we expose it as creationist moles slyly undermining science. They must be expelled.


    as for the alleged peer reviewed articles, insofar as they are really science they are compatible with evolutionary materialism and insofar as they are intelligent design creationism they are not real science and we must tighten up the peer review process.


    if a few innocent eggs are broken, we cannot make an omelette without cracking some eggs.


    we have to guard science, and especially Evolution, it is a fact Fact FACT!


    we have to be on guard against those Creationist moles, lest they ruin science and turn the clock back to the dark ages of scientists being stretched out on the racks of the inquisition.

    They are so dangerous

    their diabolical thought crime justifies using any means necessary, even if we are stretching the truth a bit or are being a little ruthless and cruel, or are outing them and driving them out of our colleges and institutions on less than solid evidence, or are threatening families, businesses and are busting careers.

    Yes, it was a real triumph when we had that horrid article withdrawn from PBSW, and then shortly thereafter we had them properly routed at Dover. The Judge was so smart to use our post trial briefings as the basis of his judgement. And if there are a few errors, exaggerations and the like in it, it’s all in service to the truth anyway, no real harm done.

    That closet creationist of an editor hiding in the Smithsonian — think of it the Smithsonian! Where next will these creationist moles turn up? — should think himself lucky he was only suspected of being a thief and liar, and to have faked his degrees, and its just too bad his marriage broke under the strain of the disasters he brought on himself.

    I wonder if the activists and their enablers really pause and think carefully about what they have been doing.


  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: in case you think the just above is a grossly exaggerated caricature, observe (HT BA 77) the following live, in progress story:


    >> She said she was a creationist. Then the firestorm began.

    By Carol McPhail |

    on December 27, 2013 at 2:00 AM, updated December 27, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    The reactions came quickly, and they were harsh.

    When national tech writer Virginia Heffernan wrote an article describing herself as a creationist, one tweet read: “Good luck … if she ever gets cancer. No cures based on creationism.”

    Heffernan, a former staff writer for the New York Times, posted an article in July entitled “Why I’m a creationist” for Yahoo! News, where she is a national correspondent. Heffernan wrote that she was “amused and bugged and uplifted and moved” by Genesis and Exodus, and “amused and moved, but considerably less amused and moved” by the Big Bang story.

    The article concluded with a quote from the “Life of Pi” author: “Life is a story. 2) You can choose your story. 3) A story with God is the better story.”

    The critics swarmed, one calling it a “shameful confession,” another “a scam,” and many questioned Heffernan’s credibility as a technology writer. The reaction surprised her, she says, especially that some former colleagues weren’t willing to give her the benefit of the doubt . . . .

    Q: What prompted you to write an essay describing yourself as a creationist?

    I was frustrated with the way social science had stretched the logic of evolution to its breaking point. Evolutionary psychology especially, which has been plagued by research scandals, kept reversing its basic tenets.

    I also believe in God. It struck me that while politicians are virtually obliged to profess belief in God, journalists are all but prohibited from expressing that same belief. I thought I’d chronicle, in a light way, my falling-out with popular science, and assert my faith in God as a presence.

    Q: you give a quick synopsis of the article?

    I describe my education, in a slightly bumbling way. I was a humanities student, and then a Ph.D. in English, and I was not primarily drawn to hard science. Then “science” in the popular press came to mean sophistry like evolutionary psychology and certain strains of neuroscience, and I began to have my doubts the way the authority of science was being deployed.

    I say that I also had read “The Origins of Species,” and found that it didn’t address the origin of the cosmos of the origin of human consciousness—the two places that most stir the mind and heart. By contrast, I felt satisfied and inspired by the origin stories in the Bible.

    Q: What adjectives would you use to describe the reaction?

    Angry, defensive, fearful, histrionic, sometimes misogynistic, hazing. Something more than an academic argument about cosmology and consciousness was at stake.

    I was surprised that former colleagues didn’t give me, a career-long journalist with an academic background whom some of them had worked with, the benefit of the doubt. I was also surprised that many hard scientists—as opposed to science writers—liked what I wrote. The experience left me hurt and embarrassed. I thought I must have miscalculated the tone of the essay to trigger so much fury.

    Q: What’s your message to people who say you’ve gone off the deep end or that you’ve lost your credibility as a writer?

    I haven’t gone off the deep end. I’ve always believed in God, and ultimately I take pride having written about it. I was pleased, once the dust settled on Twitter, to enter into fascinating conversations with scientists and philosophers and religious people about cosmology, of all things. Nice to not be debating some trumped-up jive like “the mommy wars,” for a change!

    Credibility as a writer: that’s up for readers to decide. If the fact that I have expressed a minimalist theism — God was present at the genesis of consciousness and the cosmos — means I am no longer to be trusted on the less-lofty questions of “Is DEVICE6 a good videogame?” or “What is Snapchat for?”—well, readers will have to connect those dots themselves. I don’t see the connection . . . .

    Q: Has this issue affected your career path at all?

    Maybe. I now have a chapter on technology and religious belief in “Magic and Loss: The Pleasures of the Internet,” the book I’m working on for Simon & Schuster. >>


    As in,

    Witch [Creationist] hunt panic reaction.

    The stereotypes come trotting out all by themselves: one who does not toe the evo mat partyline “must be” ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked,” and deserves bad things to happen to them, and should not have a career in any trusted area.

    No, there is even a hint of: they should not eat bread until they recant their evil.

    Is this where we want our civilisation to be heading, where to publicly announce belief in God and taking him seriously as Creator is to immediately attract attack, stereotyping, hostility, even hate and death wishing? (Yes, just substitute some favoured group label in that wishing Cancer death story and think about what would have happened. Or even in the presumptions that you are discredited and necessarily incompetent, etc etc. Then think about the implications of boxing bread out of people’s mouths for ideological reasons. Think long and hard on relevant recent living memory history.)

    Something is seriously wrong here.


  11. 11
    Mapou says:

    Virginia Heffernan, what a courageous soul. More than I can say for 99% of all Darwinists. Gutless cowards, all of them.

  12. 12
    NetResearchGuy says:

    The fallacy that annoys me most is

    “macro evolution is just lots of micro evolution given millions or billions of years”.

    [–> Hey mon, ya gotta put the name off in bolded block quotes! Let’s have some fun here . . . ED]

    The reason this is a fallacy is it ignores that random search is an exponential complexity problem, not a linear one. For example, it’s possible to break a 40 bit encryption key in a day on a modern desktop computer. Does that mean you can break a 400 bit key in 10 days? No, it would take 6.4×10^105 years, or 95 orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe.

    Random key search is what is termed an NP-complete problem. It means that it is widely believed (although not yet formally proven in a mathematical sense) that no algorithm can ever be devised, even in theory, to reduce the complexity of the problem. So you can’t argue that there will be future discoveries that make such problems tractable. So it’s possible to exist random search problems that are theoretically unsolvable — not saying this disproves evolution, it just completely refutes the argument that because short range random searches (micro) work, longer range ones (macro) do too. It’s a blatant fallacy, simple as that.

    All experimental tests of evolution (Behe has a paper summarizing most of them) have produced no more than a handful of bits worth of information change, or in many cases no information change at all, just selection of existing alleles. The simplest self sufficient life needs at least 100,000 bits of information, and perhaps ten times that. Going from a handful of bits to thousands is not helped by throwing more time at the problem. Even if you assume the proteins evolved separately, each single protein by itself contains hundreds of bits of information (100 AA for a small protein = log2(20^100) = 432 bits, and that’s spotting homochirality which would otherwise add nearly 100 more bits), which is far beyond any random search algorithm. Even if you assume 2/3 of the protein is garbage or filler, you are well beyond random search, so arguments that “we don’t need to hit the odds for one specific version of a protein” are irrelevant — the odds are still terrible unless you allow extreme flexibility in proteins which is at odds with science.

    Maybe someone can make a more clever name for my fallacy?


  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Over in the WJM conversation thread Querius set me to thinking:

    Q, 22: >> While this comment is trivial compared to the preceding ones, I wanted to mention the old “God of the gaps” objection. To satirize it . . .

    “We used to believe that gods were the cause of all phenomena, but now that we know


    a) Force equals the product of mass and acceleration (and in combination with the formulas for relativistic effects on mass, that differences in energy equal the product of differences in relativistic masses and the speed of light in a vacuum squared).

    b) Reactive gases combine in counting-number volumetric ratios.

    c) Phenotypes from offspring are expressed also in ratios, and that genetic mutations exist.

    d) 1 + 1 = 2

    Therefore, everything else is interpolation, proving that

    1) God does not exist (woohoo)

    2)We’re terribly ordinary and not at the centroid of anything (yes)

    3) And, without a measurable volitional will, not culpable for our actions (yay!).

    It’s easy if you try.” 😉 >>

    KF, 23: >> The God of the gaps accusation is certainly important as is the failure to see that natural has TWO alternatives, not only “supernatural” but artificial, and where it is easily shown that the artificial can indeed be empirically studied in light of well-tested signs. This goes to the heart of the design inference issue. >>

    KF, 24: >> Also, as the infamous Lewontin NYRB cite tries to say, there is a view that a world where miracles happen would be chaotic and science impossible. This fails to understand the history of the founding of science, that the Judaeo-Christian vision of God as the Creator and sustainer of a stable world — One in whom we live,. move and have our being — was the framework in which it was seen that God rules the world by impressing intelligible law on it so a lawful cosmos is expected. Second, that it is reasonable that for good reasons, such a Creator-Sustainer God may wish to act beyond the usual course of the world. Third, that to stand out as signs pointing beyond the ordinary course of the world, miracles would have to be rare so that science in an open world is a feasible project. In fact, much of the dismissal of the possibility and fact — absent a miracle I would not be here typing this — of miracles boils down to worldview preferences and that which objectors conditioned by evolutionary materialism and by influences tracing to Deism, prefer to be so. Some actually find the idea that God may have an interest in our lives and behaviour offensive, repulsive or threatening. Hence some of the vituperative tone with which they react to anything that may reflect the shadow of a very unwelcome Divine Foot in the door of their preferred God is absent or dead world-vision. Such need to seriously ask themselves whether they are living in a Plato’s Cave of secularist-materialist ideological shadow-shows. >>

    Food for thought.


  14. 14
    kairosfocus says:


    Have you ever thought about . . . cue twilight zone music and horror movie laughter . . .

    The endarkening power of secondary ignorance induced by Plato’s Cave ideological shadow shows?

    I think this one is in most cases worse . . . and much more dangerous . . . than primary, simple ignorance.

    If somebody is primarily ignorant and knows it . . . i.e. is like a child in his attitude, then the only problem is educational, s/he needs to come up to speed.

    So, while one has to be careful never to reach too far at one go, given educational theorist Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) — cf my discussion here — the problem is a fairly straightforward one. (NB: And if you have been led to think dismissive thoughts because of a certain objector’s sneering hints that I must be a bad education thinker and practitioner, have a read through the series of posts this is a part of, just click on the numbered links at the head of the post.)

    However, if one has been deeply indoctrinated in some diabolically clever Plato’s Cave, through artfully constructed ruthlessly manipulative ideological shadow shows, one’s thinking will have been well and truly warped and twisted up, often in ways calculated to make the real truth seem like dubious and dismissible rubbish. Worse, if one has also been injected, slow-drip style with hostility against those who represent the truth, then one may be in such a red fog of rage that it is hard, hard, hard to listen. or, maybe I should change my metaphor back to a more familiar one: red herrings, led away from the path to truth and then carried away to strawman caricatures set up for a fever swamp bonfire, soaked in toxic oil of ad hominems. Then through angry or snide or even mocking and cruel words, the strawmen are set alight, setting off a spectacular fire, and giving off toxic, intoxicating, clouding, confusing, poisonous, polarising clouds of rhetorical smoke.

    If you have been poisoned and intoxicated by such rhetoric or agit-prop, you will be very much hampered from thinking straight.

    That is part of why, when he spoke of the three main levers of Persuasion . . . pathos, ethos, logos . . . in his The Rhetoric, Bk 1 Ch 2, Aristotle warned that our judgements when we are pained and hostile are very different from those we make when we are pleased and friendly. I have no doubt, he had the fate of Socrates at the hands of the Athenians in mind when he wrote that. (Let’s not forget he fled Athens at one point, saying that he would not give Athens the ability to sin like that against philosophy a SECOND time.)

    So, if you are a fairly or highly educated person and basic design concepts seem like obvious rubbish, and the people who advocate them “must be” or so blatantly, self-evidently “are” IDiots, Right Wing Christo-fascist theocratic cryptic Creationists, who are dressed up in cheap tuxedos or are moles in science and education, who must be ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked, please, think again. (As a first step in untwisting propaganda-warped minds, kindly see the UD Weak Argument Correctives here on.)

    Or, to echo the tag for a certain objector blog: I beseech you in the bowels of Darwin, to consider — just simply, honestly and seriously consider — whether you may be mistaken.

    As a beginning to your reflections, you may want to consider here on the history of ideas roots of modern science, here on the definition and nature of Intelligent Design (forget Wikipedia’s article, that is case study no 1 on secondary ignorance), and maybe even here on on the inductive logic, scientific framework of the design inference.

    let me clip the NWE article on ID:

    Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things . . . .

    ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

    ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

    ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy.

    if this summary seems strange to you, you have been learning about ID from critics who are too often inclined to portray a strawman soaked in ad hominem oil, and then set it alight.

    Please, please, PLEASE, think again.


  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:



    The fallacy that annoys me most is “macro evolution is just lots of micro evolution given millions or billions of years”. The reason this is a fallacy is it ignores that random search is an exponential complexity problem, not a linear one. For example, it’s possible to break a 40 bit encryption key in a day on a modern desktop computer. Does that mean you can break a 400 bit key in 10 days? No, it would take 6.4×10^105 years, or 95 orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe . . . .

    All experimental tests of evolution (Behe has a paper summarizing most of them) have produced no more than a handful of bits worth of information change, or in many cases no information change at all, just selection of existing alleles. The simplest self sufficient life needs at least 100,000 bits of information, and perhaps ten times that. Going from a handful of bits to thousands is not helped by throwing more time at the problem. Even if you assume the proteins evolved separately, each single protein by itself contains hundreds of bits of information (100 AA for a small protein = log2(20^100) = 432 bits, and that’s spotting homochirality which would otherwise add nearly 100 more bits), which is far beyond any random search algorithm. Even if you assume 2/3 of the protein is garbage or filler, you are well beyond random search, so arguments that “we don’t need to hit the odds for one specific version of a protein” are irrelevant — the odds are still terrible unless you allow extreme flexibility in proteins which is at odds with science.

    Indeed, you are here quite close to the heart of the design inference and the logic of the explanatory filter, cf here.

    Also, note no 12 from the UD Weak Argument Correctives, aka FAQ:

    12] Macro-evolution is nothing but lots and lots of “micro-evolution”!

    Such a point of view is simply untenable, and it denotes a complete misunderstanding of the nature of function. Macroevolution, in all its possible meanings, implies the emergence of new complex functions. A function is not the simplistic sum of a great number of “elementary” sub-functions: sub-functions have to be interfaced and coherently integrated to give a smoothly performing whole. In the same way, macroevolution is not the mere sum of elementary microevolutionary events.

    A computer program, for instance, is not the sum of simple instructions. Even if it is composed ultimately of simple instructions, the information-processing capacity of the software depends on the special, complex order of those instructions. You will never obtain a complex computer program by randomly assembling elementary instructions or modules of such instructions.

    In the same way, macroevolution cannot be a linear, simple or random accumulation of microevolutionary steps.

    Microevolution, in all its known examples (antibiotic resistance, and similar) is made of simple variations, which are selectable for the immediate advantage connected to them. But a new functional protein cannot be built by simple selectable variations, no more than a poem can be created by random variations of single letters, or a software written by a sequence of elementary (bit-like) random variations, each of them improving the “function” of the software.

    Function simply does not work that way. Function derives from higher levels of order and connection, which cannot emerge from a random accumulation of micro-variations. As the complexity (number of bits) of the functional sequence increases, the search space increases exponentially, rapidly denying any chance of random exploration of the space itself.

    Worth a thought or two!

    On the name game, what about:

    The micro-macro evo, float like a butterfly sting like a bee moonwalk bait and switch slip-slide . . .

    Or maybe a riff on that or the like or something even better?


  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I went back through, bold-ing and blockquote-ing what seemed to me the main fallacies of interest. KF

  17. 17
    kairosfocus says:


    I just remembered the

    Science Proves That . . . X


    Science is incapable of actual proof.


    What we actually have is organised collections of seemingly relevant observations, described, then we mix in summarising and/or explanatory models that we often call hypotheses, laws and theories depending on degree of elaboration and/or acceptance in the community of scientists, and these are always provisional, subject to onward tests of observation and analysis.

    Where even what are considered “facts” of observation can be up for grabs.

    But, where also, an explanation . . . even one we have high confidence in . . . as, it is an explanatory, inferential construct . . . cannot be a fact, period.

    While scientific explanatory models can be very reliable, they are not ever facts, and they must always be held as provisional subject to correction in light of onward investigation and analysis.

    That is where Wiki went off the rails so badly when it said in an article on Evo as theory and as fact:

    . . . When scientists say “evolution is a fact” they are using one of two meanings of the word “fact”. One meaning is empirical, and when this is what scientists mean, then “evolution” is used to mean observed changes in allele frequencies or traits of a population over successive generations.

    Another way “fact” is used is to refer to a certain kind of theory, one that has been so powerful and productive for such a long time that it is universally accepted by scientists. When scientists say evolution is a fact in this sense, they mean it is a fact that all living organisms have descended from a common ancestor (or ancestral gene pool) [8] even though this cannot be directly observed. [[“Evolution as theory and fact,” Acc: Aug. 7, 2010.]

    ID Thinker Philip Johnson was on target when he rebutted Lewontin’s a priori evolutionary materialism as follows:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]


  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    H’mm: Is it possible to have a fever swamp in a cave, complete with vampire bats and fever-inducing mosquitoes? (What would that version of a Plato’s cave look like?) KF

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    How can we forget the ever popular:

    Carl Sagan “extraordinary claims require extraordinary [–> actually, only: adequate or reasonable . . . ] evidence” evidentialist selectively hyperskeptical form of the subtler fallacy that “skepticism is a virtue of science.”

    That one merits a whole separate discussion, cf. here on in context. (It boils down to seizing the default for evolutionary materialism and question-beggingly stacking the deck by demanding unreasonable degrees of warrant for anything that does not fit in with a priori materialism.)


    PS: Though it is not popular or politically correct to say so these days, NEWSFLASH:

    Skepticism — contrary to what is popularly promoted (often, by skeptics) — is an intellectual vice, not a virtue, period. What is an intellectual virtue is critically aware reasonableness joined to diligent studiousness that does justice to duties of care regarding warrant. A very different thing that seeks to strike an informed balance in light of our strengths and limitations as thinkers, thus building a tenable worldview. (Cf. here on that topic.)

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    Dr Selensky: Season’s greetings and a great new year as it comes. BTW, do Orthodox kids in the West get TWO Christmas days not just one? KF

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    One more for just now:

    I only have a quick moment, so, here’s . . .

    The I only have a moment excuse to snip and snipe at a perceived weaker or less damaging point, while somehow no time will ever be found to address the main issue or the matter on balance as a whole.

    This one, is of course, a subtle form of the strawman fallacy, which BTW as it is always a distraction is a sub-species of red herring fallacies.

    So, if an objector keeps on having just a moment to deal with a lesser matter and somehow never gets around to the key issue, we know it is the:

    “I only have a moment” slick slip-slide awaaaay to a strawman tactic . . .


    PS: The IEP list of fallacies here is one of the most balanced I have found on the Internet.

    PPS: Nor should we forget WJM’s punch-line example,

    the heads I win, tails you lose . . . you no speaka da Inglish rite triple-slick slip-slide

    As he put it inimitably:

    Anti-ID advocate: Shorthand isn’t good enough – we must have specific uses of terms using explicitly laid-out definitions or else debate cannot go forward.

    ID advocate: (insert several pages lay out specifics and definitions with citations and historical references).

    ID advocate: In summary, this demonstrates that mainstream scientists have long accepted that there are qualitative difference between CSI, or organized, complimentary complexity/functionality, and what can in principle be generated via the causal categories of chance and necessity. Only intelligent or intentional agency is known to be in principle capable of generating such phenomena.

    Anti-ID advocate: OMG, you can’t really expect me to read and understand all of that! I don’t understand the way you word things. Is English your first language? It makes my head hurt.

  22. 22
  23. 23
    kairosfocus says:


    I find it very interesting that the usual objectors have steered clear of commenting in this thread.

    A thread that identifies and addresses a range of their errors, and invites contributions towards finding out the pattern of thought, towards helping straighten out what is plainly some very crooked thinking.

    (You can take it to the bank, that threads at UD are subjected to hostile scrutiny, and any number wait to pounce on perceived weak points. Failing which, we can expect that threads will get the trifecta treatment in any number of fever swamp sites.)


  24. 24
    kairosfocus says:


    It seems to me that there is an underlying fallacy too often committed by Darwinist objectors to design theory,

    a failure of manifest duties of intellectual care to accuracy, fairness, and truth[fulness].

    I think much of that is driven by an underlying fear, anger — anger is often a reaction to a fear in light of a perceived threat or slight — and contempt that perceives design thinkers as threats and which projects hostile stereotypes, which are too often little more than ad hominem laced strawman fallacy based, ill-founded and profoundly unfair conspiracy narratives and scapegoating stereotypes, often projecting versions of faults that may actually also be present in the accuser.

    You may doubt me in this, so let me give some typical patterns: Design thinkers are Creationists in cheap tuxedos. Creationists are right wing Christofascist totalitarian theocrats who hate and seek to undermine and overthrow science, and are hoping to turn the clock back on progress to return us to the inquisition etc etc etc.

    (This narrative, which is often taken as gospel or self evident truth by too many design objectors, is so wrong-headed that it would be hard to be more in error. Just to start with on a relatively easy point to correct, Fascism is an ideology of the left, a form of politically messianic statism that sees a superman, nietzschean political leader who is beyond conventional limits of morality etc and has superhuman wisdom and a usually mystical aura of being an anointed leader — yes, anointed straight from Hell, as this revealing blasphemous image shows — as the vehicle of rescue of a self-identified victim group from their enemies or the “unprecedented” threats of their time, acting decisively (no silly democratic delay, bumbling and confusion . . . ) by any means necessary. Cf. 101 discussion here. Why else do you think that “nazi” actually means “National Socialist German Workers/Labour Party”? [I start from that, in hopes that we can begin to wake up and think afresh. After getting Fascism straight, maybe we can begin to read the UD Weak Argument Correctives, here on, to begin to straighten out the understanding of design thought and thinkers.])

    Those who indulge such or enable such, should appreciate that when one constructs a false picture and insists on a continued misrepresenat5ion in the teeth of opportunity to do better, one is indulging in a species of willful deception, aka lying.

    But of course, the hard core objectors will predictably not be able to resist the compounding twist on the trifecta fallacy:

    the turnabout fault/blame projection accusation, designed to stereotype and scapegoat then blame the target as the “real” problem — which then further polarises and confuses the atmosphere (often triggering a verbal or even a physical fight)

    Those who indulge such tactics, should realise that this is the exact technique Hitler and co —

    How dare you raise Hitler as an example before me, that’s Godwin’s Law! (Ans: Sound history is a record of hard bought lessons, some of them paid for in rivers of blood. Sound History is NOT the winner’s self-serving narrative. It is therefore utter folly to refuse to learn from it where it is clearly materially relevant, as here.) —

    . . . used to blame the Jews for Germany’s woes post WWI, and it is the technique he used to blame Poland for attacking Germany in 1939, by dressing concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms then murdering them in places that made it look like Polish soldiers had carried out an unsuccessful attack on a German radio station.

    But, I can easily see that YOU are the one who is really doing his Mr KF!

    So, there!

    To which I respond in the vein of the planks and sawdust principle in the Sermon on the Mount: to be human is to struggle with moral inconsistency and intellectually self serving self deception. So Jesus counselled us to seek to fix our own problems as a context in which we can then see and empathise to help others.

    On the matter of straight thinking, let the following summary of 30+ years of painful and costly struggle on my part to get my thinking straightened out suffice as a sign: here on in context.

    I therefore think, as a matter of fair comment that I can speak from some experience, and from some insight, at least to those who genuinely want help.

    Unfortunately, there are all too many who don’t want help at all and will ruthlessly, nihilistically resort to any and all means foul to prop up their agenda and underlying ideology.

    Such can only be identified through consistently abusive behaviour and then we can only mark this off by erecting justified ring fences and posting notices of warning.


  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    Case in point analysed (in the context of a thread on another such live case).

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    HT, BA 77, looks like another case in point here.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    Almost amusing to see how those who watch to pounce on UD are staying studiously away. More seriously, many Darwinist objectors to design thought need to do an audit on the quality of their reasoning. Given all too familiar sad patterns of behaviour, I won’t hold my breath. KF

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:


    I think there is yet another fallacy of Darwinist objection to design theory:

    trusting untrustworthy and sometimes ruthlessly unscrupulous critics to give a fair and accurate description of design thought, the design inference and design thinkers . . .

    Wikipedia’s hatchet job of an article on ID vs NWE’s introductory article, is an excellent case in point. To straighten out a lot of the confusions, artfully cultivated misunderstandings and fear-induced polarisations involved, kindly do yourself a favour and go to the UD correctives on the resources tab, top of this and every UD page.

    For short, trusting untrustworthy critics.


    PS: And while I am at it, I think the description of what lying is as at July 23, 2011 at Wiki’s article on the topic, especially the part about lying by willfully continued misrepresentation:

    To lie is to state something with disregard to the truth with the intention that people will accept the statement as truth . . . . even a true statement can be used to deceive. In this situation, it is the intent of being overall untruthful rather than the truthfulness of any individual statement that is considered the lie . . . . One can state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, one can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them . . . . One lies by omission when omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. Also known as a continuing misrepresentation . . . . A misleading statement is one where there is no outright lie, but still retains the purpose of getting someone to believe in an untruth . . . [Cf. essay here]

    And yes, outright lying by willful and insistently continued misrepresentation is unfortunately a major Darwinist objector fallacy we are dealing with, too. Please, do not get involved in it. Carry out your duties of care to truth, fairness and accuracy.

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Chirp, chirp, chirp . . .

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    Collecting a few more Darwinist rhetorical tactics:

    UB: final stand; dismiss the evidence instead of dealing with it

    UB: trying to defeat the observations by ignoring them

    KF: the zero acknowledgements, zero concessions, zero apologies tactics

    Seeing a pattern?


Leave a Reply