Intelligent Design Philosophy Science

Science vs pseudoscience? – Sabine Hossenfelder edition

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Hossenfelder, one of our fan faves, tries her hand at the difference:

Let us look at some other popular example, Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution is a good scientific theory because it “connects the dots” basically by telling you how certain organisms evolved from each other. I think that in principle it should be possible to quantify this fit to data, but arguably no one has done that. Creationism, on the other hand, simply posits that Earth was created with everything in place. That means Creationism puts in as much information as you get out of it. It therefore does not explain anything. This does not mean it’s wrong. But it means it is unscientific.

Another way to tell pseudoscience from science is that a lot of pseudoscientists like to brag with making predictions. But just because you have a model that makes predictions does not mean it’s scientific. And the opposite is also true, just because a model does not make predictions does not mean it is not scientific.

Sabine Hossenfelder, “How to tell science from pseudoscience” at BackRe(Action)

Why do people like Hossenfelder feel they need to honor Darwinism’s rotting carcass?

A model that makes testable predictions is not scientific?

Hossenfelder is not doing herself a favor here. The theory is held in place by court judgments and tenure, not by science findings.

There are real ideas in biology, as well as in physics. Find them.

8 Replies to “Science vs pseudoscience? – Sabine Hossenfelder edition

  1. 1
    rhampton7 says:

    Hossenfelder is a scientist and as such she recognizes the difference between science and pseudo science. Nothing controversial about that.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    In Sabine Hossenfelder’s book “Lost in Math” she eviscerates supersymmetry because it is untestable and/or unfalsifiable.

    Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray – Sabine Hossenfelder – June 12, 2018
    Description: Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades.
    The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these “too good to not be true” theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.
    https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Math-Beauty-Physics-Astray/dp/0465094252

    Sabine Hossenfelder would do very well to remember her criteria for rejecting supersymmetry as a science, (i.e. because it is untestable and/or unfalsifiable), when she tries to evaluate whether Darwinian evolution qualifies as a good scientific theory or not.

    “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 R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery

    “If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is … If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”
    – Richard Feynman

    Contrary to what Sabine Hossenfelder apparently readily accepts without any deep reflection on her part, it is Darwinian evolution itself that is a unfalsifiable pseudoscience.

    In 1967, Stanford Professor Paul Ehrlich stated that the Theory of Evolution ‘cannot be refuted by any possible observations’ and is thus “outside empirical science.”

    “Our theory of evolution has become, as Popper described, one which cannot be refuted by any possible observations. Every conceivable observation can be fitted into it. It is thus “outside empirical science” but not necessarily false. No one can think of ways in which to test it. Ideas, either without basis or based on a few laboratory experiments carried out in extremely simplified systems have attained currency far beyond their validity. They have become part of an evolutionary dogma accepted by most of us as part of our training. The cure seems to us not to be a discarding of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory, but more skepticism about many of its tenets.”
    Ehrlich, Paul and L.C. Birch (1967), “Evolutionary History and Population Biology,” Nature, 214:349-352, April 22, p. 352

    Likewise in 2015 Denis Noble, President of International Union of Physiological Sciences, stated, “it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.”

    Central tenets of neo-Darwinism broken. Response to ‘Neo-Darwinism is just fine’ – 2015
    Excerpt: “If, as the commentator seems to imply, we make neo-Darwinism so flexible as an idea that it can accept even those findings that the originators intended to be excluded by the theory it is then incumbent on modern neo-Darwinists to specify what would now falsify the theory. If nothing can do this then it is not a scientific theory.”
    – Denis Noble
    https://jeb.biologists.org/content/218/16/2659

    Here are a few falsifications of Darwinian evolution that Darwinists, (since they basically treat Darwinian evolution as a religion instead of as a testable science), simply refuse to ever accept as falsifications of their theory:

    Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are found to be ‘directed’.

    Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute.

    Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke.

    Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever.

    Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

    Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species.

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

    Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place!

    Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!.

    The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the “Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy.

    Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    Darwinist’s, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    Besides Darwinists refusing to adhere to the criteria of falsification for their supposedly scientific theory, by any other reasonable measure that one may wish to judge whether Darwinian evolution even qualifies as a science or not, and as is shown in the following video, Darwinian evolution fails to meet those criteria as well:

    “There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.”
    – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17
    Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7f_fyoPybw

    Simply put, Darwinian evolution is more properly classified as a pseudoscience, even as a religion for atheists, rather than ever being classified as a real and testable science.

    Moreover, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on presumption of methodological naturalism as is presupposed by Darwinian atheists.
    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (i.e. namely, that the universe is rational and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can dare understand that rationality), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results, from top to bottom science itself is certainly not ‘natural’.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analysed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.

    In fact, (as I have pointed out several times now), assuming Naturalism instead of Theism as the worldview on which all of science is based leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science itself.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM

    Thus, although the Darwinist may firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    I have a lot of respect for Sabine Hossenfelder, especially for how she called out supersymmetry for being, basically, an untestable and/or unfalsifiable pseudoscience. I would hope that she would hold to the same criteria, i.e. being untestable and/or unfalsifiable, in her evaluation of Darwinian evolution and also reject it as a pseudoscience.

  3. 3
    EDTA says:

    In fairness, she’s wrong on two counts:

    “I think that in principle it should be possible to quantify this fit to data, but arguably no one has done that. Creationism, on the other hand, simply posits that Earth was created with everything in place. That means Creationism puts in as much information as you get out of it. It therefore does not explain anything.”

    Evolutionists have attempted to quantify the fit of their evolutionary trees to the data, coming up with various metrics whose names I forget. Not terribly impressive, but they have tried; not sure why SH doesn’t know this.

    I have no idea what she means by “putting in as much info as you get out.” That itself sounds like an unscientific statement. If she’s saying that all the information was front-loaded somehow, then she provides no basis for that claim. If she’s saying that we don’t learn anything, that’s clearly wrong also.

    ??

  4. 4
    BobRyan says:

    Without ID, you have nothing to explain the origin of the universe, laws of physics, mathematics, origin or life, etc. Hawking, who was a brilliant mathematician and poor physicist, said the math only worked until after the Big Bang occurred. Anything prior to expansion failed to be defined mathematically. If the Big Bang occurred, than what cause the expansion to begin?

    Einstein made it clear that the more he studied the universe, the more he believed in God. Anyone who acknowledges the laws that govern the universe must accept that there is a lawmaker behind them. He did not humanize God, nor did he believe God intervenes in human life.

    The Big Bang should have brought nothing but chaos to the universe, since chaos only creates more chaos. For anyone who does not believe in ID, how can any law exist to govern the universe? Where did the laws of physics come from? For those who do not believe in God, simply ask yourself, as Einstein did, if it is possible for something with far greater intellect than man to have created the universe and set the laws of physics in place?

  5. 5
    ET says:

    LoL! Darwinian evolution isn’t even a scientific theory. It is untestable pap.

    No one knows how one population evolved into another population with a different body plan. That premise is completely untestable.

    We do observe many minor. slight changes. But there isn’t anything we can look at and extrapolate new body plans from.

  6. 6
    mike1962 says:

    ET, yeah she doesn’t seem to have done any deep dives into Blind Watchmaker Evolution. (Nor did she acknowledge or even mention ID, and that it’s not creationism. So I doubt she knows much about it.) There are huge problems the current set of theories cannot account for. And when it comes of Origin of Life, its a whole new world of no theories at all, just a couple of very lame hypotheses.

  7. 7
    Nonlin.org says:

    Nonlin.org3:16 PM, June 22, 2020
    To the contrary. If Darwin were right, you would be able to reply with your “fitness function” and you would be able to forecast “natural selection”. But you can’t because there is no such thing as “fitness” or “natural selection”. On the other hand, Paley was right: watch-watchmaker, universe-universe maker. And Occam is satisfied.

    Guess why “it should be possible to quantify this fit (Darwin’s) to data, but arguably no one has done that”? Precisely because “evolution” is not scientific. Also, guess what? You can quantify Mendel’s observations. Because unlike Darwin, Mendel was doing real science. That’s why. Science IS quantifiable.

    Incorrect: “Darwinian evolution is a good scientific theory because it “connects the dots” basically by telling you how certain organisms evolved from each other.” Telling a story is myth, not science. Unless of course said story can be observed which is definitely not the case for Darwin’s story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    Sabine Hossenfelder1:06 AM, June 23, 2020
    “If Darwin were right, you would be able to reply with your “fitness function” and you would be able to forecast “natural selection”. But you can’t because there is no such thing as “fitness” or “natural selection”.

    You are very confused about how Darwinian evolution works. What counts as “fitness” and what means “natural selection” is defined by the environment. You don’t postulate it.

    “Telling a story is myth, not science. Unless of course said story can be observed which is definitely not the case for Darwin’s story.”

    That’s wrong too. For starters, I suggest you watch that (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zENv5EDElgA), and then discontinue making ill-informed comments about topics you know very little about, thank you.

    Nonlin: Of course “fitness” depends on the environment and for that precise reason it is not scientific. It is not observable, not measurable, not useful to forecasting, therefore NOT science. It is just a measure of our ignorance like black matter and black energy. Think!

    Antibiotic resistance is just a built in feature of ALL organisms, you and me included. It goes away when the stimulus is removed (hence only prevalent in hospital-like-environments and weak organisms – thank God) and NEVER EVER leads to any new organisms. Like antibiotic resistance, Darwin’s Finches REVERT when the stimulus is removed, and so does the Peppered Moth, the LTEE E.Coli, the feral animals and all else. Experimentally, nothing, and I mean NOTHING EVER “evolves”. Hence, not science. Think!

    If you can’t observe and can’t forecast, it is not science. Explaining is not sufficient. Forecasting is the key. Astrologers, phrenologists, tarot readers, etc, all “explain” but none forecasts with any accuracy. That is the difference between science and pseudoscience. And as such, “evolution” falls squarely in the pseudoscience realm. Think.

  8. 8
    doubter says:

    BA77@2

    “I have a lot of respect for Sabine Hossenfelder, especially for how she called out supersymmetry for being, basically, an untestable and/or unfalsifiable pseudoscience. I would hope that she would hold to the same criteria, i.e. being untestable and/or unfalsifiable, in her evaluation of Darwinian evolution and also reject it as a pseudoscience.”

    Unfortunately, from her words quoted in the Op, she is woefully ignorant of Darwinist evolutionary biology and also of ID. She actually seems to think Darwinism adequately explains macroevolution, and thereby probably qualifies as science. And she seems to have swallowed the prevalent Darwinist propaganda and thinks that the major alternative to Darwinism is Biblical Creationism, apparently being ignorant of the major alternative really being scientific and empirical ID theory which is not grounded in Biblical fundamentalism-based Creationism.

    This woeful ignorance is probably genuine and naive; she simply has bought all the Darwinist propaganda and not bothered to study the issue in depth since it didn’t seem worth the effort.

    Or alternately, a lesser possibility could be that this is being cynical and calculating and self-serving. Knowing full well that Darwinism is unfalsifiable, unscientific and with no empirical experimental or observational substantiation of its claims when they get to the most important aspects of evolution , in particular macroevolution. Self-serving because she probably knows full well how professionally deadly the Darwinist reaction and push-back can get in response to any attack on their pseudo-religion. The reasoning might be, better to go along with the farce rather than to poke the hornets’ nest and risk career suicide.

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