Monday, August 01, 2011

Why Darwinism Cannot Be Refuted

Trojan HorseImage by BFS Man via Flickr
Cornelius Hunter:
... evolution is deemed a fact because evolutionists know the world could not have been intelligently designed. The world’s evil, inefficiency and inelegance all mandate a thoughtless creative force. Like a fancy sports car with its steering wheel on backwards, this world doesn’t make sense. No designer capable of creating this world would have intended for it in the first place....

And so how well evolution fares in light of empirical science matters very little. That is a topic for research. It falls in the category of how evolution occurred, not if evolution occurred. No amount of empirical, public, evidence can change the private fact of evolution. Gnosis trumps scientia every time.

All of this means that one cannot argue with evolutionists from the scientific evidence. What a designer would and would not have intended cannot be learned from a scientific experiment. It does not derive from empirical findings. Rather, evolution is mandated by personal, religious beliefs that are not open to debate....
All of this means that evolutionary predictions and their falsifications mean very little. If a prediction or a test, such as Darwin’s proposal above, turns out to be false, it simply means that the test was ill conceived. Perhaps evolution needs to be modified, but it cannot be refuted.
As Lakatos explained, the sub hypotheses can be forfeited. They are the protective belt shielding the theoretical core. Evolution’s theoretical core is creation by natural means. The particular details don’t so much matter. Selection can be replaced by drift, gradualism can be replaced by saltationism, random mutation can be replaced by pre programmed adaptation, the evolutionary tree can be replaced by a web, even common descent can be replaced. But naturalism cannot be replaced. -- Cornelius Hunter




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19 comments:

SDC said...

And once again, a religionist demonstrates that they know nothing about evidence or the scientific method; I'd be shocked, but I've seen this BS too many times from brainwashed cultists already.

Joe said...

Saturday evening I was watching the Science channel on TV and they began a look at the universe with an opening statement, "Something from nothing" as they showed some spectacular pictures taken from the Hubble telescope. I then thought of poor old SDC faithfully tending his two big buckets of nothing.....

Yes unfortunately what remains a useful pursuit, science which is the exploration of the physical universe seeking to understand it more fully, has too often degenerated into a rabid evangelical religion scientism which has the most closed minded adherents I have ever encountered. Their motto is 'Science be damned this is what I believe'. I'm never sure whether to laugh or cry. They somehow exalt 'Science' then refuse to do any 'science'. However lest I give the impression that all scientists are into scientism let me assure you that they are not. In my church alone are a goodly number of first class scientists who bow before Yahweh in acknowledgement of His creation, laws and principles without which it would be impossible to do science.

RkBall said...

If the only tool in your epistemological toolbox is science, then every problem is going to have a naturalistic explanation.

SDC said...

Just like "if the only tool you have in your toolbox is magic, then every problem can be explained by recourse to magic", eh, Richard? The difference between these two is that science has actual EVIDENCE in its favour, while superstitions like yours don't have anything but wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

"The world’s evil, inefficiency and inelegance all mandate a thoughtless creative force..... "

Say you. It's managed to re-invent itself 1,000's of times which suggests to me that (1) Nature is amoral, and: (2) you really don't appreciate what what goes on in the world.

Nature is efficient, elegant and neither good nor evil.

Too bad your ball can't bounce there.

Michael St. Paul's

Anon1152 said...

I'm wondering if perhaps you mistyped something here:

"All of this means that one cannot argue with evolutionists from the scientific evidence. What a designer would and would not have intended cannot be learned from a scientific experiment. It does not derive from empirical findings. Rather, evolution is mandated by personal, religious beliefs that are not open to debate...."

If "what a designer would and would not have intended cannot be learned from scientific experiment" and if "it does not derive from empirical findings", then aren't you saying that you can't argue with "evolutionists" about scientific evidence because YOU don't accept scientific evidence?

RkBall said...

Note: I forgot the indent on this post to make clear that I was quoting CH. I've updated to clarify this.

RkBall said...

Anon1152. What CH is saying is this: because what a supernatural designer would have/would not have done is a presupposition of darwinists, you cannot use empirical evidence of science to refute it. It's like saying this crooked/inappropriate/unneeded highway dividing line cannot have been produced by a designer because a designer would not have done it this way. The facts on the ground remain the same; the difference is how they are interpreted. Except, with darwinists this means filling in all kinds of gaps and inconsistencies with surmises, assumptions, just-so stories, all in service of their underlying presupposition.

RkBall said...

There's really no point trying to have any kind of intelligent discussion with anyone who lacks subtlety of intellect such that they are unable (or unwilling) to distinguish between magic and Christian belief in God as a first cause and purposeful causal agent.

SDC said...

Tomayto, tomahto, Richard; when you strip away the baloney that your cult has built up around its claims, your argument remains "I can't understand it, so it must be magic, and that magic must have some sort of intelligence behind it" which is simply three insupportable assertions stacked on top of one another. It is EXACTLY the same type of "logic" that our forebears used to "explain" anything else that they didn't understand, but which we now find positively laughable.

Anonymous said...

Except, with creationists this means filling in all kinds of gaps and inconsistencies with surmises, assumptions, just-so stories, all in service of their underlying presupposition.
The difference here is that there's EVIDENCE to support the scientific viewpoint, and none for the creationist viewpoint.

Joe said...

In one of the articles you linked to and I'm sorry I don't have the time this AM to re-read them all to find out which, the author distinguishes between Sciencia and Gnosis.

Sciencia being the gaining of knowledge through open minded experimentation and Gnosis which is a closed minded base of assumptions from which an individual will not be moved. For example a curious individual would look at the similarity between the genetic makeup of apes and humans and ask the question why. Could it be the product of 'evolution' or could it be the product of 'intelligent design'. Both hypothesis are of equal value at that point. The open minded individual would then conduct all sorts of experiments to tilt the balance one way or the other in his internal debate. A person operating from a Gnosis position would instantly jump to his conclusion based on his gnosis. The atheist has gnosis despite all the evidence and testimony to the contrary that there is no God. Therefore there can be no intelligent design. All the sciencia in the world is incapable of changing gnosis.

Anon1152 said...

Hi RK,

Thanks for the clarification.

*

You write: "because what a supernatural designer would have/would not have done is a presupposition of darwinists, you cannot use empirical evidence of science to refute it. "

- Isn't the supernatural designer (and what it would or would not have done) a presupposition made by the proponents of ID? My impression was that they say "look at all of this stuff in the universe, it is so organized, so wonderful, it has to have been made by an intelligent designer--perhaps an omniscient omnipotent outside of space and time transcendent designer (i.e. God--and the proponents of evolution point to things that suggest that the design isn't so "intelligent" after all, it's built in ways consistent with evolutionary theory, which says that things developed slowly, over time, as a result of natural selection of various mutations/modifications.

The proponents of ID bring in the designer as a supposition. They do so before the "darwinists". I still think that this quote is saying that you can't argue with a proponent of ID because they won't accept scientific evidence. Which is why I wondered at first if something was miss-typed. Perhaps I should ask (or look into) CH...

*

"It's like saying this crooked/inappropriate/unneeded highway dividing line cannot have been produced by a designer because a designer would not have done it this way."

- OK. But it's far easier to point to the designer (that is, a rational intelligent creative agent of some sort) of the highway, good or bad, than it is to point to the designer of the universe, or of human biology. The designer of the highway may still be alive. There may be pictures and records of the highway construction, etc. (I'm seeing now that you're talking about the dividing line, but I don't think it matters whether or not you're talking about the line or the highway).

*

"Except, with darwinists this means filling in all kinds of gaps and inconsistencies with surmises, assumptions, just-so stories, all in service of their underlying presupposition."

- Evolution does have lots of "just so" stories. They can get amusing. But the "just so" stories are possible explanations about the usefulness of certain features or adaptations, and why they were selected for. (Why do men have nipples? Why do women have permanently enlarged breasts when all other mammals seem to get by without them?). Those particular explanations are not the core of the theory. Don't the proponents of ID find gaps and insert God? Isn't the account in Genesis a "just so" story?

RkBall said...

"- Isn't the supernatural designer (and what it would or would not have done) a presupposition made by the proponents of ID? My impression was..."

That's a great question. Based on my study of ID, I would answer "no". ID is a rather carefully crafted argument that a) avoids starting with a designer as a starting point or presupposition, b) lays out the positive evidence for design, e.g., specified complexity, irreducible complexity, embedded information, algorithmic information, huge improbabilities (fine-tuning anthropic argument), etc., proceeds to c) inference to best explanation = an unspecified intelligent agent, and then d) quits. In other words, makes no claim or statement about the inferred intelligent designer.

Of course, ID proponents who happen to be Christian identify the designer with God as understood by Christianity -- but this is not part of the scientific discussion. Unlike Darwinists, who actually make the argument, "darwinism must be true because a creator would not have done it this way". That argument exists in science textbooks and in the blogosphere.

RkBall said...

"that is, a rational intelligent creative agent of some sort) of the highway, good or bad, than it is to point to the designer of the universe, or of human biology."

It's far more likely that some paint spilled and produced a highway dividing line on a road than this life-ready universe just popped into existence on its own accord. The improbabilities are staggering.

RkBall said...

Don't the proponents of ID find gaps and insert God? Isn't the account in Genesis a "just so" story?

These are two separate questions. In the case of biological gaps, the gaps have not been narrowed over the past 50 years, they have grown exponentially wider. The Darwinian mechanism -- of unplanned, undirected, purposeless variation -- is just way too feeble to account for the engineered precision of life.

Plus, I think ID is based more on what we know than what we don't know -- the evidence before us points to purposeful, functional, engineered, life forms. The darwinist is forced to counter with "sure looks designed (but isnt!); looks like intelligently specified information (but isn't!); looks like parameters are rigged for life (but aren't!).

RkBall said...

I'm not sure Genesis is a "just so" story at all. Once you posit the existence of an all-powerful Creator, you really don't need "just-so" happenstance situations. But, I would need to think about this.

RkBall said...

"Nature is efficient, elegant and neither good nor evil."

Since human beings are part of nature, then human beings are equally neither good nor evil, nor capable of either good or evil, and, if nature is a closed system and all that exists, good and evil cannot exist.

Anonymous said...

"Based on my study of ID, I would answer "no". ID is a rather carefully crafted argument that a) avoids starting with a designer as a starting point or presupposition, b) lays out the positive evidence for design, e.g., specified complexity, irreducible complexity, embedded information, algorithmic information, huge improbabilities (fine-tuning anthropic argument), etc., proceeds to c) inference to best explanation = an unspecified intelligent agent, and then d) quits."

This is absolute baloney, and you know it, Richard. "ID" was proposed by a group of theocrats that couldn't bear to stand the thought of students being taught facts without being infected by your cult, and it takes the existence of a "designer" (which is, of course, the "designer" proposed by their cult) as a given, without any sort of evidence at all. How does this make any more sense than (for example) saying that we must have been "designed" by space leprechauns, or an interdimensional goldfish? That's right, it DOESN'T, and that's why actual scientists don't pay any attention to such lunacy.
SDC

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"