Monday, October 29, 2007

More deep thoughts on evolution from the god4suckers crowd. Here’s a review of a post by “KA”, who’s attempting to take a swipe at Creationists. I’ve abbreviated the article. You can read the whole thing on the gods4suckers website:

Design Without A Designer - The Teleological Teat, Revisited.

I’ve been perusing The Counter-Creationism Handbook by Mark Isaak - and it’s a compilation of the plethora of casuistic counter-evolutionary claims, and it’s a long, looonnnggg list of complaints lodged against evolutionary theory, most of them niggling little nuggets of nonsense.

I seriously advise picking up this book. It gathers the commoner counter-claims, and lays them to rest in a rational, logical fashion, quite similar to the
Talkorigins site.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Isaak’s arguments in favor of evolution are not the end-all of the discussion, as “KA” would have us believe. Isaak’s book is based on his TalkOrigins article, “Five Major Misconceptions About Evolution”, which has been critiqued by Mr. T. Wallace of the TrueOrigins website. At best, Isaak’s article appears to be a fine example of an evolutionary snake-oil salesman’s simplified justification of Naturalism, as Wallace thoroughly demonstrates. I can’t imagine Isaak’s book is any better. You can read the article and rebuttals here:

“Here’s a few tasty little morsels:

Could life arise spontaneously? If you read How Cells Work, you can see that even a primitive cell like an E. coli bacteria — one of the simplest life forms in existence today — is amazingly complex.

This is a ridiculous comparison. A ‘primitive’ cell today is by far more complex than a primitive cell a billion years ago. Argument from incredulity. Try a different tack - I use the term ‘compounded simplicity’. “

Unfortunately, it’s KA’s argument that’s ridiculous, and based on a foolish assumption. First of all, we have NO idea of what an ancient one-celled creature was like because no fossilized specimen has ever been discovered. Next, even when computer modeling what a primitive one-celled creature might have been like, the number of basic parts required to create a functional survivable organism defies the mathematical probability that such an animal could have been generated spontaneously, and the evolutionary process fails miserably to justify how one could be developed in natural stages.

The cosmos is fine-tuned to permit human life. If any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different, life would be impossible. (This claim is also known as the weak anthropic principle.)

“The Talk Origins link covers this nicely:

The claim assumes life in its present form is a given; it applies not to life but to life only as we know it. The same outcome results if life is fine-tuned to the cosmos. We do not know what fundamental conditions would rule out any possibility of any life. For all we know, there might be intelligent beings in another universe arguing that if fundamental constants were only slightly different, then the absence of free quarks and the extreme weakness of gravity would make life impossible. Indeed, many examples of fine-tuning are evidence that life is fine-tuned to the cosmos, not vice versa. This is exactly what evolution proposes.”

Actually, the TalkOrigins argument opens up a bigger can of worms: mainly, what other forms of life are they proposing, if not carbon-based? No other form of life has ever been observed, and most conditions of the universe, if changed even the slightest bit, would make it impossible for anything remotely resembling life to exist.

“The argument from long odds:

…the odds calculated by Morowitz and Hoyle are staggering. The odds led Fred Hoyle to state that the probability of spontaneous generation ‘is about the same as the probability that a tornado sweeping through a junk yard could assemble a Boeing 747 from the contents therein.’ Mathematicians tell us that any event with an improbability greater than one chance in 1050 is in the realm of metaphysics — i.e. a miracle.1

This is perhaps the most specious of arguments. We’re here, and what criterion is used to generate this number? But really, how on earth do you calculate these odds? Do we have alternate universes that have these components misarranged for comparison? Yes, this is abiogenesis - but I’ve seen this concept applied to the argument from fine tuning, (see above) i.e., if select items were just a little bit off kilter, we wouldn’t be here. “

The “we’re here, so evolution must have worked” argument is the weakest of all. The Creationist can make the very same claim.

By the way, both the Anthropic Principle and the Multiverse Theory are non-observable and non-testable, thereby making them, according to the Judge Jones Court of Scientific Qualification, NON-science, and placing those theories in the same camp as the Theory of Intelligent Design.

"Of course, the (not-so) clever word play creeps in - “Hey, if you use the word ‘design’, it implies a designer!” Well, design is in the natural order of things, but it doesn’t necessitate a supernatural first cause. Or the good ole “So everything was an accident!?!?”, which I disemboweled here - because after all, language is a two-edged sword, is it not?"

Well, KA might want to explain to the reader then, how systematic order evolves from disorder. And while on the subject, KA needs to justify how a fully functional organism erupts from chemistry, when the supposedly non-designed ORDER demands that an existent need for a function is what precedes an evolutionary adaptation. And, then, after the miracle of a spontaneous natural emergence of the first one-celled creature, perhaps KA could describe for us what there was for the poor thing to eat.

As for the authoritative nature of the agenda-driven TalkOrigins website, here’s link to a critique of Talk Origins by a scientist:

Of course, my good friend, Mr. raindogzilla, a.k.a. GORD, weighed in with his usual hilariously inept, Liberal-Talking-Point programmed commentary, once again demonstrating what an original thinker he is:

“Raindogzilla says:
October 28th, 2007 at 12:19 pm

The thing I find most annoying about these IDiots is the desperation, the raw stench of fear clinging to all their efforts.

Part of it, I think, is that they have, for whatever reason, come to acknowledge that there is something to this “science” thing- unlike their YEC brethren for instance.

Unfortunately, for them, science in the brain, like some benevolent virus, systematically roots out illogic and delusion from the deepest recesses, like a Swiffer to cobwebs. The IDiot, seeing(or feeling) this onslaught of rationale and enlightenment, feels the very underpinnings of his/her personal existence are under siege.

(Which they are. Which is actually a good thing. Which would be a moment to really consider doing so when told to “Get a life!”.)

The flight instinct leads to their sacrificing everything just to shore up that last, shifting wall with bucket after bucket of “goddidit, goddidit, goddidit!”- if you listen real close, it sounds like frogs. And, now, they can’t help themselves. They’ve been infected by science and their “goddidits” become increasingly convoluted and sciencey- even extrasciencey.

It is at this moment that I wonder whether any studies have been done looking at figures of self-trepannation in IDiots. I mean, look at Ben Stein. How do we know that Hollywood makeup magic isn’t disguising the asymmetrical hole in the middle of his forehead he excavated with his own cocaine-length pinkie nail?

That's just the kind of high-brow rant you can expect from a Lefty about Ben Stein, coming straight from a guy who would have been immediately eliminated as a contestant on "Win Ben Stein's Money". What a hoot!

Hey, raindog, allow me introduce you to one of the eminent IDiots (as you see fit to call them). He is Raymond Bohlin, PhD. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Zoology, a Masters Degree in Population Genetics, and a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology. He is a published, peer-reviewed scientist who has been lecturing and debating on college campuses all over the United States. He’s also one of those fundies you love to hate so much, and a fellow at the Discovery Institute. Dr. Bohlin’s accomplishments are in three fields that qualify him particularly to examine and criticize the Darwinian dogma being preached in the public school system.

You might want to whip out your advanced degrees in biology or chemistry that qualify you to call ID proponents a bunch of Idiots, junior.

Otherwise, why don’t you enjoy a nice hot cup of ‘Shut-Up’?

And then, KA closes with:

“But we are. And everything just is. And we all make our own purpose, no?
Till the next post, then.”

I can hardly wait.

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