Separating the ideology from the science

A charge has been made that evolution seems to be a popular religion here at TSZ and that it is difficult to separate the ideology from the science.

No specific example was given to support that claim. But as it’s an interesting claim in and of itself I thought it deserved it’s own OP, and perhaps some specific examples can be provided and then discussed.

The reason I think it’s interesting is that I don’t think that’s the case at all, I can’t see any examples of where evolution is treated like a religion at TSZ so I’m unable to provide any examples of such.

I’m hoping that those that do can provide examples.

226 thoughts on “Separating the ideology from the science

  1. OMagain,

    Are you saying that your alternative is non-material?

    I am not sure if it is material or non material. What we observe are very complex arrangements of parts in life prior to any evidence of an intelligent source. If the source is not material then that would explain why there is no evidence in the material universe.

  2. Rumraket,

    What ID experiments?

    An example is Minich’s knock out experiments on the flagellar motor in order to validate irreducible complexity.

  3. colewd: If it is outside space time that explains why we a struggling to explain life’s diversity with only material cause.

    You mean, with observation rather than useless speculation. At least you should mean that.

    It can be a scientific discussion depending on how you define science. If you define science as limited to empirical and testable methods

    And why did you put “empirical and testable” when “empirical” doesn’t mean “testable” per se? There’s no excuse to conflate two terms that don’t typically mean the same thing.

    then evolution and design explaining life’s diversity are both outside of science.

    Neither is outside of science. Design is subject to observation, and it fails badly. You ignore that evidence constantly while trying to take down evolution in your extremely one-sided manner, but we know that known intelligent designers pick what works, and doesn’t limit itself to ancestral information when choosing existing information.

    Evolutionary processes are limited to ancestral information when “selecting” existing information (with horizontal transfer in some cases, mainly in prokaryotes), and can be identified by evidence of such limitations. Hence not the slightest bit outside of science. The fossil record operates as a great check on such inferences, and as usual you ignore what you don’t like to consider.

    Well, you constantly try to conflate and word-play the utterly vacuous ID and evidence-based evolutionary theory into comparability, but the facts remain the same, intelligence not only lacks support but is seriously undermined by the evidence. Meanwhile the evidence supports evolution throughout, no matter what gaps you try to pretend were designed, sans evidence.

    Glen Davidson

  4. colewd: What we observe are very complex arrangements of parts in life prior to any evidence of an intelligent source. If the source is not material then that would explain why there is no evidence in the material universe.

    Well, at least you admit that intelligent design cannot be a scientific theory. That’s progress.

  5. colewd:
    Rumraket,

    An example is Minich’s knock out experiments on the flagellar motor in order to validate irreducible complexity.

    So in an experiment where gene knock outs showed that if you disable key genes for flagellar function, the flagellum stops functioning, this proves ID?

    LOL

  6. Kantian Naturalist,

    Well, at least you admit that intelligent design cannot be a scientific theory. That’s progress.

    Depending on how you define scientific theory. If it requires a model that can be repeatably tested and validates the model then design and evolution as explanations for the diversity of life fall outside this definition.

  7. Rumraket,

    So in an experiment where gene knock outs showed that if you disable key genes for flagellar function, the flagellum stops functioning, this proves ID?

    Science does not prove anything. It comes up with tentative explanations. The experiment was surfacing a problem with a tentative explanation, natural selection.

  8. colewd:
    Kantian Naturalist,

    Depending on how you define scientific theory.If it requires a model that can be repeatably tested and validates the model then design and evolution as explanations for the diversity of life fall outside this definition.

    Design does (by your own admission). Evolution doesn’t. That’s already been explained to you numerous times., even in this very thread. For example, several people here have pointed out that that evolutionary theory actually predicts that analysis of genetic data across multiple species will form nested hierarchies, and explains why this prediction is warranted.

  9. colewd:
    Kantian Naturalist,

    Depending on how you define scientific theory.If it requires a model that can be repeatably tested and validates the model then design and evolution as explanations for the diversity of life fall outside this definition.

    Two problems I see here.

    1) There’s an essentially infinite number of models that ID and scientific theory fall outside of. This does NOT make these the same thing;

    2) Science does not fall outside your model at all.

  10. colewd:
    Rumraket,

    Science does not prove anything.It comes up with tentative explanations.

    Which is a key advantage of science – it is forever hostage to tomorrow’s discoveries. ID, being idle speculation unconnected to external reality, is hostage to nothing. This is NOT an advantage.

    The experiment was surfacing a problem with a tentative explanation, natural selection.

    Except that it did no such thing. No scientist would be surprised that if a feature has essential ingredients, removing those ingredients disables the feature. Your “experiment” doesn’t address natural selection, anymore than death from starvation disproves natural selection.

  11. colewd,

    If it requires a model that can be repeatably tested and validates the model then design and evolution as explanations for the diversity of life fall outside this definition.

    Just because you keep saying something does not mean it’s true. Even if you really really want it to be.

  12. colewd: Rumraket,

    So in an experiment where gene knock outs showed that if you disable key genes for flagellar function, the flagellum stops functioning, this proves ID?

    Science does not prove anything. It comes up with tentative explanations.

    Sure, I did use the wrong word. I should have asked, “… this indicates ID?”

    The experiment was surfacing a problem with a tentative explanation, natural selection.

    What problem is that, and in what way did the experiment “surface” that problem?

  13. Kantian Naturalist,

    For example, several people here have pointed out that that evolutionary theory actually predicts that analysis of genetic data across multiple species will form nested For example, several people here have pointed out that that evolutionary theory actually predicts that analysis of genetic data across multiple species will form nested hierarchies, and explains why this prediction is warranted., and explains why this prediction is warranted.

    How does this help explain the origin of new life forms? If the prediction and existence of nested hierarchies leads you to a hypothesis about how new life forms arose then how would you test that hypothesis? If you can’t perform a repeatable test then you are operating outside the scientific method. If you are inferring common descent based on nested hierarchical data you have an untested hypothesis.

  14. Rumraket,

    What problem is that, and in what way did the experiment “surface” that problem?

    If the knockout experiments show that the flagellar motor requires all proteins to function then natural selection has an enormously long process before it can fix a set of mutations based on the function of mobility arising, This long journey to selective advantage increases the chance of DNA drifting away from function. This makes it an unlikely cause of the origin of the motor.

  15. Flint,

    Which is a key advantage of science – it is forever hostage to tomorrow’s discoveries. ID, being idle speculation unconnected to external reality, is hostage to nothing. This is NOT an advantage.

    If you could show experimentally a major transition occurring ID would move to the sideline as an explanation of life’s diversity,

  16. colewd:
    Flint,

    If you could show experimentally a major transition occurring ID would move to the sideline as an explanation of life’s diversity,

    In other words,

    1) The fossil record doesn’t show major transitions, because it didn’t happen as a human experiment. If it HAD happened as such an experiment (and for all practical purposes it has), then of course it would have done so “artificially” and therefore not “naturally”. So the doublespeak lurks behind your moving goalposts. I understand that by “major” you mean “larger than any experimental result obtained to date, where “to date” means forever.”

    2) I can only agree with those who say that ID is not an explanation in any sense. It is the exact opposite of an explanation.

    (When I was a child, I asked why the sky is blue. So did other kids my age. MY parents tried to explain that the atmosphere acts as a kind of filter blocking non-blue light. THEIR parents told them this was God’s Will. Later on, I appreciated the power of their “explanation” – it is complete, self-sufficient, and closes off all further questions. The explanation I got led to many more questions, whose answers were beyond my ability to grasp at that age. Even later, I understood that the other kids didn’t get any explanation at all, and their parents had basically said “I don’t know, shut up and don’t bother me anymore.” Which is also not an explanation.)

  17. colewd:
    Rumraket,

    If the knockout experiments show that the flagellar motor requires all proteins to function then natural selection has an enormously long process before it can fix a set of mutations based on the function of mobility arising, This long journey to selective advantage increases the chance of DNA drifting away from function. This makes it an unlikely cause of the origin of the motor.

    Of course you realize that the possible number of “functions” evolutionary processes MIGHT have blundered on is very large, and all of them require an enormously long process. Indeed, all but a few of them were NEVER developed, so lets ignore all those. What’s left is the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy – draw the target around the bullet hole and act amazed at the accuracy of the shot.

  18. Flint: What’s left is the Texas Sharpshooter fallacy – draw the target around the bullet hole and act amazed at the accuracy of the shot.

    Evolutionary theory in a nutshell.

  19. colewd:
    Flint,

    If you could show experimentally a major transition occurring ID would move to the sideline as an explanation of life’s diversity,

    Bill missed the opportunity to learn something from KN. He still thinks ID is an explanation… no one saw that coming, huh?

  20. It’s a “major” transition now. Because we all know that a “minor” transition is well within the capabilities of evolution. But don’t several minor transitions add up to a major one over time?

    colewd, what’s the difference between a “major” and a “minor” transition? Do you accept that “minor” transformations are within the power of evolution?

  21. colewd,

    An example is Minich’s knock out experiments on the flagellar motor in order to validate irreducible complexity.

    You say the flagellar motor. But there is more then one type. So which specific type do you mean?

    You seem not to understand that irreducible complexity has already been debunked by the mere fact there are is more than one flagellar motor type.

    For example, torque is generated by the interaction of the stator units MotA and MotB but for Na+‐driven motors it’s done via PomA and PomB.

    Why, if there is only “one” design and it’s irreducibly complex?

    Your use of the word “the” when you say “the flagellar motor” indicates to me you are unaware of this well known issue.

  22. OMagain: You seem not to understand that irreducible complexity has already been debunked by the mere fact there are is more than one flagellar motor type.

    You seem to misunderstand irreducible complexity.

    You also misunderstand what debunked means. You probably also misunderstand what misunderstand means.

  23. colewd:
    Flint,

    If you could show experimentally a major transition occurring ID would move to the sideline as an explanation of life’s diversity,

    I’m curious. What’s the ID explanation for life’s diversity?

  24. OMagain: It’s a “major” transition now. Because we all know that a “minor” transition is well within the capabilities of evolution. But don’t several minor transitions add up to a major one over time?

    colewd, what’s the difference between a “major” and a “minor” transition? Do you accept that “minor” transformations are within the power of evolution?

    You seem unaware of the powerful and precise logical method used by ID advocates.

    For most people who use the “major transition” argument in favor of ID, a “major transition” is one that is not within the power of evolution. We conclude from that that these major transitions are not within the power of evolution. That argument cannot be refuted.

    They tend to use as the “major transitions” the origin of the bacterial flagellum or the origin of eukaryotes. They used to use the origin of whales, but then embarrassingly many whale fossils were found with mixtures of features of modern whales and terrestrial artiodactyls. So that was declared to be a minor transition.

  25. newton: What is the ID Theory of nutshells?

    The Designer of microevolution caused nutshells to evolve in order to cause toolmaking animals to evolve. The tools are intelligently designed by the Designer of the microevolutionary processes, not the animals themselves (cuz conservation of information).

  26. Joe Felsenstein: They tend to use as the “major transitions” the origin of the bacterial flagellum or the origin of eukaryotes. They used to use the origin of whales, but then embarrassingly many whale fossils were found with mixtures of features of modern whales and terrestrial artiodactyls. So that was declared to be a minor transition.

    And yet they also insist that the transition from Miocene apes to Homo sapiens must have been a ‘major transition’, despite the genetic, morphological, and psychological similarities between us and the extant great apes.

    I mean, if they really want to hang their hat on “only major transitions are beyond the power of unguided evolution” story, then they really should admit that unguided evolution was sufficient for speciation within a single family (Hominidae).

  27. Kantian Naturalist: I mean, if they really want to hang their hat on “only major transitions are beyond the power of unguided evolution” story, then they really should admit that unguided evolution was sufficient for speciation within a single family (Hominidae).

    This has been much on my mind of late. I predict that we’ll be hearing more, in the near future, about devolution of humans into other species of the Hominidae “kind.”

  28. OMagain,

    You seem not to understand that irreducible complexity has already been debunked by the mere fact there are is more than one flagellar motor type.

    You think its easy to evolve multiple versions?

    colewd, what’s the difference between a “major” and a “minor” transition? Do you accept that “minor” transformations are within the power of evolution?

    I am not sure why anyone would without experimental evidence unless they just want to believe. I understand it for those who have something invested in the theory.

  29. colewd:I am not sure why anyone would without experimental evidence unless they just want to believe.I understand it for those who have something invested in the theory.

    Dunno why, but I always enjoy this schtick. If it doesn’t happen in a controlled experiment, then it doesn’t count because such experimental results are the only “real” evidence. But if it DOES happen in a controlled experiment, then it was artificially designed and doesn’t count either.

  30. colewd,

    I understand it for those who have something invested in the theory.

    Care to share? Care to name names? No, I didn’t think so.

    I mean, I can see why fooling yourself into believing that would be a lynchpin in the whole system you’ve got going on. It’s critical that people “want to believe” rather then coming to a conclusion based on evidence. As previously discussed, you think the origin of life is beyond time and space. That’s your evidence based conclusion and you have the audacity to accuse others of wanting to believe.

    It’s funny stuff, keep it up. Fooling no one, but keep it up.

  31. Flint: If it doesn’t happen in a controlled experiment, then it doesn’t count because such experimental results are the only “real” evidence. But if it DOES happen in a controlled experiment, then it was artificially designed and doesn’t count either.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  32. OMagain:
    colewd,

    Care to share? Care to name names? No, I didn’t think so.

    I mean, I can see why fooling yourself into believing that would be a lynchpin in the whole system you’ve got going on. It’s critical that people “want to believe” rather then coming to a conclusion based on evidence. As previously discussed, you think the origin of life is beyond time and space. That’s your evidence based conclusion and you have the audacity to accuse others of wanting to believe.

    It’s funny stuff, keep it up. Fooling no one, but keep it up.

    When you need no evidence for your “science,” you need no evidence to project.

    You get to make a whole world around your avoidance of the truth, as you need to avoid other truths in order to avoid the original truth. But it seems to keep them busy, if hardly content.

    Glen Davidson

  33. GlenDavidson: You get to make a whole world around your avoidance of the truth, as you need to avoid other truths in order to avoid the original truth. But it seems to keep them busy, if hardly content.

    I would say that they’ve never been sufficiently troubled.

    Jesus said, ‘Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.’

  34. Kantian Naturalist: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Yep, that’s what amuses me. Creationists have crawled into a hole and pulled the hole in after them. The only way out is with empirical evidence, which they have predictably defined as “anything that supports my beliefs.” Nothing else counts as evidence.

    It applies pretty much across the board. If the evidence is found in nature, only lab experiments count. If it’s found in lab experiments, it’s not “major” enough, where “major” is defined as “greater than what was found in the lab.” When confirmation bias is embraced as an essential way of life (“worldview”, I suppose), there’s no way in, and almost nobody in there anyway.

  35. Kantian Naturalist: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Flint makes a strawman argument that he created completely wholecloth. KN, says, right, isn’t that strawman argument you just created nonsense. And Flint retaliates with, I know can you believe that ridiculous argument.

    Great stuff.

  36. Flint,

    Dunno why, but I always enjoy this schtick. If it doesn’t happen in a controlled experiment, then it doesn’t count because such experimental results are the only “real” evidence. But if it DOES happen in a controlled experiment, then it was artificially designed and doesn’t count either.

    We are 150 years past the time when Darwin made the inference of universal common descent. The theory has dominated biology for all this time yet 150 years later we have still not successfully tested the hypothesis.

    Is it possible that the theory is completely wrong?

  37. colewd:
    Flint,

    We are 150 years past the time when Darwin made the inference of universal common descent.The theory has dominated biology for all this time yet 150 years later we have still not successfully tested the hypothesis.

    Is it possible that the theory is completely wrong?

    Only religious wingnuts like you believe that.
    Nuff said

  38. colewd:
    Flint,

    We are 150 years past the time when Darwin made the inference of universal common descent.The theory has dominated biology for all this time yet 150 years later we have still not successfully tested the hypothesis.

    Is it possible that the theory is completely wrong?

    What tests do you require?

  39. colewd: We are 150 years past the time when Darwin made the inference of universal common descent. The theory has dominated biology for all this time yet 150 years later we have still not successfully tested the hypothesis.

    Is it possible that the theory is completely wrong?

    1. The most important part of Darwin’s contribution is the role of natural selection in giving rise to new species.

    2. which in large part is made possible by his conception of species as populations rather than as kinds,

    3. Universal common descent is a consequence of the idea that every species evolved from some previous species;

    4. and that could be tested very easily — by finding a species that has nothing in common with any other species on the planet.

    5. Darwin’s theories were not immediately accepted on publication because of two massive problems: there wasn’t enough time for evolution to take place, and traits were thought to be ‘blended.’

    6. The second problem wasn’t solved until the discovery of genes by Mendel — or better the re-discovery of what Mendel had discovered. (In fact Mendel sent Darwin a copy of his paper but Darwin never read it.)

    7. And it wasn’t until the rise of population genetics in the 1950s that we had a satisfying account that integrated Darwin and Mendel.

    8. And while we know that Darwin’s theory is importantly wrong in crucial respects, we have no reason to believe that it’s completely wrong.

  40. colewd:
    Flint,

    We are 150 years past the time when Darwin made the inference of universal common descent.The theory has dominated biology for all this time yet 150 years later we have still not successfully tested the hypothesis.

    Is it possible that the theory is completely wrong?

    Is it possible that you don’t understand what an acceptable “test” is? Is it possible that evolutionary theory has been tested both via the fossil record and by the evidence of slavish derivation of extant species–as required by evolutionary theory–and that you simply won’t accept honest tests while you cling to idiotic beliefs that lack meaningful evidence altogether?

    Could it be that it is nevertheless entirely wrong? Well, pretty unlikely, but it is something that is held far more tentatively than you hold to your baseless BS. It could, anyway, be substantially wrong. So what? It’s the only theory that corresponds adequately with the evidence, and if it’s wrong that would be good to know. You ignoring the strong evidence for it won’t cut it, nor will your lack of any requirement for decent evidence in favor of design.

    Of course it could be wrong. That doesn’t matter, because it’s not a dogma like your baseless beliefs are. It’s heuristically and practically “right,” hence, by most philosophically-informed views of “truth,” it’s more true than are any other beliefs about the origins of life after abiogenesis. That’s all that matters scientifically.

    Glen Davidson

  41. colewd:
    Flint,

    We are 150 years past the time when Darwin made the inference of universal common descent.The theory has dominated biology for all this time yet 150 years later we have still not successfully tested the hypothesis.

    Is it possible that the theory is completely wrong?

    Probably not, but any competing theory must do two things: 1) be consistent with all relevant evidence from all related fields determined to date; and 2) ALSO explain some set of observations inconsistent with current theory.

    And here, if I read you right, you have two problems: 1) There is no set of observations inconsistent with current theory (although like any scientific theory, it gets extended and modified from time to time), and 2) Being inconsistent with the ramifications of some particular religious doctrine is not scientifically relevant.

    There are plenty of things that are true but that I wish were not. I can change my wishes, I can confect an imaginary reality, or I can regret that the world isn’t exactly as I would prefer.

  42. colewd,

    Suppose your cousin JimBob offers you some financial advice. He’s got a scheme — perfectly safe, he assures you — by which you can earn post-tax returns of 75% per year. (He developed it while in prison for financial fraud.)

    Besides the prison stint, JimBob flunked his personal finance class in high school, can’t balance his checkbook, and has filed for bankruptcy more than once. The consensus of financial experts is that his scheme is idiotic.

    JimBob says that they’ve got it wrong, and that they’ve overlooked something fundamental that he, in his genius, has recognized. When you ask him to spell that out, he can’t give a coherent answer. Meanwhile, the financial experts can easily point to the flaws in JimBob’s thinking.

    Do you sink your life savings into his scheme?

    Now imagine instead that your cousin’s name is Bill and that he’s giving you scientific advice. Common descent is untested, he tells you, and all those eggheads who think it’s not only tested, but overwhelmingly confirmed, are just blowing smoke. Yet when presented with the arguments in favor of common descent, he can’t identify any flaws, while his own thinking is easily picked apart by the cognoscenti.

    If you don’t trust the opinion of JimBob, the financial doofus, then why trust the scientific opinion of Bill?

    Now suppose that Bill isn’t your cousin. He’s you. Does your answer change? If so, why?

Leave a Reply