Monday, June 15, 2009

[evolution] and its shoddy tactics

The main thrust of these posts on evolution was not to attempt to disprove Evolution but to show the extraordinary lengths Evolutionary theorists have gone to to find evidence, any evidence, to plug the holes in their theories.

Science is on an all out hunt for evidence to counter the less crazy tactics of Creationists and with right on their side, they should surely have been able to shut the debate down. They haven't done so - they've only increased the gradual unease about their methodology and tactics.

'Creationists have employed the self-same tactics,' say the scientists. Yes they have but in the words of the Evolutionists, the Creationists are indulging in pseudo-science and therefore can be seen for what they are. Can the Evolutionists be seen for what they are?

What possible excuse is there for the Evolutionary 'scientists' adopting these methods?

What we have here is no more nor less than the great debates of 1874-97, attempting to tear down Kelvin, only this time - in reverse. Kelvin was ultimately shown to be wrong and had to modify his claims but don't forget that the science of radioactivity which closed him down was equally not available to his earlier detractors.

In other words, they were grasping at straws too, as an article of faith. This was hardly science. Go to the claims of transitional forms, choose any one of them you like, say Darwinius masillae, delve into this fossil and you come up with the same regular problems - claims made even before the evidence is presented:

The authors of the paper describing Darwinius classified it as a member of the primate family Notharctidae, subfamily Cercamoniinae, suggesting that it has the status of a significant transitional form (a "link") between the prosimian and simian ("anthropoid") primate lineages.

Others have disagreed with this.

Concerns have been raised about the claims made about the fossil's relative importance, and the publicising of the fossil before adequate information was available for scrutiny by the academic community.

Independent experts have raised concern about publicity exaggerating the importance of the find before information was available for scrutiny. Dr Chris Beard, curator of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, was "awestruck" by the publicity machine but concerned that if the hype was exaggerated, it could damage the popularisation of science if the creature was not all that it was hyped up to be.

Paleoanthropologist Elwyn Simons of Duke University stated that it is a wonderful specimen but most of the information had been previously known, and paleoanthropologist Peter Brown of the University of New England said that the paper had insufficient evidence that Darwinius was ancestral to the simians.

Others have also criticized claims that the fossil represents the "missing link in human evolution", arguing that there is no such thing unless evolution is visualized as a chain as there are an enormous number of missing branches, and that while the fossil is a primate, there is no evidence to suggest that its species is a direct ancestor of humans.

Why are they doing this? Why are the media leaping on it and promoting it as 'Breakthrough which establishes evolution'?

The answer is that this has zilch to do with science but in the usage of science to support a Rationalist model of the world to further an agenda which can be seen in all major historical movements, from the dumbing down of education to the wars of the past century. The goals of this movement have been oft-stated – I can state them all again if you like, ad nauseam – but the simple fact is that this is Politics.

The only way to prop up Evolution and in particular, Natural Selection, as one of the pillars of the Rationalist view of the world is to so dominate thought, just as Creation once dominated thought, that people would not question it, especially when taught it from cradle to grave.

How many times have you heard that Christianity is dead and buried? It must have been a shock for the Rationalists that it reared its ugly head again and simply refused to go away in the 90s, when the billions of dollars spent on snuffing it out had not finally killed it off.

Much is made of clergymen's 'doubts'; Evelyn Waugh popularized this. Not many turn round and observe the 'doubts' of Newton [who was well aware of the theory from ancient times – read the Opticks, p402]:

"And if he [God] did so, it's unphilosophical to seek any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form'd, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages."

Evolutionists can only claim that 'if Newton were alive today, he'd be an Evolutionist'. Really? By what logical process can that be inferred? The truth is, that it has been not only the Creationists but many others who began with an evolutionary position and finally realized its untenability, e.g. Mortimer Adler and Kelvin.

The thrust of these posts, as I stated at the beginning, is not the proving or disproving but the tactics and assumptions of those from within the scientific community.

Now the last thing I'm going to do is either defend or promote the theories of Seventh Day Adventist Robert Gentry, with a Masters in Physics from the University of Florida, whose work was considered of sufficient importance for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to invite him to pursue his research with them.

What ended it abruptly was his participation in a Creationist court case. What the hell had that to do with the man's science on radiohalos? He also put a challenge to geologists to to synthesize "a hand-sized specimen of a typical biotite-bearing granite" as a test and was dismissed, G. Brent Dalrymple stating:

As far as I am concerned, Gentry's challenge is silly. … He has proposed an absurd and inconclusive experiment to test a perfectly ridiculous and unscientific hypothesis that ignores virtually the entire body of geological knowledge.

Consider that statement for a moment.

It may well have been a silly test but the thing is, the scientists did not dispassionately demolish him by means of testing, something rigidly required by science’s own dicta but instead chose to resort to ad hominems like ‘silly’, ‘ridiculous’ and so on – precisely the same line taken by the establishment as evolution tried to get a foothold via Huxley et al, who have gone on to become icons of Science in the popular mind.

Disraeli might have been on the side of the angels but Evolution is on the side of the unproven transitional fossils.

How about geologist Gregg Wilkerson who said Gentry's book has several logical flaws and concluded:

"The book is a source of much misinformation about current geologic thinking and confuses fact with interpretation." He also noted the book contains considerable autobiographical material and observed "[i]n general I don't think educators will find its worth their time to tread through this creationist's whining."

Creationist's whining?

Bit of a giveaway, that one, isn't it? Is this the unbiased, dispassionate, point by point debunking required of science? It's actually a most defensive position, Evidence-lite. Why would a scientist resort to such tactics if his science was sound?

Right through history, the doubters have persisted in their doubts. This is from The Education of Henry Adams, 1918:

Ponder over it as he might, Adams could see nothing in the theory of Sir Charles but pure inference...He could detect no more evolution in life since the Pteraspis than he could detect it in architecture since the Abbey. All he could prove was change.

All this seemed trivial to the true Darwinian, and to Sir Charles it was mere defect in the geological record. Sir Charles labored only to heap up the evidences of evolution; to cumulate them till the mass became irresistible.

With that purpose, Adams gladly studied and tried to help Sir Charles, but, behind the lesson of the day, he was concious that, in geology as in theology, he could prove only Evolution that did not evolve; Uniformity that was not uniform; and Selection that did not select. To other Darwinians--except Darwin--Natural Selection seemed a dogma to be put in the place of the Athanasian creed; it was a form of religious hope; a promise of ultimate perfection.

Adams wished no better, he warmly sympathized in the object; but when he came to ask himself what he truly thought, he felt that he had no Faith; that whenever the next new hobby should be brought out, he should surely drop off the Darwinism like a monkey from a perch ...

The Church was gone, and Duty was dim, but Will should take its place.

I planned to do one post only on this matter but the further I delved, the more it became apparent that science was using anything but scientific process to debunk the Creationists. I could put up a better case myself. I'm neither arguing Creationism here nor intelligent design but I am asserting that the Evolutionists are hardly at one on the matter and hardly meet accepted standards of scholarship.


johnthemanager said...

There is no evidence for creationism, the evidence for natural selection isnt perfect but the best we have, thats how science works hypothesis to theory until the next Copernicus, Newton or Einstein comes along

Sackerson said...

Everything is done for an emotional reason.

Dragonstar said...

It doesn't seem to me that there's any great honesty in science these days - if there ever was.

CherryPie said...

I always thought science was supposed to test and evaluate theories and discover possibilities not force the results to fit some exact idea you want to prove...

James Higham said...

John - firstly, thanks for visiting. My statements below are not personal - just as it seems to me.

There is ample evidence for creationism - look at the six posts in the sidebar. That wasn't the issue in the post but the worried attitude of science.

Sackers - yes.

Dragonstar - never a truer word was spoken.

Cherie - that's the theory but people, even Kelvin, were going to hang on to their ideas no matter what and do whatever was necessary.

John mentions the 'best we have'. Yes we do have something thousands of years old, refined two thousand years ago.

However, this post was not to argue that but to point out how science acts inwhen backed into a corner.

Thanks all.

Steve Hayes said...

However, this post was not to argue that but to point out how science acts inwhen backed into a corner.

Not science, surely, but scientism -- the behaviour of people who have turned science into a religion. It is not science itself, but the cult of science that is to blame.

James Higham said...

Steve, you put it well. Yes, I'm going to adopt that term.