Monday, March 05, 2012

When Scientists Are Censors

We read:
"Evolutionary biologists were horrified by the news that a scholarly press was going to publish a work in favor of intelligent design. But a spokesman for the publishing house confirmed to Inside Higher Ed Wednesday that the book’s publication is on hold as it is subjected to further peer review.

Earlier this week, the Panda’s Thumb, a blog about evolutionary theory, posted an item about a forthcoming book from Springer called Biological Information: New Perspectives. The blog-poster and other commenters said the book was a compilation of articles by creationists and intelligent-design proponents and Springer had no business publishing such “creationist pseudoscience.”

Of all the scientific fields, evolutionary biology has become fiefdom where academic freedom is dead and detractors are thrown out and publicly lambasted. And they protect their mandatory orthodoxy with vigor. It’s no wonder so many people refuse to buy into it.


As an atheist I obviously don't believe in creation. But I have also looked closely at evolutionary theory and find many holes in it. There are both logical and factual holes in it.

The logical hole is that "fittest" is not explained independently of "survival", so "survival of the fittest" is a circular and hence meaningless statement.

The factual hole is that all observed mutations seem to be destructive yet we are told that we are the product of an amazing cascade of beneficial mutations. How come even a minor version of such a cascade has never been observed in any organism?

There may be some truth in the theory of evolution but as it stands it is not a theory that makes sense or fits the facts. And when a true scientist finds that no theory fits the facts he says simply: "I don't know" -- which is what I say. I don't know how we all got here and I can face that with perfect calm. There is an infinity of things that we don't know and I don't need to make up things in a pretence that I know more than I do.

So you can see why evolutionists are so incredibly defensive about their theory. They know its holes but fear those holes becoming generally known. If they had more confidence in their theory they would greet challenges to it with amusement and patient explanation -- not censorship.

But what is going on of course is religious. The theory is used in an effort to discredit religion. But if the evolutionists were intellectually capable atheists, they would study Carnap. He has a far better argument against religion than putting up a theory that is full of holes. But analytical philosophy does require some brains so many atheists might not be up to reading Carnap.

Belief in evolution is nearly as religious as belief in creation. Those who proclaim it as an unquestionable truth are modern-day Torquemadas (a leader of the Spanish Inquisition)


Anonymous said...

Evolution is well established.
Creationists are simply silly; it is all about ego.

Anonymous said...

Wow JJ - you put forward an argument from ignorance (you don't understand so IT is has "holes") and that all evolutionary biologists are atheists, and even that they hold their scientific theories IN ORDER to debunk religion; all of which of course is bunkum!
Rather, fundamentalist religionists would never oppose scientific theories if it never contradicted ancient Hebrew mythologies as ended up in the Bible. Do they oppose the theory of gravity or germ theory or atomic theory and countless others? - No, and only because the Bible doesn't seem to oppose it. Many Christian scientists subscribe to "Evolution", and Creationists are a bunch of latter-day King Canutes!

Anonymous said...

"mutations" don't mean some obvious feature like a third leg or 3 eyes. It simply means a variation in the DNA sequence that need only have effects in the population in combination with other variations than may lead to say better resistence to disease, etc, and thus better survival prospects.

Bird of Paradise said...

Annon 3:49 yiur a total igoramus if you think evolution is well established Have you been reading CARL SAGAN books or wacthing his silly program COSMOS running all over the universe in his goofy sea urchine shaped vessel IMAGINATION? Your totaly pathetic

Karl said...

Actually, "survival of the fittest*" is not a tautology.

To be sure, "fitness" is defined only in terms of offspring an organism leaves behind, so the more average offspring a group of organisms has, the fitter it is. However, fitness can be correlated with observable physical, biological, and biochemical traits, and "survival of the fittest" predicts that organisms with those traits associated with producing more offspring will tend to dominate over those that produce fewer.

Not only not a tautology, but so obvious that it's amazing it took until Darwin to formalize it.

* should be "fitter"

Anonymous said...

And ignorant people often think "fittest" means physically stronger, when it only means being capable of surviving and reproducing (or in social animals, contributing to the group/colony). Even pure luck may be involved - being in the right environment at the right time. A stong man may be shot dead while living in a violent neighborhood, but if he had the luck or sense to live in a peaceful place he might live longer.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Here is one of the holes:

Cells are made up (mostly) of proteins. Proteins are built from amino acids using the design stored in DNA. That building (and folding) process is performed by proteins.

So which came first, the proteins? Or the DNA that defines them?

Remember, without proteins DNA is meaningless. And without the DNA defining the same proteins that do the building, the cell dies when the building proteins break down.

Also, scientists are working on figuring out what the absolute minimum number of proteins are needed for a cell to survive on its own. (I.e., not being a parasite, which requires another cell with at least the minimum number of proteins in order to survive.) The number is somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 proteins.

Proteins are made up of anywhere from 100 to 1,000 amino acids. DNA requires 3 nucleotides to define one amino acid. That means a DNA strand must have a minimum of 300 nucleotides (A, G, C, or T) to define the simplest protein.

The odds against a single strand of DNA defining just one of simplest functional proteins by chance exceeds the estimated number of atoms in the entire universe by a vast margin. And even if you get that strand, you still need several functional proteins to already exist to read that strand.

Sorry, but given those odds, I don't have any where near enough faith to be an atheist.

Anonymous said...

The Pope and the Catholic Church endorse the theory of evolution, and the Pope isn't known to be an atheist!

Anonymous said...

Luke - why don't you actually study the evolution of DNA and cells, instead of copy-pasting Creationist website mis-information, which you clearly don't understand either.

Anonymous said...

Annon 3:59, you criticize JJ for saying there are holes in the theory of evolution because he doesn't "understand". Even evolutionary scientists have conceded these holes JJ mentioned. When asked to explain the mechanism they point to the fossils and say "there it is in the fossil record" which explains nothing. Their logic is as follows:
A. There is no God
B. We are here
C. We must have evolved
Evolution is billed as science, however the definition of a scientific theory or fact is something that can be tested or repeated in the laboratory. Neither can be done with the theory of evolution. It is not a scientific fact. It does not even qualify as a scientific theory according to the standards of science.

Use the Name, Luke said...

Anon 5:14,

Other than being a very simplified explanation, please point to any factual error in my post. Feel free to ask any microbiologist or use any reliable resource on how a cell works.

Go Away Bird said...

Hitler and lennin both used darwinism to establish their radical ideas and ERNEST HINCKLES fake embreo drawings are still being used today in many sience books

Malcolm Smith said...

All of this discussion is irrelevant. What it relevant is that a group of biologists are trying to force a publishing company not to publish a book contrary to their own opinions. We have seen this happen before - when a group of scientists managed to get a company to pull out of publishing Velikovsky's Worlds in Collision. Yes, Velikovsky's ideas were nonsence, but it is the job of scientists to expose nonsence with good evidence, but suppress its publication.

Anonymous said...

Survival of the "fit enough" -- no more precise, but maybe more accurate, fit enough to breed?

I have to agree with JJ, saying "I don't know (yet)" would be a useful intellectual exercise for most of us. said...

Francis Collins is the world's leading authority on genetics, having lead the Human Genome Project.

Collins, currently Director of the National Institutes of Health, is an outspoken evangelical apologist.

He's also an evolutionist.


Creationism is nonsense, but it serves a purpose. It provides an unyielding critical review of everything evolutionists dole out.

What's wrong with that?

Critical peer review is essential for establishing valid scientific theories.

Suggestion anonymous 3:59 - Don't start a pissing contest with John Ray. You're outclassed.

Dean said...

We have two groups shouting at each other, one saying, "We know who created man, therefore evolution doesn't exist" and the other crying, "We know how man came to be, therefore God doesn't exist."

Here's a thought: how about the one side admit that God could have used evolution to create man, and the other consider that God may exist and intelligently used evolution to create man.

Then both side just shrug their shoulders and say, "We really don't know. It's just what we believe."

Personally, although I believe God created man, I've found nothing in scripture that outlines the process he used. Evolution may well have been his method.

And there is nothing in the theory of evolution that convinces me God does not exist or had nothing to do with man's creation.

Pravda said...

Anon 3:59, you're the pot calling the kettle black when you claim JJ is ignorant of the facts. Perhaps if you actually understood science and the scientific method, you would relaize a couple of things.

1. Gravity isn't a theory, it is a law. Trying to imply that science's knowledge on evolution is anywhere near our knowledge on gravity is duplicitous and flat out wrong.

2. The scientific method does not prove things to be true. It merely provides a model for understanding our world. While it takes much investigating and experimentation to provide a level of knowledge great enough to advance a hypothesis to a theory, only one valid experiment that contradicts the theory can debunk it.

People that think that science proves their perspective simply don't understand science or history. Today's proven facts are washed away by tomorrow's dicoveries.

jonjayray said...

I thought that would generate some heat!

Glad some readers understand what a scientific theory is

Anonymous said...

Evolution is simply silly, it is all about their egos,, Creationism is well established. The big bang..omg, poleese.

Anonymous said...

This thread is like an argument between medieval theologians and those who look for actual scientific evidence.
Sad that it's taking place in the 21st century; but maybe understandable when most of the posters here are reactionary Americans!
Obviously JJ from DownUnder likes to stir up the pot (as he has even admitted), which keeps his own site alive, of course, which is why he mainly concentrates on the subjects of atheism and homosexuality; because while the US sinks under debt and turning into a 3rd-world country, the populous would rather argue over gay-marriage and abortion, etc. Talk about re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic (1912-2012 seems quite appropriate!).

Use the Name, Luke said...

"For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about the conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
Robert Jastrow, founder of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Kee Bird said...

Evolution is poppycock pure poppycock

Anonymous said...

Luke is quote-mining again! He talks about "truth" but he's only interested in promoting a theology based on ancient Hebrew/Babylonian/Egyptian religions.

Anonymous said...

In Luke's own link it says about Robert Yastrow "In his later years, he explored the idea of a creator of the universe or a first cause. "I'm an agnostic because I see the thrust of the discoveries toward the idea of a first cause, but everything else I know about humankind and the universe tells me that it could have happened without an overarching plan," he said.

Anonymous said...

The ironically named "Pravda" shows his ignorance of science. The theory of gravity refers to the "how & why" behind the phenomenon of gravity, while the law of gravity refers to certain of its effects. Likewise, evolution is a biological fact (change over time), while the theory of evolution refers to the possible "mechanics" behind it.

jonjayray said...

Evolution is only the skeleton of a scientific theory so far but maybe one day they will put flesh on it

Seems hard to imagine at the moment, though

Anonymous said...

Even the creationists have had to accept the evidence of evolution and so have tried to get round it by contriving the concept of "micro-evolution" (within species - however species may be vaguely defined) as opposed to "macro-evolution" (a longer period of time where species differentiate due to separation in time and locality). The distinction of course is contrived indeed.
Creationists like to dwell on "fossils" as though that was all "evolution" was about. There are many other co-confirmers, especially the science of genetics.
In short, creationists are fighting a battle that has no better prospect of success than the flat-earth believers (and some even defy all geological evidence that the planet Earth is no older than a few thousand years, simply based on some vague calculation of people's ages as recorded in the Old Testament!).

Anonymous said...

Yep, and despite all the very obvious evidence of astronomy and cosmology that we have today .