googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: And Now a Word from the Fringe

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

And Now a Word from the Fringe

I know that one should never judge a group by the stupid remarks of one individual in the group so I'm not going to do that. I will, however, print the stupid remarks of one evolutionist for the sole reason that they're just funny! I found this gem on Yahoo! Answers:

Creationists: Don't you get that even if creationism was true we'd still have to go with evolution?

You see, how does creationism help biology?

Unlike evolution creationism doesn't make predictions. And it just so happens that evolution does and its predictions are stunningly accurate, like that females should be more discriminating than males about their sexual partners. Across cultures we find this to be the case.

Even if creationism was true we'd still have to treat it as if it's false because it doesn't make predictions. Science builds predictive models and evolution happens to be very accurately predictive even if it wasn't true. You use the model that gives you the best predictions.

Don't you get that evolution wins even if it somehow was false?

Do I need to explain why this is funny? It's funnier than any caricature I could have made up about evolutionists.

Unfortunately, this isn't the only time I've heard something like this. On other occasions, I've had evolutionists say something like, even if creation is true, we couldn't teach it in schools because it isn't “scientific”; that is, it doesn't provide a natural explanation as required by science. What they really mean is that creation doesn't provide the natural explanation required by secular scientists who cannot provide a logical reason as to why they only accept natural explanations.

Another curious thing I've noticed when I read crazy things like this, is that other evolutionists - though they might not be quick to agree with them - also do not rush to condemn them. I suspect mainstream evolutionists know how insanely absurd these comments are so they won't tarnish their own credibility by endorsing them. However, with their silence, they tacitly approve of the comments being made.


Todd Williams said...

Comments like this made by armchair evolutionists always make me roll my eyes to the point of spraining an ocular muscle. The whole 'predictive' nonsense is always just a circular way of supporting the theory.

It's always something like "evolution would predict that monkeys would develop opposable thumbs because their advanced brains could make use of them for simple tools. Evolution would predict that!" No, you're just reverse engineering your own theory.

Evolutionists would be more honest if they said, "If the theory is true, then we can theorize that certain evidences will follow."

My favorite part of that comment is "Science builds predictive models and evolution happens to be very accurately predictive even if it wasn't true." So we're not even seeking what is true anymore? We're instead kneeling at the altar of our circular scientific predictive reasoning? Ridiculous.

RKBentley said...


I see that I'm not the only one who's noticed the circular reasoning employed by evolutionists; they use their theory to explain the evidence and then use the evidence to support their theory.

They do this especially in their approach to the nested-hierarchy. They've arranged animals according to their evolutionary relatedness and then have the nerve to say that the result shows the animals are related in an evolutionary sense. It's insane.

I enjoy your comments very much. Please keep visiting.

God bless!!


Steven J. said...

The predictions made by evolutionary theory have nothing to do with monkeys evolving (more) opposable thumbs. Evolutionists argue among themselves about whether, e.g. the evolution of intelligence by any species was likely or the equivalent of multiple straight flushes in poker; no one thinks you can predict whether a given lineage will evolve higher intelligence.

There are more modest predictions of short-term evolutionary changes (e.g. the evolution of shorter limbs among anole lizards moved from forested islands to islands with only small bushes -- this was actually confirmed experimentally), but mostly, the predictions of evolution have to do with the nested hierarchy of living and fossil species.

For example, most animals have a GULO gene that plays a role in making vitamin C. Humans have a disabled version of this gene, which is why we can get scurvy. Chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys have identically disabled versions of the GULO gene. From this, based on the tree of relationships among primate species based on anatomy, one can predict that identically disabled GULO pseudogenes will be found in, e.g. gibbons (because any taxon that includes both rhesus monkeys and us includes gibbons).

Then there is, among fossils, not merely further confirmation of the nested hierarchy but the pattern of faunal succession one would expect if evolution was true. As was pointed out when Tiktaalik was discovered, on creationist assumptions, one might as readily have found a whale or ichthyosaur fossils in those Devonian sediments. One might, for that matter, have found fossils with the mammalian three bones in the inner ear and the reptilian multiple bones in the lower jaw.

Creationism predicts neither the pattern of faunal succession, nor the nested hierarchy (why couldn't a Creator have made, e.g. birds with mammary glands or bats with feathers?). The data of the world are compatible with creationism, but with a creation which was (deliberately, presumably, given the sheer variety and mass of evidence) made to look like the results of evolution.

Science is interested in what the evidence supports. Scientists tend to assume that this is true, but perhaps God has, as a 19th century critic of the "appearance of age" argument put it, "woven into His creation one vast and superfluous lie" (e.g. creating a world that looks like the results of evolution). In that case, the quest for truth is futile (nor ought you tell me to look in the Bible: would any sensible person trust the alleged words of a Creator Who wove lies into nature?).

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

Did you read the part where I said that other evolutionists, while they don't necessarily agree with these stupid comments, neither do they rush to condemn them? I noticed you didn't rush to condemn either.

Do you really believe that we would still have to "go with evolution" (whatever that means) even if it was false? It's because mainstream evos don't soundly denounce these types of comments that they continue to be made.

Perhaps there's more going here than I realized. Maybe the evolutionists' bottom line is pragmatism. If it works, we'll use it - it doesn't matter that it's not true.

As for me, I'm more interested in what is true. When we're talking about the Creator of the universe, there's a little more at stake than the age of rocks. If I don't believe what He said about the earthly things, why should I believe Him about the heavenly things?

God bless!!


Todd Williams said...

Steven, you said, "no one thinks you can predict whether a given lineage will evolve higher intelligence." I beg to differ. I can't tell you how many comments I read and people I talk to who purport even less likely predictions in evolution than this. I wouldn't put you in that group, as you seem to have your head on straight.
You can't predict the creative process of God, as that would make you God. It's difficult enough to predict the creative processes of human beings. But that's not an issue for creationism, as you're attempting to overlay natural methodology onto the supernatural. Of course it doesn't work.
I'm actually in the old-earth creationist camp, as opposed to my friend RK, so I don't believe God has attempted to deceive us with the "appearance of age" of our universe (I'm not saying that's what RK believes). But I do think RK and I can agree that the nested heirarchy appears to work for evolution is because the fauna were designed using similar engineering. In other words, God chose not to re-create the wheel for many systems since they work so beautifully. We could create a beautiful nested heirarchy of every automobile ever created, and much of the engineering has been carried over to modern day. The person who is fooled into believing that cars have evolved shouldn't be angry that he was deceived, but rather consider an alternative. I'm not saying you're angry about it now, but wouldn't you be if you were to meet God?
Of course, this is just a simple analogy to make the point. But the question remains. Would you consider that just as there is a collective mind behind the design of the automobile, that there is a mind behind the design of living things?

Steven J. said...

RKBentley, you miss my point. There is no reason, going strictly by the evidence, that indicates that evolution is false; if it is false, it is false despite every appearance of being true. And that is what people mean when they say that we would have to "go with evolution even if it were false," because nature certainly acts as if it were true.

I remember how creationists behaved when all those feathered dinosaur fossils started showing up (mainly in China). First they howled fraud, and concentrated on one instance of quickly detected fraud rather than on confirmed cases of dinosaurs with feathers, then they said, "well, God could make dinosaurs with feathers if He wanted to," then they tried hard to ignore, e.g. Microraptor, Caudipteryx, and Anchiornis. Those sorts of fossils were definitely not what they expected, and were what evolutionists expected. So even from the standpoint of predicting what sort of fossils will turn up, evolution works better than creation. You can argue all you like that creationism is somehow, nonetheless, "true," but it doesn't seem terribly useful in explaining or predicting the evidence.

Todd, I cannot speak to what various amateurs might have claimed to you. I don't even know what they've said to you -- and neither, of course, does your average evolutionary biologist, which would make it hard for experts to correct these random amateurs.

The "re-use of good designs" argument has a counterargument dating back to Darwin himself: "the use of similar structures for dissmilar functions [parahomology] and dissimilar structures for similar functions [analogy]. Re-use of designs for similar functions won't explain why, e.g. insect-eating bats and insect-eating birds have such different wings, while penguins, hummingbirds, ostriches, and condors have such similar wings. It won't explain the similarities between the retina of a trout and that of a human, or their differences from the retina of an octopus or squid. Common descent with gradual, opportunistic modification will explain these things.

Todd Williams said...

Steven J., you said, "Re-use of designs for similar functions won't explain why, e.g. insect-eating bats and insect-eating birds have such different wings, while penguins, hummingbirds, ostriches, and condors have such similar wings."

You're assuming God is merely pragmatic. Once again you're overlaying evolutionary thinking onto God. Going back to the automobile analogy, human beings have designed many different modes of transportation, with some designed almost strictly to satisfy aesthetic or experimental urges. God is a creative mind who loves the "sheer variety" that you've described.

Steven J. said...

Todd: God seems to have bypassed a vast variety of means to enact more variety or indulge experimental urges. As I noted, we find no birds with mammary glands, no bats with feathers or avian-style lungs. There are no insects with box-camera eyes, and no vertebrates with compound eyes. There are no fish with hemocyanin-based blood. Everywhere we see living things that fall into the nested hierarchy ("tree of life") pattern predicted by evolution, rather than the mix-and-match system used by human designers.

Todd Williams said...

Steven J., I wouldn't say that just because God hasn't created every possible permutation of features, that it makes it less likely that he created the various kinds.

I just don't put my trust in the 'tree of life' as a predictor of common descent, especially since discoveries such as Horizontal Gene Transfer are causing it to be constantly redrawn to accommodate the data. Where I do see use for it is as an interesting taxonomic tool.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

You said, “There is no reason, going strictly by the evidence, that indicates that evolution is false; if it is false, it is false despite every appearance of being true. And that is what people mean when they say that we would have to "go with evolution even if it were false," because nature certainly acts as if it were true.”

Here's an analogy I've used before. Suppose we're walking and find a black rock with purple stripes. I examine the rock and suggest that aliens painted the stripes on the rock. You might ask what evidence I have for this. I reply, “Well, there's the rock and there's the stripes so it must be true!”

Theories are used to explain the evidence. Evolution explains certain things we observe reasonably well. When we come across things that evolution doesn't explain well, then scientists tweak the theory to explain the new evidence. When you're done, then you hold up all of nature as though it's evidence for your theory. It's no different than me holding up the rock as evidence for aliens.

According to this person's reasoning, even if evolution didn't happen, we should still use evolution to explain the evidence since it explains it so well. It's wacko. If evolution didn't happen, then we should be looking for the correct explanation. Fortunately for me, I already know the true origin. I think I'll stick with it no matter how unscientific you think it might be.

God bless!!