Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hi Allan

I'll do better than publish your comment as a comment. I'll put it here so the two or three people who read this will be sure to see it. Plus, we can just discuss things here if you like. I don't have the patience for "Dawkins land." It's like dealing with people who think the earth is flat or who think the moon is closer than Chicago because they can see the moon but not Chicago. Let me know what part of evolution I "caricature." We can start there.

Alan Fox has left a new comment on your post "A post I made at Uncommon Descent":

Hi Tom

Are your questions just rhetorical, or are you looking for answers? You are unlikely to get much response from anyone other than dyed-in-the-wool creationists at UD, as ID critics get routinely weeded out.

Why not go back to Richard Dawkins' forum if you are genuinely interested in understanding evolutionary theory, rather than the caricature you portray? I would have posted at UD but I'm banned there.

I wonder if you'll approve my comment?

Friday, August 7, 2009

A post I made at Uncommon Descent

(The link is at the bottom.)

Seriously, does anyone really believe in Darwinian evolution anymore? On the one hand we posit Mind as the source of biological information and on the other hand we posit "natural selection" plus genetic mutation. How DO they stack up?

"Natural selection" (I use scare quotes deliberately) is based on at least four faulty assumptions. The first is that there is a "struggle" to survive. But the materialist philosophy which is the basis for this "science" says that there is no purpose in the universe. So how can that be? There is no purpose in the universe but somehow there is a struggle for survival. We can't have it both ways, now, can we? It's either purpose or no purpose. If you allow purpose in order for "natural selection" to work then you have to explain the existence of purpose. Which you can't do. So neither do you get it for "natural selection."

The second false assumption on which "ns" is based is that populations increase geometrically (a Malthusian myth). They don't. The planet would be overrun with critters if that were true, but we aren't, so it isn't.

The third false assumption (also a Malthusian myth) is that food supplies increase only arithmetically. Thus the false problem of the "struggle for survival" wherein the overpopulating organisms compete with each other for a diminishing food supply. Those better able to adapt, live, and those that don't, die.

What nonsense. Living things live and only living things reproduce. Wow. What insight. Being alive necessarily, by definition, means "being fit." If I'm not fit, I'm not alive. If I'm alive, I'm fit. This, THIS, is the major mechanism for the creation of biological information? ha ha chortle chortle. You must be kidding me.

The fourth faulty assumption is that it even exists. I guess I could have started with this one and saved a few words. This is what I find absolutely hilarious about "ns" as an explanation for anything (it's not). This is the idea that it has causal power in nature. That is, if it is to have explanatory power at all, "ns" must have causal power. But if "ns" has causal power, and all causal power resides in physics, then "ns" must be part of physics. No? But it isn't. Ask a physicist about "ns" being one of the forces in nature and he will laugh at you, if he bothers to do that. There are four forces in nature and "ns" isn't on that list. So my unsophisticated mind reasons like this. If physics is all that has causal power (and this is the claim of the "isms" - m'ism, n'ism, and p'ism), but "ns" isn't mentioned in any of the physics books, i.e. it is not recognized as a part of physics, then it has NO CAUSAL POWER and therefore it’s not real. It’s a myth. Oh it's "real" enough if you are reading a biology book and if you take "real" to mean that someone believes it is real. But appealing to "ns" to explain anything in biology is like appealing to Santa Claus to explain Christmas presents under the tree. How funny is that? And grownups do it all the time. Even some ID proponents make this horrible, horrible mistake. Acknowledging that “natural selection” can account for anything (“micro” evolution but not “macro” evolution). But wait, don’t organisms change? Don’t they adapt? Yes, they do. But it’s not “ns” that we see, it’s the interplay of exquisitely designed creatures with their environment. The information already exists that allows for organisms to adapt. It’s not something “magically” generated on the fly.

But wait, there's more hilarity. There are those, (I've read their books) who think that genetic mutations PLUS "ns" can account for an increase in biological information and thus new species. So that's akin to taking an essay and randomly altering selected letters, possibly rearranging or duplicating some words or sentences, and saying that will improve the essay. This is pretty cute in an odd sort of way. Kind of like watching a little kid pound on a piano and they think they're playing a symphony.

So we've missed, as usual, the real problem which is not the alteration of biological information but the ORIGIN of it. So now we're back to the crux of the problem. To explain life you must explain information. To explain information you must explain language. To explain language you must be able to explain symbols and rules. If you are a materialist, naturalist, physicalist, you ONLY have physics with which to explain anything. So how does physics come to bear on why "cat" means one thing and "act" means another? Go ahead. Tell me what laws or forces explain the use of symbols. Well, of course, none of them do and they never will. And they don’t because physics explains the material world but we are talking about the immaterial world. But the “ists” deny the existence of the immaterial world (Gods, souls, minds, laws (except physics, of course, but no moral law)). They apparently accept the existence of information but somehow it escapes their notice that information, although encoded in material substrates, is immaterial. Another logical contradiction. This from people who allegedly worship reason as they mock ID. Pretty funny stuff, you’ll agree.

The bottom line is that information always reduces to, or is explained by, Mind/mind, not matter. And naturalism, materialism, and/or physicalism, the philosophical basis for contemporary science (and much philosophy) is utter nonsense. I guess people who will believe that "ns" plus random information changes can write the biological equivalent of Shakespeare, and then some, will believe anything.