February 21, 2012
There isn’t a straight line of demarcation between science and pseudoscience (PS), which is universally applicable in all fields categorized as scientific. A general guide for demarcating between the two is that the theory should have observable evidence, provides predictions, uses non-controversial reasoning, and is repeatable. These are simply guidelines and do not necessarily count as criteria for disqualifying a theory if all aren’t met because some are simply untenable depending on the field in which they are applied. Falsification is not necessary for a scientific theory but it does help substantiate the theory as a robust scientific theory.
When considering the criterion of observable evidence I make the distinction between observation and what is empirical. Something may be observed and qualify as evidence even though it’s not related to material causes. This is where the distinction between Duhemian science and Augustinian science must be made. I would deny the use of Duhemian science. This method, or philosophy, has a goal of stripping science from all metaphysical imports. Augustinian science is open to metaphysical presuppositions with science. In the mid 1800’s William Whewell was the first to restrict science to only mean natural science. Pierre Duhem followed this idea and constructed a methodology, which barred explanations to material causes. For instance, agent causation is completely compatible with Augustinian science but is prohibited as a scientific explanation in Duhemian science. Agent causation is something that can be observed but isn’t necessarily reductionistic in the material sense as with material causation because agent causation has metaphysical import.
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February 7, 2012
The argument from junk DNA suggests that a designer would be maximally efficient in his use of information. There appears to be some information that does not execute or have any meaningful coding. Darwinism takes this issue and uses it as the result of the prediction that there would be left over information not being used due to natural selection and random mutation. However, it doesn’t appear that all junk DNA is actually junk.
The classical model of the genome was developed to support the Darwinian New Synthesis and was based on these assumptions:
- Genetic determinants are discrete physical units
- Only the collection of genes (genotype) is real; organismal development and traits (the phenotype) are epiphenomenal
- The structure of gene can be explained solely in terms of population genetics (mutation and selection/genetic drift)
The presuppositions of the model
- Genomes are the only carriers of phenotypic determinants; no laws of form exist à phenotypes mirror genotypes
- Genomes are aggregates of simple entities that are constantly changing entails that phenotypes are always transforming
- Genomes can be recombined and mutated in an unlimited way à morphological evolution is “open-minded”
- Any two sets of genomes are connected by a finite number of mutations à morphological gaps are illusory
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February 6, 2012
When evaluating population drift/evolution one must keep in mind a pattern/process distinction.
- To be explained: A pattern of a sequence of ancestors to present (a phylogenetic sequence)
- Explanation: High random mutation rates + high selection coefficients –> Incremental genetic change over time (“evolution”)
We now know that the majority of anatomical changes unique to fully aquatic cetaceans (Pelagiceti) appeared during just a few million years.
Here are only a few of the changes that had to have occurred during the transition to a fully marine whale
- Counter-current heat exchanger for intra-abdominal testes
- Ball vertebra
- Tail flukes and musculature
- Blubber for temperature insulation
- Ability to drink sea water (reorganization of kidney tissues)
- Reverse orientation of fetus in the uterus
- Nurse young underwater (modified mammae)
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January 4, 2012
The following is a guest blog post by Jeff G. Jeff is a 24-year-old student studying biblical theology at North Park University in Chicago. He hopes to go on to grad school and get a Ph.D. in the field of biblical theology, if that is where God wants him.
It was 7th grade biology class, and we began to learn the theory of evolution. The evidence seemed absolutely clear to me—evolution was an undeniable fact. I picked up my bible and compared what I read to what I learned in my biology class. The accounts seemed clearly contradictory. It didn’t take much time for me to conclude that all of Christianity was a sham. I will come back to this in a bit, but first, do me a favor and let me tell you another story…
In January of 2007, world-renowned violin virtuoso Joshua Bell took his 3.5 million dollar violin to the Washington D.C. metro station to play some songs as a street musician. Dressing modestly in a baseball cap, jeans, and a long-sleeved t-shirt, Bell left his violin case open for tips as he played 6 classical songs, one of which has been called the most difficult song on any instrument—J.S. Bach’s Chaconne. Of this song, the great composer Johannes Brahms said, “if I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”
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November 10, 2011
The English poet John Milton did well when he said that “Truth will rise to the top through a free and open exchange in the marketplace of ideas.” I am so encouraged when I have and see a substantive dialogue with someone concerning an issue. This is certainly important in every day discussions, blogs, and teaching. I assist in managing and teaching an Intro. to Philosophy course at university and I always encourage my students to make us work hard to convince them of what we believe to be true. Do not simply sit there and take what I say and teach prima facie–challenge me, challenge the thoughts, challenge your thinking.
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November 4, 2011
Let’s have a thought experiment. If Adam, before sin, had tripped and fell on a big sharp rock and cut his head open, would he die? Think about it, the neurological and cranial damage would be tremendous and even if that wasn’t damaged, there is still the risk of infection. What if Adam wanted to enjoy a swim in the river, what if he got a cramp and couldn’t swim anymore and drowned? I hear the objections already, “Well God could alter the physics or perform a miracle,” or, “Adam would have seen that rock or would have known not to swim at that time.” Sure, these are possible, but not plausible. I think those objections won’t work because you have a problem of a theodicy on your hands, why wouldn’t God interfere with Adam sinning?
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October 23, 2011
It would be an appropriate evaluation of Friedrich Nietzsche to state that his mere calling for the übermensch is a teleological claim. To call for redemption of something and to set a standard model is a purposeful and meaningful proclamation. The desire appears to be motivated by the very thing Nietzsche is often accused of, nihilism. Nietzsche was in despair over the implications of Christianity with no God—that was nihilism, which was a catalyst to his philosophizing with a hammer.
Nietzsche never denied there being any meaning or purpose. His qualm was that if Christianity continues without God, which would be meaningless and purposeless. He understood that there had to be meaning and purpose. The teleology, for Nietzsche, was a pursuit to overcome those things, which were life denying. Christianity, God, idols, and false ideas were all life denying and life prohibiting concepts. Nietzsche recognized the human nature and need for a teleology, but how? In his pursuit for meaning and purpose he calls for the übermensch to do just that.
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October 4, 2011
I was in a tweebate (tweet debate) with another person [whom shall remain anonymous] over a previous post of mine where I claimed that Ken Miller’s argument against irreducible complexity was a bad argument (I really don’t like Twitter debates/conversations either). This person went on about how Miller’s argument convinced Judge Jones and my position was that it’s actually quite embarrassing that the argument would convince anyone (see my post for the context). Then he claimed the type three secretory system is an objection to irreducible complexity in the bacterial flagellum, which prompted me to claim that it may indeed be IC itself and there are arguments that the flagellum may have come first. Anyways, those aren’t what interests me. The argument that I had never heard before was:
ID claims are anything but modest. Incapacity to imagine other explanations of our beginnings is not evidence of ID. Non sequitur.
Let me be clear, I have never claimed anywhere at any time… ever… that one should be a proponent of intelligent design because of an incapacity to imagine other explanations. So first of all, this argument belongs in a cornfield scaring away the crows. Secondly, this is an utterly blatant attack on my imagination! I’ve got a great imagination! (Okay, the second point isn’t really a part of my argument.) It’s true, if anyone did make an argument for ID based on a lack of imagination it would be a non sequitur since one’s capacity to imagine something has nothing to do with the truth claim (as long as the claim is sound/rational, I cannot imagine the actualization of a contradiction). I’m fairly confident anyone familiar with intelligent design and the state of the evolution controversy would never make an argument for intelligent design like this. In fact, no one should ever make such an argument for ID like this.
I’ve explained before in my post on God and Darwinism, the reasons why I’m not a Darwinist are for two reasons: 1) the origin of information must be mind and 2) there is objective teleology in the world and primarily human beings. I do believe the argument from irreducible complexity is a good argument for ID but I’m not going to die on that hill. I think intelligent causation is a legitimate scientific hypothesis and explanation. However, there are certain philosophical truths that press the argument. I could care less if man evolved from a common ancestor but this evolution could not have occurred without a mind acting on the origin of the information in DNA and I believe man [evolves] with an end goal in mind. That’s why I reject Darwinism.