Friday, January 21, 2011

Evolution Just the facts Pt. 5

Hey all,

Well I do have some homework to do over the weekend so I'll make this one short... so without further ado here is my continuation of the critique of conservapedia's evolution page:

Richard Dawkins and Pseudoscience:

Within the evolutionary science community and the creation science community, evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins has faced charges of engaging in pseudoscience and also has faced charges of committing elementary errors.

- Oh I can't wait to hear how you are going to justify this...

The website True Free Thinker notes:
Moreover, note that with regards to “assertions without adequate evidence” evolutionary biologist and geneticist, Prof. Richard Lewontin, referenced Carl Sagan’s list of the “best contemporary science-popularizers” which includes Richard Dawkins. These authors have, as Lewontin puts it, “put unsubstantiated assertions or counterfactual claims at the very center of the stories they have retailed in the market.” Lewontin specifically mentions “Dawkins’s vulgarizations of Darwinism” (find details here and here). Even renowned evolutionary biologists H. Allen Orr, David Sloan Wilson, and Massimo Pigliucci have called into question the power that Dawkins once had as an intellectual, since he has made elementary errors in The God Delusion.

- So the only source that you site is a creationist website, but provide no sources for H. Allen Orr, David Sloan Wilson, and Massimo Pigliucci questioning Dawkins power as an intellectual. And their only reference for the book you are critical of making errors is on your webpage where you give a single sentence as an explanation for the complex points that Dawkins makes in his book. Sorry Conservapedia, this contrived attempt to discredit Dawkins doesn't work on me, and I doubt it would work on any other skeptical person.

Age of the Earth and Universe and the Theory of Evolution:

As far as the evolutionary timeline posited by the evolutionary community, the various theories of evolution claim that the earth and universe are billions of years old and that macroevolutionary processes occurred over this time period.

- Yes, you are right, but why do I get the feeling that you're not going to stop there, instead you are going to try to make the claim that the Earth is only 6000 years old... but you know how wrong that is right?

William R. Corliss is a respected cataloger of scientific anomalies and the science magazine New Scientist had an article which focused on Mr. Corliss's career as a cataloger of scientific anomalies. Mr. Corliss has cataloged scores of anomalies which challenge the old earth geology paradigm. Young earth creationist hold the earth and universe is approximately 6,000 years old.

- Sigh... alright which anomalies? Since I don't have access to a New Scientist Journal back in 1977... which is out of date.. in science the oldest literature considered valid is about 10 years ago since things change so quickly.

Young earth creationist scientists state the following is true: there are multiple lines of evidence pointing to a young earth and universe; the old earth and universe paradigm has numerous anomalies and uses invalid dating methods, and there are multiple citations in the secular science literature that corroborate the implausibility of the old earth and universe paradigm.

- Well if our dating system is invalid why do you guys use it to test validity of things like the Shroud of Turin, a piece of wood you believe to come from the ark, and various other religious icons? Is it that you agree that the only way to be taken seriously is to use the methods we do, and it doesn't help your case to poke holes in them? Well the dating methods we use have been verified accurate over and over to see how some of them work watch this video, this one and this one. Now how about we examine a dating technique that even a child can understand, dendochronology which is using tree rings to date things, and even those can prove that the Earth is at least 11,000 years old see here.

Scientific Community Consensus and the Macroevolution Position:
A 1997 Gallup poll indicated that 55% of United States scientists believed that humans developed over a period of millions of years from less developed forms of life and that God had no part in the process, 40% believed in theistic evolution, and 5% of scientists believed that God created man fairly much in his current form at one time within the last 10,000 years. As noted earlier, in 2007, "Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture...announced that over 700 scientists from around the world have now signed a statement expressing their skepticism about the contemporary theory of Darwinian evolution."

- Well that's a relief, at least they didn't just make up some ridiculous number... but as I also stated earlier that list is fraudulent and you can see why again here.

Poll results regarding the amount of scientists who are skeptical or opposed to the evolutionary view could be underreporting the actual amount of scientists who are skeptical of the evolutionary view or hold the creation science view. Poll results may not be as precise as they could be as creation science organizations report widespread discrimination against scientists who hold the creation science view. On April 18, 2008 a film documentary by Ben Stein entitled Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed! was released to the public which documents the suppression of scientific freedom of scientists who are critical of the evolutionary position. Such suppression is not surprising given that a poll among United States scientists showed that approximately 45% of scientists believed there was no God. In addition, a survey found that 93% of the scientists who were members of the United States National Academy of Sciences do not believe there is a God. Given this state of affairs, a future paradigm shift from the theory of evolution to a creation science position could be slow given the worldviews of many scientists. 

- Given the fraudulent nature of the list created I think that the numbers work.. and that those 5% need to take an introductory evolutionary biology lesson and if they wish to continue themselves scientists they will take the evidence seriously.
- I lost a lot of respect for Mr. Stein when he made this movie. The problem for Mr. Stein is that science is not a democracy, and nor should it be. The process of peer review gives validation to the hypothesis that make the most sense, and can provide the most testable outcomes. I can guarantee so long as there are people out there who value the truth that paradigm shift will NEVER happen. Not only that, but creation science would also set society back to a point which would be very frightening.

Also, the current scientific community consensus is no guarantee of truth. The history of science shows many examples where the scientific community consensus was in error, was scientifically unsound, or had little or no empirical basis. For example, bloodletting was practiced from antiquity and still had many practitioners up until the late 1800s. In his essay, A Paradigm Shift: Are We Ready? , Niranjan Kissoon, M.D. wrote the following: "...history is rife with examples in which our best medical judgment was flawed. The prestigious British Medical Journal begun in 1828 chose the name Lancet to signal its scholarly intent and cutting edge therapy."

- That is why nothing in science is claimed as 100% true, because every theory must be falsifiable, and until that point it will be used. Because mistakes were made in the past does not mean that the entire scientific inquiry should be abandoned because new and exciting things are being discovered every day, and these discoveries do change how the world was viewed. BTW, are the religious willing to change their minds if they happen to be wrong? Not likely, but scientists will test and retest hypothesis' and if they turn out to be wrong they move on. Creationism cannot be tested, therefore it cannot be verified or falsified, and should not be considered science.

Also, in regards to modern medical science, in a 1991 BMJ (formerly called the British Medical Journal) article, Richard Smith (editor of BMJ at the time) wrote the following: "There are 30,000 biomedical journals in the world...Yet only about 15% of medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence, David Eddy professor of health policy and management at Duke University, told a conference in Manchester last week. This is partly because only 1% of the articles in medical journals are scientifically sound and partly because many treatments have never been assessed at all." Next, alchemy was at one time considered to be a legitimate scientific pursuit and was studied by such notable individuals as Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Roger Bacon, and Gottfried Leibniz. Given the aforementioned weaknesses in the evolutionary position and given that the history of science shows there have been some notable paradigm shifts, the scientific consensus argument for the macroevolutionary theory certainly cannot be called an invincible argument.

- This quote is not in the article that they cited... I know... I looked. Which makes me believe that this is may not only be quote mined, but fabricated. What difference does it make that Newton was an Alchemist, are you going to attack the theory of gravity next? We would never claim it an an invincible argument, remember you agreed that all theories should be falsifiable? Not to mention that macroevolution (better known as speciation) has occurred... don't believe me? see here.

In addition, biblical creationists can point out examples where the scientific community was in error and the Bible was clearly correct. For example, until the 1970s the scientific consensus on how lions killed their prey was in error and the Bible turned out to be right in this matter. Also, for centuries the scientific community believed that snakes could not hear and the 1988 edition of The New Encyclopedia Britannica stated the snakes could not hear but that was mistaken and the Bible was correct in this matter. In addition, 19th century European naturalists were wrong concerning a matter regarding ant behavior and the Bible was correct. Many creationists such as the creationist at Creation Ministries International and CreationWiki assert that the Bible scientific foreknowledge the Bible contains knowledge that shows an understanding of scientific knowledge beyond that believed to exist at the time the Bible was composed. In addition, Christianity had a profound influence in regards to the development of modern science.

- 1. The lion thing... alright, I'll give you that, only because the reference you gave does say that lions strangled rather than bit the neck or broke the neck with a paw swat as was believed...  however, I do not know how widely this was believed, or if the quotes used on the website you referenced were mined or not because lions can kill smaller prey with the swat of a paw, and may bite through the necks of the smaller prey... so I'm not ready to completely believe you.
- 2. snakes, same deal as lions, I don't know how widely this is believed but.... this is the only biblical reference you give for a snake being able to hear is:
The wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth speaking lies.They have venom like the venom of a serpent, like the deaf adder that stops its ear, so that it does not hear the voice of charmersor of the cunning enchanter. (58:3-4)
Now to me this doesn't sound like snakes can hear, but you be the judge... you would have thought they would be clearer if they wanted to say snakes can hear.
- 3. As for some other scientific claims in the bible... well I suggest watching this video and this one and see how scientifically accurate the bible really is....
- 4. Yeah Christianity has had a profound influence on modern science... a negative one. I have two words for you "stem cells"!

Alright, I think that's enough for now, next time we will begin with the Social Effects of the Theory of Evolution...

Until Next Time,

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