Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Regarding Gaps in the Fossil Record

“If we take Darwinian evolution seriously, the gaps, far from being annoying imperfections or awkward embarrassments, turn out to be exactly what we should positively expect.”
Richard Dawkins, “The Blind Watchmaker.”

You’ve got to love atheists - huh? A lack of evidential support for their hypothesis is exactly what they expect in order to prove their theory. Kinda like Jennifer Lopez saying she meant to trip at the American Music Awards. Anyhow, lucky for atheists that the fossil record has huge gaps of missing evidence otherwise we might not be able to trust the theory.

What Dawkins really means is that since he a priori rejects anything other than naturalism, it doesn’t matter if there is a lot of evidential support or absolutely no evidential support. The conclusion will be the same. According to Dawkins and other atheists, naturalism is how life came about and that’s all there is to it.

“But,” you say, “that’s not how the scientific method works.” Well, it is if the scientist is an atheist. Listen to this!

“The theory of evolution is the only theory we know of. Even if the evidence did not favour it, it would still be the best theory available.”
Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, 240

Atheist Steven Pinker agrees. “Because there are no alternatives, we would almost have to accept natural selection as the explanation of life on this planet, even if there were no evidence for it.”
“How the Mind Works,” 162

Now THAT’S science. Really! That’s exactly how atheist influenced science works. First it a priori excludes alternative theories and then it declares, "This is how it happened." And here’s how science, at least in part, got that way.

Science, particularly atheistic science has had to adjust from thinking that science can and had discovered everything there was to know, to accepting that it really knows for certain, nothing at all. In the 19th century it would not have been hard to hear scientists say things like”

Pretty much ‘everything that matters has been seen and measured.’
Simon Newcomb, “The Place of Astronomy Among the Sciences.” 69-70

Max Planck tells of how he wanted to study the natural sciences but was discouraged from doing so by a professor of physics because “nothing worthwhile remained to be discovered.”
“A Scientific Autobiography.” 8

James Maxwell said that “physics has uncovered all that can be known.”
“The scientific papers of James Clerk Maxwell, vol 2, 244

The same was true of evolutionary biology. Geneticist William Bateson stated that it was “a waste of time to study variation because Darwin has swept the field.”
“Mendel’s Principles of Heredity” 2,3

And then came what is now known as Radical Theory Change. What was once thought to be right, was discovered to be wrong. What was once trusted is now looked upon with scepticism. Theories upon which science thought it could permanently rest had to be abandoned as a whole new world of discovery opened up.

Here is where atheists show their common nature with all those who deny God in their lives. In order to feel good about themselves, atheists change the definition of good to match the reality they’re living. For example, when enough people can’t make their marriages work, humans declare that marriage itself isn’t that good and that in fact divorce is better. When enough people can’t stop screwing around on their spouses, humans declare that fidelity isn’t such a great thing and that in fact adultery is just fine thank you very much. And in science? While many still believe that science is the only arbiter of truth, it is now seen by atheists as a good thing to find out that you have been wrong. Not knowing what you’re talking about is now seen as a strength. Atheists have to live with the fact that what they believe to be true today may be completely wrong tomorrow - AND - atheists become furious when they encounter anyone else to does not live in a perpetual state of doubt and uncertainty.

While he tries to act otherwise, Dawkins has to know that he can’t depend on what he today calls a certainty. And when the thing upon which you depend lacks supporting evidence, well, what you do is say, that “turns out to be exactly what we should positively expect.” And since Dawkins makes positive statements about things for which there will NEVER be evidence (Life is evolving on a billion planets even as we speak; Inanimate and inorganic gases EVOLVED into living matter) this saying really does come to life: “We have so much trouble communicating with others because our lives are so full of contradictions that we can’t even communicate with ourselves.”


Ginx said...

I will never understand why religious people, who rely on faith, will trip over themselves trying to "prove" that science is anything but our best guess, and that these best guesses have provided the means for our technological explosion. Results, Mak, results.

Religion's results: years of casting out demons with no increase in life expectancy.
Science's results: a steady stream of progress measured concretely.

Makarios said...

I understand what you're saying Ginx, and much of what I write is tongue in cheek, but yours is a pretty uninformed comment.

Ginx said...

Give me a C- for effort. It was 7am

Makarios said...

Oh my! C+ at least :-)

Ginx said...

Whoa whoa, lets not get carried away. This isn't the Ivy League...

Gorth Satana said...

I have a copy of the Blind Watchmaker in front of me.
You've got the first quote wrong.

The closest to second quote is on page 287. (It's on why Darwinian evolution is true instead of the other ideas of evolution)

The obvious way to decide between rival theories is to examine the
evidence. Lamarckian types of theory, for instance, are traditionally
rejected - and rightly so - because no good evidence for them has ever
been found (not for want of energetic trying, in some cases by zealots
prepared to fake evidence). In this chapter I shall take a different tack,
largely because so many other books have examined the evidence and
concluded in favour of Darwinism. Instead of examining the evidence
for and against rival theories, I shall adopt a more armchair approach.
My argument will be that Darwinism is the only known theory that is
in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life. If I am right it means that, even if there were no actual evidence in favour of the Darwinian theory (there is, of course) we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.

Gorth Satana said...

Okay, I have to ask.
Where do you get your quotes from?
I just checked more and the quotes are also incorrect.
Are you paraphrasing from memory?

Ginx said...

Christianized Quotes Unlimited, a subsidiary of Fox News.

Gorth Satana said...

No, I'm actually interested in a textual criticism point of view.
It's been a short period of time, we have electronic copying methods and we have the original texts yet still the text is evolving. I'm interested in how this happens.
I've noticed that Makarios quotes of atheists are often quite different from the original texts.

Ginx said...

I'm more interested in the obvious fact that the "quotes" are not taken from any actual understanding of non-theistic scholarship, but are instead coming from some bastardized source which is evidently altering them to suit their arguments. That does seem to be in character for religious people.

Chris Mackey said...

I've noticed this.
I google everything he quotes and have done this for a couple of weeks.
HALF the time Mak quotes an athiest or a scientist, Mak's site is the only source Google finds.

I've take a screenshot

So I don't know if he has a source or he is the source.

Chris Mackey said...

Doh, click the picture to make it big enough to read.

Makarios said...

When I read a book and see something I like I write it down in a document called - yep, you guessed it - quotes. As you've noted, I probably shouldn't call it quotes. I have a pretty low "good enough" threshold. I'm definitely not a detail person. In fact, for years I didn't even keep track of the citations. However, atheists seem to go nuts over stuff like that so some day I might get the authors and their words and the sources somewhat close to correct.

But don't hold your breath. If I get it close, that's good enough
for me and since it's my blog . . .

Makarios said...

Oh, and I don't believe that HALF my quotes are wrong. There might be a word here and there that hinders a google type search but the message I give is the message I received.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Note to cretards (and Mak): "The ultimate test of a theory is when it predicts hitherto unobserved events": Paul Mealing (aka Journeyman Philosopher). Paul has posted here in the past but I believe he now boycotts this site on the basis that it retards one's mental abilities.

There is an easy way to disprove the fact of evolution. Just find one fossil in the wrong layer of rock (for example, one single Cambrian rabbit fossil). Oh ... you can't find one? I guess the fossils must have been placed there by Satan to mislead us. What's your explanation Mak?

I always find it amusing that those who doubt the "theory" of evolution are unwilling to doubt gravitational theory by jumping off a cliff.

Makarios said...

TAM what's you understanding of Intelligen Design? How did it come about? Any idea?

Chris Mackey said...

Makarios, what's you understanding of evolution by natural selection? How did it come about? Any idea?

Makarios said...

Natural selection, acting on random variations or what some call helpful mutations mimic the effects of intelligence, even though the mechanism is entirely blind, impersonal and undirected.

Darwin was not the first to posit this idea but he is best recognised as the person who explained an alternate explanation for the complexity of living organisms.

TAM? would you like to speak for yourself. Or do you want Chris to speak on your behalf.

Chris Mackey said...

--- I'm a little weirded out. I'm not used to Makarios actually answering questions.
I realise I know nothing about what you believe, except that you hate atheists.
So while you are answering questions, I better ask some quick ones -
What kind of creationist are you? Young earth, old earth, gap?
What branch of Christianity do you belong to?
Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, etc?
How did you come to choose this branch?
How old do you believe our universe to be?
How old do you believe the earth to be?
And the human race?
Are you a Bible literalist?

Makarios said...

I realise I know nothing about what you believe, except that you hate atheists."

I don't hate atheists. Some of the nicest people I've known have been atheists. Some of the worst people I've known have called themselves Christians. I think atheism is the most incoherent and illogical world-view out there. It's just easier to say "atheists this" and "atheists that," than saying, "those who believe in atheism . . ."

young earth, old earth, gap?

I have no idea how old the earth is and neither does anyone else.
What branch of Christianity do you belong to?

I'm a Christian. I try, very imperfectly to follow the teachings of Jesus. I'm not Roman Catholic and don't belong to any denomination although we attend a Bible Church which, I think, used to be Mennonite Bretheran - whatever that means.

How did you come to choose this branch?

We attend this congregation because, to the best of my knowledge they teach what Jesus taught and are very active in helping the poor and others in need.

How old do you believe our universe to be?

I have no idea. Science says 14 billion, give or take and that's good enough for me.

How old do you believe the earth to be?

I thought you already asked me that.

And the human race?

Don't know

Are you a Bible literalist?

Not to the degree that atheists are.

Since TAM's taken a break. How about you? What's your understanding of Intelligent Design? How did it come about?

Chris Mackey said...

Hey, thanks for answering some of the questions.
It's a bit of a pity you didn't answer the human race one.

As to intelligent design, my understanding of it is basically creationism with a new name.
But to give you more of an answer, (off the top of my head), looking at something and asserting that something intelligent made it. "This is complex, I can't figure out how it's made, therefore God made it."
Basically an argument from ignorance. I haven't seen any POSITIVE evidence for creationism.

How did it come about?
It being intelligent design?
An attempt to sneak in creationism in another name in the 1990's.

Makarios said...

It's a bit of a pity you didn't answer the human race one.

Well, the Bible doesn't give the age for either the earth nor the human race and science just gives us a guesstimate so what am I to do?

"This is complex, I can't figure out how it's made, therefore God made it."

I suppose this is a good guess - for an atheist :-) but it’s wrong.

In his recent book, Signature in the Cell, Meyer tells us that ID holds that there are telltale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an intelligent cause - that is, by the conscious choice of a rational agent - rather than by an undirected process.

I'm guessing that you'd agree that either life arose as the result of purely undirected processes, or a guiding intelligence played a role. Advocates of intelligent design argue for the latter option based on evidence from the natural world.

I’d suggest my recent post “Nothing Did It.” as an example.

The ID theory does not challenge the idea of evolution defined as change over time or even common ancestry, but it does dispute the Darwinian idea tha the cause of all biological change is wholly blind and undirected.

Even so, the theory is not based on Biblical doctrine. Intelligent design is an inference from scientific evidence (again "Nothing Did It" is just one exmaple), not a deduction from religious authority. As with Big Bang cosmology, while it coheres with what the Bible says, it does not originate from what the Bible says.