Evolution

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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Spektralscavenger » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:44 pm

Intelligence is not the ability to solve mathematical or philosophical problems but to overcome (or at least alleviate) the immediate problems of life so, why assume organisms are blind fools dependent on "happy coincidences" or external intelligences guiding? Evolution is a million times more Lamarckian than Darwinian.


Why don´t we see significant evolution today? Ain´t broken, don´t fix it. Most changes are in response to a (new) need, which usually only happens during catastrophes or environmental shifts.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Plasmatic » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:36 pm

Webo said:

Long time no hear -- I think the question of metaphysics is central to this thread, though others [like Chrimony] may disagree. I tend to [deliberately] cloud the distinction between natural philosophy and science, because I find that the Baconian empirical root of modern science still grows in the soil of philosophy, premises and perceptions. I


Thanks for the response, but I cant see how this is an answer to my question. I don't think we have discussed this particular issue before. Yes, metaphysics is a part of philosophy. Yes, natural philosophers made it their business to ask metaphysical questions. Yes, there are metaphysical premises and perceptions, but this does not tell me what you think metaphysics is
Last edited by Plasmatic on Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Plasmatic » Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:40 pm

Scavenger said:

Intelligence is not the ability to solve mathematical or philosophical problems but to overcome (or at least alleviate) the immediate problems of life


Philosophy and mathematics are, like all conceptual devices, part of living as man, qua man.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby webolife » Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:34 pm

Metaphysics is a wide subject, but for purposes of this discussion I am using it to refer to natural philosophy, and/or the philosophy of nature, and the way these two perspectives interplay. In contrast to empiricism, which is about observations and does not attempt to attach meaning, purpose or direction to natural processes, metaphysics deals with first causes and other aspects of the universe which may not or can no longer be observed or experimented with. What if, for example, the pervasive force that holds the universe together and manifests itself as gravity, electricity, nuclear force etc. is not an observable phenomenon [as seems to be the case, hence imaginary entities ranging from black holes, gravitons to strings to WIMPs, photon-wave dualities, quantums, and ropes, etc.] -- the empiricist in us looks at these processes and actions, looks for patterns, and tries to formulate rules by which future actions or process results can be predicted, and we call this science. It is [for most of us] an important aspect of our participation in this forum to explore and massage different theories about these patterns to come up with the most parsimonious explanations and predictions. Still just science, and generally devoid of purpose or direction. Those fixated on this natural aspect of understanding of the universe tend to ignore or disrespect those of us who recognize there are considerations of first cause that could actually help guide our search into finding that "best" explanation, aka Occam's Razor. I am as much a scientist and empiricist as anybody on this board, but my views are tempered and guided by my belief in an Intelligent Designer, which I freely admit. What others may not be so willing to admit is that the denial of design [in the face of so much evidence for it] blinds them to not only that sense of purpose and direction which the universe displays, but also to a closer understanding of the forces and energy which sustain it. Worst IMHO they are blind to the fact that their own naturalistic/materialistic perspective is a FAITH base. Their interpretations are all subject to their belief system, and they don't realize or refuse to accept this fact. So I say we are ALL metaphysicists, just some don't care, don't understand, or refuse to admit it. Those who half-heartedly look at the design side and see failed designs are in 100% of the cases I've seen motivated by a desire to discredit Design or the Designer, and this militant atheistic attitude is just as improper in scientific dialogue as the proselytizing claims of creationists they are opposed to.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby webolife » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:41 pm

Chrimony,
I have watched your video and am well acquainted with the story line it touts.
I'm going to spare you and the other readers my full rebuttal, but give a number of critiques I think are pertinent:
1. The narrator is fast and loose with the word "Fact". In fact I believe he only used it correctly once or twice in the entire video. Most times he was referring to non-factual claims of evolution which are the center of the controversy. I'm being generous about the once or twice, so for examples just listen for every time he says "fact".
2. The narrator is misusing or has redefined macro-evolution as being the appearance and disappearance of species, which is actually the bread and butter of micro-evolution, thus many evidences he presents for it are of little value to his case. It is important however for other readers to know that adaptation, speciation, and extinction are major aspects of micro-evolution, and that the story of "original common ancestral organism to every major branch of life" [called "phylogeny" in the past] is macro-evolution. Generally microevolution is not a part of the "great debate". The natural variability of DNA and the inherent storage of allegedly "unused" information in the DNA referred to by some as junk DNA or pseudo-genes, or other dismissive jargon, are not evidence for macro-evolution, but rather nomenclatures derived from the narrator's belief in macro-evolution. The narrator refers to common ancestors within family groups and the common ancestor of all living things as if this was the same concept, a very Darwinian view for sure, but also done likely to directly draw the listener away from the important distinction. Micro-e is an information-reducing speciating, and ultimately extincting process, which by the way has much evidential support; whereas a macro-e is without evidence in almost every respect. The narrator also uses the term "species" to refer to nearly every class of organisms, despite appropriately defining it late in the video, also apparently a deliberate attempt to misguide the viewer.
3. The narrator inappropriately says "derived from" as a fact, when it is rather the point to be proven.
4. The narrator uses similarities in genetic structure as evidence for macro-evolution, despite admitting that the common structures apply to common functions, which is just as much an evidence for common Design. He also alludes to common structures from widely separated organisms without explaining how such structures would survive all the intervening forms and generations, a contradiction to natural selection, a convenient omission at best.
5. This particular video in his series ends with a focus on genetics and "creation" of genes without even mentioning the great extent to which genetics actually evidences Design. The elegance of the DNA formula is a wonder to behold, but the awesomeness of protein transcription is often downplayed. Here we have the chemically coded self-reproducing DNA instructions for building an organism capable of building itself, codes for the protein sequences, and codes for telling itself how to build the proteins... enzyme decouplers unzip the DNA in just the right places to allow other RNA bits to zip themselves into place in exact order. Other enzymes connect the RNA together and other protein microstructures transport the RNA to ribosomes, also composed of protein, where other amino acids gather to attach in the order delineated on the RNA, and different enzymes connect them together to form the specific protein required. These proteins are then transported to their needed location by other proteins, and thus the cell is built. All this happens at thousands of connections per second. That's the story you can get from any text book, so what's the big deal? Well here's the part they leave out [kind of like how evolutionists like to leave out "spontaneous generation of life", and cosmologists leave out "what happened before the big bang"]: each of the enzyme machines used in the protein transcription process, and all of the structures used for the building of the proteins, are themselves proteins built by the process. The amino acids all come from the breakdown of proteins that were created by the process. DNA and protein transcription are information specific, not random but directed toward precise ends, and all organisms from the simplest microplasm to humans are made by it. Put that in your evolutionary blender and see how such a process can self-evolve? Well, actually it's less confusing if you just ignore that part of it.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby webolife » Mon Apr 14, 2014 6:50 pm

Spektralscavenger,
I'm intrigued by your statement about how Lamarckian evolution is. That is an observation I made as far back as high school before I ever understood how desperate evolutionists are to disavow direction or purpose, yet whenever I hear National Geog or Nova presentations, etc. they are replete with "the organism needed a way to do this..." or such-and-such structure evolved in order to..." and similar statements. The blind watchmaker is not palatable to the majority of folks with common sense.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Plasmatic » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:42 pm

Webo said:

Metaphysics is a wide subject, but for purposes of this discussion I am using it to refer to natural philosophy, and/or the philosophy of nature, and the way these two perspectives interplay. In contrast to empiricism, which is about observations and does not attempt to attach meaning, purpose or direction to natural processes, metaphysics deals with first causes and other aspects of the universe which may not or can no longer be observed or experimented with.


Natural philosophers did not separate observation-empirics from metaphysics. You have the now popular view of metaphysics that originated with the Vienna Circle-Positivism. (Even if you don't know it) So essentially you hold metaphysics as a subject which deals in the unverifiable and thats how you tie this metaphysical view of yours to faith. Metaphysics is foundational and speculative and therefore a faith base... Is this a fair characterization?

Edit:Also you seem to suggest that teleological causation is therefore by definition metaphysical???
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby webolife » Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:28 pm

Hey Plasmatic,

You're the philosophy expert, so you can pick on the words and their origins and history as much as you want, but you asked me what metaphysics IS, and I told you more relevantly how I was USING the word. Your understanding of metaphysics is not different than mine... we understand how metaphysics is a thought system for connecting observations by means of [or to gain] a fundamental meaning or principle, I'm simply saying that whenever humans do this [including all scientists] they apply their own presuppositions [and for that matter their theology] in the process. No more so than when dealing with first causes or overarching cosmological/biological paradigms.
I still assert that post-modern scientism routinely:
1. is ignorant of or ignores its metaphysical side, and/or...
2. disavows that opposing conclusions are logically drawn from their opposing premises, not from shared observations, and/or...
3. lies about its underlying rationale, motivation or belief system [eg. atheism] in order to make the argument about science versus religion rather than one philosophical outlook [naturalism] on the scientific observations compared to another [supernatural] look at the same scientific observations, and/or...
4. uses science versus religion as a smoke-screen to mask the true tentativeness, uncertainty and dearth of evidence for its claims, and to bolster its own arrogance...

From this thread discussion, I would point to the differences in the way Chrimony and I understand DNA, or the alleged transition of the reptilian jaw to the mammalian ear -- he says thousands of lucky accidents, I say purpose. Are lucky accidents looking like design less metaphysical than intelligent design? would you honestly say that the evidence actually points better to one view than another, regardless of your presuppositions regarding the naturalism or design of the system? I say no, that would not be honest science. You would expect the same from me when I claim that the preponderance of evidence supports design.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Plasmatic » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:41 pm

Webo said:

You're the philosophy expert, so you can pick on the words and their origins and history as much as you want, but you asked me what metaphysics IS, and I told you more relevantly how I was USING the word.


I appreciate that you did explain your usage. When you did, you imported other concepts you categorized in ways that were historically inaccurate. However, this, I hope didn't keep me from understanding your intentional state-meaning. I was hoping by reiterating what I understood you to be saying you could confirm if I understood you.

Webo said
Your understanding of metaphysics is not different than mine... we understand how metaphysics is a thought system for connecting observations by means of [or to gain] a fundamental meaning or principle


Im afraid your completely wrong in this assumption of my conception of metaphysics. Your description is more of epistemology to me. My view of metaphysics is the opposite of unverifiable and non-empirical.

Anyway, yours is a common view amongst mystics and skeptics so I was just wanting to get a little more insight on your reasoning.

Webo said:

From this thread discussion, I would point to the differences in the way Chrimony and I understand DNA, or the alleged transition of the reptilian jaw to the mammalian ear -- he says thousands of lucky accidents, I say purpose. Are lucky accidents looking like design less metaphysical than intelligent design? would you honestly say that the evidence actually points better to one view than another, regardless of your presuppositions regarding the naturalism or design of the system? I say no, that would not be honest science. You would expect the same from me when I claim that the preponderance of evidence supports design.


I agree that metaphysics is foundational but not that this is a sort of psychological determinism that blinds folks from changing their mind. After all Ive gone from a completely mystic-religious, to a paradox embracing skeptic, to a knowing atheist! But the statement, "Are lucky accidents looking like design less metaphysical than intelligent design?" is misguided. Again it seems we could substitute "metaphysical" here with "speculative" in your usage. The issue is one of justification, and that is epistemology. Edit: those who knew me when I was involved in ministry look at me in complete disbelief as I tell them Im an atheist. I summarize thus: "My criteria for belief-knowledge has changed". Faith and reason are not synonyms.

Im interested in how the discussion of evolution between embracers and skeptics plays out in their arguments. I have criticisms of both camps. I agree that the topic is largely framed by how folks conceive of certain questions dealt with in metaphysics. The main ones being "did the universe "begin"? "Did the universe ever not contain life?". But a non teleological mechanism for speciation doesn't depend on only one answer to these questions. This is why abiogenesis is a different question from speciation.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Spektralscavenger » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:45 am

webolife,
when you say you believe in an Intelligent Designer, you mean a Creator that created everything and left it on its own forever, an active Intelligence that drives the universe "once in a while" or an extremely busy Intelligence ruling things all the time?


How can I be accused of "materialism" if I think that anything, from particles to galaxies, has a mind, like in animism or panpsychism? The point is in practice only objective matter is accessible from outside, not even the minds of other humans are really accessible (though in principle everyone may agree what the state of mind is fulfilling the scientific criteria of repeatibility and consensus), much less the minds of other entities_ including the unconscious thought, instincts and so on of our own body. Like Stephen Hawking put it "if we met a little green man tomorrow we would have no way to tell if it´s conscious and self-conscious or only a robot". Even if telepathy or some mind-reading device were there that´s no direct experience and could still think it´s just "information mechanics going on". Therefore, whenever doing science, focus on "matter" or information.


I believe in absolute determinism for the same reason Einstein did: the "block universe" or the "landscape of time". Things and minds change within time, time goes forward in ti... oh, wait, time itself (or any instant of time) can´t move or change. Time in toto simply is "there", ergo, in no place and no time; nothing else can do.


Computer simulations of life show that evolution, even macro-evolution, can happen. However, it can´t get far through "pure trial and error" or "blind chance". Simulations of 100% Darwinian evolution are a failure even in toy-universes.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby webolife » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:10 pm

Plasmatic said: Faith and reason are not synonyms.

Not synonyms for sure... but are you claiming that despite your "knowing atheist" posture, you are able to divorce your reasons from your belief? Or do you hope people won't notice why you draw the conclusions you do? Or do you believe that your reasoning at some point overpowered your faith, leading you to your current atheistic position?
From our dialogues in the past, I venture to predict your honest answer to be "no" to the above questions, but maybe I'm just wishful.

I think these questions are still appropriate for this forum [hope moderators agree], since the question of evolution is so tightly stressed by the debate between the two religious paradigms, ie. intelligent design vs. materialistic atheism.

The EU controversy is similarly stressed between a not-so-widely-understood Electric paradigm and the "trusted" but not-so-widely-understood Big Bang paradigm. I'm not saying that there is a precise correlation between EU and Intelligent Design, just that the flavor of the debate is similar.

I'm here primarily to learn about evidence -- people's opinions are more interesting, but not more informative.
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Plasmatic » Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:35 pm

Web said:

Not synonyms for sure... but are you claiming that despite your "knowing atheist" posture, you are able to divorce your reasons from your belief? Or do you hope people won't notice why you draw the conclusions you do? Or do you believe that your reasoning at some point overpowered your faith, leading you to your current atheistic position?


I suggest trying to differentiate the two concepts from one another so as to determine what relationship that difference plays in the process of justification and whether or not one thinks it has obtained. Is taking goosebumps, and ones body hair standing up, justification that what the man on the pulpit just said is true, an instance of faith? Or is it a bad criteria for evidence-justification? Is a non teleological mechanism for speciation based on theoretical abstraction of a causal mechanism faith? Or is it a failure to abstract in a justified way? Or is it justified?

Notice, that your questions are about the process of drawing conclusions from premises, the method of arriving at a justified conclusion. The problem here for your premise is that many draw conclusions not contained in their premises and we call that contradiction. Another problem is the experience of surprise, that process of having certain inferential-causal expectations failing to obtain in experience. Ones criteria for evidence will-can heavily influence how one judges their experiences to be related to their expectations. Particularly when their causal explanations are rationalistic deductions from arbitrary, non-experiential concepts taught via authority from trusted others. For example, a person with schizophrenia in ancient times would be interpreted as having a "demon" inside, where a MD today would have a causal explanation based on certain material-structural conditions in the brain. This process of using language to construct-abstract causal explanations from experience is the basis for the Positivist notion of meaning as verification and their rejection of theoretical concepts as meaningless "metaphysics". This is due to their particular notion of empiricism as contained in "observation statements".

This relates to the question of naturalism vs supernaturalism. You think this is a matter of faith vs faith. This is because of your notion of justification perhaps being impoverished by a lack of understanding of the philosophy of language debate over meaning and realism in philosophy of science. Nature being defined by instantiating instances of natural things in perception justifies the concept as having reference-meaning. The rejection of "super" nature is a rejection of concepts that cant be instantiated by experience, and depending on the definition one has of nature, could be an outright contradiction.

Essentially you are saying that, since natural selection and angels are theoretical concepts they are all equally unjustified. That is, they are a matter of faith. We have different criteria for justification.

Edit: ask yourself what the difference between evidence and opinion is!

Edit: there is a sense in which this is a metaphysical debate in my usage. It can be seen as boiling down to an ontological disagreement of what is a valid meaning of "entity".....;)
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Sparky » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:51 pm

"knowing atheist"
:?

Knowing what? That which can not be known? Forced into knowing by grief or terror? A choice made, rejecting the others, falling into certainty, knowing.

Having played the part of mystic, believer, and fool. All part of me even now.
What will win out as my mind continues to fail? And with my last breath, knowing. :?
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby Plasmatic » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:00 pm

Sparky said:

Knowing what? That which can not be known? Forced into knowing by grief or terror? A choice made, rejecting the others, falling into certainty, knowing.


I find your point mostly incomprehensible. Wanna rephrase? As stated it looks like an attempted circumspect reductio.

Knowing in "knowing atheist" was meant to differentiate the former state of outright skeptic of knowledge.

Sparky said:

Having played the part of mystic, believer, and fool. All part of me even now.


As long as you don't mean "now" to be at the same time and the same respect.....
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Re: Evolution

Unread postby webolife » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:37 pm

Speaking of incomprehensible, Plasmatic, I'm afraid many of your last points lost me in the jargon.
I do not put natural selection and angels on the same level... however many have experienced angels in a miraculous way that cannot be scientifically certified, while others believe that natural selection can accomplish miracles of macro-evolution. I've noticed that many evolutionists are now using "macro-evolution" in a way that obfuscates the difference between micro and macro-e. They're saying macro-e is about speciation and extinction, but these are the core results of natural selection which is the mechanism of micro-e. Micro-e always begins with variety in a genome, then isolates adaptive features [aka selects] resulting over a few to several generations in speciation; ongoing selectivity results ultimately in extinction. There is no known viable mechanism for macro-e, ie. variation from one kind of animal to another kind resulting in ever more varieties of unique and unshared features. The evolutionist may say that there must be a common ancestor, but they are hard pressed to find it, regardless of what particular family they're are talking about; the fossil record does show very well the adaptivity within a family-kind which is predicted by natural selection, ie. micro-e. I recently heard the figure 300 as the current number of so-called transitional forms found in the fossil record, but on closer examination, these appear to be examples of extinct forms, typically [whales with hind "limb" bones] but not always [dinosaurs] of present day families; variations within present day families [eg. horses]; or at best unusual combinations of forms seen in different modern-day families [Archaeopteryx]. In other words no new information, just different combinations of genetics demonstrating original rich inherent variability. We're talking about an information-reducing process [natural selection] being allegedly responsible for an uncountably larger information-gaining result, ie. phylogeny from a single common ancestor, whose origin is being refused to be discussed ["It's a different question..."] -- really? The opposite and equivalent question would be "where did God come from?" to which the appropriate and very religious answer is: "We don't know, He's just always been there." By refusing to acknowledge the importance of this original question to the doctrine of macro-evolution, the evolutionist is virtually saying: "I don't know, you simply have to believe." The religious answer is at least honest, whereas the avoidance behavior is, well... dishonest. I have studied both sides of this debate for 42 years now -- all I ask is that each side be honest about their premises, and yes I do still assert: faith vs. faith
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