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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:52 pm
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Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

Like this post (2): Still small, EarthScienceguy
The explanatory logic of evolution, at least as it's commonly stated, fails because it assumes (wrongly) that what is true of the parts of a complex system may be validly inferred to hold for the whole as well. Thus my argument:

1. Evolution posits that the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components.
2. To say that a characteristic of the whole system can be adequately explained in terms of a characteristic of its individual components is to say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.
4. Evolution is a fallacy.

Note that I am not suggesting that all inferences from parts to whole fail to hold, but that the line of reasoning is fallacious on its face because in fact many such inferences do fail to hold. Given that specifiably complex biological systems are structurally heterogenous, there is no prima facie reason to think that what is true of the parts will be true of the whole. Evolution theorists therefore bear the burden of proof, namely, to explain why anyone should expect such an inference to hold in the case of specifiably complex systems.

Read the entire paper here:
https://www.academia.edu/38735629/Black_Box_Logic_Why_Evolutionary_Theory_Is_Fun...

Questions for debate: Is evolutionary theory a fallacy? If so, does that make it false?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:39 pm
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

Like this post (1): Divine Insight
[Replying to post 1 by Don McIntosh]

Quote:
Read the entire paper here:


Looks like this is only available to someone with Google or Facebook accounts (I have neither). Do you have another link for it by chance?

If your entire opposition is that you interpret ToE to say that "the whole is the sum of its parts" that would be pretty easy to counter (since that is not what ToE says). But I'd like to read the PDF you reference if you have another source for it, and it isn't a document produced by some creationist organization that does not practice real science.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:46 pm
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

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DrNoGods wrote:

[Replying to post 1 by Don McIntosh]

Quote:
Read the entire paper here:


Looks like this is only available to someone with Google or Facebook accounts (I have neither). Do you have another link for it by chance?

If your entire opposition is that you interpret ToE to say that "the whole is the sum of its parts" that would be pretty easy to counter (since that is not what ToE says). But I'd like to read the PDF you reference if you have another source for it, and it isn't a document produced by some creationist organization that does not practice real science.

Thanks for your interest here, Doc.

If you try that link again and scroll down a bit, you should be able to see (after a few seconds) a preview of the paper. If it still won't cooperate let me know, and I can create an HTML version on my site (which I was going to do eventually anyway) and then post a link here.

As for the practice of real science: I should go ahead and state up front, as I do in my paper, that I am nothing like a professional scientist. But I will also continue to argue, as I do in my paper, "that reason holds true even in the absence of scientific credentials and in the face of a scientific consensus."

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:33 am
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

Like this post (2): benchwarmer, DrNoGods
Don McIntosh wrote:

Questions for debate: Is evolutionary theory a fallacy?


No it's not. In fact, evolution theory (which is just an explanation of how evolution has occurred), is backed up by overwhelming physical evidence that cannot be denied, and hasn't been credibly denied by proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation"

Don McIntosh wrote:

If so, does that make it false?


Of course if evolutionary theory were a fallacy that would indeed make it false, but it's not a fallacy, so it's not false.

The Major Problem with arguments against evolution in an attempt to support "Intelligent Design Speculation" is that there is neither a working theory for "Intelligent Design Speculation", nor is there any evidence to support it.

It doesn't do religious proponents any good to attack the fact of evolution when they have nothing to offer to replace it.

"Intelligent Design Speculation", has no credibility at all.

To begin with there are extreme problems with proposing that everything on earth was intelligently designed. There is no evidence to support that speculation. In fact, there is overwhelming evidence against it.

If life on earth was intelligently designed then why have so many species become extinct? Including various species of hominids?

It's makes no sense that an intelligent designer would design living creatures only to have them become extinct because they weren't well-designed to begin with.

This would not be an intelligent designer at all, but rather a designer who designs by trial and error and fails the majority of time to create a good living creature. In fact, ironically religious proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation" even hold to the claim that humans themselves are an extremely poor design as their religion requires that all humans have fallen short of the expectations of their creator. So it's a religious paradigm that shoots itself in its own foot.

And then there's also the problem of genetic defects and diseases. If there is a creator who is purposefully designing and intervening in biological processes then he can hardly be said to be intelligent. Of if he is intelligent, then he must be malicious.

So before proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation" put any effort into trying to reject the fact of evolution they first need to come up with a workable theory of "Intelligent Design" along with providing evidence that suggests it.

Thus far, they have been unable to do either.

So even if they were successful in pointing to flaws in evolutionary theory that would hardly help their case for "Intelligent Design Speculation" anyway.

So they have nothing to offer. All they can do is gripe about evolution while having absolutely nothing better to offer in return. "Intelligent Design Speculation" has nothing to support it and countless evidence against it.

Why would an intelligent creator purposefully create birth defected babies? Think

Why would an intelligent creator purposefully create horrible diseases? Think

There's simply no reason to even suspect that any intelligent design is at work in nature. There is no evidence for it. And there is plenty of evidence against it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Finally, if you want to get into the really deep philosophical questions:

Proposing an intelligent designer to explain things that might appear to have been designed to the average person ends up being no explanation at all.

After all, if the idea is that anything that shows signs of intelligence "must have been designed by an already intelligent being", then these religious proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation" must then conclude that their supposedly intelligent God must have also been intelligently designed in order to explain its intelligence, etc. ad infinitum.

So this idea doesn't work as an explanation for anything anyway. It fails to even stand on its own merit.

So instead of attacking evolution thinking that this might somehow help their case, proponents of "Intelligent Design Speculation" need to produce a workable theory of "Intelligent Design", because as it stands right now, there is no credible theory in that camp.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:34 am
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

Like this post (1): benchwarmer
[Replying to post 3 by Don McIntosh]

Quote:
... that reason holds true even in the absence of scientific credentials and in the face of a scientific consensus."


I read the paper and it seems to offer up the usual complaints about evolution:

1) So-called "microevolution" is OK, "macroevolution is not.

2) The data is not in question, it is the interpretation of the data.

3) "Irreducibly complex" structures cannot have been built via a series of small, incremental steps.

Then a "god did it" alternative is offered. The biggest problem with the "god did it" explanation as an alternative (along with DI's points in his post) is that no god being has ever been shown to exist. Not one of the thousands of god beings that humans have invented over the millennia has been seen, heard or observed to exist in any form at any point in history. So although a being with the properties given to most god concepts could certainly do "anything", including creating all the biological creatures on Earth, there is no reason to believe that such beings exist to actually do the creating. It is a convenient explanation for virtually anything.

But ignoring the obvious giant problem that no god beings have ever been demonstrated to exist, many anti-evolutionists do the same thing that you did with the finch example. Evolution does not suggest that a finished finch appeared via small, incremental changes in some starting organism that progressively modified itself to simultaneous build the beak, heart, feathers, etc. that make up the finished finch. Instead, it says that various body parts developed over time such as hearts, brains, legs, etc. and these became distributed across many different organisms and body plans. In some organisms that developed flight, wings arose where arms would be located in another tetrapod. Eventually a bird body plan developed that contained the usual mix of functional parts (heart, brain, eyes, legs, wings) and a certain combination of these we call a finch.

Your description reads as if there was some plan or blueprint to specifically build a finch, and all of these parts had to develop in that one animal by random mutations and natural selection. The probability of that is clearly extremely small, but that is not at all how evolution works. Hearts, brains, eyes muscles, skeleton structures, etc. are parts of many different animals. But brains did not grow in isolation in any one of these animals. Nerves concentrated to form ganglia, which became more complex and compartmentalized, and eventually complex nervous systems and brains developed, for example:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12523550

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_brain
(and references at bottom)

You can't look at a finch and its different body parts and ask how such a thing could have developed without following it back all the way to some single celled organisms many tens or hundreds of millions of years earlier. Once a simple brain developed in, say, a worm, and this proved to be very beneficial as a central control system, it carried over to countless other creatures. Ditto for blood pumps (hearts), bones as structural support elements, etc. These core fundamental components have obviously been incorporated into different body plans in different animals, and this very fact is additional observational support for evolution.

But the biggest problem for the "creation by a god" alternative is that no such being has even been observed in any form, and shown to actually exist. Therefore, how can such an explanation be taken seriously? It fails right at the start because the entity supposedly responsible for the actions being attributed to it cannot be shown to exist at all. To use your phrase, that is bad reasoning. First demonstrate that the god being exists, then you'd have a basis for a hypothesis that this entity was responsible for "creation."

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:13 pm
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

Like this post (1): benchwarmer
DrNoGods wrote:

But the biggest problem for the "creation by a god" alternative is that no such being has even been observed in any form, and shown to actually exist.



I actually disagree that this is the "biggest problem". It's certainly a fact. No such beings have ever been observed in any form. So we can certainly point to that as being a very good reason to not take such speculations seriously.

However, as I pointed out in my post there are even far greater problems for creation theory.

Let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that even though there is no evidence that any Gods exist, perhaps there are reasons why they are "hiding" from us, thus explaining why there is no evidence for their existence. The problem is that even if we embrace this assumption it doesn't help.

Why not?

Well, what was the purpose for postulating the existence of these gods in the first place? The idea is that things appear to have been intelligently designed, therefore there must have been an intelligent designer behind it to explain how it came to be.

But the problem is that this same line of reasoning would also then need to be applied to the proposed God. If this God is said to be extremely intelligent itself, then, by this same reasoning it too must have been intelligently designed. Otherwise how could it have come into being?

So the proposal fails as an explanation for how intelligent things come into being. The God itself would then be an unexplained phenomenon. So having proposed it to explain how seemingly intelligent designs come into being fails as an explanation anyway.

So the "Intelligent Design Speculation" has no merit at all, even if we allow for invisible hiding Gods.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:02 pm
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

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DrNoGods wrote:

[Replying to post 3 by Don McIntosh]

Quote:
... that reason holds true even in the absence of scientific credentials and in the face of a scientific consensus."


I read the paper and it seems to offer up the usual complaints about evolution:

1) So-called "microevolution" is OK, "macroevolution is not.

More like, "microevolution is an observable fact, macroevolution is not." And why the scare quotes? Professional scientists, including biologists, use the terms microevolution and macroevolution routinely, for good reason: there are important qualitative, not merely quantitative, differences between the two.


Quote:
2) The data is not in question, it is the interpretation of the data.

Well...right. You disagree that scientific theories interpret data? There are potentially an infinite number of explanatory theories that can be postulated for any set of data. You should know this. The better theories are relatively simple and explain the relevant data without continually invoking ad hoc hypotheses to account for unexplained (or unwelcome) anomalies. I suggest that evolution is not one of those theories.


Quote:
3) "Irreducibly complex" structures cannot have been built via a series of small, incremental steps.

I don't recall arguing this. I do not in fact believe that there is any structure which "cannot have been built via a series of small, incremental steps," but believe rather that such a suggestion would be an argument from ignorance. I do argue, however, that an incremental process of natural selection could not justifiably be expected to yield functionally or specifiably complex systems, for reasons argued in the paper.

Interesting that you sidestepped my core argument, though, that the explanatory logic of evolution is demonstrably fallacious. Here it is again:

1. Evolution posits that the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components.
2. To say that a characteristic of the whole system can be adequately explained in terms of a characteristic of its individual components is to say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.
4. Evolution is a fallacy.

You may recall that I then cited biologist Ken Miller, who argued: "If each of the intermediate stages can be favored by natural selection, then so can the whole pathway." Do you agree with that statement? If so, how would you answer my counterargument, that Miller's statement, seemingly representative of evolutionary thinking, is a textbook example of the fallacy of composition?

What I am looking for is an explanation (other than coincidence) for the emergence of specifiably complex biological systems, an explanation that is not transparently illogical. Now I'm not saying evolution is impossible, and your statement wrt the finch may well be true: "Eventually a bird body plan developed that contained the usual mix of functional parts (heart, brain, eyes, legs, wings) and a certain combination of these we call a finch."

But this "usual mix" is precisely the sort of systematic complexity that still cries for an explanation. After all, a nervous system can't do much apart from a circulatory system, respiratory system, etc., and so for the other systems with respect to the others. To simply assert that "eventually a plan developed..." is no more an explanation than "one day it all just kind of came together..." Again, the problem is that you're invoking natural selection to pick out and preserve not just the odd mutated characteristic here or there, but the entire functional system of parts working in tandem: heart, brain, eyes, legs, wings.

Natural selection appears to adequately explain the adaptation of many individual components, or steps along the pathway, yes, perhaps all of them even, but the emergence of the entire specifiably complex structure is clearly not an adaptation. Given that coincidence is not an explanation, what explains the emergence of the whole?

For now I will leave your critique of "god did it" theism, creationism, etc., unchallenged. Pretend for a moment that instead of a naïve, uneducated theist arbitrarily clinging to my religious faith in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, I am instead seriously considering that evolution by natural selection may be true. But there is one stumbling block in my way, namely, the argument above: that the theory of evolution by natural selection appears to be logically fallacious on its face. Pretend further that I have presented the argument above to various atheist philosophers and professional biologists, and none of them have answered it directly, but rather ignored it...sort of like you did. How then can I get past that stumbling block?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:30 pm
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

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Don McIntosh wrote:

For now I will leave your critique of "god did it" theism, creationism, etc., unchallenged. Pretend for a moment that instead of a naïve, uneducated theist arbitrarily clinging to my religious faith in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, I am instead seriously considering that evolution by natural selection may be true. But there is one stumbling block in my way, namely, the argument above: that the theory of evolution by natural selection appears to be logically fallacious on its face. Pretend further that I have presented the argument above to various atheist philosophers and professional biologists, and none of them have answered it directly, but rather ignored it...sort of like you did. How then can I get past that stumbling block?


Your original logical reasoning is grossly flawed to begin with.


Don McIntosh wrote:

1. Evolution posits that the function of any complex biological system can be adequately explained as the accumulation of countless minor functional adaptations of its individual components.
2. To say that a characteristic of the whole system can be adequately explained in terms of a characteristic of its individual components is to say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts.
3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.
4. Evolution is a fallacy.


Your claim #3 is false. This is not the fallacy of composition.

According to Wiki the fallacy of composition is the following:

Quote:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition
The fallacy of composition arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole (or even of every proper part). For example: "This tire is made of rubber, therefore the vehicle to which it is a part is also made of rubber." This is fallacious, because vehicles are made with a variety of parts, many of which may not be made of rubber.


Evolution has absolutely nothing at all to do with the fallacy of composition. In fact, evolution actually says quite the opposite. Evolution shows that more complex behaviors and properties can arise that were not previously possible with just the parts alone. So evolution is saying just the opposite of the fallacy of composition.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:42 pm
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Here's an example of the fallacy of composition:

1. Electrons can move through wires at near the speed of light.
2. Humans are made of electrons.
3. Therefore humans can also move through wires at near the speed of light.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Wed May 01, 2019 4:36 am
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

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Don McIntosh wrote:

3. To say that a whole is equal to the sum of its parts is to commit the fallacy of composition.

That's an odd way of describing the fallacy of composition, the fallacy is assuming a feature of one member applies to all members of a set. Does that amount to saying the whole is the sum of the parts?

Either way, the meat of your argument doesn't hold because scientific theories aren't presented as a deductive proof in the first place. Uniformitarianism is what that article is really attacking, of whether we can apply what we observe here and now, to another time or elsewhere. The thing is, uniformitarianism is taken for granted as the metaphysical principles underpinning all science.

In other words, "it assumes (wrongly) that what is true of the parts of a complex system may be validly inferred to hold for the whole as well..." applies to all of science. Are you ready to discard all of science by rejecting its very premise?

Quote:
Given that specifiably complex biological systems are structurally heterogenous, there is no prima facie reason to think that what is true of the parts will be true of the whole.

Isn't the fact that the assumption held every time we checked it, a great reason to think it hold true all the time?

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