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Don McIntosh
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:52 pm  Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed Reply with quote

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?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 121: Wed May 22, 2019 3:36 pm
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DrNoGods wrote:
That is a very vague statement. You have 2-3 billion years of trillions upon trillions of single-celled organisms evolving over the globe, then 1 billion or so years of multicellular organisms. The single-celled prokaryotes are immensely complex themselves, and once brains, nervous systems, muscle systems, and things like that developed they spread across millions of species. "Immense complexities" has no quantitative meaning.


I think it puts a clearer perspective on things if we just focus on 'modern' life which has evolved since the Cambrian Explosion. As I said earlier, if we ascribe 10 years to each generation since then, there have only been 55 million generations. Then the argument must be that all the evolution that has taken place since then has had only that many generations. That's not much considering the complexity that has arisen since the Cambrian Explosion.

Bust Nak wrote:
Is it though? Did you see my earlier post re: adding in the mechanism of lock down?


No. Can you post again?

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More importantly, why don't you think such odds are beyond random mutations?


Because of the complexity of living organisms. Evolution is not just about a species changing shape - like getting bigger bones or longer hair or more fat cells for warmth. That is just more of the same. Evolution is about complex structures evolving like the interlocking vertebrae of the backbone or the hinge of a fly's wing etc. Not to mention the brain or kidneys etc. Millions of individuals don't really add up to much when you consider the complexity of it all.

Also, a human being is not just a physical body. The true mystery of human life is an ontological mystery - the mystery of mind and being. The human mind is connected to a vast universe of intelligence and creativity and inventiveness. You only have to look at the history of civilization to see that. So how could such sophisticated minds evolve as a mere by product of natural selection? What IS the psyche? Why are our minds living in this vast universe of creativity and intelligence? Is all this really just an accidental spin off of survival advantage? Kurt Godel said that the idea that the self/ego is a construction of molecules is one of the stupidest ideas ever. I'm inclined to agree.

Personally, I think ToE is a very elegant theory and there is SOME truth in it (eg, species certainly do evolve). But science and mathematics is strewn with the corpses of failed theories. And I think a lot of people believe in ToE because it is so logical and coherent and makes sense. One only has to imagine a house fly turning into a flying dragon to see how neat the theory is. But just because the theory flows so easily in the imagination does not mean it is true. Abstractly, in the imagination, it works. But the real question is, can it work in the crudness of the physical world? That's where I have my doubts.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 122: Wed May 22, 2019 8:15 pm
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[Replying to post 121 by mgb]

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That's not much considering the complexity that has arisen since the Cambrian Explosion.


This is just a qualitative feeling though. You have to crunch the numbers to determine if it is reasonable. It is clear you believe the complexity of modern life is just too much for evolution to have arrived at, but the fossil record and genetics work both show that ToE is a viable explanation, and so far the best one that has been put forth that is supported by enough empirical data to stand up to scrutiny.

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Millions of individuals don't really add up to much when you consider the complexity of it all.


Again, you're just looking at the complexity and saying it seems impossible that this could have happened via ToE. It is evidently just a feeling you have that it can't be true.

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The human mind is connected to a vast universe of intelligence and creativity and inventiveness.


Yes ... but only to other humans. For the first 99.956% of Earth's existence (2 million years out of 4.6 billion) this "vast universe of intelligence and creativity and inventiveness" did not exist. Why is that? Because there were no humans who as a species evolved an incredibly capable brain. Isn't it obvious that this universe of creativity you refer to is specifically a characteristic of humans? Why didn't it exist prior to the arrival of the genus Homo (and only the more recent members of that genus at that)? Doesn't that tell you something very important?

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Kurt Godel said that the idea that the self/ego is a construction of molecules is one of the stupidest ideas ever. I'm inclined to agree.


One quote from one person, regardless of his/her accomplishments, is meaningless against the cumulative empirical evidence on a subject. There is still no evidence to support the idea that consciousness ("mind") is anything more than an emergent property of a functioning brain. Humans just happen to have evolved a very capable brain, one capable of abstract thought, and ideas like the notion that humans are something special in the universe because we have the ability to think we are. But we are just another primate that has evolved a highly capable brain. Intelligence is clearly a major benefit that natural selection confirmed. We are evidence of that.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 123: Thu May 23, 2019 3:46 am
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mgb wrote:

No. Can you post again?

1) Get 10 dice.
2) Roll the dice, pick out any 6's you have.
3) Are there 10 6's? Yes - you are done, if not repeat 2.

I got 10 6's after 16 tries. That's pretty good despite the original suggested odds of "1.65e-8," no? Surely 16 rolls with just 1 person rolling fit the criteria of "more or less at the same time," no?

Quote:
Because of the complexity of living organisms. Evolution is not just about a species changing shape - like getting bigger bones or longer hair or more fat cells for warmth. That is just more of the same. Evolution is about complex structures evolving like the interlocking vertebrae of the backbone or the hinge of a fly's wing etc. Not to mention the brain or kidneys etc.

But isn't interlocking vertebrae is just more of different shape bones. Hinge of a fly wing is just more of a less flexible hinge?

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Millions of individuals don't really add up to much when you consider the complexity of it all.

Why not? Scientists think thousands of individuals is plenty for genetic viability, a million is 1000 times that number.

Quote:
Also, a human being is not just a physical body. The true mystery of human life is an ontological mystery - the mystery of mind and being. The human mind is connected to a vast universe of intelligence and creativity and inventiveness. You only have to look at the history of civilization to see that. So how could such sophisticated minds evolve as a mere by product of natural selection? What IS the psyche? Why are our minds living in this vast universe of creativity and intelligence? Is all this really just an accidental spin off of survival advantage?

The very same process that got us whales form land ancestor is enough to produce sophisticated minds. Our mind give us an massive survival advantage, do they not? How is this even contraversal?

Quote:
Kurt Godel said that the idea that the self/ego is a construction of molecules is one of the stupidest ideas ever. I'm inclined to agree.

And yet molecules are all we have ever found inside our brains, and the relative complexity of brains corresponds to relative sophistication of minds.

Quote:
Personally, I think ToE is a very elegant theory and there is SOME truth in it (eg, species certainly do evolve). But science and mathematics is strewn with the corpses of failed theories. And I think a lot of people believe in ToE because it is so logical and coherent and makes sense. One only has to imagine a house fly turning into a flying dragon to see how neat the theory is. But just because the theory flows so easily in the imagination does not mean it is true. Abstractly, in the imagination, it works. But the real question is, can it work in the crudness of the physical world? That's where I have my doubts.

Again you mention math, but it's not clear why you think the math doesn't work out.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 124: Thu May 23, 2019 11:09 am
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we are the aliens

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I believe this planet was seeded by outsiders just as we will seed planets that are habitable but yet have no life on it.

Every thousand years or so they return to observe the results.
On one of their latest visits they observed humans, being much like themselves and decided to offer a helping hand. To do this they implanted new ideas in our minds that stimulated new theories that developed into the industrial world we live in today.

I also believe they are among us today.

Once we stop eating the flesh of other living things, they will reveal themselves. If, and only if we do not destroy ourselves before then.
Just a thought
Study

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 125: Thu May 30, 2019 3:21 am
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

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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...

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


Hmmm. Do you have any evidence at all that this is what Darwin says? Or even what the neo-Darwinists say? Darwin, it seems to me, was wholly concerned with the structure of phenotypes and how they develop into new species and contribute to the rich diversity of life that confronts us. Neo-Darwinists, with the benefit of advances in science such as the discovery of DNA, have extended their research into areas such as the genotype of the phenotype, and the behaviour of the phenotype, with quite considerable explanatory success. None of them make any claims as to the teleological 'function' of a genotype, phenotype or species. Evolution is entirely a theory about cause, not purpose.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 126: Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:06 pm
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Re: Why Evolutionary Theory Is Fundamentally Flawed

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2ndRateMind wrote:

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...

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


Hmmm. Do you have any evidence at all that this is what Darwin says? Or even what the neo-Darwinists say? Darwin, it seems to me, was wholly concerned with the structure of phenotypes and how they develop into new species and contribute to the rich diversity of life that confronts us. Neo-Darwinists, with the benefit of advances in science such as the discovery of DNA, have extended their research into areas such as the genotype of the phenotype, and the behaviour of the phenotype, with quite considerable explanatory success. None of them make any claims as to the teleological 'function' of a genotype, phenotype or species. Evolution is entirely a theory about cause, not purpose.

What Darwin says? Well, what I describe certainly wasn't the main focus of Darwin's theory, though he did take the trouble to address the problem of "organs of extreme perfection" (like the mammalian eye), which corresponds well with the more technical modern concepts of "specifiable complexity" (Dawkins) and "irreducible complexity" (Behe). What makes those organs so remarkable is the association of a particular arrangement or construction with a particular function, like vision. Per Darwin's theory, these so-called organs of extreme perfection, along with their functions, would be parts of the "the rich diversity of life that confronts us," and therefore had to be somehow explicable via modification with descent (evolution).

Dawkins is certainly a neo-Darwinist, and wrote an entire book, The Blind Watchmaker, with the express purpose of demonstrating that "complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose" were nonetheless not designed. And yes, Dawkins' theory of "cumulative natural selection" basically postulates that the origin of specifiable complexity can be "explained" by breaking down specifiably complex systems into so many individuated parts or components, each of which can purportedly be explained by natural selection.

In other words, to explain the parts is to explain the whole. Ken Miller and other well-respected biologists reason similarly. My argument is that their reasoning runs afoul of the fallacy of composition.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 127: Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:26 am
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Don McIntosh wrote:


In other words, to explain the parts is to explain the whole.


Of course it isn't. And that is not what evolutionary biologists, evolutionary psychologists, etc, say. If it was, I would join you in pointing out the deficiency of the argument. But I think you are just repeating the mischaracterisation of what the anti-Darwinists, creation 'scientists', biblical literalists, etc, pretend the theory to be.

If you must talk purpose, rather than cause, then the 'purpose' of the genotype is to develop phenotypes fit for their environment, to reproduce the genotype (in a slightly modified form) and the 'purpose' of each specific organ of the phenotype is to contribute to that end. Dawkins is quite clear on this, in 'The Selfish Gene'. The sole (unconscious, and therefore purposeless) mission of the gene is to replicate itself, as efficiently and effectively as possible. That is the chemical nature of the gene, and it provides a perfectly adequate account of 'the origin of species', and 'the descent of man', so I still think it quite misguided to view Darwin's theory as anything other than a causal explanation.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 128: Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:34 pm
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2ndRateMind wrote:

Don McIntosh wrote:


In other words, to explain the parts is to explain the whole.


Of course it isn't. And that is not what evolutionary biologists, evolutionary psychologists, etc, say. If it was, I would join you in pointing out the deficiency of the argument.

Most of them don't state it quite so directly. Ken Miller comes close, though, when he counters Behe's argument from irreducible complexity by saying:

"Darwin's answer, in essence, was that evolution produces complex organs in a series of fully functional intermediate stages. If each of the intermediate stages can be favored by natural selection, then so can the whole pathway."

In other words, to explain the intermediate stages is to explain the whole pathway.

In other words, to explain the parts is to explain the whole.


Quote:
But I think you are just repeating the mischaracterisation of what the anti-Darwinists, creation 'scientists', biblical literalists, etc, pretend the theory to be.

Think what you like. But I don't know of anyone else who has depicted the explanatory logic of evolution as a fallacy of composition. So it's really not possible for me to be simply parroting the views of anti-Darwinists, creation scientists, biblical literalists, and any other outgroups you might equally despise.

Quote:
If you must talk purpose, rather than cause, then the 'purpose' of the genotype is to develop phenotypes fit for their environment, to reproduce the genotype (in a slightly modified form) and the 'purpose' of each specific organ of the phenotype is to contribute to that end. Dawkins is quite clear on this, in 'The Selfish Gene'. The sole (unconscious, and therefore purposeless) mission of the gene is to replicate itself, as efficiently and effectively as possible. That is the chemical nature of the gene, and it provides a perfectly adequate account of 'the origin of species', and 'the descent of man', so I still think it quite misguided to view Darwin's theory as anything other than a causal explanation.

That's all interesting, but my argument has little to do with purpose and everything to do with the very kind of causal explanation you mention. The problem is that the phenomenon of specifiably complex systems calls for an explanation, while the evolutionary explanation for those systems is demonstrably fallacious. Or to put it another way: evolution simply does not adequately explain certain important biological phenomena.

To say that, in theory, each part of a functionally complex phenotype was unconsciously adapted to achieve environmental fitness is not to say that the entire phenotype was unconsciously adapted to achieve environmental fitness – especially not when various important functions of that phenotype depend upon its complexity.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 129: Mon Jun 03, 2019 4:27 am
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Don McIntosh wrote:

My argument is that their reasoning runs afoul of the fallacy of composition.

I am still not clear on why this would be the case. Earlier you gave an explanation of a house. If you have explained each component of your house, then how have you not explained the whole house? You said if those subsystems aren't arranged together in a carefully pre-planned way, there is no house. Sure, but it's not clear why the explanations of the subsystems would somehow not add up to be the plan for the whole house.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 130: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:54 am
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Bust Nak wrote:


I am still not clear on why this would be the case. Earlier you gave an explanation of a house. If you have explained each component of your house, then how have you not explained the whole house?


Emergent phenomena. Describing the properties of a bird's feather does not explain why that bird can fly. Similarly, the properties of a brick do not explain a house.

But it would be equally wrong to suggest that because the bird can fly, the reason for those feathers is the functional purpose of the bird. So that is why I think Don McIntosh is looking at this through the wrong end of the telescope, when he says:

Don McIntosh wrote:

In other words, to explain the parts is to explain the whole.


I don't believe this is what Darwin, or Dawkins, or anyone else actually thinks.

Best wishes 2RM

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