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Applying Guide to Crtical Thinking to Neo-Darwinism

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  • wilson_brooks2003
    From Will Brooks Tuesday 19th March 2.00 AM Professor James Lett produced the `Field Guide to Critical Thinking to help his students to test the validity of
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 18, 2013
      From Will Brooks Tuesday 19th March 2.00 AM

      Professor James Lett produced the `Field Guide to Critical Thinking' to help his students to test the validity of any claims. He devised an acronym for the 6 rules of evidential reasoning thus FiLCHeRS.

      Ignore the vowels and the words stand for Falsiability, Logic, Comprehensiveness, Honesty, Replicability, Sufficiency.

      Space prohibits citing his 8 page Guide in entirety but it is freely avaible on the internet. Professor Lett says "If the claim fails any one of these 6 tests, then it should be rejected."

      Applying FiLCHeRS to Neo-Darwinism (ND)

      Defining Neo-Darwinism. Neo-Darwinists believe nothing gave rise to something at a Big -Bang, non-living matter gave rise to life, single-celled organisms gave rise to many-celled organisms, invertebrates gave rise to vertebrates, ape-like creatures gave rise to man, non-intelligent and amoral matter gave rise to intelligence and morality, man's desires gave rise to philosophies and religion.

      Many Neo-Darwinists refuse to even discuss Origins on the grounds that "the purpose of evolution is not to explain origins but to provide explanations for the diversity of species…"

      Notwithstanding that explanation as to their purpose Neo-Darwinists nonetheless believe that life originated from nothing and undirected chemicals formed by pure chance into living organisms. Whether they like it or not and whether they agree or disagree the fact of the matter is Neo-Darwinist must produce evidence for explanations directly connected to Origins.

      For the sake of brevity I have posted only certain extracts from `Field Guide to Critical Thinking'.

      A Field Guide to Critical Thinking James Lett

      Falsifiability It must be possible to conceive of evidence that would
      prove the claim false. It may sound paradoxical, but in order for any claim to be true, it must
      be falsifiable. The rule of falsifiability is a guarantee that if the
      claim is false, the evidence will prove it false; and if the claim is
      true, the evidence will not disprove it (in which case the claim can be
      tentatively accepted as true until such time as evidence is brought
      forth that does disprove it). The rule of falsifiability, in short, says
      that the evidence must matter, and as such it is the first and most
      important and most fundamental rule of evidential reasoning.

      Will: Applying the falsifiability argument in its entirety (as described in Field Guide Critical Thinking) is sufficient to falsify ND.

      Scientists, whether ND or those of Intelligent Design, examine the same evidence and examine the same facts but arrive at different conclusions.

      This raises, at the very least, the following questions:
      What evidence has ND produced for the claim that nothing produced something?

      What evidence has ND produced for the claim that undirected chemicals formed by pure chance into living organisms?
      Furthermore, ND must explain the origin of highly complex specified and functional coded information in DNA. Darwinists back in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century successfully advanced their theory due, in part, to ignorance that living cells were just "blobs of protoplasm". The following information raises 3 major questions that ND must answer.

      Following the elucidation of the structure and function of DNA during the 1950's and early 60's a radically new conception of life began to emerge. Not only did molecular biologists discover that DNA carried information; they soon began to suspect that living organisms must contain systems for processing genetic information. Just as the digital information contained on a disc is useless without a device for reading the disc, so too is the information on DNA useless without the cell's information- processing system. As Richard Lewontin notes, "No living molecule {i.e. bio-molecule} is self- reproducing. Only whole cells may contain all the necessary machinery for self reproduction…Not only is DNA incapable of making copies of itself, aided or unaided, but it is incapable of `making' anything else… The proteins of the cell are made from other proteins, and without that protein forming machinery nothing can be made."

      Crick was right: the cell contains not just molecular repositories of genetic information, but a code for translating the information in the DNA molecule (and its RNA transcript) into the construction of a protein. But this requires some physical medium of information transfer. After Crick and others realized that this transfer is not achieved via the direct attraction of amino acids to individual nucleotides bases or groups of bases – as Gamow had proposed – it became evident that the transcription and translation of genetic information is mediated by a complex information processing system composed of many types of nucleic acids (such as mRNA's and tRNAs) and many specific enzymes.

      These and other developments in micro biology since the1960's have shown that the information processing system of the cell depends on a tightly integrated system of components - indeed a system of systems. Both the transcription and translation systems depend upon numerous proteins, many of which are jointly necessary for protein synthesis to occur at all. Yet all of these proteins are made by this very process. Proteins involved in transcription such as RNA polymerases, for example, are built from instructions carried on an RNA transcript. Translation of the RNA transcript depends upon other specialized enzymes such as synthetases, yet the information to build these enzymes is translated during the translation process that synthetases themselves facilitate.

      Biochemist David Goodsell describes the problem: "The key molecular process that makes modern life possible is protein synthesis, since proteins are used in nearly every aspect of living. The synthesis of proteins requires a tightly integrated sequence of reactions, most of which are themselves performed by proteins." Or as Jacques Monod noted in 1971: The code is meaningless sunless translated. The modern cell's translation machinery consists of a t least fifty macromolecular components which are them selves coded in DNA: the code cannot be translated otherwise than by products of translation." (Scientists now know that translation actually requires more than a hundred proteins.)

      The integrated complexity of the cell's information processing system has prompted some profound reflection. As Lewontin asks, "What makes the proteins that are necessary to make the protein?" As David Gooodsell puts it, this "is one of the unanswered questions of biochemistry: which came first, proteins or protein synthesis? If proteins are needed to make proteins how did the whole thing get started? The end result of protein synthesis is required before it can begin."

      The interdependence of protein and nucleic acids raises many obvious chicken and egg dilemmas that origin of life theorists before the 1960's neither anticipated nor addressed. The cell needs proteins to process sand express the information in DNA in order to build proteins. But the construction of DNA molecules (during the process of DNA replication) also requires proteins. So which came first the chicken (nucleic acids) or the egg (the proteins)? If proteins must have arisen first, then how did they do so, since all extant cells construct proteins from the assembly instructions in DNA. How did either arise without the other?

      As the late British Philosopher of Science Sir Karl Popper mused, "What makes the origin of life and the genetic code a disturbing riddle is this: the code cannot be translated except by using certain products of its translation. This constitutes a really baffling circle: a vicious circle it seems, for any attempt to form a model, or a theory, of the genesis of the genetic code."

      The Question Redefined

      The picture of the cell provided by modern molecular microbiology has led scientists to redefine the question of the origin of life. The discovery of life's information-processing systems, with their elaborate functional integration of proteins and nucleic acids, has made it clear that scientists investigating the origin of life must now explain the origin of at least three key features of life.

      1. They must explain the origin of the system for storing and encoding digital information in the cell - DNA's capacity to store digitally encoded information.
      2. They must explain the origin of the large amount of specified complexity or functionally specified information in DNA.
      3. They must explain the origin of the integrated complexity – the functional interdependence of parts – of the cell's information-processing system. (p 132/5 `Signature in the Cell' by Stephen Meyer)




      Logic Any argument offered as evidence in support of any claim must be sound. An argument is said to be "valid" if its conclusion follows unavoidably
      from its premises; it is "sound" if it is valid and if all the premises
      are true. The rule of logic thus governs the validity of inference.

      Will: ND is based on, at least, 3 premises: Nothing made something. Undirected chemicals formed into living organisms. And those undirected chemicals arranged themselves in such a way to contain highly complex specified and functional information.

      Firstly, is it logical to believe that nothing produced something? Is this testable? Is there any evidence for the proposition that `nothing can produce something' ? If there is, what evidence is there?

      If ND cannot produce evidence for `nothing producing something' that premise fails and so too does their entire theory.
      If ND cannot produce evidence that undirected chemicals formed into living matter that premise too is proven false and their entire theory falls.

      Based on the belief that organisms `somehow' came into existence ND must answer at the very least those 3 major questions about specified highly complex coded functional information. If ND cannot do so the entire theory falls.

      Comprehensiveness The evidence offered in support of any claim must be
      exhaustive -- that is all of the available evidence must be considered.

      For obvious reasons, it is never reasonable to consider only the
      evidence that supports a theory and to discard the evidence that
      contradicts it. This rule is straightforward and self-apparent, and it
      requires little explication or justification.

      Will: I will combine `comprehensiveness' with `honesty' to for the sake of brevity.

      Honesty The evidence offered in support of any claim must be evaluated
      without self-deception.
      The rule of honesty is a corollary to the rule of comprehensiveness.
      When you have examined all of the evidence, it is essential that you be
      honest with yourself about the results of that examination. If the
      weight of the evidence contradicts the claim, then you are required to
      abandon belief in that claim. The obverse, of course, would hold as
      well.

      Will: The following information violates the requirement for Comprehensive on the grounds that ND's refuse to consider alternative explanations other than that which ND happens to believe!
      Furthermore, although Richard Lewontin and Richard Dickerson, the scientists cited in the following information, have shown some candour I have to question if it is being honest to dismiss explanations simply because those explanations are not in accord with beliefs held by ND? Furthermore is it being honest to blacklist scientists such as Richard Sternberg, for example, simply because he was willing to discuss Intelligent Design?

      "Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist is a renowned champion of neo-Darwinism, and certainly one of the world's leaders in promoting evolutionary biology. He recently wrote this very revealing comment (the italics were in the original). It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against Genesis creation regardless of whether or not the facts support it:

      We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.3

      Many evolutionists chide creationists not because of the facts, but because creationists refuse to play by the current rules of the game that exclude supernatural creation a priori.4 That it is indeed a `game' was proclaimed by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dickerson:

      Science is fundamentally a game. It is a game with one overriding and defining rule:
      Rule #1: Let us see how far and to what extent we can explain the behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural.5
      In practice, the `game' is extended to trying to explain not just the behavior, but the origin of everything without the supernatural.

      Actually, evolutionists are often not consistent with their own rules against invoking an intelligent designer. For example, when archaeologists find an arrowhead, they can tell it must have been designed, even though they haven't seen the designer. And the whole basis of the SETI program is that a signal from outer space carrying specific information must have an intelligent source. Yet the materialistic bias of many evolutionists means that they reject an intelligent source for the literally encyclopedic information carried in every living cell. (Extracts from Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Sarfati)

      Replicability If the evidence for any claim is based upon an
      experimental result, or if the evidence offered in support of any claim
      could logically be explained as coincidental, then it is necessary for
      the evidence to be repeated in subsequent experiments or trials.
      The rule of replicability provides a safeguard against the possibility
      of error, fraud, or coincidence. A single experimental result is never
      adequate in and of itself, whether the experiment concerns the
      production of nuclear fusion or the existence of telepathic ability.

      Any
      experiment, no matter how carefully designed and executed, is always
      subject to the possibility of implicit bias or undetected error. The
      rule of replicability, which requires independent observers to follow
      the same procedures and to achieve the same results, is an effective way of correcting bias or error, even if the bias or error remains
      permanently unrecognized. If the experimental results are the product of deliberate fraud, the rule of replicability will ensure that the
      experiment will eventually be performed by honest researchers.

      Will: Scientists have attempted to produce the basic building blocks of life – amino acids - in the laboratory but have been unsuccessful in producing the right number of amino acids and the correct types of amino acids and I may be wrong but it appears to be the case that scientists have given up on such projects. Given that they are unable to produce even the necessary building blocks it is logical to conclude they cannot produce living cells out of nothing.
      Therefore, on the requirement for replicability - ND fails.

      If the phenomenon in question could conceivably be the product of
      coincidence, then the phenomenon must be replicated before the
      hypothesis of coincidence can be rejected. If coincidence is in fact the explanation for the phenomenon, then the phenomenon will not be
      duplicated in subsequent trials, and the hypothesis of coincidence will be confirmed; but if coincidence is not the explanation, then the
      phenomenon may be duplicated, and an explanation other than coincidence will have to be sought. If I correctly predict the next roll of the dice, you should demand that I duplicate the feat before granting that my prediction was anything but a coincidence.

      Will: In this context I will interpret `coincidence' as `probability'.

      The argument from probability that life could not form by natural processes but must have been created is sometimes acknowledged by evolutionists as a strong argument. The probability of the chance formation of a hypothetical functional `simple' cell, given all the ingredients, is acknowledged to be worse than 1 in 1057800. This is a chance of 1 in a number with 57,800 zeros. It would take 11 full pages of magazine type to print this number. To try to put this in perspective, there are about 1080 (a number with 80 zeros) electrons in the universe. Even if every electron in our universe were another universe the same size as ours that would `only' amount to 10160 electrons

      Does the argument from `coincidence' really stand up against such impossible odds?

      Sufficiency The evidence offered in support of any claim must be
      adequate to establish the truth of that claim, with these stipulations:
      1. the burden of proof for any claim rests on the claimant,
      2. extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and
      3. evidence based upon authority and/or testimony is always
      inadequate for any Neo-Darwinian claim

      Will: In the following extract from Field Guide I have substituted Professor Lett's original word with Neo-Darwinism without damage to his methodology for establishing the reliability or otherwise of a theory. And in the specific context of this particular topic the substitution is most appropriate and is fatal to Neo-Darwinism

      The burden of proof always rests with the claimant for the simple reason
      that the absence of disconfirming evidence is not the same as the
      presence of confirming evidence. This rule is frequently violated by
      proponents of Neo-Darwinian claims, who argue that, because their claims
      have not been disproved, they have therefore been proved.

      Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence for the obvious
      reason of balance. If I claim that it rained for ten minutes on my way
      to work last Tuesday, you would be justified in accepting that claim as true on the basis of my report. But if I claim that I was abducted by extraterrestrial aliens who whisked me to the far side of the moon and performed bizarre medical experiments on me, you would be justified in demanding more substantial evidence. The ordinary evidence of my testimony, while sufficient for ordinary claims, is not sufficient for extraordinary ones.

      In fact, testimony is always inadequate for any Neo-Darwinian claim,
      whether it is offered by an authority or a layperson, for the simple
      reason that a human being can lie or make a mistake. No amount of
      expertise in any field is a guarantee against human fallibility, and
      expertise does not preclude the motivation to lie; therefore a person's credentials, knowledge and experience cannot, in themselves be taken as sufficient evidence to establish the truth of a claim.

      Moreover, a person's sincerity lends nothing to the credibility of his or her testimony. Even if people are telling what they sincerely believe to bethe truth, it is always possible that they could be mistaken. Perception
      is a selective act, dependent upon belief context, expectation,
      emotional and biochemical states, and a host of other variables.

      Memory
      is notoriously problematic, prone to a range of distortions, deletions,
      substitutions and amplifications. Therefore the testimony that people
      offer of what they remember seeing or hearing should always be regarded
      as only provisionally and approximately accurate; when people are
      speaking about the paranormal, their testimony should never be regarded
      as reliable evidence in and of itself. The possibility and even the
      likelihood of error are far too extensive (see Connor 1986) .

      Conclusion The first three rules of FiLCHeRS -- falsifiability, logic,
      and comprehensiveness -- are all logically necessary rules of evidential reasoning. If we are to have confidence in the veracity of any claim whether normal or the claim must be prepositionally
      meaningful, and the evidence offered in support of the claim must be
      rational and exhaustive.

      The last three rules of FiLCHeRS -- honesty, replicability, and
      sufficiency -- are all pragmatically necessary rules of evidential
      reasoning. Because human beings are often motivated to rationalize and
      to lie to themselves, because they are sometimes motivated to lie to
      others, because they can make mistakes, and because perception and
      memory are problematic, we must demand that the evidence for any factual claim be evaluated without self-deception, that it be carefully screened for error, fraud, and appropriateness, and that it be substantial and unequivocal.

      What I tell my students, then, is that you can and should use FiLCHeRS
      to evaluate the evidence offered for any claim. If the claim fails any
      one of these six tests, then it should be rejected; but if it passes all six tests, then you are justified in placing considerable confidence in it.

      Passing all six tests, of course, does not guarantee that the claim is
      true (just because you have examined all the evidence available today is
      no guarantee that there will not be new and disconfirming evidence
      available tomorrow), but it does guarantee that you have good reasons
      for believing the claim. It guarantees that you have sold your belief
      for a fair price, and that it has not been filched from you.

      Being a responsible adult means accepting the fact that almost all
      knowledge is tentative, and accepting it cheerfully. You may be required
      to change your belief tomorrow, if the evidence warrants, and you should
      be willing and able to do so. That, in essence, is what skepticism
      means: to believe if and only if the evidence warrants.

      Conclusion: Professor Lett devised a 6 hurdles, or fences, test that Neo-Darwinism has to clear. Falling at only one fence means Neo-Darwinism ought to be dismissed.

      Neo-Darwinism has fallen at each and every one of the 6 fences and therefore ought to be dismissed as: "I myself, am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it's been applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so flimsy and dubious a hypothesis could be accepted with the credulity that it has." Malcolm Muggeridge, Pascal Lectures, Ontario, Canada, University of Waterloo.
    • D R Lindberg
      ... to help his students to test the validity of any claims. He devised an acronym for the 6 rules of evidential reasoning thus FiLCHeRS. ...
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 20, 2013
        --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, "wilson_brooks2003"
        <wilson_brooks2003@...> wrote:
        >
        > From Will Brooks Tuesday 19th March 2.00 AM
        >
        > Professor James Lett produced the `Field Guide to Critical Thinking'
        to help his students to test the validity of any claims. He devised an
        acronym for the 6 rules of evidential reasoning thus FiLCHeRS.
        >
        > Ignore the vowels and the words stand for Falsiability, Logic,
        Comprehensiveness, Honesty, Replicability, Sufficiency.
        >
        > Space prohibits citing his 8 page Guide in entirety but it is freely
        avaible on the internet. Professor Lett says "If the claim fails any one
        of these 6 tests, then it should be rejected."
        >
        > Applying FiLCHeRS to Neo-Darwinism (ND)
        >
        > Defining Neo-Darwinism. Neo-Darwinists believe nothing gave rise to
        something at a Big -Bang, non-living matter gave rise to life,
        single-celled organisms gave rise to many-celled organisms,
        invertebrates gave rise to vertebrates, ape-like creatures gave rise to
        man, non-intelligent and amoral matter gave rise to intelligence and
        morality, man's desires gave rise to philosophies and religion.
        >
        > Many Neo-Darwinists refuse to even discuss Origins on the grounds that
        "the purpose of evolution is not to explain origins but to provide
        explanations for the diversity of species…"
        >
        > Notwithstanding that explanation as to their purpose Neo-Darwinists
        nonetheless believe that life originated from nothing and undirected
        chemicals formed by pure chance into living organisms. Whether they like
        it or not and whether they agree or disagree the fact of the matter is
        Neo-Darwinist must produce evidence for explanations directly connected
        to Origins.
        >
        > For the sake of brevity I have posted only certain extracts from
        `Field Guide to Critical Thinking'.
        >
        > A Field Guide to Critical Thinking James Lett
        >
        > Falsifiability It must be possible to conceive of evidence that would
        > prove the claim false. It may sound paradoxical, but in order for any
        claim to be true, it must
        > be falsifiable. The rule of falsifiability is a guarantee that if the
        > claim is false, the evidence will prove it false; and if the claim is
        > true, the evidence will not disprove it (in which case the claim can
        be
        > tentatively accepted as true until such time as evidence is brought
        > forth that does disprove it). The rule of falsifiability, in short,
        says
        > that the evidence must matter, and as such it is the first and most
        > important and most fundamental rule of evidential reasoning.
        >
        > Will: Applying the falsifiability argument in its entirety (as
        described in Field Guide Critical Thinking) is sufficient to falsify ND.
        >
        > Scientists, whether ND or those of Intelligent Design, examine the
        same evidence and examine the same facts but arrive at different
        conclusions.
        >
        > This raises, at the very least, the following questions:
        > What evidence has ND produced for the claim that nothing produced
        something?
        >
        > What evidence has ND produced for the claim that undirected chemicals
        formed by pure chance into living organisms?
        > Furthermore, ND must explain the origin of highly complex specified
        and functional coded information in DNA. Darwinists back in the late
        19th Century and early 20th Century successfully advanced their theory
        due, in part, to ignorance that living cells were just "blobs of
        protoplasm". The following information raises 3 major questions that ND
        must answer.
        >
        > Following the elucidation of the structure and function of DNA during
        the 1950's and early 60's a radically new conception of life began to
        emerge. Not only did molecular biologists discover that DNA carried
        information; they soon began to suspect that living organisms must
        contain systems for processing genetic information. Just as the digital
        information contained on a disc is useless without a device for reading
        the disc, so too is the information on DNA useless without the cell's
        information- processing system. As Richard Lewontin notes, "No living
        molecule {i.e. bio-molecule} is self- reproducing. Only whole cells may
        contain all the necessary machinery for self reproduction…Not only
        is DNA incapable of making copies of itself, aided or unaided, but it is
        incapable of `making' anything else… The proteins of the cell are
        made from other proteins, and without that protein forming machinery
        nothing can be made."
        >
        > Crick was right: the cell contains not just molecular repositories of
        genetic information, but a code for translating the information in the
        DNA molecule (and its RNA transcript) into the construction of a
        protein. But this requires some physical medium of information transfer.
        After Crick and others realized that this transfer is not achieved via
        the direct attraction of amino acids to individual nucleotides bases or
        groups of bases – as Gamow had proposed – it became evident that
        the transcription and translation of genetic information is mediated by
        a complex information processing system composed of many types of
        nucleic acids (such as mRNA's and tRNAs) and many specific enzymes.
        >
        > These and other developments in micro biology since the1960's have
        shown that the information processing system of the cell depends on a
        tightly integrated system of components - indeed a system of systems.
        Both the transcription and translation systems depend upon numerous
        proteins, many of which are jointly necessary for protein synthesis to
        occur at all. Yet all of these proteins are made by this very process.
        Proteins involved in transcription such as RNA polymerases, for example,
        are built from instructions carried on an RNA transcript. Translation of
        the RNA transcript depends upon other specialized enzymes such as
        synthetases, yet the information to build these enzymes is translated
        during the translation process that synthetases themselves facilitate.
        >
        > Biochemist David Goodsell describes the problem: "The key molecular
        process that makes modern life possible is protein synthesis, since
        proteins are used in nearly every aspect of living. The synthesis of
        proteins requires a tightly integrated sequence of reactions, most of
        which are themselves performed by proteins." Or as Jacques Monod noted
        in 1971: The code is meaningless sunless translated. The modern cell's
        translation machinery consists of a t least fifty macromolecular
        components which are them selves coded in DNA: the code cannot be
        translated otherwise than by products of translation." (Scientists now
        know that translation actually requires more than a hundred proteins.)
        >
        > The integrated complexity of the cell's information processing system
        has prompted some profound reflection. As Lewontin asks, "What makes the
        proteins that are necessary to make the protein?" As David Gooodsell
        puts it, this "is one of the unanswered questions of biochemistry: which
        came first, proteins or protein synthesis? If proteins are needed to
        make proteins how did the whole thing get started? The end result of
        protein synthesis is required before it can begin."
        >
        > The interdependence of protein and nucleic acids raises many obvious
        chicken and egg dilemmas that origin of life theorists before the 1960's
        neither anticipated nor addressed. The cell needs proteins to process
        sand express the information in DNA in order to build proteins. But the
        construction of DNA molecules (during the process of DNA replication)
        also requires proteins. So which came first the chicken (nucleic acids)
        or the egg (the proteins)? If proteins must have arisen first, then how
        did they do so, since all extant cells construct proteins from the
        assembly instructions in DNA. How did either arise without the other?
        >
        > As the late British Philosopher of Science Sir Karl Popper mused,
        "What makes the origin of life and the genetic code a disturbing riddle
        is this: the code cannot be translated except by using certain products
        of its translation. This constitutes a really baffling circle: a vicious
        circle it seems, for any attempt to form a model, or a theory, of the
        genesis of the genetic code."
        >
        > The Question Redefined
        >
        > The picture of the cell provided by modern molecular microbiology has
        led scientists to redefine the question of the origin of life. The
        discovery of life's information-processing systems, with their elaborate
        functional integration of proteins and nucleic acids, has made it clear
        that scientists investigating the origin of life must now explain the
        origin of at least three key features of life.
        >
        > 1. They must explain the origin of the system for storing and encoding
        digital information in the cell - DNA's capacity to store digitally
        encoded information.
        > 2. They must explain the origin of the large amount of specified
        complexity or functionally specified information in DNA.
        > 3. They must explain the origin of the integrated complexity – the
        functional interdependence of parts – of the cell's
        information-processing system. (p 132/5 `Signature in the Cell' by
        Stephen Meyer)
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Logic Any argument offered as evidence in support of any claim must be
        sound. An argument is said to be "valid" if its conclusion follows
        unavoidably
        > from its premises; it is "sound" if it is valid and if all the
        premises
        > are true. The rule of logic thus governs the validity of inference.
        >
        > Will: ND is based on, at least, 3 premises: Nothing made something.
        Undirected chemicals formed into living organisms. And those undirected
        chemicals arranged themselves in such a way to contain highly complex
        specified and functional information.
        >
        > Firstly, is it logical to believe that nothing produced something? Is
        this testable? Is there any evidence for the proposition that `nothing
        can produce something' ? If there is, what evidence is there?
        >
        > If ND cannot produce evidence for `nothing producing something' that
        premise fails and so too does their entire theory.
        > If ND cannot produce evidence that undirected chemicals formed into
        living matter that premise too is proven false and their entire theory
        falls.
        >
        > Based on the belief that organisms `somehow' came into existence ND
        must answer at the very least those 3 major questions about specified
        highly complex coded functional information. If ND cannot do so the
        entire theory falls.
        >
        > Comprehensiveness The evidence offered in support of any claim must be
        > exhaustive -- that is all of the available evidence must be
        considered.
        >
        > For obvious reasons, it is never reasonable to consider only the
        > evidence that supports a theory and to discard the evidence that
        > contradicts it. This rule is straightforward and self-apparent, and it
        > requires little explication or justification.
        >
        > Will: I will combine `comprehensiveness' with `honesty' to for the
        sake of brevity.
        >
        > Honesty The evidence offered in support of any claim must be evaluated
        > without self-deception.
        > The rule of honesty is a corollary to the rule of comprehensiveness.
        > When you have examined all of the evidence, it is essential that you
        be
        > honest with yourself about the results of that examination. If the
        > weight of the evidence contradicts the claim, then you are required to
        > abandon belief in that claim. The obverse, of course, would hold as
        > well.
        >
        > Will: The following information violates the requirement for
        Comprehensive on the grounds that ND's refuse to consider alternative
        explanations other than that which ND happens to believe!
        > Furthermore, although Richard Lewontin and Richard Dickerson, the
        scientists cited in the following information, have shown some candour I
        have to question if it is being honest to dismiss explanations simply
        because those explanations are not in accord with beliefs held by ND?
        Furthermore is it being honest to blacklist scientists such as Richard
        Sternberg, for example, simply because he was willing to discuss
        Intelligent Design?
        >
        > "Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist is a renowned champion of
        neo-Darwinism, and certainly one of the world's leaders in promoting
        evolutionary biology. He recently wrote this very revealing comment (the
        italics were in the original). It illustrates the implicit philosophical
        bias against Genesis creation regardless of whether or not the facts
        support it:
        >
        > We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some
        of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its
        extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of
        the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we
        have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the
        methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a
        material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that
        we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an
        apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material
        explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying
        to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we
        cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.3
        >
        > Many evolutionists chide creationists not because of the facts, but
        because creationists refuse to play by the current rules of the game
        that exclude supernatural creation a priori.4 That it is indeed a `game'
        was proclaimed by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dickerson:
        >
        > Science is fundamentally a game. It is a game with one overriding and
        defining rule:
        > Rule #1: Let us see how far and to what extent we can explain the
        behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely
        physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural.5
        > In practice, the `game' is extended to trying to explain not just the
        behavior, but the origin of everything without the supernatural.
        >
        > Actually, evolutionists are often not consistent with their own rules
        against invoking an intelligent designer. For example, when
        archaeologists find an arrowhead, they can tell it must have been
        designed, even though they haven't seen the designer. And the whole
        basis of the SETI program is that a signal from outer space carrying
        specific information must have an intelligent source. Yet the
        materialistic bias of many evolutionists means that they reject an
        intelligent source for the literally encyclopedic information carried in
        every living cell. (Extracts from Refuting Evolution by Jonathan
        Sarfati)
        >
        > Replicability If the evidence for any claim is based upon an
        > experimental result, or if the evidence offered in support of any
        claim
        > could logically be explained as coincidental, then it is necessary for
        > the evidence to be repeated in subsequent experiments or trials.
        > The rule of replicability provides a safeguard against the possibility
        > of error, fraud, or coincidence. A single experimental result is never
        > adequate in and of itself, whether the experiment concerns the
        > production of nuclear fusion or the existence of telepathic ability.
        >
        > Any
        > experiment, no matter how carefully designed and executed, is always
        > subject to the possibility of implicit bias or undetected error. The
        > rule of replicability, which requires independent observers to follow
        > the same procedures and to achieve the same results, is an effective
        way of correcting bias or error, even if the bias or error remains
        > permanently unrecognized. If the experimental results are the product
        of deliberate fraud, the rule of replicability will ensure that the
        > experiment will eventually be performed by honest researchers.
        >
        > Will: Scientists have attempted to produce the basic building blocks
        of life – amino acids - in the laboratory but have been unsuccessful
        in producing the right number of amino acids and the correct types of
        amino acids and I may be wrong but it appears to be the case that
        scientists have given up on such projects. Given that they are unable to
        produce even the necessary building blocks it is logical to conclude
        they cannot produce living cells out of nothing.
        > Therefore, on the requirement for replicability - ND fails.
        >
        > If the phenomenon in question could conceivably be the product of
        > coincidence, then the phenomenon must be replicated before the
        > hypothesis of coincidence can be rejected. If coincidence is in fact
        the explanation for the phenomenon, then the phenomenon will not be
        > duplicated in subsequent trials, and the hypothesis of coincidence
        will be confirmed; but if coincidence is not the explanation, then the
        > phenomenon may be duplicated, and an explanation other than
        coincidence will have to be sought. If I correctly predict the next roll
        of the dice, you should demand that I duplicate the feat before granting
        that my prediction was anything but a coincidence.
        >
        > Will: In this context I will interpret `coincidence' as `probability'.
        >
        > The argument from probability that life could not form by natural
        processes but must have been created is sometimes acknowledged by
        evolutionists as a strong argument. The probability of the chance
        formation of a hypothetical functional `simple' cell, given all the
        ingredients, is acknowledged to be worse than 1 in 1057800. This is a
        chance of 1 in a number with 57,800 zeros. It would take 11 full pages
        of magazine type to print this number. To try to put this in
        perspective, there are about 1080 (a number with 80 zeros) electrons in
        the universe. Even if every electron in our universe were another
        universe the same size as ours that would `only' amount to 10160
        electrons
        >
        > Does the argument from `coincidence' really stand up against such
        impossible odds?
        >
        > Sufficiency The evidence offered in support of any claim must be
        > adequate to establish the truth of that claim, with these
        stipulations:
        > 1. the burden of proof for any claim rests on the claimant,
        > 2. extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and
        > 3. evidence based upon authority and/or testimony is always
        > inadequate for any Neo-Darwinian claim
        >
        > Will: In the following extract from Field Guide I have substituted
        Professor Lett's original word with Neo-Darwinism without damage to his
        methodology for establishing the reliability or otherwise of a theory.
        And in the specific context of this particular topic the substitution is
        most appropriate and is fatal to Neo-Darwinism
        >
        > The burden of proof always rests with the claimant for the simple
        reason
        > that the absence of disconfirming evidence is not the same as the
        > presence of confirming evidence. This rule is frequently violated by
        > proponents of Neo-Darwinian claims, who argue that, because their
        claims
        > have not been disproved, they have therefore been proved.
        >
        > Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence for the obvious
        > reason of balance. If I claim that it rained for ten minutes on my way
        > to work last Tuesday, you would be justified in accepting that claim
        as true on the basis of my report. But if I claim that I was abducted by
        extraterrestrial aliens who whisked me to the far side of the moon and
        performed bizarre medical experiments on me, you would be justified in
        demanding more substantial evidence. The ordinary evidence of my
        testimony, while sufficient for ordinary claims, is not sufficient for
        extraordinary ones.
        >
        > In fact, testimony is always inadequate for any Neo-Darwinian claim,
        > whether it is offered by an authority or a layperson, for the simple
        > reason that a human being can lie or make a mistake. No amount of
        > expertise in any field is a guarantee against human fallibility, and
        > expertise does not preclude the motivation to lie; therefore a
        person's credentials, knowledge and experience cannot, in themselves be
        taken as sufficient evidence to establish the truth of a claim.
        >
        > Moreover, a person's sincerity lends nothing to the credibility of his
        or her testimony. Even if people are telling what they sincerely believe
        to bethe truth, it is always possible that they could be mistaken.
        Perception
        > is a selective act, dependent upon belief context, expectation,
        > emotional and biochemical states, and a host of other variables.
        >
        > Memory
        > is notoriously problematic, prone to a range of distortions,
        deletions,
        > substitutions and amplifications. Therefore the testimony that people
        > offer of what they remember seeing or hearing should always be
        regarded
        > as only provisionally and approximately accurate; when people are
        > speaking about the paranormal, their testimony should never be
        regarded
        > as reliable evidence in and of itself. The possibility and even the
        > likelihood of error are far too extensive (see Connor 1986) .
        >
        > Conclusion The first three rules of FiLCHeRS -- falsifiability, logic,
        > and comprehensiveness -- are all logically necessary rules of
        evidential reasoning. If we are to have confidence in the veracity of
        any claim whether normal or the claim must be prepositionally
        > meaningful, and the evidence offered in support of the claim must be
        > rational and exhaustive.
        >
        > The last three rules of FiLCHeRS -- honesty, replicability, and
        > sufficiency -- are all pragmatically necessary rules of evidential
        > reasoning. Because human beings are often motivated to rationalize and
        > to lie to themselves, because they are sometimes motivated to lie to
        > others, because they can make mistakes, and because perception and
        > memory are problematic, we must demand that the evidence for any
        factual claim be evaluated without self-deception, that it be carefully
        screened for error, fraud, and appropriateness, and that it be
        substantial and unequivocal.
        >
        > What I tell my students, then, is that you can and should use FiLCHeRS
        > to evaluate the evidence offered for any claim. If the claim fails any
        > one of these six tests, then it should be rejected; but if it passes
        all six tests, then you are justified in placing considerable confidence
        in it.
        >
        > Passing all six tests, of course, does not guarantee that the claim is
        > true (just because you have examined all the evidence available today
        is
        > no guarantee that there will not be new and disconfirming evidence
        > available tomorrow), but it does guarantee that you have good reasons
        > for believing the claim. It guarantees that you have sold your belief
        > for a fair price, and that it has not been filched from you.
        >
        > Being a responsible adult means accepting the fact that almost all
        > knowledge is tentative, and accepting it cheerfully. You may be
        required
        > to change your belief tomorrow, if the evidence warrants, and you
        should
        > be willing and able to do so. That, in essence, is what skepticism
        > means: to believe if and only if the evidence warrants.
        >
        > Conclusion: Professor Lett devised a 6 hurdles, or fences, test that
        Neo-Darwinism has to clear. Falling at only one fence means
        Neo-Darwinism ought to be dismissed.
        >
        > Neo-Darwinism has fallen at each and every one of the 6 fences and
        therefore ought to be dismissed as: "I myself, am convinced that the
        theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it's been
        applied, will be one of the great jokes in the history books of the
        future. Posterity will marvel that so flimsy and dubious a hypothesis
        could be accepted with the credulity that it has." Malcolm Muggeridge,
        Pascal Lectures, Ontario, Canada, University of Waterloo.
        >

        Thank you for your thoughts, and for your demonstration of the lack of
        rationality of the Creationist strawman cartoon caricature of evolution.

        But of course, we all already knew that.

        Now, if you could only learn what the REAL science is ...

        Hint: You won't find it accurately portrayed in the anti-evolution
        Creationist sources you seem to depend on.

        Or in their collections of quotemined out-of-context, outdated "Famous
        Quotes from Famous Evolutionists."

        Subhint: If you read him in context, you will see that Lewontin was
        describing how people like you see scientists (and how anti-science
        propagandists like Sarfati like to portray them). No one refers to
        his/her own opinions as "patent absurdity," do they?

        You like to criticize me for "use of the appeal to authority." There is
        nothing irrational about referring to someone who is a real authority in
        the field under discussion. It becomes a logical fallacy when the
        "authority" being quoted is no expert in the subject, but someone who
        is, for example, an anti-science journalist like Malcolm Muggeridge.

        (Or an anti-science activist like Sarfati for that matter.)

        You said once; "I prefer to investigate matters and based on facts and
        evidence make up my own mind. "

        I suggest you do just that, learn some real science, and not just repeat
        slanders. The Bible says "Thou shalt not bear false witness." Doesn't
        that impose on us a responsibility to verify the truth and fairness of
        accusations before we repeat them?

        Cheers!






        Science is never satisfied with its own answers and continues to search
        for even more fundamental solutions to never-ending problems. Religion,
        on the contrary, has one answer and one only, to all questions. For it,
        the existence of the Deity solves every problem once and for all; it is
        static, while science is dynamic.
        Lichtenstadter, Lise. (1958). Islam and the Modern Age: An analysis and
        an appraisal. New York: Bookman Associates.




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • JamesG
        D R Lindberg (responding to Will): Subhint: If you read him in context, you will see that Lewontin was describing how people like you see scientists (and how
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 20, 2013
          D R Lindberg (responding to Will): "Subhint: If you read him in context, you will see that Lewontin was describing how people like you see scientists (and how anti-science propagandists like Sarfati like to portray them). No one refers to his/her own opinions as 'patent absurdity,' do they?"

          If you read him in context, you will see that Lewontin was referring to scientists and others who think like him, that is to say, people with an a priori commitment to materialism that forces them to accept only materialistic explanations. You will also see that he wasn't referring to his own opinions as "patent absurdities." Interested readers can verify this for themselves by reading Lewontin's essay, which can be found here:

          http://www.drjbloom.com/Public%20files/Lewontin_Review.htm

          Jim in Missouri
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