Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Broken Link in the Darwinian Chain

There has been much hubub about a supposed missing link that has been allegedly located in the form of what appears simply to be a lemur monkey skeleton. Less attention has been given to a serious problem for evolutionists: a newly discovered species of mega-shrew (link).

Why is this mega-shrew a problem? It has a characteristic found in snakes, but not in any allegedly common ancestors of both shrews and snakes: teeth capable of injecting venom.

What is so significant about that? It requires that naturalists hypothesize parallel evolution: two species coming to be by chance to have similar features through the process of random mutation and natural selection.

The chances of both a shrew and a snake developing a similar beneficial mutation by chance is extremely small. Although this cannot definitively disprove naturalism (nothing can - naturalism is by definition unfalsifiable), it does require a still higher degree of "faith" (if you will) by the proponents of naturalism.

This is, of course, not the first such instance. One of the most notorious examples is the eye of the squid as compared to the eyes of men. Again, no alleged common ancestor can be found to provide appropriate nesting for this common feature and consequently the hypothesis of parallel evolution must be invoked.

And that is the basic flow chart for neo-Darwinian naturalism:

1. Hypothesize that everything is the result of natural selection and random (sometimes beneficial) mutations.

2. Attempt to arrange species data using nesting to meet hypothesis.

3. If nesting cannot fit all the species data, allege parallel evolution of species.

4. Claim victory despite the vast statistical improbability of beneficial mutations happening in different species in parallel.

5. If necessary, sprinkle in the pixie dust of vast periods of time to explain away the inconceivably unlikely event you are alleging occurred.

6. Insist that any explanation that invokes the supernatural is just filling gaps, superstitious, or religion interfering with science.

How sad.

-TurretinFan

7 comments:

Lockheed said...

I was noting recently after visiting a local museum, which has just finished a major renovation, that they arranged everything to make two points, 1) evolution 2) global warming/human involvement in global destruction. A couple of thoughts came to mind. It seems to me that one cannot make the two claims simultaneously and consistently. Either humans are part of the evolutionary process and thus anything they do is simply the result of natural selection working out (and thus, why be concerned about global warming etc since we're all just cosmic mold with just as much intrinsic value.)
Secondly, looking at all the skulls and skeletons of the supposed transient species (get two scientists to define the term species and you'll see a fist fight break out) I realized that there was as much difference between the skeletons of their supposed species (turtles in this case) as there is between the different breeds of dogs. It seems arbitrary to consider such differences as speciesation caused by evolution, and yet call a pit bull and a chihuahua simply different breeds of the same animal. I recommend anyone interested in the issues to read the past year's worth of Scientific American.

TheoJunkie said...

Another interesting thing in the plant world (interesting because it doesn't seem to faze evolutionary scientists) is that after comparing plant genomes, the closest genetic relative to the strawberry plant is cannabis (marijuana). There are other strange "relatives" as well, but that's the one that stuck out. Totally flies in the face of everything I understand about evolution (and while I'm not an evolutionary biologist, I'm also not exactly ignorant regarding science-- despite the fact that I affirm the bible...)

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Turretinfan writes:

nothing can - naturalism is by definition unfalsifiableInteresting. Would you be willing to expand on this thought? (Or if there are useful links in the archives, please let me know and I will consult them instead.)

Turretinfan said...

"nothing can - naturalism is by definition unfalsifiable"

Expansion:

Naturalism is a mode of thought that assumes that all that there is the natural world. As such, it is a presupposition and cannot be falsified. It's wrong, and there's plenty of evidence to support the fact that it's wrong. However, naturalism will simply always speculate that there must be some naturalistic explanation of any phenomena.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

TF,

that's interesting, this that you wrote in your expansion of this phrase in your article above, (nothing can - naturalism is by definition unfalsifiable), :::>

"....However, naturalism will simply always speculate that there must be some naturalistic explanation of any phenomena."

I wonder what the explanation was to the phenomena of the 'stetson' hat found on or near the old man who was caught in the Mount St. Helen's blast some years ago because he refused to leave his homestead?

Some scientist did a carbon date study on that hat and found it to be several million years old by carbon dating methods!

Hmmmmmm?

Turretinfan said...

:)

Naturalism always claims to have an answer, but not every answer (as I think you're pointing out) is a good answer.

-TurretinFan

mortalquestions said...

An excellent example of the unfaslifiability of Natrualism is Daniel Dennett's works. The greatest example from his corpus of writings is "Darwin's Dangerous Idea", he points out modern problems in evolutionary theory, and then claims that they are not problems because he can explain them in naturalistic terms.

Dennett develops the idea of design space, and what he calls the "Library of Mendel" (a take off for the book "Library of Babel). In this library there is a very large number of books (not necessarily infintite, but for humans it would not make a difference), the books symbolize all the possibilities that natural selection goes through throughout the eons of "deep time". One volume for instance has the complete book of Moby Dick, but others have slight typos, while others may only have a few words of similarity in the right place in these books (the books are all 500 Pages). Dennett's argument is that because of all of these possibilities it is reasonable to assume that at some point there is a real edition of Moby Dick in the library. To apply this to the design space of the univers, it would be reasonable to assume that at some point in the eons of history our world would come about. If you find this unsatisfying you are not the only one.

Dennett's basic retort to anything approaching design is "give me enough time and chance, and I will give you exactly what you see today." Dennett's whole thesis is based on the assumption of darwinian naturalism (his universal acid)eats through every area of human existence. I found myself asking throughout the whole book, "If all of this is so improbable, then why should I believe it?"