Creative Destruction

July 18, 2007

Creation Of Evidence

Filed under: Evolution — Off Colfax @ 11:37 pm

Something I just gleaned from the comment section of the “Payment Received” cuneiform tablet that Robert brought to our attention on Sunday, which goes hand in hand with my comment here, is this story.

“Fingerprints of Creation”

While most of the article is too technical for me to follow in the entirety, I was able to follow the conclusions themselves quite clearly. The existence of a single molecular formation in some types of granites is said to be proof of the instantaneous creation of the planet. Now, I am no geologist; theoretical, practical, amateur or otherwise, this field quickly gets beyond my comprehension.

Yet this article follows the same neo-Randite logic that is condemned from the highest hilltops by the Young Earth Creationist community: if all of the arguments are logically coherent and you agree with one point of the argument, you must therefore agree with all points of the argument as they are a direct continuation of the piece of evidence that is presented by using Aristotle’s Law Of Identity (A is A.) as the logical vehicle.

Just as with Babsy’s hailing of being able to “ride a dinosaur” as being complete and total proof of Creationism. A is A.

Anyone who prefers the evidence of evolutionary processes that has an intellectual honesty this side of Richard Dawkins will admit that there are plenty of holes in the theory, which is precisely why it remains a theory rather than scientific law. Yet there remain those, like Dawkins, who see the development of drug-resistant microbes and herbicide-resistant plants as being the necessary and sufficient proof for Darwinian processes throughout the history (and prehistory) of life on this planet. A is A.

Fact: There was not a single member of species Homo sapiens on this planet when the Earth was formed. Not even the most rabid Creationist can dispute that, as their major source of evidence, Genesis 1, clearly states that man came after the Earth was fully formed.

Fact: We have no way of establishing time travel, so we cannot go back to the year 4006 B.C.(E.) and see whether the world was here or not.

Fact: Therefore, we cannot know for certain precisely what is or is not factual about the establishment of life. There is no way to gather evidence. There is no way to record the sequence of events. There is no way to even determine which of the conflicting evidence sets is accurate.

Until these base facts change, there will be no absolute proof as to what really happened at the start of this planet’s existence. Until then, all we have are theories and hypotheses: testable yet inconclusive statements as to how life began on this rock.

We can support one over the other, yet we can never find the absolute truth. The only thing that can be found here is belief. And regardless of how we might wish for a simple yes-or-no answer to one of the most penultimate questions about human existence, it will not be so easy.

Presentation of evidence is one thing. Insistence that the most minor detail that confirms your belief system over another is conclusive and argument-ending is quite a completely different matter.

June 16, 2006

Oh, lemon

Filed under: Evolution — Adam Gurri @ 2:28 pm

Taking a look at this chart of the stages of development among different species' embryos has piqued my interest in embryology.

However, I'm having difficulty finding anything which discusses exactly what it is that I'm interested in.

It seems to me that the similarities in the different stages of gestation are less important, ultimately, than the differences. To rephrase: the similarities are fine evidence of an ancestral tie, but the question is, why do the deviations exist?

The real question I'd like to ask is this: is it possible that the only difference between one moment of development and the next was a mutation in the female, which caused a change in how the womb and fertilized egg interacted? Could the primary mutation have been passed down through the females in this manner, since both genders obviously pass through this period of incubation?

Of course, in the case of a bird or fish or reptile, it seems less likely–unless it was some property about the egg itself.

I'm not really sure where to look where these questions are concerned, however.

Cross Posted at: Sophistpundit 

April 12, 2006

They don’t exactly float in the air

Filed under: Debate,Evolution,Philosophy — Adam Gurri @ 3:38 pm

Here at Creative Destruction, a post of mine sparked quite a discussion. The original post took a quote from the Vulgar Moralist, and he has just stepped into the arena.

I am interested in “ideas” only so far as they influence behavior.

Suppose, then, that all of us non-Mormon Americans keeled over tomorrow, and left the country in the hands of the Latter Day Saints. With a greater degree of freedom than is the norm in the Muslim Middle East, the next generation might indeed see some individualists and free-thinkers who deviate from church teachings. But would they approximate the numbers of cultural liberals today?

Traditions are not learned from a manual. They are taught in the school of family life, and in the shared rituals of the community. They are not a matter of intellectual assent or reasoned proof. We feel the moral vision implicit in our traditions in the form of powerful emotions, which link our lives to the larger story of the community, infuse them with meaning, and seem, not infrequently, worth dying for: dulce et decorum est. In a very literal sense, morality commands our biology. (Those interested in the biological drivers of morality, check the work of Antonio Damasio and Jonathan Haidt.)

If the moral community we call “cultural liberalism” physically vanished tomorrow (and I have no idea if this is really in the cards), it would take with it all its traditions, rituals, and habits. The chance of these being reproduced spontaneously in the next generation approximate the chances of spontaneous Muslim generation, should all believers in that religion somehow vanish instead.

What is the place of freedom in this scheme of things? I said tradition is not learned in a manual. Morality isn’t a series of yes-and-no questions. The complexity of human life is too immense for such methods. Personal freedom is the motor of moral evolution: the way we adjust our public traditions to our private needs, and to the everlasting puzzle of the social environment. Not being a social darwinist, I don’t believe moral evolution is necessarily for the good, whether “good” is considered in terms of good and evil or of worldly success.

This is why I felt that Ampersand was way off when he argued that VM’s argument could be boiled down to saying that “ideas are passed on – or fail to be passed on – through breeding. Period.” It isn’t about breeding; it’s about the practitioners of a tradition being around to demostrate just what being a part of that tradition means, on a behavioral level.

Breeding is connected, in as much as if the advocates of a tradition grow fewer with each generation, the likelihoods of that tradition’s long-term survival begins to decline.

March 22, 2006

Evolution is killed off by natural selection

Filed under: Evolution — Adam Gurri @ 12:46 pm

From the Vulgar Moralist:

As a Darwinist, Dawkins should be less righteous about unscientific attitudes, and more interested in adaptive behaviors. Here’s why. Some of those “conservative segments of society” Longman writes about refuse to believe in the theory of evolution, yet they are breeding healthily. Secularists who embrace evolution, and indeed make a cause of it, are refusing to put the theory to practice: they are dying without heirs. It would truly be a transcendental joke if, a century or so from now, evolution fell out of favor due to the process of natural selection.

It is kind of weird how evolutionary biologists seems so disinterested in the eccentricities of human behavior.

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