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Old 03-06-2006, 01:41 AM   #1
VladTheImpaler
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What do people have to say about the following article?

http://www.alternativescience.com/darwinism.htm

I like to question everything, so although I don't outright believe in this claim, I wonder if scientists have too quickly accepted the facts of evolution without scrutiny.

What do you think?

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~Epicurus
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Old 03-06-2006, 02:24 AM   #2
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Haha. They have an article on psychokinesis.


There is always anomalies in good science :)
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Old 03-06-2006, 05:51 AM   #3
a different tim
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There's a couple of basic errors in this article, and several false claims. The first is that neodarwinism explains "origins" -
Quote:
the article wrote
In the case of neo-Darwinism, it was not the mysteries of the mind or of the economy that were explained. It was the origin of the first single-celled organism in the primeval oceans, and its development.....
It does not. It speculates on origins but I don't think anyone would claim that the origin of natural selection can be explained by natural selection. Other processes such as self organisation of complex structures are probably the relevant ones (I'm reading up on this, by coincidence, right now so I will probably be able to spout on it in a week or so).

Quote:
the article wrote
Anyone educated in a western country in the last forty years will recall being shown a chart of the evolution of the horse from "Eohippus",
The horse series has not been in fact "relegated to basements" etc - this is not the case. It is very much alive as an evolutionary exemplar, but it's more complex than the original simplistic picture. There's a page on the Don Lindsay archive on it here.

Quote:
the article wrote
If true, it would mean that animals neo-Darwinists say are closely related, such as two reptiles, would have greater similarity in their DNA than animals that are not so closely related, such as a reptile and a bird.
Again, not the case. The fact that birds arose form a reptile group, the raptors (as in Jurrasic park type raptors), and the reptiles had already diversified before this branching, implies that birds are more closely related to some reptiles than some reptiles are to each other, and this is what Darwinists would expect. The article is either being deliberately disingenuous, or is betraying an elementary misunderstanding of cladistics.

Quote:
the article wrote
There are, for instance, more than 3,000 species of frogs, all of which look superficially the same. But there is a greater variation of DNA between them than there is between the bat and the blue whale.
This is what we would expect under darwinism since amphibians are an older family than mammals and have had more time for their genomes to diversify.

Quote:
the article wrote
Further, if neo-Darwinist evolutionary ideas of gradual genetic change were true, then one would expect to find that simple organisms have simple DNA and complex organisms have complex DNA
this is a basic error, so basic that I must assume the authors of the article are deliberately lying. It contains two false conflations: 1) "more complex" animals are "more evolved". In fact, if all animals descend from a common ancestor, they have all been evolving for the same anmount of time. 2) "more DNA" = "More complex DNA". Since a lot of DNA is junk DNA, this is obviously not true. Also, a lot of DNA is created from gene duplications etc. In the most extreme cases, plants sometimes speciate by chromosome doubling - producing an extra copy of their entire genome. Are we to assume that with this single mutation the plant is "twice as advanced" or "twice as complex?" This cannot be the case as, certainly in the first instance, the doubled genome is merely an extra copy and contains no new information (although any new point mutations will now introduce extra information). This can also happen within the genome, by the way. Finally, the original statement is a non sequitur - a "more complex" animal need not necessarily have "more traits" than a simpler one. For example, the difference between a planktonic creature and an apparently more complex one which is segmented may be a genetic command which simply says "repeat this x times, making x segments". All higher animals, including vertebrates, display segmentation.

Quote:
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The answer is that the only way to define the fit is by means of a post-hoc rationalisation -- the fit must be "those who survived". While the only way to characterise uniquely those who survive is as "the fit". The central proposition of the Darwinian argument turns out to be an empty tautology
Bullshit. I refer you again to the Don Lindsay archive. We can usefully define "the fit" as "those who produce more offspring because they are better adapted to a given local environment". With fossils, it will obviously be post hoc, since by definition fossils lived in the past. This criticism is attacking a historical view of evolution for being historical! The Simpson quote is referring to gene frequencies not phenotypic charateristics and has been taken out of context.

Quote:
the article wrote
When Rupert Sheldrake's book A New Science of Life with its revolutionary theory of morphic resonance was published in 1981...
I've read Sheldrake. It contains no explanatory mechanism, and no indication that there is anything that actually requires morphic resonance that cannot be better explained in another way. It's typical new age horseshit, not a scientific theory at all.

In short, the article is
1) In error. it makes basic claims that are simply wrong.
2) Disingenuous. It tries to portray the scientific debates within evolution as a sign that evoution is in trouble, it quotes scientists who back evolution as if they do not, it quotes out of context, and on a couple of occasions simply lies.
3) Bullshit. It pushes at least one "explanation" that doesn't explain anything, and doesn't show there is anything to explain.

Conclusion - the TES probably spiked it not because it touched on a "forbidden subject" - this is unlikely because, duh, they commisioned it - but because it's a pile of steaming shit, mostly pulled from creationist websites, cobbled together by someone who either does not understand evolution or deliberately wishes to lie about it.

[edit] typos.

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Old 03-06-2006, 10:40 AM   #4
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This article makes some elementary mistakes and reaks of dishonest tactics.
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:39 PM   #5
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Having now held my nose and read through the rest of his site, the author is, I think, phenomenally stupid or deliberately obtuse rather than a liar per se. I mean this is basic stuff that any undergrad text on evolution could tell him. My suspicion is that he either hasn't read or doesn't understand the source material, and has now convinced himself he is an authority so won't listen to anyone anyhow.

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Old 03-06-2006, 04:49 PM   #6
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When a source used the word "Darwinian" (or some variation) evolution in almost every paragraph, then you know that is a bunch of amateurs with an agenda against the theory of evolution. Stop reading, they are giving you bullshit.
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