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Archive for janvier 2006

creationist’s poetry

Michael J. Farrand in his comment at « William Dembski’s “Case for Intelligent Design” speech« , points me to his poem « THE ONLY PROBLEM WITH EVOLUTION« .

God’s creatures burst perfectly onto the scene
Then stay that way ever, not changing a gene.

If could bring evidence of a single organism that doesn’t mutate I would certainly need to reconsider my position. 😉

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This is the last extract of Jean Staune’s paper I’ll comment, and this isn’t about a quote by about his conclusions.

However, once we have demonstrated the existence of numerous non Darwinian alternatives, there is, nevertheless, one question which remains: the neo-Darwinians who have divided themselves into several schools of thought are still currently largely dominant in Biology.
Why?

This is due to the nature of the paradigm presently dominating the Life Sciences. Inherited from Newtonian Classical Physics, the mechanist and reductionist paradigms conceive the universe and the human being, at least by analogy, as one would construct a watch in a factory assembly line. However, it is precisely this paradigm which has totally disappeared our day in the realm of Physics.

Clearly Jean Staune show the existence of numerous non-darwinian approaches, none of them scientifically acceptable as per se. They may be the product of scientist, but not following a scientific mode.

Now, there is the analogy between the paradigm dominating the life sciences with the « watch factory assembly line ».
William Dembski would be happy if this was true.
The is a huge confusion between darwinism and Intelligent Design made here.
And I do know how to read a paragraph. 😉
In a watch factory assembly line randomness is the exception, like in « sh*t happens ». In darwinism randomness (mutations) is the basis, like in « evolution happens ».

I do understand that Jean Staune don’t like some designists (the uncommon descent school), neither darwinists, and he try to defend a different position, but this kind of confusions is unacceptable, at least from a darwinist.

And by the way, I didn’t knew that randomness « totally disappeared our day in the realm of Physics »!

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Nevertheless, it is on this point that I would like to cite the famous text of on Evolution where he says that

“ recent findings lead us to recognize that the theory of evolution is more than a hypothesis ”.

It is very significant that the Darwinians, Christian or not, frequently cite this but never these two sentences which are found just after the citation in the text:

“ More than the theory of evolution, it is necessary to speak of theories of evolution. This plurality comes with, on the one hand, the diversity of explanations which were proposed for the mechanism of evolution and on the other hand, on the different philosophies which they refer to”

And

“ As a consequence, the theories of evolution which, by the influence of philosophies which inspire them, consider the spirit to be an emergent force of living matter or as a simple epiphenomenon of this matter are incompatible with man’s truth ”

The first passage affirms in a very clear way that there is not just one theory of evolution but that there are several to choose from. The second passage seems to say that Darwinism is incompatible with the Christian Faith, as Darwinism affirms that only forces of living matters permits the emergence of all forms and their characteristics, and that one among them was the spirit which is associated with the “ Homo sapiens ” form.

First let me make clear that the popes opinion may be interesting for christians but not from a scientific perspective. In general, what the pope say about one thing or another is interesting from a political point of view; christians are voter and if they make their choices based on papal opinions that influence more then religious issues.
In general, what religious leader say must be considered as important if it influence more than religious issues.

Now, what a pope say may be considered important in a temporal mode.
A pope is supposed to detain « the truth », by representing an omniscient being, namely God. That could lead to the conclusion that in the succession of popes never would one invalidate what one of his predecessors affirmed. Facts show that this conclusion is false. That can be due to the fact that popes don’t hold « the truth » or that they are liars. I wouldn’t like to think of so pious persons that they are lying; I do prefer to think that they don’t hold « the truth ».
So, what a pope say isn’t quite important otherwise than for its political consequences.

Exegesis is one of the favor activities around scriptures. Jean Staune quote the pope and give us an explanation (exegesis) of what he wanted to say:

What Jean Staune refers to as the first passage, is interpreted as indicating that there are several theories from which one could chose. I could propose another reading: there were several theories (lamarkism was one), but there is only one left. One shouldn’t forget that Lamark was the one who proposed Evolution, and Darwin just offered the explanation of how it worked, by putting aside Lamark’s teleologism. Jean Paul II say: « … were proposed [evolution theories] […] they refer to [philosophies]… », which left us to one theory and several philosophies; I suppose the pope knew his verbs.
So, no choice about the theory of evolution from Jean Paul II 😉 But once again, who really cares?

The second sentence is interpreted by Jean Staune as the epitaph of darwinism for christians! That could be interpreted as a tentative from him to say that Jean Paul II was inconsequent (that the lighter way I found to say it). He starts by saying that darwinism is more then an hypothesis and tow sentences later say that it isn’t worth considering! Now, even if atheist, I should defend the pope, because I don’t thing that the clergy is composed by silly persons.
I would never say that the spirit is emergent from living matter of an epiphenomenon. It’s just another natural process, nothing less, nothing more. And, « emergence », the way Jean Staune use it, have nothing to do with the darwinian approach; one should avoid mixing arguments from different ones. That fits well the scripture and doesn’t make the pope looking like a fool.

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With Tom Bethell’s characterization of darwinism as a tautology and the Milton Keynes bug I some how deviated from my original goal which is commenting the quotations used by Jean Staune in his paper. There are a few ones that are worth commenting, so I will finish with that part.

, paleontologist, Professor at the University of Sienna, defends an “ organicist ” position which he defines as follows:

« the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Totality determines the nature of the parts. One cannot understand these parts as long as they are considered separately, without reference to the whole. The parts are dynamically connected between them in a ceaseless interaction and an interdependence. Consequently, the analytical approach, mechanist and atomistic, characteristic of traditional Newtonian physics, prove inadequate to understand Life as a whole, or in its various animal or vegetable expressions « 

« the whole is more than the sum of the parts », sometimes that’s true, it’s called synergy, some times it’s wrong: when the whole is less than the sum of the parts, it’s antagonism and if it’s equal, then it’s indifference. The whole isn’t always more than the sum of the parts! I suspect that professor Fondi is aware of that.

The last sentence of the quote seems to be a conclusion driven by the fact that « The parts are dynamically connected between them in a ceaseless interaction and an interdependence. » But there is nothing here showing that « Consequently, the analytical approach, mechanist and atomistic, […] prove inadequate to understand Life as a whole… ». I would expect him to say the contrary, that by understanding the mechanisms governing interactions and interdependencies, one progressively build a model allowing to understand life as a whole, including synergistic and antagonistic effects.

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Science, evolution, creation, design and nature are the key terms to be analyzed on critics of the evolutionary naturalism, according to who is proposing the addition of the two last ones, design and nature, to the list initially proposed by . Is that all? No!

« There’s a sixth term that could have been added to the five key terms, but is best kept in the background, namely, . »

Now, now, now, didn’t he said that had nothing to do with religion, it was pure science?

The prefect ending to such an interrogation would be for [RD Darwinists] to admit that they are Darwinists first and foremost because Darwinism is the most effective tool for destroying religion (this is the ideal — don’t expect to achieve it).

What their opinion about Intelligent design is, doesn’t really matters, huh?

For the ES Darwinists, the aim of the interrogation is to show that they are condescending elitists who don’t have a religious bone in their bodies but who nonetheless presume to tell religious believers how they should make their peace with evolution.

So, it seems that you may need a religious bone to understand Intelligent Design, after all.

KM Darwinists need to be pressed into admitting that their theology requires that ID be kept as a live possibility.

This is quite similar to those Inquisition pressure systems; they could be useful to press KM Darwinists, maybe intimidate ES Darwinists, but something stronger should be found for RD Darwinists! Maybe

bucher

Quotations are from The Vise Strategy, Squeezing the Truth out of Darwinists [available here], by William A. Dembski

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Just received an em-mail by laughing with my error. I hope he enjoyed it as much as myself. After finishing laughing I searched for the source of the error. Well, while analyzing the text to transform it to a small database to prepare my comments in it, the soft transformed the closest name-like element to the comment’s author name.
So, as Staune say in his message « a brand new biologist was born! »

What is more interesting in the message is that Staune ask me to admit that I’m lucky, him being a christian, who by charity is point me (privately) to my error. As one would say, « Jesus, I’m a lucky guy« .

Well, first of all, thank you Mister Staune for pointing to an error. I assume it plainly and publicly, no need to imagine that I wouldn’t do so. And I posted an ‘erratum’ rather then simply edit my posts [fr]. And when other people do so I praise them [fr] even if we aren’t exactly one could call friends.

Then he continues by saying that he isn’t going to talk about my error all around saying that this « poor AV pretending being a biologist and being of the level to defend darwinism while he don’t even know how to read a text… he don’t even know Brien Goodwin (Laughters) »

Now, as I’m not a christian and the charity I practice isn’t selfish, I’m claiming publicly that I mistaken, doing so in a plain post and not just in a simple erratum. (oh, by the way, I should add mention of it in the #0 post of the series)

As I say, Evolution happens, just like sh*t. Well, this is an example that sh*it happens.

On the other hand I’m not pretending being a biologist, I am a biologist. And I feel quite confident with defending my opinions, including darwinism. And I expect more then christian charity from Jean Staune, I’m expecting discussion. Then we will be able to say if I’m of the level to defend darwinism or not 😉

What I’m not, is a good programmer and I should find and fix that damn bug. And that’s the real sh*it that happened to me today

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This is probably the one of the comments I prefer; staring by an apparently simple phrase and being quit complicated.

cites taking up the idea of :

… for whom Darwinism is a tautology (it predicts the survival of the fittest. But which are the fittest? Those that survive!)

Let’s assume that Darwinism predicts the survival of the fittest, in front of a particular selection pressure. That doesn’t mean that they are the best ones, just the fittest.

Is there one way to survive? No, there may be a lot of combinations with the same fitness. Darwinism can’t predict which one would be available at the particular moment the selection pressure appears, neither if there will be one or several ways to bypass it.

Now, is Darwinism predicting survival? In other terms, is there always a way to survive? No, conditions may exist that there will be no survivors.

If Darwinism predicts something, it’s the fact that part of the biosphere will continue to evolve as long as local conditions allow it. This isn’t even about a large part of the biosphere, more the 99% of that variance was already lost, and this percentage will continue to raise and could go up to 100 %.

The survivors aren’t always the fittest 🙂 Do I seem to be some kind of heretic here? Well, no! Quite Darwinian thoughts I’ll deliver here: The survivors may be just the descendants of the fittests. I don’t need to have inherited some particular character from my ancestor, a character that permitted to him to survive as long as necessary for me to be conceived (not even born), if the corresponding selective pressure disappeared. It may even have killed him, after my conception, that doesn’t matter. I couldn’t overcome the same selective pressure he did. For this particular selective pressure, I’m not the fittest, my ancestor was, but I’m the survivor. My ancestor might even be the one that changed the selective pressure to which I couldn’t resist, say by completely extinguishing some species of predator.

That’s may seem tricky because I’m using individuals here, but this is true about species. The fittest not always survive, their descendant do. It depends how much time the selective pressure needs to take you out of the genes’ pool.

On the other hand, the fittest’ , in front of a particular selective pressure, descendants aren’t always surviving 🙂 I mean, they should have descendants for them to survive. Isn’t it? But this doesn’t depend on a particular character, there are a lot of them, and one should also consider including the opinion of the ladies and the possibility to avoid that less fittest idiot who’s driving drunk, or to make it less cultural, some tsunami passing by. You don’t just need to fit to survive you have also to have an opportunity to prove it. So let’s make it the fittest between those that had the opportunity to survive.

To finish, why Tom Bethell consider Darwinism as a tautology? Because he is using a teleological mode of thinking. For Bethell the Darwinism must predict something (I think that this I will call the in reference to the plutonian Dichael Menton of Jean Staune; I hesitated with the meteorology syndrome but that would be unfair for meteorologists). The Darwinism observes evolution and explains how it happens. And use the term of fittest to describe those life forms that survive, without being able to predict if there will be any of them, or any survivor at all, in the future. Evolution forecasting, if any, should be over short periods and be accompanied by the disclosure that they represent possible events, each accompanied by the probability to occur, within the limits of known conditions.

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