Monday, December 29, 2008

Another Darwinbot

Once again, while blogging about the inadequacies of evolutionary theory, I received a comment from a Darwinbot. Go here to read what a Darwinbot is and what my own rules are for dealing with a Darwinbot infection on my blog. (In this case, the Darwinbot was both anonymous and a steamroller, and so I was forced to excise his comment. I will, however, quote portions of it here to give you the flavor.)

The comments were not (as we would like to see in response to our own argumentation) arguments supported by evidence or deductive premises. Here's an example...
Evolution is a scientific fact, not a "belief."
This is Darwinbot argumentation of the finest order. Indeed, I 'd be a rich biologist if I received a nickel for every time someone uttered this vacuous phrase in the belief that it has some meaning and validity. How about this comment?
Virtually 100% of biologists love evolutionary biology.
This is modeled on the debating method known colloquially as "Is not!" The trick is to deny another's claim, loudly and repeatedly, and hope that the tone and repetition might fool someone into not noticing that you have no evidence to support that denial. In this case, a single biologist who denies evolution would invalidate the 100% claim, and so the "virtually" is necessary since any number of such counterexamples could be named. Regarding my own views, the Darwinbot wrote,
If you're really a biologist you're a disgrace to your profession.
Thankfully, this is the closest my anonymous commentor came to digressing to mere name-calling. But actually, upon all accounts, I have done nothing to disgrace my profession. My biological services are in reasonably high demand, and I continue to make a decent living providing biological research. Moreover, I am considered an expert in (fairly narrow) areas of my chosen disciplines and have traveled throughout North, Central, and South America presenting the results of my research. In part, this is because, as I have argued elsewhere (go here and here), macroevolutionary theory is entirely irrelevant to conducting biological research.

Here's more of the powerful argument left by the visiting Darwinbot...
If evolution is false, how do you explain the diversity of life? Do you invoke God's magic to explain life? Do you think magic is scientific?
It's difficult to follow the misunderstandings twisted together in this series of three questions. The questioner seems to think that the first two involve the same issue, when they are in fact quite different. The neo-Darwinian theory represented an attempt to explain the one--the diversity of life--but made no claims about the other--life itself. Nonetheless, Darwin himself recognized that if God was necessary to explain the latter, then his theory (for explaining the former) was completely unnecessary and useless. Given the findings of modern science (about the finitude of the universe, the complexity of the simplest living cell, the lack of a prebiotic soup, and such) the origin of the first life does indeed seem to require God (that is, fiat miracle) to satisfactorily explain it. (Indeed, the modern intelligent design movement began--in 1966, at Wistar--when mathematicians and probability theorists attempted to apprise Darwinists of the fatal problems their theory faced--and faces--from such modern research findings.)

There are and always have been perfectly good explanations for the diversity of life. The one that gave rise to modern science is the one that I believe best fits all of the facts. That is, of course, that the transcendent, eternal Creator attested to by astronomy, cosmology, physics, and such and revealed in the Bible purposed to make the Earth a fit place for life and then filled the land and seas of this planet with a rich diversity of life that He created.

As for my Darwinbot's conflating "magic" with "miracle," this merely demonstrates how shallow is his understanding of theology and of the rich philosophical debate (over the centuries) about miracles. For now, let me merely say three things: 1) the actual physical evidence about the history of life on Earth fits better any theory that involves some degree of fiat miracle than it does any naturalistic and gradualistic evolutionary theory, 2) defining science (as to exclude appeals to miracle) is not the task of scientists but of philosophers of science, and 3) philosophers of science agree that no such criterion can be successfully defended.

In his defense, the anonymous commentor did raise one legitimate piece of evidence contrary to my claims. He asked how I would explain the presence of endogenous retroviruses in identical places in the human and chimpanzee genomes. As this has to do with the two reasons (given by Dinesh D'Souza for accepting evolution) with which I have yet to deal, I'll save my response to the ER evidence until I have laid that groundwork.

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