"Maynard Smith credits August Weismann’s germ plasm theory as a key factor in the modern synthesis ..."
See? Impossible, in principle, from the git-go, and we aint just talkin some kinda candyass "methodology" here, eh, Eric? We're talkin about what is otologically IMPOSSIBLE.
Thatr reduction allowed a great deal of work to get done, and was later discarded when found insufficient.
Well, apparently you didn't read them very closely (or else just read them with a pre-formed conclusion in mind, which was unshakable. "Explanation" (whatever that is) is the sine qua non of a theory. Mebbe this article is more direct, eh?
"A scientific theory is used as a plausible general principle or body of principles offered to explain a phenomenon.
A scientific theory is a deductive theory, in that, its content is based on some formal system of logic and that some of its elementary theorems are taken as axioms. In a deductive theory, any sentence which is a logical consequence of one or more of the axioms is also a sentence of that theory."
Did you miss the phrase "explain a phenomenon"? Scientific theories do use some formmal processes in their efforts to explain. If no explanation if offered, there is no theory.
"In pedagogical contexts or in official pronouncements by official organizations of scientists a definition such as the following may be promulgated.
According to the United States National Academy of Sciences: Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory."
This causes the theory/non-theory distinction to much more closely follow the distinctions useful for consumers of science (e.g. should I believe something or not?)"
What this article calls "pedagogical" is more what I would call absurd brainwashing. This is definitely a thoroughly unique and unprecedented way to define "scientific theory," to say the least.
You have to ask yourself what level of evidence would be required to overthrow the theory? How ikely are we to discover that anthrax/measles/smallpox is not caused by pathogens (germ theory of disease)? Should consumers of science believe, and act, as if germs cause diseases? Would you be willing to accept that measles being caused by Morbillivirus is a fact?
"Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory." It is as factual an explanation of the universe..."
"Real world?" "Factual explanation?" And you claim that only "methodology," and not "ontology," is involved here?
You left out the rest of the quote.
It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.
Yes, the phenomenon of evolution is a fact. Yes, the theory of evolution is as facutal as atomic theory or germ theory.
I also note that this claim is made with specific reference to the "theory or biological evolution." They have now turned "theory" into fact, eh?
Evolution is a fact (we have measured all sorts of change) and a theory (explanations for why the change occurs, what it has meant for life, etc.).
This is really just incredible, ya know? Anyone with the least bit of sophisication with respect to the philosophy of science, or even used the least bit of critcal thought, would see the NAS claims as completely over the top on the propaganda scale.
An explantion becomes a theory when "no new evidence is likely to alter" it, at which point it is a "factual explanation" which serves as a "reliable account of the real world."
Simply incredible that NAS would promulgate that view. Are they actually retarded, I wonder?
I find it hard to believe you misunderstood a simple simile. Are you just trolling here, or so ideologically committed that you misunderstood a simile to be an equivalence?
One Brow said: "I don't see anything in this quote that equates to "unfortunate and misleading". I'm sure you had anopther quote in mind."
Then you are just as blind as every other devoted apologist I ever ran into, I guess. No doubt you missed the word "sadly." If you can't see where it was misleading (suggesting that development was irrelevant to evolution) then I really don't think there's anything you could see, unless mebbe you wanted to, ya know?
I think that putting development to the side was a limiting, necessary choice, and the "sadly" was a reflection on the current state of knowledge, and not the choice.
One Brow said: "of the various ways mutations are known to happen, none of them take the actual needs of the organism into account."
This appears to be claim of fact, eh, Eric? Or do you say that strictly as a "methodist," with no ontological intentions at all? If the latter, you might want to study the english language a little more, because that sho nuff aint the meaning you're conveying.
When I say "known to happen", that obviously refers to the limits of what is currently known, making the statement epistemological. Had I spoken 'all the ways a mutation can possibly happen', you would have a point. That you have trouble distinguishing them is not a failing of my English knowledge.
One Brow said: "I don't think he would argue that statement even after acknowledging the importance of development, for which he used the term "selected through their effect on development", as opposed to varying because of their development."
He might or might not argue it, I don't know (but, first, remember that Mayr is not Maynard Smith). I get the feeling that both you, Mayr, and possibly Maynard Smith are confusing genes with some kinda physical objects, as opposed to simply "packets of information," as they seen by George C. Williams (who is highly praised by Dawkins, Gould, Elridge, Maynard Smith (via Eldrige) and others here: http://www.edge.org/documents/ThirdCulture/h-Ch.1.html
True enough. I am sure that by "gene", he meant 'packet of knowledge on a DNA strand'. Many scientitsts probably do mean something broader than that.
As noted by Magulis, "The neo-Darwinists say that variation originates from random mutation, defining mutation as any genetic change." The close association, if not virtual identity, that the neo-darwinists once tried to make between "genes" and dna has vanished, but many still seem to think in those terms.
Old habits die hard.
If "genes" are simply the message, irrespective of the medium; if, indeed, genes are ONLY information, then certainly the "epigentic" means by which regulatory genes "choose" to express the dna is at bottom a form of "genetic mutation." This would seems to imply that, in Williams' view, genes vary "because of their development," to use your words.
I would agree, with the caveat that if we use a braod notion of 'gene', we should probably be careful to note which type of gene were are discussing in such a context.
You can speak of galaxies and particles of dust in the same terms, because they both have mass and charge and length and width. You can't do that with information and matter."
I said: We have already agreed that the notion of "random mutation" is at bottom a metaphyisical one that cannot be proved or disproved. So why is not neo-darwinism, like ID theory, untestable and hence "not scientific," I wonder.
You responded: We did? I must have been off my feed that day/week/month
Musta been, yeah. This is was you said on April 27: Me: You repeatedly say that all heritable genetic variation has been shown to be random.
You: I certainly hope I have not, because such a statement would be unprovable
April 28: You: "As we have agreed (I think), there is no known test for randomness/design per se.
Your current (and former) ongoing assertions that the "randomness" of mutations can be, and has been, confirmed, seems to relax on occasion, such as on May 3 when you said: "Even if Dawkins is uncomfortable with it, adaptive mutation (which is not classical Lamarckism by any means) happens, and we know this because we have tested mechanisms to demonstrate it."
Are "adaptive mutations" consistent with the claim that all mutations are random? Doesn't seem to be.
Ya know, going through some of these old posts, I realize that you must, as is typical, I guess, have entirely different definitions for "ontological" and "epistemological" than I do. I really can't make a lick of sense of a statement like this: "Neo-Darwinism is dead, remember? Even when it was alive, the biological version relied on epistomological randomness, specifically of the type where mutations are not controlled by the organsim, not ontological randomness."
On an ontological level, most mutations would seem to be non-random, as I mentioned before. They happen for chemical reasons. There are probably a very few that happen for reasons like quantum fluctuation which might be ontologically random. Outside of that, on a metaphysical level, mutations are not random. I don't see anything in the above statements that disagree with this. Even then, this does not of course address unknown methods of variation.
Mutations are random in the sense that, of the known methods by which mutations happen, we have no mechanism that connects that mutation to the needs of the organism. They are random in that regard within the limits of our knowledge. They are also random in sense that we are unable to predict them through an insufficient knowledge of the actual chemical interactions involved along any particular strand of DNA inside a organism. So, random in those two ways.
It would be impossible to prove something is metaphysically random. Even for quantum effects, where we have the stongest evidence, this is a possibility that can be easily overturned. The most we can ever say in that regard is that we have data that resemebles a probablitliy distribution.
The word 'random does not mean 'every occurence is equally likely'. Adaptive mutations seem to mean that the probability curve is adjusted in favor of changes occuring at certain locations on the DNA strand.
I don't know what definitions you are using for ontological claims versus episemological claims. Ontology, to myu understanding, is soncerned with how things are, what their true nature is, while epistemology is concerned with what we can know about things and how we can know it. Do you mean something different?
This all gets quite tedious, eh, Eric?
Yes, it does.
The question was this: "So why is not neo-darwinism, like ID theory, untestable and hence "not scientific," I wonder."
Do you have a direct answer to that question, or not?
Since neo-Darwinism was falsified, it was obviously falsifiable. What could falsify ID?
Is your answer that neo-darwinism makes no claims about reality? If so, does ID make claims about reality, or is such a hypothesis merely "methodological." If they are different in this respect, HOW are they different. You seem to agree that it is not in the "testability" of the two, insofar as their basic premises go.
ID seems to make the claim that a designer is responsible, in part, for the structure of life. Materialism would make the claim no designer is involved in life. Both are equally untestable. Niether is a claim of neo-Darwinism or modern evolutionary theory, in that the 'randomness' present in neo-Darwinism and modern evolutionary theory is compatible with the existence of a designer. Both are claims made by various men, including scientists, when speaking about life outside the scientific literature. Neither claim belongs in a science classroom.
It seems obvious that both views feel compelled to deny that all evolution is (was) random, sensing intuitively that would be prohibitively improbable. Both insist that evolution is NOT random, but disagree on the reasons why this is so. Philosophically speaking, these two viewpoints, as they relate to living matter, seem come down to "vitalism" vs. "materialism."
I disagree. Yo can be a Lamarckian materialist, or a wiesmannian who accepts design.
It is in no means self-evident that such inferences are "unreasonable" or "unscientific" unless one merely defines them as such. One can, for example, say: "I define any inference of design to be both unreasonable and unscientific." But, of course, definitions are arbitrary, and do not dictate the reality of the matter.
Again, as I have said before, I can assume (or infer) that an object has been designed without that assumption in any way affecting the way I try to analyze it or explain it. Such an assumption may assist my investigation, but it does not change my methodolgy. If I know nothing about the workings of machines motivated by internal combustion engines, for example, I still will not "understand" one until I know how all the parts interact with each other and what function they serve, which requires investigation (for me). I do not purport to "explain" anything by simply saying: "this machine was designed." Science is ultimately about explanations, not metaphyscial presumptions, although the latter may inform the former. An assumption of "vitalism" would not change that. We would never have, or even be expected to, explain the ultimate nature of the "vital force" to simply investigate the phenomena.
I agree. This is why the discussion does not belong in a science class.
The point I'm making is this: Whether one ultimately believes in or presupposes vitalism (lamarckism in evolutionary terms) or materialsim (darwinism) has nothing to do with science as such. The vociferious outcry that materialism must be taught as an underlying presupposition, but that any notion of vitalism cannot even be discussed as an alternative presupposition, is not "scientific" either.
As noted above, I disagree on the associaiton of vitalism to Lamarckism. Outside of that, I agree.
Lamarckism, whether true or not, whether ever irrefutably demonstrated or not, is NOT off limits to either scientific investigation nor is it inherently outside the realm of "scientific thinking." Of course, neo-darwinists have always thought otherwise, but, still....
That's why the once fruitful school is not bveing discarded.
One Brow said: "But the warping of space is a mechanism for the attrction of bodies. There is no more "spooky action at a distance", just local effects."
Heh, as if the "warping of space" isn't spooky? Seriously, what exactly is "space, and how can it "warp" as a practical matter? Of course, for Einstein, there is no "space" per se. Only space/time. Now, tell me, what is "space/time," apart from a verbalization of the mathematics involved (as was the Newtonian use of the concept of "attaction of matter to matter" to verbalize the mathematical relationship detected)?
I doubt I could, although physicists might be able to. At any rate, that's a new level of mechanism. Anytime you explain something, the explanation itself will open up new questions.
More "pedagogical information," from the AAAS, eh?
Well, they pack all the theory in there, eh, and simply call the theory "evolution" which is "described," not hypothesized, interpreted, or deduced. Random mutation (why not just say "mutation," I wonder?--Why does "random" ALWAYS have to be inserted as a qualifying adjective?). Common descent, natural selection, macro-evolution = micro-evolution, the whole 10 yards.
This is an obvious simplification.
I wonder if anyone who aint plumb stupid doubts any of this, eh? Lemme see here....
"Is there "evidence against" contemporary evolutionary theory? No.
Do yo know of some? Against, as in saying evolution didn't happen?
Is there a growing body of scientists who doubt that evolution happened? No...Of the few scientists who criticize contemporary evolutionary theory, most do no research in the field, and so their opinions have little significance for scientists who do."
Well, there ya have it, then, eh? All wrapped up in a ribbon.
Who are the evolutionary biologists who feel there is evidence against evolution?
Hmm, where to even start trying to intrepret and assess this curious brochure, eh? Well, in passing, one might note that the last sentence quoted claims that "that evolution by natural selection is how life on Earth arose."
If "arose" refers to abiogenesis, that seems to be wrong. If they meant 'grew from a small part of the planet to being universally present', that seems to be accurate, but a poor word choice. Looking at the context, I'm inclined to pick the latter.
What you, Eric, have called a "mechanism," this brochure calls "process" [they say "Natural selection is the process by which some traits succeed and others fail..."], so let's use that as a substitute synonmyn is the next sentence, which would then read: "Scientists no longer question the basic facts of evolution as a mechanism."
So the "mechanism" (which Gould said was the theoretical part) is now a "basic fact," eh?
I would say there is more to being a mechanism that there is to being a process. Photosynthesis is a completely factual process, but it explains nothing in and of itself. Natrual selection can be explained as a process only, or an a larger level as a mechanism.
The care and authority which went into this dubious publication makes it all the more appalling to a disintered observer.
You think you are disinterested?
Ironically, this brochure has the gall to say (addressing ID theory, of course): "Teaching
non-scientific concepts in science class will only confuse students about the processes,
nature, and limits of science."
The opposite is probably true. Perhaps teaching ID theory would be one way of unconfusing students who are exposed to such "non-scientific" concepts as are contained in this brochure and help them understand the true "nature and limits" of science.
If "ID theory" ever starts to accurately discuss the true nature and limits of science, perhaps.
Well, first, that a "scientific theory" is an "explantion." Just any old explanation? Naw, apparently only those that "are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them." [In the entire history of science has there been a single case of such an explanation?].
The atomic theory of matter. The germ theory of disease. Heliocentric theory.
As a side attribute, a scientific theory also allows us to make predictions, they say.
Do they have an example? Well, yeah, they have two, actually. " A good example is the theory of gravity." Hmm, and you say that Newton's explanation of "gravity" is simply a law, not a theory--I wonder who's right here, you, or them? Whichever, they say "Scientists then use the theory to make predictions about how gravity will function in different circumstances" (as Newtonians did for the "hundreds of years" this brochure brings up). Of course, you also keep saying that Einstein's relativistic view of Newton's mathematical formula was a mere "refinement" of Newton, so let's not quibble here, OK? (having made that request, I expect you to quibble, but I will wait and see about that).
The brochure does not reference a *Newtonian* theory of gravity, so what makes you think they are referring to Newton's Law? Theories have to acount for all of the available evidence, old, new, and yet-to-be-tested, to be viable.
Also, surely you are not confusing what I said about Newton's Laws of Motion and his Law of Gravity. I believe I was clear and held different opinions on that.
Of course their second example is evolutionary theory: "Evolution stands on an equally solid foundation of observation, experiment, and confirming evidence." I mean, like, really now, is this a joke? Are they really trying to compare the predictive power and confirming evidence for "explanantions" advanced by evolutionary theory to that afforded by the strict mathematical formulaes used for gravity?
Only a straight-up chump would fall for that claim, I figure, but that's not to say I haven't found many darwinist cheerleaders swallowin it hook, line, and sinker.
Only a straight-up chump would fail to see that there have been thousands of predictions upheld.
Read this brochure critically, Eric. Look at this sentence and then tell me that the "creationists" who said the term "evolution" was used in multiple, confusingly unspecified manners, are not worth trusting. "Evolution stands on an equally solid foundation of observation, experiment, and confirming evidence."
Didn't you claim that nobody would use the word "evolution" to mean the theoretical elements thereof in a teaching setting?
I certainly hope not. All high-school and above science class should include theory.
The equivocal use of terms to "explain" the topic of evolution as used here is simply a method of misleading students into an extremely mushy, uncritical "understanding" of the theoretical issues, as I see it? Is it intentional? Well, either that, or totally incompetent, as far as "teaching" methods go.
I don't find your analysis persuasive or factually based.
OF COURSE IT IS(!), according to the NAS: "For those who are studying the origin of life, the question is no longer whether life could have originated by chemical processes involving nonbiological components. The question instead has become which of many pathways might have been followed to produce the first cells." (Science and Creationism, 1999).
That sentence is not in the brochure you linked too. Pennock's statements in that don't necessarily have NAS agreement.
Why say that ID theory is "not science" if naturalistic processes could provide a basis for it, hmmmmm?
Creating a natrualistic basis does not rescue ID theory, because it makes no scientific claims.
I wonder if the authors of these pedagogical brochures, which stress natural selection as the virtually proven theory of evolution (remember, it's not even a theory unless it is doubtful that any new evidence could alter it), are familiar with the works of Masatochi Nei who wrote, just for example, a research paper called "The new mutation theory of phenotypic evolution."
I think they might respond: "As scientists gather new results and findings, they continue to refine their ideas. Explanations are altered or sometimes rejected when compelling contradictory evidence comes to light." Same answer for most of the quotes.
"This is the fundamental reason why we already have the well formulated 'Atomic Theory' but not yet a comparable 'Living Systems Theory.'"
No "theory" because it's all just too complex, eh? Like, whooda thunk, I ax ya?
Everyone. It's probably not possible to have a system as well-reduced as Atomic Theory.