When Science is your god (Final)

This post will conclude our miniseries on people whose god is Science. What irony that this diametric shift could occur in a so-called “man of God!” Based on his limited understanding of the sciences, he seems to have let go of all the Biblical truths he once professed to others for their salvation.

This is the exact danger that many ignore when diving headlong into deep waters without knowing how to swim or even tread water. They are unable to critically evaluate each claim of Evolution independently; they get lost in the data and discussions, oblivious to contentious claims and the constantly shifting positions that new evidence demands. They cling to the life-preserver of consensus, trusting the specialists’ interpretations but never questioning their motives, ideologies or worldviews.

Without access to laboratories and supplies they are unable to conduct any real research. They instead rely on others’ conclusions and count on the authority others claim for themselves. The best argument one can expect to encounter, therefore, is a simplistic parroting of what they’ve read somewhere written by someone famous for something.

As Goebbels himself stated: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” One of the greatest lies of all was told by Darwin. Even today we can count on his disciples to faithfully repeat it. After all, when your god has become science and consensus your bible, the only solution is to keep tightening your grip on that life-preserver for salvation. The sad reality is that’s no life-preserver. It’s a cast-iron anchor sinking into the abyss and taking the poor dilettante with it.

Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.

– Louis Pasteur

Question 4.) Whenever Creationist/ID scientists make a genuine contribution to science, they speak the language of evolution (e.g. LL & GRSIDA in Mount Pisco, Peru). Why not use a Creationist model if there is one?

I should commend you on admitting that Creationist scientists do make genuine contributions to science. One can only hope this puts to rest the notion that Creationists are “science-deniers” or “flat-earthers.” Nonetheless, it is evident from the tone of your questions thus far that you place little to no value on any Creationist viewpoint or literature published by such organizations as Discovery Institute, or Creation Research Society and others like them. It seems that, in your view, contributions to science are only genuine when they are published by mainstream science outlets.

Be that as it may, I suspect the main reason they use the accepted language of evolution is because it is necessary in order to be published by mainstream science journals. It’s called “playing the game according to the rules.” The instant any reference is made to design or creation, even if by accident, the paper is quickly flagged by the ideologues who cry “Foul!” and the journal is forced to retract it. This once again shows how puerile the peer review process is in the first place, to allow such apparent travesties to pass into publication. This very thing happened not too long ago with a Chinese paper published as an English translation in which the topic presented was the human hand. Here’s the story, in case you haven’t heard of it.

Indeed, Creationists have a model and it’s neatly outlined in Genesis 1-2. Coincidentally, this model also identifies appropriate procreation of species and the two singular – but complementary – sexes. As to how science has produced evidence for that model and the interpretations of these data, this is a much more robust and involved discussion than you are prepared to have at this time.

When Science is your god (Part 2)

We continue the series in which we consider what happens to people when their god is Science. The previous installment included a quick introduction to the issue and my first response to one of four questions previously posed to me by a former Adventist pastor now turned evolutionist. This post will contain Q&A’s #2 and #3 for your consideration.  While there is much more I could have said in my original answers, I think the average reader will understand the issues as presented and explained. If there are questions or concerns, or more information is desired, I invite you to submit a comment.

Question 2.) The few creationist/ID scientists that do exist, when publishing in scientific journals, never go beyond showing epistemological gaps in evolution, that the other acknowledge as problems to solve by further research. How come in most cases such scientists are also outspoken Christians? Do not Cr/ID scientists thus inherently imply that science should stop looking for natural explanations and accept biblical constrains like in the dark ages? (Galileo comes to mind).

With regard to gaps in evolution: they are many and fatal. The first of which is that natural selection and random mutations have consistently failed to produce ANY viable new, improved or transitional species in a lab setting anywhere in the world, nor is supported by fossil records which contain no species caught in the act of transition. By contrast, directed (induced) mutation experiments with Drosophila melanogaster and others have been conducted for over 100 years now. These have produced extra sets of eyes, wings or other organs. Alas, these extra organs appear at great cost to both energy needs and survivability. Further, they are either useless, detract from the overall fitness of the organism or nearly decimate subsequent generations in which the mutation accumulates. No fruit fly mutation experiment to date has given rise to a new and improved fly species that survives and thrives in the wild. I also refer you to Lenski’s E. coli experiments  and the resulting loss of function mutations they demonstrated. Here again, no new or improved species appeared as a result of mutations, which were curiously shown to occur not randomly but in response to environmental pressures, forcing adaptation.

Instead mutations are, by far, detrimental to living organisms. Mutations cannot improve a perfectly working protein; they only weaken it. I could say much more about the illogical notion of mutations driving evolution into higher and more complex species. Even worse, no evolutionary mechanism has been demonstrated that can assemble DNA of the correct chirality required for life that produces functional proteins based on physical chemistry (ie, the basic elements). (All DNA experiments conducted to date using the assumed conditions of the early Earth have resulted in 50/50 racemic mixtures of left- and right-handed molecules, yet Life utilizes only the right-hand ones. Even more curiously, the amino acids produced from DNA result in left-handed molecules. Why these two arbitrary constraints if these molecules arose spontaneously by chance?)   

Computational genomics, when viewed from the proper perspective, are overly simplified computer games that cannot handle the processing requirements to produce any potential genetic sequence beyond a few genes, nor can they account for the vast unknown variables found in nature. The results are totally insufficient to draw any meaningful conclusions, being unable to calculate the immense probabilities required for the formation of even the smallest organism (Mycoplasma genitalium) which contains over 500 genes. Worse still, results from computational genomics studies are cutting down evolution’s “Tree of Life,” demonstrating the reality that it’s more of a tangled “Thicket of Life” with no clear or discernible ancestry relationships (see here for starters). The ideologues merely see them where it suits their purposes. Therefore, to use computational genomics as evidence for evolution in the real world is both sad and laughable. Simply put, evolution through mutation is nonexistent, but it doesn’t seem to deter evolutionists.

With regard to Creationists implying that we should stop looking for natural explanations and accept Biblical constraints: by no means is this my view. In light of progress recently made just in the field of genetics alone, which demonstrates how complex even the most apparently simple organism is, there is so much more to learn. The natural world should be (and is) a source of constant wonder, study and discovery. By discarding the shackles of interpreting everything through the lens of Darwinian evolution, we can form truly pertinent hypotheses and design worthwhile experiments. We have truly not even scratched the surface of the vast knowledge available to us: 75% of the world’s oceans remain unexplored; less than 1% of all bacteria estimated to exist have been discovered; medical breakthroughs with regards to cancer, HIV, superinfections and the like occur regularly and are based on discoveries in nature, such as the origin of aspirin and bacteriophage therapy. The problem is not that Man continues to study the natural world; the problem is that science establishment discourages any other opinion and twists much of the data to support evolution as the only explanation possible. This is evidenced, for example, by their stance towards anthropogenic climate change dissenters and suppression of all other theories of Origins in national education systems.

(With regards to Galileo, let me add this short excerpt from True Reason by Tom Gilson here: 

Galileo’s problem was not simply that he challenged the authority of the Church. The issue was far more complex. Galileo also upset secular professors whose careers were dedicated to the older cosmology. Prior to the 16th century, most educated people (regardless of religious persuasion) accepted the primary cosmological model of the ancient Greeks, who believed Earth sat stationary while the sun revolved around it. When Galileo offered scientific evidence against this model, he “rattled the cages” of both the Church and academia.

Galileo made three costly mistakes in his diplomacy (or lack thereof) that led to his reproof. First, he broke his promise not to teach that Copernicanism was true. Given that the evidence for heliocentrism was inconclusive at the time, Galileo agreed not to teach its truth. But he went back on his word with the release of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems.

Second, Galileo openly mocked the pope in this same book through a fictitious dialogue between two people— himself and the pope. This was especially odd since Pope Urban VIII was both a friend and supporter. Galileo named the pope Simplicio, which means “simpleton” or “buffoon.” Galileo’s character was articulate and elegant as he responded to the foolish and simplistic remarks of Simplicio. Needless to say, the pope was not amused.

Galileo was neither executed nor persecuted by the Church for his diplomatic blunders. After his trial before the Inquisition, he was placed under the care of the archbishop of Siena, who housed him in his beautiful palace for five months. Galileo was then released to his home in Florence where he received a Church pension for the rest of his life. He was able to continue his scientific research in areas unrelated to heliocentrism.

Question 3.) All the ID/Creationist think tanks, websites, textbooks, journals, etc. are openly or secretly (e.g. the subpoena at the trial in Dover) on a mission to defend a biblical/fundamentalist worldview, and resort to conspiracy theories about a secret agenda of science or to political strawmen like: the menace of a new Holocaust, eugenics, abortion, communist style atheism, etc. In view of all these, how would you characterize their claim of defending freedom of thought, “teaching the controversy” and “thinking out of the box”?

I beg to differ: the reality of the Holocaust, eugenics, and other heinous deeds is no conspiracy theory or Straw Man argument. Instead, it should be a reminder of what Man is capable of when the ends justify the means, when he has the political power and resources of the State to treat others as subhuman, subjecting them to cruel experiments or to take lives because they are of inferior race or “just a clump of cells.” We are now allowed to create chimeras – amalgamations of animal cells and human cells – overturning previous ethical and moral boundaries of science. If you seriously doubt these events could possibly happen (because you reason we have “evolved” since), or doubt that science is political, you give Man too much credit and clearly don’t reside in reality with respect to the checkered history of science or the 20th century.

History clearly and graphically records these dark chapters, when the State proposed itself as god, and by the rhetoric of some scientists today who even go so far as to advocate prison sentences for anthropogenic climate change dissenters, I think anything is possible. Ironically, freedom of thought, discourse, and thinking outside the box is precisely what is not allowed by the establishment and strongly discouraged because it rocks Darwin’s boat of Evolution, jeopardizes scientists’ salaries, career/tenure, research grants at taxpayers’ expense, prestige in academia, potentially lucrative TV roles and so on. This is evidenced in such cases as the Dover trial you mentioned. Why does the government take it upon itself to make it unlawful to teach Creationism, or Intelligent Design, or other Origins theories in public schools when there is no empirical, experimental evidence that evolution works? This seems to be in violation of the 1st Amendment and is a disservice to students. They should be allowed to hear all sides of the debate and be able to discern what claims are true or false, based on the evidence. After all, education, beliefs, and worldviews are personal decisions to be undertaken by the student and family, not the state.

The tools of science are being increasingly misused to pursue social and political agendas that have no realm or basis in true science. For reference, I kindly refer you to the “March for Science” (see here) led by none other than TV personality-turned-political activist Bill Nye, who is no “Science Guy,” and mainly funded by democrat activists. Their site claims:

“Scientists and people who care about science are an intersectional group, embodying a diverse range of races, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, religions, ages, socioeconomic and immigration statuses.”

The simple fact that science clearly demonstrates sex/gender is based on chromosomes (not feelings) and that sexual reproduction and procreation of species involves male and female (disqualifying homosexuality) eludes these poor souls. It should highlight how far off course these “scientists and people who care about science” truly are. If ever there was a group of folks more committed to ideologies than to the facts, true science, or individual freedoms for that matter, it is these. It’s even more unfortunate that they attempt to speak for all scientists. Therefore it is not Creationists who are hijacking science; it is mainstream science and politics that accomplish this. Your disdain is certainly noted but demonstrably misplaced.

When Science is your god (Part 1)

I recently had the unenviable experience of participating in an online verbal joust on the blog site of a vociferous former Adventist pastor. I say “former” because he is not a practicing pastor assigned to any church nor receives compensation from the organization as he once did. He can now be found online on blogs such as Oxigen 2 and Vector Society, where he posts recordings and articles on various themes. I will only address those that pertain to science and his current understanding that everything in nature, from microbe to men, is the result of Darwin’s 19th century unfounded idea called Evolution. This idea is strictly defined as universal common ancestry via unguided mutation and natural selection.

As he may once been a conservative Christian preacher, he is now a self-avowed evolutionist and quite proud of his new-found religion. I would also add that he is quite the relativistic humanist but that is outside the scope of our discussion with regards to science matters.

 

Let it be clear from the outset that I have not watched any of the videos posted or read more than a few of his blog posts with regard to religious themes. My own blog here is a hobby, not my main occupation as he naively suggests. As such, if I am mistaken, I gladly accept correction. When it comes to affirmations made with regard to evolution, the scientific method, consensus and the like, it is here that I feel corrections should be made for the general reader who is an amateur on science matters and is also grappling with issues such as faith, religion, and science.

I would hope that each reader or listener would be able to do their own research instead of relying on the supposed authority that this pastor may have had at one time as the leader of a church. However, it should be made clear that he has no science background, no verifiable formal science training, no material published in any peer-reviewed publication and no career or teaching experience in any of the sciences. Instead he is a self-described “self-taught dilettante,” in other words an amateur without any real knowledge or deep commitment to the activity in question. 

It would have been far more advantageous for him had he enrolled in courses such as English 101, Public Speaking 101 or Basic Computing 101. In these courses he would have learned how to properly express himself in written English, since he has not mastered this in the 20 years spent living in the United States. He would have learned how to properly express himself in understandable public speech, instead of rambling on at staccato rates. And finally, he would have learned how to do basic Internet searches for published material he claims doesn’t exist (In case you still need links, Edi, here are a few: Professional 2018 Code Book, Principles of Coding Textbook, CPT Assistant monthly peer-reviewed journal, and Clinical Examples of Radiology peer-reviewed journal). The material is not free of charge, however, as is the case with most published specialty content, but locating it took five minutes using simple Internet search skills.  

As an introduction to subsequent entries on this topic, I will present the first of four questions previously posed to me by this former pastor turned evolutionist. I never received any follow-up for the answers I provided him, most likely since he dismissed them along with my reasoning. Whereas my views are based on the experience of obtaining Biology and Informatics degrees, his apparent rejection of my answers is based on his dilettantism. Let the reader judge for himself which position is more balanced and informed.

Question 1.) How is it that empirical data from different branches of research – fossils record, comparative anatomy, molecular biology, geographic distribution of life forms, comparative DNA, computational biology – were found by most scientists to support evolution independently from one another?

There are a couple of issues we should address from the outset. First, when attempting to sustain any claim with the “most scientists” consensus argument, let’s be clear that consensus is not science and not what science is about. Science is about facts, data, evidence, testability, verification, and reproducibility. What all of that leads to is interpretation and discussion, which is debatable and often hotly contested. Achieving consensus should be reserved for politics and policies, as it does not describe an objective search for empirical evidence and therefore is not science. Also, the majority have been known to be wrong many times in the past and relentless in their convictions until enough data was gathered and analyzed “outside the box” to overturn long-held wrong conclusions.

Secondly, when invoking the different branches of science and stating that they are independent of each other, one makes a novice mistake in oversimplifying the facts. Biology is dependent upon biochemistry; geology is dependent upon physics and physical chemistry; paleontology is dependent upon geology, biology and chemistry. To understand the claims of one specialty requires proficiency in the others. I could cite more examples but the implications here are enormous. No branch of science stands independent. Instead, each branch or specialty of science cites others’ publications in support of the various claims made. Moreover, each branch of science has a vocal minority driven by ideology to proclaim any result – whether negative or positive – as purportedly evidence for evolution. It is unfortunate, but this is the reality. And as one who has experienced the various branches of Life Sciences during nearly 9 years of college sciences and successfully completed 2 degrees thus far, I can attest to this firsthand. I welcome your perspectives once you have successfully completed similar studies.

Now to address your question in light of the above reality. Since all publications cite other works in support of the claim(s) they make, it is a false assessment to say that each branch of science has independently produced data that only supports evolution. Furthermore, empirical data does not speak on its own. It is (hopefully) gathered accurately, verified, analyzed, then reanalyzed to where outliers or erroneous data points are explained or excluded (science is performed by humans, who are, after all, imperfect and prone to mistakes…not to mention bias). Once the data is cleaned up and arranged in logical order, one can then begin to make some sense of the data. Depending on the hypothesis being tested, the data may or may not support the claim; the data may be insufficient to draw a conclusion to a reasonable level of certainty (the R squared value, for example); or the data might reveal an alternate hypothesis that was not even considered. This is the real world of science.

What most amateurs fail to comprehend when perusing such publications on the Internet is particularly the Materials & Methods section. As part of my education, I spent semesters tasked with dissecting science journal publications into fragments to find flaws or weaknesses that might call into question the integrity of the paper (unofficial peer review, if you will). My class found inconsistencies and anomalies in about half of the publications we studied and they were usually in the Materials & Methods section, followed closely by the Conclusion portion. I recall at least several instances in which we identified significant errors, prompting our professor to reach out to the publishers and authors to notify them of the mistake. Whether or not the papers were ever corrected or retracted, we never found out.

The point is that there are many errors and mistakes made (some knowingly, others not) which are not caught during peer review as they should be. As long as the conclusion seems to support evolution in some way, most publications get a pass. Where many other papers fail is in the crucible of reproducibility. The failure rate of reproducibility is estimated by some experts to be over 60% (see here) and is a worrying trend.

This is your “most scientists agree” false premise explained and debunked.