How Falsifications Lead To Confirmations In Evolution

Homoplasy is fancy jargon for convergent evolution which is often times invoked as an explanation of organisms having supposedly and independently converge on the same complex solution from the same complex problem via evolution. It has been subject to debate for many years within evolution about whether or not it exhibits directionality or inevitability.

In science daily

“The authors provide many fascinating examples of homoplasy, including different species of salamanders that independently, through evolution, increased their body-length by increasing the lengths of individual vertebrae. By contrast, most species grow longer by adding vertebrae through evolution.”

In any case, it’s incredibly and enormously hard (and this is being generous) for a random process to produce specified things like eyes just one time let alone doing a number of times again which suggests that multiple independent cases would falsify evolution big time!  The authors mentioned in science daily using taxpayer funding decided that the damaging evidence was really a triumph for Darwinian evolution.

So what you have here, homoplasy being a fancy jargon term for convergent evolution which failed evolutionary predictions at first, but then it was later invoked into the framework to claim future and past  predictions. “See” some say, “evolution predicts it” in other words they are claiming evolution predicted it all along, they just were not aware of it at first. This is how a story which has been falsified by the evidence numerous times leads itself to confirmations in science.

When mistakes happen in evolution, often times the theories are not abandoned by the falsifications. Fossils are a prime example of this and seem to always make huge headlines. Back in 2004,   reported in Science and Scientific American, was the latest claim of a human fossil from Africa considered to be the oldest ever found that was originally discovered in 2001.

The fossil consisted of a mere six fragments of teeth from Ethiopia, by the team of Haile-Selassie. Not all were convinced. David Begun says…

“It is tempting to see evidence of anagenesis (unilinear evolution) in the late Miocene hominin record in part because continuity is suggested by claims for some evidence of bipedalism in all known taxa.  The evidence from Orrorin is ambiguous … whereas that from Sahelanthropus is indirect, based only on the position of the foramen magnum.”

“The region is severely distorted in the only cranial specimen of Sahelanthropus, and even the describers recognize the uncertainty.  A. kadabba is interpreted as a biped on the basis of a single toe bone, a foot proximal phalanx, with a dorsally oriented proximal joint surface, as in more recent hominins.”

“However, the same joint configuration occurs in the definitely nonbipedal late Miocene hominid Sivapithecus, and the length and curvature of this bone closely resembles those of a chimpanzee or bonobo.  In addition, the specimen is 400,000 to 600,000 years younger than the rest of the A. kadabba sample, 800,000 years older than A. ramidus, and from a locality that is geographically much closer to Aramis than to Asa Koma.  It may or may not be from a biped, and if it is, which biped?

His paper contains more questions than answers, words like “far from established”, and “unclear.” Then he concludes…

“Why the different interpretations?  Evidence is scarce and fragmentary, and uncertainty predominates. Interpretations rely especially heavily on past experience to make sense of incomplete evidence.  Haile-Selassie and colleagues interpret diversity in fossil hominids in terms of variability and gradual evolutionary change in an evolving lineage.  Others see cladistic diversity as opposed to ancestor-descendant relations….

Ancestor-descendant relations must exist , but adaptive radiation and cladogenesis also must exist , or organic diversity would be the same today as it was at the beginning of biological evolution.  Rather than a single lineage, the late Miocene hominin fossil record may sample an adaptive radiation , from a source either in Eurasia or yet undiscovered in Africa, the first of several radiations during the course of human evolution….  Regardless, the level of uncertainty in the available direct evidence at this time renders irreconcilable differences of opinion inevitable.  The solution is in the mantra of all paleontologists: We need more fossils!

This is one of the most damaging and blunt honest assessments concerning the story of human evolution that you will ever read in a secular science journal. Once you get by all the jargon produced in the paper, all that have is debate, uncertainty, and lack of evidence. Noticed how David Begun believes that evidence for both descent and diversity must exist, “or organic diversity would be the same today as it was at the beginning of biological evolution.” He basically wants it both ways: evidence of diversity, but also evidence of descent, and yet he has neither!

So what ever happened to the fossil containing 6 fragments considered to be the oldest human ancestor? It appears it wasn’t so human after all, earlier this month, Bernard Wood and Terry Harrison rebuked fellow paleoanthropologists for their jumping to conclusions saying that, “to simply assume that anything found in that time range has to be a human ancestor is naïve.”

This should always be keep in mind on what evolutionists consider to be evidence especially when it comes to articles like “Prehuman Lucy on a Walking Path” to humanity, or “Lucy Was No Swinger, Walked Like Us, Fossil Suggests” in places like Live Science or National Geographic.  So what was considered to be the oldest human fossil that turned out to be something different, did it damage the story of evolution? Here is how this falsification was turned around into a confirmation by evolutionists…

Skepticism regarding these famous primate fossil finds seems to call into question the rigor of the scientific process within the field of paleoanthropology. Wood’s and Harrison’s paper certainly makes one wonder: Are these isolated incidents of misinterpretation followed by media hype, or does the problem pervade the whole branch of science?  Is the human evolutionary fossil record a crapshoot? “No,“ said Harrison.  There are reasons why this branch of science may seem messier than most, he said, but all things considered, it is doing extremely well.”

Evolutionists appear very adept at turning criticism into praise in order to rescue the ‘theory’ in which they believe is true and are getting paid good money for to research.  Whether this neat trick or rescue tactic justifies evolution as a scientific theory is a different question.  The question here is, does it really lead to a deeper understanding of evolution, or is it sophistry?

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “How Falsifications Lead To Confirmations In Evolution

  1. Michael: “In any case, it’s incredibly and enormously hard (and this is being generous) for a random process to produce specified things like eyes just one time … (etc.)”

    Evolution is NOT a random process. Another bog standard creationist misconception …

  2. Eelco, what amazes me is that evolution could EVER produce a homo supposedly sapiens that does not accept evolution.

    Truly a logical conundrum.

    But then, as we say, it takes a heap of homing to make a pigeon toed..

  3. Homoplasy is fancy jargon for convergent evolution which is often times invoked as an explanation of organisms having supposedly and independently converge on the same complex solution from the same complex problem via evolution.

    Wow. Only the first sentence, and—how many errors??

    (A) Homoplasy is not an “explanation” of anything. When we see similar structures, we would ordinarily think that the two species having that structure are closely and recently related to each other. A verdict of homoplasy says that the similarity can NOT be explained in that way, that there is NO causal connection.

    (B) Homoplasy has nothing to do with “solutions,” complex or otherwise. The skull shape of the dog and the Tasmanian wolf are homoplastic—they have a similar shape. What “complex solution” does this skull shape represent? They just look the same, but these two animals are not related—one is a marsupial, the other a mammal. Often homoplasy arises from a similar function. Bats’ and birds’ wings are homoplastic—their structures are similar because of the physical constraints imposed by the laws of aerodynamics.

    Seeing homoplasy, such as skull and wing shapes—as solutions to problems is evidence of the teleological fallacy that creationists commit, usually without even being aware of it.

    (C) There are no “complex problems” in evolution. There is only one problem—how to stay alive long enough to reproduce. There are many ways of solving that problem. We might call some of these solutions “complex,” but only because, if we were to design an animal to live in that environment, we could build something much simpler than evolution has produced.

    .

    The laughable aspect of Michael’s efforts is that the purpose of this Science Daily article is to describe how the study of homoplasy advances evolution.

    [S]tudying examples of homoplasy can help scientists analyze the overwhelming deluge of genetic data and information that is currently being generated.

    For example, studying situations where a derived trait surfaces in two lineages that lack a recent common ancestor, or situations where an ancestral trait was lost but then reappeared many generations later, may help scientists identify the processes and mechanisms of evolution.

    The nominal subject of this blog is new discoveries about creationism. But the only discoveries Michael can comer up with are new tools for evolution research, new evidence for evolutionary classifications, and newly discovered mechanisms of evolution.

    In fact, I’d like to thank Michael for bringing to my attention some very interesting articles on advances in evolution. Even though that is not what he had intended…..

  4. Well, shoot! There is another error in Michael’s first sentence, quoited above.

    (D) Homoplasy is not the same as convergent evolution. The latter is one of the two different kinds of homoplasy. The other is reversion to an ancestral trait.

    .
    As to the evolutionary advance using homoplasy, the Science review, the title[1] and the last sentence of the Abstract[2] say it all. The purpose of the paper is to propose mechanisms by which evolution achieves structural similarity, by studying how homoplasy arises. In particular, the authors explain how homoplasy can result` from similar adaptive processes in different species through natural selection. They also offer insights as to a number of different levels at which homoplasy can arise.

    Again, thank you, Michael, for pointing me to an interesting paper on a new discovery in evolution.

    ==============

    [1] Wake, et al., “Homoplasy: From Detecting Pattern to Determining Process and Mechanism of Evolution,” Science 331:1033-1036 (26 Feb 2011)

    [2] “New, robust phylogenetic hypotheses and molecular, genomic, and developmental techniques enable integrated exploration of the mechanisms by which similarity arises”

  5. One of Michael’s pet themes is the expenditure of “his” hard-earned tax dollars to fund scientific projects that he, in his ignorance, considers wasteful.

    The same issue of Science that carried the review forming the first subject of this post has a pertinent news item on this subject.[1] Here’s one of the examples.

    The Department of Energy (DOE) runs a $10-million facility at Argonne in Illinois. This Advanced Photon Source (APS) was developed for research into green energy sources. Proposed cuts to the DOE budget would force the APS to shut down. Michael would be proud.

    Eli Lilly, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. It has 7,850 employees engaged in drug research. Eli Lilly uses the APS facility to study protein structures. This work supports “half the company’s drug-discovery efforts.” Steven Wasserman. a chemist at Lilly, says that loss of the APS would lead Lilly to move a significant part of its research overseas, where such facilities remain in service. China, for example, maintains a number of synchrotron sources.

    Wasserman continues, “Virtually every large pharmaceutical and biotechnology company operating in the U.S. makes use of the APS or one of the other DOE-funded synchrotrons.” So 7,850 high-paying U.S. jobs lost is just the beginning.

    But, Michael says, they’re only scientists. And we’re only talking medicines, not something really important like my sacred tax refunds.

    =============

    [1] “House Cuts to DOE National Labs Would Also Hamstring Industry,” Science 331:997 (25 Feb 2011).

  6. I was here two years ago and stomped out irrational creationist denialism. Let me just remind you once again on the nature of denialism and why Creationism has been relegated to the trash bin of history along with every other denialist movement in history – round-earth denial, moon-landing denial, 9/11 denial, Holocaust denial, and vaccine denial, to name the most prevalent:

    What is Denialism?

    “Here we will discuss the problem of denialists, their standard arguing techniques, how to identify denialists and/or cranks, and discuss topics of general interest such as skepticism, medicine, law and science. I’ll be taking on denialists in the sciences, while my brother, Chris, will be geared more towards the legal and policy implications of industry groups using denialist arguments to prevent sound policies.

    “First of all, we have to get some basic terms defined for all of our new readers.

    “Denialism is the employment of rhetorical tactics to give the appearance of argument or legitimate debate, when in actuality there is none. These false arguments are used when one has few or no facts to support one’s viewpoint against a scientific consensus or against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. They are effective in distracting from actual useful debate using emotionally appealing, but ultimately empty and illogical assertions.

    “Examples of common topics in which denialists employ their tactics include: Creationism/Intelligent Design, Global Warming denialism, Holocaust denial, HIV/AIDS denialism, 9/11 conspiracies, Tobacco Carcinogenecity denialism (the first organized corporate campaign), anti-vaccination/mercury autism denialism and anti-animal testing/animal rights extremist denialism. Denialism spans the ideological spectrum, and is about tactics rather than politics or partisanship.”

    continued at:
    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/about.php

    There is no need to remind creationists that they are completely incapable of presenting a single piece of positive evidence for a “God”, much less any scientific evidence that can even begin to refute the vast lines of separate evidence that converge on the conclusions that evolution is real. Such is the nature of the phoniness of this blog and others like it.

    Creationism is hopelessly bankrupt; it cannot hide behind a facade of pretending to be remotely “scientific” much less present any positive evidence to support its premises and claims.

    It’s time for creationists to stop being snake oil salesman and intellectually dishonest.

  7. Creationism is hopelessly bankrupt; it cannot hide behind a facade of pretending to be remotely “scientific” much less present any positive evidence to support its premises and claims.

    You know that, and I know that. Creationists, down in the deep, dark coal cellars of their hearts, know that. So why doesn’t creationism just go away?

    In one word, FEAR.

    The literalist interpretation of the Bible has been pounded into them so deeply that their entire belief system would disintegrate if the universe were more than 6,000 years old, give or take.a few. Atheists don’t understand this, because they have no need for any theistic belief system; other Christians don’t understand because we do not accept a literalist interpretation..

    But the more fundamental question becomes, why do creationists cling to a belief system that not only is contrary to all scientific knowledge and logic, but also contravenes commonly accepted historical and theological principles?[1]

    This deeper question is the province of sociologists and psychologists. Many like to put forth hypotheses.[2] My guess is that it arises from an overweening need for certainty in a world that is anything but certain or predictable.

    One thing we do know is that a creationist upbringing is a major source of atheists later in life. In this neighborhood alone, we have Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Myers, Abbie Smith, and Laurie Lebo.[3]

    ============

    [1] See, e.g. Hyers, The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science (Knox 1984); an on-line summary appears at http://www.directionjournal.org/article/?1031. Ironically, almost all creationists themselves rejected a young earth until the latter half of the 20th century; see Numbers, The Creationists (Harvard, 2d Ed. 2006). Increasing scientific knowledge begets stronger opposition, it seems.

    [2] E.g., Shermer, Why Peiople Believe Weird Things (Holt, Rev. Ed. 2002).

    [3] Lebo was the daughter of a fundamentalist radio-station owner in York, Pennsylvania, a budding reported assigned to cover the Kitzmiller v Dover trial in 2005. She tells he story in an account of the trial, The Devil in Dover (New Press, 2008).

  8. @Olorin,

    The literalist interpretation of the Bible has been pounded into them so deeply that their entire belief system would disintegrate if the universe were more than 6,000 years old, give or take.a few.

    Months ago, I told you about my net-debate with Creation Scientist Sean Pitman. He was being criticized by at least one other Seventh-Day Adventist (under the name “Professor Kent”[1]) for depending way too much on apologetics for his faith. He accused Sean Pitman of heresy and accused him of setting SDAs up for another “Great Disappointment” [2]

    But the more fundamental question becomes, why do creationists cling to a belief system that not only is contrary to all scientific knowledge and logic, but also contravenes commonly accepted historical and theological principles?

    A while ago, I offered up the hypothesis that I believe that Michael is really a “closet evolutionist” who is really in denial. It could explain why he is so dogmatically against it. I see Michael as the anti-evolutionist equivalent of an occasional anti-Gay pastor of a huge church that is then caught in the act of practicing homosexuality in private.

    One thing we do know is that a creationist upbringing is a major source of atheists later in life

    I can attest to this. Though I never became an Atheist, when I started looking into the evidence for Evolution, I began to feel a pull towards Atheism. It was because I was taught all my life that if one accepts Evolution, then one may as well throw in the towel and become an Atheist. This was when I started looking for excuses and reasons to not accept the science for what it was. It was that way for an entire year before I finally realized that Evolution and Creation are not mutually exclusive. [3]

    To be honest, I think my experience with rejecting evolution and gradually comming around with time was what ultimately saved me from becoming an Atheist while still accepting Evolution. Though I feel stupid for making certain arguments in favor of Intelligent Design at the time, I feel that if it had been any other way, I would be an Atheist now.

    ———
    [1] Interestingly enough, even though Kent was a Young Earth Creationist in the theological sense, he seemingly had no love for Creation Science, seeing it as a possible stumbling block if it turned out to be wrong. Though sympathetic to a young earth, he was not dogmatic on this belief, and he was willing to accept the plausibilities of arguments to the contrary. He also told Sean that even if he proved problems in the conventional scientific models, that did not count as positive evidence for a Young Earth or for Creationism in general.

    [2] The “Great Disappointment” was the result of the belief of “adventist” followers of William Miller who believed Jesus Christ would return on October 22, 1844. This date is still held in esteem by Seventh-Day Adventists, and is believed to be when Jesus, as high priest, moved from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary in Heaven.

    [3] At the latter part of the year, I started commenting on this blog, and that was when I started commenting here with Olorin and Eelco.

  9. The fact that Creationism created Atheists out of would-be believers as well as young people raised in church is largely the fault of the Creationists themselves. They are the ones that first came out with the view that if their particular interpretation of the Bible was not accurate, then entire Bible was wrong, and therefore God wouldn’t exist.

    Darwin never woke up one day and thought to himself “What can I do to discredit God?” He harbored doubts about God, but he never became an atheist, and he even continued to contribute to a church charity. Darwin was far from anti-God.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s