Evolution Embraces Counter-Intuitive Observations

Professor Steven L. Goldman in his course, “Science Wars: What Scientists Know and How They Know It”, addresses intelligent design as a scientific hypothesis, on the face of it he says is more compelling than creationism. Notice he knows the difference between the two, but rejects the supernatural agent or agents which the modern intelligent design movement avoids giving any explanation. Observations of nature for thousands of years to the modern era appears designed because that’s in fact what it is, designed. The objective of evolutionary ‘theory’ is integrate it as the explanatory factor for everything.

So what do evolutionary scientists do to meet the objective? They call the observation of nature appearing designed as an “illusion.” And that is not all, there are many surprising or counter-intuitive observations which require integration into the theory! The most common answer used to explain such falsifications is circular reasoning which goes like this, they evolved because they evolved.

Removing tonsils came from the ‘theory’ of evolution because it was considered useless vestiges from the past. The appendix is another one. As a result, medicine recommended parents have their children tonsils removed and a lot of parents did just that but nowadays its mainly infection that prompts removal.  A recent study suggests this evolutionary assumption about tonsils being useless does more harm than good and like junk dna where important functions was discovered, there are also an important function for them being there because it has been discovered there is a connection with heart disease. Although the article did not mention the old vestigial organs argument.

Medical Xpress reports…

“Both the appendix and tonsils are lymphoid organs and thus components of the body’s immune system, albeit of modest importance. The recurrence of tonsillitis and appendicitis – caused by infection – are the usual reasons for removal. Behind the study lay evidence that removal was associated with moderate long-term effects on the immune system and alterations in risk for some autoimmune disorders. Studies suggest that between 10 and 20% of all young people have tonsils or appendix removed.” 

MacGregor Campbell writer in New Scientist in a cartoon video, claims a new theory reveals the reason why we are human and language ‘evolved’ was because humans like caring for animals…

“What is it exactly that makes us human? According to a new theory, it could be our unique ability to connect with and care for animals. Our connection to animals may have been so transformative that it led us to develop skills like language and domestication that ultimately enabled our planet-wide success.”

It has been discovered that some fossil human teeth of males contain more metal than those of females. New Scientist really comes up with a winner here as reporter Ferris Jabr eats up everything that Sandi Copeland of the Max Planck Institute without questioning one single thing, Conclusion: “Early hominin women had wanderlust.” 

When one hears about condition of autism, it is generally considered a serious problem for those afflicted and their families, however, not for some evolutionary psychologists which find blessings in the condition.

Science Daily reports…

“The autism spectrum may represent not disease, but an ancient way of life for a minority of ancestral humans, said Jared Reser, a brain science researcher and doctoral candidate in the USC Psychology Department. Some of the genes that contribute to autism may have been selected and maintained because they created beneficial behaviors in a solitary environment, amounting to an autism advantage, Reser said.”

“The “autism advantage,” a relatively new perspective, contends that sometimes autism has compensating benefits, including increased abilities for spatial intelligence, concentration and memory. Although individuals with autism have trouble with social cognition, their other cognitive abilities are sometimes largely intact.”

It was not stated whether Jared Reser surveyed modern hunters for their opinions, or even if so, whether a deduction would be possible about unobservable ancestors! In any case, there is a lot to learn from these imaginative so-so stories that package themselves with all this false dichotomy, glittering generalities and loaded words, which one can only conclude, it’s not scientific!

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9 thoughts on “Evolution Embraces Counter-Intuitive Observations

  1. . . . .Evolution Embraces Counter-Intuitive Observations

    Yes. In fact, at least one scientist has said that, if common sense were a reliable guide, no one would need science.

    We note that Michael has finally discovered “Science Wars.” We can hope that he actually learns something from it, although the prognosis so far is disappointing. Prof. Goldman does an excellent job, although some listeners have compared his delivery to drinking from a fire hose. It is ironic that he teaches at Lehigh University, and thus is a colleague of Michael Behe.

    Such a compact survey as “Science Wars” does not allow presentation of very many different views on his points. For example, the “illusion of design” that Goldman mentions is far from universal among biologists. Many, perhaps even mot, would say that living organisms ARE in fact designed. The designer is natural selection.[1]

    Michael’s problem with that is that he believes that “design” requires a (human or supernatural) designer. True, most definitions of this word in the dictionary imply that an intelligence produced the configuration of the objects to which we apply this term. But Michael is imprisoned by the dictionary. he would have us believe that describing an object with a term somehow magically imbues that object with all the physical characteristics of that term. This is backwards. Even a quick dunk into Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations should be enough to disabuse anyone of that error.

    Sorry, Michael. Theological arguments just don’t cut it in science. You can’t limit a physical phenomenon by its definition in a dictionary. [2]

    ===========

    [1] Astronomers speak of the “design” of the solar system. Yet, does anyone except Michael believe that God—or humans—plopped all the planets in their precise orbits? Or perhaps was the natural force of gravitation sufficient as a designer? Does anyone believe that God designs proteins as an artist sculpts kaolinite? Or are electromagnetic forces sufficient to design their complex configurations?

    [2] of course, many such arguments don’t even work in theology. If God is “omnipotent,” he can do anything. Soooo, can he make a stone so heavy that he can’t lift it?

  2. A recent study suggests this evolutionary assumption about tonsils being useless….

    Michael’s train of thought has jumped the rails again. Nothing in evolutionary theory states or requires that a vestigial organ is “useless.” As we used to say in the old days of the Internet, “YCLIU”[1]—

    Ves·tig·i·al (vµ-st¹j“¶-…l, -st¹j“…l) adj. 1. Of, relating to, or constituting a vestige. 2. Biology. Occurring or persisting as a rudimentary or degenerate structure.

    Most biologists hold that the appendix aided digestion of fibrous plants in hominid ancestors. Diet changes since then have made it unnecessary for that purpose. The appendix does carry a lot of immune cells. If it did not, almost everyone would die of a ruptured appendix, because this organ collects bacteria and can no longer get rid of them easily through the digestive process. So the immune function of the appendix is like a ladder in a deep hole: If the hole were not there, you would not need the ladder.

    The tonsil has not lost as much of its function, mostly in young children. Like a starter on a car engine, once you’re going, you don’t need it anymore.[2]

    Medical practitioners often, especially in the past, formed hasty judgments about these matters. Today, the feeling is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, both tonsils and appendices can go over to the dark side. When they do, and have to be excised, no one has ever suffered any problems from their loss.

    Sorry, Michael. Another creationist argument for the scrap heap. No theory of evolution claims or has ever claimed that vestigial organs are useless. On the other tonsil, evolution can explain the presence of vestigial organs, whereas creationism has not a clue.

    ==========

    [1] “You Could Look It Up.” This was appended to statements meant to be taken as facts. Opinions were often affixed with “YMMV” (Your Mileage May Vary). Sigh. The internet has lost a lot of character.

    [2] Another aspect of vestigial organs is that they can lose their old function and gain—or retain—a new one. The human parathyroid, for example, is vestigial in the sense that it no longer filters chemicals from seawater through the gills, as it does in fish. But this organ does help to maintain salt balance in the blood, which was only a part of its functions in our ancestors.

  3. It has been discovered that some fossil human teeth of males contain more metal than those of females. New Scientist really comes up with a winner here as reporter Ferris Jabr eats up everything that Sandi Copeland of the Max Planck Institute without questioning one single thing, Conclusion: “Early hominin women had wanderlust.”

    Once again: Why should anyone lend credence to Michael’s interpretations of facts when he can”t even get the facts themselves straight in his head?

    “Males [teeth] contain more metal than females”! Reading only 3 sentences into the New Scientist article reveals this as ridiculously false.

    Strontium is a relatively rare element that acts chemically like calcium, although it is classed as a metal.[1] When children’s teeth form, some strontium replaces calcium in their structure. Strontium has several isotopes,[2] which vary geographically more widely than most elements do. So, we look at the isotope frequencies in teeth—

    And what do we find? The isotope frequencies in males corresponds to that of the geographic area where their bones were found. But those of females do not!

    What can we make of this? That, for this particular group of hominids about 2 million years ago, the social practice was that men sought wives from outside their local area, and brought the women back to their own homes. Rather than, as in some past societies, and in some societies today, the men move to the homes of their wives. Michael may recall some mention of this in the Bible.

    The history of human social organizations is as important as is our physical makeup, when anthropologists try to understand what makes us tick.

    And, as in the previous comment, the evolution of human behavior can tell us a great deal about social structures today. On the other tooth, creationism can’t tell us a single solitary thing about why we act as we do, except for the lame tautology ‘God made us that way.’

    Next time you jeer at a scientific finding, Michael, make sure you are at least holding the page right side up.

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

    [1] Michael does not remember the radiation scares of yesteryear when panic broke out over radioactive strontium in milk, from atomic-weapons testing.

    [2] Michael seems not to know what an isotope is, although the rest of us learned it in the 8th grade. Probably his home schooling.

  4. Like a starter on a car engine, once you’re going, you don’t need [tonsils] anymore

    If Michael knew more of biology than a novice in a nunnery, he might realize that developing human embryos develop three successive sets of kidneys in the trek toward birth. The first two are “vestigial” in the same sense as tonsils. The first two are simpler, and correspond to primitive reptilian kidneys.

    Imagine that!

  5. Olorin,

    A car engine? The old vestigial organs argument which came from evolutionary thinking is slightly different than that analogy. Darwin and other evolutionists have interpreted such organs as evidence of evolutionary ancestry. Did you know its impossible to prove the uselessness of a given organ? Evolutionary zoologist S. R. Scadding (University of Guelph) made some interesting comments about it, he said…

    “The ‘vestigial organ’ argument uses as a premise the assertion that the organ in question has no function. There is no way however, in which this negative assertion can be arrived at scientifically. That is, one can not prove that something does not exist (in this case a certain function), since of course if it does not exist one cannot observe it, and therefore one can say nothing about it scientifically. The best we can do is to state that despite diligent effort, no function was discovered for a given organ.”

    “However it may be that some future investigator will the discover the function. Consequently, the vestigial organ argument has as a premise, either a statement of ignorance (I couldn’t identify the function), or a scientifically invalid claim (it does not have a function). Such an argument, from ignorance, or from negative results, is not valid scientifically, and has no place in observational or experimental science.”

    Before this study came out, creationists already suggested specialized function for the the appendix within the immune system by pointing to the evidence; “it is part of the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue system. The appendix is a highly specialized organ, a complex well-developed structure with a rich blood supply. The submucosa (tissue layer) is thickened and almost entirely occupied by lymphatic nodules and lymphocytes (Scadding 175; Ham and Wieland 41; Glover 34f.; Vines 39).”

    It has been now realized in the medical community as well, The old vestigial organs argument from the ‘theory’ of evolution which was used in the medical community for quite some time was harming patients. Evolution is composed of a storyline from the past which goes forward, no backwards, no sideways due to all the failed predictions observed in nature, it’s not for modern medical treatments.

  6. @Michael

    Before this study came out, creationists already suggested specialized function for the the appendix within the immune system by pointing to the evidence; “it is part of the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue system. The appendix is a highly specialized organ, a complex well-developed structure with a rich blood supply. The submucosa (tissue layer) is thickened and almost entirely occupied by lymphatic nodules and lymphocytes (Scadding 175; Ham and Wieland 41; Glover 34f.; Vines 39).”

    It does not matter if the appendix has a function or not. In either case, it is still a vestige. “Vestige” does not mean “useless” or “functionless.” As early as the 1920s, it was said that finding a function for the appendix would not in anyway matter or change the argument.

  7. Michael still does not understand the definition of “vestigial.” See above.

    Once again: There is no evolutionary theory or claim that vestigial organs must be useless. None whatever. Go take your strawman somewhere else to play. Same with “junk DNA.” It’s a complete red Clupea harengus..

  8. Darwin and other evolutionists have interpreted such organs as evidence of evolutionary ancestry.

    Michael seems unable to tell the difference between—
    (a) Evolution can explain the existence of vestigial organs; and
    (b) Evolution requires the existence of vestigial organs.

    Same for those other canards of cantankerous creationism, junk DNA and pseudogenes.

    .

    What evolution cannot explain is the continued existenxce of creationism after 150 years.

  9. Michael fabricates the facts again:

    Before this study came out, creationists already suggested specialized function for the the appendix within the immune system by pointing to the evidence;

    trying to make us believe that creationists have actually engaged in RESEARCH and made actual scientific DISCOVERIES.

    Please cite a research paper in which a creationist biologist conducted invesatigations which led to his discovery of an immunological function of the human appendix.[1] Meranwhile, real scientists had investigated a possible immunological function at least by 1976.[2]

    Siorry, Michael. In science, a prediction of something has to precede its discovery by others. The best creationists can do is arrogate the results of others. Another word for this is “theft.”

    You may hold your religious beliefs, Michael. Lying about science, however, is another matter.

    Don’t you ever wonder why scientists dismiss creationism out of hand? It’s the well-deserved reputation for dishonesty.

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

    [1] In true creartionist fashion, Michael gives only untraceable partial sources for his assertions. Scadding’s 1981 paper, which went only to the evidentiary aspect of vestigial organs for evolution, did not report any results on immunological function.

    [2] Neiburger, et al.,. “Distribution of T and B lymphocytes in lymphoid tissue of infants and children.” Infect Immun 14: 118-121 (1976).

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