Friday, February 12, 2016

Is Evolution Based on Science?

Evolution’s Science Status

Ellis & Silk IIEvolution’s Science Status

The status of evolution as a science is verging closer to extinction following a work shop in Germany last month. The essence and definition of science was on center stage at this historical convening of the leading physicists and philosophers of science last month. The meeting convened in the Romanesque-style Ludwig Maximilian University lecture hall. Science writer Natalie Wolchover covered the story for Quanta Magazine entitled “A Fight for the Soul of Science” and later reprinted by on TheAtlantic.com entitled “Physicists and Philosophers Hold Peace Talks.”
The fundamentals of physics currently face a critical problem, explained Nobel laureate David Gross to the three-day work shop attendees – a watershed moment for science. Wolchover explained, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” Specifically, at stake is whether the new concepts in emerging in physics – specifically, the string andmultiverse concepts – is true science or just a philosophy. The pivotal issue centers on whether empirical evidence is still required to establish a scientific theory. Since science standards apply across the spectrum of the natural sciences, the outcome also determines the evolution’s science status.

Source of Crisis

The crisis tip-point occurred with publication of controversial ideas advocated by Richard Dawid, (pictured to the right)  an Austrian philosopher in the 2013 book “String Theory and the ScientificDawidMethod.” The problem stems from the absence of empirical evidence to scientifically supported these new concepts. Dawid argued that the essence and definition of science should be revised to allowing for three kinds of “non-empirical” evidences. The testability and falsifiability requirements of the Scientific Method would be optional.
In response to Dawid proposal, George Ellis from the University of Cape Town, and Joe Silk of the Paris Institute of Astrophysics (the two white-haired physicists pictured above in the front row) called for a consensus work shop to assess Dawid’s proposal in an “incendiary opinion piece” in Nature (2014) entitled “Scientific Method, Defend the Integrity of Physics – attempts to exempt speculative theories of the Universe from experimental verification undermine science.

Debate

Finally, last month one hundred attendees convened to wage, in what Ellis and Silk declared, a “battle for the heart and soul of physics.”
Ellis and Silk accuse string and multiverse conceptualists of “moving the goalposts” of science and blurring the lines between physics and pseudoscience. As Wolchover explains, the new theories are of a –
“wildly speculative nature of modern physics theories… a dangerous departure from the scientific method. Many of today’s theorists — chief among them the proponents of string theory and the multiverse hypothesis — appear convinced of their ideas on the grounds that they are beautiful or logically compelling, despite the impossibility of testing them.”
The problem is, the ancients used beautiful and logical ideas – otherwise known as deductive reasoning – ended up wrong theory. Historically, deductive reasoning track record has been a disaster in discovering the secrets of nature.Aristotle (384-322 BC), one of the most famous Greek philosophers, once reasoned that the “Earth is the center of the universe.” However, when Aristotle’s idea was tested using only empirical data, Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) successfully falsified Aristotle’s reasoning – but, at great personal sacrifice.
In the opinion of Ellis and Silk (2014),
“The imprimatur of science should be awarded only to a theory that is testable… Only then can we defend science from attack.”

Outcome

Gross, a prolific string advocate, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2004, had kicked off the workshop noting that the problem lies not with physicists, but with the “fact of nature” – an excellent example of anthropomorphic arrogance.
Over three winter days, scholars struggled with the meaning of scientific theory, confirmation and truth; how science works; and whether, in this day and age, philosophy should guide research in physics or the other way around. Over the course of the work shop, any degree of consensus to move the “goal posts” of science was lost in the resulting blur of confusion.
To the question of whether testable and falsifiable is still required to validate a concept as scientific, there was no new consensus. If a theory has no predictive value, can it be scientific? There was no new consensus. What keeps theorists within the bounds of science? There was no new consensus.
Commenting on the use of non-empirical concepts in science, Dawid noted, it
“opens the floodgate to abandoning all scientific principles… Clearly the risk is there.”
Wolchover echoed Dawid’s concern.
“the trash heap of history is littered with beautiful theories… [but], theoretical beauty is not always truth.”
The work shop was an unparalleled twenty-first century watershed moment fighting for the essence and definition of scientific standards. In the end, no cohesive consensus emerged to move the science “goal post.”
With his pet string theory on the line, Gross reluctantly simply countered with –
“I will continue to work on it.”
http://www.darwinthenandnow.com/2016/01/evolutions-science-status/

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What about the Appendix?

Major Evolutionary Blunders: Our Useful Appendix--Evidence of Design, Not Evolution
by Randy J. Guliuzza, P.E., M.D. *
Evidence for Creation

Once there was a teenage girl with a sweet personality, selfless spirit, and diverse skills. But she was so envied by her cruel stepmother and two rude stepsisters that they forced her to constantly do the nastiest jobs in almost total obscurity. The Cinderella story is so universally appealing that it has been translated into over 60 languages and made into multiple films. In these types of stories, the perpetrators’ bigotry reflects their constrained mindset. The worthy becomes worthless in their view.

Belief systems matter.

This is also true in origins research. Some belief systems liberate thinking. Others, like an evolutionary worldview, are so confining that evolutionary biologists may either observe non-existent or overlook actual biological functions based on preconceived notions of what they expect to see.1 One example of this bias is the categorization of the human appendix as a worthless organ by thought-constrained evolutionists. This assumption hindered research on a truly useful part of our digestive system and highlights a colossal evolutionary blunder.

The “Useless” Appendix Is “Evidence” for Evolution

Since Darwin’s time, the world’s sharpest evolutionary biologists have championed the human appendix as unquestionable evidence for evolution and against intelligent design. But scientific research demonstrates the folly of both assertions by showing the appendix to be a fully functional organ.

Darwin cultivated a scientifically regrettable practice that still persists today. He imagined an evolution-caused loss of function for certain biological structures and declared them to be essentially useless—without ever seeking to understand their purpose. In 1874 Darwin said,

With respect to the alimentary canal, I have met with an account of only a single rudiment, namely the vermiform appendage of the caecum….It appears as if, in consequence of changed diet or habits, the caecum had become much shortened in various animals, the vermiform appendage being left as a rudiment of the shortened part….[Regarding humans] not only is it useless, but it is sometimes the cause of death.2

In 2007, over 130 years later, the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Francisco Ayala, announced, “A familiar rudimentary organ in humans is the vermiform appendix….The human vermiform appendix is a functionless vestige of a fully developed organ present in other mammals,” adding the punchline “Vestiges are instances of imperfections—like the imperfections seen in anatomical structures—they argue against creation by design but are fully understandable as a result of evolution by natural selection.”3

Ernst Mayr, another giant in evolutionary circles and former Director of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, provided a definition of a vestigial feature. He said it was “a deconstructed, nonfunctional characteristic that had been fully functional in a species’ ancestor, like the eyes in cave animals and the human appendix.”4

Like Darwin, rather than search for a science-based discovery of function, Mayr fills the knowledge gap with a story that nearly deifies nature by projecting “protective” and “selective” powers onto the environment. He confidently asserts, “Many organisms have structures that are not fully functional or not functional at all. The human caecal appendix is an example….When these structures lose their function owing to a shift in lifestyle, they are no longer protected by natural selection and are gradually deconstructed.” Mindful to slip in the vital implications for beliefs about origins, Mayr pronounces, “These three phenomena—embryonic similarities, recapitulation, and vestigial structures—raise insurmountable difficulties for a creationist explanation, but are fully compatible with an evolutionary explanation based on common descent, variation, and selection.”5

Dr. Jerry Coyne, emeritus professor of biology at the University of Chicago, repeatedly offers the appendix as evidence against design. In 2005 he explained, “The human body is also a palimpsest of our ancestry. Our appendix is the vestigial remnant of an intestinal pouch used to ferment the hard-to-digest plant diets of our ancestors….An appendix is simply a bad thing to have. It is certainly not the product of intelligent design: how many humans died of appendicitis before surgery was invented?”6

Then in his 2009 definitive work Why Evolution Is True, Coyne affirms, “We humans have many vestigial features proving that we evolved. The most famous is the appendix.” To punctuate the point, he inserts a bit of sarcasm: “Discussing the appendix in his famous textbook The Vertebrate Body, the paleontologist Alfred Romer remarked dryly, ‘Its major importance would appear to be financial support of the surgical profession.’” Finally, summing up, “In other words, our appendix is simply the remnant of an organ that was critically important to our leaf-eating ancestors, but of no real value to us.”7

These are definitive declarations—conclusions that the appendix is undeniable evidence for evolution and against creation. The result? By the mid-20th century, thousands of “prophylactic” surgeries had been performed based on assumptions that “the sooner [vestigial appendages] are removed the better for the individual.”8 Unfortunately, these recommended surgeries flowed from evolutionary beliefs rather than scientific findings.

Evolution’s Declarations Are Spectacularly Wrong

“Immune cells make appendix ‘silent hero’ of digestive health” was the November 30, 2015, headline for a report on recent research in ScienceDaily.9 The story made plain that “new research shows a network of immune cells helps the appendix to play a pivotal role in maintaining the health of the digestive system, supporting the theory that the appendix isn’t a vestigial—or redundant—organ.” The study found that cells in our gut and appendix interface directly with intestinal microbes to regulate colonies of bacteria. The appendix facilitates recovery from threats to gut health by repopulating the gut with “good” bacteria.

One primary researcher quoted by ScienceDaily focused specifically on popular unfounded beliefs.

Professor Gabrielle Belz, a laboratory head in the [Walter and Eliza Hall Institute] Molecular Immunology division, said the study’s findings show that the appendix deserves more credit than it has historically been given. “Popular belief tells us the appendix is a liability,” she said. “Its removal is one of the most common surgical procedures in Australia, with more than 70,000 operations each year. However, we may wish to rethink whether the appendix is so irrelevant for our health.”9

Nature Immunology published the original research that found that “interplay between intestinal ILC3 cells and adaptive lymphocytes [types of white blood cells] results in robust complementary failsafe mechanisms that ensure gut homeostasis [stability].”10

Belz’s findings reinforce earlier research. A 2007 Duke University Medical School press release challenged Darwinism’s na├»ve view of the appendix: “Long denigrated as vestigial or useless, the appendix now appears to have a reason to be—as a ‘safe house’ for the beneficial bacteria living in the human gut.”11 Informed researchers would neither be surprised nor make such a blunder since medical textbooks have identified functioning lymphoid tissue in the appendix for decades.
Finish article HERE