October 17, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Lazy Darwinists Abuse Science

The Darwin storytelling empire has become fat and lazy, abandoning the hard work of empiricism for tantalizing speculations. Time for a reformation.

Sir Francis Bacon in the 16th century, using ideas reminiscent of those of his earlier namesake Roger Bacon, worked to reform science away from authority and toward empiricism. Fed up with scholasticism that interpreted everything through the filter of ancient sages (particularly Aristotle), Francis Bacon argued that scientific pronouncements must pass the test of repeatable observation and experiment. Today’s Darwinians are like medieval scholastics, interpreting the world through their favorite sage—Darwin. Look at the nonsense that results:

Could it be that religion is more like sex than school? (Peter Kevern in The Conversation). Here’s another entry in the genre, “the evolution of religion.” Ironically, Kevern acknowledges that many previous entries in this genre incur charges of just-so storytelling. Yet he fails to see that his own account is just as guilty. [Note: his article prompted an interchange with the Editor of Creation-Evolution Headlines; follow the Comments at the end of the article.]

New York City mice may be evolving to eat fast food like pizza (New Scientist). Are you evolving every time you develop a taste for a new food? NS storyteller Chris Baraniuk seems to think so. This one gets downright silly:

The survey also highlighted genes linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which may result from having to process a lot of fatty acids. This could be due to a diet rich in fast foods. “The first thing that we thought of was the ‘cheeseburger hypothesis’: urban mice subsidising their diet on human food waste,” says Harris. If so, the mice may be like “Pizza Rat”, a New York rodent videoed carrying a whole slice of pizza.

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms observed in the rats do not necessarily have anything to do with taste for pizza. They just “could” have, according to the storytellers, even though they know that rats, like people and roaches and goats, will eat just about anything. Hopi Hoekstra, who has achieved the coveted Darwinian title of Miss Information, liked the story, even though the necessary empirical work is, she admits, futureware:

The next step will be to examine the function of these genes more closely to assess their impact on fitness and selection, says Hopi Hoekstra at Harvard University.

Hoekstra says the work is part of a wave of studies investigating examples of rapid adaptation. “That provides us with a really cool way to study evolutionary change, sort of as it’s happening,” she says.

Exploding stars could have kick-started our ancestors’ evolution (New Scientist). Anything “could have” happened in the world of imagination. Colin Barras imagines that an unobserved supernova caused increased lightning, which burned the forests in Africa, forcing our ape-like ancestors out of the trees and into the savannahs, where they learned to walk upright (but see 9/21/17 and 7/08/12). What evidence does he provide? In the tradition of scholasticism, Barras points to authorities in Germany who have put forth a “possible explanation” for the non-empirical just-so story, relying on highly indirect clues and millions of Darwin Years.

Ankle fossil suggests our ancient ancestors leapt like acrobats (New Scientist). Unrepentant of his storytelling, Colin Barras tells another whopper here. He uses a single bone like a divination tool to claim that a “primate ancestor” found in France “might actually have been a bizarre monkey-like animal capable of acrobatic leaping.” Anything “might” be possible. So what does this have to do with us? Not much:

If primates did begin as leapers, it will be harder to work out what drove their initial evolution, says Boyer. “It’s easy to understand how specialisation for navigating small branches would be beneficial, specifically for harvesting food objects that grow there. It’s hard to think of a simple scenario that would emphasise acrobatic leaping on its own.”

The storytelling doesn’t stop there. Barras ends with more maybe-baby language and circular reasoning:

While apatemyids are not directly related to primates, says Boyer, their similarities to the earliest primates may provide important clues about how our distant ancestors lived.

First research to suggest scratching may have evolved as a communication tool to help social cohesion (Phys.org). Just because a just-so story is told for the first time does not make it any less than a just-so story. If research can only “suggest” that scratching evolved for communication, it’s not empirical. The evolutionists did not watch it evolve. Instead, they employed imagination, as seen in the high perhapsimaybecouldness index of their statement:

Jamie said: “Observable stress behaviours could have evolved as a way of reducing aggression in socially complex species of primates. Showing others you are stressed could benefit both the scratcher and those watching, because both parties can then avoid conflict.”

This tale is not only mythical, it’s Lamarckian. The storytellers cannot point to any mutation that was naturally selected. Observing the behavior of living macaques says nothing about how the behavior “evolved” in the first place. They almost make it sound like the monkeys thought this over: if we scratch, we’ll be nicer to each other. Did the storytellers question whether this might make them more exposed to predators? Did they think to ask if scratching “could” also provoke conflict, if the scratching were aggressive or unwelcome? Did they evaluate all the sources of conflict that might override the benefits of scratching? No; they just imagined a scenario and told their little tale to a lazy reporter who failed to ask any of these questions.

The Darwin empire has become a corrupt, lazy, fat story-generating machine. You’re either going to be part of the problem or part of the Reformation.


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  • dsg727 says:

    I enjoyed reading your discussion with the author of the article about the evolution of religion. I have debated such with the non-academia of the online discussion world and my point has always been that if evolution is all encompassing and true as our means of our current development, then that means that evolution eventually produced religion.

    The problem that I see is that there is at least one “religion” that states that evolution is patently false and to be rejected as a lie from Hell. I’ve gone on to ask anyone to explain why an unguided process would eventually produce a set of beliefs that vehemently rejects evolution in the first place. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Either evolution is responsible for every development of man kind or it is not. If it is, then it developed a belief in some people that evolution is false. This defies reason and logic.

    Therefore, something else other than evolution is present in the equation and evolution cannot be appealed to for everything, as they want to claim it can.

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