Message 63 of 67 (60030)
10-07-2003 11:53 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Joralex
03-31-2003 10:49 AM
Re: The Metaphysic of Evolution
I continue to be puzzled over so many people being seemingly unaware of the fact that there is a metaphysic of evolution (ME) as well as a science of evolution (SE). I can't shake the feeling that I'm being played here.
Joralex proposes that those who accept the materialistic history of the universe and for the development of life on earth do so not because of the evidence, but because they have a social-political agenda which finds these conclusions convenient.
He separates his views on evolution into those claims that he feels are politically or socially motivated, and those that he feels are directly derivative of empirical evidence. He then labels the former the ME, and the latter the SE.
The problem with this position are several:
1. The fundamental metaphysical assumption of the "evolutionist" worldview is empiricism and the scientific method, not naturalism, and not the "conclusions" of empiricism.
2. Evolution per se only deals with the development of life on earth from a common ancestor. Joralex has thrown all of science in the pot.
3. Scientists and evolutionary biologists are a diverse group, with many divergent social and political views. They are only united in their acceptance of empiricism.. which results in their general agreement in matters of science.
4. The social and political implications of the hodge podge of scientific theories mentioned by Joralex are irrelevant when considering the "evidence" for such theories.
5. Joralex's definition of what is SE and ME are arbitrary, and guided purely by his own religious prejudices and nothing more.
What he claims is ME (at least in the subject of evolution, not astronomy, cosmology, or the other subjects he mentions) are actually clearly and provably all SE. This guts his primary argument.
In concise, layman's terms a "metaphysic", a.k.a. a "worldview", is a fundamental foundation in whatever activities people conduct - science, math, any of the arts, politics, war, economics... anything!
Translation: Joralex believes that the "conclusions" of evolution and a variety of other sciences are actually their "premises". In other words, they are assumed (as his religious views are) to be correct, and all evidence is interpreted in terms of their claims. This is strong claim, and must be supported by direct "argument" and "example". It is not adequate merely to make the claim and assume its truth.
But what sort of evidence?
Consider the claims themselves:
Science: Evolution is simply derived from empirical evidence that anyone can inspect. The evidence is unambiguous, and only fits well within an evolutionary interpretation. (Likewise the other scientific theories Joralex lumps together.. each with their own set of evidence more or less completely unrelated to that for biological evolution.)
Joralex (creationists): The evidence said to be for evolution is ambiguous, and can easily be made to conform to any particular interpretation. Because of this, those with an atheistic worldview find it easy to make this ambiguous evidence fit with their evolutionary paradigm.
(Another possible position might be that scientists "hide", or "misreport" unambiguous evidence against evolution. I have not heard Joralex mention this grand conspiracy interpretation yet, however.)
Joralex then goes through the laundry list of conclusions of empirical science (though conveniently omitting the connection between them and the real metaphysical assumptions of science.. empiricism).
*********** SYNOPSIS OF THE ME ***********
Somehow, someway, the primordial essence of matter-energy (whatever that may be) became the common matter-energy that we know today. Maybe this occurred in what is called the Big Bang (?).
This is not evolution, it is cosmology.
The empirical evidence for this is the cosmic background radiation, its distribution, and temperature.
Secondary extrapolative empirical evidence is the cosmic redshift indicating the expansion of the universe.
The most parsimonious and simple explanation for both is the big bang theory.
Through gravitational condensation (of the lightest element, H) stars formed. These stars then 'evolved' through what is called 'stellar sequences' and, in the process of so doing,
This is a direct and uncontroversial extrapolation of newtownian mechanics.
Gasses will contract if they are unevenly distributed. Either that, or what we know of the laws of physics is invalid.
nucleosynthesis produced the heavier elements. Eventually some of these stars exploded spilling these heavier elements into space. Again through gravitational condensation, planetoids and planets formed.
Again.. extrapolated directly from the distribution of stars of different types in the universe, the witnessing of supernova, the snapshots of stellar evolution we see everywhere. In addition to this, these processes are predicted by newtownian mechanics and special and general relativity as well as atomic physics. These are also largely uncontroversial.
Through matter-energy interactions planets evolved to eventually acquire certain environments (e.g., Earth, Mars, Venus, etc. each has their own characteristic environments). Some environments are conducive to the emergence of life and, somehow, life got started on earth.
Science does not know the exact process by which life first emerged on earth. However, there are two facts that indicate the process was natural, and not superantural.
1. The evidence of biological evolution which we clearly see recorded in the fossil record indicates that life converges towards a very simple form early in the history of the planet.
2. There seems to be no reason why the boring and prosaic mechanisms of chemical self organization can not provide the means by which this early simple life first emerged, though the details are not yet known.
3. Other hypotheses (i.e. God) seem to present no evidence whatsoever in their own support. Self organization and emergent complexity seem to directly undermine the arguments for "design". And the fossil evidence as well as mathematical and computer modeling indicates that evolutionary processes are adequate for generating biological complexity without a designer.
There is therefore far more evidene for a natural origin for life vs. a supernatural or magical origin.
The earliest life was extremely simple. This life began to evolve and become more and more complex and diverse. Eventually man emerged from this plethora of organisms on a spiral of complexity/diversity.
Since we have a clear set of movie "snapshots" of this process occuring with the contents of the fossil record, this is the most clearly illustrated aspect of evolution.
At each layer in the fossil record, we have a set of extant species which are clearly very similar to those in adjacent layers above and below.
These fossil occur in a clear and invariant order. This order forms a progressively diverging tree, where the characteristic similarities between the fossils "branch" and "diverge". These are the hallmarks of evolution (not design), and are also always found in mathematical and computer simulations of the process as well.
In addition to this primary evidence, add the branching similarity in DNA that matches the fossil evidence, biogeographic distribution of fossils which match the evolutionary timeline, vestigial structures indicating progressive modification of organs, shared genetic mistakes between related species, observed speciation, observed malleability of species under artificial selection, etc.
All of this empirical evidence, in the absence of any "evolutionary worldview" would automatically demand one.
Man continued to evolve and in time developed a sophisticated culture.
The evidence for this is the wide array of paleontological evidence for human evolution. I think it is practically impossible to pretend that the variety of transitional that have been found could be anything but our relatives, cousins, or ancestors.
Again, the line transitional human fossils clearly demands an evolutionary explanation, not the other way around. The "worldview" of evolution did not cause these fossils to exist.
All things 'evolve' : life 'evolves' (from the simplest organisms to a very complex and diverse biota);
Joralex is stating here that evolutionists are guilty of equivocation, of claiming that since things "change" (evolve), that therefore biological evolution must be true.
Evolutionists never claim that "change" and "biological evolution" are the same thing. This is merely a red herring, a false argument.
The evidence that biologists bring forward for evolution have nothing to do with the definition of the word. You could call it "purple", and it would still be the common ancestry of all life due to the processes of mutation plus natural selection over billions of years.
However, just as real as SE is ME. I have little doubt that the synopsis presented above was recognized. Setting aside theistic/progressive evolutionists, when all other evolutionists promote 'evolution' they aren't just promoting SE, they are actually promoting ME - the completely materialistic, naturalistic worldview of the universe as summarized above.
Joralex is saying that since scientists tend to accept these things as true.. this must automatically mean that they accept them blindly (as he accepts his religious doctrine blindly), and that the evidence is either ambiguous, manufactured, or faked in order to provide the support for these conclusions after the fact.
As briefly demonstrated above.. this just ain't so.
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