noncontingent

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Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« on: October 24, 2020, 07:42:15 pm »
from the Selfish Gene (which I really liked) and whose analogy is quite compelling as regards behavioral Darwinism (see E. O Wilson' Sociobiology), to Climbing Mount Improbable, to The Naked Ape, to The Panda's Thumb, to The Mismeasure of Man to name just a few ultimately use "Evolution of the Gaps" to explain away all the places where evidence is absent.

I suppose I understand why atheists find themselves in this forum - this is, after all about finding a reasonable faith and what better place to be for atheists to be, than a place which purports to be a place to explore one's faith.


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wonderer

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2020, 10:27:35 pm »
I figure most of the atheists here are trying to learn, whether faitheists can be taught to be reasonable.  :-P
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kurros

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2020, 04:36:54 am »
from the Selfish Gene (which I really liked) and whose analogy is quite compelling as regards behavioral Darwinism (see E. O Wilson' Sociobiology), to Climbing Mount Improbable, to The Naked Ape, to The Panda's Thumb, to The Mismeasure of Man to name just a few ultimately use "Evolution of the Gaps" to explain away all the places where evidence is absent.

I suppose I understand why atheists find themselves in this forum - this is, after all about finding a reasonable faith and what better place to be for atheists to be, than a place which purports to be a place to explore one's faith.

This is extremely vague. Do you have a more concrete point you would like to discuss?

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noncontingent

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2020, 07:53:31 am »
from the Selfish Gene (which I really liked) and whose analogy is quite compelling as regards behavioral Darwinism (see E. O Wilson' Sociobiology), to Climbing Mount Improbable, to The Naked Ape, to The Panda's Thumb, to The Mismeasure of Man to name just a few ultimately use "Evolution of the Gaps" to explain away all the places where evidence is absent.

I suppose I understand why atheists find themselves in this forum - this is, after all about finding a reasonable faith and what better place to be for atheists to be, than a place which purports to be a place to explore one's faith.

This is extremely vague. Do you have a more concrete point you would like to discuss?

Vague as are all the hand-waving done w/regard to OOL, and the origins of every biological structure. They can't explain it, so it's "evolution of the gaps".


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GRWelsh

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2020, 08:24:14 am »
The saying "evolution of the gaps" doesn't really work.  It is derived from -- and I assume intends to parody -- the saying: "God of the gaps" which means "since science can’t explain something therefore God must have done it” and is fallacious because it concludes that because something hasn't been explained yet by naturalistic processes, it never will be.  To say "evolution of the gaps" is really just doing science.  There are always some things science hasn't explained yet, but we make hypotheses, test and observe, construct new theories and so on.  With origins of life, science hasn't explained it yet, but that is no reason to stop looking for a naturalistic answer.  Assuming there is a naturalistic answer is basic to methodological naturalism.  What's the alternative?  To throw our hands up in the air and give up?  Should we say "We already have the answer to the origins of life and it is the supernatural answer: the God of the Bible!" and stop searching for a natural explanation?  No, "evolution of the gaps" is a good thing because we assume there is a naturalistic answer, and we search for it.

It would be unthinkable to give up on natural explanations in other scientific disciplines, so why do this for evolution? 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 08:50:18 am by GRWelsh »
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Mammal

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 11:35:13 am »
Be nice to get lancia's opinion here seeing he is the expert.

But, evolution of the gaps is also a method by which existing and already established science is applied to yet unexplored scenario's. Thus it is argued that if there are gaps in evidence, we could for now assume that those gaps were filled by similar processes and mechanisms already studied elsewhere. That is obviously not the same as the God of gaps as the latter has not been studied, or observed anywhere. And I am saying that to imply that while God of the gaps is a fallacious argument, evolution of the gaps is not.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 11:37:23 am by Mammal »
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noncontingent

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2020, 01:27:02 pm »
"We have no evidence about what the first step in making life was, but we do know the kind of step it must have been. It must have been whatever it took to get natural selection started . . . by some process as yet unknown." - "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution" - Dawkins

"we have no evidence...of whatever it took...by some process as yet unknown"



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wonderer

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2020, 01:53:48 pm »
"We have no evidence about what the first step in making life was, but we do know the kind of step it must have been. It must have been whatever it took to get natural selection started . . . by some process as yet unknown." - "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution" - Dawkins

"we have no evidence...of whatever it took...by some process as yet unknown"

And?

It is good to recognize that there are things that are unknown.
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kurros

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2020, 02:12:44 pm »
from the Selfish Gene (which I really liked) and whose analogy is quite compelling as regards behavioral Darwinism (see E. O Wilson' Sociobiology), to Climbing Mount Improbable, to The Naked Ape, to The Panda's Thumb, to The Mismeasure of Man to name just a few ultimately use "Evolution of the Gaps" to explain away all the places where evidence is absent.

I suppose I understand why atheists find themselves in this forum - this is, after all about finding a reasonable faith and what better place to be for atheists to be, than a place which purports to be a place to explore one's faith.

This is extremely vague. Do you have a more concrete point you would like to discuss?

Vague as are all the hand-waving done w/regard to OOL, and the origins of every biological structure. They can't explain it, so it's "evolution of the gaps".

If you think evolution is supposed to explain the origin of life then you haven't read those books properly.

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Gordon Tubbs

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2020, 04:50:25 pm »
I think evolutionary theory, if expanded beyond biology, could be defined as some sort of information transfer from one state to a subsequent state in such a way that allows the subsequent state to grow into something more complex than the previous state. That's all well and good, but when using evolutionary theory as a metaphysical theory, it is predicated on classical notion of God - an organizing principle that directs the flow of information forward into more complex and ordered states.  Any naturalist would happily dismiss this notion of God and trade it for some mechanism that necessarily exists, but with such a move the damage is done: gaps thinking has been engaged. Why? Because there is nothing we currently know of that can explain the totality of what we currently know. By positing some invisible mechanism that shapes visible mechanisms, we're entering new realms of existence that a physical-all-the-way-downist would hiss at.

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lancia

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2020, 07:02:48 pm »
I think evolutionary theory, if expanded beyond biology, could be defined as some sort of information transfer from one state to a subsequent state in such a way that allows the subsequent state to grow into something more complex than the previous state.

But evolution does not always result in an information transfer from one state to a subsequent state in such a way that allows the subsequent state to grow into something more complex than the previous state.

Sometimes the subsequent, more-evolved state is simpler than the previous less-evolved state. Examples would include the evolutionary loss of energetically expensive flight and the resulting simplification of associated anatomy, physiology, and behavior in some bird species currently living on remote islands having no predators of birds and low food supplies, In such an environment, cost of flight outweighs benefit of flight, making the loss in flight evolutionarily logical.

I think what would be true of evolutionary theory, however, is the subsequent state, even if it's not more complex, would be more adapted to the subsequent environment than the previous state would be. Flightless birds are more adapted to food-poor habitats on islands because their reduced metabolic needs resulting from the flightless condition better match the reduced food levels there.

It seems that evolution, though it often reflects increased complexity, may not always do so. Increased complexity, thus, seems not to be a necessary condition of evolution.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2020, 10:30:45 pm by lancia »

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lucious

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2020, 11:56:57 pm »
I believe it is important to broaden your reading of evolutionary theory beyond the narrow constraints of Neo-Darwinism. There is decades of academic discussion which repudiates the notion that natural selection is the causal engine behind all evolutionary variety.


And then there Is the issue of formal, final causality and teleology etc along with consciousness cognition and mind which I think are where philosophy and biology meet. And certainly issues for which the Jerry Coynes and Richard Dawkins of the world have no robust answers.

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Mammal

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2020, 01:14:56 am »
Vague as are all the hand-waving done w/regard to OOL, and the origins of every biological structure. They can't explain it, so it's "evolution of the gaps".
If you think evolution is supposed to explain the origin of life then you haven't read those books properly.
Also, saying that hand-waving is done w.r.t. the origins of every biological structure seems absurd. There are in fact a lot of evidence that explain the emergence of many biological structures along a evolutionary path.
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Mammal

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2020, 01:27:13 am »
I think evolutionary theory, if expanded beyond biology, could be defined as some sort of information transfer from one state to a subsequent state in such a way that allows the subsequent state to grow into something more complex than the previous state. That's all well and good, but when using evolutionary theory as a metaphysical theory, it is predicated on classical notion of God - an organizing principle that directs the flow of information forward into more complex and ordered states.  Any naturalist would happily dismiss this notion of God and trade it for some mechanism that necessarily exists, but with such a move the damage is done: gaps thinking has been engaged. Why? Because there is nothing we currently know of that can explain the totality of what we currently know. By positing some invisible mechanism that shapes visible mechanisms, we're entering new realms of existence that a physical-all-the-way-downist would hiss at.
I believe it is important to broaden your reading of evolutionary theory beyond the narrow constraints of Neo-Darwinism. There is decades of academic discussion which repudiates the notion that natural selection is the causal engine behind all evolutionary variety.
Sure, but it is not to say it can never be explained, or has to be supernatural. For example, the Turing machine has been suggested as one such mechanism. Studies have shown it to be the likely explanation for pixie circles in grasslands, i.e. grasslands adapt "intelligently" to protect themselves from dying out. The Turing machine has been touted as explaining certain evolutionary adaptations too. This article is quite an eye opener in showcasing the amazing capabilities of it. I think we have said for quite some time now that nature seems very capable; natural processes are not all just "blind". And we think that certain quantum mechanisms could explain that. The origin of life does not have to be seen as an impossible feat for nature.

PS. By the way, I very recently saw the highest resolution picture of an atomic make-up yet (which I can't find right now) and if you compare that picture with the complex images in the above article, well..its very similar.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 02:57:58 am by Mammal »
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noncontingent

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Re: Pretty much every book I've read on evolution
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2020, 06:44:12 am »
Over 160 years now and the situation for die-hard evolutionists has gotten worse.

It takes a lot of faith to believe what they believe.

A lot of faith coupled with ignorance of the science involved.