Wednesday, March 2, 2016

125 Rebuttals, 10 through 12

This is a post in a series dealing with this site. If you're new here, welcome!  I see that my blog is getting nearly a hundred people per post viewing it now, so thanks a bunch!  If you're simply returning and enjoying, thanks also!  I'm glad my work is interesting to you, and I welcome any feedback at all.  Now, back to where I left off.

It looks like we're going to have another rapid-fire day ahead of us, so let's dive in!  As a reminder, if you've a specialty here, feel free to let me know if I make any technical mistakes.  Also, just to break up the flow, here's a neat set of pictures I took some time ago.

Apparently Google will sometimes turn a series of pictures into a .gif file automatically.
I'm actually impressed, Google.  I just wish you were better at notifying me of things.
It's a pertinent picture, I think, because it shows an amazing display of evolutionary traits.  Butterflies and grass, two things that have adapted to their environment.  Good luck little butterflies, even though you're likely dead because that photo is several years old now.  I hope you had wonderful lives!

10: The Argument from Transitional Fossils

Alright, I'll quit being lazy.  Time to capitalize things again.  Let's see what kind of logical breakdowns we have today.
The evidence of the words of Charles Darwin
1. “As by this [evolution] theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find them in the fossil record? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of being, as we see them, well-defined species?”—Charles Darwin (1866)
We need to put this in context, because it's actually quite important here.  From the first few paragraphs of chapter six of The Origin of Species, from whence the quote was mined (around page 131 in that edition), we can see that Darwin is actually setting up these headings with the actual purpose of discussing them.  He acknowledges that they are indeed points of contention (at the time) for which some science still needed to be done. In the hundred and fifty years or so hence, we've discovered the answers to most of those questions.  Note also that this isn't a premise.  It's simply a cherry-picked quote so dearly out of context that, were it anything else, it might tear the fabric of time.

But I digress.
2. Even the few transitional forms claimed by  scientists to be good ones are very questionable and what to say about not finding innumerable transitional forms.
Well, it's terribly incorrect, this premise.  Ring species, like the salamanders found in the greater California area, are literally a set of species in transition.  If you'd like, I can go into more detail on those later, but suffice to say, they are an excellent example of how speciation happens.  Another excellent example is the Mule/Hinney.  Horses and donkeys are starting to become divergent, such that they can still reproduce, but the offspring are (in the case of the mule) born sterile, and are a distinctive species from either parent.  This is a prediction of the divergence of species.  It's probably similar to exactly what happened between Humans (that's us) and Neanderthals.

But again, I digress.  The premise is false, it's an appeal to authority (and a bad one), and it lacks a citation.  Also, god of the gaps.
3. The work of a designer and his creation is obvious. All men call him God.
Again, nope and nope.  First, not all men believe in a god.  A large portion of religious people are Buddhist, for example, a religion that is generally atheist.  Buddhists don't necessarily believe in a god, though most do believe in Nirvana or something similar.  However, I'm moving beyond my scope here.  False premise, false assertion, Argument from heaven, moving on.
4. God exists.
It's interesting to note that the argument is supposedly from transitional fossils, but no fossils were mentioned.  I feel as though I'm really aiming low to keep going, but I'm a dedicated son of a gun, so away we go.

11: The Argument of Information.

I bet it's not.  This might be the most ironic one yet.  Did I mention I'm not reading these before I address each one?  I'm hoping that, in this veritable goldmine of futility, I'll find at least one compelling argument.  Wish me luck as we delve further!
1. There is matter or energy.
Well, actually, there's both.  It's a false dichotomy, in part because it's not an either/or, and in part because they're both the same thing in some frames of reference.  YAY SCIENCE!
2. It is useless or inactive to direct the origin and make of complex life forms without information and consciousness.
[citation needed]
I'd like to know why the author thinks it is useless, or what's even meant by inactive.  Similarly, I can't really make sense of the rest.  Is PSH implying that organisms can't exist without consciousness, like bacteria or plant seeds?  Do trees have thoughts, can cabbage contemplate its own existence?

Also, information is sometimes used to describe matter / energy relations.  It doesn't mean 'information' in the same statistical way you're probably thinking of it right now.  These glyphs you're looking at, that make words on this screen, are one kind of information.  When we're talking about the 'information' of a cell, or of a photon, we're not talking about the same kind of information; we're generally talking about energy, and its attributes, like the polarity of a photon, or the chirality of a strand of DNA or something.  Again, it can change based on the context, so we shan't dwell upon it here, where no context is given.
3. The DNA displays a huge level of coded,
Not really
specified, complex information.
Only because we give it arbitrary meanings.  It's really not so complex a system as you make it out to be.
Many DNA strands have 100 million, or even billions of  segments
This is actually basically correct.
(one segment is called a nucleotide. Nucleotides are the building blocks, namely purines: adenine, guanine; and pyrimidines: cytosine, thymine and uracil).
 Again, basically correct.

4. Even  scientists are amazed by the amount of information in the DNA and every day they discover new things about it.
PSH is on a roll.  This is also correct, it's amazing how much 'information' a strand of DNA can hold.  That is to say, it's amazing how the multitude of base pairs can react with its surroundings (like RNA) to fabricate very complex things.  As complicated as it looks, however, it's still chemistry, and it's still governed by the same laws that make vinegar and baking soda interact in your kitchen.  Well, basically the same laws, but we'll discuss that later perhaps.
5. Proponents of materialism have no answer to the question what generated the first DNA strands, and the information stored in it.
Well, I'm not sure what materialism has to do with anything here, but let's roll with it.  Basically, either DNA is or is not material.  Ignoring this special pleading fallacy, we do have some idea, actually.  very simple versions of RNA, over time, became specialized to the point that they became something like DNA, which pretty much every organism shares now.  The proto-RNA to DNA change may have happened relatively quickly, who can say.  It's probably much more logical, for whatever reason, for there to be separate DNA and RNA within a cell, to create the interaction.  It's entirely possible that DNA evolved covergent with RNA, and the two became specialized over time in unison.  It's not terribly important how you think about it for now, because the mechanism that would have produced it would have been the same.
6. Therefore, there must have been a first, super-intelligent designer of not only of one DNA code but many of them.
Well, there's only one DNA code on earth, and that's the DNA every organism shares.  Sure, each one institutes it differently, but it's literally the same AGTC coding.
7. That creator all men call the all-powerful, all-knowing God.
Again with this.  I grow weary of hearing it.  Especially when it follows such floundering.

I think I said it once before, and I'll say it once again.  If your god is letting such bad logic define him, even if he's real, I think I'd stop believing in him.  I don't mean in the sense that I'd think he's not there, but more like when someone says they don't believe in a sports team.  I'd give him absolutely no quarter.  The fact that this particular sort of argumentation is so common among theists, when it's supposedly one of the most important things in their life, seems bad.  God, the most important thing ever, but no respect is given by the arguments presented.  It seems really disrespectful to the gods they believe in, to use such faulty logic to defend them.  If I were a theist (and even when I was), I really wouldn't want such terrible logic defending something I hold so dear.

Anyway, enough caveats. Back to the grind. But first, the weather.

I play the harmonica. I'm don't have any fancy equipment, but I play.
If you enjoy it, let me know!  If you don't, let me know!
If you just want me to get on with it, here we go.

12: The Argument of Co-option

Well, I've not heard of this one, methinks.  Let's find out what's going on.  Maybe it'll be the diamond in the rough.
1. Co-option in microbiology means borrowing parts of systems from different places to form a new system. When in this way a new system is generated it has a new function. This proves evolution.
That's interesting.  I've never heard it put that way before, but it's true that some things were co-opted by other things. After all, the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.  It's important to note that this explains where mitochondria came from.
2a. But in the evolutionary scheme not all the systems were available by co-option.
That's absolutely correct.  Some systems had to develop independently so they could be co-opted.  Others make no sense to co-opt.  There's a reason plants have chloroplasts and you don't.  Animal cells simply don't make good use of solar energy that way, but plant cells do.  It's really as simple as that.  Early animals didn't co-opt it because it simply didn't make sense generally.  Sure, some cyanobacteria and stuff do, but chloroplasts suit them well, because they're relatively simple compared to a human or a cat. [citation needed, probably]

2b. In the simple example of E-coli only 10 out of 40 components can be traced back as having been developed by co-option.
Neat.  Again, false dichotomy fallacy - not everything must be co-opted.  In fact, by definition, it should only tend to happen when it's mutually useful, and that's what we see.  It even happens environmentally, cleaner fish will clean larger animals in return for protection.  Bacteria in your gut evolved to live there.  The fact that they help with nutrient absorption is kinda the reason they're there, regardless whether or not it's a byproduct of why gut bacteria initially developed in the gut.
2c. The rest of the 30 components are unique and new. There are simply no known homologues to them.
Wonderful.  Again, there don't have to be.  One of your premises, supported in fact by your further premises, is that evolution is evidently true (read:proven).  Again, there's no purpose, no guiding light, telling things why they have to do things.  Things just kind happen, and that's that.  The fact that, sometimes, one process benefits another, is not evidence that it's impossible for two processes which have no bearing on each other to exist.  This is a false corollary!  A new kind of fallacy!  Haha, many discoveries were made today, mark the day!
      These 30 components were not available for co-option in hypothetic ancestral lines leading from e.g. a bacterium with no flagellum.
Science-sounding stuff pulled out of context and then not put back into a context. This is really just sloppy.  Also, the premise admits that it could have been co-opted from elsewhere, whatever thirty other traits it supposedly references.  I'm not even going to bother looking up a source for this, because we can all guess what comes next.
3. This again proves the existence of a designer who is no one else then God.
Actually, it does exactly the opposite.  It shows that evolution is evidently true, and uses evolution to explain how symbiosis works. Good job!  PSH is literally so disingenuous that he's claiming that the premise supports exactly the opposite conclusion from what was actually shown in the premise.  Imagine if I said this.

  1. Clouds are made of raindrops
  2. Raindrops form around dirt nuclei
  3. Those nuclei can be any number of very tiny particulates
  4. Some raindrops form because of tiny ice crystals instead of dirt
  5. Clouds don't actually contain any raindrops because some raindrops don't contain dirt
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