Saturday, July 3, 2010

Debunking Darwinism

Peter Godfrey-Smith, reminding us that the "young linguist, Noam Chomsky, published a review of [B.F. Skinner's] Verbal Behaviour" which "was perhaps the most devastating book review ever written" as it did "serious damage to a scientific research programme with a set of general arguments – not by citing experimental or mathematical results, but by looking at the basic ideas and revealing a crack in the foundations," reports that Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini aim to "replicate Chomsky’s demolition job on Skinner because 'Skinner’s account of learning and Darwin’s account of evolution are identical in all but name'" — It Got Eaten.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Dunk said...

Wishful thinking. A theory of learning is a theory of learning - it has no physical existence. Evolution has physical facts on the ground - DNA exists, and through the process of sexual reproduction replicates itself into new forms. I always want to ask doubters of evolution: do you disbelieve that the molecule DNA exists? Do you disbelieve it recombines and occasionally mutates? The above two things are pretty solidly proven, and can be fairly well shown in the lab.

In my view admitting the existence of DNA shows someone at root believes in evolution, they just don't have the intellectual honesty to do the logic forward from the above two facts.

4:25 AM  
Anonymous Steven P. Cornett said...

Re: Dunk,

theory of learning is a theory of learning - it has no physical existence.

Learning is a phenomenon while a theory of learning is a model to describe it and predict how to get results in it. It is accepted or discarded based on how results match the model. An evolutionary theory is a model of how the facts on the ground you refer to develop over time.

If both models suffer from categorical errors, such as a misunderstanding of the fundamental characteristics of the phenomena, then both models will display this in the errors they produce. If both suffer from fatal category errors, then you have a fatally defective model, and to continue to accept it instead of finding another is a act of insanity.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would de Chardin say about all this?

7:28 AM  
Blogger Dunk said...

That's all and well, Steven, but do you acknowledge that you are a biologically distinct individual DNA-wise (assuming you do not have an identical twin) whose genetic code derives half from your mother's DNA and half from your father's? Or do you deny this? I say to acknowledge it as a fact is an acceptance of evolution.

Rather than suffering from "fatal category errors" the theory of evolution is very robust; use of it's concepts is now routine in science and application of it's precepts regularly explain facts in the world better than any other theory.

Really, sometimes Darwin debunkers remind me of Holocaust deniers. In the case of the holocaust there is an overload of evidence of all kinds: thousands of eyewitness accounts, guard confessions, train records, population transfer records, physical buildings sporting equipment to kill en masse, and so on. Yet because no one can actually locate a letter by Hitler explicitly mentioning or ordering it, these deniers will ignore the mountains of evidence and insist the quirk there is no letter from Hitler shows the Holocaust is a 'hoax'. So to with Darwin deniers - they ignore massive amounts of evidence and insist that small anomalies invalidate the theory. Sounds lunatic to me!

7:33 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

A leap from heredity to Darwinian evolutionism is quite a jump.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Dunk said...

Heredity IS evolution, just in very slow motion.

1:32 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Heredity is not evolution. Evolution is specieation.

I'm a evolutionary agnostic, meaning I haven't made up my mind yet, as are a lot of educated people especially outside of the English-speaking world, where dogmatic Darwinism has yet to take hold. I like to post article countering Darwinism because they are more interesting.

I teach English at Asia's top-ranking science and technology universities, and tutor graduate students in Life Science. Many of them discount Darwinian evolution.

I once discussed this pro-evolution research with an atheist colleague whose background is in science -- "Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution". My colleague responded, "Husbandry is not evolution."

Even different breeds of dogs are not evidence of evolution. Evolution is specieation.

11:02 AM  

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