Home » Intelligent Design » Can a Non-Expert Challenge a “Scientific” Consensus?

Can a Non-Expert Challenge a “Scientific” Consensus?

Many of us in the ID community are repeatedly challenged with the assertion that those without “credentials” in evolutionary biology are, essentially by definition, disqualified from questioning Darwinian orthodoxy.

It is true that if a mathematician claims to have a proof of a new theorem in computational number theory, the challenger should be able to come up with a mathematically rigorous refutation, and this would require much expertise in the domain of CNT.

However, as David Berlinski has pointed out, Darwinian “science” does not represent rigorous science in our usual understanding of the term — it is a “room filled with smoke.” It makes claims about the infinitely creative powers of random variation and natural selection, with no rigorous proof, only wild speculation and infinitely imaginative storytelling.

It makes claims about the fossil record repeatedly substantiating Darwinian step-by-tiny-step gradualism, when the obvious overall testimony of the record is the exact opposite: consistent and persistent discontinuity.

It completely ignores the obvious fact that the probabilistic resources required to enable the Darwinian mechanism to do anything of significance concerning the information-processing machinery of the cell could not possibly have been available in the history of the universe.

These obvious deficiencies in Darwinian theory can be easily recognized and understood by those without “credentials.” In fact, it would appear to me that one would require a Masters, and preferably a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology not to be able to recognize and understand them.

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18 Responses to Can a Non-Expert Challenge a “Scientific” Consensus?

  1. Arguments from authority backed by political muscle not only don’t help their case, they will undermine that authority eventually.

  2. Why is it, that biologists can make engineering claims without having an engineering degree? Or Richard Dawkins can write a thick book about theology without taking even a short course in the subject?

    I think it is blatantly obvious that the requirement for a degree is just an excuse to silence those who actually have enough insight to see the bankruptcy of the arguments.

    And by the by the way, in mathematics rigorous logic often enabled a brilliant person to challenge the experts of a field without having studied much of the particular subject. If the logic is flawless the result will be accepted without a PhD.

  3. Alex:

    Ironically, when evolutionary materialist biologists (such as Dawkins) traipse well out of their depth into information theory or computer science or thermodynamics — weasel, climbing Mt Improbable, blind watchmaker, etc [not to mention ill-considered and worse-toned forays into philosophy and theology . . . ] — this is often actually celebrated.

    But, the real reason for that is the a priori imposition of Lewontinian-style evolutionary materialism [in the name of a "reasonable" methodological constraint, AKA, so-called methodological naturalism], as is discussed here. In Lewontin’s inadvertently ever so revealing, utterly telling question-begging words:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. (The link above gives the onward link to the online source, and discusses how the quote is most definitely not a case of so-called quote-mining. In fact the context reveals the depth of manipulative, strawmannising, dismissive contempt that drives the words; almost as bad as Dawkins' notorious "ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.")]

    A sounder view of science as it should strive to be would be (cf here):

    ______________

    >> science, at its best, is the unfettered — but ethically and intellectually responsible — progressive pursuit of the truth about our world (i.e. an accurate and reliable description and explanation of it), based on:

    a: collecting, recording, indexing, collating and reporting accurate, reliable (and where feasible, repeatable) empirical — real-world, on the ground — observations and measurements,

    b: inference to best current — thus, always provisional — abductive explanation of the observed facts,

    c: thus producing hypotheses, laws, theories and models, using logical-mathematical analysis, intuition and creative, rational imagination [[including Einstein's favourite gedankenexperiment, i.e thought experiments],

    d: continual empirical testing through further experiments, observations and measurement; and,

    e: uncensored but mutually respectful discussion on the merits of fact, alternative assumptions and logic among the informed. (And, especially in wide-ranging areas that cut across traditional dividing lines between fields of study, or on controversial subjects, “the informed” is not to be confused with the eminent members of the guild of scholars and their publicists or popularisers who dominate a particular field at any given time.)

    As a result, science enables us to ever more effectively (albeit provisionally) describe, explain, understand, predict and influence or control objects, phenomena and processes in our world. >>
    _______________

    Guild membership does not even enter into the issue.

    In fact, it might be a useful thing to remind ourselves of the older, more careful distinction. The action of doing a scientific investigation was seen as applied epistemology, natural philosophy. Its established findings, were then deemed knowledge, which is what the word “science” actually means. ["Knowledge" is a Greek import, "science" a Latin one.]

    GEM of TKI

  4. Here is a revealing look at why most ‘experts’ toe the Darwinian party line:

    THE BIOLOGIST (A molecular biologist admits what we have known all along)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqUiY2gaoJY

  5. F/N BA 77 strikes again!

    Money quote from the underline article as preserved online:

    ____________________

    The Biologist.
    Feb 17, 2000,
    The Lynchburg Ledger newspaper
    (no longer archived online, according to the video)
    by George Caylor, a journalist

    Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqUiY2gaoJY

    Article: http://ontherightside.wordpres.....biologist/

    >> . . .

    G [C, journalist]: “How did all that information happen to get there?”
    S [Molecular biologist, specializing in genetic research, from NY]: “Do you mean, did it just happen? Did it evolve?”
    G: “Bingo. Do you believe that the information evolved?”
    S: “George, nobody I know in my profession truly believes it evolved. It was engineered by ‘genius beyond genius’, and such information could not have been written any other way. The paper and ink did not write the book. Knowing what we know, it is ridiculous to think otherwise. A bit like Neil Armstrong believing the moon is made of green cheese. He’s been there!”
    G: “Have you ever stated that in a public lecture, or in any public writings?”
    S: “No. It all just evolved.”
    G: “What? You just told me —?”
    S: “Just stop right there. To be a molecular biologist requires one to hold on to two insanities at all times. One, it would be insane to believe in evolution when you can see the truth for yourself. Two, it would be insane to say you don’t believe in evolution. All government work, research grants, papers, big college lectures – everything would stop. I’d be out of a job, or relegated to the outer fringes where I couldn’t earn a decent living.”

    G: “I hate to say it, Sam, but that sounds intellectually dishonest.”
    S: “The work I do in genetic research is honorable. We will find the cures to many of mankind’s worst diseases. But in the meantime, we have to live with the ‘elephant in the living room’.”
    G: “What elephant?”
    S: “Design. It’s like the elephant in the living room.
    It moves around, takes up an enormous amount of space, loudly trumpets, bumps into us, knocks things over, eats a ton of hay, and smells like an elephant. And yet we have to swear it isn’t there!” >>
    ____________________

    First step to real freedom: drive out fear of standing up for and speaking the truth.

    If you are inclined to doubt that such censorship and career busting exist, remember, what just happened to Martin Gaskell, an astronomer, for daring to publish some notes.

    GEM of TKI

  6. It is true that if a mathematician claims to have a proof of a new theorem in computational number theory, the challenger should be able to come up with a mathematically rigorous refutation

    That cuts to the bone, Gil. That challenger would not need an iota of certification to refute.

    The only authority required is the work.

    The amount of classroom hours or letters have his name or the length of his resume is completely irrelevant.

  7. Bornagain77

    THE BIOLOGIST (A molecular biologist admits what we have known all along)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqUiY2gaoJY

    BA, who was the molecular biologist who made this startling confession?

    And where can I find a copy of this interview?

  8. If we had always only paid attention to arguments based on the authority and credentials of those making them, then the science of the first half of 20th century would have never got off the ground. A patent clerk would not have been allowed to publish articles in Annalen der Physik that changed our perception of time, space and gravity which led to quantum theory. A large number of those who developed quantum theory would have been ignored as well.
    The state of a lot of Big Science, especially when we look at Darwinism and climate studies, is a lot like the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about fifty years ago: a hide-bound, government-funded and controlled, peer-reviewed activity that is impervious to challenge or change and where free enquiry is stifled. Peerage can only be recognized and granted by those already in the game who play by the rules of the game, no matter how irrational.

  9. problem is, everyone in the crowd heard the child ask why the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes.

  10. Cousin Stuart!

    How nice to hear from you! UD readers should know that Stuart is my beloved cousin, who has apparently been blessed with the Dodgen science genes, but, unfortunately, corrupted by those Darwinism-is-a-logical-pile-of-crap genes.

    It is no coincidence that we are both software engineers, and both former atheists.

    Dawkins and his ilk have claimed that Darwinism is a great engine of atheism, because it elegantly explains all of life. Darwinism is not an elegant explanation of anything of any substance. It is an attempt to extrapolate tinker-toy mechanics to explain a Cray supercomputer (and even that comparison is woefully lacking by immeasurable orders of magnitude).

    Design in living systems is so transparently obvious that one must perform a logical self-lobotomy in order not to recognize it.

  11. Such great claims about our common heritage in origins demands great evidence.
    Degreeism is not evidence for evolutionism.
    Creationism takes on evolution and company on the merits of the case.
    let them argue their merits or argue we have no merits.
    Yet authority is not king in investigative subjects.

    In fact the bible is a historic accepted authority and to fight this authority they said WE GO WHERE THE EVIDENCE LEADS.
    Well go to the evidence and not a plaque on the wall.
    it ain’t gonna work to stop the modern, crusading, exciting, achieving , and intellectually contrarian spirit of creationism(s).
    YEC and I.D smell blood and a coming feast.

  12. jurassicmac,

    though the molecular biologist’s name was withheld, due to the Gestapo like tactics for Darwinists to EXPEL anyone who disagrees with their party line, the conclusion that the information in life is the result of ‘genius beyond genius’ is a position that literally falls out of the evidence even upon cursory reading:

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

    The Staggering Complexity Of The Cell – EXPELLED
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4227700/

    Nothing In Molecular Biology Is Gradual – Doug Axe PhD.
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5347797/

    “Charles Darwin said (paraphrase), ‘If anyone could find anything that could not be had through a number of slight, successive, modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.’ Well that condition has been met time and time again. Basically every gene, every protein fold. There is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in a gradualist way. It’s a mirage. None of it happens that way. – Doug Axe PhD.

  13. Hey Gil,

    We both ride Harley Davidsons too! But mine is parked right now since here in Idaho we are buried under tons of snow due to global warming. So say the credentialed experts at least!

    “If your copy of An Inconvenient Truth is frozen in a block of ice… you might be a victim of global warming.”

    “If your pet penguin asks you to buy him a Snuggie… you might be a victim of global warming.”

    “If you’re on stage in a Florida strip club and your tongue gets stuck to the pole… you might be a victim of global warming.”

  14. Stuart Harris, just so ya know, if the earth were warming, (due to humans or not) one of the consequences would be more severe snowstorms. The warming of the tropics would increase evaporation, putting more water vapor into the air, increasing precipitation in all forms. Now, I know you were partially joking, but hearing someone ask “If global warming were happening, why is it still so cold?” is like hearing someone ask “If people evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?”

  15. It is like a moral reformer such as Ghandi or Martin Luther King being forbidden to speak because he does not belong to the elite of the society he is trying to reform. Reformers, moral or otherwise, need not have credentials. We are evaluating ideas, not the bearer of the ideas. It is interesting that ancient texts recognize the power of ideas/arguments and view them as powerful as conventional weapons:

    “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.

  16. This reminds me somewhat of the apostles in the first century. They were described as ‘men unlettered and ordinary’ but they taught people scriptural truths. How, the religious leaders wondered, did they learn these truths to be able to teach them? “And they realized that they [the apostles] used to be with Jesus.”

    Science is not decided upon by majority vote. Science is not decided upon by degrees. Science works because the data fits the hypothesis/theory and leads to a new discovery or a solution to a scientific problem.

  17. jurassicmac said: “just so ya know, if the earth were warming, (due to humans or not) one of the consequences would be more severe snowstorms. The warming of the tropics would increase evaporation, putting more water vapor into the air”

    Hmmm … perhaps, or perhaps not. More water vapor in the air with more snow pack in the northern latitudes would cause sea levels to drop. But we are told that the polar regions are melting and that sea levels will rise. Which is it? It can be either since all data confirms global warming.

    BTW, as I understand, the tropical climates have also been cooler the last ten years.

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