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Coffee: Massimo Pigliucci, trying to get it

Here:

It is precisely in the area of medical treatments that the science-pseudoscience divide is most critical, and where the role of philosophers in clarifying things may be most relevant. Our colleague Stephen T. Asma raised the issue in a recent Stone column (“The Enigma of Chinese Medicine”), pointing out that some traditional Chinese remedies (like drinking fresh turtle blood to alleviate cold symptoms) may in fact work, and therefore should not be dismissed as pseudoscience.

Especially not by the turtle.

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6 Responses to Coffee: Massimo Pigliucci, trying to get it

  1. You might have included the next sentence:

    “This, however, risks confusing the possible effectiveness of folk remedies with the arbitrary theoretical-metaphysical baggage attached to it.”

    which is the point of the article.

  2. This, however, risks confusing the possible effectiveness of folk remedies with the arbitrary theoretical-metaphysical baggage attached to it.

    This sounds like a very good description of Darwinian processes. Are they just as valid as Qi? After all Qi is assumed true without any verifiable evidence. And Darwinian processes are assumed true without any verifiable evidence. Was Darwin, no more than a snake oil salesman? He certainly could write well. He would have made a good used car salesman in today’s world.

    Pigliucci is one of the people who have investigated macro-evolutionary processes and found we do not have any explanation for what we see.

  3. The following quote needed some correction:

    (…) the “cleverness” of [Darwinists] astrologers cherry-picking what counts as a confirmation of their theory, is hardly a problem for the criterion of falsifiability, but rather a nice illustration of Popper’s basic insight: the bad habit of creative fudging and finagling with empirical data ultimately makes a theory impervious to refutation. And all pseudoscientists do it, from [Darwinists], parapsychologists to creationists and 9/11 Truthers.

  4. Actually the point of the article is that there should be a more rigorous demarcation of science from pseudo-science. In fact Pigliucci tells us what he thinks the true mark of a pseudo-science actually is:

    the bad habit of creative fudging and finagling with empirical data ultimately makes a theory impervious to refutation.

    Although Pigliucci does not list Darwinian Evolution or ID in his list of what he considers the main pseudo-sciences which are prone to ‘creative fudging and finagling with empirical data’,,,,

    And all pseudoscientists do it, from parapsychologists to creationists and 9/11 Truthers.

    Darwinian evolution could easily lead Pigliucci’s list of pseudo-sciences:

    Is evolution pseudoscience?
    Excerpt:,,, Thus, of the ten characteristics of pseudoscience listed in the Skeptic’s Dictionary, evolution meets nine. Few other pseudosciences — astrology, astral projection, alien abduction, crystal power, or whatever — would meet so many.
    http://creation.com/is-evolution-pseudoscience

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    (Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003)

    Science and Pseudoscience – Imre Lakatos
    “nobody to date has yet found a demarcation criterion according to which Darwin can be described as scientific” – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, , quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture

    Oxford University Seeks Mathemagician — May 5th, 2011 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Grand theories in physics are usually expressed in mathematics. Newton’s mechanics and Einstein’s theory of special relativity are essentially equations. Words are needed only to interpret the terms. Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has obstinately remained in words since 1859. …
    http://biologicinstitute.org/2.....emagician/

    Who would have thought that it would be biologists that came up with the first Theory of Everything?
    Biological divergence? Evolution. Biological convergence? Evolution. Gradual variation? Evolution. Sudden variation? Evolution. Stasis? Evolution. Junk DNA? Evolution. No Junk DNA? Evolution. Tree of life? Evolution. No tree of life? Evolution. Common genes? Evolution. Orfan genes? evolution. Cell with little more than a jelly-like protoplasm? Evolution. Cell filled with countless, highly-specified nano-machines directed by a software code? Evolution. More hardy, more procreative organisms? Evolution. Less hardy, less procreative organisms? Evolution.
    - Evolution explains everything. -
    William J Murray

    Or as Karl Popper may have very well put it,

    “A Theory That Explains Everything Explains Nothing”

    Here is how neo-Darwinian evolution avoids falsification from ‘anomalous’ genetic evidence:

    A Primer on the Tree of Life – Casey Luskin – 2009
    Excerpt: The truth is that common ancestry is merely an assumption that governs interpretation of the data, not an undeniable conclusion, and whenever data contradicts expectations of common descent, evolutionists resort to a variety of different ad hoc rationalizations to save common descent from being falsified.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/10651

    Here is how Darwinists avoid falsification from the protein evidence

    The Hierarchy of Evolutionary Apologetics: Protein Evolution Case Study – Cornelius Hunter – January 2011
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....etics.html

    Here is how Darwinists avoid falsification from the fossil record;

    Seeing Ghosts in the Bushes (Part 2): How Is Common Descent Tested? – Paul Nelson – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: Fig. 6. Multiple possible ad hoc or auxiliary hypotheses are available to explain lack of congruence between the fossil record and cladistic predictions. These may be employed singly or in combination. Common descent (CD) is thus protected from observational challenge.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....31061.html

    Here is how Darwinists avoid falsification from the biogeographical data of finding numerous and highly similar species in widely separated locations:

    The Case of the Mysterious Hoatzin: Biogeography Fails Neo-Darwinism Again – Casey Luskin – November 5, 2011
    Excerpt: If two similar species separated by thousands of kilometers across oceans cannot challenge common descent, what biogeographical data can? The way evolutionists treat it, there is virtually no biogeographical data that can challenge common descent even in principle. If that’s the case, then how can biogeography be said to support common descent in the first place?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52571.html

    Many Darwinists tried (although they didn’t get too far) to protect Darwinism from the ENCODE findings of widespread functionality for ‘junk’ DNA by claiming that Darwinism predicted this finding all along:

    Data Peeking, an Indispensable Implement in the Darwinian Toolbox – Stephen A. Batzer
    - Nov. 19, 2012
    Excerpt: This is called “Data Peeking,” and it is also called “Bad Faith.” It works this way:
    1. Gather data and/or run an experiment.
    2. Determine the results.
    3. Think up an explanation (perhaps a just so story, or maybe a worthwhile explanation).
    4. Label your explanation a theory.
    5. Unveil the data in public, proclaiming, “Just as my theory predicts…”
    The key (to making this work) is the order of presentation. You offer the results to others after you run the experiments. When discussing, you give the just-so-story first, then the data, and then grandly proclaim that the results are just as you predicted.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66501.html

    And let’s not forget another means in which Darwinists avoid falsification; the fraudulent practice of literature bluffing;

    “A Masterful Feat of Courtroom Deception”: Immunologist Donald Ewert on Dover Trial – audio
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_03-08_00

    The deception, (literature bluffing), from neo-Darwinists at Dover did not stop with immunology;

    The NCSE, Judge Jones, and Bluffs About the Origin of New Functional Genetic Information – Casey Luskin – March 2010
    http://www.discovery.org/a/14251

  5. In fact Nick Matzke, whom I believed was involved fairly heavily in Dover, still seems to take literature bluffing rather seriously, as a form of art rather than the blatantly fraudulent practice it actually is:

    Calling Nick Matzke’s literature bluff on molecular machines – DonaldM UD blogger – April 2013
    Excerpt: So now, 10 years later in 2006 Matzke and Pallen come along with this review article. The interesting thing about this article is that, despite all the hand waving claims about all these dozens if not hundreds of peer reviewed research studies showing how evolution built a flagellum, Matzke and Pallen didn’t have a single such reference in their bibliography. Nor did they reference any such study in the article. Rather, the article went into great lengths to explain how a researcher might go about conducting a study to show how evolution could have produced the system. Well, if all those articles and studies were already there, why not just point them all out? In shorty, the entire article was a tacit admission that Behe had been right all along.
    Fast forward to now and Andre’s question directed to Matzke. We’re now some 17 years after Behe’s book came out where he made that famous claim. And, no surprise, there still is not a single peer reviewed research study that provides the Darwinian explanation for a bacterial flagellum (or any of the other irreducibly complex biological systems Behe mentioned in the book). We’re almost 7 years after the Matzke & Pallen article. So where are all these research studies? There’s been ample time for someone to do something in this regard.
    Matzke will not answer the question because there is no answer he can give…no peer reviewed research study he can reference, other than the usual literature bluffing he’s done in the past.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-453291

    Many more instances of Darwinism avoiding falsification from the empirical data, by ad hoc models (rationalizations), can be found on this following site:

    Darwin’s Predictions – Cornelius Hunter PhD. – Biophysics
    http://www.darwinspredictions.com/

    A rough outline of the top problems of neo-Darwinism are here:

    What Are the Top Ten Problems with Darwinian Evolution? – Casey Luskin – July 12, 2012
    1. Lack of a viable mechanism for producing high (or any) levels of complex and specified information.
    2. The failure of the fossil record to provide support for Darwinian evolution.
    3. The failure of molecular biology to provide evidence for a grand “tree of life.”
    4. Natural selection is an extremely inefficient method of spreading traits in populations unless a trait has an extremely high selection coefficient
    5. The problem that convergent evolution appears rampant — at both the genetic and morphological levels, even though under Darwinian theory this is highly unlikely.
    6. The failure of chemistry to explain the origin of the genetic code.
    7. The failure of developmental biology to explain why vertebrate embryos diverge from the beginning of development.
    8. The failure of neo-Darwinian evolution to explain the biogeographical distribution of many species.
    9. A long history of inaccurate predictions inspired by neo-Darwinism (such as) vestigial organs or so-called “junk” DNA.
    10. Humans show many behavioral and cognitive traits and abilities that offer no apparent survival advantage (e.g. music, art, religion, ability to ponder the nature of the universe).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62011.html

    To reiterate, there is simply nothing within Darwinism so that one may demarcate it as truly being ‘scientific’ and potentially falsifying it:

    Macroevolution, microevolution and chemistry: the devil is in the details – Dr. V. J. Torley – February 27, 2013
    Excerpt: After all, mathematics, scientific laws and observed processes are supposed to form the basis of all scientific explanation. If none of these provides support for Darwinian macroevolution, then why on earth should we accept it? Indeed, why does macroevolution belong in the province of science at all, if its scientific basis cannot be demonstrated?
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....e-details/

    Whereas, Intelligent Design (ID) does not suffer from such an embarrassment of a lack of mathematical rigor:

    Evolutionary Informatics Lab – Main Publications
    http://evoinfo.org/publications/

    In fact Intelligent Design has a demarcation criteria that can be easily understood

    “Orr maintains that the theory of intelligent design is not falsifiable. He’s wrong. To falsify design theory a scientist need only experimentally demonstrate that a bacterial flagellum, or any other comparably complex system, could arise by natural selection. If that happened I would conclude that neither flagella nor any system of similar or lesser complexity had to have been designed. In short, biochemical design would be neatly disproved.”
    - Dr Behe in 1997

    Michael Behe on Falsifying Intelligent Design – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8jXXJN4o_A

    In fact a single observed instance of Darwinian processes creating functional information would falsify ID:

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    http://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/pdf
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    8) Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work
    http://mdpi.com/1422-0067/10/1/247/ag

    Darwinism simply does not have anything at all like ID does so as to falsify it, and is therefore a pseudo-science

    of note: for the sake of brevity I’ve left off the examples of where Darwinism has actually led to medical malpractice

  6. Ian Juby has a video up on the assembly of the Bacterial Flagellum

    According to plan! This is Genesis Week with Wazooloo/Ian Juby – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G312mHr1URw

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