Whales and Evolution bias

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Whales and Evolution bias

Postby Pandora » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:21 pm

I recently came across a magazine Acts and Facts, (which is basically creationist science magazine), in which the author criticizes mainstream scientists for being biased in favor of evolution in their use of words to describe anatomical parts and for making declarative statements without solid evidence.

The article is about evolution of whales, and the evidence presented to support an evolutionary claim that whales evolved from land mammals. Whale hip bones are disconnected from the rest of the skeleton, are small ( "vestigial") and are supported by muscles only, standalone. Evolution science states that these bones are were used to be part of pelvis and used for locomotion, and are now becoming obsolete (like human tail bone).

Creationists argue that the hip bones do have a function in whales, and that is in sexual reproduction. Because they do have a function now, it does not mean that this particular body part had another function. That, they claim, is a biased declaration to support evolution. The process in question is co-option, or change in fuction of a body part ( in whales, the change in hip bones being used from locomotion to reproduction). This process has not been observed, the creationists say, so this statement is a biased declaration.

Furthermore, the creationists say that any claims that are beyond the realm of human detection are mystical claims, and so the assertion that the whale bones in question are hip bones or pelvis is a mystical claim. The argument is that the whale bones are part of its design and not a vestigial remnant of evolutionary process, and calling these bones "hip bones" or "pelvis" is biased thinking.

Do evolutionists make mystical claims?


http://www.icr.org/article/major-evolut ... re-whales/
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Re: Whales and Evolution bias

Postby Pandora » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:23 pm

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Re: Whales and Evolution bias

Postby Fixed Cross » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:37 pm

The fallacy is rather transparent and a bit pathetic.
Obviously the human hip is used for fucking as well as walking, for reproduction as well as locomotion. In sea mammals the walking function would have athrophied.

Why one would want to isolate these functions as if they could never relate inside a body is a mystery... a mystical claim if i ever saw one. I suppose the author has a lack of experience at using his hips...often cause to mysticisms.
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Re: Whales and Evolution bias

Postby Pandora » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:32 pm

But what of the statement that " claims beyond the realm of human detection are mystical claims" as it applies to evolutionary science?
Sure, human hips are used for both walking and fucking, but does it really negate the possibility that whale hip bones are designed only for reproduction, and were never even used for walking? I think what he's trying to say is that in evolution science the pieces are often collected and renamed to fit an already visualized puzzle (evolution theory) making it a biased science from the start. No one observed whales' ancestors walking, but the assumption (a claim) is made that they did, making it what creationists assert, a mystical claim.
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Re: Whales and Evolution bias

Postby Jakob » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:50 pm

Pandora wrote:But what of the statement that " claims beyond the realm of human detection are mystical claims" as it applies to evolutionary science? Sure, human hips are used for both walking and fucking, but does it really negate the possibility that whale hip bones are designed only for reproduction, and were never even used for walking? I think what he's trying to say is that in evolution science the pieces are often collected and renamed to fit an already visualized puzzle (evolution theory) making it a biased science from the start. No one observed whales' ancestors walking, but the assumption (a claim) is made that they did, making it what creationists assert, a mystical claim.

This is how Islam started to think in the 1100s: inference and logical strings of conclusions are not direct observation, so not true, "mystical". The claim then was that revenation can be the only criterion - same exact claim as your author makes.

Science works with inferences and logical strains. Religion only works with appearances and dreams about those appearances. Creationism is such a dream. "It exists! Oh! A beautiful angel must have put it there for me!"
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Re: Whales and Evolution bias

Postby Carleas » Sat Jun 17, 2017 3:15 pm

Pandora wrote:what of the statement that "claims beyond the realm of human detection are mystical claims" as it applies to evolutionary science?

That claim is disingenuous, even though the general criticism of biased interpretation is valid.

The criticism of bias has been discussed by evolutionary theorist, that evolutionary biologists are susceptible to the mistake of looking at extant animals as a collection of selected-for attributes, and as a result they concoct ad hoc explanations for why a trait was selected for. These explanations are called 'just-so stories'. They fail because not all traits are selected for, some are mere byproducts of selection pressures that no longer apply. Gould called these "spandrels", after the paintings that decorate gaps in architectural features of certain buildings: someone looking at the building as a naive selectionist might offer the explanation that the architect built the building with plenty of gaps for small paintings.

This is really all to say that evolutionary science has not ignored this problem. It has been self-critical, as it should be. And the solution, as with any scientific hypothesis, is to require some empirical test of the proposed explanation.

And this gets to the "mystical claims" part. The idea seems to be that, since by hypothesis evolution takes place over millions of years, humans can't see it and so the claims are "mystical". But that doesn't follow, because there are more ways to "detect" evolution than watching it unfold. Like crime scene investigators can reconstruct a crime without having witnessed it, evolutionary biologists can reconstruct biologic history from the clues that remain, like the whale's hips.

And the just-so hypotheses we're worried about can be tested against the clues. Evolution won against the alternatives (let's not forget that evolution was hit upon by a society without an evolution bias) because it was effective in explaining and predicting the clues. If the only evidence we had for evolution was the whale's hips, it would be a weak hypothesis. But other things about a whales body also support the idea that its ancestors were land-dwelling: their limbs, their air-breathing, their embryonic development. We also have many fossils of ancestors of modern whales evincing their transition from land-dwelling to amphibious to ocean-dwelling. And DNA analyses done after the hypothesis was first put forward support these theories. All told, there is a strong set of directly observable clues as to what happened in an unobservable past. Evolution is the explanation that best accounts for all the clues, and it has predictive and explanatory power for what we should find elsewhere.

So if the claim is that this one piece of evidence doesn't prove evolution, that's absolutely right. But the hips, with everything else, support a story of a species that lives on land, over many generations became aquatic.

To put it briefly, "human detection" includes what we can infer from a collection of observations. Our evolutionary biases can be tested against current observations, and we can sort the good hypotheses from the bad in spite of those biases.
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