More Materialist Fantasies

Today I want to take on another Materialist fantasy, punctuated equilibrium.  This idea came about when Materialists could no longer hide the fact that gradualism is not well supported by the fossil record.  Sure, certain lineages are suggestive of a possible evolutionary linkage, but the problem was that evolution works too slowly to account for the vast differences in the skeletal remains that were found.

So, Stephen Jay Gould the paleontologist (not biologist) came up with the idea that evolutionary changes actually occur in rapid bursts of activity.  Gradualism was out the window and evolution suddenly became a very rapid process.  Yet, the Darwinista will claim that punk eek is a form of gradualism.  Yes, that is right, the theory that replaced a non-working idea is really just another form of that non-working idea.  How scientific.

There are, of course, other problems.  What causes evolution to suddenly speed up and slow down?  One cause given is evolutionary arms races, where one species continually tries to one-up another.  Of course, punk eek was given as a suport to Mayr’s allopatric speciation, meaning that this arms race would contain two geographically distinct species.  That explanation may work quite well in describing the cold war between the US and the USSR, but not for species evolution.

In summary, punk eek really just appears to be an unscientific “explanation” concocted to prop up a failed Materialist philosophy.

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14 responses to “More Materialist Fantasies

  1. Catastrophes such as rivers being diverted or plagues wiping out a usual food source would seem pretty obvious candidates, for anyone looking to seriously answer the question rather than posing it rhetorically in order to dismiss the idea.

  2. professorsmith

    Thank you for taking the time to come over and visit. I hope that we can have a fruitful discussion.

    The problem I have with rivers being diverted or plagues wiping out a food source is that these are quick events, much quicker than even the time scale of punk eek events. How can nature randomly mutate and then select for novel features during a plague that probably lasts, what a season or so? What you are talking about would be saltation, which doesn’t fit with evolutionary models.

  3. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Wow, nobody but us professors here. I’m a physicist, religionprof’s specialty is also not in doubt. What are you up to, professorsmith? From reading your blog I can conclude that you are neither a physicist nor a biologist.

  4. professorsmith

    Mr. Tchernyshyov,
    What I am up to is blogging about ID science.

    And, no, you can’t get me to give up too much back story. I’m three years from tenure and I’m not going to wind up like Gonzalez. But, I am curious as to why you can “conclude” that I’m not a physicist nor a biologist. Is it because of the canard that no true physicist or biologist supports ID? Well, I’ll have you know that there are more of us out here than you know.

  5. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    No, it’s not your ideology, professorsmith. I am aware of the existence of Michael Behe, Scott Minnich, and Guillermo Gonzalez. It’s subtle details of your writings that tell me who you are NOT.

    Let’s start with physics. In one of your earlier posts you quoted Newton’s law of gravitation and used lower-case g for the gravitational constant typically denoted by a capital G. It would be highly unusual for a physicist to break from the convention. First, fundamental constants have steady names: the speed of light is always c and not C, the electron charge is ever e and not E. And there is one more good reason to never write the gravitational constant in lower case: g is reserved for the acceleration due to gravity on the surface of Earth.

    This might appear as a minor point to an outsider, but not to a person who has recently taught (or even studied) Physics 101. Now, I may be wrong and the lower-case g could have been a simple typo. But you see one of my reasons for suspecting that you are not a physicist. Feel free to correct me.

    Shall we continue with physics or move on to biology? Or chemistry, perhaps?

    Separately from that I’d like to discuss with you the case of Guillermo Gonzalez. Since you are a in a tenure track at a research university, you understand well what kind of criteria are used in tenure decisions. We can go over Guillermo’s publication record, his funding situation and supervision of graduate students and postdocs. But it would be best if you opened a separate thread for that purpose.

  6. professorsmith

    Mr Tchernyshyov,
    I found it in the spam filter. Your posts are not moderated, so I’m not sure why it got caught in there. The comment has been posted above.

    As for the “G” vs. “g” debate, I was sloppy, that is all. I am not a physics professor, but I do realize the difference between the constants. That, however, was early in the “evolution” of my blog. I’m working on getting better at my presentation in this media, which is quite different from research publication-type work. This blog is intended to be accessible to the lay person, which explains why the writing is as it is.

    If you wish to discuss Gonzalez, I already have a thread for that, so no need to create a new one.

  7. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    Great. Can you point me to the Gonzalez thread? And please feel free to delete the two short posts (#6 and #7) that dealt with the spam issue.

  8. professorsmith

    The Gonzalez thread is here.

    Also, the short posts are now gone, per your request/permission.

  9. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    I’ve added a post to the Gonzalez thread. Please take your time to answer, I want a serious, informed discussion.

    In the meantime, let me explain what makes me think that you are not a biologist. Consider this passage from one of the earlier threads, Don’t Have the Answer? Just Make it Up:

    “One of the less credible evolutionary stories is the supposed transition from dinosaurs to birds. Darwinists tell us that dinosaurs didn’t die out, they simply evolved into birds with feathers and flight. This, of course, is highly controversial and hotly debated, and rightfully so, since the evidence of this transition is highly suspect and very thin.” [emphasis mine–OT]

    No professional biologist would ever say something like this. Dinosaurs indeed died out about 65 millions years. Theropod dinosaurs are considered to be ancestors of birds but that does not exclude the possibility of their extinction.

  10. professorsmith

    Mr. Tchernyshyov,
    Remember, this is a blog aimed at a lay audience.

    I also replied to you on the Gonzalez thread.

  11. Oleg Tchernyshyov

    professorsmith,

    As educators, we shouldn’t stoop down the level of the audience, we should try to raise the audience’s level.

    Whatever the excuse, my wife (a professional biochemist) had a good chuckle over that passage. Shall we move on to rule out chemistry as well or will you simply tell us what kind of a scientist you are?

  12. professorsmith

    I’m sorry, but we can’t expect lay persons reading blogs to understand the minutiae of our respective fields of study. How long have you been studying physics to reach your current understanding? Do you think it appropriate to expect an average person surfing over to understand what you understand? That seems rather unrealistic. Look, you seem pretty decent fellow, so don’t take this harshly, but if you are looking for a technical journal, this isn’t it, nor is it meant to be.

  13. “I’m sorry, but we can’t expect lay persons reading blogs to understand the minutiae of our respective fields of study. ”

    I disagree most heartily. I fully expect the readership of The Panda’s Thumb, for example, to be able to read and grasp some pretty detailed essays – such as this one (http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/10/junk-to-the-sec.html) or this (http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/01/92-second-st-fa.html). I’ve not been disappointed in this regard.

    But I guess one shouldn’t be criticizing a blog author for his/her choice of a target audience. You should keep in mind, professorsmith, that some readers will be informed. That’s the good and bad about blogs – more than just your intended target audience will be reading.

  14. professorsmith

    Well, I hope that those who are more knowledgable will have the ability to take it as it is and roll with the punches.

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