Materialism of the Gaps arguments

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Atheists and materialists in general often accuse Theists and other "immaterialists" of appealing to ‘God of the Gaps’ type arguments, but the shoe is squarely on the other foot. On claims by Darwinists and other materialists that ID and other "immaterialist" movements are just "God of the gaps" arguments:  

Quote:"If anyone should be accused of making a ‘Gap style’ argument it is the materialist in his claim that someday materialists will figure out how unguided material processes can possibly produce information and consciousness, aka the “materialism of the gaps”:

In fact, I would argue that this ‘materialism of the gaps’ style argumentation of atheists is far more prevalent than just materialism’s failure to explain information and consciousness.

Can’t explain the beginning or the fine tuning of the universe? Just postulate an infinity of other untestable universes to ‘explain away’ the beginning and fine tuning.

Can’t explain quantum wave collapse? Just postulate a virtual infinity of untestable parallel universe splitting off from this universe.

Can’t explain where life came from? Just pretend that the massive ‘elephant in the room’ complex specified biological information enigma is no problem at all and ‘someday’ materialism will explain it all.

Can’t explain the fossil record? Just postulate undiscovered fossils to ‘explain away’ the sudden appearance and overall stasis consistently revealed in the fossil record.

Can’t explain the ‘appearance of design’ screaming at us from biology? Just postulate the illusory and impotent ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection.

Can’t explain consciousness? Just postulate that consciousness is an illusion.

Can’t explain morality, meaning, value, or purpose for life? Likewise just postulate that morality, meaning, value, and purpose are illusory.

Can’t explain immaterial information in biology? Just postulate that immaterial information is a metaphor.

This would be ludicrously funny if materialists were not dead serious in their ‘materialism of the gaps’ claims.

But, as anyone with common sense can see, the shoe is squarely on the other foot as to who is actually making ‘gap style’ arguments so as to avoid falsification of their base assumption of Atheistic materialism."
(This post was last modified: 2019-01-09, 06:44 PM by nbtruthman.)
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I think both believers and unbeleivers make gap style arguments, though I'd agree materialists more often escape this charge. Curious for more detail on following:


Quote: Can’t explain the fossil record? Just postulate undiscovered fossils to ‘explain away’ the sudden appearance and overall stasis consistently revealed in the fossil record.

Can’t explain the ‘appearance of design’ screaming at us from biology? Just postulate the illusory and impotent ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection.

Can’t explain immaterial information in biology? Just postulate that immaterial information is a metaphor.

Of course as time permits - thanks,


Sci
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2019-01-09, 06:52 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Curious for more detail on following:


Can’t explain the fossil record? Just postulate undiscovered fossils to ‘explain away’ the sudden appearance and overall stasis consistently revealed in the fossil record.

Can’t explain the ‘appearance of design’ screaming at us from biology? Just postulate the illusory and impotent ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection.

Can’t explain immaterial information in biology? Just postulate that immaterial information is a metaphor.


Of course as time permits - thanks,


Sci

(Can’t explain the fossil record? Just postulate undiscovered fossils to ‘explain away’ the sudden appearance and overall stasis consistently revealed in the fossil record.)


This has been discussed earlier in the Darwin Unhinged thread, for instance at https://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-d...d#pid10708 :


Quote:"A number of evolutionary biologists and paleontologists have recognized that the continued lack of many transitional fossils represents a serious, major problem for Darwinism. Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge recognized this. Eldredge wrote: "No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields … a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere!"

Evolutionary biologist Jeffrey Schwartz wrote in 1999 that "We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus — full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin’s depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations." Another expert opinion, in a textbook by C.P. Hickman, L.S. Roberts, and F.M. Hickman: "Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group."

On the Cambrian explosion, evolutionary biologists admit that they can't explain the rapid appearance of diverse animal body plans by classical Darwinian processes, or other known material mechanisms. Paleontologist Robert Carroll states that “The extreme speed of anatomical change and adaptive radiation during this brief time period requires explanations that go beyond those proposed for the evolution of species within the modern biota.”  Another paper: “microevolution does not provide a satisfactory explanation for the extraordinary burst of novelty during the Cambrian Explosion” and concludes “the major evolutionary transitions in animal evolution still remain to be causally explained.” (https://evolutionnews.org/2015/01/problem_5_abrup/)

A new book was published in 2013 by two of the leading mainstream paleontological authorities on the Cambrian explosion, Douglas Erwin and James Valentine. The book is a review of the current state of the art in the study of this phenomenon: The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity (Roberts and Company, 2013). The book acknowledges that the Cambrian enigma is unresolved. The book admits that the Cambrian explosion was a real event, and is not merely an artifact of an imperfect fossil record. The book correctly observes that explaining the Cambrian explosion requires explaining the origin of many diverse types of animal forms and body plans, and Erwin and Valentine observe that standard neo-Darwinian mechanisms of repeated rounds of microevolution are not sufficient to explain the explosion of life in the Cambrian. Of course being good Darwinians they still believe that animal body plans somehow arose via unguided evolutionary processes. 

They say at the end of the book: "The nature of appropriate explanations is particularly evident in the final theme of the book: the implications that the Cambrian explosion has for understanding evolution and, in particular, for the dichotomy between microevolution and macroevolution. If our theoretical notions do not explain the fossil patterns or are contradicted by them, the theory is either incorrect or is applicable only to special cases."  (https://evolutionnews.org/2013/06/erwin_...explosion/)

To attempt to deal with the overall problem, Gould and Eldredge popularized the term "punctuated equilibrium", as basically an unbiased description of the actual pattern that has been observed in the fossil record over evolutionary time. To offer a complete theory they combined this with a suggested mechanism attempting to explain it. 

The overall observational description is of a consistent pattern in the fossil record which is contrary to the major prediction of neo-Darwinism. Species are generally stable, changing little for millions of years, with this fairly static situation occasionally "punctuated" by a rapid burst of change that results in a new species and that leaves few fossils behind. Gould and Eldredge obviously didn't consider the excuse that the fossil record is patchy to be a sufficient explanation - it is not just an artifact of an imperfect fossil record. A century and a half of searching in the rocks by paleontologists still hasn't found anything to resolve the Cambrian Explosion problem, for instance."

(Can’t explain the ‘appearance of design’ screaming at us from biology? Just postulate the illusory and impotent ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection.)

Concerning the impotence of natural selection, this also has been discussed on the Darwin Unhinged thread, for instance, on of all things the mystery of the evolution of plant galls, at https://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-d...on#pid9342 :


Quote:"...Applied to the topic of plant galls and evolution, we can conclude that:

Natural selection – which was thought to be “daily and hourly scrutinising, throughout the world, every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good” – not only failed miserably and totally in all the thousands of affected plant host species, but also – against all expectations and predictions – would have been entirely efficacious, successful and victorious exclusively in the ca. 132,930 different galling insect species.

...Thus, natural selection does definitely not come “close to omnipotence”. Instead of selection reflecting "both the beauty and the brilliance in its omnipotence to explain the myriad observations of life", it has shown its total inefficiency and utter impotence to explain the myriad research results pertaining not only to plant galls but also innumerable further biological phenomena...


...Darwin had provided the basic idea of continuous evolution more than 150 years ago by postulating:

“innumerable slight variations”, “extremely slight variations” and “infinitesimally small inherited variations” (he also spoke of “infinitesimally small changes”, “infinitesimally slight variations” and “slow degrees”) and hence imagined “steps not greater than those separating fine varieties”,”insensibly fine steps” and “insensibly fine gradations”, “for natural selection can act only by taking advantage of slight successive variations; she can never take a leap, but must advance by the shortest and slowest steps” or “the transition [between species] could, according to my theory, be effected only by numberless small gradations” (emphasis added, see http://darwin-online.org.uk/).

However, for each of these postulated “insensibly fine steps”, each of the “numberless small gradations” etc. the following rule has unanimously been established by population genetics:

“Even a new mutation that is slightly favorable will usually be lost in the first few generations after it appears in the population, a victim of genetic drift. If a new mutation has a selective advantage of S in the heterozygote in which it appears, then the chance is only 2S that the mutation will ever succeed in taking over the population. So a mutation that is 1 percent better in fitness than the standard allele in the population will be lost 98 percent of the time by genetic drift.”

So, let’s keep in mind that for each of the “extremely slight variations”, each of the “steps not greater than those separating fine varieties” a mutation 1 percent better in fitness than the standard allele has to occur at least 50 times (in many cases even much more often) to have a chance to succeed in taking over a population. As for the additional remote possibility of the origin of new genes and protein folds, see, for example, Ax (2017).

Hence, in each and every case of all the different some 132,930 independently arisen galling insects species, correspondingly literally thousands of supposed long evolutionary gall histories must be postulated, all by “uncountable successive small microevolutionary steps”, “infinitesimally small inherited variations” etc. – and each of the necessary mutations had to occur separately of each other at least some 50 times on average to have a chance to succeed in a given population.


In other words: for the evolution of complex galls over innumerable intermediary links by the supposed micro-mutations “with slight or even invisible effects on the phenotype” (Mayr) in the genomes of the insects, it has to be assumed that these steps must have been successful not just once, but in each case of the individually evolving galling insect species and corresponding gall phenomena even tens of thousands of times, i.e. for each further infinitesimally small step in millions of years, eventually resulting in the present phenomena of elaborate plant galls."


A quote from James Shapiro – Molecular Biologist:

“There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation of such a vast subject.”
(This post was last modified: 2019-01-09, 09:05 PM by nbtruthman.)
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(Can’t explain immaterial information in biology? Just postulate that immaterial information is a metaphor.)

In human beings immaterial information can't be explained as merely their biology. From Information Vs. Meaning: Why Physicalism Fails :       


Quote:"Physicalism is the point of view that everything is material, including information, presumably adopted out of despair, as an alternative to saying even dumber things. From philosopher Daniel N. Robinson at the New Atlantis ( https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publicati...nformation ):

In attempts to account for distinctly human endeavors, explanations have a narrative quality. Thus, Jane’s aspiration to be a concert violinist accounts for — that is, explains — the many hours of practice expended over a course of years. Henry wishes to understand the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo. The story — the explanation — runs along these lines: Wellington, after the battle of Quatre Bras, moved his forces to Waterloo. The allied Prussians moved to positions drawing a large portion of the French forces away from Waterloo to Wavre. With Prussians attacking Napoleon’s right flank and Wellington attacking the center, Napoleon’s fate was sealed.

Try to translate these two explanations — for why Jane practices the violin, and for why Napoleon was defeated — into terms faithful to evolutionary biology or neuroscience or the concentration of potassium in the human body. Try again. Alas, the thing just doesn’t work. Now adopt the empirical stance and see if you can come up with a theory of any sort that, even if not complete, would still be adequate for explaining these events. This won’t do much for us either, for events of historical moment express the beliefs, skills, powers, and plans of specific persons who, if removed from the narrative, leave us with an entirely different set of events."
(This post was last modified: 2019-01-09, 11:49 PM by nbtruthman.)
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(2019-01-09, 06:52 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I think both believers and unbeleivers make gap style arguments, though I'd agree materialists more often escape this charge. 

What gap style arguments do you think immaterialists are making?
(This post was last modified: 2019-01-09, 09:24 PM by nbtruthman.)
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(2019-01-09, 08:40 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: What gap style arguments do you think immaterialists are making?

I think it's a holdover from prior seemingly justified arguments where people point out some mystery and then suggest the only explanation is God. You still have people bring up arguments for God such as "How can we know of morality without God?" or think one can simply look at creation and its mysteries and make the leap to God.

Even proofs of God don't give us the sort of personal theistic entity most people think of as God - the Prime Mover and the Universal Intellect suggest something like a Ground of Being but this seems more like the Neo-Platonist One than Yaweh/Iswara/etc.

And as we've discussed, ID doesn't really point to a God as people usually thin[k] of a Supreme Creator.

None of these are as bad as the Something from Nothing miracle materialism requires to explain Subjectivity, Intentionality, Rationality of course.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2019-01-10, 03:09 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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I’ve always thought ‘god of the gaps’ referred to the practice of invoking something outside of nature in an effort to fill a (real or imagined) mystery.
(2019-01-10, 06:12 AM)malf Wrote: I’ve always thought ‘god of the gaps’ referred to the practice of invoking something outside of nature in an effort to fill a (real or imagined) mystery.

I wonder if an existing God (assuming there is one) can be said to be outside of nature?  I know it seems to be the dominant religious idea but I wonder if the religious writings the religions are taken from actually make such a claim or inference?  I have personally never seen such a claim in the Bible.
(2019-01-10, 09:23 AM)Brian Wrote: I wonder if an existing God (assuming there is one) can be said to be outside of nature?  I know it seems to be the dominant religious idea but I wonder if the religious writings the religions are taken from actually make such a claim or inference?  I have personally never seen such a claim in the Bible.

I think a ‘natural god’ would make the words ‘nature’ and ‘god’ interchangeable. Gaia?
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(2019-01-10, 09:23 AM)Brian Wrote: I wonder if an existing God (assuming there is one) can be said to be outside of nature?  I know it seems to be the dominant religious idea but I wonder if the religious writings the religions are taken from actually make such a claim or inference?  I have personally never seen such a claim in the Bible.

Depends on who you ask but I'd agree that it is difficult to go from a Prime Mover or Universal Intellect type of God that exists beyond space/time to the kind of gods one reads about in Scripture[s].
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2019-01-10, 07:43 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)

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