Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Evolution is False - Law of Biogenesis

Chipmunk
Someone decided to list 10 reasons why evolution is false. I decided to go through them. Here's my list addressing them so far:

10. Pagan Origins of Evolution
9. Planetary Habitability of Earth
8. Hoaxes
7. Irreducible Order of Life
6. DNA
5. C-14 Dating in Fossil Fuels
4. The Law of Cause and Effect


Here's today's argument as to why evolution is false.

3. The Law of Biogenesis: As Louis Pasteur affirmed, life only comes from life, and life only produces life after its own kind. This scientific fact is indisputable and none of the hundreds of experimental tests have yet disproved this scientific Law. No life has ever been made in the lab. No life has ever evolved from nothing. Still, the evolutionist conjectures without proof that there could have been a time when this might have happened given a number of other assumptions.

Holy assertions, batman!

So basically it's another black swan fallacy. I love how creationists slap "theory" and "law" on everything they want to legitimize. It's cargo cult science. I have a law too, you know. My First Law of Apologetics is that no argument for the existence of God exists that doesn't employ at least one logical fallacy. So far, it's been upheld 100%.

Are scientists right?

As Louis Pasteur affirmed, life only comes from life, and life only produces life after its own kind.
Hello, creationist. I have something to tell you. You may want to be sitting down for this....

Sometimes, scientists are wrong.

I know! It's shocking. Shocking!

Since you like quotes from scientists to make your arguments, here's one that might interest you:

I've had the opportunity to study our own DNA instruction book at a level of detail that was never really possible before. 
It's also now been possible to compare our DNA with that of many other species. The evidence supporting the idea that all living things are descended from a common ancestor is truly overwhelming. 
I would not necessarily wish that to be so, as a Bible-believing Christian. But it is so. It does not serve faith well to try to deny that. 
- Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, and Evangelical Christian. [Source]
Since we're appealing to authorities here, you have to accept this one too, right? After all, Collins is privy to much more modern and comprehensive data than Pasteur. Pasteur's "Law of Biogenesis" was made only shortly after Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." Keep in mind that at the time, Darwin's theory of natural selection was not well accepted in the scientific community yet.

You think that maybe humanity has learned a few things since Pasteur? Maybe? It's telling that the author had to go all the way back to the mid 1800s to find a scientist who agrees with him.

Refuting the "law of biogenesis"

This scientific fact is indisputable and none of the hundreds of experimental tests have yet disproved this scientific Law.
For the sake of clarity, there's two ideas he's mashing together here: "life coming from life" (abiogenesis/biogenesis), and "life only produces life after its own kind" (evolution).

Addressing the evolution aspect first - the entirety of genetics refutes this "law." The entirety of the fossil record refutes this "law." The entirety of direct observation of speciation refutes this "law."

The author could not be more wrong, even if he tried (and if there's anyone who are true experts at being wrong, it's creationists. I humbly bow at their unparalleled profession at being incorrect in almost anything they say).

Double Standards

We have a stark example of a double standard here too. The author has to accept the Collins quote from above, otherwise, he's employing a double standard. We actually have a two-for-one deal here, because he's employing another double standard at the same time.

Addressing the abiogenesis/biogenesis aspect of the "law"...

Remember when the author was making a fuss about how scientists were assuming that the radioactive decay constants were consistent over time, despite the observation that they've never changed under experimentation? Now, all of a sudden, the standard reverses itself. Now, scientists have supposedly observed life only coming from life, and it isn't an assumption that this is always the case, outside of our direct observations.

I made an observation once of what I called "Schrodinger's Standards of Evidence" (Accidentally mislabeled it "Heisenberg's .." at the time). The basic idea is that one doesn't know what standards of evidence a creationist is going to apply towards a claim until one finds out whether it's going to contradict his religious beliefs or not. Then, it becomes the difference between pathetically minimal standards, and impossible-to-meet standards.

This here is an excellent example.

It may sound like I've switched standards too, but mine haven't changed. My position is that we can infer patterns, but we don't know whether those patterns are correct until they're confirmed with empirical evidence. In this particular conversation, not only have the radiometric decay constants been empirically confirmed to be reliable, but in this example, we don't have empirical evidence that life can't come from non-life, which is necessarily the conclusion he's trying to establish (the argument is moot if that's not the point). In fact, we're starting to get some compelling empirical evidence that abiogenesis is true, which negates the biogenesis requirement.

We have abundant multiple independent lines of empirical evidence confirming common ancestry, and that's apparently not enough. Apparently, we don't need any empirical evidence for a god though... just some lame logical-fallacy-riddled word-game arguments, and it's totally proved "irrefutably."

When you ask scientists how life started, outside of some ideas that are being worked on, our current status is "we don't know - we're working on it". Again, the implication is that creationists don't know either.

Author can't have God, and accept Pasteur's Law at the same time - Reductio ad Adsurdem

If we take this argument at face value, we have an interesting implication. Let's re-read what Pasteur said:
As Louis Pasteur affirmed, life only comes from life, and life only produces life after its own kind
Author apparently accepts this as true. It's an observation that we've made. More specifically, we've observed that mortal biological organisms come from mortal biological organisms. You know... as long as we're assuming that our direct observations cover all cases, like author was willing to do. Just like we've never observed life coming from non-life, we've never observed life coming from a god.

That means that dogs only comes from dogs... and only dogs. God can only fit into this "scientific Law that is fact and hasn't been refuted with hundreds of experiments", in that either every organism in existence has their own specific mortal biological organism god, or, that God didn't make any of them... and we have an infinite regress on our hands, which creationists loathe (except when it applies to their god).

I'm sorry, author. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

No life has ever been made in the lab.
Yes! He's finally said something that's factually correct! Woo! Kind of...

We have done many experiments on the precursor setup for abiogenesis, empirically confirming the precursors (amino acids, proteins) can happen spontaneously... which is far far more empirical evidence than we have for a god or creationism.

No life has ever evolved from nothing.
I... what? Who has ever said anything remotely like that? Like, besides you.

Still, the evolutionist conjectures without proof that there could have been a time when this might have happened given a number of other assumptions.
Here, let me fix that for you.

Still, the evolutionist conjectures empirically confirms without proof with empirical repeatable scientific evidence that there could have been a time when this might have happened given a number of other assumptions the preponderance of evidence and data that have passed scientific muster.
You're welcome.

If you're looking for people who are asserting things as true without sufficient evidence, all you have to do is look in a mirror.

Conclusion


I'm not even sure I covered everything I wanted to. There was so much wrong with this argument that I've lost track of all the errors.

This argument was especially embarrassing because it's self-refuting, once we did a reductio ad absurdum on it. Author has a choice between:

  1. Accepting Pasteur's "law" and agreeing that God cannot be the source of life
  2. Rejecting Pasteur's "law" and the argument being forfeited


We know Pasteur was wrong, unless the author really does think there's an infinite regress. He doesn't seem to reject that the Big Bang happened - just thinks God started it. If Pasteur is right, we'd have an infinite regress of Big Bangs with dogs and cats flying out as-is in reach cycle the populate the new universe each time.

If the author thinks God made cats/dogs, or anything that would break that cycle, they he's admitted that Pasteur was wrong. Dogs didn't come from dogs - it came from God, according to him. Nor can the author dishonestly sneak in a supernatural amorphous entity into the category of "life", since the premise of the argument/law is direct observation, which never noted a god being involved.

This argument is such a staggering contradiction of itself that I'm surprised it ever saw the light of day.

At the end of the day, this is just yet another black swan fallacy... except, now he's quoted a historical scientist making that error.

----

It's somewhat complicated to score this one, because the author has ineptly mashed together the concepts of evolution and abiogenesis, when they are actually independent concepts. The only requirement the Theory of Evolution has is that life exists... how it came to be is not relevant.

I'd award half-points for at least having a logical connection to evolution, kind of, if it wasn't for the core logical fallacy. I'll award half-points for actually, kind of, addressing evolutionary theory (the idea that life doesn't change over time). I award no points for successfully making the argument.

Seriously, I shouldn't be awarding any points, but that's how I set it up.

Argument score: 1.5 out of 10
Total score: 6 out of 80


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