Monday, March 1, 2010

Cornelius Hunter's Logic: Intelligent Design Can Disprove "Obama Is President" Theory

The Intelligent Design proponent and Discovery Institute (DI) Fellow Cornelius Hunter has a post at his blog where he argues that evolution disproven because is not parsimonious--that is, because the evolutionary pathways leading to complex organisms are complex. Hunter has a slogan, endlessly repeated: "Religion drives science and it matters", which is quite a "tu quoque" argument coming from a guy who works for a faith tank like the DI. This is like the Klan cutting off all accusations that they're racist by starting out by saying: 'If you don't like us, you're racist against white people.' Not that Hunter is a racist, of course, but the point is, right-wingers definitely understand how to launch a preemptive strike by first accusing others (without evidence) of what they themselves (with evidence) are manifestly guilty of.

So Hunter's post claims that evolution is disproven because, in
this research paper, the authors used genetic comparisons to construct our best model of the tree of descent for the first placental mammals, and found it involved hybridization events very early in the history of mammals.

Hybridization? Says Cornelius Hunter. That disproves "Darwinism"!

Uh huh...

I have recently heard an absurd "origin theory" about the president of the United States-- that the US President is neither black nor white, but both at the same time!

A HYBRIDIZATION theory!? Hybridization never happens in the real world!

The US population is 1.7% multiracial, so the odds of this "Half-Black President" origin theory are 58.8 to 1!

But it gets worse! The "Obama origin theory" furthermore claims that he was born in Hawaii in 1959!

Now Hawaii is 43rd among US states in population, and the odds against the President being born in a state the size of Hawaii are 239 to 1!

And, given that the president must be at least 35 and less than say 90 or so, the odds against him being born in 1959 are 65 to 1!

So the combined odds against this dogmatic atheist "origin story" are now 916,375 to 1!

Clearly, the only reason why anyone would believe this "Obama is President" story is a metaphysical precommitment to atheism.

But it gets worse! They say he's "American", but they also say his father was from KENYA! How many people have Kenyan fathers?

Epicycles upon Epicycles!

And their "origin theory" furthermore claims he grew up in Indonesia!

Most Americans don't even have a passport! The odds against this unparsimonious origin theory are now millions to one.

Another falsified prediction of the dogmatic "Obama is President" thought police!

Religion drives the "Obama is President" theory, and it matters.

Don't pay any attention to the vast number of successful predictions of the atheist "Obama is President" theory, like that birth announcement printed in Honolulu newspapers in 1959, or the photos of him with his white grandma.

Why should a vast number of successful predictions matter!?

Luckily, Mr. Hunter has a more parsimonious theory about the origin of our president, right? A more parsimonious theory that makes testable predictions that are both more specific and different from the accepted theory...You do, right, Mr. Hunter?

The current theory hurts my brain. So please keep yours simple, Mr. Hunter.

Such as for example, that all the relevant authorities are lying to us.

...And have faked their incomparably vaster number of successful predictions.

...And have tricked us into thinking that their many "falsified predictions" are really successful predictions, or relevant to other topics altogether.

Hunter has on his website a long list of what he calls "failed predictions" of Darwinism. I scanned it: mostly successful predictions of Darwinism, or observations that make Darwinism more probable (for example, the genetic code is more tolerant to mutations than you would expect at random, thus minimizing deleterious mutations and making constructive mutations more likely), or stuff that's irrelevant as far as Darwin is concerned.

Hey Hunter: It's Wednesday and it's raining. Please add that to your list of "failed predictions of Darwinism"; it is as good as anything else on there.

In his current post Hunter basically says that the historical pathways by which complex organisms (in this case, the first placental mammals) evolved are too complex. This is in reference to a research paper that tries to reconstruct the origin of the first placental mammals by genetic analysis.

The authors are trying to figure out which large groups of placental mammals were the first to split off from the other placental mammals. Was the first outlier Afrotheria (elephants, elephant shrews, sea cows and such)? Or was the first group to branch off Xenarthra (South American anteaters, armadillos, tree sloths, extinct ground sloths and such)?

The authors (Churakov et al.) write: "These findings provide significant support for a “soft” polytomy of the major mammalian clades." A "clade" is a bunch of species with a single common ancestor, that is, all branches that grow upward from a single node, i.e. up from one progenitor branch. A "soft polytomy" means that it appears that more than one branch split off at one time from the common ancestor, as far as we can tell, but there's not enough phylogenetic data (yet) to say. So we can't tell if the ancestors of elephants or of sloths were the first to bid good-bye to the other placental mammals, or if they both split off at the same time. (Of course the ancestors of marsupials, like kangaroos, branched off before that.)

The authors write:

Ancestral successive hybridization events and/or incomplete lineage sorting associated with short speciation intervals are viable explanations for the mosaic retroposon insertion patterns of recent placental mammals and for the futile search for a clear root dichotomy.

Hunter concludes this is not parsimonious enough-- compared to what, I don't know.

Evolutionists think nothing of these sorts of explanations and repeatedly use them when needed. But elaborate explanations can always be contrived in order to explain observations. Why should we believe they are true? As with heliocentrism, evolution erects so many "epicycles" in order to fit the data. Religion drives science and it matters.

Now, if evidence of hybridization disproves evolution, then Barack Obama's mere existence disproves evolution.

Hey, all scientists agree, the most parsimonious theory that fits the data, is the best. We'd like the universal tree of descent to be as simple as possible, while fitting the data. But hybridization happens. It's not the norm, but you've got to expect it sometimes. Organisms mate with outliers. It happens.

Also, my kid's existence disproves evolution too, by Cornelius Hunter's logic. Because my kid's a hybrid, indeed, so his birth disproves evolution. Right?

Hunter and his Intelligent Design colleagues don't have a parsimonious theory, nor a parsimonious theory that fits the data, nor a theory that is not parsimonious and fits the data. Nor do his colleagues have one, single, successful, distinct prediction that has not already been falsified (like Behe's irreducible complexities which have always been reducible.) Now that matters.

Religion drives Hunter's assertion that all evidences that make Darwinian evolution more probable, are "unsuccessful predictions" of "Darwinism." And it matters...nah it doesn't. I don't care if he believes in the blue peacock of Yazidism.

Does religion drive scientific failure? I don't care.

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