The Blunder from Down Under

An Australian member of Care2 known as Freediver has been a pain in my @$$ for nearly 2 1/2 years. He is mentioned in this earlier blog of mine:

Among other disgraces, he opposes the teaching of evolution as science in high schools, favors the harvesting of wild animals as an alternative to eating meat from factory farmed livestock, and even champions whaling, which is totally unnecessary since all the things that whales provide can come from other sources, whether natural or artificial. His arrogant manner of expression is highly offensive to many other Care2 members, who see him as a useless buffoon. But he somehow is possessed by delusions of grandure typical of sociopaths.

To illustrate the absolute denial of reality this man lives in, I will copy and paste an essay from him about evolution, along with my responses to his claims:

Evolution is not a scientific theory

Evolution should not be taught in high school science classes because it is not a scientific theory. It fails the requirement of falsifiability that is the litmus test for judging whether an investigation is scientific.

Dale H: Really? That would have been news to Charles Darwin, who mentioned several ways his theory could be falsified in his book the Origin of Species. 

The modern scientific method is defined in terms of hypotheses, theories and laws. The difference between each is the level of acceptance in the scientific community. What they all have in common is that they must be falsifiable. This means that it must be possible to run an experiment that would prove the theory (or hypothesis or law) wrong, if it were not true.

Dale H: Actually, hypotheses, theories, and laws are different categories of scientific items. Laws are general descriptions of how matter and energy interact. Theories provide a unifying explanation for a related set of observations. And a hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a specific observation. The acceptance of these items by scientists is irrelevant. Ptolemy’s geocentric theory was rejected by nearly all astronomers centuries ago, but it is still a theory. And the hypothesis that birds evolved from dinosaurs, even if accepted as valid by nearly all scientists, is still a hypothesis.

Empiricism (a basis in experiment) is what gives science it’s credibility. It means that a scientist in Poland does not have to take your word for it – they can do their own experiment and attempt to disprove it for themselves. The falsifiability part prevents people from coming up with theories that can only be proved right. Evolution fails both of these tests. There is no experiment that can test the theory. Any new evidence that comes to light cannot disprove the theory – only either back it up or call for a modification of the evolutionary tree or a modification of the theory.

Dale H: Bull$#it! See this: Dale Husband’s Evolution ExperimentAnd wouldn’t modifications of the theory involve earlier versions of the theory being falsified?

Natural selection is a scientific theory. Evolution differs from natural selection by including the ideas of common ancestry and beneficial mutation. Just because a theory is not scientific does not mean that it has no merit. However, claiming that a theory is scientific lends it undeserved authority and diminishes the authority of science.

Dale H: More nonsense! Natural selection is the primary MECHANISM that causes evolution. Evolution is the RESULT of natural selection. How anyone can separate the two and suggest that one is scientific and the other is not confounds my sense of logic.

The modern scientific method arose during the scientific revolution – after the renaissance. Observation of nature and speculation do form part of the scientific method. That is how new hypotheses are formed. However, they should be immediately checked to see whether they are scientific or not.

Dale H: And, of course, scientists who study evolution will check their hypotheses out on a regular basis, via the fossil record, genetic sampling, and other means. But if the idea is not checked out “immediately”, does that mean that the hypothesis is not scientific, or merely that the evidence for it has not come in yet? It is still falsifiable and would indeed be falsified if the evidence that is found eventually contradicts the predictions of the hypothesis.

Freediver’s other essays about evolution are equally hilarious.

Evolution has no predictive value

Dale H: Since when is adapting a theory to fit the evidence a problem? That is done in all branches of science. And if one already knows the fossil record, one can predict that the results of testing genetic samples from various organisms to see how they are related to each other will match the conclusions one would reach from examining the fossils. It would be a fatal blow to evolution if this were not so.

Science is a methodology, not a field of study
Dale H: Freediver again states his mistaken definitions of scientific laws, theories, and hypotheses. His logic would suggest that an auto mechanic experimenting to try to find out what’s wrong with a car would be doing science, while an astronomer would not be, since astronomers never do experiments in their field of study. Of course, that is ridiculous!

What is an experiment?
Dale H: I can give a simpler and more accurate answer: An experiment is the setting up of specific conditions to permit specific observations. Indeed, it is OBSERVATIONS that is the key to all forms of the scientific method, not experiments, which only apply to certain cases and fields of study.

History of the modern scientific method
Dale H: Freediver’s laughable claim that the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists would merelysit under and olive tree with a bottle of wine and argue about the nature of the universe” (sic) is enough to discredit this piece of crap. And AGAIN he states his wrong definitions of scientific laws, theories, and hypotheses. Whoever taught him science should have been fired for incompetence!

Theory of sufficient genetic potential
Dale H: More baloney. It would be falsified by the discovery of a mutation in a line of organisms that was found to be dominant.

The dinosaur experiment
Dale H: This was a lame attempt to deny the validity of my evolution experiment. He really didn’t know what he was talking about, did he? His depiction of all scientists as dogmatic apologists for evolution is libel. More likely, since scientists are competitive by nature, the failures of my experiment would be exposed and denounced by other scientists, who would not tolerate any lame excuses offered. This essay of Freediver’s is as much a denial of the scientific method as any one could ever read!

A Christian foundation for science?
Dale H: I’m sure that Galileo would have found that idea nonsense, since it was Christian leaders who tried to suppress his findings about the Solar System because those findings supported a theory that contradicted their reading of the Bible. The ancient Greeks were Pagan, and the Muslims also made contributions to science, but of course Freediver doesn’t even mention the Muslims.

Has evolution become a religion?

Dale H: No, of course not. Evolution is based on evidence that can be gathered and analysed, not on blind faith. By contrast, religion does not require evidence at all, only that it provides emotional comfort and a consistent way of life for its followers. Evolution has neither of these traits.

One of the tragic things about the internet is that it allows all sorts of extremists and idiots to express their crap and spread it far and wide, like a disease. This is a prime example of the risks involved in using the internet.


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