Saturday, May 05, 2018

Philip Heywood, Creationist

It happens that technology has begun to catch a glimpse. Don't mention it to the circus managers! The hooha has all been superseded, as usual, ... by ..... the advance of science.
1). Evolution in the literal sense of unrolling or staged revelation is an observed, empirical fact of the geologic record.
2). Species in the literal meaning --  special, implicitly specially created -- are an observed, empirical fact of the world about us.  The widely accepted and only widely useful empirical method of attempting to group  organisms as species rests upon the  foundation of the reproductive unit.  This has been more or less so since Linnaeus. This species concept was re-emphasized by Mayr, 20th Century.  It is essentially employed worldwide.  The best possible test of species is whether or not the organisms can successfully reproduce together. Not so easy with some organisms, and not always straightforward with fossils of extinct organisms. But central to biology and palaeontology.   Species = special (= species!)  was proven yet more certainly by Mendel, who showed the empirical, mathematical basis of genetic expression. Species can not be in transit or they would fail to be an entity -- special.  They would not have been recognized as special by Linnaeus.  Mendel would have catalogued his pea plants in confusion.  Mayr would have been deceived in giving the modern species definition.
3). This reality/stability (with qualifications) of species was the basis of mainstream science's approach to the unrolling (evolution) question.  Sir Richard Owen, palaeontologist and classifier of some of Darwin's specimens, named evolution, "The Law of Progression from the General to the Particular".  He saw no mechanism at that time - a decade or two before Darwin published -- but pointed out that organisms are a re-arrangement of basics. He used the term, 'archetype", meaning, the essential components which were re-arranged according to some purpose. His archetype of the vertebrates turned out to be very similar to the oldest fossil vertebrate. Owen was mainstream so concluded the changes were pre-ordained.  He did not attribute supernatural powers to Nature.  Modern information technology and microbiology prove him correct.  The essence of a species is information.  Species were transformed courtesy of information processing. Nature, of course, can not think, and so "pre-ordination' was correct until technology advanced to enable us to see how information could be programmed into the biosphere. We now can see how a (created) living cell could be transformed through transmission and processing of  pre-existing information.  Thus, species were created at a point in time as GENESIS declares and were visibly realized over time as the same divine authority implies.  Line and verse.
4).  Darwin, in conference with the(self declared) heathen spiritist, Wallace and with the self-declared 'agnostic', Huxley, opted for Nature providing the information as the evolution occurred.  The magic unrolling carpet.  Species are in constant transitional transition and do not therefore exist!   (Darwin missed that point!)  We ourselves are going to become what does not yet exist!  Huxley, trying for rational explanation, suggested to Darwin that Nature "makes leaps" (translation from Latin).
Every physicist/scientist worthy of the title then and now will express reservation or antagonism to Nature making leaps.  If Nature can create matter, energy, or information -- which in some real sense are all equivalent -- then Nature is the Creator.  Nothing in Science can be verified.  Science dies on the spot.  The laws of thermodynamics fail.  Rationality ceases.
So are you talking up Evolution the fact of history, Evolution the idolatrous Nature Deity, Creationism as espoused by people who don’t read their Bible (parts of it, anyways), or Creationism in the dictionary meaning, as espoused by all respected foundational scientists from F. Bacon through to Einstein and beyond?

For people who like someone that manages to get almost everything just wrong (I think of super spy Maxwell Smart), this post is a treasure. Of the four points, just the first is correct. The other three make errors of history, linguistics, and science fact.
Look at Mr. Heywood's point #2 regarding "species." First, the shared Latin meaning from the word's origin "specere" (to look) is not "special, implicitly specially created." The closest other word in modern English is "specific" which followed an evolution from the Middle English (c.a 1450 C.E.) word for "appearance, or form". It was used in biology starting in 1735 to classify plants or animals that looked similar. The Swedish natural philosopher Carl Linnaeus sorted organisms into "species" according to visible shared physical characteristics launching the modern era of biology.  He collected species in to related groups he called "Genera" using the term suggested in Greek philosopher Aristotle's writing: γένος (génos) meaning "kind" in modern English.

Of course it was Charles R. Darwin (not Linnaeus) who proposed that natural selection acting on variations in a related population (species) of organisms could result in the origin of new species. And he went further to say that these new species would be reproductively isolated from their parent, or sister species. The actual mathematical statement linking the species concept with genetics was the  Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium *1. Gregor Mendel's work showed that discrete biological "units" called genes were distributed throughout a population of plants (which made no mention of reproductive isolation or fitness).

What drives the stake through the heart of the creationist sham is that we have published observations a century old of new species emerging from older ones. This has been done in nature and in experiments.

1) Hardy, G. H.
1908 "Mendelian Proportions in a Mixed Population." Science. 28 (706): 49–50.

Weinberg, W.
1908) "Über den Nachweis der Vererbung beim Menschen." Jahreshefte des Vereins für vaterländische Naturkunde in Württemberg. 64: 368–382

1 comment:

Susannah Anderson said...

"Species can not be in transit or they would fail to be an entity -- special."

And again, "Species are in constant transitional transition and do not therefore exist! (Darwin missed that point!)"

So, does a caterpillar cease to exist when it pupates and reduces its body to a swirling mush, and then again when it transitions to a butterfly?

It seems that Heywood needs to get out more, or at least look out the window. The whole world is constantly in transition. Including his bedrock foundational text, which a quick reading of history would tell him (without even leaving his four walls!). "Line and" (re-translated, re-edited, e-ineterpreted) "verse."