“I believe the 'Adam and Evolution' post reflected either a) unfamiliarity with mainstream science or b) wholesale rejection of it, based on the understandings that mainstream science brings to the table on the question of (early) man's capabilities.”
Throughout his commentary the Evangelutionist will resort to the sophistical tactic of labeling as a substitute for argument.
In particular is the talismanic use of the word “mainstream” or “community.”
Other issues aside, Einstein, Bohr, Schrödinger, and Heisenberg were all out of the “mainstream” of the scientific “community” when they challenged classical physics.
As Michael Crichton has pointed out, consensus is not a scientific appeal. Consensus is only invoked when the disputant has run out of arguments—or never had any arguments to begin with.
“What do you believe is science's position on…”
This is yet another bit of sophistry. “Science” doesn’t have a position on these issues. *Science* is simply an abstraction for what *scientists* believe, which varies from one scientist to another.
But to continue:
“What do you believe is science's position on: 1. Increased brain capabilities for hominids in the last 1-2MM years; 2. Technological capabilities for hominids in the same period; 3. Social organization for hominids in the same interval.”
Short answer: I don’t believe in hominids.
I believe in human beings, and I believe in simians. I don’t derive the former from the latter.
These are distinct, aboriginal nature kinds, with a certain inbuilt potential for adaptive variation.
“Without requiring a treatise from you (It could be very high level summaries), we can see whether or not you are, in fact, ‘divorced from science’, as I suggested earlier. We can check what your ‘overview’ of these key survival features looks like against the testimony of the science community. But the fact remains, you, and many of your peers, stand in general opposition to the methods, findings and conclusions of mainstream science. In saying that man is a non-viable competitor on the survival playing field, you, you are manifestly departing from the fundamental understanding of the related physical science communities.”
I’ve already pointed out one essential problem with his appeal to consensus. Here’s another basic problem:
The Evangelutionist is in no position whatsoever to wrap himself in the mantle of “mainstream” science or align himself with the scientific “community.”
For the Evangelutionist is a theistic evolutionist. But theistic evolution is not mainstream science. It is not the position of the scientific “community” at large.
Among other things, mainstream science operates from the principle of methodological naturalism. Hence, theistic evolution is an oxymoron. Theistic evolution is pseudoscience.
For, by definition, any appeal to a supernatural factor runs in direct opposition to methodological naturalism, which is the modus operandi of mainstream science.
And let’s be frank about this: theistic evolution is an intellectual and theological compromise.
The Evangelutionist is trying to marginalize traditional Christians, as if his only opposition comes from the religious right, while he himself stands foursquare with the entire scientific establishment.
Nothing could be more transparently false. His opposition comes as much from the secular left as it does from the religious right, and the secular left represents “mainstream” science or the scientific “community.”
So there are two fundamental failings in his line of self-defense:
i) He is invoking an unscientific principle (consensus) to defend his position while deflecting his opponents, and:
ii) If his appeal to consensus were valid, the it would invalidate his own position, for theistic evolution is way out of the mainstream.
As far as mainstream science is concerned, the Evangelutionist is a squatter.
“It hardly helps matters to assault dating (relative or absolute) here regarding spears. Asking me for a treatise on the dating hermenuetic isn't fruitful as *I* wasn't the one doing the dating -- the researchers were. Whether I concur with the dating isn't meaningful. What's at issue here (I suggest) is that right or wrong, you are at complete loggerheads with mainstream science.”
More patent sophistry, piled layer upon layer:
i) He refers me to an article to support his position.
ii) Now he tries to put some distance between himself and the article he referred me to as if it doesn’t matter whether or not he agrees with it.
iii) The dating isn’t “meaningful”? The dating was a key component of his argument. He referred me to this article to bolster his own argument.
The question is how the article functions in his argument. He is the one who is putting this article to his personal use.
So for him to suddenly assume a noncommittal stance, as if he has no personal stake in the matter, is both duplicitous and disingenuous.
iv) I didn’t assault absolute dating. What I did was to quote from the very article he pointed me to where one of the researchers said the dating was in dispute because absolute dating techniques were not employed.
That is not an assault on absolute dating. Rather, absolute dating was never in play.
v) Did I launch a general assault on relative dating? Once again, we need to set the record strait:
a) What I did was to ask if the article is alluding to ice core dating.
I then cited a couple of articles from “secular” sources on the vicissitudes of ice core dating. Indeed, on of these sources is from an anti-ID, anti-creationist site.
b) I didn’t take any position on relative dating in general. And I didn’t say the spears were misdated.
What I did was to simply ask how, in fact, the spears were dated.
d) Remember, the date is a key issue for the Evangelutionist.
As I pointed out before, the date is not a key issue for me, for the purposes of this thread, because I’m arguing on internal grounds.
The Evangelutionist likes to talk *about* archeological evidence as long as you don’t ask him *for* archeological evidence.
He likes to talk about archeological evidence in the abstract. But as soon as you start posing a few concrete questions about the process by which a particular result was arrived at, he wants to change the subject.
“You may be right, and all of science wrong.”
Have I ever said, in the course of this thread, that all science is wrong?
When you corner him using his own criteria, the Evangelutionist resorts to hyperbole.
“Does that seem a fair way to proceed?”
What the Evangelutionist has demonstrated thus far is that the only way he can defend theistic evolution is to employ devious reasoning as he hopscotches from one expedient to another.
No, it doesn’t strike me as fair, but that’s fine with me. If he can only win by cheating, then even if he wins the game, he loses the argument.
So I thank him for exposing the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of theistic evolution more effectively than I could have done without his collaboration.