The more one delves into science in the same depth that science is made to delve into everything else in this physical universe, the more it becomes exposed for its flawed premises. As science becomes more naked, and all its blemishes are made manifest, it can no longer be revered by science-worshipping atheists at an alter as an all-perfect substitution for what others hold to be sacred. Hence, those who sanctify science respond irrationally to any contentions one has with their unjustifiable restriction of all knowledge to only that which can be scientifically verified. In a sense, they are protecting their sanctified worldview.
There is an underlying assumption in science that explanations are symmetrical. What this refers to is the ability to explain a sequence of phenomena in forward and reverse directions while maintaining the validity of the explanation. A classical example is that of a flagpole of length 10 metres being exposed to the sun hitting it from an elevation of “z” degrees. From this information we can calculate the length of the shadow this flagpole will cast.
Depending on the angle of elevation, the shadow will change. When asked about the reason for why the shadow has a particular length, a plausible explanation will be “given that the flagpole is 10 metres high, and the sunrays are hitting at an angle of ‘z’ degrees, it will therefore cast a shadow of the length we have calculated”. When we reflect upon this problem, we find that the length of the shadow is dependent upon a constant , namely the height of the pole, and a variable, namely the angle of elevation of the sun above it. This combination of a constant and a variable resulted in a second variable, namely the length of the shadow casted by the flagpole. Furthermore, there is a matter of relevance to be addressed here. When we say that the length of the shadow is dependent upon the height of the pole and the angle of elevation of the sun, we are presenting relevant information to how the length of the shadow came about.
Where the problem of symmetry presents itself is when the height of the pole is the one to be calculated AND explained from a known shadow length and angle of elevation of the sun. At first glance it is completely valid for us to calculate how high the flagpole is from knowing the length of the shadow it casts and the angle of the sun’s elevation. The conclusion of quantity we obtain from this approach will be accurate. However, in our explanation we will be faced with a problem of relevance. While we can conclude the height of the flagpole from the other given variables, we can no longer assert that it is dependent upon either one. In other words, to say that the shadow is this long because the flagpole is this high is a valid statement in quantity and relevance. However, to say that the flagpole is this high because the shadow is this long is a valid statement from the perspective of quantity, but invalid in its relevance. The real reason for why the flagpole is of any height is that the flagpole maker made it so. It has nothing to do with the length of the shadow, nor the sun’s angle of elevation. Moreover, in explaining the length of the shadow, we had to rely upon a constant \; the flagpole. On the other hand, in explaining the flagpole’s height, we had to resort to an external constant; the flagpole maker.
The subtlety of this issue lies in the deceptive nature of our ability to calculate quantity without necessarily having a need for relevance. However, our natural need for explanation drives us to sometimes arrive at problematic conclusions when we do not adhere to a rational mode of thinking. This is really a non-issue for those who reject pure reason (while ironically calling themselves the “voice of reason”), and those who conflate nonrationality with irrationality (who do so ironically irrationally). Otherwise, for the rest of us who seek to quench our thirst for explanation rationally, we will find ourselves having to go beyond quantitative accounts of what we observe to establish the validity of our explanations.
A daunting question in the philosophy of science has to do with evolutionary theory. Contrary to what science-worshipping atheists would like to make everyone, including themselves believe, evolutionary theory is not a problem strictly for the religious believers. This theory for how we arrived to the current account of life on Earth is philosophically problematic for multiple reasons, and there are multiple individuals who have addressed this matter, including atheists themselves. But to keep it relevant to this article, we can say that evolutionary theory, i.e. the explanation induced from correct calculations is not relevant, and therefore it cannot be considered valid in any sense of the word.
For the purpose of clarity, evolutionary theory in this particular context refers to the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified into different species from a single ancestor. In essence, this theory seeks to provide an empirical account for how biology came about. The problem with evolutionary theory as an explanation lies in its reliance on variables in order to define a single constant, namely diversity in life. It relies on a reverse induction that in actuality cannot be considered as plausible from neither the quantitative nor relevance accounts. This point can be further clarified using the example of the flagpole and its shadow. While we can calculate the height of the flagpole from its shadow and the angle the sun rays are hitting it, and even give an outline for what the pole looks like from its shadow alone, we cannot describe the essence of it, what material it was made from, what colour it was painted, etc. Any such description will be rendered as nothing but conjecture and cannot be considered valid or binding. With regards to evolutionary theory, the propositions for the history of biology on Earth as an induction from what we currently observe in what can be a kin to an instant when compared to the time frame this theory operates on, is the same as making assertions about the essence of the flagpole and describing its properties only from seeing its shadow.
The asymmetry of evolutionary theory can be readily shown within a lab setting using genetic manipulations of organisms that attempt to alter their essence. We have to date been able to manipulate genomes to obtain numerous genetic knock-out and knock-in animal models, and this has allowed an exponential rate of progress in our understanding of disease. Interestingly, genetic manipulation of animals is a means to study disease rather than improved health. Furthermore, although we can alter multiple genes in our studies, we have a restriction with most others because any manipulation of most genes results in lethality either at the embryonic stage or at young age. Moreover, genetic changes that happen naturally are reversed in over 99% of the time using various DNA repair mechanisms, and when they do escape this process, they either have no effect on the organism if they happen in a non-coding region, or are aberrant and result in damage to the biological integrity of it.
In fact, even when an experimental system has been pushed towards a true evolutionary outcome, it only resulted in gene fluctuations within the same species that were reversed once the environmental pressure was removed. In addition, the fluctuations resulted in less fit organisms if the environmental conditions were not reversed to normal levels (For more on this see Some Problems with Evolution). These findings in addition to all other attempts to “prove” evolution have confirmed an asymmetry in this hypothetical account for how life came to be the way we see it today. The proposed account based on observations in the natural world using a reverse induction into the distant past has not been confirmed in a forward fashion. Therefore, the hypothetical link between species of relatedness based on similarity cannot be rationally accepted.
Once the overall cognitive frame that evolutionary theory rests on is shown to be problematic, it no longer becomes necessary to address any “evidence” for evolution as such because it would presume the soundness of this cognitive frame. This is because of what Thomas Kuhn termed “theory laden data”, and what Albert Einstein described as the “theory which determines what we observe”. But given how strong of a hold such a cognitive frame of thinking has taken hold on many minds, we find ourselves resorting to explaining why this theory is problematic from within its domains. The danger here comes for the one who is not trained in the subject matter from both a biological perspective, as well as a philosophical one, where they can easily fall prey to the impressive quantitative data combined with sophistry of the science-worshipper.
For our case here, with the current cellular and genetic biology revolution that we are going through, it seems that evolutionary theory will lose its appeal if it is handled rationally, which I have begun to previously in “Some Problems with Evolution” and “The Theory… I Mean Hypothesis of Evolution“, and will continue to do so in the quest of deconstructing this fallacious cognitive frame. The roadblock for this logical outcome against evolutionary theory is the insistence to adopt a worldview where the metaphysical does not exist, which is an irrational worldview in itself as I have addressed in previous writings (The Irrationality of Rejecting Prophets and Reason, Empiricism & God of the Gaps). For how else can man attribute such awesome power behind the diversity in life we see on Earth if God is out of the picture, except through rejecting pure reason and resorting to sophistry as a pacifier to quench his thirst for a greater Meaning.
Mohamed Ghilan, PhD Candidate
UVic Cellular Neuroscience