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[atheists-27] Nagel's anti-evolution book

From: Mathew G.
Sent on: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 10:03 AM
Regarding Nagel's very misguided and wrong-headed new book arguing against evolution, it is almost entirely an argument rooted in nothing more than intuition, and that is a tremendous mistake on his part.  His book is a very good example of bad philosophy, it exemplifies the hubris of some philosophers who seem to think that mere human intuition trumps empirical evidence.  Almost all of scientific knowledge is non-intuitive and counter-intuitive.

I recommend Evolution blog by Jason Rosenhouse, he has an article about Nagel's book here: http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/2013/03/19/thomas-nagel-needs-better-defenders/

I also recommend Jerry Coyne's blog. Here is Jerry Coyne's reaction to Nagel:  http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/tom-nagels-antievolution-book-gets-thrice-pummeled/

I also want to comment on this: John Horgan wrote "physicists have embraced pseudo-scientific speculation such as multi-universe theories".  This is also wrong.

It is very common for some people to falsely denigrate the multi-verse "theory" as non- scientific, but in fact it is scientific.  A multi-verse is a prediction of at least three theories:  quantum mechanics, inflation, and m M or superstring theory.  A multi-verse is not a theory, there is no multi-verse theory.  Similarly, the theory of relativity predicted black holes, black holes were not, and are not, a theory.  Some decades after black holes were predicted the empirical evidences were found that verified the existence of black holes.  Almost no one argued that black holes were a non-scientific or pseudo- scientific theory in the decades between their prediction and discovery.  Science progresses both ways:  1) sometimes the empirical evidence reveals something new and subsequently an explanation is developed for this new phenomena and 2) sometimes a scientific theory predicts something new and subsequently empirical evidence is found to verify the prediction.  BOTH approaches are equally scientific.  Multi-verse is an example of 2) where we don't have the direct empirical evidence, which renders it speculative science.  But it absolutely is scientific speculation with strong empirical backing, which is why it is widely embraced among physicists.  It is speculative because the empirical evidence is indirect, it is derivative from the very strong empirical evidence for quantum mechanics, and also inflation, but it is not therefore "pseudo-science".


Solar energy is old hat. I am for lunar energy. 
Cosmologists may all be atheists, but geologians are all devout as can be.
On cosmology, see: 

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/01/30/is-scientific-materialism-almost-certainly-false/

Is Scientific Materialism “Almost Certainly False”? By John Horgan, Scientific American, January 30, 2013 


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