After resisting for a week or so, he finally came to the realization that what the scientists are saying is correct [When I’m wrong].
Professor Moran and I disagree on many things, and I’m sure we’ll have many lively exchanges in the future, but it would be downright churlish of me not to acknowledge that my attempts to show that the neutral theory could not account for 22.4 million mutations arising in the human lineage over the last five million years have failed. I also wish to state that I had no intention of giving any offense to Professor Moran in our exchange of views, and that I have always striven to remain as polite as possible, while publicly disagreeing with him. The next time I’m dining out, I shall order a glass of red wine and silently toast him.Thank-you Vincent Torley. I greatly respect you for taking the time to understand evolution and to listen to the explanations of evolutionary biologists.
I think you can see how your initial biases affected your ability to understand evolution. That's why you tried so hard to prove that population genetics was wrong when you didn't understand it and had only heard of the explanation for the first time a few days earlier.
Now Torley wants to address a different point. He wants to show us that creationists are more open-minded and less biased than evolutionary biologists [A question of bias].
In today’s post, I’d like to explain why I believe that evolutionary biologists who regard evolution as an unguided process are more ideologically biased than people who believe that God made us – whether through a process of (a) direct creation or (b) guided evolution. The distinction between the latter two positions is totally irrelevant, from Professor Moran’s perspective ...It's a long post. Torley describes seven different arguments in support of his position.
1. Evolutionary biologists have an a priori commitment to materialism
Here's where Vincent Torley trots out the famous quotation of Richard Lewontin where he says, "We take the side of science ... because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism." This leads Torley to ask ...
The above quote was taken from Lewontin’s review of Carl Sagan’s last book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark ("Billions and Billions of Demons" in the New York Review of Books, January 9, 1997).Torley is correct. Lewontin's view, taken at face value, is a clear-cut example of an a priori commitment to materialism. I think Lewontin is wrong. I do not agree with his view and I do not share it.
I would ask my readers: if this is not a clear-cut example of ideological bias, then what is?
I don't think there are many evolutionary biologists who adopt this a priori commitment to materialism. Most of us are willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads.
2. Leading evolutionary biologists refuse to be swayed by any evidence for God
Torley quotes PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins claiming that no amount of evidence could convince them that gods exist. He also mentions that Jerry Coyne says he is open to the idea that the existence of gods could be demonstrated.
I'm with Jerry Coyne on this one and I suspect most evolutionary biologists would agree. I've been looking for evidence for a long time and haven't seen any yet but that doesn't mean I've rejected the possibility.
3. Professor Michael Behe explains why theists are less biased than scientific materialists
Now this is an interesting argument, coming from a philosopher.
In an Apologetics 315 interview with Brian Auten on August 28, 2013, Intelligent Design advocate and biochemist Michael Behe made a highly persuasive case that theists are less biased than scientific materialists when examining the question of how life emerged on Earth, since theism does not rule out Darwinism, whereas materialism precludes the possibility of Intelligent Design at the very outset:The first thing that's wrong is the strawman argument that evolutionary biologists are committed to materialism and atheism (see above). They aren't.
The second thing that's wrong requires a bit of thought. Here's what Behe and many creationists are saying. If you believe in magic then you are less biased than those who don't. That's because whenever you are faced with a problem you have two viable solutions, a magical solution and a naturalistic solution. Similarly, if you believe in UFO abductions then you are less biased than those who don't because whenever you hear of a missing person you have an extra solution than the ones considered by rational people.
And if you believe in both magic AND UFO abductions then you are even less biased. Are you open to the possibility that we all live in the Matrix? Bingo! Even less bias.
See how this works? Here's how Michael Behe puts it ..
In my mind at least, a Christian or theist, is in best position in discussions of evolution because, at least as far as I can see, God could have used Darwinian processes to make life if he wanted to. Who am I to say that he couldn’t? But he didn’t have to. I don’t know what he did, and so I go out and look, and a theist can go out and look, and kind of evaluate the evidence, whereas somebody who rules out God from the start is in a bind. Then they have to simply shoe horn all of the data into this worldview where the only thing around at the beginning was mindless energy and matter. So, I think theists have an edge in this discussion.Just in case you didn't understand what I said earlier, I do NOT rule out gods from the start. If Behe or anyone else has evidence that they exist then I'm ready to examine it.
4. Evolutionary biologists as thought police: further proof of ideological bias
Torley then quotes from a number of post and articles—including several of mine—where we say that if students who study evolution fail to understand it then they should not pass the course. This also applies to candidates for a Ph.D. and scientists we hire. You don't get a Ph.D. and you don't get hired if you don't understand the science of evolutionary biology.
Torely thinks this is proof of ideological bias.
Queen Elizabeth I is supposed to have once famously remarked, “I would not open windows into men’s souls.” But today’s evolutionary biologists apparently think otherwise. Some of them have gone on the record as saying that science students who hold personal beliefs (e.g. a belief in creationism) which are at variance with the currently accepted findings in their field of science, should not be allowed to graduate, no matter how well they understand the science in their field. That means that if you’re a biology student at university and you get 100% on all your examinations, and you also happen to be a creationist or an Intelligent Design theorist, then you shouldn’t be allowed to graduate.For the record, if you got 100% on all the exams then it should mean that you lied about what you understand and accept. In other words, you do NOT understand it but you pretended to understand in order to fool your teacher get a high grade.
None of us would flunk such a student because we wouldn't know that she was lying. We assume that students are honest.
According to the logic of this argument, creationists are less biased because they would give high marks to students who reject evolution in favor of creationism and they are also capable of giving high marks to students who reject creationism and argue for materialistic science. It probably means that Christian universities are much more open minded than secular universities. (Sort of like arguing that the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) in Toronto is much less biased about medicine than a typical medical school [Naturopath Education: Still Replete With Bollocks].)
In any case, in order to make his point, Torley needs to show that evolutionary biologists as a group are acting a lot more like thought police than creationists. Good luck with that. Read the comments on Uncommon Descent.
5. Nobel Prize winning scientists betray their ideological bias, by publicly declaring that evolution has no purpose
So far, there's no scientific evidence to support the idea that evolution has a purpose. Most of us would be happy to see such evidence, if it exists. It would certainly give us a lot to think about.
Creationists KNOW that evolution (if it exists) has a purpose. Therefore, they are less biased.
6. The epistemological bias underlying biologists’ rejection of God
This one's a little complicated. Let me explain my position. I have not been convinced by any evidence for the existence of gods therefore I don't believe in them. I also don't believe in Bigfoot, the tooth fairy, and the Loch Ness Monster for the same reason.
If you believe in something without any evidence, then this cannot be consistent with the scientific way of knowing. It would have to be knowledge gained by some other way of knowing. I haven't seen any convincing examples that such another way of knowing exists.
I do not "reject" the possibility of gods or tooth fairies in a philosophical discussion. I just fail to believe in them.
Apparently, I suffer from "epistemological bias" because I don't believe in Bigfoot or any one of 1000 different gods. Torley, on the other hand, is much less biased because he only rejects 999 of them (and Bigfoot).
This is really more about the existence of gods than the difference between creationists and scientists.
7. Venom as an indicator of bias among evolutionary biologists
Vincent Torley thinks that evolutionary biologists are much more rude to their opponents than creationists. This means that creationists are less biased.
No, really, that's what he said.
The conclusion is obvious to Vincent Torley.
I put it to my readers that on any reasonable assessment of the evidence, evolutionary biologists who regard evolution as an unguided process are far more biased than the creationists and/or Intelligent Design theorists whose views they disparage.Remember, this comes only a few days after Torely was obliged to admit that there was strong evidence for an unguided process—fixation of neutral alleles by random genetic drift— leading to the vast majority of differences between modern humans and their common ancestor with chimpanzees.