False Steps in Science

Ignoring Independent Variables in Complex Systems

Maybe trees help global warming, or maybe not:

A new study, however, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that forests’ other climatic effects can cancel out their carbon cleaning advantage in some parts of the world. Using a three-dimensional climate model, the research team mimicked full global deforestation and also studied the effects of clear-cutting in different regions of latitude, such as the tropics and boreal zones. Apparently, these natural carbon sinks only do their job effectively in tropical regions; in other areas, they have either no impact or actually contribute to warming the planet.
[More Trees, Less Global Warming, Right? — Not Exactly, Scientific American]

The author of this article, however, really missed the point by focusing on whether trees should be used to combat global warming.

The previous climate models were wrong because they ignored certain factors in a highly complex interconnected system. This new model yields a result that doesn’t make sense under the old paradigm. Who should we trust? Obviously, the researchers are not going to throw away 40 years of ecological PR because of a silly climate model, so they conclude that the results aren’t really important because accepting them would lead to “perverse outcomes.” Hmm…rejecting data because you don’t like the results…not very positivist.

Maybe liberal environmentalists should just admit that their opinions are based on a gaian pantheism supported by computer-generated mythology. Wouldn’t that be more honest?

Ignoring Essential Elements in Complex Organisms

Researchers have uncovered more than 10,000 short stretches of what may be functional DNA in parts of the human genome with no obvious role—the so-called junk DNA that makes up 95 percent of the genome.
[Jumping ‘Junk’ DNA May Fuel Mammalian Evolution, Scientific American]

The material was there before; it was simply misclassified. Someone had made the mistake of believing that some parts of an organism are unnecessary “junk.”

“One of the big questions is: Where does novel functional DNA come about in the genome?”

They don’t know? Evolutionists claim that the mechanism is known precisely. Maybe not.

The actual functions of the conserved elements remain untested, but the proximity suggests that evolution may have harnessed the bits of junk DNA to control the activities of the nearby genes, Bejerano says.

Good! Now we know that intelligent agent X saved Y, which apparently had no immediate purpose, in order to control Z at a later time. Finally, a rational, materialistic explanation!

Oh, X = evolution by “natural” selection, which is the cause of every good thing. Why not just admit that this is chosen for moral reasons, rather than knocking around the phony arguments about materialistic, naturalistic, empirical, observable facts?

I’m afraid that eventually the dishonest rhetoric will wear thin, and truly pragmatic people will abandon evolution. bool_dhtmlPOPup = true; //restarting dhtml popup exclusively. /*var mathRandom = Math.random(); if( mathRandom .s_code_tiny {font-size : 10%; font-family : Arial, Geneva, Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif; color : #000000;}

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