Posted by: Dan | June 16, 2007

Which of These is More Like the Other?

What if you’d never seen one before, but you came across a crab on the beach, and wondered what it was?

crab

What would you think of, when trying to construct an argument of where it came from, and what it was like? Would you be more likely to compare it to a cell phone, or a lobster?

or

Apparently, Dr. Egnor chooses the cell phone. This is called the “Argument from analogy.” Scientists, however, use the “Argument from homology” instead.

Analogous:

Similar in function but not in structure and origin.

Homologous:

1. Corresponding or similar in position, value, structure, or function.
2. Similar in structure and origin, though not necessarily in function.

See the difference? Good. Understand how the former is a superficial similarity of one characteristic (complexity), and the latter is a detailed structural similarity of it’s most basic parts? Great. Now would someone please go explain to Michael Egnor, and for that matter, Casey Luskin and the rest of the Discovery Institute too, how absolutely inept their argument from analogy truly is? A crab, or anything else alive that you’re likely to come across on the beach, is not a cell phone. Similarly, a phone call has no relevance whatsoever to theory of mind.


Responses

  1. Unfortunately, this is the advantage Creationists have over scientists. There is no real need for them to “prove” what they are saying because obviously what they are saying is not science. All they need to do is create doubt, which is obviously quite easy.

    They are playing to “Average Joe” who is either unable to truly explore these issues with any intellectual depth or he simply has no interest in doing so.

    I myself find “Scientific Writing” a chore at times, and I think this is something that needs to be addressed. The problem is, Scientists are not politicians or public policy makers nor should you be because it takes away from your work.

    The Right is ingenious when it comes to manipulation. The people who buy what they’re selling may very well be morons, but the people behind the scenes most certainly are not.

  2. I thought you might find this interesting. Richard E. Vatz, a leading “skeptic” of Psychiatry, paid me a visit last night. He wanted to let me know how horribly I “misrepresented” him.

    If you’re interested check it out.

    http://fairlane.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/richard-e-vatz-visits-jones-town/

  3. “A crab, or anything else alive that you’re likely to come across on the beach, is not a cell phone.”

    Thanks for the tip; I was just about the throw some “crabs” I found on the beach into a pot for dinner, but apparently I was terribly confused…


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