“The success of Darwinism was accompanied by a decline in scientific integrity. This is already evident in the reckless statements of Haeckel and in the shifting, devious, and histrionic argumentation of T. H. Huxley”
From: W. R. Thompson, “Critique of Evolution”, in his Introduction to On the Origin of Species, JASA 12 (March 1960): 2-9.
Rumour has it that the whole of the Introduction, strangely missing from the American Scientific Affiliation Web site, will now be put back after going “missing,” like a purged Kommisar in official Communist photos.
Thompson found Darwinism unconvincing back in 1960 for science-based reasons which he sets out. But the subsequent fifty years clearly show how little that matters when Darwinism fulfills a religious need, as it does with the American Scientific Affiliation. (See, for example, “Has the American Scientific AffiliationForgotten Their Stated Identity?”
and “Why Caroline Crocker observed that ID was treated with disdain at the ASA conference”
Or a confirmation of bias need, as it does in popular culture (See, for example, “How boobies help us understand child abuse ” and “Prescient mares abort their offspring to spare them pain ”) Has anyone taken note of the fact that we seldom if ever hear ASA types – who are so “pro-science,” in their own view – blast pop science culture for this stupidity? Can someone cite a genuine instance?
Since he had at the time the Origin was published no body of experimental evidence to sup, port his theory, he fell back on speculative arguments The argumentation used by evolutionists, said de Quarefages, makes the discussion of their ideas extremely difficult. Personal convictions, simple possibilities, are presented as if they were proofs, or at least valid arguments in favor of the theory. As an example de Quatrefages cited Darwin’s explanation of the manner in which the titmouse might become transformed into the nutcracker, by the accumulation of small changes in structure and instinct owing to the effect of natural selection; and then proceeded to show that it is just as easy to transform the nutcracker into the titmouse. The demonstration can be modified without difficulty to fit any conceivable case. It is without scientific value, since it cannot be verified; but since the imagination has free rein, it is easy to convey the impression that a concrete example of real transmutation has been given. This is the more appealing because of the extreme fundamental simplicity of the the Darwinian explanation. The reader may be completely ignorant of biological processes yet he feels that he really understands and in a sense dominates the machinery by which the marvelous variety of living forms has been produced.
This was certainly a major reason for the success of the Origin. Another is the elusive character of the Darwinian argument. Every characteristic of organisms is maintained in existence because it has survival value. But this value relates to the struggle for existence. Therefore we are not obliged to commit ourselves in regard to the meaning of difference between individuals or species since the possessor of a particular modification may be, in the race for life, moving up or falling behind. On the other hand, we can commit ourselves if we like, since it is impossible to disprove our statement. The plausibility of the argument eliminates the need for proof and its very nature gives.it a kind of immunity to disproof. Darwin did not show in the Origin that species had originated by natural selection, he merely showed, on the basis of certain facts and assumptions, how this might have happened, and as he had convinced himself he was able to convince others.
But the facts and interpretations on which Darwin relied have now ceased to convince. The long-continued investigations on heredity and variation have undermined the Darwinian position. …
Whether it ever is put back or not (our usually reliable informant will keep checking), here’s as much of it as we can find online.