Modern evolutionary theory, as we have seen in these pages, is subject to vagaries of interpretation just as fundamental as those that ultimately floored astrology. Here is a list:
1. Is the overall process of evolution directed or undirected- Lamarckian or Darwinian? If we deliver a mixed verdict, then when and where does the directed yield to the undirected?
2. Is design something that genuinely needs to be explained or an illusion to be dispelled? Again, given a mixed verdict, when and where should forms of life (or parts thereof) be regarded as ‘adaptations’ or ‘exaptations’?
3. What about the so-called ‘tree of life’? Depending on whethe the tree is arranged on the basis of an organism’s surface morphology or its underlying genetic structure, a somewhat different story about the actual course of evolution s ‘common descent through modification’ is told.
4. The above questions cannot be answered unless the matter of evidence has been resolved: What is the relative weighting of evidence drawn from sources as disparate as radiometric analysis, computer simulation, field observations and laboratory experiments.
5. To what extent is evolutionary history responsible for what we normally regard as human history, and vice versa? How much can environmentally-induced changes in one generation alter the selection environment for future generations?
6. Finally, if natural selection is, in some sense, a ‘chance-based process’, exactly to which theory of chance does the evolutionist subscribe? Presumably it is more than Aristotle’s idea of two or more independent causal processes whose outcomes coincide. Natural selection’s grounding in genetics certainly implies a commitment to some idea of statistical frequency. But does it also involve metaphysically deeper notions like ‘propensities’ and ‘dispositions’ that might be unleashed systematically under the right experimental conditions? That Neo-Darwinism is taken to underwrite today’s bioengineering projects suggests just such metaphysical depth, though it is alien from Darwin’s original line of thought.
The fact that the above disagreements remain mostly – though not entirely – confined to academic publications simply reflects the much greater professional control that evolutionists vis-a-vis astrologers have exerted over how their expertise is evaluated. (158-59)
Senior biology faculty member in audience: “Jesus-hollering rube! Just trying to shove his religion down everyone’s throat! People like that burned Copernicus and Galileo at the stake …
Rube in audience: Answer the questions or shuddup for once, prof! I wanna hear what that guy is saying.