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Darwin’s rats: Flee sinking ship

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Here’s the hole.

Evolution’s stories are prone to narrative selection. Rorschach readings enabled Karl Marx to see a scientific basis for class struggle, and Bertrand Russell felt evolution was inspired by economic ideas, favoring “animals that most resembled successful capitalists.”

Darwin’s rich ideas and name are being misused. Competition in nature regularly creates waste and catastrophe. It can in markets, which if unguided can be as dumb as trees. Our evolved capacities for reason, foresight, and social coordination can help us avoid predictable disaster.

In short, Darwinism provides no insight or guidance whatever.

15 Replies to “Darwin’s rats: Flee sinking ship

  1. 1
    Kantian Naturalist says:

    In short, Darwinism provides no insight or guidance whatever.

    And scientific theories generally do provide insight or guidance about which social policies to pursue or how to behave?

    All the author is saying here is that even those who appreciate Darwin’s explanation for adaptation and speciation recognize that it’s a mistake to treat it as an explanation for psychological, cultural, and political phenomena, or as a basis for legitimizing certain policies. Just because it’s a bad basis for social theory, doesn’t make it bad biology.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    I’d flee a sinking ship if it increased the chances I’d pass on my genes.

    It follows that rats flee a sinking ship because it increases the chances they will pass on their genes.

    Heck, if I was a male rat on a sinking ship I’d be looking for the nearest female rat!

    File under why Darwinism is stupid.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    KN objects to this claim

    In short, Darwinism provides no insight or guidance whatever.

    by saying

    Just because it’s a bad basis for social theory, doesn’t make it bad biology.

    But alas for KN’s druthers, besides a horrible social theory that was at the basis of the worst atheistic atrocities in human history during the 20th century, Darwinism, even overlooking eugenics, makes for bad (horrid?!?) biology as well,,

    As to providing no guidance or insight:

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.,,, In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
    http://www.discovery.org/a/2816

    Science Breakthroughs Owe Nothing To Darwinian Evolution – Jonathan Wells – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028096

    Even Francis Crick agreed that Darwinian evolution provides no real insight or guidance for biological research:

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case. It is difficult enough to study what is happening now. To figure out exactly what happened in evolution is even more difficult. Thus evolutionary achievements can be used as hints to suggest possible lines of research, but it is highly dangerous to trust them too much. It is all too easy to make mistaken inferences unless the process involved is already very well understood.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit (1988)

    In fact Darwinian presuppositions can severely misguide research for decades, as was evident with the recent junk DNA fiasco that was imposed on biology by Darwinian dogmatists,,

    “uncounted millions of people died miserable deaths while scientists were looking for the “gene” causing their illnesses – and were not even supposed to look anywhere but under the lamp illuminating only 1.3% of the genome (the genes).”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-357177

    And even embryology (think Haeckel’s fraudulent embryos that keep getting recycled in textbooks by Darwinists) needlessly suffers from supposed Darwinian ‘insights’,,

    The mouse is not enough – February 2011
    Excerpt: Richard Behringer, who studies mammalian embryogenesis at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas said, “There is no ‘correct’ system. Each species is unique and uses its own tailored mechanisms to achieve development. By only studying one species (eg, the mouse), naive scientists believe that it represents all mammals.”
    http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/57986/

    Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,,
    A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species.
    On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,,
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?.....plicing%2F

    Moreover, Darwinism offers no insight into medical diagnostics:

    Darwinian Medicine and Proximate and Evolutionary Explanations – Michael Egnor – neurosurgeon – June 2011
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....47701.html

    In fact, as to the somewhat minor extent evolutionary reasoning has influenced medical diagnostics, it has led to much ‘medical malpractice’ in the past:

    Evolution’s “vestigial organ” argument debunked
    Excerpt: “The appendix, like the once ‘vestigial’ tonsils and adenoids, is a lymphoid organ (part of the body’s immune system) which makes antibodies against infections in the digestive system. Believing it to be a useless evolutionary ‘left over,’ many surgeons once removed even the healthy appendix whenever they were in the abdominal cavity. Today, removal of a healthy appendix under most circumstances would be considered medical malpractice” (David Menton, Ph.D., “The Human Tail, and Other Tales of Evolution,” St. Louis MetroVoice , January 1994, Vol. 4, No. 1).
    “Doctors once thought tonsils were simply useless evolutionary leftovers and took them out thinking that it could do no harm. Today there is considerable evidence that there are more troubles in the upper respiratory tract after tonsil removal than before, and doctors generally agree that simple enlargement of tonsils is hardly an indication for surgery” (J.D. Ratcliff, Your Body and How it Works, 1975, p. 137).
    The tailbone, properly known as the coccyx, is another supposed example of a vestigial structure that has been found to have a valuable function—especially regarding the ability to sit comfortably. Many people who have had this bone removed have great difficulty sitting.
    http://www.ucg.org/science/god.....-debunked/

    Surgical removal of the tonsils and appendix associated with risk of early heart attack – June 2011
    Excerpt: The surgical removal of the appendix and tonsils before the age of 20 was associated with an increased risk of premature heart attack in a large population study performed in Sweden. Tonsillectomy increased the risk by 44% (hazard ratio 1.44) and appendectomy by 33% (HR 1.33). The risk increases were just statistically significant, and were even higher when the tonsils and appendix were both removed.
    http://medicalxpress.com/news/.....html#share

    Chances are that KN will admit he is wrong about Darwinian biology? About the same as Darwinian processes finding a functional protein, 1 in 10^77 (Axe)!

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:4
    In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    Laura Story – Keeper Of The Stars (Official Live Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krRQGGu898k

  4. 4
    mahuna says:

    I’m reading Andre Pichot’s “The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler”, and the only reason anyone paid any attention to Darwin’s very poorly formed ideas was because they: 1) supported the worst forms of robber baron capitalism as desirable competition between humans, and 2) Darwinism provided a scientific justification for racism. The racism bit is one of the reasons that Darwin’s “Descent of Man” is barely mentioned by Evolutionists. It got to be very inconvenient baggage by 1946.

    Darwinism was never considered an explanation for the diversity of life until Father Mendel’s research on genetics was published around 1915. Up until then, Darwinism itself made no attempt to explain anything beyond “competition and selection”, and of course how the competition occurred and what was most useful for selection could only be judged looking backwards. By the second half of the 19th century, it was clear to European scientists that brains were more useful in competition between races of humans than muscles. But was that true in earlier ages?

    So I’m not quite sure what point about actual Darwinism you’re trying to make. The original work was very poorly done, it laid around for 50 years looking for any useful application of its generalities, and was then seized on by sociologists as an excuse for letting them run society.

    The later Neo-Darwinism is simply a religion.

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    I’m reading Andre Pichot’s “The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler””

    Did he ever flee a sinking ship?

  6. 6
    goodusername says:

    Mahuna,

    I’m reading Andre Pichot’s “The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler”, and the only reason anyone paid any attention to Darwin’s very poorly formed ideas was because they: 1) supported the worst forms of robber baron capitalism as desirable competition between humans,

    That Darwinism was used as support for robber baron capitalism was a myth invented by Hoftstadter (an anti-capitalist) in 1944, as explained pretty well here:
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....37016.html

    and 2) Darwinism provided a scientific justification for racism.

    The pre-Darwinists already believed that they had plenty of scientific justifications for racism, and Darwin contradicted most of their justifications. While Darwin was racist, he was remarkable egalitarian for his time, and often fought against the racism of his day.
    In fact, the extreme racism of the time hurt the popularity of Darwinism, as many didn’t want to believe that the human races were all closely related, and the more racist factions of society battled Darwinism (for example, the Anthropological Society of London, which received strong backing from the American South during the Civil War).

    Prior to Darwinism, polygenism held sway. Polygenism mostly died after the birth of Darwinism, but most of the die-hards continued to battle Darwinism, such as Louis Agassiz, and James Hunt.

    Darwinism was never considered an explanation for the diversity of life until Father Mendel’s research on genetics was published around 1915.

    Not only was Darwinism considered an explanation for the diversity of life, it was the leading theory prior to Mendelism. If anything, the popularity of Darwinism dwindled a bit after Mendel’s research was re-discovered (in 1900).

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    Re: The Darwinian vestigial organ debacle

    “There are, according to Wiedersheim, no less than 180 vestigial structures in the human body, sufficient to make of a man a veritable walking museum of antiquities.” -evidence submitted to the Scopes trial

    The concept of vestigial organs was once considered strong evidence of evolution for about 100 years starting in the mid 1800’s. The same flawed Darwinian paradigm later led to the concept of “junk DNA.”

    Making the assumption that “vestigial organs” and “junk DNA” must be evolutionary debris by virtue of ignorance delayed scientific progress, and the analysis and rejection of these mistakes by Darwinian researchers is remarkable in its absence.

    Other failed concepts such as embryonic Recapitulation Theory as popularized by Haeckel’s exaggerated drawings has reemerged in textbooks with boring regularity simply because the myth is too compelling to be abandoned.

    This is why it’s easy to get the impression that some areas of Science have become trapped into an exercise in finding and assembling select data to prop up a tired, 19th century theory, all the while suppressing contrary data, and marginalizing scientists who want to engage in free inquiry.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Querius,thanks for the Scopes tidbit!

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    Hitler’s worldview included the following:

    – A commitment to human evolutionary progress by selective breeding and “racial hygiene.” The idea capitalized on Darwinism, German exceptionalism, and endemic anti-semitism.

    – The organization of German society through the leadership principle. All groups of people would produce a leader, and all groups of leaders would also produce a leader, and so on, ultimately to the pervasive control of a national leader, Hitler in this case.

    – The stratification of society by intellectual potential, a Prussian education idea possibly derived from the Hindu caste system.

    – The manifest destiny of the superior human race, coincidentally German, to any needed land and resources, along with the displacement of the less favored races, to paraphrase Charles Darwin.

    – A commitment to national socialism for the benefit of the German worker. Treatment of Germans as a group for group rather than individual benefit. “Weaker” individuals were to be humanely culled for the greater good (in place of natural selection) by restrictions on reproduction and other, more aggressive means.

    – Strict controls over the economy in general and big business in particular.

    This reasoning was more compelling at the time than a casual reading might indicate. It was an exciting, even intoxicating, youth movement! A majority of Germans were mislead by its seemingly practical utopianism.

    If history is any guide, these ideas will re-emerge in the future under different auspices.

  10. 10
    Querius says:

    And you’re most welcome, bornagain77! 🙂

  11. 11
    TheisticEvolutionist says:

    Querius have you read Godwin’s law?

    Godwin’s law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies or Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies) is an assertion made by Mike Godwin in 1990 that has become an Internet adage. It states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” In other words, Godwin said that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazi.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

  12. 12
    Barry Arrington says:

    Querius @ 9:
    “It was an exciting, even intoxicating, youth movement! A majority of Germans were mislead by its seemingly practical utopianism. If history is any guide, these ideas will re-emerge in the future under different auspices.”

    Future smuture. Pragmatic mumbo jumbo appeared on this site today. Just look at nightlight’s rant at comment 10 to this post:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....entialist/

  13. 13
    Barry Arrington says:

    TheisticEvolutionist @ 11. Is your point that comparisons to Nazis should be avoided even when they are useful and instructive? If so, then you are wrong.

  14. 14
    Barry Arrington says:

    TheisticEvolutionist @ 11. On second thought, if I were on your side I would try to change the subject too. I understand.

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Hi Barry,

    The only reason that I summarized Hitler’s worldview was in response to mahunas referencing Andre Pichot’s “The Pure Society: from Darwin to Hitler.”

    You mentioned

    nightlight’s rant at comment 10 to this post

    I think nightlight assumes that people think things out logically rather than responding intuitively: I also prefer evicting spiders to mashing them, but I don’t really think about it.

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