Darwinism

Does Darwinism depend on evidence?

Spread the love

Not if you go by best-known Darwinist, Richard Dawkins:

Note the importance of evidence for reaching Darwinian conclusions. “important as the evidence is, in this article I want to explore the possibility of developing a different kind of argument. I suspect that it may be possible to show that, regardless of evidence, Darwinian natural selection is the only force we know that could, in principle, do the job of explaining the existence of organized and adaptive complexity.” [Daw82] “Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life… even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory.” [Daw96Bp287-88] “The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the existence of organized complexity. Even if the evidence did not favour it, it would still be the best theory available.” [Daw96BP317]

– from Donald E. Johnson’s Probability’s Nature and Nature’s Probability LITE: A Call to Scientific Integrity, p. 87-88.

The first statement, [Daw82], is from a 1982 piece in New Scientist, whose express purpose is to dismiss Lamarckian evolution: “The necessity of Darwinism: There is no evidence for Lamarckian inheritance, but even without evidence we can be reasonably sure that Lamarckian inheritance just won’t do.”

Evidence for Lamarckian evolution (horizontal gene transfer) is now commonly noted. Does that affect the necessity of Darwinism? Does it mean that Darwinism must now be evaluated on evidence? What about the right to offer evidence-based critiques of Darwinism in science classes?

10 Replies to “Does Darwinism depend on evidence?

  1. 1
    David Tyler says:

    The long shadow of Dawkins still hangs over Oxford University. A Research Fellow post (for a mathemetician) is being advertised that illustrates the pre-emptive claims of neodarwinism. There is nothing about “testing” the theory; nothing about establishing its strengths and weaknesses. No, the first objective is as follows:
    “To construct a mathematical framework, with appropriate theorems, to represent fully the core argument in Darwin’s Origin of Species, namely that the purely mechanical processes of inheritance and reproduction can give rise through natural selection to the appearance of design.”
    And it gets worse. There is no acknowledgement of recent work on fitness theory (see here)
    http://www.arn.org/blogs/index....._in_scienc
    and no sign that evolutionary biologists need to be looking beyond Darwinism. The spirit of science is being squashed by the same dogmatic mindset as revealed in the quotes from Dawkins. Sad. The post is advertised here.
    http://www.sjc.ox.ac.uk/3498/R.....f.download

  2. 2
    Proponentist says:

    … namely that the purely mechanical processes of inheritance and reproduction can give rise through natural selection to the appearance of design.

    That’s a quote to save for future reference. Some Darwinists today, embarassed by the continued failures of their theory, are claiming that “everybody knows” that the mechanism of mutations and selection is only “part” of evolutionary theory. Oxford University, however, doesn’t hesitate in taking the antiquated hard-core Darwinian position here.

    Mr. Dawkins’ influence can be traced also right here …
    “mechanical processes … can give rise … to the appearance of design”.

    There’s the hypothesis. Now perhaps Oxford scholars will define terms so we know what they’re measuring. What do they mean by “appearance of design”?

    Where do they see that appearance of design in nature? How do they define what design is?

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    To construct a mathematical framework, with appropriate theorems, to represent fully the core argument in Darwin’s Origin of Species, namely that the purely mechanical processes of inheritance and reproduction can give rise through natural selection to the appearance of design.

    I don’t care if they don’t look past Darwinism. I’m still waiting for the evidence that randem changes plus selection can give rise to the appearance of design.

    Where is the math?

    Where are the models?

    Where are the examples from nature?

    Still waiting.

  4. 4
    DonaldM says:

    And you will be waiting until the end of time, Mung! I have the same question for the Oxford mathematicians as I do for Dawkins and his fellow philosophical naturalists. How do they know scientifically (and now we will also add mathematically) that the properties of biological systems are such that any apparent design we observe in them can not be actual design, even in principle? No scientific research study has ever tested let alone confirmed this hypothesis. And there is no mathematical formula that will demonstrate it either. If anything, the math argues the other way. So, to the Oxford number boys I say “you have fun with that!”

  5. 5
    DonaldM says:

    By the way, I just love the phrase “Darwinism is the only known theory that is in principle capable of explaining certain aspects of life… even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory.” As we’ve discussed here many, many times, there is no evidence we know of that demonstrates that Darwinism can explain the feature of irreducible complexity (certainly one of those “certain aspects of life” Dawkins mentions above) in biological systems. But, no matter, Darwinian evolution did it anyway. So much for testable, falsifiable hypothesis.

    We need to change the terms. The Theory of Evolution needs to be re-named the Hypothesis of Evolution…from ToE to HoE! A theory, as we all know, is a well tested and confirmed hypothesis. Darwinian evolution has yet to rise to that standard and should be properly referred to as an hypothesis.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    OT; More Extreme Stasis Found In Fossil Record:

    Newly discovered plant fossil reveals more than age – May 2011
    Excerpt: Indeed, these findings support the idea that Equisetum is an extremely ancient genus that has undergone little evolutionary innovation over the last 150 million years.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....s-age.html

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    More Extreme Stasis Found In Fossil Record

    They’re FOSSILS! what do you expect?
    It’s not like they are going to get up and start mating again.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung,,,

    ‘They’re FOSSILS! what do you expect?’

    It is not what I expect to see that matters so much as it is what Darwinists to see, but they don’t see, that matters!,,, Personally I expect to see stasis at perhaps the genus level with limited variation deriving from that parent ‘kind’ through a few or many sub-species. With all sub-speciation events coming at a cost of the ‘optimal’ information that was originally implemented into the parent ‘kind’. Which is as far as I can tell, from all the evidence I’ve seen, is pretty much exactly what we have.

  9. 9
    Heinrich says:

    Evidence for Lamarckian evolution (horizontal gene transfer) is now commonly noted.

    Except that HGT isn’t Lamarckian, certainly not in the way Lamarck meant. It’s more like a Darwinian regulation of mutation rate. From the abstract linked to (emphasis added):

    Horizontal gene transfer (HGT), a dominant evolutionary process, at least, in prokaryotes, appears to be a form of (quasi)Lamarckian inheritance. The rate of HGT and the nature of acquired genes depend on the environment of the recipient organism and, in some cases, the transferred genes confer a selective advantage for growth in that environment, meeting the Lamarckian criteria. Various forms of stress-induced mutagenesis are tightly regulated and comprise a universal adaptive response to environmental stress in cellular life forms. Stress-induced mutagenesis can be construed as a quasi-Lamarckian phenomenon because the induced genomic changes, although random, are triggered by environmental factors and are beneficial to the organism.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    Does Darwinism depend on evidence?

    “Not if you go by best-known Darwinist, Richard Dawkins”

    Wow, I never thought I’d see the day when I agree with Richard Dawkins.

    Well, that’s not entirely true. I also agree with Dawkins that organisms looks as if they were designed and that this requires an explanation.

Leave a Reply