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Nautilus: ET will force Darwin’s theory to adapt?

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From astronomer and physicist Milan Ćirković at Nautilus:

When H.G. Wells wrote about aliens, his wild imaginings were shaped by Darwin’s theory of evolution. In The War of the Worlds, giant Martian invaders with whip-like arms are threatened by extinction and so expand into a new ecological niche by colonizing other planets, notably Earth. In The Time Machine, a time traveler visiting the future stumbles upon two posthuman species. What led Wells to these majestic speculations, inspiring science-fiction buffs and also many scientists to this day? A firm belief in the universality of evolution by natural selection.

But does evolution operate the same on life everywhere? The success of Darwinian theory to explain life on Earth has lulled many of us into thinking that it must be. In fact evolution might have functioned by different mechanisms in Earth’s distant past as well as elsewhere in the galaxy. We could envision a planet dominated by Lamarckian inheritance of acquired traits, or a world where large mutations—and not the gradual variation of natural selection—are the main agents of change.

Say no more, Milan. Here in the wilds of North America, many of us are thinking that way already about life on Earth.

The trouble is that we don’t have a way to confirm if the mode of terrestrial evolution is generalizable to all life or is the result of mere happenstance. More.

It is unlikely that Darwinism is generalizable to all life. Milan, check your mail. Darwinism is in enough trouble here at home. But exploration of other planets will be great anyway.

See also: Epigenetics: What China’s government famine can teach us about inherited starvation effects The famine in question was the government-imposed Great Leap Forward, estimated to have killed up to 45 million people.

Darwinism: Replacement or extension?


Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!

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4 Replies to “Nautilus: ET will force Darwin’s theory to adapt?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:


    A Flash of Insight About Physics, Reality, and DNA Launched Bruce Buff as a Novelist – December 15, 2016
    Excerpt: CNA: How did you develop the science behind the book?
    Buff: November 1999, sitting in my father-in-law’s office, working on my computer, the question of what connects bits inside a computer into words, or how pixels on the screen are transformed into images in our minds, popped into my mind and got me off and running on consciousness. Eventually, I concluded that if physics exists as scientists believe it does, then the material world alone cannot be the source of perceptions, awareness, cognitive thinking, and feeling. Therefore we have immaterial minds and every moment of our lives is our souls in action. I then realized that the immaterial mind challenges the Darwinian view of a completely naturalistic, unguided process as the complete explanation for human origin.

  2. 2
    john_a_designer says:

    Notice how in H.G. Well’s science fiction there is no real foundation or grounding for morality or universal human rights. For example, the alien invaders in his novel War of the Worlds are pictured as pitiless and machine-like with no regard for the human race– indeed they use spider-like machines as a kind of exoskeleton. To them humans have no more value than termites have to an exterminator. Humans, in his novel, were simply pests they needed to rid the earth of, so that they could move in and enjoy their new home. Of course, there is morality in his stories. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have morality but to Wells it appears that our morality is more like customs which have been shaped by a mindless process of Darwinian evolution and the conventions of society.

    When we compare Well’s thinking with Darwin’s there is no doubt that they shared the same basic world view.

    Darwin who was a committed materialist by the time he wrote Descent of Man thought at least he could use his theory of natural selection to explain the origins of morality. Nevertheless, he was forced to concede that this did indeed lead to moral relativism.

    He writes:

    “If… men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering.” (The Descent of Man, p. 73)

    In other words, nothing is really intrinsically right or wrong or good or evil. Morality would be relative to its basic utility and social/environmental context.

    As a self-confessed Darwinist, philosopher Michael Ruse says, “Morality… is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends… In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate.”

    Again, there is no foundation for any kind of morality or universal human rights. These things are only illusions.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    But does evolution operate the same on life everywhere? The success of Darwinian theory to explain life on Earth has lulled many of us into thinking that it must be. In fact evolution might have functioned by different mechanisms in Earth’s distant past as well as elsewhere in the galaxy. We could envision a planet dominated by Lamarckian inheritance of acquired traits, or a world where large mutations—and not the gradual variation of natural selection—are the main agents of change.,,,
    The trouble is that we don’t have a way to confirm if the mode of terrestrial evolution is generalizable to all life or is the result of mere happenstance.

    Translation, “Darwinian evolution is not really a science in the first place but is more realistically classified as a pseudo-science since it has no universal law to appeal to.”

    The first major unification in science was when the Christian founders of modern science, particularly Newton, realized that the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth. i.e. When he realized that the law of gravity was ‘universal’

    The first major unification in physics was Sir Isaac Newton’s realization that the same force that caused an apple to fall at the Earth’s surface—gravity—was also responsible for holding the Moon in orbit about the Earth. This universal force would also act between the planets and the Sun, providing a common explanation for both terrestrial and astronomical phenomena.

    The God Particle: Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – Monday, Aug. 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”

    The Genius and Faith of Faraday and Maxwell – Ian H. Hutchinson – 2014
    Conclusion: Lawfulness was not, in their thinking, inert, abstract, logical necessity, or complete reducibility to Cartesian mechanism; rather, it was an expectation they attributed to the existence of a divine lawgiver. These men’s insights into physics were made possible by their religious commitments. For them, the coherence of nature resulted from its origin in the mind of its Creator.

    “Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the universe is at root a unity, that is not governed by different legislation in different places.”
    John D. Barrow

    As the article from Nautilus unwittingly confessed, Darwinian evolution simply does not have any universal law to appeal to so as to establish itself as a testable science with a rigid mathematical basis:

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004
    Excerpt: biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.

    Without a universal law to appeal to in order to base its math on, Darwinian evolution is not testable, (i.e. potentially falsifiable by direct experiment), and therefore Darwinian evolution does not qualify as a proper science:

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

    Deeper into the Royal Society Evolution Paradigm Shift Meeting – 02/08/2016
    Suzan Mazur: Peter Saunders in his interview comments to me said that neo-Darwinism is not a theory, it’s a paradigm and the reason it’s not a theory is that it’s not falsifiable.
    Peter Saunders is Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London; Emeritus professor of Applied Mathematics, King’s College London.
    Peter Saunders has been applying mathematics in biology for over 40 years, in microbiology and physiology as well as in development and evolution. He has been a critic of neo-Darwinism for almost as long.

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    In fact, not only does Evolution not have any universal law to appeal to, to base its math on, as other overarching theories of science have, Entropy, a law with great mathematical explanatory power in science, almost directly contradicts Darwinian claims that increases in functional complexity can be easily had:

    Why Tornadoes Running Backward do not Violate the Second Law – Granville Sewell – May 2012
    Excerpt: So, how does the spontaneous rearrangement of matter on a rocky, barren, planet into human brains and spaceships and jet airplanes and nuclear power plants and libraries full of science texts and novels, and supercomputers running partial differential equation solving software , represent a less obvious or less spectacular violation of the second law—or at least of the fundamental natural principle behind this law—than tornados turning rubble into houses and cars? Can anyone even imagine a more spectacular violation?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    In fact, empirical evidence itself tells us that “Genetic Entropy”, the tendency of biological systems to drift towards decreasing complexity and decreasing information content, holds true as the overriding rule for biology over long periods of time.

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.

    Can Purifying Natural Selection Preserve Biological Information? – May 2013 –
    Paul Gibson, John R. Baumgardner, Wesley H. Brewer, John C. Sanford
    In conclusion, numerical simulation shows that realistic levels of biological noise result in a high selection threshold. This results in the ongoing accumulation of low-impact deleterious mutations, with deleterious mutation count per individual increasing linearly over time. Even in very long experiments (more than 100,000 generations), slightly deleterious alleles accumulate steadily, causing eventual extinction. These findings provide independent validation of previous analytical and simulation studies [2–13]. Previous concerns about the problem of accumulation of nearly neutral mutations are strongly supported by our analysis. Indeed, when numerical simulations incorporate realistic levels of biological noise, our analyses indicate that the problem is much more severe than has been acknowledged, and that the large majority of deleterious mutations become invisible to the selection process.,,,

    Genetic Entropy – references to several peer reviewed numerical simulations analyzing and falsifying all flavors of Darwinian evolution,, (via John Sanford and company)

    And whereas Darwinian evolution has no known law of nature to appeal to so as to establish itself as a proper, testable, science, (in fact it almost directly contradicts entropy), Intelligent Design does not suffer from such a disconnect from physical reality. In other words, Intelligent Design can appeal directly to ‘the laws of conservation of information’ (Dembski, Marks, etc..) in order to establish itself as a proper, testable, and rigorous science.

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski (mathematically) prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,

    And since Intelligent Design is mathematically based on the ‘law of conservation of information’, that makes Intelligent Design testable and potentially falsifiable, and thus makes Intelligent Design, unlike Darwinism, a rigorous science instead of a unfalsifiable pseudo-science:

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery (up to 3 million dollars). We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.


    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

    Of supplemental note: In so far as Darwinian evolution is dependent on the premises of reductive materialism, and regardless of whether Darwinists ever personally accept the falsification or not, Darwinian evolution is now empirically falsified by advances in quantum biology:

    Jim Al-Khalili, in the following video, states,
    “,,and Physicists and Chemists have had a long time to try and get use to it (Quantum Mechanics). Biologists, on the other hand have got off lightly in my view. They are very happy with their balls and sticks models of molecules. The balls are the atoms. The sticks are the bonds between the atoms. And when they can’t build them physically in the lab nowadays they have very powerful computers that will simulate a huge molecule.,, It doesn’t really require much in the way of quantum mechanics in the way to explain it.”
    ,,, Jim Al-Khalili goes on to state:
    “To paraphrase, (Erwin Schrödinger in his book “What Is Life”), he says at the molecular level living organisms have a certain order. A structure to them that’s very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity. In fact, living matter seems to behave in its order and its structure just like inanimate cooled down to near absolute zero. Where quantum effects play a very important role. There is something special about the structure, about the order, inside a living cell. So Schrodinger speculated that maybe quantum mechanics plays a role in life”.
    Jim Al-Khalili – Molecular Biology – 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics – video

    Quantum correlations do not imply instant causation – August 12, 2016
    Excerpt: A research team led by a Heriot-Watt scientist has shown that the universe is even weirder than had previously been thought.
    In 2015 the universe was officially proven to be weird. After many decades of research, a series of experiments showed that distant, entangled objects can seemingly interact with each other through what Albert Einstein famously dismissed as “Spooky action at a distance”.
    A new experiment by an international team led by Heriot-Watt’s Dr Alessandro Fedrizzi has now found that the universe is even weirder than that: entangled objects do not cause each other to behave the way they do.
    Experimental test of nonlocal causality – August 10, 2016

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”

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