Darwinism Evolution Intelligent Design

At Forbes: Overthrowing Darwin’s theory by better explanations?

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Explaining how to overthrow a theory in science via better explanations, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel offers advice at Forbes, including advice re Darwinism:

Want to go beyond Darwin’s evolution? You still need to explain the emergence of biological diversity, the response to selection pressures, and how inheritance works, among others. More.

First, it is interesting to hear an admission that anyone might want to go beyond Darwin’s theory, touted elsewhere as the single best idea anyone ever had. Yes, well, things do get oversold at times…

Post-Truth But if the bar is actually set at a better explanation, in the sense of an explanation that explains more of what we see more cogently and provides better predictions, ID theorists might be able to do it.  That approach is pretty far from the usual Darwinian stuff (“Ours is the explanation! All others stem from people who are not only Wrong but Bad! If you don’t believe us, you don’t Trust Science!

For a broader understanding of the current picture, I recommend Steve Fuller’s Post-Truth: Knowledge as a Power Game, some points of which I summarized in a recent review:

Defenders of the current scientific consensus “tend to operate on the assumption that to give the dissenters any credence would be tantamount to unleashing mass irrationality in society.” In his view, the lions underestimate the ability of science to incorporate dissenters and emerge stronger as a result. He offers an example from the ID controversy: “[N]ow Darwinists need to try harder to defeat it, which we see in their increasingly sophisticated refutations, which often end up with Darwinists effectively conceding points and simply admitting that they have their own way of making their opponents’ points, without having to invoke an ‘intelligent designer.’”

See also: Sociologist: How ID foxes can beat Darwinian lions

13 Replies to “At Forbes: Overthrowing Darwin’s theory by better explanations?

  1. 1
    Otangelo Grasso says:

    Cell and body shape, and organism development does depend on genetic AND epigenetic information

    http://reasonandscience.catsbo.....-come-from

    Stephen C. Meyer, Darwin’s doubt:

    NEO-DARWINISM AND THE CHALLENGE OF EPIGENETIC INFORMATION
    These different sources of epigenetic information in embryonic cells pose an enormous challenge to the sufficiency of the neo-Darwinian mechanism. According to neo-Darwinism, new information, form, and structure arise from natural selection acting on random mutations arising at a very low level within the biological hierarchy—within the genetic text. Yet both body-plan formation during embryological development and major morphological innovation during the history of life depend upon a specificity of arrangement at a much higher level of the organizational hierarchy, a level that DNA alone does not determine. If DNA isn’t wholly responsible for the way an embryo develops— for body-plan morphogenesis—then DNA sequences can mutate indefinitely and still not produce a new body plan, regardless of the amount of time and the number of mutational trials available to the evolutionary process. Genetic mutations are simply the wrong tool for the job at hand. Even in a best-case scenario—one that ignores the immense improbability of generating new genes by mutation and selection—mutations in DNA sequence would merely produce new genetic information. But building a new body plan requires more than just genetic information. It requires both genetic and epigenetic information—information by definition that is not stored in DNA and thus cannot be generated by mutations to the DNA. It follows that the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutations in DNA cannot by itself generate novel body plans, such as those that first arose in the Cambrian explosion.

    Centrosomes:
    Centrosomes play a central role in development: a frog egg can be induced to develop into a frog merely by injecting a sperm centrosome—no sperm DNA is needed. Another non-genetic factor involved in development is the membrane pattern of the egg cell.

    FORM AND INFORMATION
    Organismal form and function depend upon the precise arrangement of various constituents as they arise during, or contribute to, embryological development. Thus, the specific arrangement of the other building blocks of biological form—cells, clusters of similar cell types, dGRNs, tissues, and organs—also represent a kind of specified or functional information.

    ABOVE AND BEYOND: EPIGENETIC INFORMATION
    genes alone do not determine the three-dimensional form and structure of an animal. Developmental biologists, in particular, are now discovering more and more ways that crucial information for building body plans is imparted by the form and structure of embryonic cells, including information from both the unfertilized and fertilized egg. DNA helps direct protein synthesis. Parts of the DNA molecule also help to regulate the timing and expression of genetic information and the synthesis of various proteins within cells. Yet once proteins are synthesized, they must be arranged into higher-level systems of proteins and structures.
    The three-dimensional structure or spatial architecture of embryonic cells plays important roles in determining body-plan formation during embryogenesis. Developmental biologists have identified several sources of epigenetic information in these cells.

    CYTOSKELETAL ARRAYS
    The precise arrangement of microtubules in the cytoskeleton constitutes a form of critical structural information. neither the tubulin subunits, nor the genes that produce them, account for the differences in the shape of the microtubule arrays that distinguish different kinds of embryos and developmental pathways. Instead, the structure of the microtubule array itself is, once again, determined by the location and arrangement of its subunits, not the properties of the subunits themselves. Jonathan Wells explains it this way: “What matters in [embryological] development is the shape and location of microtubule arrays, and the shape and location of a microtubule array is not determined by its units.” Directed transport involves the cytoskeleton, but it also depends on spatially localized targets in the membrane that are in place before transport occurs. Developmental biologists have shown that these membrane patterns play a crucial role in the embryological development of fruit flies.

    Membrane Targets
    Preexisting membrane targets, already positioned on the inside surface of the egg cell, determine where these molecules will attach and how they will function. These membrane targets provide crucial information—spatial coordinates—for embryological development.

    Ion Channels and Electromagnetic Fields
    Experiments have shown that electromagnetic fields have “morphogenetic” effects—in other words, effects that influence the form of a developing organism. In particular, some experiments have shown that the targeted disturbance of these electric fields disrupts normal development in ways that suggest the fields are controlling morphogenesis.2 Artificially applied electric fields can induce and guide cell migration. There is also evidence that direct current can affect gene expression, meaning internally generated electric fields can provide spatial coordinates that guide embryogenesis.3 Although the ion channels that generate the fields consist of proteins that may be encoded by DNA (just as microtubules consist of subunits encoded by DNA), their pattern in the membrane is not. Thus, in addition to the information in DNA that encodes morphogenetic proteins, the spatial arrangement and distribution of these ion channels influences the development of the animal.

    The Sugar Code
    These sequence-specific information-rich structures influence the arrangement of different cell types during embryological development. Thus, some cell biologists now refer to the arrangements of sugar molecules as the “sugar code” and compare these sequences to the digitally encoded information stored in DNA. As biochemist Hans-Joachim Gabius notes, sugars provide a system with “high-density coding” that is “essential to allow cells to communicate efficiently and swiftly through complex surface interactions.” According to Gabius, “These [sugar] molecules surpass amino acids and nucleotides by far in information-storing capacity.” So the precisely arranged sugar molecules on the surface of cells clearly represent another source of information independent of that stored in DNA base sequences. These cascades are, along with the cell event itself, associated with the “coding information” on a cell surface, or, using another terminology, are realized due to an instruction for the cell from the morphogenetic field of an organism. The concrete signal transduction pathways connecting the “coding information” on a cell surface and the expression of the given sets of genes need to be elucidated.

  2. 2
    harry says:

    How about admitting that overthrowing Darwin’s theory has already taken place, but militant atheists who have perverted contemporary science by redefining “science” to mean “that which affirms atheism,” refuse to acknowledge Darwinism’s demise for the sake of their fanatically zealous devotion to atheism?

    The simple fact is that it has been repeatedly demonstrated that if all the probabilistic resources of the entire Universe were devoted to doing so, mindless chance combined with the laws of physics couldn’t have accidentally composed the required assembly instructions for the cellular machinery needed by that first single-celled, reproducing, metabolizing life form, nor composed that required for the Cambrian explosion of various body plans.

  3. 3
    aarceng says:

    When going beyond Darwin we don’t need to throw out everything from the old theory. Inheritance and natural selection still explain explain large chunks of life. We only need a better explanation for the idea that mutation + natural selection can produce new function and new life forms.

  4. 4
    harry says:

    aarceng @3,

    Yeah, the old theory states the obvious: that creatures who survive long enough to reproduce get the chance to pass on their traits to future generations. Duh!

    Dog breeders had already demonstrated that there were a wild variety of traits that could be brought out within a given kind. Darwin suggested that that mutability within a given kind was unlimited and over time could lead to completely different kinds of organisms. We now know that in spite of the wild varieties of dogs breeders arrived at, the reason dogs stubbornly remained dogs was because the information required to build something else just wasn’t present in the canine genome.

    In other words, Darwin didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, he just sent science off in the wrong direction for a century and a half.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    According to the criteria of falsification (Popper), Darwinism does not even qualify as a scientific theory:

    “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

    Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rzw0JkuKuQ

    And as was also touched upon in the preceding video, according to the criteria of ‘predictability’, (i.e. in regards to a theory making predictions that are shown to be false and then making up ad hoc theories to try to cover up those falsified predictions), then by that ‘predictability’ falsification criteria set out by Lakatos and Kuhn, Darwinian evolution is more realistically classified as a pseudoscience rather than as a real science.

    Science and Pseudoscience (transcript) –
    “In degenerating programmes, however, theories are fabricated only in order to accommodate known facts”
    – Imre Lakatos (November 9, 1922 – February 2, 1974) a philosopher of mathematics and science, , quote as stated in 1973 LSE Scientific Method Lecture

    Here’s That Algae Study That Decouples Phylogeny and Competition – June 17, 2014
    Excerpt: “With each new absurdity another new complicated just-so story is woven into evolutionary theory. As Lakatos explained, some theories simply are not falsifiable. But as a result they sacrifice realism and parsimony.”
    – Cornelius Hunter
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....uples.html

    Inquiry-Based Science Education — on Everything but Evolution – Sarah Chaffee – January 22, 2016
    Excerpt: As Thomas Kuhn wrote in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, when faced with an anomaly, a theory’s defenders “will devise numerous articulations and ad hoc modifications of their theory in order to eliminate any apparent conflict.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02534.html

    No matter what reasonable measure for ‘science’ one may wish to choose, Darwinian Evolution simply fails to qualify as a ‘real’ science by any reasonable measure of science one might wish to invoke.

    “There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.”
    – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17

    Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7f_fyoPybw

  6. 6
    Silver Asiatic says:

    First, it is interesting to hear an admission that anyone might want to go beyond Darwin’s theory, touted elsewhere as the single best idea anyone ever had.

    Yes, exactly. It’s a very small point, but the implications are huge. We have to read into it much more than Siegel or any evolutionist will say.

    Siegel is admitting here that Darwinists have been lying to the public for years.

    Yes, “single best idea” in the history of the world. Wow.

    How about all of those bumper-stickers and slogans?

    “There are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory.”
    “Evolution is more certain than gravity”.
    “There is no controversy”.

    Now Siegel just timidly asks “Want to go beyond Darwin’s evolution?”

    It’s cautious. But he knew he could risk that much. But why risk the push-back from outraged evolutionists at all?

    I think Siegel is just giving himself an escape-hatch. Or, shifting the metaphor, he’s offering a chance for anyone with any sense to jump off of the sinking ship.

    But of course, there is all sorts of deniability built into that little question also. If someone comes back with outrage, he merely changes his question to a rhetorical one:

    “If anyone is foolish enough to go beyond Darwin’s evolution, well – good luck. You have to do this and this and this, and nobody could do it better than C.D. did”.

    That’s his way of playing both sides of the fence. When our side eventually wins (at least putting Darwin away), they end up saying “we never supported Darwinian theory”.

  7. 7
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ordinary reproduction within species creates variation from genetic combination of parents.

    That point has probably been known to some extent from the beginning of human history. Darwin gets no credit for it.

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    Your problem is this purblind, ideologically-driven insistence that the current thinking on the theory of evolution is no more than “Darwinism”. That is like dismissing the physics of relativity and quantum mechanics as mere “Newtonism”. Darwin’s original mechanism of natural selection has long since been relegated to just one of a number of processes that have contributed to the evolution of biological diversity on this planet.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Darwin’s original mechanism of natural selection has long since been relegated to just one of a number of processes that have contributed to the evolution of biological diversity on this planet.

    Darwin offered a mechanism and some semblance of a theory.

    Whatever has supposedly replaced that idea is a jumble of contradictory observations with no predictive or explanatory value.

  10. 10
    Pearlman says:

    same goes for Cosmology, SPIRAL cosmological redshift hypothesis and model adds up better than the current SCM-LCDM!
    so we have an ID and a YeC big bang (not The big bang) hypothesis. where we would predict not react to the CR and not predict/require the missing dark matter and energy, which are just as non-existent as the missing links predicted/required by neo-Darwin doctrine.

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  12. 12
    PeterA says:

    OLV,

    interesting point. Let’s see what Otangelo Grasso, DATCG and gpuccio can comment on that paper.

  13. 13

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