Darwinism Evolution horizontal gene transfer Intelligent Design Naturalism Philosophy science education

Darwinism is a metaphysic. What is it doing in schoolbook science?

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Today? Looking back on the Darwin-in-the-schools wars from the vantage point of rethinking evolution, one calls to mind textbook author Douglas Futuyma’s dictum:

Darwin showed that material causes are a sufficient explanation not only for physical phenomena, as Descartes and Newton had shown, but also for biological phenomena with all their seeming evidence of design and purpose. By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous. Together with Marx’s materialistic theory of history and society and Freud’s attribution of human behavior to influences over which we have little control, Darwin’s theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism

Never mind claims that the history of life shows no goal or that humans are not special or are 98%-99% chimpanzee.

This stuff traces back to when evolution studies meant studies of Darwin’s and his followers’ thoughts (mandated at public expense).

In many jurisdictions, one could only

1) shut up and pay

2) say something, get attacked, and pay

3) seek private or home schooling and pay double. (= Pay to educate someone else’s kids in this stuff while educating one’s own kids in science. )

But maybe now the issues can be helpfully refocused.

Evolution? Well, just for example, horizontal gene transfer is evolution. Does anyone claim that it supports Marx or Freud or show that the history of life has no goal? Does anyone even think that way when studying a mechanism like HGT?

Depending on just how HGT happens, it may cloud the question of what 98-99% similarity even means. Actual science sometimes creates more questions than ready answers.

One could say the same thing about epigenetics and numerous other ways life forms change over time.

If someone chooses to make a philosophy out of any one of them, they might have a hard time getting it into compulsory school systems today, the way Darwinism was forced in decades ago. At any rate, one can only hope so.

See also: Evolution needs replacement, not extension

and

Sometimes Denton sounds like a Darwin who got way more right There is a cultural (and in some places legal) need to defend Darwinian biology, irrespective of evidence. Denton would like to move beyond that, to ask how patterns take shape in life.

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15 Replies to “Darwinism is a metaphysic. What is it doing in schoolbook science?

  1. 1

    Darwinism is a slowly dying secular philosophy/religion. Ironically, its killer is modern science, which is exposing Darwinism’s many fatal flaws. I, of course, am loving the spectacle. Good riddance!

  2. 2
    News says:

    Truth Will Set You Free at 1: When we think about it, most opposition to teaching evolution in school probably stems from the value system that is absorbed along with the Darwinism.

    Thought experiment: Would anyone oppose teaching about horizontal gene transfer, symbiosis, or hybridization, as demonstrated mechanisms of the changes in life forms over time? On what grounds would they object? These are not metaphysics (philosophy, religion, values); they are just mechanisms by which genes get shopped around.

  3. 3

    It is the parents own fault that creationism is not taught. If the parents want it, then creationism can be taught in public school. One can simply use the example of people creating, to teach the general principle of the mechanism of creation.

    One can simply teach how people choose by free will, emotions making an alternative future the present. And teach that it is a matter of opinion what emotions people have in their heart, and that an opinion is arrived at by expression of emotion with free will, thus choosing.

    And then generalize this principle to the entire universe. That the entire universe can turn out several different ways, that it can be or not be, and that it is a matter of opinion what it is which makes the decisions turn out the way they do.

    But parents want their children to conceive of choosing in terms of sorting out the best result. One cannot do any science about what is “best”, which means the mechanism of creation cannot be taught in school.

  4. 4

    mohammadnursyamsu@3: I personally don’t know anyone who advocates teaching creationism in public school. All philosophies/religions, including Darwinism, should be strictly prohibited from science classrooms.

  5. 5

    News@2: Certainly the empirical science you reference, horizontal gene transfer, etc., should be taught in science classrooms. My objection is with teaching/encouraging the philosophy/religion of Darwinism, which is in no way supported by empirical science.

    One example (out of many) is the so-called primordial soup. There is no evidence of such a thing, but it is taught in science classrooms as if it were true, even if not empirically. That is faith, hope, and speculation…not science. The primordial soup theory is not strictly a Darwinian idea, but it is frequently used by Darwinists to explain how life arose from non-life in a purely natural and unguided way, thus indirectly supporting the Darwinist philosophy.

  6. 6

    @truth will set you free

    You cannot teach any specific religion, but you can teach how subjectivity works in general.

    You fail to comprehend that subjectivity, “opinion”, is exclusively a creationist concept.

  7. 7

    mohammadnursyamsu@6: I actually fail to comprehend your entire argument. Subjectivity (opinion) is a creationist concept? I am clearly way over my head on this one.

  8. 8

    Subjectivity operates by the agency of a decision, and is about the agency of a decision, which procedure results in an opinion. Choosing is the mechanism of creation.

    “The painting is beautiful”

    deconstructs to; choosing between the words ugly and beautiful, choosing beautiful.

    The word beautiful deconstructs to (at least in part) a love for the way the painting looks.

    This love then is what chose the word “beautiful” in expression of emotion with free will.

    So saying the painting is beautiful is equally expressing the opinion that there exist a love for the way the painting looks in the heart.

    The conclusion the painting is ugly would also be logically valid. The logical validity of an opinion depends on that it is chosen, and that it is about the agency of a decision (like love or hate).

  9. 9

    mohammadnursyamsu@8: I get all of that, but how is subjectivity/opinion “exclusively a creationist concept,” to quote you @6?

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    OT:

    Bruce Gordon – video
    https://www.facebook.com/bruce.gordon.5473/videos/10154538917014381/
    per Bruce Gordon (a favorite professor)
    Along with Marlan Scully, Distinguished Professor of Physics at Texas A&M University and Princeton, and my friend Charles Garner, Professor of Chemistry at Baylor University, I was recently interviewed for a sermon series on “Faith and Science” for Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, a large congregation located in Cypress (part of metropolitan Houston). Mark Eaves, who is in charge of media for the congregation, did an excellent job of editing my ramblings into a 4-minute video clip, which you can view below. Perhaps someday I’ll actually find myself comfortable talking to a camera… alas, this wasn’t that day, but all things considered, it still turned out pretty well. If you’re interested in the sermon series itself (I haven’t watched more than a small part of it), you can find it here: http://www.goodchurch.us/media.php?pageID=6.

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    Truth Will Set You Free @ 4

    mohammadnursyamsu@3: I personally don’t know anyone who advocates teaching creationism in public school. All philosophies/religions, including Darwinism, should be strictly prohibited from science classrooms

    So it’s “Darwinism” that’s a metaphysic and a religion?

    From a Founding Father of ID:

    If we understand our own times, we will know that we should affirm the reality of God by challenging the domination of materialism and naturalism in the world of the mind. With the assistance of many friends I have developed a strategy for doing this,…We call our strategy the “wedge”

    “We are taking an intuition most people have [the belief in God] and making it a scientific and academic enterprise. We are removing the most important cultural roadblock to accepting the role of God as creator

    Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit, so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools

    This isn’t really, and never has been, a debate about science. It’s about religion and philosophy.

    What I am not doing is bringing the Bible into the university and saying, “We should believe this.” Bringing the Bible into question works very well when you are talking to a Bible-believing audience. But it is a disastrous thing to do when you are talking, as I am constantly, to a world of people for whom the fact that something is in the Bible is a reason for not believing it.

    As the saying goes, all science so far.

  12. 12
    zeroseven says:

    Truth Will Set You Free:

    what do you think it means when you think Darwinism is a religion, while the vast majority of the world’s practising scientists think its solid science?

    Oh yes, that’s right, its a conspiracy!

  13. 13

    zereseven@12: You make smile with the “oh yes, that’s right, it’s a conspiracy!” line. I mean that affectionately, not sarcastically. I can actually imagine the look on your face as you ask the question over a cup of coffee (or some other beverage), which is how these conversations used to take place.

    zeversky@11: When I say Darwinism is a philosophy/religion, I mean that it is not directly supported by empirical evidence, but is instead a philosophical extrapolation from certain empirical evidence. Surely you know this already? Darwinism is a faith, a hope, built on atheistic philosophical assumptions and speculations. I have no problem with that, per se, but I do have a problem with Darwinists claiming that a rudimentary theory from 1859 is empirically proven and/or that there is no real debate on the matter, both of which are lies.

    A couple examples out the numerous available:

    1. Darwinists have no real answer for the abrupt appearance of species in the fossil record. What they have is faith and hope that an answer will come. Sure, they will happily tell you their ideas about how they think it happened, but those ideas amount to nothing more than speculation and wishful thinking. The honest answer would be that you don’t know how it happened, and that such evidence does indeed undermine the Darwinian claim of gradual evolution over time.

    2. Darwinists have no real answer for why molecular biology undermines Darwin’s so-called “tree of life.” If his 1859 drawing had any credibility, certainly molecular biology (true empirical science) would support it. But It doesn’t.

    These, of course, are just the tip of the iceberg. Modern science is undermining Darwinism on a daily basis. The fact that the “vast majority of the world’s practicing scientists think it is solid science” (to quote you) speaks to their FAITH in the Darwinian theory, not their certainty based on empirical science. As I’ve said many times, I have no trouble with people having faith in whatever their mind is convinced of…just don’t try to claim scientific certainty. That would be a delusion.

    One more point, it is not my position that the numerous gaps and fatal flaws in Darwinian theory prove, or even encourage the belief, that God exists. This discussion has absolutely nothing to do with any theory of God. None. It speaks only to the glaring flaws contained in an 1859 theory and how those flaws are being consistently exposed by modern science, most prominently molecular biology. Of course Darwinists know all of this to be true, which is why they are circling the wagons and holding a “re-think” (more like a “repackaging”) conference this summer. Things are not looking good for Darwinism. It is dying, albeit slowly, in the face of modern science.

  14. 14

    @seversky

    It is entirely proper for Johnson to say it is not really about science, because science isn’t all important.

    We just need to establish some facts about how things are chosen, in order to be civilized. To be civilized, grown up, emotionally developed human beings is what is really important.

    Where Johnson is wrong is saying that it is about belief in God. The most important thing is for people to acknowledge each others emotions. And one cannot do that without creationism. Emotions can only be acknowledged as real in a subjective way. By expression of my own emotion with free will, thus choosing, I can make a judgement about what emotions you have in your heart. The resulting judgement then says as much about you as agent of your decisions, as it does about me as agent of my decisions, because of the fact that I arrived at the judgement by choosing it.

    Intellectually you do not accept this procedure. Your whole intellectual life is devoted to systematically destroying this which is the basis of civilized conduct, acknowledging each other’s emotions.

    Thank God creationist philosophy is inherent in common discourse, so that while intellectually you don’t accept subjectivity as valid, in common discourse you will still use creationist logic, and acknowledge people’s emotions.

    But still talking to any atheist is to be systematically insulted on this intellectual level, for not having your emotions acknowledged. For which crime I am sure the fires of hell awaits the atheist.

  15. 15

    truth@9

    Choosing is the mechanism of creation. Subjectivity operates by choosing. That is why subjecitivity, opinion, are exclusively creationist concepts.

    Basically materialism only concerns itself with the creation, without any reference to the creator. So there is only room for fact in materialism, not opinion. Facts are obtained forced by evidence, which results in a 1 to 1 corresponding model of what is evidenced. The police want to know the facts about what happened, means they want to have a 1 to 1 corresponding model of what happened.

    So you see facts are forced, opinions are free.

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