Darwinism Evolution

Dobzhansky’s Myth

Spread the love

The “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense
Except in the Light of Evolution” Myth:
An Empirical Study and Evaluation

Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.

Abstract
It is commonly claimed that Darwinism is the cornerstone of the life sciences and that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” To evaluate this claim I reviewed both textbooks used to teach life science class at the college where I teach and those I used in my university course work. I concluded from my survey that Darwinism was rarely mentioned. I also reviewed my course work and that of another researcher and came to the same conclusion. From this survey I concluded that the claim “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is not true.

Source: http://www.trueorigin.org/biologymyth.asp.

7 Replies to “Dobzhansky’s Myth

  1. 1
    Joseph says:

    Perhaps there was a typo in what TD originally stated. Could it be he originally stated (out of frustration after weeks of looking through his microscope):

    “Nothing in biology makes sense. (then he threw up his hands and as he was leaving proclaimed) Except in the light of evolution which can explain anything.” (and he merrily went on his way)

  2. 2
    PaV says:

    I’m reminded of Fred Hoyle’s work, “The Mathematics of Evolution”. As he begins the book, he tells us that he has decided to derive equations for varuiys evolutionary schemes from scratch, since he couldn’t really follow the logic of Fisher and others. Ultimately, his equations parallel those that others have derived (Fisher, Haldane, Wright and Kimura). However, one of the first equations he derived was a simple equation (simple as these ‘evolutionary’ equations go–some are quite complicated). Hoyle said that the equation he had just derived amounted to no more than a ‘feedback loop’; that is, any ‘advantage’ would be ‘fed back’ into the equation, and with each pass (loop) through the equation, the ‘advantage’ would grow. That is, if an organism acquired any advantage at all, then it would immediately become even more advantageous. (When you think of ‘feedback’, think of a sound system that is amped-up too high. A sound is made, picked up, spit out the speakers, and with each loop through the sound system gets ampe-up more and more until your ears are ready to explode.) In other words, the equation suggested that there was no end to the kind of ‘progress’ that could be made. Hoyle then went on to say he thought that was why so many believed in evolution. In his book, however, he then goes on to develop more and more equations, finally concluding from the equations he derived that evolution, mathematically speaking, made no sense at all; that it was impossible. That led him to his panspermia thinking.

    But the point here is that there are so many scientists who have blithely looked at evolution as being encapsulated by this simple ‘feedback loop’ that Hoyle points out, and therefore think it obvious that ‘life’ will simply get ‘better and better’, with life easily progressing in complexity. They then go onto to do their scientific work completely without ever giving a second thought to this ‘feedback loop’ theory. Yet they nevertheless still interpret everything they do in their labs in terms of so-called ‘evolution’. I think that’s the problem. There are too many modern scientists that (and I think it was either Phillip Johnson or Michael Denton who pointed this out) simply assume that ‘evolution’, in its entirety has been ‘proven’–by someone else, at some other time–so that when they do their work, they’re convince that ‘evolution’ has to be the paradigm they work out of, as well as the paradigm by which they interpret and present the results of their work. This is another way of saying, they don’t think critically about evolution. I think the future rests in the hearts and minds of the next generation of scientists, scientists who will have heard ‘both sides of the argument’ in large part due to the presence of the Discovery Institute, this blog and others like it. Although Bergman’s argument is beyond questioning–he’s absolutely right about scientists effectively not employing Darwinism in the lab, the fact that scientists don’t consciously use Darwinism in their work only means that these same scientists will never have the opportunity to think about Darwinism critically. Let’s hope that our efforts, and those of others, make more of these scientists start to at least question that which, for so long, they have taken so much for granted.

  3. 3
    DaveScot says:

    Modern biology is the study of living tissue. The relationships between different organisms alive today may be investigated empirically. Historical biology is largely the study of imprints in rocks and has little if any bearing on modern biology. Tediously rearranging the placements on the phylogenetic tree might be interesting but it has as much practical benefit as stamp collecting. I once asked what practical benefit was ever derived from digging for fossils and the best answer was oil exploration where they can ascertain from the fossilized microfauna in core samples when that point in the strata was laid down in the past. They got me there. That was the only good answer. Unfortunately oil exploration is pretty far removed from biology so there’s still no good answer in sight for how the study of fossils has helped modern biology in any way.

  4. 4
    PaV says:

    Dave Scot: “Unfortunately oil exploration is pretty far removed from biology so there’s still no good answer in sight for how the study of fossils has helped modern biology in any way.”

    Well, in my case they’re not far removed: I have a degree in Petroleum Engineering and in Biology! And, of course, right now I’m not involved in either professionally. Go figure.

  5. 5
    Mats says:

    Walter ReMine puts it in another way:

    “Nothing in evolution makes sence in light of Biology.”

    Even so, Dobzhansky’ sentence is more true than he envisioned. One of the core points of ReMine’s book is that biological systems were designed:
    1) For surviving
    2) To point to one Designer (ReMine uses “designer” in small caps”) and
    3) To resist all naturalistic/evolutionary scenarios.

    The third point (resisting all naturalistic speculations) is very important in understanding why are some biological systems are the way they are. Once we look things from this light, and get back to Dobzhansky’s sentence, we can partially agree with him. Yes, there are things we will not understand in biology until we see that they were designed like that PRECISELY to refute evolutionism (common descent, Lamarckism, gradualism, transposition, Punk-Eek, etc, etc).
    One of the many example of this is the platypus.

    So, nothing in Biology makes sence except in light oe evolution? No, but many things in Biology won’t make sence except if we see them as devices to refute evolutionary/naturalistic scenarios.

  6. 6
    Mats says:

    Correction to ReMine’s words:
    “Nothing in evolution makes sence except in the light of biology”

  7. 7
    bFast says:

    DaveScot:

    I once asked what practical benefit was ever derived from digging for fossils and the best answer was oil exploration where they can ascertain from the fossilized microfauna in core samples when that point in the strata was laid down in the past. They got me there. That was the only good answer.

    Are you sure you didn’t get sucked into a “just so story” here? I have a brother who is a working oil geologist. He has a very high “hit rate” at finding new oil and gas. Though we have discussed his work extensively, I have never heard him discuss microfauna in core samples. These guys dilligently pour over seismic charts more than anything, and never pull out a microscope or a physical core sample. (Actually, I believe that they study the texture of core samples on occasion for something, but its not for microfauna as far as I know.)

Leave a Reply