Computer Scientist Joshua Swamidass Argues: Cancer “Casts Serious Doubt” on Intelligent Design
In what way does cancer, a destructive disease, have anything to do with evolving new species? Cancer involves single cells, not whole organisms, and it doesn’t build new features, it tears down existing ones.
The argument from cancer doesn’t hold up. It doesn’t even make sense. “If many ID arguments in molecular biology were true, then cancer as we know it would be mathematically impossible,” writes Swamidass. Either that or it would “regularly require the direct intervention of God to initiate and be sustained.”
Not at all. “Things fall apart.” That is the natural way, which needs no evolutionary explanation. More.
(Yes, it’s a weird argument. It amounts to saying that in what we all acknowledge to be a transitory world , design would require that some mortal beings be eternal. But … )
Ann Gauger at Evolution News & Views:
Does Cancer Build Anything New? A Response to Josh Swamidass
What I do object to in Swamidass’s argument is this: cancer is chaotic with incredible rates of mutation and chromosomal instability. That’s part of its destructive nature. What kind of constructive evolution can be accomplished that way, on the organismal level?
In fact, I would argue that cancer is an argument for intelligent design. For multicellular organisms to survive, it is essential that their cells behave cooperatively and not grow out of control. A complex layering of multiple pathways, checkpoints, and fail-safe mechanisms exist to maintain the balance. Without this regulation our lives would not be possible. I would argue that the existence of such complex regulation is due to design.
The Darwinian imperative is to multiply without limit; there is no Darwinian advantage to surrendering that potential. Cancer is proof of what happens when the Darwinian paradigm takes over. Yet our cells do maintain a balanced behavior in the face of so many ways to fail. That we exist at all, and that the balance is maintained nearly all the time, is in fact a wonder of design.More.
Good stuff, but one gets the distinct sense that it doesn’t really matter. The heart of Darwinism is, our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth,. The theory that prevails by any political or social means rules, regardless of truth, fact, or evidence.
Only a recommitment to the idea of truth can prevail against this sort of thing. Evidence alone is too weak. Even reason and common sense are too weak when emotion and codswallop are in vogue.
Theistic evolution thrives in this kind of atmosphere, marketing palatable rubbish to well-meaning people who do not grasp what is at stake. No wonder it is readily funded.
See also: Rossiter on Swamidass: Goalposts? What goalposts?
A cognitive scientist’s “evolutionary argument against reality” Critics, especially ID-friendly ones, tend to respond by asking: Why those who embrace this view think that their prejudices are somehow more valid than others?
It’s really hard to get this across to bookish, well-meaning types of people but here goes: The attitude is not new and the answer to the objection is quite simple. Their prejudices are not better than anyone else’s but once they have acquired political and cultural power, they can enforce them on the rest of us anyway. That is as good as reality for them. Actually better.
Also: Tom Wolfe on Evolution as a Theory of Everything (one that media bimbos easily grasp)
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