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Philosopher of science: Schoolbook Darwinism needs replacement

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2015-08-06-1438863394-5913560-GuntherWitzany.jpg The modern synthesis (schoolbook Darwinism) must be replaced, says philosopher of science Günther Witzany.

Modern synthesis

The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis is the name given to the school of thought which is now broadly accepted by evolutionary scientists around the world. Formal amalgamation of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, Gregor Mendel’s genetics and August Weismann’s germ plasm theory was key to the Modern Synthesis, but other advances in population genetics and palaeontology were also important.

Origin of Life Circus From an interview with Suzan Mazur, author of The Origin of Life Circus, at Huffington Post:

Over the last half dozen years, philosopher of science and language, Günther Witzany, working from his private practice in Austria, has organized and/or co-organized two major conferences, one on viruses and another on natural genetic engineering/natural genome editing plus served as editor of six books, two of which are based on the proceedings of the above-mentioned meetings. He is especially known for his “Theory of Communicative Nature,” which we explore in the interview that follows.

Günther Witzany: The older concepts we have now for a half century cannot sufficiently explain the complex tendency of the genetic code. They can’t explain the functions of mobile genetic elements and the endogenous retroviruses and non-coding RNAs. Also, the central dogma of molecular biology has been falsified — that is, the way is always from DNA to RNA to proteins to anything else, or the other “dogmas,” e.g., replication errors drive evolutionary genetic variation, that one gene codes for one protein and that non-coding DNA is junk. All these concepts that dominated science for half a century are falsified now. . . . More.

Sure, but for, say, Texas Freedom Network it will all still always be true and they’ll fight for it. For a surprising number of people. Darwinism is science. More, it is all they have ever wanted science to be.

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10 Replies to “Philosopher of science: Schoolbook Darwinism needs replacement

  1. 1
    ppolish says:

    “Survival of the Fittest” is something an advanced future chimpanzee could come up with. Not a bonobo though – they’re too interested in kinky sex,

    Victorian Era “Survival of the Fittest” no longer belongs in modern High School texts. Dumb concept. Dangerous concept.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Another non-biologist who thinks he understands biology better than biologists.

  3. 3
    Robert Byers says:

    First YEC had to deal with ID bringing in the kill and now these guys are tearing chunks from the carcass.
    Does anyone today think evolutionism, old man Chuck, is worthy to invest in for the future??
    Who says Europe isn’t rejecting evolutionism. I think I said a few times but here they go. Funny if they beat us.
    It shows they smell something is wrong and not persuasive. What about all that evolution evidence? why do these scientists think lightly of that evidence.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky,

    a philosopher of Science may well understand [lack of] warrant regarding claims than a practitioner, and certainly is qualified to address Science in Society, ethics linked issues.

    On the matter of the significance of complex functionally specific organisation and associated information, including digitally coded information, biologists are not exceptionally qualified. It is a simple demonstration that FSCO/I beyond 500 – 1,000 bits is simply not credibly formed by any blind stochastic-dynamic process. It is child’s play in an information age with a trillion member fact base to see that the only actually observed cause of FSCO/I is design, and that blind mechanisms are grossly inadequate.

    So the vast amount of FSCO/I in the world of life strongly points to design.

    Further to this we see direct evidence of ideological imposition and lockout of otherwise patently decisive facts.

    KF

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    as to: “Another non-biologist who thinks he understands biology better than biologists.”

    If Darwinian biology is so hard to understand that even a highly educated philosopher of science cannot properly understand it, and supposedly only highly specialized Darwinian biologists can truly understand it, then why do Darwinists insist on teaching it to grade school children?
    If anything it is the Darwinian biologists, and Darwinists in general, who are being overly simplistic in their understanding of biology, not those who find Darwinian explanations to be grossly inadequate to explain the unfathomed complexity we see in life.
    In fact, James Shapiro warns of “dangerous oversimplifications” about the cell which are rooted in Darwinian thought

    James Shapiro on “dangerous oversimplifications” about the cell – August 6, 2013
    Excerpt: “Depending upon the energy source and other circumstances, these indescribably complex entities can reproduce themselves with great reliability at times as short as 10-20 minutes. Each reproductive cell cycle involves literally hundreds of millions of biochemical and biomechanical events. We must recognize that cells possess a cybernetic capacity beyond our ability to imitate. Therefore, it should not surprise us when we discover extremely dense and interconnected control architectures at all levels. Simplifying assumptions about cell informatics can be more misleading than helpful in understanding the basic principles of biological function.
    Two dangerous oversimplifications have been (i) to consider the genome as a mere physical carrier of hypothetical units called “genes” that determine particular cell or organismal traits, and (ii) to think of the genome as a digitally encoded Read-Only Turing tape that feeds instructions to the rest of the cell about individual characters [4].”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-the-cell/

    How life changes itself: The Read–Write (RW) genome – James A. Shapiro – 2013
    Excerpt: Research dating back to the 1930s has shown that genetic change is the result of cell-mediated processes, not simply accidents or damage to the DNA. This cell-active view of genome change applies to all scales of DNA sequence variation, from point mutations to large-scale genome rearrangements and whole genome duplications (WGDs).
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....4513000869

    This working biologist agrees with Shapiro’s overall sentiment of ‘oversimplification’:

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on.
    – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    Here are a few more quotes on the superflous nature of Darwinian explanations:

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    In fact, I would hold that, far from Darwinism being too complicated for anyone to understand, (save for Darwinian biologists of course), Darwinism is absolutely dependent on a overly simplistic, and completely wrong, view of biology.

    “You might think that a theory so profound would be laden with intimidating mathematical formulas and at least as difficult to master as Newton’s Mechanics or Einsteins Relativity. But such is not the case. Darwinism is the most accessible “scientific” theory ever proposed. It needs no math, no mastery of biology, no depth of understanding on any level. The dullest person can understand the basic story line: “Some mistakes are good. When enough good mistakes accumulate you get a new species. If you let the mistakes run long enough, you get every complicated living thing descending from one simple living thing in the beginning. There is no need for God in this process. In fact there is no need for God at all. So the Bible, which claims that God is important, is wrong.” You can be drunk, addled, or stupid and still understand this. And the real beauty of it is that when you first glimpse this revelation with its “aha!” moment, you feel like an Einstein yourself. You feel superior, far superior, to those religious nuts who still believe in God. Without having paid any dues whatsoever, you breathe the same rarified air as the smartest people who have ever lived.”
    – Laszlo Bencze
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....arwin-day/

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 4

    Seversky,

    a philosopher of Science may well understand [lack of] warrant regarding claims than a practitioner, and certainly is qualified to address Science in Society, ethics linked issues.

    Agreed, but when he is quoted as follows:

    Günther Witzany: The older concepts we have now for a half century cannot sufficiently explain the complex tendency of the genetic code. They can’t explain the functions of mobile genetic elements and the endogenous retroviruses and non-coding RNAs. Also, the central dogma of molecular biology has been falsified — that is, the way is always from DNA to RNA to proteins to anything else, or the other “dogmas,” e.g., replication errors drive evolutionary genetic variation, that one gene codes for one protein and that non-coding DNA is junk. All these concepts that dominated science for half a century are falsified now. . . .

    … he is commenting on the science not its philosophical underpinnings. Not only is he stepping outside his field of expertise, he is trespassing on that of others. I can imagine his response if a biologist tore into his understanding of Aristotle or Kant.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, he seems to me to be raising the issue of origin of FSCO/I by blind, unintelligent processes, and that is a significant though often unacknowledged or dismissed issue. KF

  8. 8
    timothya says:

    Kairosfocus says:

    Seversky, he seems to me to be raising the issue of origin of FSCO/I by blind, unintelligent processes, and that is a significant though often unacknowledged or dismissed issue. KF

    It might be useful to your readers if you were to ask Mr Witzany of his opinion of your FSCO/I notion. I would be certainly be interested in his answer.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    TA, the acronym FSCO/I is a summary of a description that speaks for itself and takes validity from the underlying observation: functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information. For instance the organisation of the PC or whatever you are using to read this, which is functionally specific, complex and richly informational. I add: where as the PC shows the right parts have to be organised in the right, info-rich way — per Wicken’s wiring diagram — for the relevant function, i,e, there are islands of function in the space of possible configs of the parts, which are information-rich. The hyperskeptical pretence that this is a suspect and dismissible idiosyncratic notion is refuted by the very fact that your objecting comment is a functionally specific organised string of glyphs that carry information as an English language message, and of course is at the next level a string of ASCII code characters or the like. Not that such would faze those whose aims are rhetorical rather than responsible. KF

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    timothya: I would be certainly be interested in his answer.

    I don’t believe you.

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