Suzan Mazur on Royal Society finally agreeing to release evolution documents

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Royal Society From Suzan Mazur at Huffington Post:

What a lovely way to end 2016 and ring in 2017 . . . a note from the head of Royal Society Scientific Programmes on behalf of President Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan advising that the public discussion from the recent “new trends” in evolution conference will be posted shortly online on the Royal Society event webpage. The discourse in evolution science has come a long way in the past year and the Royal Society’s decision to recognize that the circle has been drawn wider and a new integrated evolutionary synthesis has emerged is indeed a reason to celebrate. More.

Yes, well, speaking on behalf of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, I (O’Leary for News) see it as an anti-redundancy measure on the Society’s part: If everything is some big secret, people will naturally ask, what on earth are you people hiding anyhow? Fossil rabbits in the Cambrian? Nobody behaves this way unless more is going on than we thought—but unfortunately, it is unlikely to be world class news.

As the Duke of Wellington said, some time ago: Just “Publish and be damned.”

See also: Royal Society Evolution Summit presentations: Audio now available. Q & A to follow on main page. That’s what we are all waiting for. Received this, this morning: (Note that authors may redact some materials – highlighted in red below.)

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23 Replies to “Suzan Mazur on Royal Society finally agreeing to release evolution documents

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    I had nothin’ to do with it… lol but I gotta a feeling that “the higher-powers of the Darwinian circle of the propaganda machine” have done some calling around and demanded some info to be released to the public…Not the real one…but just enough to satisfy the public opinion or the press mainly…
    Don’t expect much though!

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Neurons in the human eye are organized for error correction
    Cells that send visual signals to the brain act collectively to suppress noise and improve accuracy

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    “Fossil rabbits in the Cambrian? Nobody behaves this way unless more is going on than we thought”

    And indeed pre-Cambrian rabbit fossils and this meeting at the Royal Society have much the same in common.

    Put simply, unlike the intense scrutiny other sciences face in the lab, Darwinists don’t really ever allow their theory to be directly challenged by laboratory testing and thus to ever be, potentially, falsified.

    It is interesting to note the context in which the infamous pre-Cambrian rabbit phrase was uttered.

    When asked what would falsify Darwinism, J. B. S. Haldane, one of the founders of population genetics, did not refer to any laboratory testing to perform, but instead claimed that “Precambrian rabbits” would falsify Darwinian evolution,,,

    “Precambrian rabbits” or “fossil rabbits in the Precambrian” are reported to have been among responses given by the biologist J.B.S. Haldane when asked what evidence could destroy his confidence in the theory of evolution and the field of study. .

    Richard Dawkins, of ‘selfish gene’ fame, has also claimed that a rabbit in the Precambrian would ‘completely blow evolution out of the water.’

    “However, if there was a single hippo or rabbit in the Precambrian, that would completely blow evolution out of the water. None have ever been found.”4
    The evolution wars, Time, 7 August 2005

    Besides the fact that the Cambrian Explosion, by itself, strongly challenges claims for Darwinian evolution,,,

    What Types of Evolution Does the Cambrian Explosion Challenge? – Stephen Meyer – video – (The Cambrian Explosion challenges Universal Common Descent and the Mechanism of Random Variation/Natural Selection)

    Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, PhD talks about the Case for Intelligent Design – video (excellent lecture on the Cambrian Explosion – Oct. 2015)

    Besides the fact that the Cambrian Explosion by itself strongly challenges claims for Darwinian evolution, the fact of the matter is that a pre-Cambrian rabbit would not falsify Darwinian evolution.

    Five Questions Evolutionists Would Rather Dodge
    5. Testability
    What evidence would convince you that evolution is false? If no such evidence exists, or indeed could exist, how can evolution be a testable scientific theory?,,,
    The evolutionist J. B. S. Haldane, when asked what would convince him that evolution was false, replied that finding a rabbit fossil in pre-Cambrian rocks would do quite nicely. Such a fossil would, by standard geological dating, be out of sequence by several hundreds of millions of years. Certainly such a finding, if rigorously confirmed, would overturn the current understanding of the history of life. But it would not overturn evolution.
    Haldane’s rabbit is easily enough explained as an evolutionary convergence, in which essentially the same structure or life form evolves twice. In place of a common underlying intelligent design, evolutionists invoke evolutionary convergence whenever confronted with similar biological structures that cannot reasonably be traced back to a common evolutionary ancestor.
    So long as some unknown or unexplored evolutionary pathway might have led to the formation of some biological structure or organism, evolutionists prefer it over alternative explanations such as intelligent design. And since the unknown and unexplored allow for an infinity of loopholes, the committed evolutionist regards Darwinian and other materialist explanations of life’s origin and subsequent development as always trumping alternative explanations, regardless of the evidence.
    – By William A. Dembski

    Even a Darwinist admitted that a ‘pre-Cambrian rabbit’ would never falsify Darwinian evolution:

    “In 2009, Steve Meyer and I spoke at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma. The day before, the museum’s curator of invertebrate paleontology, Dr. Stephen Westrop, made a pre-emptive strike by giving his own talk about why the Cambrian explosion poses no challenge to Darwinian theory. He concluded by taking exception to J.B.S. Haldane’s claim that finding a fossil rabbit in the pre-Cambrian would prove Darwin’s theory wrong. If such a fossil were found, Westrop said, paleontologists would simply revise their reconstruction of the history of life. During the Q&A, one student asked him whether any fossil find could falsify Darwin’s theory, and Professor Westrop said “No,” since Darwin’s theory is really about natural selection, which operates on a much shorter time scale than the fossil record.”
    – Jonathan Wells

    In fact, Darwinian evolution is notorious for its ability to avoid falsification by ANY contrary empirical observation that may come along:

    “Being an evolutionist means there is no bad news. If new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, that just means evolution operates in spurts. If species then persist for eons with little modification, that just means evolution takes long breaks. If clever mechanisms are discovered in biology, that just means evolution is smarter than we imagined. If strikingly similar designs are found in distant species, that just means evolution repeats itself. If significant differences are found in allied species, that just means evolution sometimes introduces new designs rapidly. If no likely mechanism can be found for the large-scale change evolution requires, that just means evolution is mysterious. If adaptation responds to environmental signals, that just means evolution has more foresight than was thought. If major predictions of evolution are found to be false, that just means evolution is more complex than we thought.”
    ~ Cornelius Hunter

    The reason why a pre-Cambrian rabbit, or any other empirical finding that may come along, will never falsify Darwinian evolution is that Darwinian evolution has no rigid mathematical basis to test against, as other overarching theories of science have.

    Deeper into the Royal Society Evolution Paradigm Shift Meeting – 02/08/2016
    Suzan Mazur: Peter Saunders in his interview comments to me said that neo-Darwinism is not a theory, it’s a paradigm and the reason it’s not a theory is that it’s not falsifiable.
    Peter Saunders is Co-Director, Institute of Science in Society, London; Emeritus professor of Applied Mathematics, King’s College London.
    Peter Saunders has been applying mathematics in biology for over 40 years, in microbiology and physiology as well as in development and evolution. He has been a critic of neo-Darwinism for almost as long.

    Evolution is Missing a Mathematical Formula
    Excerpt: Virtually all scientists acknowledge that mathematics is the real language of science. Every theory uses words to describe and postulate the theory, but the true test of a theory is numbers and mathematics. It is numbers and mathematical formulae that distinguish true science from hocus-pocus.,,,
    Every scientific theory that has been promoted to the status of being a scientific law has been quantified and/or embodied into one or more mathematical formulae that make accurate predictions.
    But no scientist has been able to derive any working formula from the Theory of Evolution and no one has been able to quantify its dictums. Millions of scientists have tried to quantify the Theory of Evolution and they have all failed to do so.

    “On the other hand, I disagree that Darwin’s theory is as `solid as any explanation in science.; Disagree? I regard the claim as preposterous. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen or so decimal places; so, too, general relativity. A leaf trembling in the wrong way would suffice to shatter either theory. What can Darwinian theory offer in comparison?”
    – Berlinski, D., “A Scientific Scandal?: David Berlinski & Critics,” Commentary, July 8, 2003

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    That is why J. B. S. Haldane’s, (and Dawkins’), pre-Cambrian rabbit criteria for falsification of evolution is interesting. He was one of the founders of population genetics. If anyone should have been able to point to a defining empirical test, that could potentially falsify Darwinian evolution in the lab, it should have been him, (or should have even been Richard Dawkins since Dawkins wrote ‘The Selfish Gene’).

    The reason why no one has been able to ‘quantify the dictums’ of Darwinian evolution is that there is no known natural law or universal constant for Darwinists to base their math on. i.e There is no known ‘law of evolution’ within the physical universe.

    The Evolution of Ernst: Interview with Ernst Mayr – 2004
    Excerpt: biology (Darwinian Evolution) differs from the physical sciences in that in the physical sciences, all theories, I don’t know exceptions so I think it’s probably a safe statement, all theories are based somehow or other on natural laws. In biology, as several other people have shown, and I totally agree with them, there are no natural laws in biology corresponding to the natural laws of the physical sciences.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Evolution is True – Roger Highfield – January 2014
    Excerpt:,,, Whatever the case, those universal truths—’laws’—that physicists and chemists all rely upon appear relatively absent from biology.
    Little seems to have changed from a decade ago when the late and great John Maynard Smith wrote a chapter on evolutionary game theory for a book on the most powerful equations of science: his contribution did not include a single equation.

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

    Thus, without a universal constant or natural law to base its math on, Darwinian evolution is not testable, (i.e. potentially falsifiable by direct experiment), and therefore Darwinian evolution does not really even qualify as a proper science in the first place but is more realistically classified as being a unfalsifiable pseudoscience.

    In fact, not only does Evolution not have any universal constant or natural law to appeal to, in order to base its math on, entropy, a law with great mathematical explanatory power in science, almost directly contradicts Darwinian claims that increases in functional complexity and/or information can be easily had:

    Why Tornadoes Running Backward do not Violate the Second Law – Granville Sewell – May 2012
    Excerpt: So, how does the spontaneous rearrangement of matter on a rocky, barren, planet into human brains and spaceships and jet airplanes and nuclear power plants and libraries full of science texts and novels, and supercomputers running partial differential equation solving software , represent a less obvious or less spectacular violation of the second law—or at least of the fundamental natural principle behind this law—than tornados turning rubble into houses and cars? Can anyone even imagine a more spectacular violation?

    In fact, numerical simulations based on the math of population genetics, and empirical evidence itself, tells us that “Genetic Entropy”, the tendency of biological systems to drift towards decreasing complexity and decreasing information content, holds true as the overriding rule for biology over long periods of time.

    “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain – Michael Behe – December 2010
    Excerpt: In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades.,,, The gist of the paper is that so far the overwhelming number of adaptive (that is, helpful) mutations seen in laboratory evolution experiments are either loss or modification of function. Of course we had already known that the great majority of mutations that have a visible effect on an organism are deleterious. Now, surprisingly, it seems that even the great majority of helpful mutations degrade the genome to a greater or lesser extent.,,, I dub it “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain.

    Can Purifying Natural Selection Preserve Biological Information? – May 2013 –
    Paul Gibson, John R. Baumgardner, Wesley H. Brewer, John C. Sanford
    In conclusion, numerical simulation shows that realistic levels of biological noise result in a high selection threshold. This results in the ongoing accumulation of low-impact deleterious mutations, with deleterious mutation count per individual increasing linearly over time. Even in very long experiments (more than 100,000 generations), slightly deleterious alleles accumulate steadily, causing eventual extinction. These findings provide independent validation of previous analytical and simulation studies [2–13]. Previous concerns about the problem of accumulation of nearly neutral mutations are strongly supported by our analysis. Indeed, when numerical simulations incorporate realistic levels of biological noise, our analyses indicate that the problem is much more severe than has been acknowledged, and that the large majority of deleterious mutations become invisible to the selection process.,,,

    Genetic Entropy – references to several peer reviewed numerical simulations analyzing and falsifying all flavors of Darwinian evolution,, (via John Sanford and company)

    Thus, even though Darwinian evolution does not have a rigid mathematical basis to test against, in order to, potentially, directly falsify it by laboratory testing, none-the-less, in so far as the math of population genetics can be applied to the claims of Darwinian evolution, it is found that Darwinian evolution is false.

    Moreover, whereas Darwinian evolution has no known universal constant, or law of nature, to appeal to so as to mathematically, rigorously, establish itself as a proper, testable, science, (in fact, as was pointed out, it almost directly contradicts the second law of thermodynamics, i.e. entropy), Intelligent Design does not suffer from such a embarrassing disconnect from physical reality.

    Specifically, Intelligent Design can appeal directly to ‘the laws of conservation of information’ (Dembski, Marks, etc..) in order to establish itself as a proper, testable, and rigorous science.

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski (mathematically) prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,

    And since Intelligent Design is mathematically based on the ‘law of conservation of information’, that obviously makes Intelligent Design testable and potentially falsifiable by laboratory testing. And thus makes Intelligent Design, unlike Darwinian evolution, a rigorous science instead of being, basically, a unfalsifiable pseudo-science that is not subject to direct empirical testing in the lab:

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery (up to 3 million dollars). We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.


    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

  5. 5
    john_a_designer says:

    Well, it looks like the spirit of Christmas is not dead. It can still reach into and touch the hearts of the Royal Society. (Even for those of them who do not believe they have a heart and soul.) In the spirit of Christmas here are a few of my thoughts. (Hang with me a bit here, this does come back to the subject of the OP.)

    An interesting Christmas movie which I recently discovered is “Nutcracker: The Motion Picture” (1986). The thing I like about it was the stronger, more understandable story line. Though it is still Tchaikovsky’s Ballet, the movie brings in more of E.T.A. Hoffman’s original 1816 story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. For example, it begins in Clara’s (Maria in the original story) Godfather Drosselmeyer’s clock maker workshop. Just like Hoffman’s original story, Dosselmeyer is old, ugly, and eccentric—maybe also a little menacing– wearing a snow white wig and a black patch over one eye. Another thing I liked about the movie is it begins with a voice-over narration by an older middle aged Clara (the late actress Julie Harris) who sets up the story for us.

    There is some metaphysical symbolism in Hoffman’s story and the movie that probably only adults would appreciate. For example, the Christmas gift that Dosselmeyer gives Clara her brother and her sister is a mechanical doll house/castle with moving mechanical characters. The children are at first fascinated but soon become bored, when they discover that the mechanical characters (miniature animatronic robots) are programmed to do the same routines over and over again. An allusion to 19th century reductive materialism or Newtonian/ Kantian determinism? It seems like it to me. For Clara, and for romantics (romanticists) like Hoffman, the only escape, the only transcendence, is through dreams and imagination.

    An article by N.P.R. give us some historical background:

    Inanimate things come to life in many of Hoffmann’s stories. He was a champion of the imagination run wild. Retired University of Minnesota German professor Jack Zipes says Hoffmann was rebelling against the dominant movement of the time, the Enlightenment, and its emphasis on rational philosophy. “He believed strongly, as most of the German Romantics at that time, that the imagination was being attacked by the rise of rationalism … throughout Europe,” Zipes tells Siegel. “The only way that an artist could survive would be to totally become dedicated to another way of looking at the world, and to reclaiming nature, reclaiming innocence, reclaiming an authentic way of living.”

    One of Hoffmann’s stories was adapted by the French writer Alexandre Dumas. It was the tale of a little girl, Marie, and her Christmas toys. Hoffmann’s title for it was “Nutcracker and Mouse King.”

    In this original version, a Marie worries about a beautiful nutcracker that’s been broken. At night, she goes to check up on it. To her surprise, it has come alive, and a story-within-the-story begins: armies of mice and toy soldiers battle in what is either the child’s delirious nightmare, or perhaps another reality into which she wanders.


    There is something very telling in the title of the N.P.R. article, No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of ‘The Nutcracker’. Why is the story dark? Again, it is because “for romantics (romanticists) like Hoffman, the only escape, the only transcendence, is through dreams and imagination…” As humans for some reason we think that there must be some deeper meaning for our existence. (Why is that?) However, already in the early 19th Century (even before Darwin) science and philosophy and begun to reject God and replace Him with materialistic reductionism. However if we are really honest, as Stephan Hawking has said, from the viewpoint of the mindless and soulless cosmos we have no more significance than pond scum.

    One of the arguments that Darwinist’s often give in favor of their world view is that an intelligent designer, if he really existed, wouldn’t have designed it that way. (It= us, animals, the whole world etc.) Then they’ll give an example like the eye’s so called backwards wiring.

    As a real life (now retired) designer I have given a lot of thought how I would reverse engineer some of the designs we find in nature. To be honest with you the complexity is staggering, if not mind numbing. But if you think you can do better than original designer tell me how. I’m all ears. However, if all you have is a “well he somehow could have done it better” explanation, save your breath. Scientific and technological explanations answer the how questions. If you can’t answer that you don’t know anything– nobody does.

    For one example, consider that complexity of walking and manual dexterity; something that is essential to human survival and flourishing. In 2015 The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored a robot challenge. Here is a video describing the event.


    The advantages of even a semi-autonomous android robot is that much of damage 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster could have been mitigated if we had a robot capable of walking into a highly radioactive environment and carrying out simple manual tasks such as turning valve. The video makes it clear we are no way close to that capability.

    Last year (2015) I ran across a wonderful version of the Nutcracker on Youtube. It’s a video from a Dec. 2012 performance of the ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre (yes that’s the correct spelling) in St. Petersburg, Russia. This is the very same theater, which has been lovingly preserved, where the Nutcracker made its original debut in 1892. Please take a look at it. It is absolutely beautiful. The videography is stunning! The costumes, sets and performances are as perfect as is humanly possible.


    Think of the technical challenges that would be required to recreate this ballet using only android robots– or even designing and making android robots to play the parts of the android robots, which are part of the story. Again, it staggers the mind. But on second thought save those questions till after Christmas. For now enjoy the video. It’s Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone.

  6. 6

    Merry Christmas to you as well, JAD.

  7. 7
    john_a_designer says:

    PS regarding #5: I am not trying to suggest that there is anything wrong with imagination and fantasy but if that is the only substitute we have for any kind of real transcendent meaning and purpose then our situation is pretty dire. After all, pretending that there is some kind of ultimate meaning and purpose, when there really isn’t, is delusional.

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    The discourse in evolution science has come a long way in the past year and the Royal Society’s decision to recognize that the circle has been drawn wider and a new integrated evolutionary synthesis has emerged is indeed a reason to celebrate. More.

    Actually, it’s only people here and their ilk who still think evolutionary biology is just “Darwinism”. The people who actually work in the field are well aware it has moved a long way beyond Darwin’s seminal theory. It may be news to Susan Mazur but not to them.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:


    Actually, it’s only people here and their ilk who still think evolutionary biology is just “Darwinism”.

    Larry Moran would disagree.

    It may be news to Susan Mazur but not to them.

    I don’t think Miss Mazur is of our ilk, but the fact that there is some (non-ID generated) controversy around this issue indicates that the scientists who propose alternative mechanisms know that evolutionary theorists are not totally open to new ideas.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky since you fancy yourself as one of the,

    “people who actually work in the field are well aware it has moved a long way beyond Darwin’s seminal theory”

    , And since you obviously agree with Shapiro, Noble, and company, that Random Mutation and Natural Selection are grossly inadequate to account for the complexity we see in life, then perhaps you would like to expound on exactly what other, i.e. ‘extended’, unguided material processes, besides Random Mutation and Natural Selection, can possibly produce the unfathomable complexity we are seeing in life?

    It seems to me, for all the public confessions by ‘people working in the field’, who are honestly admitting that that neo-Darwinian evolution is not the be all end all that it originally was envisioned to be, that the main ‘elephant in the living room’ question of “from whence did this complexity arise?” is still left completely unaddressed.

    Perhaps you, if it is not too much trouble, would like to clear up that one little minor detail up?

    Lynn Margulis: Evolutionist and Critic of Neo-Darwinism – Stephen C. Meyer – April 25, 2014
    Excerpt: in Chapters 15 and 16 of Darwin’s Doubt, I addressed six new (that is, post neo-Darwinian) theories of evolution — theories that proposed new mechanisms to either supplement or replace the reliance upon mutation and natural selection in neo-Darwinian theory.,,
    I show that, although several of these new evolutionary theories offer some intriguing advantages over the orthodox neo-Darwinian model, they too fail to offer adequate explanations for the origin of the genetic and epigenetic information necessary to account for new forms of animal life — such as those that arise in the Cambrian period.

    Darwin’s Doubt (Part 9) by Paul Giem – video – The Post Darwinian World and Self Organization
    Chapter 15 and 16 of Darwin’s Doubt in which 6 alternative models to neo-Darwinism, that have been proposed by evolutionists (such as those of the Altenberg 16) to ‘make up’ for the inadequacy in neo-Darwinism, are discussed and the failings of each model is exposed.

    Scientists stunned by the public’s doubt of Darwin – April 22, 2014
    Excerpt: (Stephen) Meyer said that view under-represents the real facts being discovered in evolutionary biology.
    “Very few leading evolutionary biologists today think that natural selection and random mutation are sufficient to produce the new forms of life we see arising in the history of life,” Meyer said. “And then when the public is catching wind of the scientific doubts of Darwinian evolution and expresses them in a poll like this, these self-appointed spokesmen for science say that the public is ignorant. But actually, the public is more in line with what’s going on in science than these spokesmen for science.”

    Anti-Science Irony
    Excerpt: In response to a letter from Asa Gray, professor of biology at Harvard University, Darwin declared: “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.”
    When questioned further by Gray, Darwin confirmed Gray’s suspicions: “What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work is grievously hypothetical, and large parts are by no means worthy of being called induction.” Darwin had turned against the use of scientific principles in developing his theory of evolution.

    An Early Critique of Darwin Warned of a Lower Grade of Degradation – Cornelius Hunter – Dec. 22, 2012
    Excerpt: “Many of your wide conclusions are based upon assumptions which can neither be proved nor disproved. Why then express them in the language & arrangements of philosophical induction?” (Sedgwick to Darwin – 1859),,,
    And anticipating the fixity-of-species strawman, Sedgwick explained to the Sage of Kent (Darwin) that he had conflated the observable fact of change of time (development) with the explanation of how it came about. Everyone agreed on development, but the key question of its causes and mechanisms remained. Darwin had used the former as a sort of proof of a particular explanation for the latter. “We all admit development as a fact of history;” explained Sedgwick, “but how came it about?”,,,
    For Darwin, warned Sedgwick, had made claims well beyond the limits of science. Darwin issued truths that were not likely ever to be found anywhere “but in the fertile womb of man’s imagination.”
    The fertile womb of man’s imagination. What a cogent summary of evolutionary theory. Sedgwick made more correct predictions in his short letter than all the volumes of evolutionary literature to come.

  11. 11
    Erasmus Wiffball says:

    I think that Uncommon Descent should have paid News’s airfare and registration fee. Why should it be only the philosophers and engineers, and not the humanities majors, of ID who ask “questions” at scientific conferences?

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Erasmus Wiffball, since we are lucky enough to have you here to answer our questions, how about you give it a stab?

    per Sedgwick

    “We all admit development as a fact of history but how came it about?”

    or per Meyer

    Where did the information come from?

    Information Enigma – video

    The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories – Stephen C. Meyer
    Excerpt: They note, following Darwin himself, that the sources of new form and structure must precede the action of natural selection (2003:3)–that selection must act on what already exists. Yet, in their view, the “genocentricity” and “incrementalism” of the neo-Darwinian mechanism has meant that an adequate source of new form and structure has yet to be identified by theoretical biologists. Instead, Muller and Newman see the need to identify epigenetic sources of morphological innovation during the evolution of life. In the meantime, however, they insist neo-Darwinism lacks any “theory of the generative” (p. 7).

    As it happens, Muller and Newman are not alone in this judgment. In the last decade or so a host of scientific essays and books have questioned the efficacy of selection and mutation as a mechanism for generating morphological novelty, as even a brief literature survey will establish. Thomson (1992:107) expressed doubt that large-scale morphological changes could accumulate via minor phenotypic changes at the population genetic level. Miklos (1993:29) argued that neo-Darwinism fails to provide a mechanism that can produce large-scale innovations in form and complexity. Gilbert et al. (1996) attempted to develop a new theory of evolutionary mechanisms to supplement classical neo-Darwinism, which, they argued, could not adequately explain macroevolution. As they put it in a memorable summary of the situation: “starting in the 1970s, many biologists began questioning its (neo-Darwinism’s) adequacy in explaining evolution. Genetics might be adequate for explaining microevolution, but microevolutionary changes in gene frequency were not seen as able to turn a reptile into a mammal or to convert a fish into an amphibian. Microevolution looks at adaptations that concern the survival of the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest. As Goodwin (1995) points out, ‘the origin of species–Darwin’s problem–remains unsolved'” (p. 361). Though Gilbert et al. (1996) attempted to solve the problem of the origin of form by proposing a greater role for developmental genetics within an otherwise neo-Darwinian framework,1 numerous recent authors have continued to raise questions about the adequacy of that framework itself or about the problem of the origination of form generally (Webster & Goodwin 1996; Shubin & Marshall 2000; Erwin 2000; Conway Morris 2000, 2003b; Carroll 2000; Wagner 2001; Becker & Lonnig 2001; Stadler et al. 2001; Lonnig & Saedler 2002; Wagner & Stadler 2003; Valentine 2004:189-194).
    ,,, This problem has led to what McDonald (1983) has called “a great Darwinian paradox” (p. 93). McDonald notes that genes that are observed to vary within natural populations do not lead to major adaptive changes, while genes that could cause major changes–the very stuff of macroevolution–apparently do not vary. In other words, mutations of the kind that macroevolution doesn’t need (namely, viable genetic mutations in DNA expressed late in development) do occur, but those that it does need (namely, beneficial body plan mutations expressed early in development) apparently don’t occur.6 According to Darwin (1859:108) natural selection cannot act until favorable variations arise in a population. Yet there is no evidence from developmental genetics that the kind of variations required by neo-Darwinism–namely, favorable body plan mutations–ever occur.

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    john_a_designer #5:
    “As a real life (now retired) designer I have given a lot of thought how I would reverse engineer some of the designs we find in nature. To be honest with you the complexity is staggering, if not mind numbing.”
    Join the club!
    Staggering and mind numbing seem like understatements, don’t they?

  14. 14

    Serversky said:

    Actually, it’s only people here and their ilk who still think evolutionary biology is just “Darwinism”.

    People of the ilk of this blog refer to Darwinism accordign to the glossary definition here at this site.

    To sum up that definition:

    Though agreement is not universal on the parameters of the modern synthesis, many descriptions hold as basic (1) the primacy of natural selection as the creative agent of evolutionary change; (2) gradualism (accumulation of small genetic changes); and (3) the extrapolation of microevolutionary processes (changes within species) to macroevolutionary trends (changes about the species level, such as the origin of new designs and broad patterns in history). Evolutionary change is a shift of the frequency of genes in a population, and macroevolutionary trends come from gradual accumulation of small genetic changes.

    The real question is that if leading modern evolutionary biologists are currently attempting to reinvent their theory to account for that which the modern synthesis was supposed to not only account for, but account for in a way that made evolutionary theory as factually certain as the theory of gravity, why are people like Serversky and others so confidant that evolutionary theory is still valid? Why do they insist that it still holds the answers to the rise of functional complexity when leaders in the field admit (at least to each other) that the synthesis fails to account for it?

    Why are evolutionary biologists so loathe to let the public in on the fact that evolutionary theory as yet cannot account for the very thing it is supposed to explain?

    How can anyone consider a theory valid if that theory provides no metric by which an assertion can be falsified? Without a qualitative means of demonstration and falsification, why should anyone view current evolutionary theory with anything other than skepticism?

  15. 15
    vjtorley says:

    Hi everyone,

    I hope you all had a merry Christmas. I thought Denyse might want to post something on this:

    The real reasons why childbirth is so painful and dangerous

    Apparently it has nothing to do with our ancestors evolving the ability to walk on two legs. It’s much more recent, possibly going back only to the Neolithic era, 10,000 years ago. Fascinating reading.

  16. 16
    Silver Asiatic says:


    I think that Uncommon Descent should have paid News’s airfare and registration fee. Why should it be only the philosophers and engineers, and not the humanities majors, of ID who ask “questions” at scientific conferences?

    True. ID theorists should be invited to present their work and not merely ask questions at such events. But the scientific community hasn’t progressed that far yet.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Of interest from Torley’s referenced article, in the article they speak of natural selection, and evolution in general, as an agent seeking to solve problems,,

    Excerpts: After all, if evolution could have “solved” the problem of human childbirth by simply making women’s hips a little wider and the birth canal a little larger, it surely would have done so by now.,,,
    It should be “stabilised” by natural selection.,,,
    Evolution could, in principle, make the pelvis larger – but it has not had to.,,,
    If all these evolutionary pressures are acting on childbirth, is the process still changing and evolving even now?,,

    To speak of natural selection as an agent seeking to solve problems is ignore insurmountable empirical difficulties for natural selection and, more importantly, is to also improperly invoke agent causality where none is said to exist.

    “The Third Way” – James Shapiro, Denis Noble, and etc.. etc..,,,
    Excerpt: “some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis.”

    Can Darwinian Evolutionary Theory Be Taken Seriously?
    – Stephen L. Talbott – May 16, 2016
    Excerpt:,,, it would have been hard to find even a slight blush of embarrassment when Stephen Jay Gould, countering the sort of doubt voiced above by his peers, asked, “Why was natural selection compared to a composer by Dobzhansky; to a poet by Simpson; to a sculptor by Mayr; and to, of all people, Mr. Shakespeare by Julian Huxley?” The answer, according to Gould, is that the allusions to poetry, musical composition, and sculpture helpfully underscore the “creativity of natural selection”:,,,

    And so it is possible for leading theorists of evolution to declare an abstract algorithm — natural selection — a capable artist, even though the only place where we observe an actual creative and artistic activity going on is in the organism itself. And even though the explanatory appeal to natural selection simply hides the fact, as we saw above, that the explanation assumes this very same creative activity in the organism. ,,,

    What we do have is a god-like power of natural selection whose miracle-working activity in creating ever-new organisms is vividly clear to eyes of faith, but frustratingly obscure to mere empirical investigators. This is not a science ready for submission to a larger public along with a demand for acquiescence. Not if this public has yet to dull its sensitivity to fundamental questions in the way that the research community seems to have done.

    Natural Selection, for all the god-like power attributed to it by Darwinists, is found to be the impotent Wizard of OZ, hiding behind a curtain, with no power whatsoever

    Genome-wide analysis of a long-term evolution experiment with Drosophila – 2010
    Excerpt of concluding paragraph: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles. This is notable because in wild populations we expect the strength of natural selection to be less intense and the environment unlikely to remain constant for ~600 generations. Consequently, the probability of fixation in wild populations should be even lower than its likelihood in these experiments.”

    Dawkins referred to Natural Selection as a ‘blind’ watchmaker. I would instead refer to is as a ‘dead’ watchmaker:

    The abject failure of Natural Selection on two levels of physical reality – video (2016) (princess and the pea paradox & quarter power scaling)

    Not Junk After All—Conclusion – August 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Many scientists have pointed out that the relationship between the genome and the organism — the genotype-phenotype mapping — cannot be reduced to a genetic program encoded in DNA sequences. Atlan and Koppel wrote in 1990 that advances in artificial intelligence showed that cellular operations are not controlled by a linear sequence of instructions in DNA but by a “distributed multilayer network” [150]. According to Denton and his co-workers, protein folding appears to involve formal causes that transcend material mechanisms [151], and according to Sternberg this is even more evident at higher levels of the genotype-phenotype mapping [152]

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Population Genetics has been particularly cruel to Natural Selection as the supposed god-like ‘designer substitute’

    Haldane’s Dilemma
    Excerpt: Haldane, (in a seminal paper in 1957—the ‘cost of substitution’), was the first to recognize there was a cost to selection which limited what it realistically could be expected to do. He did not fully realize that his thinking would create major problems for evolutionary theory. He calculated that in man it would take 6 million years to fix just 1,000 mutations (assuming 20 years per generation).,,, Man and chimp differ by at least 150 million nucleotides representing at least 40 million hypothetical mutations (Britten, 2002). So if man evolved from a chimp-like creature, then during that process there were at least 20 million mutations fixed within the human lineage (40 million divided by 2), yet natural selection could only have selected for 1,000 of those. All the rest would have had to been fixed by random drift – creating millions of nearly-neutral deleterious mutations. This would not just have made us inferior to our chimp-like ancestors – it surely would have killed us. Since Haldane’s dilemma there have been a number of efforts to sweep the problem under the rug, but the problem is still exactly the same. ReMine (1993, 2005) has extensively reviewed the problem, and has analyzed it using an entirely different mathematical formulation – but has obtained identical results.
    John Sanford PhD. – “Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome” – pg. 159-160

    Kimura’s Quandary
    Excerpt: Kimura realized that Haldane was correct,,, He developed his neutral theory in response to this overwhelming evolutionary problem. Paradoxically, his theory led him to believe that most mutations are unselectable, and therefore,,, most ‘evolution’ must be independent of selection! Because he was totally committed to the primary axiom (neo-Darwinism), Kimura apparently never considered his cost arguments could most rationally be used to argue against the Axiom’s (neo-Darwinism’s) very validity.
    John Sanford PhD. – “Genetic Entropy and The Mystery of the Genome” – pg. 161 – 162

    Kimura (1968) developed the idea of “Neutral Evolution”. If “Haldane’s Dilemma” is correct, the majority of DNA must be non-functional.
    – Sanford

    In other words, Neutral theory, and the concept of junk DNA, was not developed because of any compelling empirical observation, but was actually developed because it was forced upon Darwinists by the mathematics of population genetics. In plain English, neutral theory, and the concept of junk DNA, is actually the result of a theoretical failure of Darwinian evolution, specifically natural selection, within the mathematics of population genetics!

    The cumulation of the many years John Sanford spent studying this problem, resulted in this peer-reviewed paper

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.

    Richard Sternberg has also spent several years studying this problem:

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpt from Living Waters video)

    here is further comment from Darwinists

    “many genomic features could not have emerged without a near-complete disengagement of the power of natural selection”
    Michael Lynch
    The Origins of Genome Architecture, intro

    “a relative lack of natural selection may be the prerequisite for major evolutionary advance”
    Mae Wan Ho
    Beyond neo-Darwinism
    Evolution by Absence of Selection

    (With the adoption of the ‘neutral theory’ of evolution by prominent Darwinists, and the casting aside of Natural Selection as a major player in evolution),,,

    “One wonders what would have become of evolution had Darwin originally claimed that it was simply the accumulation of random, neutral variations that generated all of the deeply complex, organized, interdependent structures we find in biology? Would we even know his name today?
    What exactly is Darwin really famous for now? Advancing a really popular, disproven idea (of Natural Selection), along the lines of Luminiferous Aether?
    Without the erroneous but powerful meme of “survival of the fittest” to act as an opiate for the Victorian intelligentsia and as a rationale for 20th century fascism, how might history have proceeded under the influence of the less vitriolic maxim, “Survival of the Happenstance”?”
    – William J Murray

    Moreover, the integrated complexity of genes makes evolution impossible to mathematically model in a realistic fashion and, moreover, the integrated complexity ‘constrains’ evolution.

    The next evolutionary synthesis: from Lamarck and Darwin to genomic variation and systems biology – Bard – 2011
    Excerpt: If more than about three genes (nature unspecified) underpin a phenotype, the mathematics of population genetics, while qualitatively analyzable, requires too many unknown parameters to make quantitatively testable predictions [6]. The inadequacy of this approach is demonstrated by illustrations of the molecular pathways that generates traits [7]: the network underpinning something as simple as growth may have forty or fifty participating proteins whose production involves perhaps twice as many DNA sequences, if one includes enhancers, splice variants etc. Theoretical genetics simply cannot handle this level of complexity, let alone analyse the effects of mutation..

    Gene previously linked to obesity is unrelated – June 29, 2015
    Excerpt: … in the real world of careful analysis, scientists are just not finding the “genes” that the headline writers need. British geneticist Steve Jones points out that most human traits are influenced by so many genes that there is no likely systematic cause and effect:
    “We know of more than 50 different genes associated with height … That has not percolated into the public mind, as the Google search for “scientists find the gene for” shows. The three letter word for — the gene FOR something — is the most dangerous word in genetics.”
    And the craze is not harmless, he warns. …

    GIANT study reveals giant number of genes linked to height – Oct. 5, 2014
    Excerpt: The largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) to date, involving more than 300 institutions and more than 250,000 subjects, roughly doubles the number of known gene regions influencing height to more than 400.

    Gene Pleiotropy Roadblocks Evolution by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. – Dec. 8, 2016
    Excerpt: Before the advent of modern molecular biology, scientists defined a gene as a single unit of inheritance. If a gene was found to influence multiple externally visible traits, it was said to be pleiotropic—a term ?rst used in 1910.2 During this early period of genetic discovery, pleiotropy was considered to be quite rare because scientists assumed most genes only possessed a single function—a simplistic idea that remained popular throughout most of the 20th century. However, as our understanding of genetics grew through DNA science, it became clear that genes operate in complex interconnected networks. Furthermore, individual genes produce multiple variants of end products with different effects through a variety of intricate mechanisms.2,3 Taken together, these discoveries show that pleiotropy is a common feature of nearly every gene.,,,
    The pleiotropy evolution problem is widely known among secular geneticists, but rarely discussed in the popular media. In this new research report, the authors state, “Many studies have provided evidence for the ability of pleiotropy to constrain gene evolution.”,,,
    “Our study provided supportive evidence that pleiotropy constraints the evolution of transcription factors (Tfs).”,,,
    The authors state, “We showed that highly pleiotropic genes are more likely to be associated with a disease phenotype.”,,,

    Moreover, fitness effects, which figure centrally in the equations of population genetics, cannot be predicted

    Prehoda’s Goof: Mutational Fitness Effects Cannot Be Predicted – November 28, 2016
    Excerpt: The new PNAS paper by Bank et al., “On the (un)predictability of a large intragenic fitness landscape,” takes a serious look at the effects of mutational interactions.,,,
    The point of the study is that epistatic interactions are profoundly unpredictable. By performing one of the largest-ever surveys of epistasis on engineered mutations to Hsp90, a well-known protein, they concluded that it is extremely difficult to predict what will happen.,,,their conclusion has far-reaching implications for all evolutionary predictions,,,,
    “our results highlight the inherent difficulty imposed by the duality of epistasis for predicting evolution. In the absence of epistasis (i.e., in a purely additive landscape), evolution is globally highly predictable because the population will eventually reach the single-fitness optimum, but the path taken is locally entirely unpredictable. Conversely, in the presence of (sign and reciprocal sign) epistasis evolution is globally unpredictable,”

  19. 19
    john_a_designer says:

    There were “theories” of evolution before Darwin. The supposed triumph of Darwin’s theory is that it provided a scientifically plausible mechanism, natural selection acting on random variation (or, NS + RV) to explain evolutionary change. If Darwinian Theory (revised and updated later as Neo-Darwinism) is no longer the reigning paradigm, what is the name of the new theory? And what about Darwinism/ Neo-Darwinism? Has it been totally discredited? Maybe one of our naturalistic-atheistic, mindless-evolution-explains-everything, interlocutors should work up the courage to step forward and give us all an update.

    What happened to all those guys who showed up here whining that we don’t discuss enough science at UD? Isn’t this a scientifically relevant question?

  20. 20
    Erasmus Wiffball says:

    Erasmus Wiffball, since we are lucky enough to have you here to answer our questions, how about you give it a stab?

    I am an engineer who is lucky enough to know that the most important thing to know is when he does not know.

  21. 21

    JAD @ 19: Excellent comment. Let’s see what the response is.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:


    I am an engineer who is lucky enough to know that the most important thing to know is when he does not know.

    Many of our evolutionists do know that they do not know, but this doesn’t stop them from making all sorts of incoherent claims about those things that they don’t know about.

  23. 23
    john_a_designer says:

    Well, so far this has been the response:


    You can listen to this for ten hours non-stop if you choose… Personally, I have better things to do.

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