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“The Compulsory Evolutionists”

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Fred Plans To Devolve — Bacteria More Respectable
by Fred Reed


I read with what would be despair if I cared enough that the courts, this time in Pennsylvania, are again getting their knickers in a knot over Evolution. Oh help. There must be another planet somewhere upon which to hide. Oprah, Rush Limbaugh, singing commercials, delayed flights, and Evolution. Anyway:

Why, oh why, are the curricula of the schools the business of the courts? If Pennsylvania wants to mention Creationism, or to require three years of French for graduation, it seems mightily to me that these things are the business of parents in Pennslyvania. Yes, I know: In practice, both freedom of expression and local government are regarded as ideals greatly to be avoided. The desire to centralize government, impose doctrine, and punish doubt is never far below the surface, anywhere. Thus our highly controlled media, our “hate-speech” laws, our political correctness and, now, Evolutionary Prohibition. The Catholic Church once burned heretics. The Church of Evolution savages them in obscure journals and denies them tenure and publication. As a heretic I believe that I would prefer the latter, but the intolerance is the same.

I note that Compulsory Evolutionists are fellow travelers of the regnant cultural Marxism, though I don’t think that they are aware of it. They display the same hermetic materialism, the same desire to suppress dissent by the application of centralized governmental power, the same weird hostility to religion. They do not say, “I think Christianity is nonsense and will therefore ignore it,” but rather “These ideas shall not be permitted.” The justification often is pseudo-constitutional: “the separation of church and state.” Neither the phrase nor the idea is found in the Constitution. If, for example, it is unconstitutional to have a nativity scene on a town square, why did no one notice this, certainly to include the Founding Fathers, until at least 1950? One might point out, fruitlessly, that Creationism, communism, Christianity, and capitalism are all major intellectual currents and therefore ought to be explained to the young. Not likely. The free market of ideas applies only to one’s own ideas.

Now, what grave consequences are thought to await if children hear briefly in school an argument that they have heard a dozen times in the course of ordinary life? Will the foundations of civilization crack? The birds of the air plunge, appalled, to earth? The planets shudder in their orbits and fall inward in dismay? Surely everyone short of the anencephalic knows of Creationism.

Or is it thought that kids attracted to the sciences will abruptly change their course through life and enter the clergy? That applications to graduate school in biochemistry will cease? Children learn (or did) of the Greek gods and goddesses, and that ancient people believed that the earth rode on the back of a giant turtle. I have not heard that they now sacrifice oxen to Athena.

One plausible explanation for this rigid evolutionary monotheism, though I think an incorrect one, is a fear that the children might come to believe in Creationism. Unlikely, but again, so what? A belief in Creationism does not prevent one from working in the sciences. A goodly number of scientists, to include biochemists, are in fact Christian and, some of them, Creationists. Others presumably are Buddhists or Hindus. The only thing for which acceptance of Creationism renders one unsuitable is…Evolutionism.

A more likely explanation is a fear that children might realize that a great deal of Evolution, not having been established, must be accepted on faith, and that a fair amount of it doesn’t make a lot of sense. While Creationism is unlikely to convert children into snake-handlers, it does suggest that orthodox Evolution can be examined critically. Bad juju, that.

Now (and I hope this doesn’t bore those who have read me before on the matter), an entertaining way to study the politics is to ask the Evolutionists questions that a scientist would answer (since scientists are not ashamed not to know things), but that an ideologue can’t afford to. They are simple. (1) Has the chance occurrence of life been demonstrated in the laboratory? Yes or no. (2) Do we really know, as distinct from guess, hope, or imagine, of what the primeval seas consisted? Yes or no. (3) Do we know, as distinct from guess, pray, wave our arms, and hold our breath and turn blue, what seas would be needed for the chance formation of life? Yes or no. (4) Can we show mathematically, without crafted and unsupportable assumptions, that the formation of life would be probable in any soup whatever? Yes or no.

I once posed these questions in a column on Fredoneverything.net and, in another place, to a group of committed evangelicals of Evolution. A tremendous influx of email resulted. Much of it was predictable. Many Christians congratulated me on having disproved Evolution, which I had not done. The intelligent and independent-minded wrote thoughtfully. Of the Knights Templar of Evolution, none—not one—answered the foregoing yes-or-no questions. They ducked. They dodged. They waxed wroth. They called names.

This is the behavior not of scientists but of true believers. I have spent countless hours as a reporter talking to scientists, as distinct from zealots with a scientific background. Without exception that I can remember, they were rational, honest, and forthcoming. Yes, they were often trying to establish a pet theory. But they said, “I think this is so, and here’s the evidence, and I think it’s pretty solid, but I still need to show this or that, and no, we haven’t, but I hope we will.” If I expressed doubts, they either showed my clearly and civilly why I was wrong, or said, “Good point. Here’s what we think.” Parenthetically, my impression, based on a small sample, is that the more incensed of the Evolutionists tend to be either of the hard Right or the hard Left: those who need to believe one thing categorically seem to need to believe other things categorically. Which means that if they are wrong, they are unlikely to notice it.

And this is what disturbs me about them. I do not object to the content of Evolutionism. Some, all, or part of it may be correct. I would like to know. A more fascinating question does not readily come to mind. But dispassionate discussion with them is not possible, anymore than it is with Gloria Steinem or Herbert Marcuse or Cornell West, and for exactly the same reasons. They are the same people. How sad.

DaveScot, just so you don't forget - evidence for ID please... still waiting... Greyshade
DaveScot, I do like the fact that the fossil record on one hand 'doesn't demostrate mud to man evolution' and on the other hand 'is indisputable testimony that new species appeared abruptly'. It's amazing to see the fossil record getting knocked by creationists for one reason ("God created them!"), and then held up as a shining light on the other ("they are evidence that evolution doesn't work!"). Fossilization is a rare event. Finding fossils is a rare event. Fossils are rare. Getting any of this? A fossil is good, because it can show us forms of life long since extinct on the planet. The fossil record is not a detailed blow by blow account of the evolution of life in every single step since the beginning of time, and you wont find any scientists claiming it is. I have already said that when under no particular pressure to reproduce populations will tend towards stability. However, it has been shown that if there are 'selection pressures' even a very small advantage in survival fitness will become fixed over time (the time depends on the size of the population and breeding rates) - providing it gets over the 'chance' hurdle of the first few generations surviving and reproducing. And yes, the most common action of natural selection is to remove unfit variants as they arise via mutation, so usually natural selection prevents new (unfit) alleles from increasing in frequency. In diploid organisms a new mutation - either good or bad - will often have no effect whatsoever on the individual in which it occurs, because they will have another 'good' copy of the same gene on the other chromosome. It's only in future generations, when homozygotes occur, that the 'fitness' of the new mutation can be judged. Natural selection, while usually a conservative effect, can also be observed maintaining as well as depleting genetic variation - a good example of maintaining variation is sickle cell anemia, where heterozygotes are more resistant to malaria but the unfortunate homozygotes with two sickle alleles are anemic (Please give me a design hypothesis that explains this, other than 'the designer works in mysterious ways) At leasy you appear to be accepting the fact that evolution is subject to external envionmental factors and does not occur in a void (a step in the right direction). Someone else we know appears to be ignoring that fact... Greyshade
DaveScot, Design comes from intelligent agents. List all known intelligent agents. Man and er... Man That's it. And since Man can't have designed Man, then where does your design hypothesis fit? Pure speculation is what it is... Unless you can demonstrate the existance of another intelligent agent. Greyshade
DaveScot, I'm still waiting for your ID evidence... Don't worry, I have plenty of time... Still waiting... Greyshade
"However, if the mutation is beneficial - i.e. makes it more likely that the organism reproduces, and assuming that the original organism with the mutation survives long enough to reproduce, it will gradually, over several generations, get more prevalent in the population. This is natural selection. The population at large will have evolved." This is just SO wrong. Survival of the fittest is more aptly termed survival of the luckiest. Mutations, the exceedingly rare few that actually confer some benefit, individually have a *tiny* benefit. Amongst people that deal in information this is commonly called a signal to noise ratio. The tiny benefit (the signal) is swamped by the random environmental factors (the noise). Now what's NOT swamped by noise is natural selection's ability to kill the unfortunate individual with a deleterious mutation which are far, far more common than beneficial mutations. Death because of reproductive errors is a huge force in nature. Death before reproduction isn't a tiny bit of signal. It's the largest possible signal. Natural selection is thus a conservative force which greatly contributes to stability (stasis) of a species. This prediction is borne out in the indisputable testimony of the fossil record which reveals new species appearing abruptly, remaining static for a long period of time, and finally becoming extinct. DaveScot
"Are you suggesting that man designed DNA?" Nope. We're suggesting an intelligent agent designed DNA. Man is an example of an intelligent agent and a case in point that intelligent agents exist in nature. This is logically unassailable and anyone that tries quickly earns my contempt. I have little patience for stupidity in beings other than small children and dumb animals. DaveScot
"There is no more reason for saying that DNA was designed that for saying it arose through natural methods - we just don’t know." BZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! Wrong. No one has demonstrated a plausible path for the self-assembly of DNA. It has been demonstrated that DNA sequences of any arbitrary length can be constructed by intelligent agents in labcoats and gene splicing machines. Thus design is a proven possibility while chance has not been proven possible. QED DaveScot
Greyshade Wonderful! Let's stick to empirical facts. Does the purported human ancestor "Lucy" have the same number of chromosomes as: 1) humans 2) chimpanzees 3) neither humans nor chimpanzees 4) unknown Once you separate fact from speculation the theory of evolution quickly stops being a theory and becomes a narrative. DaveScot
jboze3131, You sound a bit confused. In response to your first point, the source of all the other sources of information we know of - apart from DNA - is man. Are you suggesting that man designed DNA? I see something circular in your argument. I realise what you are suggesting is that - because DNA contains 'information' in a four letter alphabet, it's 'common sense' that it must have been designed. I don't agree. On your second point - ID is not science, as I am sure the court case in progress will rule shortly. If ID was science, it would fully explain all the available evidence, including mechanisms for how it works. ID doesn't do this. On your third point, a bit of information about natural selection for you: "Some types of organisms within a population leave more offspring than others. Over time, the frequency of the more prolific type will increase. The difference in reproductive capability is called natural selection. Natural selection is defined as differential reproductive success of pre-existing classes of genetic variants in the gene pool." Natural selection does not cause the variation, there are other mechanisms such as mutation, recombination and gene flow that do that. An organism with a new mutation may fail to reproduce. There is only a 50% chance (in diploid organisms) that the mutant allele will go to each offspring. However, if the mutation is beneficial - i.e. makes it more likely that the organism reproduces, and assuming that the original organism with the mutation survives long enough to reproduce, it will gradually, over several generations, get more prevalent in the population. This is natural selection. The population at large will have evolved. What changes, and what causes the 'push' is everything else outside the organism - the environment it lives in, the other organisms it either preys on or is prey to. A change in the environment will cause genes that aid the reproductive success in the newly changed environment to become more prevalent in the population. Evolution does not occur in a 'void'. If an organism were in a perfectly stable envioronment, with no predators and an abundance of resources it would remain relatively stable. There may be some random drift of allele frequency, and that's about it. So your tornado in a junkyard analogy would be more appropriate in this case. But as I said earlier, evolution does not occur in a void... Greyshade
your last statement there really hurts your entire argument. you quoted someone who is saying that evolution truly IS random (akin to a tornado in a junkyard)...if NS merely favors changes that occur by chance and that it does contribute to their appearance- then, its completely, 100% random and by chance. no one argues that, because the mathematical probabilities are so tiny theyr nonexistant. the numbers are so massive against it that theyre considered to be not one bit possible. jboze3131
i know what NS is. and i never said that ID isnt science. i said that NAMING the designer isnt the role of ID- thats the role of other branches of knowledge that are just as good as science...theyre all just different ways to find truth. ID is clearly science. ID is limited to showing design, not naming the designer, tho youre trying to demand it name the designer. jboze3131
clearly, since dna contains billions of bits of information...expressed in a way regular information is expressed- without KNOWING 100%...and having no clue as to how it could possibly arise via natural processes- common sense tells us that its the result of all other sources of information. information anywhere else on earth is the result of an intelligent cause. same must be true for dna. you have much more of a reason to know that to be the case then that an entire alphabet somehow arose unguided without purpose to write novels that are so complex, they make sets of encyclopedias look tiny. jboze3131
jboze3131, you said: "you cant demand that ID show you the designer, when its made clear that that isnt science- its a different branch of gathering knowledge". I know ID isn't science, but it's nice to see an advocate saying so. I'm surprised to be honest - Christians have had 2000 years and Jews longer to come up with some evidence for the existance of God, i.e. the 'designer'. Darwinism has been around for what - 140 years? You've had 10+ times as long to fill in the gaps. The nice thing about science is that we know it doesn't have all the answers. It gives us a reason to keep experimenting and increase our understanding. But then, as we all know, and as you yourself have said, ID is not science. You should also look up NS somewhere, NS is an effect not a cause. That might help your understanding. "Selection merely favors beneficial genetic changes when they occur by chance - it does not contribute to their appearance." Greyshade
DaveScot, you're saying you don't know who the designer is. I'm saying I don't know where DNA arose from. So why should design be the answer? There is no more reason for saying that DNA was designed that for saying it arose through natural methods - we just don't know. The difference is that we can show the gene pool of populations changing (i.e evolution). The evidence for it is overwhelming, at many different levels. The evidence for design you say is in Dembski's books. Well, I've looked and I can't find it. And my level of education is perfectly adequate enough to understand the books. But thanks for asking. You appear to have found something in those books that I have not. I'd be interested in what it is. All I see is lots of math based on faulty premises. Greyshade
i should change that last comment to read that NS has a "purpose" in the generic sense of the word. not intent, which i would say speaks of mind and goals. then again, the claim doesnt make sense to begin with. if darwinism is the goal-less, unguided process of mud to man evolution and the purposeless process is natural selection, then its contradictory, in a way, to claim that the whole process has no goals yet NS itself has the goal of selecting the fittest traits. which is why the tautology is made even worse- is NS has the purpose of selecting the fittest and those who are the fittest are the ones that NS chooses, then thats a goal itself, no? so were left with a process that is supposed to be purposeless, yet the mechanism supposedly used is said to have a purpose itself (even if it has no real destiny, it has a purpose in general.) at the same time- how could you possibly show empirically intent to begin with? design you could show...and you link that to philosophy and religion and other brances of knowledge. with NS that is part of an unguided, purposeless process- youre stuck from the start really. jboze3131
greyshade- you mock ID. so youre also mocking bioevo. darwinism cant show you a step by step process of how one body part somehow transforms into another via NS and RM. darwinism cant explain life itself, or how life started, what mechanism and steps changed the first cell into multicellular lifeforms...what transitions took place for thousands of different species. darwinism cant show that any process is truly unguided- thats not science, thats philosophy. you seem to be stuck in the same place with darwinism that you are with design. even worse- design doesnt speak of the designer and such- it speaks of design itself which can be inferred from items in nature and biology. so, of course, you cant demand that ID show you the designer, when its made clear that that isnt science- its a different branch of gathering knowledge. in the end, if youre demanding evidence of a designer...you must also demand evidence of where even NS came from. NS, being a mechanism that conserves must have been created somehow, right? if not, how did it arise with no guidance? its like asking for an alphabet to arise from nothing then for that alphabet to write its own novels. we know from the world around that is the mechanisms like this come from intelligent agents...why is NS different? no one can say where this magical mechanism came from, but we can say 'case closed- it IS a mechanism in nature and it HAS created all life on earth'? sounds fairly weak to me. well, we dont know where the mechanism came from or how on earth or why on earth it arose to begin with...or where it originated. we know none of that, but of course we KNOW it is the mechanism and that it is unguided, and blah blah blah. id say the theory that posits a magical force that arose from nothing and compiled itself into a mechanism that is responsible for all life on earth, and that its all unguided at that- thats not very convincing. which is why most americans in general dont buy into it. it defies logic and reason to say that natural processes, unguided, without a purpose, without a goal, without meaning, could to the magical things its supposedly done over so many years. if you cant even posit how the mechanism itself started or why or when, its fairly weak to argue that it is, indeed, the mechanism that made all life (we dont see it working in labs today or in the wild- what we see is limits to what selection can do) without any real evidence for it. and theres no way youd ever get evidence that the mechanism was unguided because im not sure how empirical data would ever show intent. (NS, by its very definition, has no real intent its claimed...but it does have an intent- to select the traits that lead to more offspring, which equals fitness, and the fitness is selected for- a tautology, tho some deny it. we know from experience that mechanisms that have a purpose- no matter what the purpose is- are results of intelligent agents at work.) why doesnt this lend itself to NS, even tho the mechanism has been shown to do very little in the wild and in the lab? jboze3131
"Well, it’s not very convincing, is it." It has about 80% of the population convinced! I'd say that's pretty darn convincing. "You don’t need to know where DNA came from in order to show the gene pool of populations changing." Right! Likewise, you don't need to know where the design came from in order to show that something was designed. "Maybe you should give me an example of what evidence you think there is." Maybe you should read Dembski's books first. Are they too advanced for you? What level of education have you completed? DaveScot
DaveScot, Evolution predated abiogenesis. You don't need to know where DNA came from in order to show the gene pool of populations changing. And sorry, but I've not found the evidence you mention. Maybe you should give me an example of what evidence you think there is. Greyshade
Jboze3131, actually I was using the standards that has been asked for the evolution evidence by the ID folks, and turning the tables and applying it to ID. There is no double standard - I'm hoisting ID on it's own petard. Don't have eyewitnesses available for the garden of eden (sorry, 'design phase')? Don't have blueprints? Don't have copywrites, submitted with the Galactic copywrite office? Don't have a desinger (oops)? Don't have any other designers who were around at the same time, who can testify that 'our designer' did actually design us? Well, it's not very convincing, is it... Greyshade
Greyshade: Evolution is to abiogenesis as writing is to an alphabet. They're not the same thing but one is an intrinsic part of the other. The evidence for the design of DNA can be found in Bill Dembski's books, natch. DaveScot
forget that- i wanna see these eyewitness accounts of mud to man evolution, since grey seems to demand as much for the design apparent in DNA! i do love the double standard in regards to the demands of 'proof' here. jboze3131
Greyshade, Sorry to interject, but what is the evidence that DNA originated via unguided natural mechanisms? What makes you think that the designer needs to be caught red-handed for a valid design inference to be made? David crandaddy
DaveScot Ah, so evolution and abiogenesis are not the same thing after all. Even using your poor analogy, there's no omelette there. Where is this evidence for the design for DNA then? You've found some blueprints? Maybe some eye-witnesses? Or have you actually found the designer? Gasp! Please tell me more... Greyshade
Greyshade Please leave the strawmen at home. I specifically said *NeoDarwinian* narrative apologists. DNA is certianly part of the modern synthesis. Therefore your first question is a strawman. "Is evolution the same thing as abiogenesis?" No, in the same way that eggs aren't the same thing as yolks. Do you still beat your wife? Yes or no. "Does ID have any evidence that DNA was designed? Yes of No?" Yes. DaveScot
DaveScot, as you appear to like yes or no questions, here are a few for you. Do Darwin's theories of common descent and natural selection say anything about the origins of DNA? Yes or No? (Hint: DNA wasn't discovered during Darwin's lifetime) Is evolution the same thing as abiogenesis? Yes or No? (Hint: one of these is 'the difference in a gene pool of a population over time'. The other is a set of hypotheses about the origins of DNA) Does ID have any evidence that DNA was designed? Yes of No? (Hint: evidence does not include 'inferences' or 'it looks designed to me') Not difficult to answer. Greyshade
heres a better question for the ND's- how did the first life come to be? theyll claim thats not part of ND theory (nonsense)...but its the SAME thing as demanding to know who the designer is. on top of that- science shouldnt be the end-all and be-all of everything. science mixed with knowledge gained for other various sources- that's the practical way in which humans find knowlede. you can decide who the designer is, but thats another field of study. a field of study that is in no way behind science or below science, just a different study to find knowledge and truth. jboze3131
It’s the 4 Ds of Design: Dodge, Duck, Dive, and Deny… Who's the Designer? Ilib
Once again, the voice of Steve Gould speaks from beyond the grave. "Yes, even though we swear up and down that every single aspect of life can be explained by random processes acted upon by natural selection (even the stuff we can't explain), when asked where the original replicators came from that started all this selection, we simply say 'Well, that's a whole 'nother thing - we're not responsible for explaining that!'" It's the 4 Ds of Dodgeball: Dodge, Duck, Dive, and Dodge... jimbo
Oh look. Someone else who tries to peddle the absurdity that NeoDarwinian narrative apologists aren't committed to a materialist explanation for the origin of DNA. DaveScot
Oh look. Someone else who doesn't know the difference between abiogenesis and evolution. Fred does do a nice line in righteous indignation though. Greyshade
Now THAT'S how you separate the real scientists from the ideological thought police! Well done, Fred! crandaddy
"Soups are made by boiling things that used to be alive. I thought the idea was to create life from something that has nothing to do with life. Darwinists’ use of the term “soup” (as in “primordial soup”) makes abiogenis sound almost possible, which it isn’t. It’s bogus." Nice deconstruction, Jay. Lutepisc
"Can we show mathematically, without crafted and unsupportable assumptions, that the formation of life would be probable in any soup whatever?" Soups are made by boiling things that used to be alive. I thought the idea was to create life from something that has nothing to do with life. Darwinists' use of the term "soup" (as in "primordial soup") makes abiogenis sound almost possible, which it isn't. It's bogus. jay
I like the yes or no questions. Dogmatic Darwinists love this tact. I think it's fair to give some back. PjB
"pseudo-constitutional" I like that term. I'm gonna make that a permanent prefix to "separation of church and state". The pseudo-constitutional separation of church and state... Yup. Perfect. DaveScot

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