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Darwinism and academic culture: So now we admit there are problems?

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A friend draws my attention to this paper by a materialist, in which we read,

“Incremental changes in an existing biological structure the alterations in beak shape of the finches that so impressed Charles Darwin during his voyage to the Galapagos Islands, for instance – can indeed be attributed to natural selection. Even most creationists do not deny this. But when it comes to the innovation of entirely new structures (‘‘morphological novelties’’) such as segmentally organized bodies (seen in earthworms, insects, and vertebrates such as humans, but not jellyfish or molluscs), or the hands and feet of tetrapods (vertebrates with four limbs), Darwin’s mechanism comes up short. This is a reality that is increasingly acknowledged by biologists, particularly those working in the field of evolutionary developmental biology, or ‘‘EvoDevo.’’ ”

“Derision of a traditionalist segment of the public for not immediately jumping into line with standard selectionist narratives (however far-fetched they may be), is not the answer here. The scientific mainstream should rightly be prevailing in the evolution debate, since the living world is manifestly a product of evolution. But it and its liberal advocates are so wedded to a neo-Darwinism that has effectively become the house philosophy of the market economy that they are barely holding on in their attempts to prevent naturalistic accounts of the history of life from being expunged from school curricula. Unless the discourse around evolution is opened up to scientific perspectives beyond Darwinism, the education of generations to come is at risk of being sacrificed for the benefit of a dying theory.”

Much of SCIENCE AT THE CROSSROADS: Evolution: The Public’s Problem, and the Scientists’ by Stuart A. Newman is nonsense, but the author has certainly got one thing right: People don’t believe it because it is not believable.

Newman, if you do not have a better story (and you obviously don’t), it is okay to say you don’t know. I don’t either. But please discourage people from insulting the public any more with the Big Spenders or Big Bazooms theories of human evolution.

If people are scientists of any kind, why must they insist that the science press sound like the National Enquirer? That’s what happens when a completely ridiculous discipline like “evolutionary” psychology gets a whole lot of press.

Saw it this weekend, excellent! Kudo's to all involved. vpr
As a leftist, I read this article with interest. The author appears to be an anarchist addressing Marxists who cling to Darwin just because Marx sent him a copy of the first volume of Capital as a fawning admirer. For anarchists, 'self-organization' is the solution to the inadequacies of both natural selection and intelligent design. They associate the former with laissez faire capitalism (i.e. 'survival of the fittest', when projected biologically) and the latter with some sort of church or state interventionism. If you think that this is just wild analogising from the micro- to the macro- level of reality, then you need to check out the mileage that the editor of Skeptic Magazine, Michael Shermer, rotuinely gets from pointing out the apparent contradiction in creationists (including ID supporters) who allow divine interventionism in nature but not human interventionism in politics. I realize that many responses can be given but I do not think that ID has taken the challenge sufficiently seriously. My guess is that it would lead to a wide range of responses from the ID camp, revealing the cross-ideological affiliations of its constituency. Steve Fuller
I love this. "The present-day neo-Darwinists .... persist in the hand-waving consignment of all problematic aspects of the origination of complex subcellular entities to the putative universal mechanism of random variation and natural selection." He had better watch his back! idnet.com.au
I just recently wrote a blog post which relates. Basically, there is a difference between individually-compelling evidence for evolution (for which there is) and publicly-compelling evidence for evolution (for which there is not). Anyway, you can read it here: Is there evidence for evolution? johnnyb
Seversky, at 4, Journalists often report stories about which they have limited or no background. Essentially, it's me or nobody. I remember writing about a guy who died in a water main accident in Ontario because he decided to solve the problem by scuba diving. Not that I knew much about water mains or scuba diving. But I had to write something and I did. The problems with Darwinism are not the problems of mass media, which I don't dispute. People do not believe Darwinism because it is not believable. O'Leary
If people are scientists of any kind, why must they insist that the science press sound like the National Enquirer? That’s what happens when a completely ridiculous discipline like “evolutionary” psychology gets a whole lot of press.
I have to say that is one of the most breathtaking examples of chutzpah I have read recently. It has been a longstanding complaint of scientists that it is well-nigh impossible to get fair and accurate accounts of their research published in the mass media. The stories are edited, trimmed, distorted, trivialized and sensationalized by journalists. Rather like reducing Shakespeare to a cartoon-strip, they are dumbed down into easily-digested gobbets of information - in some cases, disinformation - which is thought to be the most a lay audience can handle. For a journalist to accuse scientists of the failings of her own profession is a case of 'pot, kettle, black' with a vengeance. Seversky
O'Leary 2: Thank you. There is also an interesting point in your main post regarding "market economy". It was a Czech professor Stanislav Komarek (Uni Prague) who in his incentive book "Aposemtaism, mimicry and related phenomena" (1998) noticed it. According his opinion human society see nature through social glasses. http://www.stanislav-komarek.cz/pdf/preview_Komarek_Mimicry.pdf In medieval era species represented "moral values", nowadays species "compete for survival". In Germany and Russia were different traditions and no wonder that orthohgenesis was popular in Germany (there is a law in evolution) and cooperation in Russia ( Lynn Margulis wrote she was influenced by Merezhkovsky). Komarek even concluded hypotheticaly that neo-darwinism was brought to Germany on US tanks in WWII. Oddly enough during communism in Esastern Euorope marxists didn't agree with neodarwinism. In their atheistical opinion biological entities have their own laws that cannot be reduced to physical ones. Some influential marxists - and quite educated in science I have to admit - even thought that evolution contradicts the law of enthropy. --- btw. is the Overwhelmig evidence still controlled by a neodarwinian admin? John Davison and I were banned, but neodarwinists from AtBC forum were treated there with fellow feeling. VMartin
VSMartin at 1: I never thought much about all this until circumstances forced me. But natural selection is - so far as I can see - a great way of reducing differences in current species. Darwinism is a big time fraud if offered as an explanation for brand new intricate machineries in life forms. Natural selection explains the wolf of the northern forest, and why wolves in general are mostly all alike. So? Intelligent (?) design explains the Pekinese and the Schnauzer. I hate both, but it isn't my business as long as they are treated humanely. I really do prefer cats. O'Leary
Darwinists should really first unite regarding their bizarre concept of "natural selection". Does "natural selection" operate on "genes" level as Dawkins claims, or at organisms (as late Gould believed) -or even at group level (as E.O.Wilson proposed a few years ago, brushing up "group selection")? A great mess, isn't it? In fact "natural selection" plays no role in creative evolution and according Heikertinger and Portmann every species just pay it's "toll" regardless how well it is "adapted". http://cadra.wordpress.com VMartin

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