Intelligent Design

A Darwinian skeptic confesses

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The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms

He is a liberal seminary professor:

That organisms evolved over enormous spans of time I have little doubt. But the Darwinian mechanism driving this evolution — natural selection acting on randomly produced variation in populations of organisms — I no longer accept. I do not think the evolutionary process can be understood without appeal to some kind of intelligent agency. My Darwinian skepticism is now detailed in my book The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms: Darwinian Biology’s Grand Narrative of Triumph and the Subversion of Religion (Cascade, 2019) for those interested in my reasons.

One thing that caught my attention as I read the scientific literature of evolutionary theory was the frequency with which “religious” terms appeared – terms like orthodoxy, heresy, dogma, creed, doctrine, and even blasphemy. Such terms seemed out of place in scientific discourse. So, their appearance in peer-reviewed scientific literature alerted me to the fact that something more was going on than simply scientific discussion. These words were signs of an ideological debate embedded in this ostensibly scientific literature.

Robert Shedinger, “Evolution and mystery: Confessions of a Darwinian skeptic” at Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology

It’s not clear how much of modern Darwinism was ever about science, in terms of shedding light on the history of life, as opposed to casting it in specific terms.

17 Replies to “A Darwinian skeptic confesses

  1. 1
    Truthfreedom says:

    ___

    From the Nobel Prize winning geneticist Barbara McClintock in the 1950s to the work of biologist James Shapiro recently retired from the University of Chicago, evidence is mounting that cells possess some level of cognitive ability allowing them to monitor their environments, detect potential danger, and alter their genomes in intentional ways to respond to environmental challenge. It is not clear how they do this, but it does speak to the possibility of some sort of mind at work in the evolutionary process. If this proves to be true, Darwinian evolution will quickly go the way of the dinosaur.
    Robert Shedinger
    https://luthscitech.org/evolution-and-mystery-confessions-of-a-darwinian-skeptic/

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    It’s not clear how much of modern Paleyism was ever about science, in terms of shedding light on the history of life, as opposed to casting it in specific religious terms.

  3. 3
    groovamos says:

    as opposed to casting it in specific religious terms.

    So yours truly is a member of no established religion. Mainly out of opposition to doctrinaire thinking. Being opposed to all systems of doctrine, well guess what, that puts me in direct opposition to the Darwinian doctrine, as it is maintained at all costs of logic. Now one particular doctrine I seem to have formulated as an exception and it is not really very original, and that is that every person has some form of religious thinking that operates on a day to day basis. In other words you don’t jettison a religion without taking on another one, which is how postmodern atheistic progressivism becomes almost impossible to dislodge in individuals by rational discussion. And as this religion has its Father figurehead, and creation story, it certainly sheds its particular unique light on the history of life and certainly casts it in specific religious terms of its making.

  4. 4
    martin_r says:

    “It’s not clear how much of modern Darwinism was ever about science”

    touche! :)))))))

    Darwinism always was a storytelling. What is worse, these Darwinian stories and fairy tales are “absurd in the highest possible degree” (like Darwin would say), especially in 21st century.

    These guys (biologists – natural science graduates) claiming, in 21st century, without a shame, that high advanced, autonomous, self-navigating flying systems self-designed, and no engineer was needed.

    Biologists claiming that in 21st century!!!! So how absurd it sounds? It is crazy… lets close all technical universities around the world, and lets send engineering students to biology classes…

    There they will learn, how to design sophisticated autonomous, self-navigating flying systems of various kinds (e.g. huge ones , microscopic one…) Remember, to design an autonomous self-navigating flying system of a size of a fruit fly is an engineering SCI-FI even in 21st century.

    What is even worse and even more absurd, these biologists claim, that this miracle (designing autonomous flying system without an engineer) — happened multiple times REPEATEDLY AND INDEPENDENTLY in various evolutionary not related lineages (flying dinosaurs, birds, insects, mammals…)

    So how absurd does the Darwin’s theory sound in 21st century ?
    Absurd absurd absurd fairy tales and just-so-stories for people who don’t use the head.

  5. 5
    martin_r says:

    Seversky

    you have not answered my previous question,

    what is the difference between you and me (except that you believe in very absurd stories and miracles) ?

    You BELIEVE that one day, scientists will figure out where the MOST ABUNDANT organism on Earth (viruses) come from, because to date, they are clueless because the common descent idea does not work with viruses.

    So, you Seversky, you BELIEVE in scientists…

    I believe in a Creator/Ingineer/Designer, because of the sophistication of biological systems.

    So my question again, will you reply?

    What is the difference between you and me ?

  6. 6
    martin_r says:

    this is excellent

    from the book author:

    “One thing that caught my attention as I read the scientific literature of evolutionary theory was the frequency with which “religious” terms appeared – terms like orthodoxy, heresy, dogma, creed, doctrine, and even blasphemy. Such terms seemed out of place in scientific discourse. So, their appearance in peer-reviewed scientific literature alerted me to the fact that something more was going on than simply scientific discussion. These words were signs of an ideological debate embedded in this ostensibly scientific literature. ”

    indeed! A great observation!!!!

  7. 7
    martin_r says:

    in regards to Darwinism, let me add this:

    it is from an older MAINSTREAM-SCIENCE paper, but i came across it only recently:

    CHALLENGING DARWIN’S THEORY OF SEXUAL SELECTION

    ““May a biologist in these polarized times dare suggest that Darwin is a bit wrong about anything ? Even worse, does a biologist risk insult, ridicule, anger, and intimidation to suggest that Darwin is incorrect on a big issue ? We have a test case before us. Darwin appears completely mistaken in his theory of sex roles, a subject called the ‘theory of sexual selection’.””

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/20028107?seq=1

  8. 8
    polistra says:

    One thing that stands out in the essay is the word RETIRED. The heterodox people he mentions are either already dead or retired. He’s near retirement himself.

    This is a pretty general rule. Professors and Experts of all sorts can’t afford to be heterodox until they retire. Then we hear about the doubts they harbored during the time when they were ruthlessly enforcing orthodoxy.

    Nothing will change ntil we get more young or mid-career Experts, people with influence over budgets, willing to LISTEN and READ.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Over 160 years after Darwin’s book was fist published and still no one knows how to test the claims he made. It has never been about science.

  10. 10
    Truthfreedom says:

    @9 ET:

    Over 160 years after Darwin’s book was fist published and still no one knows how to test the claims he made. It has never been about science.

    The road bifurcated 160 years ago. What are we humans:
    ego-driven, prideful free creatures?
    – or meat-robots believing we can choose our destiny?

  11. 11
    Truthfreedom says:

    @2 Seversky

    It’s not clear how much of modern Paleyism was ever about science, in terms of shedding light on the history of life, as opposed to casting it in specific religious terms.

    If you substitute ‘modern Paleyism’ for ‘philosophical materialism’, (=/= from ‘science’) you will have an interesting question to ponder.
    Materialism’s Encroachment on Science:
    https://strangenotions.com/materialisms-failures-hylemorphisms-vindication/

  12. 12
    Truthfreedom says:

    @5 Martin_r:

    So, you Seversky, you BELIEVE in scientists…
    I believe in a Creator/Ingineer/Designer, because of the sophistication of biological systems.
    So my question again, will you reply?
    What is the difference between you and me ?

    Broadly speaking:
    -‘athiests’ have (no one knows how) escaped the clutches of evolution, a ‘process’ that used to trick humans into believing god-related-non-sense, so they would survive to achieve the beautiful purpose of ‘nothing’.
    – they no longer believe in silly superstitions. Now they know the are ‘Illusions’, ‘robots’, ‘not-really real’, ‘hallucinations’ and/ or ‘evolutive boltzmann brains’ that live in an ‘unprovable and purposeless mega-multiverse’. Nothing strange. Move on.

  13. 13
    Truthfreedom says:

    @3 Groovamos

    … and that is that every person has some form of religious thinking that operates on a day to day basis. In other words you don’t jettison a religion without taking on another one, which is how postmodern atheistic progressivism becomes almost impossible to dislodge in individuals by rational discussion.

    Excellent analysis!

  14. 14
    EDTA says:

    TF @ 12,
    >”…they no longer believe in silly superstitions. Now they know the are ‘Illusions’, ‘robots’, ‘not-really real’, ‘hallucinations’ and/ or ‘evolutive boltzmann brains’ that live in an ‘unprovable and purposeless mega-multiverse’.”

    At least they’re intellectually superior to us. 8-;

  15. 15
    Seversky says:

    Martin_r @ 5

    what is the difference between you and me (except that you believe in very absurd stories and miracles) ?

    The difference between us is the difference between the computers we are using to access the Internet and a family standing around a daughter praying fervently for her to be cured of diabetes as she dies on the floor in front of them from untreated complications of the disease.

    So, you Seversky, you BELIEVE in scientists…

    Of course I believe in scientists just as I don’t believe in zombies. As David Hume wrote:

    “A Wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.”

    The evidence for science – for human design – is all around us. The evidence for extraterrestrial designers is not. My belief in human design or science or technology is much stronger than my belief in ET designers because there is much better evidence for the former. How is that a problem?

  16. 16
    Truthfreedom says:

    @15 Seversky

    The difference between us is the difference between the computers we are using to access the Internet and a family standing around a daughter praying fervently for her to be cured of diabetes as she dies on the floor in front of them from untreated complications of the disease.

    Seversky, why is human life valuable?

  17. 17
    Truthfreedom says:

    @15 Seversky

    Of course I believe in scientists just as I don’t believe in zombies. As David Hume wrote:
    “A Wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.”

    Then you should ditch physicalism, because it can not account for your existence (are you a conscious being, Seversky?):

    Physicalism is a grand and ambitious project, but there is a thorn in its side: consciousness.
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/conscienceandconsciousness.com/2013/06/14/the-zombie-threat-to-a-science-of-mind/amp/

    A prickly thorn indeed.

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