Intelligent Design

Darwin, Natural Selection, and the Norman Bates School of Hotel Management

Spread the love

There’s an old Saturday Night Live routine with Anthony Perkins (who played Norman Bates, the crazed motel operator in Hitchcock’s PSYCHO). In it, Perkins, playing Bates, describes his new school of hotel management:

Norman Bates: [ to camera ] Are you tired of slaving away in a dull, dead-end job? Fed up with meager paychecks that never stretch quite far enough? Sickened and disgusted by missing out on the good things of life? Hi, I’m Norman Bates for The Norman Bates School of Motel Management, here to explain how you can be your own boss while earning money in this rapidly-expanding field. Best of all, you learn at home, right in the privacy of your own shower. I’ll show you how to run anything from a tourist home to.. [ camera pans to scary-looking duck trophy on the wall, then back to Norman ] ..a multi-unit motor inn. You’ll recieve step-by-step instructions.. [ camera pans to scary-looking owl trophy on the wall, then back to Norman ] ..on how to make reservations and how to determine room rates, how to change the linen, and even little-known tricks of the trade, such as improving customer relations by giving guests a complimentary newspaper in the morning. [ holds up newspaper that reads “Los Angeles Times: SLASHER STRIKES AGAIN!” ]

Yes, a diploma in motel management can be your passport to prosperity, independence, and security, but are you motel material? Let’s find out with a simple quiz.

Question 1: A guest loses the key to her room. Would you
A) Give her a duplicate key
B) Let her in with your passkey
C) Hack her to death with a kitchen knife

Question 2: Which of the following is the most important in running a successful motel?
A) Cordial atmosphere
B) Courteous service
C) Hack her to death with a kitchen knife

Question 3: How many…. MORE

You get the idea. The correct answer to every question is C): “Hack her to death with a kitchen knife.” Likewise, with Darwinism (aka Darwinian theory, the blind watchmaker, mechanistic evolution, naturalistic evolution, unintelligent evolution, etc.), the answer to every question over how some complex biological system formed is:

C) Hack to death all organisms that don’t have that system or some precursor to it.

We can thank Darwin for that insightful answer. The short-hand for it is NATURAL SELECTION.

24 Replies to “Darwin, Natural Selection, and the Norman Bates School of Hotel Management

  1. 1
    tinabrewer says:

    I am confused. Isn’t natural selection just a given? The supposedly random mutations of the Darwinian theory are the real creative geniuses, right?

    Natural selection is survival of the survivors. I’d say it’s a given that survivors survive. -ds

  2. 2
    bFast says:

    TinaBrewer, I agree with you, natural selection is — whether NDE is valid or not is totally resting on the sholders of random mutation as the creative agent.

    Yet natural selection’s answer is always “hack her to death with a kitchen knife.” The scientific community seems more focused on the natural selection bit than they are on the random mutation bit. If evolutionary biology were focused on the random mutation bit, then calculations of the reasonable limits of chance (such as UPB) would be respected and established. Dembski’s analysis of the state of evolutionary biology appears correct to me.

  3. 3

    I’d say it’s a given that survivors survive. -ds

    Perhaps, but apparently survival goes beyond the Selection process:
    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/a.....atch1.html

    Another nail in the coffin of Methodological Naturalism
    (Neo-Monism in a cheap hairy gorilla suit)

    Ahh, good old blogohol!

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    The explanation for the existence of X, is that those who possessed X left more offspring than those who did not possess X.

    Btw, the “creative” power of “Natural Selection” is that it permits (and supposedly encourages) the accumulation of changes, and if enough changes accumulate, something interesting emerges.

    One thing I’d like to know is, rather than getting the idea for natural selection from Malthus (theory), why didn’t Darwin come up with the basis for his theory from observations of natural populations in the wild?

    The interesting thing is usually extinction. 99% of all species that ever lived are extinct. It appears that what random mutation really does isn’t accumulate small beneficial changes until novel new things are created but rather accumulates small detrimental changes until the genome is corrupted to the point of extinction. -ds

  5. 5
    Mats says:

    The “monotony of the answers” reminds me of something I read few days ago:

    Four of the most outstanding mysteries about humans are:
    1) Why do they walk on two legs?
    2) Why have they lost their fur?
    3) Why have they developed such large brains?
    4) Why did they learn to speak?

    The orthodox answers to these questions are:
    1) ‘We do not yet know;’
    2) ‘We do not yet know;’
    3) ‘We do not yet know;’
    4) ‘We do not yet know.’

    The list of questions could be considerably lengthened without affecting the monotony of the answersElaine Morgan, The Scars of Evolution, Oxford University Press, New York, 1994, p. 5.

  6. 6
    tinabrewer says:

    nice one Mats. thanks for that.

  7. 7
    DaveScot says:

    mats

    1) Why do they walk on two legs?
    2) Why have they lost their fur?
    3) Why have they developed such large brains?
    4) Why did they learn to speak?

    1) So hands are free for tool use. Birds walk on two legs so their wings are free for flying.
    2) Because they didn’t need it on the African savannah. Elephants lost theirs too.
    3) Because larger brains make better tools. Scaling anatomical features in size is a simple adaptation that most animals can make in an eyeblink of geologic time.
    4) Because their larger brains have a larger capacity for it and it’s great aid in survival. Many animals have arbitrarily complex modes of communication and it isn’t always accomplished by sound.

    I have no idea why anyone would say “we do not know” when the answers are so obvious.

  8. 8
    Mung says:


    1) Why do they walk on two legs?
    2) Why have they lost their fur?
    3) Why have they developed such large brains?
    4) Why did they learn to speak?

    1) Because walking on two legs is better than walking on no legs.
    2) They didn’t lose their fur, they traded it for a bigger brain.
    3) Because “small-brained” is an insult.
    4) So women would have something to do other than cook, clean, and have kids.

  9. 9
    johnnyb says:

    What’s really amusing is when “selection” actually gets equivocated on. I’ve seen “selection” taken to mean the opposite of what natural selection is supposed to mean when a Darwinist is trying to save the theory. For instance, a few biologists have talked about directed mutation being another form of “selection”, because the chemical processes are selecting the gene to modify. Yet this is the opposite of natural selection, which is not supposed to see in advance to know what changes to make!

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    The interesting thing is usually extinction.

    Good point. Assuming gradualism and uniformitarianism, how did the theory explain extinction? Did Darwin use extinctions to argue against a creator? How did he explain it on his theory? How different would Darwinism have been had it been based upon observation rather than theory?

    DArwin mostly dithers on the subject of extinction. He has a flash of insight saying that there’s a mysterious injurious agency constantly at work.

    It is most difficult always to remember that the increase of every living being is constantly being checked by unperceived injurious agencies; and that these same unperceived agencies are amply sufficient to cause rarity, and finally extinction.

    In the quote Darwin is actually talking about random mutation but he doesn’t know that in 1850 as the mechanisms of heritable change hadn’t been discovered. Heck, they’re still being discovered today! 😉

  11. 11
    Chris Hyland says:

    “For instance, a few biologists have talked about directed mutation being another form of “selection”, because the chemical processes are selecting the gene to modify.”

    Most of the ones I know do, it’s an important discovery. This book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....oding=UTF8, goes into it at length and is very popular with ‘evolutionists’.

    “If evolutionary biology were focused on the random mutation bit, then calculations of the reasonable limits of chance (such as UPB) would be respected and established.”

    Considering random mutation used to just mean ‘point mutation in DNA causing change in amino acid sequence’ it’s changed quite a bit so there must be some people working on it.

    This appears to be a quibble over semantics. How do any of the mechanisms of inheritance described in the book help explain how the flagellum or ribosome evolved without intelligent guidance? I highly doubt you’re suggesting that any intelligence had anything to do with the emergence and divergence of life so nothing has changed in that dispute. -ds

  12. 12
    bFast says:

    DS:

    99% of all species that ever lived are extinct. It appears that what random mutation really does isn’t accumulate small beneficial changes until novel new things are created but rather accumulates small detrimental changes until the genome is corrupted to the point of extinction

    This is a nice hypothesis, but if it were so, then there would be some semblance of an “average lifespan of a species”. However, my understanding is that the dungeness crab has existed, unchanged, for like 500 mil. Other animals, such as the lungfish have similar extended histories. Further, of all of the extinctions I have seen, I have not seen any where the animal just became burdened down by mutations and whithered away. Rather it seems that changes in the environment, and an animal not able to keep up with the changes, are the cause of extinctions. I must conclude that natural selection is actually good enough to keep a functional data-set in organisms forever.

    Individuals have variable lifespans. Species do too. So there are a few living fossils. Most rules have exceptions. The fact remains that 99% of all species that ever lived are extinct. One can reasonably presume that the rest are, sooner or later, headed towards the same fate. -ds

  13. 13
    tribune7 says:

    A better illustration would be if the SNL skit was modified so C was always “let her in with a passkey” because sometimes that would be the right answer, while other times it wouldn’t make a lick of sense.

    Like natural selection.

  14. 14
    bFast says:

    Tribune7, good one. Some times natural selection is the right answer.

  15. 15
    idnet.com.au says:

    ds “The fact remains that 99% of all species that ever lived are extinct.”

    I recently read that there are 250,000 known fossil species. I also have been led to believe that there are 2 mil species of insects alone. Where do we get the figure of 99% of species being extinct? What is the primary source of this often quoted “fact”?

    I didn’t spend a lot of time looking but it appears to be drawn from the average length of time species persist in the fossil record (10 million years). This establishes a background rate which is then multiplied by the length of time they’ve been coming and going yielding estimates of between 5 and 50 billion total species. Interestingly 99.9% is the number often claimed which includes the American Museum of Natural History among the claimants. So 99% is a conservative number. Here is a good starting point here for further reading on the subject. -ds

  16. 16
    johnnyb says:

    “Most of the ones I know do, it’s an important discovery.”

    I agree it’s an important discovery. The problem is that it is the absolute antithesis of what “selection” has traditionally meant. Using that term (a) causes confusion and (b) is in several cases just a really lame attempt to keep Darwin alive in the face of directly contradicting evidence.

  17. 17
    johnnyb says:

    idnet —

    I haven’t done any research into this myself, but this paper:

    http://www.springerlink.com/(r.....1:102856,1

    Indicates that those estimates are the result of Darwinistic assumptions and monophyly. if monophyly and Darwinism are true, then there would have to be an untold number of transitionals that we simply haven’t discovered yet. However, if either one are false, then there is no longer any reason to suppose that these transitional animals existed, absent of actually finding them.

    I’ve summarized the paper here:

    http://crevobits.blogspot.com/.....ology.html

  18. 18
  19. 19
    tribune7 says:

    Dave, I’m going to take issue with your phrasing. Granted there is a reasonable methodology to which you can point to conclude that 99 percent of all speices that lived became extinct, but to call it a fact is closing debate.

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    I’m with ds on this one. I think it’s better to make them challenge their own assumptions unless there is some clear benefit to doing it for them. Treat their assumptions as predictions of their theory and show how facts/or reality conflict with their predictions. Document it. Watch how they don’t discard/change the theory, but simply invent another one to explain the anomaly. Like Walter ReMine says, evolutionary theory is a smorgasbord.

  21. 21
    idnet.com.au says:

    I have a quote for you. Regarding Archaeopteryx (I’m sure glad my mom didn’t call me that!) Darrel Falk writes.

    “Biologists believe that there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of similar species that existed between 100 and 200 million years ago. … Perhaps even one day somebody will discover a fossil of a species that really was in the direct lineage of birds.”

    It seems that it is Darwinism that is “faith based” not (only?) ID.

  22. 22

    […] Notes: 1. To learn more about Darwin’s theory and death, please refer to this memorable essay by Bill Dembski: Darwin, Natural Selection, and the Norman Bates School of Hotel Management. […]

  23. 23

    […] Darwinism, Natural Selection and the Norman Bates School of Hotel Management […]

  24. 24

    […] Darwinism, Natural Selection and the Norman Bates School of Hotel Management […]

Leave a Reply