This is probably a feature, not a bug:
Evaluating the legacy of Charles Darwin is a complex task. On the positive side, Darwin helped biologists to appreciate how organisms change with time to better survive in shifting environments. Before his views became popular, many saw species as static entities, so they did not fully appreciate the historical factors shaping such observations as diminished eyes in cave fish.
In addition, Darwin illuminated how variation in populations (e.g., differences in size and coloration) enabled species to better adapt to their surroundings. This insight was later integrated with genetics and mathematics in one of the great scientific achievements of the 20th century, known as population genetics. The resulting set of tools has proven invaluable in such fields as virology and environmental science.
On the negative side, Darwin asserted that adaptation is driven by natural selection, which he portrayed as a creative force that reshaped organisms. This illusion has consistently confused biologists over adaptation’s true nature…
The central problem with such claims is that the environment is not conscious, as depicted, e.g., in the Disney movie Pocahontas. It cannot select, mold, tinker, instruct, or perform any such actions reserved to intelligent agents. The most astute philosophers of science and biologists have called for the purging of such pseudoscientific thinking from biology.Brian Miller, “Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection Has Left a Legacy of Confusion over Biological Adaptation” at Evolution News and Science Today (September 20, 2021)
Miller cites Jerry Fodor in this, as well he should. See Fodor’s What Darwin Got Wrong (2010).
He quotes, “Indeed the language of neo-Darwinism is so careless that the words ‘divine plan’ can be substituted for ‘selection pressure’ in any popular work in the biological literature without the slightest disruption in the logical flow of argument. – Robert G. B. Reid, Biological Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment, Pp. 37-38”
That’s a devastating indictment, given that the whole point of Darwinism was to demonstrate that life could come into existence purely by random processes.
5 Replies to “Darwinism’s legacy of confusion in biology”
I am not aware of any scientist or philosopher of science who thought that the environment acted like an intelligent agent and I would question the astuteness of any scientist or philosopher of science who claimed they did.
The purpose of the theory of evolution – both in Darwin’s seminal version and its later expansions – is to explain how life changed and diversified after it had appeared. It was never – and still isn’t – an origin-of-life theory.
Sev we literally post hundreds of argyle that have that exact narrative here on UD
I’m mean hell just look up any Evo psych paper
And in the article people like Maximo who are hard nosed Darwinist are the ones making the criticisms
I’m not exactly sure how you are not aware of this….. like the “blind watch maker” is a book absolutely guilty of this the same with the selfish gene
Here’s an interesting paper on Darwin’s (potentially flawed) of what artificial selection involved.
Part of the Abstract:
In this paper I argue that we need to reconsider our understanding of Darwin’s analogy. Contrary to what is often assumed, nineteenth-century animal breeding practices constituted a highly controversial field that was fraught with difficulties. It was only with considerable effort that Darwin forged his analogy, and he only succeeded by downplaying the importance of two other breeding
techniques – crossing of varieties and inbreeding – that many breeders deemed essential to
obtain new varieties. Part of the explanation for Darwin’s gloss on breeding practices,
I shall argue, was that the methods of his main informants, the breeders of fancy pigeons,
were not representative of what went on in the breeding world at large. Darwin seems to
have been eager to take the pigeon fanciers at their word, however, as it was only their
methods that provided him with the perfect analogy with natural selection.
The major problem with natural selection theory is that it puts prejudical focus on competition scenario’s. So that you get an explanation in terms of relative population share of variants.
For many scenario’s it is better to explain in terms of an absolute population size.
Particularly in regards to calculating the probability of resistance of a disease to medication, the absolute numbers are what matters.
As each replication of the disease represents a chance at a mutation that provides resistance, it means that in effect every replication searches the space of possible mutations, for a mutation that is resistant. So that you can calculate a reasonable certainty of resistance arising, after so many replications.
And then if several mutations are required for resistance, then generally only the evolutionary trajectories that contribute to reproduction at each step are probable.
And probabiliticsly these beneficial mutations are linked by multiplication, so that at the outset, if mutation 1 has a probablity of 1 in million, and mutation 2 has a probablity of 1 in a million (given mutation 1), then the probability of both 1 and 2 at the outset, is a million times a million, a trillion.
etc. as leading to the conclusion that 3 drug therapy is generally indicated. As by Kleinman.
But evolutionists, being focused on the relative population share, they are clueless to calculate in terms of absolute numbers.
Meet Alan Fox:
Also, Darwin’s entire point was the appearance of design without the need of an intelligent designer.
How life originated dictates how it subsequently evolved. It is only if nature produced life would would think that stochastic processes such as natural selection and drift produced life’s diversity. An Intelligently Designed OoL means that life was designed with the information and ability to evolve and adapt. Evolution by means of telic processes.
That said, there isn’t any scientific theory of evolution. There aren’t any known naturalistic mechanisms capable of producing the diversity of life. The DNA model is a total bust in that regard. So all you have is a glossy, sciency sounding narrative, fueled by imagination alone.