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David Klinghoffer: Evolutionary thinking in a “state of decadence”

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He quotes from a post by paleontologist Gunter Bechly on everyone’s favorite cuddly pet, prehistoric scorpions:

In today’s science world it is no longer sufficient to objectively describe some nicely preserved ancient fossils. You must overinterpret the evidence and oversell their importance with a fancy evolutionary narrative. And you do not have to hesitate to be really bold with your claims, because neither the scientific reviewers nor the popular science media will care if your claims are actually supported by the evidence. This system is broken. It was broken by the pressure to publish or perish, by the pressure of public relation departments to generate lurid headlines, and by the pressure of the idiotic paradigm that nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution.

David Klinghoffer, “Scientific Decadence and the Myth of Objectivity” at Evolution News and Science Today:

Speaking on behalf of popular media, I (O’Leary for News, a fifty-year veteran) would say, we’d far rather media releases were supported by sound evidence. But if the paleontologists are the only source of evidence and they all think as one—and we are unable to evaluate their work independently—it’s not clear what we can be expected to do about it if they inflate or misrepresent the evidence. Some reforms must come from within. We can promote reform but we can’t create it.

Klinghoffer goes on to note something neurosurgeon Michael Egnor wrote yesterday:

Perhaps the most disturbing damage that the abortion lobby has done to our society — aside from the systematic killing of tens of millions of innocent human beings — is the corruption of science in the name of ideology. Nowhere is this corruption more obvious than in the misrepresentation of the neuroscience of fetal pain perception.

A new article in the Journal of Medical Ethics titled Reconsidering Fetal Pain (open access) is a welcome correction to the abortion lobby’s systematic misrepresentation. The authors, one of whom is an abortion advocate, reviewed the literature on the perception of fetal pain and came to the conclusion that there is clear scientific evidence to support the view that unborn children feel pain as early as 13 weeks of gestation. Michael Egnor, “Abortion advocate admits in a medical journal that unborn children feel pain” at Mind Matters News

Egnor adds, “I have cared for hundreds of premature infants and it is very clear that these very young children experience pain intensely. An innocuous needlestick in the heel to draw small amount of blood would ordinarily not be particularly painful for an adult. But a tiny infant will scream at such discomfort.” But, all too often, it’s a silent scream among killers.

Klinghoffer also introduces Discovery Institute’s new “Long Story Short” video on homology:

suggesting that we also have a look at one of Michael Egnor’s other recent reflections: Jeffrey Epstein and the silence of the scientists

See also: The current war on objectivity.

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4 Replies to “David Klinghoffer: Evolutionary thinking in a “state of decadence”

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to Dobzhansky’s oft repeated claim that “nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution”, that claim in and of itself, since “all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature”, proves that all of science must be based upon Theistic presuppositions.

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    As Paul Nelson explains, “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    Darwinists might think that they could get along just as well without this “God talk”. Yet as Steve Dilley further explained in this subsequent article that examined several major biology textbooks it is found that, “significant difficulties arise if textbooks exclude theological claims in their case for evolution.”

    Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t – Published – 2019-06-02
    The Problem of God-talk in Biology Textbooks
    Abstract: We argue that a number of biology (and evolution) textbooks face a crippling dilemma.
    On the one hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks include theological claims in their case for evolution.
    (Such claims include, for example, ‘God would never design a suboptimal panda’s thumb, but an imperfect structure is just what we’d expect on natural selection.’) On the other hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks exclude theological claims in their case for evolution. So, whether textbooks include or exclude theological claims, they face debilitating problems. We attempt to establish this thesis by examining 32 biology (and evolution) textbooks, including the Big 12—that is, the top four in each of the key undergraduate categories (biology majors, non-majors, and evolution courses). In Section 2 of our article, we analyze three specific types of theology these texts use to justify evolutionary theory. We argue that all face significant difficulties. In Section 3, we step back from concrete cases and, instead, explore broader problems created by having theology in general in biology textbooks. We argue that the presence of theology—of whatever kind—comes at a significant cost, one that some textbook authors are likely unwilling to pay. In Section 4, we consider the alternative: Why not simply get rid of theology? Why not just ignore it? In reply, we marshal a range of arguments why avoiding God-talk raises troubles of its own. Finally, in Section 5, we bring together the collective arguments in Sections 2-4 to argue that biology textbooks face an intractable dilemma. We underscore this difficulty by examining a common approach that some textbooks use to solve this predicament. We argue that this approach turns out to be incoherent and self-serving. The poor performance of textbooks on this point highlights just how deep the difficulty is. In the end, the overall dilemma remains.
    https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/article/view/44

    Moreover, although “God talk” is found be essential to Darwinian thinking, it is interesting to point out that Darwinian thinking is not essential to biology itself. As Adam S. Wilkins pointed out,

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    Adam S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    And as Marc Kirschner pointed out,

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    The fact that Darwinian thinking is not essential to biology is revealed by the fact that you can, in biological research papers, remove all the words that make reference to Darwinian evolution and have the science not only survive but turn out to be healthier and more useful,

    No Harm, No Foul — What If Darwinism Were Excised from Biology? – December 4, 2019
    If Darwinism is as essential to biology as Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne argues, then removing evolutionary words and concepts, (“Darwin-ectomy”), should make research incomprehensible. If, on the other hand, Darwinism is more of a “narrative gloss” applied to the conclusions after the scientific work is done, as the late Philip Skell observed, then biology would survive the operation just fine. It might even be healthier, slimmed down after disposing of unnecessary philosophical baggage.,,,
    So, here are three papers in America’s premier science journal that appear at first glance to need Darwinism, use Darwinism, support Darwinism, and thereby impart useful scientific knowledge. After subjecting them to Darwin-ectomies, though, the science not only survived, but proved healthier and more useful.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/12/no-harm-no-foul-what-if-darwinism-were-excised-from-biology/

    While it is certainly bad enough for Darwin’s theory that you can remove all the Darwinian language from research papers and have the papers turn out healthier and more useful, what is completely devastating for Darwin’s theory is what type of language, i.e. teleological language, that CANNOT possibly be removed from these research papers that purport to support Darwinian evolution without severely compromising the integrity of the papers,

    As J. B. S. Haldane noted, “Teleology is like a mistress to the biologist; he dare not be seen with her in public but cannot live without her.”

    “Teleology is like a mistress to the biologist; he dare not be seen with her in public but cannot live without her.”
    J. B. S. Haldane

    tel·e·ol·o·gy
    noun
    PHILOSOPHY
    the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.
    THEOLOGY
    the doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.

    (The irresolved problem of) Teleology in biology
    Teleology in biology is the use of the language of goal-directedness in accounts of evolutionary adaptation, which some biologists and philosophers of science find problematic. ,,,
    Nevertheless, biologists still often write about evolution as if organisms had goals, and some philosophers of biology such as Francisco Ayala and biologists such as J. B. S. Haldane consider that teleological language is unavoidable in evolutionary biology.,,,
    Teleology
    Main article: Teleology
    Teleology, from Greek, telos “end, purpose”[3] and , logia, “a branch of learning”, was coined by the philosopher Christian von Wolff in 1728.[4] The concept derives from the ancient Greek philosophy of Aristotle, where the final cause (the purpose) of a thing is its function.[5] However, Aristotle’s biology does not envisage evolution by natural selection.[6]
    Phrases used by biologists like “a function of … is to …” or “is designed for” are teleological at least in language. The presence of real or apparent teleology in explanations of natural selection is a controversial aspect of the philosophy of biology, not least for its echoes of natural theology.[1][7]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teleology_in_biology

    Teleological, (i.e. purpose, goal directed), explanations of any sort are simply self defeating to any Darwinian explanation that seeks to explain biological life as being purely the result of completely blind and purposeless processes (as Darwinists are supposedly ‘purposely intent’ on doing). Yet teleological language is rampant within Darwinian explanations.

    In the following article, Stephen Talbott points out that it is impossible to describe the complexities of biological life without illegitimately using language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness (i.e. teleology). He even challenges readers to “take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness 1.”

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness 1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    Denis Noble also notes that “it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language”.

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
    http://www.thebestschools.org/.....interview/

    This working biologist agrees with Talbott and Noble’s assessment and states, “in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.”

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    In short, Theological presuppositions are essential to all of science, especially including biology. Even Dobzhansky’s essay itself, “nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution”, proves this point since “God talk” is essential to all of the arguments he makes in his paper.

    In other words, we can apparently remove all the words from research papers that make reference to Darwinian evolution and have the papers turn out healthier and more useful, but we cannot remove “God talk”, i.e. Teleological, (i.e. purpose, goal directed), explanations from research papers without severely compromising the integrity of the research. To repeat what Professor Nobel stated, “it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language,,,”

    Bottom line, the very words that Biologists themselves are forced to use, i.e. “God talk”, when they are doing their biological research and/or writing their papers, falsifies Darwinian evolution and validates Intelligent Design:

    Verse:

    Matthew 12:37
    For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    Of supplemental note: Michael Egnor has a very insightful article explaining exactly why Darwinists are so “purposely intent” on trying to deny teleology in the first place, “It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.”

    Teleology and the Mind – Michael Egnor – August 16, 2016
    Excerpt: From the hylemorphic perspective, there is an intimate link between the mind and teleology. The 19th-century philosopher Franz Brentano pointed out that the hallmark of the mind is that it is directed to something other than itself. That is, the mind has intentionality, which is the ability of a mental process to be about something, rather than to just be itself. Physical processes alone (understood without teleology) are not inherently about things. The mind is always about things. Stated another way, physical processes (understood without teleology) have no purpose. Mental processes always have purpose. In fact, purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) is what defines the mind. And we see the same purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) in nature.
    Intentionality is a form of teleology. Both intentionality and teleology are goal-directedness — intentionality is directedness in thought, and teleology is directedness in nature. Mind and teleology are both manifestations of purpose in nature. The mind is, within nature, the same kind of process that directs nature.
    In this sense, eliminative materialism is necessary if a materialist is to maintain a non-teleological Darwinian metaphysical perspective. It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.
    The link between intentionality and teleology, and the undeniability of teleology, is even more clear if we consider our inescapable belief that other people have minds. The inference that other people have minds based on their purposeful (intentional-teleological) behavior, which is obviously correct and is essential to living a sane life, can be applied to our understanding of nature as well. Just as we know that other people have purposes (intentionality), we know just as certainly that nature has purposes (teleology). In a sense, intelligent design is the recognition of the same purpose-teleology-intentionality in nature that we recognize in ourselves and others.
    Teleology and intentionality are certainly the inferences to be drawn from the obvious purposeful arrangement of parts in nature, but I (as a loyal Thomist!) believe that teleology and intentionality are manifest in an even more fundamental way in nature. Any goal-directed natural change is teleological, even if purpose and arrangement of parts is not clearly manifest. The behavior of a single electron orbiting a proton is teleological, because the motion of the electron hews to specific ends (according to quantum mechanics). A pencil falling to the floor behaves teleologically (it does not fall up, or burst into flame, etc.). Purposeful arrangement of parts is teleology on an even more sophisticated scale, but teleology exists in even the most basic processes in nature. Physics is no less teleological than biology.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/08/teleology_and_t/

  2. 2
    Truthfreedom says:

    @1 Bornagain77

    It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man.

    And it is the existent mind the thing that denies itself.
    This is a clear violation of the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC).

    1. Existent entities (minds) deny themselves.
    2. According to naturalism “I think, therefore I am not “.
    3.The mind is then directed (teleology) to deny itself.

    Being = Not- Being.

    This is intellectual suicide.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    “This is intellectual suicide.”

    It certainly is! I usually term the denial of mind and free will by Darwinists as leading to ‘catastrophic epistemological failure’, but “intellectual suicide” gets the point across more clearly!

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    TF

    Also:

    Where did the understanding of mind and self come from?
    It was created by mind and self.
    So, I created myself. My self decided to create my self, with my mind which created my mind.

    After that, I was able to deny that mind and self exist.

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