Darwinism Intelligent Design

If no one is really a Darwinist any more…

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How to explain this? In his recent book The Problem of War: Darwinism, Christianity, and their Battle to Understand Human Conflict (2018), Darwinian philosopher Michael Ruse says, “Today’s professional evolutionists are committed Darwinians. They think that natural selection is the chief cause of change . . .” (p. ix)

Maybe, despite the most stellar achievements, any biologists who doubt are not “professional” evolutionists?

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See also: Astronomer Martin Rees reacts to Suzan Mazur’s Darwin Overthrown The story addresses the way Rees has been in the background of creative thinkers in biology who are grappling with what we now know. Non-Darwinian things.

9 Replies to “If no one is really a Darwinist any more…

  1. 1
    Brother Brian says:

    To be fair, no modern scientist is a true Darwinist. Evolutionary theory has changed significantly since Darwin’s time. Firstly, he didn’t know about DNA, or mutations, or meiosis, or inversions, or transpositions, or gene duplication, or chromosome fusing, or ….

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    I’m going to sound blonde here but I was just wondering how Michael Ruse’s comment relates to the title of the op And I also don’t understand this comment either

    Maybe, despite the most stellar achievements, any biologists who doubt are not professional evolutionists?

    Any help on that would be nice I’m sorry I’m sounding kind a like an idiot on this maybe I’m reading it wrong

  3. 3
    Brother Brian says:

    AaronS1978, I was commenting on the title of the OP. I agree that the title has nothing to do with the OP. I was just being lazy. 🙂

  4. 4
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Do either of you recall the “No true Scotsman …” proposition?

  5. 5
    Belfast says:

    ScuzzaMan,
    I do. And was about to make that comment. But you type faster than I.

  6. 6
    News says:

    Ruse seems to believe that everyone in the field is a true Scotsman. Some commenters here like to say that no one is a true Scotsman. Perhaps there is no true Scotsman.

    Or perhaps Darwinians are trying to reposition themselves in an increasingly non-Darwinian field?

    😉 🙂 0h wait. There’s Jonathan McLatchie. Yeah, he’s a true Scotsman.

  7. 7
    johnnyb says:

    Brother Brian –

    To be fair, no modern scientist is a true Darwinist. Evolutionary theory has changed significantly since Darwin’s time. Firstly, he didn’t know about DNA, or mutations, or meiosis, or inversions, or transpositions, or gene duplication, or chromosome fusing, or ….

    That’s all actually beside the point. What makes something “Darwinian” is if the main directionality is supplied by natural selection or some other mechanism. The reason is that Darwinism created the concept of “design without a designer” through natural selection. The physical mechanisms are somewhat inconsequential, provided that they don’t provide any teleonomic guidance. Darwin’s claim is that, if you start with a first life, everything else can be gained by application of non-teleonomic processes (processes which are not geared, implicitly or explicitly, towards any ends). This was supposed to be the point of natural selection – it was supposed to perform a “teleonomic-looking” process without actually possessing any teleonomy or teleology itself.

    Natural selection continues to be the only significant player in this arena. Even those who claim to be “non-Darwinian” usually are very Darwinian when you back them up in time sufficiently (i.e., maybe *today’s* evolution is teleonomic, but that’s only because, at sometime in the vague past, there was enough natural selection to build the teleonomy).

    Swamidass has tried to claim that evolutionary biology has moved past Darwinism and selectionism, but what is absolutely hilarious is that the articles he points to as being really good critiques of Behe are actually also incredibly selectionistic. It’s pretty comical. Swamidass: “Behe is improperly claiming that evolutionary biology is Darwinian, look at this article to see a detailed scientific explanation of why Behe is wrong.” Article: “Behe is wrong because selection can do anything!” (hopefully it is obvious that these are paraphrases).

    In any case, Ruse is correct that Darwinism is the primary game in town, primarily because Ruse doesn’t mince words. He’s trying to be direct and straightforward with his audience and not play games. He recognizes that selectionism is still selectionism even if you dress it up in fancy terms.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    JohnnyB at 7,, Excellent!

    In addition to what you stated, the biologist J. B. S. Haldane observed that, “Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.”

    And indeed it is impossible for biologists to do their research without constantly using teleological language.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/103951/#comment-676140

    Out of the numerous falsifications of Darwin’s theory, I consider the fact that the very words that biologist themselves are forced to use when they are doing their work to be a rather clear cut and humorous falsification of the theory.

    As this working biologist stated, “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

  9. 9
    Axel says:

    ‘ This was supposed to be the point of natural selection – it was supposed to perform a “teleonomic-looking” process without actually possessing any teleonomy or teleology itself.’

    Not even of an animist persuasion, JohnnyB ? No, I suppose not… More of the nature of magic ; well, the supernatural….

    ‘(i.e., maybe *today’s* evolution is teleonomic, but that’s only because, at sometime in the vague past, there was enough natural selection to build the teleonomy)’

    There you are…. Magic in action. Without a magician or a conjuror.

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