Intelligent Design

Lynn Margulis Expresses Her Doubts About neo-Darwinism In Discover Magazine

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A friend shared this recent piece from Discover Magazine, which features an interview with the renowned biologist Lynn Margulis. And I thought it was worth sharing with you lot on this blog.

Some revealing highlights:

All scientists agree that evolution has occurred… The question is, is natural selection enough to explain evolution? … This is the problem I have with neo-Darwinists: They teach that what is generating novelty is the accumulation of random mutations in DNA, in a direction set by natural selection… Natural selection eliminates and maybe maintains, but it doesn’t create. …

I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change — led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence. …
There is no gradualism in the fossil record… ‘Punctuated equilibrium’ was invented to describe the discontinuity. …
The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or ‘God did it.’ They have no alternatives that are scientific. …

The evolutionary biologists believe the evolutionary pattern is a tree. It’s not. The evolutionary pattern is a web… [emphasis added].

This is the kind of of intellectual honesty, and open-minded pursuit of facts and truth, upon which science thrives. Who knows; maybe, if Margulis were to spend some time time getting acquainted with the principles and inferential basis of design detection, she might be more inclined to favour a more teleological understanding of evolution.

25 Replies to “Lynn Margulis Expresses Her Doubts About neo-Darwinism In Discover Magazine

  1. 1
    nullasalus says:

    The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or ‘God did it.’ They have no alternatives that are scientific.

    You know, I have to admire Margulis. Very few scientists would be willing to be so candid – my experience is that when a creationist makes a valid criticism, it’s ignored or denounced as foolish. But get someone else to make the same exact criticism and the point is conceded.

    Though I suppose the reaction will be “Margulis is a crank who knows nothing about evolution.”

  2. 2
    JGuy says:

    I had to look her up. Not sure how well known it is, but according to the Wikipedia article, she was married to Carl Sagan.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Lynn Margulis stated;

    ‘The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or ‘God did it.’ They have no alternatives that are scientific. …’

    Save for one thing Lynn, it is impossible to be ‘scientific’ without God! And since it is impossible to be ‘scientific’ without God, it naturally follows that any theory the purports to explain reality, or life, and/or the juxtaposition of the two, cannot truly be ‘scientific’ in its premises.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    notes;

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    Materialism simply dissolves into absurdity when pushed to extremes and certainly offers no guarantee to us for believing our perceptions and reasoning within science are trustworthy in the first place:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    Can atheists trust their own minds? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byN38dyZb-k

    “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?” – Charles Darwin – Letter To William Graham – July 3, 1881

  5. 5
    johnnyb says:

    I think Margulis’ position *is* intelligent design based, but she wouldn’t use that term because it of its association with theism. I think, based on reading between-the-lines of many of her works, that she is a pantheist or similar (panpsychism, or even a possibly personally a strong Gaiaist, though she denies it as a scientific perspective). All of those are ID positions, because they reject the materialist view of nature for one where intention and agency are real.

  6. 6
    Bantay says:

    This is awesome. Is there some way to re-post this on FB?

  7. 7
    JemimaRacktouey says:

    jonnyb,
    This was also in the magazine:

    all scientists agree that evolution has occurred —that all life comes from a common ancestry… The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or “God did it.” They have no alternatives that are scientific.

    I think the CSI debacle, however you try and spin it, shows that quite clearly.

    You have no “alternative” to offer, just sniping on the sidelines. Anybody can criticize. Anybody can point out the holes, the flaws. The lack of data. It’s an imperfect world. See KF’s demands that I explain consciousness for an example. I can’t do that, therefore ID somehow.

    When ID addresses the problems rather then just pointing them out then that’s when it’ll become scientific.

  8. 8
    JemimaRacktouey says:

    Bantay,
    For re-posting on FB there are some links at the end of the blog post itself.

  9. 9
    Jonathan M says:

    To repost on Facebook, you can cut & paste the URL bar (make sure you click “Link” on the “share” bar on Facebook).

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    semi OT; this site has a pretty good summary of the vacuousness of materialism;

    Faith Defenders – Materialism
    Excerpt: As a world view, materialism is neither philosophically nor logically valid because it carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction. It does not correspond to what the world is. It does not describe man as he is or does. It is unlivable on a personal level and unbearable on a political level. Materialism is thus a rotted pillar which cannot give any support to modern atheism. Intelligent Design, contrary to what many evolutionists say publicly, does in fact make solid predictions for science that we can test:
    http://www.faithdefenders.com/.....sm_ap.html

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    correction, last sentence should not be there;

    Faith Defenders – Materialism
    Excerpt: As a world view, materialism is neither philosophically nor logically valid because it carries within itself the seeds of its own destruction. It does not correspond to what the world is. It does not describe man as he is or does. It is unlivable on a personal level and unbearable on a political level. Materialism is thus a rotted pillar which cannot give any support to modern atheism. It has failed the tests of reason and experience.
    http://www.faithdefenders.com/.....sm_ap.html

  12. 12
    jpg564 says:

    JemimaRacktouey,

    “When ID addresses the problems rather then just pointing them out then that’s when it’ll become scientific”

    The design inference absolutely addresses the problems. It’s the requirement for a materialist explanation that creates the problems that can’t be resolved.

    The claim that inferring design is not scientific is just materialist puffery. There’s no evidence that they even believe it themselves. Why not attack archeology or crime scene forensics? No one claims that’s not science.

  13. 13
    Jehu says:

    Lynn Margulis is brave in her criticism of Darwinism but her theory of symbiosis as being the source of all novelty only begs the issue. You can’t just have an infinite regression of organisms acquiring genes from other organisms. There must be some novelty introduced at some point in time for these genes to exist in the first place. And since she already concedes that natural selection cannot create novelty, where does that leaves us?

  14. 14
    Matteo says:

    “When ID addresses the problems rather then just pointing them out then that’s when it’ll become scientific”

    By that logic, disbelief in perpetual motion machines is unscientific, unless one succeeds in building one.

  15. 15
    Joseph says:

    Margulis:

    all scientists agree that evolution has occurred —that all life comes from a common ancestry…

    No one cares what scinntists agree on. People care what scientists can demonstrate and have positive evidence for. For without either of those all they have is an opinion.

    Also ID is not anti-evolution nor does it argue against common ancestry.

  16. 16
    Joseph says:

    The funny part about what Dr Margulis stated is that whenever I say that evolution is theaccumulion of genetic accidents evos tell me that is a strawman. Yet look at what the good Dr states:

    They teach that what is generating novelty is the accumulation of random mutations in DNA, in a direction set by natural selection

    and

    I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change

    Another one for me. Life is good…

  17. 17
    JemimaRacktouey says:

    Joseph
    all scientists agree that evolution has occurred —that all life comes from a common ancestry… The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or “God did it.” They have no alternatives that are scientific.

    So it seems that

    Another one for me. Life is good…,

    Is not in fact true unless you can offer a scientific alternative.

    Can you?

    No, you cannot. Then Dr Margulis has you bang to rights. You have no scientific alternative to offer.

    You said it best yourself

    People care what scientists can demonstrate and have positive evidence for. For without either of those all they have is an opinion.,

    All you have is opinion. You cannot demonstrate a single thing. Sure, you rant on your blog but there is a big difference between that and science.

    A big difference.

    So Joseph, if accumulation of random mutations does not lead to evolutionary change what does? Does the designer intervene and create such change directly? What is your position?

    Or is “huh Darwinists don’t know nuffink therefore ID” the sum total of your postion?

  18. 18
    Joseph says:

    JemimaRacktouey.

    Thank you for continuing to prove that you are totally cluless.

    When I posted:

    Another one for me. Life is good

    That is becuse I have been saing that the ToE posits an accumulation of genetic accidents. And Dr Margulis just echoed my claim and by doing so refuted all the evos who say I am presenting a strawman.

    Then JR sez:
    All you have is opinion. You cannot demonstrate a single thing.

    Actually IDists have demonstrated quite a bit whereas your position hasn’t demonstrated anything- nothing, nada, zilch, zero.

    So Joseph, if accumulation of random mutations does not lead to evolutionary change what does?

    Directed mutations, built-in responses to environmental cues- just as Dr Spetner wrote back in 1997.

    But anyway JR, what do YOU have? It appears from your posts that all you can do is fling mud and other filthy stuff, but you sure as heck cannot produce either a testable hypothesis nor positive evidence for your position.

  19. 19
    Joseph says:

    BTW Intelligent Design is a scientific aternative. Go figure…

  20. 20
    JemimaRacktouey says:

    Joseph,

    And Dr Margulis just echoed my claim and by doing so refuted all the evos who say I am presenting a strawman.

    And Dr Margulis also pointed out that unless you suggest an alternative you are just another creationist poking holes in the ToE.

    Actually IDists have demonstrated quite a bit whereas your position hasn’t demonstrated anything- nothing, nada, zilch, zero.

    Yes, for example you’ve demonstrated how to calculate CSI for a set of arbitrarily chosen examples and you’ve also demonstrated the usage of the Explanatory Filter.

    Oh, wait…

    Directed mutations, built-in responses to environmental cues- just as Dr Spetner wrote back in 1997.

    Then perhaps you should send Dr Margulis a copy of the book.

    So, Joseph, what test could be performed to show that directed mutations, built-in responses to environmental cues, explains anything at all?

    but you sure as heck cannot produce either a testable hypothesis nor positive evidence for your position.

    So, Joseph, what test could be performed to show that directed mutations, built-in responses to environmental cues, explains anything at all?

  21. 21
    Joseph says:

    JR:

    And Dr Margulis also pointed out that unless you suggest an alternative you are just another creationist poking holes in the ToE.

    1- One doesn’t have to be a creationist to poke holes in the ToE

    2- The design inference mandates that necessity and chance be eliminated first- therefor poking holes in the current ToE is a requirement.

    3- ID is an alternative.

    JR:

    Yes, for example you’ve demonstrated how to calculate CSI for a set of arbitrarily chosen examples and you’ve also demonstrated the usage of the Explanatory Filter.

    Both CSI and the EF have been more than adequately explained.

    The design inference is based on our knowledge of cause and effect relationships. Your position is based on the bald declaration of “anything but design!”

    And if Dr Margulis isn’t familiar with what is being said, ie Dr Spetner and other proponents of non-random, teleological evolution, then that is on her.

    JR:

    So, Joseph, what test could be performed to show that directed mutations, built-in responses to environmental cues, explains anything at all?

    What tests are being performed and have been performed to show that blind, undirected chemical processes explains anything at all?

    We can take a look at those so we have a baseline and something to compare. And taht way you can’t move the goalposts.

    But anyway it seems that you agree that I was not presenting a strawman when I said the ToE posits an accumulation of genetic accidents.

    Thank you.

  22. 22
    JemimaRacktouey says:

    Joseph,
    If the ID community has known this information since 1997, well over a decade, then why has the ID community not created an experiment to test this “not by chance” idea so that people like Lynn Margulis can be persuaded? You’ve had over a decade after all!

    What tests are being performed and have been performed to show that blind, undirected chemical processes explains anything at all?

    http://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/ool-www/program/

  23. 23
    Joseph says:

    JR,

    Your position has had over 150 years and still has nothing to show for it.

    And if your reference is any indication then you don’t have anything to speak of beyond untestable speculations based on untestable assumptions.

    Geologists would have an easier time trying to explain Stonehenge as the result of geologicl procsses.

  24. 24
    Joseph says:

    Heck Dr Margulis’ claim of endosymbiosi as the origin of mitochondria and chloroplasts can’ even be experimentally verified.

  25. 25
    johnnyb says:

    JemimaRacktouey –

    First of all, many ID’ers agree with Margulis that Creationism is wrong and that evolution has occurred (this is not my position, but it is a common position within ID – see Behe).

    Second, I don’t see how CSI is either a debacle or relevant. If CSI is wrong, then it is wrong, but it doesn’t really affect the main program. Behe never used CSI, I don’t believe Wells has either, I don’t, and many others don’t. CSI is primarily Dembski’s work. I haven’t looked into it enough to tell for sure if the calculation is true or calculable. However, I do agree with most of the reasoning behind it, in just the same way that people who don’t know the best way to calculate a phylogenetic tree are nonetheless in agreement with the basic reasonings behind the tree.

    In any case, how is it unscientific to say, for instance, that we lose genetic information over time rather than gain it? That is the position of several, including John Sanford, who called it “genetic entropy”, and also I believe Hubert Yockey, who simply referred back to Shannon information theory.

    How is it less scientific to say that information goes down rather than up? Or to say (as I do) that information requires information to create. Or to say, as has every biological experiment ever performed, that life begets life. I don’t see how *any* of these claims could be considered unscientific.

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