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Michael Denton’s Evolution (Still) a Theory in Crisis a Spectator “Best Book”?


Evolution Still a Theory in Crisis From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:

Wow, congratulations to Discovery Institute biologist Michael Denton! He has won richly deserved praise in the London Spectator. In a feature highlighting “The best and worst books of 2016,” with choices from a panel of contributors, the distinguished literary critic A.N. Wilson selects Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis  as his best nonfiction work of the year:

Michael Denton’s Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis (Discovery Institute Press, £16.80). A sequel to his 1985 book — Evolution: A Theory in Crisis — this takes us up to date with the dazzling developments of life sciences over the past 30 years. Denton is a sceptic about Darwin’s theory of evolution on purely scientific grounds. It is hard to see how anyone reading his book could not be persuaded. Palaeontology provides abundant evidence of evolution within species, but none of one species morphing into another. Denton is fascinatingly clear in his exposition of the science of genetics, and how it destroys the Darwinian position. A truly great book. More.

Michael Denton’s first edition, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, set many people thinking. The second edition (“Still” a Theory in Crisis) is even better. If one looks at evolution without the coke bottle glasses supplied by Darwinism, one learns so much more. But that is just the trouble. A smart whelp may soon know more than the Darwinist prof. One must apply the brakes.

See also: Michael Denton: Life – 4 B years with no change

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RVB8 and others: I wrote about this behavior back in 2011 on my blog. Excerpt: "The pattern is consistent and very old; I have been seeing it in the popular literature for  over 30 years now, and it seldom varies from the script. A bold statement up front claiming the settled scientific truth and fact of evolution then followed by a long series of speculations and suppositions supported by little if any scientific fact. A couple of illustrations to make my point: ... " Read my full article at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/?s=not+that+smart I received no feedback or answers back then, nor do I expect any now from RVB8 and others of his type. However, others may interested and provide their own experiences. WHAT SAY YOU? ayearningforpublius
rvb: Have you any idea at the volume of research supporting evolution published during this period is. Of course we do. And BTW do you have any idea of the volume of money taken from the taxpayers for this purpose? And yes most of the resulting papers will have the words "could have", "might have been", "probably occurred", etc. etc. that are required to conform to the style of reporting to which you refer. And also all kinds of conforming references (as in the popular media, e.g. NatGeo) to attributes of organisms as having "evolved" instead of just stating the obvious and direct 'are extant'. Or maybe even just referring to them directly, what a concept. But the former style makes it easier to hypnotize people like you into the preferred worldview, scientific materialism. And BTW RVB have you any idea of the volume of research that documents Darwinian macroevolution as it is unfolding in the here and now? Please I'm sure you can be forthcoming on this. And one more thing R. Have you any idea of the volume of time you spend coming onto the website with apparently little or nothing to show for it? Or maybe if I'm wrong and if you think there is something to show for it can you let us in on that? groovamos
To back up the claim that “Evolution: a Theory in Crisis”, Denton's first book, is still relevant, just recently this article was published:
Discovering what keeps cellular cargo on track - November 17, 2016 Excerpt: ,,,researchers, for the first time, have identified how plants' largest cell factory moves to maintain vital functions,,,, "Healthy cells operate as smoothly as the best Minecraft city imaginable," said Federica Brandizzi, MSU Foundation Professor of plant biology. "The miniature cities are fully equipped with all of the facilities, or organelles, that are necessary for a smooth-running operation." Administration center, factories and even recycling centers are all there, running at 100-percent efficiency. In contrast to the infrastructures and city buildings in cells, however, the organelles, are not built on static foundations. They are huge, mobile cellular cargos that travel rapidly to reach resources and deliver products. When organelles go off the rails and mobility is disrupted, bad things happen. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161117150333.htm
Please note how the claim in that article from last week matches up with what Denton said 3 decades ago:
"To grasp the reality of life as it has been revealed by molecular biology, we must magnify a cell a thousand million times until it is twenty kilometres in diameter and resembles a giant airship large enough to cover a great city like London or New York. What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell we would see millions of openings, like the portholes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out. If we were to enter one of these openings with find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus of itself would be a vast spherical chamber more than a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we would see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, the miles of coiled chains of the DNA molecules. A huge range of products and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from all the various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell. We would wonder at the level of control implicit in the movement of so many objects down so many seemingly endless conduits, all in perfect unison. We would see all around us, in every direction we looked, all sorts of robot-like machines. We would notice that the simplest of the functional components of the cell, the protein molecules, were astonishingly, complex pieces of molecular machinery, each one consisting of about three thousand atoms arranged in highly organized 3-D spatial conformation. We would wonder even more as we watched the strangely purposeful activities of these weird molecular machines, particularly when we realized that, despite all our accumulated knowledge of physics and chemistry, the task of designing one such molecular machine – that is one single functional protein molecule – would be completely beyond our capacity at present and will probably not be achieved until at least the beginning of the next century. Yet the life of the cell depends on the integrated activities of thousands, certainly tens, and probably hundreds of thousands of different protein molecules. We would see that nearly every feature of our own advanced machines had its analogue in the cell: artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction. In fact, so deep would be the feeling of deja-vu, so persuasive the analogy, that much of the terminology we would use to describe this fascinating molecular reality would be borrowed from the world of late twentieth-century technology. What we would be witnessing would be an object resembling an immense automated factory, a factory larger than a city and carrying out almost as many unique functions as all the manufacturing activities of man on earth. However, it would be a factory which would have one capacity not equaled in any of our own most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours. To witness such an act at a magnification of one thousand million times would be an awe-inspiring spectacle.” Michael Denton PhD., Evolution: A Theory In Crisis, pg.328
Frankly, many of Denton's deep insights in 'Evolution: A Theory In Crisis', and in his subsequent books, besides still being relevant, are simply timelessly beautiful. Here are a few more supplemental notes on Denton's work:
The Cold Trap: How It Works - Michael Denton - May 10, 2014 Excerpt: As water vapor ascends in the atmosphere, it cools and condenses out, forming clouds and rain and snow and falling back to the Earth. This process becomes very intense at the so-called tropopause (17-10 km above sea level) where air temperatures reach -80°C and all remaining water in the atmosphere is frozen out. The air in the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere in the stratosphere (extending up to 50 km above mean sea level) is absolutely dry, containing oxygen, nitrogen, some CO and the other atmospheric gases, but virtually no H2O molecules.,,, ,,,above 80-100 km, atoms and molecules are subject to intense ionizing radiation. If water ascended to this level it would be photo-dissociated into hydrogen and oxygen and, the hydrogen being very light, lost into space. Over a relatively short geological period all the water and oceans would be evaporated and the world uninhabitable.,,, Oxygen, having a boiling point of -183°C, has no such problems ascending through the tropopause cold trap into the stratosphere. As it does, it becomes subject to more and more intense ionizing radiation. However this leads,, to the formation of ozone (O3). This forms a protective layer in the atmosphere above the tropopause, perfectly placed just above the cold trap and preventing any ionizing radiation in the far UV region from reaching the H2O molecules at the tropopause and in the troposphere below. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/05/the_cold_trap_h085441.html Michael Denton: Remarkable Coincidences in Photosynthesis - podcast http://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/2015/09/michael-denton-remarkable-coincidences-in-photosynthesis/ “Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance of various key elements for life) – podcast http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2012-08-21T14_43_59-07_00 Dr. Michael Denton Interview Excerpt Question 14: 14. Q: ,,,you also detail that nature isn’t fine-tuned for just any kind of life, but life specifically like human life. Would you expound on this for our readers? A: there are certain elements of the fine-tuning which are clearly for advanced being like ourselves. We are warm-blooded, terrestrial aerobes; we use oxidation to get energy, we’re warm-blooded and we breathe air. We get our oxygen from the air. First of all, a warm-blooded organism needs to maintain a constant temperature. To do that we are massively assisted by the high specific heat of water, which buffers our body against rapid changes in temperature. In getting rid of excess heat, we utilize the evaporative cooling of water. That’s why dog’s pant, we sweat, etc. Warm-blooded organisms have to get rid of excess heat, and the evaporative cooling of water is the only way you’ve really got to get rid of heat when the temperature reaches close to body temperature. When it’s hot you can’t radiate off body heat to the environment. These critical thermal properties are obviously of great utility to air breathing, warm-blooded organisms like our self. But what relevance do they have to an extremophile living in the deep ocean, or a cold-blooded fish living in the sea? It’s obvious that these are elements of fitness in nature which seem to be of great and specific utility to beings like us, and very little utility to a lot of other organisms. Of course it is the case that they are playing a role in maintaining the constancy of global climate, the physical and chemical constancy of the hydrosphere and so forth. No doubt the evaporative cooling of water plays a big role in climatic amelioration; it transfers heat from the tropics to the higher latitudes and this is of utility for all life on earth. But definitely water’s thermal properties seem particularly fit for advanced organisms of biology close to our own. And even the freezing of water from the top down rather than the bottom up, which conserves large bodies of fresh water on the earth, is again relevant to large organisms. Bacterial cells can withstand quite well periodically freezing. And for unicellular organisms living in the hot sub surface rocks its pretty well irrelevant. In other words the top down freezing and the consequent preservation of liquid water is of much more utility for a large organism, but of far less relevance for microbial life. Or consider the generation and utilization of oxygen. We use oxygen, but many organisms don’t use oxygen; for a lot of organisms it’s a poison. So how do we get our oxygen? When we look at the conditions in the universe for photosynthesis, we find a magical collusion between of all sorts of different elements of fitness. First of all the atmospheric gases let through visual light which has got the right energy for biochemistry, for photosynthesis. And what are the gases in the atmosphere that let through the light? Well, carbon dioxide, water vapor, oxygen, and nitrogen. And what are the basic reactants which are involved in photosynthesis? Well, oxygen, water, and CO2. The same compounds that let through the light are also the main ‘players’ in photosynthesis. And then you might wonder what about the harmful radiations? UV, Gamma rays, microwaves? Well to begin with the sun only puts out most of its electromagnetic radian energy in the visual region (light) and near infrared (heat) and puts out very little in the dangerous regions (UV’s, gamma rays, X-rays etc.). And wonder on wonder, the atmospheric gases absorb all these harmful radiations. And so on and on and on, one anthropocentric biofriendly coincidence after another. And what provides the necessary warmth for photosynthesis, indeed for all life on earth. What keeps the average temperature of the earth above freezing? Well water vapor and carbon dioxide. If it wasn’t for water vapor and CO2 in the atmosphere the temperature of the earth would be -33 centigrade. Now when you consider all these factors necessary for the generation of oxygen via photosynthesis knowing that not all organisms use oxygen implying that all these coincidences are irrelevant to the vast majority of all species (most of the biomass on the planet may well be anaerobic unicellular life occupying the hot deep biosphere in the sub surface rocks) never use oxygen, its clear that the special fitness of nature for oxygen utilization is for us. http://successfulstudent.org/dr-michael-denton-interview/ Privileged Species - How the cosmos is designed for human life - website http://privilegedspecies.com/
rvb8, you claim that "Evolution: a Theory in Crisis" and "Evolution: (Still) a Theory in Crisis" are refuted by 'voluminous,, research supporting evolution'. The fallacy you just committed here is known as a 'literature bluff'.
Note carefully the common Darwinist tactic here: Literature bluff: There are thousands of books and articles demonstrating Darwinist proposition X. Calling the bluff: OK, show me exactly where in just one of those books or articles this proposition is established. Inevitable Darwinist response: [crickets] https://uncommondescent.com/ddd/from-the-ya-cant-make-this-stuff-up-files-for-march-4-2013/ “The response I have received from repeating Behe's claim about the evolutionary literature, which simply brings out the point being made implicitly by many others, such as Chris Dutton and so on, is that I obviously have not read the right books. There are, I am sure, evolutionists who have described how the transitions in question could have occurred.” And he continues, “When I ask in which books I can find these discussions, however, I either get no answer or else some titles that, upon examination, do not, in fact, contain the promised accounts. That such accounts exist seems to be something that is widely known, but I have yet to encounter anyone who knows where they exist.” David Ray Griffin - retired professor of philosophy of religion and theology
A Darwinist named Nick Matzke, who use to blog here from time to time, was infamous for employing the tactic of literature bluffing:
Calling Nick Matzke's literature bluff on molecular machines - DonaldM UD blogger - April 2013 Excerpt: So now, 10 years later in 2006 Matzke and Pallen come along with this review article. The interesting thing about this article is that, despite all the hand waving claims about all these dozens if not hundreds of peer reviewed research studies showing how evolution built a flagellum, Matzke and Pallen didn’t have a single such reference in their bibliography. Nor did they reference any such study in the article. Rather, the article went into great lengths to explain how a researcher might go about conducting a study to show how evolution could have produced the system. Well, if all those articles and studies were already there, why not just point them all out? In shorty, the entire article was a tacit admission that Behe had been right all along. Fast forward to now and Andre’s question directed to Matzke. We’re now some 17 years after Behe’s book came out where he made that famous claim. And, no surprise, there still is not a single peer reviewed research study that provides the Darwinian explanation for a bacterial flagellum (or any of the other irreducibly complex biological systems Behe mentioned in the book). We’re almost 7 years after the Matzke & Pallen article. So where are all these research studies? There’s been ample time for someone to do something in this regard. Matzke will not answer the question because there is no answer he can give…no peer reviewed research study he can reference, other than the usual literature bluffing he’s done in the past. https://uncommondescent.com/irreducible-complexity/andre-asks-an-excellent-question-regarding-dna-as-a-part-of-an-in-cell-irreducibly-complex-communication-system/#comment-453291 A short history of Matzke's literature bluffing – Nov. 2015 https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/darwins-view-of-the-fossil-record/#comment-589458
In the literature, the way that Darwinists give the false impression that experimental science supports Darwinian evolution is by what has been termed a 'narrative gloss':
“Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No. I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss. In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.” Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005 http://www.discovery.org/a/2816
Here are a few notes backing that ‘just a narrative gloss’ assertion up:
Darwinian ‘science’ in a nutshell: Jonathan Wells on pop science boilerplate – April 20, 2015 Excerpt: Based on my reading of thousands of Peer-Reviewed Articles in the professional literature, I’ve distilled (the) template for writing scientific articles that deal with evolution: 1. (Presuppose that) Darwinian evolution is a fact. 2. We used [technique(s)] to study [feature(s)] in [name of species], and we unexpectedly found [results inconsistent with Darwinian evolution]. 3. We propose [clever speculations], which might explain why the results appear to conflict with evolutionary theory. 4. We conclude that Darwinian evolution is a fact. https://uncommondescent.com/darwinism/jon-wells-on-pop-science-boilerplate/ Rewriting Biology Without Spin By Ann Gauger – Jan. 12, 2014 Excerpt: It’s a funny thing—scientific papers often have evolutionary language layered on top of the data like icing on a cake. In most papers, the icing (evolutionary language) sits atop and separate from the cake (the actual experimental data). Even in papers where the evolutionary language is mixed in with the data like chocolate and vanilla in a marble cake, I can still tell one from the other. I have noticed that this dichotomy creates a kind of double vision. I know what the data underlying evolutionary arguments are. By setting aside the premise that evolution is true, I can read what’s on the page and at the same time see how that paper would read if neutral, fact-based language were substituted for evolutionary language. Let me give you an example.,,, http://www.biologicinstitute.org/post/107965814309/rewriting-biology-without-spin
The truth, once you get past all the 'bluff and bluster', is that experiments in the lab have never bore, and will never bear, fruitful results that will ever prove Darwinian evolution is, in fact, true: (November 2016) https://uncommondescent.com/biology/coming-soon-design-disquisitions-a-new-id-blog/#comment-621019 One of the main reasons that no one can ever scientifically prove Darwinian evolution is actually true is that Darwinian evolution does not even qualify as a real science in the first place, but is more properly classified as a non-falsifiable pseudo-science: https://uncommondescent.com/biology/coming-soon-design-disquisitions-a-new-id-blog/#comment-620985 bornagain77
rvb8 Are you ever going to use any actual evidence to support your view of evolution. Please stop saying, the majority of biologists believe it please stop saying look at all the science text books, please stop saying Dawkins, Coyne,Dennett, et al all believe is , as though any of these things have anything to do with science or are evidence to support a position , because they are not. If most scientist`s had your view nothing new would ever be discovered , and no new theories would ever originate as the majority say one thing and I am saying the other so my ideas must be wrong. So if you say evolution is a well supported ,well documented,evidence based theory , well please present that evidence, support, etc then we are talking science. Marfin
It's actually, 'The Spectator', just as 'The London Times', is just 'The Times'. The Spectator has boasted Boris Johnson as a former editor.It is owned by David and Frederick Barclay who also own The Daily Telegraph, also known as the Torygraph; pattern emerging here? It's position on various areas is as follows; strongly pro-American, strongly anti-Europe, anti-Scottish independence, pro-Isarael, global warming denial, and strongly pro-royals, among others: Pattern emerging here? It's position on evolution fluctuates and wavers. Suffice to say it is strongly Republican in inclination and is not fond of things it can't understand. Getting an award from them praising your science denial is not something you should noise around, outside the confines of the Conservative and Republican parties. From 1985 to 2016 is 31 years. Have you any idea at the volume of research supporting evolution published during this period is. i don't , but I can confidentally say it is volumanous. And when he publishes ‘Still a Theory in Crisis Rebooted', in 2047, I am sure the volume of work supporting this crisis ridden theory will be even more fecund. rvb8

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