Intelligent Design

New Book by David Berlinski Challenges the Darwinian View of Progress

Spread the love

Evolution News has announced the publication of a new book by David Berlinski entitled Human Nature

In Human Nature, Berlinski takes aim at the standard narrative of history in our secular culture, the fatuous Whig view that sees human life and human nature on an upward-inclining plane, evolving toward ever greater, even god-like enlightenment. In this telling, represented by the likes of Steven Pinker and Yuval Harari, an accomplishment like the Cathedral of Notre Dame is just part of the dark, regrettable past, which modern, secular men are in the process of transcending. What is medieval, they would have us believe, is embarrassing, whereas modernity, with its keystone of Darwinian materialism, means peace, contentment, true understanding. Berlinski’s wiser perspective sees things differently. He offers respect to the distant past, touches its walls, listens to its music, and confronts the Pinkers and Hararis with the ultimate rebuke: the squalid 20th century.

Berlinski is the consummate intellectual.  His perspective is not one to be taken lightly, but ought to be carefully considered. 

6 Replies to “New Book by David Berlinski Challenges the Darwinian View of Progress

  1. 1
    DerekDiMarco says:

    From a website called science and religion:

    The late Stephen J. Gould was a leading proponent of the view that evolution [is] against the notion of evolutionary progress. In his 1990 book Wonderful Life, he argued at length, based in part on observations of organisms in the Burgess shale, that evolution does not exhibit anything resembling progress or direction.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    OK Derek. All that shows is that Dr. Gould did not adhere to the fatuous Whig view that sees human life and human nature on an upward-inclining plane, evolving toward ever greater, even god-like enlightenment.

    And guess what? Berlinski doesn’t say otherwise.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    @

    Berlinski is the consummate intellectual. His perspective is not one to be taken lightly, but ought to be carefully considered.

    Judging from that quote, Berlinski, a bit like a modern Don Quixote, appears to be tilting at obsolete windmills.

    That perspective was not taken lightly, however. It was considered and dismissed many years back. For example, we have this excerpt from a discussion of the topic – Evolution and Philosophy Is There Progress and Direction in Evolution? – by philosopher of science John S Wilkins at the Talk Origins Archive website:

    One of the more common misconceptions, with a history long before Darwin, is that evolution is progressive; that things get more complex and perfect in some way. In fact, this view is attributed more to social and religious attitudes of 18th and 19th century European culture than to any evidence. It was a given that things are getting better and better, every way, every day. This persisted until long after Darwinism, until the middle of this century (e.g., Teilhard de Chardin). Even Darwin was ambiguous about it, talking on occasion about ‘perfection’ as a result of selection.

    At the time of the ‘modern synthesis’ [note 9] in the 1940s, the notion of progress was quietly dropped, with a few exceptions like Dobzhansky and Huxley within the synthesis, and Schindewolf and Goldschmidt outside it. Of course, heterodox writers (usually not biologists) like Teilhard and Koestler remained progressionists long after this. But by the 1970s, progress had been abandoned by working biologists.

    Recently, the issue has resurfaced, shorn of the mysticism of earlier debates. Biologist J.T. Bonner argued that there was a rise in complexity of organisms over the long term [1988], and others were arguing for a form of local progress under the terms ‘arms race’ [Dawkins and Krebs 1979] and ‘escalation’ [Vermeij 1987]. Gould [1989] felt so strongly about it he was moved to deny that, at least since the Cambrian explosion, there has been any progress at all.

  4. 4
    DerekDiMarco says:

    @Seversky Gould made a simple graph to illustrate that if complexity can’t go to zero or below in an organism, and you start at a point of very low complexity like a small self-replicating RNA strand, a random walk will take you to regions of higher complexity over time for basic math reasons.

  5. 5
    Mimus says:

    This is not a “Darwinian” view of progress.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    DerekDiMarco falsely claims that,

    Gould made a simple graph to illustrate that if complexity can’t go to zero or below in an organism, and you start at a point of very low complexity like a small self-replicating RNA strand, a random walk will take you to regions of higher complexity over time for basic math reasons.

    And yet, despite what DerekDiMarco falsely believes, there are no ‘basic math reasons’ for evolution to occur, In fact, math consistently shows us that Darwinian evolution does not work:

    Active Information in Metabiology – Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II – 2013
    Except page 9: Chaitin states [3], “For many years I have thought that it is a mathematical scandal that we do not have proof that Darwinian evolution works.” In fact, mathematics has consistently demonstrated that undirected Darwinian evolution does not work.
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.4

    Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – Robert J. Marks II – June 12, 2017
    Excerpt: There exists no (computer) model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Period. By “model,” we mean definitive simulations or foundational mathematics required of a hard science.,,,
    We show that no meaningful information can arise from an evolutionary process unless that process is guided. Even when guided, the degree of evolution’s accomplishment is limited by the expertise of the guiding information source — a limit we call Basener’s ceiling. An evolutionary program whose goal is to master chess will never evolve further and offer investment advice.,,,
    There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,
    Models of Darwinian evolution, Avida and EV included, are searches with a fixed goal. For EV, the goal is finding specified nucleotide binding sites. Avida’s goal is to generate an EQU logic function. Other evolution models that we examine in Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics likewise seek a prespecified goal.,,,
    The most celebrated attempt of an evolution model without a goal of which we’re aware is TIERRA. In an attempt to recreate something like the Cambrian explosion on a computer, the programmer created what was thought to be an information-rich environment where digital organisms would flourish and evolve. According to TIERRA’s ingenious creator, Thomas Ray, the project failed and was abandoned. There has to date been no success in open-ended evolution in the field of artificial life.5,,,
    We show that the probability resources of the universe and even string theory’s hypothetical multiverse are insufficient to explain the specified complexity surrounding us.,,,
    If a successful search requires equaling or exceeding some degree of active information, what is the chance of finding any search with as good or better performance? We call this a search-for-the-search. In Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics, we show that the search-for-the-search is exponentially more difficult than the search itself!,,,
    ,,,we use information theory to measure meaningful information and show there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution.,,,
    ,,, if the fitness continues to change, it is argued, the evolved entity can achieve greater and greater specified complexity,,,
    ,,, We,, dub the overall search structure ‘stair step active information’. Not only is guidance required on each stair, but the next step must be carefully chosen to guide the process to the higher fitness landscape and therefore ever increasing complexity.,,,
    Such fine tuning is the case of any fortuitous shift in fitness landscapes and increases, not decreases, the difficulty of evolution of ever-increasing specified complexity. It supports the case there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution.,,,
    Turing’s landmark work has allowed researchers, most notably Roger Penrose,26 to make the case that certain of man’s attributes including creativity and understanding are beyond the capability of the computer.,,,
    ,,, there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/

    In fact, apparently completely unbeknownst to Derek, Darwinian evolution and the world of mathematics are completely incompatible with each other.
    The main reason why Darwinian Evolution and Mathematics are completely incompatible with each other is that Darwinian evolution is based on a Reductive Materialistic worldview in which it is held that only matter is real, that the world is just physical and that there is no supernatural (or metaphysical) existence, or that if there is, it has no impact on our physical world.,,,

    What is the difference between naturalism and materialism?
    Excerpt: Naturalism is the view that the world can be explained entirely by physical, natural phenomena/laws. Naturalists either assert that there is no supernatural (or metaphysical) existence, or that if there is, it has no impact on our physical world.,,,
    Materialism is the related view that all existence is matter, that only matter is real, and so that the world is just physical. It simply describes a view on the nature of the universe, while the different branches of Naturalism focus on applications of effectively the same view.
    Thus, the difference between the two is the purpose of the definition – materialism makes an argument about the ontology of the universe, while naturalism takes a premise (effectively that of materialism) to make an argument on how science/philosophy should function.
    https://philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/2406/what-is-the-difference-between-naturalism-and-materialism

    That is to say that Darwinian evolution is based on a reductive materialistic view of reality which holds that all possible scientific explanations for reality in general, and for biology in particular, must ultimately be exhausted by, and/or reducible to, purely materialistic explanations.

    And yet, Mathematics itself, (which provides the backbone for all of science, engineering and technology in the first place), Mathematics itself exists in a transcendent, beyond space and time realm, a realm which is not reducible any possible material explanation. This transcendent mathematical realm has been referred to as a Platonic mathematical world.

    Platonic mathematical world – image
    http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/i.....ysical.gif

    As David Berlinski states in the following article, “There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time…. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.”

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    And as M. Anthony Mills states, “In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.”

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Simply put, Mathematics itself, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, does not need the physical world in order to exist. And yet Darwinists, although they deny that anything beyond nature exists, need this transcendent, i.e. beyond space and time, world of mathematics in order for their theory to even be considered scientific in the first place. The predicament that Darwinists find themselves in regards to denying the objective reality of this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics, and yet needing validation from this transcendent, immaterial, world of mathematics in order for their theory to even be considered scientific in the first place, should be the very definition of a scientifically self-refuting worldview.

    Moreover, as should be obvious by now, the fact that man himself can use this transcendent, beyond space and time, world of mathematics, offers proof that man must also have a transcendent, beyond space and time, soul. As Charles Darwin’s contemporary, Alfred Russel Wallace himself stated, “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russel Wallace – 1910
    https://evolutionnews.org/2010/08/alfred_russel_wallace_co-disco/

    Thus, when we look at the bigger picture, we see that the use of ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself by Darwinists, in order for them to try to prove that their reductive materialistic worldview of Darwinian evolution is true, instead turns around and refutes their entire reductive materialistic worldview instead and, in actuality, proves the existence of a immortal soul in man instead.

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

Leave a Reply