His first reflection concerns
The gradual crumbling of the Darwinian consensus, and the rise of a new theoretical outlook in biology is one of the most significant but under-reported news stories of our time.
It’s a scandal that science journalists have been so slow to pick up on this story. For, make no mistake about it, the story is huge. In science, they don’t come any bigger.
Aw, in that case, the typical pom pom-wavings pop science writer would be the last to know.
The story is this:
The official explanation of the nature of living things—and therefore of human beings—that we’ve all been led to believe in for the past 60 or 70 years turns out to be dead wrong in some essential respects.
What have we been so wrong about? It’s complicated, but in a phrase, it’s this:
The machine metaphor was a mistake—organisms are not machines, they are intelligent agents.
What does that mean? That’s what’s hard to explain in a brief compass, but here’s one way of putting it:
We are finally beginning to realize, on the basis of irrefutable empirical evidence, as well as more careful analysis of Darwinian theory itself, that purposeful action in living things is an objectively real phenomenon that is presupposed, not explained, by the theory of natural selection. More.
In summary, for the Darwinian explanatory framework to make sense, we have to suppress all the toughest questions about living things and simply take their adaptive capacity, their robustness, and their very existence for granted. Then—and only then—does natural selection make sense.
But in that case, we are just assuming that organisms are intelligent agents. We are not explaining how there can be such a thing as intelligent agents.
Natural selection acting on random mutation as a form of magic that produces complex, specified information has mainly been good for TV’s airheads and bimbos, pressure groups, and third/fourth rate unionized science teachers. Not for science.
Part II: James A. Shapiro