Intelligent Design

Steampunk Darwin

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Recently I read my first steampunk novel, Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass.  For those of you who have never heard of steampunk, it is a sub-genera of science fiction that anachronistically fuses Victorian steam powered technology into the digital age.

It occurred to me that Darwinism is “steampunk science.”  It is an analog-based Victorian relic trying to make its way in the digital information age.  Darwin had no conception of the information problem facing any account of naturalistic evolution.  Darwin’s 21st century successors certainly know about the problem, but in 2017 they are no closer to solving it than Darwin was in 1859.  Naturalistic evolutionary science has not come remotely close to solving the problem of how the meaningful information on which all life depends can arise in the absence of intelligence.   Until it does, it will remain steampunk fiction.

11 Replies to “Steampunk Darwin

  1. 1
    J-Mac says:

    I think that Darwin did understand that there was a major problem with the foundation of his theory and that’s why he wrote:
    “…There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved…”

    While he doesn’t mention information in any of his elaborations, he did realize that some obstacles in the foundation of his theory could not be ignored, such as the mechanism of natural selection.

    I mean, in the theory that refuses to accept anything preordained or with some foresight, how do you explain things that, according to some experts, were just there without asking questions. How did natural selection begin to operate in the world of randomness? Please let me know how natural selection knows what to select for. I would like to prove this shit scientifically so I propose an assessment.
    Is anybody here interested?

  2. 2
    Origenes says:

    Darwin’s evolution is a fake theory.

    At 22.00 of his video, when discussing biosonar in bats, dr. Hunter touches on the crucial point: ‘natural selection’ does not explain anything:

    It [biosonar in bats] is also more advanced, more sophisticated, more efficient and more accurate than our best military equipment. So that’s one reason for why this is studied. We are looking for nature’s secrets to better engineer our own equipment. The idea that random mutations would have constructed this sort of technology is, frankly, silly. It’s just silly. The kind of design you are looking at isn’t going to come together by chance.
    Now you say: “Well wait a minute, you are getting a little off, you are going too far now, don’t you know about natural selection? Natural selection does it. It’s not random.”
    Well, that’s the story you are told. That’s what they like to say in the textbooks in your high school class. The fact is natural selection doesn’t do it in that sort of sense. Natural selection cannot induce change. This is — I’m given you the rules of the theory — this is what the evolutionists will say, that’s what they insist on: your natural selection only works on what already exists. It cannot induce a mutation to occur. There is no forward looking, there is no planning, ‘aha, we need to get this design, let’s get these mutations in here.’ It doesn’t work that way. Every mutation from the bacteria on up to man has to be random. That’s the rule of evolution. It has to be random it has to be chance. There can be no guidance. No forward guidance. No thinking here. And that’s why this is just so implausible. It just doesn’t make sense from a scientific objective [standpoint].

    Hugo De Vries said it in 1904:

    Natural selection is a sieve. It creates nothing, as is so often assumed; it only sifts. It retains only what variability puts into the sieve. Whence the material comes that is put into it, should be kept separate from the theory of its selection. How the struggle for existence sifts is one question; how that which is sifted arose is another. …

    It [natural selection] is the sifting out of all organisms of minor worth through the struggle of life. It is only a sieve, and not a force of nature, no direct cause of improvement, as many of Darwin’s adversaries, and unfortunately many of his followers also, have so often asserted. It is only a sieve, which decides which is to live, and what is to die … Of course, with the single steps of evolution it has nothing to do. Only after a step has been taken, the sieve acts, eliminating the unfit. The problem, as to how the individual steps are brought about, is quite another side of the question.
    [Hugo de Vries]

    If natural selection is a process of elimination, then existent organisms are the ones that got away. Instead of being created by ‘natural elimination’, exactly the opposite is true: they are “untouched” by ‘natural elimination’. Existent organisms are those organisms on which natural selection has precisely no bearing whatsoever. They are the undiluted products of chance.

    . . . it is indeed the animal or plant breeder who selects certain superior individuals to serve as the breeding stock of the next generation. But, strictly speaking, there is no such agent involved in natural selection. What Darwin called natural selection is actually a process of elimination.
    [Ernst Mayr, ‘What Evolution is’, (117)]

    CHANCE ALONE,” the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Jacques Monod once wrote, “is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of creation.” <
    [Berlinski]

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Origenes

    The kind of design you are looking at isn’t going to come together by chance.

    Randomization could only produce the rarest sort of positive change (if any), and at a micro-level at that.

    The part that is always ignored is that the environment itself changes continually. By the time a lucky new development appeared, the environment in which it might have been useful for fitness would have already changed multiple times (the addition or subtraction of new organisms, more or less competitors, changing food varieties, changing climate conditions, bigger or smaller niches) – it’s a massive number of combined variables and if evolutionary change was needed for survival, everything would go extinct by the time new features arrived.

    For me, the most critical point is that nothing ever needed to evolve at all from the existence of the first life form (or even at the chemical level – molecules don’t need to survive).
    Certainly, there could never be any real need for the immense sophistication of bi-sonar in bats. All evolution had to do is create just enough for organisms to survive. There was never a need for all of the engineering we observe.

    Far more with the human brain. It’s unthinkably sophisticated. All of that just for some survival advantage?

    The evolutionary story of bacteria to humans (adding in all plant and animal diversity as well) is impossible to take seriously.

  4. 4
    tragic mishap says:

    I constantly feel as if I’m talking to 19th century biologists on the subject of evolution. They seem to have no understanding whatsoever that proteins, DNA, RNA or anything at the molecular level actually has any consequences whatsoever.

  5. 5
    Origenes says:

    Silver Asiatic: …. molecules don’t need to survive.

    And of course neither do organisms. What the heck is an organism under materialism anyway? There are only particles which create the illusion of “one thing”— the organism. However, in reality, instead of an organism, there is nothing over and beyond blind particles bumping into each other. IOWs there is, in fact, not one thing. Given materialism, there exists nothing that wants to live, struggles to survive and/or organizes its parts.

    Daniel Dennett: “There is something alien and vaguely repellent about this quasi agency we discover at this level – all that purposive hustle and bustle, and yet ‘there is nobody home’.”

    Rosenberg: The basic things everything is made up of are fermions and bosons. That’s it. … … Roughly speaking, fermions are what matter is composed of, while bosons are what fields of force are made of. … All the processes in the universe, from atomic to bodily to mental, are purely physical processes involving fermions and bosons interacting with one another. …
    There are just fermions and bosons and combinations of them.

    One day there was a conglomerate of fermions and bosons (F&B) which we call ‘an organism’. When we name a conglomerate of F&B ‘an organism’ we treat it as if it is one thing, which is untruthful. There is no organism. Nothing stems from the level of the organism. Everything stems from the level of F&B.
    Neither the conglomeration’s pattern nor its properties can preserve itself. The pattern is fully depended on which it sits: F&B.
    This means that there is no organism and therefor there is no organism that aims to survive.

    Yet the unfounded, incompatible idea that there are organisms which want to live — struggle to survive — has great force in the naturalistic Darwinian narrative. Not many people are capable of a consistent understanding of naturalism — least of all naturalists themselves.
    At Yahoo the question was posed: “Why do organisms adapt to their environment?” Here are the first three answers:

    If they didn’t adapt they would all die.
    They adapt to live and survive
    For survival

    All three answers assume that organisms want to live. That would be teleological and incompatible with naturalism.
    “Dying” is absolutely meaningless to F&B. The truth is F&B who are not interested in a non-existent organism. F&B don’t prefer being part of the sun over being part of an organism.

    On a naturalistic account, there is neither struggle for life nor struggle for existence, as Darwin proposed.

  6. 6
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Origenes,
    That is a fascinating point. It’s true that there shouldn’t be any distinction between living and non-living molecules in the materialist view.
    Now I think materialists will often say that organisms are like raindrops emerging from rain clouds. So they will see this distinction even though it’s all just forms of water.

    But the thing is — raindrops don’t attempt to preserve their existence in that form. They don’t compete to remain drops of rain – they’re totally indifferent if they become puddles of water or even if they’re just evaporated. Gravity and the environment determine the entire “life” of a raindrop.

    But organisms actually fight against the environment to surive – and they have to seek food to survive.

    No reason for that is given. There should be no struggle to survive at all. The fact that we see organisms that want to live is an argument against materialism.

  7. 7
    rvb8 says:

    SA,

    after reading your post and its conclusion: ‘The fact that we wee organisms that want to live is an argument against materialism.’

    Perhaps, but I strongly doubt it. And whether it is an argument against ‘materialism’, in no way lends itself as an argument against ‘evolution’.

    Evolution, by definition is the struggle to survive to reproduce; to not die, before your evolved function, to reproduce, has been achieved. And even then we try to avoid death; heredity is a powerful but not infallible force.

    I know why life tries to survive, because death is the end of you. SA, you seem bewildered by this simple, and very easy to grasp fact.

  8. 8
    Origenes says:

    Silver Asiatic, rvb8

    Silver Asiatic: It’s true that there shouldn’t be any distinction between living and non-living molecules in the materialist view … But organisms actually fight against the environment to survive – and they have to seek food to survive. No reason for that is given. There should be no struggle to survive at all. The fact that we see organisms that want to live is an argument against materialism.

    Exactly!

    rvb8: Perhaps, but I strongly doubt it. And whether it is an argument against ‘materialism’, in no way lends itself as an argument against ‘evolution’.

    That’s not what Silver Asiatic is saying. For clarity, he said:

    The fact that we see organisms that want to live is an argument against materialism.

    However, it is also an argument against a strictly materialistic interpretation of evolution.

    rvb8: Evolution, by definition is the struggle to survive to reproduce; to not die, before your evolved function, to reproduce, has been achieved. And even then we try to avoid death; heredity is a powerful but not infallible force.
    I know why life tries to survive, because death is the end of you.

    Sure, but the question raised is: how do you square ‘organism’ and ‘the will to survive’ with the materialistic world view? If an organism is nothing but a conglomeration of fermions and bosons, from whence cometh this ‘will to survive’?

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Origenes

    Sure, but the question raised is: how do you square ‘organism’ and ‘the will to survive’ with the materialistic world view? If an organism is nothing but a conglomeration of fermions and bosons, from whence cometh this ‘will to survive’?

    Exactly – that is a critical and surprising (for me) question that needs to be considered.

    rbv8

    And whether it is an argument against ‘materialism’, in no way lends itself as an argument against ‘evolution’.

    I’d consider that a matter of dodging the issue that was raised. To switch the focus to an ambiguous term ‘evolution’ is to fail to engage with the problem, as I see it.

    Evolution, by definition is the struggle to survive to reproduce; to not die, before your evolved function, to reproduce, has been achieved. And even then we try to avoid death; heredity is a powerful but not infallible force.

    All of that is merely an assertion. We’re looking at a question of ‘origins’. In this case, it’s not enough to merely say that you’ll start with living organisms that already want to survive. We’re asking why chemicals should want to survive. You seem to be answering that you don’t know, they just merely, suddenly have a desire to survive once they’re configured as living organisms.

    I know why life tries to survive, because death is the end of you. SA, you seem bewildered by this simple, and very easy to grasp fact.

    Far from simple, rvb – you’re assuming that death is something that chemicals want to avoid. It would be far better if you gave evidence. I presented raindrops. Do they fear death? Do they struggle to avoid becoming a puddle of water or being evaporated?

    You’re assigning a value to life. I’m guessing this comes from your theistic mental structure. If, some day, you ever become an evolutionary-nihilist, as would be consistent with your professed belief, you would realize that there is no distinction, in material terms, between living organisms and dead organisms. There certainly is no value difference. Living things are not ‘better’ than inanimate chemicals. Why should molecules care if they’re living or dead? They remain molecules either way.

    Repeating Origenes question, which I hope you will deal with:

    If an organism is nothing but a conglomeration of fermions and bosons, from whence cometh this ‘will to survive’?

    This is powerful because the will to survive has to have some cause or origin. Keeping in mind, this “will to survive” is the primary, irreplaceable and essential driver of all evolution. Where did it come from?

    The materialist could offer two origins:

    1. The will to survive evolved after the first living organisms emerged.
    2. The will to survive is inherent in “a conglomeration of fermions and bosons”

    The first point is easily refuted. The will to survive is necessary for any evolution. If it didn’t exist, then the first living organisms would all die because they didn’t want to survive.

    The second point must be proven. Which chemical compounds show evidence that they want to survive?

    This problem is immense, as I see it. This will to survive has to be preserved and communicated to every different chemical compound that represents the immense, vast diversity of life forms on earth.

    Plus, this will to survive is so incredibly powerful and forceful, that it has moved every living organism to struggle, fight and eventually have the need for the nearly infinite features of cell functions, nano-machines, tissues, muscles, fur, eyes, wings, group behaviors and adaptations to every environment on earth (even deserts, oceans and the artic, rvb).

    So, it’s not a minor characteristic. So, you’re thinking this is a simple and easy to grasp fact?

    The floor is yours.

  10. 10
    Origenes says:

    Silver Asiatic: … it’s not enough to merely say that you’ll start with living organisms that already want to survive. We’re asking why chemicals should want to survive.

    For a naturalist to assume that one can start with organisms who want to live in order to make a case for naturalism, is somewhat akin to a spiritualist assuming that telephone communication constitutes purely mental causation and use it as a starting point for proving the existence of telepathy.

  11. 11
    Origenes says:

    rvb8: Evolution, by definition is the struggle to survive to reproduce; to not die …
    I know why life tries to survive, because death is the end of you.

    What you are saying makes sense wrt beings who are capable of fearing death — e.g. human beings. Logically a concept of death precedes a fear of death. Do you hold that animals and plants have a concept of death?

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