Intelligent Design

The Long, Slow Death of a Pseudoscience: Darwinism

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DaveScot summed it up in a previous UD comment perhaps better than I have ever heard it expressed:

…the ballyhooed 150 years of acceptance of Darwinian evolution is irrelevant — it was based on vastly incomplete knowledge of the nanometer-scale machinery and information that drives all of life. Even today we have barely scratched the surface of this nanotechnology marvel that is the DNA-based living cell. All previous bets are off. The modern synthesis can best be described as obsolete — a patchwork quilt of ad hoc hypotheses propping up a failed theory worse than the epicycles used to keep alive the theory that the earth was the center of the universe.

All previous bets are indeed off.

So why is devotion to random mutation and natural selection (clearly inviable as an explanation for anything substantive when it comes to biological complexity, information content and innovation), and Darwinian incrementalism (clearly in conflict with the overall testimony of the fossil record), defended with such passion?

I believe that the answer to this question is twofold. When one has invested his entire life — professional career, source of income, prestige among peers, and sense of self-worth and accomplishment — in a dying philosophy, it will be defended simply because to do otherwise would be to admit that one has wasted his life. This is a powerful incentive to lie even to oneself. In addition, when one’s entire worldview (where we came from, why we are here, and the ultimate meaning of life), is threatened, there is an even more powerful incentive to lie to oneself.

The old guard won’t change, no matter the evidence. They will die in denial of the obvious. But a new group of young people with open minds will replace them, and future generations will accept design as being so obvious that they will shake their heads in disbelief that it took so long for the pseudoscience of Darwinism to take its place on the ash heap of history.

24 Replies to “The Long, Slow Death of a Pseudoscience: Darwinism

  1. 1
    crandaddy says:

    The overarching cult of materialism which masquerades as objective science and whose adherents force it upon others as such and attempt to bully dissenters into submission is the focus of my personal derision. Darwinism is merely a subcategory of this cult.

  2. 2
    dougmoran says:

    GilDodgen,

    As usual, your observations are right on. You’ve touched an a rather sensitive philosophical issue for the normal crowd reading this blog – that of intellectual honesty. But you’ve also tied the concept to an age-old fact: people grow old and die with their ideas, only to be replaced by new, fresh thinkers whose judgments are not subject to lifelong biases. This seems to me to be a fundamental factor in the typical 150 year turnaround for scientific theories proven wrong.

    I wrote about this topic some time ago here: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/896

    I hope you don’t mind me linking it in to your article. It seemed appropriate.

    One last comment. There is an ancient historical/philosophical/spiritual document that has something profound to say about this very topic. Paraphrasing, it says that nothing is more deceptive to itself than the human heart. I’ll leave it at that.

  3. 3
    lucID says:

    One’s worldview (where we came from, why we are here, and the ultimate meaning of life), as Dave so aptly put it in the above, I feel is really the crux for most arch-darwinists (and even the newer ones) clinging on to this archaic theory for dear life. Hissing like an angry alley cat at anyone who would put a hand near to threaten their holy grail.

    If ID were to be acceptable in science then something greater than ourselves/nature would exist (or has rationality to exist in the scientific mind) and this potentially has disastrous implications for the Darwinist, and would impact directly on their lives. The following then becomes a real possibility: Consequence for actions, a moral law as defined by the designer etc, etc. Although these strictly fall under the umbrella of “Philosophy/Faith” and are not at all the focus or study of ID* (see Pg19) these implications are certainly given more immediate meaning with the backing of scientific evidence.

    Ergo to rule out these implications and *free* themselves of the shackles of an imposed morality/consequence (sounds rather Nietzscheian) they look to snuff out any trace of that differing to pure methodological naturalism and (in futility) try to create their own universal framework. However their efforts to this end don’t stop here, as they foist this delusion on others and make a pariah of all who would differ lambasting them as ‘science-stoppers’.

    The final irony here is that evolution was born out of victrian era philosophy and wormed it’s way into science only to become the cuckoo who stole the nest, mimicked science and attempts to kill real scientific advancement.

    * http://www.researchintelligentdesign.org (The_ID_Paradigmatic_and_Heuristics.pdf)

  4. 4
    lucID says:

    Sorry that should be “Victorian-era” philosophy

  5. 5
    Scott says:

    Gil, you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. This Steamboat-era philosophy was the inevitable result of the fashionable intellectual trend during said era. We have new data. And the teleological implications of this new data are inescapable. Sadly, for the reasons you highlighted, many will go to their graves holding tightly on to an empty doctrine.

  6. 6
    j says:

    History warns us, however, that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions; and, as matters now stand, it is hardly rash to anticipate that, in another twenty years, the new generation, educated under the influences of the present day, will be in danger of accepting the main doctrines of the “Origin of Species,” with as little reflection, and it may be with as little justification, as so many of our contemporaries, twenty years ago, rejected them.

    Against any such a consummation let us all devoutly pray; for the scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors. Now the essence of the scientific spirit is criticism. It tells us that whenever a doctrine claims our assent we should reply, Take it if you can compel it. The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its rivals.

    — T.H. Huxley, “The Coming of Age of The Origin of Species” (1880)

  7. 7
    Chris Hyland says:

    “If ID were to be acceptable in science then something greater than ourselves/nature would exist (or has rationality to exist in the scientific mind) and this potentially has disastrous implications for the Darwinist, and would impact directly on their lives.”

    Speaking personally no it wouldn’t.

    “Ergo to rule out these implications and *free* themselves of the shackles of an imposed morality/consequence (sounds rather Nietzscheian) they look to snuff out any trace of that differing to pure methodological naturalism and (in futility) try to create their own universal framework.”

    I have yet to see any evidence of this.

  8. 8
    lucID says:

    Hi Chris

    Correct not EVERY Darwinist would congnitively feel this has personally “disastrous implications”, however certainly the more outspoken ‘anti-God’ Richard Dawkins type (and there are many of them) feel this way. Their unbridled animosity towards the teleological is directly proportional to just how threatened they feel. Make no mistake, it may be bundled away behind various other reasoning/guises but if one were to objectively start digging and asking questions, this fear is at the heart of it.

    As to the second point, exactly what do you not see evidence for?? I have covered approximately 150 yrs of philosophy evolving (excuse the pun) into ‘science’ in three sentences. Please be specific as to what there is no evidence for – examples welcomed.

  9. 9
    lucID says:

    Whoops,the ‘worldview’ quote was from Gil, not Dave in my first post! sorry 🙂

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    I am not sure that I want ID to replace Darwinism. The problem with scietific theories is that they are always changing and eventually being replaced. What’s to prevent the same fate happening to ID? We’d need to change something about science itself. It would need to become about “absolute truth.”

    So how to we separate ID as absolute truth from ID as science, and prevent ID as absolute truth from being affected by the vagaries of science?

  11. 11
    Chris Hyland says:

    “Their unbridled animosity towards the teleological is directly proportional to just how threatened they feel.”
    This may be true only if we assume the designer is some kind of God that cares about human behaivour. If the designer turned out to be aliens I don’t see how this affects morality etc at all.

    “So how to we separate ID as absolute truth from ID as science” They already are seperate in many people minds. That is why many people who are religious believe the universe is designed, but do not believe this can be (at least currently) scientifically proven.

  12. 12
    johnnyb says:

    “but do not believe this can be (at least currently) scientifically proven”

    But let’s do this. Can the opposite answer be (at least currently) scientifically proven? If not, why is the investigation into the one and not the other considered scientific?

  13. 13
    StuartHarris says:

    Gil,

    The old guard won’t change as they are ossified into a life-long belief, and to deny this belief means losing your career and all your friends. Imagine then the courage of Anthony Flew, a life-long career materialist and atheist, and a friend of Dawkins, who very publicly gave up his belief in Darwinism and now accepts ID. How is it that he and hardly any others in their late middle age or as old men ar able to change their minds?

    A good example is up on http://www.nationalreview.com today. John Derbyshire, an otherwise intelligent person, seems to have an implacable opposition to even the mere discussion of problems with Darwinism in a school and any public forum. Whenever he speaks of ID he invariably mischaracterizes it, raises an army of straw men, and continuously uses the word “Creationist” as a crude club (29 times in today’s article). He seems purposefully and willfully ignorant on the subject of ID.

    Gil, perhaps you or one of the other UD posters can do an analysis of George Gilder’s article and Derbyshire’s response to it. I think it may be very emblematic example of the debate.

    Stu Harris
    http://www.theidbookstore.com

  14. 14
    Chris Hyland says:

    “But let’s do this. Can the opposite answer be (at least currently) scientifically proven? If not, why is the investigation into the one and not the other considered scientific?” Biologists don’t claim that all the mechanisms of evolution figured out, and there are lots of questions we still can’t answer. This isn’t a secret and was stressed to me many times in school. We do have lots of evidence however that the many mechanisms we are aware of played a major role in evolution. I also have no doubt that we will find more. The point is that ID is claiming that we can comclusively prove intelligence was involved, I have never said I can conclusively prove it wasn’t. Investigation into ID will be considered scientific if and only if ID starts to produce scientific research, and ‘Darwinism’ will die if ID proves it can produce better results.

  15. 15
    ftrp11 says:

    Are my comments being deleted purposefully?

    A couple of them didn’t get approved purposefully. -ds

  16. 16
    Chris Hyland says:

    “I also have no doubt that we will find more.” Just to clarify I mean both mechanisms and evidence.

  17. 17
    idadvisors says:

    Mung, good point. As my history professor Wilheim Witke said of absolute truth during the Age of Reason “The Bible was out, Newton’s “Principia” was in. I’m just waiting for Orgels statement, “the information content of a structure is the minimum number of instructions needed to specify the structure.” to become a scientific law. The paradigm is shifting!!!

    Eric Peterson

  18. 18
    jonabbey says:

    So why is devotion to random mutation and natural selection (clearly inviable as an explanation for anything substantive when it comes to biological complexity, information content and innovation), and Darwinian incrementalism (clearly in conflict with the overall testimony of the fossil record), defended with such passion?

    While issues of faithful attachment to general materialism is a significant part, as you suggest, another is that it is simply not evident that your parenthetical assertions are valid.

    Yes, we have learned a great deal about the vast complexity of life at the cellular level, but we have also found evidence that eukaryotic cells (the most astonishing sort of life at the cellular level) arose over vast amount of time.. from 1 to 1.9 billion years from the arrival of prokaryote-like cells to the first eukaryotes, according to the literature, though certainties here are much less than at later eras due to problems of fossilization of micro-organisms, of tectonic processes destroying fossils laid down, and to the inconsistencies of various genetic clocks.

    This sort of time span, even with nearly a billion years in the error bars, seems still to be in keeping with Darwin’s deep-time, plausibly materialistic account of the rise of life.

    If this understanding is to be rejected, it will have to be on firm evidence indeed, and it’s not clear that such evidence has been adduced yet.

    Take the Nuclear Evolution Challenge! See the sidebar. Be the first kid on your block (in the world actually) to come up with a plausible just-so story for how the nucleus evolved. In the meantime, perhaps you can tell me what empirical evidence there is that prokaryotes preceded eukaryotes. As far as I can determine it’s because “it just seems like it should have happened in that order”. In other sciences things have to be demonstrated. In Evolution “should have” is the same as demonstration. Weird huh? -ds

    Deep time cannot be arbitrarily invoked to explain away the highly improbable. See my “Hello World” computer program example here. Darwinians like to wave the magic wand of long periods of time to justify what amounts to blind faith in the miraculous. A rational analysis of the likelihood of an event requires comparing the improbabilities with the probabilistic resources. As it turns out, a couple of billion years doesn’t generate that much in the way of probabilistic resources. You’re only talking about 10^17 seconds. — GD

  19. 19
    idadvisors says:

    ID’s end game is merely to understand that an intelligent agent makes choices (direct contingency-Dembski) so man could make choices. Palm trees and aardvarks are like different books. Futher and more deeply, the’re ideas–which are curveballs for Darwinists. They do’t see it– IDists do.

  20. 20
    Lurker says:

    BREAKING NEWS !!!

    Finches on Galapagos Islands evolving…..into finches
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200.....volution_5

    Drats! They went and proved their theory and now ID is officially dead.

  21. 21
    Raevmo says:

    The problem with the front-loading theory is that it can explain everything, including convergent evolution. What observation could disprove this theory? Convergent evolution is perhaps better seen as evidence that RM+NS is an optimizing process, yielding similar solutions to similar problems.

    Hmmmm… let’s see. What could disprove front-loading… Tough question. OH I KNOW! Demonstrate the ability of RM+NS to create these things on the fly. Good luck. -ds

  22. 22
    SatyaMevaJayate says:

    I fully second most of the comments here voicing credulity at the darwinists mindset..
    Most importantly the 3rd comment( from lucID) reflects my thoughts exactly…
    Darwinists do love their stories because they are dressed up to be most rational.. even if just below the surface its built up on irrationality…
    that is why these guys & the Pseudo-skeptics are called irrational rationalists…
    As long as at the end if they can be seen as rational, they can use any amount of irrationality to support their cases & this is so because of their dominance in mainstream science…

    Darwinists are fond of saying “Show me the evidence”
    You show them the evidence & they say “Pfffttt.. that isn’t one”
    You ask them what is it then…
    They say.. that your Job… not mine…
    You scrtach your head & think you got a better one..
    they go.. “Pfffttt.. that isn’t one” & try to explain it away… so still in their mind there is NO EVIDENCE..

    repeat the cycle untill you realise that these people are committed skeptics.. they won’t accept any evidence that will remove the badge of skeptics.. hence IMO they are pseudo-skeptics…

    This has been my experience with Darwinists who are also committed debunkers of the paranormal( without knowing the field & using strawmen for their arguments)

    So the only options is to keep gathering the evidence & catering to the new generations & wait for the pSkeptics to die out…

    From the increased acceptance of the paranormal, I can assure you the slide has long begun for darwinists but they won’t go without kicking & screaming 7 we gotta oblige them…

    I have seen that they don’t like being ridiculed.. it works.. cause they know the falsities their beliefs rests on… ridicule doesn’t work when you know your data is right & your opinions are based on TRUTH

  23. 23
    Charlie says:

    As to whether eukaryotes or prokaryotes came first:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12853798/
    I know you’ve all seen it already, but just as a refresher:

    Many researchers think eukaryotes are the descendants of either bacteria or archaea, or some combination of the two. But genetic and protein evidence do not support this view, researchers report in Friday’s issue of the journal Science, published by AAAS, the nonprofit science society.

    Instead, the data suggest that eukaryote cells with all their bells and whistles are probably as ancient as bacteria and archaea, and may have even appeared first, with bacteria and archaea appearing later as stripped-down versions of eukaryotes, according to David Penny, a molecular biologist at Massey University in New Zealand.

  24. 24
    Mats says:

    Lurker,
    Your site had the typical Darwinian propaganda:

    A medium sized species of Darwin’s finch has evolved a smaller beak to take advantage of different seeds just two decades after the arrival of a larger rival for its original food source.
    (…)

    That’s right. The smaller the beek, the more evolutionitized it is.

    It’s rare for scientists to be able to document changes in the appearance of an animal in response to competition.

    Wait a moment! What do they mean by “the appearance of an animal” ?!!!

    This was certainly a documented case of microevolution

    Yes, that was certainly a documented case of something that no one contests (genetic variation), not even the more fundamentalist Christian Fundamentalist.

    Yahoo must be slow on news.

    That’s a form of evolution known as character displacement, where natural selection produces an evolutionary change in the next generation

    No comment! I think people in this blog have exaustitly written about the “creative powers of natural selection”.

    What amazes me in the Yahoo article is that it doesn’t take a bite on ID. Things are changing!

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