Intelligent Design

Theories that can’t be wrong can’t be right either

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To be accepted as a paradigm, a theory must seem better than its competitors, but it need not, and in fact never does, explain all the facts with which it can be confronted.”

– Thomas Kuhn pp. 17-18 ( The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 2nd Edition, Enlarged, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970)

Darwinism was first forced on my notice by the Darwinists’ unseemly habit of persecuting scientists who question it – I mean, really question it, as if it could actually be wrong. Way back in 1996, I noticed that Darwinism seemed to be the only theory you could not safely criticize.

Later, I began to pay attention to a curious pattern in the pop science media’s coverage. Many, many stories heralded new evidence for Darwinism. Virtually none talked about problems with it. The few that did admit to any problems assured the reader that they would soon be solved – as if we are all heavily invested in when or whether they get solved.

For example, in stories on the Cambrian explosion, the point of much coverage is to force a Darwinian interpretation on the picture. Yet, a very minor investment of time in story research will turn up the fact that even Darwin knew that the Cambrian and its subsequent rollout did not really fit his theory.

Somehow one just did not talk about problems with Darwinism unless one had turned up a scrap of evidence that suggested that they might not be problems after all.

Now, I did not need a background in science to see that any theory might sound good if only the evidence that favours it can be published or openly discussed.

Indeed, I observed just the sort of behaviour among materialist scientists as I have seen in religious cults: Acknowledgment of problems with the group’s belief system is simply not permitted, and any acknowledger is assumed to be a traitor-in-waiting – at best.

So not only did Darwinism have undisclosed problems but I found it difficult, unde the circumstances, to estimate their size or depth.

I eventually noticed the ridiculous adulation of such figures such as Darwin and even Dawkins, for pity’s sakes, who hasn’t had an original idea in years and seems to devote all his time to attacking traditional religions.

Worst of all, I forced myself to admit that I myself suppressed elements in some of my stories that might be interpreted as questioning Darwinism, because I did not want to arouse suspicion, and maybe get dropped as a freelancer. Well, there’s no point assuming the risks and costs of being a freelancer and then just bark some party line …

Anyway, I concluded that Darwinism was – and is – unmistakably a cult. Even if Darwinism were correct as an origin of species theory (which seems very unlikely) the Darwin cult must be disestablished, in the public interest.

25 Replies to “Theories that can’t be wrong can’t be right either

  1. 1
    Strangelove says:

    I’ve heard “Darwinism” called a religion before, but never a cult. What loose definition of cult are you using here?

  2. 2
    BarryA says:

    Denyse,

    Our minds appear to running on parallel courses. Just yesterday I was contemplating the similarities between challenges to Darwinian orthodoxy and challenges to pre-reformation Christian orthodoxy. (I could say “Catholic orthodoxy” but in the West at least, prior to Luther “Christian” was co-extensive with “Catholic.” Also, I do not mean to smear current day Catholics with the sins of their fathers).

    It seems to me that the most obvious similarity is the use legal compulsion instead of counter-arguments as the primary line of defense. In pre-reformation days (and, lest we forget Bloody Mary, post-reformation days as well) church officials enlisted the civil authorities to compel dissenters to bend the knee. Today the high priests of the Darwinian cult enlist the civil authorities to suppress dissent, especially in the government schools. The role played by the Dominicans (I’ve always loved their pun on the Latin Domini canes – “hounds of God”) in pre-reformation times is today played by the ACLU.

    While no one has yet suggested that we burn heretics from the Darwinian cult, Dennett has suggested taking their children away and putting them in cages. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, page 515-16.

    And now it appears we have our parallels to Luther as well. The church leaders hated Luther with a passion, because he was a threat to their prestige and power. The leaders of the Darwinian cult hate Johnson and Behe and Dembski and other modern day Luthers for the same reason.

  3. 3
    John A. Davison says:

    For a long time I thought Dawkins was not sincere. Now I am convinced that he is either deranged or a charlatan or of course both, a deranged charlatan. There was another deranged charlatan, a rabid Lamarckian by the name of Paul Kammerer, who was finally exposed largely through the efforts of William Bateson and the American herpetologist G. Noble. He committed suicide. The entire episode is recounted in Arthur Koestler\’s book \”The Case of the Midwife Toad.\” I certainly don\’t want Dawkins doing himself in as each of his books I find more entertaining that its predecessor.

    It is hard to believe isn\’t it?

    \”I read as little of Dawkins as possible.\”
    Cyrus Noe

    \”We seek and offer ourselves to be gulled.\”
    Montaigne

    \”A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.\”
    John A. Davison

  4. 4
    John A. Davison says:

    Who or what is causing the slashes in my comment? (Second attempt).

  5. 5
    sagebrush gardener says:

    Offtopic

    Who or what is causing the slashes in my comment?

    It’s a bug in WordPress (the software that is used to run this forum). It is supposedly fixed in the latest version — WordPress 2.0.4, released July 29, 2006, available here. Also, “this release contains several important security fixes, so it’s highly recommended for all users”.

  6. 6
    russ says:

    “I’ve heard “Darwinism” called a religion before, but never a cult. What loose definition of cult are you using here?” – Strangelove

    There are many definitions of “cult”, but I think what Denyse is getting at is a characteristic often found in religious cults that involves a kind of thought and speech control. Questioning the leadership or doctrine is a sign of betrayal and disloyalty. Unquestioning obedience and conformity of this kind is what led followers of Jim Jones’ cult swallow poison-laced suicide at his command, and murder a U.S. Congressman sent to investigate.

    You also see this characteristic of a cult in churches that forbid members from reading certain religious works that disagree with official teachings of the group.

  7. 7
    russ says:

    Whoops, I meant to write “drink poison-laced Kool Aid, committing suicide at his command”

  8. 8
    sagebrush gardener says:

    Strangelove,

    I’ve heard “Darwinism” called a religion before, but never a cult. What loose definition of cult are you using here?

    Darwinism is not a perfect fit for the full definition of a cult, but there do appear to be some parallels. From IDENTIFYING A CULT at ex-cult.org:

    The group will claim to be the only way to … Ultimate Reality …

    The group will have an ELITIST view of itself in relation to
    others, and a UNIQUE CAUSE. e.i. [sic] THEY ARE THE ONLY ONES RIGHT –
    everyone else is wrong.

    They will promote their cause actively, and in doing so, abuse
    … personal rights and freedoms.

    They use intimidation or psychological manipulation to keep members
    loyal to their ranks.

    There will be great emphasis on loyalty to the group and its
    teachings.

    Any dissent or questioning of the group’s teachings is discouraged.
    Criticism in any form is seen as rebellion.

  9. 9
    mike1962 says:

    Darwinism is neither religion nor cult, per se, but an ideology with zealous adherents, like liberalism, conservatism, communism, various religions (which are ideologies), and Amway, for heaven’s sakes.

    When someone bases their life and/or livelihood on an ideology, it is bound to produce a serious emotive response when challeged. I’ve encountered it from all stripes. Humans are incredibly talented at rationalizing what their emotive baggage has already accepted as “truth.” Why be surprised when darwinists do it?

  10. 10
    John A. Davison says:

    “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting are not free but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”
    Alice Calaprice, The New Quotable Einstein, page 200.

    “EVERYTHING is determined… by forces over which we have no control.”
    ibid, page 196, my emphasis.

    In other words human beings are “born that way” or as I prefer to put it – “prescribed.”

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  11. 11
    tinabrewer says:

    come on, John. At least provide an intersting argument which shows how your evolutionary hypothesis has anything to say about free will. I am starting to adopt your attitude, that being ignored by you is a sign that I must be right…

  12. 12
    John A. Davison says:

    tinabrewer

    The Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis has a great deal to say about a free will just as it does about organic evolution.

    I need not do as you request because Einstein has already done it for me. His insights into human nature are every bit as important as his contributions in physics.

    “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting ARE NOT FREE but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”

    Alice Calaprice, The New Quotable Einstein, page 200, my emphasis.

    If one is not free and is “causally bound” can one have free will? With Einstein I say no. What says tinabrewer or anyone else for that matter?

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  13. 13
    tinabrewer says:

    Einstein didn’t know everything, which you well know, of course. Saying ‘if one is causally bound how can they be free’ doesn’t go very far in proving that we are causally bound. It reminds me of ‘fitness is measured by survival, so the fittest survive’ I will have to read your paper again, more carefully, but it seems like you make the mistake of thinking that a material process is binding on that which is non-material. Our free will originates from that part of us which is NON-material, and therefore not causally bound by the same laws which bind the stars and planets. Of course the consequences of our free will bind us. but that is different.

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    John,

    I am starting to believe that you do not have free will. All your answers seem so prescribed. Is it possible for someone without free will to recognize it in others?

  15. 15
    mynym says:

    There was another deranged charlatan, a rabid Lamarckian by the name of Paul Kammerer, who was finally exposed largely through the efforts of William Bateson and the American herpetologist G. Noble. He committed suicide. The entire episode is recounted in Arthur Koestler’s book ”The Case of the Midwife Toad.”

    Is it? Maybe I have a little prescription that can be prescribed for you, but first a summary of the case:

    [Kammerer’s] results inspired determined opposition from disciples of the new Mendelian genetics, particularly from its spokesman William Bateson. After years of exhausting controversy, Kammerer allowed the American herpetologist G. K. Noble to examine his last specimen of modified Alytes. The toad had no nuptial ‘pads; moreover, the black coloration on its left hand had been produced (or at least erhanced) by the injection of India ink.
    Seven weeks after the publication of Noble’s report Kammerer killed him- self. This seeming admission of guilt created his legend with its obvious moral on the dangers of zealous advocacy.
    Koestler, with his usual richness of style and intelligence, has convinced me that this common reading is, indeed, legend in the derogatory sense. He combines an analysis of published sources, the testimony of living witnesses, and even some scientific experimentation of his own to argue (i) that the injection was more likely performed by one of Kammerer’s numerous enemies than by Kammerer himself; (ii) that, in any case, it was done after Kammerer’s famous demonstration of the specimen in England in 1923; (iii) that Kammerer probably succeeded in producing nuptial pads in his water-bred Alytes (though Koestler seems unaware that, as I shall mention later, this provides no confirmation of Lamarckian inheritance); and (iv) that Kammerer’s suicide was due as much to the mundane passions of unrequited love and economic failure as to the burden of tragic deceit. Moreover, Koestler has drawn an inference from the debate that is profoundly disturbing because it is probably of general application: the mistrust that established professionals felt for Kammerer arose more from his unconventional personality—his “artistic” temperament, his verbal ability, his unpopular politics—than from any legitimate doubt about the validity of his methods.

    (Review: Zealous Advocates
    The Case of the Midwife Toad by Arthur Koestler
    Review author: Stephen Jay Gould
    Science, New Series, Vol. 176, No. 4035.
    (May 12, 1972), :623)

    It seems that a typical pattern emerges when anyone (anyone, for any reason) rejects the urge to merge the past into the present or the specific into hypothetical goo that the Darwinian mind lives on. I.e., those who refuse to run with the Herd that such minds form and merge into tend to be trampled by it. But another reviewer of the book you cite notes that in this case the Herd may not have had a profound impact:

    …from the book it appears that a more relevant factor [than the scientific debate] was the post—war economic crisis that destroyed both Kammerer’s world and his livelihood rather than scientific controversy in which he clearly could hold his own. Suicide or breakdown could well have seen the end of the highly-strung personality that peers from these pages, quite apart from the scandal. Particularly since it seems obvious now that Kammerer had nothing to do with the faking.

    (Reviewed Work: The Case of the Midwife Toad by Arthur Koestler
    Review by D. F. Roberts
    Man New Series, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Jun., 1972), :323)(Emphasis added)

    In contrast to the legends of the madmen, crackpots and kooks that the banal and conventional sometimes believe in from within the establishment, those outside sometimes view things totally differently. In this instance:

    Paul Kammerer was an Austrian biologist… Throughout most of his life he was a distinguished experimental researcher with an international reputation. Nature magazine called his last book ‘one of the finest contributions to the theory of evolution which has appeared since Darwin.’ Surprisingly, however, Kammerer’s work did not support the evolutionary views of Darwin, but on the contrary provides some of the most convincing experimental evidence ever produced of an evolutionary mechanism far more important than the Darwinian mechanism: a mechanism that is at present denied entirely — the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Kammerer’s story was brought to a modern audience by Arthur Koestler in his book The Case of the Midwife Toad.

    Kammerer worked at the prestigious Institute for Experimental Biology… Over several decades he carried out intricate breeding experiments with many generations of animals and plants to try to find evidence that individuals evolve not because of the selection of chance mutations (the Darwinian idea) but because they were in some unknown way able to adapt their physical features to their habitat or way of life.

    Kammerer searched the animal and plant kingdoms, both on land and in water, looking for individuals he could breed in the laboratory that might exhibit this kind of evolution. He found many such examples. He bred spotted salamanders on different colour soils and found that over successive generations they changed colour to resemble that of the soil on which they were bred: those bred on yellow soil showed a progressive enlargement of the yellow spots on their bodies until they became predominantly yellow, while those reared on black soil showed a diminution of the yellow spots until they became predominantly black. When the offspring of these genetically modified salamanders were moved to the opposite colour soil to that of their parents, their coloration changed back again.

    It is important to appreciate that this kind of genetic evolutionary change is entirely anti-Darwinian in nature. It is an example of directed genetic change (although the mechanism that directs it is entirely unknown); a heresy that all Darwinists vehemently deny is possible.

    (Alternative Science: Challenging the
    Myths of the Scientific Establishment
    by Richard Milton :224-225)

    I suppose that Kammerer is heretical to you as well, even if you don’t have much of a Herd to run with given how you’ve tried to prescribe your capacity for adaptability.

  16. 16
    Smidlee says:

    “Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling, and acting are not free but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”
    Alice Calaprice, The New Quotable Einstein, page 200.

    Wasn’t Einstein a dead-beat dad? If so, this would explain the reasoning behind this quote. (“I was bound to forsake my children.” This is about as bad as the saying “The devil made me do it”)

  17. 17
    O'Leary says:

    From moderator Denyse, Hey, let’s all chill out about this free will stuff.

    We better act like we have free will around this blog.

    I happen to think we do, and we shouldn’t attempt to second guess the capacity in others – whether they recognize it or not.

    When making moderation decisions, I don’t blame people’s opinions on their selfish genes or whacked out neurons or the unfolding of the universe. I assume that at some level they decided what they would do and be. But I love them anyway … !

  18. 18
    Emkay says:

    mike1962: “When someone bases their life and/or livelihood on an ideology, it is bound to produce a serious emotive response when challeged. . . Why be surprised when darwinists do it?”

    I don’t think anyone is surprised any more by the Darwinists’ zealous fervor as they scramble to use every coercive means possible to shore up their chancy edifice. The purpose of pointing out their cult’s modus operandi is precisely to broadcast the fact that theirs is a religion of philosophical materialism masquerading as cast-iron science. The bluff has been called. The war for turth is on.

    “A past evolution is unsupported by the evidence, a presesent evolution indemonstrable.”

  19. 19
    Emkay says:

    my bad…
    …The war for truth is on.
    —–
    “A past evolution is unsupported by the evidence, a present evolution indemonstrable.”

  20. 20
    mynym says:

    I assume that at some level they decided what they would do and be. But I love them anyway … !

    Scientifically it would seem that what we need here is a hypothetical hot dog, one which you happened to eat yesterday, thus making it the mechanism by which the text that you write comes about. Therefore it is the only explanation necessary in an age of machines. It may be difficult to see how a machine could create itself given the nature of sight but mechanical metaphors are rather useful so things must run like clockwork, tick tock. If we find a tick then tock is sure to follow and perhaps one can serve as the mechanism for the other if an infinite amount of time and machinery can be imagined.

    It is, after all, an empirical fact that if you didn’t eat anything then you would eventually lack the ability to write, which serves as evidence that hypothetical hot dogs are the mechanism by which the illusion of your selections later in time are created. For tick and then tock goes the clock that the Blind Watchmaker makes us watch and so your text reduces to a hypothetical hot dog which causes selections and builds up patterns of information that generate the illusion of design and intelligence at this point in time, as obviously all that we know now is caused by a past where the truth lies.

    As for naysayers I’m sure that some might argue that my hypothetical hot dog is just a hypothesis, yet if I have theories about my hypothetical hot dog then that’s like a theory, which is sort of like gravity and other scientific things. I could even mix it in a bit of hypothetical soda so that it would act like a universal acid to totally eat away all other views and all limitation to the explanatory powers hidden in hypothetical hot dogs.

    “Satires which the censor can understand are justly forbidden.” –Karl Kraus

  21. 21
    bevets says:

    Consider the role science now plays in education. Scientific “facts” are taught at a very early age and in the very same manner in which religious “facts” were taught only a century ago. There is no attempt to waken the critical abilities of the pupil so that he may be able to see things in perspective. At the universities the situation is even worse, for indoctrination is here carried out in a much more systematic manner. Criticism is not entirely absent. Society, for example, and its institutions, are criticized most severely and often most unfairly and this already at the elementary school level. But science is excepted from the criticism. In society at large the judgment of the scientist is received with the same reverence as the judgment of bishops and cardinals was accepted not too long ago. The move towards “demythologization,” for example, is largely motivated by the wish to avoid any clash between Christianity and scientific ideas. If such a clash occurs, then science is certainly right and Christianity wrong. Pursue this investigation further and you will see that science has now become as oppressive as the ideologies it had once to fight. Do not be misled by the fact that today hardly anyone gets killed for joining a scientific heresy. This has nothing to do with science. It has something to do with the general quality of our civilization. Heretics in science are still made to suffer from the most severe sanctions this relatively tolerant civilization has to offer. ~ Paul Feyerabend

  22. 22
    Smidlee says:

    [I]Consider the role science now plays in education. Scientific “facts” are taught at a very early age and in the very same manner in which religious “facts” were taught only a century ago.[/I]

    I love to read and watch Sci-fi and noticed a long time ago that in many Sci-fi(especially back in the 50-60’s), science was to do the role of religion in the future. You can clearly see this in Star Trek where Kirk preach by science (space travel) man has conquered poverty, rasism, greed, etc. Then the funny thing was in one episode an alien had took over the Enterprise after Kirk little speech that Kirk threaten to blow up the whole ship if the alien didn’t return control to him. I guess Kirk was a Darwinist who must be in control at all cost. lol

    It’s almost as if anyone who critizes science today is seen as a threat to this “Star Trek” future where science will solve man’s greatest needs which replaces the role of religion.

  23. 23
    John A. Davison says:

    I guess I better not nention free will again. Chronic bannishment grows tiresome.

    “Discretion is the better part of valor.”
    Shakespeare

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  24. 24
    John A. Davison says:

    Kammmer was a charlatan. None of his claims have been verified.

    When I was a graduate student a half century ago it was still considered useful to implement what was called the triple test. The triple test requires that no experimental result should be considered valid until it had been tested in two other laboratories with the same result as the orginal claim. Kammerer was a charlatan as none of his claims have ever been verified even once. Whether he or one of assistants injected the india ink into the nuptial pads of the male midwife toad is of no consequece. It was an inexcusable act of deceit and deception. It was the formal proof of his guilt. His response was to kill himself.

    I am amazed, even shocked, that any informed person could possibly speak in support of Paul Kammerer.

    A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  25. 25
    John A. Davison says:

    Incidentally, both Arthur Koestler and his wife committed suicide.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

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