Tom Heneghan advises, “As Darwin Year ends, some seek to go ‘beyond Darwin,’” (Reuters Faith World: Religion and Ethics, December 14, 2009).
So I was intrigued by a conference held at UNESCO here in Paris recently about scientists who believe in evolution but want to go “beyond Darwin.” Organised by French philosopher of science Jean Staune, its speakers argued that Darwin could not explain underlying order and patterns found in nature. “We have to differentiate between evolution and Darwinism,” said Jean Staune, author of the new book Au-dela de Darwin (Beyond Darwin). “Of course there is adaptation. But like physics and chemistry, biology is also subject to its own laws.”
Well, say it in French or in English, but just say it out loud: “le darwinisme, c’est incroyable;” “Darwinism is unbelievable.”
Still, here is the story in a nutshell: Once a person claims to me that the chimp in the zoo is 99% identical to one of my grandkids, I know I am dealing with an unbelievable belief. Just how to deal with it is a difficult question, especially if the belief is government-funded and supported by all the right people (who don’t think I should have grandkids anyway).
Michael Denton, a geneticist with New Zealand’s University of Otago, said Darwinian “functionalists” believed life forms simply adapted to the outside world while his “structuralist” view also saw an internal logic driving this evolution down certain paths. His view, which he called “extraordinarily foreign to modern biology,” explained why many animals developed “camera eyes” like human ones and why proteins, one of the building blocks of life, fold into structures unchanged for three billion years.
Here’s more from Denton:
Q: What do you think of “intelligent design” now?
I have some sympathy with the intelligent design movement. I can see their point. But in the end, I think natural self-organising matter plus natural selection can probably explain it. I don’t like the attitude of the Darwinian establishment towards intelligent designers because one thing the Darwinist establishment certainly can’t explain is the origin of life. That’s for sure. Probably special creation is better than what they’ve got. That’s almost like confessing a murder, I know, but I don’t mind being quoted on that. Because I personally see so much fitness in the cosmos for the ends of life, then that it is at least compatible with a design hypothesis like Aristotle or Aquinas. I’m quite irritated by the way the Darwinists claim they have all the answers. I don’t think they can explain the fitness of the universe for life. They can’t explain the origin of life. So I think they should be a little bit more humble.
Well, Michael Denton has himself been going beyond Darwin a long time. He has been described as a post-Darwinian, and his views have been vindicated by evidence. His book Nature’s Destiny is a long explanation of why he doesn’t believe the garbage fronted – by law – to publicly funded schools in places where you, gentle readers, probably pay taxes. Merry Christmas – no, not to you, serfs, but to your Darwinist masters, whom you support.
Many of us doubt that Denton’s self-organizing matter can explain the origin of information. That’s like thinking the Scrabble pieces can organize themselves in such a way that when you scatter the pieces they form a perfect, intelligible message. Friends have suggested that Denton read Polanyi and Yockey. Otherwise, he is stuck with “the mother gives birth to herself.”
But I recommend Denton anyway because he understand marsupial mammals, and many North American pundits do not. We have only one: the Virginia opossum. I have never seen an opossum in the Toronto area; they are not well furred and apt to suffer from frostbite.
Note: Just want to say thanks to SCheesman below at 1 for info re opossums in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). I live right downtown, which is an urban heat island. In theory, that might attract opossums, and I was naturally hoping it would. However, the downtown is also densely inhabited by squirrels, raccoons, skunks, feral cats, Norway rats, red foxes, et cetera, all in competition for dumpster refuse, overfed pigeons, etc. It may be that the opossums just could not gain a foothold around local dumpsters.