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Dawkins’s Vulgarization of Darwinism and Lewontin’s non-answers

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“Dawkins’s vulgarizations of Darwinism speak of nothing in evolution but an inexorable ascendancy of genes that are selectively superior, while the entire body of technical advance in experimental and theoretical evolutionary genetics of the last fifty years has moved in the direction of emphasizing non-selective forces in evolution… What worries me is that they [non-biologists] may believe what Dawkins and Wilson tell them about evolution.”

Richard Lewontin
Review of Demon Haunted World

But Lewontin is in a bit of a bind. He knows selection cannot be at work in evolution to the extent Dawkins claims, but on the other hand, Lewontin really has never said what those other non-Darwinian mechanisms are except to insist intelligence can’t be one of those mechanisms.

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

Richhard Lewontin

The reason he and most population geneticists know evolution cannot be Darwinian as a matter of principle has been laid out in Neutral theory and non-Darwinian evolution for newbies, Part 2. It shows in small populations, random chance rather than selection is responsible for what lives and dies. It is a totally different line of criticism of Darwinism than IC and CSI, but one thing it has going for it, it has closet mainstream support!

Dawkins on the other hand clearly recognizes if random chance is the primary mechanism for deciding what lives and dies, and if mutation is random, then we should not be the product of mindless evolution, but rather Intelligent Design.

HT JoeCoder
r/creation

7 Replies to “Dawkins’s Vulgarization of Darwinism and Lewontin’s non-answers

  1. 1
    Ian Thompson says:

    You say

    if random chance is the primary mechanism for deciding what lives and dies, and if mutation is random, then we should not be the product of mindless evolution, but rather Intelligent Design.

    What a non sequitor!
    How in heaven’s name did intelligence get inserted here? It cannot.
    The sentence if mutation is random, then we should not be the product of mindless evolution is completely illogical!

  2. 2
    scordova says:

    You often find people who say, well, evolution is a theory of chance, in the absence of a designer. If it really were a theory of chance, of course they would be right to dismiss it as nonsense.

    Richard Dawkins
    Ricahrd Dawkins proves God Exists by Mistake

    Well, I dismiss it as nonsense because I proved from first principles that evolution is a theory of chance. I proved it right here:

    Neutral theory and non-Darwinian evolution for newbies, Part 2.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Lynn Margulis Criticizes Neo-Darwinism in Discover Magazine (Updated) – Casey Luskin April 12, 2011
    Excerpt: Population geneticist Richard Lewontin gave a talk here at UMass Amherst about six years ago, and he mathemetized all of it–changes in the population, random mutation, sexual selection, cost and benefit. At the end of his talk he said, “You know, we’ve tried to test these ideas in the field and the lab, and there are really no measurements that match the quantities I’ve told you about.” This just appalled me. So I said, “Richard Lewontin, you are a great lecturer to have the courage to say it’s gotten you nowhere. But then why do you continue to do this work?” And he looked around and said, “It’s the only thing I know how to do, and if I don’t do it I won’t get grant money.” –
    Lynn Margulis – biologist
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45691.html

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    If truth is the object in origin research then anything banned as a option means they must of proved it isn’t true.
    Anyways evolution either is a theory or its a failed theory.
    how can a scientific theory be a failure? The point of science is to establish its merits in a subject before its annoited a theory.
    Evolutionists or critics are wrong here somewhere before even getting into the weighing of the evidence.

  5. 5
    Barb says:

    how can a scientific theory be a failure? The point of science is to establish its merits in a subject before its annoited a theory.

    Not necessarily. The point of science is to determine how something works. This is done by creating a testable hypothesis, experimenting, collecting data, and then either forming a theory (“X works this way”) or revising the hypothesis based on the data collected (“X doesn’t do what we thought it did”).

  6. 6
    HeKS says:

    @ Ian Thompson #1

    You said:
    ———————–
    You say

    if random chance is the primary mechanism for deciding what lives and dies, and if mutation is random, then we should not be the product of mindless evolution, but rather Intelligent Design.

    What a non sequitor!
    How in heaven’s name did intelligence get inserted here? It cannot.
    The sentence if mutation is random, then we should not be the product of mindless evolution is completely illogical!
    ———————–

    I actually don’t think it is a non-sequitur when you understand the way Richard Dawkins has been arguing for years.

    Dawkins has famously said that Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. Why is that? Because Darwin offered a naturalistic mechanism that is supposed to have the power to cobble things together in such a way that they give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. The mechanism is supposedly able to give such an appearance because, as Dawkins has claimed, while mutations ARE random, natural selection is NOT random. Natural selection is supposed to be able to select what works and keep building on and fine-tuning what works in consistently functional increments. In other words, Darwinism is supposed to account for apparent design because in the mechanism of natural selection acting on random mutation, the important aspect that accounts for apparent design, as per Dawkins, is that natural selection is NOT random.

    That being the case, if natural selection is not a primary factor in evolution and instead evolution proceeds primarily by random mutation alone, we are completely lacking any mechanism that can conceivably account for the apparent design, other than the one cause we actually know is capable of bringing it about, which is intelligence. In the absence of natural selection, the argument that the design we see in nature is illusory falls apart. This is explicitly one of the main reasons we still have people who so strongly advocate Darwinism, like Dawkins, in spite of the fact that it hasn’t really been a live option to explain macroevolution for the past 30 years or so. No matter how much evidence we have that the slow accretion of small changes over geologic time is not a viable explanation of macroevolutionary change, you still have people who insist that Darwinism must be the central picture of evolution, because it’s the only mechanism we “know” of that is capable of generating and fine-tuning new information and giving the appearance of complex design (even though, again, the evidence doesn’t actually support that it can do either of those things).

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    barb
    Fine. Yet it still is true that to reach the level of being a SCIENTIFIC THEORY one must have heaps of evidence and substaining that as heaps of evidence.
    Does evolutionary biology reach this heaping standard.
    I say evolutionists and iD people do not show evolution is a theory.
    even iD people treat it as a wrong theory. i say its very difficult for a theory to be so easily wrong if a high standard is in place.
    THEREFORE its not a theory but only a hypothesis still.
    this is the way to strike at evolution.
    Make them prove its a theory. nOt prove its true.
    First things first.
    I always ask for their top three or one evidence for why its a biological scientific theory.
    They always fail to provide but don’t realize sincerely science is not just weighing raw data.
    its a higher methodology.
    its a demand for evidence like in a criminal case and NOT a civil case.

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