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How Darwinism became a dogma

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Thomas Kuhn? Where are you? Could you comment on this “paradigm” stuff? It’s really your show:

Charles Darwin (1859) managed to put the notion of evolution (as it later came to be known) on the late-nineteenth century scientific agenda, but he did not succeed at all in creating a single, united community of evolutionary biologists. Put differently, Darwin’s original theory of evolution never became a paradigm. Instead, there emerged a large number of not always sharply delineated pre-paradigmatic schools of evolutionists (Bowler 1983) which each interpreted the phenomenon of evolution in a different way and focused on specific biological phenomena that suited their theory best.7 For example, neo-Darwinists were preoccupied with adaptations, mutationists with discontinuous variations and orthogenesists or adherents of the idea of straight-line evolution with (presumed) trends in the fossil record. All of these theories “competed for status” (Largent 2009, p. 3). The standard term for this pre-paradigmatic phase in the history of evolutionary biology is “the eclipse of Darwinism.” …

2.2. The Paradigm

The pre-paradigmatic chaos in evolutionary biology came to an end after the Second World War, when the long genesis of the modern evolutionary synthesis (henceforth MS) culminated in its coronation, at the 1947 Princeton Conference on Genetics, Palaeontology and Evolution, as the first paradigm of evolutionary biology (Smocovitis 1996). Provine speaks in respect with this genesis of an “evolutionary constriction” (1989, p. 61): one pre-paradigmatic approach of evolution, that of population genetics, came out victorious and all other alternatives lost all credibility among a majority of biologists. To be precise, population genetics became the “formalized core of the MS theory”

(Müller 2017, p. 2). Interpreting the History of Evolutionary Biology through a Kuhnian Prism: Sense or Nonsense? Koen B. Tanghe, Lieven Pauwels, Alexis De Tiège, and Johan Braeckman Perspectives on Science 2021 29:1, 1-35

The paper is (open access)

A friend writes to remind us that Richard Goldschmidt (hopeful monsters) and Barbara McClintock (jumping genes) were exceptions to the stranglehold.

See also: Key non-Darwinian evolutionary scientists in the twentieth century

One Reply to “How Darwinism became a dogma

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    In the article the authors claim that the Modern Synthesis, i.e. population genetics, “came out victorious” because “it offered a convincing, mathematical solution for a major pre-paradigmatic problem’ for the question of whether the natural selection of continuous variations can cause major adaptive transmutations of populations.” , (which is certainly not a minor problem for them to have, (supposedly), finally solved nearly 8 decades after Darwin first proposed his theory.)

    The pre-paradigmatic chaos in evolutionary biology came to an end after the Second World War, when the long genesis of the modern evolutionary synthesis (henceforth MS) culminated in its coronation, at the 1947 Princeton Conference on Genetics, Palaeontology and Evolution, as the first paradigm of evolutionary biology (Smocovitis 1996). Provine speaks in respect with this genesis of an “evolutionary constriction” (1989, p. 61): one pre-paradigmatic approach of evolution, that of population genetics, came out victorious and all other alternatives lost all credibility among a majority of biologists. To be precise, population genetics became the “formalized core of the MS theory” (Müller 2017, p. 2).
    The main reason why population genetics was victorious is that it offered a convincing, mathematical solution for a major pre-paradigmatic problem: the question whether the natural selection of continuous variations can cause major adaptive transmutations of populations.,,,

    Though the authors may believe that population genetics offered a “convincing, mathematical solution” as to the ‘major problem’ of whether “the natural selection of continuous variations can cause major adaptive transmutations of populations”, Bill Basener and John Sanford would beg to differ that population genetics offered a “convincing, mathematical solution”.

    The central assumption that is wrong in the mathematics of populations genetics is Fisher’s belief that ‘fitness must always increase’

    The fundamental theorem of natural selection with mutations – June 2018
    Excerpt: Because the premise underlying Fisher’s corollary is now recognized to be entirely wrong, Fisher’s corollary is falsified. Consequently, Fisher’s belief that he had developed a mathematical proof that fitness must always increase is also falsified.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00285-017-1190-x

    Basically Fisher’s theorem disregards the fact that the vast majority of mutations are now known to be deleterious, and thus providing a downward pressure on fitness, (a downward pressure that Fisher did not account for in his formulation of population genetics).

    Fisher’s proof of Darwinian evolution has been flipped?
    – December 27, 2017
    Excerpt: we re-examine Fisher’s Theorem, showing that because it disregards mutations, and because it is invalid beyond one instant in time, it has limited biological relevance. We build a differential equations model from Fisher’s first principles with mutations added, and prove a revised theorem showing the rate of change in mean fitness is equal to genetic variance plus a mutational effects term. We refer to our revised theorem as the fundamental theorem of natural selection with mutations. Our expanded theorem, and our associated analyses (analytic computation, numerical simulation, and visualization), provide a clearer understanding of the mutation–selection process, and allow application of biologically realistic parameters such as mutational effects. The expanded theorem has biological implications significantly different from what Fisher had envisioned.
    – per uncommon descent

    Defending the validity and significance of the new theorem “Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection With Mutations, Part I: Fisher’s Impact – Bill Basener and John Sanford – February 15, 2018
    Excerpt: While Fisher’s Theorem is mathematically correct, his Corollary is false. The simple logical fallacy is that Fisher stated that mutations could effectively be treated as not impacting fitness, while it is now known that the vast majority of mutations are deleterious, providing a downward pressure on fitness. Our model and our correction of Fisher’s theorem (The Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection with Mutations), take into account the tension between the upward force of selection with the downward force of mutations.,,,
    Our paper shows that Fisher’s corollary is clearly false, and that he misunderstood the implications of his own theorem. He incorrectly believed that his theorem was a mathematical proof that showed that natural selection plus mutation will necessarily and always increase fitness. He also believed his theorem was on a par with a natural law (such as entropic dissipation and the second law of thermodynamics). Because Fisher did not understand the actual fitness distribution of new mutations, his belief in the application of his “fundamental theorem of natural selection” was fundamentally and profoundly wrong – having little correspondence to biological reality. Therefore, we have reformulated Fisher’s model and have corrected his errors, thereby have established a new theorem that better describes biological reality, and allows for the specification of those key variables that will determine whether fitness will increase or decrease.
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp.....rs-impact/

    Moreover, (disregarding the fact that the mathematics of population genetics, as formulated by Fisher, has the erroneous assumption that ‘natural selection plus mutation will necessarily and always increase fitness’, built into it), the mathematics of population genetics, via the ‘waiting time problem’ has also now shown that natural selection is also grossly inadequate as the supposed ‘designer substitute’ as Darwinists have erroneously imagined it to be.

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpt from Living Waters video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0csd3M4bc0Q

    Thus contrary to what the authors of the article may want to believe, populations genetics has certainly not solved the ‘major problem’ of whether “the natural selection of continuous variations can cause major adaptive transmutations of populations”. Quite the opposite.

    The authors further state in their article that they doubt there are “very serious problems” with the Modern Synthesis, i.e. population genetics, and further state that the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis is just an “alternative, Lakatosian research program” and is not a serious contender to replace the modern synthesis

    2.4. A Kuhnian Crisis?
    Some scholars suggest that evolutionary biology is in the thralls of a Kuhnian crisis and that the so-called extended evolutionary synthesis (henceforth EES) (e.g., Pigliucci and Müller 2010) is about to replace the MS (Modern Synthesis),,,
    Are evolutionary biologists currently really faced with significant anomalies that indicate that there are “very serious problems” with the MS? We doubt it. Telling, in this respect, is that most adherents of the EES themselves do not believe that this model is an emerging, new paradigm. Rather, they tend to interpret it as an alternative, Lakatosian research program,,,

    Yet, regardless of how the authors may feel about it, and as Denis Noble pointed out, there are VERY serious problems with the modern synthesis. In fact, “all the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis (often also called Neo-Darwinism) have been disproved.”

    “Physiology Is Rocking the Foundations of Evolutionary Biology”: Another Peer-Reviewed Paper Takes Aim at Neo-Darwinism – Casey Luskin March 31, 2015
    Excerpt: Noble doesn’t mince words:
    “It is not only the standard 20th century views of molecular genetics that are in question. Evolutionary theory itself is already in a state of flux (Jablonka & Lamb, 2005; Noble, 2006, 2011; Beurton et al. 2008; Pigliucci & Muller, 2010; Gissis & Jablonka, 2011; Shapiro, 2011). In this article, I will show that all the central assumptions of the Modern Synthesis (often also called Neo-Darwinism) have been disproved.”
    Noble then recounts those assumptions: (1) that “genetic change is random,” (2) that “genetic change is gradual,” (3) that “following genetic change, natural selection leads to particular gene variants (alleles) increasing in frequency within the population,” and (4) that “inheritance of acquired characteristics is impossible.” He then cites examples that refute each of those assumptions,,,
    He then proposes a new and radical model of biology called the “Integrative Synthesis,” where genes don’t run the show and all parts of an organism — the genome, the cell, the body plan, everything — is integrated.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....94821.html

    Thus the authors may doubt that there are ‘very serious problems’ with the modern synthesis, but having all the central assumptions of the modern synthesis empirically disproven is certainly not a minor problem with the modern synthesis that can be safely ignored, contrary to whatever the authors may want to believe.

    As to the question of whether the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis will ever replace the modern synthesis as a new ‘paradigm’, in his book “Darwin’s Doubt”, Stephen Meyer has shown that all the proposed alternatives to the modern synthesis suffer from pretty much the same exact fundamental defect as the modern synthesis does. Namely, the modern synthesis, nor any of its proposed alternatives, can account for the origin of new biological information.

    Darwin’s Doubt (Part 9) by Paul Giem – video – The Post Darwinian World and Self Organization
    Chapter 15 and 16 of Darwin’s Doubt in which 6 alternative models to neo-Darwinism, that have been proposed by evolutionists (such as those of the Altenberg 16) to ‘make up’ for the inadequacy in neo-Darwinism, are discussed and the failings of each model is exposed.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....Ow3u0_mK8t

    Scientists stunned by the public’s doubt of Darwin – April 22, 2014
    Excerpt: (Stephen) Meyer said that view under-represents the real facts being discovered in evolutionary biology.
    “Very few leading evolutionary biologists today think that natural selection and random mutation are sufficient to produce the new forms of life we see arising in the history of life,” Meyer said. “And then when the public is catching wind of the scientific doubts of Darwinian evolution and expresses them in a poll like this, these self-appointed spokesmen for science say that the public is ignorant. But actually, the public is more in line with what’s going on in science than these spokesmen for science.”
    https://world.wng.org/2014/04/scientists_stunned_by_the_publics_doubt_of_darwin

    Since the modern synthesis, and all its alternatives, suffer from the same exact fundamental defect of not being able to account for the origin of biological information, might it be too obvious to point out the fact that we do know of a cause that is able to produce new biological information? Namely Intelligence?

    “Natural Processes are insufficient to produce the information in DNA.
    ID is sufficient to produce the information in DNA.
    Therefore, ID is the best explanation of the information in DNA.”

    Stephen Meyer Debunks the “God of the Gaps” Objection
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGqzCA1mnyM

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