Laszlo Bencze, on reading Neil Thomas’s Taking Leave of Darwin (2021), notes,
I am currently reading Neil Thomas’s recent book, Taking Leave of Darwin. He highlights Darwin’s rhetorical tricks in a most engaging way:
Curiously, Darwin himself acknowledged and indeed drew attention to the lack of fossil evidence—he even, as he put it, “had difficulty imagining by what gradations many structures had been perfected,” adding, “Why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion, instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?… as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the Earth?” [Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859), p. 129]
Yet, as Gertrude Himmelfarb (who did more than any other critic to unmask Darwin’s rhetorical evasions) noted, Darwin’s technique here and elsewhere was “to assume that by acknowledging the difficulty, he had somehow exorcized it,” coming up with a faux confession aimed at propitiating critical dissent. Thereafter, misgivings are whisked away by rhetorical legerdemain cum disarming self-effacement, and he proceeds, in a famously circular argument, to blame the fossil record itself for not providing the evidence he desired (lacing this with the pious hope that future fossil finds would prove him right). His hope that the gaps would be remedied after his day has not, however, been fulfilled to date. —Taking Leave of Darwin, Neil Thomas, p. 76 – 77
This rhetorical technique continues today in almost every explanation of or defense of evolution. Sound criticisms are not answered. Rather they are “pooh poohed” away as the pathetic limitations of inferior minds whereas the superior minds of evolutionists “see no problem” with any fanciful evolutionary speculation. How could the irreducible complexity of the flagellum have evolved bit by bit? No problem. Another cellular organelle was co-opted. Of course that vague term is meant to be understood as a comprehensive answer. Criticisms of such vagueness evoke Darwin’s classic response “I see no reason why it couldn’t have worked out that way.”
“Life from non-life? Yes, that is an amazingly difficult problem and we agree that no one has the slightest idea how it happened. Nonetheless, we see no reason why it should not yield to scientific advances in chemistry.” Problem acknowledged and solved. “Move along now. We’ve got business to attend to.”
The “other business” has too often been the huge fists of the law and social exclusion.
That’s really what Darwinists are expert at.