Thursday, March 26, 2015

Privileged Species

Dr. Michael Denton is a British-Australian biochemist with a PhD from King's College London. I first read of Dr. Michael Denton some twenty years ago when I was questioning the credibility of Darwinism. I had discovered Darwinism and Intelligent Design (ID) could not both be true. Either one or both of them are wrong. In other words, Theistic Evolution is pretty much an oxymoron -- although I held that view while I was in college since I didn't know any better at the time. Darwinism certainly has the most advocates among the atheist intelligentsia running the scientific communities and institutions of higher learning, but truth isn't determined by majority opinion or a court of law, although the Darwinists like to trot out the Dover Trial as evidence their theory is correct. Court cases don't determine scientific truth, and sometimes not even truth at all as the O.J. Simpson case seemed to indicate.

Majority opinion changes in science. Not too long ago, the majority of the scientific community favored the steady state theory of the universe (i.e. no beginning), but today any scientist who doesn't agree with the "standard model" of Big Bang cosmology is marginalized out of the mainstream, or outright mocked as a fool. I believe within 75 to 150 years we'll look back on Darwinism the same way we do today on steady state theorists. Darwinism has been under increasing fire since at least 1985 when Denton first wrote Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

The video below and its companion Privileged Species website is part of the ongoing work of Dr. Michael Denton to help Darwinists out of their delusions. Denton might not use that sort of language, but I do. The Theory of Evolution as Darwin proposed it has been altered by the NeoDarwinists to try and patch it up, but even that is insufficient to make it solid. Intelligent Design just makes more sense, and has more explanatory power. But as we saw in the Dover Trial, the Christians promoting Special Creation as a scientific approach through the wedge of Intelligent Design are doing a disservice to ID. Properly understood, Intelligent Design Theory is not a "God of the gaps" argument, nor does it speak to abiogenesis or what the intelligent agent might be. It is an honest recognition that we see actual design in nature, not just apparent design that must be explained away through the magic pixie dust of "millions of years" of unobserved evolution.

If you're a NeoDarwinist who believes ID is not a scientific theory, I challenge you to show me observable evidence of Darwinism happening. Darwinism is no more scientific than ID unless you define "scientific" as "what scientists believe." I've never seen Darwinism happen, and neither have you. Nobody has. Ever. Darwinism is essentially a claim about history. It is a proposal about what allegedly happened over "millions of years" of random variation in biological life where unguided Natural Selection preserved organisms most fit for survival. No new life forms have ever been observed to appear in an experiment proving the Darwinian hypothesis. Adaptations, yes. New life forms, no. Not one. Never. Last I checked, science was about observation, not history. The dogma of Darwinism is merely one story about how to explain the billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. It is the story most scientists believe about how that stuff got there, but it isn't the only story, and arguably not even the best or truest one.

Humans have used "directed evolution" in dogs and other domestic animals to create incredible diversity within those kinds of life forms by selecting traits intentionally, but there is no evidence the diversity of life we see today in nature has "evolved" by descent from a common ancestor through the unguided aid of natural selection. The idea that micro evolution (adaptation) results in macro evolution (new life forms) given enough time is an unproven hypothesis supported by data fitting of the fossil record.

What we actually observe in experiments and through experience is bounding within types. Today, horse races are won by hundredths of a second because through selective breeding we've made horses just about as fast as they can go based on their biological design. The observable evidence shows natural selection is bounded, unless you appeal to magic pixie dust of "millions of years" where nobody was there to observe it.

So, I take the position of the atheist when it comes to Darwinian evolution. I don't see it, so I don't believe in it. Show me, then I'll believe. In fact, I believe the evidence for the existence of God is more compelling than the evidence for Darwinism, and that is where worldviews collide. Darwinism is what atheists need to be intellectually fulfilled, at least according to Richard Dawkins. The atheists know this which is why they argue so vociferously for Darwinism and use political power and the courts to keep dissenting opinions quiet to the detriment of scientific progress. You can tell how committed an atheist is to atheism by how vigorously they defend Darwinism. They quickly move away from the scientific approach of detached incredulity and move toward a passionate diatribe often seen in religious battles. Just try talking to an atheist about origins, and you'll soon see what I mean. Darwinism is ultimately the religion of atheism. It is a religion in the sense that it answers the same questions as other religions.

4 comments:

  1. I had a long comment about evidence and accidentally deleted it. infuriating!

    Anyway, let me this time look at your last line:
    " Darwinism is ultimately the religion of atheism. It is a religion in the sense that it answers the same questions as other religions."

    I am not sure what 'Darwinism" is but I think you mean evolution. The thing for me is that evolution is accepted by more Christians in the US than by atheists. Not by percentages, sure, but in total numbers, more Christians accept it.

    Further, a number (I am carefully avoiding whether this is a majority or not) of Christians, a number of Muslims and a number of Jews accept Creationism. A number (again, not suggesting a majority) of those same groups, plus atheists, plus a number of Buddhists and a number of Hindus and groups of various other religions all accept evolution. Evolution, though not necessarily its proponents, is agnostic towards God. Evolution says nothing about the beginning of the universe - although the Big Bang theory in the field of physics does. Evolution says nothing about what happens after we die. There are many devout Christians who are evolution proponents.

    I feel this makes your framing of this discussion as Atheists vs Theists dishonest.

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    1. Dear Surprises - The word "evolution" just means "change" so when I'm talking about The Theory of Evolution as proposed by Darwin I use the term Darwinism. That fact that more "Christians" in sheer numbers believe in Darwinism than atheists is a useless observation because there are so few atheists and so many professing "Christians" in the USA. For this to have any meaning you'd have to talk in terms of percentages. Further, the fact that a few people from a variety of theistic religious traditions have believed in Darwinism is mostly irrelevant because nearly ALL atheists believe in the religion of Darwinism. How many or what percentage of any people group believe some proposition to be true is irrelevant to the truth value of that proposition. Truth is not determined by popular opinion. Truth is determined by conformance to reality. I don't see how engaging in the debate between theists and atheists is dishonest, but if I've written anything that is a factual error, please let me know. Thank you for your comment.

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  2. This is a clearly loaded, emotive piece of writing that's low on fact and high on logical fallacies, beginning with an appeal to authority in the very first sentence.

    You misunderstand, and misrepresent, evolution. The idea of evolution was already broadly accepted prior to Darwin's seminal work in 1859; what Darwin added was the idea of natural selection the driving force for change... This in a climate when it was a popular activity for many people to propose evolutionary theories. Lamarck had already published his theories of evolution in 1809 and Robert Chambers in 1844. Darwin most certainly wasn't working in a vacuum here!

    It wasn't until Gregor Mendel's presentation of his ideas about genetics and hybridisation in 1865 (based on earlier work published by Imre Festetics published in 18190 that we understood the underlying mechanism for mutation that natural selection required... Though it wasn't until 1905 that William Bateson re-coined and popularised Imre's term "genetics" that it became widely known.

    DNA was later identified as the molecule that carries these "genes" in 1944, by experiments such as transferring DNA from a dead bacteria to a living one. This coincided with (1) the rise of the "modern synthesis" - a modern theory that combines the ideas of natural selection and genetics and (2) molecular biology - our understanding of DNA and ability to manipulate it. Note that the modern synthesis is not some fixed dogmatic thing, it evolves with our own understanding of genetics, taking into account newer ideas such as e.g. epigenetics.

    This, then, is science. A whole melting pot of ideas that get whittled down as they're variously disproven or superseded by other ideas with greater power to explain. Natural selection didn't arise from nowhere to challenge theocratic dogma... It's what was left after Lamarckism, Orthogenesis, etc. were rejected. It's the one theory out of many that proved to integrate with the corresponding ideas of genetics.

    As for whether or not we can observe speciation occurring right now, you need look no further than the Brassica oleracea - better known as Kale/Cabbage/Sprouts/Cauliflower/Broccoli. Right now these are - just barely - all considered different cultivars of a single species, because they can still be interbred to produce fertile offspring. Given that we've only been cultivating the species for a few thousand years, an eye blink in evolutionary terms, I wonder how long it will be until they can no longer be interbred, or if this has already happened.... The selection will have been artificial and not natural, but it will still truly be an "origin of the species"

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    1. Kale/Cabbage/Sprouts/Cauliflower/Broccoli are all still leafy veggies. You don't see that stuff turning into a different life form. Go research Richard Lenski's E. coli Long-term Experimental Evolution project. All he has is E. coli after tens of thousands of generations. No macro evolution has been observed there or anywhere else; therefore, macro evolution is not observable science. It is a story about history, and arguably not even the best story we have. It is just the one dominating the conversation right now as well as the one dominating scientific dogma.

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