Revolutionary scientific paradigms were first opposed with great force. Gregor Mendel’s genetics was ignored for 20+ years. Ignaz Semmelweis was thrown out of the Vienna General Hospital for insisting that hand-washing could stop fatal childbirth infections.
His colleagues mocked him for suggesting there might be critters so tiny you can’t even see them, multiplying right there in his maternity ward.
Einstein’s theory of relativity sounded crazy. The Big Bang theory was met with derision; the term ‘Big Bang’ was intended as an insult. Widespread acceptance took half a century.
Is Darwinism the same, but only taking longer?
Old-school Darwinism is in a category by its problematic self. Darwinism has been plagued with ten times more problems than any other theory in the history of science. There is not a close second.
Here in Chicago, there used to be a group, headed up by Matt Lowry, called “The Chicago Darwin’s Bulldogs.” Darwinism is the only scientific theory that has needed bulldogs to stay alive. Other theories were able to vindicate themselves without legions of non-scientist bulldogs working for free, thank you very much.
What’s going on?
Before I explain, I must be emphatically clear that evolutionary events are demonstrable fact. Not just theory. Sorry, but the creationists have missed this, and it’s a big one. Evolution experiments have succeeded in nature and in the lab thousands of times. Chapters 11-16 of my book Evolution 2.0 document these experiments in detail: New species, radical adaptations in real time, cells re-arranging their DNA in 100,000 pieces in mere hours – all documented.
But all these experiments are post-Darwinian. They are highly organized and profoundly adaptive. Not only do these results depend on systems that Darwinism denies exist, they serve to discredit traditional Darwinian theory.
Old-school Darwinian theory insists mutations occur “willy nilly” with no plan or purpose.
Actual experiments show plants and animals respond directly to threats in minutes, days or weeks. With precision. Often with immediate results.
This is why you have to polish off your vial of antibiotics. Cuz if you don’t kill them critters dead, bugs become superbugs. In as little as 20 minutes.
Evolution doesn’t take 60 million years. When conditions are bad, evolution kicks in with fists of fury. An illness can balloon into regional epidemic in days.
The retort from Darwinists is: “Militant religious fundamentalists are keeping science stuck in the dark ages. Those poor superstitious morons are unable to accept what scientists have known all along.”
Well, to a certain extent they have a point. Yes, many religious folks have no idea what these amazing evolutionary systems are capable of.
But as for the accusation that it’s only religious yokels, guess again. If you dig through Jerry Fodor’s “What Darwin Got Wrong,” or a stack of similar books, you’ll find critics from every imaginable point on the religious and political spectrum.
Fodor is an atheist; you’ll find agnostics, Jews, Christians, Hindus, New Agers in this group. Along with a disproportionately large number of doctors, dentists, engineers, computer programmers and artists. These groups are statistically likely to doubt Old-School Darwinism… the paper mâché version of evolution evangelized by Richard Dawkins & Jerry Coyne. And it’s not because of religion. It’s because of experience and common sense.
The “Third Way of Evolution” movement is an astute group of credentialed scientists who go out of their way to distance themselves from creationism and Intelligent Design, yet insist evolutionary theory is due for a massive overhaul.
Such criticisms are not new. Books exposing holes in Darwinism continue to appear every month, but the oldest of its kind I’ve found is called “Evolution Old and New” by Samuel Butler. It was written in 1882. Old-School Darwinists are still dodging issues Butler identified 134 years ago.
So… what’s the real problem with Darwinism?
The problem is, traditional Darwinism asserts that “chance and selection” can achieve nearly anything you can imagine. All you need is random DNA errors, and with no other input, guidance or coordination, and you get eyes, ears, limbs, immune systems and everything else you see in biology.
This is article of deeply irreligious, fanatical, zealous faith.
Why? Because chance and selection alone are useless in every technological system we build and understand. Everybody who builds stuff for a living knows this. Chance and selection alone do not write or improve computer software for example. Ever.
Anyone who has personally experimented with Genetic Algorithms knows it takes almost as much work to program a Genetic Algorithm fitness function (=specify the success goal for the program) as it is to skip all that and just write the software yourself.
Anyone employed in the field of software testing will attest that it takes three times more code to write a program that tests software, than the program that you are testing. So much for Natural Selection being able to do “anything.”
The proper British term for Richard Dawkins Jerry Coyne Old-School Darwinism is:
If you’ve experimented with Genetic Algorithms, you also know they often get stuck and can’t get unstuck without outside intervention from the programmer. The fact that biology evolves without outside intervention is impressive indeed.
Do you suppose we should get on with finding out what’s going on under the hood? This is why I applaud the work of people like Craig Venter, who does real experiments instead of arguing ideology.
John Hands’ impressive new book CosmoSapiens explores a slew of big-picture science questions, and documents the search for a “theory of everything.”
This tome (which is easily taken in small pieces) canvasses most major disciplines and includes several chapters about evolutionary biology.
Mr. Hands, an outsider, probes into the many problems with Neo-Darwinism and is met with fierce resistance from Old-School defenders of the status quo.
He reports on Lynn Margulis’ symbiogenesis theory of biological merger-acquisitions:
“When two or more different kinds of organism merge their identities, the process generates novel behaviors and morphologies: new tissues, new organs or metabolic pathways, and new groups of organisms, including new species.
“Margulis found it difficult to get her work published in mainstream scientific and biology journals because, she said in 2011, evolutionary biology has been taken over by the Anglo-American theoretical population geneticists, experimental zoologists, and molecular biologists of the NeoDarwinian school who “block out four-fifths of the information in biology [by ignoring bacteria, protoctists, fungi and plants] and all the information in geology.” They “know nothing about biological systems like physiology, ecology and biochemistry…They are reductionists ad absurdum.”
Hands himself was met with a range of rude behavior, from frigid dismissal to outright hostility – despite bringing no religious agenda whatsoever. Having waded through a startlingly thick wall of defenses, he concludes:
Contradictory evidence, particularly from the fossil record and from observations of a much wider range of species in the wild, is either ignored or countered by unsupported assertions, logical fallacies, or mathematical models whose arbitrary parameters can be adjusted to produce any desired outcome. Other hypotheses are paid no heed or their proponents are accused of attacking biological evolution.
Neo-Darwinism is weakening by the day. In a recent debate atheist Lawrence Krauss said he hated the term “Darwinism.” Responding to a question on his blog after his UK radio debate with me, Darwinist PZ Myers said,
The thing is that the evidence from McClintock’s experiments and observations does not support a purposeful and directed cellular response to stress… …yes, there’s a kind of abstract teleology to cells — they have functions, and they live or die depending on how well they execute those functions. Cells reanneal broken ends of chromosomes because cells that don’t trigger cell death mechanisms that police the integrity of the genome. But there’s no plan to make a change that might improve the health of daughter cells.
Notice Myers wishes to have his cake and eat it too: There is no plan, purposeful and directed response… yet cells have “abstract teleology” and “live or die depending on how well they execute those functions” and they “reanneal broken ends” and “police the integrity” of the genome.
Not purposeful? Really? PZ, what the !@#$ is a function anyway? What is reanneal and police and integrity? My response to PZ was titled “Memo to PZ Meyers: Damage is random. Repair is not.”
All you have to do is read Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock’s work, recognize the entire point of her work, then read PZ’s, um, interpretations of her clear statements, and you can decide for yourself whether or not he is telling you the truth.
Don’t take my word for it. Read McClintock for yourself.
My experience behind the scenes (being privy to private email threads etc.) is that the main tactic of Neo-Darwinists is to simply refuse to engage. Or only engage with people who make them look good. An organized, coordinated effort to only engage with morons. Not intelligent people like John Hands who come sniffing around asking perfectly legitimate questions.
I’ve consulted in 300+ industries, from banking to biotech. Any time you see a profession behaving like the Darwinists are behaving now, it’s your omen that its days are numbered.
The Berlin Wall of Darwinism is crumbling at its foundations. A better theory of evolution is upon us.
Vive la revolution.