How Darwinism Sucked the True Power out of Biology

J. Scott Turner is a professor, biologist, and physiologist whose tireless work concludes that Modern Darwinism has failed in a big way.

After countless decades, we are at a scientific dead-end still unable to clearly define what LIFE is.

Turner says, that only after Modern Darwinists surrender their materialist and mechanistic biases, and acknowledge the qualities and roles Purpose & Desire play, will the field move forward.

Purpose and desire at present are held only as “mere illusion”.

I could not agree more. The purposefulness of living things is apparent to any six year old. It is manifest at every level at which you study life. So, as in Mao’s China, it takes a great deal of “re-education” for people to un-learn the obvious.

In banishing purpose from the discussion, he says, “Where we have striven to exclude the ghosts from our machines, we have inadvertently constructed back doors that allow the ghosts to creep right back in.”

His book is extremely well written and congenial. Turner is a gentleman through and through, and does not go on a shaming rampage. This book is no rant. Rather, he invites you to really think and decide for yourself.

Join us in this fireside chat as we discuss his work.

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60 Responses

  1. Larry Iles says:

    Removing intent from existence likewise removes one of the most important aspects of the existence of everything that is or ever was. Purpose without intent is impossible to reconcile, and those who study biology cannot define any living thing or the way it functions without assigning a rational purpose for each and every function required for its survival. Mechanical reduction does not have the capacity to explain that away.

    • Absolutely correct.

    • bill says:

      actually the discussion where we assign purpose to evolutionary traits is a
      ex: our skin gets wrinkled because that helps our grip under water.
      dead wrong- our skin gets wrinkled because some organisms skin getting wrinkled helped that organism compete… that organisms spawn lived, we are that spawn- our fingers wrinkle
      any biologist worth their weight understand this, it’s only the untrained person who confuses this incorrect semantic stance as innate

    • Joseph McGee says:

      Yes, I agree. My cats are totally purpose driven. They find very invetive ways to communicate. I forgot to clean out the box, and was working on the computer. She jumped and planted one next to the keyboard. Intelligent? Absolutely.

    • Darwin, so far as I know, did not deny the existence of purposeful behavior. His point in more modern terms was merely that genetic changes occur as a matter of mutations that are sorted out and eliminated or sustained by natural selection.

  2. Jan Hellsund says:

    Purpose can be evolved. Similarly, a universal taboo against cannibalism evolved because eating others of your own kind is counter-productive to growing a population. Others like ourselves are the perfect food and we would not venture outward to find food if the perfect food was available in our midst. Similarly, purpose would evolve because it serves the function of making the individual more robust. Purpose can be as simple as mating as often as possible or seeking safety. Lots of failures until advantageous tendencies come to be via mutation. I don’t see how this conflicts with classical Darwinism.

    • “Purpose evolved” is a total non-explanation. It doesn’t tell you one whit about how it actually occurs. Nor has anybody explained how such a thing takes place in such a way that you can actually reproduce it physically and observe it. It’s “just-so” stories. And It conflicts with classical Darwinism because classical Darwinism says there is no purpose.

    • John says:

      I am pretty sure I lost IQ points by just reading that post. Perfect food?!?! Our digestive tract is omnivorous in total but more herbivore than carnivore. The “perfect food” could not have “evolved” in the first place without the ingestion of a significant amount of imperfect food. There is no evidence that cannibalism has ever been widely practiced. Where it has been they only ate enemies whose populations they were attempting to eliminate. Seldom seen that much ignorance packed into such a small space.

    • Larrd says:

      If others like ourselves were the perfect food, why wouldn’t we evolve to have 1000 babies each year?

    • Dave Matuzak says:

      So if we are overpopulated, it makes sense to start eating one another? That makes no sense

    • Curtis Greer says:

      The problem with your understanding is that all mutations are neutral or negative. They do not introduce new DNA. They are corruptions of pre-existing programs that allow organisms to adjust to their environment. Programs do not just automatically appear the are intelligently designed, whether in a computer or living thing. Without a programmer designing an operating system, nothing happens, in electronics or living things.

      • Roger Lahti says:

        Your understanding is evident in your comment. Changes in dna are incremental not instantaneous. A study of the relationship of different lines of species often show a mix of one degree or another of other species dna. Certainly not exact but with tell tale markers or similar dna. Combine that with the fossil record, the anthropological record including ancient dna and you see that all creatures are related in a very distant past from the most complex as in the example of humans and their ancient relatives but also in all other creatures back to single cell life with nothing before that found in any fossil record. The simple implication and explanation considering the proven age of the earth and the rest of the known Universe is that with the right conditions life can happen and evolve into more complicated life with branches into all the various types of creatures we find in the past and today. So the creation of life itself may be mechanical given the right conditions or it may be set in motion in the same way but by A Universal Intelligent Design….Er. Other than by faith there is no proof one way or the other. Most scientist would not be in the business of disproving a God nor proving a God, rather investigating what happened and maybe eventually why and how it happened, regardless of the x
        Scientific topic. Some such investigation is further along than others. But neither the existence nor the non existence of a Creator has been unequivocally proven buy scientific examination. So with the evidence at hand,a mechanism like evolution may be the most reliable explanation at this time. It has happened and it continues to happen but you need to think in longer time spans than 6,000 years. Or SevenDays.

  3. Jan Hellsund says:

    In the 1700s we searched for a mechanical explanation of life. In the 1800s we looked for a thermodynamic explanation because “high tech” at the time was steam power. Earlier we seeked a hunting/gathering or agricultural explanation. Now we’re looking for some kind of code because of our information age goggles. Perhaps we’re a bit premature and should wait til our technology is more biologically driven. Computer code is just so… 20th century.

  4. Mark Snell says:

    I think you may be conflating “practice” with purpose. The purpose of surviving is universal, made more likely by the practices of lots of mating and hiding from the storm.

  5. Daniel White says:

    Certainly the biggest horse laugh of modern thought is the general assumption that Darwin’s evolutionary theory is a correct explanation of how life appeared and flourished on Earth. Had Darwin known what we now know about genetic structure and DNA, he would have never put forward his theory because he would have seen that the printing process which is used for replication has no provision for one specie to change into another. If I take a rubber stamp that says ‘Perry Marshall’ on it and stamp it a million or more times, it will never say, ‘Daniel White’, yet that is what the evolutionist is asking us to believe. I do not know how we got here, but I am pretty confident that it was not via evolution. Remember, Darwin’s finches not only continued to be birds, they continued to be finches.

    • James Bennett says:

      Daniel White, very well said.
      Good interview.

    • Colin Hughes says:

      The origin of life is unknown at this point, though there are some interesting hypotheses about parts of it. Most evolutionary biology has nothing to do with the origin of life (nor the origin of humans). Daniel White is however, completely wrong about DNA replication and mutation in general; we know a great deal about the generation of genetic variation. How natural selection acts on that variation is just math, no mystery there. As for speciation, there is lots of evidence, including examples of speciation events that have been observed. No biologist claims that a finch which undergoes speciation will give rise to a finch and a toad, or a parrot or whatever; the two products will both be finches, he’s right about that.

      • Bruce Cain says:

        Colin Hughes:

        What speciation events have been observed?

        Were they observed in sexually reproducing organisms?

        Were they demonstrably the result only of cumulative randomly occurring genetic mutations?

      • Ian Gattuso says:

        Like you said, it’s math. Vox Day used math to basically display the absurdity of speciation on his Dark stream podcast. He concluded based on the “scientific data” that we would have a major human mutation every 67 years or so. Evidence of speciation seems to just be an attempt at filling in the gaps to fit a preconceived evolutionary narrative that has already moved the goalpost many times and is in no way predictive.

      • Patrick Gallagher says:

        I agree until the finches adapt in enough different ways and over a long enough time that they can no longer create offspring. Or you can have the point of separation when the offspring are infertile.

    • Mark Kapera says:

      Neat analogy, but you’re forgetting one thing. DNA is designed to replicate, is flexible and can be altered (mutate) by external and possibly internal forces. Your ‘rubber stamp’ will eventually wear out and become a blur. But it would never evolve into the flourishing script of Benjamin Franklin.

    • David Winchester says:

      It may not say Daniel white, but it definitely won’t say Perry Marshall…

    • Maria Hernandez says:

      You don’t think gene mutation due to chemical changes in the environment is enough of an explanation for evolution?. I’m not claiming to be a genetics expert or to argue, I just want to know. I do know that a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome has genetic changes. These changes have just as much chance of being passed on to that child’s decendants as any other gene. So that is a form of evolution. What think you?

      I understand that this does not explain the will to live.

      I am a religious person, therefore I need to state that neither evolution, nor spontaneous creation conflict with my relationship with God. He is God afterall and can do both, and more.

      • Ian Gattuso says:

        Maria Henderson not if you have a relationship with the God of the Bible. If evolution occurred in order for humans to exist, then there was death and predation before sin. You must then conclude that sin does not cause death. So why do you need saving from your sin if it doesn’t cause death? Why Jesus? You effectively discredit the entire Bible if you believe man’s guess – who wasn’t there – of what happened over the Bible’s Creation account in Genesis – that claims to be God breathed. Evolution is based on the premise that nothing came from nothing and then exploded into nothing that immediately became something at the exact same time – time needed to become a thing at that exact moment also – that nothing exploded into it and than billions of years later You and I are communicating our thoughts in a chat on the WWW. Why would you believe there is a God and also play along with the evolutionary non-sense that time space and matter all came into existence at the exact same moment?

      • Patrick Gallagher says:

        Well said, if we were created in God’s image, it seems likely he would like us to follow the truth, wherever it may take us.

    • Ken Hunt says:

      Your taking to hard of a stand point about what evolution is just look at what mankind has become in just the last 100 years alone….that’s living evolution in action….. The only constant in the universe is that everything changes….

    • Jeffrey Dixon says:

      The main reason you can know that evolution has occurred is by looking at the fossil record and the order in which we find fossils. If in fact creationism, especially biblical creationism, was true, we would find all types of animals at all levels of the fossil record. But that is the exact opposite of what is found. At the earliest levels we find no life. Then we find only single celled organisms. Then we find early complex life. Then fish, then amphibians, then reptiles, then mammals, birds and finally humans.

      We never find humans within the lower strata or any other species that came along after earlier ones. The oft repeated comment about never finding a bunny in the Pre-Cambrian represents the problem that creationists have.

      The evolution of one species into another species is the only explanation of why this order exists in the fossil record. If mammals evolved from reptiles, then it should be impossible to find a mammal that is beneath the reptiles. And so far, after looking for 150 years, we have never found one example of an out of place fossil.

      So, creationists try to pick holes in the theory, but never address the main issue. If all creatures were created at the same time, why can we never find bunnies, horses, wolves, reptiles, birds or most anything else in the Pre-Cambrian?

      We do not know everything about how evolution works, but we understand the big picture.

      Now, most creationists I have spoken with say the fossil pattern is explained by the Flood, which is complete nonsense. If almost all animals and humans died in a flood, we should find their fossils all jumbled together. They mutter about the flood sorting bodies by size, but the fossil record is not based on size. Yes, dinosaurs are big and they are found under animals like birds and humans. But we find smaller reptiles under the huge dinosaurs and we find single celled organisms under most all of it, which are the smallest of all. A flood is a completely absurd idea to try and explain the fossil record. But it all you have, so they pin their hopes on it.

      And given that each strata is a different time period and there are fossils in all but the earliest strata, the flood idea, is shown as complete bunk.

      So, while you may feel you are pointing out the flaws in the theory, you really are not. Perhaps there are aspects which need further investigation, and it is probable that we will find new aspects of how evolution has occurred. But you will never be able to get around the reality that different species came along at different times over the history of the earth. And only evolution has a viable explanation for how that occurred.

      • Ben Letto says:

        A couple issues here…first, evolution is not the only explanation of one species into another…there are other explanations…you are not justified in shutting down the investigations on alternatives to descent with modification.

        So, why don’t we find bunnies in the “early” layers? Because we define the layers! If we find a trilobyte, we then decide that this is a Cambrian layer…and if we find a human fossil, we declare that layer to be a only 90,000 yrs old…and voila! No H. sapiens are ever found in Cambrian layers…imagine that! It’s the worst kind of science there is, and it’s called paleontology.

        Another serious problem with the fossil record is that it’s woefully incomplete. Some estimates say that less than 5% of the species that ever existed, are represented in the fossil record. How can you claim to use such a horrible source of information for any conclusions? It’s not a useful tool…unless you just want to speculate and argue. Honestly, the fossil record is inconclusivity defined.

        The geologic column has been debunked with the discovery of soft tissue within numerous dinosaur bones…bones thought to be 65-million years old have been accurately dated with radicarbon of their bone collagen at 20,000 years. So the notion of deep-time biology has been wiped out…and without deep time, evolution simply doesn’t have time to operate (if it ever could actually be demonstrated as operable)

      • Ian Gattuso says:

        Graham Hancock and Randall’s carlson and Creation Appologists would disagree with you. There are 3 podcasts on the Joe Rogan Experience that debunk the narrative based on very strong evidence of a worldwide flood and the strata mixing as a result. Additionally, we would see evidence of speciation in the fossil record if it were true – it’s all speculation- and we would also see evidence of speciation today – we don’t. The fact that we have no real evidence of speciation and that it is basically debunked by DNA and the gnome project trumps the strata argument anyway. If you would like to be able to argue the view you oppose check out Creation apologetics at or go to Kentucky and talk to the scholars. Science has not settled anything.

      • Kurt Knapp says:

        Jeffery you do realize that the fossils are dated by the strata they are located in and the strata is dated by fossils that are found in it. But I guess its good for story telling

        • Veljko Blagojevic says:

          Kurt, do you realize that that is completely false?

          As you can see, the geological column was determined before the theory evolution, so fossils are NOT the primary way of determining age of the strata and most certainly cannot be the manipulation of ”evolutionists”. Besides, only SOME fossils, which were never found outside a certain strata are used as index fossils (meaning, if you find that specific fossil in a strata, it is most probably the strata in which that specific fossil was always found). But, that is just one of many methods of dating the strata, NOT THE ONLY ONE! The strata are also dated using absolute dating methods, like radiometric dating.

    • Roger Lahti says:

      Not very well said Daniel White. You infect too much spiritual into a Creation and fail to consider that a God set up the Universe to work certain ways. There is just too much evidence that even our species had any number of precursors that led to US. And it fails to acknowledge the actual age of the earth. There certainly has been enough time and enough permutations to allow the creatures that exist today, including us, to develop into what we see now. There is too much evidence in the geological record and the fossil record to show that progression. The idea of ‘purpose’ or ‘mechanical’ is irrelevant. Organisms form to fill a niche, and that is at once a purpose and a simple mechanical function of nature. We see in the distant pas complicated and also simple organisms as we do today. Some made it this far and some didn’t, for various reasons. Our species was always on a path towards what we are now, but we didn’t start out this complicated. Nor are we through. Given time. Immense amounts of time.

  6. Gerry Javier, Jr says:

    I have no statistics to back up my claim but I think cannibalism was widely practiced in Southeast Asia as late as the 1950’s. The Illongot, a pagan tribe in Central Philippines ate human. There were no bodies in that fatal plane crash in Papua New Guinea involving a Rockefeller scion because they were assumed to have been eaten by the natives. Reports also tell Japanese soldiers feasting on American captives to stave off hunger during WWII.

  7. Ray Guarino says:

    You should go do philosophy or religion because that is what it sounds like you all want to do. Should the scientist define for all of us a singular “scientific” purpose of life? I think not. I would rather look to the Pope or the Dalai Lama for that answer.

  8. Duncan Thomson says:

    Are they (termites) little robots carrying out a program or are they living thinking beings. The answer is YES. They (and we) are both. I find this discussion quite empty. Two talking heads struggling with a problem that is not really a problem. Evolution is real – I won’t waste my time arguing about that. Emergent behavior of a complex.system made up of many smaller simpler systems (a termite colony) is fascinating and not fully understood. Conscious Ness is far from understood. So what? How does this evolution 2.0 help understand those things better. Someone please explain in a few lines.

    • Alex "here's your full name" Anderson says:

      The best comment here so far and no one replies to it… because it’s right.

    • Evolution 2.0 acknowledges that the question of consciousness is behind all of this and that labeling something an “emergent property” doesn’t account for how it emerged. Thus the prize.

    • Ian Gattuso says:

      Duncan Thompson said “Evolution is real- I won’t waste my time arguing about that.” Yes, let’s waste Time, because in order for your statement “Evolution is real” to be correct, TIME space and matter all had to come came into existence at the same TIME? Nothing came from nothing and exploded into nothing that came into existence at the same TIME. Please, waste our time. I would love to hear how you are the logically consistent one.

      • Jeffrey Dixon says:

        Your comment is nonsensical. Evolution and the origins of the universe are two separate issues. A god could have created the universe and the first replicating life form and then used evolution as the process to spread life over the earth.

      • Roger Lahti says:

        If you look at the total of science your nothing into nothing makes no sense. The total of science will show that a reversal of the Universe leads back to an incomprehensable, and I finally small something. Then reverse forward and every thing, elemental comes into existence in a minute amount of time. Through a natural progression over billions of years according to conditions present different results happen, including in our little corner, us and all the things that have lived before and all the different conditions that have happened. That’s the evidential truth. The only unanswered question is whether a God initiated all this or was it somehow just physics at work. I contend that physics at work is God at work.

        Refer to the Bible. And tell me what a Creator would reveal to a thinking animal like us, just flirting with coming out of a Stone Age, that we would understand. It is amazing that Genesis comes so close to the same explaination as Science has shown.

  9. Terry Black says:

    Suppose a finch gave birth to another finch that was faster, more agile, better able to flourish than its mom. Supply the improved finch continued to propogate, and the finch population began to exhibit those improved characteristics.

    Now suppose a finch evolved to the point where it could no longer breed with the original. You say this is impossible, but I don’t see why.

    Doesn’t the fossil record show countless examples of new species emerging, to the point where they don’t resemble the original?

  10. Veljko Blagojević says:

    “After countless decades, we are at a scientific dead-end still unable to clearly define what LIFE is.”
    Which should be a clear indication that it may not be a category as clean-cut as creationists like to believe. 🙂

    “Purpose and desire at present are held only as “mere illusion”.”
    They are not “mere illusion”, they are pretty real to the person having them…however, while that doesn’t make them “unreal”, it makes them “subjective” or “relative”. As such, they have no bearing on the study of the origin of life (or it’s functions and processes).

    “The purposefulness of living things is apparent to any six year old. It is manifest at every level at which you study life. ”
    To a six-year old, yes.
    To a thirty-one-yers old scientist – no.
    It is also apparent that the world is flat, and that it didn’t exist before we were born. Yet, it isn’t really a strong conclusion upon adult, rational inspection, is it? 🙂

    “His book is extremely well written and congenial. Turner is a gentleman through and through, and does not go on a shaming rampage. This book is no rant. Rather, he invites you to really think and decide for yourself.”
    Yet, you are unhappy when we actually think for ourselves and arrive at the opposite conclusion from you. You keep insisting how we are ignorant and refuse discussion. Why would that be? 🙂

  11. Roger Lahti says:

    We as a species possess the ultimate in curiosity. We love to discuss and examine everything in an ingrained attempt to understand. It’s the epitome of “life”. But in the simplest terms what is “life”? It is simply the imperative and ability to reproduce itself. Whether it be the simples of organisms, bacteria, fungus, virus, or any more complicated creature, it can and does replicate.

    On cold stretch the analogy to the mineral world in that the cosmos in all its complexity and diversity is in constant death and birth, reproducing itself, creating new stars, planets, and all the physical material forms in between. But we acknowledge that in our understanding Of physics, this is a mechanical function guided by the laws of physics. Life takes a step beyond that while using physics it also uses the miracle of individual reproduction, relying only on the presence of the right, necessary conditions to support a continuation of the presence and reproduction of the organism. That can result, with changing conditions a change in the organism. Evolution. It’s purpose is to not just reproduce but to fill a niche in a suitable environment. Subtle changes in an environment result in subtle changes in organisms. Evolution. Our line has/had the ability to continually become more and more complex, while other lines came to a dead end. Evolving no more but living on in a supportive environment. Filling a niche.

    What is the purpose of life? Reproduction, preservation, and sometimes growth. Why it started or exactly how is at once a scientific inquiry and a spiritual inquiry. Neither is contrary to the other.

  12. JReder White says:

    I think we all need to acknowledge that many things on our planet and in our universe stagger the imagination and remain mysterious. It’s all speculation. Some speculation is useful. We can assume the earth is flat and construct a house on a solid foundation. But we can’t sail around the world and hold to that view. It’s more useful to see the earth is round (which it really is). So what use do we see in evolutionary theory, in creation theory?

    Some think that a non-Biblical world view purports that something came from nothing. This is not necessarily so. What if a tiny hole to another dimension suddenly opened up and then matter exploded into our empty universe? Of course, the concept of an empty universe is itself absurd. Then, too, this begs the question of where that other universe got its matter.

    People also think that one has to abandon his belief in God when he “believes” in evolution. This is far from true since Christian scientists before Darwin proposed that life evolves on the earth. One decides for himself whether God is orchestrating life or if life is developing on its own, so to speak, as a reaction to environmental concerns, or as a purpose of survival. Life makes a way, as Michael Crichton put it.

    Belief in God is a choice. So is unbelief. Neither choice provable in any material way. So persons who have chosen one belief over another one have no authority to show any superior attitude at all.

    As for purpose, the Bible makes it pretty clear that most concepts of purpose are like puffs of air. We are all grass that will wither and die. I am cogent of the fact that, fifty years after I pass away, no one on this planet will remember I was here. I just spoke with freshmen in high school who were born after 9/11. Most have no emotional memory attached to that event. And it hasn’t been fifty years yet. When Mary Tyler Moore passed away, I asked high school seniors if they knew that name. They didn’t. Even famous people are forgotten.

    Considering these facts, one can hold on to a belief in God who manages all the order and chaos around us, or decide that life just persists on its own. No one who has lost a family member to senseless violence can remain neutral on this issue.

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