Skip to comments.Don't let Darwin make a monkey out of you
Posted on 07/17/2007 2:30:26 AM PDT by balch3
There are plenty of things in this life that we accept as true. Sometimes we grow out of them as we grow up, as in the case of Father Christmas, the tooth fairy and a decent postal service. As we become more aware of the world around us, then some previously accepted truths are discarded. Yet some are not and we go through life believing the same old stuff mainly because nothing else has come along to teach us otherwise. This is fine as long as there's some semblance of truth in what we're believing, but there are some things that we may have been taught that were untrue because the world has moved on and better explanations have been put forward. This can be more important than you think.
Does the term 'primal soup' stir any brain cells? It was an experiment by Stanley Miller in the 1950s that claimed to produce life out of a 'soup' of chemicals placed into a container full of gases and energised with a swift bolt of electricity. The idea was that this combination reproduced the conditions all those millions of years ago on Earth when life first appeared and the experiment attempted to do the same thing in a laboratory. Remember it now? Still believe that it's the best explanation of how life came to be? Think again.
This experiment has, for the last 20 or 30 years, been totally discredited by the scientific community, yet that little gem of information hasn't filtered through to us, or to our education system. Objections include the fact that they made wrong assumptions about the gases and the amount of electricity that would have been needed to make it work. In other words they managed to get most of the experiment wrong. Doesn't fill us with much confidence, does it? Yet some school textbooks still feature the experiment and, although others may feature it with a warning that it's not the best fit for the data, it is included because the scientists haven't found a better fit for the data and they had to provide some explanation that reflected their world view!
But there are deeper questions raised about the theory that life on Earth could have started in such a way. Such questions as where did we come from are answered these days by scientists following principles first proposed in the mid-nineteenth century by Charles Darwin under the all-encompassing umbrella of the Theory of Evolution. It has held sway ever since, with a firm grip on the hearts and minds of scientists the world over. Is that because it was a good theory? Not exactly. The problem is that it has been the only theory that science has come up with and, for many scientists, it has to be the only game in town because, for many of them, the alternative is unthinkable.
Make no mistake, despite its billing as the enemy of organised religion, for most scientists working today in a whole variety of disciplines, the Theory of Evolution has become a religious system of the highest order. With a set of dogmas firmly entrenched in the past, based around the holy book, "The Origin of the Species", Evolution is put forward as a mechanism to explain all the mysteries of life. It even has its priests, self-proclaimed spokesmen such as the biologist Richard Dawkins, to organise its worship. Dawkins has said, "it is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." If that is not blind faith then I don't know what is! What it does remind you of, though, is the medieval Church, zealous to protect its dogmas by vilifying the slightest deviation from them and burning "heretics" at the stake.
A basic assumption of Evolution is that life appeared by blind chance. The usual process, as already described, is that, given a few million or billion years, a hotch-potch of chemicals, swirling away in the right atmosphere will eventually produce the simplest form of life, from which will evolve, given a few more millions of years, into simple organisms, which will, after a few more million years, modify and change, with succeeding generations, into more complex organisms, eventually producing mankind.
It's the process whereby the "primal soup", given enough time, would eventually produce little old you and me, by way of amoeba, fish, small mammals and a variety of monkeys. It has reigned supreme in the scientific and educational community. The Natural History Museum is a virtual shrine to these ideas and schoolkids are spoon-fed on evolution as the explanation of the origins of life and humankind. Yet it is only a theory and any scientist will tell you that a theory is the best fit of available facts to explain a set of phenomena.
But it has not survived the scrutiny of impartial scientific discovery. The fossil record did seem to offer proof but, despite frantic searching over the last century and a half, vital 'missing links' that bridged species such as humankind and whatever came before us, have failed to emerge. Of course there is no time here to provide a solid, comprehensively reasoned rebuttal of the theory of evolution but the point I wish to make is that, if the theory of evolution had been judged like any other scientific theory, it would have fallen apart by now, its credibility all shot through because of its shaky foundations. But it has stood firm. Why?
To answer this question, we must realise that today, the Theory of Evolution is the scientific worldview, the status quo in the classrooms, the research labs, the libraries and colleges. But the Emperor has no clothes, or, at least, they are full of holes and the one abiding reason for this is a great fear. It's a fear that 'perhaps much of what I base my life's work on is a false foundation'. It's also a fear of peer pressure, of anticipated scorn, rejection and loss of livelihood. But the fear goes deeper than that and can be explained when we consider the 'half way' house proposed by many who have openly doubted the truths of evolution. They argue the case against blind chance and instead introduce the idea of an Intelligent Designer, a controlling presence, creating and guiding life as we know it.
In July 2005 more than 400 scientists put their name to the following statement: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged". They have voluntarily "out-ed" themselves, they have "come out of the closet", willing to declare openly what their consciences and scientific integrity have told them is true. One man, Professor Anthony Flew, has gone further. A firm disciple of Charles Darwin for fifty years, he has done an about-turn in his twilight years. Science "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved" he says. "The argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it ... it now seems to me that the findings of more than 50 years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."
The Professor is sure that there is an Intelligent Designer, but is not going any further. He stops just short of pondering metaphysical issues, but it doesn't mean we should do the same. Because, If Intelligent Design is a valid alternative to the Theory of Evolution, then who on earth is this Intelligent Designer? CR
The basic assumption of Evolution is tiny changes over time. Are those changes "blind chance", or are they the actions of a loving God? Believers in Evolution can go either way on this.
Maybed finally the smart ones are beginning to confront the snake oil salesmen.
Except that never happened. The writer is doing the same thing he accuses "scientists" from the religion of evolution of doing.
There is nothing unscientific in believing in a supreme being AND evolution (in all its miriad permutations and possibilities).
As a Catholic the 2 are not mutually exclusive.
The Lord works in myterious ways.
This is exactly the scenario given on almost every television documentary and news magazine that most people see dealing with evolution and the origin of life. It was in my public school textbooks and had me convinced.
This nonsensical fantasy is what the naturalistic evolutionist wants the children and adults to believe about the origins of life.
This is also what most children, including myself, were taught in the videos in my taxpayer funded public schools before I went to private school.
The hardcore fantical evolutionists never raised a big objection about this silly fairy tale about the origin of life.
They don't raise a stink and shout it down when public school children are subjected to it or television is full of it.
They only talk about it and bother to mention this foolishness when they tell someone evolution does not deal with the origin of the very first microscopic speck of life.
Then suddenly, for the first time, they express objection. Not objection that this fairytale is taught, but objection that someone who has seen it included in story after story about evolution their whole life would think that evolution deals with the origin of the first speck.
Only then will they find their voice about the subject when blowing hot air on Free Republic, Democrat Underground or the Daily Kos.
"Except that never happened."
Are you saying that the medieval Church did not burn and heretics?
That isn’t a basic assumption of those who believe in God’s inspired word. We are as we always have been, and adapt to our environment within the limits built into that original design.
The only “evolution” as far as the church is concerned, is our evolution into being wiser children of God, that we learn from past generations that sin always leads to ruin, that when nations turn away from God and return to pagan ways they romove themselves from the protection of God’s grace.
As the record shows, we don’t aren’t really any more advanced, changed, smarter than we were since the biblical record begins. Man has built great cities, developed building techniques that that are still amazing by todays standards.
Only in the last 200 years, -100 especially- have we been on a rapid development spree. The reason for this is because we’ve been able to retain a relatively stable society, and several generations of living knowledge that we can collectively draw on. We are born with the same ability to learn as we were from the beginning of the biblical record.
If something were to happen and we lost our libraries and generations of the living professionals, teachers, doctores, electricians, engineers etc, we would step back into history accordance to the level of retained knowlage.
We may even be worse off because we have lost a lot of the know-how that was needed in those time to survive. How to build things for ourselves, care for horses and livestock, grow our own good, etc.
So much ado about nothing.
Theres group pressure in science ?
There’s new technologies and new findings that we have to set against scientifical modells to verify them ?
There’s people searching god in their observations ?
What else is new ?
Until today there’s no community as the one once founded by newton and leibnitz - we call it the scientific world - and this community is the only one I know where criticism is a part of the culture as well as experiment and proof.
I would take their findings and their guidelines for our live over those coming out of the vatican and over those of every religion at any given day - allthough and because of how these people deal with global warming and darwins findings and allthough they might be on the wrong track sometimes (but never for long and never without knowing they might be)
Darwin would liked to have had a photo of me this weekend. I was doing carpeting repairs, and found the easiest way to move around was on my knuckles and rump!
Lifestyles. The fruit fly experiments should have been the end of it.
Who indeed? And how do you prove it is who you say it is?
That’s what I’m saying. The church did no such thing. In fact that “mid evil” period is largely a bunch of bunk.
The only burning at the stake going on was done by the rulers of the day, not the church, nor at the command of the church.
In fact I’ll bet you can’t come up with one documented example.
Have you quit eating meat, are you growing your own organic veggies, recycling your urine back into drinking water? Have you sold your car and stopped using electricity because YOU are destroying the earth, causing "global warming"?
Have you donated money to the "save the Sahara desert" project?
The guideline to living life is found in the bible, BTW, not the Vatican. The Vatican follows the Gospel and merely repeats what it says.
You probably don't know it, but you are most likely following quite a lot of what the bible says about living life. You should read it sometime, you might suprise yourself and see how "science" these days is merely confirming what the bible has been saying all along.
Where to start with this gem...
“Does the term ‘primal soup’ stir any brain cells? It was an experiment by Stanley Miller in the 1950s that claimed to produce life out of a ‘soup’ of chemicals placed into a container full of gases and energised with a swift bolt of electricity.”
The ‘primal soup’ experiment most certainly did NOT claim to ‘produce life’. It claimed to produce large protein molecules, which are potential precursors to RNA and DNA.
Whether or not it exactly reproduced primeval Earth (or some microclimate, as near a volcanic vent) is n”ot so relevant as the general result. A vast array of conditions are no doubt present on the billions of planets throughout the universe.
“But there are deeper questions raised about the theory that life on Earth could have started in such a way. Such questions as where did we come from are answered these days by scientists following principles first proposed in the mid-nineteenth century by Charles Darwin under the all-encompassing umbrella of the Theory of Evolution.”
Somehow we’ve now made the jump from the “origin of life” to the “origin of species”. Darwin never theorized (as far as I can recall) on the origin of life.
“Make no mistake, despite its billing as the enemy of organised religion, for most scientists working today in a whole variety of disciplines, the Theory of Evolution has become a religious system of the highest order. With a set of dogmas firmly entrenched in the past, based around the holy book, “The Origin of the Species”, Evolution is put forward as a mechanism to explain all the mysteries of life.”
My hyperbole meter pegged on this sentence. Evolution is a general theory to explain how life has changed over time. Many details of that process still aren’t well understood. What seems clear from what we can see is that life has changed over time. Any theory of life will have to account for that, as well as a generous dose of Occam’s Razor.
“What it does remind you of, though, is the medieval Church, zealous to protect its dogmas by vilifying the slightest deviation from them and burning “heretics” at the stake.”
Nothing like melodramatic over the top rhetoric. I haven’t seen too many scientists calling for capital punishment of intellectual dissenters lately. ;-)
“A basic assumption of Evolution is that life appeared by blind chance.”
No. Evolution makes no assumption about the origin of life. That is a different area.
It is true that prevailing scientific opinion is that life began through some natural series of events, rather than (say) due to the magic incantations of pink bunnies from Aldeberan. This is mainly since scientists generally don’t invent more elaborate explanations than necessary unless there are supporting facts, as in observable phenomena.
“They argue the case against blind chance and instead introduce the idea of an Intelligent Designer, a controlling presence, creating and guiding life as we know it.”
In which star system did this “ID” originate? Oh, you mean you’re positing an all-powerful, omniscient, supernatural being as the ID? I’m afraid from a strictly scientific viewpoint that is a wild leap of imagination completely unsupported by any evidence. Produce some, and I think you have a much more interesting and compelling argument.
‘In July 2005 more than 400 scientists put their name to the following statement: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged”.’
Honest and open inquiry into all facets of nature should be the goal of science. I’m sure most young biologists spend many hours pondering evolution and the details of its various mechanisms. Just bear in mind that any competing theories will have to account for all the evidence, such as the general progression from simpler life forms to more complex in the fossil record. Constant intervention from Aldeberanian pink bunnies seems unlikely.
‘One man, Professor Anthony Flew, has gone further. A firm disciple of Charles Darwin for fifty years, he has done an about-turn in his twilight years. Science “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved” he says. “The argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it ... it now seems to me that the findings of more than 50 years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”’
The cynic in me says that he’s hedged his bets in his waning years, but I suppose that’s uncharitable... ;-)
However, the statement ‘The argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it ... it now seems to me that the findings of more than 50 years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.’ seems quite unsupported. I’d like to hear his “enormously powerful argument” - where has it been published? What as the reaction been in the scientific community at large?
From my perspective, DNA research has done rather the opposite of what he claims. Artifacts left by ancient retroviruses are evident in DNA, and can be seen matching most frequently in related species, and less frequently in more diverse species. This is thought to correspond to the length of time since the two species shared a common ancestor. What is the ID explanation for these observations?
The fact that over 90% of the DNA in a chimp and a man is the same is scarcely a strong argument for custom, ground-up design of each, is it? Why would chimp and human DNA have many of the same retrovirus artifacts?
“The Professor is sure that there is an Intelligent Designer, but is not going any further. He stops just short of pondering metaphysical issues, but it doesn’t mean we should do the same. Because, If Intelligent Design is a valid alternative to the Theory of Evolution, then who on earth is this Intelligent Designer?”
I vote for Pink Bunnies from Aldeberan. Any other theories?
wrong track SOMETIMES? and not for long? What planet are you living on? They must have better scientists there.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
You do know many of the fundies here on FR don't consider RC's as christian? In their eyes you're almost as bad as an evil scientist, and only slightly better than a islamderthal or heathen.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
There appears to be a concerted effort deny that possibility.
The author asserts that evolution is a "religious system of the highest order" - right up there with the other major religions.
Once this is accepted it becomes axiomatic that with respect to other religions it is heresy, and believing in it is apostasy.
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