Skip to comments.Darwinian Doubts
Posted on 03/09/2005 12:36:05 PM PST by Heartlander
By: David Berlinski
March 9, 2005
NOTE: The article below is the full version by Dr. Berlinski. The Wichita Eagle opted to shorten the piece to only 400 words.
The defense of Darwins theory of evolution has now fallen into the hands of biologists who believe in suppressing criticism when possible and ignoring it when not. It is not a strategy calculated in induce confidence in the scientific method. A paper published recently in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington concluded that the events taking place during the Cambrian era could best be understood in terms of an intelligent design hardly a position unknown in the history of western science. The paper was, of course, peer-reviewed by three prominent evolutionary biologists. Wise men attend to the publication of every one of the Proceedings papers, but in the case of Steven Meyers "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories," the Board of Editors was at once given to understand that they had done a bad thing. Their indecent capitulation followed at once.
Publication of the paper, they confessed, was a mistake. It would never happen again. It had barely happened at all. And peer review?
The hell with it.
If scientists do not oppose antievolutionism, Eugenie Scott, the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, remarked, it will reach more people with the mistaken idea that evolution is scientifically weak. Scotts understanding of opposition had nothing to do with reasoned discussion. It had nothing to do with reason at all. Discussing the issue was out of the question. Her advice to her colleagues was considerably more to the point: "Avoid debates."
Everyone else had better shut up.
In this country, at least, no one is ever going to shut up, the more so since the case against Darwins theory retains an almost lunatic vitality.
Look The suggestion that Darwins theory of evolution is like theories in the serious sciences quantum electrodynamics, say is grotesque. Quantum electrodynamics is accurate to thirteen unyielding decimal places. Darwins theory makes no tight quantitative predictions at all.
Look Field studies attempting to measure natural selection inevitably report weak to non-existent selection effects.
Look Darwins theory is open at one end since there are no plausible account for the origins of life.
Look The astonishing and irreducible complexity of various cellular structures has not yet successfully been described, let alone explained.
Look A great many species enter the fossil record trailing no obvious ancestors and depart for Valhalla leaving no obvious descendents.
Look Where attempts to replicate Darwinian evolution on the computer have been successful, they have not used classical Darwinian principles, and where they have used such principles, they have not been successful.
Look Tens of thousands of fruit flies have come and gone in laboratory experiments, and every last one of them has remained a fruit fly to the end, all efforts to see the miracle of speciation unavailing.
Look The remarkable similarity in the genome of a great many organisms suggests that there is at bottom only one living system; but how then to account for the astonishing differences between human beings and their near relatives differences that remain obvious to anyone who has visited a zoo?
But look again If the differences between organisms are scientifically more interesting than their genomic similarities, of what use is Darwins theory since its otherwise mysterious operations take place by genetic variations?
These are hardly trivial questions. Each suggests a dozen others. These are hardly circumstances that do much to support the view that there are no valid criticisms of Darwins theory, as so many recent editorials have suggested.
Serious biologists quite understand all this. They rather regard Darwins theory as an elderly uncle invited to a family dinner. The old boy has no hair, he has no teeth, he is hard of hearing, and he often drools. Addressing even senior members at table as Sonny, he is inordinately eager to tell the same story over and over again.
But hes family. What can you do?
David Berlinski holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He is the author of On Systems Analysis, A Tour of the Calculus, The Advent of the Algorithm, Newtons Gift, The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky, and, most recently, Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics. He is a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.
Darwin's theory predicted species (now extinct) between man and ape, the so called missing link. Over 10 different species of that nature have now been discovered.
Intelligent Design predicts how many of those? How many species are allowed to go extinct by intelligent design? If a species goes extinct, does that mean that the intelligent design was really not all that intelligent?
Another loony set loose to drool on FR.
Thanks for the ping, but this isn't about science. It's an invitation to a flame war. No ping to the list, unless there's popular demand.
This is a new twist on the old lie. Post a story that looks like a news article from a newspaper. The link goes to the Discovery Institute, which has a link to an online newspaper, which has -- surprise -- an opinion piece written by -- surprise -- someone from the Discovery institute.
" . . . every last one of them has remained a fruit fly to the end."
When they started living longer, did they become something else? Or, were they still fruit flies?
Good piece for the lay-person (as I am)-- this IS a religious war, you know! ;) Thank you for posting it.
I guess a (paid?) sinecure at the Discovery Institute is the closest he could get to academic tenure at a real university.
Spelling correction to previous post: Berlinski.
Truth vs Darwinist lies Bump.
David Berlinski explains the power of humanity's oldest predictive system in this stunning and original new book. Astrology began at the dawn of time and over the centuries became a complex system with gifted seers often achieving results of eerie accuracy. For most of recorded history, astrologers have been found at the elbows of the rich and the powerful. However, Newton's system of the world put an end to one aspect of the astrological tradition. As a result, a method once widely used has become widely discredited, especially by scientific critics with little knowledge of astrology itself.
With a genius for storytelling and penetrating analysis, Berlinski explains how astrology works and how astrological ideas, although disguised, have reappeared in modern scientific theories.
Well, if biologists could ever get around to actually coming up with an international standard of measurement to determine precisely and mathematically what, exactly, a species is, we could probably answer that question.
The original scholarly article was posted here:
I can't see what your problem is with this piece-- above is given the link to the Kansas paper that published this piece as an editorial-- here's the link:
If this editorial writer is also a member of the same institute as the writer of the original scholarly article or something, well, what is remarkable or unethical about that?
Cute, but my guess is that they were close enough to being fruit flies that only an idiot or someone with a political point to make would try to call them another species.
The article is attributed to a newspaper, implying it is news. That's just deceptive. The author is a hack, promoting astrology out of one end and Christian fundamentalism out the other.
Everyone knows that newspapers contain written pieces called "editorials" and "opinion pieces". If you follow the link to the Kansas paper, you'll see that this piece is clearly marked as such.
" The author is a hack, promoting astrology out of one end and Christian fundamentalism out the other."
I followed the link to the author's biography. Here it is:
David Berlinski, Senior Fellow - CSC
Articles by David Berlinski
David Berlinski received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He has authored works on systems analysis, differential topology, theoretical biology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics, as well as three novels. He has also taught philosophy, mathematics and English at such universities as Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Universite de Paris. In addition, he has held research fellowships at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in France. Recent articles by Dr. Berlinski have been featured in Commentary, Forbes ASAP, and the Boston Review. He is author of numerous books, including A Tour of the Calculus (Pantheon 1996), The Advent of the Algorithm (2000, Harcourt Brace),.Newton's Gift (The Free Press 2000). Forthcoming are his books: The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky (Harcourt, October 2003), A Short History of Mathematics for the Modern Library series at Random House (2004), and Einstein & Goedel: Friendship between Equals (Simon & Schuster 2004). He is currently working on a book analyzing genetic algorithms. "
Sounds like a pretty bright guy, considering he's a "hack" and a wacko and maybe even one of those evil Christians.
If you guys want to convince non-scientists that you're right about your positions, it would help enormously if you removed the excess emotion from your responses.
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