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.
"The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky" is a book promoting astrology. Check my link to Amazon.
monkey worship bump
"ID predicts consciousness does not come from mindlessness."
The argument that intelligence requires a creator doesn't wash, if that were true then something had to create the creator, and so on ad infinitum
So, he's a secular Jew who believes in astrology-- at least he's not one of those evil Christians!
I'm sorry, but probably everyone has one or more unproven beliefs, even beliefs that most others would consider whacked. It doesn't invalidate their opinions in other areas or their cognitive abilities . I believe in God (which belief many consider un-proven, although I don't) and I'm also very good at math, and I believe that conservative political views and positions are best for the country. One does not invalidate the others.
Heh, heh, bump.
>> this is wrong. They have gotten fruit flies to live longer.<<
Were they still fruit flies?
are you going to read all the posts or just ignore those as well?
No, they were "lived-longer" fruit flies, a new species !!!
Spanning the development of astrology from Sumerian origins to Nazi court astrologers, Berlinski's ruminative but shallow history seeks to rescue it from what he sees as the misconceived derision of modern science. The author of A Tour of the Calculus remains coyly agnostic about astrology's validity. He calls it a "finely geared tool for the resolution of practical problems" and cites many successful predictions and a statistical study supposedly verifying the "Mars effect" on athletic talent, but when faced with the incoherent, metaphorical techniques by which astrologers interpret their charts, he can only shrug that since smart people used to listen to astrologers, there must be something to it.
Berlinsky's books on calculus and algorithms were rather poor. I read both. Neither was competently written.
As I understand ID, all of them actually.
Creationism on the other hand allows all to go extinct except for man
thank you...Berlinski is terrific
More misinformation from the anti-science crowd. QED doesn't work at all in a strong gravitational field. They still can't solve multibody problems. Plus they certainly can't measure anything to 13 decimal places. They're still working on 3.
Early experimental work indicated that the magnetic moment of the electron has a slight deviation of approximately 0.1% from the value expected from QED. This deviation is known as the anomalous magnetic moment and the size of this deviation between theoretical and experimental values establishes a strong bound on the validity of QED.
But if someone wants to, they can do some homework here.
please list the 10 'species' between ape and Man
From a Mathematical Reviews comment about another of Berlinski's books (Newton's gift): "But what is said of Newton's mathematics has only a weak connection with Newton's texts."
If intelligent design is true, and God really did create all of the species, shouldn't conservatives act to preserve every last one of them? I mean, every insignificant corpse-maggot or jungle-spider was put here on Earth BY GOD, LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF, as an act of divine love & design & whatnot.
Me, I'm comfortable with a little extinction here and there.
Maybe I had him confused with Dembski, that other -ski ID info-theory writer, who has his own problems. But Dembski is better than this. This is awful.
QED is one of the most accurate theories it agrees with experiment more than 13 decimal places. Look up Richard Feynman
Now; I do believe intelligent design allows for monkeys to have produced human like offspring...That's where Democrats come from......
Perhaps the Discovery Institute would like to let us know who these three "prominent evolutionary biologists" are--associated with the Discovery Institute or other creationist organs?
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.
The paper by Stephen C. Meyer, "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories," in vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239 of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, was published at the discretion of the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history. For the same reason, the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity. The Council endorses a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml), which observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting ID as a testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity. Accordingly, the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings.
We have reviewed and revised editorial policies to ensure that the goals of the Society, as reflected in its journal, are clearly understood by all. Through a web presence (http://www.biolsocwash.org) and improvements in the journal, the Society hopes not only to continue but to increase its service to the world community of systematic biologists.
In other words, Discovery Institute creationist Meyer gives a paper to creationist editor Sternberg (who admits in his own blog that he, Sternberg, is associated with a YEC group, which fact was not generally known until the controversy), who short-cutted the editorial process in the in the last edition of the PBSW for which he would be editor, and did not choose an associate editor who might get in the way or choose unfriendly reviewers; of an article that was unsuitable for this specialized publication.
I'm not a biologist, but this is my understanding of it:
First off, species are groups of organisms (this is really basic, but I don't want to leave anything out).
For species that are not gendered: (like bacteria, and lots of other stuff)
Every asexually-reproducing organism with DNA distinct from another organism could theoretically be put in a different group. For bacteria, "species" seem to be categories of convenience. It has much more meaning for organisms that are male or female.
For species that contain male and female genders: (animals, maybe plants... like I said, I'm not a biologist)
If two fertile members of a species f---, the resulting offspring should be another fertile member of that species. Obviously, some animals are not fertile (birth defects, etc. can prevent a woman from bearing children or a man from producing proper sperm). But in general, Fertile Male + Fertile Female --> One or More Fertile Offspring of the Same Species.
This is why common dogs are considered to be a single species, even though there are many "pure" breeds (because two dogs can almost always produce a mutt, even if they are from different "breeds")
Likewise, horses and donkeys are considered different species, because the offspring of a horse and donkey is a mule, which is infertile. If mules could make mule babies, then horses and donkeys would be considered to be in the same species--in fact, instead of horses on one side and donkeys on the other, we would have a continuum between the two. Some animals would be 80% horse, 20% donkey, some would be 50/50, etc. They would not be considered separate species.
This is an objective test for whether or not two animals are in the same species (and hence an objective definition for what a species is). In fact, if Intelligent Design theorists are correct, and God designed all animals, then of course there would be such a thing as species. If animals cannot evolve between species, then God would have had to create all species. Species would be put here by God. So it makes no sense for an ID person to attack evolutionists on the grounds that species are not distinct! If species are not in fact distinct, that is not evidence for intelligent design! In fact, if you look at the Hebrew Bible, Jews are specifically commanded not to mix species. Mules are an abomination--even clothing made from multiple fibers is banned (cotton + rayon --> DEMONIC). So from a creationist viewpoint, attacking the idea that species follow solid boundaries, is absurd.
The idea behind speciation is that through evolution, one species (one group of animals capable of mating with each other) would break into two separate groups. Separated somehow, the two groups would evolve separately until they became unable to produce fertile children from f---ing each other. It doesn't always require separation, as far as I know, but that is the simplest way to get there. (but it does usually take many, many years to happen, so it's not something that can generally be observed in the lab under a normal time-frame)
Species can be more complex, though. For instance, there are a bunch of arctic birds that are considered to be within the same species, even though not all members of the species can mate and produce fertile offspring with all others. There are multiple sub-species, and while all subspecies are sexually compatible with at least one other sub-species, not all sub-species are compatible with all other sub-species. Classifying animals as belonging to a species can indeed be somewhat messy, but that is evidence for evolution, not evidence for design! If God designed everything and nothing evolved, species would be easy to tell apart and would be absolute!
Bump for that. Creationists must be so proud to finally get something peer-reviewed, even under such murky circumstances lol.
The 3 scientists who peer-reviewed the article were chosen by the Biological Society of Washington. If you want a clear view of what happened, see:
Another peer-reviewed paper to follow the same lines by Behe:
I was unable to find the link to young-earth creationism and Sternberg. If you have it please post it.
ad hominem anyone?
Yeah terrible writing, forget the issue...too uncomfortable.