A Definition of “So-So” Stories of Evolution Defined ~ Spetner

Here is a quote, and really, a definition of the general theory of evolution (GTE) that G.A. Kerkut defines in his older text, Implication of Evolution (second quote). Here Spetner calls it the neo-Darwinian theory (NDT), it more common name today. Here is Spetner’s relevant quote:

Neo-Darwinian Theory (NDT) is counterintuitive, and is acknowledged as such even by its supporters. All present-day life is assumed to have evolved from some primitive cell, and that cell was supposed to have formed itself from simple chemicals. Nobody seems to know how that cell came to be, but almost all biologists think they understand fairly well how evolution proceeded from that cell to all the life we see today.

There appears to be a vast amount of information contained in trees, fish, elephants, and people. Where did this information come from? It is said to have come from random mutations and natural selection. How can that work? Natural selection is supposed to be the magic that makes evolution happen, but all natural selection does is eliminate the less adaptive organisms and allow the more adaptive ones to survive and proliferate. Where do those more adaptive ones come from? Ap­parently, that’s what random mutations are supposed to accomplish.

So the information buildup required by Common Descent can come only from random mutations. That means that the buildup of informa­tion is a matter of chance. At each step of the evolutionary process, a mutation has to have occurred that grants the organism an advan­tage. The big question is: Is that reasonable? To see if it is, some people (including me) have made calculations of the probability of mutations building information.

We really don’t have all the data we need to make this calculation. But even if we make some conservative assumptions and give the ben­efit of all doubts to the Darwinian side, such calculations demonstrate that Common Descent is not reasonable. The Darwin­ists, however, do not accept these calculations as conclusive — they suggest alternative scenarios that might make the probabilities larger.

In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe addressed the un­reasonableness of Darwinian evolution. He described some biological systems as what he called “irreducibly complex.” By that he meant that these systems are composed of several critical components in such a way that the system cannot work unless all those components are in place. He then argued that the system could not evolve one small part at a time, because natural selection could not work on less than the whole system. Here, too, the Darwinians countered by suggesting scenarios in which natural selection might work, but again, the Dar­winian scenarios are purely hypothetical.

Because the Darwinians can invent scenarios to address any chal­lenge to their theory, they are not convinced by attempts to show that neo-Darwinian evolution cannot work. Therefore, I have concluded that it would be more productive to challenge them to show that it could work — challenge them to do more than just offer vague scenarios of how their theory might work, but to show by calculation that the prob­ability of it working is reasonably high. This is a challenge they must meet to establish their theory on a scientific basis. They have never met this challenge and they cannot. They cannot show that the events they claim to have produced Common Descent have a high enough prob­ability to justify their claim. Their inability to establish the theory of Common Descent means that Common Descent is not an established theory. This is one of the main points of this book.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of probability calculations. NDT is not like Newton’s theory of mechanics, whose equations de­scribe the motion of a physical body under a force. Nor is it like Max­well’s theory of electromagnetism, whose equations describe the effects of electric and magnetic fields on electric charges. These theories are checked against experiment by solving those equations. NDT describes evolution as the result of random mutations that may or may not yield an adaptive phenotype. These are chance events. The theory can be checked only by calculating the probabilities of the required events to see if they are reasonably large. The theory has not been shown to have passed this test and is therefore not a valid theory. Whatever evidence is given for Common Descent is circumstantial. Circumstantial evi­dence cannot stand alone. It needs to have a theory tying the evidence to the conclusion. But instead of a theory, imaginary scenarios are of­fered to suggest how evolution might work. No calculations of proba­bilities are made.

[….]

Common Descent is a key component of an agenda advocating a natural origin of life. The effort to demonstrate the possibility of such a natural origin is usually divided into two parts: (1) abiogenesis, the origin of a simple life form from naturally occurring chemicals, and (2) the evolution of all life from that single simple beginning. It turns out, however, there is no good evidence for either of these two parts.

Lee Spetner, The Evolution Revolution: Why Thinking People Are Rethinking the Theory of Evolution (Brooklyn, NY: Judaica Press, 2014), 7-9, 15.

Cult, Defined

  • Members swear total allegiance to an all-powerful leader who they believe to be the Messiah.
  • Rational thought is discouraged or forbidden.
  • The cult’s recruitment techniques are often deceptive.
  • The cult weakens the follower psychologically by making him or her depend upon the group to solve his or her problems.
  • The cults manipulate guilt to their advantage.
  • The cult leader makes all the career and life decision of the members.
  • Cults exist only for their own material survival and make false promises to work to improve society.
  • Cult members often work fulltime for the group for little or no pay.
  • Cult members are isolated from the outside world and any reality testing it could provide.
  • Cults are antiwoman, antichild, and antifamily.
  • Cults are apocalyptic and believe themselves to be the remnant who will survive the soon-approaching end of the world.
  • Many cults follow an “ends justify the means” philosophy.
  • Cults, particularly in regard to their finances, are shrouded in secrecy.
  • There is frequently an aura of or potential for violence around cults.

They Deify Man

Teaching that man may become god, or is a part of god. Man needs to be a part of a certain group or church to learn new revelation or knowledge to progress to godhood. Someone, usually the leader will say they are god or have the Christ spirit in a greater way. That they are commissioned or appointed to be the leader by god.

The Humanize God

some groups deny that god is eternal. some believe in many gods, or that all is god (pantheism). other groups such as jehovah’s witnesses teach that god’s nature or state of being must be understood and reasonable to be true. in other words, if finite man cannot understand something about god then it is not true. this technique subtly elevates man’s mental ability to that of god.

They Minimize or Eliminate Sin

the biblical concept of sin is not taught, or is completely eliminated by some groups. this is seen in Christian science, mind science, religious science, and new age groups. meanings that are biblical are changed to their own personal interpretations that are not related to the context or original intent of the author..

The Minimize the Importance of the Bible

Most organized heresies (cults) use “anointed” information, books, magazines or scriptures. these are believed to be just as or more important than the bible. they are indispensable in understanding the bible. Some groups strongly discourage their members from reading the bible alone, and some do not believe the bible is the word of god alone. Others use the bible with their own unique interpretation unknown ever in the church history or align themselves with what was considered heresy.

They Have a Different Way of Salvation

Many organized heresies teach a “grace plus works” salvation. Many teach that ma

They Have a Different Jesus

Virtually all organized heresies deny the deity of Jesus Christ, they teach that Jesus is not the true god manifest in human form but something less, such as a created being, an angel, a prophet, an ascended master or just “a god” (secondary). Some teach we too can be the very same as Jesus. In this way they change the clear teaching of the bible of him being the unique (only begotten) son of god.

They Have a Different Spirit

Most organized heresies teach that the Holy Spirit is not God but an impersonal force or energy that emanates from god to perform certain functions, much like the energy flowing from a battery to start a car. Some teach that it permeates everything and we can breathe it in.  Practices of spiritism including visits by spirit beings are common in the new age and they have counterfeit miracles to validate themselves.

They Believe They Are the Only True Church

The one mark of an organized heresy that is the most common is their claim to be the only group or church ordained by god. They alone speak for god on earth today. God directs only their organization, or church. This is done either through a leader who has all the say or a group. If anyone comes to you claiming they represent the only true church of Christ or god, and deny that anyone else outside themselves can be part, you can be sure that they are not from god.  All Christian churches will recognize others that hold the same core teachings that they do, that were always part of the historic Christian faith.

Environmentalists Providing Definitions of Irony Since the 70’s

This comes by way of Moonbattery:

Smug self-righteousness is a powerful drug. The econazis who indulge in it achieve such a state of delirium that they can’t even hear regular Americans laughing at them. From the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow:

They came in automobiles fueled by oil, wearing clothing made from oil, to protest oil, in kayaks made from oil. Then they tweeted their photos on phones made from oil and drove home.

Once there, they can luxuriate in how comfortable their houses are thanks to oil.

Evolutionary Assumptions (Carl F.H. Henry and G.A. Kerkut)

  • The FIRST QUOTE is Carl Henry (a Christian) quoting Dr. Kerkut’s book (an evolutionist). The SECOND QUOTE [jump to] is the raw, long excerpted quote from G.A. Kerkut.

What I am going to do is post a quote from one of Carl F. H. Henry’s books, then follow that quote up a larger quote from his source he uses. Context is king and I love Dr. Henry’s source A LOT!

The numbers from Dr. Henry’s quote correspond to the same numbers in Kerkut’s concluding chapter (to follow… jump to now instead by clicking here).

[p. 182>] A. Kerkut emphasizes that all seven basic assumptions on which evolu­tionary theory rests are “by their nature… not capable of experimental verification” (Implications of Evolution, p. 7). (1) The assumption that “non­living things gave rise to living material… is still just an assumption” (ibid., p. 150). (2) The assumption that “biogenesis occurred only once… is a matter of belief rather than proof” (op. cit.). (3) The assumption that “Vi­ruses, Bacteria, Protozoa and the higher animals were all interrelated” biologically as an evolutionary phenomenon lacks definite evidence (ibid., p. 151). (4) The assumption that “the Protozoa gave rise to the Metazoa” has no basis in definite knowledge (ibid., pp. 151 ff.). (5) The assumption that “the various invertebrate phyla are interrelated” depends on “tenuous and cir­cumstantial” evidence and not on evidence that allows “a verdict of definite relationships” (ibid., pp. 152 f.). (6) The assumption that “the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates” turns on evidence gained by prior belief (ibid., p. 153). Although he finds “somewhat stronger ground” for assuming that “fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals are interrelated,” (7) Kerkut con­cedes that many key fossil transitions are “not well documented and we have as yet to obtain a satisfactory objective method of dating the fossils” (ibid., p. 153). “In effect, much of the evolution of the major groups of animals has to be taken on trust” (ibid., p. 154); “there are many discrete groups of animals and… we do not know how they have evolved nor how they are interrelated” (ibid., p. vii). In short, the theory that “all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form,” says Kerkut, has insufficiently strong evi­dential supports “to consider it as anything more than a working hypothe­sis” (ibid., p. 157). He thinks “premature and not satisfactorily supported by present-day evidence,” therefore, “the attempt to explain all living forms in terms of an evolution from a unique source,” that is, from a common ancestor (ibid., pp. vii f.)

[p. 183>] It is therefore understandable why commentators speak more and more of a crisis of evolutionary theory. Establishment science’s long regnant view that gradual development accounts for the solar system, earth, life and all else is in serious dispute. Not in many decades has so much doubt emerged among scientists about the so-called irrefutable evidence that evolution is what accounts for life on planet earth. Although it was still taught long thereafter in high schools, Ernst Haeckel’s “biogenetic law” that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” had collapsed already in the late 1920s. The absence in recent texts of evolutionary charts depicting the common descent even of trees from a single form is noteworthy. Darwin’s insistence that nature makes no leaps, and that natural selection and chance adequately account for change in species, has lost credibility. Pa­leontologists and biologists are at odds over the significance of the fossil record, while gradualists and episodists disagree over the supposed tempo of evolution or whether the origin of species is consistent with microevolution or only with sudden gaps in the forms of life.

Gould, for example, opts for natural selection and, remarkably, combines it with saltation. He grants that “the fossil record does not support” the belief “in slow evolutionary change preached by most paleontologists” (and projected by Darwin); instead, “mass extinction and abrupt origination reign.. . . Gradualism is not exclusively valid (in fact, I regard it as rather rare). Natural selection contains no statement about rates. It can encompass rapid (geologically instantaneous) change by speciation in small popula­tions as well as the conventional and immeasurably slow transformation of entire lineages” (Ever Since Darwin, p. 271). Natural selection here becomes an elastic phrase that can accommodate to everything while re­quiring no significant empirical attestation.

University of Glasgow scientists Chris Darnbrough, John Goddard and William S. Stevely indicate problem areas that beset evolutionary theory: “The experiments demonstrating the formation of a variety of organic molecules from presumptive prebiotic soups,” they write, “fall far short of providing a pathway for chemical evolution. Again, it is self-evident that the fossil record leaves much to be desired and few biologists recognize the dependence of the geological column on radiometric dating methods based on questionable assumptions about initial conditions. The whole his­tory of evolutionary thought is littered with the debris of dubious assump­tions and misinterpretations, especially in the area of fossil ‘hominids.’ To come up to date, protein and DNA sequence data, generally viewed as consistent with an evolutionary explanation of diversity, are invariably interpreted using methods which presuppose, but do not demonstrate evolu­tionary relationships, and which use criteria that are essentially functional and teleological. Finally, there is a collection of isolated fragmentary pieces of evidence which are usually dismissed as anecdotal because they are irreconcilable with the evolutionary model” (“American Creation” [corre­spondence], by Chris Darnbrough, John Goddard and William S. Stevely, Nature, pp. 95 f.).

From ongoing conflicts and readjustments it is apparent that there never [p. 184>] was nor is there now only one theory of evolution. Many nontheistic schol­ars, to be sure, insist that evolution is and has always been “a fact.” Laurie R. Godfrey affirms that “there is actually widespread agreement in scien­tific circles that the evidence overwhelmingly supports evolutionism” and quotes Gould as saying that “none of the current controversy within evolu­tionary theory should give any comfort, not the slightest iota, to any cre­ationists” (“The Flood of Antievolution,” pp. 5-10, p. 10). If, as Godfrey insists, even the most sweeping revisions and reversals of scientific theory ought to be viewed not as weaknesses in evolutionary claims but rather as reflections of ongoing differences that inhere in “doing science—posing, testing and debating alternative explanations,” then the emphasis is proper only if Godfrey refuses to attach finality and a universal validity-claim to anticreationist evolutionary theses.

The history of evolutionary theory is far from complete and its present status ambiguous. Hampton L. Carson notes the difficulty of integrating the dual lines of study pursued by biological evolutionists when on the one hand they project the course of evolution that is held to produce contem­porary organisms, and when on the other they analyze supposed evolution­ary causation. Carson notes, moreover, that presentation of new approaches even to student audiences now requires an understanding of sophisticated computer techniques and an awareness of complex and sometimes esoteric theory; he ventures the bold observation that “new mutations and recom­binations” of evolutionary theory will themselves “be subject to natural selection” (“Introduction to a Pivotal Subject” [review of Evolution by Theodosius Dobzhansky and others, and of Organismic Evolution by Verne Grant], pp. 1272 f.).

Yet most secular evolutionists continue to assume that evolution is a complex fact and therefore debate only its mechanism. Appealing to con­sensus rather than to demonstrative data, G. G. Simpson states that “no evolutionist since [Darwin has] seriously questioned that man did originate by evolution”; he insists, moreover, that “the problem [the origin of life] can be attacked scientifically” (“The World into Which Darwin Led Us.” pp. 966-974). Simpson’s advance confidence in naturalistic explanation ex­udes a strong bias against theistic premises.

But Thomas S. Kuhn considers the physical sciences to be grounded less on empirical facts that on academically defined assumptions about the nature of the universe, assumptions that are unprovable, questionable and reversible (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). His approach differs somewhat from Michael Polanyi’s assault on the objectivity of human knowledge (Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy), a view that Christian theism disputes on its own ground. Yet both Kuhn’s emphasis and Polanyi’s tend to put a question mark after absolutist evolu­tionary claims.

Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation and Authority, Vol VI: God Who Stands and Stays (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1983), 182-184.


Here is the extended quote from Dr. Henry’s source used,

G.A. Kerkut’s Implications of Evolution (pp. 150-157):


[p. 150>] WHAT conclusions, then, can one come to concerning the validity of the various implications of the theory of evolution? If we go back to our initial assumptions it will be seen that the evidence is still lacking for most of them.

(1) The first assumption was that non-living things gave rise to living material. This is still just an assumption. It is conceivable that living material might have suddenly appeared on this world in some peculiar manner, say from another planet, but this then raises the question, “Where did life originate on that planet?” We could say that life has always existed, but such an explanation is not a very satisfactory one. Instead, the explanation that non­living things could have given rise to complex systems having the properties of living things is generally more acceptable to most scientists. There is, however, little evidence in favour of biogenesis and as yet we have no indication that it can be per­formed. There are many schemes by which biogenesis could have occurred but these are still suggestive schemes and nothing more. They may indicate experiments that can be performed, but they tell us nothing about what actually happened some 1,000 million years ago. It is therefore a matter of faith on the part of the biologist that biogenesis did occur and he can choose whatever method of biogenesis happens to suit him personally; the evidence for what did happen is not available.

(2) The second assumption was that biogenesis occurred only once. This again is a matter for belief rather than proof. It is convenient to believe that all living systems have the same fundamental chemical processes at work within them, but as has already been mentioned, only a few representatives from the wide range of living forms have so far been examined and even [p. 151>] these have not been exhaustively analysed. From our limited experience it is clear that the biochemical systems within proto­plasm are not uniform, i.e. there is no established biochemical unity. Thus we are aware that there are systems other than the Embden—Meyerhof and the tricarboxylic cycles for the systematic degradation of carbohydrates; a total of six alternative methods being currently available. High-energy compounds other than those of phosphorus have been described; the number of vital amino-acids has gone up from twenty to over seventy; all these facts indicate that the biochemical systems may be very variable. The morphological systems in protoplasm, too, show consider­able variation. It is possible that some aspects of cell structure such as the mitochondria and the microsomes might have arisen independently on several distinct occasions. It is also probable that two or more independent systems have evolved for the separation of chromosomes during cell division.

It is a convenient assumption that life arose only once and that all present-day living things are derived from this unique experi­ence, but because a theory is convenient or simple it does not mean that it is necessarily correct. If the simplest theory was always correct we should still be with the four basic elements—earth, air, fire and water! The simplest explanation is not always the right one even in biology.

(3) The third assumption was that Viruses, Bacteria, Protozoa and the higher animals were all interrelated. It seems from the available evidence that Viruses and Bacteria are complex groups both of which contain a wide range of morphological and physio­logical forms. Both groups could have been formed from diverse sources so that the Viruses and Bacteria would then be an assembly of forms that contain both primitive and secondarily simplified units. They would each correspond to a Grade rather than a Subkingdom or Phylum. We have as yet no definite evidence about the way in which the Viruses, Bacteria or Protozoa are interrelated.

(4) The fourth assumption was that the Protozoa gave rise to the Metazoa. This is an interesting assumption and various schemes have been proposed to show just how the change could have taken place. On the other hand equally interesting schemes have been suggested to show the way in which the Metaphyta [p. 152>] could have given rise to both the Protozoa and the Metazoa. Here again nothing definite is known. We can believe that any one of these views is better than any other according to the relative importance that we accord to the various pieces of evidence.

(5) The fifth assumption was that the various invertebrate phyla are interrelated. If biogenesis occurred many times in the past and the Metazoa developed on several finite occasions then we might expect to find various isolated groups of invertebrates. If on the other hand biogenesis was a unique occurrence it should not be too difficult to show some relationship between all the various invertebrate phyla.

It should be remembered, for example, that though there are similarities between the cleavage patterns of the eggs of various invertebrates these might only reflect the action of physical laws acting on a restrained fluid system such as we see in the growth of soap bubbles and not necessarily indicate any fundamental phylogenetic relationship .

As has already been described, it is difficult to tell which are the most primitive from amongst the Porifera, Mesozoa, Coelenterata, Ctenophora or Platyhelminthia and it is not possible to decide the precise interrelationship of these groups. The higher invertebrates are equally difficult to relate. Though the concept of the Protostomia and the Deuterostomia is a useful one, the basic evidence that separates these two groups is not as clear cut as might be desired. Furthermore there are various groups such as the Brachiopoda, Chaetognatha, Ectoprocta and Phoronidea that have properties that lie between the Protostomia and the Deuterostomia. It is worth paying serious attention to the con­cept that the invertebrates are polyphyletic, there being more than one line coming up to the primitive metazoan condition. It is extremely likely that the Porifera are on one such side line and it is conceivable that there could have been others which have since died away leaving their progeny isolated; in this way one could explain the position of the nematodes. The number of ways of achieving a specific form or habit is limited and resemblances may be due to the course of convergence over the period of many millions of years. The evidence, then, for the affinities of the majority of the invertebrates is tenuous and circumstantial; not [p. 153>] the type of evidence that would allow one to form a verdict of definite relationships.

(6) The sixth assumption, that the invertebrates gave rise to the vertebrates, has not been discussed in this book. There are several good reviews on this subject. Thus Neal and Rand (1939) pro­vide a useful and interesting account of the various views that have been suggested to explain the relationship between the inverte­brates and the vertebrates. The vertebrates have been derived from the annelids, arthropods, nemerteans, hemichordates and the urochordates. More recently Berrill (1955) has given a detailed account of the mode of origin of the vertebrates from the urochord-ates in which the sessile ascidian is considered the basic form. On the other hand, almost as good a case can be made to show that the ascidian tadpole is the basic form and that it gave rise to the sessile ascidian on the one hand and the chordates on the other. Here again it is a matter of belief which way the evidence happens to point. As Berrill states, “in a sense this account is science fiction.”

(7) We are on somewhat stronger ground with the seventh assumption that the fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals are interrelated. There is the fossil evidence to help us here, though many of the key transitions are not well documented and we have as yet to obtain a satisfactory objective method of dating the fossils. The dating is of the utmost importance, for until we find a reliable method of dating the fossils we shall not be able to tell if the first amphibians arose after the first choanichthian or whether the first reptile arose from the first amphibian. The evidence that we have at present is insufficient to allow us to decide the answer to these problems.

One thing that does seem reasonably clear is that many of the groups such as the Amphibia (Save Soderberg 1934), Reptilia (Goodrich 1916) and Mammalia appear to be polyphyletic grades of organisation. Even within the mammals there is the suggestion that some of the orders might be polyphyletic. Thus Kleinenberg (1959) has suggested that the Cetacea are diphyletic, the Odontoceti and the Mysticeti being derived from separate terrestrial stocks. (Other groups that appear to be polyphyletic are the Viruses, Bacteria, Protozoa, Arthropoda (Tiegs and Manton 1958), and it is possible that close study will show that the Annelida and Protochordata are grades too.)

[p. 154>] In effect, much of the evolution of the major groups of animals has to be taken on trust. There is a certain amount of circum­stantial evidence but much of it can be argued either way. Where, then, can we find more definite evidence for evolution? Such evidence will be found in the study of modern living forms. It will be remembered that Darwin called his book The Origin of Species not The Origin of Phyla and it is in the origin and study of the species that we find the most definite evidence for the evolution and changing of form. Thus to take a specific example, the Herring Gull, Larus argentatus, does not interbreed with the Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus, in Western Europe, the two being separate species. But if we trace L. argentatus across the northern hemisphere through North America, Eastern Siberia and Western Siberia we find that in Western Siberia there is a form of L. argentatus that will interbreed with L. fuscus. We have here an example of a ring species in which the members at the ends of the ring will not interbreed whilst those in the middle can. The separation of what was possibly one species has been going on for some time (in this case it is suggested since the Ice Age). We have of course to decide that this is a case of one species splitting into two and not of two species merging into one, but this decision is aided by the study of other examples such as those of small mammals isolated on islands, or the development of melanic forms in moths. Details of the various types of speciation can be found in the books by Mayr, Systematics and the Origin of Species (1942), and Dobzhansky, Genetics and the Origin of Species (1951).

It might be suggested that if it is possible to show that the present-day forms are changing and the evolution is occurring at this level, why can’t one extrapolate and say that this in effect has led to the changes we have seen right from the Viruses to the Mammals? Of course one can say that the small observable changes in modern species may be the sort of thing that lead to all the major changes, but what right have we to make such an extrapolation? We may feel that this is the answer to the problem, but is it a satisfactory answer? A blind acceptance of such a view may in fact be the closing of our eyes to as yet undiscovered factors which may remain undiscovered for many years if we believe that the answer has already been found.

[p. 155>] It seems at times as if many of our modern writers on evolution have had their views by some sort of revelation and they base their opinions on the evolution of life, from the simplest form to the complex, entirely on the nature of specific and intra-specific evolution. It is possible that this type of evolution can explain many of the present-day phenomena, but it is possible and indeed probable that many as yet unknown systems remain to be dis­covered and it is premature, not to say arrogant, on our part if we make any dogmatic assertion as to the mode of evolution of the major branches of the animal kingdom.

Perhaps it is appropriate here to quote a remark made by D’Arcy Thompson in his book On Growth and Form. “If a tiny foraminiferan shell, a Lagena for instance, be found living today, and a shell indistinguishable from it to the eye be found fossil in the Chalk or some still more remote geological formation, the assumption is deemed legitimate that the species has ‘survived’ and has handed down its minute specific character or characters from generation to generation unchanged for untold millions of years. If the ancient forms be like rather than identical with the recent, we still assume an unbroken descent, accompanied by hereditary transmission of common characters and progressive variations. And if two identical forms be discovered at the ends of the earth, still (with slight reservation on the score of possible ‘homoplasy’) we build a hypothesis on this fact of identity, taking it for granted that the two appertain to a common stock, whose dispersal in space must somehow be accounted for, its route traced, its epoch determined and its causes discussed or discovered. In short, the Naturalist admits no exception to the rule that a natural classification can only be a genealogical one, nor ever doubts that ‘ ‘the fact that we are able to classify organ­isms at all in accordance with the structural characteristics which they present is due to their being related by descent.'”

What alternative system can we use if we are not to assume that all animals can be arranged in a genealogical manner? The alternative is to indicate that there are many gaps and failures in our present system and that we must realise their existence. It may be distressing for some readers to discover that so much in zoology is open to doubt, but this in effect indicates the vast amount of work that remains to be done. In many courses the [p. 156>] student is obliged to read, assimilate and remember a vast amount of factual information on the quite false assumption that know­ledge is the accumulation of facts. There seems so much to be learnt that the only consolation the student has is that those who come after him will have even more to learn, for more will be known. But this is not really so; much of what we learn today are only half truths or less and the students of tomorrow will not be bothered by many of the phlogistons that now torment our brains.

It is in the interpretation and understanding of the factual information and not the factual information itself that the true interest lies. Information must precede interpretation, and it is often difficult to see the factual data in perspective. If one reads an account of the history of biology such as that presented by Nordenskiold (1920) or Singer (1950) it sometimes appears that our predecessors had a much easier task to discover things than we do today. All that they had to do was realise, say, that oxygen was necessary for respiration, or that bacteria could cause septicaemia or that the pancreas was a ductless gland that secreted insulin. The ideas were simple; they just required the thought and the experimental evidence! Let us have no doubt in our minds that in twenty years or so time we shall look back on many of today’s problems and make similar observations. Everything will seem simple and straightforward once it has been explained. Why then cannot we see some of these solutions now? There are many partial answers to this question. One is that often an incorrect idea or fact is accepted and takes the place of the correct one. An incorrect view can in this way successfully displace the correct view for many years and it requires very careful analysis and much experimental data to overthrow an accepted but incorrect theory. Most students become acquainted with many of the current concepts in biology whilst still at school and at an age when most people are, on the whole, uncritical. Then when they come to study the subject in more detail, they have in their minds several half truths and misconceptions which tend to prevent them from coming to a fresh appraisal of the situation. In addition, with a uniform pattern of education most students tend to have the same sort of educational background and so in conversation and dis­cussion they accept common fallacies and agree on matters based on these fallacies.

[p. 157>] It would seem a good principle to encourage the study of “scientific heresies.” There is always the danger that a reader might be seduced by one of these heresies but the danger is neither as great nor as serious as the danger of having scientists brought up in a type of mental strait-jacket or of taking them so quickly through a subject that they have no time to analyse and digest the material they have “studied.” A careful perusal of the heresies will also indicate the facts in favour of the currently accepted doctrines, and if the evidence against a theory is over­whelming and if there is no other satisfactory theory to take its place we shall just have to say that we do not yet know the answer.

There is a theory which states that many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed. This can be called the “Special Theory of Evolution” and can be demonstrated in certain cases by experi­ments. On the other hand there is the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form. This theory can be called the “General Theory of Evolution” and the evidence that supports it is not sufficiently strong to allow us to consider it as anything more than a working hypothesis. It is not clear whether the changes that bring about speciation are of the same nature as those that brought about the development of new phyla. The answer will be found by future experimental work and not by dogmatic assertions that the General Theory of Evolution must be correct because there is nothing else that will satisfactorily take its place.

G.A. Kerkut, Implication of Evolution (International series of monographs on pure and applied biology. Division: Zoology) (New York, NY: Pergamon Press, 1960), 150-157.

Science and Intelligent Design Defined

This is a good working definition for Intelligent Design via New World Encyclopedia:

Intelligent design (ID) is the view that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection” [1] Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns that in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. According to adherents, intelligent design can be detected in the natural laws and structure of the cosmos; it also can be detected in at least some features of living things.

Greater clarity on the topic may be gained from a discussion of what ID is not considered to be by its leading theorists. Intelligent design generally is not defined the same as creationism, with proponents maintaining that ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. ID makes no claims about biblical chronology, and technically a person does not have to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature. As a theory, ID also does not specify the identity or nature of the designer, so it is not the same as natural theology, which reasons from nature to the existence and attributes of God. ID does not claim that all species of living things were created in their present forms, and it does not claim to provide a complete account of the history of the universe or of living things.

ID also is not considered by its theorists to be an “argument from ignorance”; that is, intelligent design is not to be inferred simply on the basis that the cause of something is unknown (any more than a person accused of willful intent can be convicted without evidence). According to various adherents, ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be intelligently designed even if it is flawed (as are many objects made by humans).

ID may be considered to consist only of the minimal assertion that it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent agent. It conflicts with views claiming that there is no real design in the cosmos (e.g., materialistic philosophy) or in living things (e.g., Darwinian evolution) or that design, though real, is undetectable (e.g., some forms of theistic evolution). Because of such conflicts, ID has generated considerable controversy.

[1] Discovery Institute, Center for Science and Culture, Questions about Intelligent Design: What is the theory of intelligent design? Retrieved March 18, 2007.

Evolutionary Illusions: Obfuscating Terms To Transform Perceptions


Quote


Evolutionary Illusions

...Reference for Excerpt

Biotic-Message 300

Walter James ReMine, The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory (Saint Paul, MN: St. Paul Science Publishers, 1993), 277, 297-300, 301

[p. 277>] The origins debate is beclouded with many illusions that use words and imagery to distort our perception in favor of evolution. Those illusions must be identified and removed, so we can see clearly. The present chapter focuses on the illusion that large-scale phylogeny actually exists. Three devices have been used to create this illusion of ancestry [the excerpt focuses on the third bullet point]:

  • Illusion is created by deleting diversity. By artificially concealing or obscuring diversity, evolutionists create the impression that they have identified a lineage. This effective technique is virtually undetectable to the non-specialist.
  • Illusion is created with tree-structured imagery, such as cladograms and phenograms. These are said to be evidence for evolution, but they do not identify a single ancestor-descendant relationship.
  • Illusion is created with misleading terminology. The terminology is loaded with evolutionary imagery that the public interprets as stating direct ancestry. Evolutionists have given the terminology new technical definitions that mean something else entirely. There is disparity between the evolutionists’ technical definitions and public perception, and that disparity is ideal for creating illusion….

Lineage and Phylogeny

[p. 297>] In recent years, evolutionists have redefined lineage and phylogeny to mean cladogram (or sometimes phenogram). The motive is twofold.

  • Darwinism predicts that lineage and phylogeny exist, yet identifying these has proven frustrating. Evolutionists want to continue using the words, so they redefine the words away from the frustrating meanings.
  • Evolutionists want to amplify the evidence for evolution. They believe the major evidence for evolution is life’s pattern of nested hierarchy —as displayed in cladograms. Therefore, they seek to equate phylogeny with cladograms, so the two are viewed as synonymous.

Evolutionists meet both these goals by redefining lineage and phylogeny in terms of cladograms. This shift in meaning is a major change in strategy.

If phylogenies of one sort are to pass away, is the notion of phylogeny doomed also? We judge not, for there is an alternative notion, here simply termed classification. Notions of this kind can be looked upon as phylogenies — as historical statements of ancestry and descent. But they are differ­ent in character. They include no ancestral taxa. They deny the postulates of darwinian systematics: that ancestral taxa have an objective identity independent of their descendants; that ancestral taxa can be discovered and identified as such; that ancestral taxa are under the constraints of empirical investigation. This shift in meaning of the term phylogeny from a Darwinian to a cladistic sense marks a revolution in biological systematics. (Nelson and Platnick, 1984, p 153-154)

The shift in meaning is virtually undetectable by the public. Here is an example.

It is possible, then, to deduce phylogeny, that is, genealogical history, by a careful, logical analysis of which organisms share which characteristics. A genealogy derived in this way may be considered a hypothesis, always subject to possible revision. If the hypothesis makes predictions that are borne out, we gain more confidence that it is correct. (Futuyma, 1983, p 55)

Futuyma explains how we can identify phylogeny and genealogy in a testable scientific manner. His discussion is misleading, since he is referring to cladistic analysis, where no ancestors are ever identified.

Other evolutionists subtly build the new meanings into their definitions. For example, Berra defines lineage like this:

Lineage — The line of descent from a particular ancestor; a major group of plants or animals across a span of time, all members of which derive from a common ancestor. (Berra, 1990, p 171, my italics)

His definition would allow evolutionists to use a cladogram or phenogram as a “lineage.”

Evolution

[p. 298>] Evolutionists commonly define evolution as biological change or a change in gene frequencies. Such definitions allow illusion to thrive by equivocation. Evolutionists argue that if you accept change in gene frequencies, then you must also accept evolution since these are the same thing. Mayr provides an example:

[Evolutionary change is also simply a fact owing to the changes in the content of gene pools from generation to generation. It is as much a fact as the observation that the earth revolves around the sun rather than the reverse. (Mayr, 1991, p 162-163)

In a similar way, Fox argues that the difference between human offspring and their parents proves evolution:

The fact of evolution … can no more be denied than one can deny his own senses. Each of us need only examine human offspring and their parents to attain this inference. (Fox, 1984, p 209)

In a similar way, Saladin misused the word evolution for rhetorical force during an oral debate:

Now, maybe the funniest thing about tonight’s debate is … that the evidence for evolution is so convincing even Dr. Gish [a creationist] accepts almost all evolution! He’s a closet evolutionist! (Saladin, 1984, p 17)

Along the same lines, Kitcher mistakenly claims:

The main thesis of evolution is that species are not fixed and immutable. (Kitcher, 1982, p 7)

The disparity between public interpretation and the evolutionists’ technical definition is ideal for creating illusion.21 As long as people are fooled by that illusion, we must protest its source. We cannot allow the origins debate to be decided based on confusing language.

Evolution refers to large-scale biological change, effectively from atoms to accountants. Anything failing to make that ultimate claim is not evolution (and is open to acceptance by creationists). Evolution is either all the way — or it is creation. This is already its de facto meaning within the origins debate, at least among the thoughtful public.

Macroevolution is the evolutionists’ term for large-scale biological change. Microevolution is their term for the biological change that we can confidently demonstrate, usually this is change within a species.

[p. 299>] Evolutionists needed the terminology for an internal debate they are having. The Darwinians argue that large-scale evolution is just the long-term accrual of small-scale biological change.22 Their opponents, the punctuationists, refute that notion. They point out that the small-scale changes visible in the living and fossil world cannot account for the overall evolution of life. The punctuationists are making a potent anti-evolutionary argument. Evolutionists needed to debate each other, but they wanted to reassure the world that they are not questioning the “fact” of evolution. The words macro- and micro-evolution served that purpose.23 When the debate is conveyed in that language, its real significance is imperceptible to the public. Evolutionists said they were merely debating the detailed relationship between macro- and microevolution, not doubting the fact of evolution.

Yet in the origins debate we are doubting evolution, it is the very issue under discussion. The evolutionists’ terminology serves to obscure evolutionary diffi­culties and create illusion in the public mind.

Evolutionists often use the term microevolution as a weapon in the origins debate. According to their argument, if you believe in microevolution, then you are an evolutionist.24 Such arguments fool the ear, but have no logical basis.

Some creationists tried to clarify the debate by saying, “Microevolution is not real evolution.” Though the argument is legitimate, it sounds nonsensical on its face. Again, the sound of the words placed creationists in an awkward position.

So, we must clarify terminology for the origins debate. The term macro-evolution is self-redundant and unnecessary. Macroevolution is evolution. The term is needlessly repetitive. The term microevolution is an oxymoron — it is self-contradictory. There can be no “micro” evolution. Evolution is either thorough-going and complete — or it is creation. The term microevolution lends itself to misleading arguments and ought to be abandoned. There are other words (such as biological change, genetic change, or variation) that convey the needed meaning without confusion or illusion.

In summary, evolutionists often misuse the word evolution and create illusion by equivocating this simple word. The origins debate must clarify the matter. Evolution refers to large-scale transformation, from molecules to man.

Strategic Motives

[p. 300>] There are strategic motives for evolutionists to redefine terminology in peculiar ways. By redefining the key terms, evolutionists effectively silence opponents. Opponents are placed in an awkward position where they cannot communicate effectively.

Let me describe how this happened to me. I claimed that, “Large-scale phylogeny is systematically missing from the record of life.” That is a serious statement about the empirical world. It deserves to be said. An evolutionist responded, “That is not true, we have identified many large-scale phylogenies” and he offered a cladogram as an example. Our debate soon degenerated into an argu­ment over the definition of phylogeny. An important point about the empirical world was sidetracked into a seemingly dry debate about the definition of words. After further discussion the evolutionist dug in his heels. “I do not accept your definition of phylogeny,” he declared. That move would leave me without the key term necessary to communicate my claim about nature.

The evolutionists’ redefinition of the term phylogeny is a strategic move that turns their opponent into a mute: unable to communicate serious objections to evolution. This applies to all the terminology of the origins debate. By redefining the key words, evolutionists effectively silence or sidetrack opponents.25 The opponent can no longer communicate effectively, because all the key words have been taken away.

[….]

Summary

[p. 301>] ….Illusion is created by misusing the key words of the origins debate: ancestral, primitive, advanced, derived, intermediate, transitional, lineage, and phylogeny. Evolutionists have redefined all these terms so that no ancestors ever need be identified. These words are used to convey the sound and imagery of direct ancestry, without supplying the evidence.

The evolutionists’ peculiar definitions of terminology also served a strategic purpose. The definitions made it awkward for an anti-evolutionist to communicate. By taking away all the key words, evolutionists effectively silenced opponents.

The evolutionary definitions are illegitimate because: (1) They function to create illusion. (2) They protect the illusion by inhibiting an opponent’s ability to communicate. (3) Other terminology exists that conveys, without illusion, the evolutionists’ intended meaning.


21 Here is an example of the illusion. Saladin writes, “Gish [a creationist] distorts the meaning of evolution as a ploy to make it more assailable (the straw man tactic)….. Correctly stated, evolution simply says this: Populations of organisms exhibit genetic change over a period of time, and this enables them to adapt to changes in their environment. If Gish had defined evolution correctly, he would have found it difficult or impossible to refute in this debate. It is clear from [Gish’s book] Evolution? The Fossils Say No! that even he accepts evolution on these terms.” (Saladin, 1988, p 36)

22 “Most of modern evolutionary theory (as judged, for example, from the issues of the bimonthly journal Evolution) lies squarely within the realm of microevolution….. Little work is geared to bridging the conceptual gap between microevolution and macroevo-lution, the latter taken simply as large-scale, long-term accrual of adaptive change.” (Eldredge, 1989, p 58, 59)

23 “We understand very little about evolution, particularly the type of evolution involved in the creation of the major taxa, the kingdoms, the phyla and so on. We call this `macroevolution’, to distinguish it from a seemingly different process, ‘micro-evolution’, which is characteristic of evolution in the lower taxa. However, the term ‘macroevolution’ serves more to hide our ignorance than symbolize our understanding.” (Woese, 1987, p 177, my italics)

24 Evolutionists often argue that if you accept microevolution then you must accept evolution, and conversely, that if you reject evolution then you are also forced to reject microevolution. (For example see Wills, 1989, p 110-111)

25 When creationists use the terminology in legitimate commonsense ways, then evolu­tionists have typically argued that the creationist misunderstands or misrepresents science

Republican Form of Government (Definitions)

Take note of Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution reads:

“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government…”

I tell my kids that we do not have a democracy, but a Democratic REPUBLIC; and I am basing these on the Constitution and the authors (and signers) understanding of it (commonly referred to as “original intent”). Our Founders had an opportunity to establish a democracy in America but chose not to. In fact, they made very clear that we were not – and never to become – a democracy:

  • James Madison (fourth President, co-author of the Federalist Papers and the “father” of the Constitution) – “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general; been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
  • John Adams (American political philosopher, first vice President and second President) – “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
  • Benjamin Rush (signer of the Declaration) – “A simple democracy… is one of the greatest of evils.”
  • Fisher Ames (American political thinker and leader of the federalists [he entered Harvard at twelve and graduated by sixteen], author of the House language for the First Amendment) – “A democracy is a volcano which conceals the fiery materials of its own destruction. These will provide an eruption and carry desolation in their way.´ / “The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness [excessive license] which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be liberty.”
  • Governor Morris (signer and penman of the Constitution) – “We have seen the tumult of democracy terminate… as [it has] everywhere terminated, in despotism…. Democracy! Savage and wild. Thou who wouldst bring down the virtous and wise to thy level of folly and guilt.”
  • John Quincy Adams (sixth President, son of John Adams [see above]) – “The experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.”
  • Noah Webster (American educator and journalist as well as publishing the first dictionary) – “In democracy… there are commonly tumults and disorders….. therefore a pure democracy is generally a very bad government. It is often the most tyrannical government on earth.”
  • John Witherspoon (signer of the Declaration of Independence) – “Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state – it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage.”
  • Zephaniah Swift (author of America’s first legal text) – “It may generally be remarked that the more a government [or state] resembles a pure democracy the more they abound with disorder and confusion.”

“Neoconservatism” Defined ~ Safire’s Political Dictionary

neoconservativism A political philosophy that rejects the utopianism and egalitarianism espoused in liberalism, but departs from conservatism by embracing collective insurance and cash payments to the needy; a philosophy that takes modern democratic capitalism to be exemplary and exportable, with the active furtherance of freedom abroad to be the best course in most cases.

Neoconservatism (the word triumphed over “the new conservatism”) was spawned in the pages of a quarterly, The Public Interest, edited by Irving Kristol and Daniel Bell, published by Warren Manshel, and frequently contributed to by Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Seymour Martin Lipset. These former liberals were troubled by the failures of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” and dismayed at the way political orders throughout the world—especially the social democracies—were becoming statist and simultaneously less stable. When Keynesian economics began to fail to contain inflation, neoconservatives felt the economic basis for social democracy as it has been practiced began to erode. The last straw for many of the lifelong Democrats was the strident discontent of the youthful counterculture of the sixties, which made liberal elders uncomfortable with the culture that produced it.

As it became fashionable all along the political spectrum to be alienated by “big government,” that cultural chasm between NEW LEFT and “old” left widened: many of the former liberals could not stomach what they saw as the social permissiveness, national self-flagellation and rejection of individual responsibility so often espoused by the inheritors of liberalism.

What distinguished neo-conservatism from the “old” conservatism? The novel fea­ture of the new conservatism is a relaxed attitude toward collective responsibility: “A welfare state, properly conceived,” wrote Irving Kristol in The American Spectator in 1977, “can be an integral part of a conser­vative society.” Such a statement is heresy to traditional conservatives; they hold that conservatism teaches that statism leads to a repression of individuality. But Kris­tol plunged ahead: “It is antisocialist, of course … but it is not upset by the fact that in a populous, complex, and affluent soci­ety, people may prefer to purchase certain goods and services collectively rather than individually … People will always want security as much as they want liberty, and the nineteenth-century liberal-individualist notion that life for all of us should be an enterprise at continual risk is doctrinaire fantasy.”

Kristol, his wife Gertrude Himmelfarb, and their son William (founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, more politically par­tisan than the forerunning Public Interest) saw liberal institutions such as Social Secu­rity to be bulwarks against further social­ization. Many of their intellectual followers hope the effect of their movement will be to remove utopian dreams from practical government. To the socialists (who want to center more power in the state), as well as to the “old” conservatives (who want to place more reliance on the individual), neo­conservatives say that the system the U.S. has now evolved—while not, in Voltaire’s phrase, “the best of all possible worlds”—is the best of all available worlds, and well worth not only defending but extending.

An early use of the term was by James Schall in Time magazine on August 23,1971: “Judaism and Christianity have always placed primacy in man. Now this primacy is attacked by what I call the neoconserva­tive ecological approach to life.” Senator Moynihan recalled to the author that it was Michael Harrington, writer on poverty, who popularized the term at about that time in its present context.

In foreign policy, most neoconservatives from liberal cultural backgrounds parted company with their longtime colleagues on dealing with the threat of world Com­munism. They drew ideological fire from accomodationist friends as they aligned themselves with Ronald Reagan HARD-LIN­ERS. After the Soviet Union collapsed after being, in the neocon view, economically stressed by the U.S. arms buildup and encouragement of dissidents, the neocons were in the policy ascendancy.

After Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, threatening pan-Arab con­quest and endangering world oil supplies, neocons applauded George H.W. Bush’s “line in the sand” and the end of the VIET­NAM SYNDROME; the fact that many neocon leaders were Jews led to angry accusations from some on the far right as well as the far left that they put Israel’s interests first (see AMEN CORNER). In 2002, when most intel­ligence reports indicated that Saddam was preparing a comeback with associations with Al Qaeda, suspected development of weapons of mass destruction, and mount­ing human rights abuses within Iraq, neo­conservatives in think tanks and the media were in the forefront of those supporting President George W. Bush’s argument for REGIME CHANGE. However, as the expected similarly short conflict became “the long war,” public anger at the conduct of the war tarnished the neoconservative, ideal­istic “freedom agenda”; REALISM was soon in the public-policy saddle, and in 2006 war-weariness was a primary cause of the change in the majorities in House and Sen­ate. The national debate then centered on the Administration’s plan to STAY THE COURSE, a phrase reviled by the anti-war majority, versus CUT AND RUN, a counterattack phrase by neocons and other HAWKS opposing with­drawal as a form of surrender.

Among political journalists, the word is now almost always clipped to neo-cons, often without the hyphen—more a descrip­tion of the articulators of the embattled foreign policy than of the policy itself. The clipped version, neocon, is often taken to be synonymous with “rightwing hawk.” In the opening stages in 2007 of the Demo­cratic presidential primary season, Senator Barack Obama, who made a point of hav­ing opposed the Iraq war from the start, was widely seen as a liberal dove; when criticized for this as being “naive” by Hillary Clinton, he sternly took aim at Pakistan’s president: “If we have actionable intelli­gence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf will not act, we will.” The gleeful Wall Street Journal editorial headline: “Barack Obama, Neocon.”

William Safire, Safire’s Political Dictionary (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2008), 455-457, cf. neoconservative.

I Love This Word, `Sycophant` ~ Used by Michael Steele of Chris Matthews

Definition: “a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.”

Synonyms: adulator, backscratcher, backslapper, bootlicker, brownnoser, doormat, fan, fawner, flatterer, flunky, groupie, groveler, handshaker, hanger-on, lackey, minion, parasite, politician, puppet, slave.