(Post’s thumbnail picture is of Karl Popper) Even though I use the neo-Darwinian theory as my prime example, this applies just as readily to the conspiracy theories revolving around the New World Order, and the like. You can visit my “Conspiracy Mantras” page to go to some of my posts on the various topics, there.
“Darwinian explanations for such things are often too supple: Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive—except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed—except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery.”
Skell, P.S., Why do we invoke Darwin? Evolutionary theory contributes little to experimental biology, The Scientist 19(16):10, 2005; quoted by Jonathan Sarfati in Creation 36(4):1 September 2014.
Charles “The Hammer” Krauthammer makes this point in regards to the Climate Change frenzy:
The following is one of the reasons I reject Darwinian evolution (and, frankly, conspiracy theories like WTC-7 being a conspiracy), and any scientist would reject anything for.
“Insofar as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable: and insofar as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
K.R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (London, England: Hutchinson & Co, 1959), 316; found in, Werner Gitt, Did God Use Evolution?Observations from a Scientist of Faith (Portland, OR: Master Books, 2006), 11. (See also: SCIENCE AS FALSIFICATION)
That is to say, if a theory explains everything it explains nothing:
“The underlying problem is that a key Darwinian term is not defined. Darwinism supposedly explains how organisms become more ‘fit,’ or better adapted to their environment. But fitness is not and cannot be defined except in terms of existence. If an animal exists, it is ‘fit’ (otherwise it wouldn’t exist). It is not possible to specify all the useful parts of that animal in order to give an exhaustive causal account of fitness. [I will add here that there is no way to quantify those unknowable animal parts in regards to the many aspects that nature could or would impose on all those parts.] If an organism possesses features that appears on the surface to be an inconvenient – such as the peacock’s tail or the top-heavy antlers of a stag – the existence of stags and peacocks proves that these animals are in fact fit.
So the Darwinian theory is not falsifiable by any observation. It ‘explains’ everything, and therefore nothing. It barely qualifies as a scientific theory for that reason….
The truth is that Darwinism is so shapeless that it can be enlisted is support of any cause whatsoever…. Darwinism has over the years been championed by eugenicists, social Darwinists, racialists, free-market economists, liberals galore, Wilsonian progressives, and National Socialists, to give only a partial list. Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer, Communists and libertarians, and almost anyone in between, have at times found Darwinism to their liking.”
The above is from an article by Tom Bethell in The American Spectator (magazine), July/August 2007, pp. 44-46.
DARWIN CONCEIVED OF EVOLUTION in terms of small variations among organisms, variations which by a process of accretion allow one species to change continuously into another. This suggests a view in which living creatures are spread out smoothly over the great manifold of biological possibilities, like colors merging imperceptibly in a color chart.
Life, however, is absolutely nothing like this. Wherever one looks there is singularity, quirkiness, oddness, defiant individuality, and just plain weirdness. The male redback spider (Latrodectus hasselti), for example, is often consumed during copulation. Such is sexual cannibalism the result, biologists have long assumed, of “predatory females overcoming the defenses of weaker males.” But it now appears that among Latrodectus hasselti, the male is complicit in his own consumption. Having achieved intromission, this schnook performs a characteristi somersault, placing his abdomen directly over his partner’s mouth. Such is sexual suicide—awfulness taken to a higher power.
It might seem that sexual suicide confers no advantage on the spider, the male passing from ecstasy to extinction in the course of one and the same act. But spiders willing to pay for love are apparently favored by female spiders (no surprise, there); and female spiders with whom they mate, entomologists claim, are less likely to mate again. The male spider perishes; his preposterous line persists.
This explanation resolves one question only at the cost of inviting another: why such bizarre behavior? In no other Latrodectus species does the male perform that obliging somersault, offering his partner the oblation of his life as well as his love. Are there general principles that specify sexual suicide among this species, but that forbid sexual suicide elsewhere? If so, what are they Once asked, such questions tend to multiply like party guests. If evolutionary theory cannot answer them, what, then, is its use? Why is the Pitcher plant carnivorous, but not the thorn bush, and why does the Pacific salmon require fresh water to spawn, but not the Chilean sea bass? Why has the British thrush learned to hammer snails upon rocks, but not the British blackbird, which often starves to death in the midst of plenty? Why did the firefly discover bioluminescence, but not the wasp or the warrior ant; why do the bees do their dance, but not the spider or the flies; and why are women, but not cats, born without the sleek tails that would make them even more alluring than they already are?
Why? Yes, why? The question, simple, clear, intellectually respectable, was put to the Nobel laureate George Wald. “Various organisms try various things,” he finally answered, his words functioning as a verbal shrug, “they keep what works and discard the rest.”
But suppose the manifold of life were to be given a good solid yank, so that the Chilean sea bass but not the Pacific salmon required fresh water to spawn, or that ants but not fireflies flickered enticingly at twilight, or that women but not cats were born with lush tails. What then? An inversion of life’s fundamental facts would, I suspect, present evolutionary biologists with few difficulties. Various organisms try various things. This idea is adapted to any contingency whatsoever, an interesting example of a Darwinian mechanism in the development of Darwinian thought itself.
A comparison with geology is instructive. No geological theory makes it possible to specify precisely a particular mountain’s shape; but the underlying process of upthrust and crumbling is well understood, and geologists can specify something like a mountain’s generic shape. This provides geological theory with a firm connection to reality. A mountain arranging itself in the shape of the letter “A” is not a physically possible object; it is excluded by geological theory.
The theory of evolution, by contrast, is incapable of ruling anything out of court. That job must be done by nature. But a theory that can confront any contingency with unflagging success cannot be falsified. Its control of the facts is an illusion.
David Berlinski, The Deniable Darwin & Other Essays (Seattle, WA: Discovery Institute Press, 2009), 45-47.
So too is the conspiratorial view of history (Bilderbergers, Council of Foreign Relations, Banking Institutions, Rosicrucians, The Knights Templars, on-and-on). It is used as an over-arching meta-narrative by Marxists, libertarians, anarcho-leftists, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, druggies (stoners), to Christian Evangelicals.
If someone or something disproves an aspect of this theory that person is branded a “shill” ~ or the fact has been “planted” by those in power who wish people to believe this “counter-point.” It explains everything and therefore nothing.
It becomes a metaphysical explanation… religious, so-to-speak. God, or theism, while having evidential aspects, IS ultimately a metaphysical program, and thus, outside of material explanations. So is evolutionary naturalism as well as the New World Order — taking into account the above.
Before getting to two fun videos, I want to give an example of the depth of people not self-reflecting on what they are saying… applying it to themselves to see if their sweeping statements are true or just platitudes. After explaining via another site’s excellent work refuting yet another convoluted “matrix” of conspiratorial shenanigans regarding World Trade Tower Seven (WTC-7), I got this “challenge”?
Shaun your proof that Chemtrails are working!
Besides spelling my name wrong, here is my response (reformatted for ease of reading… but response 100% intact):
Jeffrey M.C., you believe in chem-trails?
As with other issues, like with an atheist saying Christianity is a crutch… not realizing that this argument cuts both ways and that atheism can be a crutch to escape judgement and wanting to live under an umbrella of full autonomy in the universe [being your own god]… this argument cuts both ways.
If chemtrails were a program to control one’s thinking in some way, why would it be proof if someone rejected “conspiracies”? Why couldn’t people who believe in whatever conspiracy theory be evidence for the program?
Like I point out in my “Alex Jones Section,” and elsewhere… conspiracy people think Jones is being controlled by the New World Order to spread misinformation — leading people away from the more important conspiracies.
And that is the point… small phrases like “pull-it” are taken [ripped] from their context, the evidence from the two parties involved in those [actual] conversations are ignored, and a matrix of unfounded and false evidence is then laid on top of this phrase… and then after this is distorted… people move on to the next myopic point to do the same.
MUCH LIKE when skeptics or the cults come in and rip a small portion of the text out of context, ignore the clear testimony of those involved in the verse itself, and lay a false history or hermeneutic over the text… moving on to do the same with another verse. [Like Jehovah’s Witnesses as an example with John 1:1]
In other words…
or the person who says these programs are to obfuscate the “real conspiracies,”
…use the same amount of evidence [hint, inference only] and the competing contentions raised by conspiracy theorists are not provable of disprovable. BECAUSE there will always be another contention [twisted as discussed… inferred] to explain away the refutation.
For instance, I make good arguments against the main propositions used to support the deliberated destruction of WTC-7… and I am tricked by chemtrails. You see, there is no winning
…[and I linked to this post]…
And thus, no information [truth] is passed on.
I further explain for people who cannot pick-up what I am laying down:
In other words…
I could simply respond to Vytas S. when he said,
“Sean, I remember watching a CNN video of the countdown to when Building 7 came down,”
Vytas, you’re proof that Chemtrails work!
[“Proof” ~ as used above ~ should be in quotation marks signifying another intent for it.]
Here is M.C.’s response (try not to laugh):
On the same Note Sean how do you know your information is correct… think about it. Most media information is impregnated with NWO progressive Liberal Spinbull. Alex has dedicated his life exposing mainstream media no matter who is in White House. If he is only right 30% of the time we are screwed. I will say he is right about 83% of the time and have watched his truths come to the forefront. ChemTrails are real…. and a threat to all of us. Weather Manipulation IS FOR REAL!. The Fight between Republicans and Democraps is a manipulated NWO Farce to keep us occupied and seperated…. WAKE UP AMERICA!
There is no way to argue reasonably with such a person… he will explain e v e r y t h i n g as a conspiracy — so I tap out — as truth is unknowable in his scenario.
“Insofar as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable: and insofar as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
K.R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (London, England: Hutchinson & Co, 1959), 316; found in, Werner Gitt,Did God Use Evolution? Observations from a Scientist of Faith (Portland, OR: Master Books, 2006), 11.
…I was fortunate to be promoted to Assistant Professor, and I took great pleasure measuring previously inaccessible properties of excited atoms with my graduate students and post docs. Although I tried to ignore the Vietnam war, it was becoming an increasingly divisive factor in American life. Keeping up an old family tradition, my brother Ian served as a US army doctor in South Vietnam.
After the 1970 US invasion of Cambodia, our physics building was seized by protesters. With other physics faculty and students, I was held captive for several days. The pretext was that several senior physics professors, notably Mal Ruderman and Henry Foley, were members of JASON, a group that did classified and unclassified studies for the US government. Having had several sleepless nights becoming acquainted with the protesters, while defending our cherished equipment with other young faculty members, I decided that JASON must be a pretty good organization if it had enemies like these. So, when Henry Foley asked me to join JASON a few years later, I was honored to do so. JASON continues to do valuable work for the USA, and I am still a member.
During a JASON summer study in 1982, some senior technical people from the US Air Force and DARPA asked the JASONs if they could think of any way to help ameliorate the distortion of laser beams by atmospheric turbulence. This is the same phenomenon that limits “seeing” of large, ground-based telescopes. After passing through parcels of warm and cool air, an initially flat optical wave from a laser or a distant star is “wrinkled.” If you are trying to use a high-power laser to shoot down an attacking missile, the wavefront distortion prevents you from focusing all of the laser power on target. And the image of a star at the focal plane of a big telescope is splattered into hundreds of speckles, instead of a sharp point. This seriously limits the angular resolution, which is one of the main rationales for a big telescope. At that time, it was known that for sufficiently bright stars, you could use the starlight itself to measure the wavefront distortion. This information could be used to control a deformable (“rubber”) mirror in such a way that when the distorted wavefront reflected on it, most of the wrinkles were removed.
But you can’t see many bright stars in the sky at night, and none at all during the day. So, Air Force defenders were going to have a hard time unless their targets were obliging enough to be backlighted by bright stars like Sirius or Vega. By luck, I thought I knew the answer to the problem. It turns out there is a layer of sodium atoms at an altitude of about 100 km above the earth’s surface. The atoms are released when micrometeorites burn up in the atmosphere. I knew from my work at Columbia that sodium atoms had huge scattering cross sections for yellow resonant light — the same as the light you see if you happen to spill salty water into the flame of a gas cooking stove. So, I proposed that the Air Force invest in a big sodium laser and use it to create an artificial “sodium guide star” just in front of their desired target.
After some initial skepticism, the Air Force gambled that the idea would work. A brilliant team of scientists and engineers led by Bob Fugate soon built and successfully tested a sodium guide star at the secret Starfire Optical Range in the desert near Albuquerque. Some ten years later, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the independent proposal by astronomers to build a sodium guide star, the Air Force work was declassified, largely due to the persistence of my JASON colleague and friend, Claire Max, then at the Livermore National Laboratory. Finally getting a little public recognition for my work, I was elected to various scientific societies, including the National Academy of Sciences. More details can be found in The Adaptive Optics Revolution: A History, by Robert W. Duffner (University of New Mexico Press, 2009).
I learned a lot about the atmosphere at JASON. I was involved in the analysis of “thermal blooming” of high-power lasers when they are weakly absorbed by H2O and CO2molecules in the atmosphere. The physics is closely related to that of greenhouse warming. I learned about the physics of the tropopause, where much of the wavefront distortion of starlight or defensive laser beams takes place. I was one of 14 JASON coauthors of one the first books on global warming, with the nerdy title, The Long-Term Impacts of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels, edited by Gordon J. MacDonald (Ballinger Publishing Co., 1982). We over-predicted the warming from more CO2 as badly as later establishment models, a topic to which I will return below.
My invention of the sodium guide star gave me some credibility in parts of the US government, but since the work was highly classified in the first few years, only a few scientists knew about it. I scrupulously avoided working on related areas with my university students. But based on this classified notoriety, I was elected to be Chair of the JASON steering committee in 1987, and in 1990 I was appointed Director of the Office of Energy Research at the US Department of Energy (DOE) by President George H. W. Bush, where I served under Secretary of Energy, James Watkins, until the election of President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore in the 1992 election. I served for three more months under Secretary Hazel O’Leary in the spring of 1993. I was fortunate that both Secretaries of Energy were supportive of basic science, the responsibility of my office.
The DOE Office of Science had an annual budget of over $3 billion at that time, more than the National Science Foundation. It funded almost all of DOE’s non-weapons basic research, including a great deal of environmental science and climate science. This was my first encounter with the climate establishment, and I was surprised to find environmental science so different from high-energy physics, nuclear physics, materials science, the human genome, and the many other areas we had responsibility for. I insisted that my assistant directors arrange for regular seminars, given by principal investigators of grants we supported. In most fields, principal investigators were delighted that government bureaucrats were actually interested in their research. They enjoyed being questioned during their talks, since this allowed them to show off their erudition. But, with honorable exceptions, principal investigators working on environmental issues were reluctant to come to our Washington offices, and evasive about answering the questions that were so welcome to briefers from other fields.
About three months after the beginning of the Clinton administration, Hazel O’Leary called me into her office to ask, “What have you done to Al Gore? I am told I have to fire you.” I assume that the main thing that upset Al Gore (left) was my questioning of blatant propaganda about stratospheric ozone that was his focus at the time: “ozone holes over Kennebunkport” and similar nonsense. Although Secretary O’Leary offered to find a way to keep me at DOE as a civil servant, I was glad to have an excuse to get back to doing real science at Princeton University, which was kind enough to offer me a professorship again.
For the next few years after my return to Princeton in 1993, I was very busy working on an exciting new project on magnetic resonance imaging with laser polarized nuclei that my young colleague, Professor Gordon Cates, and his students had pioneered while I was at DOE. But watching the evening news, I would often be outraged by the distortions about CO2 and climate that were being intoned by hapless, scientifically-illiterate newscasters. My wife Barbara, who patiently sat through my outbursts, finally said, “Why don’t you speak up?” At Barbara’s urging, I began to speak up and I have never stopped.
I often hear that since I am not a card-carrying climate scientist — that I, and many other scientists with views similar to mine, have no right to criticize the climate establishment. But as I have outlined above, few have a deeper understanding of the basic science of climate than I. Almost all big modern telescopes use my sodium guidestar to correct for atmospheric turbulence. It works. As we will see below, most climate models do not work. The history of science shows many examples of fields that needed outside criticism. A famous example is Andrei Sakharov’s leadership of opposition to Trofim Lysenko’s politicized biology in the Soviet Union. We will have more to say about Lysenko (right) later in the interview, but one of Lysenko’s main defenses was that Sakharov, a physicist who invented the Soviet hydrogen bomb, was not a “Michurinian” biologist.
The need for outside criticism was well articulated by James Madison, arguably the first graduate student at Princeton University, and the principal architect of the US Constitution. In the “Federalist X,” Madison wrote:
No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity. With equal, nay with greater reason, a body of men are unfit to be both judges and parties at the same time.
Stephen C. Meyer appearing in Darwin’s Dilemma talks about Richard Dawkins’s “climbing Mt. Improbable.”
Biologist Ann Gauger discusses the challenge posed to Darwinian natural selection by the process of metamorphosis found in butterflies and other creatures. Gauger is featured in the science documentary “Metamorphosis,” which deals with butterflies, evolution, and intelligent design.
Why This Post?It is a post dealing with Natural Selection, something I haven’t dealt with specifically on my site, here. I did post on the topic at my Blogspot site, but have — through conversation — felt the need to import it to my .com. It is in it’s original sense, a response to conversations that took place in a forum, so you will see names out of the blue that at one time were in context. (I will be responding to challenges that I am not well read on the topic, and when I wrote this response originally, I have more than doubled my library… so be aware that this is a conversation from 2000 posted on my old site in 2007.) I will also update it a bit based on newer conversation and dissent. A good portion of the older post comes from the excellent book, Darwin’s Enigma (esp this chapter).
…Palaeoecologists like me are now bringing a new perspective to the problem. If macroevolution really is an extrapolation of natural selection and adaptation, we would expect to see environmental change driving evolutionary change. Major climatic events such as ice ages ought to leave their imprint on life as species adapt to the new conditions. Is that what actually happens?
“The link between environmental change and evolutionary change is weak – not what Darwinists might have predicted”
This view of life leads to certain consequences. Macroevolution is not the simple accumulation of microevolutionary changes but has its own processes and patterns. There can be no “laws” of evolution….
Another evolutionist that shows the vacuous nature of natural selection via many generations of fruit flies and the mutagenic selections imposed on it’s “fitness,” — the famous Theodosius Dobzhansky Drosophila (the fruit fly) experiments. This creation of mutations that in effect “increased stress” of “natural” selection on this species disproved Darwin’s baby showed that the predictions made were disproved by the experiments.
It is similar to the experiment subjecting a cactus to the same conditions that had resulted in it mutating. To their amazement, no matter how many times they performed the experiment, the cactus only changed into that one mutated form. The scientists in this experiment did not get a myriad of dysfunctional mutations before getting a functioning cactus. They didn’t even get several different functioning cacti. The only result was this one mutation, and there seemed to be nothing random about it. (PP. 13-15)
One of the cornerstone theories within evolutionary (neo-Darwinian) thinking has been “natural selection.” Natural selection, long thought to be the initiating force behind the many changes that would have needed to occur if evolutionary theory is correct, is now being abandoned or at least moved a few notches down in importance. There is a lot of information below, so take you time, watch the video posted and the other (Dean Kenyon) I linked to further down in the post. If you are a biology student, you may learn quite a bit more than the teacher would have liked you to, for, you see… the modern day biology teacher isn’t going to teach you that there are disagreements within the scientific community on these issues, he or she is merely there in that classroom to protect a dogma.
Take note that this dated response was part of a larger conversation, so you will see names (handles) of people that I respond to.
The Rhetoric of Charles Darwin~ via John Angus Campbell:
Rapier, the site you referenced is well received. The evidence from the pre-Cambrian shows that oxygen was indeed present, in large number. This fact did away with the Miller – Urey experiment and the others that followed, as they posited an oxygen free environment. However, the site you mentioned rests on two glaring problems. I will elucidate somewhat. The first being:
“No matter whether the atoms of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and others were there at Earth’s formation, or arrived later in alien bodies from space, they constituted the building blocks of life. These elements by intrinsic chemical nature formed organic compounds that were washed by rain into the seas…. The very nature of carbon chemical bonding to itself and other atoms predetermines the formation of organic compounds, and the subsequent catalyzing of more complex organic compounds.”
This concept of “carbon chemical bonding to itself and other atoms predetermines the formation of organic compounds” is commonly referred to as Biochemical Predestination. The term was coined by Dean H. Kenyon (and his co-author G. Steinman) who wrote a university level textbook on this subject. Kenyon is the [now emeritus] professor of biology at the University of San Francisco and was a staunch evolutionist when he wrote the book Biochemical Predestination (McGraw-Hill, 1969), which was the best-selling advanced level book on chemical evolution in the decade of the 1970’s.
Keep in mind that these two guys started this line of thought. One of Dean Kenyon’s students gave him a copy of a book written by Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith (who holds three earned Ph.D.’s) entitled The Creation of Life: A Cybernetic Approach to Evolution. In this book by Dr. Wilder, Dean Kenyon’s book is critiqued. Instead of Kenyon saying – “Well, Dr. Wilder is just a creationist, who would listen to him?” – Dr. Kenyon read the book and tried to answer the arguments in it against his own book. When he couldn’t, he began to investigate where the evidence led to… outside of his previous presuppositions, which were based on naturalism (evolutionary thinking).
Now, Dr. Kenyon refutes with the latest evidence offered, this can be found in an excellent video entitled Unlocking the Mystery of Life. When you said, “Firstly, you need to do some researching on the history of our planet…”, I have. I will comment again that I have over 2,000 books in my home library [now over 5,000], and outside of politics, the creation/evolution controversy takes up most of the space. I have well over 100 books by evolutionary biologists, archaeologists, physicists, geologists, etc. Also, I have well over 200 books by creation biologists, archaeologists, physicists, geologists, etc. I wonder if you have gone to the sources themselves like I have… in other words, read some good books on the matter at hand. Just a challenge for you to be open-minded, that’s all. Kenyon, for instance, says:
“No experimental system yet devised has provided the slightest clue as to how biologically meaningful sequences of subunits might have originated in prebiotic polynucleotides or polypeptides.”
He put in his two cents on the problem of chirality as well, “Many researchers have attempted to find plausible natural conditions under which [left-handed] L-amino acids would preferentially accumulate over their [right-handed] D-counterparts, but all such attempts have failed. Until this crucial problem is solved, no one can say that we have found a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life. Instead, these isomer preferences point to biochemical creation.”
The reason I put those quotes there and will follow them with some papers by Dr. Kenyon is that since you referenced me to a site that mentions biochemical predestination, I figured you would want to read his latest work, as science is “self-critiquing,” he has critiqued the theory he helped found.
“The immutable law of natural selection dictates that life will retain those features that foster survival.”
This apparent simple sentence makes reference to two theories that really are not science or Law being that they incorporate circular reasoning, that is, natural selection and the survival of the fittest.
From a rabid anti-creationist (posted a few years back at Space Battles):
“Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion — a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint — and Mr [sic] Gish is but one of many to make it — the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today…. Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.”
Michael Ruse, professor of philosophy and zoology at the University of Guelph, Canada [recently moved to Florida], “How Evolution Became a Religion: Creationists Correct?” National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7 May 13, 2000.
What Can It Explain?
To summarize what I have already written, the modern position of the synthetic theory is: the struggle for existence plays no part in evolution. The direction of evolution is determined solely by the characteristics of those animals and plants that are successful breeders. We are unable to say anything about why a particular characteristic might favor, or prejudice, the survival of any particular animal or plant.
Perhaps an even more damaging criticism of the concept of natural selection is that – limited though its content may be – it is so nebulous that it can be made to fit a whole range of mutually contradictory outcomes of the evolutionary process. Natural selection is entirely compatible with the notion that all organisms in stable environments have reached a fitness peak on which they will remain forever. At the same time natural selection is entirely compatible with the idea that all organisms should regress to the safest common denominator, a single-celled organism, and thus become optimally adapted to every habitat.
In precisely the same way, because of its infinitely elastic (explained more later) definition, natural selection can be made to explain opposed and even mutually contradictory individual adaptations. For example, Darwinists claim that camouflage coloring and mimicry (as in leaf insects) is adaptive and will be selected for, yet they also claim that warning coloration (the wasp’s stripes) is adaptive and will be selected for. Yet if both propositions are true, any kind of coloration will have some adaptive value, whether it is partly camouflaged or partly warning, and will be selected for. As a theory, then, natural selection makes no unique predictions but instead is used retrospectively to explain every outcome:And a theory that explains everything in this way, explains nothing. Natural selection is not a mechanism: it is a rationalization after the fact.
Natural selection is the process by which the most successful populate the world, and the less successful breeders die out – regardless of their respective characteristics.
“The giraffe has a long neck because…?”
Here we get stuck. The only help we get from synthetic evolution is that the giraffe has survived because it has survived. (This can be applied to the person who tried to explain to me how the cleaner fish “evolved” to pick the teeth of its predator, as well as the below posts.)
Is It Testable? Can It Predict?
Ernst Mayr made some startling admissions about Darwin’s model of mutation and natural selection. He said, “Popper is right; this model is so good that it can explain everything, as popper has rightly complained.” This relates to the requirement in science that a theory or model must make exclusionary predictions. If the concept is so generalized that it can explain any conceivable type of evidence, then it is of no value to science. For example, if a theory can explain both dark and light coloring in moths, both the presence and absence of transitional forms in the fossil record, complex life forms either above or below in rock strata, etc., then it has no value in making predictions. Now, Dr. Mayr (who was professor of zoology atHarvard University) believes that “ultimately, all variation is, of course, due to mutation….”
Professor Gould (Harvard’s esteemed paleontologist) has this to say when asked,“What role do mutations play in speciation?” Dr, Gould responded:
“A mutation doesn’t produce major new raw material. You don’t make a new species by mutating the species…. That’s a common idea people have; that evolution is due to random mutations. A mutation is NOT the cause of evolutionary change. Something else than natural selection brings about species at new levels, trends and directions.”
Keep in mind that Mayr and Gould are both evolutionists. In a discussion of how evolutionary theory can explain the fact that eels, which normally reproduce only in salt water, have certain landlocked species that reproduce in fresh water, Dr Weisskopt said,
“I think it was Medawar who said that one thing about the theory of evolution [and he quoted Popper] that it is not falsifiable, that whatever happens you can explain it. I think you have an example here.”
On the same subject, Dr. Fraser said,
“It would seem to me that there have been endless statements made and the only thing I have clearly agreed with through the whole day [referring to the Wistar Symposium] has been the statement made by Karl Popper, namely, that the real inadequacy of evolution, esthetically and scientifically, is that you can explain anything you want by changing your variable around.”
“This cannot be done in evolution, taking it in its broad sense, and this is really all I meant when I called it tautologous in the first place. It can, indeed, explain anything. You may be ingenious or not in proposing a mechanism which looks plausible to human beings… but it is still unfalsifiable theory.”
Dr. Schutzenberger of the University of Paris reported on why all attempts to program a model of evolution on a computer had completely failed. He said that neo-Darwinism asserts that without anything further, selection brings about a statistically adapted drift when random changes are performed in a population. He insisted,
“We believe that is not conceivable. In fact if we try to stimulate such a situation by making changes randomly at the typographic level (by letters or blocks, the size of the unit does not matter) on computer programs we find that we have no chance (i.e., less than one in ten to the thousandth power) even to see what the modified program would compute: it just jams. Thus… we believe that there is a considerable gap in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, and we believe this gap to be of such a nature that it cannot be bridged within the current conception of biology.”
“In consequence, the theory has been modified to the point that virtually every formulation of the principles of evolution is a tautology…. It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws – physical, physicochemical, and biological…. In summary, it is our contention that the principle task of the evolutionist is to discover and examine mechanisms which constrain the variation of phenotypes to a very small class and to relegate the notion of randomness to a minor non-crucial role.”
Observable, Repeatable, and Refutable?
To the surprise of many casual observers, and to the embarrassment of many journalistic influences, evolution has never been demonstrated to be a viable explanation for life origins (or cosmic origins for that matter). By definition the scientific method requires that the objects or events under study must beOBSERVABLE, REPEATABLE, and REFUTABLE. Evolution certainly cannot be observed or repeated in the field or the laboratory. With this in mind, evolutionist Karl Popper, the honored referee of the modern scientific method, pointed out:
“It follows that any controversy over the question whether events which are in principle unrepeatable and unique ever do occur cannot be decided by science; it would be a metaphysical controversy.”
In his introduction to a 1971 publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, L. Harrison Matthews, British biologist and evolutionist, wrote:
“The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory – is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation – both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof.”
Intense controversy has erupted within the evolutionary camp. Newsweek featured an article by Sharon Begley titled “Science Contra Darwin.” She revealed:
“The great body of work derived from Charles Darwin’s revolutionary 1859 book, On the Origin of Species, is under increasing attack – and not just from creationists…. So heated is the debate that one Darwinian says there are times when he thinks about going into a field with more intellectual honesty: the used car business.”
Agnostic (non-creationist) Michael Denton (in his book Evolution: A Theory In Crisis) wrote that the evolutionary paradigm was, “… an idea which is more like a principle of medieval astrology than a serious twentieth century theory….” Steven M. Stanley (evolutionist), Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 72:640-660, (1975), p.648.
“If most evolutionary changes occur during speciation events and if speciation events are largely random, natural selection, long viewed as a process guiding evolutionary change, cannot play a significant role in determining the overall course of evolution.”
Richard C. Lewontin (evolutionist); “Adaptation.” Scientific American (and theScientific American Book, Evolution), Sept. 1978.
“Adaptation leads to natural selection, natural selection does not necessarily lead to greater adaptation … Natural Selection operates essentially to enable the organisms to maintain their state of adaptation rather than improve it … Natural selection over the long run does not seem to improve a species’ chances of survival, but simply enables it to ‘track,’ or keep up with, the constantly changing environment”
Pierre-Paul Grassé (evolutionist), Evolution of Living Organisms, Academic Press, New York (1977), pp. 97, 98.
“Mutations, in time, occur incoherently. They are not complementary to one another, nor are they cumulative in successive generations toward a given direction. They modify what pre-exists, but they do so in disorder.”
Arthur Koestler (evolutionist), Janus: A Summing Up, Random House, New York, 1978, pp. 184-185.
“In the meantime, the educated public continues to believe that Darwin has provided all the relevant answers by the magic formula of random mutation plus natural selection — quite unaware of the fact that random mutations turned out to be irrelevant and natural selection a tautology.”
ONE ASKS: “who survives?”
THE ANSWER: “the fittest.”
SO ONE ASKS: “who is the fittest?”
THE ANSWER: “those who survive.”
Philosophy professor Gregory Alan Pesely notes:
“One of the most frequent objections against the theory of natural selection is that it is a sophisticated tautology… What is most unsettling is that some evolutionary biologists have no qualms about proposing tautologies as explanations. One would immediately reject any lexicographer who tried to define a word by the same word, or a thinker who merely restated his proposition, or any other instance of gross redundancy; yet no one seems scandalized that men of science should be satisfied with a major principle which is no more than a tautology.”
Fitness does not always mean survival. The smartest, most resourceful persons are not necessarily those who leave the most offspring. So in recent years, evolutionists reduced the definition of “fitness” to simply “those who leave the most offspring.”But even this entails a rather circular argument. As geneticist Conrad Waddington of Edinburgh University noted:
“There, you do come to what is, in effect, a vacuous statement: ‘Natural selection is that some things leave more offspring than others;’ and you ask, ‘which leaves more offspring than others;’ and it is ‘those who leave more offspring;’ and there is nothing more to it than that…”