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).
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:
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:
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 RNA World: A Critique
- What do Ribozyme Engineering Experiments Really Tell Us About the Origin of Life?
Also, an excerpt of a larger interview with Dean Kenyon:
Another problem that I find is in the quote:
- “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):
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:
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,
On the same subject, Dr. Fraser said,
George Wald agreed,
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,
Near the end of the Symposium, Murray Eden explained:
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:
In his introduction to a 1971 publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, L. Harrison Matthews, British biologist and evolutionist, wrote:
Intense controversy has erupted within the evolutionary camp. Newsweek featured an article by Sharon Begley titled “Science Contra Darwin.” She revealed:
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.
- 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:
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: