May 102005

Who is the Designer? Part 2: Finding Darwin’s God
Continuing on this theme of who is the designer, I’ve shown why knowing the designer is not a requirement for the ID theoretical. This is not the case for Darwinism as I posted before. For Darwinism which relies on the materialistic naturalism for the origin of all artifacts identifying the designer is crucial. For the materialist, this designer is an unguided, random, purposeless variation and natural selection for all the biodiversity of life on earth. Finding Darwin’s god is to find the naturalistic mechanism by which any biological artifact has come to being. For example, in the construction of the bacteria flagellum with over 40 different intricate and well suited proteins must be explained by this process absent of ID. For the Darwinists, through the power of random mutation and natural selection what seems like the impossible becomes possible. The question then becomes how powerful is Darwin’s god? Several recent finding has put Darwin’s god in jeopardy. It may be premature to invoke Nietzsche’s requiem “God is dead” to Darwinism, but like that Madman:

Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: “I seek God! I seek God!” As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why? is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea voyage? Has he emigrated? – the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub.

Is Darwin’s god lost? Has he strayed away like a child or keep himself hidden?
Take a look at this recent article, from Berlinski where he highlighted a paper on natural selection (Darwin’s god).

The Strength of Natural Selection in the Wild
By: David Berlinski
Discovery Institute
April 25, 2005

Like Hell itself, Darwin’s theory of evolution is often said to be protected by walls that are at least seven miles thick, in that it is not only true, but unassailable. It is a considerable irony, therefore, that some of the most cogent criticisms of Darwin’s theory are the result of work undertaken by very orthodox members of the biological establishment itself. Such criticisms are inevitably designated as calls for further research. They are, nonetheless, what they are.

A recent study by J.G. Kingsolver et al (hereinafter Kingsolver) entitled ‘The Strength of Phenotypic Selection in Natural Populations, published in the March 2001 issue of The American Naturalist, is an interesting example. It is field studies of natural selection that is at issue in this study. Such studies are addressed to living species under natural conditions, and it comes as something of a surprise to learn that despite very long-standing claims by evolutionary biologists to have established the robust viability of natural selection as a biological force, the overwhelming number of such studies have been conducted only in the past fifteen years.

The significance of these results is, of course, not entirely clear. Kingsolver goes no further than observing that “important issues about selection remain unresolved.” Considering the fundamental role of both linear and quadratic selection in population genetics and in popular accounts of Darwin’s theory, one of those “unresolved” issues may well be whether natural selection exists to any appreciable extent, and if it does, whether it plays any real role in biological change altogether.

emphasis added.

Another astonishing admission this time from Sean Carroll, a genetics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.*

“The two greatest revolutions in biology, those in evolution and genetics, were driven by such insights. Darwin explained the parade of species in the fossil record and the diversity of living organisms as products of natural selection over eons of time. Molecular biology explained how the basis of heredity in all species is encoded in molecules of DNA made of just four basic constituents. As powerful as these insights were, in terms of explaining the origin of complex visible forms, from the bodies of ancient trilobites to the beaks of Galapagos finches, they were incomplete. Neither natural selection nor DNA directly explains how individual forms are made or how they evolved.

The key to understanding form is development, the process through which a single-celled egg gives rise to a complex, multi-billion-celled animal. This amazing spectacle stood as one of the great unsolved mysteries of biology for nearly two centuries. And development is intimately connected to evolution because it is through changes in embryos that changes in form arise. Over the past two decades, a new revolution has unfolded in biology. Advances in developmental biology and evolutionary development biology (dubbed “Evo Devo”) have revealed a great deal about the invisible genes and some simple rules that shape animal form and evolution. Much of what we have learned has been so stunning and unexpected that it has profoundly reshaped our picture of how evolution works. Not a single biologist, for example, ever anticipated that the same genes that control the making of an insect’s body and organs also control the making of our bodies.” — Sean Carroll, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, pg ix-x (emphasis added)

Does this mean that neo-Darwinism (Darwin’s god) of natural selection and evolutionary genetics is vacuous in explaining the biodiversity of life on earth?

Let’s look at one more piece of news this one comes from Uncommon Descent, with Dembski’s collection of quotes:

“The strange thing about the theory of evolution is that everyone thinks he understands it. But we do not. –Stuart Kauffman, 2003

“Biology still lacks a theory of organization”. The need for a conceptual framework for the study of organization lies at the heart of unsolved problems in both ontogeny and phylogeny. –Mary West-Eberhard, 2003

“We do not claim that the fundamental laws of physics (and thus of chemistry) do not hold in biology; they, of course, do. But we do claim that their conceptual frame is too narrow. Rather we have to find new concepts that transcend the purely microscopic descriptions of systems. –Kelso & Haken, 1995

“We do not even know what biology is about, in the same sense that we know what mechanics is about, or what optics is about, or what thermodynamics is about. We thus do not know the scope of the domain of biology, for it has as yet no objectively definable bounds. In place of these, we have only a tacit consensus. –Robert Rosen, 1991

“S’il est vrai que le darwinisme est le seul lieu theorique de la biologie, c’est qu’en effect il est le seul ? introduire un virtuel, l’ensemble des evolutions possibles d’une esp?ce en un temps et en lieu donnes. Mais ce virtuel est incontr?l?, on ne peut rien en dire.”
[“If it’s true that Darwinism alone constitutes the theoretical portion of biology, that’s is because it alone introduces a virtual reality, namely, the collection of all the possible evolutions of a species in a given time and place. But this virtual reality is uncontrolled; one can say nothing about it.” ] — Rene Thom, 1990

“The delusion of the finished [evolutionary] synthesis places restrictions on freedom of thought of which its believers are unaware. Selectionists [i.e., those who think that natural selection is the principal mechanism in evolution] point to the internal debates as evidence of free discussion, but the freedom is bounded by the dead hand of Darwin.”
–Robert Reid, 1985

With all this skepticism regarding Darwinism, you still have political Darwinists like Eugenie Scott of the NCSE telling the public that there is no controversy amongst scientists regarding the validity of Darwinism. This reminds me of the book “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis” by Michael Denton. Irrespective of what the ID critics are saying, ID is on the rise and Darwinism is in decline. No doubt the rhetoric and distortions will increase from Darwinists in their final gasp before the end.

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