Jun 262005

Bluffing, confusion, obfuscation and equivocation applies both to Fizzbin the card game in Star Trek and to Darwinism. In the original Star Trek series episode “A Piece of the Action”, Kirk asked the thugs of an alien planet organized as different groups of mobs if they are smart enough to learn a new card game called Fizzbin. The rules of the game are extremely confusing because Kirk was making up the rules as he goes along. Darwinism operates in like manner. Darwinists would like you to think that unless you have a PhD in biology (in reality it doesn’t matter even if you have a PhD) your criticisms are invalid. As David Berlinski metaphorically describes Darwinism is “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.”

I pointed out in “Nietzsche’s Madman : Finding Darwin’s God” the inside baseball of Darwinism. Within Darwinism and away from the general public, Darwinists would readily acknowledge the problems with Darwinian evolution. However, in public the official line is that evolution is a fact like gravity is a fact. In this post I would like to look more carefully at Sean Carroll’s three evolutionary revolutions. What are its subtle implications?

“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)*

The implication of Carroll’s statement is at the heart between the design and evolution debate for over 150 years. No serious person would deny the fact that living organisms can change and adapt over time. Design theorists are refuting the ability for origination of species through purely natural selection and Mendelian synthesis. In other word, neither Darwin’s natural selection or neo-Darwinism can explain macroevolution. FIZZBIN! Darwinists have been telling us that macroevolution is a fact. Random genetic mutations combined with the fittest will survive concept it is suppose to produce humans from protocell. Here you have an eminent evolutionary scientist who admits that random mutations and natural selection do not explain how macroevolution happens.

What is natural selection and why would anyone be persuaded by this argument? Natural selection is the mechanism or process that acts on genetic changes in organisms to vary the genetic frequency in the population. A frequent example of natural selection used by Darwinists is the peppered moth. The moth story goes something like this. During the industrial revolution in the 18th century in England, the dark color moths saw an increase in their population size compared to light color moths. This is due to their ability to camouflage themselves better with the soot covered trees, thereby giving them a survival advantage over the light color moths. (This has been totally debunked by Jonathan Wells in the Icons of Evolution) This is an example of microevolution. The problem with this is that some Darwinists use these type of examples as evidence for macroevolution. They do not make any distinction between microevolution and macroevolution. Some goes as far as to deny the term macroevolution as a distinction concocted by Creationists. To Darwinists macroevolution is nothing more than cumulative microevolution. This is how the vertebrate eye has evolved, through successive and cumulative improvements on a light patch. The 800 pounds gorilla in this type of Darwinian extrapolation is that there is absolutely no observable empirical evidence to support these fanciful speculations, in the wild or in the labs. Again, I would point you back to my posting in “Nietzsche’s Madman : Finding Darwin’s God” for the list of admissions by Darwinists who honestly admits this.

However, the lack of empirical evidence is not enough to deter the devout Darwinist from pressing forth with this argument. They will make claims like this is how science work because evolution happens over millions of years so extrapolation is as good as observable facts. Other arguments involve using computer simulations like the Nilsson and Pelger simulation for the eye spot and Avida. Although these simulators have no basis on empirical reality( see my debate of it here) , it does give the Darwinists cover to speculate as if they are based on reality. For those of us who work with simulators everyday in our engineering design to produce realistic functional devices, these simulators are nothing more than Darwinian fantasy games. Even the eminent British evolutionary biologist the field’s godfather, Tom Ray said, “It’s just not biology. Period. End of discussion”.

Darwinian natural selection as a macroevolutionary mechanism is totally vacuous in explaining how the new forms arise. Natural selection itself is not a force and has no ontological existence. It cannot account for the genetic differences between species, the differential survival of an organism, nor any alleged cumulative changes in such a differential survival scenario.

I will deal with Carroll’s second revolution neo-Darwinism, the modern synthesis of Mendelian genetics and natural selection in my next post.

See also:
Darwinian Fizzbin (The Second Revolution)
Darwinian Fizzbin (The Third Revolution)

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16 years ago

Ed Darrel says:

“No, actually, the rules Darwinists use say that if one wishes to claim that the evidence of evolution is incorrect, one must offer a better explanation. If one wishes to argue that the theory is wrong, one needs to bring one’s own data to make such a demonstration.”

That’s BS.

Replacement theories are not a requirement to falsify an existing theory! Nice try but no cigar. That dog won’t hunt.

Furthermore, who died and deeded the empirical evolution-relevant data for the exclusive use of Darwinists? Data doesn’t belong to theories, Ed. I’m no PhD but even I know that.

16 years ago

No, actually, the rules Darwinists use say that if one wishes to claim that the evidence of evolution is incorrect, one must offer a better explanation. If one wishes to argue that the theory is wrong, one needs to bring one’s own data to make such a demonstration.

It’s not necessary to be Ph.D. to criticize evolution. It’s necessary to have evidence to back one’s claims, or a better explanation.

Creationists and IDists think the ticket admitting one to science is the mere getting of a degree. That’s error. The ticket to get in the door is having done real science.

16 years ago

Darwin laid out the way in which evolution by natural and sexual selection explains all evolution, “macro” and “micro,” for example when he detailed evolution of eyes. It seems improbable, and it’s difficult to “believe,” Darwin noted, but if we can find a chain of gradual changes in the organ, then we have the way by which natural selection worked to select individuals and populations that had the steps to the organ we see today.

Evolution IS a fact — speciation, rather the gold-standard of “macro” evolution, has been observed in the wild an in the laboratory at least dozens of times since Darwin alerted us to it (think about this: Where do you think grapefruit come from? Broccoli? Neither species existed 2,000 years ago . . .). Evolution theory provides the explanatory framework for what we observe.

A curious and seeking person needs to understand that, in biology, there is no difference in the mechanisms of microevolution and macroevolution — the only difference is noted after the event, when it is determined that a new species has in fact arisen. So if you concede that microevolution occurs, you’ve conceded the mechanisms of macroevolution.

And an honest academic needs to know that Jonathan Wells’s tales about peppered moths are almost pure fiction. Do not take my word for it — check out each of his citations in the book. In each and every case, the citations he offers to support his argument, when tracked down, rebut or refute his argument instead. In fact, from the chapter on peppered moths, each moth expert Wells cites has written publicly to note that Wells is wrong, and that Wells has provided prevarications about their work, not the actual stories.

One wonders why such a high level of academic dishonesty would be necessary, were there real science to support the claims of the anti-evolution cabal; and one will find no satisfactory answer to that question.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself.


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