Jan 132006

When a scientific paradigm is in a state of crisis its proponents resort to increasingly desperate measures to salvage it. These desperate measures are indicative of the fact that the paradigm is indeed in crisis.

I thought it might be interesting to start cataloging examples of these desperate measures when it comes to Darwinian evolution.

1) Those who propose that the paradigm is in trouble are vilified (this occurs especially in academia where one’s career and livelihood are at stake).

2) Consensus is called upon as evidence that the problems have been solved and that no further consideration is warranted. Consensus is never called upon to defend scientific paradigms that are not in crisis.

3) The Cambrian explosion and the fossil record, which, to an objective observer, transparently present severe difficulties for the thesis of gradualism, are dismissed or explained away with stories that have no grounding in evidence. This is an example of, “The theory is sound but the evidence is in error.” This is a recurring theme when a scientific paradigm is in crisis.

4) The revelation that life is foundationally predicated upon complex information is dismissed with appeals to random mutations, despite the fact that all we know about complex systems resembling living systems indicates that this information cannot be the product of stochastic processes, no matter how much time is allowed. This requires blind faith in vanishingly-small probabilities. Once again it is proposed that the theory is sound but that basic logic and the evidence are in error.

The central theme in the case of a scientific paradigm in crisis is a mounting pile of excuses designed to explain away anomalies. When this happens (as in the case of the phlogiston theory of combustion, earth-centered cosmology, and a universe with no beginning) one can reliably detect a paradigm in crisis.

I will expand upon this list in the future.

 Posted by at 10:10 pm
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16 years ago

General Theory of Evolution (GToE), scientific paradigm in crisis? Yes and no. Let me explain. Scientifically GToE was in crisis from its inception, however there is a crucial difference between this theory and others like phlogiston etc. GToE unlike other now discarded theories, incorporates in great measure not only purely scientific elements but philosophy and religion. As such it will stay with us for a very long time. I believe that empirical and historical science refuted claims of GToE many times over but this theory is still very much accepted and dogmaticaly defended. I don’t believe that proponents of GToE are dishonest, they just cannot abandon their currently held worldviews.

16 years ago

Adding to your catalog of examples of a paradigm in crisis is the Darwinian double standard of inferring design. Darwinians have no problem inferring design to artifacts like those of Stonehenge when there is no evidence for the purpose, methods, or builders of the artifact. When it serves their purpose a rigorous scientific proof is unnecessary. When artifacts like the flagellum, eye or major morphological changes threatens their religion then no amount of scientific evidence is sufficient to infer design.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
16 years ago

There is no GToE. Theories are verified hypotheses and neither Darwinism nor Lamarckism qualify as neither has been verified. Indeed both have been thoroughly discredited by experiment and the fossil record. What troubles me about inunison’s statement is the suggestion that evolution may be in question. That just won’t wash. To deny a purely organic evolution would be like denying pregnancy. I mention this because I don’t want anyone anywhere getting the idea that I am not an evolutionist. Like every one of my sources, I have never found it necessary to question the reality of reproductive continuity in order to comprehend what we know. There is also no reason to assume that there has ever at any point in the past a necessity for Divine intervention.

I will let Pierre Grasse speak for me on this very important issue.

“Let us not invoke God in realities in which He NO LONGER HAS TO INTERVENE.The single absolute act of creation was enough for Him.”
Evolution of Living Organisms, page 166 (his emphasis)

I suspect Grasse speaks as a Christian as he has capitalized God, He and Him. That is the only reference to God in all of his book and I found the word God missing from the works of all of my other sources.

Even Robert Broom who Huxley accused of mysticism, never found it necessary to use the word God. All he said was:

“Those who consder that all the strange course of evolution is the result of an accident, or a series of accidents, are quite at liberty to think so. I believe there is a Plan, and though in the the slow course of evolution there have been ups and downs, and what look like mistakes, the plan has gone on; and we may feel sure that it cannot fail to reach its goal.”
Findng the Missing Link, page 108

I agree with Broom but feel that the Plan has already been realized when Homo sapiens appeared roughly 100,000 years ago. It is this steadfast refusal on the part of the Darwinians to recognize that evolution is finished that permits their myth to persist. No one yet has ever produced evidence for a mammal younger than man. Until they do I will believe the plan has been terminated just as ontogeny terminates with the adult state.

Both Lamarckism and Darwinism are illusions based on the faulty premise that evolution had an identifiable extrinsic cause. Such a cause has never been demonstrated and I beleive it never existed. The alternative does not require a living personal God, only a long dead Intelligence far beyond our comprehension, the same Intelligence that produced all of Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics. The environment had nothing to do with them either.

“Everything is determined… by forces over which we have no control.”
Albert Einstein

In my view there is no place for a personal religion in any aspect of any scientiific endeavor. The insistence that there is lies at the heart of the conflict.

“The main source of the present-day conflicts between the spheres of religon and science lies in the concept of a personal God.”
Albert Einstein