Genesis 1. 2 – 31|
Fissures in the façade of Darwinism as scientific fact-- that is evolution of all life through random mutation and natural selection-- have been appearing for some years now. One case in point is The Deniable Darwin by David Berlinski which appeared in Commentary Magazine, June 1996. Educated as a mathematician and philosopher, he has written prolifically on philosophical, scientific and mathematical subjects. In this essay he has brought to the task of making Darwinism deniable as much intellectual fire power and literary skill one could imagine. Here Berlinski demonstrates undeniable Darwinism to be eminently deniable. Indeed synthetic evolution, touted by its adherents as impregnable, may be about to collapse under the weight of its false doctrine; Darwinism turns out to be nothing more than a religion in the guise of science.
When the article was published such a hullabaloo was created, not only among its readers but also among scientists, it gave rise to a 35 page Controversy section including letters from outraged evolutionists as well as thoughtful supporters of Berlinski’s conclusions.
In his essay Berlinski maintains that Darwin’s theory presented in the Origin of the Species (1859), remains unsubstantiated. He observes that Darwin’s disciples have had enough time—137 years—to find support for their theory, and says that if general acceptance has not come by now, it is hard to know when it will. Supporters of evolutionary theory take the position that the facts in favor of evolution are incontrovertible, even though the fossil record doesn’t support the premise that life progressed by the accumulation of small changes. In his article Berlinski quotes paleontologist Steven Stanley: The known fossil record fails to document a single example of phyletic evolution accomplishing a major morphologic transition and hence offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid. With this information Berlinski comments that prominent evolutionary biologists all evince a feral streak, ‘abusing one another roundly like wrestlers grappling in the dark’.
Berlinski trenchantly demonstrates that belief in the incremental development of an organ as complex as the eye, and the visual system of which the eye itself is but a part is just that, a belief without basis, and an affront to logic and common sense. Proof proffered by supporters of the evolutionary development of visual systems by the process of natural selection consists of such lame statements as ‘something like natural selection has got to be right’, and ‘natural selection is the only possible explanation of complex adaptation’. Our author ironically observes that it is ‘painful’ to see such self-serving observations advanced as argument, even proof.
On the question of what causes mutation and natural selection to work, Berlinski quotes Nobel Prize winning chemist Jacques Monad: Chance alone is at the source of every innovation of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of creation. This means that complex structures of life, allegedly developed over eons in incremental steps from primordial soup, are the result of ‘sheer dumb luck’, as Berlinski puts it. It is sheer dumb luck that created DNA and RNA, and sheer dumb luck that produced the mammalian eye, the marsupial pouch, endowing the elephant’s sensitive nose with nerves and the orchid’s translucent petal with blush. Amazing ‘sheer dumb luck’.
Then follows an intricate and complex argument made by use of mathematical analogies which demonstrate the virtual impossibility of the evolution of ‘useful functions’. Given the infinity of possibilities at each stage of the evolutionary process, we see that primitive changes must be saved because of their indispensability to the development of the mature function. According to the theory, however, no primitive and initially unusable mutation will be saved to meet the requirements of the mature and useful function, because the nature of the mature function cannot, by Darwinian definition, be known in advance. Darwinism, in its dogma does not permit ‘deferred success’.
You might want to look into Michael J. Behe’s Darwin’s black Box (Free Press, 1996), which shows why the mutation/selection mechanism has been all but abandoned as an explanation for the irreducible complexity found in the biochemistry of organisms. He has set forth the thesis that life on a biochemical level can only be the product of intelligent design. For a practicing scientist—professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University—such a proposition is close to heretical, according to a reviewer in the New York Times, with no refutations offered. Behe’s argument goes like this. After Darwin expounded his theory in the 19th century, it languished until it was re-vitalized in the 20th and given renewed status, not only as a theory but as fact by the neo-Darwinians of the late 1940’s and 1950’s. Sophisticated electronic microscopes and other imaging devices developed over time allowed microbiologists to show that life is based on machines made of molecules. Many molecular machines are made in microscopic cells.—highly sophisticated, they control every cellular process.
When Darwin’s theory was expounded by him and his disciples, the organic cell was so named by Behe, a black box. He uses this phrase as a whimsical term for a device that does something, but whose inner workings are unknown, in the same way that most of us use a computer; not knowing how it works. Biochemistry has been able to open the black box of the cell and find out how life works on a molecular level, and if evolution is to work at all, it would have to be on this level. Now that microbiologists understand life at the molecular level they are able to examine all of the parts of many discrete molecular systems whose complexity has heretofore been unknown. Many are irreducibly complex and defined by Behe as a system composed of several parts, all of which contribute to the function of the system. If any one of those parts were missing the system would fail to work.
Keeping the faith, Berlinski fires devastating intellectual salvos at the work of such contemporary evolutionary demi-gods as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. The proof that his critical barbs hit the target is found in their ad hominum attacks on Berlinski himself, by their letters published in the September 1996 issue of Commentary. Neither offers a substantive critique of Berlinski’s essay, only hoots of derision. Their superficial responses do not go unnoticed. He replies: Both Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins have fashioned their reputations as defenders of a Darwinian orthodoxy. Their letters convey the impression of men who expect never to encounter criticism and are unprepared to deal with it. This strikes me as a deeply unhealthy state of affairs. Ordinary men and women are suspicious of Darwin’s theory. Dennett and Dawkins hardly go far here in persuading them that their intellectual anxieties are in any way displaced.
When critic Paul R. Gross, a professor at the University of Virginia, remonstrates and says,’ how could Commentary not have let some biologist or other read it (before publication)’? This is a little like insisting that England’s George III ought to have had the right to edit Patrick Henry’s speech on liberty before it was delivered.
Philip E. Johnson, a strong voice raised to expose Darwinism as bad science, wrote in support of Berlinski’s thesis: “The media stereotype of the evolution controversy is that it pits ‘science’ against fundamentalist ‘religion’. It would be more accurate to say that Darwinism is the most important of the materialist ideologies—Marxism, Freudianism, and behaviorism, which have done so much damage to science and society in the 20th century. The theory persists in spite of the evidence because Darwinism could not survive without it. Public understanding of the effects of Darwinism is limited because the educators think it their duty to indoctrinate, and prestigious propagandists like Dawkins protect the theory effectively with ridicule and bullying. The fall of Darwinism will be the big story of the early 21st century—learn about it now, and be ahead of the curve!”