A ChemtrailsGeelong.com Article
Darwin on Trial: Secular Materialism Under the Microscope
“Without Darwinism, scientific naturalism would have no creation story.”
Last year marked the twenty fifth anniversary of the publication of a remarkable book by US law professor emeritus Phillip E. Johnson; one of the truly great voices of reason of the twentieth century, particularly on the controversial question of origins.
The book, "Darwin on Trial", blew wide open the creation/evolution debate despite strong opposition from many so-called scientists, who were and still are heavily invested (psychologically and otherwise) in orthodox Darwinian dogma.
Johnson emerged in the 1990's as a powerful critic of secular materialism, a world view which seemed at the time to have all but completely taken over Western thought, particularly in the highly influential circles of academia and mainstream media. What Johnson did was to trace the source of the prevailing attitude to a kind of creed that he identified as "scientific naturalism", that is, a belief system often associated with science and based on the presumption that material nature is all there is. Johnson's contention in his books and lectures is that scientific naturalism is not really science at all, but a kind of atheistic religion for which Darwinian evolution serves as a creation story.
Indeed, Johnson has written a number of books, but his debut is notable for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it revealed to a wide audience in plain layman's language (and to many for the first time), the essential flimsiness of the evidence supporting the Darwinian mechanisms of random variation(1) and natural selection as an explanation for both origin of Life and speciation.
What that means simply, is that while Darwinism(2) can offer us a plausible and to some extent evidence-backed explanation for say, cyclical changes in average beak sizes for an isolated population of finches subject to some extreme and temporary environmental changes, the extrapolation from those kind of small and limited changes within a species that can just as easily go back the other way (sometimes called "micro-evolution") to a gradual, directional and total transformation of one species to a different species altogether (known as "speciation", or sometimes "macro-evolution") has in fact little or no basis in empirical evidence at all.
The fossil record, most dramatically exemplified by the aptly titled "Cambrian Explosion", is characterised overwhelmingly by sudden appearance and "stasis", that is, species appear suddenly and then remain more or less the same right up till present day or extinction. There is little sign of the myriad of intermediate transition species required by Darwinian theory. As Johnson notes wryly in his book:
If Darwinism enjoys the status of an a priori truth, then the problem presented by the fossil record is how Darwinist evolution always happened in such a manner as to escape detection.(3)
The conclusions of palaeontologists about fossils and bones are no exception. Even well-known evolutionists much committed to Darwinian theory, such as primate expert Solly Zuckerman, have noted the disturbing tendency to unscientific subjectivity in the palaeontological field. Johnson describes Zuckerman as a "scientific materialist who regards the evolution of man from apes as self-evident, but who also regards much of the fossil evidence as poppycock"(4). (One wonders on what exactly he bases his belief then?) In fact, regarding the so-called fossil "evidence" for ape to man evolution Zuckerman has openly declared that:
"The description of what the fossils were is influenced decisively by the preconception about what they were going to become." (5)
|Above: The Piltdown Forgery. Full marks for Art and Craft. Zero for Science.|
And just in case we misunderstood Zuckerman, he is even clearer when speaking of the notorious and utterly embarrassing Piltdown forgery, blaming anthropologists for believing that they could "diagnose with the unaided eye what they imagined were hominid characters in bones and teeth". "The trouble is that they still do," he goes on to say, "Once committed to what their or someone else's eyes have told them, everything else has to accord with the diagnosis."(5)
The "Piltdown Man" hoax provides a cautionary example of wishful thinking gone haywire in the social sciences - the distortion of the evidence going as far as sheer fraud. It is quite possible that those responsible for the hoax felt they were merely "helping science along a bit" so to speak, providing the scientifically infantile public with the "evidence" they needed for what in the fraudsters' own view was, after all, "self evident". That, of course, is the ever present danger when the line between ideological zeal and science becomes blurred(6). Indeed, though revered almost like a religious relic by Darwinian zealots in its heyday, "Piltdown Man" proved ultimately to be a fiasco for evolutionist credibility when in 1953 it was established beyond any doubt that the skull was nothing more than a skilful (i.e. deliberate) forgery, combining the jaw of an orangutan with the skull of a modern man. But the "greater scandal" according to Johnson was how long the British Museum permitted the fraud to mislead the public, even in the face of ongoing and well-voiced scepticism by credible scientists in the meantime. Johnson writes:
"Physical anthropology - the study of human origins - is a field that throughout its history has been more heavily influenced by subjective factors than almost any other branch of respectable science. From Darwin's time to the present the "descent of man" has been a cultural certainty begging for empirical confirmation, and worldwide fame has been the reward for anyone who could present plausible fossil evidence for missing links. The pressure to find confirmation was so great that it led to one spectacular fraud, Piltdown man - which British Museum officials zealously protected from unfriendly inspection, allowing it to perform forty years of useful service in molding public opinion." (7)
Another reason Johnson's literary debut was so notable, was the bringing to bear of a sharp (and honest) legal mind, not to mention wit, on what Johnson describes as essential thinking flaws in the evolutionist argument. Indeed, it is perhaps the most significant contribution of this one-time-criminal-prosecutor-turned-author that he has elucidated and publicised like no other before him the essentially meta-physical, quasi-religious nature of Darwinian explanations for origin of life and derivation of species. The common ancestry thesis that is so central to Darwinian doctrine is merely assumed in the formulation of naturalistic hypotheses, models and tautologies that are then cited as confirmation of the very assumption on which they were formulated.
The "molecular clock" hypothesis of molecular biology, for instance, is an imaginative attempt to reconcile old school Darwinian theory with surprising observations about differences between species at the molecular level. The hypothesis serves as the basis for calculations of a seemingly unprecedented level of accuracy regarding (presumed real) evolutionary phenomena such as "genetic mutation rates" and dates of "divergence" from previous ancestral species, all of which can be very impressive to laymen. As Johnson observes, "the clock is just the kind of thing that intimidates non-scientists: it is forbiddingly technical, it seems to work like magic, and it gives impressively precise numerical figures."(8) What may not be entirely clear to "non-scientists" is that the numbers are absolutely meaningless unless you assume common ancestry in the first place. In fact the calculations depend heavily on dubious extrapolations from a fossil record that overwhelmingly does not support the assumption.
An unwary investigator or student can readily fall into the error of thinking he is reading or hearing about the only possible explanation for certain empirical observations, or even the most plausible one, when in fact this may not be the case(9). The sheer intellectual exertion and subsequent satisfaction of understanding a theory, especially a complex one, often obscures the fact that it is after all, only that, a theory. Indeed, the prospect of having to make further such exertions to understand a whole other viewpoint that may be significantly or even diametrically opposed to orthodoxy is, generally speaking, not an attractive one for most students, academics and scientists; especially when the aim of their "learning" or "research" is not so much a genuine and profound understanding, but the specialised focus of some secondary and altogether disconnected goal. End of term examination expectations, the desire for funding and career advancement or peer acceptance within the field, and the demands of the marketplace, for example, tend to encourage in aspirants more of a single-minded pack conformity than independent thought; and old habits die hard in old heads, especially those whose sense of their own importance is based on them.
The confusion about theory and fact is compounded when even the terms used to describe observed phenomena are ambiguously defined or loaded with basic assumptions about the latter's significance not inherent in the data. The term "evolution" itself is routinely used to denote the effects of cyclical micro-adaptation or artificial selective breeding in one instant, and in the next, macro-level speciation. Sometimes the two senses are used interchangeably in the same paragraph. It takes a real commitment to reality to avoid the confusion that such ill-defined terminology otherwise entails.
In molecular biology the differences in amino acid sequences as observed in homologous proteins of different animal and plant species are given a very specific and assumed significance when discussed as the result of mutations rather than simply as differences in molecular structure corresponding to morphological relationship. It can be easy to overlook that the former description is a questionable inference and not an observation. Even the word "homologous" is commonly defined, needlessly, in evolutionary terms by biologists. That is to say, it is defined as "sharing a common ancestor or having a similar structure or function" or words to that effect, a definition that can obscure the fact that it is only the similarity in structure and function that is ever actually observed (including now also at the molecular level), and not common ancestry. In this way, the essential scientific requirement of empirical justification, or even plausibility, all too often takes a back seat to the theoretical mumbo jumbo. Johnson makes the point about Darwinian implausibility well in his book:
"The simplest organism capable of independent life, the prokaryote bacterial cell, is a masterpiece of miniaturized complexity which makes a spaceship seem rather low-tech. Even if one assumes that something much simpler than a bacterial cell might suffice to start Darwinist evolution on its way - a DNA or RNA macromolecule, for example - the possibility that such a complex entity could assemble itself by chance is still fantastically unlikely, even if billions of years had been available. I won't quote figures because exponential numbers are unreal to people who are not used to them, but a metaphor by Fred Hoyle has become famous because it vividly conveys the magnitude of the problem: that a living organism emerged by chance from a prebiotic soup is about as likely as that "a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein." Chance assembly is just a naturalistic way of saying 'miracle.'" (10)
That a living organism emerged by chance from a prebiotic soup is about as likely as that "a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein." Chance assembly is just a naturalistic way of saying 'miracle.'
"Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose."
As a wise man once said: if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck.......in any case, even if we are not prepared to conclude it is a duck, we should at least consider the possibility it is one.
In an interview for a film about the ongoing and vile suppression of opposing viewpoints in academia by Darwinian bullies of the scientific establishment, Dawkins was asked what he would say if upon dying he found himself face to face with God, to which he gave the answer of agnostic/atheist Bertrand Russell, "Sir, why did you take such pains to hide yourself?".
|Bertrand Russell (1872-1970): atheist no more.|
One wonders what kind of manifestation on Earth would satisfy men like Russell and Dawkins? I mean, would an appearance in physical form be enough? Would they accept Him as God then or simply a man pretending to be God? Or would they require some kind of display of supernatural power? Would that be sufficient? Or would they then claim He was simply a magician or a charlatan? Or is it a question of degree? Would the display of power need to be overwhelmingly impressive or of truly, awesome, Earth-shattering proportions? Is that it? Or would that be explained away again as simply a trick of the brain, some quirk of Nature or technology, the work of a supreme sorcerer (and tyrant to boot), or perhaps an alien being from an advanced civilization light years away? In fact, in the same interview mentioned above, Dawkins seriously suggests an extra-terrestrial explanation for the "seeding" of the Earth with life forms, no doubt in a tacit attempt to explain away the sheer, practical impossibility (in terms of mathematical probability) that Darwinian mechanisms could bring about Life on Earth all on their lonesome. Or perhaps it is a good old-fashioned miracle that Russell and co. are looking for, the raising of the dead, for instance? No, we can rest assured that they would find a way to explain away even that. The fact is that there is nothing that will convince a confirmed atheist/materialist that he is wrong because he fails to understand that meaningful perception of God is ultimately and necessarily limitless, and therefore formless. The gross materialist is looking for God (or declaring His absence) in places where he has already decided a priori He cannot exist, while failing to recognize, and perhaps lacking the capacity altogether, to perceive God where He really is: in a profound and mature understanding of consciousness itself.
It is easy to see why scientific naturalism is an attractive philosophy for scientists. It gives science a virtual monopoly on the production of knowledge, and it assures scientists that no important questions are in principle beyond scientific investigation. The important question, however, is whether this philosophical viewpoint is merely an understandable professional prejudice or whether it is the objectively valid way of understanding the world. That is the real issue behind the push to make naturalistic evolution a fundamental tenet of society, to which everyone must be converted. (13)
"Their view is that that supernatural creator, God, does nothing but cause trouble, you see. It's an authority figure who tells us that we can't do everything that we want to do; who tells us that everything is not within our control and knowledge .... We don't want to have anything like that, that tells us there are limits on what we can do or accomplish. And so we want to get rid of that Creator, and the way to do that is to convince ourselves, and eventually everybody's children that we are the products of, in George Gaylord Simpson's words, a purposeless material process that cared nothing for us, that cares nothing about what we do. So you know, it's all consistent with the general platform of 'liberation', sexual and otherwise, that is so deeply desired by many of the cultural leaders of our society." (14)
As we have seen elsewhere on this website the quest for so-called sexual "liberation" that Johnson is referring to above, and which characterised so much of the tumultuous twentieth century, is in fact man's most direct route to complete enslavement by Desire. In "Darwin on Trial" Johnson makes the not unreasonable recommendation that before we allow ourselves and our children to be converted to the world-view a mere professional prejudice or puerile pipe-dream has in mind for us, with all the implications for the way we live our lives, we should perhaps be absolutely clear about any differences there may be between it and that which truly objective scientific investigation actually demonstrates, or is even capable of demonstrating. To this end he elucidates some of the fundamentals of sound scientific inquiry, for example:
"Progress is made not by searching the world for confirming examples, which can always be found, but by searching out the falsifying evidence that reveals the need for a new and better explanation." (15)
Here Johnson is echoing and expanding on the words of philosopher of science, Karl Popper, who apparently had a late developing and politically-convenient blind spot when it came to the implications of his philosophy for Darwinian pseudoscience, but whom Johnson paraphrases thus:
"...a theory with genuine explanatory power makes risky predictions, which exclude most possible outcomes. Success in prediction is impressive only to the extent that failure was a real possibility." (16)
|Above: The belief that material nature is all there is (and associated macro-evolution theory) is superfluous to the accomplishments of modern technology, engineering and medicine.|
In Science the exception almost invariably disproves the rule, and a theory is only useful in so far as it manages to keep getting things right. In fact, from a strictly utilitarian or propagandistic viewpoint, it does not even matter what relationship the theory has with Reality in the meantime, as long as it seems to be doing the job. But the minute it breaks down, it's history, and the priesthood that most profited by it must either make suitable reparations or perish.
The parable of the four light bulbs
Imagine, if you will, a man who lives in a four room house in a deep and beautiful forest. The man has never had any contact at all with the outside world - his supplies are brought to him once a month and left at his door.
Now let's ask ourselves: what does Darwinian theory predict?
For one thing, it predicts a fossil record chock-a-block with intermediate, transitory species up to present (or extinction) day morphology. After all, if evolution is a gradual process taking a very long time and happening bit by bit through a process of random mutation and natural selection (genetic "mutations" are the modern version of Darwin's "variations"), then all the intermediate "bits" should be in the fossil record, right?
Some might add also that Darwinian theory predicts selective breeding of animals, by which they must mean, presumably, that it should be possible by such methods to produce eventually a new species altogether. Now before we compare these predictions with what is actually observed in the real world, let's first ask a far more basic question: are these risky predictions? In other words, is there any real possibility of meaningful failure, that is to say, falsification, in making these predictions?
In fact what we find is that these predictions cannot  fail.
Consider for instance the fossil record. If intermediate fossil species are located, then the theory is triumphant, but on the other hand if they are not, indeed even if the fossil record is overwhelmingly characterised by sudden appearance and stasis (which is actually the case), then the failure of the prediction can be put down simply to the need for more time to find the fossils. Alternatively it can be claimed that there is something about the nature of the fossils themselves that makes them difficult or impossible to find. All kinds of highly imaginative stories can be invented(19). In other words, the theory can "survive", albeit shakily, in any case. And, in theory at least, this sort of thing can can go on ad infinitum. Which is of course very convenient for the priesthood that derives power from the "theology". Thus Johnson compares Darwinism to other pseudo-scientific fantasies of the nineteenth and twentieth century like those propounded by Marx and Freud.
Now consider artificially selective breeding. Darwinists, including Darwin himself, point to domestic breeding of animals by man as evidence of evolution in action, but closer inspection reveals the claim to be a misleading one. In fact, selective breeding of animals is as incapable of producing genuinely new species as cyclical natural selection of animal phenotypes in response to environment is, the latter being another favourite source of misleading "evidence" for Darwinists. (Recall those finches.) What is produced rather is what might be described as variations on a species theme, like we find in the breeding of dogs for instance.
But even if we were to concede that in some very exceptional case, scientists have managed after an arduous process of intensely directed breeding, to produce a monstrously mutant fruit fly say, whose offspring group (in the completely artificial environment of a laboratory) is capable of breeding with each other, but not with its parent group, this still does not demonstrate Darwinian macro-evolution. All it demonstrates is that it is possible to produce by selective breeding a mutant whose physiology or behavioural patterns in an artificial environment meets some very specific requirements set by the breeders themselves at the beginning of the process, according to their own preferred and highly dubious definition of the term "species"(20). The information input is prohibitively enormous, not just in the fruit fly case but in all cases of selective breeding. And the cause of the information input is in all cases, and necessarily, an intelligent and purposeful agent, that is, the breeders themselves. Therefore as a demonstration of Darwin's process of random mutation and natural selection, selective breeding is ultimately worthless.
What is important to understand is that so-called "natural selection", unlike selection by intelligent agents, is not a creative force, but a conservative one. Strictly speaking it is not a force at all, but simply a way of describing the observation in the real world that some variations on a species theme largely continue sometimes, while others don't. (The latter may make a timely comeback at a later date.) In fact the meaningfulness of the notion of "survival of the fittest", which is how natural selection is usually defined, depends entirely on what we understand by our terms. If, for example, by "fittest" we mean, like Darwinists, those who produce the most offspring, then clearly we are dealing with a meaningless tautology. After all, "survival" of a type necessarily means the same thing, that is, producing the most offspring. It is hardly explanatory to simply state that those who produce the most offspring are the ones who produce the most offspring. But if we define "fitness" as conformity to an archetype about which some variation is permitted as possible responses to cyclical environmental conditions, then natural selection is revealed as a conservative natural law amply confirmed by real world observations. The archetype for any given species defines the parameters within which variations are permitted to occur.
Darwinists are very keen, for ideological reasons, to describe natural selection as purposeless and directionless, without understanding, apparently, the dire implications of that position for their theory. In short, the probability that random mutations guided only by a mindless selection process can produce the astonishing complexity of even the simplest of micro-organisms, let alone the infinitely more complex organism that is ourselves, is so indescribably minuscule that even the time that orthodox science agrees on for the age of the entire universe (fourteen to fifteen billion years) is pitifully insufficient. The problem is compounded further by the fact that there is no evidence that genetic mutations have ever brought about fundamental changes in structure or shape of organisms that are actually helpful, and not crippling, and that might therefore be naturally selected for long term continuity. We will come back to the probabilistic barrier to evolution theory below, in our discussion of "intelligent design".
Johnson's contention in "Darwin on Trial" is that Darwinian theory critically fails basic tests of scientific credibility, making no risky predictions and explaining away disconfirming evidence in ways that always manage to avoid empirical tests of validity.
Consider for example biologist Ernst Mayr's attempt in the 1950's to explain away fossil evidence inadequacy with the theory of "allopatric speciation"(21). In brief, the idea is that speciation occurred in small, peripherally isolated groups that only entered the fossil record after attaining to sufficiently large and established populations. That's a neat story of course, but it really doesn't prove anything except the story-telling skills of its proponents. And perhaps too their desperation. (I mean, is it really possible that not a single peripherally isolated intermediary species ever left a single fossil behind in, presumably, millions of years?) Clearly as a scientific theory allopatric speciation is of limited value, since it is a response not so much to evidence, but the lack of it.
The conflict arises because creation by Darwinist evolution is hardly more observable than supernatural creation by God .... As an explanation for how complex organisms came into existence in the first place, it is pure philosophy.(22)
|Mr. Darwin's side of the family?|
Elsewhere, in an interview with Claire Cooper for the Sacramento Bee in 1991, Johnson is even more blunt:
Scientists have long known that Darwinism is false. They have adhered to the myth out of self-interest and a zealous desire to put down God.
He is not exaggerating. In fact the 1990's saw Johnson following up the success of "Darwin on Trial" with a number of memorable interviews, debates and lectures that shed much needed light on the unreasonable and stifling evolutionist "imperialism" underlying and monopolising the presentation of origin-of-life issues in the mainstream media and educational institutions, both then and now.
Around the same time, internationally renowned Chinese palaeontologist, Jun-Yuan Chen weighed in on the debate. Chen has contributed much new fossil evidence from the so-called "Cambrian" geological period including also highly significant Pre-Cambrian finds. When asked about the political implications, in his native land, of openly expressing some of his doubts about Darwinian theory, he reportedly replied(23):
"In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in the West you can criticize the government, but not Darwin."
Johnson would no doubt concur with the sentiment. In his article "Comparing Hostage Takers" he writes:
In short, it is not that evolutionary naturalists have been less brazen than the scientific creationists in holding science hostage, but rather that they have been infinitely more effective in getting away with it.
In "Darwin on Trial", Johnson points out the urgent need for policy and law makers to understand and identify important changes to the prevailing ideological bias in recent years; changes that have seen the nature of threats to healthy, open debate on origin-of-life issues shift from traditional biblical ones to present day forms of exclusionary dogma. As Johnson explained in an interview for the Access Research Network:
"...I think this is the biggest free speech area of our culture at the moment, and I'm afraid that a lot of educating of the judiciary has got to be done, and of the legal profession to wake them up to this, because.....many judges and lawyers still think that the great need is to protect the independence of Science from some Biblical dogmatism. But that is the issue of a century ago. The issue of today is: how are we to limit the authoritarian aspects of the scientific culture, which in fact controls the educational institutions, which in fact is the only channel of information to the elite media, to the television networks, to newspapers like the New York Times? And that it has such a strong, effective authoritarian propaganda hold on the society. They're the 'college of cardinals' in our culture, that needs to have its power limited by constitutional means."(24)
|You have a pretty good case Mr. Pitkin. How much justice can you afford?|
Which brings us to yet another reason, and perhaps the most important one, that "Darwin on Trial" was so notable a publication for those with their ear to the ground, so to speak. Namely, Johnson makes no attempt in his book to reconcile Creationism and Darwinism, which he discounts as an exercise in self-contradiction arising from popular misinformation on the subject. His arguments are persuasive. In fact Darwinism properly understood confines God at best to somewhere in the unfathomably distance past of First Causes, after which He apparently became more or less redundant and irrelevant, leaving everything to a process "that did not have [Man] in mind"(25). As we have seen, however, this viewpoint is not scientific, but every bit as much a belief system as you might find in any religious tradition.
Having said that, Johnson is careful not to define Creationism too narrowly, but broadly as the notion that plants, animals and people came into being as part of a purposeful and intelligent design. Exactly how and when the Creator accomplished this, Johnson is, for the most part, happy to leave to others. Indeed, though he is often described as the father of the "intelligent design" movement (see below), and though he may certainly be said to have inspired it and to be its guiding light, his role is best understood as a Socratic one, clearing the deck of the ship that is scientific thought of those essential flaws in argumentation that stand in the way of the emergence of a long overdue and better paradigm. The fact that he is something of an outsider is also in the Socratic tradition.
Johnson does not, for his part, go so far as to suggest that science could or should make the supernatural its domain of research, only that it must acknowledge the limitations it insists on. It can't have it both ways, insisting on strict naturalism on the one hand while reserving for itself what amounts to the powers and cultural significance of a metaphysical priesthood, using scientific pretensions for cover. As Johnson put it back in 1994 at a Stanford university debate with evolutionist William Provine(26):
"Biologists cannot be allowed to tell the cultural creation story without dissent from the rest of us."
In short, what Johnson has made crystal clear is that accepting a Creationist paradigm as a starting basis for scientific research need not impede scientific inquiry any more than the current paradigm of scientific naturalism, since the latter too is based on core assumptions (at the level of cause) that are outside the realm of material science; a fact that goes all too often unheeded by both educators and students alike. The thing that would change is not scientific methodology itself, but rather the general paradigm that guides it, or the "grand organizing principal", as Johnson describes it, that "defines the questions that need to be answered and the facts that need to be assembled"(27).
As Johnson observes poignantly in closing his milestone book "Darwin on Trial":
Falsification is not a defeat for science, but a liberation. It removes the dead weight of prejudice, and thereby frees us to look for the truth.
Regrettably, Johnson suffered a major stroke in 2001 (suspiciously timely for his powerful enemies I might add) which has to some extent limited his activity in the creation/evolution debate arena ever since. He does however continue to soldier on, thanks be to God. To commemorate, albeit belatedly, the twenty fifth anniversary of "Darwin on Trial" we include here a selection of quotations from the text which might serve as an appetiser for those who have not yet read the book, or who are altogether new to the creation/evolution subject. They make fascinating and eye-opening reading. Also included are some Q and A from a definitive interview Johnson did for the Access Research Network in his pre-stroke days.
Click here for some links to a number of his most memorable talks and interviews on Youtube.
|Above: The 'Elephant's Hide' crag of the Victorian Grampians and Mount Rushmore in the US. The difference between natural forces and intelligent design here are obvious.|
|Above: Stephen Meyer demonstrates a simple example of specified complexity in his talk "Signature in the cell", also the title of his book.|
|US biochemist Dr. Michael Behe: "The cell is not getting any simpler...."|
|Bill Dembski: a call to action|
|Michael Denton and his seminal 1985 book.|
Recommended further viewing
|“Darwinism is the creation myth of [atheism]. And it is defended bitterly by its adherents. Which is one reason why there is so much heat and so little light on this topic.”
- US embryologist, Jonathan Wells
Click for the documentary "Icons of Evolution" on Youtube.
The above-linked documentary is partly based on an excellent book of the same name by biologist Dr. Jonathan Wells. Anything by Wells, written or spoken, is worth a look. Here is a link to another video featuring Wells:
"Professor Exposes Impossibilities of Evolution"
Also, two excellent and well-produced documentary films from Illustra Media on Youtube: "Unlocking the Mystery of Life", a documentary on intelligent design, and "Darwin's Dilemna", a documentary on the amazing "Cambrian explosion" of the fossil record and the implications for both Darwinian theory and intelligent design.
See also the companion article to the above: "The Nature of the Beast".
(Click the Note number to return to its position in the article. Note that all page numbers listed for "Darwin on Trial" below refer to the online pdf version which can be downloaded here.)
(1) Modern Darwinian theory refers more commonly to "mutations" than "variations", though Darwin, of course, never used the former term. "Mutation" refers to changes in genetic information as the basis of morphological variations, an idea that did not arise in Darwin's day, but came later as part of the so-called "Modern Synthesis" of 20th century Darwinian theory, or more simply "NeoDarwinism".
(2) For the purposes of this article the terms "Darwinian theory", "Darwinism" and derivatives are taken to include also the so-called "Modern Synthesis" or "NeoDarwinism" embellishments of the twentieth century, which are, after all, still based on the essential Darwinian premise of random variations (albeit at the genetic level) coupled with purposeless and directionless selection.
(3) Phillip E. Johnson, "Darwin on Trial", Chapter 4, p.40
(4) ibid. Chapter 6, p.61. On the same page Johnson writes: "Zuckerman's judgment of the professional standards of physical anthropology was not a generous one: he compared it to parapsychology and remarked that the record of reckless speculation in human origins 'is so astonishing that it is legitimate to ask whether much science is yet to be found in this field at all.'"
"Zuckerman's methodological premise was that the first priority of human origins researchers should be to avoid embarrassments like the Piltdown and Nebraska Man fiascos, not to find fossils that they can plausibly proclaim as ancestors. His factual premise was that the variation among ape fossils is sufficiently great that a scientist whose imagination was fired by the desire to find ancestors could easily pick out some features in an ape fossil and decide that they were 'pre-human.'"
(5) ibid. Chapter 6 Research Notes, p.136
(6) The Piltdown Man forgery is not, by any means, the only notable fraud of evolutionary theory. For example, drawings made by biologist Ernst Haeckel in the 19th century, supposedly depicting early stage embryos of different animal phyla (categories), and used as "evidence" of common ancestry, are now known to have been faked. Like the Piltdown hoax, the remarkable similarity of the embryos depicted by Haeckel's drawings were simply the result of evolutionist wishful thinking, not real world observations. In fact, the stage of embryonic development that Haeckl claimed to have illustrated was not even a particularly early stage (as it ought to have been if he sought to demonstrate his hypothesis), probably because at earlier stages of development the differences between the various phyla embryos is greater still. Despite this, Haeckl's drawings, or other illustrations based on them, continue to be included in biology text books to the present day.
(7) ibid. Chapter 6, p.60
(8) ibid. Chapter 7, p.72
(9) For example, a common designer hypothesis can account perfectly well for genetic similarities between species without recourse to notions of common ancestry.
(10) ibid. Chapter 8, p.77
(11) Incidentally, the reader may have noted similar patterns of collective thought control to those encountered elsewhere on this website in connection with the psychiatry fraud, the Holocaust swindle and the chemtrail atrocity, viz. mere ideology and/or political agenda posing as science, coupled with a well-developed defence system that effectively prevents alternative explanations from entering the public forum, even when alternative explanations are more consistent with available evidence and empirical findings.
(12) This normalcy bias in science is discussed by Johnson with reference to the work of philosopher Thomas Kuhn. For example: "Kuhn described experimental evidence showing that ordinary people tend to see what they have been trained to see, and fail to see what they know ought not to be present. The finest scientists are no exception; on the contrary, because they are dependent upon inferences and upon observations that are difficult to make, they are particularly prone to paradigm-influenced misperception." op cit. Chapter 9, p.90
Kuhn is best known for his concept of the "paradigm shift" as a major factor in the development of scientific thought.
(13) Johnson, op, cit. Chapter 9, p.91
(14) "Phillip E. Johnson on Darwinism", Youtube video[~ 52'25'']
(15) Johnson, op, cit. Chapter 12, p.109
(16) ibid. Chapter 12, p.109
(17) Unfortunately, medicine (both in practice and research activities) is increasingly compromised by big business interests, though it continues to retain the credibility earned in more honourable times.
(18) From the article "The Nature of the Beast" on this website, regarding the spurious claim by a TV producer that Darwinian evolution theory is essential to the science of technology: "The fact is that the Darwinian explanation for derivation of species. i.e. "speciation" (the changing of one species to another) by a gradual process of random variation and natural selection, has never been observed by anyone, anywhere in the real world. How can it then be "essential" to the science of technology, agriculture or medicine [or engineering], which are based necessarily and exclusively on objective scientific methodology, that is, inference from observation that is both testable and applicable in such a way that can be objectively replicated? Obviously it can't."
(19) One of these stories is that the critters of the Pre-Cambrian era were too soft-bodied to be fossilized. Hence their absence in the fossil record. Unfortunately for that exercize in Darwinian apologetics, soft bodied pre-Cambrian fossils were found in the Maotianshan Shales of Chengjiang, China in 1984 by a team led by Chinese palaeontologist Jun-Yuan Chen. Chen is widely considered to be one of the world's foremost experts on the Cambrian explosion. His discoveries have served to demonstrate that the Cambrian explosion was even wider and more sudden than previously believed.
Another example of a Darwinian attempt to explain away the fossil record is the "allopatric speciation" model of biologist Ernst Mayr; totally unverifiable by definition, of course.
(20) The definition referred to here for instance, known as the biological species concept or BSC (i.e. reproductively isolated community) is not a very reliable one, though probably the most applied by biologists. Animals are known to exhibit reproductive behavioural patterns in an artificial environment (like a laboratory, for instance) that are completely different to what they get up to in nature. For example, pandas have shown very little inclination to breed when in captivity. Physiological and behavioural patterns can be misleading in this regard in other ways. A poodle, for instance is not likely to breed with a Great Dane, but nobody would suggest that they constitute a different species.
(21) Johnson does not discuss allopatric speciation in "Darwin on Trial", except indirectly in his discussion of another key element of Neo-Darwinian mythology known as "punctuated equilibrium".
(22) Johnson, op cit. Chapter 9, p.86
(23) "In China We Can Criticize Darwin: Prelude" by Jonathan Wells, Evolution News, April 16, 2014. The quotation, I hear, appeared also in Time magazine's cover story, "Evolution's Big Bang", of the Dec.4, 1995 issue.
(24) "Phillip E. Johnson on Darwinism", Youtube [~ 47'20'']
(25) "Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind." - NeoDarwinist George Gaylord Simpson
(26) "Debate: Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy? Phillip Johnson vs William Provine", Youtube.
(27) Johnson, op, cit. Chapter 9, p.88
(28) In fact, the Dover case judgment revealed Jones as a mindless stooge for the ACLU - see the article here.
(29) The latest strategy appears to be the doing away with key elements of twentieth century NeoDarwinism, with its focus on genetic causes (i.e. the old patches), whilst maintaining key elements of the 19th century version, that is variation and selection, at least in part, with necessary 21st century embellishments sewn in (i.e. the new patches).
(30) Interested readers are advised to go directly to Swedenborg's books rather than depending on online sources for information about Swedenborg, which on the whole can be unreliable, especially Youtube. Swedenborg's most famous book is "Heaven and Hell", which is highly readable and a good place to start for those curious about this Swedish scientist's contribution to human thought and understanding.