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Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory 
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Post Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
One of the tactics used by Creationists is to claim that materialism is a belief system on par with religious belief. In other words, they are equal worldviews. Some say potato, some say poh-tat-to . . .

To that extent Creationists like to refer to evolutionary theory as Darwinism or Darwinian theory, suggesting that Darwin is a sort of quasi-religious figure that Richard Dawkins wants to imprint on British money. It's all a strawman, of course. Darwin may have laid the foundation for evolutionary theory, but the work was just getting started. Darwin famously wasn't even aware of Mendel's work which would provide evidence for a previously unknown mechanism for heredity. As Safina says here, equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries.

Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live
By CARL SAFINA

“You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat-catching,” Robert Darwin told his son, “and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family.” Yet the feckless boy is everywhere. Charles Darwin gets so much credit, we can’t distinguish evolution from him.

Equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries, including most of what scientists understand about evolution. Such as: Gregor Mendel’s patterns of heredity (which gave Darwin’s idea of natural selection a mechanism — genetics — by which it could work); the discovery of DNA (which gave genetics a mechanism and lets us see evolutionary lineages); developmental biology (which gives DNA a mechanism); studies documenting evolution in nature (which converted the hypothetical to observable fact); evolution’s role in medicine and disease (bringing immediate relevance to the topic); and more.

By propounding “Darwinism,” even scientists and science writers perpetuate an impression that evolution is about one man, one book, one “theory.” The ninth-century Buddhist master Lin Chi said, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The point is that making a master teacher into a sacred fetish misses the essence of his teaching. So let us now kill Darwin.

That all life is related by common ancestry, and that populations change form over time, are the broad strokes and fine brushwork of evolution. But Darwin was late to the party. His grandfather, and others, believed new species evolved. Farmers and fanciers continually created new plant and animal varieties by selecting who survived to breed, thus handing Charles Darwin an idea. All Darwin perceived was that selection must work in nature, too.

In 1859, Darwin’s perception and evidence became “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.” Few realize he published 8 books before and 10 books after “Origin.” He wrote seminal books on orchids, insects, barnacles and corals. He figured out how atolls form, and why they’re tropical.

Credit Darwin’s towering genius. No mind ran so freely, so widely or so freshly over the hills and vales of existence. But there’s a limit to how much credit is reasonable. Parking evolution with Charles Darwin overlooks the limits of his time and all subsequent progress.

Science was primitive in Darwin’s day. Ships had no engines. Not until 1842, six years after Darwin’s Beagle voyage, did Richard Owen coin the term “dinosaur.” Darwin was an adult before scientists began debating whether germs caused disease and whether physicians should clean their instruments. In 1850s London, John Snow fought cholera unaware that bacteria caused it. Not until 1857 did Johann Carl Fuhlrott and Hermann Schaaffhausen announce that unusual bones from the Neander Valley in Germany were perhaps remains of a very old human race. In 1860 Louis Pasteur performed experiments that eventually disproved “spontaneous generation,” the idea that life continually arose from nonliving things.

Science has marched on. But evolution can seem uniquely stuck on its founder. We don’t call astronomy Copernicism, nor gravity Newtonism. “Darwinism” implies an ideology adhering to one man’s dictates, like Marxism. And “isms” (capitalism, Catholicism, racism) are not science. “Darwinism” implies that biological scientists “believe in” Darwin’s “theory.” It’s as if, since 1860, scientists have just ditto-headed Darwin rather than challenging and testing his ideas, or adding vast new knowledge.

Using phrases like “Darwinian selection” or “Darwinian evolution” implies there must be another kind of evolution at work, a process that can be described with another adjective. For instance, “Newtonian physics” distinguishes the mechanical physics Newton explored from subatomic quantum physics. So “Darwinian evolution” raises a question: What’s the other evolution?

Into the breach: intelligent design. I am not quite saying Darwinism gave rise to creationism, though the “isms” imply equivalence. But the term “Darwinian” built a stage upon which “intelligent” could share the spotlight.

Charles Darwin didn’t invent a belief system. He had an idea, not an ideology. The idea spawned a discipline, not disciples. He spent 20-plus years amassing and assessing the evidence and implications of similar, yet differing, creatures separated in time (fossils) or in space (islands). That’s science.

That’s why Darwin must go.

Almost everything we understand about evolution came after Darwin, not from him. He knew nothing of heredity or genetics, both crucial to evolution. Evolution wasn’t even Darwin’s idea.

Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus believed life evolved from a single ancestor. “Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?” he wrote in “Zoonomia” in 1794. He just couldn’t figure out how.

Charles Darwin was after the how. Thinking about farmers’ selective breeding, considering the high mortality of seeds and wild animals, he surmised that natural conditions acted as a filter determining which individuals survived to breed more individuals like themselves. He called this filter “natural selection.” What Darwin had to say about evolution basically begins and ends right there. Darwin took the tiniest step beyond common knowledge. Yet because he perceived — correctly — a mechanism by which life diversifies, his insight packed sweeping power.

But he wasn’t alone. Darwin had been incubating his thesis for two decades when Alfred Russel Wallace wrote to him from Southeast Asia, independently outlining the same idea. Fearing a scoop, Darwin’s colleagues arranged a public presentation crediting both men. It was an idea whose time had come, with or without Darwin.

Darwin penned the magnum opus. Yet there were weaknesses. Individual variation underpinned the idea, but what created variants? Worse, people thought traits of both parents blended in the offspring, so wouldn’t a successful trait be diluted out of existence in a few generations? Because Darwin and colleagues were ignorant of genes and the mechanics of inheritance, they couldn’t fully understand evolution.

Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, discovered that in pea plants inheritance of individual traits followed patterns. Superiors burned his papers posthumously in 1884. Not until Mendel’s rediscovered “genetics” met Darwin’s natural selection in the “modern synthesis” of the 1920s did science take a giant step toward understanding evolutionary mechanics. Rosalind Franklin, James Watson and Francis Crick bestowed the next leap: DNA, the structure and mechanism of variation and inheritance.

Darwin’s intellect, humility (“It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance”) and prescience astonish more as scientists clarify, in detail he never imagined, how much he got right.

But our understanding of how life works since Darwin won’t swim in the public pool of ideas until we kill the cult of Darwinism. Only when we fully acknowledge the subsequent century and a half of value added can we really appreciate both Darwin’s genius and the fact that evolution is life’s driving force, with or without Darwin.

[i]Carl Safina is a MacArthur fellow, an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University and the president of the Blue Ocean Institute. His books include “Song for the Blue Ocean,” “Eye of the Albatross” and “Voyage of the Turtle.”[/]

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/science/10essa.html


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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
HEIL DARWIN!!



Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:44 pm
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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
Quote:
The number of biologists calling for change in how evolution is conceptualized is growing rapidly. Strong support comes from allied disciplines, particularly developmental biology, but also genomics, epigenetics, ecology and social science1, 2. We contend that evolutionary biology needs revision if it is to benefit fully from these other disciplines. The data supporting our position gets stronger every day


http://www.nature.com/news/does-evoluti ... nk-1.16080



Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:03 pm
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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
geo wrote:
One of the tactics used by Creationists is to claim that materialism is a belief system on par with religious belief. In other words, they are equal worldviews. Some say potato, some say poh-tat-to . . .

To that extent Creationists like to refer to evolutionary theory as Darwinism or Darwinian theory, suggesting that Darwin is a sort of quasi-religious figure that Richard Dawkins wants to imprint on British money. It's all a strawman, of course. Darwin may have laid the foundation for evolutionary theory, but the work was just getting started. Darwin famously wasn't even aware of Mendel's work which would provide evidence for a previously unknown mechanism for heredity. As Safina says here, equating evolution with Charles Darwin ignores 150 years of discoveries.

Hi Geo, I see you have started a new thread here.
I think there are grounds for scepticism about the theory but I don't think I'm qualified or competent to make the argument effectively.
One example of a ground for questioning would be the land mammal to whale claim. There are a few candidates put forward for early ancestor but that's irrelevant in a way as it's the scale of the project that is the issue.
A fairly recent discovery of a whale jawbone in Antartica seems to reduce the whole window of time for this from what some critics considered to be a grossly insufficient time frame already.
If we consider the kinds of changes needed not just minor but involving whole systems for diving,sonar,hearing etc and consider how coordinated these would need to be,we begin to see why this should raise questions.

Evolution is a blind unguided force we are told ,yet in a relative blink of an eye it can produce such transformations through random mutations (generally errors in coding) and natural selection,from a land dwelling mammal to a deep sea diving whale.
Here's the article from an I.D. source, but it's the evidence that counts.

www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-des ... antartica/

And just to summarise the scale of changes required here's a recap from David Berlinski. It starts on the whale question about 11 minutes in. www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5r5cRlctLM



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Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:09 pm
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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
Here is from the Nature article I linked. It's very interesting.

Quote:
The story that SET tells is simple: new variation arises through random genetic mutation; inheritance occurs through DNA; and natural selection is the sole cause of adaptation, the process by which organisms become well-suited to their environments. In this view, the complexity of biological development — the changes that occur as an organism grows and ages — are of secondary, even minor, importance.

In our view, this ‘gene-centric’ focus fails to capture the full gamut of processes that direct evolution. Missing pieces include how physical development influences the generation of variation (developmental bias); how the environment directly shapes organisms’ traits (plasticity); how organisms modify environments (niche construction); and how organisms transmit more than genes across generations (extra-genetic inheritance). For SET, these phenomena are just outcomes of evolution. For the EES, they are also causes.


These are just random thoughts:

How the environment shapes traits is particularly puzzling I think. This jogged my memory about an article I read recently.
I can't recall it clearly but I think it was about a species that has been observed to have developed, lost, then regained a particular trait. Not being an expert, I'd think the Darwinian mechanism is not broad or deep enough to explain such a phenomena.

How organisms modify environments is another interesting question. Consider how our species wishes to achieve mastery over its environment and how that might impact our own evolutionary development negatively and what "dumb" nature's response would be.

There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that something as enormously complex as a single cell organism originated on our planet.
Is there?
If not, then what exactly was the environment like that it originated from and why was it able to generate here in ours, regardless of the differences?

And of course the biggie - how is an organism able to develop autonomy.


I think there is a grievous mistake in the way religious darwinists think about science, in this case specifically the theory of evolution.
Answers are blindly seen as THE goal when in fact it is learning to ask the right Questions that is most important and what ultimately moves us closer to Knowledge.

If you notice, religious darwinists love to argue by providing answers (ie the finch developed different beaks because it's diet was different in different environments, altruism is a cooperative evolutionary development that is seen in monkeys, etc etc).
These are simple, staple answers that may be simple observational truisms.
Are there no more questions here?

Again, just random thoughts of mine, that's all. :)



Last edited by ant on Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:55 pm
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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
I viewed the Berlinski talk, Flann. Thanks for that.

I am relatively familiar with him. He is definitely irreverent and incorrigible. And he has the credentials to back him up. He is one of the very few scientist/philosophers I know of that are not theists and reject fossil record as inadequate.

I think maybe Berlinski is convinced the current theory of evolution is an oversimplified explanation of the enormous complexity of life and most certainly is not near an explanation for the origin of life.

Berlinski pushes the orthodoxy of the current paradigm that demands its answers be contained within the paradigm itself. I think the complexity that is currently being discovered is at times being explained away ad hoc. Eventually, ad hoc is not good enough and I think that is where we are beginning to see.

Ironically, paradigm dogma is a necessary evil. However, at some point it becomes vital to leave behind paradigm religiosity in order to assure progress continues.Crisis is the most difficult phase of all paradigms. It involves venturing beyond the safety of conceptual habits and forming new ways of visualizing Nature.



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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
ant wrote:
Ironically, paradigm dogma is a necessary evil. However, at some point it becomes vital to leave behind paradigm religiosity in order to assure progress continues.Crisis is the most difficult phase of all paradigms. It involves venturing beyond the safety of conceptual habits and forming new ways of visualizing Nature.


I know you say you don't defend creationism, and that you're the only true agnostic. But as an agnostic, you always make claims.

Will the paradigm of evolution change? Possibly, but the true agnostic will admit that this is something we can't know. What we do know is that if evolution is to undergo a paradigm shift, it will not shift backwards. To say that evolution doesn't explain whales, as Flann mentions, is simply false. Any paradigm shift that evolution may possibly undergo will not make it true.

I've used the analogy of a river before. The fact that erosion is much simpler than evolution isn't a mark against this analogy. I'm picking a simple analogy to explain a complex point. We haven't witnessed a river carving a canyon. All we've ever seen is "micro" erosion. But how can micro erosion possibly explain "macro" erosion? You can see the parallel arguments.

What theists fail to see here is that the process itself is an explanation of instances of things; of whales, of germs, of humans. We haven't witnessed the erosion of the grand canyon. Yet we understand the process of erosion well enough to know that it's capable of creating a canyon. We know the process creates instances of things, even if we've never seen it happened.

This is the reason evolution has such a broad scope, too broad from the creationists point of view. The most common argument is an argument from ignorance. We haven't yet explained where all the material from the grand canyon disappeared to. We haven't yet explained the specific path whales have taken to evolve. We don't need to explain either to know the process responsible. The path each organism has taken to evolve isn't necessary to conclude that evolution is responsible.


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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
Quote:
There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that something as enormously complex as a single cell organism originated on our planet.
Is there?


Yes, life.


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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that something as enormously complex as a single cell organism originated on our planet.
Is there?


Yes, life.



Yeah.

while you continue to point your finger at yourself as evidence for ET and the origin of life on earth, among other things, hypotheses like molecular panspermia are what scientists are considering.

btw,

Science has not announced where the origin of life occurred. You might want to send them a selfie and ask for it to be published in Nature mag before someone beats you to it.



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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
"
"A fairly recent discovery of a whale jawbone in Antartica seems to reduce the whole window of time for this from what some critics considered to be a grossly insufficient time frame already."

I read something about that too. It reduces it substantially and Im guessing discounts the value of certain transitional fossils that have been relied upon to create ad hoc narratives.
I think Berlinski mentions this, if i understood him correctly.



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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
Interbane wrote:
Will the paradigm of evolution change? Possibly, but the true agnostic will admit that this is something we can't know. What we do know is that if evolution is to undergo a paradigm shift, it will not shift backwards. To say that evolution doesn't explain whales, as Flann mentions, is simply false. Any paradigm shift that evolution may possibly undergo will not make it true.

I've used the analogy of a river before. The fact that erosion is much simpler than evolution isn't a mark against this analogy. I'm picking a simple analogy to explain a complex point. We haven't witnessed a river carving a canyon. All we've ever seen is "micro" erosion. But how can micro erosion possibly explain "macro" erosion? You can see the parallel arguments.

What theists fail to see here is that the process itself is an explanation of instances of things; of whales, of germs, of humans. We haven't witnessed the erosion of the grand canyon. Yet we understand the process of erosion well enough to know that it's capable of creating a canyon. We know the process creates instances of things, even if we've never seen it happened.

Why is it false,Interbane?
What needs to be demonstrated is that the mechanisms of random variation and natural selection,and you can add on whatever other factors many biologists now think are involved,are sufficient and capable of producing the kinds of coordinated changes for a land dwelling mammal to evolve into a whale.
There are time constraints also. You can question Sternberg's data assumptions but even if you were massively over generous you still have a whopping inadequacy.
Two coordinated mutations would take 43 million years he thinks to become fixed in a population.
How many coordinated mutations do you think would be required to transform entire biological systems of animals from land mammal to whale? Surely vast numbers.
And how do partial changes to these systems actually work if it's gradual and incremental?
Your river canyon analogy is not the same. Where there is severe flooding such comparable phenomena can be observed though on a lesser scale.
Hydrolics are measurable in terms of force and volume and effects on various materials.
What you have in evolutionary theory is an extrapolation which laboratory work with fruit flies and bacteria do not indicate will produce fundamental changes in the nature in these things.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:06 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
Flann wrote:
What needs to be demonstrated is that the mechanisms of random variation and natural selection,and you can add on whatever other factors many biologists now think are involved,are sufficient and capable of producing the kinds of coordinated changes for a land dwelling mammal to evolve into a whale.


This is like saying we must demonstrate how water could have eroded granite before certain canyons are explained. No Flann, it simply isn't necessary. You missed my point entirely. You're imagining a false ceiling on what evolution can do, in spite of what we see it's capable of.

For example, we've seen speciation in under a century. I've posted a dozen or so links twice before to these examples. Such speciation has multiple parallel mutations that have occurred. And here you believe the lone wolf who says multiple mutations need 43 million years to happen? Pay attention to reality and the argument falls apart.

ant wrote:
Science has not announced where the origin of life occurred. You might want to send them a selfie and ask for it to be published in Nature mag before someone beats you to it.


On any planet where life is found, that life is also evidence that it originated on that planet. It is not proof, but it is obviously evidence. Only someone who doesn't understand what the word "evidence" means would argue otherwise.


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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
ant wrote:
I think maybe Berlinski is convinced the current theory of evolution is an oversimplified explanation of the enormous complexity of life and most certainly is not near an explanation for the origin of life.


That's to be expected. Life is complex. Though the Greeks intuited evolution long before Darwin, for the sake of simplicity, let's say Darwin got things rolling. Almost immediately evolutionary theory was taken up by the science of genetics. And in the 150 years since we've learned about other mechanisms that come into play. This doesn't mean Darwin was wrong, as creationists desperately want to believe, only that evolutionary theory is delving further into how evolution works. Science is always a work in progress. We never get to a point and say, okay we're finished. This attitude that the whole theory is about to be tossed out for a newer, better theory is based on motivated ignorance.

So, of course the current theory of evolution is an oversimplified explanation. Just as Newtonian physics was an oversimplified explanation. But Newtonian physics is still correct up to a point. It was the best theory at the time. General Relativity doesn't supplant Newton's laws, but delves more deeply into the complex nature of the universe.

But even that's a poor comparison to evolutionary theory because there are no competing theories, nothing on the horizon that threatens to supplant evolutionary theory. Nothing at all. It's silly to say that evolution is due for a paradigm change when all of the basic conclusions of evolutionary theory continue to be supported by the evidence. Evolution is already a fact, something even Chesterton acknowledged 100 years ago. The theory, of course, will continue to be refined. I remember some time back, Flann posted something about epigenetics, saying that it "challenges aspects of the the reigning paradigm of neo Darwinism." No it actually doesn't. It adds another piece to a puzzle that will never actually be finished.


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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
Quote:
But even that's a poor comparison to evolutionary theory because there are no competing theories, nothing on the horizon that threatens to supplant evolutionary theory. Nothing at all. It's silly to say that evolution is due for a paradigm change when all of the basic conclusions of evolutionary theory continue to be supported by the evidence


Then you need to respond to scientists that do with your own publication, Geo.

This isn't actually about a new competing theory. It's about a conceptual change.
And you obviously are not familiar with history and how paradigms come and go, or what the definition of a paradigm is.
Rather than arrogantly dismissing it as silly you should educate yourself.

It's so ironic how religious you people are about Darwinian Evolution.
Seriously. Whenever certain aspects of it are questioned you all become religious fanatics.
It's getting real old.



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Post Re: Darwinism — a misnomer for evolutionary theory
ant wrote:
Then you need to respond to scientists that do with your own publication, Geo.

This isn't actually about a new competing theory. It's about a conceptual change.


The theory will, of course, undergo continued conceptual changes. That's exactly my point. That's why I said it's a work in progress. You're chasing your own tail, Ant.

ant wrote:
It's so ironic how religious you people are about Darwinian Evolution.
Seriously. Whenever certain aspects of it are questioned you all become religious fanatics.
It's getting real old.

Holy shit, that's what you get out of above post? Did you even read it? Talk about missing the point.
:omg4:


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