Thursday, May 22, 2008

HALLELUJAH -- I Believe in Darwin

I have generally used this space to write about various things ranging from science to politics but previously I have not addressed things at a personal level but I feel I must respond personally because my comments on Intelligent Design have prompted the usual attacks from the Dawkins and Darwin true believers. The latest attack cites this WEB site, which purports to describe transitions but it looks like this is more of a description of adaptation rather than transition.

After reading this I truly wonder about the ability of the Dawkins / Darwin crowd to think critically. They seem to be on a crusade to prove that God does not exist, that Evolution, as stated by Darwin, is 100% accurate, and that anyone who even mentions Intelligent Design is some sort of a yahoo. The recent film by Ben Stein (EXpelled) cites example after example of the intimidating attacks launched against anyone who has the temerity to question Darwin. I never thought my humble little blog, which I admit is more an exercise in ego than anything else, would come under such emotional attack. I feel like I have violated some sort of unwritten law by challenging Darwin and equating what passes for Evolution as adaptation. So I would like make some personal comments in an effort to explain my position and defend myself as an intelligent person who simply is looking critically at Darwin.

First I believe in God. I truly think we are divine creations and not the arbitrary product of some random event that began with pond scum and ended with Homo Sapiens. I believe that God created us in his image but then God is pure energy as are we so God does not exist in some heaven floating above the clouds and has a long white beard. This means that our human form is not the exact image of God and how we came to be may indeed be a result of a line of Homininds. Secondly, I believe in Evolution and I think Darwin got much of it right and when you consider the state of science at the time, his achievement was remarkable. However, I also believe that Evolution as described is incomplete and contains some inconsistencies. The reality is that Darwin's book "The Origin of Species" doesn't really explain the origin of species. The examples cited for Evolution (which are accurate) demonstrate adaptation to changing enviroments and the link referenced above is an example of that. Fish are fish, dogs are dogs, and one species does not change into another -- at least that has not been demonstrated and I don't think the link shows that.

Then there is the issue of the origin of life. This has been a sticking point for science and while they have actually been able to create a replicating non-organic molecule the point that seems to escape the Darwinists is that this is really an example of Intelligent design. In fact the Darwinists are showing increasing signs of religion and religious intolerance in their attacks on anyone who even questions their God Darwin. The demands for the creation of life seem to be mathematically impossible (I am grounded in math and know how to manipulate numbers) so why not look to alternatives -- like Intelligent design. Apparently the Darwinsists are actually atheists so the cannot even consider any challenge to Darwin or the possiblity of an alternative because that alternaitve might lead to God. So instead the Darwinists have postulated Pan Spermia -- life from outer space. Who know's this might be possible but then if this is possible isn't that a form of Intelligent Design and even so why isn't God possible?

From there we go to the problem of speciation and this has never been explained and efforts to breed across species has failed. Since Darwin never actually addressed how species came to be, this had been a problem for the Darwinists and they have generally turned to mutations or cosmic particles creating mutations but these have largely been unsatisfactory so Stephan Gould came up with his "punctuated Equilibria" theory. Essentially Gould was trying to solve two problems the lack of transitional fossils and speciation. His theory may be right although it seems to have a number of holes in it. Essentially his theory states that for some reason one species will go through a series of rapid changes over a period of time measured in thousands of years and not millions and this accounts for a lack of transitional fossils. Gould himself stated that transitional fossils would probably never be found but now he is moving away from that statement, no doubt because to stand by it would threaten his career.

However, let's accept that Gould's theory has merit, so how many thousands of years are necessary for one species to morph into another? Ten, twenty, a hundred, a thousand -- oops that's a million, so it must be less. But we have evidence of animals and even humans that go back a million but still no evidence of those annoying transitional forms. Now Gould like virtually all of the Darwinists equate anyone who challenges Darwin as a "creationist", which really is an example of their towering ignorance as well as intolerance. The Creationists are different than those who ask for a hearing about Intelligent Design. All we are saying is that Evolution is incomplete, that the origin of life is unknown, how life on Earth began is unknown, and that alternatives like Intelligent design should be explored and if wrong demonstrated. Why this meets with such hostility is beyond me.

I have read article after article as the scientific community struggles to prove that Darwin and Evolution are totally correct and they are mostly right,but it is these aggravating details that they can't answer. They can't accept that God exists so rather than even examine that possibility they launch these attacks on anyone who even appears to be something other than a true believer.

This argument over Evolution is simply another manifestation of how science has become increasingly degraded as the requirement for empirical evidence is replaced by belief and statistical analyses. I think a little tolerance and a lot of critical thinking is in order.


1 comment:

Malcolm said...

I'm sure you're sincere - but you're also misguided, and in many cases just plain wrong.

A couple of simple examples from one sentence of yours:

You said: "Gould himself stated that transitional fossils would probably never be found but now he is moving away from that statement, no doubt because to stand by it would threaten his career."

Given that Gould died over 5 years ago ( )It's unlikely that he's moving anywhere.... You need to keep up with reality.

Transitional fossils.
To say that there are no transitional fossils is simply and unconditionally false. A great example is the transition from land based mammals to whales. in "On the origin of species" Darwin predicted that fossils showing this transition would eventually be found based on similarities between land and aquatic mammals. 20 years ago the lack of these fossils was used by the creation science crowd as an example of a great flaw in the evolutionary record. So real scientists went looking. Now there is a beautiful series of fossils showing this transition with all the features you'd expect. The blow-holes moves up the skull. Limbs become smaller, there is greater streamlining, etc, etc.

Some references :

To continue to deny the existence of transitional fossils in the face of the overwhelming evidence presented by people who spend their lives studying these things is either willful self-delusion, or deliberate mendacity.

The rest of your post is filled with similar misinformation. The movie Expelled has three main themes/claims
- the holocaust link,
- the suppression of dissenting ‘scientists’,
- the claim that belief in evolution means you must be an atheist)

All three of these arguments have been repeatedly discredited.
Hitler never mentioned Darwin in his writings. He was influenced by Martin Luther - and believed he was doing Gods work by killing Jews.
There are many people who believe in both a god, and the fact that evolution happens. (look up Francis Collins or the (Clergy Letter Project")

and as for the suppression of ID in Academia - each of the examples of suppression cited in Expelled has been shown to be false. Either the case never happened, or the firing was shown to be for other reasons (like the failure to teach the required syllabus, failure to obtain grant funding, etc).

To cite this movie shows a distinct unwillingness to research your subject deeper than the surface.