Forwarded from John Landon

John Landon nemonemini at
Fri Jan 26 21:14:32 MST 2001

My views on Darwin are a bit tricky. There is, to a
high probability, a problem in the completeness of
theory, as to natural selection. That is the grand
total of my critique. It requires no religious beliefs
to think so, nor is it a rejection of the context of
evolution. Works by hard scientists like Stuart
Kauffman or Fred Hoyle have acknowledged as much. The
discovery of hox genes has both confirmed this fact
and changed the debate to natural selection claims of
these special genes. Eyes don't evolve, they appear
when regulatory genes are switched on. So where the
debate goes from here is unclear. Cf. Sudden Origins,
by J. Schwarz. But the question of eyes evolving in
small increments was always hogwash, and now we can
see the criticism was correct, up to a point.
 To say Darwin is or was wrong is going too far, I
wouldn't say so. A close look at the sixth edition of
his book shows he sheepishly recanted,  nearly, his
earlier views on random variation, and retreated into
his Larmarckian mutterings of long standing. It's
right there in plain sight. That means Darwin flunks
the neoDarwinian synthesis. Same for Huxley. He was
cautious about the theory, even as he defended
evolution with a vengeance.
 I merely follow (cautiously) a long tradition of
secular critics of the theory of natural selection,
e.g Jeremy Rifkin. The debate we have inherited is
misleading, made totally confusing by the peer review
system that makes the slightest doubt in print a
really bad career move. Carefully placed pledges of
allegiance to natural selection are usefully decoys
for arguments that are actually blatant heresies.
 It is not a Debate really between Creationists and
Darwinists. Look at the Intervarsity Press imprimatur
on a lot of these critiques, no doubt toeing
religiously the line there is necessary too. A
religious press? Anyone who writes a Darwin critique
has to find a publisher. A lot are sitting in drawers,
and they are by non religious critics. The point:
there are few media for dissent on issues of
evolution. A good example is Arthur Koestler. Because
he had an independent reputation, anything he wrote
got published. Thus his Janus slipped through.
This reality means you have to take your education in
your own hands, a whole generation is educated with
hole-plugging arguments and boilerplate. It used to be
called propaganda.

The nineteenth century debate over the fact of
evolution occurred at a time when people were still
struggling over the Bishop Usher 4004 B.C. chronology
of history. The theory of natural selection made the
fact of evolution plausible, and the idea of evolution
deserved to win. The triumph of evolution accompanied
increasing confusion over the mechanism to the point
that by the end of the century it seemed Darwinism was
dead. Then the Mendelian revolution came along,
etc...The history is long and confusing.
Hoyle, after the discovery of DNA, was one of the
first to point out the absurdity of claims of random
evolution applied to genes. It simply defies common
sense. Everything in the cell is a small wonder of
perfectly controlled processes, yet the main event is
supposed to be exempt from this. It doesn't add up.
But there is likely to be some naturalistic
explanation, and natural selection is likely to be one
important aspect of the process.
The reason for my doubts are the obvious connections
in so many minds between economic ideology. That is
always denied, yet it is a giveaway. People take it
that way in practice.
And the sociobiological issues are well known.
Beware of agreeing with me, if you like. Being a
Darwin doubter is often the royal road to other
mistakes. But, by the same token, one is under no
obligation to accept the current theory as fully
established. Not at all.


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