Donate Darwinism for a tax credit?

Image source: Seattle City Archives, via Flickr (cropped).

An article in The Guardian by science journalist Stephen Buryani represents something remarkable in the way the public deals with the failures of the theory of evolution. In the past, these failures were admitted by some biologists…but always in settings (technical journals, conferences) where they thought no one outside their professional circles was listening. It’s as if a married couple are going through a tough time in their relationship. They were discussing it among themselves, with close friends, perhaps with an adviser. But for God’s sake, they wouldn’t put it on Facebook, where all marriages are blessed exclusively with good humor and good fortune.

Scandalous admissions

Well, the field of evolutionary biology just did the equivalent of a huge Facebook dump, admitting that Jim and Sandy, who always seemed so happy, are actually perilously perched on the rocks. In a very long article, the biggest names in the field share with Buryani what proponents of smart design already knew, but few Guardian the readers guessed. The headline of the left-leaning British daily asks: “Do we need a new theory of evolution?The short answer: yes. The article is full of outrageous confessions:

As strange as it may seem, scientists still don’t know the answers to some of the most fundamental questions about the evolution of life on Earth. Take the eyes, for example. Where do they come from, exactly? The usual explanation of how we got these incredibly complex organs relies on the theory of natural selection….

It’s the fundamental story of evolution, as told in countless textbooks and best-selling pop science books. The problem, according to a growing number of scientists, is that it is absurdly rude and misleading.

For one thing, he starts in the middle of the story, taking for granted the existence of light-sensitive cells, lenses, and irises, without explaining where they came from in the first place. Nor does it adequately explain how such delicate and easily disturbed components came together to form a single organ. And it’s not just the eyes with which the traditional theory struggles. “The first eye, the first wing, the first placenta. How they emerge. Explaining them is the fundamental motivation of evolutionary biology,” says Armin Moczek, a biologist at Indiana University. “And yet, we still don’t have a good answer. This classic idea of ​​incremental change, one happy accident at a time, has so far fallen flat..”

There are some basic tenets of evolution that no scientist seriously questions. Everyone agrees that natural selection plays a role, as do mutation and chance. But how exactly these processes interact – and whether other forces might also be at work – has become the subject of bitter argument. “If we can’t explain things with the tools we have now,” Yale University biologist Günter Wagner told me, “we have to find new ways to explain.”…

[T]It’s a battle of ideas about the fate of one of the great theories that shaped the modern era. But it is also a struggle for professional recognition and status, on who decides what is essential and what is peripheral to the discipline. “The question at stake,” says Arlin Stoltzfus, an evolutionary theorist at the IBBR research institute in Maryland, “is who is going to write the grand narrative of biology.” And beneath all of this lies another deeper question: if the idea of ​​a great history of biology is a fairy tale, we must finally give up. [Emphasis added.]

“Absurdly rude and misleading”? A “classic idea” that “has so far fallen flat”? “A fairy tale that we must finally give up”? Scientists locked in a desperate struggle for “professional recognition and status”? What about the truth? This is how writers for Evolution News characterized the problems with Darwinian theory. But I didn’t expect to see it in The Guardian.

A familiar tale

Buryani walks through a familiar narrative: Modern Synthesis, The Challenge of Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, the 2016″New trends in evolutionary biologymeeting at the Royal Society (which has been covered extensively here), how some evolutionists condemned the conference while others embraced its revisionist message, efforts to support unguided evolution with exotic ideas of “plasticity, evolutionary development, epigenetics, cultural evolution”, etc. .

If you’ve ever owned an automobile near the end of its life, the situation will be familiar to you: the multiple problems at the same time, the multiple repair attempts, the expense, the hassle, the worry that the car will break down and die any time. dangerous moment (like in the middle of the freeway), which together signal that it is time not to sell the car (who would want that?) but to have it towed and donated to charity for a credit of tax.

Buryani does not mention the intelligent design theorists present at the Royal Society meeting – Stephen Meyer, Günter Bechly, Douglas Axes, Paul Nelson and others. He doesn’t mention the smart design challenge at all. Its good. I didn’t expect him to. Anyway, readers of Evolution News will already be familiar with almost everything Buryani reports.

Desperate statements

He concludes with seemingly desperate statements from evolutionists like: “Oh, we never needed such a grand and coherent theory as that, after all.

Over the past decade, the influential biochemist Ford Doolittle has published trials belies the idea that the life sciences need to be codified. “We do not need a new synthesis. We didn’t even really need the old synthesis,” he told me….

Computational biologist Eugene Koonin thinks people should get used to theories that don’t agree. Unification is a mirage. “In my opinion there is not – there can be – no theory of evolution,” he told me.

I see. Evolutionists have, until now, been very, very reluctant to admit such things in the popular media. Always, the obligation has been fulfilled to present an illusory picture of marital bliss to the unwashed, which, if given a sense of the truth, would draw its own conclusions and might even attack outright heresies as intelligent design . Now this illusion of blessed domestic life has been thrown off in the most dramatic way. Read the rest of Buryani’s article. Your eyebrows will rise several times.