Is Darwinism a Theory in Crisis? – Discovery Institute

Photo: Jonathan Wells, by Brian Gage.

A newID the Futureepisode spotlightsThe Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, and specifically, an essay in the new anthology by biologist Jonathan Wells, Is Darwinism a Theory in Crisis? As Wells and host Casey Luskin note, the essay title alludes to philosopher of science Thomas Kuhns influential 1962 bookThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn argued there that if one studies the history of scientific revolutions, one finds that when the scientific evidence has begun to turn against a dominant scientific paradigm when itsdays are numbered its adherents do not simply concede defeat. Instead they use all their institutional power to suppress dissent and punish proponents of any competing paradigm.

This is the period of crisis, which can last for years and even decades. Wells contends that modern evolutionary theory is a current instance of a dominant paradigm in crisis. He briefly makes the case in this episode, and at greater length in his essay, which appears in the newly released anthology from Harvest House, edited by William Dembski, Casey Luskin, and Joseph Holden.Download the podcast or listen to it here.

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Is Darwinism a Theory in Crisis? - Discovery Institute

DNA Energy Code: Survival of the Fittest Phenomenon Is Only Part of the Evolution Equation – SciTechDaily

Three conformations of the DNA double helix: A (left), B (center) and left-handed Z (right). Credit: David S. Goodsell and RCSB PDB

Darwins theory of evolution should be expanded to include consideration of a DNA stability energy code so-called molecular Darwinism to further account for the long-term survival of species characteristics on Earth, according to Rutgers scientists.

The iconic genetic code can be viewed as an energy code that evolved by following the laws of thermodynamics (flow of energy), causing its evolution to culminate in a nearly singular code for all living species, according to the Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics.

These revelations matter because they provide entirely new ways ofanalyzing the human genome and the genome of any living species, the blueprints of life, said senior author Kenneth J. Breslauer, Linus C. Pauling Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick. He is also affiliated with the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. The origins of the evolution of the DNA genetic code and the evolution of all living species are embedded in the different energy profiles of their molecular DNA blueprints. Under the influence of the laws of thermodynamics, this energy code evolved, out of an astronomical number of alternative possibilities, into a nearly singular code across all living species.

Scientists investigated this so-called universal enigma, probing the origins of the astounding observation that the genetic code evolved into a nearly uniform blueprint that arose from trillions of possibilities.

The scientists expanded the underpinnings of the landmark survival of the fittest Darwinian evolutionary theory to include molecular Darwinism. Darwins revolutionary theory is based on the generational persistence of a species physical features that allow it to survive in a given environment through natural selection. Molecular Darwinism refers to physical characteristics that persist through generations because the regions of the molecular DNA that code for those traits are unusually stable.

Different DNA regions can exhibit differential energy signatures that may favor physical structures in organisms that enable specific biological functions, Breslauer said.

Next steps include recasting and mapping the human genome chemical sequence into an energy genome, so DNA regions with different energy stabilities can be correlated with physical structures and biological functions. That would enable better selection of DNA targets for molecular-based therapeutics.

Reference: Energy mapping of the genetic code and genomic domains: implications for code evolution and molecular Darwinism by Horst H. Klump, Jens Vlker and Kenneth J. Breslauer, 4 November 2020, Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics.DOI: 10.1017/S0033583520000098

Jens Vlker, an associate research professor in RutgersNew Brunswicks Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, co-authored the study, along with first author Horst H. Klump at the University of Cape Town.

Funding: U.S. National Institutes of Health, NRF (Pretoria, RSA).

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DNA Energy Code: Survival of the Fittest Phenomenon Is Only Part of the Evolution Equation - SciTechDaily

Remembering Tom Bethell: Wordsmith of Courage and Controversy – KMJ Now

There was a feeling of excitement and relief from me upon the delivery in June of House of Cards: A Journalists Odyssey Through The Darwin Debates, by Tom Bethell, who died Friday at age 84.

Everyone who saw him at the traditional Latin Mass at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Washington D.C. knew that faithful worshiper Bethell was ailing. His completion of this final testimony on the controversy that has surrounded Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution and those who questioned it since the 19th Century was in doubt.

But with the devotion of wife Donna and the prayers of his fellow traditional Roman Catholics, Bethell saw his magnum opus come to life as he himself was near death. In his twilight days, he happily signed copies to his legions of friends.

For Tom Bethell, senior editor of the American Spectator and Media Fellow of the Hoover Institution, his clash with Darwinism began with an article he wrote in Harpers Magazine in February 1976. Entitled Darwins Mistake, the article disputed Darwins theory of evolution and concluded it was on the verge of collapse with so many giving it scrutiny and concluding it was in error.

He also said that Darwins theory of natural selection (the survival and reproduction of a species due to characteristics of a particular organism) had been quietly abandoned by erstwhile supporters and that it was in fact a tautology (something subject to varied interpretations).

Strong medicine, all right, especially at a time when Darwins theories were taught as fact in biology classes worldwide. Biologists quickly sought to dispute Bethells claims and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote a response in Natural History Magazine.

Soon Bethell would find himself engaged in stormy encounters over the issue he had raised with Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin and famed philosopher of science Karl Popper.

But Bethells words and analysis were clearly having an impact.

Although I have been a skeptic about Darwins theory of evolution since taking my high school biology class, his book for Regnery, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, was instrumental in transforming me into a Creationist and strong anti-Darwinist, Allan Ryskind, former editor and co-owner of the national conservative weekly Human Events told Newsmax.

Ryskind recalled how he was brought up to believe in evolution, which my great high school biology teacher thought was true. But the textbook we used at Beverly Hills High and then another one at UCLA, made me dubious, even though the textbooks themselves were pro-evolution. But it was Toms book and the intellectual heft he brought to the debate that, for me at least, clinched the case against the Darwinian view. I will be forever grateful for his good works on Planet Earth.

Born and raised in London, England, the young Bethell had studied science and mathematics at Downside School and Trinity College at Oxford. After coming to the United States, he taught math at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia from 1962-65.

But, as Bethells friends liked to say, journalism was his great love after [wife] Donna. He was Washington editor of Harpers and later for the Washington Monthly.

In the 1970s, Bethell took on an unusual side assignment: he was hired as a researcher by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison for his celebrated prosecution of businessman Clay Shaw as a part of a conspiracy in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Bethell, who later wrote about his work on the case, came up with no evidence Shaw was involved and, after an hours deliberation, a jury acquitted Shaw.

Tom Bethell loved ideas, words, and discourse even as it inevitably spawned controversy. While he didnt always change the minds of those to whom he touched, it is inarguable he touched the lives of many and almost surely made them think a little more.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Remembering Tom Bethell: Wordsmith of Courage and Controversy - KMJ Now

Iconoclast: Farewell to Tom Bethell – Discovery Institute

Photo: Tom Bethell, via Discovery Institute.

As a Darwin skeptic, journalist Tom Bethell preceded almost everyone I know. His groundbreaking attack on evolutionary theory in Harpers Magazine appeared in 1976. It is my sad duty to report that Tom passed away on Friday. We will have more to say about him. As to his gifts as a writer and thinker, I reviewed his wonderful book Darwins House of Cards back in 2017. From, Tom Bethells Rebuke to Fellow Journalists: A Skeptical Look at Evolution IsNotBeyond Your Powers:

Not a religious apologist or a cheerleader for any competing view, but rather an old-fashioned skeptic, Bethell has been doubting Darwin since he was an undergraduate at Oxford University. I admit hes a longtime friendly acquaintance and a contributor to Evolution News, so Im not unbiased. But others who, like me, have followed him for years agree in savoring his work.

That includes some eminent names. Novelist Tom Wolfe has called him one of our most brilliant essayists, and Andrew Ferguson at The Weekly Standard, a great writer himself, says, As a journalist, Tom Bethell is fearless. As a storyteller and stylist he is peerless. All his gifts are on generous display in this fascinating and admirable book.

He has been writing about Darwin (among many other subjects, of course) for forty-plus years, beginning with an article in Harpers in 1976. Wry, unfailingly clear, never technical, yet astonishingly well informed, he has produced what might be the Platonic ideal of an introduction to an often challenging and certainly controversial subject. He covers the waterfront, probing the strength of Darwinian thinking with reference to common descent, natural selection, extinction, homology, convergence, the fossil record, biogeography, cladistics, Lenskis long-term experiment with bacteria, and much more.

He concludes that while confidence in the pillars of Darwinism common descent and innovation through natural selection hit their high-water mark at the celebration of the Origin of Species in 1959, the evidence has steadily and increasingly gone against the theory. The whole edifice rested on a 19th century faith in Progress, propped up by a dogmatic commitment to materialism. As the former falters, the structure is in danger of collapse.

To have won the admiration of Tom Wolfe is no small accomplishment for a journalist. Bethell was a vivid personality and highly independent. He could be entertainingly irascible, as he demonstrated in an email list in which we both participated. He was also loyal. I thought of him recently in connection with another journalist I knew, Joseph Sobran. As some may recall, Joe Sobran self-destructed, in career terms, and was forced out at National Review. By the end of his life, he had reconciled with his former employer, William F. Buckley Jr. But in the years when as far as Im aware, everyone else in the world of conservative journalism had dropped Sobran as too toxic, Tom Bethell, I know, remained his close friend. That struck me as a tribute to Toms character. A gift for loyalty and friendship is undoubtedly even more precious than a gift for thought, analysis, or writing.

I remember having an exchange with Tom about the meaning of his last name, which seems to correspond to the Biblical place name Beth El, meaning House of God. He has gone on now to that House. All his friends at Discovery Institute wish Toms wife Donna much comfort. You can see him below in a video we released, Iconoclast: One Journalists Odyssey through the Darwin Debates.

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Iconoclast: Farewell to Tom Bethell - Discovery Institute

What Is Mutual Aid? | How to Get Involved in the Community Movement – MarieClaire.com

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Mutual aid has existed as long as people have been around, says Mariame Kaba, an educator and organizer in New York City who, in March 2020, collaborated with U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on a mutual-aid workshop and the release of a COVID-19 mutual-aid digital tool kit. But theres a reason youve been seeing pictures of people filling a community refrigerator and videos of folks handing out clothing on the street accompanied by #mutualaid all over your social feeds lately. Were dealing with a disaster of massive proportions, [COVID-19], that most people have never lived through in their lifetime, Kaba says. When you are in this kind of a situation, you figure out ways to relate to other people that allow you to actually survive. Thats why people are paying attention to it; they have no choice.

Its important to be clear on what mutual aid really is (it can loosely be described as caring for others while working to improve our world)and isnt (charity). This is more than the giving or taking of goods or services; its a relationship that youre building. Its called mutual aid, so its not just the [assistance] that matters, says Kaba, its the reciprocity of itthat youre in a community with other people. From that association, you build connections in a way that you dont with a singular feel-good actions. (Not that theres anything wrong with those)

Its to create a new society; its to create a new community.

Its not just You do one thing for me, and then I never talk to you again, continues Kaba. Its to create a new society; its to create a new community. The idea is that once people are interacting in this way, they see more and more ways to work together to help one another, leading to greater transformation.

The key to understanding it is a 1902 essay collection by Peter Kropotkin. In Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, the Russian anarchist philosopher looked at mutually beneficial cooperation in human and animal societies, sort of the opposite of social Darwinism. For a deeper understanding of the modern version, try the primer Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next), by Dean Spade (Verso, 2020). Spade outlines how the systems we currently have in place are not set up to meet peoples needsas weve seen highlighted by last years major global disruption.

But its not only worth practicing during a pandemic. Mutual aid is for when wealth is concentrated in one layer of society, when the health-care system is flawed, and when people can work full-time but still be unable to pull their families out of poverty. In other words, mutual aid is timelyand timeless.

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What Is Mutual Aid? | How to Get Involved in the Community Movement - MarieClaire.com

A True Portrait of Tom Bethell – Discovery Institute

Photo: Tom Bethell, by Laszlo Bencze.

Sometimes words can capture, partly, a human personality, or at least give a glimpse. Other times a photo or other portrait speaks eloquently in a way that words cant. Photographer Laszlo Bencze has taken photos of intelligent design proponents and Darwin skeptics, including several portraits of journalist Tom Bethell, whose passing I noted here yesterday. Tom was 84 years old. Bencze sent a beautiful and expressive photo of him, reproduced above with permission, along with this:

I am very saddened to hear of Tom Bethells death. Not only was he pivotal in my turning away from Darwinism due to his 1976 Harpers article, which I clipped from the magazine and still have, but we also became friends during one of his visits to California. He allowed me to do an edit on his book,Darwins House of Cards. It was so well written that my suggestions were rather minor. He was erudite and a true gentleman.

The photo was taken in Laszlos living room in 2013. Im no photographer but it seems to me that what the artist is trying to do is capture an image not just of the subjects body but of his heart, whatever we understand that to mean (personality, will, spirit), maybe even his soul. In my estimation, this portrait succeeds.

This occurs to me, not pertaining to Tom Bethell alone. Take a moment to browse Laszlos other photos. I was struck by his images of Flannery OConnors home, including one of her typewriter and writing desk. The photo is accompanied by this quotation from a letter she wrote:

A story really isnt any good unless it successfully resists paraphrase, unless it hangs on and expands in the mind. Properly, you analyze to enjoy, but its equally true that to analyze with any discrimination, you have to have enjoyed already

The same might be true of photos or of people. Were reminded of this when people die, and at other times.

I was going to say that the way Toms right eye is illuminated, in a penetrating manner, speaks to me. Suggesting a penetrating intellect, or some such thing. But you know what? That falls absurdly flat. When we try to paraphrase summarize, or indicate in words what draws us to someone or something and find that it successfully resists paraphrase, then we know were in the presence of something very good. The more secure the stronghold against paraphrase, the more special the object of our failed praise.

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A True Portrait of Tom Bethell - Discovery Institute

Random Evolution Doesn’t Produce Algorithmic Functions in Animals – Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence

In a recent article Evolution and artificial intelligence face the same basic problem, Eric Holloway addressed the conundrum faced by artificial intelligence theorists: How can a random process with no insight into the environment increase information about that environment within evolving DNA sequences and/or artificial intelligence programs. By what mechanism can randomness know anything? Dr. Holloways challenge goes to the heart of the problem with the materialist worldview regarding origins, evolution, and ultimately intelligence.

Imagine you knew absolutely nothing about roller skates. Then you awoke this morning to find your ankles and feet permanently installed into roller skates. Instantly, everything you understood about walking and running is worthless.

Getting onto your feet at all is risky. Standing is your second awful challenge. To move, you cant walk; you must glide. To turn is a mysterious twist-and-lean maneuver. Stopping means grabbing onto something stationary or just falling down a lot. Dont even think about moving backward. When you finally gain some skating skills through endless struggles, you find skates are great for speed on paved surfaces. But they are slow and dangerously ill-suited for gravel, grassy terrain, or staircases. You will certainly miss your feet in their natural state.

This thought experiment captures the fundamental distinction between biological hardware and biological software. We have hardware for locomotion: ankles and feet. We need the know-how, the methods, the sequence of commands the software to operate that hardware. Feet dont walk us, nor do they walk independently of us. Rather, we walk using feet. When the hardware changes, for example, if feet were to become roller skates, the software must change radically too.

If you dont figure out how to move around on skates instead of feet, your chances of surviving and thriving greatly diminish. Having to think specifically about every step or glide would drain your energy, so you need to develop the sort of muscle memory with skates as you previously had with feet.

Bottom line: You must change your software to operate new or modified hardware. In the same way, when an animals biological hardware changes, that animals operating software must also change to match the hardware changes.

Somehow, when we think about evolution, the problem of hardwaresoftware coordination is ignored. Take, for example, the neo-Darwinian claim that modern birds evolved from reptile-like dinosaurs. Discussions of dinosaur-to-bird evolution talk about the hardware changes: scales became feathers, legs became wings, cold-blooded (exothermic) physiology became warm-blooded (endothermic) physiology, tooth-filled mouths became beaks, and so on. All of these monumental changes in hardware present enormous operational challenges that incremental mutations somehow solved over millions of years. But totally missing is any account of the evolution of the necessary software.

Assume for the moment that unguided mutation could actually modify a reptile and install the wing apparatus, including all the muscles and feathers. For the early stubby proto-wing to give the modified reptile the survival advantage necessary to win in natural selection, the reptile must know how to use the proto-wing. A reptile with proto-wings instead of legs is like a human with roller skates instead of feet. The reptile must have the biological software to operate the proto-wings successfully. Whatever software the legged reptile had, it wont operate a proto-wing. The stubby-winged reptile is worse off than his legged brothers and sisters, not better, and wont win the natural selection prize.

So lets generously give a reptile a full set of beautiful wings with feathers and the powerful muscles needed. We have doomed the poor creature. She wakes up to the world, clueless about how to use the wings. She cant walk like her legged siblings. She cant fly because she lacks the software, in the sense of neurological adaptations, to launch, flap, soar, glide, turn, and land.

Operating feet or skates, legs or wings, is algorithmic. Robert Marks, Michael Egnor, and Winston Ewert have all argued that the mind is distinct from the brain, at least in humans, and that consciousness does not arise in the brain alone. William Dembski has suggested that consciousness could potentially be the result of material features that are intelligently designed. It is a fair question whether consciousness, human reason, and subjective preferences are algorithmic or non-algorithmic. But those elements of mind function well above walking or even flying in terms of complexity or comprehensibility; the ordinary operations of movement are algorithmic because they can be programmed into computers.

When walking or skating, we develop muscle memory. Our brains and nervous systems internalize the procedures for these tasks. We dont think about them, we just engage them. The toddler toddles around looking for the kitten he wants to play with and finds it prudently perched on a ledge out of arms reach. The toddler doesnt think about having to walk while trying to carry out that intention. Doubtless, reptiles dont think about walking, and birds dont think about flying. They just expect the subroutines in their brains to carry out the tasks.

According to the materialist view, every feature of life is explainable using cause-and-effect physics and chemistry. Neo-Darwinism (the theory that natural selection acting on random mutation builds complex, functional structures) still seems to be the dominant materialist account of the existence of animal species. To properly claim that throne, however, neo-Darwinism must explain not only how hardware features mutated into existence but also how the biological operating software came into existence and could then be modified successfully in dramatic ways.

Walking and flying are two animal functions that are often called behaviors. I scoured the Encyclopedia of Evolution (2002) a few years ago but found no substantive explanation for the origins and implementation of behaviors.

Computer systems within robots can engage in behaviors and we can see and modify the software code that was designed for the purpose. Ive been reading articles about dinosaur-bird evolution, but none have described where and how the walking and flying software is encoded and stored in the animals bodies or brains. No article Ive seen reveals the mechanism for modifying behavioral software in animals, let alone how the algorithm for walking in two dimensions can be modified by undirected mutation to become the algorithm for flying in three dimensions.

Materialist thinkers contend that every feature of brain, mind, and consciousness arose via cause-effect physics and chemistry accounted for by neo-Darwinism. In that case, they first need to explain how biological software is created and stored in animals, and then how such software can be mutated by accident just in time to operate new biological hardware. Solve those problems first, before claiming human consciousness is mere biochemistry.

Note: See also the detailed presentation about bird flight prepared by Professor Gary Ritchison, Eastern Kentucky University here and here.

Photo credits:

Figure 1: Roller skates is by Ryan McGuire at Pixabay.

Figure 2: Foot by HeelsandFeet is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Figure 3: Feathered Dinosaur: File:Harpymimus steveoc.jpg by Steveoc 86 is licensed under CC BY 2.5

Figure 4: Archaeopteryx closer to a bird by Luna04 at French Wikipedia is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

You may also enjoy: Evolution and artificial intelligence face the same basic problem. Think of the word ladder game, where we transform one word into another by changing only one letter at a time. (Eric Holloway)

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Random Evolution Doesn't Produce Algorithmic Functions in Animals - Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence

One People, One House: The truth about race IS there is no race – masslive.com

The morning after Donald J. Trumps stunning presidential electoral victory in 2016 my very smart lawyer-daughter observed, Abbie, I think we simply underestimated the level of white rage in the country following the Obama years.

I believe she was absolutely correct. My daughter, her husband and their 9-year-old daughter had stumped for Bernie Sanders in their hometown of Worcester and in New Hampshire. Her younger brother, though, a hip-hop artist with a degree in political science, had toured the Tea Party Midwest the year before, noticed a marked, compelling sense of reactionary white alienation in the region and had warned of an upset for the Democrat shoo-in liberals. He, too, was correct, of course.

Past IS prelude. The storming of the nations Capitol on Jan. 6, just like Trumps 2016 storming of our nations historically fickle experiment in democracy, was telegraphed, forewarned. Many Americans of conscience could feel it, they just couldnt see it. Or, they didnt want to.

Like many social upheavals in our nations relatively brief history, the role of white supremacy, that demonic vice originally engineered by the American 1% and their minions to be as destructive as it is deniable by our ardent, white working classes, is seminal.

Denial is racisms heartless enabler, a practiced self-defense to make the uncomfortable comfortable, most often through gross distortions of real life, of reality. Our best chance at national racial redemption is to truthfully tell the stories and histories of American racism and white supremacy.

Kamal Ali, Associate Professor of Ethnic & Gender Studies at Westfield State University, left, organized a rally outside of West Springfield High School Wednesday to protest alleged abuse of Muslim sisters by fellow students over a period of years. They were joined by students from Westfield State University, Holyoke Community College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. April 30. 2014 (Michael S. Gordon/The Republican) Staff-ShotThe Republican file

If were going to live under one roof as an indivisible American people, with liberty and justice for all of us, it is absolutely essential that we educate ourselves on certain undeniable contradictions and distortions that have, over time, assumed the mantel of truth.

The back story of white racism is part of the apocryphal story of race and our nations ruling class obsession to create a scientific rationale for imperial slavery on one hand, while maintaining the equally dangerous, galling hypocrisy of a totally false Christian respectability on the other.

The truth about race is there IS no race. There are no genetic markers, or visible ones for that matter, that we find in one so-called race that we dont find in another race.

All anatomically modern humans, homo sapiens, are descendants from a common Black biological ancestor from Africa, most likely East Africa. For most of us this truth is like learning the Earth is not flat, so addicted are we to the European illusion that race is science, and a determiner of ability, performance and culture. That belief did not develop by happenstance or coincidence.

The slave system established in the Americas and the Caribbean delivered unimaginable profits in the United States and Europe. Resultantly, the contest to portray enslaved or oppressed people as pagans or subhuman heathens whose subjugation by superior white cultures was not only normal, but the decree of almighty God, began in earnest.

Beginning in the early 18th century highly motivated clergymen, physicians, philosophers, jurists and lay scientists were hard at work attempting to classify what they supposed were different racial groups along a hierarchical ladder, with whites and other western Europeans at the top, and darker races at the bottom. These were men, by the way, who represented the intellectual elite of Europe and America, not a bevy of charlatans and conspiracy theorists of the type we know and love today.

The idea was to prove, empirically, the superiority of whiteness as justification for the continued exploitation, globally, of inferior races. In short, early 18th century anthropologists, as they came to be known, tended to follow a biblical or monogenetic view of humankind that implied all humans were of one species but varied in appearance and capabilities.

But even the Bible thumpers were patently racist, describing folk who looked like my family as not the white mans equal, who were meant to be servants of servants, and who believed slavery is justifiable. Thomas Jefferson, slave holder and father of four surviving children with half-caste Sally Hemmings, the Beyonce of her time, suspicioned Blacks were a distinct race, but was absolutely convinced of their dulltasteless inferiority to white folk.

By the 19th century the science had devolved to the point where blacks and other racial minorities were seen as different species altogether, and were summarily, in their view, written out of the human family. What these anthropologists were really up to, their smoke-and-mirror experiments with cranial capacity, head shape, hair texture and brain color notwithstanding, was affirming their own preconceived prejudices and formally justifying the racial inequality, oppression and immorality of their world.

In 1859, a year or so before the Civil War, Charles Darwin published his work of authentically scientific, biological literature popularly known as The Origin of Species. However, the formal title of his work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, is clear in its intent to label a publication that would, in part, underscore and affirm the glaring inequities in the prevailing racial landscape, which it did.

Pseudo-scientists like Herber Spencer and Francis Galton (Darwins British cousin) used Darwins work to usher in a more sophisticated strain of racism known Social Darwinism, which then metastasized into Eugenics a huge tent that offers cover for a variety of the not-so-subtle racist incarnations of today.

This photo from 2018 shows James F. Hennessey Award recipients Kamal H. Ali, left, and John Bracey, right, with their wives, Ayesha Ali and Ingrid Bracey, at the Greater Springfield NAACP Centennial Freedom Fund Banquet. The Hennessey award is the highest honor given by the organization and recognizes individuals for their efforts in eliminating racial discrimination and promoting civil right.The Republican file

The corrupting strands of racism and racial supremacy, bigotry and intolerance braided into American law and governance, public and private policies and practices before and since our nations inception, must be targeted, isolated and done away with. How else can our national home be a comfortable home, an equitable home, a loving home to everyone living there?

The historical complicity of the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts in the establishment and maintenance of slavery, segregation, voter suppression; the Congressional denial of Black and brown folk access to Social Security, and Black veterans to G.I. Bill grants supporting housing and education; the banks red-lining of urban neighborhoods while exposing Blacks to predatory mortgage practices; the criminal justice systems collusion with state courts to unleash the scourge of mass incarceration on urban poor communities, then deny released inmates civil and legal status: these malevolent practices, among a litany of other abridgments of colored folks human rights are reprehensible. So, too, are the innumerable racist affronts to the ability of Black, white, yellow and brown people to enjoy, with dignity, the full array of opportunities that are integral to the America their labor and extreme sacrifice has produced.

We can and must do better. And, I suggest we do it sooner rather than later. The barbarians arent at the gate, theyre in our House!

Kamal H. Ali, who grew up in Springfield, retired in 2016 from Westfield State University, where he holds the position of professor emeritus in the Department of Ethnic and Gender Studies. He is the former director of the universitys Office of Minority Affairs and the universitys Urban Education and Student Support Services programs. Ali is also a founder and trustee of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts and an imam-chaplain for Muslim inmates at the Hampden County House of Correction.

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One People, One House: The truth about race IS there is no race - masslive.com

Darwin’s theory of evolution got us thinking about our understanding of God, says Bharat Jhunjhunwala – Free Press Journal

The English naturalist Charles Darwin was born on this day in 1809. He studied the evolution of turtles in the Galapagos Islands of South America. He came up with the theory that the present man had evolved from apes. At that time, the western world believed that god had made man in his likeness, just as a sculptor sculpts a statue with hammer and chisel. Thus, the Bible says, God created humankind in his own image male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

Instead, Darwin suggested that there was no intervention by an external entity in the process. Humankind evolved by the process of natural selection. There is a variation in all living species. Some monkeys are supple, others are strong. Those among them that adjusted to the existing environment proliferated, while those that failed to adapt, died. His theory challenged the Biblical concept of God creating mankind.

Darwinism vs the Bible

The opposition to Darwins theory of evolution can be gauged from a discussion held in 1860 between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and the naturalist Thomas Henry Huxley, a Darwinist, at the University of Oxford. Wilberforce asked Huxley whether he claimed descent from an ape on his grandmothers or grandfathers side? Huxley responded that he would rather be descended from an ape than a man who used his talents to bring ridicule into a serious scientific discussion. The question posed by the Bishop shows that Darwins theory was pitted against the narrative of the Bible.

The issue is equally important for the Hindu religions, although it was apparently not debated at that timeor now. The Vayu Purana says that Brahma created four sets of 1,000 pairs of men and women (8:37-40), just as the Bible says God created humankind. Next, the Bible says, And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). In parallel, the Vayu Purana tells of Brahmas five efforts at creation: of demons, gods, man, ancestors, and birds and animals from darkness (9:6).

Hindu parallels

Next, the Bible tells of the creation of Eve from Adams rib. (Genesis 2:21-22). In parallel, the Purana says that Swayambhu and his wife Shatarupa were created by splitting of the body of Brahma (10:7-8). Next, the Bible say that after being expelled from the Garden of Eden, Adam started to till the ground (Genesis 3:23). In parallel, the Vayu Purana says that the trees began to die at one time. People meditated on the matter. Then trees began to grow again in their homes (8:83-90). Therefore, Darwins refuting the Biblical creation of man by God equally refutes the Hindu creation of man by Brahma.

However, this writer would like to believe that Darwin did not actually refute the Bible or the Vayu Purana. The issue hinges on how we understand God or Brahma. Scientists tell us that at one time, the entire universe was contained in a black hole. Then there was a big bang and elements like hydrogen, oxygen, earth, plants, animals and man were created sequentially.

The question arises, where was God or Brahma when the entire universe was contained in the black hole? If we consider that God was in the black hole at that time, then it would follow that God and the universe were the same entity and that God-Universe itself exploded or divided and the world as we know it, came into existence.

'Monist' & 'Monotheist'

In this formula, God is the name of the consciousness of the Universe as contained in the black hole. God is universal consciousness. This possibility matches with the statement in the Upanishads that Brahman thought, I am one, let me be many. This description of God is known as Monist philosophy.

If, on the other hand, God was outside the black hole and he caused the explosion in the black hole, then the question arises: where was God when there was nothing in the universe except the black hole? This description of God is known as Monotheist philosophy.

Be that as it may, if we accept the Monist approach, then the ideas of Darwin, the Bible and the Hindu ideas of the creation of man become consistent with each other. In that case, we may understand that the inner consciousness of the ape caused the ape to evolve and it became man.

Male & female consciousness

In continuation of the above, when the Bible says that God created Eve from Adams rib (Genesis 2:21-22), or the Vayu Purana says that Brahma divided his body of darkness into Swayambhu Manu and his wife Shatarupa; we may understand this as the evolution of the human consciousness into male and female consciousnesses.

Mankind had already been created, according to the Bible and the Vayu Purana. Biblical scholars, such as Nahum M Sarna, author of the JPS Biblical Commentary and David Wenham, author of the Word Biblical Commentary, say that the creation of Eve from Adams rib actually describes the beginning of the institution of marriage. The same idea is encapsulated in the Vayu Purana saying that Shatarupa accepted Swayambhu Manu as her husband.

Darwin represents a fundamental break in the understanding of God. He has caused us to think whether God was an external entity that created man, so to say, with a hammer and a chisel; or whether God was an all-pervasive internal entity that evolved. The road opened by Darwin still needs to be walked on. One key difference in the Abrahamic- and Hindu religions is that the Abrahamic religions think of God as an external entity, while Hindu religions think of Brahman as an internal and all-pervasive entity. The time is at hand to resolve this debate, thanks to Darwin.

The writer is former Professor of Economics, IIM Bengaluru.

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Darwin's theory of evolution got us thinking about our understanding of God, says Bharat Jhunjhunwala - Free Press Journal

Jonathan Wells: Scientific Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions – Discovery Institute

Image: Liberty Leading the People, by Eugne Delacroix, via Wikimedia Commons.

On a classicID the Futureepisode, Casey Luskin interviewsbiologist Jonathan Wellsabout evolution, intelligent design, scientific revolutions, and historian of science Thomas Kuhn. Kuhn argued from the history of science that reigning scientific paradigms do not give way gently and rationally before new and conflicting evidence; instead, the proponents of the old paradigm tend to dig in their heels and resist till the bitter end. Wells sees this dynamic at work with the reigning paradigm in origins biology, the modern theory of evolution, now challenged by the theory of intelligent design. Download the podcast or listen to it here.

Wells describes examples of how the current conversation among scientists about evolution and intelligent design matches many of the key characteristics of earlier paradigm shifts outlined in Kuhns seminal workThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions. As part of the conversation Luskin and Wells also highlight Wellss incisive and sometimes irreverentThe Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

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Jonathan Wells: Scientific Revolutions and Counter-Revolutions - Discovery Institute

Past and prologue: Engaging with our history | Columnists | eastoregonian.com – East Oregonian

The year 2020 proved to be a contentious year on many fronts political, social, medical but nothing surprised me more than the nationwide controversies over statues and monuments associated with dark moments in our past. We here in Pendleton recently sorted out a disagreement over streets named for figures in the Confederacy, so I thought it might be worth exploring some of the issues and questions these events bring to the surface.

You often hear people opposed to the removal of controversial monuments declare, You cant rewrite history. Actually, historians rewrite history all the time. In many cases, journalists are the first on the scene of a big event, and they write what they and others observed as it happened. In Stalins Soviet Union, for example, foreign correspondents witnessed a sad parade of cringing, broken defendants in the infamous 1930s show trials.

Based on the courtroom proceedings, correspondents could only concur with the verdict that the defendants were wreckers and enemies of the state that deserved execution. When it emerged later that these people were arrested and tortured solely for their alleged opposition to Stalins brutal regime, historians corrected the record.

Sometimes, an existing narrative is broadened to reflect the emergence of individuals once obscured. American women had few books written about them prior to their debut as the home-front workers who made the nation go in World War II.

The American woman soon will have her own dedicated Smithsonian museum, the ultimate historical accolade. Gay Americans became a popular topic of inquiry after the riots at New York Citys Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Who are these men, people asked, and what are they protesting? These inclusions enlivened and enriched the study of U.S. history, which has too often proved to be a boring names and dates recitation of political milestones.

Reevaluation of established narratives also figures prominently in the rewriting of history.

I vividly recall my fourth grade visit to the Whitman Mission, where we heard how violent Indians brutally murdered well-meaning whites who were only trying to treat a measles epidemic. Thanks to individuals like Pendletons Bobbie Conner and other scholars of Indian history, visitors are now invited to consider the massacre as part of a clash of civilizations between colonizing whites and Indians pushing back.

How would you react, the exhibits ask, if strangers came bringing deadly diseases and planning to take your land and livelihood? Similarly, novelists like Margaret Mitchell painted a distorted picture of the Civil War-era south, where plantation owners were chivalrous and slaves either honorary family members or scheming, murderous criminals.

Gone with the Wind became the standard-bearing novel and film representing this view. But as a fuller picture of African Americans emerged during both world wars and the fledgling Civil Rights movement, historians began to examine the institution of slavery with fresh eyes. They uncovered a catalog of horrors that dramatized the moral darkness of slavery slave ships from Africa, harsh working conditions, brutal beatings and family separations. In cinematic terms, these discoveries suggest that 12 Years a Slave represents the African American experience under slavery with greater accuracy than Gone with the Wind.

These revisions have naturally inspired a reckoning with individuals who supported slavery, segregation and/or ethnic cleansing. Commemorations in public spaces proclaim that the honoree is someone to be admired. The question then becomes, do people who enslaved and/or abused fellow humans deserve to be honored? Confederates like General Robert E. Lee certainly fought for a cause, but that cause was a defense of slavery.

The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs decided long ago to name their institution for President Woodrow Wilson. In recent years, a close examination of his presidency reveals that he had actively worked to block the employment of African Americans in the federal government. Is a segregationist like Wilson someone we want future public servants to emulate?

That icon of conservation and progressivism, Theodore Roosevelt, believed strongly in Social Darwinism, which holds that whites are stronger than and intellectually superior to nonwhites, and therefore justified in the ethnic cleansing of Indian lands. Should he continue to be revered as an exemplary citizen? Thomas Jefferson allegedly fathered a child with a slave on his estate, and Abraham Lincoln assisted slave-owning clients as an Illinois lawyer. What is to be done with their public tributes?

I have often thought that Europe has too much history ancient rivalries, disputed territories, numerous wars while the United States has too little. As this is fundamentally a forward-looking country, it is gratifying to see people engaging with their history, even as disagreements sharpen.

Next month, I will offer some further thoughts on these commemoration conundrums and other issues pertinent to how we remember controversial events and individuals.

Brigit Farley is a Washington State University professor, student of history, adventurer and Irish heritage girl living in Pendleton.

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Past and prologue: Engaging with our history | Columnists | eastoregonian.com - East Oregonian

Darwin and Race: Three Strikes, He’s Out – Discovery Institute

Photo: African pygmy Ota Benga was displayed at the Bronx Zoo in 1906, in support of Darwinian theory, via Wikimedia Commons.

February is Black History Month, and this week, Friday, February 12, is Darwin Day the birthday of Charles Darwin. It is, therefore, quite appropriate to probe and ask, What exactly did Charles Darwin evolutions leading light believe about race? Was he a racist? Most of Darwins apologists say emphatically, No! Adrian Desmond and James Moore, for example, suggest that opposition to slavery was indeed Darwins sacred cause, and that his conviction that all humankind was linked together through common descent led to that fervent belief. Adam Gopnik inAngels and Ages(2009) states emphatically, Racism, in any form that would have been familiar in his time or would be familiar in ours, had no place either in Darwins life or in Darwins logic. But is this true? A careful examination of the facts suggests that when it comes to Darwin and race its, Three strikes, youre out!

First, although Darwin may indeed have opposed slavery, he did not believe in racial equality. In theDescent of Man(1871) he cited the work of his generations leading ethnologists J. Barnard Davis and Paul Broca in linking cranial capacity with racial and ethnic hierarchies. Darwin was quite clear on the matter; science demonstrated that craniometrics allowed for the ranking of intellect accordingly:

The belief that there exists in man some close relationship between the size of the brain and the development of the intellectual faculties is supported by the comparison of skulls of savage and civilized races, of ancient and modern people, and by the analogy of the whole vertebrate series. Dr. J. Barnard Davis hasproved[emphasis added], by many careful measurements, that the mean internal capacity of the skull in Europeans is 92.3 cubic inches; in Americans 87.5; in Asians 87.1; and in Australians only 81.9 cubic inches.

Should there be any surprise, then, that Darwin would tell the Reverend Charles Kingsley in aletterdated February 6, 1862, It is very true what you say about the higher races of men, when high enough, replacing & clearing off the lower races. In 500 years how the Anglo-saxon race will have spread & exterminated whole nations; & in consequence how much the Human race, viewed as a unit, will have risen in rank. Or that he wouldwriteto William Graham on July 3, 1881, Remember what risks the nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago of being overwhelmed by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is. The more civilised so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilised races throughout the world. For Darwin, humans could be placed into definite racial categories with an Anglo-centric eye. Did Darwin really believe in the equality of all humankind: no. Strike one.

Did common descent translate for Darwin into racial equality the so-called brotherhood of man? Quite the contrary. For him, common descent also meant struggle for existence and so survival of the fittest could easily translate into racial superiority, national expansion, extermination of inferior peoples, and a view of human progress that was unmistakably racialized. Even his apologists, Desmond and Moore, are forced to admit inDarwins Sacred Cause(2009), Darwin ended up calibrating human rank no differently than the rest of his generation. After shunning talk of high and low in his youthful evolution notebooks, he had ceased to be unique or interesting on the subject. For Darwin common descent meant the evolutionary ascent of superior ethnic and racial groups over inferior ones. Strike two.

Finally, there is Darwins contribution to eugenics, a horrific abuse in the name of science that sought to improve humanity by selective breeding of societys best and the forced sterilization of societys worst people. One of Darwins most persistent defenders, historian Peter Bowler, insists inDarwin Deleted(2013), that eugenics was spawned by middle class fears of a rising tide of the unfit in later 19th- and early 20th-century society. Furthermore, he argues, It was eugenics that encouraged scientists to focus on heredity and recognize the potential of artificial selection, and they could have done this without the inspiration of Darwinism. It is true that eugenics certainly had a class-based element to it, but it is also true that eugenics was also seen as a form of racial hygiene leading toward a better society. Bowlers claim that eugenics could have been pursued without Darwin is doubtful. After all, it was Darwins own fascination with the domestic breeding of pigeons and livestock that formed the first chapter of hisOrigin of Species(1859) and this domestic breeding analogy he took to be the essence of natural selections creative power. Jean Gayon has argued convincingly inDarwins Struggle for Survival(1998)that his domestic breeding analogy was not merely a pedagogical tool or heuristic device but essential to the theory itself. But despite what Bowler argues, the link between Darwin and eugenics was made by leading eugenicists themselves, as when Paul Popenoe and Roswell Hill Johnson write inApplied Eugenics(1918):

The science of eugenics is the natural result of the spread and acceptance of organic evolution, following the publication of Darwins workThe Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, in 1859. It took a generation for his ideas to win the day; but then they revolutionized the intellectual life of the civilized world. Man came to realize that the course of nature is regular; that the observed sequence of events can be described in formulas which are called natural laws; he learned that he could achieve great results in plant and animal breeding by working in harmony with these laws. Then the question logically arose, Is not man himself subject to those same laws? Can he not use his knowledge of them to improve his own species, as he has been more or less consciously improving the plants and animals that were of most value to him, for many centuries?

So it would appear that efforts to distance Darwin from the odious designs of eugenics are contradicted by the statements of eugenicists themselves. Whatever Bowler may think of the matter, it is clear that Darwins theory was uppermost in these social manipulators minds when they contemplated the wonders to which eugenic principles could be applied. Strike three.

By any measure, when racial equality is being discussed, Darwin is clearlyoutof the running.

Editors note: Darwinism and its legacy for racial thinking are examined in John Wests multiple award-winning documentary Human Zoos:

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Darwin and Race: Three Strikes, He's Out - Discovery Institute

DigiPlus Conclave: Optimism and imagination are key approaches for dealing with technology – ETBrandEquity.com

In conversation with Prasad Sangameshwaran, editor of ETBrandEquity.com, Tom Goodwin, founder of All We Have Is Now and the author of Digital Darwinism, touched upon various aspects of the interim period we are in today - between the pre and post digital world.

The dialogue began with the question if we have crossed even the first stage of digital darwinism yet. The author revealed that the theory behind the term was that there would be a post-digital age where we rethink the world around us in the new context with technology, admitting that we are not as close to it as we might think. While the pandemic has accelerated the change in consumer behaviour to become more technology-focused, we are only perhaps 10 per cent in.

(This is an executive summary of the session, and the longer version will be uploaded in the coming days)Read all insightful sessions here

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DigiPlus Conclave: Optimism and imagination are key approaches for dealing with technology - ETBrandEquity.com

Excerpt: Darwinism and Design – Discovery Institute

Editors note: We are delighted to celebrate the publication of the new book A Mousetrap for Darwin: Michael J. Behe Answers His Critics. What follows is an excerpt. Darwinism and Design was published originally as a letter to the editor in Trends in Ecology and Evolution 12, No. 6 (June 1997): 229.

Authors note: One of the earliest reviews of my book Darwins Black Box was by Oxford evolutionary biologist Tom Cavalier-Smith. I had discussed some of his musings rather unfavorably in the book, and he returned the favor in the review.

In his review of my book Darwins Black Box, which is critical of Darwinian theory, Tom Cavalier-Smith alternates between calling me ignorant and calling me deceitful, but finally seems to conclude that I am intentionally dishonest because of my religious views. I do not wish to descend into acrimony, so let me state plainly that my religious convictions can easily accommodate a Darwinian explanation for life, and I said so in my book. I have no motive, religious or otherwise, to be dishonest. I wrote the book (which I knew would be controversial) out of a straightforward, professional conviction that many complex biochemical systems are beyond Darwinian explanation.

Well, I am not dishonest, but am I ignorant? Perhaps so. No one can be completely in command of the literature, and I would be very happy to be shown citations to published work explaining in detail how complex biochemical systems evolved by natural selection. However, Professor Cavalier-Smith says there is no such work: For none of the cases mentioned by Behe is there yet a comprehensive and detailed explanation of the probable steps in the evolution of the observed complexity. The problems have indeed been sorely neglected. Yet he thinks that, even if detailed explanations are unavailable, general explanations are in hand. He cites ten references in his review. Of the ten, half refer to his own work, only four are published in this decade, and only two are reports of original research. From my point of view, in all of the cited papers the evolutionary explanation takes the form System X developed because it would help the cell to do Y, without noticing the difficulties of making X by a blind process. Its like saying, Air conditioners developed to enable more people to work indoors in the summertime.

Much of the difficulty arises in the differing standards that different disciplines have for what constitutes an explanation. Biochemists require molecular detail. Cavalier-Smith, however, does not. (Indeed, he even castigates Trends in Biochemical Sciences for noticing engineering design in biochemical systems.) Darwinian evolution, though, would necessarily have to take place at the nut-and-bolt molecular level, the domain of biochemistry. A Darwinian evolutionary explanation, therefore, has to be a detailed biochemical explanation. None currently exist. By itself this fact doesnt justify the conclusion of intelligent design that I reach. (I also advance other arguments for design in my book.) But by itself the absence of detailed Darwinian explanations should provoke more thoughtfulness than was shown in Cavalier-Smiths review.

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Excerpt: Darwinism and Design - Discovery Institute

Darwin’s Finches: Galpagos Islands as an Evolutionary Model – Discovery Institute

Photo: Medium tree finch, by Jody O'Connor, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Authors note: Are Darwins finchesa particularly compelling example of speciation as well as evolution in action? In a series of posts, I have offered some notes on the question of whether macroevolution is happening on the Galpagos Islands.Please find the full series here.

Taking the facts and arguments presented together, it appears to be clear that no macroevolution is happening in Darwins finches on the Galpagos Islands.

The following is the English translation of some especially relevant and up-to-date points from a discussion1with Professor Dr. Reinhard W. Kaplan 1991. He was the director of the Institute of Microbiology (Lehrstuhl fr Mikrobiologie) at the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Universitt, Frankfurt am Main2. He did not continue the discussion.

Evolution on an isolated island like the Galpagos,

The evolution on the Galpagos Islands is one of the best examples against the model favored by Prof. K. Because starting from the isolated island, the new founder populations should grow rapidly, continuously add beneficial hereditary changes, quickly displace their original populations and thereby become large populations themselves. It is now just one of the more recent significant biological discoveries thatisland populations do not meet the criteria (which are decisive for the question of the correctness of neo-Darwinism) fordisplacement of the original populations and expansion into large populations. In this context I refer to the excellent monograph by J. A. Drake et al. (1989), Biological Invasions(Wiley, Chichester, New York).

Would it really occur to anyone that the Galpagos finches might conquer mainland South America, displace populations there, and, if transferred to southern Europe and Africa, spread in the same way as, e.g., the European house sparrows in North America?

It is exactly the other way around: the island populations must be protected from invasion by widespread continental species! Braun reports (1989, p. 86) empirically derived rules for this question, for example: Isolated environments with a low diversity of native species tend to be differentially susceptible to invasion. species that are successful invaders tend to be native to continents and to extensive, non-isolated habitats within continents (p. 92). The fact thatthere are almost no good examples of successful invaders of continents that have come from small islandsand other depauperate faunas suggests that biotic resistance from diverse native species can be effective in repelling invaders (p. 96) (emphasis added, here as in quotations throughout this post).

Macdonald et al. 1989, p. 234: Although only a small percentage of the worlds land and freshwater avifauna occurs on oceanic islands93% of the 93 species and 83 subspecies of birds that have become extinct since 1600 AD have been island forms (King, 1985).

Honegger (1981, p. 235) lists two amphibians and 28 reptile taxa known to have become extinct since 1600 AD.The reptiles were all island forms and introduced species are implicated in the extinction of at least eight of them and one of the two amphibians.

Loope et al. 1989, p. 272: The rigor of natural selection in such an evolving insular system may be relaxed by a large number of bottle necks (founder events) many groups have undergone in island hopping. in many instances (the island forms)may not be so well adapted as the general purpose genotypes of invasive introduced species.

Pimm 1989, p. 355: Species with larger ranges were more likely to be successful than species with smaller ranges. Many introductions will succeed only if their numbers can increase quickly, beyond the small population size where extinction is likely. The same author on p. 352: The chance of extinction rapidly increases as population sizes decrease.Even in a perfectly constant environment, small populations face risk of extinction from demographic accidentsthe chance fluctuations of deaths and births, and consequent changes of numbers and sex ratios.Another risk of becoming extinct is a low rate of population growth.

The latter observations are particularly informative for the question of the evolution of species in small populations in 100,000 to 10,000,000 years (see Prof. K. above). The postulated macroevolution is unlikely for demographic and genetic reasons and can therefore not be accepted as a general rule for the origin of species.

Other authors have come to similar conclusions. Wills (1990, p. 398) discusses the problem in connection with mitochondrial Eva and an average population size of 5,000 women: Such small sizes would have to be maintained for thousands of yearswith an attendant risk of extinction. And he makes the following comparison: The risk posed to the survival of the population in [this] case isequivalent to the risk of crossing the Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

Rabb and Lacy 1990, p. 612, on the topic of endangered-species biology:

Genetic homogeneity can imperil a species, but such inbreeding occurs as a consequence of population decline and fragmentation. It is just one of several interacting factors that come into play when a population becomes so small that its fate is determined more by randomness than by fitness. Once populations are reduced and isolated, deleterious genetic and demographic factors ensue that serve to weaken further the survival of the species. The smaller populations also become progressively more vulnerable to environmental catastrophes. Even with amelioration of environmental circumstances, for example, provision of security in protected areas or zoological parks a species may go too far down the so-called extinction vortex of multiple causes to be recoverable.

Small populations over large numbers of generations with many recessive mutations are thereforean extremely unfavorable starting point for explaining the sudden appearance of Cambrian and other life forms and the fact that the temporal maxima of the construction plans and higher systematic categories occur before the lower ones!

With populations of approximately 10,000 individuals (see above: 5,000 women) and 1 million generations, 10 billion individuals would have been necessary for speciation. Was there really no chance of fossilization? The geologists Bennison and Wright, following the work of Shaw,calculate an average of 1 fossil per 1 million individuals! Even Galpagos finches have been found in fossil form! (See Grant 1984). And what about foraminifera, corals, brachiopods, cephalopods, etc., which are so well documented?

Galpagos, where Darwin received inspiration for his theory.

According to several historians of science, this is a myth. Darwin was only made aware of the differences in, e.g.,Mimus species by ornithologist John Gould after his return to England. In retrospect, he [Darwin] was astonished at what he saw there (Berry 1984, p. 1).

The following from Sull0ways paper (1982, pp. 57-58) on TheBeagleCollections of Darwins Finches(Geospizinae)3and my subsequent comment are an addition made September 23, 2020 (the footnotes are Sulliways):

The celebrated ornithologist John Gould, who was closely associated with the Zoological Society, lost no time in examining and naming the unusual finches that Darwin had brought back from the Galpagos Islands. At the very next meeting of the society (10 January), Gould described these birds as twelve new species, which he placed in one genus and two closely allied subgenera (Geospiza,Cactornis, andCamarhynchus). Moreover, he astutely realized the basic peculiarity of these finches, namely, that thebill appears to form only a secondary character. Soon afterwards Gould recognizedCerthidea olivacea, the Warbler Finch, as a thirteenth species of the group, belonging to yet another genus16.

Darwin, who was at this time residing in Cambridge, did not learn of the details of Goulds analysis until he moved to London in early March of 1837 in order to have closer contact with the specialists working on his collections. Goulds findings, communicated to Darwin during a meeting with the eminent ornithologist,provided Darwin with a number of surprises17.While in theGalpagos, Darwin had been rather unclear about the precise relationship among the various finchlike species he had encountered there. In particular, he had misidentified several finch species as the forms that they, through extensive evolutionary radiation, now appear to mimic. For example, he had considered theCactus Finch,Cactornis scandens, to be a member of the Icteridae (the family of the orioles and blackbirds); and he had classified the Warbler Finch,Certhidea olivacea, as a wren, or warbler. It appears, moreover, that Darwin initially distinguished as separate species of finches only 6 of the eventual 13 forms that Gould named in early 1837.Hence Darwins finches only really became Darwinsfinchesafter Gould rectified many of Darwins earlier field misclassifications, and thereby clarified the unity and complexity of the group18. More important still for Darwins evolutionary thinking, Gould (1837d) declared that 3 of the 4 island forms ofGalpagosmockingbird brought to England by Darwin were distinct species, a possibility that Darwin had already asserted would undermine the stability of Species. For the Galpagosas a whole, Gould pronounced 25 of the 26 land birds as new and distinct forms found nowhere else in the world.Darwin was frankly stunned, not only by the realization that three separate species of mockingbirds indeed inhabited the different islands of the Galpagos, but also by the fact that most of these Galpagosspecies, even though new, were closely related to those found on the American continent19. His conversion to the theory of evolution, which took place shortly after his meeting with Gould in March of 1837, was a direct consequence of these two conclusions.

This conversion constitutes, in fact, an astonishing confusion and misunderstanding of the morphological species concept (cf.here) by Darwin as well as Sulloway.

This branching out (typogenesis) usually happens relatively quickly, as the pace of evolution is usually high during adjustment to new niches (ways of life).

Typogenesis did not take place in the Galpagos! Even the formation of species in the finches is still doubtful: Intersterility is not known in Darwins finches. Intrageneric hybrids among ground finches are certainly both viable and fertile and probably the same is true for intergeneric hybrids between tree finches and warbler finches (Grant 1986, p. 353). [S]ix species of Geospizina (finches) in the Galpagos Islands show a genetic distance from 0.004 to 0.065 (Nei 1987, p. 245). In humans, the differences are between 0.01 and 0.03. The small genetic distances of islanders are in clear contrast to the morphological differences that we also find in domestic animals. (These are further proofs that morphological and genetic distances need not be coupled with each other.)

Nei continues:

With domestic animals one normally refrains from establishing new systematic species and genera, in nature, however, one creates numerous morphospecies and morphogenera, regardless of the genetic situation, which are often used uncritically as evidence of evolution.

In their study, Loop et al. (1989, pp. 271-272) pointed to the general trend of little genetic distance between morphologically and ecologically strongly diverging (but closely related) island species. In the HawaiianTetramolopium(Asteraceae), for example, Lowry and Crawford examined 19 populations of 7 species: The mean genetic identity for pairwise comparisonis 0.95, a very high value normally obtained for conspecific plant populations.'

TheflightlessGalpagoscormorants clearly illustrate the degeneration of structures, a process that seems to occur rather quickly in small populations through inbreeding involving homozygous occurrence of numerous recessive alleles (already accumulated in previous larger populations).

What we detecthere is not typogenesis, but typolysis! This also explains the low resistance of island populations to invaders and the high rate of extinction.

The comparison with domestic animals illustrates the situation in several aspects. In both groups we find:

Conclusion: No explanation of the paleontological findings (among others)!

If a niche has been occupied for a long time by a species that fully utilizes it, rich in individuals, progressive hereditary variants are rare for a long time, and evolution seems to stagnate (typostasis). If adverse environmental changes are not absorbed (buffered) by hereditary variants resistant to them, the population will die out.

Since the species with a large number of individuals, due to the recurrent mutations that occur regularly, must have a significantly greater allelic potential than a small population, it is questionable why the former may have unfavorable environmental conditions to which they cannot not adapt, while the individual poor population with low genetic potential (see above) should be capable of rapid evolution! As a rule,the widespread specieswith its much greater genetic potential should be able to adapt to the new conditions in many places at the same time through allele substitution and thusshould have better chances of survival than the small population with its few possibilities in the same situation which, as we have seen is, in fact, the case.

According to the theory, the pace of evolution can vary from (geologically) fast to slow, depending on the circumstances.

Since the term evolution implies the origin of all forms of life, it should be noted here that Prof. K.s theory cannot explain the origin of the primary species or the higher systematic categories and Bauplne. According to the available findings, it is the pace of degeneration that can vary rapidly to slowly, depending on the circumstances geologically.

For a full presentation of this series including supplements, please see my Internet Library here.

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Darwin's Finches: Galpagos Islands as an Evolutionary Model - Discovery Institute

Agency Darwinism: Will Covid-19 force the agency world to drag itself into the future? – The Drum

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

Charles Darwin

Us agency folk like to think of ourselves as forward-thinking, and we constantly extol the virtues of new technology to our clients. However, we are also an industry steeped in nostalgia, and many of us gaze back through rose-tinted glasses at the bygone eras of mythologised titans like Bernbach and Ogilvy.

Media has undeniably morphed into a different animal since the advent of digital, but how much has the way we work actually changed?

Will Covid-19 prove to be the catalyst for positive evolution?

Historically, many media and performance agencies have enjoyed a heavily office-centric culture and ways of working. While flexi working has always been a popular perk, many of us still relied on in-person collaboration and communication.

However, over the past few months, we have all been thrown into a new norm and have had to get to grips with it at lightning speed. As a result, many have fully embraced the new methods intrinsic to working from home and this enforced period of remote working has proved to be a surprisingly successful launch pad for a new working model for many businesses, with agencies being no exception.

With less face-to-face time available with clients, agencies may move towards regional, or even offshore, options. More flexible and remote working, could provide the catalyst that has been needed to accelerate the industrys inclusiveness. Many agencies will not solely consider a London based work-force but employ those from various geographical locations, and also different lifestyles than before. It could be more realistic for working parents or those with disabilities that are unable to travel, for example to re-enter the job market and work either full or part time from home.

This change will hopefully enable ad land to be less of an echo chamber and benefit from greater diversity, making it more representative of the wider population and thus more effective at communicating with them.

Will flexible ways of working lead to greater creative output?

The daily grind of commuting and rigid work schedules can strip creative headspace for some. This new norm may lead to not only greater creativity in our actual work, but also creativity around how we work; exploring new approaches and ways of working which may lead to even better output. We have the freedom to figure out what works for our businesses to get to where we want to be, without restriction. Lockdown has forced agencies to introduce huge operational shifts across strategies, lines of communication, approach, and implementation, and in some cases look at the business as a whole - flexing or scaling back accordingly.

We have the opportunity to ask ourselves, what will be the very best way to approach things and act accordingly, without an accepted norm limiting this.

We have also had to ask ourselves; do we still have the correct product offering for the new market and our clients, or do we need to expand in certain product lines or service offerings?

At the start of the pandemic we spoke to many of our clients about tech innovation to support their businesses as they adapted to consumers new priorities, and quickly developed a proposition with our voice agency Rabbit & Pork for clients to use to support their call centres, automating responses to simple questions, enabling customer support staff to focus on more complex queries.

We are increasingly talking to clients about more project based work and are seeing great success in our web development & design agency Kitty, with many brands focusing on developing their website either to offer more information to users who are conducting more research during this period of uncertainty or those who are looking to drive more revenue from their website, particularly if they have bricks & mortar real estate. We are continuing to adapt our offering ; joining forces with tech partners and digital transformation companies to deliver end to end for our clients.

We saw a shift in C-suite focus between Q1 and Q2 of this year, with CFOs at the start of the year focusing on cost cutting and where possible minimising the pandemics impact to their business whereas the focus in Q2 was to increase their revenues after lockdown; albeit with a now different business shape.

Those agencies best positioned to survive (and thrive) are those nimble enough to flex their operating models to meet the rapidly changing needs of clients and revised focus. Due to our strong partnerships with our clients we have been able to provide flexible commercial arrangements to support our clients through difficult periods of the pandemic, ensuring continuity of agency service.

In order for us to do this we needed to take a look at our margins, and where we are able to be flexible; naturally this is focused around cost base reduction. A central London office that used to house 70 members of agency staff may not be necessary in totality for a year or more. We have seen tech giant Google allowing their staff to work from home until at least July 2021. This coupled with increased productivity from having a more flexible ratio of working from home and working from the office means that we are seeing more tasks being accomplished in the same number of hours.

There will still be requirements for collaborative in-person working, however a huge amount can be completed with a well planned out virtual team meeting and were encouraging our staff to think ahead of meetings, as well as during to ensure proactive outcomes.

Added value for us now is as much about using the time that was spent commuting, or travelling longer distances for meetings to improve our processes for collaborative virtual working, with increasingly more creative ideas of how we can work for and with our clients. Quicker more regular contact with our clients has enabled us to truly be partners with our clients, perhaps more so than before.

Jessica Hollingbery, associate marketing director, TIPi Group

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TIPi Group

TIPi Group is an award winning network of specialist digital agencies. Our agencies are built on performance and profitability and share an ambition to use the power of digital to shape the future.

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Agency Darwinism: Will Covid-19 force the agency world to drag itself into the future? - The Drum

Alfred Russel Wallace: Shedding Light on Darwin’s Shadow – Discovery Institute

Co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace broke with Charles Darwin over scientific questions that today point scientists to intelligent design. He arguments are more pertinent now than ever.

From Shedding Light on Darwins Shadow, the introduction to the newly released Intelligent Evolution: How Alfred Russel Wallaces World of Life Challenged Darwinism, edited by science historian Michael Flannery:

Darwinian theists, in fact, share a peculiarly inflated view of nature with many atheists. Noted atheist Daniel Dennett, for example, praises Nature as a wonderful wedding of chance and necessity that leaves him in awe of its sacred magnificence. Similarly, Richard Dawkins talks of the power [of the Darwinian worldview] to dissolve astronomical improbabilities and explain prodigies of apparent miracle. Darwinian theist Karl Giberson exclaims, Nature is grand on so many levels. Does this grandeur have something to do with the fact that it was created by God? Giberson thinks so, but offers little in the way of evidence for that something other than his own feelings. Fellow-traveler Ken Miller is just as transported by it all as he waxes eloquent about chance and wonder and how we should take genuine delight in knowing that we are the products of the natural world, a world the specifics of which could have turned out quite differently. [Deborah] Haarsma [president of the Darwinian theist think tank BioLogos], on the other hand, is more passionate about seeing Gods hand at work in natural processes, and explicitly argues that Natural laws are a testimony to Gods faithful providential care as he upholds the existence of all matter and mechanisms moment by moment, but the underlying mechanisms where she sees the hand of God are . . . largely blind. A providential hand cannot at the same time be a blind one. C. S. Lewis once quipped, Nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.

No amount of numinous language can alter historian/philosopher Arthur Koestlers observation [in The Sleep Walkers (1959)] concerning the rise of philosophical reductionism of the kind ushered in by the Darwinian paradigm. The space-spirit hierarchy was replaced by the space-time continuum as an intelligent spiritual world gave way to a blind law-based nature:

As a result, mans destiny was no longer determined from above by a super-human wisdom and will, but from below by the subhuman agencies of glands, genes, atoms, or waves of probability. This shift of the locus of destiny was decisive. So long as destiny had operated from a level of hierarchy higher than mans own, it had not only shaped his fate, but also guided his conscience and imbued the world with meaning and value. The new masters of destiny were placed lower in the scale than the being they controlled; they could determine his fate, but could provide him with no moral guidance, no values and meaning. A puppet of the Gods is a tragic figure, but a puppet suspended on chromosomes is merely grotesque.

Wallace natures prophet saw this dire assessment long before Koestler. His World of Life offers an alternative. His was an effort to restore nature to the space-spirit hierarchy it once knew.

And that space-spirit hierarchy seems to be confirmed with every new discovery.

There is much more to tell than this excerpt can convey. Read more and learn more from Wallaces own World of Life. You can order it for yourself here.

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Alfred Russel Wallace: Shedding Light on Darwin's Shadow - Discovery Institute

Darwinism Paved the Way to Our Perilous Cultural Moment – Discovery Institute

Photo: Portland riot, by Tedder / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0).

The year so far has delivered a stunning lesson in the fragility of freedom and of civilization. Endless lockdowns matched with urban chaos its hard to believe these two shattering phenomena overlapped entirely by accident. How exactly, though, do they relate? At Mind Matters, Michael Egnor suggests Darwinism as a missing link.

Egnor cites Plato, as analyzed by philosopher Edward Feser. Plato charted a devolution in forms of government, from what he regarded as the best (a sort of philosophical aristocracy) to oligarchy, timocracy, issuing in base democracy, followed by tyranny. Egnor understands totalitarianism Nazism and Communism as the special modern iteration of tyranny, which received its scientific imprimatur from the theory of Darwinian evolution.

The transformation of tyranny to totalitarianism, as explained by philosopher Hannah Arendt (19061975) is Darwinian. Arendt notes that

Darwinism met with such overwhelming success [in totalitarian systems] because it provided, on the basis of inheritance, the ideological weapons for race and well as class rule

Underlying the Nazis belief in race laws as the expression of the law of nature in man, is Darwins idea of man as the product of a natural development which does not necessarily stop with the present species of human beings, just as under the Bolsheviks belief in class-struggle as the expression of the law of history lies Marxs notion of society as the product of a gigantic historical movement which races according to its own law of motion to the end of historical times when it will abolish itself.

Nazism was clearly inspired in no small part by Darwins theory and Arendt notes that Marx and Engels explicitly credited Darwin with insights essential to Marxism. She points out,

the great and positive interest Marx took in Darwins theories; Engels could not think of a greater compliment to Marxs scholarly achievements than to call him the Darwin of history the movement of history and the movement of nature are on and the same.

This is not to say that Darwin caused totalitarianism. Totalitarians were on the scene a century before Darwin. Marx also drew heavily from Hegels World-Spirit metaphysics and from Feuerbachs atheism and materialist anthropology. But Darwin provided a naturalist rationale a scientific imprimatur for the indispensable characteristic of totalitarian movements, which is the claim that their triumph is an inexorable natural movement. In the Platonic scheme, totalitarians are tyrants (thugs) who rule not by their mere base lusts but by a fanatic devotion to an ideology of human evolution biological/racial evolution (Hitler) or economic/class evolution (Marx, Lenin, Mao).

In each totalitarian variant of tyranny, the pandemonium of late democracy is atomized, terrorized, and paralyzed, like a herd of unruly cattle stampeded in a single direction dictated by the alleged irresistible laws of nature. Totalitarianism is, in short, the tyranny of guided evolution. Thus, Darwin provided a scientific imprimatur for this modern mutation of ordinary Platonic tyranny.

In other words, Darwinism provides a framework and pretext for totalitarian thinking, which sees itself as fulfilling an evolutionary destiny. You can have totalitarian tyranny without Darwin, but the idea of evolution paves the way.

Does this sound overstated? Melodramatic? It would be interesting to ask Cliff Mass. The University of Washington climate scientist took a two-hour walking tour last week through largely abandoned and boarded up downtown Seattle. From lockdown to looting and riot, our once-lovely city has been on a mad plunge to suicide. On his blog, Mass compared what has happened to the city to Kristallnacht, the November 9, 1938 Night of Broken Glass in Hitlers Germany. An online mob came for Professor Mass for that one, and he got cancelled from his gig commenting on the weather the weather! for NPR. Analogies are always risky, especially when they encompass anything to do with the Nazis. But he wasnt entirely off-base. While Nazis rampaged against Jewish businesses, Antifa and other protestors have targeted all business and normal life in general. The government in both cases winked at it, while good people were afraid to speak out.

In 2020, our culture could well be poised on the edge of something still darker than what weve seen so far. Antifa was at it once more last night in Seattle, as Chicago again witnessed rampant looting and anti-police violence. And then there is the ongoing chaos in Portland. Hannah Arendt would not have seen such mayhem and the isolation and powerlessness of lockdown as separate and unrelated. In Michael Egnors reading, neither would Plato. The pandemonium of late democracy walks hand in hand with atomization, terror, and paralysis. The contribution of evolutionary ideology in getting us here should not be neglected.

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Darwinism Paved the Way to Our Perilous Cultural Moment - Discovery Institute

Ignoring the Obvious: Convergent Evolution in Strickberger’s Evolution – Discovery Institute

Photo: Ernst Mayr, by University of Konstanz / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5).

Editors note:Dr. Shedingeris a Professor of Religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He is the author of a recent book critiquing Darwinian triumphalism,The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms. See also the earlier entries in this series:

The phenomenon of convergent evolution is well documented in the literature of evolutionary biology. In StrickbergersEvolution, Brian K. Hall and Benedikt Hallgrimsson make frequent reference to it. But what does it mean? In the 19th century, St. George Jackson Mivart made convergence a central aspect of his criticism of theOrigin of Species. If the variations on which natural selection acts are produced randomly, Mivart reasoned, one would expect different kinds of variations to arise in geographically isolated populations, leading to evolutionary divergence, not convergence. But the latter is what we see. StrickbergersEvolution, while acknowledging the reality of convergence, tries mightily to ignore the non-Darwinian character of this phenomenon, leading to some striking inconsistencies.

In a chapter outlining evidence for evolution we read:

The evolution of different organisms, or parts of organisms, in similar directions convergent evolution (convergence) indicates that selection for similar features in different evolutionary lineages can, and often does, lead to functionally similar anatomical structures.

But how and why do these similar features arise in different lineages so that natural selection can preserve them? Hall and Hallgrimsson do not say. They even note that air-breathing evolved 67 times, but ignore the larger implications of how such a complex series of similar mutations could occur repeatedly if the mutations are produced without reference to the needs of the organism, or randomly.

This problem becomes even more acute when Hall and Hallgrimsson write:

As in parallelism, convergence derives from the exposure of different lineages to similar environmental factors evincing similar selective forces. Common adaptive features thus can be attained in each group through independent genetic changes.

But selection does not produce the independent genetic changes. It only preserves them once they arise. The phenomenon of convergence thus raises real questions about just how independent those genetic changes are. Also, by focusing so much on the environment as driving evolutionary change, do Hall and Hallgrimsson realize they sound a lot more like Lamarck than they do Darwin?

Nevertheless, in a startling reversal on the very next page, Hall and Hallgrimsson contradict everything they have just said in a discussion of the work of Sandra Mitchell, a philosopher of science who proposed a scheme of hierarchical levels of complexity in organisms. The third level of her hierarchy is called evolved complexity, the principle that similar adaptive challenges have resulted in a diversity of forms of organisms, not a single form. But I thought similar adaptive challenges drove evolution to produce similar adaptive forms! Hall and Hallgrimsson ignore the contradiction.

In fact, just two pages later, seemingly unaware of Mitchells work whichtheycited, they write:

When similar organisms are exposed to similar environments in different localities, evolution can produce strikingly convergent or parallel features, whether a structure, function, or behavior.

Mitchell is correct that Darwins theory predicts evolutionary divergence. Unfortunately for Darwin, evolutionary convergence is often what we observe.

Still, Hall and Hallgrimsson press on undeterred by this gap between theory and observation. In a discussion of plant evolution we read:

Not surprisingly, these beautiful adaptations reflectconvergenceas selection under similar environmental conditions produced similar plant phenotypes in different lineages residing in different geographical localities.

George Ledyard Stebbins, the biologist who brought botany into the fold of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1940s, also wrestled with the meaning of convergence among plants. He saw convergence as evidence for some type of guiding force in plant evolution either natural selection or orthogenesis. As an orthodox Darwinian, Stebbins discarded orthogenesis as a possibility and opted for natural selection by default. But observing how plants with primitive features continue to exist alongside plants with more evolved features, rather than the latter replacing the former, Stebbins wrote:

The differentiation of orders and families of flowering plants through the action of natural selection under present conditions is well-nigh impossible to imagine.

I couldnt agree more. And this is the reason the phenomenon of convergence still stands as a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution, just as Mivart understood as early as the 1870s.

More recently, paleontologist Simon Conway Morris has made convergent evolution the focus of his work. In a striking passage Conway Morris writes:

Wherever one looks it seems as if evolution has very little choice. If, then, we can discover the details of the metaphysical map across which life must navigate to the very few available solutions, then are we not on the threshold of a predictive biology? This view of life cuts cleanly across one of the central areas of neo-Darwinian thinking, an area that insists on the randomness of evolution and the unpredictability of its outcomes.

Such an idea is, of course, anathema to the biological establishment. According to Conway Morris, the best way to enrage an evolutionary biologist is to sidle up and suggest that evolution has a remarkable directionality. If you are lucky, he quips, all youll need is a clean handkerchief to dab the spots of spittle, but sometimes the response is closer to foaming.

Remarkably, even Ernst Mayr (pictured above) was forced to tacitly acknowledge the challenge to Darwinism posed by convergence. Earlier in his career, Mayr agreed with Francois Jacob that a tinkerer made a better analogy for the action of natural selection than an engineer. Engineering was just too teleological a comparison for a process said to have no foresight or directionality. But in his final bookWhat Evolution Is, written in his nineties, Mayr positively marveled at the phenomenon of convergence:

Convergence illustrates beautifully how selection is able to make use of the intrinsic variability of organisms to engineer adapted types for almost any kind of environmental niche.

So much for the tinkerer bumbling about in his garage. Natural selection, according to Mayr, does work more like the intelligent engineer after all.

StrickbergersEvolutionrepeatedly acknowledges the widespread nature of the phenomenon of convergent evolution. But by consistently ignoring the profound challenge convergence poses to Darwinian natural selection, the textbook denies students the opportunity to grapple with big and important questions about the history of life on Earth, questions that got the attention of Mivart in the 1870s, Conway Morris more recently, and that even did not escape the notice of Ernst Mayr. This greatly undermines the very educational process a textbook should be designed to foster.

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Ignoring the Obvious: Convergent Evolution in Strickberger's Evolution - Discovery Institute

Darwinism – Wikipedia

This article is about concepts called Darwinism. For biological evolution in general, see evolution. For modern evolutionary theories, see Modern synthesis. For Wallace's defence of the theory of natural selection, see Darwinism (book).

Theory of biological evolution

Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (18091882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual's ability to compete, survive, and reproduce. Also called Darwinian theory, it originally included the broad concepts of transmutation of species or of evolution which gained general scientific acceptance after Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, including concepts which predated Darwin's theories. English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[1]

Darwinism subsequently referred to the specific concepts of natural selection, the Weismann barrier, or the central dogma of molecular biology.[2] Though the term usually refers strictly to biological evolution, creationists[who?] have appropriated it to refer to the origin of life.[3] It is therefore considered the belief and acceptance of Darwin's and of his predecessors' work, in place of other concepts, including divine design and extraterrestrial origins.[4][5]

English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley coined the term Darwinism in April 1860.[1] It was used to describe evolutionary concepts in general, including earlier concepts published by English philosopher Herbert Spencer. Many of the proponents of Darwinism at that time, including Huxley, had reservations about the significance of natural selection, and Darwin himself gave credence to what was later called Lamarckism. The strict neo-Darwinism of German evolutionary biologist August Weismann gained few supporters in the late 19th century. During the approximate period of the 1880s to about 1920, sometimes called "the eclipse of Darwinism", scientists proposed various alternative evolutionary mechanisms which eventually proved untenable. The development of the modern synthesis in the early 20th century, incorporating natural selection with population genetics and Mendelian genetics, revived Darwinism in an updated form.[6]

While the term Darwinism has remained in use amongst the public when referring to modern evolutionary theory, it has increasingly been argued by science writers such as Olivia Judson and Eugenie Scott that it is an inappropriate term for modern evolutionary theory.[7][8] For example, Darwin was unfamiliar with the work of the Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel,[9] and as a result had only a vague and inaccurate understanding of heredity. He naturally had no inkling of later theoretical developments and, like Mendel himself, knew nothing of genetic drift, for example.[10][11]

In the United States, creationists often use the term "Darwinism" as a pejorative term in reference to beliefs such as scientific materialism, but in the United Kingdom the term has no negative connotations, being freely used as a shorthand for the body of theory dealing with evolution, and in particular, with evolution by natural selection.[7]

While the term Darwinism had been used previously to refer to the work of Erasmus Darwin in the late 18th century, the term as understood today was introduced when Charles Darwin's 1859 book On the Origin of Species was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review.[13] Having hailed the book as "a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism" promoting scientific naturalism over theology, and praising the usefulness of Darwin's ideas while expressing professional reservations about Darwin's gradualism and doubting if it could be proved that natural selection could form new species,[14] Huxley compared Darwin's achievement to that of Nicolaus Copernicus in explaining planetary motion:

What if the orbit of Darwinism should be a little too circular? What if species should offer residual phenomena, here and there, not explicable by natural selection? Twenty years hence naturalists may be in a position to say whether this is, or is not, the case; but in either event they will owe the author of "The Origin of Species" an immense debt of gratitude.... And viewed as a whole, we do not believe that, since the publication of Von Baer's "Researches on Development," thirty years ago, any work has appeared calculated to exert so large an influence, not only on the future of Biology, but in extending the domination of Science over regions of thought into which she has, as yet, hardly penetrated.[1]

These are the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection as defined by Darwin:

Another important evolutionary theorist of the same period was the Russian geographer and prominent anarchist Peter Kropotkin who, in his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), advocated a conception of Darwinism counter to that of Huxley. His conception was centred around what he saw as the widespread use of co-operation as a survival mechanism in human societies and animals. He used biological and sociological arguments in an attempt to show that the main factor in facilitating evolution is cooperation between individuals in free-associated societies and groups. This was in order to counteract the conception of fierce competition as the core of evolution, which provided a rationalization for the dominant political, economic and social theories of the time; and the prevalent interpretations of Darwinism, such as those by Huxley, who is targeted as an opponent by Kropotkin. Kropotkin's conception of Darwinism could be summed up by the following quote:

In the animal world we have seen that the vast majority of species live in societies, and that they find in association the best arms for the struggle for life: understood, of course, in its wide Darwinian sensenot as a struggle for the sheer means of existence, but as a struggle against all natural conditions unfavourable to the species. The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress. The mutual protection which is obtained in this case, the possibility of attaining old age and of accumulating experience, the higher intellectual development, and the further growth of sociable habits, secure the maintenance of the species, its extension, and its further progressive evolution. The unsociable species, on the contrary, are doomed to decay.[15]

Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (1902), Conclusion

"Darwinism" soon came to stand for an entire range of evolutionary (and often revolutionary) philosophies about both biology and society. One of the more prominent approaches, summed in the 1864 phrase "survival of the fittest" by Herbert Spencer, later became emblematic of Darwinism even though Spencer's own understanding of evolution (as expressed in 1857) was more similar to that of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck than to that of Darwin, and predated the publication of Darwin's theory in 1859. What is now called "Social Darwinism" was, in its day, synonymous with "Darwinism"the application of Darwinian principles of "struggle" to society, usually in support of anti-philanthropic political agenda. Another interpretation, one notably favoured by Darwin's half-cousin Francis Galton, was that "Darwinism" implied that because natural selection was apparently no longer working on "civilized" people, it was possible for "inferior" strains of people (who would normally be filtered out of the gene pool) to overwhelm the "superior" strains, and voluntary corrective measures would be desirablethe foundation of eugenics.

In Darwin's day there was no rigid definition of the term "Darwinism", and it was used by opponents and proponents of Darwin's biological theory alike to mean whatever they wanted it to in a larger context. The ideas had international influence, and Ernst Haeckel developed what was known as Darwinismus in Germany, although, like Spencer's "evolution", Haeckel's "Darwinism" had only a rough resemblance to the theory of Charles Darwin, and was not centered on natural selection.[16] In 1886, Alfred Russel Wallace went on a lecture tour across the United States, starting in New York and going via Boston, Washington, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska to California, lecturing on what he called "Darwinism" without any problems.[17]

In his book Darwinism (1889), Wallace had used the term pure-Darwinism which proposed a "greater efficacy" for natural selection.[18][19] George Romanes dubbed this view as "Wallaceism", noting that in contrast to Darwin, this position was advocating a "pure theory of natural selection to the exclusion of any supplementary theory."[20][21] Taking influence from Darwin, Romanes was a proponent of both natural selection and the inheritance of acquired characteristics. The latter was denied by Wallace who was a strict selectionist.[22] Romanes' definition of Darwinism conformed directly with Darwin's views and was contrasted with Wallace's definition of the term.[23]

The term Darwinism is often used in the United States by promoters of creationism, notably by leading members of the intelligent design movement, as an epithet to attack evolution as though it were an ideology (an "ism") of philosophical naturalism, or atheism.[24] For example, in 1993, UC Berkeley law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson made this accusation of atheism with reference to Charles Hodge's 1874 book What Is Darwinism?.[25] However, unlike Johnson, Hodge confined the term to exclude those like American botanist Asa Gray who combined Christian faith with support for Darwin's natural selection theory, before answering the question posed in the book's title by concluding: "It is Atheism."[26][27] Darwinism is an attempt to explain "design without a designer", according to evolutionary biologist Francisco J. Ayala.[28]

Creationists use pejoratively the term Darwinism to imply that the theory has been held as true only by Darwin and a core group of his followers, whom they cast as dogmatic and inflexible in their belief.[29] In the 2008 documentary film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, which promotes intelligent design (ID), American writer and actor Ben Stein refers to scientists as Darwinists. Reviewing the film for Scientific American, John Rennie says "The term is a curious throwback, because in modern biology almost no one relies solely on Darwin's original ideas... Yet the choice of terminology isn't random: Ben Stein wants you to stop thinking of evolution as an actual science supported by verifiable facts and logical arguments and to start thinking of it as a dogmatic, atheistic ideology akin to Marxism." [30]

However, Darwinism is also used neutrally within the scientific community to distinguish the modern evolutionary synthesis, which is sometimes called "neo-Darwinism", from those first proposed by Darwin. Darwinism also is used neutrally by historians to differentiate his theory from other evolutionary theories current around the same period. For example, Darwinism may refer to Darwin's proposed mechanism of natural selection, in comparison to more recent mechanisms such as genetic drift and gene flow. It may also refer specifically to the role of Charles Darwin as opposed to others in the history of evolutionary thoughtparticularly contrasting Darwin's results with those of earlier theories such as Lamarckism or later ones such as the modern evolutionary synthesis.

In political discussions in the United States, the term is mostly used by its enemies.[31] "It's a rhetorical device to make evolution seem like a kind of faith, like 'Maoism,'" says Harvard University biologist E. O. Wilson. He adds, "Scientists don't call it 'Darwinism'."[32]

In the United Kingdom the term often retains its positive sense as a reference to natural selection, and for example British atheist Richard Dawkins wrote in his collection of essays A Devil's Chaplain, published in 2003, that as a scientist he is a Darwinist.[33]

In his 1995 book Darwinian Fairytales, Australian philosopher David Stove[34] used the term "Darwinism" in a different sense than the above examples. Describing himself as non-religious and as accepting the concept of natural selection as a well-established fact, Stove nonetheless attacked what he described as flawed concepts proposed by some "Ultra-Darwinists." Stove alleged that by using weak or false ad hoc reasoning, these Ultra-Darwinists used evolutionary concepts to offer explanations that were not valid: for example, Stove suggested that the sociobiological explanation of altruism as an evolutionary feature was presented in such a way that the argument was effectively immune to any criticism. English philosopher Simon Blackburn wrote a rejoinder to Stove,[35] though a subsequent essay by Stove's proteg James Franklin[36] suggested that Blackburn's response actually "confirms Stove's central thesis that Darwinism can 'explain' anything."

In evolutionary aesthetics theory, there is evidence that perceptions of beauty are determined by natural selection and therefore Darwinian; that things, aspects of people and landscapes considered beautiful are typically found in situations likely to give enhanced survival of the perceiving human's genes.[37][38]

Evolutionary biology portal

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Darwinism - Wikipedia