Darwin Day Devolves?

I have always been perplexed as to why people would want to celebrate Darwin’s day…What has Darwins really accomplished? Was he a savior or enslavor?

Here is what Richard Dawkins wrote about Darwin:

“An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: “I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.” I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” – Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker

So, it seems clear that atheists before Darwin couldn’t have felt intellectually fulfilled because they had no logically sound explanation for the origins of life…Ever since Darwin proposed his theory of evolution atheists feel like they have found something to lean on when questioned about their lack of belief in God…

But the profound question still remains:  Had Darwin delivered? Does he deserve to be remembered as the liberator of atheists who needed him to feel intellectually fulfilled?

In Darwin Devolves book, the author Michael Behe has delivered more than a few more blows to not only already badly injured evolutionary theory but also to all those who have rest their “hope” on materialism that excludes Supernatural…  

The embarrassing rebuttals of his book, especially the bear fur color adaptation of the brown bear to the polar bear “white” fur, as well as the diet adaptation from low to moderate in fat, to very high in fat, show that Darwin Day celebrations are more about belief, or faith, rather than the actual evidence that piles up against the supposedly liberating theory Darwin proposed…

ETA: The more detail OP regarding the bear fur and fat adaption is coming up… 😉

83 thoughts on “Darwin Day Devolves?

  1. I will do an OP that will address the issues of bear’s “albinism” and fat metabolism… It should would on the day Darwin Devolves is published or on the Friday right after…These issues are very straight forward, so just be patient…
    There are more complex issue for Darwin’s boys than that though…

  2. Had Darwin delivered? Does he deserve to be remembered as the liberator of atheists who needed him to feel intellectually fulfilled?

    Why do so many people want to connect Darwin to atheism?

    What Darwin gave us, was a pretty good explanation of biological diversity. It does not require atheism to see that.

    And why the concern over “Darwin Day”? It’s not as if it is an actual holiday. It’s pretty much a meaningless honor.

  3. Neil Rickert: And why the concern over “Darwin Day”? It’s not as if it is an actual holiday. It’s pretty much a meaningless honor

    Have you celebrated?
    If not, do you desagree it should have a special honor?

  4. J-Mac: If not, do you desagree it should have a special honor?

    What’s special about it?

    It’s about the same as:

    national sewing day;
    take your daughter to work day;
    national fuck Jesus day (Ok, this one is really called “National day of prayer”. But if you are familiar with Matt 6:6, you will recognize why I suggested an alternative name).

  5. Neil Rickert: What’s special about it?

    I don’t know but you are sking the wrong person about it…
    You should ask Rum or some of the closet Darwinists at PS…

  6. Neil Rickert,

    The special attention given to Darwin every year seems really strange to me… it seems as if the atheistic version of “Jesus” has come to earth to save atheists from …whatever…

  7. Ricard Dawkins: I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied

    Sure, we all want to explain the unknown, and so if we don’t have any good explanations then that can feel unsatisfying.

    But even if we didn’t have an explanation for life’s diversity, that doesn’t mean God is true by default as Richard correctly points out. It is still entirely rational to say “we don’t know” when we don’t actually know.

    Making shit up in the mean time isn’t a pathway to discovering truth.

  8. Neil Rickert: I’m asking the person who started this thread.That would seem to be the right person.

    IMO, atheists, just like theists, possess a natural need to worship…
    Since they can’t or refuse to worship God/ID, they naturally have to find a substitute…
    This need is no different than the need to love and be loved…If people can’t find that in human relations, they turn to pets to give their love and receive it…
    It’s sad but likely true…😏

    ETA: these natural needs to worship and love; e.i. feelings, are just another examples of how effective Darwinism evolution is with its omnipotent natural selection…😉

  9. J-Mac: IMO, atheists, just like theists, possess a natural need to worship…

    How would you know? And your opinion does not strike me as particularly humble, give you believe you _know_ what an entire class of people purports to think.

    J-Mac: Since they can’t or refuse to worship God/ID, they naturally have to find a substitute…

    It’s nice that you are clear in that for you there is no distinction between God/ID. They are both one and the same thing.

    So why do you bother with ID at all?

    And have you ever considered that your reasoning is faulty? I can believe it is the case that you have the need to worship a higher power and then project that need onto others. You see in them what you yourself are.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    Psychological projection is a defence mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.

    You have an impulse to worship, therefore everybody does. Simply not true.

    The rest of what you same makes even less sense then usual. But know this, nobody “believes” in Darwin the same way you believe in Jesus. That you conflate the two just shows your total inability to see the box you are in.

  10. Rumraket: Sure, we all want to explain the unknown, and so if we don’t have any good explanations then that can feel unsatisfying.

    Sure!
    “‘We must follow the argument wherever it leads.” – Plato/Socrates

    And not where we would like the argument to lead…😉

  11. J-Mac: This need is no different than the need to love and be loved…If people can’t find that in human relations, they turn to pets to give their love and receive it…
    It’s sad but likely true…

    No pets here. Does that count as evidence against your thesis?

  12. Darwin Day seems to be very significant to more than a few people, even those who are not Darwinists… I was surprised to learn it recently…Even some “Christians” feel that Darwin was a very influential figure in the history and should be acknowledged in one way or another…
    If Darwin’s influence was negative on some dictators whose ideologies were directly, or indirectly, influenced by his theory of evolution, should he be blamed for that? In the end, should the deaths of millions of people be blamed on an ideology or the people who possibly misused it its application? Isn’t the misuse of religion to justify terrorism the same thing?

  13. Seems the human mind really dislikes ignorance, and substitutes imaginary filler as a matter of routine. Big chunks of that filler have, over the millennia, been codified into religious doctrines, so that everything gives the appearance of being explained.

    Richard Dawkins needs to expand his view a bit, because the scientific revolution has been stepping on these codified doctrines pretty regularly, and religions have responded quite vigorously to such insults as astronomy, biology, radiometric dating, geology, physics, etc. I think evolution is a chief offender because of a combination of things — we are biological beings, we have a fabulously high opinion of ourselves and our place in the universe, and the evidence of biological mechanisms is so enormous and incontrovertible (and does not support our opinion of ourselves).

    The resulting tension forces us to choose between compartmentalizing, denial, misrepresentation, or (with great difficulty) comprehending. Being wrong is something we excel at; admitting it is something few can do, and not often.

  14. According to Behe: Common Descent – check. Natural Selection – check. Genetic detail relating to one trait in one species 150 years ahead of time – nope. So, not sure what Darwin’s supposed to be spinning about.

  15. It’s always the same with Behe & Co. Just like with IC, he claims this “devolution” thing is a challenge, not to evolution, but to darwinian mechanisms. This is clearly not true. Simply imagine that every single mutation was willed into existence by god. How does that change anything in his argument? It doesn’t. If one was to concede that he’s shown that evolution is overwhelmingly destructive and something’s missing, that would still be true if we assumed all the mutations were directed.

    I wonder if he believes that the transition from land mammals to whales was destructive devolution. If that’s the case, according to him, that would still be perfectly compatible with darwinian processes. If OTOH he claimed that such transition was constructive, it would instantly falsify his premise that mutations can only degrade or destroy perfectly good organisms

  16. dazz: I wonder if he believes that the transition from land mammals to whales was destructive devolution.

    I expect he does. Those whales lost the ability to survive and prosper on land. That’s clearly devolution (as Behe seems to see it).

  17. Neil Rickert: I expect he does. Those whales lost the ability to survive and prosper on land. That’s clearly devolution (as Behe seems to see it).

    I think he will be undecided on the matter. As I understand Behe’s argument, it only applies to function of molecular features (genes, promotors, enhancers, etc), not to morphological, ecological or behavioural characters.

    So the question boils down to whether Cetaceans had to break the function of genes in order to make the transition. This is unknown.

  18. Neil Rickert: I expect he does.Those whales lost the ability to survive and prosper on land.That’s clearly devolution (as Behe seems to see it).

    Which of course ignores the constructive part of the process, but anyway. If he also believes that of every other transition within the tree of life, does that mean that the designer only destroys, never creates? 🙄

    Corneel: I think he will be undecided on the matter. As I understand Behe’s argument, it only applies to function of molecular features (genes, promotors, enhancers, etc), not to morphological, ecological or behavioural characters.

    So the question boils down to whether Cetaceans had to break the function of genes in order to make the transition. This is unknown.

    Then I would ask him some obvious questions like, how come there are so many functional genes after 4 billion years of gene degradation? I think it’s an inescapable conclusion that there’s been lots of constructive evolution at the molecular level. How about orphan genes emerging from non-coding sequences, how is that not constructive molecular evolution? He hasn’t even tried to show that the mechanisms involved there weren’t “darwinian”, let alone the product of ID (god forbid these IDiots should ever advance an actual design hypothesis)

  19. dazz: I think it’s an inescapable conclusion that there’s been lots of constructive evolution at the molecular level.

    That is the elephant in the room, for sure. I assume that this is the guided part of evolution, but that part of the argument is, as always, lacking.

  20. Am I wrong to think most changes in morphology are due to regulation, rather to changes to protein coding genes.

    And aren’t variations in morphology less likely to be fatal than variations in protein coding?

  21. petrushka: Am I wrong to think most changes in morphology are due to regulation, rather to changes to protein coding genes.

    No, that is absolutely correct.

    petrushka: And aren’t variations in morphology less likely to be fatal than variations in protein coding?

    That I don’t know.

  22. I have always been perplexed as to why people would want to celebrate Darwin’s day…

    If you remain perplexed it means you have learned very little from posting here. If only you learned to read, you wouldn’t be perplexed at all.

    What has Darwins really accomplished?

    He gathered a lost fo data and wrote a book summarizing his findings in a way that most people would understand, thus providing a very important framework for the field of biology. Given that humanity is part of the biological world, I’d say that’s pretty important stuff.

    Was he a savior or enslavor?

    Neither. He was a scientist. Maybe you mistake celebration with worship, which would make this final remark one ore of those self-foot shooting projections of yours.

    So, it seems clear that atheists before Darwin couldn’t have felt intellectually fulfilled because they had no logically sound explanation for the origins of life…

    Evolution is not about the origin of life.

    Ever since Darwin proposed his theory of evolution atheists feel like they have found something to lean on when questioned about their lack of belief in God…

    You seem to have missed the point of the text you put in bold yourself. Atheists could easily answer about their lack of belief in gods. There’s no evidence for gods. That’s it. If questioned about life’s diversity, they could have explained that gods are not real explanations. Have you heard of the god-of-the-gaps fallacy?

    But the profound question still remains: Had Darwin delivered?

    Yup. Darwin delivered. Huge fields of research were initiated because of his work.

    Does he deserve to be remembered as the liberator of atheists who needed him to feel intellectually fulfilled?

    Again, I think you didn’t understand the sentence that you presented in bold. There was no need for liberation. Atheists could still understand that gods are not real explanations. Intellectual fulfilment is not about liberation, but understanding, knowledge. Yet again, I suspect your self-foot shooting projections.

    There’s plenty of open questions today. I feel intellectually unsatisfied about those. If you offered magical beings in the sky as “explanations,” I’d remain exactly as intellectually unfulfilled about them, since that’s no explanation, that’s just a content-empty claim. Classic god-of-the-gaps fallacy.

  23. dazz: Then I would ask him some obvious questions like, how come there are so many functional genes after 4 billion years of gene degradation?

    You don’t know the “answer”? God-did-it! (I actually asked him once in person, that’s exactly his “point,” that, according to him, evolution cannot do it, then the magical being in the sky must heave done it. Yes, even the malaria resistance to drugs is a god-did-it thing! That shows the magical being in the sky’s love for humanity all right).

  24. Entropy: You don’t know the “answer”? God-did-it! (I actually asked him once in person, that’s exactly his “point,” that, according to him, evolution cannot do it, then the magical being in the sky must heave done it. Yes, even the malaria resistance to drugs is a god-did-it thing! That shows the magical being in the sky’s love for humanity all right).

    Yeah, reminds me of this infamous anecdote:

    Larry Arnhart: A few years ago, I lectured at Hillsdale College as part of a week-long lecture series on the intelligent design debate. After Michael Behe’s lecture, some of us pressed him to explain exactly how the intelligent designer created the various “irreducibly complex” mechanisms that cannot–according to Behe–be explained as products of evolution by natural selection. He repeatedly refused to answer. But after a long night of drinking, he finally answered: “A puff of smoke!” A physicist in the group asked, Do you mean a suspension of the laws of physics? Yes, Behe answered. Well, that’s not going to be very persuasive as a scientific answer. And clearly Behe and other ID proponents prefer not to answer the question.

  25. Entropy,

    He cocked up on the malaria thing. He omitted to account for recombination, and the fact that the malaria parasite, due to its mode of transmission, has an effective population size many times smaller than its census size. Among other errors.

  26. dazz,

    It’s a mahoosive and unjustifiable extrapolation, to start from one or a few examples of ‘degradation’ and argue that that’s all that happens. It wouldn’t pass peer review, as any kind of evolutionary principle, without some broad-ranging sampling of variation and proper analysis of the relative evolutionary trajectories. Darwin devolves except where he doesn’t, as someone might say.

  27. Allan Miller:
    Entropy,

    He cocked up on the malaria thing. He omitted to account for recombination, and the fact that the malaria parasite, due to its mode of transmission, has an effective population size many times smaller than its census size. Among other errors.

    I think at this point it’s painfully obvious that all those weren’t honest mistakes, but deliberate omissions to bolster his case. Just like the blatant manipulation of the data from Liu et al on the polar bear… Behe is a liar for Jesus. He works for the DiscoTute after all, what else do we need to know?

  28. Entropy:

    Yes, even the malaria resistance to drugs is a god-did-it thing! That shows the magical being in the sky’s love for humanity all right.

    Here’s Behe, from The Edge of Evolution:

    Here’s something to ponder long and hard: Malaria was intentionally designed. The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts. C-Eve’s children died in her arms partly because an intelligent agent deliberately made malaria, or at least something very similar to it.

    He then offers this lame attempt at theodicy:

    Yet, just as undeniably, much that is good graces nature. Many children die, yet many others thrive. Some people languish, but others savor full lives. Does one outweigh the other? If so, which outweighs which?

    As if “the good outweighs the bad” would be enough to get the Designer off the hook.

    And:

    Or are pleasure and pain, good and incommensurable? Are viruses and parasites part of some brilliant, as-yet-unappreciated economy of nature, or do they reflect the bungling of an incompetent, fallible designer?

    False dichotomy. He just told us that

    The molecular machinery with which the parasite invades red blood cells is an exquisitely purposeful arrangement of parts.

    That doesn’t sound like “the bungling of an incompetent, fallible designer”, does it? Behe is afraid to confront the implications of his own description.

  29. One of the three musketeers, Swamidass, finally came to his senses and rejected Darwinism….He also believes that bad design argument supported by many Darwinists, like Lents, failed. He also believes that God designed us all…
    Not only that, Swamidass claims to agree with Behe…
    So, what stops him from supporting ID, one might rightly ask?

    http://peacefulscience.org/agree-behe/?_ga=2.163299452.1967430268.1550028322-2029021881.1550028322

    One could also rightly ask: If so many scientists rejected Darwinism, even those who disagree with ID, as it clearly explains nothing, and accomplished nothing, why is there still Darwin Day?

    Isn’t it the same as having Trump Day because Trump and his supporters believe that he accomplished something?

    Why would Darwinists continue to insist to deceive themselves and others?
    Isn’t it because Darwinists really support ideology that has nothing to do with science?

  30. J-Mac,

    One could also rightly ask: If so many scientists rejected Darwinism, even those who disagree with ID, as it clearly explains nothing, and accomplished nothing, why is there still Darwin Day?

    I’d support it just because it pisses you off.

  31. J-Mac:
    One could also rightly ask: If so many scientists rejected Darwinism, even those who disagree with ID, as it clearly explains nothing, and accomplished nothing, why is there still Darwin Day?

    For every “scientist” who declares that they “dissent from Darwinism”, we need to acknowledge the following facts (and they are facts):

    1. the majority of people on the Discovery Institute’s list are not, and never were, scientists
    2. a considerable number of actual scientists included in the Discovery Institute’s list have publicly declared that the Discovery Institute’s version of the list does not represent their opinions on the matter (but the Discovery Institute has not removed their names from the list. Why is that?)
    3. For every single “dissenter from Darwin” on the Discovery Institute’s list, there is a scientist whose first name is a cognate of Stephen who has declared that they support the idea that evolutionary theory is the best explanation for what we see in front of us in the diversity and history of biology.

    I wonder how many scientists called J-Mac (or any cognate name) would end up on the Discovery Institute’s rubbish list.

  32. timothya: 3. For every single “dissenter from Darwin” on the Discovery Institute’s list, there is a scientist whose first name is a cognate of Stephen who has declared that they support the idea that evolutionary theory is the best explanation for what we see in front of us in the diversity and history of biology.

    So?

    The DI’s list is not a a dissent from evolutionary theory list.

  33. Mung:
    So?

    The DI’s list is not a a dissent from evolutionary theory list.

    But it’s “conveniently” presented as if it were such a thing. Do you know how many times I’ve had to spell out the difference between thinking that Darwin’s stuff is not enough, and thinking that a magical being in the sky is the answer? Not only that, but creationists have always ignored my explanation and continued to present that list as proof that there’s a huge number of scientists who think that evolution is false, and/or that god-did-it.

  34. Even those who consider themselves ‘not Darwinists’ (a stance that requires specific clarification) frequently have a great deal of admiration for the man.

  35. timothya: 3. For every single “dissenter from Darwin” on the Discovery Institute’s list, there is a scientist whose first name is a cognate of Stephen who has declared that they support the idea that evolutionary theory is the best explanation for what we see in front of us in the diversity and history of biology.

    I wonder what you mean by a scientist.

  36. phoodoo: I wonder what you mean by a scientist.

    I mean what the NCSE means by the term:

    Are all of the Steves biologists? Are they all scientists? Are they all Ph.D.s?
    About two thirds are biologists (when we last counted, at any rate). (There are, unsurprisingly, few biologists to be found on the creationist lists.) Most are scientists; there are a few borderline cases (economists, philosophers, psychiatrists, science educators, medical researchers, computer scientists, and so forth). Nearly all are Ph.D.s; there are a few M.D.s and Ed.D.s.

    (Update as of August 14, 2007: we counted again in February 2006 at the behest of a reporter for The New York Times. As Kenneth Chang reported (February 21, 2006), “the National Center for Science Education says that 54 percent (381) of the Steves on the Project Steve petition work in biology, which includes anatomy, anthropology, biochemistry, biophysics, botany, cell biology. Including related life sciences fields like medicine, forestry and agriculture, the percentage rises to 61 percent.”

    (Update as of April 13, 2012: David H. Bailey counted again in April 2012. On his blog he writes, “As of April 2012, the NCSE list had 1202 names, compared with 840 on the Discovery Institute list. If we count only those persons on these two lists who had a Ph.D. degree and/or professional position in a core field closely related to evolution (Anatomy, Anthropology, Biochemistry, Biology, Biophysics, Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Genetics, Geology, Geophysics, Microbiology, Neurophysiology, Paleontology, Physiology or Zoology), who thus are particularly well-qualified to make such a declaration, then 708 (58.9%) of the names on the NCSE list were so qualified, compared with only 258 (30.7%) of the Discovery Institute list, according to a detailed check performed by the present author.”

  37. “the National Center for Science Education says that 54 percent (381) of the Steves on the Project Steve petition work in biology, which includes anatomy, anthropology, biochemistry, biophysics, botany, cell biology. Including related life sciences fields like medicine, forestry and agriculture, the percentage rises to 61 percent.”

    This is funny. if you work in forestry or agriculture, or medicine, or anatomy, or botany, you are a biologist.

    I have often asked this question, who are the experts of evolution, who knows its mechanisms, its history, its underlying causes? The amount of people who fall into that category seem to be close to zero.

  38. phoodoo: I have often asked this question, who are the experts of evolution, who knows its mechanisms, its history, its underlying causes?

    Evolutionary biologists, with specialties in things population genetics, bioinformatics, cladistics, taxonomy and classification, biochemistry, comparative anatomy, paleontology, and cell biology.

    Those would be the experts in evolutionary biology. Those most qualified to speak on matters of biological evolutionary science.

  39. phoodoo: This is funny. if you work in forestry or agriculture, or medicine, or anatomy, or botany, you are a biologist.

    Yes. You don’t seem to know what the word biologist means, or what kind of training people in these fields get.

    Training to be a nurse, for example, involves literally studying in a field called human biology.

  40. Rumraket: Yes. You don’t seem to know what the word biologist means, or what kind of training people in these fields get.

    Training to be a nurse, for example, involves literally studying in a field called human biology.

    Speaking as a former forester, I can say that I trained in botany, zoology, genetics, ecology and plant pathology.

  41. Rumraket: Those would be the experts in evolutionary biology. Those most qualified to speak on matters of biological evolutionary science.

    So Mike Behe.

    Thanks for standing up to Lents’ blatant misrepresentation at PS. I was banned from all the threads, lol

  42. Mung: So Mike Behe.

    Nope. He has the same qualification I do to discuss evolutionary biology: biochemistry. Taken further, of course, but if he doesn’t understand the role of drift and recombination, he doesn’t understand much.

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