Is it possible to ‘falsify’ Darwinism or neo-Darwinism? The ongoing confusion of S. Joshua Swamidass regarding ideology vs. science.

Computational biologist & MD Joshua Swamidass continues to misunderstand ideology. Whether he does so intentionally or not, it reveals a rather important social problem of pseudo-knowledge being presented as knowledge simply because it is being said by a natural scientist. Swamidass has multiple times claimed that “Darwinism was falsified by population genetics back in 1968” (https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/darwinism-falsified-in-science-long-ago/4325). Yet he still doesn’t seem to understand that one cannot actually ‘falsify’ Darwinism. That is the wrong language (likely based on an outdated view of Karl Popper’s notion of ‘falsifiability’) that is rather harming than helping the conversation.

One can only argue, strongly or weakly, visibly or invisibly, against Darwinism, whether or not one uses an alternative ideology to do so. Likewise, one cannot falsify Marxism. One can, however, argue against it. Indeed, non-Marxists and anti-Marxists do this often and regularly. Yet they haven’t ‘falsified’ or erased Marxism (or neo-Marxism) and likely won’t succeed in significantly reducing it for a long time, evidence that there are still many self-proclaimed Marxists & neo-Marxists in universities today, especially in the social sciences and humanities departments (cf. Jordan Peterson’s ‘corrupted universities’ hypothesis). Similarly, there are many people who still promote ‘Darwinism’ and ‘neo-Darwinism’ and who write ‘confessionally’ about ‘Darwinism’ as a kind of worldview today, regardless of the population genetics work of Kimura and others. Swamidass’ lack of understanding about ideology has led him to pretend that he can scientifically reject ideology, which is both myopic and simply wrong.

Darwinian evolution, i.e. Darwin’s natural scientific theory of evolution, however, and later, the ‘neo-Darwinian synthesis’ or ‘modern evolutionary synthesis’ (MES), could potentially be overcome with an alternative ‘strictly scientific’ theory of change-over-time in natural history. The so-called ‘extended evolutionary synthesis’ (EES) is being claimed as doing just that. Yet what one doesn’t see much in Swamidass’ writing that one finds regularly in the writings of IDists and of EES proponents, is legitimate push-back against specifically Darwinian evolutionary theory. No doubt the IDists would like to see Joshua write more about how he believes Darwinian evolutionary theory is now obsolete or how it has been improved upon such that a *different name* should be used nowadays to identify the current type of evolutionary theory that is most accepted in biological sciences. Yet Joshua’s ideology seems to hold him back from doing this, while he promotes evolutionary science and even sometimes evolutionist ideology in defense of his evangelical anti-YECist worldview.

“Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically.” – Ernst Mayr

Gary Hurd is correct when he writes: “The generalization of of [sic] Darwin’s core ideas about natural selection, and common ancestry most certainly have not been falsified.” Thus, the term ‘generalized Darwinism’ was made (cf. Levit, Hodgson, Vromen, Knudsen, Thomas, et al.), usually for applications of ‘evolutionary science’ outside of biology. The ideologues are running amok in evolutionary biology as well as in economics! Let’s not even talk about ‘universal Darwinism’ (coined by Dawkins 1976/83?) as if that offers a sustainable or coherent view of reality, when it is merely a cover for ideological materialism, naturalism & usually either atheism, agnosticism or anti-theism.

However, there is no name associated with a post-Darwinian ‘synthesis’ (the late Lynn Margulis perhaps most well-known) that would give the EES ‘name brand’ credibility, which is likely in part why the EES has yet to catch on broadly among biologists.

When Swamidass writes the following, however, it should be treated as nonsense, not as a credible position or worth taking seriously: “Kimura replaced Darwinism in 1968. No need to make up a pseudo history. Neo-Darwinism as understood within science was falsified a long time ago.” People simply shouldn’t listen to Swamidass’ pseudo-philosophy when he wanders so far outside of his fields of competence, as he so often does nowadays on his PS website. Indeed, many IDists clearly understand this much better than Swamidass does, given that they have evidently paid more attention to philosophy of science than Swamidass has from his ’empty chair.’

TSZ’s Mung, however, also confuses the terminology, when he asks: “The question I have is, if Neo-Darwinism has been falsified why is it still the reigning paradigm in biology?” Sorry Mung, but neo-Darwinism always was and still is an ideology, while evolution is the reigning paradigm in biology. Dembski, Behe, Meyer, et al. get this wrong as well, since they treat ‘Darwinism’ as ‘strictly scientific’, and thus paint themselves into a unnecessary corner of incredulity involving evolutionary theories. Once one starts addressing post-Darwinian biology with appropriate terminology, more positive thinking on the topic can take place, which to their credit, IDists have actually tried to do, however, over against their predominantly negative arguments against ‘evolution’ and misnamed ‘Darwinism’.

To set the record straight, Darwinism is an ideology, neo-Darwinism is an ideology and ‘evolutionism’ is an ideology. Evolutionary theory is part of biological sciences. Let me therefore issue yet another warning about this ambitious ‘science vs. religion’ activist in St. Louis who is muddying the communicative waters with his misunderstanding of ideology. Be careful not to let people like Swamidass mangle the English language in order to suit their own neo-creationist, quasi-YECist ideologies as if this is ‘simply good science.’ It is not science. He is in fact just hawking his uninformed opinions as if they count as ‘scientific’ and showing obvious confusion about ideology, including apparently, his own. Will he correct himself or continue to misrepresent the conversation as a ‘fifth voice’ who claims to be bringing revolutionary ‘peace’?

Unfortunately, Swamidass’ scientistically pretentious strategy is simply not going to work. To Mung, he writes: “Yes, defer to the scientists here. That will resolve it.” This kind of ‘Me-Scientist-Man’ arrogant statement reveals just how much work is needed to be done to help natural scientists who are ignorant of ideology finally realise what they’ve been missing that makes all the difference in the conversation.

Let me try to be clear in attempting to be fair to Swamidass that I believe one of the biggest challenges to constructive dialogue with people in the science, philosophy and theology/worldview discourse broadly construed is the general lack of knowledge and understanding about ideology among participants. It is not only Dr. Swamidass who misses the mark, but rather a general condition in North America due to public school teachings that don’t address ideology and thus leave people almost entirely ill-equipped to deal with it, even when most required.

“[I]f we do not resist the idea of Darwinism as a universal principle, biology literally eats itself as it becomes like a racing driver who, to avoid friction, chooses tyres that are so smooth they offer no resistance.” – Connor Cunningham

387 Replies to “Is it possible to ‘falsify’ Darwinism or neo-Darwinism? The ongoing confusion of S. Joshua Swamidass regarding ideology vs. science.”

  1. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    In my defense I was echoing something posted by Ted Davis which was followed by Joshua’s attempt to correct him. Trying to get the discussion back to the whole point of the thread. 🙂

    But good points.

  2. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    What are the central claims of “Darwinism”?

  3. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Is it possible to ‘falsify’ Darwinism or neo-Darwinism? “

    Yes. If you assume that God giuded it…
    That’s what Behe’s book Darwin Devolves is mainly all about…

  4. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket:
    What are the central claims of “Darwinism”?

    Junk DNA predicted to be 98% down to 40% ….

    It’s like the stock market…population genetics are apparently responsible for the inflating of the Darwinian prediction….
    Who needs comedy clubs? 🤣

  5. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Yet he still doesn’t seem to understand that one cannot actually ‘falsify’ Darwinism.

    I agree with you on that.

    Falsificationism was bad philosophy (in my opinion).

    From my point of view, a scientific theory is neither true nor false. We can agree or disagree with the theory, but we can neither prove it nor falsify it .

  6. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert,

    “a scientific theory is neither true nor false.”

    Are you suggesting that ‘Darwinism’ is a ‘scientific theory’?

  7. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: What are the central claims of “Darwinism”?

    Why do you ask? Do you believe it is possible to falsify Darwinism if one just understands the central claims of Darwinism?

  8. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: I agree with you on that.

    To bad you are not a scientist. 🙂

  9. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Why do you ask? Do you believe it is possible to falsify Darwinism if one just understands the central claims of Darwinism?

    That would depend on what the central claims are. Some claims are falsifiable, some claims are not.

    So, what are the central claims of “Darwinism”?

  10. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Are you suggesting that ‘Darwinism’ is a ‘scientific theory’?

    That depends on how it is used. Similarly, Marxism can be an ideology or it can be an economic theory, depending on how it is used.

  11. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket: So, what are the central claims of “Darwinism”?

    As I understand it, the argument of the OP is that Darwinism is an ideology and that attempting to falsify it by falsifying various claims that might utter forth from that ideology is a category error.

    You’re treating it as if it is a scientific theory when it is not a scientific theory, and even then falsification fails as a criterion. You’re barking up the wrong tree.

    Let’s see if I’ve understood Gregory aright. 🙂

  12. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:
    Neil Rickert,

    Are you suggesting that ‘Darwinism’ is a ‘scientific theory’?

    It’s not even a hypothesis…Iit’s a an accumulation of wishful thinking, few hunches…😉

  13. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Neo-Darwinism and Darwinism is whatever a person wants it to be. That’s the problem. It isn’t defined in any meaningful sense, so people pin whatever they want to it and pretend as if their strawman is representative of the actual theory. These labels are nothing more than red herrings meant to move the conversation away from the science and to whatever philosophical hobby horse they want to whip.

  14. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Yes, it’s a category error. People are basically taught to make this error by omission, so it’s understandable. Will they ever learn to avoid the error?

    No, Darwinism can’t be ‘used’ as a scientific theory. It can mistakenly be ‘called’ a ‘scientific theory.’ One should pay no attention to people who call it that. Darwinian evolutionary theory, otoh, counts properly as a scientific theory. Otherwise, you’re unnecessarily using two terms ‘Darwinism & Darwinian’ to mean the same thing. People who seek clarity should avoid that confusion.

  15. dazz dazz
    Ignored
    says:

    J-Mac: Junk DNA predicted to be 98% down to 40% ….

    Unteachable, LMAO. How many times do those in the know need to repeat to you that junk DNA is not a prediction of evolution or “darwinism”, that ENCODE backpedaled to 60% junk (40% functional) and that the scientists who argue for a figure around a 90% have done so for a while and still do despite ENCODE?

  16. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus,

    “These labels are nothing more than red herrings meant to move the conversation away from the science and to whatever philosophical hobby horse they want to whip.”

    This is the same error Swamidass makes. He often thinks ‘the conversation’ is ONLY about science. Sure, maybe you want it to be only about natural science. But you can’t control ‘the conversation’ and many, nay, even most people are more interested in the implications for human life that cannot be reduced merely to natural scientific explanations.

    Philosophy is so much more important than most biologists will ever give it credit for because they’re philosophically challenged or incompetent. But that’s on them. Meanwhile, the rest of us, the vast vast majority, are thankful not to be specialised biologist idiots who far too often want to make ‘the conversation’ only about their own field of study.

    Swamidass is a philosophical moron who doesn’t understand ideology in saying Darwinism is ‘falsified’. It’s not like he’s going to admit that anytime soon.

  17. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    You would think that an article railing against Darwinism could define what it actually is.

  18. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:
    T_aquaticus,

    This is the same error Swamidass makes. He often thinks ‘the conversation’ is ONLY about science. Sure, maybe you want it to be only about natural science. But you can’t control ‘the conversation’ and many, nay, even most people are more interested in the implications for human life that cannot be reduced mere to natural scientific explanations.

    Philosophy is so much more important than most biologists will ever give it credit for because they’re philosophically challenged or incompetent. But that’s on them. Meanwhile, the rest of us, the vast vast majority, are thankful not to be specialised biologist idiots who far too often want to make ‘the conversation’ only about their own field of study.

    That’s why I call “Darwinism” a red herring, because it is an attempt by ID/creationists to move the topic away from science. They can’t win the science debate, so they try to change the topic.

  19. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, I’m not an ID/creationist and you simply have decided not to face the ideological dimension of the conversation. Since you’re an atheist, that makes sense in defense of your worldview. For Swamidass, a non-mainstream evangelical protestant, it just reveals his philosophical incompetence.

    The article stated: “Darwinism is an ideology, neo-Darwinism is an ideology and ‘evolutionism’ is an ideology,” while identifying that, “Evolutionary theory is part of biological sciences.”

    Notice the defining word ‘is’, there, Mr. “Friendly Atheist Biologist”? LOL. Pompous biologists who don’t think, yet think they know everything!

    Generalised Darwinism is an ideology. Universal Darwinism is an ideology. Guess who’s pushing this garbage ideology in defense of their materialism, naturalism & atheism as ‘strictly science’?

  20. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Go read, go learn, stop thinking that ‘biological knowledge’ is enough to provide a coherent view on this topic. Biology is not a prerequisite for identifying ‘Darwinism’ as an ideology.

  21. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Calling Darwinism an ideology doesn’t tell us what it entails. If I said that Markalamism is an ideology, would you know what I was talking about?

    Define what is in Darwinism. Otherwise, you are just blowing smoke.

  22. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus,

    The point is that you cannot & will not admit to ideology or define Darwinism as an ideology. Same as Swamidass. It would require you to do some reading & ‘get outside’ of your biologist thinking. That’s really hard for you folks to do!

    Marxism, do you have any trouble defining it as an ideology, t_aquaticus ? There is no single definition of Marxism, which is also why one can’t ‘falsify’ it, but only argue against it. That’s the point! Do you get this or not?

    To ask for a single definition of Darwinism is equally absurd, which is why you can’t ‘falsify’ it. And that’s the point! Do you get this or not?

    There are 2 ‘definitions’ of ‘Darwinism’ given above. Have a go at them or read about ‘universal Darwinism’ & ‘generalised Darwinism’. These are not biological topics. They are ideological topics.

    In short, being a biologist is actually a hindrance in this conversation, not a strength. If you could recognise your own ideology, T_aquaticus, that would be a helpful start. Do you?

  23. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: The point is that you cannot & will not admit to ideology or define Darwinism as an ideology. Same as Swamidass. It would require you to do some reading & ‘get outside’ of your biologist thinking. That’s really hard for you folks to do!

    I notice that you still can’t say what is in Darwinism.

  24. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    I notice that you still can’t admit ideology is a thing. Hint: it’s because you’re trained as a mere biologist & haven’t learned to actually think!

  25. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Iow, biologists are just about the last people to discuss ideology with.

    I find this to be a helpful definition of biologism:

    “The extension of biological concepts, models, and theories to other fields, for example, the explanation of social phenomena in humans using biological templates.” – Franz M. Wuketits (“Evolutionary Epistemology and its implications for humankind.” Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990: 218)

  26. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:
    I notice that you still can’t admit ideology is a thing. Hint: it’s because you’re trained as a mere biologist & haven’t learned to actually think!

    I fully admit that ideologies exist. What I am asking is what YOU think is in Darwinism.

    If I say that my cousins and I share a common ancestor, is that atheistic materialism? If I observe the appearance of mutations in a population of bacteria and report it, am I contributing to the ideology of Darwinism?

  27. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    There’s help for T_aquaticus if he/she should wish to do some reading & get out of the dirt or bacteria or computations or whatever occupies his/her time. Otherwise, there’s nothing for it.

    Lewontin wrote & spoke about “Biology as Ideology: the doctrine of DNA”. Why not check them out!

    Artigas & Giberson wrote a book, which I’ve only read in parts, “Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins.” Why not pick it up & educate yourself?

    I’ve done a huge amount of reading on this & yet there are no end to pretentious biologists like T_aquaticus who continue the refrain: nothing there but ‘good science.’

    The greatest problem with biology is biologists. It’s the likes of Swamidass who continually speak about what they don’t know as if they have knowledge that damages the conversation.

    Darwinism can’t be falsified. That’s the point. Do you get it, or still not? How many times do I have to ask?

  28. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: I’ve done a huge amount of reading on this & yet there are no end to pretentious biologists like T_aquaticus who continue the refrain: nothing there but ‘good science.’

    And yet you seem incapable of relating any of this knowledge you claimed to have accumulated.

    So what is in Darwinism, according to you?

  29. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus,

    “I fully admit that ideologies exist.”

    Wow! That’s a start. Ok, so when does Darwin’s theory (writings), used by others, turn into an ideology in your view? Can you offer any hints or suggestions? Surely, you are not unaware of at least some of the wide variety of misuses & exaggerations of Darwin’s ideas?

  30. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Wow! That’s a start. Ok, so when does Darwin’s theory (writings), used by others, turn into an ideology in your view? Can you offer any hints or suggestions? Surely, you are not unaware of at least some of the wide variety of misuses & exaggerations of Darwin’s ideas?

    So are Darwin’s ideas “Darwinism”? Or are only the non-scientific abuses of Darwin’s ideas “Darwinism”?

  31. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus,

    You can ask a thousand times, but you’re still not getting it. It’s most likely because you’re merely a biologist who isn’t trained to actually think for themselves. Trying reading about ideology & come back with something more than nothing.

    There is no single definition of ‘Darwinism’. You’re asking the wrong question.

    Darwinism can’t be falsified. That’s the point. Do you get it, or still not? How many times do I have to ask?

  32. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: To bad you are not a scientist. 🙂

    He’s a mathematician, so 2+2=5 might also be falsifiable due to omnipotence of natural selection😉

  33. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory:
    T_aquaticus,

    You can ask a thousand times, but you’re still not getting it. It’s most likely because you’re merely a biologist who isn’t trained to actually think for themselves. Trying reading about ideology & come back with something more than nothing.

    There is no single definition of ‘Darwinism’. You’re asking the wrong question.

    Darwinism can’t be falsified. That’s the point. Do you get it, or still not? How many times do I have to ask?

    If there is a definition of Darwinism that does make testable predictions, then it can be falsified. You are contradicting yourself.

  34. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    dazz: Unteachable, LMAO. How many times do those in the know need to repeat to you that junk DNA is not a prediction of evolution or “darwinism”, that ENCODE backpedaled to 60% junk (40% functional) and that the scientists who argue for a figure around a 90% have done so for a while and still do despite ENCODE?

    Looks like the okapi evolution expert has recently become teachable…or so he thinks…tell us more Mr. Darwin…😂

  35. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus: So are Darwin’s ideas “Darwinism”?Or are only the non-scientific abuses of Darwin’s ideas “Darwinism”?

    Darwinian theory denotes Darwin’s contribution to natural sciences (biology, botany, ecology, etc). Darwinian evolutionary theory denotes the particular theory of evolution (though he didn’t use that term at first) that Darwin contributed. There are non-Darwinian evolutionary theories as well. And there are neo-Darwinian thinkers that draw upon Darwin’s theories, yet go further than Darwin did & add new features to their works.

    Darwinism isn’t merely a term of ‘abuse’ & it isn’t merely about ‘non-scientific’ (as if that’s somehow lesser or as foolish biologists sometimes say, softer) uses of Darwin’s ideas. It continually amazes me how biologists use this term ‘abuse’ to refer to anything other than biological usage. It comes across as condescending hegemonic thinking, yet the rest of us majority non-biologists simply have to realise: biologists aren’t trained to know any better & are myopic by design.

    “No man [sic] can be a pure specialist without being in the strict sense an idiot.” – Shaw

    Darwin himself included ideology in his works, so one needs to distinguish the science from the ideology even in his own writings. Do you recognise any ideology in Darwin’s writings, or do you consider them ‘strictly scientific’? If you do recognise ideology in Darwin’s writings, now it’s your turn to answer: what ideologies did Darwin display?

    Here’s an example of exaggerating & misapplying Darwin’s ideas today: https://evolution-institute.org/toward-a-new-social-darwinism/ However, ideological Darwinism is far from limited to just ‘social Darwinism’.

  36. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Darwinism, or neo-Darwinism, can’t be falsified…
    That’s why Behe has written another book about it’s inability to accomplish what Darwinists claim it can…

    If it could be falsified, we wouldn’t be having this discussion today and Swamidass wouldn’t be looking for God’s guidance in evolution…

  37. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus: You are contradicting yourself.

    No, I’m not. You’re not trained to think about ideology because you’re merely a biologist. Go read & learn. Then come back and you won’t say that anymore.

  38. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: No, I’m not. You’re not trained to think about ideology because you’re merely a biologist. Go read & learn. Then come back and you won’t say that anymore.

    More sturm und drang, but oh so little substance.

  39. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Pompous biologists who don’t think, yet think they know everything!

    Perhaps we should discuss pompous sociologists who don’t think, yet think they know everything.

    “Darwinism” can refer to a description of how biological change occurs, and this is probably what Swamidass is saying has been falsified.

    “Darwinism” can also be a guide to how to study biological change, which would make it a theory.

    And yes, Darwinism can also be an ideology. And I’m inclined to think that Dennett is using it that way.

    You might think that your OP was clear that it was referring only to Darwinism as an ideology. But your OP criticized what Swamidass said about Darwinism, and you have failed to make the case that Swamidass was talking about an ideology.

  40. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    “you have failed to make the case that Swamidass was talking about an ideology”

    Yes, that’s exactly the point I’m making, Neil. Drum roll please. Swamidass thinks ‘Darwinism’ is ‘strictly science’! He doesn’t identify Darwinism as an ideology. So, in short, “Computational biologist & MD Joshua Swamidass continues to misunderstand ideology.”

  41. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Here was the challenge I left for T_aquaticus

    Do you recognise any ideology in Darwin’s writings, or do you consider them ‘strictly scientific’? If you do recognise ideology in Darwin’s writings, now it’s your turn to answer: what ideologies did Darwin display?

    With this, I need to pause. Talking to biologists (I used to share office space with evolutionary biologists!) can be extremely draining. They rarely do the work to increase their understanding, but some of them can be persistent, thus not without hope that actually trying to think properly, outside of their biologistic myopia, could pay off in the end.

  42. T_aquaticus
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Do you recognise any ideology in Darwin’s writings, or do you consider them ‘strictly scientific’?

    I am not the one who wrote a big huge article about Darwinism being an ideology. Aren’t these questions you need to be answering? What exactly in Darwin’s writings are ideology?

  43. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    T_aquaticus,

    Sorry, I’ve got work to do & am not going to do yours for you. I had thought you might be able to learn on your own or maybe to try thinking for a change instead of just doing biology. I guess not.

  44. DNA_Jock
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory,
    As Neil has noted, your entire argument hangs on asserting an equivocation around “Darwinism”.
    If, as you assert in your OP, “Darwinism” is an ideology, then it cannot be falsified.
    If “Gregoryism” is an ideology, then “Gregoryism” cannot be falsified.
    To write a lengthy post arguing the issue “can this ideology be falsified” is to fall victim to a category error.
    Of course, that is not what JS meant by “Darwinism”.
    You are getting all Humpty Dumpty again, Gregory. Have a coffee.

    Gregory: Philosophy is so much more important than most biologists will ever give it credit for because they’re philosophically challenged or incompetent. But that’s on them. Meanwhile, the rest of us, the vast vast majority, are thankful not to be specialised biologist idiots who far too often want to make ‘the conversation’ only about their own field of study.

    Amen to that.
    I, for one, am thankful not to be a specialized philosophist.

  45. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Yes, that’s exactly the point I’m making, Neil. Drum roll please. Swamidass thinks ‘Darwinism’ is ‘strictly science’! He doesn’t identify Darwinism as an ideology.

    So therefore you were mistaken.

    The meanings of words depends on context. Swamidass is not automatically wrong in taking “Darwinism” to be science. In some contexts it is science.

    Perhaps he is mistaken about how some other people are using the term.

  46. Joe Felsenstein Joe Felsenstein
    Ignored
    says:

    Gregory: Do you recognise any ideology in Darwin’s writings, or do you consider them ‘strictly scientific’?

    Do you (Gregory) think that any science is free from the influence of the ideological views of the scientist? In other words, is there such a thing as science that is ‘strictly scientific’ and ideology-free? If not, then why are you acting as if this is a problem mostly for evolutionary biology?

    In biology, I can see effects of people’s beliefs that the world is in perpetual decline from an idyllic earlier state, or that the world is in a steady-state equilibrium, or that there is continual progress. We should try to be aware of our assumptions, and the role of ideology in them. But I don’t know of any other science that succeeds in being free of ideology.

  47. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    “Swamidass is not automatically wrong in taking ‘Darwinism’ to be science. In some contexts it is science.”

    Swamidass may indeed by right that (neo-)Darwinian theory was ‘falsified’ by Kimura in 1968. However, since one cannot falsify ideological Darwinism, and since denoting ‘Darwinism’ as ideology constitutes the proper technical usage of the term, which nevertheless a LOT of people get wrong, then no, Darwinism was not falsified by Kimura and to this very day remains unfalsified, since it is unfalsifiable. That’s a pretty easy conclusion to make and the most parsimonious, if one keeps their definitions clear & distinct & doesn’t conflate two terms into one, like Joshua continually does in that thread & elsewhere. One can choose to be sloppy with their terms, as Swamidass tends to be, but I don’t recommend that if communicative clarity is your intention.

    When one can ‘do better’ by clearly distinguishing between Darwinian theory & Darwinism, then I prefer to make it simpler, rather than conflate the 2 terms. Joshua in that thread later admitted this as well, though he seemingly can’t remain consistent to save his life & instead revels in sloppiness.

    We need to forgive Joshua, though, apparently because he gets confused very easily, even regarding the fact that outing people & doxxing on the internet is wrong. And gee, Swamidass’ recent intentional outing & doxxing might actually have been ok according to the TSZ rules according to Neil. That apparently doesn’t matter to him either, since Joshua apologised to Neil for his confusion, which makes all things right. = P

  48. Gregory Gregory
    Ignored
    says:

    Joe Felsenstein,

    Well asked & recognised. I will come back to this. Work calls.

  49. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: And yes, Darwinism can also be an ideology. And I’m inclined to think that Dennett is using it that way.

    What’s the difference between (1) thinking that evolutionary theory has far-reaching implications that are rarely acknowledged and (2) taking evolutionary theory as an ideology?

    I’m surprised that you think Dennett is using Darwinism ideologically. That seems baffling to me. If there’s anyone who is an ideological Darwinist, I’d say it’s not Dennett but Dawkins.

    I’m not terribly happy about the idea that the grammatical function of “-ism” can reliably distinguish between ideology and theory, as if “Darwinian biology” denotes the theory but “Darwinism” denotes the ideology. I’m enough of a pragmatist to say that whether “Darwinism” refers to theory or ideology depends on the larger pattern of a person’s thought.

    At times one sees “ideology” being used to mean something like “worldview” or “comprehensive doctrine”. As a Marxist I find this confusing, since we use “ideology” to mean “a distorted or false conception of social reality that systematically leads people to endorse their own oppression”. But whatever.

  50. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Joe Felsenstein: Do you (Gregory) think that any science is free from the influence of the ideological views of the scientist?In other words, is there such a thing as science that is ‘strictly scientific’ and ideology-free?If not, then why are you acting as if this is a problem mostly for evolutionary biology?

    In biology, I can see effects of people’s beliefs that the world is in perpetual decline from an idyllic earlier state, or that the world is in a steady-state equilibrium, or that there is continual progress.We should try to be aware of our assumptions, and the role of ideology in them.But I don’t know of any other science that succeeds in being free of ideology.

    I’ve always suspected that sciences, like evolutionary science, have been influenced by ideologies… That’s why I wrote these OPs:

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/evolution-vs-id-the-clash-of-ideologies/

    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/evolution-doesnt-require-experimental-verification/
    Cosmology is no different than Darwinism…Materialism is first even if evidence contradicts it…
    It’s good to hear the realities of how science is influenced by ideologies from someone like Joe…
    Science and ideologies don’t mix because ideologies tend to bend the truth a little bit when the science doesn’t match with ideology…

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