Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Darwin Dogma Discussed

If you follow the headline link, you can get this wonderful article by David Gelernter, who is a respected computer scientist that I have an interesting 2nd hand connection to.

So begins a journey that I have long dabbled in, and hope to now take in earnest -- attempting to give a truly secular view of the Darwinist faith. "Moral, Believing Animals" covers the fact that we alll live by faith, the only question is; "in what?" Realizing that nothing is "provable" in a scientific, philosophical, or theological sense is enlightening. 

As you may see me state probably too often, one of my current goals is to firmly establish my personal dogma -- with dogma meaning "the core, the base, the foundation" ... or in operating systems terms, the "kernel". I already have the "core of the core", like the "microkernel" if you will, of "Grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide) for the sake of Christ alone (solus Christus), revealed by Scripture alone (sola Scriptura).

The first paragraph of Gelernter states ..
Darwinian evolution is a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory. Once it was a daring guess. Today it is basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview. Accepting the theory as settled truth—no more subject to debate than the earth being round or the sky blue or force being mass times acceleration—certifies that you are devoutly orthodox in your scientific views; which in turn is an essential first step towards being taken seriously in any part of modern intellectual life. But what if Darwin was wrong?
Darwin is indeed part of the base dogma of most people's "modern" worldviews. Upon it rests the faith that a randomly created universe and biological life are randomly "good" (adaptive) relative to an ever evolving "standard" (an oxymoron), the inevitability of "progress" being "good" .... thus at the base of secularism is the faith that "randomness is good, randomness is great, we thank it for our daily bread".

I've started reading "Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design" ...  quote from that book:

Rarely has there been such a great disparity between the popular perception of a theory and its actual standing in the relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature. Today modern neo-Darwinism seems to enjoy almost universal acclaim among science journalists and bloggers, biology textbook writers, and other popular spokespersons for science as the great unifying theory of all biology. High-school and college textbooks present its tenets without qualification and do not acknowledge the existence of any significant scientific criticism of it. At the same time, official scientific organizations—such as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS), and the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT)—routinely assure the public that the contemporary version of Darwinian theory enjoys unequivocal support among qualified scientists and that the evidence of biology overwhelmingly supports the theory.
Note: "Intelligent Design" IS NOT equal to "Young Earth Creation" ... following quote from CRB article ...

As for Biblical religion, it forces its way into the discussion although Meyer didn’t invite it, and neither did Darwin. Some have always been bothered by the harm Darwin is said to have done religion. His theory has been thought by some naïfs (fundamentalists as well as intellectuals) to have shown or alleged that the Bible is wrong, and Judeo-Christian religion bunk. But this view assumes a childishly primitive reading of Scripture. Anyone can see that there are two different creation stories in Genesis, one based on seven days, the other on the Garden of Eden. When the Bible gives us two different versions of one story, it stands to reason that the facts on which they disagree are without basic religious significance. The facts on which they agree are the ones that matter: God created the universe, and put man there for a reason. Darwin has nothing to say on these or any other key religious issues.

So for ID haters, you can restart your brain now ... look up Gelernter if you are having trouble. He is NOT "some stupid crazy".

We return to the main theme.

Is it possible that a whole bunch of scientists and institutions could be wrong? See "We are entering an ice age" (1970's), "We are out of oil" (1970's), "cholesterol, eggs, butter BAD --  carbs good!" (1970 to 2015),  ... and I'm certain the beat will go on. Experts ... always certain, frequently wrong. 

Darwinism is based on two very simple hypothesis: 
  1. Life began as a singular vastly unlikely accident that we can't repeat even after massive attempts with our most advanced methods. 
  2. All the diversity we see descended from that miraculous event and differentiated through the power of mutation and natural selection to us and all life.

So how likely is claim #1? (from Darwin's Doubt (DD)):
“Pre-biological natural selection is a contradiction in terms.” Or, as Nobel Prize–winning molecular biologist and origin-of-life researcher Christian de Duve explains, theories of prebiotic natural selection fail because they “need information which implies they have to presuppose what is to be explained in the first place.”
That old nasty bootstrap problem.

Ok, so we realize that as far as our current science can tell, the creation of life is simply a miracle. So how about mutation/natural selection? -- now called "neo-Darwinism" based on the knowledge gained in science since Darwin, especially DNA / genome understanding?

Since 1980, when Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould declared that neo-Darwinism “is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy,” the weight of critical opinion in biology has grown steadily with each passing year.
So ... as previously stated, we have a giant disconnect between the dogma of Darwinism and the knowledge coming out of science, and our youth are being indoctrinated with what current science tells us is false. Why?

As you will see often in my reading/writing, it is because humans are RATIONALIZING beings, not "rational". To be rational requires humility, and we are neither humble nor rational by nature. The only proven way to become more rational (proven by pre-"progressive" Western civilization) is to become more humble, best stated in Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." When you are humble, you are better able to seek knowledge/wisdom because you don't believe you know it all!

Or, if you prefer philosophy, Socrates is considered to be the wisest man because he knew that he knew nothing, and was therefore always learning, rather than relying on dogma. 

Throw that fundamental humility away and you get arrogance and human dogma -- "the survival of the fittest", faith in "progress" (social Darwinism), "the majority is always right", etc

As we have gained more knowledge about the "programming" or "language of life" ... DNA, RNA, proteins, peptides, etc the odds against Darwin have grown ever more extreme.  Following quote from CRB article ...

But neo-Darwinianism understands that mutations are rare, and successful ones even scarcer. To balance that out, there are many organisms and a staggering immensity of time. Your chances of winning might be infinitesimal. But if you play the game often enough, you win in the end, right? After all, it works for Powerball!

Do the numbers balance out? Is Neo-Darwinian evolution plausible after all? Axe reasoned as follows. Consider the whole history of living things—the entire group of every living organism ever. It is dominated numerically by bacteria. All other organisms, from tangerine trees to coral polyps, are only a footnote. Suppose, then, that every bacterium that has ever lived contributes one mutation before its demise to the history of life. This is a generous assumption; most bacteria pass on their genetic information unchanged, unmutated. Mutations are the exception. In any case, there have evidently been, in the whole history of life, around 1040 bacteria—yielding around 1040 mutations under Axe’s assumptions. That is a very large number of chances at any game. But given that the odds each time are 1 to 1077 against, it is not large enough. The odds against blind Darwinian chance having turned up even one mutation with the potential to push evolution forward are 1040x(1/1077)—1040tries, where your odds of success each time are 1 in 1077which equals 1 in 1037. In practical terms, those odds are still zero. Zero odds of producing a single promising mutation in the whole history of life. Darwin loses.

I'm struck by the similarity of what we are finding in biology is to what we are finding in cosmology. As I posted in my old blog, the odds against a UNIVERSE with the exact physics constants so that our world could exist are around 10-400

So the odds against the world being here at all reduce to "way impossible", and the basic tenets of Darwinism reduce to mega negative exponent odds, why would one NOT want to rethink some of the basic premises of our secular dogma?

Well, for the same reasons that Luther was extremely brave to question the dogma of the Roman church -- the "powers that be" tend to get VERY angry when their dogma is questioned! Christ clearly declared that church and state ought to be separate ("my kingdom is not of this world"), but of course humans want their dogma to be universal (questioning it is "hate speech") ... so the Catholic Church became increasingly synonymous with "the state" prior to the Reformation, and thus failed the "not of this world" requirement. To disagree made one a "heretic", worthy of being burned at the stake. This tended to give Christianity a bad name, much like Naziism gave Fascism a bad name.  

The "enlightenment/reformation" re-separated church and state, but as people became more and more "enlightened" (secular, materialist, atheist, etc) the restraining force of Christian faith was abandoned and human nature took over. We are natural dogmatists ... we like to have a very firm faith that we are RIGHT and the "other side" is WRONG ... the only proven way out of this dilemma is humbly practiced Christian faith (to avoid the pre-Reformation Catholic heresy). The modern dogma is secular humanism, and if you disagree you may well be "cancelled". 

So now the secular dogma of Darwinism, progressivism, humanism, etc seeks to suppress "heresies" and demand that their dogma be inculcated in the youth through schooling, media, etc, and all questioning of that dogma must be suppressed for our own "good". Our "enlightenment" has now become what pre-reformation Catholic Church once was. We all have a dogma (worldview). Only through faith in Christ are we by Grace able to keep our dogma living as opposed to dead.

Looking forward to this journey!

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