More than 1,000 scientists sign ‘dissent from Darwinism’ statement
#1
From The College Fix:




More than 1,000 scientists sign ‘dissent from Darwinism’ statement

BRITTANY SLAUGHTER - LIBERTY UNIVERSITY
FEBRUARY 11, 2019



Earlier this month, a long kept list of Ph.D. scientists who “dissent from Darwinism” reached a milestone — it crossed the threshold of 1,000 signers.


“There are 1,043 scientists on the ‘A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism’ list. It passed the 1,000 mark this month,” said Sarah Chaffee, a program officer for the Discovery Institute, which maintains the list.


“A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism” is a simple, 32-word statement that reads: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

 
Launched in 2001, the list continues to collect support from scientists from universities across America and globally. Signers have earned their Ph.D.s at institutions that include Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania. Others on the list earned their doctorates at Clemson, UT Austin, Ohio State, UCLA, Duke, Stanford, Emory, UNC Chapel Hill and many others universities. Still other signers are currently employed as professors across the nation.


Those who sign it “must either hold a Ph.D. in a scientific field such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or one of the other natural sciences; or they must hold an M.D. and serve as a professor of medicine,” according to the institute.


The group points out that signing the statement does not mean these scholars endorse “alternative theories such as self-organization, structuralism, or intelligent design,” but rather simply indicates “skepticism about modern Darwinian theories central claim that natural selection acting on random mutations is the driving force behind the complexity of life.”


According to Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David Klinghoffer, the signers “have all risked their careers or reputations in signing.”


“Such is the power of groupthink,” he wrote. “The scientific mainstream will punish you if they can, and the media is wedded to its narrative that ‘the scientists’ are all in agreement and only ‘poets,’ ‘lawyers,’ and other ‘daft rubes’ doubt Darwinian theory. In fact, I’m currently seeking to place an awesome manuscript by a scientist at an Ivy League university with the guts to give his reasons for rejecting Darwinism. The problem is that, as yet, nobody has the guts to publish it.”


In interviews with The College Fix, some of the list’s signers explained why they were willing to go public with their skepticism.


“[Darwin’s theory] claimed to explain all major features of life and I think that’s very unlikely. Nonetheless, I think Darwinism has gotten to be kind of an orthodoxy, that is it’s accepted in the scientific community unthinkingly and it’s taught to kids unthinkingly,” said Michael Behe, a professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University.


“Getting a list of scientists who point out that they don’t believe the orthodoxy can kind of open up some minds hopefully,” he said.


“It is clearly a growing trend with biology to think that Darwin missed a whole lot of biology and cannot explain a good deal of evolution,” Behe added.


Regarding how his colleagues view the list, Behe said, “Most of my peers are unaware of it, but those who are aware of it don’t like it one bit. They think that anybody who would sign such a list has to have a dishonorable motive for doing so.”


Taking a stand comes with a risk. Scott Minnich, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho, said he has many times been accused of being “anti-science.”


“I signed this list when it first came out because of this intellectual deep skepticism I have that the random unintelligent forces of nature can produce systems that outstrip our own intellectual capacity,” he told The Fix.


Minnich went on to quote the writer C.S. Lewis: “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Law Giver.”


David Dewitt, chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry at Liberty University, told The College Fix in an email interview he signed the list because “I don’t believe that Darwinism accounts for all living things. Natural selection doesn’t produce new information and can’t.”

 
Dewitt said he’s not alone.


“I think more scientists are realizing the limitations to Darwinism, specifically in regard to the origin of life and the complexity of the cell. So much of how cells actually work reveal how impossible it is that life arose from mutation and natural selection. As we have learned more and more about molecular and cellular biology, more scientists doubt Darwinism although they may not admit it for fear of repercussions,” Dewitt told The Fix in an email interview.


Shun Cheung, an associate professor of computer science at Emory University, referred The College Fix to his website to outline his concerns.


“When Darwin formulated his ‘evolution theory,’ [he] did not have good microscopes and the cell was a blob to him without any structure. Darwin thought that a cell was simple and without structure. We now know that a cell is like a complex factory consisting of many different components-each with a distinct function. Each part/component is necessary in the entire operation of the cell,” Cheung writes.





Read the statement itself here:

Click "Scientists" to see who these scientists are and to read brief statements from them that explain their objections
T h e   D u d e t t e   A b i d e s
Reply
#2
Did Darwin speculate on the origin of life?  Abiogenesis (the origin of life) is still a mystery in the scientific community as far as I know.  I received my BS in Geology in 2006 and my paleontology professor pretty much said we don't really know how life started, from a scientific perspective.  There are a few hypotheses, but nothing solid.  

It's good to be skeptical about scientific claims, but the basics of evolutionary theory still sound pretty reasonable to me.  I do wonder about the randomness of mutations that change species over time, but they do occur and some are clearly beneficial.  I believe that God plays a part in it, but you can't really show that using the scientific method.
Reply
#3
(02-14-2019, 03:40 AM)jack89 Wrote: Did Darwin speculate on the origin of life?  Abiogenesis (the origin of life) is still a mystery in the scientific community as far as I know.  I received my BS in Geology in 2006 and my paleontology professor pretty much said we don't really know how life started, from a scientific perspective.  There are a few hypotheses, but nothing solid.  

It's good to be skeptical about scientific claims, but the basics of evolutionary theory still sound pretty reasonable to me.  I do wonder about the randomness of mutations that change species over time, but they do occur and some are clearly beneficial.  I believe that God plays a part in it, but you can't really show that using the scientific method.

Genetic drift, genetic draft, mutations, natural selection (including sexual selection), and gene flow aren't really scientifically arguable. The question is one of origins, and those who push the aforementioned mechanisms, under the heading of "evolution," as the answer-to-everything butt heads with those who "deny evolution" -- by which they mean the idea that everything happened randomly." It boils down to what is meant by the word "evolution." Does it necessarily involve the premise or conclusion that God had nothing to do with anything? Or does it merely refer to the aforementioned mechanisms, which seem to be scientific fact?
 
IMO, if people could be subtle about things and clearly define terms, there'd be a lot less headache about the entire "evoltion vs. creation" debate.
T h e   D u d e t t e   A b i d e s
Reply
#4
(02-14-2019, 06:59 AM)VoxClamantis Wrote: It boils down to what is meant by the word "evolution." Does it necessarily involve the premise or conclusion that God had nothing to do with anything? Or does it merely refer to the aforementioned mechanisms, which seem to be scientific fact?

Simply put, biological evolution is change in species over time, which obviously occurs.  No, you can't empirically show that God had nothing to do with anything, and you can't show that He has.  That's a limitation of the scientific method.  He is incomprehensible and distinct from the world. 

When I was in college I was taught and understood that evolution is a process, the mechanism as you say. Origin of life hypotheses are shaky at best and were treated as another matter.

I think the sticky point is the idea that those mutations that affect changes are purely random, which in my mind just means incomprehensible.
Reply
#5
(02-14-2019, 12:28 PM)jack89 Wrote: Simply put, biological evolution is change in species over time, which obviously occurs.

In that sense, yes, evolution is true. But that's not what most anti-evolutionists deny. It's the extent of those changes, and whether there's really any new genetic information being created. There can be a lot of changes - look at all the different breeds of dogs - but wolves and foxes and hyenas are all still basically dogs. You can point to genes they share with cats, and try to calculate their last common ancestor based on that, but that starts with assuming they had one. Maybe the ancestor of dogs and the ancestor of cats were both created with some similar genes, since they had a common creator, live in the same world, eat the same food, etc.

Admittedly, I'm not a biologist, but then, I don't have to be a doctor to understand how germs cause disease. And from what I've read about evolution, so much of it seems like starting from the premise that God can't be involved, and coming up with purely natural explanations no matter how improbable. Beneficial mutations are rare, we're told, but then we're also told that a feature that looks the same in different animals independently evolved multiple times. And there are plenty of scientists that doubt the "natural selection plus mutation" mechanism, since beneficial mutations are so rare. Nor is it supported by the fossils, which is why they came up with the idea that evolution works in jumps. It seems to me that if evolution is true, it wouldn't be so difficult to discover how it works, or to show examples of all the supposed "missing links".

And while this isn't a scientific argument, if evolution is true, why didn't God say so when He inspired Genesis? Pagan myths are full of the gods changing people into animals or trees or some such thing; surely the ancient Hebrews would have understood something like God creating the fish of the sea, and then causing some of them to move onto the land, and changing their forms, and so on, until he took one of the creatures, breathed a human soul into it, and named it Adam. You don't have to know anything about DNA to believe that a god could do that.
Reply
#6
Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange summarizes the philosophical problem of evolution in the following way:

Quote:The Trinity and God the Creator, ch. 21, art. 1

This problem of the origin of multitude, discussed by Plato in the dialogue entitled Parmenides, reappears in modern evolution in the following form: How did the distinction of things, mineral, vegetative, animal, and human, arise from the primitive, homogeneous being? How did vegetative life, sensation, and intellection arise? The evolutionists try to conceal the difficulty by saying that the distinction of things appeared only slowly and progressively. But metaphysically speaking it makes little difference whether these distinctions appeared slowly or suddenly, whether they appeared only after a thousand years, or six days, or suddenly. This question of time, as also with regard to creation, is of minor consequence. The important question, abstracting from time, is how a multitude can originate from the primitive unity. [...]

Reply. St. Thomas shows that this problem of the origin of the multitude of things is insoluble without the idea of free creation. His reply is that the distinction of things and multitude are from the intention of the first agent, who is God. [...]

The theory of the ancient materialists was that the distinction of things arises by chance according to the movement of matter. This opinion was held by Democritus and later by Epicurus. Modern materialists with their theory of evolution were unable to add anything to this ancient theory; they were unable to explain how the first nebulae, the incandescendent stars, the habitable earth could come from primitive homogeneous matter except by chance or by the activity of some unknown forces, and the appearance of vegetative, sensitive, and intellectual life remained for them an insoluble enigma. They would be forced to admit that more proceeds from less and that the perfect proceeds from the imperfect, and they find themselves at a loss how to explain the multitude and diversity of organisms except by chance. But to say that these things are by chance is no explanation, but rather an absence of explanation, for chance is a cause which presupposes a cause ordered to one effect, and if there is no cause there can be no cause . A man digging a grave could not accidentally find a treasure if he were not digging in the earth and if some one else had not buried the treasure.

You can read Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's full explanation here: http://rugwig.blogspot.com/2014/12/garri...n-and.html

Even modern Thomists under the Aristotelian-Thomistic school (River Forest Thomism), who focus on the philosophical implications of St. Thomas's thought, still agree with Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange's basic reasoning. And quasi-Transcendental Thomists like Fr. W. Norris Clarke, SJ, still show hesitation in agreeing with the philosophical possibility of evolution although Fr. Clarke attempted to give some possible explanations.
[-] The following 1 user Likes richgr's post:
  • VoxClamantis
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)