Mr. Darwin Can’t Get a Break

 

It can’t be easy to be Charles Darwin right now. (I mean, for reasons beyond the obvious.) A meticulous researcher and a serious and deeply respectful man, Mr. Darwin spent years carefully documenting and refining his seminal* theory of evolution through natural selection, delaying its presentation until similar discoveries by fellow British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace prompted him to go public and secure his claim as the father of evolutionary theory.

(And what is it with our British cousins, that they should produce simultaneously two men of such insight?)

Imagine for a moment if Galileo, whose encounter with the Catholic Church has been described in this fine piece by our own @Roderic, was today the target of pseudo-scientific sniping for Galileo’s enthusiastic support of the heliocentric model, and that a cottage industry of questionable academic rigor persisted in attempting to tear that theory down. Ponder a world in which the work of Isaac Newton (another big name in British science) was deemed risible by a gaggle of modern critics, despite his having discovered much of classical physics and — oh, yes — co-invented the calculus because plain old math wasn’t quite up to his needs.

Think about that, because that’s what Mr. Darwin has to put up with every single day.

Okay, there’s nothing wrong with questioning science. In fact, to do science is to question science: that’s what science is all about. But while doing science always entails questioning science, the act of questioning science is not always doing science (if that makes sense: it’s one of those p implies q does not imply that not-p implies not-q situations).

A couple of days ago the British newspaper The Telegraph ran a story about a criticism of Darwin mounted by the woke folks at Sheffield University in the UK. That story is paywalled at The Telegraph, but Breitbart is covering it here. The gist of the story is that the school deems evolutionary biology the stuff of white supremacy. The Telegraph quotes the school as writing “It is clear that science cannot be objective and apolitical…. [T]he curriculum we teach must acknowledge how colonialism has shaped the field of evolutionary biology and how evolutionary biologists think today,” and as calling for the “whiteness and Eurocentrism of our science” to be deconstructed.

It’s bad enough that Darwin’s work is attacked via pseudo-science from the right, as I mentioned recently in this piece (paywalled behind Ricochet) about the work of Stephen Meyer. Now the great naturalist is in the left’s crosshairs as well.


What caught my eye about the Breitbart piece (which was linked indirectly by Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit) was, first, that it is about Darwin, a man I admire and with whom I share a birthday, but also that it mentioned Sheffield University. That august institution came up here recently in this piece I wrote about a quack woke geophysics lecturer at Sheffield calling for an end to the structural racism of the geoscience field. Or something.

 

* I have read that “seminal” is no longer considered appropriate, when discussing contributions in science. I can’t imagine why not.

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  1. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I wonder what the background motives are for this demotion.  Surely they’ve got to replace evolutionary thinking with something.  Creation by Aztec gods, perhaps?

    • #1
  2. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Henry Racette: Darwin, a man I admire and with whom I share a birthday

    You know, you look great for your age . . .

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Darwin, a man I admire and with whom I share a birthday

    You know, you look great for your age . . .

    When I wrote it I deleted a parenthetical quip to the effect that Darwin is older. I thought it was too silly. I should’ve seen you coming.

    • #3
  4. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Darwin, a man I admire and with whom I share a birthday

    You know, you look great for your age . . .

    When I wrote it I deleted a parenthetical quip to the effect that Darwin is older. I thought it was too silly. I should’ve seen you coming.

    I’m always looking for a straight man.  For comedy, not the other thing . . .

    • #4
  5. GeezerBob Coolidge
    GeezerBob
    @GeezerBob

    I regret that I cannot put my hands on a recent biography of Darwin I have read. Without question, Darwin was a significant factor in the development of modern science. But he should be taken down off the pedestal on which he has been placed and given a more sober examination. 

    Darwin proposed, along with Alfred Wallace, the principle which has come to be thought of as survival of the fittest. What he did not truly explain is the origin of the species he claimed for the title of his most significant work. I leave the technical details to those far more qualified to comment but consider an example of the problem staring at us from our screens.

    How many times have you seen the African veldt scenario. As a herd of zebras watch nervously, a lion or lions sneak up through the tall grass and pounce on some hapless laggard zebra. The others run off and then stop and watch as the lion mercilessly dispatches the zebra. “Poor Charley”, they say. “Well, he was getting a bit old you know.”

    How long has this scenario been playing out? Why haven’t the zebras developed counter weaponry? The answer is that they don’t have it in their genetic makeup. Try as you might, you cannot breed a giraffe from a butterfly. Moreover, what should be obvious from this example is that this pressure from the predators does not produce a change of species, but instead preserves the status quo. Had Mendel preceded Darwin, our understanding 0of this might be far different.

    Darwin, for all his indisputable talents as a naturalist, was blinkered by the prejudices of his times and society. Reading through his works you will find that they are shot through with his sense of superiority over the “less civilized.” His work was significant and important, but the concept of natural selection has not held up and the whole of evolutionary theory needs to be thoroughly reviewed. Unfortunately, the debate is fueled by ignorance and deliberate misrepresentation on both sides and has little to do with real science. But Darwin on a pedestal? A sober review of the facts says no.

    • #5
  6. Cal Lawton Member
    Cal Lawton
    @CalLawton

    Just wait until the woke get their teeth into Punctuated Equilibrium. Baseball will never be the same again.

    • #6
  7. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor
    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ!
    @Majestyk

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    How long has this scenario been playing out? Why haven’t the zebras developed counter weaponry? The answer is that they don’t have it in their genetic makeup. Try as you might, you cannot breed a giraffe from a butterfly. Moreover, what should be obvious from this example is that this pressure from the predators does not produce a change of species, but instead preserves the status quo. Had Mendel preceded Darwin, our understanding 0of this might be far different.

    Because that’s not how population genetics works?  There is genetic variation among individuals in every species, which naturally gives rise to individuals having different capabilities and even different phenotypes.

    Sometimes, those different capabilities and phenotypes confer a survival advantage compared to other members of that species when exposed to selection pressure. That’s how you get the beginnings of speciation.

    I would recommend reading Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” for more details on this, and why Darwin was mainly in the right, but couldn’t have known why because he lacked the explanatory tool of DNA and genetic inheritance.

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    Unfortunately, the debate is fueled by ignorance and deliberate misrepresentation on both sides and has little to do with real science.

    This is true. We’re in a post-science era now.

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    How long has this scenario been playing out? Why haven’t the zebras developed counter weaponry? The answer is that they don’t have it in their genetic makeup. Try as you might, you cannot breed a giraffe from a butterfly. Moreover, what should be obvious from this example is that this pressure from the predators does not produce a change of species, but instead preserves the status quo. Had Mendel preceded Darwin, our understanding 0of this might be far different.

    Because that’s not how population genetics works? There is genetic variation among individuals in every species, which naturally gives rise to individuals having different capabilities and even different phenotypes.

    Sometimes, those different capabilities and phenotypes confer a survival advantage compared to other members of that species when exposed to selection pressure. That’s how you get the beginnings of speciation.

    I would recommend reading Nicholas Wade’s “A Troublesome Inheritance” for more details on this, and why Darwin was mainly in the right, but couldn’t have known why because he lacked the explanatory tool of DNA and genetic inheritance.

    Even Darwin questioned some of his own assertions.  In general, Darwin’s theory can explain micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution.

    • #9
  10. Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! Contributor
    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ!
    @Majestyk

    Stad (View Comment):
    Even Darwin questioned some of his own assertions.  In general, Darwin’s thoery can explain micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution.

    I feel confident that molecular geneticists and evolutionary biologists will one day unlock some of these mysteries and provide plausible mechanisms for how macroevolution came about.

    Let’s be fair here: we only discovered the structure of the double helix some 60 years ago or so, and developed the ability to read it within the past couple of decades. Once these newly born disciplines are 50-60 years old, I would expect that they will begin to produce quite rigorous theories as to how this works… but it’s going to take time.

    • #10
  11. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):
    I feel confident that molecular geneticists and evolutionary biologists will one day unlock some of these mysteries and provide plausible mechanisms for how macroevolution came about.

    It’s possible, but I wouldn’t feel confident about it.

    When you feel confident something is going to happen, you start believing it will happen.  And when you believe something will happen and it doesn’t, you start looking for evidence it has happened – or that someone is hiding the evidence.  Like UFOs.

    My strategy is to kick back, open a cold one, and watch football when it’s on TV.  I’ll check the science news every once in a while for updates . . .

    • #11
  12. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Shawn Buell, Jeopardy Champ! (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    Even Darwin questioned some of his own assertions. In general, Darwin’s thoery can explain micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution.

    I feel confident that molecular geneticists and evolutionary biologists will one day unlock some of these mysteries and provide plausible mechanisms for how macroevolution came about.

    Let’s be fair here: we only discovered the structure of the double helix some 60 years ago or so, and developed the ability to read it within the past couple of decades. Once these newly born disciplines are 50-60 years old, I would expect that they will begin to produce quite rigorous theories as to how this works… but it’s going to take time.

    In other words, you have faith.

    • #12
  13. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    The answer is that they don’t have it in their genetic makeup

    Of course they do.  They have it in the genes coding for faster zebras.  In those creating group behaviors that help protect against predators.  In their camouflage that makes individuals zebras hard to pick out of a herd.    Mendel and modern genetics are complimentary of Darwin, giving a mechanism for his theory.    

    • #13
  14. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Kozak (View Comment):

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    The answer is that they don’t have it in their genetic makeup

    Of course they do. They have it in the genes coding for faster zebras. In those creating group behaviors that help protect against predators. In their camouflage that makes individuals zebras hard to pick out of a herd. Mendel and modern genetics are complimentary of Darwin, giving a mechanism for his theory.

    Zebras also have an innate kick with their hind hooves while running, split-second timed to hit the chasing lion in the face.  I saw a film of a lion getting his jaw broken and the narrator saying, this lion wild die, as it will not be able to hunt or eat.  And I wondered at the propriety of the “strict observer” status of naturalists who who blame man for the extinction of species and yet do nothing to save a life when able to.

    • #14
  15. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    As far as “putting on a pedestal” goes, I wouldn’t advocate that for anyone in science, if by it we mean to put their work beyond criticism. That doesn’t make sense, and is profoundly anti-scientific.

    On the other hand, if by it we mean to acknowledge the contributions of great thinkers then, yes, I’ll put Darwin on a pedestal — and Newton, and Leibnitz, and Kepler, and Galileo, and Einstein, and many other men (and a very few women) who have made conspicuous contributions to our knowledge. That doesn’t mean their ideas were perfect or complete, merely that they were groundbreaking, important, and valuable.

    The key contribution Darwin made is to propose a naturalistic process by which the observed diversity of life might occur. Rather than assuming either serendipity or divine arrangement, he suggested that a process of natural adaptation based on variation and selective pressure could explain it. The weight of subsequent research suggests that he was right.

    That insight and the efforts he made to catalog and document his theory are enough to earn him a place in history.

    Whatever Darwin might have said about the origin of life itself, the religious implications of his theory, etc., is beside the point.

    Newton deserves to be recognized for his contributions to classical mechanics, among many other things. The fact that he didn’t anticipate relativity is irrelevant. Einstein gets credit for that, and is recognized accordingly; his discomfort with quantum mechanics doesn’t discredit his enormous contributions to physics.

    And Darwin, who knew nothing of genetics or molecular biology, gave us the theory of evolution, one of the most profound and important theories in science.

    Plus, you know. That birthday thing.

     

    • #15
  16. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette:

    The gist of the story is that the school deems evolutionary biology the stuff of white supremacy. The Telegraph quotes the school as writing “It is clear that science cannot be objective and apolitical…. [T]he curriculum we teach must acknowledge how colonialism has shaped the field of evolutionary biology and how evolutionary biologists think today,” and as calling for the “whiteness and Eurocentrism of our science” to be deconstructed.

    It’s bad enough that Darwin’s work is attacked via pseudo-science from the right, as I mentioned recently in this piece (paywalled behind Ricochet) about the work of Stephen Meyer. Now the great naturalist is in the left’s crosshairs as well.

    The critique of classical (not contemporary) Darwinism as involved with racism and notions of white supremacy has been happening on the right for decades. Maybe a century. Maybe more.

    • #16
  17. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette:

    The gist of the story is that the school deems evolutionary biology the stuff of white supremacy. The Telegraph quotes the school as writing “It is clear that science cannot be objective and apolitical…. [T]he curriculum we teach must acknowledge how colonialism has shaped the field of evolutionary biology and how evolutionary biologists think today,” and as calling for the “whiteness and Eurocentrism of our science” to be deconstructed.

    It’s bad enough that Darwin’s work is attacked via pseudo-science from the right, as I mentioned recently in this piece (paywalled behind Ricochet) about the work of Stephen Meyer. Now the great naturalist is in the left’s crosshairs as well.

    The critique of classical (not contemporary) Darwinism as involved with racism and notions of white supremacy has been happening on the right for decades. Maybe a century. Maybe more.

    It’s not like Darwinism and evolution of humans wasn’t used as a defense of enslaving Africans at all (because lesser evolved humans).

    Its not much of a stretch to cancel Darwin. I’m actually surprised it took as long as it did.

    • #17
  18. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Stina (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette:

    The gist of the story is that the school deems evolutionary biology the stuff of white supremacy. The Telegraph quotes the school as writing “It is clear that science cannot be objective and apolitical…. [T]he curriculum we teach must acknowledge how colonialism has shaped the field of evolutionary biology and how evolutionary biologists think today,” and as calling for the “whiteness and Eurocentrism of our science” to be deconstructed.

    It’s bad enough that Darwin’s work is attacked via pseudo-science from the right, as I mentioned recently in this piece (paywalled behind Ricochet) about the work of Stephen Meyer. Now the great naturalist is in the left’s crosshairs as well.

    The critique of classical (not contemporary) Darwinism as involved with racism and notions of white supremacy has been happening on the right for decades. Maybe a century. Maybe more.

    It’s not like Darwinism and evolution of humans wasn’t used as a defense of enslaving Africans at all (because lesser evolved humans).

    Its not much of a stretch to cancel Darwin. I’m actually surprised it took as long as it did.

    I’m accustomed to the small-minded bigots of wokeness having their way with the humanities, and with the hodge-podge of pseudo-study fields (gender studies, women’s studies, ethnic studies, etc.). Those fields have long since given up, or never had, any pretense of being academic meritocracies. But I don’t like seeing this nonsense corrupt the sciences.

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette:

    The gist of the story is that the school deems evolutionary biology the stuff of white supremacy. The Telegraph quotes the school as writing “It is clear that science cannot be objective and apolitical…. [T]he curriculum we teach must acknowledge how colonialism has shaped the field of evolutionary biology and how evolutionary biologists think today,” and as calling for the “whiteness and Eurocentrism of our science” to be deconstructed.

    It’s bad enough that Darwin’s work is attacked via pseudo-science from the right, as I mentioned recently in this piece (paywalled behind Ricochet) about the work of Stephen Meyer. Now the great naturalist is in the left’s crosshairs as well.

    The critique of classical (not contemporary) Darwinism as involved with racism and notions of white supremacy has been happening on the right for decades. Maybe a century. Maybe more.

    It’s not like Darwinism and evolution of humans wasn’t used as a defense of enslaving Africans at all (because lesser evolved humans).

    Its not much of a stretch to cancel Darwin. I’m actually surprised it took as long as it did.

    I’m accustomed to the small-minded bigots of wokeness having their way with the humanities, and with the hodge-podge of pseudo-study fields (gender studies, women’s studies, ethnic studies, etc.). Those fields have long since given up, or never had, any pretense of being academic meritocracies. But I don’t like seeing this nonsense corrupt the sciences.

    Agreed.

    But this isn’t strictly new. Bad worldviews have always corrupted science. See above.  See Freud and Marx.  See scientism now.  See the leftist politics that motivates climate research–a true point even if global warming theory is also true.

    • #19
  20. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Arahant (View Comment):

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    Unfortunately, the debate is fueled by ignorance and deliberate misrepresentation on both sides and has little to do with real science.

    This is true. We’re in a post-science era now.

    Post Truth.   Hard to do either religion or science without believing that some things are true and other things are false, and that it is important to try to understand which is which.

    • #20
  21. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    GeezerBob (View Comment):
    Unfortunately, the debate is fueled by ignorance and deliberate misrepresentation on both sides and has little to do with real science.

    This is true. We’re in a post-science era now.

    Post Truth. Hard to do either religion or science without believing that some things are true and other things are false, and that it is important to try to understand which is which.

    The pursuit of objective truth, and the scientific standards of challenging everything, demanding repeatability, and accepting that everything is in principle falsifiable are still with us. It’s up to us to call out efforts to compromise that. I’m unwilling to concede that we are past that, despite the efforts of a noisy minority and their enablers in government policy-making institutions to make an end-run around integrity and open debate.

    • #21
  22. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    I’m actually surprised by this post. I always thought some aspects of evolution WERE pseudo-science, especially being based in unproven theory where Origins of Man happily resides.

    I always read Darwin as a historical footnote with regards to science, while modern evolutionary theory has deviated from some of his core concepts long ago.

    See how much animosity human biodiversity gets among the biggest Darwin fans and wonder if they have any idea what Darwin was on about.

    The natural selection works well with Mendel and genetic variation within species (where reproduction produces fertile offspring). It also works with existing human biodiversity.

    But to assume that we are the result of random evolution from lesser species requires some acknowledgement that some of us must be less evolved than others. And that leads to bad places, as history has repeatedly shown, from slavery to genocide to unethical science experimentation.

    I have seen enough of evolutionary psychology and biodiversity being declared as pseudo science to have drawn the conclusion that Darwin was also accepted as pseudo science.

     

    TLDR: You’re behind the times, old man.

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Stina (View Comment):
    But to assume that we are the result of random evolution from lesser species requires some acknowledgement that some of us must be less evolved than others.

    First, who says they are “lesser” species? Darwin talked about speciation through variation and natural selection. One species was only better than another in context of its environment and environmental niche. There is no direction to “evolution,” except within the context of a limited environment.

    • #23
  24. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):
    But to assume that we are the result of random evolution from lesser species requires some acknowledgement that some of us must be less evolved than others.

    First, who says they are “lesser” species? Darwin talked about speciation through variation and natural selection. One species was only better than another in context of its environment and environmental niche. There is no direction to “evolution,” except within the context of a limited environment.

    Oops. I think I did that common mistake of assuming later theories of man’s evolution from apes originated with Darwin, even while it was based on his work. Even so, variation and specialization of living things does have very clear implications for supremacy thinking.

    To the bolder part, I can see so much CRT in that. I really have to wonder how much pain the pro-evolution, atheist, “IFLS”, lefty crowd must feel with reconciling all these ideas into a cohesive belief system.

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Stina (View Comment):
    Even so, variation and specialization of living things does have very clear implications for supremacy thinking.

    Apparently logic very clearly implies logical fallacies, too.

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Stina (View Comment):
    To the bolder part, I can see so much CRT in that.

    Cathode Ray Tube?

    Stina (View Comment):
    I really have to wonder how much pain the pro-evolution, atheist, “IFLS”, lefty crowd must feel with reconciling all these ideas into a cohesive belief system.

    Individual Flying License Sausages?

    International Foreign Language School?

    Inspiring and Facilitating Library Success?

    • #26
  27. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Stina (View Comment):

    I’m actually surprised by this post. I always thought some aspects of evolution WERE pseudo-science, especially being based in unproven theory where Origins of Man happily resides.

    Evolutionary theory is pretty well supported by both the evidence and the reality of genetics and biochemistry. I don’t think there are great unanswered challenges regarding the origin of any particular species, including man. Evolutionary biology is mute on the actual genesis of life itself, the first strands of genetic material, etc., but I think chemistry and molecular biology have interesting insights into potential solutions to those questions.

    I honestly don’t think pseudo-science is involved in evolutionary biology.

    I always read Darwin as a historical footnote with regards to science, while modern evolutionary theory has deviated from some of his core concepts long ago.

    The essential concepts are on the effects of natural selection, variation, and inherited traits. I don’t think we’ve deviated in any significant ways from those key insights, at least not in ways that call the original thesis into question. There may be additional mechanisms — genetic drift and such — but I think the original ideas remain sound and well supported.

    See how much animosity human biodiversity gets among the biggest Darwin fans and wonder if they have any idea what Darwin was on about.

    Not familiar with that. But I think a lot of people have a hard time looking at evolutionary biology unemotionally.

    The natural selection works well with Mendel and genetic variation within species (where reproduction produces fertile offspring). It also works with existing human biodiversity.

    I think it works well with life in general.

    But to assume that we are the result of random evolution from lesser species requires some acknowledgement that some of us must be less evolved than others. And that leads to bad places, as history has repeatedly shown, from slavery to genocide to unethical science experimentation.

    Whether or not that’s true and significant isn’t relevant to the science of evolutionary biology — any more than the use of atomic weapons is relevant to the science of the atom, or the use of guns to physics and material science. I do understand, however, how the philosophical and theological implications one might take from evolutionary theory might be emotionally taxing to some, and cloud their thinking.

    I have seen enough of evolutionary psychology and biodiversity being declared as pseudo science to have drawn the conclusion that Darwin was also accepted as pseudo science.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “biodiversity” in this discussion.

    TLDR: You’re behind the times, old man.

    You have no idea. And I’m unlikely to use acronyms if words will do as well. (Even on those rare occasions when I know what the acronyms mean. ;) )

     

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    I’m actually surprised by this post. I always thought some aspects of evolution WERE pseudo-science, especially being based in unproven theory where Origins of Man happily resides.

    Evolutionary theory is pretty well supported by both the evidence and the reality of genetics and biochemistry.

    Hmm.  This stuff?

    The essential concepts are on the effects of natural selection, variation, and inherited traits. I don’t think we’ve deviated in any significant ways from those key insights, at least not in ways that call the original thesis into question.

    Classical Darwin was extremely gradualistic; contemporary evolutionary theory is not.  Classical Darwinism had natural selection, but did not point to mutations as the major source of the material for natural selection to work with; that’s from the 1950s neo-Darwinian synthesis, as I recall.

    Those are two important differences; they don’t qualify classical Darwinism as a pseudo-science; they might qualify it as a different scientific paradigm.

    (Just started a new series on Thomas Kuhn for the YouTube channel.  Woo hoo!)

    • #28
  29. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    I’m actually surprised by this post. I always thought some aspects of evolution WERE pseudo-science, especially being based in unproven theory where Origins of Man happily resides.

    Evolutionary theory is pretty well supported by both the evidence and the reality of genetics and biochemistry.

    Hmm. This stuff?

    I read the linked comment, but probably don’t understand the point you wanted to communicate. Would you care to state it concisely?

    The essential concepts are on the effects of natural selection, variation, and inherited traits. I don’t think we’ve deviated in any significant ways from those key insights, at least not in ways that call the original thesis into question.

    Classical Darwin was extremely gradualistic; contemporary evolutionary theory is not. Classical Darwinism had natural selection, but did not point to mutations as the major source of the material for natural selection to work with; that’s from the 1950s neo-Darwinian synthesis, as I recall.

    Darwin was ignorant of the mechanisms of inheritance and mutation, but he understood that there was a variety in the population; that selection favored some variants over others; and that variations tended to be inherited. It’s unsurprising that he assumed a gradual process, since he knew nothing about spontaneous mutations within the population, and probably assumed a vast store of variation that was intermittently expressed. That doesn’t detract from the three key insights, nor from the essential validity of his theory.

    Those are two important differences; they don’t qualify classical Darwinism as a pseudo-science; they might qualify it as a different scientific paradigm.

    I think too much is made of the thing Darwin didn’t understand, and that the gaps in his knowledge are often used in an attempt to discredit his fundamentally accurate conclusions.

    (Just started a new series on Thomas Kuhn for the YouTube channel. Woo hoo!)

     

    • #29
  30. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    I’m actually surprised by this post. I always thought some aspects of evolution WERE pseudo-science, especially being based in unproven theory where Origins of Man happily resides.

    Evolutionary theory is pretty well supported by both the evidence and the reality of genetics and biochemistry.

    Hmm. This stuff?

    I read the linked comment, but probably don’t understand the point you wanted to communicate. Would you care to state it concisely?

    More concisely than that? That was a marvel of concision, I thought.

    Maybe I could try another time when I have an actual keyboard handy.

    But why don’t you start by telling me what evidence you’re actually talking about that involves genetics?

    The essential concepts are on the effects of natural selection, variation, and inherited traits. I don’t think we’ve deviated in any significant ways from those key insights, at least not in ways that call the original thesis into question.

    Classical Darwin was extremely gradualistic; contemporary evolutionary theory is not. Classical Darwinism had natural selection, but did not point to mutations as the major source of the material for natural selection to work with; that’s from the 1950s neo-Darwinian synthesis, as I recall.

    Darwin was ignorant of the mechanisms of inheritance and mutation, but he understood that there was a variety in the population; that selection favored some variants over others; and that variations tended to be inherited. It’s unsurprising that he assumed a gradual process, since he knew nothing about spontaneous mutations within the population, and probably assumed a vast store of variation that was intermittently expressed. That doesn’t detract from the three key insights, nor from the essential validity of his theory.

    Those are two important differences; they don’t qualify classical Darwinism as a pseudo-science; they might qualify it as a different scientific paradigm.

    I think too much is made of the thing Darwin didn’t understand, and that the gaps in his knowledge are often used in an attempt to discredit his fundamentally accurate conclusions.

    Ok.

    I don’t know how that responds to what I said, but ok.

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