The never-ending Darwinian two-step

I read John Derbyshire’s enthusiastic review of Nicholas Wade’s Before the Dawn, a book that purports to cover the last 50,000 years of human “evolution.” On the basis of genetic studies, Wade says that all of non-African humanity is descended from a group of as few as 150 modern homo sapiens who 50,000 ago crossed from East Africa to the Near East and then branched out to dominate all of Eurasia, killing off Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis in the process. According to Wade, and Derbyshire agrees, human “evolution” didn’t stop 50,000 years ago but is continuing at this moment. I then went over to Amazon to see readers’ reviews, and came upon a reviewer named John Landon who is my kind of guy. Landon understands that when Darwinians talk about some ongoing human “evolution,” they are, whether they realize it or not, selling us a bill of goods. Here’s what he says:

This is a very useful and interesting summary of the evidence of human evolution, and manages to produce a clearer rendition of the Darwinian perspective than many specialized texts. It also has a lot of relevant information on many subjects, such as the question of linguistic change. But just at that point, and almost for that reason, the problem with the Darwinian viewpoint stands out in sharp relief: it makes no sense, and there is no real theory behind the crafted attempts to find cases of adaptation. We never really see any human evolution at all! What we see is a series of transformed hominids appearing from Africa and proceeding to spread across Eurasia (and then the Americas) as a fully formed species undergoing microevolutionary adaptations, but little more. Thus the claim that man is still evolving in civilization (some excellent points despite the problems) is misleading. It is the same species “man” who is passing through all the stages since the mysterious and unexplained moment circa. 50,000 years ago when the behaviorally modern man armed all at once with language appears as if from nowhere. Darwinists have failed to face the obvious: the Great Explosion doesn’t fit in with their paradigm. This basic incoherence is never addressed either in this book, nor by Darwinians in general.
In brief, by speaking of some continuing human “evolution,” the Darwinians are trying to piggy-back their unproved and wildly unlikely theory, that all life forms came into being through random mutation and natural selection, onto the known phenomenon of slight changes within a species. By calling the latter phenomenon “evolution,” they give people the impression that “evolution” is already an established fact, which then leads people to think that the Darwinian theory of the evolution of entirely new species is also an established fact.

Several months ago, I read a review by Paul R. Gross in the New York Sun, of a new book on evolution. Gross started out in an incredibly superior, boastful tone, insisting over and over that Darwinianism is absolutely established and that anyone who says otherwise is a crackpot. But then, in the latter part of the review, he let on that Darwinians have only established “evolution” at the micro level of tiny changes occurring within species, and that Darwinian evolution still remains to be demonstrated at the macro level of the evolution of new species, but, Gross continued, of course there is no doubt that such proof will be found, because we already know that the theory is true. So Gross was, on one hand, making this smug triumphalist announcement of the complete victory of Darwinianism, and, on the other hand, he was admitting sotto voce that Darwinianism is very far from being proved.

And the pattern in that article is the standard pattern of pro-Darwinian argument, which was first established 147 years ago by Darwin himself, when he extrapolated from the established fact that natural or man-made selection leads to minor modifications within a species, to his theory that natural selection results in wholly new species. It is the Darwinian two-step, a transparent falsity upon which the entire Darwinian edifice rests.

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Bruce B. writes:

You wrote today: “a transparent falsity upon which the entire Darwinian edifice rests.” Is this a “sweeping prejudicial statement” (your words to Kent a few weeks ago)? If I recall correctly, in Darwinism the tiny changes result in speciation when there is reproductive isolation between populations. The cumulative effects of these changes make gene-flow between the groups improbable or impossible. I believe Stephen Jay Gould (yes I know he was a Marxist) postulated a explanation called punctuated equilibrium to explain how rapid changes occur in relatively short periods of time. I admit that while I try to remain agnostic on Darwinism, I am a little prejudiced towards Darwinism (random mutation coupled with natural selection) simply because my readings have been skewed towards books that presuppose Darwinism.

This brings me back to a question I asked you a couple of weeks ago. I’ll restate it in a different manner. Isn’t God beyond the reach of Darwin ? I know your problem with Darwinism is that it states that the process and direction of life is random. But isn’t it just apparently random from our limited human perspective (the only perspective scientists can approach it from) ? I submit that no amount of progress by Darwinians can touch the God of the bible. He is eternal, beyond time, space, the beginning and the end.

Can’t life be a stochastic model that God wrote where he knows the general outcome (the highest creation is man) ? I have worked with folks who authored monte carlo models that produced an answer that could be arrived at deterministically. Couldn’t God have done the same thing with the stochastic input and residual randomness in the output appearing random to man (from his limited perspective) ?

LA replies:

I dealt with this as far as I was able in a recent blog entry. This “stochastic” idea is apparently that God could plant all the apparently random mutations in the mix which would still lead to fish and spiders and birds and chimpanzees. And I repeat, if the “randomness” was created by an intelligence to have certain results, then the process is not random, even if it appears random to us.

This idea is exceptionally hard for people to get, for two reasons: one, because it is so simple; and two, because they want so strongly to believe both in God and in Darwinism, and this idea precludes that. If the mutations occur randomly, then there’s no intelligent purpose behind them. If there is an intelligent purpose behind the mutations, then they are not random. Any definition of randomness that is used to get around this fundamental logical contradicton is not honest in my opinion.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 07, 2006 02:20 PM | Send

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