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The Crumbling Facade Of The Theory Of Evolution

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The scientific concept of the origin of life on earth begins with the premise that life first appeared billions of years ago with the formation of microscopic organisms out of inanimate matter. In the billions of years which followed, small organisms evolved into higher and more complex forms of life through random mutations, and one species evolved into another.

Over the years, a process referred to as "natural selection" weeded out those mutations and organisms less fit to survive than others. Thus, it was mostly the more "fit" that passed on their genetic character traits to subsequent generations. And that's how we and all other life forms got here.

On the surface, this sounds great. However, a deeper analysis of the underlying mechanism and the fossil record, leaves little doubt that mutations of a random nature could not possible have been the driving force behind the development of life on earth.

When it comes to a random process, there is always the question of whether it can produce organization. An analogy might be the old monkey on a typewriter: given enough time, can a monkey on a typewriter produce the works of Shakespeare purely by random keystrokes? Let's assume for the purpose of this discussion that this is possible — and that random mutations, given enough time, can also eventually produce the most complex life forms.

Let's begin by rolling a die (one "dice"). To get a "3," for example, you'd have to roll the die an average of six times (there are six numbers, so to get any one of them would take an average of six rolls). Of course, you could get lucky and roll a 3 the first time. But as you keep rolling the die, you'll find that the 3 will come up on average once every six rolls.

The same holds true for any random process. You'll get a "Royal Flush" (the five highest cards, in the same suit) in a 5-card poker game on average roughly once every 650,000 hands. In other words, for every 650,00 hands of mostly meaningless arrangements of cards (and perhaps a few other poker hands), you'll get only one Royal Flush.

Multi-million dollar lotteries are also based on this concept. If the odds against winning a big jackpot are millions to one, what will usually happen is that for every game where one person wins the big jackpot with the right combination of numbers, millions of people will not win the big jackpot because they picked millions of combinations of meaningless numbers. To my knowledge, there hasn't been a multi-million dollar lottery yet where millions of people won the top prize and only a few won little or nothing. It's always the other way around. And sometimes there isn't even one big winner.

How does this relate to evolution?

Let's take this well-understood concept about randomness and apply it the old story of a monkey on a typewriter. As mentioned earlier, for the purpose of this discussion, we'll assume that if you allow a monkey to randomly hit keys on a typewriter long enough he could eventually turn out the works of Shakespeare. Of course, it would take a very long time, and he'd produce mountains and mountains of pages of meaningless garbage in the process, but eventually (we'll assume) he could turn out the works of Shakespeare.

Now, let's say, after putting a monkey in front of a typewriter to type out Shakespeare, you decide you also want a copy of the Encyclopedia of Britannica. So you put another monkey in front of another typewriter. Then, you put a third monkey in front of third typewriter, because you also want a copy of "War And Peace." Now you shout, "Monkeys, type," and they all start banging away on their typewriters.

About jgreen

  • Jr.

    “Arthur had some choice things to say ”

    You quote some weasel who displays an utter disdain and disrespect for those who do not share his myopic intolerant point of view and you shower praise upon him. You don’t set the bar very high for character and integrity. That’s very telling of your own personality. Talk about weasels.

    p.s. You evolutionists just love that word “weasel.” I wonder why.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    You quote some weasel who displays an utter disdain and disrespect for those who do not share his myopic intolerant point of view

    So basically, Jr, your only problem with Clarke is that he hurt your feelings.

    Your characterization of his point of view as ‘myopic and intolerant’ is your own. If that’s your only criterion for respecting someone, then your world must be miserably impoverished. It would exclude such luminaries as…

    1. Winston Churchill:
    ‘He [Clement Attlee] is a modest man, who has much to be modest about.’
    2. Mark Twain:
    ‘I do not believe I could learn to like her [Lillian Aldrich] except on a raft at sea with no other provisions in sight.’
    3. Dorothy Parker:
    ‘It may be that this autobiography [Aimee Semple McPherson's] is set down in sincerity, frankness and simple effort. It may be, too, that the Statue of Liberty is situated in Lake Ontario.’
    4. Margaret Thatcher:
    ‘I wish I could say that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had done himself less than justice. Unfortunately, I can only say that I believe he has done himself justice. Some Chancellors are macro-economic. Other Chancellors are fiscal. This one [Denis Healey] is just plain cheap.’
    5. Theodore Roosevelt:
    ‘When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer “Present” or “Not guilty.”‘

    Oh, and:

    You evolutionists just love that word “weasel.”

    Bit rich coming from someone who used the word three times in the same comment.

    But hey – if the cap fits…

  • Clavos

    Boy, am I sorry I only just found this thread…

    I just spent literally all evening reading the article and the thread.

    I’m too late to add anything substantive to the evolution discussion (which arrogantly presumes I could, I know), but I do want to add my tuppence to the mourning for the death of Clarke.

    Agree with you as to the woodenness of his characters, Doc.

    Nonetheless, a great body of work, and a towering figure who will be missed.

  • Baronius

    So much to say… Oddly, none of it is particularly about evolution.

    #34 – RationlRevolution: Your history of religion and science is completely wrong. Monotheistic culture developed science. These are the religions that saw regularity in the universe, and believed it to be the work of a single god. Yes, some learning came from some classical Greeks, mostly those oddballs who believed in Truth. But the tradition of empiricism came from Christian Europe.

    If all means of understanding truth point to the same truth, then they cannot be in contradiction. There is no battle between religion and science, and most every Christian realizes that.

    #43 – EM Sternberg: Modern biology is based on Mendel. Darwin has very little to do with it.

    #73 – Jet: Male nipples aren’t some evolutionary quirk. Every species of mammal has two sexes, so nipples can’t be a unisexual leftover.

    In the first two months of development, we’re all rudimentary females. Then (for half of us), male hormones kick in and the structures develop toward the male. Male nipples are a byproduct of our early development.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Baronius,

    Much of medieval science was backed by the Church, but that was because the only people with any degree of learning were churchmen. Furthermore, all science was shackled by the requirement for it to support Church dogma, which had settled on Aristotle* as the only ‘valid’ ancient authority. Findings which were deemed to depart from Aristotle were suppressed or ignored – often by the churchmen themselves.

    As a result, Western science scarcely progressed between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance.

    Also, Mendel was the pioneer of genetics, which explains some of Darwin’s theory but does not supplant it. Evolution, together with genetics, cell theory and homeostasis, is considered to be one of the foundations of modern biology.

    * Who was wildly and completely wrong about almost everything.

  • Baronius

    Yes, Dread, most of the learned people were churchmen… but that proves my point. The church was the center of learning. Guys like William of Occam, Thomas Aquinas, and Blaise Pascal did some pretty good thinking on the church dime. Also the aforementioned Copernicus and Mendel.

    You say that nothing interesting happened between Rome and the Renaissance. That’s wrong. Roman science was crude and unsystemitized. It was mostly military applications of Greek scholarship. From Arabic math to the circumnavigation of the globe, from the printing press to the philosophy that encouraged scientific thinking, the monotheistic cultures have nothing to apologize for.

    It’s easy to be pro-science today. We’ve got cell phones. What you need to remember is that, in pre-Christian Europe, there was no intellectual or commercial underpinning for science. If there was a lightning storm, it was because the sky god was angry. That was a sufficient explanation. Christianity proposed that all things were part of God’s plan, so churchmen began to look at the world as a single regularized system. Polytheists accept chaos; monotheists look for order.

    The point being, systematic science was a child of religious thought.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’m not disputing the huge debt science owes to the Church in terms of systematized thinking. But pre-Renaissance thought did stifle scientific development in one very significant way: William of Occam, Aquinas and Pascal all deferred to Church doctrine. Often, such men self-censored if they perceived that their conclusions might be heretical: not out of fear, but because they assumed the Church possessed superior wisdom.

    Aquinas, although arguably the most brilliant Christian philosopher of all time, was constrained in his thought by his obligatory assumption that Church doctrine was the final authority.

    You also shouldn’t confuse science with engineering. Medieval Europe did make significant progress, particularly in the military field – but they were building on existing technology that had been known since the Greeks and Romans. Many major developments, though, were introduced or adapted from other cultures – algebra from the Arabs, gunpowder and the printing press from China.

    And Magellan, who commanded the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe, was certainly a Renaissance man.

  • Baronius

    Dread – We’re basically on the same page here. Near the same page, at least. I see the Renaissance as the flowering of rational thought, founded on the Christian (and Jewish and Muslim) idea of a rational universe. The great minds of the era thought that way too. The idea that religion and science would be in conflict is strictly late-Enlightenment.

    I don’t see medieval thinkers as limited by church doctrine, because I don’t see church doctrine as wrong. But the rest of our analysis matches pretty well. I appreciate your distinction between science and engineering – I was clumsily trying to make the same point about Rome.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Fair enough, Baronius. But by ‘Church doctrine’ I wasn’t referring to biblical teaching but to the Church settling on Aristotle as the final and infallible authority on all matters scientific. It held the West back for a millennium.

  • Baronius

    I dunno… Aquinas and Roger Bacon were the leading proponents of Aristotle, who was viewed with suspicion – if read at all – before the 1200’s. But Bacon and Albertus Magnus (Aquinas’ teacher) were in many respects the fathers of modern science. By the 1600’s, you had theoretical math, the beginnings of modern philosophy, and high-quality lenses. So that really leaves only 400 years for Aristotle to have been prominent, and even then he was not authoritative.

  • David Fitch

    Well, I’m the author of the article, and I have read it too. We do NOT claim that “Darwin was wrong.” We claim that evolution HAS OCCURRED, AND is often non-random in particular ways. This is fully consistent with selection or with genetic constraint. By the way, natural selection cannot be a random process. Creationists like to say it is, but it isn’t. Selection depends on the high fidelity of heredity. If you think heredity is random, then maybe you should question who your mama really is.