Merely a Theory
|February 21, 2008||Posted by William Dembski under Evolution, Darwinism, Science|
Evolutionists continue to be much exercised about evolution being treated as “merely a theory,” arguing that to identify it as such is as disreputable as treating gravity or the second law as “merely a theory.” But consider, as a close colleague recently reminded me:
The late Ernst Mayr, a Harvard professor called “the Dean of American Evolutionists ” wrote in his 1976 book Evolution and the Diversity of Life: Selected Essays:
“When I lectured in the mid-1950’s to a small audience in Copenhagen, the great physicist Niels Bohr stated in the discussion that he could not conceive how accidental mutations could account for the immense diversity of the organic world and its remarkable adaptations. As far as he was concerned, the period of 3 billion years since life had originated was too short by several orders of magnitude to achieve all of this.” (Quoted from page 53; the book is online at Google Books.)
Stanislaw Ulam, with Edward Teller the inventor of the thermonuclear bomb (the Teller-Ulam mechanism) wrote in his paper given at the Wistar Conference on Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution in 1966:
“[Darwinism] seems to require many thousands, perhaps millions, of successive mutations to produce even the easiest complexity we see in life now. It appears, naively at least, that no matter how large the probability of a single mutation is, should it be even as great as one-half, you would get this probability raised to a millionth power, which is so very close to zero that the chances of such a chain seem to be practically non-existent.” (Ulam’s remark on page 21 of the Wistar conference Proceedings.)
In other words, Bohr and Ulam both believed that Darwinism was a false theory. If Darwinism is false, then it cannot be a fact. It can only be a theory.
Do evolutionists think that Bohr and Ulam were anti-science crackpots? Did they doubt the validity of the law of gravity or the second law of thermodynamics? Were they ignorant of these laws?