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Irony?

While I was shaving this morning I was thinking about the materialists who are beginning to question the evolutionary mechanisms proposed by the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis (e.g., Lynn Margulis and James Shapiro). All of a sudden a great irony struck me. No doubt many of my readers have already picked up on this, but I can be slow on the uptake and it was kind of a stunner to me. The irony is this: Even among materialists Neo-Darwinian Evolution is beginning to crumble under the cumulative weight of the many absurdities it requires its adherents to accept. Yet just as the theory is beginning to fall apart among honest materialists, we have the theists at Biologos feverishly trying to prop up a theory that has been aptly described as the greatest engine of atheism ever invented. Yes, I think “ironic” is a good word to describe that state of affairs. Or as my kids might say “uber-ironic.”

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7 Responses to Irony?

  1. Barry -

    Excellent observation. I noticed this a few years back on a spate of theistic evolutionary books. I reviewed harrel’s “Nature’s Witness” here. Here’s my next-to-last paragraph:

    So now, if you’re still reading, we’ll get to the tragic portion of the book – Harrell’s wrestling with evolutionary theory. You will see why I call it “tragic” towards the end. Harrell has believed in science over and above what Scripture has revealed. Therefore, Harrell must wrestle with evolutionary theory in order to fit it into his faith. But which evolutionary theory? On the Researching Creation blog, I’ve pointed to several different ones. The one that Harrell chooses to wrestle with is Natural Selection. But why? My guess is that he’s bought into not only science, but the media’s portrayal of science. The fact is that Natural Selection is being phased out as an evolutionary mechanism. I forgot where, but Harrell has also said that Macroevolution is nothing more than a lot of Microevolution. Even PZ Myers does not believe that this is the case. His view of evolutionary theory is woefully colored by Dawkin’s 1980s version of it, a version of evolutionary theory that does not match what biologists are doing today (in fact, if you want a book that wrestles with modern evolutionary biology and faith, by a working Paleontologist, I would suggest to you Life’s Solution by Conway-Morris). The recent Altenberg conference was the prelude to redefining evolutionary theory where natural selection has a much smaller, maybe insignificant, role. Some of the attendees of the conference (all of whom are top-level evolutionary biologists) think that natural selection is “wrong in a way that can’t be fixed”. How tragic is it that Harrell was convinced by someone to give up his faith in scripture to a theory of evolution that is being abandoned by biologists, because he thinks that it is true because it is scientific? In 10 years, will Harrell be defending Natural Selection against the scientists who say that evolution happened a different way? How bizarre would that be? Or will Harrell simply have to redefine his theology every few decades when science turns a different direction?

    In other words, in 10 years, Falk is going to have to re-tell all of the people he convinced that natural selection is the mechanism that there is some other mechanism, and that, now, that one, really truly, is the way that God created.

    Hopefully, some day, he will figure out that the real problem is materialism, and that he has accepted the materialistic picture of the world much more than he lets on or realizes. Once he can let go of that, he can start pursuing reality rather than myth.

  2. I expect an ID alternative.

  3. Barry,

    I’m not being rude or beligerent but, as I disagree with you, I am wondering when you think Darwinism and/or materialism is going to come crashing down?

    I am willing to put my money where my mouth is if you’d like to put a bet on it but mostly I’m just curious about how you sense the situation is developing.

  4. Many people who do not practice a religion question random mutation and natural selection as an explanation of evolution. Most of us don’t think of ourselves as materialists. We recognize the reality of intelligent creativity as an aspect of reality, but are agnostic about the participation of a god. I wish there were a way we could contribute more to the controversy.
    Berthajane Vandegrift
    A Few Autistic Questions about Freud, Marx and Darwin
    http://30145.myauthorsite.

  5. 5
    Chance Ratcliff

    “Science advances one funeral at a time.” – Max Planck

    “Evolution may make no sense, but it will always be true. It must be, for god would never make this world. So evolution will flit from nonsensical idea to nonsensical idea in its never ending attempt to make sense. Who knows what the theory of origins will be in the future, but it will be called evolution. And it will be true.” – Cornelius Hunter

  6. Barry,

    An ID-friendly author is working on a book concerning the death of humanity and whether or not we are a cosmic accident.

    He asked me for some comments, and in a recent e-mail I replied:

    The most amazing thing of all is that the science I once thought put God out of a job is now a major foundation of my faith. It should be transparently clear to anyone with any intellectual integrity who is familiar with modern science, that the cosmos, the laws of physics and mathematics, and living things are the product of design by a super-intelligence. All attempts to deny this fall into the category of irrational desperation.

    The Biologos phenomenon represents, in my opinion, even more irrational desperation than that exhibited by the new atheists. At least the NAs are consistent in their denial of reality.

    Darwinian theists are uber-irrational, in the sense that they try to reconcile a thesis that is fundamentally premised upon the concept of design, with an antithetical thesis that is based upon a commitment no design.

    Could it be that the Biologos dudes don’t want to suffer the fate of Richard Sternberg and Guillermo Gonzalez, or are they actually as desperately irrational as they appear to be?

    Just asking.

  7. Barry,
    It’s a phenomenon that goes under many names, “cornered animal”, “last ditch”, etc. I call it the “alpha-particle” effect, because in physics, an alpha particle loses most of its energy just before it stops. It seems as if the most heat and least light occurs right at the end of an era, at the end of a theory. Thomas Kuhn called it “paradigm change” because this is the time period when alternative solutions and fixes and problems are flying so thick and fast, no one can tell what the original theory predicts anymore.

    So it may be ironic, but it is also expected. There is a tremendous push to keep the invaders from breaching the walls. It may work once or twice, but it is a good indication that the dynasty will end soon. The real question that should be asked, isn’t “how ironic” but “why ironic”? Knowing that the walls are breaching, what is gained by Biologos grabbing all the Christians and stuffing them into the breach. Is it to (a) disillusion as many Christians as possible? or (b) make sure when the new paradigm arrives, it will exclude all those gullible Christians? (c) harness Christians to flog Darwinism with religious zeal? (d) Some other nefarious purpose?

    That’s the question I’m constantly asking.

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