Home » Atheism, Darwinism, Philosophy » If Darwinism were true, what is there to gain?

If Darwinism were true, what is there to gain?

Nothing.

First, let us compare Darwinism against real scientific theories like electro-magnetism. If electro magnetism is true, then we already know what there is to gain by electro-magnetism being true. We can build appliances that work on electricity and magnetism. We can build radios, cell phones, computers and space ships and do all sorts of cool things.

Second, let us compare Darwinism against other possibly wrong theories like various alternative energy theories. For example, if we can rectify the zero-point energy that is present in all space via a Josephson junction diode, we could solve the world’s energy problems. Some will say this violates the 2nd law, and others will say the 2nd law doesn’t apply to that situation, we’re merely redefining the system boundaries. Whether the Zero-Point-Energy Rectifier is possible, we at least can define the benefit: unlimited usable energy. Similar considerations would hold for condensed matter nuclear fusion or other exothermic condensed matter nuclear reactions. Whether the ideas are true or false, we can at least define the benefit if they are true. We cannot do that for Darwinism, because there is no scientific benefit if Darwinism were true.

Some will say Darwinism helps us understand anti-biotic resistance. Not really, the pre-Darwinian conception of natural selection by the creationist Blyth more accurately describes evolution of anti-biotic resistance whereby the species remains essentially a discrete entity that is distinct from others even after microevolution (i.e. E. Coli is still E. Coli after microevolution). The pre-Darwinian, Blythian conception of natural selection is arguably a better evolutionary theory by postulating created kinds evolving within limits.

Darwinism implicitly argues for genomic advance and progress, whereas real natural selection follows Behe’s first rule of adaptive evolution, namely, selection will generally favor loss of function, not formation of new function. So its really kind of hard to imagine Darwinism being true since it is so obviously false, but I’ll try for the sake of this discussion…

Some will say, the assumption of common descent helps us do medicine better. Wrong, comparative anatomy and physiology works whether one assumes common descent or common design or convergence. Comparative anatomy and physiology were promoted by creationists prior to Darwin. In fact common design may work better since we actually might try doing medical testing on ancestrally unrelated species that have similar design and physiology for certain functions.

Thus Darwinism does little if any to advance technology, medicine, or science, in fact it hurts science by discouraging participation by people who reject Darwinism.

Third, what are the philosophical benefits if Darwinism is true? Well according to evolutionary biologists Thronhill and Palmer, the phenomenon of rape is a selectively favorable trait in males. According to evolutionary biologist David Buss, the propensity to murder is also selectively favored. Thus tyrants like Ghengis Khan who murdered and raped are the most virtuous individuals in the world of Darwin…

So that is what we “gain” if Darwinism were true: no increase in technology, and the propensity to rape and murder are seen as selectively favorable traits. Darwinism can become a justification for eugenics and enslavement and denigration of others (as was done in the 19th century). That is what we “gain” if Darwinism were true.

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28 Responses to If Darwinism were true, what is there to gain?

  1. What is there to gain? Ask Dawkins. Without Darwin he’d be just another quasi foppish prof with little interesting to say instead of a celebrity with a healthy bank account.

  2. Isn’t this just a big argument from consequence?

    Blyth failed to identify speciation, for which we have ample evidence. His position was that nature used selection to keep organisms adhering to a natural breed standard, an archetype, as in artificial selection. Such a theory is incapable of explaining how a population can acquire beneficial traits outside of their natural environment. (I assume the author’s failure to cite Blyth properly is an attempt to hide this deficiency.)

    Blyth correctly postulated natural selection, he didn’t have the immense physical evidence of divergent and convergent traits that Darwin had assembled. He was guessing, guessing correctly, but it was a guess — he couldn’t prove it, it was only a surmise on his part.

  3. Isn’t this just a big argument from consequence?

    Not really. If Darwinism is true it is true, independent of the consequences.

    But given several of us don’t believe it is true, we wonder why some defend Darwinism with such vigor as if the progress of science and society depended on it. I just don’t see it. I can understand defending and pursuing a weak and possibly falsified theory if there could be some definable benefit (like say the pursuit of cold fusion). But why Darwinism?

    I just don’t see an objective scientific defense of Darwinism like I do for electromagnetism. Instead, it relies on equivocation, non-sequiturs, and cherry picking of data.

    Blyth failed to identify speciation, for which we have ample evidence.

    We do not unless one comes up with dubious notions of species as described here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....f-reunion/

    Perhaps a better demarcation for species will be orphan genes. We can’t do that conclusively right now because we don’t have sufficient data.

    Thank you for your comments and civil tone. Welcome to UncommonDescent.

    Sal

  4. Such a theory is incapable of explaining how a population can acquire beneficial traits outside of their natural environment. (I assume the author’s failure to cite Blyth properly is an attempt to hide this deficiency.)

    Darwin didn’t explain how complex functionally beneficial traits are acquired, it is only postulated, but not empirically nor theoretically justified. The major “beneficial” mutations are loss of function such as in anti-biotic resistance (mal expression non expression of proteins, broken pumps, other dysfunctions), etc.

    You are welcome to describe a new beneficial trait in humans that you expect to overtake the human population. :-)

  5. scordova-

    Did you actually argue that the split of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardener is analogous to population divergence?

  6. But given several of us don’t believe it is true, we wonder why some defend Darwinism with such vigor as if the progress of science and society depended on it.

    This is a reasonable question.

    We live in a society where objective scientific facts can get you thrown in jail. The defenders worry that attacks on Darwinism are little more than veiled religious arguments, and that if they prevail, science will simply become an extension of religious disputes, as it was in the millennia or so between the fall of Rome and the Reformation.

    Most of the commenters on UD would confirm the fears of the defenders — they are frankly religious and openly state that scientific evidence compels one to believe in their God — if KF was grading your biology homework, he’d give you an F if you didn’t mention Jesus. This is similar to the condition in Dover, where ID was presented as a nominally secular theory, by religious leaders who were angry that “a man died 2000 years ago” and no one was “doing anything for him.” Claims that ID is a, uh, “confessionally anodyne” theory, promulgated by honest people with no religious agenda, are simply not credible.

    Setting that aside, when I read IDers talk about how the theory “encourages asking questions,” what they seem to mean is that it encourages people to ask metaphysical questions, not empirical ones. It rules many classes of empirical questions unanswerable, particularly the nature and method of the designer, a position which seems completely arbitrary.

  7. scordova-

    Did you actually argue that the split of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardener is analogous to population divergence?

    I was pointing out the silliness of defining species based on the refusal to mate.

  8. I was pointing out the silliness of defining species based on the refusal to mate.

    The criteria was the inability to produce young that could themselves reproduce, and then only entire populations, not individuals or groups, your comparison was very nice because I like seeing Ava Gardner, but it was fatuous.

    As it is, I thought speciation was a phenomenon that was evidence against evolution — why would you poke holes in the concept? The weaker the definition we have for a species, the plausible “macroevolution” becomes.

  9. In any case, I welcome hearing what benefit there is to technology and science and society if Darwinism is true.

    I’ve pointed out how other scientific theories, even speculations, if true, would benefit society.

  10. sigaba @6: That’s a very slippery slope you’re climbing. If ID is synonymous with religion, then is Darwinian evolution synonymous with atheism?

  11. Slightly off-topic, but here’s stauch atheist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins claiming that the childhood sexual abuse he suffered “caused no lasting harm.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....#038;ir=UK

    He goes on to state, “…I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today,” he said.

    He said the most notorious cases of pedophilia involve rape and even murder and should not be bracketed with what he called “just mild touching up.”

    I just…what? Seriously? Seriously, Richard?

  12. I think that those of us who use Darwinian evolution as our unifying concept would agree that we do not have a good definition of species. Ernst Meyr’s gene flow (when naturally occurring populations meet, do they mate?)definitions don’t work – the populations of interest are usually separated by time or distance. My area is filled with arguments over whether two groups are separate species, sub-species, varieties, or the like. However, this problem is a natural consequence of evolution – with speciation being gradual, how much difference do you need before you have a new species?

  13. You are welcome to describe a new beneficial trait in humans that you expect to overtake the human population.

    Like the ability to digest lactose as an adult?

  14. Like the ability to digest lactose as an adult?

    Some don’t think so!

    Letter to the Editor

    Adult Lactose Tolerance Is Not an Advantageous Evolutionary Trait

    Juan Brines, MD

    + Author Affiliations

    Department of Pediatrics Obstetrics, and Gynecology
    Universidad de Valencia
    46022 Valencia, Spain

    To the Editor.

    I read with great interest the recent article from Fomon1 in which he refers to the well-known hypothesis that views the variable frequencies of lactase persistence in different human populations and, consequently, the possibility for some adults to feed on milk (lactose tolerance) as an advantageous evolutionary trait that has been genetically determined and brought about through centuries of natural selection. This notion stands as a common statement in current medical literature, and most authors have accepted its validity since the 1970s.2,3

    Because adult mammals are lactose-intolerant, this hypothesis is, moreover, based on the low percentage of lactose malabsorption and high enterocyte lactase activity (0–30%) among populations originating in northwestern Europe and in some ethnic groups around the Mediterranean and Near East, in Africa, and on the Indian subcontinent. These people share the longest known tradition of dairying, since humans first domesticated livestock and practiced milk-based pastoralism (6000–9000 years ago), making milk abundant for adults. Accordingly, lactose tolerance is supposed to be due to a genetic mutation for lactase persistence, allowing carriers to have milk as a nutritional resource, especially useful in times of food shortage. For the majority of the world’s populations, however, the absence of genetic challenge has meant that no evolution has occurred.

    Mutation, in combination with natural selection, is most frequently the mechanism utilized to explain these changes in genetic frequency, assuming that the ancestral state was that of nonpersistence (the normal mammalian state) and that the relevant mutation probably originated before the geographical expansion of modern humans. Mathematical models trying to explain this genetic polymorphism require high selection coefficients and a reasonable starting gene frequency.4 Such outstanding genetic change during so short an evolutionary span, as claimed, implies an increase in the survival and fertility rates of the lactase-persistence gene carriers to displace the noncarriers in so few (200–300) generations.

    Evidence does not support such a hypothesis; the rate of recurrent mutation needed to explain these changes in the genetic frequencies would be very high, 100 to 1000 the usual (?10?5 or 10?6 per generation for most loci in most organisms). At these usual rates, mutation without selection would bring about only slow changes in the gene frequency in 250 generations. In addition, individual fitness (the contribution of offspring to the next generation) does not exhibit any difference between lactose-tolerant and lactose-intolerant people; no differences in viability or fertility rates in the prereproductive or reproductive periods have been noticed up to now. Moreover, fitness is greater by far in lactose-intolerant populations, and figures show, curiously, that an increase in lactose-tolerance rates is, in general, paralleled by a decrease in demographic values, and vice versa. There are additional unexplained facts concerning the lactase-persistence polymorphism that the evolutionary hypothesis has been unable to explain, but expounding on them would make this letter too protracted.

    However, what is more important is that the rationale of evolutionary analysis tells us that restricting milk to the nursing period of mammals is more efficient (greater fitness) than to share it with older individuals. As Fomon points out, the evolutionary forces are focused on the survival of the mother-offspring unit; postreproductive individuals (“the genetic dustbin”5) do not directly contribute to evolutionary changes.

    In short, evidence does not support the evolutionary hypothesis of lactase persistence in human adults as a consequence of selection. A founder effect could be a more suitable explanation to justify this trait, and this mechanism does not need the cooperation of natural selection.

    http://pediatrics.aappublicati.....372.1.full

  15. Some don’t think so!

    Well, I can’t be responsible for the fact there are clueless people in the world. The data doesn’t support a founder effect.

  16. The defenders worry that attacks on Darwinism are little more than veiled religious arguments, and that if they prevail, science will simply become an extension of religious disputes, as it was in the millennia or so between the fall of Rome and the Reformation.

    One has to note that this view of mediaeval intellectual life is just plain wrong. Science (as we now call it) advanced more in mediaeval Europe than it ever had under Rome, and Christendom was one of the main reasons. “Dark Ages” propaganda was a Renaissance humanist myth that has perpetuated itself ever since. Authoritative and documented evidence aplenty in “God’s Philosophers” by James Hanham.

    And a good debunking of the issue of religion/humanism in relation to the more modern situation of the Copernican revolution in The OFloinn’s excellent blog series, “The Great Ptolomeic Putdown”, starting here.

  17. So we should not try to understand anything, to broaden our knowledge, unless there is we stand to profit from it.

    Are you serious ?

  18. Graham,

    So we should not try to understand anything, to broaden our knowledge, unless there is we stand to profit from it.

    Are you serious ?

    I didn’t say that. You are attributing arguments to me which I didn’t make.

    In the mean time, how about suggesting the what benefit there will be to science and society if Darwinism is true.

    Some of you guys keep insisting that global domination in science can only be achieved via teaching evolutionism. So I’m merely asking you to demonstrate why. It would seem math, physics, and chemistry — non-evolutionary biology is more essential to scientific advancement than evolutionary stories.

  19. Excellent question!

    What is there to gain?!

    Along with that one should ask “What is there to lose?”

    Meaning and purpose for life

    Real morality

    Value of life

    Hope of eternal life

    Etc.

    This does not automatically mean it is false, but it can have dangerous implications for society. Dennett realized these implications when he wrote his book entitled “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.”

  20. If thats not the point then why bothering asking the question ? What is your point ?

    You are labouring the claim that understanding Evolution doesnt ‘gain’ us anything. So what ? Maybe it fills in a gap in our knowledge of how the world works. Knowledge of distant stars doesnt build a better mousetrap, but so what ?

  21. I like seeing Ava Gardner

    Driving up from Florida last week, we passed Ava Gardner’s birth place on the road. They were advertising a festival in her name. Maybe you should check it out.

  22. Like the ability to digest lactose as an adult?

    If this is all one can point to then one has admitted defeat. No one cares a rat’s rear end about lactose digestion in the evolution debate because it is a meaningless change in this particular debate. This is not to say that it isn’t beneficial but no one really believes this is evidence for anything of consequence for evolution.

  23. Rosemary and Peter Grant had a long presentation at Stanford a few years ago where they discuss speciation in detail in the context of their research. I assume since they were invited by Stanford to present under the guise of honoring Darwin, that they have evolutionary biology creds.

    They define speciation as inability to inner breed even if done artificially. One of the impediments to inner breeding of birds in the wild is song type even when two birds are quite capable of producing viable offspring. If the accustomed to song is not present, the birds will not get together.

    They also said it takes 20-30 million years to form a new bird species under their definition. I assume that similar parameters apply to other vertebrates.

    I believe they also said that what was probably causing the beak changes in the finches was epigenetic and not natural selection. Changes in the environment trigger different gene expression which changes beak size and the resultant beak prevalence was not due to a change in allele frequency.

    All very interesting if true.

  24. You are labouring the claim that understanding Evolution doesnt ‘gain’ us anything.

    No one is saying don’t investigate something. I believe Darwinian evolution gets all the way to a different fur color and as such should be explored. It also can explain a lot of disease/genetic impairments and for that it must be explored.

    But to say that it explains evolution or that biology can not be understood without it, is nonsense. Tell the students and the public the truth. Investigate any thing that seems interesting but do not say that criticism of Darwin’s ideas because they have only limited use is an attack on science investigation.

    It is just the opposite. Those adhering to a false theory prevents further investigation and discussion. It is the pro Darwinian evolutionist who are limiting science. Those who advocate that Darwin’s ideas and all its modern permutations explain life’s history are the ones who are the true anti-science advocates.

  25. If the accustomed to song is not present, the birds will not get together.

    I apologize. I left something out. I meant to add that maybe Frank was not singing the right song and that is why Ava spurned him or Frank felt rejected when Ava did not respond to his song.

  26. If thats not the point then why bothering asking the question ? What is your point ?

    If it has no utility, then why do people have to be fired, denied jobs, denied diplomas, become marginalized in society for not believing it. Assuming its true, if it has no benefit, then disbelieving it has no harm.

    Until one can demonstrate its benefit, then maybe it’s a little premature to be carrying out inquisitions against non-believers.

    At a personal level, Darwinists were plotting to try to get me thrown out of school because I insulted evolutionary theory. Evolutionary biologists don’t need to study or accept quantum mechanics, astrophysics, or general relativity in order to do their job, but they can matriculate through school. Me on the other hand, it’s a matter of public record at Wesley Elsberry’s ATBC that Darwinist thugs were actively plotting to cause trouble for me in my engineering curriculum. That was just pure hatred, not scientific or technological utility.

    That’s what I see. Darwinism is advertised as essential for students of science and technology, and I’m simply asking why it is essential. Apparently because I make criticisms of evolutionary theory, because I believe life is a miracle, in the opinion of many of my critics I should have been ejected from engineering grad school in fact two grad schools.

    1. Baylor — because Robert Marks evolution informatics lab was shut down a week before the school year started and after he and Bill Dembski invited me to study engineering at Baylor. Thankfully the clown (Lilly) who shut the lab down was fired, the lab was re-opened and a far better qualified student (Winston Ewert) was able to carry on instead of me.

    2. Whiting School/Johns Hopkins — Elsberry’s thugs at ATBC in the 2007/2008 time frame were plotting to cause trouble for me, were communicating with faculty to try to get me tossed out.

    In 2005 I was head of an IDEA chapter at GMU (my undergrad alma mater) where Caroline Crocker taught. Our story was reported in the April 28, 2005 edition of the scientific journal Nature. 3 weeks later she was dismissed from GMU. Even if I’m wrong, even if Robert Marks is wrong, even if Caroline Crocker is wrong, why this witch hunt over a useless theory?

    Ben Carson at my school did well without believing in Darwinism along with lots of other physicians in the USA. John Hartnett is a premeire physicist in his field without believing Darwinism. John Sanford realized he never needed it to do his work, and his gene gun is now in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Jim Irwin flew to the moon believing in a Creator.

    So why the witch hunt against non-believers in Darwin?
    What’s the grounds for this attitude except bigotry and hatred. It isn’t as if technology will some how fail if you disbelieve Darwinism.

    So you guys are welcome to say how society will be harmed by the prevalence of disbelieve in Darwinism. I keep hearing the USA is declining in science and that its tied to the lack of belief in evolutionism. Well, yeah, we’re kicking people out of academia, discouraging them from studying science if they disbelieve Darwinism. I know that first hand at many levels. I shouldn’t have to be dealing with sort of bigoted garbage.

    Darwinists can scream and call me names on the net, but preventing people from matriculating through school (me), giving them grief and maybe ensuring they get eliminated at places like JPL (David Coppedge), getting them fired from places like NIH (Sternberg) and GMU (Crocker), shutting their labs and research centers (Dembski and Marks)….so how much better is the world after this pointless witch hunt. Tell me again why!

    We’ve gone on for 25 comments, and no one has given justification for how much better the world is for this witch hunt continuing. Suppose creationists are wrong, suppose evolutionary biologists are wrong about the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkov limit, how does not understanding or accepting something way outside of your specialty justify the witch hunts I see going on?

    You guys are welcome to articulate the reasons why this has to continue and what benefit there is to society. I welcome hearing why I had to deal with the garbage I dealt with, and even more, why my good friends had to suffer.

  27. Maybe there will be a kind of Nuremburg trial in the academy, one day. Now, there’s a thought! The Streichers, Eichmanns et al. (I was going to say, Goerings, but I don’t think there are any as bright as Goering was reputed to be).

    Anyway, if it happens, heaven forbid it should be a Night of the Long Knives against Neobrown Shirts, although most of the latter might share the same sexual proclivities as their prototypes. One would hope Dawkins is an outlier in his outlook, anyway!

  28. scordova @ 26

    We’ve gone on for 25 comments, and no one has given justification for how much better the world is for this witch hunt continuing. Suppose creationists are wrong, suppose evolutionary biologists are wrong about the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkov limit, how does not understanding or accepting something way outside of your specialty justify the witch hunts I see going on?

    Because the unbelievers and skeptics, who have detested the God of Abraham from time immemorial, have had an unspoken agenda since the Enlightenment to bury Him once and for all. (Good luck with that one, BTW.) And because Darwin’s sole lasting accomplishment was to hand them the academy on a plate.

    However “unreasonable” their choke hold may have become based on the evidence, at least one cannot argue that, by stooping to any means fair or foul, they are being in any way inconsistent with their paradigm.

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