IPFS Mike Renzulli

More About: Science, Medicine and Technology

Charles Darwin and the Subversion of Reason

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin who was a British naturalist and is best known for discovering that, over time, all species of life have evolved from common ancestors through the process he termed natural selection.
Charles Darwin published a book titled On the Origin of Species that outlined the results of his research from the evidence he acquired during his five year voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle.
The fact that evolution occurs as a result of natural selection became accepted by the scientific community and much of the general public in his lifetime. Despite initial controversy, Darwin's theory of natural selection is seen today as the primary explanation of the process of evolution and now forms the basis of modern evolutionary theory.
His culmination of the facts that lead to his conclusions and the flawless manner in which natural selection is outlined is a testament to his brilliance. It is fitting that he should be remembered not only for his detailing natural selection and evolution but also for his courage to speak the truth in an time when supernaturalism was the means in which to explain life and events on earth.
Yet, despite Darwin's findings, unfortunately the assault, not only on evolution, but also on the ability of mankind to think and reason continues.
When Charles Darwin first came out with his discoveries, it was the subject of much controversy since it invalidated many supernatural explanations made by religions at the time about the origins of life and how they evolved.
Church of England Bishop Samuel Wilberforce criticised Darwin's theory on scientific grounds, arguing that it was not supported by facts, and noted that the greatest names in science were opposed to Darwin's natural selection theory.
Fortunately, Darwin's theories ultimately prevailed and were accepted by the scientific community. Darwin’s scientific discoveries remain the foundation of biology, since they provide a complete, and logical explanation for the diversity of life.
Unfortunately, the present assault on science has reared its ugly head again. This time it is in the form of a pseudo-scientific theory called Intelligent Design (ID). The great threat ID poses is not just the fact that its proponents try to convince people that it is science but because, ID supporters will not dare submit any of their scientific observations to peer-review journals such as Science and Nature.
If they did, the ID scientists are clearly aware their findings would be debunked almost on sight since their research is not based on any hard or credible evidence to back up their claims. Instead, ID proponents appeal to the public's view of fairness in hopes of winning over legislators and school administrators in hopes that their science will be taught or discussed in the classroom.
Despite their losing the Kitzmiller vs. Dover School District case in a court of law, it has not stopped ID proponents from trying other deceptive tactics in order to undermine, not only science, but also a student's ability to think as an individual.
Texas's State Board of Education, whos majority of board members have ties to religious conservative groups, voted last month to introduce strengths and weaknesses cirriculum into classrooms that will require schools to have open forums on the alleged strengths and weaknesses in Darwinian theory.
Several other states are considering similar proposals.
However, as opposed to William Wilberforce who criticized Charles Darwin on scientific grounds, supporters of Intelligent Delusion...er....Design are relentless in attempting to introduce creationism into classrooms masquerading it as a way of allowing open debate and dissent on the issue of evolution.
One need only look to a remark made in a December 2007 interview by a leading proponent of Intelligent Design, William Dembski, to understand what Intelligent design is all about. Dembski told Focus on the Family that The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.
No matter how fervently its proponents wish intelligent design to be seen as legitimate science, there is no disguising its true character and its proponent's true intent. ID proponent's callous and deceptive tactics and public relations campaigns are a clear indication that true scientific inquiry and fact finding is not their goal.
Rather it is to undermine, if not outright destroy, legitimate science and hinder an individual's ability to reason and think for themselves.
Today, we must not forget that Charles Darwin labored for many years to bring his scientific findings to the forefront of inquiry and for the tremendous contributions he brought to science which has helped spurn a renaissance in the field.
Scientists seek natural explanations for natural phenomena. They do so by relying on logical conclusions from observable facts and experimentation. As opposed to Intelligent Deception...er...Design whos scientists rely on supernatural explanations for natural phenomena.
The best way to honor Charles Darwin's legacy is to speak out against the enemies of science and reason, their tactics and their motives in support of true scientific research and inquiry.

11 Comments in Response to

Comment by Gerry Andeen
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Was it not Samuel Wilberforce, son of William, who opposed Darwin rather than William Wilberforce as is stated in the article?

Comment by trailrunner1983
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But a finite intellect cannot be equal to or not to say the least, enter let alone measure, the Mind of the Infinite Being.
Oh, how convenient! You don't have to prove anything. Just posit an unknowable being that you somehow know exists! Thus your position can never be falsified.

You call THAT proof? Bwhahahahaha!!!!

And why arbitrarily go back to a so-called "Prime Mover"? Where did this prime mover come from?

Ah. Another convenience for you! You use God to explain the universe, but you can't explain God. Yet you think simply invoking GAWD somehow explains things.

Ignorance is bliss!

Comment by trailrunner1983
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The Creator creates what evolves.

Really? Who created the creator? If he needs no creator, neither does the universe!


Comment by PureTrust
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It is completely true that what is complicated cannot be discerned from what is simple - at least not the vast majority of time.

This being the case, there is absolutely no argument in favor of evolution. Things are too complicated for the simple mind of even a genius, or the combined minds of a multitude of geniuses, to figure out.

Evolution is a fun SF story, and probably the largest ongoing one.

It is also one of the most successful of the more recent political propaganda machines.

Comment by Lolo
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Evolution explains nothing but the process of Creation. The Creator creates what evolves. Down the chain of creations – the process of evolution if you may – there must this Prime Creator. Never mind this feeble attempt of science to explain the Unexplainable.

In my advance study of Theodicy, I passed through what are being argued here. The bottom line is, to look for what is simple cannot be found from what is complicated.

The thesis of my conclusion in this study was, in the search of proof that God exists, the mind attempts to penetrate the mind of the Prime Creator. This is not only an exercise in extreme futility but it is also an absolute nonsense because your mind and my mind are that of Finite Being trying to be equal to that of the Infinite Being. The finite intellect wants to know, predict and measure what the Infinite Intellect knows and plans or designs to do out of and for all His creations. That's a tall, let alone impossible, order.

Anyone can argue until hell freezes over or escape to vitriolic name-calling when intellectual exchanges get hotter in the kitchen. But a finite intellect cannot be equal to or not to say the least, enter let alone measure, the Mind of the Infinite Being. Anyone who says that it can, must be foolishly thinking that he or she too is equal to the Infinite Being or one who is possessed of an Infinite Intelligence.

The simplest proof God's existence is not found in the sophistications of all the studies and philosophies of the learned in science but in Thomas Aquinas' Theory of the Prime Mover. It explains what evolution means in his great theological inference of all times: Anything that moves, has a mover, any mover is moved by a mover that was moved by a mover, that was moved by a mover … so for forth and so on until you end up with only the Ultimate or the Prime Mover.

This is how I celebrate the triumph of Faith in all my writings about this ecclesiastical mystery, over that of the atheist and agnostic cult that is spreading across the country whose brilliant arguments are electrically charged and overheated that they always end up in a short circuit.

As to the dirty comment if the mind runs out of argument, welcome to the existing mutual admiration club. Intellectual impotence is not new to this space.

Comment by PureTrust
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Basically, religion is everything for everybody. This is because the term "religion" essentially means a way of living, what one does, how one lives his/her life, and what one believes. Even the person who believes religion does not exist, this is his religion, at least in part.

ALL of the evidences that seem to suggest evolution, can be interpreted in ways that suggest something other than evolution as well - some of them many ways other than evolution. This makes the idea of evolution something that a person has to choose to believe in, based upon certain controvertible evidences that he chooses to emphasize in certain ways in his own mind. Even Darwin wrote that he was quite uncertain about his idea of evolution.

One of the greatest examples of multiple interpretation with regard to evolution is found in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Some may interpret the 2nd Law to have nothing to do with evolution. And they may have their good reasons for doing so. Others may have good reasons for interpreting the 2nd Law as having a great deal to do with evolution. Still others might look at nature around them and see that one of the greatest products of the 2nd Law is devolution - which doesn't necessarily suggest that there had to be evolution first.

Since nature is as extremely complicated as it is, determining what happened in the distant past is just as hard as determining what will happen in the future. Even the mind of a genius cannot "juggle" enough facts long enough to determine with any near-accuracy that something like evolution is the thing that has happened to bring about what we see in this world and life. In fact, the contrary. The only thing we really can determine as reasonable fact is what we can see happening now, and what we see in the records of the eye-witnesses of the past.

What we see around us is a fantastically wonderful, highly complicated "machine" called nature. And we see it without having any true idea of how such a machine as this could come about. Nature simply doesn't show us what the process was. Or if it does, we simply haven't recognized it yet.

Our feeble attempts at even manipulating a little of the "material" of nature, simply to manufacture our own machines, shows us how complicated things really are. If they weren't complicated, man would have had space flight and modern forms of telecommunication thousands of years ago.

Whatever the hidden process was that brought nature and life into existence, the evidences of the greatness of all things natural, much more readily suggest that the process was like a god rather than like something as simple and chaotic as evolution.

Comment by trailrunner1983
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Is EVERYTHING a religion to you? Aren't you really minimizing your religion by calling evolution a religion? Faith is believing in that for which there is no evidence. There is tons of evidence for evolution by natural selection. There is no evidence for God or creation. Just because you can't explain something currently is no evidence for God. You are using a God of the gaps argument. If you can't explain something, God did it! That is not positive proof for the existence of God. It's an ignorant mind game.

You have not proven creationism nor disproved evolution. All you have done is use bogus creationist arguments and get emotional about faith and about how everyday natural occurrences are somehow a miracle.

I don't have faith in evolution. I thankfully lost my faith in fairy tales for adults, and became CONVINCED of evolution because I could not deny the EVIDENCE!!!


Comment by trailrunner1983
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Sure, God would come and finally reveal his hidden, invisible self, if we all stuck our head up our asses and believed just like you!

What a bullshit story!

Comment by PureTrust
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Long-term, modern-day evolutionary scientists are to be honored as some of the greatest people of faith in existence.

With all the marvelous everyday miracles of nature - they must be miracles, because nobody can find solid evidence within nature pointing to a method whereby nature came about - yet the long-term, modern-day evolutionary scientists doggedly cling to a belief that solid evidence within nature pointing conclusively to nature's self-creation just has to exist.

If creationists had even a fraction of faith in their God-based religion, that long-term, modern-day evolutionary scientists have in their religion of evolution, the Great Creator God would come joyfully crashing into the universe, down from the Heavens to the earth, to embrace all of mankind.

Comment by trailrunner1983
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Boy is this bogus argument about the 2nd law of thermodynamics used by creationists getting old!

The second law actually states that "disorder in a closed system tends to increase." By "closed system" scientists mean a system receiving no energy from an outside source. The universe as a whole is considered a "closed system" since the total amount of energy within the universe remains constant. The universe as a whole thus reveals an ever-increasing disorder.

However, within the universe, local regions may receive an energy input, and are therefore considered "open systems." Our own planet is an open system because Earth receives energy from an outside source: the sun. Without the sun's energy, life on earth would be impossible.

Because Earth is an open system, receiving the sun's radiant energy, disorder on Earth may decrease in localized spheres. Over millions of years, lifeforms may increase in complexity, as long as a constant energy supply is maintained. For biological systems, the necessary energy supply consists not only of the sun's heat and light, but also of abundant sources of food and water.

I find it ironic that creationists argue FOR a Creator by citing the second law of thermodynamics, which describes the universe as drifting further and further into chaos. It seems to me that a universe of ever-increasing chaos argues against a miracle working sustainer of the cosmos!

Also, comparing a car to a biological organism is comparing apples and oranges. There are genetic mutations that cause change in organisms over time.

If a God always existed, then the universe, albeit in different form, could always have existed. This is precisely what the law of the conservation of mass/energy proves. The law of the conservation of mass/energy states that matter and energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It must be eternal and existed in some form before the big bang. Matter and energy can change form but cannot be created nor destroyed! Matter and energy in a different form from what it is today, caused the big bang! Thus it is WHAT and not WHO caused the big bang.

If nothing comes from nothing, just HOW did a God create something form nothing? God doesn't answer the question, it only begs the question.

Comment by PureTrust
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I find it so interesting that highly intelligent people continually try to combine politics and "local science" with pervading nature in the wrong way.

What I mean is this. Anybody who claims that Darwin was correct or nearly so in his "On the Origin of Species," is either ignorant, is a political activist, is applying Darwin's theories to small local science, or has forgotten to look at the rest of the facts.

The Second LAW of Thermodynamics entirely reverses Darwin's THEORIES of evolution. The longer one waits for nature to build something up - such as LIFE from randomness - the greater the chances and odds that there will be deterioration rather than building up. This is pervading and prevailing, big-time scientific LAW that has always existed, not theory like evolution is.

Look at the rusty old car in the junkyard. It never grows to become a shiny new vehicle like it once was. Or consider all the erosion of the mountains. Mountains NEVER erode back up. Neither is there any evidence for the growing up of life from nothing or randomness. Rather, there is only rusting, and eroding, and wearing out, and tearing down in nature.

What this means is that there must have been something "super" natural that started life. There must have been something non-natural that brought order out of chaos. Such an order-provider and new-car-from-old-car-maker simply doesn't exist in nature.

So, wake up and see that most, if not all, of evolutionary science is really a bunch of politicians-in-the-natural-sciences trying to delude common folks into funding their "science-political" foolishness.