Bluffing, confusion, obfuscation and equivocation applies both to Fizzbin the card game in Star Trek and to Darwinism. In the original Star Trek series episode “A Piece of the Action”, Kirk asked the thugs of an alien planet organized as different groups of mobs if they are smart enough to learn a new card game called Fizzbin. The rules of the game are extremely confusing because Kirk was making up the rules as he goes along. Darwinism operates in like manner. Darwinists would like you to think that unless you have a PhD in biology (in reality it doesn’t matter even if you have a PhD) your criticisms are invalid. As David Berlinski metaphorically describes Darwinism is “Like Hell itself, Darwin’s theory of evolution is often said to be protected by walls that are at least seven miles thick, in that it is not only true, but unassailable.”
I pointed out in “Nietzsche’s Madman : Finding Darwin’s God” the inside baseball of Darwinism. Within Darwinism and away from the general public, Darwinists would readily acknowledge the problems with Darwinian evolution. However, in public the official line is that evolution is a fact like gravity is a fact. In this post I would like to look more carefully at Sean Carroll’s three evolutionary revolutions. What are its subtle implications?
The two greatest revolutions in biology, those in evolution and genetics, were driven by such insights. Darwin explained the parade of species in the fossil record and the diversity of living organisms as products of natural selection over eons of time. Molecular biology explained how the basis of heredity in all species is encoded in molecules of DNA made of just four basic constituents. As powerful as these insights were, in terms of explaining the origin of complex visible forms, from the bodies of ancient trilobites to the beaks of Galapagos finches, they were incomplete. Neither natural selection nor DNA directly explains how individual forms are made or how they evolved.
The key to understanding form is development, the process through which a single-celled egg gives rise to a complex, multi-billion-celled animal. This amazing spectacle stood as one of the great unsolved mysteries of biology for nearly two centuries. And development is intimately connected to evolution because it is through changes in embryos that changes in form arise. Over the past two decades, a new revolution has unfolded in biology. Advances in developmental biology and evolutionary development biology (dubbed “Evo-Devo”) have revealed a great deal about the invisible genes and some simple rules that shape animal form and evolution. Much of what we have learned has been so stunning and unexpected that it has profoundly reshaped our picture of how evolution works. Not a single biologist, for example, ever anticipated that the same genes that control the making of an insect‘s body and organs also control the making of our bodies.“ — Sean Carroll, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful”, pg ix-x (emphasis added)
The implication of Carroll’s statement is at the heart between the design and evolution debate for over 150 years. No serious person would deny the fact that living organisms can change and adapt over time. Design theorists are refuting the ability for origination of species through purely natural selection and Mendelian synthesis. In other word, neither Darwin’s natural selection or neo-Darwinism can explain macroevolution. FIZZBIN! Darwinists have been telling us that macroevolution is a fact. Random genetic mutations combined with the fittest will survive concept it is suppose to produce humans from protocell. Here you have an eminent evolutionary scientist who admits that random mutations and natural selection do not explain how macroevolution happens.
What is natural selection and why would anyone be persuaded by this argument? Natural selection is the mechanism or process that acts on genetic changes in organisms to vary the genetic frequency in the population. A frequent example of natural selection used by Darwinists is the peppered moth. The moth story goes something like this. During the industrial revolution in the 18th century in England, the dark color moths saw an increase in their population size compared to light color moths. This is due to their ability to camouflage themselves better with the soot covered trees, thereby giving them a survival advantage over the light color moths. (This has been totally debunked by Jonathan Wells in the Icons of Evolution) This is an example of microevolution. The problem with this is that some Darwinists use these type of examples as evidence for macroevolution. They do not make any distinction between microevolution and macroevolution. Some goes as far as to deny the term macroevolution as a distinction concocted by Creationists. To Darwinists macroevolution is nothing more than cumulative microevolution. This is how the vertebrate eye has evolved, through successive and cumulative improvements on a light patch. The 800 pounds gorilla in this type of Darwinian extrapolation is that there is absolutely no observable empirical evidence to support these fanciful speculations, in the wild or in the labs. Again, I would point you back to my posting in “Nietzsche’s Madman : Finding Darwin’s God” for the list of admissions by Darwinists who honestly admits this. However, the lack of empirical evidence is not enough to deter the devout Darwinist from pressing forth with this argument. They will make claims like this is how science work because evolution happens over millions of years so extrapolation is as good as observable facts. Other arguments involve using computer simulations like the Nilsson and Pelger simulation for the eye spot and Avida. Although these simulators have no basis on empirical reality (see my debate of it here) , it does give the Darwinists cover to speculate as if they are based on reality. For those of us who work with simulators everyday in our engineering design to produce realistic functional devices, these simulators are nothing more than Darwinian fantasy games. Even the eminent British evolutionary biologist the field’s godfather, Tom Ray said, “It’s just not biology. Period. End of discussion”.
Darwinian natural selection as a macroevolutionary mechanism is totally vacuous in explaining how the new forms arise. Natural selection itself is not a force and has no ontological existence. It cannot account for the genetic differences between species, the differential survival of an organism, nor any alleged cumulative changes in such a differential survival scenario. I will deal with Carroll’s second revolution neo-Darwinism, the modern synthesis of Mendelian genetics and natural selection in my next post.
The second revolution gave rise to the modern synthesis.Molecular biology explained how the basis of heredity in all species is encoded in molecules of DNA made of just four basic constituents.
In the first revolution, Darwin tells us that the origin of species, the diversity of all life on earth came from some warm little pond. This was possible because of natural selection. It was quickly discovered that natural selection (the fittest survive) could not have created all the new forms of life. At best it only acted on existing forms of life. No one knew what natural selection was acting on.
Is this a problem for natural selection? No, not in Darwinian Fizzbin. Darwinists are committed to this game and the rules can be change and distorted in every which way to make Darwinism win. The Darwinists’ response would be “This is how science work. Knowledge is built incrementally and as science advances the gaps in our knowledge are filled.” The problem with that argument is that it is a Fizzbin misdirection. Any good theory must be falsifiable. Darwin’s theory was already been falsified. Natural selection does not create new forms. It only acts on existing forms. Never forget that Darwin’s theory of natural selection does not create legs on that fish to walk out of the water. Once this is realized the entire conclusion of common ancestry through Darwinian evolution should have collapsed.
Never fear, neo-Darwinian synthesis is here to the rescue. Never mind that Darwinian evolution was wrong, we just shifted the aim and now we have small-inherited genetic variations. These cumulated variation combined with natural selection will create new forms. There is just one small problem. Neo-Darwinism like its’ predecessor has absolutely zero, none, nil, zilch evidence of selective pressure for natural selection to operate until in recent geological time. There is no selective pressure, if there is no predation, over population, limited resources and geographical and environmental constraints. Darwinian evolution has asserted these conditions during each of the alleged macroevolutionary transition but there is no direct evidence of such conditions.
The truth to the matter is that genetic mutation occurs whether natural selection is in effect or not. In that respect, maybe the diversity of all life on earth is due to these genetic mutations? The first problem is that most changes that affects how an organism functions is harmful to that organism. The second problem is that even if the change is not harmful, how do we know that it is advantageous? It is only advantageous if we can frame the conditions of the system. Ken Miller use the example of the one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind. This is only true if the land has light and light is of significance to the people of the land. In Darwinian evolution it requires differential survival, where the fittest out competes with the less fit. The counter analogy might be in the land of the plenty famine is extinct.
Are there genetic mutations that would confer a survival advantage to an organism? Of Course. Consider the antibiotic resistant bacteria. In a random population of bacteria where antibiotics are introduce, it is possible for individual bacteria to develop a resistance to the antibiotic. The problem with this type of examples that Darwinists uses is that it is an example of microevolution and not macroevolution.
The second revolution of neo-Darwinian synthesis was supposed to give us the answer to how new forms are created. It was suppose to finally give us the answer to Darwin’s common descent and the diversity of all life on earth. Neo-Darwinism is also a falsified theory. Not only is neo-Darwinism unable to demonstrate empirically how new forms are created, all experiments that attempted to accelerate the mutations in the genes of an organism has shown to be anti-Darwinian. Attempts to alter bacteria stayed as bacteria and fruit flies are still fruit flies. They may become deformed and died, but they remain as the originating organism. In other word, it has been impossible to change a fruit fly into a bird or a cow into a giraffe like animal. There is no reason for anyone to believe the Darwinian evolutionary icon of evolving a fox size land mammal into a whale.
It doesn’t matter how many times the Darwinian theory has been falsified. Darwinists like Carroll will even admit that Darwinian evolution has been a failure to explain macroevolution (the creation of new forms). Darwinism cannot lose because it is played by the Fizzbin rules. Darwinism is still very much a fact like gravity is a fact. The only difference between the two is that anyone can test gravity by holding out an object, release it and watch it fall toward the ground. Darwinian evolution on the other hand, you will just have to take the words of the Darwinists for it.
In the next post I will discuss Carroll’s third revolution evo-devo, is this the great evolutionary hope that Darwinists are waiting for? We shall see. ‘Darwinian Fizzbin (The Second Revolution)’