Science and the Sacred

Science and the Sacred

Darwin’s Search Engine


Is evolution predictable? Many would argue that it is not. After all, the driving mechanisms of evolution — natural selection, genetic mutation, genetic variation, mass extinctions, etc. — seem to defy a linear, predictable path. Indeed, some cite the apparent randomness of evolution as proof that life as we know it is nothing more than a complete fluke.

However, evolutionist Simon Conway Morris notes that the repeated emergence of certain structures throughout evolutionary history seems to argue against this idea of unpredictability. For example, birds have independently evolved as many as four times throughout our planet’s history. Key structures like the our eye are astonishingly similar to those of the squid, though these structures have evolved independently. If evolution were completely random, would we expect to see organisms beginning from vastly different starting points converging on these same structures?

Morris, believes that evolution is “Darwin’s search engine,” a system through which organisms hone-in on naturally fruitful developments. In an article for Guardian News, he writes that “evolution is evidently following more fundamental rules.” In fact, he argues, convergence seems to point towards an inherent meaning in life, rather than the nihilism of pure, unguided chance. By accepting this view of evolution as a search engine, Morris writes, “things not only start to make much better sense, but they are also much more interesting.”


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Daniel Mann

posted August 18, 2009 at 5:30 pm

The phenomenon of convergence, instead of causing us to rethink the concept of randomness within evolution, should instead cause us to rethink the reality of macroevolution. If biological diversity represents a mosaic or a patchwork quilt instead of a tree with ancestral limbs gradually branching off, perhaps the Genesis account of God creating each creature after its own kind has some merit.

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posted August 19, 2009 at 6:05 am

Daniel Mann, But when we look at the fossil record and the evidence of genetics it clearly supports “macroevolution”, not “each creature after its own kind.” Genetics, biogeography, and fossils all strongly counter the mosaic or patchwork idea.
PS. Macroevolution actually means evolution above the species level. If you believe in “kinds” that mean types, and not one kind for each individual species, than you also accept macroevolution.

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posted August 19, 2009 at 11:28 am

Darwins “Evolution” theory, along with the book of Genesis, are a combined union of the same entity. Comparing the two, you will find almost word for word the same meaning behind what the authors were trying to get through to the readers. I can’t help but think that somehow Darwin wanted in the back of his mind to reinforce the Bibles version on this subject.

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posted August 19, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Eyes and birds
Organisms evolve in a physical environment that constrains morphology. In order to fly birds have to have a aerodynamic profile, a given wing area to weight ratio, a given muscle power to mass ratio. Given these contrainst on flying in earths atmosphers it is not surprising that there is “convergent” evolution.
The same applies to eyes. There are only a certain number of ways to get a functional lense.
Jim, sorry to tell you this old chap – Darwin’s theory contradicts a literal interpretation of the bible. If anyone has been telling you different have been taking you for a sucker. How much money have you been donating to church?

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posted August 22, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Stephen Jay Gould, who had access to many unpublished letters and writings by Charles Darwin’s wrote that before Charles Darwin stepped on the Beagle, Charles Darwin had already rejected Christianity and had become a materialist.
Here is Darwin’s view on Christianity:
“I can hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” — Charles Darwin
Charles Darwins’ Book: “Theory On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” In which he states his case for materialistic evolution, has warn thin with age. None of his arguments or evidences for evolution has withstood the teast of time. Darwin’s Theory, modelled upon Charles Lyell’s Theory on Uniformatarian Geology, which Lyell pursued after graduating college, with the distinct goal of overthrowing Mosaic Geology of his day, by claiming that geologic changes occurs very uniformly over extremely long periods, and that this process can account for all geological formations we observe today.
Darwin’s Theory on life, argues that all life evolved very slowly from some initial life form which, over extremely very long periods of time gave way to every living creature that ever existed on Earth. Charles Darwin that he never gave Lyell the credit he deserved, that half his theory came right out of Lyell’s mind.
Today, science, and I mean REAL science, have proved both Lyell’s and Darwin’s uniformatarian theories to be wrong.
Bearing witness to this fact are the Paleontologists, Led by Stephen Gould, Niles Eldredge, Steven Stanley, and Colin Patterson, wherein they acknowledged that the true nature of the Fossil record had been suppressed for over 100 years, that the fossil record actually refutes Darwinism, because the fossil record is not a tale of Darwin’s slow gradualism, but rather, the fossil record is one of the sudden appearance of of each species type, followed by stasis (i.e. no change in Body Plane) for their full duration in the fossil record, until extinction or they are living today, unchanged from their 1st appearance in the fossil record.
Stephen Gould argues aganst these fallacies of lyell and Darwin:
“As for Lyell and Darwin’s works, Stephen Jay Gould points out:
“Charles Lyell was a lawyer by profession, and his book [Principles of Geology, 1830-1833] is one of the most brilliant briefs ever published by an advocate … Lyell relied heavily upon two bits of cunning to establish his uniformitarian views as the only true geology. First, he set up a straw man to demolish. … In fact, the catastrophists were much more empirically minded than Lyell. The geologic record does seem to require catastrophes; rocks are fractured and contorted; whole faunas are wiped out. To circumvent this literal appearance, Lyell imposed his imagination upon the evidence. The geologic record, he argued, is extremely imperfect and we must interpolate into it what we can reasonably infer but cannot see. The catastrophists were the hard-nosed empiricists of their day, not the blinded theological apologists.
“Lyell’s ‘uniformity’ is a hodgepodge of claims. One is a methodological statement [see previous paragraph] that must be accepted by any scientist, catastrophist and uniformitarian alike. Other claims are substantive notions that have since been tested and abandoned. Lyell gave them a common name and pulled a consummate fast one: he tried to slip the substantive claim by with an argument that the methodological proposition had to be accepted…”
Stephen Jay Gould, “Catastrophes and Steady-State Earth, in Natural History, February, 1975, pp. 16, 17.
“Gradualism was never ‘proved from the rocks’ by Lyell and Darwin, but was rather imposed as a bias upon nature. … Has had a profoundly negative impact by stifling hypotheses and by closing the minds of a profession toward reasonable empirical alternatives to the dogma of gradualism. …Lyell won with rhetoric what he could not carry with data.”
Gould, S. J., ‘Toward the Vindication of Punctuational Change’. In: W. A. BERGGREN & J. A. VAN COUVERING (Eds.): Catastrophes and Earth History: The New Uniformitarian, Princeton University Press, Princeton (New Jersey), pp. 14-16, 1984.
The fossil record never looked as Darwin’s Theory predicted it would. His name is kept around for propaganda purposes.

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posted August 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Let’s make this perfectly clear: Gregor Mendell is the Father of the Science of Genetics, and is considered to be the first geneticist.
Charles Darwin’s mechanism for his theory of evolution was an idea going to back to Hippocrates (460-377 BC), it was called pangenesis.
Pangenesis is a theory in which gemmules containing hereditary information from every part of the body coalesce in the gonads and are incorporated into the reproductive cells.
Pangenesis is a A theory of heredity proposed by Charles Darwin in his 1868 update of his book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.” Just like his Theory of evolution, Charles Darwin’s explanation on how small beneficial genetic changes accumulated and passed on from offsrping to offspring proved to be totally wrong. Charles Darwin never had a clue about Genetics. He knew before he published ‘Pangenesis’ as his mechanism that it did not work as he thought it would, third generation offspring often had physical traits of their grandparents while lacking traits some that were not present in their parents. This left Darwin scratching his head, but he published his ‘Pangenesis’ mechanism anyway, as it was the only theory he had for passing new traits to the offspring.
Mendel’s observations from his pea experiments can be summarized in two principles that hold true today:
The Principle of Segregation
The Principle of Independent Assortment
Mendel came to four important conclusions from these experimental results:
1. The inheritance of each trait is determined by “units” or “factors” (now called genes) that are passed on to descendents unchanged.
2. An individual inherits one such unit from each parent for each trait.
3. A trait may not show up in an individual but can still be passed on to the next generation.
4. The genes for each trait segregate themselves during gamete production.
The General idea promoted by Charles Darwin and friends was that the Species were not genetically fixed, that species were constantly accumulating new novel genetic characteristics and passing them on to their offspring via Pangenesis. Thus they viewed the species as having plasticity.As anyone could see, offspring were physically similar to their parents, but also had physical traits that were different somewhat from their parents. That over a very long period of time, these small variations from generation to generation would accumulate into major morphogical changes, so much so that the distant offpring will be enormously physically different. An ancient amphibian would have a human as their very distant future offspring. Thus the species were variable and fluid over time, and not fixed.
Mendel’s ideas on heredity and evolution were diametrically opposed to those of Darwin and his followers. As Mendellian Genetics became known to be the true mechanism for genetic variation, it quickly became clear that Darwin was wrong about pangenesis and plasticity of the species. Mendellian Genetics re-established the fixity of the species.
This was clearly seen as a devastating blow to Darwin’s Theeory of Evolution by the co-founder of Darwin’s Theory. Alfred Russel Wallace:
From Monroe W. Strickberger, Genetics, 2nd edition (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1976), p. 812.
Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently proposed the theory of organic evolution slightly before Charles Darwin, was opposed to Mendel’s laws of genetics. Wallace knew Mendel’s experiments showed that the general characteristics of an organism remained within distinct boundaries. In a letter to Dr. Archdall Reid on 28 December 1909, Wallace wrote:
“But on the general relation of Mendelism to Evolution I have come to a very definite conclusion. This is, that it has no relation whatever to the evolution of species or higher groups, but is really antagonistic to such evolution! The essential basis of evolution, involving as it does the most minute and all-pervading adaptation to the whole environment, is extreme and ever-present plasticity, as a condition of survival and adaptation. But the essence of Mendelian characters is their rigidity. They are transmitted without variation, and therefore, except by the rarest of accidents, can never become adapted to ever varying conditions.” James Marchant, Letters and Reminiscences (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1916), p. 340.
Once discovered and popularized, Mendellian Genetics became a cause of concern for the Darwiian evolutionists, and a few tried to discredit Mendel throughout the 20th century, others ignored the negative implications it had for Darwin’s Theory of evolution. In my personal well considered view: To this day, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is poor science fiction masquerading as Science.

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