Monday, July 04, 2011

"Darwinism is Dead" Oh really?

Monday, 4 July, 2011
There was a little essay, posted on the intertubes last Saturday by Paul Benedict that is a real creationist gem. It has all the low points, false premises, quote mines, citation bluffing, and the Second Law of Thermodynamics that creationists have spouted for over a generation. For example, as the title implies the main claim is that, “… for decades microbiologists have been abandoning Darwinism.” This is well known as, “The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism.”

In its own way, this essay was a sterling example of Googling for answers, but actually reading the cited papers reveals that Mr. Benedict is either incompetent to read them, or has purposely lied to his readers (no surprises there!). That’s not all, Folks! Mr. Benedict also likes his creationism with an ID spin; we are treated to vacuous “complexity” claims, the Discotute list of names, and Benedict closed with, “It's time to tell the kids: it is statistically impossible that Darwin's explanation of the origin of life is correct.”

Let’s look at that last sentence first.

First of all, there was never an explanation of the origin of life offered by Charles Darwin. In the “Origin of Species” Darwin directly observed that there was no logical connection between the origin of life, and how life had evolved. Evolutionary theory is based primarily on the observations of living species, their diversity, and distribution. In the “Origin,” Darwin makes only the general observation that,
"I believe that animals are descended from at most only four or five progenitors, and plants from an equal or lesser number.

Analogy would lead me one step further, namely, to the belief that all animals and plants are descended from some one prototype. But analogy may be a deceitful guide. Nevertheless all living things have much in common, in their chemical composition, their cellular structure, their laws of growth, and their liability to injurious influences."

Later Darwin wrote a letter to the botanist Joseph Hooker (1871) noting that,
"It is often said that all the conditions for the first production of a living organism are present, which could ever have been present. But if (and Oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc., present, that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed."

Later in the same letter, he observed,

"It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter."

Since the entire thrust of Mr. Benedict’s little essay is that “Darwinism is Dead” because “random chance” isn’t an explanation of the origin of life, we know that Benedict understands nothing about evolutionary theory, probability theory, or current research on the origin of life.

I'll take up these issues below.


Anonymous said...

Several of the replies to his essay raised this point. Now we have to see if he changes his mind about any of his invalid assertions. At the end of my last comment, I suggested that a reasonable person would conclude that he had lost the discussion, and modify his position. We'll see.

Bob Carroll

Gary S. Hurd said...

I would hope so. As you said, we shall see.