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History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Booknotes: WHEE: The Legacy of Darwinism

June 23rd, 2010 · No Comments

Reposted from yesterday:
From the new edition: The Legacy of Darwinism

At a time when theories of evolution are under renewed controversy, discussion is hampered by the remoteness of the phenomenon of evolution, and the use of indirect inference to speculate about deep time. In the face of much criticism from religious Creationists, now accompanied by the Intelligent Design movement, adherents of Darwinism forever defend a flawed theory that has been challenged from its first appearance. The objections of the first reviewers of Darwin’s book, indeed even of T. H. Huxley, the original champion of the theory, were never quite answered in the tide of paradigm change that swept modern culture. The perennial issue is natural selection as the mechanism of evolution. The assumption that evolution occurs, and must occur, at random is the crux of the dispute, one unreasonably confused by the claims of religion versus science.
The rise of molecular biology shows a complexity of structure that cannot easily survive statistical challenges to claims of random emergence. The new genetics and the emergence of developmental biology have exposed the limits of Darwin’s original theory, in the remarkable findings of complex biochemical systems and evo-devo. Therefore the critics, whatever the public pronouncements of Darwinists, have essentially won the debate, and retabled the views of many of Darwin’s predecesssors at the birth of embryology in the generation before Origin. We might proceed on that basis, beyond the distracting cultural politics of evolutionary theories, which now sees the resurfacing of the design theology of the generation of Paley. Nothing in the methodology of science requires us to accept the claims of natural selection as established.

Tags: Booknotes · Fourth Edition · World History and The Eonic Effect

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