History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Weikart vs Ruse

September 16th, 2010 · No Comments

Richard Weikart takes on Ruse’s piece at Huffpost from a while back: Charles Darwin and Adolf Hitler: Rethinking the ‘Links’, and here:
Ruse’s Spin on Darwin’s Racism

I think Ruse’s post is almost scandalous in its distortions and incomprehension of the history of the Darwin debate, and of ID. I am puzzled by the obstinate confusion of Darwinists, that has fueled the growth of ID. Behind Darwin on Trial, the book said to have started it, lies Michael Denton’s classic critique of Darwinism, which never mentioned the ID question as such. It simply showed the flaws in Darwin’s theory.
In any other field, such a critique would lead to examination of the theory in question. But here instead we see the total ostrich attitude of the Darwin proponents. The distortion in the understanding of statistics of a whole generation has taken the place of seeing the problems raised. It is almost beyond belief.
Philip Johnson’s subsequent book, Darwin on Trial, resembled Denton’s, whatever the skullduggery in the background of the coming ID movement. Darwin on Trial raised questions that scientits needed/need to answer. Or forget that book, and look at Denton, and Wesson, and Lovtrup, and the rest of the scientific critiques of Darwinism.

It is true that Denton wrote another book on the fine-tuning argument, but so did a lot of other atheist physicists. If Denton is a closet ID-ist he has not let it distort his books. Denton’s book remains a classic on the issue of the failure of Darwinism. For Ruse, in the year 2010, to be still unable to grasp this fact, is almost beyond belief, and is a reminder that science is going critical on this failure.

Instead of scientists doing science skeptically, twenty years later we have the cretins like Ruse still distorting the record, still incapable of seeing the problem with Darwinism, and promoting all the crap defending Darwinism to the last, from Barbara Forrest to Pennock. In a way, to be fair, the ID gambit has given Darwin diehards a convenient excuse to be stupid, by exposing ID and deflecting attention from Darwinism. The ID tactics have backfired. But the original critiques remain.

Scientists need to acknowledge the problems with Darwin’s bad science, and move on from the Darwin era. They need to do it, but apparently they cannot.
So it is no use complaining of fundamentalists in the Bible Belt realizing what scientists can’t realize, the problems with Darwinism.

The issue of Darwin and Hitler is delicate, but basically Weikart’s essay is clear, and correct. More to be said about that in another post (we have discussed it many times here), but the question of Social Darwinism remains to this day almost undiscussed by figures such as Ruse. We can discuss this again in another post (We have already addressed Weikart here several times, check via the search box).

All that is asked here is some decent science. Not religion, not ID or conservative Bible Belt shennanigans. Complain all you wish of that, but to persist in Darwinian illusion after the twenty years since Darwin on Trial and the book by Denton before it is wilful obtuseness that is hard to grasp.
I think that scientists must assume their public is stupid, and that they can use propaganda to maintain the Darwin illusion in their public. That is a discourtesy that will cripple science in the end.

I should emphasize also that ID has confused the issue of critiquing Darwinism. ID is not present in either Denton’s or Johnson’s book (although Johnson rapidly remorphed thereafter as an ID-ist): the issue is the failure of selectionist Darwinism.

The question of irreducible complexity has been scrambled by both sides here, and Behe’s important idea, that biological complexity can’t be explained by natural selection, was soon distorted by the ID argument. Behe did not enforce the clarity needed for his idea, and it soon became a design metaphysics that was its own confusion.

It should be the job of scientists to point out this limitation of Darwin’s theory, to protect public clarity from the ID mystification. Instead, as with Ruse, they feed it with the endless distortions, as here in Huffpost.

Tags: Evolution · Science & Religion

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