Monday, September 17, 2018

On The Claim That "Only Creationists Use The Word "Darwinism" Updated And Old Whine Served In New Skin

A certain sign that someone is a Republican-fascist scumbag is that they will always use the word "Democrat" as an adjective, Megan Kelly did it this morning while throwing dirt on Christine Blasey Ford.

A certain sign someone is an atheist-materialist ideologue is when they can't deal with the fact that someone can believe in evolution while rejecting Darwinism.

The most extreme form of that online is the accusation I once traced back to the semi-pro "skeptic" "Orac" that claims only creationists use the word "Darwinism".  I had a lot of fun throwing a half-dozen or more citations of orthodox Darwinists from Thomas Huxley down to the then star of atheist-"skepticism" Richard Dawkins at him, not that it made a dent in his claims at the time.

You don't know step one of the issue, kid.  Try doing what your side NEVER does, read something substantial instead of blog-based bull-shit,

Let me really blow your little mind and point out someone can believe in evolution and also believe in intelligent-design.  I also once had a bit of fun throwing out the fact that the eminent geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Jerry Coyne's scientific grandfather, in a manner of speaking, pointed out he was not only a full believer in evolution, he also believed in intelligent design, only he called it "creationism".  

"I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God's, or Nature's method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way."

From: Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution

Update:  I wrote most of the above a while back but didn't publish it, it was one of the more consistent lines of the atheist-troll boys, though less as the oracular wisdom of "Orac" seems to be fading.  Sic transit gloria interrete.  What brought it to mind was my reading of this article on the relationship of Ludwig Boltzmann and Charles Darwin when it came up in my fact checking for a post yesterday.  Apparently Boltzmann was a huge fan of Charles Darwin, he is quoted as saying:

“If you ask me about my innermost conviction whether our century will be called the century of iron or the century of steam or electricity, I answer without hesitation: it will be called the century of the mechanical view of nature, the century of Darwin.”

The article also makes this claim:

Yet Boltzmann was more than just a cheerleader of Darwin’s. He understood evolutionary theory more deeply than most in that era, and recognized the full implications of its core ideas. Specifically, he grasped how evolution and the physics of heat both relied on understanding history, and how small changes accumulate over time. In the 19th century, these ideas were so revolutionary as to be considered heretical to many.

I am hardly a deep student of the thinking of Ludwig Boltzmann but apparently, from what I'm reading, Boltzmann's adoration of Darwin was due to his Haeckelean interpretation of natural selection as supporting a mechanistic, materialist-monist view of reality, also very 19th century.

He, apparently, though I have not read deeply of it, tried to use Darwinism to explain purely physical entities which were not and never had been living.  I might get round to doing the research necessary, if not, maybe someone else will.   What that reminded me of was a well known quote from Dobzhansky which points out the extremely obvious fact that natural selection depends on the physical reproduction of the relevant "thing" that selection is, then, supposed to act on.

Dr. Schramm's introduction gives me an opening for making a few remarks on my own.  Natural selection is sometimes described as a mechanism capable of realizing the highest degree of improbability, as Dr. Schramm has quite correctly pointed out.  I would like, however, to express the belief that the words "natural selection" must be used carefully.  Dr. Schramm has so used them.  In reading some other literature on the origin of life, I am afraid that not all authors have used the term carefully. 

Natural selection is differential reproduction, organism perpetuation. In order to have natural selection, you have to have self-reproduction or self-replication and at least two distinct self-replicating units or entities. 

Now, I realize that when you speak of origin of life, you wish to discuss the probable embryonic stages, so to speak, of natural selection. What these embryonic stages will be is for you to decide. 

I would like to plead with you, simply, please realize you cannot use the words ‘natural selection’ loosely. Prebiological natural selection is a contradiction of terms.

Needless to say, it is one of the peculiar qualities of living organisms that, unlike non-living objects, they reproduce.  "Prebiological" entities include everything that isn't a living organism.  Organisms make use of non-reproducing molecules but those molecules don't reproduce without the cellular chemistry and whatever else is present in the living organism that allows reproduction, which a Darwinist will try to impose natural selection on.  Many of the schemes of abiogenesis try to come up with ways to do that "prebiologically" and irrationally. A hard case will try to go farther than that and try to push it outside of biology altogether into physics.

I have read that in Boltzmann's last years, before his theory became established, that his opponents in physics could make recourse to philosophical arguments that Boltzmann was not equipped to answer.  He apparently became desperate enough to attempt to remedy that deficiency in his background to equip himself to defend his theory on that ground, eventually resorting to that same dismissal of the validity of philosophical methods to evaluate scientific ideas that I wrote about the other day.   Maybe if he were able to apply philosophy to natural selection in a more critical manner, he might have understood that. If that failure had anything to do with his suicide, as some have blamed it on his opponents, I don't know. I have read that Boltzmann couldn't adapt himself to the new physics that was developing in his last years, even as Max Planck and Albert Einstein highly valued his work, in his last work he totally ignored them.  I don't know if he could have adapted to the non-mechanical view of physics that came in with them.  Some said he was determined to remain rooted in the 19th century.

Such an irrational use of Darwinism, natural selection, apart from biological reproduction is hardly unique.  Daniel Dennett is among the most notable current  examples of an atheist ideologue who has made that kind of use of it in the most lavishly expansive of ways [See his Darwin's Dangerous Idea].  And Dennett has made a living as a professional philosopher!

Though I can't find the source right now but I did read someone slamming Boltzmann for making recourse to Lamarckian arguments in his promotion of Darwinism.  In this case Boltzmann was the one who was correct because, despite what we were all taught as part of our indoctrination in post-war neo-Darwinism, Charles Darwin was a firm believer in the inheritance of acquired characteristics.  He even came up with a proposed mechanism for that.  Though I think it's impossible to hold that belief and believe in a hard form of natural selection.

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