Read between February 28 - September 15, 2019
the very cofounder of the theory of evolution was an intelligent-design proponent.
I had been led to believe in Darwin’s theory not because of strong evidence for it. Rather, it was for sociological reasons—that simply was the way educated people were expected to think these days.
much of modern evolutionary biology is also cloaked by a thick pretense of knowledge.
Gratuitous affirmations of a dominant theory can mesmerize the unwary. They lull people into assuming that objectively difficult problems don’t really matter. That they’ve been solved already. Or will be solved soon. Or are unimportant. Or something. They actively distract readers from noticing an idea’s shortcomings.
Darwinism’s icy grip on modern intellectual life is based on shoddy philosophy, not science.
the more we learn about a system, the more sophisticated and elegant we discover it to be.
all life on earth developed over vast ages by descent with modification, driven primarily by natural selection acting on random variation.
As Darwin often used it, the term natural selection really meant natural selection acting on random variation
It’s strange but true that to a very large degree Charles Darwin insisted the variation that fed natural selection be completely random not because of any actual scientific evidence it could suffice, but because of the theological argument from evil.
Although they’re necessary, general laws are woefully insufficient to account for very specific, purposeful arrangements of parts.
we recognize design in the purposeful arrangement of parts.
the superefficiency actually traps bacteria in a situation where their genomes can’t grow any bigger—they are allowed just enough to survive.
A computer model of a process is, of course, a mathematical abstraction, not the thing itself, so a perennial danger is that the model doesn’t correctly represent the process—that critical but unappreciated details are left out of consideration—yielding misleading results.
studies of self-organization may shed some light on how life behaves, they say little to nothing about how life arose or developed.
Many organisms do actively shape their environments in striking ways, but there is no reason to suppose that the environment does very much shaping in return.
Natural genetic engineering seems to have a big chicken-and-egg problem—it needs complex systems to make complex systems.
As valuable as they might be in describing necessary conditions for the success of some evolutionary strategies, economic theories are nowhere near sufficient to explain how complex molecular machinery arose.
How can mutations that damage protein function be positively selected in nature?
What amount of change in biological classification might have resulted from such searing selection? Some of the descendants might have differed from the ancestor in its domain of life or formed a new kingdom, or perhaps a novel phylum, class, or order. Yet none of those appeared.
millions of years of selection have left the finches very, very close to where they started.
A surprising but compelling conclusion is that Darwin’s mechanism has been wildly overrated—it is incapable of producing much biological change at all.
the system of biological classification is a human invention. Nature simply is; it cares not at all for our concerns. It is people who construct such things as classification systems to help them comprehend vast amounts of data. Since it is a human invention, it’s easy for errors and ignorance to creep in.
the severe problem for Darwin’s theory of evolution in accounting for biological features that require multiple interacting components was one of the first major scientific arguments advanced against it
the number of organisms you’d have to observe to get statistically significant evolutionary results is so enormous that no university animal facility or agricultural station could hold them all.
If research clearly shows that the effects of natural selection and random mutation are limited, why do so many smart scientists still hold that Darwinism is the major force behind the development of life?
The more uncertain the starting assumptions and the longer the term it tries to account for, the less reliable the model. Those caveats should be kept in mind for all computer studies of evolution.
The claim that Darwin’s theory explains life is like the claim that an illiterate who doesn’t know that u follows q authored Romeo and Juliet.
Where Darwinian processes dominate, the biological landscape would be expected to be littered with broken but helpful genes, damaged yet beneficial systems, and degraded organisms on crutches ages before any fancy machinery was even available.
From the dawn of life to the present, beneficial degradation has been a constant background—there’s no way to avoid
the data recounted in this book show, random mutation and natural selection are powerless to build anything remotely as complex as a brain,
random mutation and natural selection can’t accomplish anything remotely like what has been ascribed to them.
If it weren’t for mathematical reasoning, modern science wouldn’t be possible.
Any version of materialism undermines common sense. And “common sense” includes the notions that you have a real mind and can reason and make choices. If materialism is true—if all that exists is the matter and energy studied in ordinary physics classes—then there is no such thing as a real mind.
Darwin’s mechanism can’t begin to make a comparatively simple bacterial flagellum, let alone the human brain. Thus all of the intellectual work built on that vaporous foundation falls with it.
I have no answer to the problem of how the mind affects the body or the reverse, but denying your mind because you can’t solve a problem is like cutting off your head to cure a headache.
Contrary to Richard Dawkins, the ability to reason is indeed the greatest possible power of life. The only greater gift would be the ability to reason better.
Science and purpose were made for each other.
not only is the flagellum itself irreducible, but so is its assembly system. The assembly process and the flagellum together constitute irreducible complexity piled on irreducible complexity.
although sequence similarities are good evidence for common descent, they cannot show whether random mutation and natural selection could build even the simplest system or, given that simple system, whether it could be expanded or improved by Darwin’s mechanism.
Evidence of common descent is routinely confused for evidence of Darwin’s mechanism.