Are there Non-Religious Skeptics of Darwinian Evolution and Proponents of ID

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Are there Non-Religious Skeptics of Darwinian Evolution and Proponents of Intelligent Design?

Casey Luskin

Quote:As a self-described “good Darwinian,”6 Tallis understands natural selection to be a “blind watchmaker,” that cannot select for future goals. But he acknowledges what few Darwinians will admit—that blind selection cannot explain the goal-directed nature of human consciousness: “Darwinism, therefore, leaves something unaccounted for: the emergence of people like you and me who are indubitably sighted watchmakers….Isn’t there a problem in explaining how the blind forces of physics brought about (cognitively) sighted humans who are able to see, and identify, and comment on, the ‘blind’ forces of physics…?”7

Tallis recognizes “the failure to explain any form of consciousness, never mind human consciousness, in evolutionary terms.”8 But he is hardly the only atheist who questions Darwinian explanations.

Quote:A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and once the wife of Carl Sagan, biologist Lynn Margulis (1938–2011) is not the first person one might expect to critique neo- Darwinian theory vocally. But that’s exactly what she did. In an interview shortly before her death, Margulis explained, “Neo-Darwinists say that new species emerge when mutations occur and modify an organism. I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change—led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence.” Echoing the arguments of many ID proponents, Margulis maintains that “new mutations don’t create new species; they create offspring that are impaired.

Quote:With so many prominent nonreligious scientists and scholars critiquing the fundamental tenets of materialism, theists can rest assured that religion isn’t the only force driving doubts about Darwinism. Significantly, many of these scholars and scientists share an acute awareness of the hostility faced by critics of the evolutionary consensus. Their stories suggest that neo-Darwinism retains its academic prestige not so much by the power of reason, but by the power of intimidation. One cannot help but wonder how many other Jerry Fodors or Thomas Nagels exist, waiting silently until they have academic freedom to publicly join the ranks of Darwin-skeptics.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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I've always found this weird, since under darwin style evolution you'd expect mutations to move away from randomness as quickly as possible since some degree of goal directedness is more adaptable than pure randomness, thus you'd expect mechanisms that allowed for that to be selected for, probably universally. So the randomness would select itself out. Unsurprisingly you see ridiculous amounts of evidence pointing towards that in nature and if correct would certainly solve the supposed probabalistic issues that ID attempts to rest on.
"The cure for bad information is more information."
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(2023-05-13, 06:23 AM)Mediochre Wrote: I've always found this weird, since under darwin style evolution you'd expect mutations to move away from randomness as quickly as possible since some degree of goal directedness is more adaptable than pure randomness, thus you'd expect mechanisms that allowed for that to be selected for, probably universally. So the randomness would select itself out. Unsurprisingly you see ridiculous amounts of evidence pointing towards that in nature and if correct would certainly solve the supposed probabalistic issues that ID attempts to rest on.

It's definitely a challenge because the ID advocates are pretty obviously gunning for their theist, largely Christian, worldview...but OTOH I can't take the standard skeptic New Atheist types seriously when they say that there aren't any problems with the RM+ NS view...

Why I found this list of people who are explicitly atheist or at least agnostic yet still critical of the standard Darwinian story of interest. Was surprised to find Sagan's former wife among them!
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-05-13, 07:15 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: It's definitely a challenge because the ID advocates are pretty obviously gunning for their theist, largely Christian, worldview...but OTOH I can't take the standard skeptic New Atheist types seriously when they say that there aren't any problems with the RM+ NS view...

Why I found this list of people who are explicitly atheist or at least agnostic yet still critical of the standard Darwinian story of interest. Was surprised to find Sagan's former wife among them!

Undoubtedly there are now today an additional considerable number of prominent unbeliever thinkers/scientists/philosophers of this persuasion. Also from Luskin's 2014 essay:

Quote:"A logical response on this issue explains that an argument (inherently) holds merit apart from the religious (or nonreligious) beliefs of the person arguing. Darwinism may be flawed regardless of whether its critics are religious. Rejecting an argument because of the personal religious beliefs of the arguer commits the genetic fallacy."
 
Luskin cites many additional unbeliever scientist/philosopher and other professional Darwin doubters:

Quote:"Nonetheless, many find it rhetorically persuasive to learn about (the many) atheists and agnostics who challenge materialistic accounts of origins. These nonreligious scientists and scholars who doubt modern Darwinian theory include ..... New York University philosopher and legal scholar Thomas Nagel, Rutgers cognitive scientist Jerry Fodor, .... and Princeton-trained mathematician David Berlinski—all of whom have publicly challenged neo-Darwinism and/or sympathized with ID."

Luskin also includes University of Warwick sociologist Steve Fuller, a “secular humanist,” who not only sympathizes with ID, but who testified as an expert witness in support of teaching ID in public schools at the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover trial over the issue of teaching arguments for ID in the schools.

More unbeliever professional scientist/philosopher Darwin-doubters from Luskin's essay:

Quote:"TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Space limitations prevent a full discussion of all nonreligious scientists and scholars who challenge materialist accounts of origins, but a few others deserve coverage due to their stature and influence.

Antony Flew (1923–2010) was a celebrated atheist who defended atheism against C. S. Lewis. In a 2004 interview with Gary Habermas, Flew announced he had become persuaded by intelligent design. “It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design,”50 he explained. His subsequent book, There Is No a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, elaborates on his deconversion from atheism. In his own words: “The only satisfactory explanation for the origin of such ‘end-directed, self-replicating’ life as we see on earth is an infinitely intelligent Mind.”

Another famous atheist who supported ID was Fred Hoyle (1915–2001), a theoretical physicist at Cambridge University. His 1983 book The Intelligent Universe maintained, “Darwinian theory is wrong because random variations tend to worsen performance, as indeed common sense suggests they must do.” Elsewhere Hoyle famously stated, “If one proceeds directly and straightforwardly in this matter, without being deflected by a fear of incurring the wrath of scientific opinion, one arrives at the conclusion that biomaterials with their amazing measure of order must be the outcome of intelligent design.”

One noteworthy up-and-coming atheist who sympathizes with ID is Bradley Monton, a philosophy professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 2009, Monton published a book titled Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design, where he argues ID “needs to be taken more seriously than a lot of its opponents are willing to.” While he doesn’t offer a “full- fledged endorsement of intelligent design,” he says ID arguments “have some merit—they make me less certain of my atheism than I would have been had I never heard of (or thought of) the arguments.”

Quote:With so many prominent nonreligious scientists and scholars critiquing the fundamental tenets of materialism, theists can rest assured that religion isn’t the only force driving doubts about Darwinism. Significantly, many of these scholars and scientists share an acute awareness of the hostility faced by critics of the evolutionary consensus."

It should be noted that there also are many obscure non-prominent layperson religious unbelievers who nevertheless knowledgeably reject Darwinism on the grounds of presented incontrovertible evidence rather than religious doctrine, even though they are not prominent thinkers and researchers, and who may be in print only in the Amazon comment sections on Darwinism-related books.

So overall, the atheist scientism-devoted ID deniers and sceptics who claim ID is a religious movement have no ground to stand on.
(This post was last modified: 2023-05-17, 03:39 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)
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(2023-05-17, 03:26 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: So overall, the atheist scientism-devoted ID deniers and sceptics who claim ID is a religious movement have no ground to stand on.

Well I would say criticism of RM + NS is nonreligious, and one can believe in plausibility of ID without being religious...but the movement is definitely religious in its aims. If Creationism had not be rejected from science classrooms would there even be any ID movement at all?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-05-17, 03:59 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: If Creationism had not be rejected from science classrooms would there even be any ID movement at all?

Maybe.  I'm in agreement with your general assertion of the weight behind ID (i.e., theology) but I do think there is a meaningful population of people motivated by a general mistrust of scientism.
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(2023-05-17, 04:27 PM)Silence Wrote: Maybe.  I'm in agreement with your general assertion of the weight behind ID (i.e., theology) but I do think there is a meaningful population of people motivated by a general mistrust of scientism.

Oh I also think RM + NS is incomplete, and I am less wary of ID advocates' claims than the obvious belief-bias in the materialist-evangelicals who say silly worthless slogans like "Consciousness is an Illusion" or "The Mind is what the Brain does"...

But I still can't help but see the motivation and money behind ID advocacy as primarily driven by particular religious factions. And then given the complexity level of the evidence it is difficult for me to be convinced intelligent agents were necessarily involved in the times & places ID advocates point to.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-05-17, 04:38 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Oh I also think RM + NS is incomplete, and I am less wary of ID advocates' claims than the obvious belief-bias in the materialist-evangelicals who say silly worthless slogans like "Consciousness is an Illusion" or "The Mind is what the Brain does"...

But I still can't help but see the motivation and money behind ID advocacy as primarily driven by particular religious factions. And then given the complexity level of the evidence it is difficult for me to be convinced intelligent agents were necessarily involved in the times & places ID advocates point to.

Then what about the most prominent data point in this debate, the undoubted existence of by far the most extreme example of inexplicable-via-RM+NS Darwinism, the Cambrian Explosion? In this giant evolutionary leap, almost all of the intricate genetic designs of the multiple integrated complex organ system body plans of most all of the metazoan animals, occurred according to the fossil record in an eyeblink of evolutionary time - somewhere between 5 and 10 million years. Darwinism, in principle and theory can only even begin to attempt to account for an intricate complex functional biological system (to say nothing of multiple ones all at once) given huge amounts of time amounting to hundreds of millions or even billions of years. And this is being very charitable since RM+NS has been thoroughly invalidated as a mechanism that can possibly do this even in principle (see for instance Behe's research on the basic genetic deterioration inherent to the process). The most authoritative Darwinist experts on the Cambrian Explosion have admitted it is still a mystery even after 150 years of fossil digging. And all of the basically lame excuses and conjectures offered by Darwinist evolutionists for this data have been found wanting.
(This post was last modified: 2023-05-17, 06:02 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-05-17, 05:58 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Then what about the most prominent data point in this debate, the undoubted existence of by far the most extreme example of inexplicable-via-RM+NS Darwinism, the Cambrian Explosion? In this giant evolutionary leap, almost all of the intricate genetic designs of the multiple integrated complex organ system body plans of most all of the metazoan animals, occurred according to the fossil record in an eyeblink of evolutionary time - somewhere between 5 and 10 million years. Darwinism, in principle and theory can only even begin to attempt to account for an intricate complex functional biological system (to say nothing of multiple ones all at once) given huge amounts of time amounting to hundreds of millions or even billions of years. And this is being very charitable since RM+NS has been thoroughly invalidated as a mechanism that can possibly do this even in principle (see for instance Behe's research on the basic genetic deterioration inherent to the process). The most authoritative Darwinist experts on the Cambrian Explosion have admitted it is still a mystery even after 150 years of fossil digging. And all of the basically lame excuses and conjectures offered by Darwinist evolutionists for this data have been found wanting.

This seems too far in the past for me to get a good sense of the evidence, especially whether 5-10 millennia is an "eye-blink".

To compare-contrast this with the question of whether consciousness plays a role in physics, I don't know if any particular theory/interpretation that does give consciousness a prominent place is correct. I also accept my ultimate ignorance there as well, and focus more on the variety of physicists' views that offer an active role for consciousness.

All that said, to reiterate there's something missing from the RM+NS picture. Exactly how to fill in that missing picture...well we might have to just accept there's some mystery there...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2023-05-17, 06:16 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: This seems too far in the past for me to get a good sense of the evidence, especially whether 5-10 millennia is an "eye-blink".

To compare-contrast this with the question of whether consciousness plays a role in physics, I don't know if any particular theory/interpretation that does give consciousness a prominent place is correct. I also accept my ultimate ignorance there as well, and focus more on the variety of physicists' views that offer an active role for consciousness.

All that said, to reiterate there's something missing from the RM+NS picture. Exactly how to fill in that missing picture...well we might have to just accept there's some mystery there...

More on the Cambrian Explosion.

Recent research has shown that it actually took less than than 410,000 years, not millions. It has become beyond ridiculous to claim that Darwinist RM+NS accomplished it.

From https://evolutionnews.org/2021/04/the-ca...e-nuclear/, an article by Gunter Bechly, a German paleo-entomologist who specializes in the fossil history and systematics of insects (esp. dragonflies):

Quote:"Recently, I stumbled upon a paper from 2018 (in the journal Terra Nova at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ter.12368 ) that I had previously overlooked, and it proved to be dynamite. It is a study by a research group from the University of Zurich about the transition from the Ediacaran organisms to the Cambrian animal phyla in the Nama Basin of Namibia. What they found is truly mind-blowing. The window of time between the latest appearance date (LAD) of the alien Ediacaran biota and the first appearance date (FAD) of the complex Cambrian biota was only 410,000 years. You read that correctly, just 410 thousand years! This is not an educated guess but based on very precise radiometric U-Pb dating with an error margin of only plus-minus 200 thousand years. This precision is truly a remarkable achievement of modern science considering that we are talking about events 538 million years ago.

The authors of the study fully realized that their finding documents an unexpected “extremely short duration of the faunal transition from Ediacaran to Cambrian biota.” Therefore, they speculated about ecologically driven reasons for this rapid onset of the Cambrian Explosion."

Note: The only precursors in the fossil record (immediately preceding the Cambrian arthropods and other animals) were the simple Ediacaran organisms which left no evidence (and actually plenty of evidence of absence) of complex specialized organ systems including the brain and nervous system. The Cambrian animals abruptly brought in extremely complex body plans consisting of multiple integrated subsystems. No intermediate forms have ever been found, despite more than 150 years of searching by fossil hunters. And the conditions for fossilization in the Precambrian were similar to those in the Cambrian, so that's no explanation.

The speculations of the authors of the paper about "ecologically driven" explanations totally ignores the combinatorial explosion of the astronomical odds against random genetic changes plus selection creating all these intricate designs for the integrated-together complex organ systems such as brain and nervous system, circulatory system, muscles, skeleton, feeding apparatus, and behavioral designs (plus the designs for embryological development) in such a short time, but that's par for the course for dedicated Darwinists.

You probably still reject the reasoning and conclusions of the ID researchers on this example of sudden, abrupt impossible-for-Darwinist-undirected-processes "evolutionary" event, but it seems to me that this rejection requires a little of what could be termed hyperskepticism.
(This post was last modified: 2023-05-18, 12:41 AM by nbtruthman. Edited 2 times in total.)

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