THERE’S A STRANGE new article up at the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). This one is by Jonathan Wells, upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the title of “Senior Fellow.”
Wells is a Moonie, who has previously described the motivation for his biology career as follows [note that “Father” is Sun Myung Moon, the leader of the Unification Church]. The source of what follows is here: Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D., by Jonathan Wells. [The bold is from us.]
Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.
Now you know that — for religious motives — Wells has decided to devote his life to “destroying Darwinism.” Here is the beginning of his article, with bold added by us:
Medieval alchemists searched for a legendary “philosopher’s stone” capable of turning lead into gold. Modern Darwinists have given us a different “philosopher’s stone” — one that turns gold into lead.
Darwinism is the doctrine that all living things are biological descendants of common ancestors that have been modified by unguided variations and natural selection. Although Darwinists claim that their doctrine is supported by “overwhelming evidence,” nothing could be further from the truth. The fossil record shows that living things originated in a particular pattern, but Darwinists themselves (when they’re being candid) admit that the pattern tells us nothing about the process of origination. As for the process, variation and selection are well-documented in existing species, but Darwin didn’t write a book titled How Existing Species Change Over Time. He wrote a book titled The Origin of Species — and no one has ever observed the origin of a single species by variation and selection.
We can — and will — spend some time discussing that second paragraph. Let’s take it sentence by sentence:
Darwinism is the doctrine that all living things are biological descendants of common ancestors that have been modified by unguided variations and natural selection.
Wells says that “Darwinism” is a “doctrine.” What can we say here? To start with, “Darwinism” doesn’t exist, except in the bizarre literature of creationists. There is, of course, Darwin’s theory of evolution, which is amply supported by evidence, and virtually all competent biologists accept its validity. But there’s no “doctrine,” and there’s no “Darwinism.” Similarly, Newton’s laws of motion aren’t “Newtonism,” Einstein’s theories about relativity aren’t “Einsteinism,” etc. Moving along:
Although Darwinists claim that their doctrine is supported by “overwhelming evidence,” nothing could be further from the truth.
That’s an astonishing assertion. To support it, Wells says:
The fossil record shows that living things originated in a particular pattern, but Darwinists themselves (when they’re being candid) admit that the pattern tells us nothing about the process of origination.
Isn’t the fossil record that reveals a pattern evidence? It certainly is. Some of it was known before Darwin, and it stimulated the idea of a gradual development of life. But it was Darwin who proposed the mechanism by which this development occurs — variation and natural selection. It’s trivially correct that the fossil record alone doesn’t explain the process. It never did. That’s what Darwin’s theory does. Theories explain evidence. Doesn’t Wells know this? He’s one of the top ID scientists. (There’s also DNA evidence, but Wells didn’t mention it, so we’ll let it go.)
Let’s continue with Wells’ paragraph:
As for the process, variation and selection are well-documented in existing species, but …
But what? We have the evidence of the fossil record. We have the chronological and morphological pattern that record reveals, and we have — Wells admits it — the well-documented process of variation and selection. Are we missing something? Or perhaps Wells is missing something. Here’s the rest of his paragraph, starting where we interrupted his sentence:
… but Darwin didn’t write a book titled How Existing Species Change Over Time. He wrote a book titled The Origin of Species — and no one has ever observed the origin of a single species by variation and selection.
Let’s ignore Wells’ dissatisfaction with Darwin’s title. Instead we shall focus on his claim that “no one has ever observed the origin of a single species by variation and selection.” It’s difficult to believe that a top ID expert could make such a claim, but perhaps that’s what it takes to be an ID expert.
There are numerous observations of speciation, and most of you know this. We won’t clutter our post with details. Instead, we’ll give you a few links to well-known examples — with which Wells ought to be familiar. See: Olivia Judson: Evolution Here, Now, Everywhere. Then see: Olivia Judson: The Process of Evolving. And after that see: Observed Instances of Speciation. That should be sufficient.
Shall we go on with Wells’ article, or was that paragraph enough? You want some more? Okay, this is the next paragraph:
Empirical science tests hypotheses by comparing them with the evidence, but Darwinists never allow evidence to jeopardize their basic claims. Darwin called The Origin of Species “one long argument,” but his followers are engaged in one long bluff. Books and articles promoting Darwinism invariably make inflated claims based on little evidence — or worse, evidence that is misrepresented or even faked.
Gentle reader, your Curmudgeon can only handle a bit of this material at a time, and we’ve already waded through quite enough of it. If you want to click over and read the rest of the Discoveroid article, please do so. And remember, Wells is one of the best people in the ID movement. It goes downhill from there.
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