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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Starting to drag the carcass of Darwinism off the scene?

I've long suspected that the carcass of Darwinism is finally getting dragged off the scene, and with any luck, the career atheists and the Christian Darwinists will be fighting over it full time, with few onlookers, and Templeton funding the whack. Have a look at this roundup of abstracts a friend sent me:

Forthcoming articles about Darwinism in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences:

1. The Mastodon in the room: how Darwinian is neo-Darwinism?

Daniel R. Brooks

Abstract Failing to acknowledge substantial differences between Darwinism and neo-Darwinism impedes evolutionary biology. Darwin described evolution as the outcome of interactions between the nature of the organism and the nature of the conditions, each relatively autonomous but both historically and spatially intertwined. Furthermore, he postulated that the nature of the organism was more important than the nature of the conditions, leading to natural selection as an inevitable emergent product of biological systems. The neo-Darwinian tradition assumed a creative rather than selective view of natural selection, with the nature of the organism determined by the nature of the conditions, rendering the nature of the organism and temporal contingency unnecessary. Contemporary advances in biology, specifically the phylogenetics revolution and evo-devo, underscore the significance of history and the nature of the organism in biology. Darwinism explains more bio logy better, and better resolves apparent anomalies between living systems and more general natural laws, than does neo-Darwinism. The “extended” or “expanded” synthesis currently called for by neo-Darwinians is Darwinism.
Hmmm. No idea what he is talking about except that the "neo-Darwinians" (now the bad guys) made the mistake of assuming "a creative rather than selective view of natural selection". In other words, they thought natural selection could create information and it can't.

So, when the debts are called ... Darwinism couldn't create a small part of the hind end of a flea?

2. What was really synthesized during the evolutionary synthesis? a historiographic proposal

Richard G. Delisle
Abstract The 1920-1960 period saw the creation of the conditions for a unification of disciplines in the area of evolutionary biology under a limited number of theoretical prescriptions: the evolutionary synthesis. Whereas the sociological dimension of this synthesis was fairly successful, it was surprisingly loose when it came to the interpretation of the evolutionary mechanisms per se, and completely lacking at the level of the foundational epistemological and metaphysical commitments. Key figures such as Huxley, Simpson, Dobzhansky, and Rensch only paid lip service to the conceptual dimension of the evolutionary synthesis, as they eventually realized that a number of evolutionary phenomena could not be explained by its narrow theoretical corpus. Apparently, the evolutionary synthesis constituted a premature event in the development of evolutionary biology. Not only are the real achievements of the evolutionary synthesis in need of reevaluation, but this reassessment also has important implications for the historiography of Darwinism and the current debates about the darwinian movement.
So there isn't really a grand synthesis that was supposed to shut up all critics already. Figures. The only synthesis I ever heard of was, "We all agree to keep our jobs fronting this nonsense. After all, the pop science press are all on our side, and everyone else is scared shiftless."
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Catholics: No, Thomas Aquinas did believe we can see design in nature

In recent years, one has heard much from Darwinists dismissing the pious yokels with “the Catholic Church supports evolution Darwinism.”

evolution Darwinism’s three characteristics are that it is blind, purposeless, and the only kind Darwinists force on the school system and science in general. How how likely is it that the Catholic Church supports it>

Hardly likely, but as Logan Gage puts the matter in Touchstone,
Given the active role of God in nature in Thomas’s system, one might think today’s Thomists would encourage the pursuit of signs of intelligent design in nature. Yet in recent years, some Thomists have shied away from ID. They do so not only because of lax scrutiny of the tensions just discussed but also because of three major misperceptions of intelligent design: first, that ID is “mechanistic”; second, that ID is a “God of the Gaps” theory; and third, that ID is inherently “interventionist.” While many Thomists harbor doubts about the more extravagant claims of Darwinian science, taken together these three factors make it almost impossible for some Thomists to embrace intelligent design. That is as unnecessary as it is unfortunate.
Unfortunate for whom? Thomists will get desirable advancements and rewards from benefactors such as the Templeton Foundation if they can see their way toward embracing Christian Darwinism, and ostracism if they don’t.

So yes, there are Catholic academics attempting to make the case that Thomas Aquinas himself would pretend to see no design in nature. Touchstone is offering online Gage’s article on Thomism, Darwinism, and intelligent design, explaining - for anyone with a taste for traditional philosophy - Thomas’s actual view:
As Alexander Pruss, an analytical Thomist and former Georgetown colleague of John Haught, writes, “On the compatibility between Thomism and ID, the answer is surely positive. Thus, one might think that the irreducible complexity types of arguments provide a strong probabilistic case for design and that the existence of teleology provides a sound deductive argument for a first cause.”

Despite the different subject matter and styles of argumentation, Thomists and ID theorists have, as we have seen, much in common. The dismissal of intelligent design by some contemporary Thomists is unfortunate. For if reality is a unified whole, that is, if it stems from the divine mind, as Thomas believed, would it not be odd if good philosophy concluded that life was designed but good science concluded that it was not?
Yes, but don’t forget that religious academics benefit from the possibility that the Christian public will indeed be sold on Darwinism, along with Christian weight loss and Christian recovered memories therapy - and they then have a huge asset in the form of a public to be brokered with the real Darwinists - the subject become, how many Christian beliefs must we lose or empty of all value in order to preserve Darwinism.

It’s no new thing, getting brokered that way by the clerisy - the intellectual stars. The key is to see it coming and get out of the way.

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