Darwinists Blur Science with Fiction
One would think make-believe is for kids, and science is for adults. Some recent evolution stories, however, seem to portray a seamless continuum between imagination and testable scientific hypotheses. You be the judge:
- Darwin in cyberspace: If it happens in a computer simulation, is it really evolution? National Geographic reported on a new computer game that allows players to evolve any kind of creatures they want and pit them against each other in survival-of-the-fittest competition. The description makes no distinction between what happens in the game and what supposedly happens in the wild. The words evolution and natural selection appear in the article in both contexts. One of the proponents called this “natural selection at its best.” But if the selection takes place in software designed by programmers, is it really natural?
- Reverse-engineering contingency: Science magazine reported this week that engineers “evolved” a salamander-like robot that could swim to land and crawl ashore.1,2 This is a fine piece of clever engineering, but is it evolution? Again, the article made no distinction between the natural and the artificial. It implied that the robot is retracing steps taken by organisms in the unseen past. Notice what Frank Fish (West Chester U, PA) said about the experiment: “This is clearly an excellent fusion of biology and robotics to test neurological and evolutionary hypotheses. This paper will be a high-profile example of how robots can be used as surrogates for living and fossil systems.” He did not explain in what respects this man-made, designed robot, lacking DNA and the ability to reproduce itself, compares or contrasts with a biological organism in any significant way.
The reverse comparison, that an intelligently designed robot might suggest the first tetrapod was similarly designed, was definitely not what the article intended to convey. This is clear from a write-up in Live Science, where Jeanna Brynner took the Darwinist line to the hilt: “Studies of the robot show that our fishy ancestors likely used their primitive brains to make the evolutionary leap from water worlds to terra firma.” Surprisingly, this sentence makes it sound like fish brains intelligently designed their own upward evolution, with purpose and a goal (teleology). Another example of the equivocation between natural selection and intelligent self-design can be found in Science Digest: “This four-legged yellow creature reveals a great deal about the evolution of vertebrate locomotion,” it claims. “It’s also a vivid demonstration that robots can be used to test and verify biological concepts, and that very often nature herself offers ideal solutions for robotics design.” Is this describing nature as a personified engineer? Teleology and intelligent guidance were the very principles Darwin was trying to avoid.
- Make believe: Playing “what if?” games might provide a brainstorming activity a scientist could employ while developing a hypothesis that could be tested by experiment. “What if” on the other hand, the make-believe exercise becomes an end in itself? This is apparently what a BBC News exercise for students encourages. The following “what-if?” exercise is not advertised in the fiction department; it is found in the “Science and Nature” department. To some evolutionists, apparently, the dream is the thing:
It’s a palaeontologist’s dream: the chance to live in a world where dinosaurs are not something to be dug out of the ground but are living among us. It may sound far-fetched but dinosaurs were actually rather unlucky. The meteorite impact that doomed them to extinction was an event with a probability of millions to one. What if the meteorite had missed?
Had dinosaurs survived, the world today would be very different. If humans managed to survive alongside them, we wouldn’t have the company of most, if not all, of the mammals with which we are familiar today. Giraffes, elephants and other mammals wouldn’t have had space to evolve.
Would we be hunting Hadrosaurs instead of elk? Or farming Protoceratops instead of pigs? Would dinosaurs be kept as pets? And could the brighter dinosaurs have evolved into something humanoid?
Clearly anything is possible if imagination is substituted for testable hypotheses. The writers of this exercise did not mention that the impact hypothesis for the extinction of the dinosaurs is itself controversial (e.g., 10/24/2006). If the impact turns out to be imaginary, then the exercise becomes imagination balanced on imagination. If the Darwinian theory of common ancestry by natural selection is also overturned someday (as advocates of intelligent design feel is inevitable), it becomes imagination balanced on imagination balanced on imagination. Without a foundation of testable theories anchored to observational evidence, exercises in the imagination are indistinguishable from turtles all the way down (see joke).
1Ijspeert, Crespi, Ryczko and Cabelguen, “From Swimming to Walking with a Salamander Robot Driven by a Spinal Cord Model,” Science, 9 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5817, pp. 1416-1420, DOI: 10.1126/science.1138353.
2Elisabeth Pennisi, “Robot Suggests How the First Land Animals Got Walking,” Science, 9 March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5817, pp. 1352-1353, DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5817.1352a
Intelligent reader, nobody needs to tell you how stupid these Darwin sideshows are. It would be insulting to hold rotten baloney in front of your nose and ask you if it smelt bad. Yet this kind of folly is presented monolithically in today’s science journals, museums, popular science media, and public schools (notice that #1 was promoted by the prestigious, historic National Geographic Society, #2 was published in the leading American journal Science, and #3 was devised for UK public education). It doesn’t matter that it is untestable, illogical, equivocating, vague, personified, analogical, reductive, subjective, self-contradictory, self-refuting, and completely out of touch with reality. Darwin’s little myth has become so sacred that no one dare question it – or even laugh. In fact, if you do question it, you are likely to be called a fascist or Nazi (see AIG) and threatened with a lawsuit (01/06/2007; see also the two meanings of “make believe” in the 10/11/2006 commentary).
If you are sick and tired of the Darwin Freak Show and can’t take it any more, then join the noble Visigoths in their futuristic space fighters (see this Japanese cartoon) and help depose Charlie from his antiquated Castle of the Imagination (see 01/17/2007 and 12/22/2003 commentaries). Kick the rascals out and let science once again be a rational search for verifiable understanding about the natural world – the real world.