Darwin Sausage Factory Exposed
A look inside the sausage factory where Darwinism
is manufactured could leave a visitor retching.
An old proverb says, “Those who like sausage should not watch it being made.” Does that fit the manufacture of evolutionary theory? In a revealing article discussed below, a pro-evolution science reporter retraces the convoluted history of Darwinism from 1859 to the present. It’s not a pretty picture. The product comes out packaged neat and clean in textbooks, stamped with the Big Science seal of approval, but the contents are filthy and toxic. Consumer caution is advised.
Do we need a new theory of evolution? (Stephen Buranyi, The Guardian, 28 June 2022).
In this “long read” article, Buranyi looks at how neo-Darwinism became the consensus view of evolutionary theory, the “mainstream” view held dogmatically by those with power in Big Science. Among the ranks of evolutionary biologists, however, there is a vocal minority of biologists who think neo-Darwinism (the “modern synthesis”) cannot account for many particular observations. Some even doubt that biology is capable of a “grand unifying theory” that neo-Darwinism was promised to give with its two pillars, mutation and natural selection. They want to debate an “extended evolutionary synthesis” (EES) that would include additional causal factors like plasticity, neutral evolution and epigenetics. Champions of the dogmatic consensus, however, insist that no changes are needed.
Note: All the critics in Buranyi’s article are evolutionists. None is a creationist or a proponent of intelligent design. That’s what makes this article instructive; it is about food fights inside the Darwin sausage factory. If you choose to read the whole article, substitute “Stuff Happens Law” for “natural selection” and look for any hints that neo-Darwinism deserves the reputation it has.
Here are a few excerpts from the article to give some of the flavor of the “inside story” of evolutionary theory—a view that few students are likely to hear in school.
A new wave of scientists argues that mainstream evolutionary theory needs an urgent overhaul. Their opponents have dismissed them as misguided careerists – and the conflict may determine the future of biology.
After recounting the consensus view, Buranyi says,
This is the basic story of evolution, as recounted in countless textbooks and pop-science bestsellers. The problem, according to a growing number of scientists, is that it is absurdly crude and misleading.
In a discussion of internecine battles between neo-Darwinists and EES critics, Buranyi says,
What accounts for the ferocity of this backlash? For one thing, this is a battle of ideas over the fate of one of the grand theories that shaped the modern age. But it is also a struggle for professional recognition and status, about who gets to decide what is core and what is peripheral to the discipline. “The issue at stake,” says Arlin Stoltzfus, an evolutionary theorist at the IBBR research institute in Maryland, “is who is going to write the grand narrative of biology.” And underneath all this lurks another, deeper question: whether the idea of a grand story of biology is a fairytale we need to finally give up.
Buranyi discusses splits among the molecular biologists and neo-Darwinists, then says,
Perhaps the biggest change from the theory’s mid-century glory days is that its most ambitious claims – that simply by understanding genes and natural selection, we can understand all life on earth – have been dropped, or now come weighted with caveats and exceptions. This shift has occurred with little fanfare. The theory’s ideas are still deeply embedded in the field, yet no formal reckoning with its failures or schisms has occurred. To its critics, the modern synthesis occupies a position akin to a president reneging on a campaign promise – it failed to satisfy its entire coalition, but remains in office, hands on the levers of power, despite its diminished offer.
Does neo-Darwinism explain anything? Does it need to? Watch two champions of neo-Darwinism explain why they think biologists should keep the “framework” of the theory even if they can’t use it to explain the observations:
“We’re not here to explain the elephant’s trunk, or the camel’s hump. If such explanations could even be possible,” Brian Charlesworth told me. Instead, he said, evolutionary theory should be universal, focusing on the small number of factors that apply to how every living thing develops. “It’s easy to get hung up on ‘you haven’t explained why a particular system works the way it does’. But we don’t need to know,” Deborah [Charlesworth] told me. It’s not that the exceptions are uninteresting; it’s just that they aren’t all that important.
After sharing views of some EES proponents, Buranyi says this:
To some scientists, though, the battle between traditionalists and extended synthesists is futile. Not only is it impossible to make sense of modern biology, they say, it is unnecessary. Over the past decade the influential biochemist Ford Doolittle has published essays rubbishing the idea that the life sciences need codification. “We don’t need no friggin’ new synthesis. We didn’t even really need the old synthesis,” he told me.
So what is the value of Darwinian theories, whether Neo-Darwinism or EES, if they can’t make sense of biology? Buranyi quotes Michael Lynch, a critic of both, who says, “This blind acceptance […] has led to a lot of sloppy thinking, and is probably the primary reason why evolution is viewed as a soft science by much of society.” Like sausage, perhaps? And yet Lynch focuses on randomness in evolution: the Stuff Happens Law (SHL). Eugene Koonin told Buranyi, “In my view there is no – can be no – single theory of evolution.”
Blind acceptance. Sloppy thinking. Soft science. Those are the ingredients of Darwin Brand Sausage, the only brand served at the lunch counters of all public schools and colleges.
If you read the whole article at The Guardian, watch for how “natural selection” as a phrase served little more than a placeholder for ignorance, a label seeming to confer understanding where there was none. At one time, Buranyi describes natural selection glowingly as a grand narrative that unifies all of biology. But then he will say, “Natural selection seemed to be asleep at the wheel” when it apparently played no role in a trait, or “natural selection was not the all-powerful force that many had assumed it to be.” Of course natural selection is not a force at all. It is an outcome of chance, the SHL. Whatever happens, selection did it.
Watch also for “physics envy” among evolutionary biologists: their desire to have a grand narrative (or story/theory) that might unify their field. They got their story, all right, but never a scientific theory that would explain the particulars. Buranyi ends with this cryptic tone of despair: “What’s the point, they might ask. The field works, the work continues.” Does that sound like a commitment to truth wherever the evidence leads? Or does it sound like job security for storytellers?
I strongly recommend a book by another reporter who knew many of the evolution champions personally and spoke with them: Tom Bethell, author of Darwin’s House of Cards. Resources like these can help Christians comprehend how Satan used a dupe like Darwin to write a masterpiece of deception that took over the world. Once the dupe was discarded, and the house of cards was exposed, the damage had already been done. There would be no repentance, no correction, and no turning back. Satan would have turned millions against their Creator (but see Revelation 14:6-7).