A Scientific Consensus: Darwinism is Dead
Although they can rally against Creationism in one voice and riot against colleagues who advocate Intelligent Design with an outrage worthy of religionists, the weird little secret is that science knows Darwinism is dead.
Stephen C. Meyer, expounding Intelligent Design in his book Signature in the Cell, makes a point he does not seem to appreciate: for decades microbiologists have been abandoning Darwinism. Breakthrough technologies have shown that life at the cellular level is complex beyond anything Darwin or any 19th century biologist could have predicted. From the variety of cellular functions to the complex information transmitted in the gene, many outstanding scientists recognize that the math just doesn't work. Intelligent Design represents only one concession to the statistical impossibility that chance caused the life of simple cells. Interrupting the following parade of microbiologists who, like Meyers, recognize that random chance alone cannot have produced the simplest cellular life, are conclusions flowing from this scientific consensus.
1. Christian de Duve, for example, a Nobel Prize winner, and in no way an advocate of Intelligent Design, has abandoned random chance as the agent of upwards evolution or the ascent of man. He envisions primordial planet earth as a chemical reaction waiting to happen. Recognizing that the odds of random chance being impossibly against the formation of a single cell, let alone man, he has ceaselessly been searching for the string of chemical reactions that, once started, must have inevitably and, without chance, led to mankind. So far... no luck.
2. Ilya Prigogine, won his 1977 Nobel Prize for his theory that biological life self-assembled from inorganic non-life through the non-equilibrium thermodynamic processes. Again, random chance was abandoned, this time for the notion of an outside force arising in a thermodynamic process that, somehow, energized evolution. Such a force has never been identified.
3. Manfred Eigen, won the Nobel Prize in 1967 for his work measuring extremely fast chemical reactions brought about by energy pulses. Though proud to use the term evolution, his models of the origin of life are not based on chance but on self-organizing chemical reactions that cycle to higher and higher levels. He is also the author of Eigens Paradox that explains a critical problem in positing cycles of RNA that lead to DNA.
4. Lynn Margulis believes parasites aided random chance in the evolution of the cell.
5. Freeman Dyson, feeling random chance and self-organizing molecular scenarios are insufficient seems to believe in a combination of Eigens self-organizing RNA cycles andLynn Margulis sense that cellular evolution was the result of parasites.
6. Michael Polanyi, whose interest in science often impacted his philosophic notions, rejected chance as the origin of life in Lifes Irreducible Structure.
7. Bernd-Olaf Kppers, like Michael Polanyi, supports his notions that the whole (the living cell) is greater than the sum of its parts (chemical reactions) with evidence that random chance cannot result in the irreducible complexity of a living organism (60) nor explain the information it transmits.
8. Bernd-Olaf Kppers, using methodology like that of noted Darwinian apologist Richard Dawkins, also modeled mathematical algorithms that guide randomly generated computer simulations of origin of life scenarios. Kuppers calls his theory of self-organization the molecular-Darwinistic approach. It is hard to tell what Kuppers means by statements like, inanimate matter organized itself of its own accord into animate systems (82).
Chance and randomness as the source of life is dead, as dead as Darwinism. Modern culture may have been convinced by the Copernican Revolution that science can be both counter-intuitive and true. Hence, the counter-intuitive notion of chance as the author of life may have become as widely accepted as the faith in the invisible electron. However, since the 1960s humanitys knowledge of the living cell, just the living cell alone, magnifies what we have known intuitively about the order, beauty and majesty of existence: it could not have happened accidentally.
1. Fred Hoyle, superb mathematician and astronomer who, according to some reports, deserved a Nobel Prize for his role in showing that we are all stardust, also abandoned Darwin. He was well-known for comparing the possibility of the random rise of a single cell to the chance that a tornado hitting a junkyard would produce a 747. He is not an Intelligent Design theorist in the traditional sense. Instead, he believed life came from outer space by way of Panspermia. What will they think of next?
2. Robert Shapiro likewise abandoned random chance as the source of life as is plain from the first lines of A Simpler Origin of Life.
3. Stuart Kauffmans work has steadily evolved. His first book The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution involves a great deal of Darwinian affirmation while it systematically demolishes any chance for a single cell to have arisen by way of random processes. However, his second book, At Home in the Universe, is much more forthright. In his more recent publication, Reinventing the Sacred,he expresses an admiration for the innate creativity of our universe. Of course his work is not religious; its all very scientific.
In the late 1950s there was a legitimate consensus of most scientists that chance gave rise to life even as Darwins theory predicted. This reinvigorated neo-Darwinism was well represented by scientists such as Jacques Monod, Stanley Miller, and Alexander Oparin. However, in the late 1960s this changed. As 1967 was a social crack in time for America, 1968 cracked the facade of Darwinism. The breakthrough mathematics can be found in the work of Von Neumann, Wigner, and Morowitz. Many others, like Kuppers and Polanyi, corroborated these results. Whats sad is that this was an age ago. Almost two more generations of young people have been indoctrinated into what is, today, plainly junk science about the origin of life.
1. John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, in Anthropic Cosmological Principle point out 10 steps in the course of human evolution, such as the development of the DNA base genetic code, so improbable that before it could have occurred the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star, and would have incinerated the earth.
2. Eugene Wigner, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963, calculated the odds of chance giving rise to the first cell at zero! (Paragraph 3). According to Kuppers, Wigner associated himself with a teleological model (p. 80 ), or a belief in an unknown biological principle that differs from the mechanical laws of inanimate matter.
3. Robert Sauer of MIT reported the odds of a functional series of amino acids arising in several of the 100 known proteins were 1 in 1063. Try the odds of getting a series of these proteins together in self-replicating chains.
4. Harold Morowitz has also abandoned chance as the reason for the origin of life. He believes that thermo-dynamic energy is stored in chemical bonds of higher and higher complexity. His theory is unproven. Morowitz testified against the Creationists in 1982.
5. Alexander Cairns-Smiths alternative to Darwinian randomness as the source of life is called the clay theory. It became an allegory for a type of self-organizing process that might have occurred in pre-biotic earth. Though his theory is not widely accepted, since the odds are zero that random chance alone generated a single cell, the search for such a pre-biotic missing link continues.
6. Hubert P. Yockey in Self organization origin of life scenarios and information theory takes on the self-organizing theories of Shapiro, Kauffman, de Duve, and Prigogine. Although he claims not to be an I.D advocate, his denials (far down this page) are surprisingly supportive.
7. Leslie Orgel, a classical Darwinist to the end, nevertheless took on a variety of his contemporaries origin of life scenarios such as self-organizing molecules arising through catalytic cycles, the contributions of meteor activity, and that life started on volcanic ocean vents. Orgel also challenged the likelihood of the pre-biotic RNA world suggested by Joyce, Szostak, and Holliger. His conclusion is that the odds against these theories are insurmountable at this time.