Saturday, 28 January 2012

On "Dissecting Darwinism" by Dr Joseph Kuhn

Fig.1. Ida, one of the most complete primate fossils ever found, allegedly a 47-million-year-old human ancestor. Photograph: Atlantic Productions Ltd.

I would like to talk about a recent critique of Darwinism by professional physician Dr Joseph Kuhn from Baylor University Medical Centre, Dallas, Texas, USA [Kuhn 2012]. Expectedly, the article was severely criticized by evolutionists, which task was fulfilled in this case by Dr Jerry Coyne, the author of "Why Evolution is True". 

The article is a survey of the weaknesses of Darwinism. It is intended for layman non-biologists like myself and systematically presents key up-to-date empirical findings which are not amenable to neo-Darwinian model (Random Variation and Natural Selection leading to Differential Reproductive Success) due to the latter facing insurmountable difficulties.

It mentions a number of interesting observations. In particular, I have long been thinking about the homology argument in favour of the hypothesis about common descent of humans and apes. It is known that parts of human and chimp DNA are 96% homologous. However, 96% commonality refers only to protein coding DNA, i.e. to roughly 2% of the entire genomes. If homology is related to the entire length of the genome, the respective figure is much more modest, 70-75%. Note that this figure needs to be further discounted as there are only 4 letters in the DNA alphabet: A, C, T and G, which gives on average a 25% homology for any two randomly taken genomes of the same length.

Earlier many evolutionists believed that non protein coding DNA contained evolutionary junk from numerous previous generations, which was presented in popular literature as empirical evidence of evolution's trial and error. This is in fact not the case. Recent scientific research [Wells 2011] shows that parts of non-coding DNA have regulatory functions and are therefore not junk at all. That evolutionists today are trying to keep their face by denying the fact that they believed non protein coding DNA to be junk, makes an awful impression.

Analyses of biological data in a whole number of research papers today lend serious grounds to doubts about the explanatory capacity of Darwinian gradualism in specific identified areas. We encourage all scientists who are interested in fair scientific inquiry rather than in preserving the status quo only atheists are happy with, to examine the available empirical data carefully and objectively and make the following conclusion.

Based on compelling and ever growing empirical evidence, we state that the hypothesis about the legitimacy of extrapolating observed microevolutionary effects on to the macro level of change between high biological taxa is not empirically warranted. We simply observe that the amount of genetic change necessary for forming different classes or phyla from common ancestry is prohibitively large within the currently accepted universal time bounds. I can see three ways out of this conundrum [Personal Communications]:

1. Shut Them Up, Dissent Verbotten: Pay no serious attention to dissenters from Darwinism and their scientific arguments, ridicule their position and sometimes even personalities, engage in 'censorship and disclaimers' tactics and carry on as if nothing happened. I hope we all agree that this leads nowhere.

2. Scientific Debate: Analyse the critique and try to show it is fallacious. This is the position of a majority of evolutionists, and it is respectable by all means. However, it has no future. They have not been able to convincingly demonstrate that the critique is wrong. As a matter of fact, the probability and common sense are their enemies here. As a result, they are out by multiple orders of magnitude with respect to the complexity barriers between different forms of life, on the one hand, and the universal time bounds, on the other. Sometimes evolutionists are motivated by a priori materialistic commitments at the cost of objectivity in scientific research, which is a considerable weakness. Another key weakness is unwillingness to accept the unique role of choice contingency as an obvious and the only empirically warranted causal factor as far as the origin of cybernetic control in biosystems is concerned.

3. Move towards a new synthesis: come up with an entirely new generic model which would include the Darwinian model as a special case of microevolution. Now that Darwinism "has pretty much reached the end of its rope" as [Depew & Weber 2011] put it, this is the only scientifically legitimate and promising way out. This position is shared by proponents of such theories as Intelligent Design and nomogenesis. Despite the fact that this general view is by far in a minority today, it is only this perspective that has the future of science. The old generation of Darwinist hardliners are trying to hold science back. They are still in academic power but the situation is changing. They will not be able to stand the avalanche of scientific thought by plugging holes in their cracking old dam. Scientists nowadays increasingly more often critically revisit the ideas that laid out the foundations of Darwinism. This is why we now re-examine the legacy of such thinkers as Charles Darwin's "heretic" friend Alfred Russel Wallace [Wallace 1914], who spoke about intelligent guidance of biological evolution.



  1. Yes, lets keep using that pesky Evolution for timescales that we can effectively monitor and record precise observations for while using some stone age magic to explain the rest......

    Please stop equating one of the most important overarching scientific ideas in the history of man with common sense.

    Some ideas are counter intuitive, like protecting the religious rights of people practicing other religions than yourself. It may not make sense when thinking about protecting your own major religion from the minor one but what if you were on the other side.....what if you were the minority religiously? Would so many Christians be so hostile to homosexuals if they had more religious or culturally based hazing/harassment on the scale they claim or perpetrate themselves?

    I am tired of well meaning people trying to explain evolution and other scientific principals without giving well articulated and internally consistent arguments. You do yourself and your movement a disservice with the scientific community when this happens. You may convince the public at large of your positions, however unscientific, but the people doing the science will still know and understand the truth. And believe me, you are not making friends with us.

    Also please don't forget that it is those of us in the scientific world not concerned with the afterlife and your supernatural slave driver that have consistently invented machines and techniques that have vastly improved the quality of life for most of the 7 billion people who call Earth home.


    1. Who is "us"? Materialists or all scientists? Can a scientist not be a theist?

      Who defines the word "scientific" to mean anything other than something pertaining to the scientific method per se?

      Materialism is no more scientific than theism is. It is the 21st century now, not 19th or 20th. Science moves on. It is now clear that biology cannot be reduced to just physics and chemistry, as was pointed out by Niels Bohr and other prominent scientists. Any biological paradigm to be viable in the 21st century needs to adequately address the cybernetic and information-theoretic challenges. That is scientific truth. Your attitude to this truth is, in my opinion, unscientific.

      As per lack of well articulated arguments, here is the basic challenge to emergentists, i.e. to those who think that life originated by itself at the edge of chaos, on top of crystals, in the primordeal soup or who believe in any other nonsense like this. Demonstrate convincingly that the following can credibly spontaneously emerge out of chaos:

      1. Functionality;
      2. Formalism (in particular, algorithmic formalism);
      3. Cybernetic control;
      4. Semiotic state, i.e. spontaneous emergence of information processing systems whereby functional success critically depends upon utilisation of a common alphabet, syntax and semantics in information transfer between multiple components of these systems;
      emergence of such systems must be demonstrated to take place in a goal-inert environment by means of an undirected process.

      In other words, provide credible empirical support to spontaneous undirected self-organisation out of chaos. Note that self-organisation is not the same as easily observable self-ordering.

      When you have done this, we will continue the debate. The ball is on your side. Cheers.