Re: [asa] Ditch Darwin To Advance Theory of Evolution, says Professor of Evolutionary Biology

From: Matthew) Yew Hock Tan <>
Date: Sat Mar 03 2007 - 03:02:00 EST

To what extent are Christian scientists willing to ditch Darwin - supposing that there is a general agreement that the theory of biological evolution as presented today (Darwinism) is "dogmatic ideology"?

1. Ditch the principle of blind, undirected/direction-less, purposeless operating forces?
2. Ditch "random" mutations as a mechanism? Maybe intelligent nonrandom correlated mutations? Or simply, unknown mutations? Or, better still, just say "changes in the genome".
James Shapiro suggests that bacteria are sentient intelligent ("not stupid") beings capable of re-engineering themselves intelligently (with computational and information processing capabilities). (Read the Abstract)

3. Ditch "natural" selection? That will mean ditching "dogmatic ideology" of materialistic naturalism to allow for unknown forces operating the selection.

(With respect to macro-evolution)

4. Ditch the assumption that micro-evolution can be extrapolated to macro-evolution?
5. Ditch the dogmatism of single-ancestor tree of life?
After all, there is already an article by Doolittle titled "Uprooting the Tree of Life" - If we go far enough, that will allow for creationist notion of "limited evolution" within "kinds" of creatures.

6. Redefine evolution to mean simply the change over time in the morphology and/or genome of living organism? (without the assumption of the tree of life)

I believe all these ditching will satisfy the Intelligent Design proponents and Old Earth Creationists, but not the Young Earth Creationists.

George Murphy <> wrote: He's right. Emphasis on Darwin as an individual, the use of the term "Darwinism" and (what was discussed at one AAAS session) the coupling of "Evolution Sunday" with Darwin's birthday serve to antagonize conservative Christians and keep them from giving evolution a fair hearing. Of course Darwin's name needn't be avoided studiously, but there's no need to inflate his role either. Evolution can be discussed without talking about the histopry of the subject, just as classical mechanics can be presented without talking about Newton. & to the extent that the history is discussed, giving Wallace partial credit can help.
    ----- Original Message -----
   From: (Matthew) Yew Hock Tan
   Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2007 12:16 PM
   Subject: [asa] Ditch Darwin To Advance Theory of Evolution, says Professor of Evolutionary Biology

   The theory of biological evolution as it is presented today is dogmatic ideology? This professor has called for scientists to de-emphasize Darwin. It is significant that he made this call at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in San Francisco. This news article is for subscriber. But you can read it from the "cache" of Google search result.The Chronicle of Higher EducationMonday, February 19, 2007

   De-emphasizing Darwin Might Advance the Argument for Evolution, Biologist Says at Scientists' MeetingIn his controversial book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins insisted that scientists should work to dispel the idea that God exists. Without religion, Mr. Dawkins has said, the conflict between scientists' beliefs about evolution and the fundamentalist religious belief that a supernatural intelligence created all life would vanish. Now an evolutionary biologist has proposed a different tack. In a meeting last weekend in San Francisco, he suggested scientists might win the argument by ditching Darwin.

   Mr. Kutschera, a professor of plant physiology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kassel in Germany, said scientists should emphasize that evolution is a fully formed field of biological study "built up by generations of non-dogmatic scientists." Terms like Darwinism can make evolutionary biology seem like an ideology, rather than a focus of empirical work, he said.
   Few think that Darwin himself is such a divisive figure. But at a session on growing anti-evolutionary sentiment in Europe, scholars from both sides of the Atlantic agreed that scientists should change the way they present their views.
   Pressure from religious groups to teach alternatives to evolution, such as intelligent design, in science classes once seemed mostly an American problem, but that is no longer true.


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Received on Sat Mar 3 03:09:28 2007

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