Re: Fwd: [breakpoint] Ditching Darwin , 8/5/1999

Stephen E. Jones (
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 23:16:05 +0800


On Sun, 08 Aug 1999 18:13:02 +0000, wrote:


>SJ>For those who don't receive Charles Colson's Breakpoint, here is a recent
>>review of Schwartz' un-Darwinian book, "Sudden Origins".


>SJ>"Suppose for a moment that Darwin's theory of natural selection is a
>>mistaken view about the origin and development of life. If so, wouldn't it
>>be reasonable to conclude that scientists themselves would become
>>increasingly aware of this and publicly state their findings?..."
>>(Ankerberg J. & Weldon J., in Moreland J.P., ed.,
>>"The Creation Hypothesis...1994, p270).
>>A now a new book by biologist Jeffrey Schwartz
>>recommends Ditching Darwin altogether, and looking
>>for a new explanation of how life developed.

GM>Stephen, Colson's commentary is such a gross misunderstanding of what
>Schwartz is saying that it is absolutely laughable.

Maybe instead of laughing Glenn should state what *exactly* is wrong
with Colson's summary of Schwartz's book.

GM>And the fact that you fell for it is truly sad.

Let's face it-Glenn would be *overjoyed* if I fell for something!

But in this case neither Colson or I have fallen for anything.

GM>Lest anyone think that Schwartz no longer
>believes in evolution (as this commentary and Stephens interpetation of it
>implies) then think again.

Who said anything about "Schwartz no longer believes in evolution"?
Colson's Breakpoint article actually says that Schwartz is proposing a
"substitute theory of evolution":

"Schwartz does do us a favor by pointing out the failure of Darwinism,
but his substitute theory of evolution is no better. Living things exhibit
levels of engineering and design that scientists are only beginning to grasp-
-which logically suggests that they are the creation of a great Engineer, a
Divine Designer."

GM>Schwartz is Ditching Darwin's way of doing things

That's what the title of Colson's article is: "Ditching Darwin"! So where has
Colson or I got it wrong?

GM>(most evolutionists have).

This is a common ploy that most evolutionists don't believe in Darwin's
theory anymore. But as Johnson points out, this is just "Manipulation of the

"Manipulation of the terminology also allows natural selection to appear
and disappear on command. When unfriendly critics are absent, Darwinists
can just assume the creative power of natural selection and employ it to
explain whatever change or lack of change has been observed. When critics
appear and demand empirical confirmation, Darwinists can avoid the test
by responding that scientists are discovering alternative mechanisms,
particularly at the molecular level, which relegate selection to a less
important role. The fact of evolution therefore remains unquestioned, even
if there is a certain amount of healthy debate about the theory. Once the
critics have been distracted, the Blind Watchmaker can re-enter by the back
door. Darwinists will explain that no biologist doubts the importance of
Darwinian selection, because nothing else was available to shape the
adaptive features of the phenotypes." (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial",
1993, pp153-154)

The fact is that even Gould, for all his hype, has to admit when pressed that
*in the production of new designs* he still believed in "Darwin's way of
doing things", ie. natural selection:

"...may I state for the record that I (along with all other Darwinian
pluralists) do not deny either the existence and central importance of
adaptation, or the production of adaptation by natural selection. Yes, eyes
are for seeing and feet are for moving. And, yes again, I know of no
scientific mechanism other than natural selection with the proven power to
build structures of such eminently workable design." (Gould S.J.,
"Darwinian Fundamentalism", New York Review of Books, June 12, 1997.

GM>Darwin's view of evolution is now 130
>years old and was based upon 19th century science.

I would agree with that! But that "19th century science" of Darwin's is
*still* the basis for modern theory of evolution. Dawkins (who after all
is the Oxford Professor for the Public Understanding of Science), says
that the modern theory of evolution is simply continuing "to add footnotes
to their [Darwin and Wallace's] solution":

"This book is written in the conviction that our own existence once
presented the greatest of all mysteries, but that it is a mystery no longer
because it is solved. Darwin and Wallace solved it, though we shall
continue to add footnotes to their solution for a while yet. (Dawkins R.,
"The Blind Watchmaker," 1991, p.xiii)

GM>His view that life has evolved has survived.

The "view that life has evolved" was not Darwin's discovery. As Burrows
points out "The theory of evolution in biology was already...old" by
Darwin's time and in fact Darwin in his Origin of Species, "listed over
thirty predecessors":

"The theory of evolution in biology was already an old, even a discredited
one. Darwin, in later editions of The Origin, listed over thirty predecessors
and was still accused of lack of generosity. Greek thinkers had held the
view that life had developed gradually out of a primeval slime. Diderot,
Buffon and Maupertuis in the eighteenth century had held evolutionary
views, as had Darwin's own grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, whose
evolutionary ideas were expressed partly in verse" (Burrow J.W., "Editor's
Introduction", to Darwin C., "The Origin of Species", [1859], First
Edition, 1985 reprint, p27)

GM>His mechanism of evolution hasn't.

I agree with Glenn that Darwin's "mechanism of evolution
hasn't...survived" but someone better tell the Darwinists!

GM>So when
>christians, like Stephen, tell you scientists are leaving evolution because
>they are Ditching Darwin, it shows that they have no understanding of what
>is going on.

Neither Colson or I said that "scientists are leaving evolution because they
are Ditching Darwin". What Colson and I said is that they *are* "ditching

GM>They have not left the evolutionary fold as those, whose views
>require endless hope and imaginary visions of evolution defectors, want you
>to believe.

See above. It is sufficient for Colson and I that there *are* evolutionists
"ditching Darwin".

And it is *Glenn* who has "endless hope" that something vague called
"evolution" that will remain unscathed if scientists are "ditching Darwin"!

GM>To me, the failure to properly distinguish and communicate what is
>happening with Schwartz is a failure on the part of commentators like
>Colson to do their homework.

Actually what Colson said in "Ditching Darwin" *did* "properly
distinguish and communicate what is happening with Schwartz", namely
that he is "ditching Darwin".

So it is *Glenn* who in this case has failed to do his homework!


"It is not surprising that large evolutionary innovations are not well
understood. None has ever been observed, and we have no idea whether
any may be in progress. There is no good fossil record of any. Because
they are difficult, evolution has occupied billions, not hundreds of
thousands of years." (Wesson R.G., "Beyond Natural Selection," [1991],
MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1994, reprint, p206)