The Darwin-Haunted World

Creationism fails because it can’t actually explain anything and cannot be falsified on its own terms. Yet it is upheld by a rigid dogma of belief that simply refuses to yield to rationalism and doubt.

Unfortunately the same is almost entirely true of neo-Darwinism – at least in its most extreme form. It too cannot be falsified on its own terms and it too is upheld by an increasingly rigid, if not hysterical, dogma, that refuses to yield to any form of progressive rational analysis. It is based on antiquated Victorian thought-systems about hierarchies in nature and the ultimate dominance of mankind; its central tenet ‘the survival of the fittest’ is simply a tautology. It makes little effort to break out of its Newtonian paradigm and address either the failings and gaps in its own system or to adapt to the new discoveries and shifting awareness in other related disciplines.
I’m not a Creationist or a believer in Intelligent Design, but I feel queasy at the way that ‘natural selection’ is sold as being a far more complete and realistic model than it really is; I dislike the way the many problems it faces from a scientific perspective are obscured. I dislike the way that anyone who questions, however mildly, the received wisdoms of this ‘science’ are labeled ‘Creationists’ and made the victims of hysterical witch-hunting and intolerance. I think this is symptomatic of much that is presently wrong with us all.

Beyond the hysteria it’s simply true that the idea of a ‘natural selection’ of random mutations has always had many serious problems, both in biology and in physics. Most obviously there is the extreme rarity in the fossil record of morphological changes in a given species. Put simply – T-Rexes remained T-Rexes for 20 million years without altering; so did brontosaurids, giant elk etc. The skeletons from the beginning and end of their span on earth look virtually identical. We find lots of different types of animal, and some with obvious relationships between each other, but very little consistent sign in any given set of skeletons of the actual morphing process whereby the T. Rex, or the brontosaurus, or the elk might be shifting into something else. Instead what we seem to have is sudden swift changes, often accompanying global cataclysms, where one species dies and another new one seems to immediately to arise from ‘nowhere’ and take its place.

This is not what the theory evolution predicts and so the very fossil record itself has always challenged it in that regard. It was in response to this that Stephen Jay Gould developed the idea of what he called ‘punctuated equilibrium’ , in which he posited that species remain stable for thousands or millions of years, before undergoing a rapid ‘morphing’ over a few thousand years (rapid in geological time) into something new. This fits better with the fossil record, but yet it really flies in the face of Darwin’s original idea of a slow mutation brought on by pressures of competition and environment – the hard evidence for which remains almost entirely lacking.
For this and numerous other reasons, neo-Darwinism is – and has been for some time – in a paradigm crisis. The evidence that is amassing doesn’t really fit the theory, the theory needs to be questioned, modified, maybe even discarded in part. And this is where the problem starts.

Most biologists have been raised in a paradigm that equates any questioning of Darwin with the ‘demon haunted world’ of superstition and irrationality. Ergo, when Darwin is questioned it must be being questioned irrationally. And ergo, again, any defence of the theory must be rational. The neo-Darwinists like Richard Dawkins are so imprisoned by this false syllogism (“Darwin=’rational’, ergo if I am defending Darwin I am being rational”), that they entirely fail to see themselves morphing into exactly the kind of non-rational, dogma-haunted, truth-fearing bigots they – understandably – most fear and despise.

They have sunk, in some quarters now, to the moral bankruptcy of blacklisting the heretics in their own midst. The likes of Sheldrake are non-people now for the true zealouts. They control what is published in journals like Nature so rigidly that none of the newer ideas can get a hearing. They have so successfully managed the media that few people know there even is a discussion of ‘alternatives’ or ‘amendments’ to Darwin beyond the ludicrous extreme of Creationism. They present a false either/or dichotomy, in order to herd people into consensus.
There is no either/or. The truth is, life is hardly less a mystery for us than the origins of the universe, and Darwin himself might be appalled at the extremes of hubris to which his theory is taken. Evolution was developed to offer a way of understanding how species evolved. It doesn’t even presume to try to tell us how life itself actually began, let alone how the universe came into being. Yet somehow we tend to forget all of that. Not only do our scientists try to disguise the theory’s numerous problems, but as a culture we take the theory and elevate it beyond anything it was ever designed to be until it becomes a shorthand formula for the lazy belief underpinning our culture that we know everything and don’t need to wonder any more!

Creationism has no place being taught in a classroom, but neither has an uncritical approach to neo-Darwinism. Perhaps it would be best to teach them both, and to lay bare the weaknesses inherent in them, and indeed in all schemes we have thus far designed for explaining the universe to ourselves. But to regard one as a symbol of progress and the other as a symbol of regress is just to be simplistic. They are both dogmas based on religious or quasi-religious precepts. Both should be presented as interesting ideas, and their most fanatical adherents considered as a warning of what happens to the human mind when it abandons doubt for belief.


4 thoughts on “The Darwin-Haunted World

  1. Creationism is based on a ridiculous literal interpretation of the Genesis text which was originally intended as a parody (in the literal sense) of the Babylonian creation myth in which God subverts already existing Creation beliefs in the (metaphoric of symbolic sense). The first lesson it teaches is that the lie of the serpent is to interpret Gods Words literally. i.e Adam did not literally die “that day” as the text says, he spiritually died that day. This is an intentional paradox, a riddle. This is how much of the Bible is written, in the form of intentional contradictions which are intended to force the reader to abandon the literal sense and interpret the text symbolically, internally.

    The New Testament expounds upon the concept of spiritual death…

    Question: “What is spiritual death?”

    Answer: Death is separation. A physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death, which is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. In Genesis 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will “surely die.” Adam does fall, but his physical death does not occur immediately; God must have had another type of death in mind—spiritual death. This separation from God is exactly what we see in Genesis 3:8. When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.” The fellowship had been broken. They were spiritually dead.

    When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He paid the price for us by dying on our behalf. Even though He is God, He still had to suffer the agony of a temporary separation from the Father due to the sin of the world He was carrying on the cross. After three hours of supernatural darkness, He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:33-34). This spiritual separation from the Father was the result of the Son’s taking our sins upon Himself. That’s the impact of sin. Sin is the exact opposite of God, and God had to turn away from His own Son at that point in time.

    A man without Christ is spiritually dead. Paul describes it as “being alienated from the life of God” in Ephesians 4:18. (To be separated from life is the same as being dead.) The natural man, like Adam hiding in the garden, is isolated from God. When we are born again, the spiritual death is reversed. Before salvation, we are dead (spiritually), but Jesus gives us life. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” (Ephesians 2:1 NKJV). “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins” (Colossians 2:13).

    To illustrate, think of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus in John 11. The physically dead Lazarus could do nothing for himself. He was unresponsive to all stimuli, oblivious to all life around him, beyond all help or hope—except for the help of Christ who is “the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25). At Christ’s call, Lazarus was filled with life, and he responded accordingly. In the same way, we were spiritually dead, unable to save ourselves, powerless to perceive the life of God—until Jesus called us to Himself. He “quickened” us; “not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).

    The book of Revelation speaks of a “second death,” which is a final (and eternal) separation from God. Only those who have never experienced new life in Christ will partake of the second death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).

    Read more:


  2. Well, from the XX century, there’s self-organisation, from a Noble prize laureate Ilya Prigozhin.

    Self-organisation makes non-living matter behave as if it is “alive”. Meaning, the world is much more sentient and living than XIX century thought. Matter doesn’t have to be alive to exert free will for example – even electrons have some freedom. The more complex the objects are – from cracks in solids, through crystallization and turbulence all the way to hot plasm rings in Sun’s crown – the more freedom they have. And when the matter becomes alive – the complexity and degrees of freedom multiply even more.

    Another conclusion of self-organisation is that Nature works from one complete design to another complete design – in large jumps, spurts. There is no continuous process. So it’s useless to seek gradual transitions from one organism to another one – things don’t work this way even in non-living matter.

    Outside the dialogue there is sentience of the living. Recent evidence shows that even birds, however stupid, understand that they look at themselves when looking into the mirror. Not to mention the primates who have demonstrated they can “remember that they remember”. That might mean, they understand “self” and have a soul.

    Lol. I’ve read Aleksandr Zorich a few years ago. He has a novel Counsel of the Commonwealth. Not so distant future, Earth’s humankind learnt how to grow meat for food, and stopped eating animals. UN charters are prolonged to include animals. And it comes to funny things, like since horses are considered the Free Species and subjects of Species Rights, folks are fined for riding a horse! ^_^ That would be a bit too much ^_^ Like being afraid of Darwin’s Evolution, but with opposite sign.


  3. A very balanced, well-argued and tolerance-building opinion. I am impressed. Way to go!


  4. My understanding is that present day adherents of Darwin’s theory choose to simply ignore his emphasis on female sexual selection while opting to focus instead on male competition for access to females or the struggle for resources. So it may not be so much that the nineteenth century was the weaker period for scientific understanding but rather our own era.

    The theory is much stronger when you see it the other way. However, as with all science, it is and will always be subject to revision or total disproof.


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