Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Deniable Darwin

Author: David Berlinski, multiple past professorships in mathematics, logic, and philosophy

This is the final article in this book, and they certainly saved one of the best for last. Berlinski writes with impressive wit and diction, and his sense of humor is very agreeable. This was probably the most enjoyable essay to read.

Unlike the others, this essay includes a number of responses and surreplies at the end. There are some very big evolutionary leaders among the mix and the overall impression the reader gets is that these scientists are either so floored that any educated person could doubt Darwinism or are offended that their worldview would every be questioned that they resort to ad hominem attacks instead of a mature or fruitful discussion of any sort. They do as much good for the book as do the actual contributors.

Berlinski covers a range of topics from the fossil record, statistical improbability of design from chance, and Darwinian circular reasoning. He also, to my enjoyment, brought up the crushing argument that Darwinism, able to "explain" everything (contradictions included), effectively explains nothing. It adds nothing to our knowledge of the natural world; it is merely saying that we observe that some organisms die and some don't for some reason through supposed mutations somehow. Useless.

Unlike his opponents, Berlinski makes ample use of available evidence and supposed Darwinist "proofs", slicing them apart like a trained surgeon. Like I already said, his article is impressive.

He also makes it a point to introduce one of his own larger problems with Darwinism: that it excludes design from the outset only to reintroduce it later under a different name. Darwinism does this in various ways, namely by holding up computer simulations that supposedly show random mutations reaching a viable goal. The problem, as Berlinski aptly demonstrates, is that the computers work toward a goal and actively keep mutations closer to the goal while discarding those that are not. Darwinism, being purely random, has no goals and to sneak them in like this only shows its own statistical failure to account for even a simple phrase through random permutations.

This article is the perfect final piece of this collection and wraps up the set nicely. If you read this book, be sure to read it to the very end. Bravo, Berlinski! This is top-notch work.

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