Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Worried Darwinians

There are pro-Darwinian stories today in TCS and The Weekly Standard. Both would win prizes for crooked thinking (great book, read it!) in a High School logic test. Could be random outpourings, but there is a trace of panic. I wonder why?

TCS has a Professor of Arts and Humanities from the University of Texas, who I bet has never built an evolutionary machine, assuring us:

... it is clear that the beautiful and hard-won theory of evolution, now proved beyond reasonable doubt...

What do they teach these guys in Texas? Theories can never be "proved", they can only be disproved! From an engineering perspective, the observed phenomenon of irreducible complexity disproves Darwin. End of theory.

The Weekly Standard guy is "a writer in New York City", who I bet has never tried to create an artificial Intelligence (I failed, but spent 5 years trying, ending up awed by the phenomenon of consciousness). He assures us that a) the opposition to Darwinism is purely religious and b) that Darwin never meant to deny God. Oh, and in passing c) that Darwinism is of course right!

The evidence for this is overwhelming, and pretty much rules out the notion that God created man in his present form.

Both authors argue that if you don't believe in Darwinism, you're some sort of right-wing Christian fundamentalist nut. Which is Bad. There are indeed plenty of good people who believe God created Man - but that's no more illogical than God creating the value of Pi, the speed of light, the Big Bang, and Quarks.

But you don't have to believe in a God to see that Darwinism is broken. You just need to run the numbers on mutation rates, time-frames & species diversity; to review the fossil record, with its bizarre periods of stasis followed by huge jumps; to read the DNA of ancient creatures that contains most of the code for human beings; to see the hacked structure of modern DNA complete with commented-out ("junk") code. And above to look at all the elegance of the trade-offs in the design of the living world.

Based on this, I'm sure that life is not a random accident. But I have no idea how it happened - maybe from an undiscovered Law of Thermodynamics. But it is not random evolution plus natural selection, no matter how many NYC Writers and Texan Arts Professors assure us otherwise!