Darwin's Doubt

Lonewolfe

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Darwin's Doubt is a fascinating book by Dr. Stephen Myer.

It was published back in 2014 but I just came across it. I haven't seen any discussion on it here; apologies if such a thread already exists.

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When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the "Cambrian explosion," many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. In Darwin's Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life--a mystery that has intensified, not only because the expected ancestors of these animals have not been found, but because scientists have learned more about what it takes to construct an animal. During the last half century, biologists have come to appreciate the central importance of biological information--stored in DNA and elsewhere in cells--to building animal forms.Expanding on the compelling case he presented in his last book, Signature in the Cell, Meyer argues that the origin of this information, as well as other mysterious features of the Cambrian event, are best explained by intelligent design, rather than purely undirected evolutionary processes.
What's interesting is how Myer now is winning over atheist scientists in his general hypothesis that the theory of evolution adequately explains local and minor adaptations among species but fails to explain the "origin of the species".

Here's a very interesting interview:
 


Lumpy Talbot

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Well, if you think ahead a few hundred million years rather than back then it is probably worth remembering that Elvis if undisturbed in the Throne Room at Gracelands would now be a very weirdly shaped fossil.

What I mean by that is that there could be an explanation for a lack of fossils in certain strata because of climate conditions.

For example if only a few bird variants survived an ice age or extinction event, near the equator, then there may be a situation where there are plenty of bird fossils from before a certain period.

Then the ice strata came and suddenly no or very few bird fossils preserved in rock in the strata of that era. Suddenly a layer plentiful in fossils as the ice age receded and the bird population began to expand out again from the tropics, following the sun, multiplying and consequently leaving more fossils again dispersed at a new strata and over a wider area.
 

McTell

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'Intelligent Design' in the pre Cambrian, but natural selection all of the rest of the time?

Darwin didn't know anything about genetics and geology, that most kids in secondary are well up on.

But he made so many connections, and still had plenty of doubts as to how. He didn't doubt the what, just the how.
 

Wagmore

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If Darwin didn't exist, atheists and secularists would have had to invent him. Evolution is the greatest pile of excrement ever imagined. Nobody sane believes it.....
 

Dearghoul

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Darwin didn't know anything about genetics and geology, that most kids in secondary are well up on.

But he made so many connections, and still had plenty of doubts as to how. He didn't doubt the what, just the how.
Yes and he hadn't access to many of the fossil steps and new understandings that help to complete the pre Cambrian record. One of the charges being levelled at this Myer man is that he takes the pre Cambrian of Darwins understanding rather than todays.
 

Dearghoul

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If Darwin didn't exist, atheists and secularists would have had to invent him. Evolution is the greatest pile of excrement ever imagined. Nobody sane believes it.....
There's quite a bit of evidence for his existence.

I've been in his garden and nicked some mulberries from a tree he planted.
 

McTell

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Darwin's main real doubt was how bad the reception would be, so he waited 2 decades until he heard that Wallace was about to publish.

Wallace didn't have Darwin's money and connections.... maybe he had nothing to lose.

 

Seán E. Ryan

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Intelligent design and irreducible complexity are a joke. With irreducible complexity, the god of the gaps argument dies altogether and kills any notion of an intelligent creator. This particular gap is so small that probability rules as to whether anything exists there, that being the case, there's no room for certainty there, thus no room for a certain god.

Why go into the biological argument at all?

If the theory they use to explore biology is broken and self defeating, why conclude that these numbskulls have anything useful to add to actual scientific knowledge and theory?
 

Ireniall

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Well, if you think ahead a few hundred million years rather than back then it is probably worth remembering that Elvis if undisturbed in the Throne Room at Gracelands would now be a very weirdly shaped fossil.

What I mean by that is that there could be an explanation for a lack of fossils in certain strata because of climate conditions.

For example if only a few bird variants survived an ice age or extinction event, near the equator, then there may be a situation where there are plenty of bird fossils from before a certain period.

Then the ice strata came and suddenly no or very few bird fossils preserved in rock in the strata of that era. Suddenly a layer plentiful in fossils as the ice age receded and the bird population began to expand out again from the tropics, following the sun, multiplying and consequently leaving more fossils again dispersed at a new strata and over a wider area.
Presumably though some of these animals did evolve very quickly and Myers description there of the chances of hitting on the right mutation was pretty persuasive. But did not epigenetics- a quite recent discovery-describe a mechanism by which the processes of evolution could be sped up and given a particular direction by the repetitive way that an individual animal used different parts of its body. I mean when you have an elegant theory which covers so many of the questions like Darwins does it seem a bit rash to throw it out because of a gap like this and it would seem to me that it's much more likely that some as yet undiscovered processes like epigenetics are at play which leaves Darwins theory totally intact.

In any case I'm reminded of Dawkins complaint that the Theory of Evolution seemed to attract an inordinate amount of doubters who were waiting to pounce on any new knowledge which didn't fit in exactly. In contrast he says, when it was discovered relatively recently that the Earths curvature flattens off a little at the poles there were no headlines in the paper the next day saying 'Copernicus wrong- Earth not round'
 

AyaanMyHero

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Well, if you think ahead a few hundred million years rather than back then it is probably worth remembering that Elvis if undisturbed in the Throne Room at Gracelands would now be a very weirdly shaped fossil.

What I mean by that is that there could be an explanation for a lack of fossils in certain strata because of climate conditions.

For example if only a few bird variants survived an ice age or extinction event, near the equator, then there may be a situation where there are plenty of bird fossils from before a certain period.

Then the ice strata came and suddenly no or very few bird fossils preserved in rock in the strata of that era. Suddenly a layer plentiful in fossils as the ice age receded and the bird population began to expand out again from the tropics, following the sun, multiplying and consequently leaving more fossils again dispersed at a new strata and over a wider area.
I've only watched videos of this guy, but in those, he tells us his book covers a range of possible explanations for discontinuity in fossil records other than intelligent design. Apparently, he presents arguments for why those other explanations don't stand up. Reading the book is probably a necessity, if one is interested enough. I might get around to it on my next holiday.
 

owedtojoy

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Darwin's Doubt is a fascinating book by Dr. Stephen Myer.

It was published back in 2014 but I just came across it. I haven't seen any discussion on it here; apologies if such a thread already exists.



What's interesting is how Myer now is winning over atheist scientists in his general hypothesis that the theory of evolution adequately explains local and minor adaptations among species but fails to explain the "origin of the species".

Here's a very interesting interview:
It behoves us take a scientific attitude and be sceptical of extraordnary claims, which require extraordinary evidence.

"Intelligent Design" is not a scientific theory because it seeks for explanation outside the material world.

Stephen C. Meyer
(born 1958) is an American advocate of the pseudoscientific principle of intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture (CSC) of the Discovery Institute (DI),[1] which is the main organization behind the intelligent design movement
Meyer is not a major player in the world of palaeontology, so take pinches of salt with every assertion. And look for refutation. PZ Myers has already been mentioned.

(At 3:33 Myers calls Darwin's Doubt "am amazing pile of sh!t")

Every few years some Creationist/ Intelligent Designer claims to be "winning over" scientists. Name one. Name five. Name ten that have been won over. Where are the scientific conferences where Intelligent Design is winning adherents?

Intellifent Design was not even allowed into US schools in the famous Dover case. A court with a conservative judge found it was not science.

 
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owedtojoy

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Pre-Cambrian forms of life have been found - the Ediacarian biota, which disappeared during the Cambrian explosion.

The Ediacarian life looks quite alien to us - simple, quilted, "pancake" forms with no descendants that we know of in modern times.

Intelligent Design AFAIK cannot explain the appearance and disappearance of the Ediacarian life forms.


Wikipedia has several articles on the Cambrian Explosion.

 

rainmaker

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"Intelligent Design" is not a scientific theory because it seeks for explanation outside the material world.
Indeed. It is a supernatural explanation developed by people in the Bronze Age struggling to comprehend the world around them.

It requires unquestioning faith rather than knowledge to accept it. You can question a scientist, but you cannot question the word of a supernatural deity.
 

wombat

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In contrast he says, when it was discovered relatively recently that the Earths curvature flattens off a little at the poles there were no headlines in the paper the next day saying 'Copernicus wrong- Earth not round'
Maybe its not of general interest? Newton's explanation of gravity is still used for most applications almost 100 years after Einstein came up with a replacement. Darwin's theory is generally accepted although its not complete.
 

The OD

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If Darwin didn't exist, atheists and secularists would have had to invent him. Evolution is the greatest pile of excrement ever imagined. Nobody sane believes it.....
OK.

I can see why drumpf gives you such a semi.


This level of ignorance ladies and gentlemen, is what you are dealing with.
I know, but don't despair, we all need someone to look down our nose at and know that from a moral point of view, its the correct thing to do.

Some people cannot help their ignorance, others embrace it enthusiastically.
 

owedtojoy

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Maybe its not of general interest? Newton's explanation of gravity is still used for most applications almost 100 years after Einstein came up with a replacement. Darwin's theory is generally accepted although its not complete.
The modern Theory of Evolution = Darwinism + Genetics, which only came along after Darwin had passed away. Genetics provides the mechanism for what Darwin observed in nature, and completes the theory. It supplies the mathematical/ statistical framework for the spread of genes through populations.

A great biologist Theodosius Dhobzhansky said "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution". The Theory of Evolution provides for Biology the Theory of Everything that Physicists are still searching for in their own discipline.

 


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