Tag Archives: Neo-Darwinism

A good response to Richard Dawkins

See One Long Bluff: A Review of Richard Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth” for a thorough dissection of Dawkins’ bad logic and philosophy.  Here’s the summary, but I encourage you to read it all.  Dawkins’ book is already outdated, for example, by his claim that the design of the eye is poor.  You’d think they’d get tired of being embarrassed about the “bad design” claim after being proved wrong on not-so-vestigial organs, “junk” DNA and the like.

Conclusion: Does Richard Dawkins have the goods?

Richard Dawkins continues in the same vein throughout his book. One favourable review of Dawkins’ new book, published in The Guardian, commented that while The Greatest Show on Earth “demonstrates once again [Dawkins’] consummate skill as an explainer,” the science covered by the book mostly rehashed “pretty standard stuff.” The book fails to address the growing problems of biological information, the origin of life, how natural selection coupled with chance mutations can account for the origin of irreducibly complex systems, which continue to defy the Darwinism he preaches. Darwin called The Origin of Species ‘one long argument’ for his theory, but Richard Dawkins has given us one long bluff. The Greatest Show on Earth seeks to defend neo-Darwinism by appealing to theological arguments, by attempting to explain away the challenge of the Cambrian explosion by means of invoking ad-hoc conjectures, by exaggerating the evidence for the potentiality of natural selection, by misrepresenting design arguments, casting down ‘straw-men’, and by avoiding mention of the most sinister threats to the neo-Darwinian model of origins.

Another point which is worth mentioning is that one should not be so taken with the evidence that is consistent with evolution that we think we can ignore the evidence that contradicts it. And this isn’t a balancing act — weighing whether there is more evidence for or against the theory. We know from common experience that even a small amount of clearly contradictory evidence outweighs a large body of consistent evidence. A common thread running throughout Richard Dawkins’ book (The Greatest Show on Earth) is the analogy of weighing up incriminating evidence in a court of law. But in a court of law, no matter how much evidence appears to incriminate someone, it would be entirely outweighed by a reliable alibi that the accused was in a totally different location at the time of the crime. The same is true of science. Even a small amount of attestable data that clearly contradicts evolution is sufficient to demonstrate that it is false, despite a much larger body of evidence that is consistent with it.

The actual evidence shows that major features of the fossil record and cell biology are an embarrassment to Darwinian evolution. Judged by the normal criteria of empirical science, the data used to prop up neo-Darwinism is weak. We know today that there are multiple critical facts which strike hard blows at the conventional understanding of the theory. These are not merely trivial problems or anomalies that are likely to be solved, but fundamental matters that appear to be without prospect of solution.