Posts Tagged ‘Richard Dawkins’
The fossil record was no friend of Charles Darwin in 1859. Now, more than 150 years later, the fossil record is no longer a friend of Richard Dawkins, either. “Why does not,” Darwin pointed out, “every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life?”
The question was unavoidable, the elephant in the room, yet troubling since Darwin recognized that the fossil record could eventually either make or break his theory:
The human appendix has long been touted as scientific evidence for evolution−popularized by Charles Darwin. In The Descent of Man (1871), Darwin argued “With respect to the alimentary canal I have met with an account of only a single rudiment, namely the vermiform appendage [appendix] of the caecum… Not only is it useless, but it is sometimes the cause of death”
More than 150 years later, a remnant of Darwin’s argument has survived. Laura Spinney writing for the Richard Dawkins Foundation in an article entitled “Five things Humans No Longer Need” (2007) claims Continue Reading
In June, long-time straight-laced British Darwinian advocate Richard Dawkins launched an attack on Harvard evolutionary biologist Edward O Wilson. Dawkins and Wilson stand at the pinnacle in the industry. Dawkins claims Wilson’s new book, The Social Conquest of Earth, is “downright perverse.”
Wilson is the senior biologist born in 1929 by more than a decade−Dawkins was born in 1941. As a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Wilson was awarded the President’s “National Medical of Science” award in 1976 by President Jimmy Carter and the “Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science” in 1994. Wilson has been the avant-garde within the evolution industry. Continue Reading
Even though Charles Darwin never observed the giraffe in nature, his comments on the giraffe have served as one of the longest lasting examples of evolution, until recently.
In The Origin of Species, Darwin argued “So under nature with the nascent giraffe, the individuals which were the highest browsers and were able during dearths [scarcity] to reach even an inch or two above the others, will often have been preserved.”
The process of preservation is a fundamental tenet of Darwin’s theory of biological evolution. The complete title of The Origin of Species is “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races.” The giraffe, according to Darwin’s reasoning, was preserved during times of food scarcity due to evolution of the elongated neck.
Even though evolutionary scientists have since distanced themselves from Darwin’s high “browsers” argument because we now know that’s not what giraffes do, and there is no fossil record evidence for giraffe transitional links, staunch Darwin fundamentalists, like Richard Dawkins, in an attempt to save Darwin’s dying theory, have resorted to deceptive fabrications.
February has not been a good month for Richard Dawkins. The foundations of controversial Oxford University professor, the foremost champion of Darwinist evolution, referring to himself as “Darwin’s pit bull”, and billed as the world’s “most famous atheist”, developed colossal cracks.
On February the first evidence of cracking appeared. On the 14th, Dawkins appeared on the BBC Radio 4′s Today program to talk about the poll results his organization, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, had conducted. The poll survey conducted by Ipsos Mori showed that half of the people who described themselves as Christian on the 2011 census do not consider themselves religious. The criticism ironically opened the door to his first major “God” crack. Continue Reading
This past week at a New Hampshire campaign event, Rick Perry was asked about his views of evolution by a boy, ushered up to the front by his mother, “do you believe in evolution?”
“It’s a theory hat’s out there,” Perry replied. “It’s got some gaps in it. In Texas we teach both creationism and evolution.” Perry went on to explain: “I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”
The Washington Post wasted no time to launch a panel debate hosted by Sally Quinn entitled “On evolution, can religion evolve?” The infamous atheist from the UK, Richard Dawkins, quickly joined the debate noting “There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry. Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office… Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters”. At stake is the challenge by non-evolutionist to of critical thinking in public schools. Continue Reading
The essence of Charles Darwin’s theory, natural selection, is reflected in the title of his book—The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Natural selection, Darwin argued, is the architect of evolution, “As square stone, or bricks, or timber, are the indispensable materials for a building, and influence its character, so is variability not only indispensible but influential. Yet in the same manner as the architect is all important person in a building, so is [natural] selection with organic bodies.”
Charles Lyell and Asa Gray, Darwin’s closest confidants, solidly disagreed. Lyell argued that natural selection can only preserve or eliminate; natural selection cannot create: “The destroy[ing] force is selection, the sustaining [force] preserves things … but in order that life shd. Exist where there was none before… this is not [natural] selection, but creation.”
Myths have circulated that Charles Darwin recanted the theory of evolution while he was dying. Some of the stories read like this: “Shortly after Darwin’s death at seventy-four on April 19, 1882, the evangelistic widow of Admiral of the Fleet Sir James Hope [Lady Hope] told a gathering of students at Northfield Seminary in Massachusetts that she had visited Darwin in his last hours and found him reading the Epistle to the Hebrews. Darwin, she said, announced that he wished he ‘had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done,’ and he also asked her to get some people together so he could speak to them of Jesus Christ and His salvation, being in a state where he was eagerly savoring the heavenly anticipation of bliss.”
“The Origin of Species has special claims on our attention. It is one of the two or three most significant works of all time—one of those works that fundamentally and permanently altered our vision of the world… It is argued with a singularly rigorous consistency but it is also eloquent, imaginatively evocative, and rhetorically compelling.”
For evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala at the University of California, Irvine, Darwin gave the world “design without a designer.” For militant atheist Richard Dawkins, “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” In an interview with American pop-media journalist Bill Moyers, Dawkins said that “among the things that science does know, evolution is about as certain as anything we know.”
Darwin, however, was not as “certain” as Dawkins—even on the power of natural selection. In The Origin of Species, Darwin flips his theory on the power of natural selection.
Why Evolution is True, one of the best-selling books in support of evolution written by Jerry Coyne and endorsed by Richard Dawkins, conveniently fails to address one minor evolutionary issue—the origin of life. Reason: the origin of life problem is undermining the evolution industry.
The Stanley-Miller origin of life model was once the most popular theory, starting with the publication of The Planets: Their Origin and Development in 1952. Written by Harold Urey, the book speculates that life originated in early Earth’s atmosphere composed of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen—a reducing atmosphere without oxygen.
Harold Urey was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 for his work on isotopes. During World War II, Urey directed the Manhattan Project at Columbia University that lead to the development of the atomic bomb.
Urey’s model for the origin of life, however, was published without ever being tested. When challenged by his graduate student, Stanley Miller, they performed the now-famous Miller–Urey experiment.
After assembling a closed glass apparatus in Urey’s laboratory, Miller pumped out the air and replaced it with methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water, creating a reducing atmosphere—without oxygen—a gas composition resembling the atmosphere of Jupiter. “By the end of the week,” Miller reported the water “was deep red and turbid.”
Just as Urey had predicted, chemical analysis of the resulting tar solution revealed several organic compounds, including glycine and alanine, the two simplest amino acids found in proteins—the building blocks of life. With amino acids spontaneously arising in early Earth’s atmosphere, the ensuing amino acid chance interactions forming into proteins became recognized as the natural mechanism to explain for the origin of life.
Reference to the Miller–Urey experiment quickly found its way into almost every high school and college textbook starting in the mid-twentieth century as a natural explanation for the origin of life. According to Evolution 101, sponsored by the University of California, Berkley
These experiments serve as ‘proofs of concept’ for hypotheses about steps in the origin of life — in other words, if a particular chemical reaction happens in a modern lab under conditions similar to those on early Earth, the same reaction could have happened on early Earth and could have played a role in the origin of life. The 1953 Miller-Urey experiment, for example, simulated early Earth’s atmosphere with nothing more than water, hydrogen, ammonia, and methane and an electrical charge standing in for lightning, and produced complex organic compounds like amino acids.
Since 1953, however, extensive investigations have demonstrated that the Earth’s atmosphere was not composed of ammonia, methane, and hydrogen. Rather than the anticipated reducing atmosphere, the Earth’s atmosphere was the opposite—oxidizing, containing oxygen.
Evolution 101, acknowledging atmosphere problems with the Miller-Urey experiment, adds -
Now, scientists have learned more about the environmental and atmospheric conditions on early Earth and no longer think that the conditions used by Miller and Urey were quite right… These experiments yielded similar results – complex molecules could have formed in the conditions on early Earth.
While the formation of amino acids in the early atmosphere of the Earth is generally not considered a valid theory, what is the probability of complex molecules arising by chance?
Evolution 101 uses the word “could” to explain the potential development of complex molecules developing on Earth. The fundamental question, however, is beyond “could.” The question centers on the “probability” of complex protein molecules forming by chance alone from amino acids. Any event “could” happen, but not all events are “probable”.
Proteins consist of amino acids linked by peptide bonds. Since amino acids have roughly a 50:50 chance of forming peptide bonds to another amino acid, the probability of 4 amino acids forming peptide bond together is ½ X ½ X ½ X ½ = 1/16, or (1/2)4.
Since a simple protein usually consists of a chain of 150 amino acids, then the probability of forming the chain is (1/2)150, or roughly 1 chance in 1045. That is the number 10 with 45 trailing zeros.
Given that each amino acid has a mirror image, there is one left-handed and right-handed version for each amino acid, the probability of forming one simple protein from 150 amino acids is 1 chance in 1090.
One of the most important functional aspects of a protein is the sequence of the amino acids. Since there are 20 biologically active amino acids, the probability of amino acids occurring in a functional is (1/20)150, or roughly 1 chance in 10195.
Another way to say that is the probability of finding a functional protein by chance alone is a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion times smaller than finding a specified particle among all the particles in the universe.
Jerry Coyne and Richard Dawkins discretely circumvent the origin of life issue since the event probability was not by chance. Meyer concludes,
For this reason, it would be vastly more probable than not that a protein functional would not have arisen by chance.
The evidence contradicts the central tenet of the theory of evolution—life by chance. Meyer’s logical conclusion concurs with Albert Einstein’s famous dictum:
God does not play dice with the universe.