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Darwinian Assumptions Questioned

first_imgSometimes common knowledge is not knowledge at all.  We sometimes are surprised to find out that things we had always heard turn out not to be true: for instance, the claim that Humphrey Bogart said “Play it again, Sam” in Casablanca, that humans only use 10% of their brains, that carbon-14 dates things millions of years old, that the 9/10 on gasoline prices is a tax for road repair, or that saying “Bless you” when somebody sneezes helps the sneezer in some mysterious way.  Recently, it has come to light that some ideas about Darwin and his evolutionary theory, long assumed as matters of fact, are not:Did Darwin fear publication?  As the typical retellings on TV and in biographies go, Charles Darwin delayed publishing his book for fear of the reaction, especially from Christians and religious people.  The BBC News reported on a researcher who has debunked this notion.  Darwin’s letters show he was committed to publish all along.  “The idea that Charles Darwin delayed publishing On the Origin of Species for 20 years for fear of ridicule is a myth,” it says.  The delay was more due partly to bouts of ill health, and partly to his wanting to amass more evidence first.Did dinosaurs have to die off before mammals flourished?  No, reported Live Science and Science Daily.  Mammals were doing well in the age of dinosaurs, and the rapid rate of diversification began a long time after dinosaurs went extinct.  This contradicts the usual picture on TV documentaries like the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs that mammals were all little shrew-like midgets dodging the big feet of monsters till a meteor blasted them to oblivion.  Incidentally, the BBC News also reported this finding, and called the old idea a “straw man” argument.Is antibiotic resistance Darwinian evolution in action?  Michael Egnor, a medical doctor, argues that this evidence for evolution is a tautology.  See his reason on Evolution News.Do animals evolve faster in warmer climates?  Again, the answer is no.  A new study reported by Science Daily showed that the reverse is true: animals evolve faster in temperate zones and at the poles than in the tropics.  The researchers debunked what they called a common assumption, the article explains.Sometimes things right under our microscopes don’t fit the neat textbook pictures.  Science Daily, for instance, reported that the classification of one-celled organisms is in disarray.  Recent years have seen major reinterpretations of the status of Neanderthal Man.  The finding of a vast array of viruses living in ocean water may revise our conceptions of life.  And according to Science Daily, evo-devo theories, once promising, are struggling because their model organisms fail to answer key questions about evolution.  In many respects, it would seem Charles Darwin would hardly recognize his theory after 148 years of revisions.  He himself made substantial revisions during his lifetime, biographers note.  Some modern evolutionists forget that criticisms from scientists about the power of natural selection, and problems with his inheritance theory, made Darwin move toward the Lamarckian ideas he had earlier criticized.  It is a curious phenomenon that evolutionary theory itself evolves.Maybe Darwinism is analogous to Lenz’s Law.  Physicists learn that magnetically induced currents produce magnetic fields that oppose the inducing field.  Could it be that evolutionary ideas induce countermeasures in nature that oppose evolutionary ideas?  (This idea suggested in jest only; sug-gest in jest, if you digested that.)    For any oft-repeated truism, it is good practice to ask, “How do you know that?”  We would probably be shocked at the number of things we take for granted that have little or no evidential support.  Darwin’s myth seems especially prone to revision.  Sometimes both the urban legend and the revision are both wrong, because both are prone to the same flawed assumptions.  This is the case in #2 and #4 above.  The revisors in both cases were still assuming evolution and millions of years.  They merely rearranged the pieces without changing the overall evolutionary picture.  This compounds the error, and poses myth against myth.  Beware of myth-placed confidence.(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img

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