Monday, September 15, 2014

Video: Darwinism on Trial with University of California Berkley law professor Phillip E. Johnson

Darwinism on Trial, is a video with University of California Berkley law professor Phillip E. Johnson author of the book Darwin on Trial.

The video discusses some of the problems with Darwinism and also how Darwinists control the debate on natural selection. As a law professor, Johnson's area of expertise is debate and rhetoric and in this video he brings clarity to the debate on Darwinism.

For example, Johnson points out how Darwinists often use shifting definitions when making arguments. Darwinists will assert that science disproves the biblical account of creation and then act as if they have refuted all other possible modes of creation. Darwinists also point to evidence of microevolution as proof of evolution and then incorrectly claim macroevolution is proved.

Another example of poor logic Darwinists use is the argument from analogy to artificial selection. Darwinists incorrectly use examples from artificial selection as proof of macroevolution by natural selection. Artificial selection, such as breeding different types of dogs, uses the variations that currently exist in the gene pool, and therefore has a very limited ability to create changes in a species. Macroevolution involves major changes to an organism like the evolution of an organ such as an eye or a substantial change in an animal type such as the evolution from a land mammal to a whale. Macroevolution requires huge amounts of new genetic information which is a completely different mode of evolution than artificial selection which uses existing genes. Furthermore, artificial selection is not "natural" it is accomplished by intelligence and is purposeful.

Another flaw in Darwinism which Johnson points out is that mutations often have multiple effects. When trying to understand how some feature of an organism evolved, a Darwinist will propose that a mutation occurred as a first small step toward that feature and provided a survival advantage. Johnson says that this type of hypothetical speculation ignores the fact that most mutations have multiple effects and some may reduce the survival advantage so this speculation is not logically valid. But Darwinists accept their brand of logic because they have already assumed the truth of what they are trying to prove so they know there must have been beneficial mutations because the feature exists and must have arisen through natural selection.

Johnson lists four flaws in the theory of evolution by natural selection:

  1. You don't know if the necessary mutations will arise in the right order at the right time.
  2. Artificial selection is not natural selection.
  3. Mutations have multiple effects so beneficial mutations are unlikely.
  4. The fossil record is not consistent with what you would expect if evolution by natural selection is true.

Natural selection requires step by step gradual changes over long periods of time but the fossil record shows stasis over millions of years through environmental changes and there is an absence of transitional fossils. When your theory requires small step by step changes over long periods of time and you have millions of years of stasis with no evidence of transitions, you ought to realize your theory is wrong.

The missing transitions can't be explained by saying the fossil record is incomplete. There are millions of years of fossils that show stasis when they should be showing gradual change. Natural selection requires many small changes each providing a selective advantage. A key feature of natural selection, the engine that makes it work, is that these changes provide a selective advantage that cause them to become predominant throughout the population. This is important because beneficial mutations are rare and if you want a sequence of mutations to occur, each new mutation has to become predominant through out the population. This is necessary to provide a large enough population with one mutation for another mutation to become probable within that population. If the engine of Darwinism was really the cause evolution, the fossil record would show gradual change not millions of years of stasis with significant changes occurring suddenly in an improbably short time for which there are no fossils. The fossil record falsifies Darwinism.

There is no other theory to explain how evolution could occur naturally except by a series of small changes. (Punctuated equilibrium is not a theory it is a description.)

Johnson went on to explain how Darwinists prevent debate about whether Darwinism is wrong.

Darwinists define science as the study of natural and material processes, and as the pursuit of ever more improved natural explanations. Critics of Darwinism are dismissed if they don't have an alternative to natural selection: "They don't know how science works". Darwinists do not recognize that not knowing something is valid scientific position. They prefer a wrong theory to no theory. The way Darwinist science really works in practice is that they make an assumption and assert it is a fact.

Johnson then goes on to show that Darwinists misuse the mantle of science to give the theory of natural selection authority is doesn't deserve. He points out that technology produced by science is impressive. But technology is based on repeatable phenomena. Evolution is a scientific consensus not a repeatable experiment and therefore it is not reliable. Johnson illustrates this with a hypothetical example based on the Challenger explosion. He says that if a panel of rocket scientists agreed the Challenge mission would be successful, any outsider who disagreed would be ridiculed ... until the launch and explosion of the space shuttle that tested the panel's conclusions.

Johnson also points out that philosophies that attach themselves to science do not have a good track record and lists Marxism and Freudian psychology as examples, claiming Darwinism belongs with the other two as being unfalsifiable - anything that happens within their domain can be explained by these philosophies.

Another rhetorical device used by Darwinists is to reject the existence of God because nature is cruel or because some features of organisms seem poorly designed or are vestigial. Darwinists assert this is evidence that macroevolution by natural selection is true. This is not science, it is a theological argument. It is also a false dichotomy between God and Darwinism. A scientific approach would be to attempt to refute the criticisms of Darwinism by experiment, observation, or mathematically precise theoretical work.

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