Evolution and its Adversaries (Part-1)
The infusion of philosophy into scientific disciplines results in a situation leading to chaos in scientific studies. The theory of evolution is the first discipline to suffer this infusion, and biology is a victim that may not recover from toxic treatment writes SYED IQBAL ZAHEER.
A human is a strange package of contradictions. And he is at the tilting point. That is, the contradictory traits, whether physical, mental, or psychic, are so precariously balanced within him that any serious disturbance can send him to the abyss. By surviving at the pinnacle, he is a walking miracle.
Talking of contradictions, it is interesting to see how it is played out at the level of high-level scientists. The famous British scientist, Fred Hoyle,who differed with many of his contemporary scientists over several issues, and had good reasons for doing so, illustrated it in simple words. To quote:
“The odd thing about modern scientific dogma is that to be respectable you must be a half-believer in creationism. You must believe matter to have arisen in a Big-Bang Universe by special creation, but you must not believe that biological species arose by special creation.” (Our Place in Cosmos, Phoenix, 1993, p.13)
So, to be self-contradictory, and yet stay respectable to oneself and to others, seems to be an inheritable trait prevalent among the scientists too.
Another of the interesting traits of the humans is their habit of arguing over the inarguable, time and again. That is, they can argue over the same issue, thought to have been settled the last time, whenever a new occasion arises. For example, that there can be no more than one deity, assumed that He exists, is argued by those who have been fed with their mother’s milk a dogma different from that. It will take two hours of precious life to corner a believer in multiple gods and to make him admit, “Of course, I am not denying that the Supreme Being can only be one.” But following the admission, he is back to the dogma of multiple deities, as soon as you are out of sight. Now, if you encounter him again, you will need another two hours to corner him and make him admit oneness of the deity.
Like the half-believers in creationism, this trait is manifest at the highest intellectual levels too; and, given sufficient numbers, though not necessarily in majority, they can manage to dominate and suppress any opposition. The phenomenon is the same: abizarre habit of the intellectuals torecognizethe truth and then deny it. Given certain conditions, an entire society can behave like that. Hoyle & Co.touched on this problem under the heading: “The tendency of human societies to depart indefinitely from the objective truth.”They wrote:
“Some succeed (to become a household name in science) by ability, others by luck, and still others, unhappily, by design and deception. The trick is to pretend that a major advance has been made, when in fact there has been none. To achieve such a deception a cabal of scientists, rather than a lone individual, is usually needed. Speaking with one voice, a cabal is usually able to shout down lone individuals working in other directions and eventually, by gaining control over what material is published in scientific journals and what is not, a cabal in the end can wipe out all opposition.” (Ibid, p.15)
Darwinistic evolution is one such case in science which snug-fits the above description.The idea of evolution as a result of natural selection, following random mutation, and, consequently, survival of the fittest, has always been suspected as a way to get rid of belief in Christianity, its gods and its Church, which had, in yesteryears of Darwin’s presentation, done so much mischief to the Western world that it wanted none of them.(A cool 50 million done to death by the Inquisitionoperated by the Church, was the most the West could take from the infallible Church).
“Darwinism had come to fight dogmatism. Professor Tyndall pointed out in 1874: ‘… the basis of the doctrine of evolution consists not in an experimental demonstration – for the subject is hardly accessible to this mode of proof – but in its general harmony with scientific thought … We claim and we shall wrest from theology, the entire domain of cosmological theory. All schemes and systems which thus infringe upon the domain of science must, in so far as they do this, submit to its control … Acting otherwise has always proved disastrous in the past and it is simply fatuous today.’” (Evolution, Michael Denton, p. 72)
In this case, Darwin pretended that his was a ground-breaking theory, which it was, and a major advance in science, which it was not. It was, and is, after all, a theory; a hypothesis, albeit scientific hypothesis. But science does not advance with theories. Theories must be converted to facts, which in this case, stubbornly refused to happen. But with the help of a cabal of scientists and non-scientists moved by atheistic ideas, who were able to shout down the dissenting voice, Darwin became a household name.
Just who had disagreed with him anyway? Was it the Church and the Inquisitionists? None. It was Darwin’s cotemporary biologists who disagreed with him, the leading ones for that matter. And they were talking science, with scientific facts; facts such as Darwin admitted as facts that were shored up against his theory. But he stuck to his guns and gradually, a cabal was recruited, to plant it soundly in school text books: equivalent of mother’s milk for feeding dogmas.
We propose to look into what has been the standpoint of those biological scientists who disagreed with Darwin’s theory, and still do, some of whom being internationally known figures. We shall be dealing with their objections, as they appear in their books. Being non-scientists, we cannot, and, should not, add any of our own reasons and arguments. If we attemptthat anywhere, it will be because Darwin’s theory is not pure science; nor its newest version called Neo-Darwinism, is. By and large, it is philosophy which usesbiological informationto build its case. The presence of biological information makes it sound like science. But biological research and experimental data are largely missing in arguments presented by the evolutionist, in contrast to the approach adopted by those who disagree with them who offer technical reasons.
Let us illustrate the philosophical methodology adopted by the evolutionists with an example. They claim, for instance, that that the domination of a single male among some apes (e.g., baboons, langurs, gorillas) over the rest of the males in agroup should be looked into the laws of natural selection for explanation. The leader of the group, usually the most powerful among them, disallows any male to mate with the several females of the group, reserving the rights to himself. He will fight off and chase away any contender. The Neo-Darwinists explain that the genes tend to propagate the strongest to increase the chance of survival of the fittest. This is how natural selection works.
But, it could be contended that the phenomenon should be understood in the light of the universally noticed male’s desire to dominate and possess for himself as many,all, and everything. The phenomenon can be observed in children too: the stronger one of a pairof male children fights and takes the best of toys denying the other, even if his brother, any. Female children do not seem to behave in this manner, but weakly. Competition among males is intense. Gene-propagation of the most powerful seems to have little or nothing to do with this.
A husband, no matter how weak, disagrees that his wife should have sexual relations with another. It is not because he wants his genes alone to propagate, (as the Neo-Darwinists often assert) but simply because he desires to possess the female all by himself. Now, if allowed, he would take a second wife, a third etc. all following the said desire, even if he happens to be physically weak and diminutive, promising that his offspring will also be weak and diminutive. He will still disagree that his several wives should have sexual contacts with any other male.
So, looking at it from this perspective, viz. the male’s desire to possess and dominate,it appears to be the reason why a single male chimp dominates a group, cutting out rest of the males.
That said, we admit that the absence of hard facts, anytime demonstrable, reduces both the arguments to philosophy. Neither position is scientific.
Interestingly, Darwin’s view (now discarded by neo-Darwinists) was quite different. He did not consider brute power and strength of the male as the deciding factor as to who counts for the choice of a mate. In the words of a scientist:
“Darwin’s view was that, by and large, it is the female of the species that does the choosing. He went so far as to postulate that animals have an aesthetic sense, and tend to choose the most beautiful of the potential mates.” (Lifelines, Steven Rose, 1997, p.197)
So, now we have three theories. Dawkins (a prominent neo-Darwinist) offers a fourth, bringing in ‘genetic control’ as a factor:
“It was that leader among twentieth-century Darwinians, R. A. Fisher, who put the idea on a sound theoretical foundation by suggesting that female preference could be under genetic control and therefore subject to natural selection, in just the same way as the male qualities preferred. The interaction between selection on female preference genes (inherited by both sexes) and simultaneously on male advertisement genes (also inherited by both sexes) provides the co-evolutionary driving force for the expansion of ever more extravagant sexual advertisements.”(Richard Dawkins, A Devil’s Chaplain, p.65, Mariner Books, 2004)
There can be as many views as there are biologists with philosophical turn of mind. And the matter does not end there. Darwinism, the theory of evolution, natural selection, genetic influences, etc. are taken to such extremes as to border with mythology.Steven Rose, a professor of biology and Director of the Brain and Behavior Research group at the Open University, criticizes this attitude:
“There has been no lack of those who have sought to take the theory, in whichever version, and press into service to provide an evolutionary ‘Darwinism’ explanation for human sexual preferences. The general procedure, in this as so much in reductive approach offered by the new genetics and sociobiology, is to treat metaphor as if it were homology. For example, competition for mates among human males is discussed as the macro-version of what is said to be the micro-level competition among the individual sperms to be ‘the one’ to successfully penetrate and fertilize the egg. Males and their sperms compete, females and their ova quiescently await their fate.” (Lifelines, Steven Rose, 1997, p.198)
But things have gone even worse than this. Here is an example from Not In Our Genes to demonstrate (right in Dawkins’ style and approach) how genes are the ‘master conductor’ behind everything that the humans choose to do, whether serious or mundane:
“An amazing but not atypical example is a teaching exercise contrived by three prominent sociobiological anthropologists in order to teach secondary school students the elements of sociobiological reasoning. They ask, ‘Why do children so often dislike spinach, while other people usually like it?’ First the students are told how to establish the generality of this bit of human nature by asking their parents and their friends whether it is true. Then they are given the adaptive story. Spinach contains oxalic acid, which prevents the absorption of calcium. Children have growing bones and need calcium. Adults’ bones are no longer growing, so the lack of calcium is not so important. Thus any gene that had the effect of making children dislike spinach, but adults like it, would be favored. The reader should not be put off by the silliness of the case. It has all the necessary elements: (1) the appeal to everyday ethnocentric experience as evidence for universality; (2) the unstated assumption as evidence that genes may arise with any arbitrary complicated action needed by the theory; (3) the invention of an adaptive story without any quantitative check on whether there is indeed an effect of eating spinach on reproduction rates.” (Not In Our Genes, Steven Rose, R.C.Lewontin and Leon J.Kamin, Penguin, 1990, p. 259)
This then is the result of infusion of philosophy into scientific disciplines, a situation leading to chaos in scientific studies. The theory of evolution is the first discipline to suffer this infusion, and biology is a victim that may not recover from toxic treatment; for, the gates of speculations are now wide open for anyone who can combine biological knowledge with skillful rhetoric, and manage some manipulation with dexterity.
We can now take up the issuestated above. However, it would be apt to familiarize our readers with some basic knowledge of biological facts related to the topic, without which they may find it hard to make out what exactly was going on. But this will attempt in the next issue, Allah willing.
(to be continued)