The Daheshist Theory of Reincarnation
Part 6: THE GOOD FIGHT
Part 6: The Good Fight
"Welcome to the religion of Scientism, where regardless of whatever obvious conclusions the evidence bears out, we will train you to ignore all illusion of design in nature, and recognize that these systems have been cobbled together, as it were, by a process that couldn’t conceivably see or contemplate what it was trying to make—not that it was trying to make anything in the first place! Why, 'trying' implies intent, and therefore 'purpose,' which is vehemently prohibited by Methodological Naturalism! And remember, we all come from nothing, and once we’re dead, there’s nothing but oblivion! Well, there’d better not be anything else; otherwise…”
“Whoops!” Sounds familiar? Fasten your seat belts, it's gonna be a bumpy fight!
"NO, SERIOUSLY, TELL US WHAT YOUR REALLY THINK!"
In his April 9, 1989 New York Times book review of Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution, Richard Dawkins writes, “It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).”
You know, when I set off on on this journey, I figured the biggest obstacle I would have to scale would be earning the trust of disillusioned believers on the brink of forsaking their faith in God — given the apparent lack of justice in a universe in which bad things always seem to happen to good people.
And so, I was hoping to communicate the good news that Reincarnation, which is rejected by all three Abrahamic religions, is worthy of consideration.
Little did I imagine that, insofar as its purported role in macroevolution, I would be labeled a Young-Earth Creationist by Darwinian apologists for expressing doubt in the generative power of the Darwinian mechanism of Natural Selection acting on random mutations, by quoting the likes of Gerd Müller who gave a presentation called “The Explanatory Deficits of the Modern Synthesis” at the November 2016 conference, at The Royal Society of London—no less!
I mean, talk about it being brutal out there!
Listen, I was even chided for using terms such as “macroevolution” and “microevolution” (which I’ll be addressing a little later in the presentation).
In the meantime, challenge accepted!
Before we start though, I’d like to go over a couple of housekeeping items:
First and for the purposes of projecting a modicum of objectivity during the following presentation—especially that I cannot recuse myself; so, this will have to do—I will set aside the Daheshist perspective, which in the interest of full disclosure I consider to be the best current framework for a reality in which the physical and metaphysical, though apparently discontinuous, are part of a continuum.
So for example, even though I believe chance is an illusion endemic to our earthly realm, hence even the throw of a die is subject to a framework ultimately shaped by causality, I will—even though I’m no statistician — speak as though I play one on TV.
And I say that knowing full well that, to many entitled “rational thinkers,” invoking the metaphysical or transcendent, that is, anything extending or lying beyond the limits of ordinary experience would be synonymous with “loony tunes,” despite the irony that some areas of theoretical physics they themselves champion or tend to favor—such as the Multiverse, which is a mathematical consequence of String Theory—are “metaphysical guesses,” to borrow an expression from the late Dr. John Polkinghorne, who held 2 doctorates, one in quantum field theory, and the other in elementary particle physics, because, “They go beyond what is well-established scientific understanding and results.”
That being said, Daheshism is not a, “New Age Movement.”
And Doctor Dahesh was not, “The New Age Prophet of Lebanon.”
Anybody who claims that is either deluding themselves, or lying to you.
Again—whether one believes it or not, and by definition—Daheshism is a spiritually-revealed doctrine whose tenets are built around the belief in a deeply mysterious, non-anthropomorphic, ever-present and watchful God.
Daheshism teaches that all the major prophets, including the Buddha, emanated from the same source known as The Christ.
Therefore, Daheshism believes in the intrinsic correlation between all the major religions.
Incidentally, it is worthwhile to note what Doctor Dahesh told Egyptian journalist Loutfi Radwan, author of the 1979 book, The Miracles and Prodigies of Doctor Dahesh, when the latter asked him how come he was an avid reader of the Koran, despite his being a Christian.
In part, Doctor Dahesh said, “I believe that the religions have one source, and that they all, in their pure state, pertain to tolerance and reject fanaticism.”
Lastly, Daheshism is, at its core, an Abrahamic religion with the component of reincarnation— not merely added-in as a clever marketing gimmick, which it couldn’t’ve been on account of reincarnation being anathema in the Middle East; still to this day, as a matter of fact — but, rather, restored to its rightful place as the expression of Divine Mercy in our earthly realm.
So, to be sure, by invoking reincarnation, Doctor Dahesh wasn’t gunning for popularity.
In fact, he was rendering himself a target.
Furthermore, Doctor Dahesh rejected anything having to do with astrology and psychics.
That alone, disqualifies Daheshism from being considered a New Age movement or religion.
And I’m still planning on sharing with you the story of why Dahesh Bey, would become Doctor Dahesh in 1930, and how he used — in order to outfox the fox, as it were — the Doctorate awarded to him by the Sage Institute in Paris, which had ties to an organization headquartered in Rochester New York, which peddled in pseudoscience and preyed upon the gullible—worldwide—through its correspondence courses.
However, back then, in Beirut, having a Doctorate from L’Institut Sage de Paris? Are you kidding? That was a big deal!
I mean, talk about, “Ooh-la-la!”
And so people flocked to see him—initially—for the wrong reasons.
Let me just say that many who originally went to see Doctor Dahesh in Beirut, thinking that he would teach them to harness amazing powers, came away deprogrammed, and liberated from the yoke of the misguided belief in black magic and any other such nonsense!
As for Reincarnation: it is sacrosanct, because it is the mechanism through which Heavenly Justice metes out reward and punishment.
In any case, there’s nothing “New Age” about Daheshism. Or, for that matter, “New Anything” considering everything that Daheshism refers to in specific, literal terms, had already been expressed through fables, parables, and allegories—courtesy of the ancient prophets and spiritual guides, all of whom had been sent from the same, Divine “redemption bureau,” if you will.
So, for sure, Daheshism is not a “New Age Religion.”
One day, it will have temples, and priests.
And human beings being human, it’s conceivable that Daheshist priests of the future will stray from both the spirit and letter of Doctor Dahesh’s original teachings—and instructions—thus necessitating the materialization of lofty Spiritual Fluids, yet again, to undergo the thankless task of cleaning up—as it were— their mess.
Pure speculation bordering on blasphemy on my part?
Then again, consider the last line of Doctor Dahesh’s prose poem called “My Will,” penned on February 9, 1945, in which Doctor Dahesh wrote, “And after my death, other people who come from that magical world whither I will go, will land after me.”
Here’s the bottom line: based on everything I’ve read that Doctor Dahesh had given me to read, no lofty spiritual fluid seems to materialize in the threshold of the first level of Hell—that is, Planet Earth and assumes the role of prophet—for any other reason than to volunteer and try to redeem humanity; and, might I add, suffer greatly in the process.
Therefore, and more than likely, and as long as this realm exists, by virtue of the energy we collectively feed it, history is doomed to repeat itself.
But until then, one does what they can to set the record straight.
And while nothing would please me more than to see someone out of the blue, publicly announce they have become a Daheshist—which I have seen—I wouldn’t want them to do so because of a misunderstanding of what Daheshism stands for.
For me, and this is my opinion, what ultimately matters is instilling faith in that there is a creator, life has objective meaning, and our suffering is not in vain.
The rest is gravy.
Having said that, let me share with you a couple of stories from my catalog of interesting encounters, which have played a part in shaping my motivations for this here project:
In the summer of 2018, during that period of convalescence I spoke of in Part 5, I walked into a bookstore and struck up a conversation with the manager about the intelligent design movement, which, if you remember, I had originally dismissed in the early 2000s due to what I would later recognize to be the undue influence of a biased and unfair smear campaign on the part of the mass media which, still to this day provides a prominent platform, not just for zealous evangelists of Darwin’s theory of Evolution, but for anyone deriding Intelligent Design—including late-night show hosts like Stephen Colbert.
And, yes, I know that according to U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, “ID is not science” and that it uses, according to him, “flawed and illogical” arguments; and its attacks on evolution “have been refuted by the scientific community” a scientific community—might I add—run by Darwinists who had pledged allegiance to that Richard C. Lewontin manifesto I spoke about in episode 5 you know, the one in which he wrote about scientists and their “prior commitment to materialism,” How ironic is that this “scientific community,” which in my opinion is contributing to people’s growing distrust in science, and pushing many to commit suicide—because, hey, life has no objective meaning, right? — managed to put the fear of God, as it were, in those sworn to protect the US constitution by creating the illusion that Intelligent Design was “Creationism masquerading as Science,” all the while misdirecting attention away from their blatantly atheistic agenda, whose framework is a house of cards of pseudoscience.
Yes, I know, not all Darwinians are atheists.
Hey, they’re promoting bad science, and I’ll talk about them in a future episode. So, please stay tuned!
In the meantime, the First Amendment says nothing about “separation of church and state” or a “wall of separation between church and state.”
I mean, since everybody seems to be quoting the Constitution, let’s take a look.
Oh, guess what?
While The first clause in the Bill of Rights states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” the “Separation of Church and State” metaphor is an interpretation of the Constitution.
But you know, the Constitution is not perfect; at one point it even protected the institution of slavery.
That’s why we have amendments!
In any case, if we want to make this a constitutional matter—or crisis—under the guise of upholding the “Separation of church and state” metaphor, then, we should forbid the teaching of Darwinism—in science class—that the grounds that it masquerades as science in order to teach atheism, which, last I checked, falls within the purview of religious studies or philosophy, not science.
Again, remove Darwinism from the curriculum, and science will be none the worse for wear!
Anyway, and back at the bookstore, as the manager and I were talking about the topic of Intelligent Design, her colleague softly, and almost apologetically interjected unsolicited information by saying, “I’m an atheist…”
There was this pregnant pause, after which both the bookstore manager and I tried to put her at ease. But I didn’t want to leave things hanging in the air, so I said,“I hope you don’t mind my asking, but do you know why you’re an atheist?” to which her reply was a pensive “No…?”
“Have you read any of Richard Dawkins’s books?” I then asked.
Again, “No,” she said.
At that point, and what better place to suggest she read a few books than in a real bookstore, I recommended she familiarize herself with Dawkins’s work—to at least acquaint herself with the roots of her, perhaps, received atheism.
And so I recommended she read The Blind Watchmaker, and The God Delusion (the two that immediately came to mind). Then I said, “Once you’ve read and studied carefully what Dawkins has written, here are a couple of books you owe it to yourself to read next.”
And with that, I gave her a very short list consisting of the books I was studying at the time:
David Berlinski’s The Deniable Darwin, then Stephen Meyer’s Signature in The Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, and for the sheer fun of it, Berlinki’s The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, which was his response to Dawkins’s The God Delusion.
For the record, unlike Creationism, the aforementioned books are agnostic as regards the source of design and have no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text.
To paraphrase Dr. John G. West, Former Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, “Intelligent design theory is an effort to empirically detect whether the ‘apparent design’ in nature observed by biologists is genuine design (the product of an organizing intelligence) or is simply the product of chance and mechanical natural laws.”
Furthermore, and according to Dr. West, “Creationists know that intelligent design theory is not creationism.”
“The two most prominent creationist groups, Answers in Genesis Ministries (AIG) and Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have criticized the intelligent design movement (IDM) because design theory, unlike creationism, does not seek to defend the Biblical account of creation.”
Indeed, according to AIG (by the way, you can tell I’m an architect because I love initialisms), “many prominent figures in the IDM reject or are hostile to Biblical creation, especially the notion of recent creation.”
Likewise, ICR has criticized IDM for not employing “the Biblical method,” concluding that “Design is not enough!” Creationist groups like AIG and ICR clearly understand that intelligent design is not the same thing as creationism.
Now, you’re most probably thinking, “Oh, come on! Who’s kidding whom? We all know that 'the designer' is GOD.”
Ah, but that is an implication that transcends anything scientific that is being discussed.
I mean, think about it: if I presented you with a science-based argument that threatens to weaken what you absolutely believe has to be true, which is that molecules can, without guidance, self-organize into, not just biological cells—which in of itself is a tall order considering how maddeningly complex the biological cell is—but branch out into everything that has ever lived, it is only logical that the overarching, resulting implication be non-atheistic.
Like Darwinism, the intelligent design theory may have implications for religion, but these implications are distinct from its scientific program, Dr. West explains. Therefore, as he put it, “in this matter intelligent design theory is no different than the theory of evolution. Leading Darwinists routinely try to draw out theological and cultural implications from the theory of evolution.”
And then Dr. West adds that Oxford's Richard Dawkins, for example, claims that Darwin “made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
And to paraphrase what David Berlinski wrote in the Devil’s Delusion, not only is Dawkins an intellectually fulfilled atheist, he is “determined that others should be as full as he.”
Oh, and lest I forget, nothing says that those who conclude—by using the theory of Intelligent Design as their starting point—that “The Designer” is the Judeo-Christian God, will necessarily accept the Daheshist worldview.
Therefore, it is very important to remember that my defense of the Intelligent Design movement is purely based on what I believe to be the merits of its science-based arguments against Neo-Darwinism.
It is not predicated on reciprocity.
And again, being that Doctor Dahesh is sadly no longer with us, and therefore there is no way for anyone to experience— first-hand— the Miracles thousands of witnesses had seen at his hands, the Daheshists now must solely rely on their argumentation skills in order to persuade those who may solicit their advice, that their suffering is not in vain.
Or, one day, an honest seeker might pose the kind of question you thought you could handle.
In the early 2000s, I was invited for dinner by a young husband and wife, who had grown up in what at the time was communist Czechoslovakia. I knew them very well. The lady of the house who was training to become a midwife, was a retired fashion and figure model whom I had hired for several of my projects, and her husband a brilliant computer scientist who would often ask me questions pertaining to the creative process, to which I would provide answers that were nebulous at best, and in turn whatever he would tell me about information science and artificial intelligence would go right over my head.
We got along famously despite the fact we each had access to knowledge neither of us knew how to transfer to the other.
Regardless, our relationship was uncomplicated, as there were no hot-button topics discussed, like… religion.
But then, during our dinner, the husband, said in a hesitant tone, “Mario. can I ask you a personal question?”
“Uh… Sure, what’s on your mind?,” I said.
He briefly looked at his wife, and she gave him a nod of approval, then looked at me and asked, “How can we acquire faith?”
“I’m sorry?” I blurted out.
“How do you acquire faith?”
“No, no, no… I heard you, except that I’m just surprised. Sorry!”
“So, what brought this on?” I asked, all the while wondering whether the husband might be pulling my leg, which would’ve been uncharacteristic of him. But, apparently, he was dead serious.
He went on to explain that because he and his wife grew up under a communist regime, they both happened to be atheists, which is fine under normal circumstances, except that now that they’ve found themselves living—practically-speaking—in the Bible belt of the United States, with a recently-born daughter, that probably meant they will need, more than ever, to fit-in with the rest of the church-going community.
“Oh,” I commiserated.
You see, having been labeled “an apostate and an agent of the devil,” for expressing faith in Reincarnation, I’ve tasted intolerance first-hand—in the United States.
But this was bush-league compared to how things had been back in Lebanon.
Now, you might remember my telling you in episode 5 that I was instrumental in arranging a meeting between Doctor Dahesh and my 8th grade French Lit teacher. This was no small feat considering the fact he taught at a private Catholic school, Le College Mont La Salle, where name Dahesh was synonymous with the devil, or the Antichrist.
But then, this teacher, in 1974, amazed me one day by mentioning to the whole class that he had read a book written by an author who had become a Daheshist. He glossed over the salient themes of the book, and I was agape at the fact this was happening is enemy territory so-to-speak. Never before—in all my years of attending Catholic School—had I heard anyone say anything positive, let alone practically promote Daheshism to their students.
Following the Battle of the Hotels in October 1975, and here I’m skipping over several key events, I would be marooned in a remote village, perched high in Mount Lebanon, following the grim events of Black Saturday, which occurred on December 6, 1975, and which ultimately made it impossible for my parents and me to ever return to our home on London Street, in West Beirut. All we had left in the world in terms of physical belongings were the sizable amount of cash, a little more than $30,000 hidden in red tote bag, which my father had withdrawn from the bank as a preemptive measure, and which would become and remain for the subsequent four years, our only lifeline; our car, a 1967 Mercedes Benz, 250 S-series, our proverbial lifeboat; and the clothes on our backs.
But all of that paled in comparison with the fact that we were now stranded on the anti-Dahesh side of the tracks.
On the upside, and this hearkens back to what I recounted in episode 4, I finally got to see, and live in snow country! Although, this time around, I quite nearly killed myself running out of car. It was blinded by the excitement—and the bright sunlight come to think of it—but mostly the excitement of finally, finally walking on snow! One would think I just landed on the Moon. I mean, the only think missing was a speech!
Just as well, because the next thing I remember is sliding into a maneuver I like to call the backflip-takeoff-and-transition-into-an-airborne-downside-up, variable-geometry-formation, followed by a very hard spread-eagle landing, one that catapults your lungs out of your chest cavity like something out a Tex Avery cartoon!
Unlike Odysseus, I had literally fallen for the Sirens’ beguiling songs that enchant all those who come near them!
Talk about “beauty kills”!
Apparently all this alluring snow had previously melted and then transformed into a picture-perfect, extremely hazardous, iridescent, frozen lacquer.
I suppose there was still an unpaid debt I owed the universe from back when my life was spared, almost a year prior.
Or maybe snow just had it in for me.
But like I said, we were definitely, in anti-Dahesh country. There, I would witness many a knee-jerk, ill-informed assertion labeling Doctor Dahesh as an evil Wizard or malevolent Sorcerer, including, and to my shock and dismay, the one made by my favorite 10th grade — wait for it — French Lit teacher!
Seriously, what is it about French Literature?
Anyway, one day, during a lecture on Voltaire that veered temporarily off-topic, someone in class asked him, “What about Dahesh?”
In an about-face, the otherwise calm, collected, cultured teacher went off on a demon-themed, conspiracy-theory tirade!
Exasperated, he moaned, “Dahesh is the Devil. He is scary. I don’t know how he does the things he does. He’s just bad news!”
At that point, I stole his thunder by asking, “Have you read any of his books?”
Oh boy! Talk about deploying the emergency brake! I mean, the practically screeched to a halt! I suppose, having been his favorite student, the disappointment must have been mutual.
And I can only image the cacophony of emotions that must have tripped all over themselves within him. And so, with his upper torso pancaked over the desk, neck stretched out, head tilted, eye wide open, eyebrow raised high, and like a gun turret, he swung his pointed fist and locked it right at me, paused for an instant that felt like an eternity, and said, “what books?”
In any case, and back to our interesting dinner exchange with my two friends, I totally understood where they were coming from. Plus, they genuinely seemed to be intrigued by the notion of faith.
And for the husband especially, it was also a matter of scientific curiosity. And so he asked me if I believed in God, and if so, why.
I was utterly unable to provide a satisfactory answer, that is, one matching the profile and expectations of my interlocutor. Not to imply he was conceited or self-aggrandizing. In fact, both husband and wife were the picture of humility and kindness.
It’s just that he naturally expected an answer rooted in science and rational thinking. That is, something he could relate to. Whereas Miracles, for all intents and purposes, and on the face of it, break the laws of nature; thus, defy logic and rational thinking—whatever that really means. Oh, like you don’t agree with me. But, Shhh! It’ll be our secret!
In any case, I am not saying that, had I known what I know today, I could have convinced them to believe in God. However, I might have been able to give them food for thought, instead of eliciting genuine empathy in the form of more dessert — for, at least, trying to help.
I mean, it wasn’t a total loss!
And as regards this business of suspending the Daheshist perspective, at least temporarily, I will stick to what I know, notwithstanding what I believe, such as matter is endowed with a relative degree of consciousness—as I’ve explained in part 5—and that ultimately, nothing is random. It just appears to be that way.
And this brings us to my third and last housekeeping item:
Richard Dawkins spent a lot of ink in his 1986 book, The Blind Watchmaker, reminding us that chance, which represents random genetic variations, only plays a very minor role in evolution—how minor, we don’t know because he didn’t provide any metrics to that effect—and that on the whole, it would be a mistake to call it a theory of chance, being that natural selection, which is purportedly not random, determines—blindly, mind you, that is, without hindsight or foresight—which variations will become fixed in the species.
To give an example, and this is my own take on the matter, we can all agree that a white mouse will stand a better chance at survival that a brown mouse in the dead of winter, when the ground is covered with snow.
And while we can argue, again from a non-Daheshist perspective, that which brown mouse will be picked off by a bird of prey is an event whose degree of randomness may vary—say, for example, one brown mouse deliberately shoves a fellow mouse into the path of a hawk, effectively rendering that “selection event” a lot less random—overall, the total number of brown mice will surely dwindle.
And of course, a reversal of fortune will more than likely occur come spring and summer because, again, Natural Selection—according to Darwinian rules—does not play favorites, and is therefore impartial, and blind.
Now, as I said, as far as Dawkins, and all Darwinian evolutionists— atheists or otherwise—are concerned, chance absolutely could not have played a major part because of the insanely huge odds involved in creating any new biological form that way, which would require that new DNA information be somehow assembled, in one fell swoop, without guidance.
That’s why we ended up with a thesis such as Directed Panspermia, if you remember from episode 5, which posits that it must have been Aliens, who else, that gave us DNA!
(By the way, I’m not knocking the idea; I’m just playing devil’s advocate.)
Anyway, that’s why, parallel to that, they tell us that the evolution of DNA, from the moment it appeared, somehow, on the scene, can only happen progressively.
Because, obviously, mindless nature knows what missing parts to wait for to finally appear, in order for it to complete whatever biological form it never planned to build in the first place.
Now, if you know anything about how difficult it is to successfully conduct a series of complex chemical reactions using raw materials purchased and delivered to your clean laboratory, you can imagine how much time would be required for any sequence of coordinated reactions to yield any viable product, out there in a, dirty, warm pond!
And trust me, I’m dedicating a whole episode on the problem of the origin of the first cell.
In the meantime, don’t just tell me, “well, it happened!” Show me how. Show the math, the equations. You know what? On second thought, cancel that last order because you’d be smothering me with a cascade of intellectually stimulating yet absolutely useless differential equations that distract from the fact you still can’t tell expecting parents whether they should paint their nursery pink or blue!
And enough with the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment already! It was was a failure insofar as testing the chemical origin of life under the conditions thought at the time to be present on the Early Earth. The fact is that evidence of a preponderance of primitive free oxygen in the early earth continues to mount. And for the Miller-Urey hypothesis to work, we need a reducing atmosphere, in other words, an atmospheric condition in which oxidation is prevented.
In any case, all repeats of the experiment proved was that amino acids, the building blocks of life, could be formed under primitive Earth conditions— that is, again, assuming one faithfully reproduces Early Earth’s atmosphere.
But as Douglas Fox reports in his March 28, 2007 Scientific American article, "Primordial Soup's On: Scientists Repeat Evolution's Most Famous Experiment":
“James Ferris, a prebiotic chemist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., doubts that atmospheric electricity could have been the only source of organic molecules. ‘You get a fair amount of amino acids,’ he says. ‘What you don't get are things like building blocks of nucleic acids.’ ”
And of course without nucleic acids, we don’t have DNA.
In a March 24, 2019 on-camera conversation with Ben Shapiro, geophysicist Stephen Meyer, said in reference to the Miller-Urey experiments, “amino acids do not a protein make, and proteins by themselves do not make life, they were really quite a long ways away from demonstrating anything like a spontaneous chemical origin of life.”
Is it me, or has all the Darwinian apologists at the National Center for Science Education, who by extension are responsible for the fact most textbooks tout the Miller-Urey experiment as evidence of “Chemical Evolution,” missed the obvious fact that, “The origin of life is not a field of research within evolutionary biology,” according to Massimo Pigliucci, author of Denying Evolution? Again, and even Richard Dawkins said it, nobody knows how life began. Meanwhile, the Miller-Urey experiment addresses the problem of the Origin of Life and not that of its Evolution-after-the-fact.
And speaking of throwing a red herring, or utterly missing the point, one popular argument against an “intelligent designer” is that a careful examination of the complex biological systems reveals errors that no intelligent designer would have committed.
In the last episode, I intimated that any theory challenging Darwinism, even one that is empirically-based, is summarily condemned with prejudice as pseudoscience if it so much as leads one to draw an inference to any kind of designer—their aptitude notwithstanding.
Speaking of which, the argument from bad design aims to persuade anyone on the fence, particularly those whose purview is design and engineering, to smother whatever dissenting murmurs of incredulity they may be prone to as a result of intuition and—as the case may be—professional experience informing their opinion about the origin of biological machines.
Sure, call it gaslighting if you want.
And so the argument from bad design claims that it would be a rookie mistake to conclude that any sort of intelligent agent played a hand in building these complex, integrated mechanical and electrical body systems that must interact and work together—algorithmically, mind you, given that the brain processes all the inputs from the senses in order to make predictions about the world, and compares them to what actually happens. Thus, and on a good day, adjusting the algorithm in order to—at a minimum—survive as part of an ecosystem shaped, among others, by micro and macro climates.
Incidentally, I will delve into more detail about what an algorithm is and why anyone should care, in a future installment. In the meantime, here’s a condensed version: an algorithm is essentially a process involving a finite series of steps to accomplish a task. There are two criteria it must meet: one, correctness, in other words that it fundamentally lead to the desired outcome, and two, that it be efficient.
That’s it. Really. The punchline, of course, is that it requires a degree of intelligence.
In any case, and back to the topic at hand, we’re told that if we analyzed these biological systems up-close, we would—or should— arrive at the conclusion that they possess the kind of flaws that no “intelligent” designer in their right mind would dare make.
And if not incompetent, said designer must then be either malevolent or oblivious on account of all the bad things that happen to good people.
I mean, you name it, from cancer, to birth defects, to death and misery, all of which should call into question the designer’s motives.
Again, so goes the argument.
First, as regards bad design, I will be discussing how the supposed flaw in the human eye is a clever, ingenious even, design feature in a future installment.
Now as regards the question of the designer’s motives:
As I mentioned in the last episode, the Vatican would sooner accept Darwin’s theory of evolution, minus of course its unequivocal inference to atheism, than accept intelligent design as a legitimate scientific endeavor, despite its theistic implications, which is why—incidentally, and as I’ve explained moments ago—it freaks some people out.
In other words, and this bears repeating, while there is nothing in the theory of Intelligent Design that has anything to do with theology, it is perceived as being dangerous because, and by default, any time you challenge materialism with a mix of mathematics and empirical evidence, you implicitly open the door to the alternative worldview, that is theism.
But that’s, apparently, not good enough for the Catholic church.
And the reason for that—as the argument goes—is because anything less than a perfect creator who creates perfect beings is a deal breaker, if not a non starter.
I will be discussing Theistic Evolution, in earnest, in episode Eight.
In the meantime, just know that the Catholic Church would rather embrace the notion that God created the universe, and placed the first life form, which was left to its own devices to mutate and evolve according to what Darwinians are claiming, that is, blindly and without any interference from God, than to accept the idea of a Creator who would allow defective, or for that matter malevolent design.
Now, there are, of course, Catholics who are sympathetic to intelligent design, but perhaps reject the notion or Reincarnation, despite the fact it addresses the question of why there is evil, pain, and suffering in the world.
As a theological construct, theodicy attempts to reconcile the idea of an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent deity with the manifestation of evil in the world.
Theodicy can be traced back to a logical argument from evil that the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus put forward well over 2,000 years ago, and which goes like this:
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
And so this has come to be known as the “Epicurean Paradox,” or “Riddle of Epicurus,” and is viewed by many as “evidence” disproving the existence of God, a conclusion I find inconsistent with the notion that, if God transcends time and space, then He most certainly must be other than the sum of His parts.
Enter Daheshism; it resolves, albeit asymptotically, that paradox without diminishing any of the characteristics of God by introducing the mechanism of Reincarnation into the equation. Consequently, and on a parallel track, Daheshism also resolves an age-old conflict that has polarized two great Abrahamic religions for centuries and counting; namely, the conflict between Christianity and Islam, the details of which I will have to table for a later episode.
In the meantime, the reason I say the resolution of the problem will be asymptotic
is due to such inherent cognitive limitations that, among others, render the human mind incapable of visualizing 4-dimensional physical space, let alone comprehending infinity, and which—perhaps to the delight of philosophers—often lead to infinite regress arguments, particularly as regards the origin of the universe.
That is why, and in the interest of full disclosure, Daheshism can bring us only this much closer to an answer that it contends could never be fully revealed, much less fully understood, as long as one is bound to this Earthly realm. Hence, it is the best humanly-possible approximation of a complete and perfect answer, if ever there was one!
SO…WHY IS REINCARNATION THE BOOGEYMAN?
Apparently, belief in reincarnation was widespread among the early Christians and was built upon the belief in the concept of divine justice and the direct relationship with one’s Creator. In other words, because it effectively democratizes the process by eliminating the role of the priest as the only possible mediator between people and God, Reincarnation would be deemed so dangerous that Giordano Bruno, who among other things championed the cosmological position known as Cosmic Pluralism, would be tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition for denying many core Catholic doctrines, such as the divinity of Jesus Christ and the virgin birth. But what really would get him burnt at the stake in 1600 was that he promoted the belief in reincarnation.
To put it simply, reincarnation removes the middleman, for no human being, let alone a member of the clergy, could act as the interface with the creator to save their life. And they certainly cannot absolve others from their sins. And anyone who believes that is doing so at their own spiritual peril.
I cannot stress this enough!
Please keep in mind that while our motivations, thoughts, and actions might—legally-speaking—slip under the Vicarious Liability radar—and I’m loath to freak you out—everything is accounted for by the Cosmic Divine Justice System. And as someone who was born and brought up Catholic and received communion, I might as well tell you that — from a Daheshist perspective — no amount of priestly absolution can wipe the slate clean. In other words, sooner or later, in this life cycle or another, the debt will be paid.
The laws of Divine Justice are just like the laws of physics: they shall be obeyed.
The best thing to do is make amends, and pray to God that we pay back the debt in small installments—instead of a big lump sum!
Furthermore, the mere fact of coming in contact with a person, at any level, or in any form, Spiritual Fluids are potentially exchanged, which can have both positive as well as disastrous consequences, and I will table this for later. I mean, don’t look now, but there’s a real reason we “inherit other people’s problems,” as it were.
Anyway, as I’ve shared with you before, Divine mercy has made it so that no human being can ever remember anything pertaining to their former incarnations. Therefore, to be clear, a belief in reincarnation is freeing only to the extent that it makes us realize there is a just reason for the circumstances we were born into, as well as the physical, mental, and emotional characteristics we have been endowed—or burdened—with.
Daheshism informs us that the road towards exalting one’s spiritual fluids starts with acceptance while at the same time fighting, as it were, the good fight.
It’s never merely about quantity, but about how much one has been able to achieve with what they had from the outset.
Furthermore, Daheshism also teaches us that our thoughts and actions can very well alter our fate. And that’s what makes it all feel liberating—provided we give the process half a chance, and not just throw in the towel. I know it’s hard, hence the test.
Would that Planet Earth, which sits on the threshold of Paradise and Hell, were immune to the temptations of our lowly spiritual fluids, to which we are tethered, and for which we are responsible. But, as I’ve explained in Part 3, the Dynamics of Life, these Spiritual Fluids are determined to lure us into sending them more and more of our energy, both for the sake of their survival and to exact revenge on us, given that we are the cause behind their predicament.
And, once again, these spiritual fluids exist in parallel universes, or parallel dimensions. You might remember my telling you that the Moon, for example, which looks like a baron planet to us, is teeming with life that is imperceptible to our senses.
"THE SOLUTION IS SIMPLE: ASSUME WE HAVE A MULTIVERSE!"
So, the real irony within an irony here, is that the Multiverse, which as I intimated earlier is now the darling and mainstay of String Theorists—who, incidentally, first rejected it—was initially proposed by Australian physicist Brandon Carter, who coined the term “The Anthropic Principle.”
Now, and until I go into it in more detail in an upcoming episode, just know that the concept of the Multiverse is an integral component of the Anthropic Principle. Brandon Carter coined that term at a conference in Krakow, Poland in 1973, and then in the 1974 paper from that conference titled Large Number Coincidences and The Anthropic Principle in Cosmology.
“Oh, goodie! Now we’re back to cosmology!”
No, listen, it’s all interrelated, I promise!
You see, Carter initially proposed the idea of the Multiverse as a way to explain why the universe appears to be… human friendly … to us humans.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “OK, first, this is a tautology; and second, if the universe weren’t made for us we wouldn’t be here in the first place. Right?”
Ah, but the Copernican Principle doesn’t want you to think that you are privileged in any way, which doesn’t really square with the fact the universe does look fine-tuned.
But was it purposely fine-tuned for our arrival, or do we just happen to live in of the billions upon billions of universes where one of them — ours — just happens to have the right combination of the fundamental physical constants to allow, not only the arrival of life, but it’s evolution.
And that is how the Darwinian Theory of Evolution and Cosmology are related.
“Huh, fascinating. But wait a second! Back up a little … why is the Copernican principle saying we shouldn’t think of ourselves as anything special, and why is Copernicus being so mean?”
First, and for the record, Copernicus was a devout Catholic.
Second, to answer that question fully, we need some some historical context:
In the 16th century a revolutionary idea was proposed by the Polish Astronomer, Nicolaus Copernicus, that would fast replace the model of the Earth-centered Universe of Aristotle and Ptolemy, which greatly influenced Western thinking for almost 2000 years. And as a consequence, the Copernican model of a sun-centered solar system, known as the Heliocentric System meant that it was the sun and not the earth that was the center of the universe.
Just try to imagine how revolutionary an idea that was!
Still, and according to University of Rochester professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dr. Eric G. Blackman:
“Copernicus was an unlikely revolutionary. It is believed by many that his book On the Revolutions of the Heavenly spheres was only published at the end of his life because he feared ridicule and disfavor by his peers and by the Church, which had elevated the ideas of Aristotle to the level of religious dogma. However, this reluctant revolutionary set in motion a chain of events that would eventually (long after his lifetime) produce the greatest revolution in thinking that Western civilization has seen.”
By the way, and for those who love trivia, according to Dr. Blackman, a sun-centered Solar System had been proposed as early as about 200 B.C. by Aristarchus of Samos.
In any case, the Copernican Revolution, would eventually give us The Copernican Principle, which states that the Earth is not the center of the universe, and that, as observers, we don’t occupy a special place.
In any case, the Copernican principle is a cornerstone of most of astronomy, hence the Cosmological Principle, which basically says that we neither live in a special part of the universe, nor are there any special parts of the universe—in other words, everything is pretty much the same everywhere.
But then, scientists began to notice that there was something odd about what was otherwise thought to be a typical, run-of-the-mill, boring universe, in which celestial bodies obey identical physical laws of nature, which are fundamental; although—and to paraphrase Dr. David Berlinski, no one really knows why these physical laws are true. In any case, these physical laws—by virtue of their properties—would inevitably open a proverbial Pandora’s box, thus challenging the Copernican principle. I mean, consider that Sir Fred Hoyle, the famous British astrophysicist who discovered all the fine-tuning parameters that were necessary to make it possible for carbon—and by extension, for life—to exist in the universe, was so flabbergasted by the precision of these fine-tuning parameters that he said, “A common-sense interpretation of the data suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics as well as chemistry and biology to make life possible.”
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, please know that Fred Hoyle was a devout atheist—and I’ll be talking more about him in episode eight.
In the meantime, one result of all this mounting evidence challenging the Copernican Principle, was that Brandon Carter acknowledged the problems arising from extending, that is exaggerating what he referred to as the “sound lesson” taught to us by Copernicus, which is again that “we must not assume gratuitously that we occupy a privileged central position in the Universe” — which is what a true disinterested pursuit of knowledge sounds like— and allow it to degenerate into what he characterized as “a most questionable dogma,” which summarily asserts that our situation in the universe cannot privileged in any sense, any way, in any form—period.
To Carter, that dogmatic position was “clearly untenable.” Hence, his attempt at finding a happy medium, as it were, to explain the apparent fine-tuning of the universe, as a an alternative, dare I say, to a teleological perspective—that is, the universe appears to be fined-tuned for us.
Now, I will have to table the discussion about how the Anthropic principle is supposed to be applied in the context of scientific inquiry, for episode 8. For now, I’ll just briefly go over what makes the whole thing ironic.
First, this idea of the Multiverse didn’t originally sit well with the String Theorists who, initially rejected it.
You see, they were trying to realize Einstein's dream of a unified theory of physics, that is, providing the framework that would be able to describe all the forces at work in the universe.
And that required a lot of hard work, and complicated mathematics.
And as though it wasn’t bad enough String Theory was derided and treated as metaphysics, the Multiverse—that is the mother of all metaphysical solutions—shows up and unwittingly threatens to undermine the efforts of the string theorists—potentially rendering them superfluous! Well, that was until their mathematical equations began to reveal the need for extra dimensions, and, ultimately, (wait for it) a Multiverse.
“Oh, well that changes everything then!”
And that is how String Theory and the Multiverse—also known as the Landscape—lived happily ever after!
Now, as regards Brandon Carter’s initial proposal: it backfired, being that the term “Anthropic Principle,” by virtue of its name and the fact that… well, the universe kinda, sorta looks like it’s been fine-tuned for our arrival, naturally inspired on the one hand teleologic musings, and on the other attempts at falsifying and debunking them. Seriously, though? Consider that the word Anthropos literally means man or human being. Whereas, Brandon Carter was really talking about something known as Observer Selection Effects.
Relax! That’s for a later episode!
But until then, let me just say that he was addressing observer bias; any kind of observer: may they be human or alien.
But that aside, this is proof that scientists should not be entrusted with the task of branding, especially that the term “Anthropic Principle” has since been co-opted and repurposed, and reformulated by those who believe the universe was purposely designed for us, thus pushing Brandon Carter to later regret every having used the term Anthropic Principle, when he initially proposed the idea of the Multiverse.
In the meantime, and aside from the inherent flaw in that theory being that it conveniently overlooks prerequisite fine-tuning, which then—once again—begs the question of, “and who or what is that fine-tuner?” the real irony here is that the Multiverse does, in fact, exist!
But I cannot offer any tangible proof. Would that Vulcan mind melds were a real thing, I could’ve at least made you see what I had seen.
However, and as a reminder, science is all about facts learned through experiments and observation, and not an institutionalized system of dogma, beliefs, attitudes and practices about some scientific conclusions held to with ardor and faith!
You know, Scientism, or …
THE RELIGION OF SCIENCE
As I discussed in Part 5, according to Richard C. Lewontin, scientists must make an a priori commitment to scientific materialism, or more precisely: Methodological Naturalism, which happens to be the philosophy of science Charles Darwin adhered to, and which posits a materialistic explanation for everything. Again, according to Lewontin, “that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
I think Dr. David Berlinski — who, last I checked, was still devoutly agnostic — put it best in his book, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, when he wrote the following passage in response to Lewontin’s manifesto:
“If one is obliged to accept absurdities for fear of a Divine Foot, imagine what prodigies of effort would be required were the rest of the Divine Torso found wedged at the door and with some justifiable irritation demanding to be let in?”
As a case-in-point, consider that reality is far stranger than we’ve been led to believe!
NOTHING IS NOT NOTHING ANYMORE!
During his February 15, 2017 Royal Institution lecture titled “Quantum Fields: The Real Building Blocks of the Universe,” Cambridge University professor of theoretical physics Dr. David Tong revealed to his audience that the very nice, very comforting picture, which is taught to children and college undergraduates alike, in which everything that exists is said to be made of only the following three particles, that is the electron, the up quark and down quark, slightly rearranged, and repeated over and over again—just like Lego bricks—is a white lie, the kind we “tell our children ‘cause we don’t want to expose them to the difficult and horrible truth too early on.”
Incidentally, and for the purists out there, I feel compelled to mention the other 9 particles: the Electron Neutrino, the Muon, the Tau Particle, the Muon neutrino, the tau Neutrino, then four other particles called the Strange Quark, the Charm Quark, the Bottom Quark (incidentally, these names are completely arbitrary) and lastly the Top Quark—all, yet again, testament to the fact Physicists should not be entrusted with naming stuff!
“Charm Quark”? Really?
So, everything we are made of boils down to just the following three particles: the electron, the up quark and the down quark. For example, Protons consist of two up quarks and one down quark. Neutrons consist of one up quark and two down quarks. As for the other particles, we need them when “exotic situations—such as particle accelerators—are involved.”
However, everything we’ve been ultimately able to see or detect involves all 12 of these aforementioned particles.
But, and here’s the kicker, these particles are not really particles, which brings us to that white lie I mentioned earlier.
According to David Tong, it makes it easier to learn if we believed these particles are the fundamental building blocks of the universe. But, according to him, it’s simply not true and the very best theories that we have of physics do not rely on particles at all. Rather, on something “much more nebulous and abstract.”
Dr. Tong explains that the fundamental building blocks of nature are “fluid-like substances which are spread throughout the entire universe and ripple in strange and interesting ways.”
Therefore, the particles aren’t fundamental; rather the quantum fields that underlie them are.
Addressing a riveted audience, David Tong says, “The punchline is that you’re all made of quantum fields and I don’t understand them; at least, I don’t understand them as well as I think I should.”
And that’s not the half of it: apparently, the simplest thing in the universe, in other words “nothing,” is actually vastly complicated, and the smallest possible vacuum is bubbling with field activity. And this refers to the Quantum fluctuations I alluded to in Part 1, The Multidimensional Universe.
And so, those aforementioned 12 fields are the fundamental building blocks of our universe. They are, as he describes it, fluid-like. Think oceans. Sometimes these “oceans” are calm and smooth; and at other times, stormy and rough. These fields interact, not only with one another, but with the four forces in nature as well, which are: Gravity, Electromagnetism, The Strong Nuclear Force, and the Weak Nuclear Force.
Now, in turn, each of the forces of nature is associated to a field.
For example, Electromagnetism is associated to the Electromagnetic field, while the field associated to Gravity is, in the words of David Tong, Space and Time itself.
In other words, spacetime.
So, all told, there are 12 matter fields that give us matter, and 4 other fields that are the forces. And the universe in which we live is the result of all these 16 fields “all interacting together in interesting ways.”
So here’s how to wrap our minds around what fields actually do: take the familiar properties of mass and electric charge of particles.
Now, the property known as the electric charge of an electron is the electron field interacting with the electromagnetic field. As for the mass of the electron, it is a statement of how it interacts with the Higgs field. I know, yet another field! Anyway, please hold that thought, in the meantime that gives us the Higgs Boson particle, which I talked about in Part 1.
Now, just how many fundamental fields are there is this theory called Quantum Field Theory? Well, that depends on how we look at the theory, according to Forbes Magazine senior contributor, Ethan Siegel. In a November 17, 2018 article titled “Ask Ethan: Are Quantum Fields Real?,” all told, there are 24 unique fundamental excitations of quantum fields possible that describe our physical reality.
Simply put, and if we think of the fields as oceans, the ripples of the waves of these fields get tied into little bundles of energy, according to the rules of quantum mechanics (please hold that thought), and those bundles of energy are what we call the particles.
In fact, as Dr. Tong explains, one of the punchlines of Quantum Mechanics is that energy in the world is not continuous, always parceled up into some little discrete lump, which is what quantum means: discrete or lumpy.
In Quantum Mechanics, where things are quantized, in discrete bundles, rather than being continuous, David Tong says, “The real fun starts when you try to take the ideas of quantum mechanics, which say things should be discrete, and try to combine them with Michael Faraday’s ideas of fields, which are very much continuous, smooth objects, which are waving and oscillating in space.”
Combining both theories together gives us Quantum Field Theory, whose implication is as follows: When we apply quantum mechanics to waves of the electromagnetic field, which gives us visible light, we find that these light waves are not as smooth and continuous as they appear to be.
Hence, when we closely observe light waves, we find they’re made of little particles of light we call photons.
And amazingly, we can apply that same principle to every single other particle in the universe.
Therefore, all the electrons in our bodies are not fundamental.
David Tong explains, “All the electrons in our body are waves of the same underlying field. We are all interconnected to each other, and the same goes for every particle, and what we think of as particles aren’t really particles at all—they’re waves of these fields, tied into little bundles of energy.”
Now, as to the theory that underlies all of this, David Tong describes it as “the pinnacle of science, it’s the greatest theory we’ve ever come up with, and (his words, not mine) we’ve given it the most astonishingly rubbish name you’ve ever heard of” of course, he’s referring to the theory known as The Standard Model, whose sprawling equation predicts the result of every single experiment that has ever been conducted in science, and which contains parts — he says— no one on the planet understands.
Apparently, unlike Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which has inspired physicists, including Einstein himself, to search for a grand unifying theory of everything, or Newton’s Law of Gravity, which began with a simple observation, all the particles of the Standard Model and their properties were discovered via lab experiments.
Meaning, there doesn’t seem to be any mathematical reason for them to be the way they are, or any underlying, deep reason for them to exist.
And yet, The Standard Model is the most fundamental description of life—that is, tweak even by the tiniest bit, the constants of nature, the Universe as we know it will not exist. But it’s a real mess. I mean, just look at the mass of every particle expressed in terms of its electron mass, you get values that are all over the place!
To illustrate what that means in practical terms: Imagine stumbling onto a building whose columns look wrong, in terms of their sizes, shapes, and placement, and its roof is riddled with holes, but yet, for some mysterious reason, that building is somehow structurally sound, and is leak-proof—and there is no way to describe why that is, using first principles!
In a Big Think video lecture called The Universe in a Nutshell, theoretical physicist and City University of New York professor Michio Kaku Refers to the Standard Model as The Particle Zoo. He describes it as a jigsaw puzzle having “no rhyme, no reason” despite being the most fundamental basis of reality that physicists have been able to construct. He says, “Billions of dollars, 20 Nobel Prizes have gone into the creation of the standard model, and it is the ugliest theory known to science, but it works.”
And it’s not just because the mathematics that physicists employ in order to describe everything we’re made of in terms of quantum fields can eat whatever other mathematics that are used in any other area of physics for lunch. I mean… it’s really complex math!
Rather, it’s because no one understands, again from first principles, the patterns that emerge within the aforementioned quantum fluctuations—thus, the mathematical underpinnings of what has been verified by experiment, but whose reason for existing is a mystery.
SO, WHAT DO WE UNDERSTAND?
Putting the Daheshist notion of Spiritual Fluids aside, what does the fact we’re not made of particles, but rather from fields, mean?
What are we supposed to do with this revelation?
Sit tight, for things are about to really get really weird!
Apparently if you take a box and remove everything that exists out of it, hence leaving nothing in it but a pure vacuum, that is, you remove every single “particle” out of it—guess what?—the field will still persist.
Not only can’t you get rid of that field, it obeys the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which Dr. Tong defines as being a principle that says “you’re not allowed to sit still.”
Consequently, even when there’s nothing else there—that is, no thing at all—the field is constantly bubbling and fluctuating in a very complicated way. Physicists call these, “Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations.”
Clearly, Aristotle was not kidding when he coined the phrase, “Nature abhors a vacuum,” because these Quantum Vacuum Fluctuations are not merely abstract or theoretical.
In fact, they can be measured.
And though these fields are simplest things we can imagine in the entire universe, they are “astonishingly complicated.”
How astonishingly complicated? Well enough that back in 2017 David Tong didn’t know of one single person working on the problem.
For one thing, “we don’t even know how to begin to start understanding these kinds of ideas in quantum field theory.”
AND YOU THOUGHT PREDICTING THE WEATHER WAS HARD?
In his book, Darwin Devolves, biochemist Michael Behe draws a comparison between Evolution and Economics. In Chapter 1, called “The Pretense of Knowledge,” a title paying homage to the 1974 Nobel Prize lecture in economics by Friedrich Von Hayek, in which the latter lamented, “As a profession we [and by we, he means ‘economists’] have made a mess of things.”
According to Behe, “The problem wasn’t that economists weren’t smart. The problem, thought Hayek, was physics envy. Physics envy is the always-disappointed yearning by those in a thoroughly complex field to imitate those in a comparatively simple, wildly successful one. As difficult as physics seems to undergraduates, it deals mostly with inanimate matter and can focus on single variables in splendid isolation. Economics, on the other hand, must consider many interacting factors, including people… It is effectively impossible to rigorously isolate one of the myriad influences for study away from all others. So too for the study of evolution.”
Now, this issue of “physics envy,” seems to be a recurring theme whenever a critique of Evolutionary Biologists is invoked:
In a November 2019 conversation with Ben Shapiro, Shapiro asks Dr. David Berlinski, “So, what’s the agenda that is connected to the attempt to dominate the field and prevent anyone else from asking questions?”
And before I share with you Berlinski’s response, and just in case anyone is wondering why no one is challenging the Darwinian Theory of Evolution in any peer-reviewed scientific papers, please know that there are those whose lives have been ruined for daring to mention Intelligent Design.
According to the documentary Expelled: no Intelligence Allowed, starring Ben Stein, evolutionary biologist Dr. Richard Sternberg’s life was nearly ruined when he, “strayed from the party line” and questioned the powers that be.
At the time, Dr. Sternberg’s credentials included two doctorates, one Ph.D. in Biology, and another Ph.D. in Systems Science, and more than 30 articles in peer-reviewed scientific books and publications. He served as an editor of a scientific Journal affiliated with the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
On August 4, 2004, he published an article by Dr. Stephen Meyer—whom he had never met— titled, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories.” Despite having been peer-reviewed by three biologists before its publication, the result was a “firestorm of controversy as it suggested that intelligent design might explain how life began. Dr. Sternberg lost his office, his political and religious beliefs were investigated, and he was pressured to resign.”
(Incidentally, for anyone who might be thinking, “Well, he mentioned intelligent design; what do you expect?” : Remember that Carl Sagan celebrated Crick and Orgel’s “Directed Panspermia,” once again, which I talked about extensively in episode 5.)
In any case, when Dr. Sternberg didn’t resign, he has demoted and assigned to a hostile supervisor. He was viewed as an “intellectual terrorist.”
We also learn about Dr. Caroline Crocker who dared mention Intelligent Design in her Cell-Biology class at George Mason University, using a couple of slides. She was accused of teaching, “creationism,” lost her job, was blacklisted, and was unable to get a job anywhere else.
Dr. Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon, a graduate of Columbia University also “felt the wrath of the Darwinists when he wrote an essay to High-School students sayings that Doctors didn’t need to study evolution in order to practice medicine.” According to Dr. Egnor, “There’s nothing to be learned in neurosurgery by assuming an accidental origin for the parts of the brain that we work on.”
Baylor University forced its Tenured professor of Engineering Robert Marks to return grant money once a link between his work and Intelligent Design was discovered, but not before shutting down his website.
Astronomer Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, following the publication of his book “The Privileged Planet,” in which he argued that the universe was intelligently designed—and despite a stellar research record that includes the discovery of several planets—would see his application for tenure denied.
And to any scientist thinking about following his example, Dr. Gonzalez offered the following advice: “If they value their careers, they should keep quiet about their intelligent design views.”
And so in response to Shapiro’s question, Berlinski explains that there is a status ranking in the academic world. At the very top, he says, are the mathematicians, and just slightly below, the physicists (though, admittedly, the physicists will argue that assertion). The evolutionary biologists are way below the molecular biologists, who and I quote, “at least they go into the lab and do something.” Then Berlinski posits that there is a “strenuous desire for an enhancement of prestige that runs through evolutionary biology” and so an objection to evolutionary thought is “an infringement on prerogatives.”
And to paraphrase mathematician and philosopher Dr. William Dembski, what the Darwinians have done is to hide behind the complexity of living systems so complex they don’t have a clue how they could have formed by gradual, detailed, step-by-step Darwinian pathways. We’ll be hearing more from Dr. Dembski later.
Incidentally, PBS’s evolution website says that “evolution studies, like other sciences, are founded on a growing body of observable, reproducible evidence in the natural world, whereas 'creation science' is based on accounts written in the Bible and 'intelligent design' is not yet supported by scientific evidence.”
And as I mentioned in Part 3: The Dynamics of Life, and so at the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious: major funding for PBS is often provided by The National Center for Science Education. In other words, the Darwinian lobby!
Alright, first and once more, and I know I keep harping on this, but this is really important: Creationism and Intelligent Design are two distinct approaches. The former assumes the existence of God. The latter draws inference to a designer, perhaps a flawed intelligent designer from empirical evidence.
Second, to what sort growing body of “observable and reproducible evidence” is PBS referring? I sure hope it is not referring to such monumental achievements as genetic engineering, or the genome project. Incidentally, and spoiler alert, we still can’t create DNA from scratch, let alone a biological cell. Instead, whatever scientists have been using to incorporate in their experiments can only be vouchsafed by “mother nature.”
In any case, none of that proves Darwin principal thesis, which is that everything we see in the natural evolved from one single organism: gradually, progressively, and adaptively—blindly, no less.
Now, aside from the issue of the fossils, which we’ll be looking at in great depth in episode 7, the most famous, living, breathing natural laboratory that has supposedly vindicated Darwin, is for the birds!
Welcome to Daphne Major, the volcanic island in the heart of the Galápagos archipelago where Darwin would come up with a new understanding for life itself.
In 1835 Charles Darwin would spent a few weeks in the Galapagos Islands when on board the H.M.S. Beagle. And while he did bring finch specimens home to England, he did not shown much interest in them.
In 1947, more than a hundred years later, ornithologist David Lack would publish Darwin’s Finches, proposing that different beak sizes on the different islands were adaptations caused by natural selection.
According to David Lack, the finches “started a train of thought which culminated in
the Origin of Species.”
In his 1994 book The Beak of the Finch, which won the Pulitzer Prize, Jonathan Weiner describes in detail the key Galapagos researched conducted by two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, who starting in 1973 spent twenty years proving, basically, that the finches of the Galápagos Islands evolve, and those finches that, as a result of this microevolution, are better adapted to their environment, survive. Whereas, the others, don’t.
So far, based on what we know, the Galápagos Finches are distinguished mainly by the size of their beaks. Furthermore, some of them end up with large beaks, and others with smaller beaks. And depending on environmental factors, not the least of which is the quantity and size of seeds these birds must crack open, sometimes the finches with the larger beaks survive, and at other times, the ones with the smaller beaks do. That’s really it.
So for example, when in 1977 there was a drought due to rainfall being a fraction of normal, small seeds became scarce, while larger seeds, which require a larger beak to crack open, were more abundant. As a result, the finches with the larger beaks prevailed in what was described as a “selection event” by Peter and Rosemary Grant. The large-beaked survivors left more offspring, and then, by the next generation, the average beak size increased by 10 percent, which is a staggering rate of evolutionary change when compared to anything we see in the fossil record…
Now, let me state for the record that invoking the Darwinian mechanism of Natural Selection acting on Random Variation in the case of the Galápagos finches is scientifically sound.
“Did he just say that?”
Yes, I did!
The problem, as I have mentioned in prior episodes, is one of extrapolation.
You see, Peter and Rosemary Grant extrapolated, based on the assumption that “increases in beak size are cumulative from one drought to the next,” that only about twenty such events would be needed to transform an average Galápagos finch into an entirely different species.
However, this evolutionary oscillation between larger and smaller beaks, and its corollary in terms of which Finches survive due to climatic fluctuations, has been going for as long as these birds have appeared on Earth. Just like viruses are still viruses despite the untold number of mutations they’ve undergone, Galápagos finches are still Galápagos finches, and not on their way to becoming the Galápagos whatever else. At least, not to the best of our knowledge.
And before anyone jumps to the inference that it is the stress of the environment that somehow induces evolution, remember that this microevolution is the result of random variation.
Yes, I know, Richard Dawkins said that randomness plays only a minor part. We’re getting to that shortly.
In the meantime, I don’t care how long I flap my arms if I ever find myself stuck in a tall tree, I’m not gonna grow wings!
Well… I could. And for that to happen, according to Darwinian rules, first, I would need a date. “Hey, how you doin’? ”
And they, in turn—would need to have offspring, and so on and so forth... until, finally, after millions of years have passed—but who’s counting?—one my non-mongrel, horrifically-disfigured decedents, who is able to reproduce, will have been born with the ability to fly. Instinctively, that is, without taking flying lessons.
And this assumes that blind, undirected nature has a mind (which it doesn’t) and can remember (which it can’t) that it is working towards the goal of turning me into a flying creature (which it is not).
Again, according to Darwinian rules.
Of course, a Darwinian believes that anything that has a non-zero chance of happening, will eventually happen. Please hold that thought as we’ll eventually go over why that is deeply problematic, and tantamount to believing in Miracles.
And just in case you missed it, allow me to point out that according to the Darwinian—or neo-Darwinian theory of evolution, or The New Synthesis, which are essentially the same thing—not only is microevolution the gateway to macroevolution, evolution is the show that never ends!
In other words, we’re inevitably on your way to becoming something other than Homo Sapiens.
And before you freak out and rush to call your neighborhood evolutionary biologist, I should tell you that in an interview called In Defense of Evolution conducted on April 19, 2007 by Joe McMaster, Producer of “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial,” Kenneth Miller starts off by contradicting what I just told you.
When asked “What is evolution exactly?” Kenneth Miller says, “Well, everyone knows that evolution, in a sense, is change over time. But what few people understand is how straightforward the nature of this change is. It's important to understand, first of all, that individuals don't evolve. I'm not evolving into something else, and my dog isn't evolving into something else. I'm going to remain a human being, he's going to remain a dog. That's the way things are going to work.”
Oh, Really? Well, I guess that settles that!
But then… Miller adds, “What changes over time are populations of individuals, for very straightforward reasons.” And he proceeds to enumerate the factors that, clearly, describe microevolution, making sure we understand that, “What Darwin appreciated is that nature herself selects from variants in the population for those that are best able to succeed in this race for differential reproductive success.”
By the way, and just to show you what a good sport I am, I’ll add a clarification on behalf of Miller: when he says, “Nature herself selects” he’s not suggesting that nature has a mind. Rather, it’s the result of a confluence of many factors, not the least of which are the physical laws of nature and probability.
Anyway, fair enough and once again, we’re talking small changes; people will remain people, and dogs will remain dogs, everything is under control, and that’s there’s no reason to doubt that Darwin successfully explained the small adjustments by which an organism adapts to local circumstances, whether through fur density, wing size, or beak shape.
And at this point, you’re probably wondering why I’m arguing for the other side.
Hold on, we’re getting to the good part!
Then Miller says something that completely undermines his attempt to allay people’s fears, or... maybe it was a clever misdirection? I honestly don’t know!
But anyway, first, he says, “Over time, and given a steady input of new variation into the population, that can change the average characteristics of a species, and it can split one species into two.”
OK… so far nothing to worry about… we’re just talking about the average characteristics of a species… But then he says, “Those species, those two groups, can then go on changing in different directions. That's what leads to the formation of yet more new species.” He said, “New species”!
So, basically, all these changes accumulate, and new species are formed, right? How is that not macroevolution?!
And how is that not gaslighting wrapped in equivocation? Could this get any weirder?
Sure if one considers that perhaps my earliest subliminal introduction to Darwinism was through a 1951 Looney Tunes short, written by Michael Maltese and directed by Chuck Jones, titled Rabbit Fire.
It starts off with Elmer Fudd hunting and tracking rabbit footprints, which we soon realize are the handiwork — or footwork, rather—of Daffy Duck, who, come to find out, has been luring Elmer to Bugs Bunny’s burrow. He’s a few steps ahead of Elmer. So he’s got time, once he’s reached the burrow, to remove his rabbit boots, and to attempt to trick Bugs by announcing that a “friend” was there to see him. The first part of his fiendish plan completed, Daffy hurriedly tiptoes away to hide behind a boulder. Midway, he looks into the camera, and proudly declares, “Survival of the fittest. And besides, it’s fun!”
“Did he just quote Daffy Duck?” What can I say…
IT’S RABBIT SEASON!
In his 2009 book, The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins reiterated the
Darwinian position about setting limits to variation, which he called “essentialist,” something that Plato would have embraced. He used rabbits as an example. Of course, he could’ve just as well used ducks to illustrate his point. Though, come to think of it, he may still have run afoul of basic logic and common sense. Anyway, he writes:
“The Platonist regards any change in rabbits as a messy departure from the
essential rabbit, and there will always be resistance to change.” Then, he writes:
“The evolutionary view of life is radically opposite. Descendants can depart
indefinitely from the ancestral form, and each departure becomes a potential
ancestor to future variants.”
Therefore, according to Dawkins, “All is fluid.”
Oh, and by the way, please notice how convenient it is that, because Darwinian Evolution takes millions of years, purportedly, we’ll never be able to falsify that claim. “What about the fossils?,” you ask? As I said earlier, don’t you worry, I’ll be talking about that in episode 7. It's just that we’ve got to get a couple things out of the way, first.
Anyway, and without giving an example or telling us what preceded the rabbit, Dawkins asserts that there may gradually come a point, not clearly defined, when the norm of what we call rabbits will have departed so far as to deserve a different name. There is no permanent rabbitiness, no essence of rabbit hanging in the sky…. “After a hundred million years it may be hard to believe that the descendant animals ever had rabbits for ancestors.”
In other words, there are no archetypes in Darwinian evolution! Because archetypes imply intent, and therefore purpose, therefore a mind behind it all.
Again, by macroevolution, think a land-dwelling, grass-eating animal undergoing slow, cumulative changes to become an ocean-roaming, krill-eating Baleen Whale.
And so, according to Dembski, they gesture at various intermediate systems that might have existed and say, “prove me wrong,” “Show me that it didn’t happen that way.” And as I intimated in part three, the Dynamic of Life, they might as well throw in a, “Prove that unicorns do not exist!” challenge while they’re at it! Is it any wonder that for all the power, prestige, and influence it holds in the Academic setting, Darwinism is laden with may-haves, might-haves, and could-haves?
I mean, what kind of scientific theory uses so many modal verbs?
Just for fun, the next time you hear someone assert that this or that organism, organ, or animal evolved the ability to perform this or that function, ask them, “How?”
So, for example, when an evolutionary biologist declares that, “Salmon evolved the amazing ability to adjust from fresh water to salt water, and back again, and just at the right moment,” tell them, “Fair enough, how exactly did the salmon evolve the ability to do that?”
Is it me or has the word “evolved” become a convenient catchall that conveniently explains away the emergence of biological systems by providing superficial, often misleading if not condescending answers to problems we have not yet successfully expressed, given their level of complexity?
Instead, let’s try this, “Salmon has the ability to adjust from fresh water to salt water, and back again, and just at the right moment.”
I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until a multivolume description of how Salmon purportedly evolved this ability to prepare for life in the salty ocean, which starts with drinking a lot of water, then its kidneys have to drop their urine production dramatically, and lastly, the molecular pumps in the cells of the gills have to shift into reverse, pumping sodium out instead of in, then, all these physiological changes have to change back when the now-mature fish re-enters the freshwater, is finally peer reviewed and published. If that were ever to happen, I’d be like, “Shut up, and take my money!”
Until then, nothing is lost by removing “evolved” from the equation.
And before anyone says, “What’s the big deal?” consider that yielding only one functional protein of modest length (that is, using only 150 amino acids), let alone a more complex “molecular pump” by chance from a prebiotic soup is no better than a 1 chance in 10 to the 164th power. I will tell you more about that in a future episode. In the meantime, talk about a finding needle in a haystack!
Except that now imagine, (a) not knowing you are looking for a needle, because that implies purpose and goal (b) you don’t now what a needle is (c) the haystack is ginormous, and (d) Earth is only 4.5 billion years old. So, to have a realistic chance of finding that proverbial needle by shear dumb luck we will need to search for more than 4.5 billion years. And to add insult to injury, consider, according to what Dr. Stephen C. Meyer wrote in his 2009 book, Signature in the Cell, that there are only 10 to the 80th power protons, neutrons, and electrons in the observable universe.
Meyer writes, “Thus, if the odds of finding a functional protein by chance on the first attempt had been 1 in 10 to the 80th power, we could have said that’s like finding a marked particle—proton, neutron, or electron (a much smaller needle)—among all the particles in the universe (a much larger haystack). Unfortunately, the problem is much worse than that. With odds standing at 1 chance in 10 to the 164th power of finding a functional protein among the possible 150-amino-acid compounds, the probability is 84 orders of magnitude (or powers of ten) smaller than the probability of finding the marked particle in the whole universe. 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 the odds of finding a single specified particle among all the particles in the universe.”
And for those who say, “who cares, how hard it was, the point is, it happened!” Consider the adage “the house always wins,” and therefore, winning just once, against such unimaginable odds is not enough!
Once again, no one can deny that Darwin was on to something when he described a “local theory of change,” to paraphrase Dr. David Berlinski. But can the primitive mechanism we see in local variation—primitive, that is, when compared to the degree of almost unfathomable, labyrinthine complexity we see in living systems—be turned into a global theory of change when we can’t even characterize what the process of evolution is aiming for, being that Darwinian evolution is blind to the future?
By the way, when Berlinski says “labyrinthine complexity,” he’d not kidding. I kid you now, just wait until we get into such things as interactomes, that is, the whole set of molecular interactions of a particular cell!
In the meantime, let’s keep things relatively simple and ponder the fact that every time we express ourselves using the simplest of sentences, we are essentially solving a problem that is far harder than finding a needle in a haystack.
Take a sentence like “Methinks it is like a weasel.”
I know what you’re thinking, “Shakespeare is simple?”
OK, listen, that line from Hamlet consists of six words and five spaces, that is, 28 characters in total, which if it were a password, it would literally take and infinite amount of time to crack!
And if you said nothing like that is possible, in one fell swoop, you’d be absolutely right!
Richard Dawkins certainly recognizes that, which is why he keeps insisting, and reminding us, that the process has to happen in gradual steps! Otherwise, we might as well be talking about miracles, which would of course imply a creator. And yet, Richard Dawkins will affirm that the Darwinian Theory of Evolution has nothing to do with chance.
THE FINE ART OF SPEAKING AND SAYING… ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
In December 2015, during the televised Skavlan show, Norwegian journalist Fredrik Skavlan asked Dawkins, "What is the most common misconception about Evolution?" Dawkins’s response was, “Oh… probably that it is a theory of random chance. It obviously can’t be a theory of random chance. If it was a theory of random chance it couldn’t possibly explain why all animals and plants are so beautifully well-designed. Birds fly, fish swim, moles dig, gibbons swing through the treetops. They’re all beautifully designed, and if it were random chance, of course that couldn’t happen. So obviously what Darwin did was to discover the alternative to random chance, the only known alternative to random chance, which is natural selection.”
OK, so Darwin discovered the alternative to random Chance.
How interesting, because in 1982 Dawkins wrote the following in The Necessity of Darwinism, which appeared in the New Scientist: “Darwin showed how it is possible for blind physical forces to mimic the effects of conscious design, and, by operating as a cumulative filter of chance variations, to lead eventually to organized and adaptive complexity, to mosquitoes and mammoths, to humans and therefore, indirectly, to books and computers.”
OK, I know that was a lot of words. But, somewhere in there he did say, “blind physical forces” and… oh yeah… “chance variations,” right? Just checking, and please hold that thought!
OK, so that was in 1982.
But then early on in his 1986 book, The Blind Watchmaker, Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design, Richard Dawkins drove the following point home: Darwinism is not a theory of “chance.”
In the preface, Dawkins writes, “It is almost as if the human brain were specifically designed to misunderstand Darwinism, and to find it hard to believe. Take, for instance, the issue of 'chance', often dramatized as blind chance. The great majority of people that attack Darwinism leap with almost unseemly eagerness to the mistaken idea that there is nothing other than random chance in it. Since living complexity embodies the very antithesis of chance, if you think that Darwinism is tantamount to chance you'll obviously find it easy to refute Darwinism!” And then Dawkins ends with the following declaration, “One of my tasks will be to destroy this eagerly believed myth that Darwinism is a theory of ‘chance’.”
In chapter 2, titled “Good Design,” he reminds us not to confuse natural selection with “randomness.” He says, “Mutation is random; natural selection is the very opposite of random.”
Y…yeah, but it’s those random mutations that can kill you or severely mess you up before natural selection gets to play a role! Talk about an understatement!
Then, in Chapter 3, titled “Accumulating Small Change,” Dawkins goes to great lengths to describe two computer simulations that will — in his mind at least — unequivocally support the premise that, “Chance is a minor ingredient in the Darwinian recipe, but the most important ingredient is cumulative selection, which is quintessentially nonrandom.”
And before we review Dawkins’s computer simulations, let’s clear the air:
First, Dawkins appears to be conflicted about this issue of “random chance.” One minute he’s being categorical and wants us to banish the idea from our minds, and the next he’s saying that chance plays some part in the process, which is a humdinger of an understatement, considering that even the tiniest bit of deleterious chance mutation can be disastrous.
But to be clear, no one here is saying that Evolution is nothing but “random chance.”
The problem is more nuanced than that!
For starters, and unlike, “Chair” or “Table,” randomness can only be defined in terms of whether an event is more or less random than another.
In any case, buyer beware! Prominent journalists who write about science often perpetuate this type of equivocation about Darwinian Evolution not being random, except for when it is!
In his April 16, 2008 New Scientist Article called “Evolution Myths: Evolution is Random,” Michael Le Page start of with, “No and yes. Natural selection is a rigorous testing process that filters out what works from what doesn’t, driving organisms to evolve in particular directions. However, chance events play a big role too.”
In his March 2010 The Guardian article called “Why everything you’ve been told about evolution is wrong,” Oliver Burkeman writes, “From two elementary notions – random mutation, and the filtering power of the environment – have emerged, over millennia, such marvels as eyes, the wings of birds and the human brain.”
Now, in his book, whose complete title is, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or, The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, Charles Darwin writes the following right at the beginning of Chapter 5, titled, “Laws of Variation”:
“I have hitherto sometimes spoken as if the variations — so common and multiform in organic beings under domestication, and in a lesser degree in those in a state of nature — had been due to chance. This, of course, is a wholly incorrect expression, but it serves to acknowledge plainly our ignorance of the cause of each particular variation.”
So Darwin, used the term “Chance” because he didn’t know what other word to use, given that he clearly didn’t know what was causing the “variation,” which today is called mutation.
But, let us defer to Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine laureate, Jacques Lucien Monod, a French biochemist who, according to the new Oxford American Dictionary, and along with Francois Jacob, formulated a theory to explain how genes are activated, and, in 1961, proposed the existence of messenger RNA.
In his 1972 book, Chance and Necessity, Monod writes:
“It necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, and of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution.”
Therefore, we must disabuse ourselves from the claim that randomness doesn’t play a starring role in the Darwinian Theory of Evolution, or that “Chance” is a “minor ingredient in the Darwinian recipe.”
Remember what I said in part 5 regarding the genome of humans being 96 percent similar to that of the great ape species: a measly couple of percent difference in the genetic code, when converted into actual letters (or base pairs as they are called), comes out to millions of characters that would need to be randomly altered, without any deleterious effect!
Try telling that to a computer software developer with a straight face!
Speaking of computer scientists and artificial intelligence experts…
MEET DR. DAVID GALERNTER
In his article, Giving Up Darwin: A fond farewell to a brilliant and beautiful theory, which was published in the Spring 2019 issue of the Claremont Review of Books, Yale University computer science professor, and author, Dr. David Gelernter, whom I would like to recognize as a brave survivor of one of the Unabomber’s horrific attacks, describes Darwinian evolution as a brilliant and beautiful scientific theory. He describes it as being “basic to the credo that defines the modern worldview.”
He confirms that, “Accepting the theory as settled truth—no more subject to debate than the earth being round or the sky blue or force being mass times acceleration—certifies that you are devoutly orthodox in your scientific views; which in turn is an essential first step towards being taken seriously in any part of modern intellectual life.”
Then Galernter asks,
“But what if Darwin was wrong?”
We learn, that like many others, Galernter grew up with Darwin’s theory, and had always believed it was true. But then, he read a couple of books… and so with a heavy heart, he announced his dissent—as it were—from Darwinism.
Galernter, who among others, authored the book Judaism, a Way of Being, writes “This is sad. It is no victory of any sort for religion. It is a defeat for human ingenuity. It means one less beautiful idea in our world, and one more hugely difficult and important problem back on mankind’s to-do list. But we each need to make our peace with the facts, and not try to make life on earth simpler than it really is.”
Now, this is how professor Galernter defined Darwin’s theory of evolution:
“Charles Darwin explained monumental change by making one basic assumption—all life-forms descend from a common ancestor—and adding two simple processes anyone can understand: random, heritable variation and natural selection. Out of these simple ingredients, conceived to be operating blindly over hundreds of millions of years, he conjured up change that seems like the deliberate unfolding of a grand plan, designed and carried out with superhuman genius.”
So, and again, random variation and natural selection operating blindly.
Then, in the section titled, Demolishing a Worldview, he writes:
“There’s no reason to doubt that Darwin successfully explained the small adjustments by which an organism adapts to local circumstances: changes to fur density or wing style or beak shape. Yet there are many reasons to doubt whether he can answer the hard questions and explain the big picture—not the fine-tuning of existing species but the emergence of new ones. The origin of species is exactly what Darwin cannot explain.” Remind me, again, what Darwin called his book? Oh, that’s right! “On the Origin of Species.”
On that front, and in an upcoming episode we will be exploring the alleged creative or generative power of the Darwinian mechanism in greater depth.
Then Galernter reveals the reason, or reasons that convinced him that Darwin had failed:
“Stephen Meyer’s thoughtful and meticulous Darwin’s Doubt (2013) convinced me that Darwin has failed. He cannot answer the big question. Two other books are also essential: The Deniable Darwin and Other Essays (2009), by David Berlinski, and Debating Darwin’s Doubt (2015), an anthology edited by David Klinghoffer, which collects some of the arguments Meyer’s book stirred up. These three form a fateful battle group that most people would rather ignore.”
Now, and once again as regards this aforementioned business of “Chance” being a “minor ingredient in the Darwinian recipe,” and a measly couple of percent difference in the genetic code being equivalent to millions of characters that would need to be randomly altered, without any deleterious effect, Dr. Galernter writes a passage that masterfully summarizes the problem with Darwinism:
“To help create a brand new form of organism, a mutation must affect a gene that does its job early and controls the expression of other genes that come into play later on as the organism grows. But mutations to these early-acting “strategic” genes, which create the big body-plan changes required by macro-evolution, seem to be invariably fatal. They kill off the organism long before it can reproduce. This is common sense. Severely deformed creatures don’t ever seem fated to lead the way to glorious new forms of life. Instead, they die young.
Evidently there are a total of no examples in the literature of mutations that affect early development and the body plan as a whole and are not fatal.”
In other words, imagine you want to mutate a sheep into a shetland Pony.
Don’t give me that look! This is what macroevolution is!
Oh, and before anyone says, “microevolution/macroevolution is a distinction that no actual scientist makes. The only difference between the two is time” and that’s a direct quote by the way, you should know that Berkeley University, on its “Understanding Evolution” Webpage, has one page titled, “What is microevolution” and another called, “What is Macroevolution,” Anyway, there are many other reputable, reliable sources, including textbooks you can find on Archive Dot Org, that falsify the claim that microevolution and macroevolution are part of a creationist attempt at obfuscation to undermine Darwinism.
And, while I’m at it, and for the sake of efficiency, let me preemptively say that the term Neo-Darwinism, is not pejorative, as Lawrence Krauss claimed during the March 19, 2016, debate in Toronto, Titled “Krauss, Meyer, Lamoureux: What’s Behind it All God, Science and the Universe.” Here again, there is a wealth of information that disproves this claim.
For example, University College in London professor of Genetics R. J. Berry’s 1982 book is titled, NEO-DARWINISM. In chapter 1, titled, “Darwin, Dawininism, and Neo-Darwinism,” and right at the beginning—in paragraph 1.1, titled “Closet Biology”—professor Berry, after defining the word “biology,” as literally meaning “the study of living things,” points out the problems that arise as the result of the fragile and often-broken link between the field naturalist working with “the formidable complexity of real animals and plants,” and what he calls the “closet biologist,” that is, one who confines him or herself to dead organisms in the comfort of the laboratory or museum, and who “expounds his wisdom from an indoor sanctum, basing himself on an extensive acquaintance with a restricted body of facts.”
Professor Berry gives the reader a detailed history of how Neo-Darwinists, who—unlike Darwin—understood the role of genes in heredity, practically saved Darwinism from oblivion—because Darwin knew nothing about genes; so his mechanism of natural selection acting on random variation was about to become obsolete when the Neo-Darwinists came along and upgraded the theory by saying, “Well, actually, the variation is a mutation," and they applied the Darwinian mechanism to the level of genes. Hence, we end up having “Natural selection acting on random genetic mutation.” See? Problem solved! Or is it? That’s why we’re here. Of course, I skipped over many key events, and caricatured the players. Anyway, with that grossly vulgarized version of history out of the way, let’s go back to Dr. Berry. In his list of “five episodes of doubt about Darwinism” he cites the “rift between paleontologists and geneticists in the 1920s and 1930s, which led to the general consensus usually known as the neo-Darwinian synthesis.” These days, of course, you’ll hear someone refer to the “New Synthesis” in lieu of Darwinism or Neo-Darwinism. Basically, the New Synthesis, the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis, or just Neo-Darwinism is a reminder of the aforementioned “broken link,” which, in the words of professor Berry, is “particularly important in understanding the arguments that occur about evolution, for the simple reason that evolution is not a subject in its own right but a synthesis of disciples as wide as biology itself.”
And, I suppose these different terms suggest that Darwinism was never perfect in the first place, and is still undergoing an evolution, as Evolutionary Biologists attempt to show, without cheating, that is, using synthetic selection, how Nature can blindly, despite, among others, entropy and unimaginable odds, induce macroevolution.
Anyway, I’ll defer again that what Galernter said—this time— during a June 6, 2019 episode of Uncommon Knowledge, Titled “Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” during which host Peter Robinson posed several salient questions to his three guests, Drs. Stephen Meyer, David Berlinski, and last but not least Dr. David Galernter, whose aforementioned essay titled “Giving Up Darwin: A Fond Farewell to a Brilliant and Beautiful Theory,” had clearly been the impetus for the interview, and which I highly recommend you read!
“There may be a mutation that makes me order purple wool, or the wrong-color hooves, or a stomach that won’t quite fit… But, a mutation that is going to recreate the creature in such a way that it’s a different creature is, biologists tell me and farmers tell me, almost certainly likely to be fatal.” Galernter goes on to explain that a mutation that makes a slip and causes an enormous difference at the all-important, early stage—so for example , it starts to put the head on backwards, and gives the creature 17 tails, or too many internal organs or forgets the blood, or something along those lines— he explains that because this is right early on that the mutation is doing tremendously important things, it’s not “gonna make a little error in the density of the fur, it’s gonna be a big error in the design of the internals and the externals of what makes this creature what it is.”
OK, I believe this illustrates to what degree Dawkins underplayed, and for good reason being that it’s the crux the matter, this business of “Random Chance.”
Second, I said earlier that the problem of randomness is nuanced:
According to what William Dembski wrote in Chapter 9 of his book, The Design Revolution, “The scientific community understands natural causes in terms of chance, necessity, and their combination.”
Note that he did not mention design, as in the action of an intelligent agent. Right off the bat, and according to Dr. Dembski, for many in the natural sciences, design is not a fundamental creative force in nature. Instead, blind natural forces shaped by—once again—chance and necessity, are all that is needed to “do all of nature’s creating.”
Whenever scientists or philosophers of science refer to necessity, they are invariably speaking about the natural laws. For example, it’s necessary that water cooled below zero degrees freeze. Or if you punch in 2+2 on a calculator, the answer is necessarily four, and not twenty-two!
Therefore, in the context of science, to say that something is necessary is equivalent to saying that, (a) it has to happen, and (b) it can only happen in one and only one way.
Now, the flip-side of necessity is contingency, which implies a range of possibilities, to which mathematicians and scientists assign probabilities.
So, for example, even if we begin with the premise that an outcome is possible in theory, the real question we should be asking is, “how probable would it be given the constraint of time and resources?”
And so when we say something is contingent, as opposed to necessary, we mean that there are many ways for it to happen.
Consider the roulette wheel with its thirty-eight slots.
When we you spin a roulette wheel, and theoretically-speaking (that is, discounting cheating, such as rigging, and the myriad physical variables that come into play, such location, momentum, air friction, and gravity) for all intents and purposes, each slot has the same probability of the ball landing in it.
As a result, we call that pure chance, or randomness.
Therefore, and according to Dr. Dembski, pure chance or randomness— being the exception rather than the rule (please hold that thought)—is what characterizes the outcome at the roulette wheel.
However, more often than not, whenever natural causes are involved, chance and necessity act together rather than in isolation. Dembski writes, “Probabilities still apply, but things are not as straightforward as when all possibilities have the same probability.”
THE PARADOX OF THE TRAINED MONKEY
In the early part of the 20th century, French mathematician Emile Borel developed a metaphor to make a point about probability as it applies to statistical mechanics.
And so he imagined a million trained monkeys, typing away ten hours per day, under the watchful eyes of illiterate supervisors tasked with assembling their typed pages into volumes, would—within a year—faithfully recreate every book in existence, including the full works of Shakespeare.
Therefore, according to the Paradox of the Trained Monkey, also known as the Infinite Monkey Theorem, which first appeared in print in Borel’s Jan 1, 1913 Journal of Physics paper titled Statistical Mechanics and Irreversibility, a monkey that types indefinitely, and randomly, could almost surely write something intelligible.
Now, in mathematics, the notion of “almost surely” means a non-zero value. In other words, not quite impossible. In fact, statistically-speaking, monkeys filling the entire observable universe might be able to produce something to write home about, if you afforded them a timespan equal to hundreds of thousands of orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe.
The Infinite Monkey theorem, and to quote WikiPedia, can be generalized to state that any sequence of events which has a non-zero probability of happening, at least as long as it hasn't occurred, will almost certainly, eventually occur.
However, just in terms of typing the following line from Hamlet, “Methinks it is like a weasel,” and according to what Richard Dawkins wrote in his 1986 book, The Blind Watchmaker, the chance of getting the first letter—M—right, is 1 in 27. Now, the chance of getting the second letter —E— right, is also 1 in 27. However, given that our trained Monkey—which is a stand-in for a randomizing device—has to correctly type the first two letters on one discrete attempt, the odds of that happening would now be, is 1 in 27 multiplied by 1 in 27, which equals 1 in 729.
And in order to get the first word— “Methinks”— right in one discrete attempt, the odds is 1 in 27 multiplied by itself 8 times. That means, 3.541 multiplied by 10 to the negative twelve! And the chance of getting the whole sentence “Methinks it is like a weasel,” in one discrete attempt simulating single-step selection of random variation, according to Dawkins, is, 1 in 10,000 million million million million million million. Add this point it is safe to say, and to quote John Maynard Smith, “No biologist imagines that complex structures arise in a single step.” Indeed, Dawkins writes, “To put it mildly, the phrase we seek would be a long time coming, to say nothing of the complete works of Shakespeare.”
“So much for single-step selection of random variation. What about cumulative selection; how much more effective should this be? Very very much more effective, perhaps more so than we at first realize, although it is almost obvious when we reflect further. We again use our computer monkey, but with a crucial difference in its program.”
Dawkins therefore posits that if the evolutionary progress had had to rely on single-step selection, it would never have gotten off the ground!
Since macroevolution happened somehow, he writes, “If, however, there was any way in which the necessary conditions for cumulative selection could have been set up by the blind forces of nature, strange and wonderful might have been the consequences.”
And he goes on to say that that’s exactly what happened on this planet, and he proceeds to excoriate those who believe that Darwinian evolution is “random.”
He then affirms that, “Chance is a minor ingredient in the Darwinian recipe, but the most important ingredient is cumulative selection, which is quintessentially nonrandom.”
And once again, doctors can’t even tell whether a fetus is male or female without the benefit of medical sonography.
So much for chance being a “minor ingredient”!
Now, I am going to table the in-depth discussion of the mathematical challenges to Darwin’s theory of evolution for a future episode.
As to his computer simulation—surprise, surprise—Richard Dawkins writes:
“Although the monkey/Shakespeare model is useful for explaining the distinction between single-step selection and cumulative selection, it is misleading in important ways. One of these is that, in each generation of selective ‘breeding,’ the mutant ‘progeny’ phrases were judged according to the criterion of resemblance to a distant ideal target, the phrase METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL. Life isn’t like that. Evolution has no long-term goal. There is no long-distance target, no final perfection to serve as a criterion for selection, although human vanity cherishes the absurd notion that our species is the final goal of evolution. In real life, the criterion for selection is always short-term, either simple survival or, more generally, reproductive success. If, after the aeons, what looks like progress towards some distant goal seems, with hindsight, to have been achieved, this is always an incidental consequence of many generations of short-term selection. The 'watchmaker' that is cumulative natural selection is blind to the future and has no long-term goal.”
Is it me, or is Richard Dawkins in total agreement with what I said in episode 5, which is, “forget computer simulations. They are not Darwinian because they involve things like: goals (or targets) and memory (or pushdown storage)… oh, and the programmer that’s behind it all”?
Again, just wondering…
Then, a determined Dawkins, modifies his computer model to take account of the fact that “the watchmaker that is cumulative natural selection is blind to the future and has no long-term goal.”
“Letters and words are peculiarly human manifestations, let’s make the computer draw pictures instead,” he writes, because, of course, pictures, even stick figures are not peculiarly human manifestations.
Yeah, I know! Listen, this matters because —spoiler alert—he’ll be using his human eyes, and human brain to do the selecting!
He says it right there, “the human eye has an active role to play in the story. It is the selecting agent. It surveys the litter of progeny and chooses one for breeding."
Remind me again what the eye is connected to? Oh, yeah, that’s right! A brain!
Again, those computer simulations are not Darwinian!
In any case, he writes that maybe we shall see animal-like shapes evolving in the computer, by cumulative selection of mutant forms, or maybe we won’t recognize the shapes. Again “recognize the shapes.” But, let’s overlook the fact that there’s a human brain behind the selecting. He say what is important is that these shapes emerge, “solely as a result of cumulative selection of random mutation.”
Wait, he did say random, right? Just checking! Oh, but of course, chance only plays a minor part.
Anyway, and again, the idea being that these small changes that are the result of microevolution, accumulate and we end up with a whole new body plan. Hence, the argument that the Darwinian mechanism has creative power—or generative power, the power to create new body plans and blueprints that weren’t available before.
And Dawkins, ever the consummate pedagogue—and I do mean that sincerely—explains that, “In real life, the form of each individual animal is produced by embryonic development.” and that “Evolution occurs because, in successive generations, there are slight differences in embryonic development.”
Why pray tell? Because, “These differences come about because of changes in the genes.”
And how does he define “changes”?
As “mutations” of course. And what are mutations? They are, wait for it, “the small random element in the process.”
Of course, he never mentions that one minor, small, deleterious mutation would either kill or severely compromise the embryo, thus giving natural selection—random or not—nothing to select from, that is, determine which variations will become fixed in the species.
Anyway, putting aside this, perhaps unintended attempt at misdirection, Dawkins explains that “in our computer model, therefore, we must have something equivalent to genes that mutate.”
Dawkins explains that there are many ways in we can meet these specifications in a computer model, and he reminds the reader (and again, remember this is 1986) that, “If you don’t know anything about computers, just remember that they are machines that do exactly what you tell them but often surprise you in the result. A list of instructions for a computer is called a program.”
And ultimately, we end up with computer generated shapes that evolved, so-to-speak, inside the computer. And putting aside, once again, that a human being wrote the program, the human eye, in this particular exercise, was the one doing the selecting!
Which brings us to Richard Dawkins writing that, “the Biomorph model is still deficient. It shows us the power of cumulative selection to generate an almost endless variety of quasi-biological form, but it uses artificial selection, not natural selection.”
So, basically, the preceding was the preceding was an academic exercise is science-fiction…
According to Dr. David Berlinski, we’re able to build a simple sentence like, “John brought the book back home," because we knew what we were looking for, and the reason we knew what we were looking for is because we had a thought. Speaking to Peter Robinson during an episode of Uncommon Knowledge, which was recorded on July 3, 2019, Berlinski affirms that no one knows how a thought translates into a grammatical sentence, and that we do it all the time, by looking ahead.
Therefore, “it is very reasonable to suggest life must have some forward-looking capacity to construct the fiercely complicated structures that we see everywhere. Like the human eye.”
Therefore, the bottom line here is as follows: “Just what is intelligence?”
(“Indeed! That is the question!”)
MARIO HENRI CHAKKOUR, AIA
March 4, 2022
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To anyone who has ever been bullied into accepting Darwinism at face value, or intimidated by the implication they lack the wherewithal to understand its core tenets: this is the episode you have been waiting for! Come, let us escape from this carnival show of smoke and mirrors, as we shield our minds from the gaslighting and equivocation that has led to good, honest science being highjacked by Scientism!
MARIO HENRI CHAKKOUR, AIA