Recently on Panda’s Thumb, Darwinist and biologist Reed Cartwright takes issue with my observation that Darwin’s theory had nothing to do with Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA and the genetic code:
Philip Skell, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a pioneer in antibiotic research, said it best: Darwinism is a “narrative gloss” on biology. Darwinists expropriate the work of other fields of science, then claim the credit for Darwin’s theory. Nowhere in science is the truth of Skell’s observation more apparent than in the Darwinist claim that Darwin’s theory — the assertion that random variation and natural selection is the source of all biological complexity — is indispensable to modern medicine. It is a claim that, upon inspection, is almost delusional.
My observation that “Natural Selection” is a tautology, and therefore useless to modern medicine, seems to have set off quite a few Darwinists. Prominent Darwinist blogger Mark Chu-Carroll took me to task here, and comes up with an approach that he believes gets “Natural Selection” off the tautological hook: he asserts that all scientific theories are reducible to tautologies! Mark writes:
Orac, a prominent Darwinist blogger who is also a surgical oncologist, recently challenged me: Dr. Egnor… can put his money where his mouth is and present… some actual evidence to support his claims. Inquiring minds want to know: Will Dr. Egnor show us some of these wonderful insights into human biology and disease provided or facilitated by the design inference or will he simply keep repeating the same misinformation? You never know. Maybe he’ll surprise us all. It took me a while to answer, because there are so many examples of it that I was in the position of Buridan’s ass–I couldn’t decide what to pick first!
I’m a faithful Catholic. I’ve often thought: what if Darwinism were true? I don’t mean all of the philosophical materialism that Darwinists drag along with the science. Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy). If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true. But what about Darwin’s central scientific assertion: that all biological complexity is the result of chance and necessity, at least as well as we humans can discern chance and design. What if experimental evidence demonstrated that we could account for biological information (or whatever we call the astonishing complexity of living things) without inferring design? Would I lose my faith?