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Darwin and the Climate Changists

Christopher Booker had a pop at Darwinists last Sunday which gave some supporters of him a nasty surprise. Eu Ref and Numberwatch nail much of the argument, but there are two strands that I wanted to pick up.

I am huge admirer of Darwin but the wall to wall coverage is a little over the top and actually becoming boring and off putting. It is interesting to compare it to the complete absence of any coverage over here of Abraham Lincoln who shares the same birthday and will also be celebrating being 200 tomorrow - he did a bit to change the world as well but I've yet to spot a paragraph.

But more importantly Booker is right in pointing out the fundamentalist attitudes of some self proclaimed Darwinists. They have become at one with the Warmists in brooking no dissent. It made me turn to my old copy of The Origin of Species and look up chapter's six and seven where the old boy carefully lays out objections to his theory and answers as best as he can.

As Prof Moran says: We'd like to think that this behavior—bringing up objections to your ideas—is standard operating procedure for most scientists but, alas, it is a lost art. You would be hard pressed to find a modern science book where an author makes an effort to address criticisms in a fair and rational manner.

And that is another reason why Darwin was a great scientist and worthy of our celebration.


( I notice my old 1888 copy of the book cost me £3 but there is one on ebay this morning going for £360 so far; I'm tempted to sell, very tempted...)

Comments

Some Darwinists get a bit carried away with the whole anti-religion thing, but they're mostly harmless.

I am sorry to say that I can never again take anything Booker says seriously. I am very disappointed. It's not the criticism of evolution per se, but the intellectual lightweightness and the hackneyed and unoriginal nature of his remarks that are the problem for me. Evolution is a deservedly successful and well-confirmed theory of overwhelming explanatory power. Any criticisms must necessarily also be powerful, well argued, and subtle, and should make specific, well-defined predictions.

Booker is not criticising Darwin's theory of evolution. He is criticising Darwinists who have a bee in their bonnet about religion yet have turned to Darwin as their faith. Just as he levels against Warmists who proclaim the science is settled. Booker's piece is about scientists today being unwilling or unable to admit what they don't know in addition to telling us what they do know.

Oh well, the problem with ol' Abe is that he was a Republican, and the officially approved BBC narrative can't cope with the hero of black emancipation belonging to the wrong party, I'm afraid... (indeed it's very instructive to read up on why the GOP was founded and which other party, not to be mentioned in bad contexts, was the one that undid all the reforms after the Civil War).

There are issues with the evolutionary theories which are pretty much as Booker described, and many things we don't fully understand.

But like democracy, evolution is the worst theory we've got, apart from all the others.

If Booker's going to rubbish evolution then - since we are in fact here - he need to come up with an alternative.

And here's a clue for him - anything involving old guys up in the sky, with big white beards, is not acceptable on grounds of Occam's razor.

But I know he article was basically a wind-up; it must have been a quiet week in the EU/Global Warming news areas.

What is often missing from the discussions on evolution is the complex nature of genetics and the phenomenon of random mutation during cell division. The possibilities are astronomical and explains why Polar Bears for example, are white, a random mutation that found success in a changing world. Pure chance, rather than the idea of brown bears suddenly finding themselves in a white world and thinking "I must change colour".

The brown bears moved further south to a more appropriate climate, albeit still with some snow and ice and the white ones stayed put and adapted, thus you have both varieties existing together at the same time.

Common understanding of evolution would think that Polar Bears evolved over time from their brown cousins but then you get questions of where are the "halfway house" bears, or missing links. That is when the concept of a creator enters the picture.

Of course the phrase "mutation" is usually associated with bad things, and a consequence of radiation for example, like Mr Burns' fish in the Simpsons, but they can be good or bad. In nature the bad don't usually survive.

It does beg the question though, who came up with the idea of self-replicating genetic material containing the full blue-print for the finished animal....

I may or may not find out one day, I'll let you know!

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