Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Darwin and evolution - too much credit?

More thoughts: “Darwinian evolution” raises a question: What’s the other evolution?

Into the breach: intelligent design. I am not quite saying Darwinism gave rise to creationism, though the “isms” imply equivalence. But the term “Darwinian” built a stage upon which “intelligent” could share the spotlight.

Read the article then respond- should ID be given credit as "the other evolution?"

15 comments:

period2_Hannah said...

This article says that the theory of evolution has become like a cult, centered around Charles Darwin but the author doesn’t try to explain or figure out why. After evolution, the Intelligent Design theory sprung up. I think that this is what spurned evolutionists to form a “cult” of Darwin. Intelligent Design stopped being just a religious belief and started being a scientific response to evolution. Believing in a creator has been around thousands of years and it has never tried to be a scientific theory. When it finally did, it was putting science and religion on the same level, both as scientific theories. But they also started being more on the same level as beliefs and the whole idea of “Darwinism” started. Intelligent Design centers around a creator; God, or whatever people believe created the universe, is the poster child of their movement. Darwin became that for the evolution theory. People need a face, a name to embody their beliefs and Darwin simply worked. It’s not really that much of a problem, except that people need to also understand that Darwin was not the only person involved in evolution. I also think that Intelligent Design and Evolution need to stop trying to play the same cards; they are such different things, one is a belief, one is a science. When that stops, the whole cult of Darwin thing will stop too.

Period2DevSahni said...

The concept of Intelligent Design should be considered as the other evolution. There is too much focus on Darwinism. By ignoring evolution, we can appreciate other discoveries made by Mendel and other prodigious scientists. I wouldn't mind learning more about Intelligent Design and the idea that some concepts are too complex to understand. There are things such as the symbiotic theory that can be explained, but do we now where these bacteria originally evolved from and why they were here? Science cannot always explain everything.

period7adarsha is unoriginal said...

"By ignoring evolution, we can appreciate other discoveries made by Mendel and other prodigious scientists."

I'm going to call you out on this one. Mendel's theories actually FURTHERED and are used in CONJUNCTION with Darwin's theory of evolution.

The article is right in a sense-that we shouldn't focus so much on Darwin rather than his theory (which has been modified and updated DRASTICALLY by now).

Regardless, Intelligent Design does not get credit as the other evolution. There is no proof that an imaginary sky-daddy designed everything. Just because we don't understand something doesn't mean we can say that there is a god of gaps. That's merely ignorance, and propogating that in schools is a travesty of the highest order. We can't teach future generations theories that aren't science. Heck, to teach ID you would need to have proof God exists-and that's a really tall order, since (as the late Carl Sagan said) "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Intelligent design does not help us as a society progress at all. It does the opposite, as it reduces our thoughts to accepting the world around us without having the desire to explore it further. It kills the scientific method and is totally unsupported by science. Intelligent design is merely creationism that has had a new label slapped on to it.

And I don't really know of many people who are in a cult of Darwin. Sure, scientists respect his ideas, but many of his thoughts have been outdated/updated with modern science.

per.2emily said...

I think it's really interesting that this journalist makes an argument that Darwin is a somewhat exaggerated phenomenon. He also makes the argument that there must be another kind of evolution because the term "Darwinism" suggests that it's an ideology and a belief of scientists. I agree with the author that Darwin is a result of many important studies and discussions about genetics. While I think it is important to credit the others for their contribution to today's sum total idea of evolution, I do not think that Darwin made a discovery that was close to "common sense". A lot of Mendel's ideas about traits were very similar to Darwin's ideas of inheritance. Intelligent Design is actually a really crucial topic to address and I wish the journalist explored the theory behind that more. Darwin never addressed the issue of some living organisms being too complex to procreate other organisms that have that exact same complex structure. I think the cult of "Darwinism" is inevitable as we have spent the last two hundred years using all medias to make this guy the symbol of science and evolution. I don't think we can completely remove that ideology but I think that by acknowledging other scientists as part of the discovery of evolution, we can diminish the effects of the overly exaggerated Darwinism.

priscila_1 said...

This was a very interesting article because it presented a different perspective on "Darwinian evolution". Something that was completely unknown to me was that Darwin wrote seminal books on orchids, insects, barnacles and corals and that his grandfather was a also a scientist. But i have to agree with the argument of the article: that we give to much credit to Darwin and his "natural selection". Other scientists like Mendel and Alfred Russel Wallace made great contributions to this evolving idea of evolution. But i do think he deserves some credit because Darwin was able to put some pieces together and had the audacity to present such a revolutionary theory for its time. The thing that still makes me a little skeptical is that the theory of evolution cannot explain the origin of life, until that 'can' be proven then i feel like students should also be exposed to the other theory of evolution "intelligent design".

Period 2_Kanishka said...

I think it's really interesting that this journalist makes an argument that Darwin is a somewhat exaggerated phenomenon. He also makes the argument that there must be another kind of evolution because the term "Darwinism" suggests that it's an ideology and a belief of scientists. I agree with the author that Darwin is a result of many important studies and discussions about genetics. While I think it is important to credit the others for their contribution to today's sum total idea of evolution, I do not think that Darwin made a discovery that was close to "common sense". A lot of Mendel's ideas about traits were very similar to Darwin's ideas of inheritance. Intelligent Design is actually a really crucial topic to address and I wish the journalist explored the theory behind that more. Darwin never addressed the issue of some living organisms being too complex to procreate other organisms that have that exact same complex structure. I think the cult of "Darwinism" is inevitable as we have spent the last two hundred years using all medias to make this guy the symbol of science and evolution. I don't think we can completely remove that ideology but I think that by acknowledging other scientists as part of the discovery of evolution, we can diminish the effects of the overly exaggerated Darwinism.

Period1Issiah said...

I do not believe that Charles Darwin being the figure head of evolution poses that much of a problem if any at all. Darwin was of course the first to pioneer the field of evolution and therefore deserves some credit. However, I do realize that he may be getting more credit than is due and is casting a shadow over the scientist, who were involved with evolution and made major discoveries, which furthered the idea of evolution. So possibly Darwin should not be focused on as much as he is today, however, he does deserve at least some credit for his revolutionary ideas. Also intelligent should not even be considered in the same field as evolution because it is not a science, it is only a religious response to evolution due to fact that evolution is in direct conflict with the churches teachings.

Erik said...

I have an anecdote:
So I was at the haircut place waiting my turn in the little sitting area. The place I go to has pretty interesting magazines, as far as they go. I eyed the big book of hairstyles (my sister took that one); I almost grabbed the video game one, almost; but I grabbed the Newsweek that said something like "Was Darwin Wrong?!eleven". Being a good little bio student, i figured i could blog about it later... later later, when someone posted something relatively related. This seems good enough. Happy birthday, Darwin! Now its time to blow you down... sort of.
Anyway, the article described a certain flea, or some micro-organism like that, that exhibits what scientists (yes, real, live scientists) seem to observe as a LaMarckism (an "ism!"), one of those weird inherited behavior things! When the mother flea is threatened by predators (yes, flea predators) during her life, her offspring are born with horns on their exoskeletons. If she is perfectly content during life, her offspring have no horny hats. It turns out this anomaly in evolution is harder to explain than just tossing Darwin for LaMarck. What I got from the article is they found that something happens to the mother's DNA which "turns on" (that's a quote!) the horn-producing part via a chemical or something.
Well that's my story. That's about as much as I got from the article not really disproving Darwin. just proving that he didn't cover everything. Then it was my turn to get my hair cut.

period1carlos said...

I find the thesis of this article very convincing. I think that the use of the suffix “-ism” has done much to hurt evolution’s credibility; however, the damage has been done largely to those which would not be likely to believe the theory anyways. It would be appropriate, in my opinion, to leave “Darwinism”, but one specific to (partly incorrect) evolutionary theories of Darwin’s day. That could also help educationally by showing how the theory of evolution is not one static body of knowledge but one growing and evolving (haha). No theory is proven or perfect, but this could help to highlight how far we’ve in understanding how species change since Darwin.

Period 1 Chloe P-C said...

Admittedly, I am one of those Darwin idolizers the journalist so scorns; while I know that the theory of evolution has evolved (no pun intended) over the years, Darwin and evolution are permanently linked in my mind. I think of Darwin as the man who provided the formal foundation for evolutionary theory on which other scientists could build. I do agree with the journalist on some areas; as much as I idealize him, I know that Darwin didn't know everything; he presented a bare-bones theory that grew over time. However, he is the one who introduced evolution as a formal theory, and I think that deserves a lot of credit. In this area I think the author of this article was much too harsh; perhaps the "cult" of Darwin does affect the way people view evolution, and the term "Darwinian evolution" does ignore the work of the scientists who came after him. However, I think that people know that science is ever-changing and that evolution couldn't possibly be a "one-man, one-book" theory. I think Darwin does deserve credit as the public "Father of Evolution." And I very fervently disagree with the journalist on intelligent design- I view ID as a mostly religious belief, but in no way is it science. So go Darwin!

period1ColeG said...

if intelligent design is to receive credit as the other evolution that just wouldn't be right. there is absolutely no scientific basis behind intelligent design and I believe the only valid reason to give ID that much credit is so its proponents will shut up. I mean it is perfectly acceptable for ID to be taught as the other evolution in theology, but not in the science class. Darwin deserves his credit because he has formulated the only accepted scientific theory surrounding evolution. evolution does not concern the origin of life, so his inability to explain the origin of life should not affect his given credit. ID may be an idea for how life began, but only because science has not come up with an alternative answer. in the case of evolution science has already spoken, so ID has no place there.

Period 1 Virginia said...

In my opinion, giving ID credit as "the other evolution" would be making the assumption that ID and "Darwinian" evolution are equally respected and supported theories. But, as the article points out, it would be like only focusing on Darwin and ignoring the years of progress concerning genes, DNA, etc. Only in this instance ALL of the experiments, tests, equations, and countless pieces of evidence that support the theory of evolution would be ignored. This is because ID lacks any actual scientific evidence to back it up. But if it were still accepted as worthy a theory as evolution, that would basically be making the claim that evidence is not important to science, which is ironich since that's basically where all science stems from (substantial proof and clear logic).

bernie said...

Response for Dev - I don't think you can argue Intelligent Design is the other evolution because Darwinian Evolution can't explain everything. ID doesn't follow scientific precepts so thats like saying that since we don't know where bacteria came from we can just say it was "magic" and be done. How does that help our understanding of anything? One must follow the scientific method with testable hypotheses, darwinian evolution does this, ID does not.

Period1_Micaela said...

he only reason Darwinism may appear as a cult is because those who felt threatened by science argued that ID was an equatable response to evolution, which in my opinion is not. Like many others have been saying, ID and Darwinism cannot be equated with each other because ID is a belief that isn't backed up by evidence whereas evolution is backed up by evidence.


I don't think Darwin is given to much credit because he is the basis of evolutionary science. He was the one who proposed the idea and considering the time period he lived in it was a huge risk to do so. He did have evidence to back it up and Mendel's genetics helped further prove Darwin's theory.

period3Reed said...

I had read this article a while ago, as well as some reviews on various other scienceblogs. pharyngula, neurologica, and respectful insolence all mentioned it, if I remember correctly. sorry I don't feel like going back through the archives for the entries.
Anyways. The idea of 'darwinism' is something of a strawman construction, as far as using the term to describe evolutionary theory goes, because the current model of evolutionary theory and its mechanisms is vastly separate, more complex, and more detailed than darwin's original ideas.
Its also a strawman because scientists don't worship darwin, much as people like ray comfort would like to think they do. the idea of darwinism exists quite separately from actual evolutionary theory, because while darwin got the idea started, it has changed vastly since his time. the idea of darwinism does have to die to remove some of the stigma from evolution, because it leads to massive misunderstandings of the current state of science.