30 October, 2020

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Darwin’s Impeccable Methodology

By Kumar David

Prof Kumar David

Prof Kumar David

The materialist scientist par excellence: Darwin’s impeccable methodology

Darwin was a more consistent materialist than Marx in theoretical exertion for the reason that the latter’s domain was human society, and inescapably, he had to wander into social consciousness, subjective influences and ideologies, the role of leaders and peoples, and class and race awareness. Darwin’s good fortune was that his field of exploration troubled him with no such intrusions by man or god; hence he was an impeccable practitioner of the materialist methodology. An intelligent designer is redundant to practical science and if he/she/it (hereafter ‘It’) exists, would make not one iota of difference to one scientific theory. That is, ‘It’ has nothing to do with the practice of functioning science whose domain is exclusively materialist. The spirit does not factor in the choice of equations or god set input parameters.

That great designer cannot be observed, measured, weighed, no known spectrometer is sensitive to its spectral spread, no Geiger counter can register its emissions, and no antenna can intercept its electromagnetic radiation. No scientist in the prosecution of scientific work batted an eyelid or stopped to hear a pin drop from It. Scientific activity is exclusively materialistic. That quaint and irrelevant designer occupies a different parallel universe.

Does this mean that outstanding scientists cannot believe in god? Plenty of fine scientists, involved up to the neck in 100% materialist scientific work, are thoroughly religious; so experience says the answer is no. They do not seem to suffer philosophical schizophrenia – I have some difficulty in living in two mentally watertight compartments. I guess this tells us more about the structure of the mind than about the pursuit of science.

The story that Darwin told

The story that Darwin told

If precedence is excuse there is justification for compartmentalised crania. Newton, indisputably the greatest scientist ever, was a strange fellow. One compartment in his brain was sheer genius inventing the calculus, crafting classical mechanics, solving the riddle of the heavens, explaining the tides and delving into the theory of light. But other boxes were decidedly peculiar. He indulged in alchemy to find the ‘philosopher’s stone’ to turn base metal into gold, and invoked the occult seeking to distil the ‘elixir of life’ which grants eternal life. He also wrote arcane tracts on Biblical topics. Thankfully, antiquities greatest scientist-mathematician, Archimedes of Syracuse, who stands between Newton and Darwin in schoolboy rankings of greatest scientist of all time, was like Darwin quite normal and shunned the occult and the theological.

I am aware of the argument that the intelligent design hypothesis is not necessarily theistic; but I find the distinction specious. Both are divorced from the materialist methodology of science, so I group them together. However, if a scientist is a strict materialist in the pursuit of science (seeks and justifies knowledge by repeatable, falsifiable observation and experiment, making no reference to a spiritual dimension), then why should it bother me, if in a different and parallel dimension of his/her existence, god, intelligent design, Sai Baba or other mumbo jumbo manifests itself in the mind. Ok, point taken; some of these chaps have done quality work using the materialist compartment of their cranium that’s all one asks for.

There is a way in which the intelligent design hypothesis could be bent and boxed and arm-twisted into compliance with the evolution of species specifically and materialism in general. That is to propose that ‘It’ set all things in motion, invoked and included all the laws of science and the option of evolution within ‘Its’ grand design, and pushed off never to intervene or be seen again. This is an unfalsifiable first cause hypothesis, however, it will cost its proponents the price of abdicating a personal god who intervenes in human affairs, answers prayers and is receptive to human supplicants. It is also an amoral god. If intelligent design protagonists want to take that option, ok it’s up to them.

Darwin the materialist

Notebooks maketh a man! And Darwin’s copious notebooks track his strictly empirical and material evidence based methodology. This was the core of his impeccable approach to scientific investigation. He would ponder, argue with himself; repeat a study or experiment, and meet or correpond with naturalists, animal breeders, and botanists (John Stevens Henslow, Charles Lyell, Robert Owen, Asa Grey, Joseph Hooker and John Gould) in search of concrete evidence. Not once did he conceal an uncomfortable fact even if it drove him to perplexity. The most famous example of course is that he never solved the problem of the mechanism by which characteristics were passed on to later generations. Nevertheless he refused to accept the ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’ since there was no material basis, no mechanism by which it could operate. History vindicated him when, decades later, genetics emerged and together with the theorems of probability settled the mechanisms of inheritance and speciation, spawning the celebrated science of neo-Darwinism.

Was Darwin a Christian?

I think it would be fair to say yes he was, but a decidedly odd one. He came from a Unitarian family but was brought up in an Anglican ethos. When he made a hash of his medical studies in Edinburg his father arranged for him to join Cambridge to read for an ordinary degree in arts with the intention of enrolling in the Anglican Ministry. At Cambridge he preferred riding and beetle collecting to studies but graduated in 1931 near the top of his class. At the start of the voyage of the Beagle in December 1831Darwin was very much a devout Christian; at its end, in October 1836, he was not so sure. The distribution and variation of finches, tortoises and other creatures and changing geological structure of the world (how did sea shells end up on high mountains in Chile?) persuaded him that “such facts undermine the stability of species”; but not yet ready to plunge into a desertion of the faith, on second thoughts he added the word “would” before “undermine”. That was Darwin still on the Beagle in 1836.

It is clear from contemporary sources that Darwin had settled on his thesis of evolution by natural selection or survival of the fittest before 1840. It is known that he read Malthus in October 1838 and the theory of population and struggle for existence had a profound effect on the still young scientist still less than 30 years of age. “At once it struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones destroyed. The result would be the formation of new species. Here, then, I had at last got a theory by which to work”.

In later life Darwin preferred going for long walks to Church on Sunday and though he never abandoned Christianity or forcefully rejected theism there is clear evidence of an agnostic element creeping into his stance. In 1879, three years before his death, he wrote “I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that generally an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind”.

Why did Darwin hold fire for so long?

The first principles of the origin of species and evolution by natural selection had been worked out in Darwin’s mind and notebooks if not by 1840, at least in the early 1940s. Yet he did not go public till that memorable but hurriedly arranged meeting of the Linnean Society on 1 July 1858 at which a paper by Alfred Russell Wallace proposing a theory of natural selection and an outline of Darwin’s work were both presented. The reason for Darwin’s hurried presentation is a well known and fascinating tale in the history of science, but why he delayed so long is another matter to which I will turn in a moment. On 18 June Darwin received a paper from Russell who was working in Borneo which indeed proposed evolution. Darwin was distraught at being piped at the post but his friends persuaded him to agree to a joint presentation. Neither author was present so the papers were read on their behalf by Charles Lyell and J.D. Hooker.

The Mason-Dixon Line

The Mason-Dixon Line

Why despite this apparent joint precedence in the presentation of the theory is the Theory of Evolution known as Darwin’s; why is Wallace not given equal recognition? Wallace’s was an extraordinary flash of brilliant insight to justify which he had scant evidence. While working with the flora and fauna in the Amazon and the Malay Archipelago he had been struck by the sequences and branching of natural life forms. The title of the paper he sent to Darwin in June 1858 was “On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type” and clearly he was on the right track. What he lacked was a lifetime’s collection of hard empirical data to establish his theory beyond scientific doubt. Here Darwin the materialist won out and the theory is rightfully hailed as his.

So why did Darwin hang fire for 20 years without going public with his world shaking findings? There were two reasons, one relating to the public domain, the other personal. It is not true that Darwin was fearful of giving offence to Christians by refuting the Genesis creation yarn. Most educated Christians took the whole creation in seven days myth with a fistful of salt by the middle of the Nineteenth Century. Origin of Species was greeted favourably by liberal and younger Anglican clergy. Too much is made of the Oxford Debate in 1860 between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and Professor Joseph Hooker aided by Professor Thomas Huxley (Darwin’s bulldog). Seven Anglican theologians wrote a book of essays and reviews in 1860 defending evolution as majestic manifestation of god’s “design” – today’s intelligent design protagonists are wearing an old hat.

The problem was not the creation yarn; the nigger-in-the-woodpile was materialism. Yes the abomination materialism could drive a stake into the heart of religious and ideological hierarchies and establishments. Darwin knew it would be abhorred and resisted. That was the fight he ducked until he no longer could. Hic Rhodus! Hic salta to quote Aesop via Hegel and Marx. Darwin’s premonition has remained true to this day. For example in the backward white supremacist bible-belt states of southern USA (south of the old Mason-Dixon line) more than half of even the educated classes are convinced of the creation yarn and think evolution theory is bunkum.

The other matter that troubled Darwin was his wife Emma, a devout Christian who would remark “the thought that we would not be reunited in heaven would be unbearable”.

“But the dread of something after death-

The undiscovered country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns- puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of

Materialism has no comforting answer to this mystery. And so the purveyors of intelligent design will always have a ready market.

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    Professor,it would be better if you write articles about Marx,lenin,Stalin et al than imaginary politics.

  • 0
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    Ricahrd Dawkins takes Darwin theory further in the same road.
    He is more critical about intelligent design than Darwin.

    Theory is still a theory. There are always other things that theory won’t hold.

    So whether theory of evolution, intelligent design, they have their goods and bads, pros & cons. Take a higher level macro intellectual position and view those theories. Respect them for their positives. There is a lot to learn from them for us as humans.

  • 0
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    CT, we must thank you providing such light entertainment by posting this man’s completely otiose thoghts, presumably the product of insomnia!

    If the human kind is a still evolving tree of species, he is still lying under the tree waiting to climb up

    As someone asked Charles Darwin himself, we need to ask the writer, “is the monkey you descend from your fathers side, or your mother’s side?”.

    May God give him the grace of enough intelligence to see the beauty and complexity of creation.

  • 1
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    Dear Prof Kumar David,

    “The other matter that troubled Darwin was his wife Emma, a devout Christian who would remark “the thought that we would not be reunited in heaven would be unbearable”.

    “But the dread of something after death-
    The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
    No traveller returns- puzzles the will,
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of.

    “Materialism has no comforting answer to this mystery. And so the purveyors of intelligent design will always have a ready market.”

    Dear Prof., the answer is in the early childhood brainwashing the children are subjected to from an early age, by the religions, whether Abrahamic, Hinduism, Buddhism or Monk Mahanama Sinhala Buddhism, where the God Delusion is taught. So, the developing neurons are hard wired and it becomes very difficult to short circuit such early childhood brainwashing.

    Listen to what Neil de Grasse, astrophysicist has to say on the Darwin Issue. (Remember, the Apes have 48 Chromosomes and the humans 46 Chromosomes)

    Neil deGrasse Tyson – 2006 Beyond Belief: Science, Reason, Religion

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7rR8stuQfk

    Uploaded on Dec 4, 2011

    Just 40 years after a famous TIME magazine cover asked “Is God Dead?” the answer appears to be a resounding “No!” According to a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in a recent issue of Foreign Policy magazine, “God is Winning”. Religions are increasingly a geopolitical force to be reckoned with.

    Fundamentalist movements – some violent in the extreme – are growing. Science and religion are at odds in the classrooms and courtrooms. And a return to religious values is widely touted as an antidote to the alleged decline in public morality. After two centuries, could this be twilight for the Enlightenment project and the beginning of a new age of unreason? Will faith and dogma trump rational inquiry, or will it be possible to reconcile religious and scientific worldviews?

    Can evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuroscience help us to better understand how we construct beliefs, and experience empathy, fear and awe? Can science help us create a new rational narrative as poetic and powerful as those that have traditionally sustained societies? Can we treat religion as a natural phenomenon? Can we be good without God? And if not God, then what?

    Listen…..

  • 1
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    Darwin is Great that truly revolutionized science . its a pity he could not end the God cult . people are too stupid to understand the utter contradiction .

  • 0
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    Yo! Kumar David,

    You have to learn lot things that came after year 1900 refuting the claims made by Darwin. Haven’t you check lately on the subject of evolution that Darwins, Dawkins and the rest who vehemently defend the debunked theory standing on no substantive evidence.

    I recommend you to read the following and then re-write this article:

    1. Why is Darwinism a threat?
    Darwinism is a pagan pseudo-religion that regards chance as divine.
    Darwinism is the greatest scientific fraud in the world.
    Every claim that Darwinists make in the name of evolution is an utter lie. The theory of evolution has nothing to do with science.

    Without exception, all the civil conflicts, wars and acts of terror that persist today originate from Darwinism.

    Two Fundamental Proofs Have Been Enough to Bring Evolution Crashing Down
    1-A single protein has totally demolished evolution

    Darwinists can write as many deceptive books jam packed with formulae, produce as many false fossils as they like, make as many demagogic assaults on the scientific evidence for Creation as they choose or stick posters up full of fantastical illustrations and present these as exhibitions of evolution all over the place, but none of these will ever change the fact of their fundamental defeat.

    That is because Darwinists HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE A SINGLE EXPLANATION OF HOW JUST ONE PROTEIN CAME INTO BEING.

    The probability of a protein, the most fundamental building block of living things, coming into being by itself is ZERO; this is because IT IS ESSENTIAL for UP TO 100 PROTEINS to be already present, in sequence, in that region simply in order for one protein to be formed. There is no need to go into the wondrous details of this gloriously complex structure. The fact that one protein cannot form in the absence of other proteins is in itself SUFFICIENT TO DEMOLISH DARWINISM. But the rout evolutionists experience in the face of a single protein goes even further than this.

    In addition:

    DNA is essential for a single protein to form
    DNA cannot form without protein
    Protein cannot form without DNA
    Protein cannot form in the absence of protein
    Protein cannot form in the absence of any one of the proteins which serve in the manufacture of protein
    Protein cannot form withoutribosome
    Protein cannot form without RNA
    Protein cannot form without ATP
    Protein cannot form without the mitochondria to manufacture ATP
    Protein cannot form without the cell nucleus
    Protein cannot form without the cytoplasm
    Protein cannot form in the absence of a single organelle in the cell
    And proteins are necessary for all the organelles in the cell to exist and function
    There can be no protein without these organelles.
    Simply put ,

    THE WHOLE CELL IS NECESSARY FOR A PROTEIN TO FORM. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR A SINGLE PROTEIN TO FORM IN THE ABSENCE OF THE WHOLE CELL, with its perfect complex structure we see today, but of which we understand only a very small part.

    Read more……click the link below

    http://evolutioninternational.net/index.php

    Well Kumar, enjoy the bombardment of new findings to refute an old man dumb theory of evolution and the people like you who share these dumb theories taken directly from the book shelf without verification (for being too lazy) and making up a easy & quick story and publishing it to confuse the young minds in 21st century is utter foolish.

    And…you are a Professor….Hik,hik,hik…

    • 2
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      gee what a simpleton .

    • 0
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      Hey WWW Wisdom,
      Initially I thought you are saying something important using words like DNA and proteins. But when I checked the Allah’s website you quoted, I noticed that you simply cut & paste from that Allah’s web page as your opinions…
      Do you know that insulin initially produced from Pig pancreas… Search the “Pig organs used in Humans” in Google to see how close we and Pigs, as well mouses, Rats.
      Do you know most of medicines you use or your mature parents use are developed using animals base on the organ level similarities we have?
      Even neurologists and physiologists use cats and rats to understand how human brain (mammalian , reptile brains we have) works and analyse fear/anxiety like emotions those animals get and correlate those with humans to understand humans better..
      Anura

  • 0
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    Doubt it was merely Darwin’s impeccable note-taking and thought analysis that brought about the “Origin of the Species.” There were local beliefs from the Galapagos (and Borneo) islands that the local people understood and were keenly aware of, that they imparted to Darwin and Russell.

    For Europeans had lost their initiative in all things natural with the advent of Christianity (that is, if they had any initiative to observe and theorize, unlike the cultures of the tropics with more profusion of biological resources).

    With all observation and rationality pertaining to nature and her forces stamped out, Europe was forced to begin from scratch, and begin new kinds of observations and hypothesis. Hence modern science came about in desperation due to the dullness and suffering of their communities (e.g. witchcraft which knew all about herbal and natural healings was eradicated).

    With the desperate situation in their home countries, they were forced to colonize other countries, and of course they learned from these new people. It all fitted almost perfectly into their new scientific concepts, but only in liner trajectory.

  • 0
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    Dr. David,

    Two things–

    1. I am surprised that you are using the “nigger-in-the-woodpile” phrase. It has long been discarded as offensive to African Americans, and editors shouldn’t allow it. Even innocuous usage of ‘niggardliness’ because it sounds like the offensive word has caused many people trouble in America.

    2. The old Mason-Dixon line is no longer what separates the bible belt states. Many old borderline Southern states, including Maryland, DC and much of Northern Virginia, are today secular states solidly voting for the Democratic party.

  • 0
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    The bottom line is always the same: for a mentality that claims to not have faith in anything except “empirical science”, most evolutionists seem to have a lot of trust in things that are mathematically uncertain, if not downright impossible.

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