Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Poor IDiots, Wrong Again

GilDodgen over at Uncommon Descent has put his foot in it once again. This time the IDiots have jumped all over the book Chance & Necessity by Jacques Monod. The book was written 36 years ago but that doesn't seem to faze the IDiots. Anything that conflicts with their worldview is a target. See [Classic Darwinian Texts — (soon to be, if not already) On the Ash Heap of History].

Here's what GilDodgen has to say,
Read Monod’s book — a foundational Darwinian text. Nowhere in it does he ever address probabilistic resources; he just assumes on faith that random mutation and natural selection can produce everything.
Now I've seen some pretty stupid things over at the Dembski headquarters but calling Monod's book "a foundational Darwinian text" just about takes the cake. This is not classic Darwinism. Classic Darwinism tries to deny the role of chance as much as possible. What Monod does is emphasize the importance of chance and contingency.

The entire book is devoted to addressing the probability of evolution—something that seems to have escaped the notice of IDiots like GilDodgen. Here's a short excerpt from pages 43-44 where Monod explains his view of probability and the inability of natural selection to make predictions.
The thesis I shall present in this book is that the biosphere does not contain a predictable class of objects or of events but constitutes a particular occurrence, compatible indeed with first principles, but not deducible from those principles and therefore essentially unpredictable.

Let there be no misunderstanding here. In saying that as a class living beings are not predictable on the basis of first principles, I by no means intend to suggest that they are not explicable through these principles—that they transcend them in some way, and that other principles, applicable to living systems alone, must be invoked. .... All religions, nearly all philosophies, and even a part of science testify to the unwearying, heroic effort of mankind desperately denying its own contingency.
That ain't Darwinian, baby. Can you imagine Richard Dawkins ever saying that we are here by chance? And it sure as heck ain't intelligent design either—that's the part that annoys the IDiots.
The classic quote from Monod's book can be found on page 112. He discusses the various kinds of mutations that had been discovered by 1971. Then he concludes,
We call these events accidental; we say that they are random occurrences. And since they constitute the only possible source of modifications in the genetic text, itself the sole repository of the organism's hereditary structure, it necessarily follows that chance alone is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the sole conceivable hypothesis, the only one that squares with observed and tested fact. And nothing warrants the supposition—or the hope—that on this score our position is ever likely to be revised.
You know what surprise me the most about the IDiots? It's not that they are ignorant about evolution, after all there are many scientists who cling to the old-fashioned Darwinian worldview as well. No, the thing that surprises me is that the IDiots are completely incapable of recognizing the different points of view within evolutionary biology. Here we have an example of an IDiot who has read Chance & Necessity but still calls it "a foundational Darwinian text." The mind boggles at such stupidity.

Memo to IDiots: there's more to evolution than Darwinism.

Of course GilDodgen can't resist taking a few other potshots at Monod. After all, Monod is French, an atheist, and (gasp!) a socialist to boot. Those evil socialist evolutionists, where do they get off caring for the downtrodden and the oppressed?

Footnote: GilDodgen begins his rant with,
I just pulled out my 1972 edition of Jacques Monod’s “classic” work, Chance and Necessity, subtitled A Philosophy for a Universe without Causality.
He can't even get the subtitle right. What he's quoting is a blurb on the cover that says "A philosophy for a universe without causality—by the Nobel Prize-winning French biologist." The actual subtitle is "An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology."


  1. Larry

    Monod was dead wrong. There is nothing in the Darwinian model of significance beyond the generation of intra-specific varieties and subspecies none of which are incipient species in any event. This was obvious to Richard B. Goldschmidt over a half century ago(Theoretical Genetics, 1955.

    To continue to adhere to the Darwinian paradigm is a scandal as it never had anything to do with either ontogeny or phylogeny.

    "Neither on the one nor in the other is their room for chance."
    Leo Berg, Nomogenesis, page 134.

    Creative evolution, a phenomenon of the distant past, WAS entirely emergent just as is the differentiation of the individual from the egg. Both proceeded entirely from "prescribed" front loaded information. The only role for the environment, now as in the past, was to provide a stimulus for an endogenous predetermined latent potential.

    I have summarized this perspective in the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis (PEH) and in my signature below.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable."
    John A. Davison

    Darwinism is in its death throes and I am very pleased to be a part of that realization. It is long overdue. Thanks for allowing me to express my convictions.

  2. johnadavison proclaims,

    To continue to adhere to the Darwinian paradigm is a scandal ....

    I agree. I abandoned it 25 years ago in favor of a more pluralist approach to evolution.

  3. Larry

    Let us hear your version.

  4. Is John A Davison not allowed to comment on UD anymore? I am afraid that he will turn Darwin's "Sandwalk" will turn into Davison's "undeniable undemonstrable Sandbox". However, I am looking forward to the amusement.

  5. I want to hear Larry's synopsis of the MECHANISM of organic evolution. It is only the mechanism that has ever been in question and chance had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

    "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable,"
    John A. Davison

  6. You may know that on the side of the main page, there is a collection of essays and articles written by Larry on the topic of evolution. In fact, you may also know that there is an article aptly named "Why I'm not a Darwinist". Thus, the onus to respond isn't on Larry because his views are quite public.

  7. Every time one of these IDists starts waving a real book or paper around and chattering about what is in it, it seems to be universally true that they get it wrong. Nelson, Wells, this Gildodgen character -- I don't think they actually read the text, they just search for phrases that, in isolation, they can use to support their preconceptions. It's a weird version of scholarship where, instead of thinking and getting new ideas, they scrabble about for fragments that reinforce what they think they already know.

    It's theology, not science.

  8. Dear Mr. Noran,

    I may be an idiot, but at least I have proven myself to be capable of thinking logically. I am the primary author of two of the most sophisticated artificial-intelligence computer programs in the world (World Championship Checkers and Gothic Vortex), and I am the primary author of the guidance, navigation, and control software for AGAS (Affordable Guided Airdrop System), which has recently been deployed in Afghanistan to support our troops and keep the resupply aircraft out of harm's way from small-arms fire and shoulder-launched missiles.

    I am also a classical concert pianist. Although this might not be relevant to my ability to think logically, it might shed some light on the fact that I am not a complete idiot.

    For those who enjoy classical music, you can download three of my piano albums at the link below. I've included program notes, and a special tribute to my wonderful piano teacher, Ruby Bailey, who gave me the gift of music as a child. That gift I have treasured all my life.

    I pray that all of you will find joy in music, as I have.

    Gil Dodgen


  9. What's with IDers and praying?...

  10. Larry's attitude is groan inducing. I feel sorry for family and friends.
    Loud-mouthed arrogance is only so enjoyable.

  11. What's with JMX and irrelevant comments?

  12. Gil,
    nice accomplishments....
    Matches up oddly with Larry's modest education coupled with a big mouth.

  13. @ GilDodgen

    self-admitted idiot and yet capable to think logically is what I call idiotolgy.

    I kindly advise you to drop one of the aforementioned, that way you’d give full credit for yourself in one single category!