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.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.
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.
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."