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Thursday, March 05, 2015

C0nc0rdance reads from Dobzhansky defending accommondationism

Here's how COncOrdance explains his latest YouTube video.
To celebrate Darwin Day, Feb 12th, 2015, I offer the words of Dobzhansky, who was a central figure in the modern evolutionary synthesis with his 1937 book, "Genetics and the Origin of Species". Dobzhansky was also a deeply religious man who believed that God had a hand in the process of evolution, a view I don't share, but try to understand.

Dobzhansky cites Teilhard de Chardin, who was a biologist, a theistic evolutionist, and a controversial figure who described evolution as cosmic attainment of perfection, a concept I also strongly disagree with.

This is an excerpt from the original work:
The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Mar., 1973), pp. 125-129. [Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution]
I'm not sure what purpose is served by reading from Dobzhansky's book where he praises Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Keep in mind that Teilhard's most famous book was reviewed by Peter Medawar who described it like this: "... the greater part of it, I shall show, is nonsense, tricked out with a variety of metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself."

That's pretty much the consensus view of Teilhard these days. It's also pretty common to point out that science as a way of knowing conflicts with religion as a way of knowing in spite of what Dobzhansky said 46 years ago.

Here's the video ....


  1. While it is somewhat understandable that Dobzhansky would have a soft spot for Teilhard de Chardin given that he was religious, did anyone ever figure out why Julian Huxley was into him?

    1. I haven't read Huxley's foreword to Teilhard's book. But Huxley seemed to want to create a secular religion based on science, particularly on evolution. Some decades ago the New Scientist noted that there was a unit of natural selection called a "darwin" which was defined as "that selection intensity which is necessary to change a character by a factor of e in 1 million years". Keeping in mind Julian Huxley and his grandfather, they then put tongue in cheek and proposed the "huxley" as

      "That intensity which is necessary to convert a straightforward scientific principle into a religion in 100 years."

    2. The "religion" was called "evolutionary humanism." It is described in Evolution in Action (1953) and in other essays by Julian Huxley.

    3. I'm not sure if New Scientist got that wrong, or if you remember that article incorrectly, but a Darwin has been defined as a unit of rate of morphological change with 1d being a change by a factor of e in a million years (the definition comes from Haldane, 1949, "Suggestions as to Quantitative Measurement of Rates of Evolution", Evolution, 3, 51-56). The selection intensity is not an issue there.

    4. Simon: I suspect that New Scientist "tweaked" the definition so that they could make the pun on the word "intensity". I just looked at Haldane's 1949 article, and it is as you say: the darwin measure rate of change, not selection intensity.

  2. It shows there was other motives behind the big wigs of ancient evolutionism.
    The English establishment was hostile to Christianity and looking for needed explanations for the universe. So they too quickly accepted unlikely mechanisms in nature.
    They had a anti religious presumption and aggresive motive.
    Ever since the establishment desires evolution to be true and sop is not intellectually skeptical enough to do a better investigation.
    Only today is ID scientists bringing a end to evolutionism. YEC was always there but didn't have the academic credibility and sometimes ability.
    In our day is a correction taking place.
    Another decade, I think, and its over.
    These other motives will be used by everyone to explain why evolution lingered as a hypothesis without weighty evidence.

    1. And if 10 years from now, ID hasn't overthrown evolution, will you admit you were wrong and slink back under your rock? (Someone remind Bobby where we've got to on the Disco Toot timeline, compared to where they say we should be)

    2. Yes I will admit I'm wrong and return to the underside of any stone.
      What if your wrong?? What if you are on the wrong side of history?

    3. Perhaps we need a unit time called the Dembski (D) equalling the interval In years between now() and the demise of evolution.

      D = 10.

    4. History's been going my way for the last two centuries, and the IDiots have done nothing to reverse the trend. I'll happily take my chances on the side where the evidence lies.

    5. Only today is ID scientists bringing a end to evolutionism.

      Amen. And if they could only figure out how to stop evolution itself, things would finally be as god intended.