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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The secular giants fall

Back in April, I wrote: "ND-TENS is now little more than a scientific model that is barely related to its Darwinian original; not only does it owe more to Mendel than Darwin, it's even less precise than its dysfunctional counterpart in the Neo-Keynesian economic model. I'm confident that both Neo-Keynesianism and Neo-Darwinism will eventually be thrown out entirely in favor of superior models that reflect the observable empirical evidence much more accurately. I'm not sure what those models will be, but I think the conceptual blend of Austrian economics, socionomics and econometrics points the way towards one potential replacement, while game theory, AI design and evolutionary stable strategies may provide us with a way towards developing the other."

It wasn't the first time I've asserted this notion, one for which I have, unsurprisingly, been criticized by the science fetishists, mostly on the basis of my complete lack of educational credentials in the field of biology. However, educational credentials are a poor substitute for information + intelligence + pattern recognition, science marches on, and according to New Scientist, already appears to be on the verge of humiliating the Darwinian faithful who were foolish enough to insist, against both reason and the history of science, that ND-TENS is a solid and reliable scientific model in its current form:

The realisation that individuals can acquire characteristics through interaction with their environment and then pass these on to their offspring may force us to rethink evolutionary theory. While examples of this "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance" are only just emerging in mammals, there is long-standing and widespread evidence for it in plants and fungi. That may explain why botanists are much more ready to acknowledge and promote the idea that epigenetic inheritance has a significant role in evolution, whereas zoologists are generally reluctant to do so, says Eva Jablonka from Tel Aviv University, Israel....

For Bonduriansky the accumulating evidence calls for a radical rethink of how evolution works. Jablonka, too, believes that "Lamarckian" mechanisms should now be integrated into evolutionary theory, which should focus on mechanisms, rather than units, of inheritance.

Richard Dawkins's reaction has to be read to be believed. He claims, apparently with a straight face, that these scientific developments cast "no doubt whatsoever" on the theory of the selfish gene, except for the small fact that it requires substituting abstract "replicators" for a material series of genomic sequences. Now, if this doesn't suffice to demonstrate the incredibly nebulous nature of what passes for "science" in the field, it's hard to imagine what could.

Watching evolutionists constantly modify their "facts" and radically alter their theories while claiming nothing essential has changed about the conceptual model is rather like watching medieval cosmologists redrawing their geometrical spheres with every new celestial observation. While the evidence for "transgenerational epigenetic inheritance" is unlikely to kill off the evolutionary model by itself even if it turns out to be incontrovertible, the fact that there is a probable need for the articulation of a neo-Neo-Darwinian synthesis incorporating neo-Lamarckism suggests that there is something fundamentally flawed about the basic theory of evolution by natural selection.

Of course, it's entirely possible that, as Scott Hatfield reasonably suggests, "TENS will... not be so much replaced as regarded as a limiting case of a larger model, in the same way that Newtonian mechanics is a limiting case of the present Standard Model in Physics." But the likely question is whether Darwin will ultimately be regarded as more akin to Ptolemy or Newton, and in either case, his theories will almost surely not be revered as the secular scripture and basis for societal revisioning that they have been for the past 140 years.

There were three great secular giants of the nineteenth century upon whom the secular vision of the 20th was constructed. Freud was the first to fall. Marx was the second. Darwin will be the third. This doesn't mean that their ideas were wholly bereft of insight, only that the "scientific" worldview constructed upon their essential concepts is an intrinsically fallacious one unsupported by the scientific evidence.

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