2. The Evolution Controversy   

Random Evolution: Climbing Mt. Improbable 


Section 2.2.2

World History 
And The Eonic Effect

Civilization, Darwinism, And Theories of Evolution
4th Edition
The Book
By  John Landon





2. The Evolution Controversy  
      2.1 The Legacy of Darwinism  
         2.1.1 Debates and Darwin Trials 
         2.1.2 Evolution and Ethics
         2.1.3 The Metaphysics of Evolution
         2.1.4 Is There A Science Of History? 
      2.2 Beyond Natural Selection 
         2.2.1 The Limits of Observation  
         2.2.2 Random Evolution: Climbing Mt. Improbable?
         2.2.3 Punctuated Equilibrium
         2.2.4 Natural Selection and The Oedipus Paradox  
      2.3 Visions of A Ghostseer  
         2.3.1 Wallace's Second Opinion  
         2.3.2 Theism/Atheism: The 'God' Debates  
         2.3.3 Critique of Evolutionary Economy  
         2.3.4 The Evolution of Evolution  
         2.3.5 The Science of Freedom  

 3. Descent Of Man Revisited 



    World History And The Eonic Effect: Fourth Edition

   2.2.2 Random Evolution: Climbing Mt. Improbable 


One of the most confused claims made by Darwinists concerns the randomness of evolution  by natural selection. It is obvious that Darwin’s theory is about evolution by accident, but since the improbability of this begins to demand some account we are given a revision in the works of Richard Dawkins where it is said that while mutation is random, natural selection is non-random. This odd way of restating Darwinian assumptions about chance is a suspiciously convenient change in the original meaning of the terms used, and seems little more than a rhetorical finesse designed to throw critics off guard. As Dawkins notes in Climbing Mount Improbable, “It is grindingly, creakingly, crashingly obvious that if Darwinism were really a theory of chance, it couldn’t work. You don’t need to be a mathematician or physicist to that an eye or a haemoglobin molecule would take from here to infinity to self-assemble by sheer higgledy-piggledy luck.” But it is quite as obvious that Darwin’s theory is one of chance, so we are done.[i]

Non-random Evolution We should consider that ‘non-random evolution ’ means, although not exclusively and open to further definition, and requiring an exemplar instance, a driving process, associated with a force or determinate principle of sufficient reason, operating, perhaps like a feedback or other device, externally, and possibly acting to transcend continuity in space and time (geographically or in discontinuous succession). Redefinition as an internal or immanent process is also possible, but invokes something unknown and unintuitive. References to ‘macroevolution ’ often invoke a variant of this thinking.

The Eonic Effect gives us a stunning example of non-random evolution in a series of beats or waves stretching over many millennia.

Dawkins proposes that the problem is resolved by the accumulation of small steps, then bets his argument on a completely incorrect analogy to computer programming. Again, as Hoyle observes, chance wouldn’t even get a single polypeptide straight, and nothing in genetic programming has ever solved this problem. Beyond the hype, it would cause a feeding frenzy in the stock market if any computer program was found to do what is claimed. It would revolutionize industry. We would certainly know that this was the case! Instead we see a sheepishly heuristic wishfulfilment at work in the Darwinian mythological fantasy world.

The simple fact is that Darwinism really is a theory about chance! Dawkins proposes to embrace the theory’s fatal flaw by changing the terms of discussion. The term ‘random’ has changed its meaning. The problem is that while natural selection might be non-random in the sense of its equivalence to the process of adaptation, it is still random in the sense that there are no macroevolutionary or directional processes over and above the incidents of random mutation and, yes, random, directionless, natural selection. Detecting a teleological process behind evolution would immediately force us to reconsider the whole question. The problem is that teleology is an abstraction. We need to observe, or attempt to detect, the representation of teleology in nature. But the very examples claimed, incremental small changes, might show a directional representation of teleology.  



   Web:  chap2_2_2.htm

[i] Richard Dawkins, Climbing Mount Improbable (New York: Norton, 1996).




Last modified: 09/21/2010