III.4 Criticism of Darwinism
The Darwinian theory considers as a driving force in evolution the adaptation to the environment derived from the combined effect of the natural selection and of the random mutations. Despite the generally acceptation of Darwinism, since its start, it has posed quite a few problems from the scientific point of view and there have always been a criticism of Darwinism.
Before getting into enumeration of the main points of criticism of Darwinism, I would like to analyze why it beat onto the Theory of Lamarck or other evolutionary theories. At the end of this section, after the cited enumeration, I will discuss the current difficulties for its rejection or substitution.
In the second half of the 19th century, the humanist rationalism had extended into all of the scientific circles and found itself in full peak. There were already sufficient indications that the Earth was much older than what had been thought; a scientific theory was needed that would position the human being in the planet’s history.
Of course, the new theory had to comply with a seemingly scientific condition, and had to completely and radically remove itself from the religious ideas that had hindered the scientific development so much. The old problems of Galileo and Miguel Servet had not been forgotten by the scientific community. Let’s hope they never forget!
The Theory of Lamarck seems very logical and reasonable, but it suffered a problem: it was given a leading role in the life outside of the human dimension. There was something inside the plants and animals that, faced with environmental modifications, evolved consciously and guidingly.
On one side, the powerful influence of the religious ideas, still existing today, could not allow losing monopoly of spirituality; and, on the other, the scientific community was not going to openly struggle with the religious powers that be in order to shift conscious and intelligent life on an internal scale to the live organisms different from themselves. Moreover, there wasn’t any scientific proof of their existence. In this case, we could talk about thesis, antithesis and synthesis; any theory that resolves the contradictions of the era with a minimum of rigor in its approaches would undoubtedly triumph.
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
In this context, emerged the Darwinian Theory clearly showing the effects of the evolution of the species and, from the scientific point of view, there was no reasonable doubt that man descended from the ape, and, that we know of, no one has questioned it outside of the strictly religious realm such as the Creationist Theory or Creationism. In fact, even the predominantly religious confessions do not directly attack the Darwinian Theory or pose a strong criticism of Darwinism.
Another interesting aspect is that the title of Darwin’s work comes about referring to the "evolution of species" and not to the "life evolution" for which it avoids having to define life; this should not be anything easy because it is not well-known whether the existence of life has scientific or rather a philosophical nature.
We are not trying to deny or diminish the great contribution of Darwin’s theory to modern thought in anthropology, but rather to make a positive criticism of Darwinism delimiting the extension of the theory and to avoid erroneous or defective implications having negative effects in the development of society. It is worth pointing out that any theory of evolution has countless consequences on philosophical and social thinking that pervade any number of individual attitudes and acts; for example, different approaches to certain problems of social justice or to the efficiency of a certain educational system.
The weak points allowing the criticism of Darwinism are numerous and interrelated; nonetheless, we are going to try to indicate them in order of importance from a methodological perspective even if it means repeatedly mentioning some topic by presenting problems of a different nature:
In view of the previous premises of the criticism of Darwinism, there should be strong reasons for Darwinian Theory of evolution to have lasted throughout the entire 20th century with small conceptual modifications contributed by the trend called Neo-Darwinian and by the Modern Synthetic Theory. In fact, these modifications suppose a mere update of the Darwinian Theory of evolution according to the new scientific discoveries in the subject matter, as we will see when talking about them. For this reason, the theory is still Darwinism for the population in general.
Some of these strong reasons are similar to those that made its acceptance possible. Before I have discussed the formal requirements of a scientific theory’s independence from any philosophical or religious approach; nowadays this requirement is still maintained but with an additional problem. To refute the Darwinian Theory now would assume, to a certain extent, that not just rationalism of the 18th and 19th centuries but the whole scientific community of the 20th century have made a serious mistake in embracing an evolutionary theory so weak. Once more, the philosophers are partly right and the scientific method, to which it would have to be added, is not foolproof, especially if it is not correctly applied.
The basic novelty of the General Theory of Conditional Evolution of Life is the consideration of evolution as an internal improvement mechanism of living beings; which transmits to the descendants and that, given the complexity of the involved aspects, uses multiple systems, methods or processes, depending for each case according to its specific conditions.
For a large part of society, the acceptance of the GTCEL, or of any other evolutionary theory assuming the existence of the mentioned internal improvement mechanism of the living beings, would mean a step back. Scientifically recognizing that there seems to be an intelligent evolution guided from the very interior of living beings sounds like a religious idea about life. It distorts the distinction of the human being and attacks the delightful egocentrism of the human species; in other words, it is completely unacceptable on principle.
Another large part of society maintains its religious ideas, and as a result, the comments in the previous paragraph are equally applicable; so in the same words, it is completely unacceptable on principle.
Putting it another way, the Theory of Darwin is a very convenient theory, socially speaking, having a strong idealist component given that denying short-term evolution does not compromise the implanting of certain traits in the genetic sphere related to the desirable equality of opportunities.
In this sense, efforts have been made to keep the essence of the evolutionary theory. However, the mentioned weakness in the previous points 1) and 5) are practically maintained, in spite of the fact that, with the introduction of genetics and the knowledge derived from other advances in science, we can talk about short-term evolution but always on a microscopic scale. These updates have been carried out principally first, by the trend called Neo-Darwinism and, afterwards, by the Modern Synthetic Theory; although the latter tries to distance itself a little more, in my opinion, it does not manage to do it.
The updates have been possible to a great extent due to that we still do not have conclusive proof of the non-random nature of the modification of the genetic information, despite that there well-known are special points of DNA change. In addition, one of the main issues of criticism of Darwinism, that the term "natural selection" has, at times, an almost absurd generalization because of its tautological content.
Everything unknown has come to be considered random a priori, even against logic. This tendency also diminishes or limits itself in the view of the explanations, based on the theory of chaos and the fractal structures, of facts that previously seemed totally random (incidentally, it is the contrary to the famous example of the butterfly)
Despite of the greater comprehension of the sexual differentiation concerning its difference with the germ line evolution and about the sexual equality in society from the scientific point of view; the lack of satisfactory explanations of previous points 7) and 8) allows the criticism of the essence of the Darwinian Theory by methodological means in the fields of biology and genetics. In any case, any rational explanation of the facts to which the mentioned points are referring to will difficult to be compatible with the theory of natural selection.
There have always been authors that do not share the predominant vision, although they have not managed to formulate an alternative evolutionary theory capable of shifting it. And on the other hand, the expression of this attitude conveys of some way, although increasingly less, a professional marginalization and the risk of being described as being close to certain ideologies that have nothing to do with a scientific attitude or the contrary; without a doubt, this is due to the apparent philosophical and social repercussions that can implicate several theories. I say “apparent” because reality is not going to change by explaining it better one way or another.
The General Theory of Conditional Evolution of Life will suffer this risk largely, by citing the inheritance of intelligence as a recurrent example. I want to take advantage of the occasion to state in defense of this example, which has been, if not the principal, the direct cause of the development of the new evolutionary theory and, therefore, not having been chosen to intentionally attract attention. Furthermore, it is difficult to obtain models of evolution that can be statistically confirmable.
The list of authors would be too long but we can make a special note of Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873), a distinguished English geologist for being one of the first which, regardless of his attack on Darwinian Theory for religious reasons (he was educated in the Creationist Theory which was dominant in his time), after reading his theory, expressed the following:
"You have deserted - after a start in that tram-road of all solid physical truth - the true method of induction..."
It basically says that Darwin, after a beginning in the path of pure physical reality, abandons the true inductive reasoning...
Adam Adam Sedgwick, despite his creationist education, was not opposed to evolution or development in its broad sense. He believed that the Earth was extremely old, as Darwin recognizes in his notes from classes that Adam Sedgwick received at the university.
However, Adam Sedgwick believed in the Divine creation of life during long periods of time… Given that, he also said that evolution was a fact of history. His personal objections to the theory of Darwin were the immoral and materialistic nature of natural selection and the abandonment of the scientific method.
In conclusion, the GTCEL understands that natural selection is just one more method of evolution, but it is neither unique, nor general, nor the most important. In addition, from a conceptual point of view, this method is produced in a moment subsequent to the changes in the genetic information that makes up the actual evolution.
On the page on Studies on evolution of intelligence, the EDI Study is explained and its incredible results that confirm the GTCEL are discussed. Besides, the Darwinout experiment is suggested to verify the aforementioned extremes of the new scientific theory, with a much simpler methodology than the one used in the research of the EDI Study, both in its execution and comprehension.
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