Darwinism is grossly overrated II
It is a simple task to find quotes from scientists or scientific organizations saying evolution is crucial or key to all of modern biology. Over twenty years ago an Australian anthropologist explained in a secular journal why he thinks this is true:[M]any scientists and technologists pay lip-service to Darwinian Theory only because it supposedly excludes a Creator from yet another area of material phenomena, and not because it has been paradigmatic in establishing the canons of research in the life sciences and the earth sciences.
This explains why Mr. Mooney’s statements about the grandeur of evolution are unlikely to impress those who are not already convinced of the accuracy of Neo-Darwinism. More recently, some eminent scientists—including some evolutionary biologists—are taking a different view. Writing in The Scientist, Philip S. Skell, member of the National Academy of Science and Emeritus Professor at Pennsylvania State University stated that, “my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution …. [and] [n]or did Alexander Fleming's discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. ”Skell goes on to report his experiences with evolution in empirical research:I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin's theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No."
Skell finds many major discoveries in experimental biology were not aided by evolution. These include the discovery of the DNA double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries. If evolution won’t save the world, can it yield commercial benefits? In August, 2006, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne wrote in an article entitled “Selling Darwin” in Nature, explaining that the answer is again, “No”:[I]f truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.
One of the two commercial uses Coyne does find for evolution includes “the use of ‘directed evolution’ to produce commercial products (such as enzymes to protect crop plants from herbicides).” “Directed evolution” is otherwise known as intelligent design.
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 Dr. Michael Walker, Senior Lecturer, Anthropology, Sydney University. Quadrant,
October 1981, page 45.
 Philip S. Skell, "Why Do We Invoke Darwin? Evolutionary theory contributes little to
experimental biology," The Scientist, Vol. 19(16):10 (August 29, 2005).
 Jerry Coyne, "Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?," reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, Vol 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006)
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Labels: Evolution controversy (3 of 4)