Article 28265 of Subject: SWAA Lecture Date: 18 Jan 1993 16:25:42 GMT This i

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Article 28265 of From: (Phillip Johnson) Subject: SWAA Lecture Date: 18 Jan 1993 16:25:42 GMT Organization: University of California, Berkeley Lines: 616 Message-ID: <1jelm6$> This is the text of the plenary session lecture which I gave at the annual meeting of the Southwestern Anthropological Association in Berkeley in April, 1992. It will be published in a forthcoming issue of the California Anthropologist. The lecture refers to an exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences Museum in San Francisco -- the "Hard Facts Wall" -- which was illustrated by two drawings. These cannot be reproduced here, but I will mail a copy of the drawings (or the complete lecture with reference notes) to anyone who sends me a mailing address. I have also had to leave the accent off the "e" in P. Grasse's name. The anti-Darwinian evolutionary theory of Grasse provides an interesting contrast to the orthodox Anglo-American Darwinism of e.g., Chris Colby's FAQ. Phillip E. Johnson Darwinism's Rules of Reasoning My starting point is a book review which Theodosius Dobzhansky published in 1975, critiquing Pierre Grasse's book "The Evolution of Life." Grasse, an eminent French zoologist, believed in something which he called "evolution." So did Dobzhansky, but when Dobzhansky used that term he meant neo- Darwinism, evolution propelled by random mutation and guided by natural selection. Grasse used the same term to refer to something very different, a poorly understood process of transformation in which one general category (like reptiles) gave rise to another (like mammals), guided by mysterious "internal factors" which seemed to compel many individual lines of descent to converge at a new form of life. Grasse denied emphatically that mutation and selection have the power to create new complex organs or body plans, explaining that the intra-species variation that results from DNA copying errors is mere fluctuation, which never leads to any important innovation. Dobzhansky's famous work with fruitflies was a case in point. According to Grasse, The genic differences noted between separate populations of the same species that are so often presented as evidence of ongoing evolution are, above all, a case of the adjustment of a population to its habitat and of the effects of genetic drift. The fruitfly (drosophila melanogaster), the favorite pet insect of the geneticists, whose geographical, biotropical, urban, and rural genotypes are now known inside out, seems not to have changed since the remotest times. Grasse insisted that the defining quality of life is the intelligence encoded in its biochemical systems, an intelligence that cannot be understood solely in terms of its material embodiment. The minerals which form a great cathedral do not differ essentially from the same materials in the rocks and quarries of the world; the difference is man's intelligence, which adapted them for a given purpose. Similarly, Any living being possesses an enormous amount of "intelligence," very much more than is necessary to build the most magnificent of cathedrals. Today, this "intelligence" is called information, but it is still the same thing. It is not programmed as in a computer, but rather it is condensed on a molecular scale in the chromosomal DNA or in that of every other organelle in each cell. This "intelligence" is the sine qua non of life. Where does it come from?... This is a problem that concerns both biologists and philosophers, and, at present, science seems incapable of solving it.... If to determine the origin of information in a computer is not a false problem, why should the search for the information contained in cellular nuclei be one? Grasse argued that the Darwinists who dominate evolutionary biology have failed, due to their uncompromising commitment to materialism, to define properly the problem they were trying to solve. The real problem of evolution is to account for the origin of new genetic information, and it is not solved by providing illustrations of the acknowledged capacity of an existing genotype to vary within limits. Darwinists had imposed upon evolutionary theory the dogmatic proposition that variation and innovative evolution are the same process, and then had employed a systematic bias in the interpretation of evidence to support the dogma. Here are some representative judgments from Grasse's introductory chapter: Through use and abuse of hidden postulates, of bold, often ill-founded extrapolations, a pseudoscience has been created..... Biochemists and biologists who adhere blindly to the Darwinist theory search for results that will be in agreement with their theories.... Assuming that the Darwinian hypothesis is correct, they interpret fossil data according to it; it is only logical that [the data] should confirm it; the premises imply the conclusions.... The deceit is sometimes unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the inadequacies and the falsity of their beliefs. (continued in next message...)


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