Thursday, 9 March 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Laughing Out Loud)

The Darwinian Crack Up Will Be Televised

Douglas Wilson

Thomas Kuhn gave us a good description of how scientific paradigms collapse. He wasn’t really talking about the theory of evolution, but what he said applies to that theory, and applies by the shovelful.

When a new paradigm is adopted, there are a few anomalies that remain unexplained. Think of the new paradigm as a wagon, and of the anomalies as rocks that the wagon has to haul. As time progresses, the anomalies accumulate, which means that somebody is throwing extra rocks into the wagon. But the wagon has been hitched up, it is going down the road, and we just deal with it. Wagons carry rocks, that’s all. But over time, the number of rocks will become a matter of concern. And a little bit past that point, the performance of the wagon starts to suffer. And right after that, the wagon collapses, we buy a new wagon, and head on down the road. The new wagon, remember, has some rocks in it.

When Darwinism was first adopted, when we bought this wagon, our knowledge of the internal workings of the living cell was approaching zilch, nada, nuffin. For all we knew, the cell was a rind stuffed with a gelatinous substance. As our scientific knowledge has exploded, the wagon—still manfully teetering down the road—has filled up with rocks. Boulders. A couple of small mountains. Darwin died in 1882, and the term genetics was not born until 1905.

The more we learn, the more the wagon has to “carry.”
At some point, the scientists will give up trying to make this wagon go any further, and will agree to get a new wagon. The new wagon will have rocks to carry, but it won’t have to carry the intolerable burden of massive libraries embedded in strands much, much smaller than the head of a pin.

But the community of scientists is comparatively small, over against the general population. I want to suggest that something else has happened that will do to evolution in the general populace what increasingly refined equipment is doing for the scientists themselves. I am talking about the camera.

As cameras get better and better, more and more portable, with higher and higher definition, not to mention cheaper and cheaper, what will happen? This world is absolutely stuffed with testimony of the God who is the exquisite engineer. And we are sending people out into that world with cameras. One day the YouTube wagon is going to break down in the middle of the road.

Allow me to present an exhibit of the kind of thing I mean.

The day is coming, and is almost upon us, when the sober professor—at a secular university—will show a clip of this, or something equally gobsmacky, and tell the class that it is a grand testimony to the power of blind chance working on dead matter. And without any pre-planning or collusion, the class will all start laughing.

And that will be the year when we all got the joke.

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