A existência de não religiosos céticos da evolução darwinista ou proponentes do design inteligente

segunda-feira, maio 24, 2021

Are there Non-Religious Skeptics of Darwinian Evolution and Proponents of Intelligent Design?

Dec 4, 2014

Article ID: JAF6362 | By: Casey Luskin


Honest truth seekers and agenda-driven atheists rarely pose the same questions, but both ask whether any nonreligious scientists and scholars challenge neo-Darwinism and/or support intelligent design (ID).

A logical response explains that an argument holds merit apart from the religious (or nonreligious) beliefs of the person arguing. Darwinism may be flawed regardless of whether its critics are religious. Rejecting an argument because of the personal religious beliefs of the arguer commits the genetic fallacy.

Nonetheless, many find it rhetorically persuasive to learn about atheists and agnostics who challenge materialistic accounts of origins. These nonreligious scientists and scholars who doubt modern Darwinian theory include former U.S. National Academy of Sciences biologist Lynn Margulis, medical professor Raymond Tallis, Rutgers cognitive scientist Jerry Fodor, New York University philosopher and legal scholar Thomas Nagel, and Princeton-trained mathematician David Berlinski—all of whom have publicly challenged neo-Darwinism and/or sympathized with ID.

Significantly, many of these scholars have faced harsh reactions from fellow nonbelievers. Margulis observes that those who attack Darwin become “persona non grata,” and Fodor has faced pressure to suppress his doubts “in public.” This demonstrates academic intolerance toward Darwin-skeptics, and leads one to wonder how many other atheists would challenge Darwinism if they had the academic freedom to do so.

At Discovery Institute, where I am employed, we receive many e-mails asking about evolution and intelligent design (ID), specifically whether there are nonreligious scientists and scholars who challenge modern neo-Darwinian theory and/or support ID.

As might be expected, a certain percentage of questioners merely want to taunt us with objections they think we can’t answer. But this question is posed not just by angry Internet critics but also by thoughtful truth seekers.

Of course, there are good answers to the query. The primary response is strictly logical. An argument must stand or fall on its own merits, and scrutinizing the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) of a person making an argument commits the genetic fallacy. After all, if Darwinian theory is flawed, those weaknesses remain, whether they are expounded by the Pope or the Devil.

Nonetheless, there is something inherently persuasive about a person with no philosophical bias predisposing them toward a particular viewpoint, adopting that position. Many find it convincing to learn about atheists or agnostics who doubt naturalistic accounts of origins. Thus, the second part of my response is rhetorical, as it recounts nonreligious scientists and scholars who challenge neo-Darwinism and/or sympathize with ID—often in the face of great pressure to conform to the materialist party line.


Raymond Tallis is a professor of medicine at the University of Manchester, a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and a self-described “atheist humanist.”1 His 2011 book, Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis, and the Misrepresentation of Humanity critiques the scientism that has invaded the study of consciousness, as well as Darwinian explanations for the origin of the human mind.

Tallis coins the term “neuromania” to describe an ongoing media crusade telling the public that each “new discovery” has finally demonstrated a purely material explanation for consciousness. “Part of the attraction of Neuromania,” he writes, “comes from the belief that it is brand new and that it has grown out of the latest discoveries in the laboratory.”2 But Tallis calls the view that “there must be an organ in the body where the soul or mind or consciousness is to be found” an “enduring myth.”3


Tallis believes that evolutionary psychologists also overextend their arguments. Though he maintains he has “no quarrel with Darwinism,”4 he critiques those who have “Darwinitis”—the tendency to explain everything in Darwinian terms. Tallis illustrates how Darwinitis leads evolutionary psychologists to propose plausible-sounding hypotheses that are completely false:

Consider the recent claim that evolutionary psychology can explain why pink is associated with femininity and blue with masculinity. Women in prehistory were the principal gatherers of fruit and would have been sensitive to the colours of ripeness: deepening shades of pink. Men, on the other hand, would have looked for good hunting weather and sources of water, both of which are connected with blue. In fact, in Victorian Britain blue was regarded as the appropriate colour for girls (being associated with the Virgin Mary) and pink for boys (being a watered down version of the “fierce” colour red). Colour preferences are therefore scarcely rooted in the properties of brain shaped in the Pleistocene epoch. They are historically, not biologically, determined; but don’t expect an evolutionary psychologist to spot that.5

As a self-described “good Darwinian,”6 Tallis understands natural selection to be a “blind watchmaker,” that cannot select for future goals. But he acknowledges what few Darwinians will admit—that blind selection cannot explain the goal-directed nature of human consciousness: “Darwinism, therefore, leaves something unaccounted for: the emergence of people like you and me who are indubitably sighted watchmakers….Isn’t there a problem in explaining how the blind forces of physics brought about (cognitively) sighted humans who are able to see, and identify, and comment on, the ‘blind’ forces of physics…?”7

Tallis recognizes “the failure to explain any form of consciousness, never mind human consciousness, in evolutionary terms.”8 But he is hardly the only atheist who questions Darwinian explanations.


A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and once the wife of Carl Sagan, biologist Lynn Margulis (1938–2011) is not the first person one might expect to critique neo- Darwinian theory vocally. But that’s exactly what she did. In an interview shortly before her death, Margulis explained, “Neo-Darwinists say that new species emerge when mutations occur and modify an organism. I was taught over and over again that the accumulation of random mutations led to evolutionary change—led to new species. I believed it until I looked for evidence.” Echoing the arguments of many ID proponents, Margulis maintains that “new mutations don’t create new species; they create offspring that are impaired.”9 In a 2003 book co-authored with Dorion Sagan (the son of Carl), she elaborates:

This Darwinian claim to explain all of evolution is a popular half-truth whose lack of explicative power is compensated for only by the religious ferocity of its rhetoric. Although random mutations influenced the course of evolution, their influence was mainly by loss, alteration, and refinement….Mutations, in summary, tend to induce sickness, death, or deficiencies. No evidence in the vast literature of heredity changes shows unambiguous evidence that random mutation itself, even with geographical isolation of populations, leads to speciation.10

Some Darwin defenders have cited Margulis’s eminence as evidence that critics have freedom to express their views. Margulis doesn’t agree, noting that “anyone who is overtly critical of the foundations of his science is persona non grata.”11 Other atheists who challenge Darwin have made similar observations.

Read more here: Equip