Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bones of Contention

"Today the theory of evolution is about as much open to doubt as the theory that the earth goes round the sun..."

Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

That just about sums up my own attitude throughout my life as a young atheist.  As one who was raised on a diet of evolutionary theory throughout my life, I can understand the dogmatic assertions of a man like Dawkins.  After all, I too was not only an evolutionist and atheist - but I was an evangelistic atheist who sought to "convert" poor Christians to the majority viewpoint.  All of this is now a part of my past - before I became a Christian, and before I ever endeavored to examine the subject outside of the pale of our modern education system in which nothing is accepted as true unless it pays direct homage to that popular deity Evolution, and its revered prophet - Charles Darwin.  It is because of this background of mine that I found Bones of Contention, by Marvin Lubenow, to be a rather confounding read.  The difficulty that I encountered was not the fault of the book, but had to do with the fact that references to Neanderthal man, Java man and Homo erectus (among others) conflicted harshly with the academic social-engineering of my youth - where alternative viewpoints are not allowed to be mentioned.  The challenge that I had was to read this book while leaving my past programming behind - a process that is always necessary whenever one wishes to evaluate evidence by the value of its merit, rather than by the value of its legendary status within a society.  In fact, this is one of the central values of Lubenow's work.  He helps the reader to analyze the scientific data that is used in support of evolution, but without the bias of men like Dawkins who would have us to forgo any critical analysis of Darwinism simply because he said so.

No matter what your background is, I would strongly recommend that you read this book.  Lubenow gives a clear and rigorous presentation of the history of Evolution.  From the days of Darwin to the present, Lubenow reveals the precarious evolution of the philosophy of Darwinism by revealing how:

"Any series of objects created by humans (or God) can be arranged in such a way as to make it look as if they had evolved when in fact they were created independently by an intelligent being."  p. 21.

He also notes that popular opinions in our society are often governed by the fact that -

"The undiscerning public...considers scientists to be some sort of high priests of our society, paragons of objectivity who have no philosophical axes to grind."  p. 18.

Lubenow calls the reader to an open and honest evaluation of the empirical data that is often massaged and manipulated in order to facilitate the premise of evolution.  As a result of his research, he has concluded the following:

"We have all seen pictures of the impressive sequence allegedly leading to modern humans - those small, primitive, stooped creatures gradually evolving into big, beautiful you and me.  What is not generally known is that this sequence, impressive as it seems, is a very artificial and arbitrary arrangement because (1) some fossils are selectively excluded if they do not fit will into the evolutionary scheme; (2) some human fossils are arbitrarily downgraded to make them appear to be evolutionary ancestors when they are in fact true humans; and (3) some nonhuman fossils are upgraded to make them appear to be human ancestors." p. 21.

Lubenow is careful to point out that Darwinism is a subjective philosophy that is designed to reduce the universe (biotic and abiotic) to that which is the product of an unguided, naturalistic process:

"...Darwin's purpose was not just to establish the concept of evolution.  Darwin was wise enough not to stop there.  Darwin went for the jugular vein.  Darwin's master accomplishment was to convince the scientific world that it was unscientific to believe in supernatural causation.  His purpose was to 'ungod' the universe." p.191.

Without empirical data, evolution stands as nothing more than an atheistic philosophy.  Even Darwin comprehended the tenuous nature of his proposed theory.  What he developed on ink and paper was a philosophy whose fate would rest in the hands of future scientists:

"Geological research, though it has added numerous species to existing and extinct genera, and has made the intervals between some few groups less wide than they otherwise would have been, yet has done scarcely anything in breaking down the distinction between species, by connecting them together by numerous, fine, intermediate varieties; and this not having been effected, is probably the gravest and most obvious of all the many objections which may be urged against my views."  Darwin, The Origin of Species,

It is this crucial interval of research, from the days of Darwin to the present, that Lubenow reveals to the reader.  Overall he shows that Darwin began with nothing more than ink, paper, and wistful hope; and to this day, his followers have advanced his legacy with nothing more than ink, paper, and unscientific dogma

(Amazon Review)