Critics Need to Grapple with Ewert’s Challenge to Darwin’s Tree

Evolution News says this is really hard stuff to grapple with. Do any of you here at Peaceful Science have the brain power to grapple with this? Please be careful as I don’t want anyone one injuring themselves with a cerebral hemorrhage from this. :grinning:

We already have grappled with it. As I understand, @Winston_Ewert writes:

We are waiting to hear back from @Winston_Ewert. As I understand it, he hasn’t yet put anything out. We also hope he comes back here. He was a model interlocure, who impressed everyone with his contributions. We eagerly await his return.

As for the ENV piece, perhaps someone should bring them to speed. We have engaged his work, and are waiting for his response.

I agree with this from the article though:

Winston Ewert is admirably modest in presenting the conclusion of his study, and he answers some common challenges to it.

That’s right. He is acting like a professional. We should respect that.

What’s at stake here is significant: Darwinists until now have insisted that we accept the tree model because despite problems, only it can come close to describing what we see in life. True? If the evidence is more suggestive of a creative enterprise like software engineering, that would have major implications in favor of reading biology as reflecting common design .

This part is just revisionist history.

  1. Where are the Darwinists? They no longer exist.

  2. Who is insisting on a perfect tree? Evolution certainly doesn’t predict a perfect tree.


I would also add that if ID was much more like @Winston_Ewert, it would not nearly have the same push back it gets now. Whether he is right or wrong, he is guy I think is worth engaging.


Critics Need to Grapple with Ewert’s Challenge to Darwin’s Tree

Says the platform that refuses to allow critics. :-/


Which profession is he acting like?



I often wonder how many of the readers of Evolution News articles like this one are aware that various of the Discovery Institute’s best known authorities affirm Common Descent. I’m surprised that this “incongruence” hasn’t caught up with them in more significant ways. Have there ever been any Evolution News articles explaining why the website is so much more more anti-evolution than the DI authorities the site regularly mentions?

It was also refreshing to see an attempt for a positive argument for Intelligent Design. Ewert recognizes that ID needs to explain the large pieces of evidence on its own terms instead of just attacking the theory of evolution. One of those large pieces is the tree of life on both the large and small scales (i.e. morphological and molecular). Ewert’s temperament seems to be well matched to the daunting task ahead of him. I hope we hear back from him.

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And Ann Gauger, too. Top notch people!

Although, if you open up the door to typo humor, you know you will be the next victim, right?? :slight_smile:

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I am working on a mathematical definition of humor which will allow us to measure “humor content.” I hope to show that the evolution of humor is impossible. I will call it Comic ID.


As for those who wonder what Darwinism is see here:

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And for those who would like to read “controversial long essays by today’s leading Darwinian thinkers.”

Or as Yale University Press puts it:

Darwinism Today is a series of short books by leading figures in the field of evolutionary theory. Each title is an authoritative pocket introduction to the Darwinian ideas that are setting today’s intellectual agenda. The series developed out of the Darwin@LSE programme at the London School of Economics, where the Darwin Seminars provide a platform for distinguished evolutionists to present the latest Darwinian thinking and to explore its application to humans. The programme is having an enormous impact, both in helping to popularize evolutionary theory and in fostering cross-disciplinary approaches to shared problems. With the publication of Darwinism Today we hope that the best of the new Darwinian ideas will reach an even wider audience.

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It is unfortunate that you link to a philosophy site instead of a scientific one. Scientists tend to view things a bit differently than philosophers do.


I think that is a good question. Who is insisting on a perfect tree?

I agree that evolution doesn’t predict a perfect tree. I don’t know why that even matters. The point is that the Darwinian model is that of a tree. And the reason we know at all that the tree is not perfect is due to anomalies that do not match the tree pattern, but we only know they are anomalies by comparing them to the tree pattern. The tree pattern dominates. (HT: Allan Miller at The Skeptical Zone)

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This is a noble effort, sure to ripple through the Comic Design world! When you publish, be certain to have it peer reviewed… May I suggest a Seinfeld or Rock, due to their renown in this space? Also, be certain to incorporate the fact that hilarity = comedy into your data, and be sure to show your work!!

Don’t be daunted by the many who assume, a priori, that humor is a natural outcome produced by random mutations and other events, as they will be numerous and insistent. Push on toward the truth, which is that all comedy naturally flows from a master design, imputed upon us by the Father of Comedy (who we in the CD world don’t actually name–but really it is Jackie Gleason.)


The Darwinian model neither predicts a perfect tree nor is it the current understanding in science.

It is true that the author of the SEP article is a philosopher, but I don’t think that should disqualify him from setting out what Darwinism consists of, or why a scientist would be in any better position than a philosopher to explain what Darwinism is. Do you know he’s received one or more grants from the National Science Foundation?

Me, if I was going to impugn the author of that article, it would be because of his connection with Ayn Rand!

A few short and relevant quotes from the article:

But like every historical entity, theories undergo change through time. Indeed a scientific theory might undergo such significant changes that the only point of continuing to name it after its source is to identify its lineage and ancestry. This is decidedly not the case with Darwinism.

Darwinism identifies a core set of concepts, principles and methodological maxims that were first articulated and defended by Charles Darwin and which continue to be identified with a certain approach to evolutionary questions.

…if the concept of Darwinism has legitimate application today, it is due to a set of principles, both scientific and philosophical, that were articulated by Darwin and that are still widely shared by those who call themselves ‘Darwinians’ or ‘neo-Darwinians’.

I, of course, believe this is exactly the case. IOW, I think it would be correct to say that the concept of Darwinism has legitimate application today precisely because of a set of principles, both scientific and philosophical, that were articulated by Darwin and that are still widely shared by those who call themselves ‘Darwinians’ or ‘neo-Darwinians’.

As a final note, this author seems to think that there are in fact “those who call themselves ‘Darwinians’ or ‘neo-Darwinians’.”


Since it is the scientists who construct and use the theory I tend to give their opinion more weight.

When you start calling the study of gravity “Einsteinism” or “Newtonism” you may have a point.


Funny you should mention them:

Scientific theories are historical entities. Often you can identify key individuals and documents that are the sources of new theories—Einstein’s 1905 papers, Copernicus’ 1539 De Revolutionibus , Darwin’s On the Origin of Species . Sometimes, but not always, the theory tends in popular parlance to be named after the author of these seminal documents, as is the case with Darwinism.

AFIAK there never was a Newtonism or an Einsteinism. There was, and is, such a thing as Darwinism.

Naming theories after people went out of fashion a long time ago, and Darwinism needs to go with it.