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Vol. XV • 1993

The Metastases of Darwinism
Remi Girard

Darwin is presented to us a little too much as having a monopoly in the life sciences, and we can easily see that the phenomenon is less clear-cut abroad than in France, where curiously our sources (research, science and life) are more specialized than elsewhere and do not pay attention to the exact state of the overall tendencies which stir up the scientific world. As in many other areas, certitudes are breaking down and positions have become very diversified among high level evolutionists. Let us, then, remember that:

1 - Few orthodox Darwinists remain among the leaders, essentially only Mayr and Simpson, specialists of the wooden language, old and pontificating. The others have undertaken to doctor up Darwinism.

2 - For example, Stephen Jay Gould and Eldredge, who have been the most visible personalities of Darwinism for some fifteen years. They have been brought to reject a basic idea of Darwin, the very progressive, imperceptible transformation of forms and species (gradualism). This is due to three insurmountable difficulties:

- the sudden appearance within a few million years (according to the official chronology) of a flora and a fauna where all the great present phyla (classes and even most orders) were already present in the Precambrian (600 million years);

- the great frequency of stable species which did not undergo any modification in the course of the centuries;

- the clearer and clearer evidence of discontinuity in paleontology: the more fossils are discovered, the less it is possible to connect them and therefore to imagine their affiliation; thus it becomes obligatory to reject gradualism, and to work out the theory of the so-called punctuated equilibria where sudden innovations of wide scope punctuate completely stationary periods. The mechanism is macro-mutations whose possibility is entirely theoretical.

3 - not only gradualism but even the role of natural selection, foundation of the Darwinian discovery; is gravely doubted in the very bosom of the establishment. For the naturalist school (Kimurn, A. Jacquard), which has conquered the majority of the members of the "scientific community" within about twenty years, most mutations are neutral and natural selection has only a negative role, eliminatory and practically never innovative. A marvelous article from an Italian journal, "La Rivista di Biologia," attacks the very principle of the "struggle for life," which inspires all Darwinism, and which supposedly is rather strange to the behavior of animal populations more inclined to live peacefully amongst themselves and to accommodate rather than kill each other, and capable in many species to exercise birth control according to the available nutritional resources (notably, for example, the elephants whose females are able not to bear young for seven years).

I do not know how the neutralists continue to believe in evolution in view of these conditions; this should be more closely looked into.

4 - The dissatisfaction left by Darwinism is also measured by the return to Lamarckism which we have been observing for several years, and which is marked by a congress, the publication of books or of articles. Note that in France the tradition was rather Lamarckian (living beings react in a creative way to their needs, which is after all more intelligent than Darwinian chance). Until the last few years we have had a famous neo-Lamarckian in the person of Professor Grasse. The perennial objection to the Lamarckian idea, which is that an effect of the surroundings upon the genetic matrix could never be shown, has not kept people from believing it. Recently this return of information has been claimed as possible, and we have replied to it by our article "And God Saw that It Was Good." Grasse presents an outstanding interest: all the work of this great zoologist constitutes the best refutation which could be made against Darwinism. In the conferences he gave, his Darwinian gainsayers did not resist his arguments for five minutes. It is impossible to doubt, when reading him, the ultimate purposiveness which is present, as the evidence shows, in all living beings. Darwinism, as Professor Fondi tells us, was imported into the Latin countries only thanks to the (religious) Liberation, in the freight cars of the Americans and the English, as the pseudo-scientific basis for a philosophy of progress.

5 - Since 1974 Raymond Ruyer has informed us about the new style of scientists which he has formed, though their union is rather loose and informal, under the name of "Princeton Gnosis." The Princeton Gnosis, scientists looking for a religion, consists of about a thousand American, British, and German personalities, including numerous Nobel Prize winners, the Englishman Fred Hoyle, etc., who are totally opposed to Darwinian materialism, to chance, to the myth of continuous progress, and who are partisans of ultimate purposiveness in nature and of the coexistence of spirit with matter. At this time the news media greet this development as the "return of the Old," saying that since all fashions come from the United States it is very likely that the continent [of Europe] will soon follow it. Although it was rather secret and not orchestrated by the media, its penetration nevertheless took place among the high level leaders.

6 - These troops constitute the main personnel of the organicist school, born timidly about fifty years ago and developing since 1963, as Professor Norel (Paris VI) explains, "due to the inability of Neo-Darwinism to explain the phenomena of macro-evolution." In France Albert Vandel, School chief, Jacques Ruffle, hematologist from Toulouse, Remy Chauvin, professor at the College de France, Professor Fondi in Italy, Rene Thom in England, all participate more or less in this organicist (or "holistic") philosophy, which is popularized by the works of the writer Arthur Koestlen

For them, living beings show an organization with several levels, each of which integrates some elements and at the same time is an integral part of a superior level; at each level the whole (cell, tissue, organ, etc.) has properties superior to those of the sum of its parts. The organicists (holists) refuse to reduce everything to the constituent elements (atoms, molecules), and return to an Aristotelian view of things. The Darwinians cannot account for the problems posed by regulation, by embryology, and especially by regeneration. For example, to pick up a quote from Ruffle, "pulverized and reduced to the state of unicellular soup, certain sponge-like creatures are able to reform themselves very quickly, as the cells have kept the ability to recognize each other and to arrange themselves for the reconstruction of the primitive edifice. Many cells in culture show the same property." Take away the crystalline lens of a newt, and beginning at the border of the iris another crystalline lens forms itself; however, in normal conditions the iris plays no part (the crystalline lens is formed beginning with the skin). A cut-apart hydra reconstitutes itself completely, an arthropod can regenerate a broken paw, a crustacean reconstructs a new shell, a mammalian heals up a wound or knits a fractured member back together. Jacques Monod, orthodox Darwinian, considered regeneration a major difficulty. The organicists make it the cornerstone of their theory. They do not know, however, how regeneration is carried out. Ruffle admits: "With regard to the modalities, they are far from being explained, let us frankly recognize this."

Organicism has proposed the original concept of "fields" to explain the formation of embryos and of other development systems. For more precision, an English researcher working in India, R. Sheldrake, gives the following opinion (1981): "The structures of past systems affect similar later systems by cumulative influence," by creating fields. If it is difficult to show the existence of these fields in the case of regeneration, one can, according to him, measure its effects in the learning framework in animal behavior. For example, when an animal such as a laboratory rat succeeds in learning a new type of behavior, every laboratory rat will tend to learn the same type of behavior more easily And this is independent of place and time. Thus, the progress accomplished with the rats of a London laboratory would benefit their fellow rats in other places of the world, which means that the information is being diffused in space and time according to laws escaping rational analysis. Experiments would prove this. Here is the thesis, taken up by R. Fondi, who demands that the experiments in question be verified, who does not raise objections of principle, but on the contrary adds others: relying upon the famous Fred Hoyle, he thinks that not only information can bridge space and time in the sense of past to present, but also in the sense of future to present. Fondi is a paleontologist, and a defender, as many are today; of discontinuity. Very well! The forms of a given fossil group are not necessarily derived from earlier forms, they could be derived from forms yet to come, or from contemporary co-existing forms. Cause and effect can thus operate in the two senses of time, the universe is controlled from the future toward the past, and to speak of cause and effect makes no sense except for precise spots. One must raise oneself to the idea of a universe in its spatio-temporal totality This is the great idea of Hoyle influenced by Planck, applied by Fondi to the paleontological domain. To research the links between species or groups becomes without interest, the interactions in all directions account for all past forms.

Let us draw from the lessons above:

There are not one but at least three great evolutionist schools of thought. The most ill-treated of them is orthodox Darwinism. The critics of their adversaries are very useful to us [Christian creationists], but one can go further: does not the very existence of different theories show that none is truly satisfactory? If Darwinism were acceptable, why a return to the old Lamarckism? It is not out of a merry heart, if I may say so, that the neutralists in effect abandon the Darwinian religion even while they too want to prove Evolution at any cost. Finally, if the "Princeton Gnosis" and the organicists have come to a more realistic conception of living beings, is this not because that conception was forced upon them and that the shabby binomial mutation-selection could not be defended? But to what mental gymnastics do they themselves not oblige themselves in order to save sacrosanct Evolution? If they abandon the habitual principles of reason for an allegedly superior logic, is this not because all former solutions have failed, and that only an Einsteinian-type vision of the history of life can allow them to affirm a condemned thesis? Is not this return to Relativity the best admission of this?

I conclude by saying that it seems to me that Darwin is maintained for the people by his great simplicity in spite of the sterility of the theory (except, in general, for intraspecies variations) and that the organicists represent the most dangerous future replacement through the "pantheistic Gnosis" for which they want to prepare the spirits; many adepts of Darwinism come from that side. And the "religion" of tomorrow, the religion of a "God" of necessity who is neither good nor evil as the soul of the world, is the religion of the Antichrist.

Editor's Note: Translated and reprinted with permission from Science et Foi
published by CESHE, 3, Place du Palais de Justice, B-75OO Tournai, Belgium.

"The Metastases of Darwinism"
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