Monday, April 24, 2006

Margulis, Einstein, Darwin, and Newton

Darwinism is a lousy theory, and not particularly scientific. One of the worst things about the theory of “intelligent design” is that it distracts attention from far better alternatives to Darwin. The best is biologist Lynn Margulis’ theory of endosymbiosis. Not only does it refute Darwin, it has been verified, and pertains to very nearly every plant and animal cell on the planet.

Although her groundbreaking work is accepted in the scientific community, it is little known in the broader culture.

This may be because our culture wants to believe that women can’t do science (for convenient sexist reasons Larry Summers): that there can’t be a female giant of science on a par with Newton, Einstein, and Darwin.

It may also be that the message of Margulis’ theory is inhospitable to dominant dogma about economic competition and survival of the fittest: Margulis believes that cooperation is the dominant force at work in evolution.

In passing let us observe that theories of intelligent design are insults to religious belief: only a theory of omniscient design would be compatible with an omniscient creator.

In the human realm it is not so much intelligent design or survival of the fittest as survival of the witless that dominates survival chances, as witness his Cluelessness-in-Chief.

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