This is an excellent piece of critical/secular Darwiniana, and in the context today of beating Marxists over the head, a useful reminder that a secular humanist can see through Darwinism and survive cancel culture, although I fear that being published in the ID site shows still dark clouds overhead. I have often berated Marxists for their inability to shake off Darwinism, with its atrocious social Darwinist crypto-ideology.
I cannot quite fathom its ending statement and warily consider it a reversal of atheism, I could be wrong. To cite Aristotle’s unmoved prime mover is almost refreshing after so much theological gibberish. There again I remain, despite endorsing his critique, wary of the need to address such metaphysical issues in the context of evolution which is a naturalistic process but of an unknown type given only its outer form and action.
I am fortunate in a way: by studying world history, the real clue to evolution came to me in the strange non-random pattern I call the ‘eonic effect’: world history shows an almost garden variety frequency dynamics visible only since the nineteenth century and this pattern correlates strongly with something we would call ‘evolution’, as development, the ‘evolution’ of civilizations, by a process of eliminations. Further, but this is perhaps controversial the ‘evolutionary’ pattern of civilizations must impinge on the evolutionary pattern of organisms, given the overlap of man factors, as discussed in my Decoding World History: how does nature construct ‘free agency (will?)’ and how does it construct ‘free societies’? The odds favor a connection (that nature/historical freedom as democracy may be news ot many, cf. WHEE). Thus history remarkably gives us a glimpse of evolution, call it evolution x. This glimpse may well hold the clue to organismic evolution. But we never observe evolution in deep time save as a bare fact that it occurred, while eerily we are given an example in historical time. The results are illuminating: evolution is an awesome ‘creative’ force of some kind, can direct/seed civilizations over tens of millennia (our data stops at the Neolithic due to lack of data), must therefore be able to scan a planetary surface and return according to a frequency timing to a prior species zone, and much much more. It is not directly deterministic but seeds creative energy somehow in human agents). The process has a mysterious form factor that seems to be self-constructing body plans and testing them against given environments, … I can only guess that this process is elusive, cosmological/planetary, connects with spooky physics and a higher dimensionality, and maybe is an aspect of fine-tuning. I would be easy to confuse this with a theistic process, but that won’t work: smart evolution is, well, evolution x. In fact, we have no category for it, and its constructs of world religion show a theistic and atheistic religion emerging in parallel. We would have to guess that theism/atheism is misleading duality. God creates but doesn’t not evolve things in a frequency pattern, just to be clear we are not discussing theology. Evolution is inside nature, and shows clear design and what we might ‘intelligent’ save only that that trips into theistic language. But that is because the term ‘design’ is taken to imply mind in nature. It might but we can’t close the case and there are other explanations: how about a bootstrapping AI machine emerging at the planetary dawn as a biological field constructing life forms from scratch? Couldn’t prove that but it warns us we can never jump to conclusions about design arguments. Best for an ‘atheist’ in quote marks to deal with the issue. Without quote marks we end up hysterically atheist like Richard Dawkins. But science face a blank wall here: science cannot yet enter.
The above might seem bizarre but in fact makes very good sense in context. The solution to the riddle is not possible given the limited data, and the absence of any forces in nature beyond the fundamental four. But clearly science as we know it can’t explicate evolution in nature or history. There are many versions of ‘creative evolution’ in existence from Bergson to New Age philosophies (and even Taosim?) but I only very reluctantly draw any connection. Another dangerous term is punctuated equilibrium which would have been almost perfect for our data save that we dare not use it because it full of false suggestions. The is thus the adjective ‘creative’ put in front of ‘evolution’: the reason is that evolution must construct body plans of stunning complexity, and evolution x must seed art, philosophy, religion, etc…
Darwinism would seem so far off the mark as to be laughable. We must face the fact that almost the whole biology profession is head up and can’t get unstuck. What a pity for science, its reputation ruined?
Hence it is hardly surprising that in his recent attempt to pin down the precise phenomenological status of “natural selection,” David Brown concluded that the term is more of a fuzzy imaginative construct than a phenomenon we might locate in the natural world itself.3 The term lacks an adequately defined referent because such a referent has never been empirically locatable or observable in nature — making the term something of a phantom without any empirically testable evidence for its existence. It certainly cannot be claimed to be a mechanism or what the Victorians termed a vera causa. Natural “selection” (recte preservation)4 is at bottom simply a statistical observation and analysis of accumulated biological faits accomplis. It possesses no motive force or innovative/creative power. The term represents an imaginative attempt to provide an explanation of how nature could function but reveals no empirically defensible insight into how it actually does function.