by T.D. Hall, Ph.D.

from LeadingEdge Website

"[August] Weismann [German biologist, 1834-1914] was not a botanist.


Like [T.H.] Huxley, his status is that of a believer; for when we ask him whether the small random variations in nature are important enough to decide between the life and death of the creature, he replies with great candor:

'Even one who, like myself, has been for many years a convinced adherent of the theory of selection, can only reply: We assume so, but cannot prove it in any case. It is not upon demonstrative evidence that we champion the doctrine of selection as scientific truth; we base our arguments on quite other grounds.'"

Jacques Barzun

In our century, Darwinism has triumphed as an orthodoxy, as a "rallying point of innumerable scientific, philosophical, and social movements." Mr. Darwin became the oracle, as Barzun suggests, and the Origin of Species the "fixed point with which Evolution moved the world."

As the quotation which heads this chapter suggests, the central doctrine in Darwinism - Natural Selection - was understood, even by adherents, to be lacking in scientific merit.

"No one," said William Bateson, "can survey the work of recent years without perceiving that evolutionary orthodoxy developed too fast and that a great deal has got to come down."

Why did Weismann and other scientists become to-the-death defenders of a theory that they should have attacked? - as unscientific. Ignorance is ruled out. By his own confession, Weismann was fully aware of the inadequacy of Natural Selection as a scientific doctrine.


The famous Bateson and many others hurled a few epithets at Darwinism, but they did not succeed in generating a "reformation" in evolutionary theory, even though a reformation was clearly needed.


Substituting "Natural Selection" for "Providence"

Barzun addressed this question over fifty years ago and came up with the following possible explanation:

"By substituting Natural Selection for Providence, the new science could solve a host of riddles arising in practical life, though by the same exchange the new science had to become a religion." In contemporary language, what occurred in the last century was a major "paradigm shift."

The Biblical paradigm was no longer fully convincing. Ever since the Enlightenment took hold in the mind of Western humanity, the power of the Church had waned steadily.


Religion in the nineteenth century was not the authority (and tyranny) it had been. It had entered into a pacific old age. Western civilization was ready for a basal paradigm shift, and the apparent best candidate around for new paradigm was Darwinism. In actuality, the best candidate for a new paradigm was Transformism, but this theory was in effect destroyed by the ridicule of Cuvier and cohorts.

Darwinism wasn't, as Barzun suggests, the great liberator or anything like that. The liberation of the Western mind from the dogma of the Church had already been accomplished. What the West was looking for was a new, trustworthy vision of existence.

In other words, it was simply time for a new "Truth."

"We do less than justice to the men of the nineteenth century who first did battle for evolution," Barzun writes, "if we think that it was altogether for secret or unconscious economic motives that they clung to Darwinism. A man like Huxley may have been tempted by his pugnacity and evangelical passion to over-state his conclusions, but he was neither stupid nor dishonest."

He had the highest kind of courage, and Calvinistic desire to be chosen for the right reason, which for him was the possession of truth.

'Science and her methods,' he declared, 'gave me a resting place independent of authority and tradition'.

Darwinism, for better or worse, happened to have become the chief representative of the scientific alternative to religious dogma.


The Weismann Compromise - Betrayal of the Integrity of Science

We can understand and appreciate the psychological and practical necessities motivating Huxley and peers, but at the same time, we cannot condone the "Weismann compromise" - the promulgation of a theory as scientific which, in fact, is unsupported by evidence. Weismann not only promulgated a doctrine (Natural Selection) he knew to be unsupported, he attacked the Transformism of Lamarck by spurious means.

Weismann's "final refutation" of Lamarck amounted to nothing more than this: He cut off the tails of several generations of mice, and then concluded that if Lamarck had been correct, the progeny would be without tails. This ridiculous experiment was based upon the presumption that Weismann was a fully qualified representative of the environment.


Lamarckism holds that evolution is a product of interactivity between organism and environment.


Darwinism, as developed by Weismann and other "Neo-Darwinists," came to the conclusion that the source of evolutionary change is within the organism (random genetic mutation), not in the environment.

More needs to be said about the Weismann compromise.


As an event, it represents not simply a case of over-zealousness, but the continuation of a fateful betrayal of the integrity of science that began with the Cuvier attack on Lamarck. Giraffes and (other) red herrings aside, the theory of Lamarck is basically correct. Evolution is a matter of interactivity between organism and environment. The membrane of the biological cell, as we know, contains numerous IMPs (integral membrane proteins), each of which operates as a frequency receiver/transducer.


The receptor component of the IMP detects and "captures" a particular frequency item, and the effector component accomplishes, in one way or another, the transduction of the item across the membrane barrier. The cell membrane, therefore, may be likened unto a radio receiver. It is designed to "pick up" frequencies from the environment.


The equivalent of the "broadcast station" is not within the cell, it is (as we say) in the environment.


Neo-Darwinism in the Realm of DNA

The Neo-Darwinian view that the DNA is origin of all biological expression simply ignores that possibility that the cellular membrane has something to do with biological expression.

"Direct influence of the environment on the genetic materials is impossible," Mayr writes.

In the past few years, a number of research projects have demonstrated specific mechanisms by which environmental signaling affects the genetic structure directly.


As it becomes increasingly obvious that primacy is in the environment and that physiological primacy is in the cellular membrane and not the DNA, the orthodoxy is casting about for new ways of defending the DNA primacy doctrine. One of the more inventive members of the orthodoxy (Francis Crick) is promoting the hypothesis that the DNA came from outer space.

If the nucleus and its genetic materials was in fact the origin of all biological expression, then we would expect that the removal of the same would cause the death of the cell. When cells are enucleated (have their nuclei removed), however, they continue to live and operate - until they simply cannot get along without new parts. The genes contain blueprints for all new parts.

In contrast, if the IMPs (frequency receivers) in the cellular membrane are cut, then the cell goes comatose. If the receptors are not replaced by visceral processes, the cell dies.

There are a dozen other proofs of the physiological primacy of the cellular membrane. Why is it that the Neo-Darwininsts have so stubbornly insisted on the primacy of the genes? Why is it that they still insist on the primary of DNA doctrine? - despite mounting evidence that the doctrine is incorrect.

The answer to this question lies not in the arena of science per se, but in the political "environment" of modern biology and evolutionary theory.

Pardon our repetition in the following paragraphs. The issues discussed are so critical, we must re-view the underlying paradigmatic politics from time to time, in the light of our developing thesis.


So, again ... the traditional form of government in the West is theocratic monarchy.


Western monarchy is an expression of the Biblical monotheistic paradigm. One God above, one monarch below. The monarch rules by "divine right."


Who administers the doctrine of divine right? The Church.


Challenge to the Old Order

Any threat to the authority of Bible and Church was a threat to the traditional order - the monarchical system.


The hated Inquisition and other institutions of religious suppression operated in Europe for hundred of years. They could not have done so without the sanction of the kings and queens and without the blessings of the clergy and nobility.

In modern times, two great challenges to the authority of the traditional rulers and their guidebook, the Bible, arose. One was science, which is based on the idea that truth is be found through direct observation and verified through objective experimentation. Who do you prefer to trust where the question of (say) the center of the solar system is concerned? Do you trust the clergy and their Bible? - or do you trust Galileo and his telescope?

"Cartesianism," the philosophy of Rene Descarte, held that the world was a gigantic machine. It was not just a stage on which moral dramas were played out, but a fabulous mechanism, a super-version of the royal gardens at Versailles. The eyes of Western Humanity began to turn away from the Bible and the pulpit and the stained-glass cross... and toward nature.

Along with modern science "natural theology" arose - the second great challenge to the traditional order. "Deism" and other forms of natural theology are based on the idea that the Word of God is to be found in nature rather than in that compilation of ancient testimonies we call the Holy Bible.

With the American Revolution, Deism became a very active threat to the "Western way of life." When Jefferson argued that the Colonies must seek independence, he justified his position by appealing to "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God."


"Nature's God" is not the Biblical God.

The Americans succeeded, and following their revolution, they outlawed the institution of "aristocracy." When the French attempted a revolution of the same sort, however, they were defeated by coalitions of monarchists and by self-sabotage - by handing over sovereignty to Napoleon.

If the old order had had a battle cry, it would have been "Deism must be destroyed!"


Under the Biblical paradigm, the flow of power (sovereignty) is from God the Source (the ultimate sovereign) to the king (the temporal sovereign), to the nobility, who are appointed by the king. Overseer of this "transfer-of-power" system is the Church. The Deistic vision of existence cuts out completely royalty, aristocracy and clergy from the power flow. In the Deistic vision, the flow of power is from God to Nature, the "Living Scriptures."


Who is next in line?


Those who are closest to Nature - common people.


Elitist Reaction to the Egalitarian Revolution

Science and Deism came together in the work of Jean Baptiste Lamarck. The evolutionary theory of Lamarck supports the Deistic vision of existence as an egalitarian affair, rather than the Biblical vision of life as hierarchical order. The first "new world order" is egalitarian rather than elitist.

Are we beginning to get the picture?


Science (as represented by Lamarck and those of his ilk) and Deism were simply not acceptable to those who ruled Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It was not possible for the elites of Europe to defeat the new "visions of existence" that were emerging so powerfully in the West. The only practical recourse these rulers had was to "own," to control, the new forces as much as possible.

The Transformism of Lamarck was not just the first theory of evolution, it was the first scientific basis for a new holistic basal paradigm. Another such basis would not emerge until the "New Physics" was born in the first decades of the twentieth century.


Transformism was genuinely revolutionary. Had the French Revolution succeeded, Transformism would be heralded today as the first of the New Sciences. Instead, Transformism fell (like the revolutionaries in France) before the onslaught of the reactionaries - the forces of the old paradigm.

What the reactionaries of Europe in the early nineteenth century needed was a "science" that saw nature not as "the living word of God," but as a dark and frightful thing - a menacing reality that would cause the common people to cry out for protection. As we all know, political elites happen to be in the protection business.

Classical Darwinism was the means by which the old paradigm elitists of the middle nineteenth century "took over" science. Darwinism was, and is, a reactionary pseudo-science. Its most basic premise is that there is no moral guidance force called "God," there is nothing in fact to warrant the idea that life has any kind of purpose - divine or otherwise - whatsoever.


Life is a dark and brutal struggle, and when we seek scientifically the truth as to the "meaning" of life, we find no evidence at all of "meaning." Life is without meaning. Life forms emerge out of haphazard processes, and whether they live or die is determined by haphazard Natural Selection.


For well over a hundred years, this view of existence has been recognized as the "official, scientific truth." It is incorrect.


The Concept of "Scientific Selection"

At the beginning of our century, classical Darwinism had lost its luster in scientific circles. Where was the evidence for Natural Selection? There was none. Weismann knew. Others knew.


Natural Selection was an assumption, nothing more than an hypothesis.

"We are reasoning in a circle," Weismann writes, "not giving proofs, and no one who does not wish to believe in the selection value of the initial stages can be forced to do so."

At the same time, a challenge to classical Darwinism arose among the pioneers in genetics.


De Vries, a Dutch biologist, asserted in 1901 that there were two kinds of variation.

"The random variations previously observed by Darwin, and what he himself called 'mutations,' or sizable divergence's from the parent form...."

The work of Bateson (from 1894 and on) suggested that small random changes (viewed by Darwinists as the primary means of evolution) "did not accumulate through long ages and were in fact irrelevant to evolution."

In addition to these challenges to the orthodoxy came publication of the work of Gregor Mendel, a Moravian abbot who had completed in the mid-nineteenth century,

"some beautifully simple and clear experiments on the proportions in which the characters of the common or garden pea are inherited upon crossing."

The new biology was ceasing to be interested in unprovable hypotheses and turning its attention to the microscopic world, where,

"invisible determinants did the work of evolution prenatally."

For the most part, the pioneers of genetics did not view themselves as elaborating upon Darwinism in any sense. If anything, they tended to see themselves as establishing a basis for a more scientific theory of evolution.

The doctrines of Darwinism seemed to crumble, almost visibly. The idea that evolution is a very slow, minute step by step process, for instance.

"Do the new lights on heredity and variation," asked Bateson, "make the process of Evolution easier to understand? On the whole they do,.... An Evolution by definite steps is more, rather than less easy to imagine that one proceeding by the accumulation of indefinite and insensible steps."

Early critics of Darwin, especially Samuel Butler, received apologies, Barzun indicates, and "biographies of Lamarck took on a eulogistic tone."


Once again, as in the previous century, the forces of reaction moved into action.... with the result that classical Darwinism and the new genetics were combined into a new theory of evolution, one titled "Neo-Darwinism."


The father of Neo-Darwinism is August Weismann.

Underlying Neo-Darwinism is the ingenious thesis of August Weismann that there is a proof of Darwinism, but the proof is not to be found in the visible world.... it's to be found in the microscopic world.

The classical Darwinian idea that variation is the result of "the struggle of existence" is replaced by the idea that variation comes from a kind of microscopic struggle.


In 1976, this idea was taken into the land of total absurdity by Richard Dawkins, in The Selfish Gene.


According to Dawkins, writes Niles Eldredge ,

"there are in life but two kinds of entities: replicators and vehicles.... Genes are replicators, but they can't exist and operate on their own. Genes need a vehicle - an organism - to house and nourish them and to facilitate their replicative functions.


It isn't organisms (the mere vehicles) that are competing for reproductive success, but the genes themselves. Organisms as vehicles are simply the unwitting dupes of their genic components."

What happens to "Natural Selection?"


It is reaffirmed by the new orthodoxy, but reaffirmed as a means of evolution that no longer operates "in the clear." Religions and various other misguided institutions have interfered with the natural course of evolution, and thus it is necessary for responsible parties to take up the burden of ensuring the continuance of evolutionary progress - through genetic engineering.


Under the new orthodoxy, Natural Selection is regarded simply as a long-ago reality, and "scientific selection" is viewed as humankind's best hope for the future.