Charles Darwin was an accomplished naturalist with wide ranging experience at killing, collecting, and examining all sorts of life. Included in his endeavors was a love for pigeons and especially the breeding of pigeons. He had many types of fancy pigeons such as Baldheads, Pouters, Jacobins, Magpies, Swallows, Fantails, Brunswicks, Nuns, and Turbits. Darwin kept them all and thought the “diversity of the breeds…astonishing.” [Desmond and Moore, Darwin—the Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, Warner Books, 1991, Page 301.]

Those who admire Darwin as a naturalist may wish to consider how deeply and darkly he got into his manipulations of pigeons. “His enthusiasm soon got the better of him. Boiling and measuring were now [mid-1850s] daily routines, and he became adept at judging the breeds and their young. His letters acquired a ghoulish air: ‘I am watching them outside,’ he said, eyeing his birds, ‘& then shall skeletonize them & watch their insides.’…He tried all means of killing his pigeons: Chloroform took too long and he squirmed at the sight. Better was potassium cyanide in a bottle; the prussic acid gas it gave off was quick and painless. …Seeing his funny gawky chicks lose consciousness was always sad. ‘I have done the black deed & murdered an angelic little Fan-tail & Pouter at 10 days old.’ The corpses mounted, skeletons, measured and unmeasured, lay everywhere, cadavers were arriving by post, boxes crushed and intestines hanging out. Even he admitted it was becoming ‘a chamber of horrors.’” [ibid, Page 427.]

All of Darwin’s time spent breeding, skeletonizing, and studying pigeons resulted in his conceptualizing natural selection as having the same power and ability as human breeders. But is natural selection the same as human breeding? I think not!

“Darwin—against the objections of Wallace and other colleagues who pointed out to him that there was simply no comparison between what animal breeders did by the use of human ingenuity and how mindless Nature herself acted—claimed an analogy between the artificial breeding methods of such persons as pigeon-fanciers and the claimed ‘selection’ performed by Nature herself.” [Thomas, Neil, “Natural Selection: A Conceptually Incorrect Term,”, December 1, 2021.]

American philosopher Jerry Alan Fodor (April 22, 1935-November 29, 2017) who co-authored the book What Darwin Got Wrong with biolinguist Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini in 2010 concurred with Thomas: “Darwin was too much an environmentalist. He seems to have been seduced by an analogy to selective breeding, with natural selection operating in place of the breeder. But this analogy is patently flawed; selective breeding is performed only by creatures with minds, and natural selection doesn’t have one of those.” [Foder, Jerry, “Why Pigs Don’t Have Wings,” London Review of Books 29, no. 20:19-22, 2010, Page 20.]

Even evolutionary biologist Richard C. Lewontin (March 29, 1929-July 4, 2021) wrote: “Darwin, quite explicitly, derived this understanding of the motivating force underlying evolution from the actions of plant and animal breeders who consciously choose variant individuals with desirable properties to breed for future generations. ‘Natural’ selection is human selection writ large. But of course, whatever ‘nature’ may be, it is not a sentient creature with a will, and any attempt to understand the actual operation of evolutionary processes must be freed of its metaphorical baggage.” [Lewontin, R.C., “Not So Natural Selection,” New York Times Book Review, 2010.]

Of course, as an avowed evolutionist, Lewontin hammered Darwin only because he was looking for a purely mechanistic macro-evolutionary theory, something not provided by natural selection. No operating metaphors for Lewontin.

Intelligent-design theorist William A. Dembski wrote this in 2004: “Darwin perpetrated the greatest intellectual swindle in the history of ideas. Nature has no power to choose.” [Dembski, The Design Revolution, Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2004, Page 263.]

I suspect that any successful and experienced breeder of plants or animals would agree with these quotes if given a few minutes to ponder them. Darwin’s natural selection has no ability to do anything at all like what human breeders can accomplish with purpose, forethought, and experiment. I think Dembski has it right. Darwin’s natural selection is the “greatest intellectual swindle in the history of ideas.”

In Part 5 we will take a look at how and why Darwin incorporated the population theory of Malthus into his natural selection hypothesis.

But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of mankind. (Job 12:7-10 NIV.)

Creation not evolution!

J.D. Mitchell

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