As pointed out recently, a new type of creationism has entered popular discourse through the backdoor. That was mostly about computer geeks and physicists trying to outperform "old atheists" in fashionable, gadgety ways, thus unwittingly bringing God back in. But there is another form of implicit denial of evolution worth mentioning, and it is similar in that it is again mostly done by “progressives”, atheists and humanists who claim to defend science, especially evolution!
Let us focus on only three today: Bio-centric, empoverished depiction of evolution, the Overambitious rejection of “gene centrism”, and the closely related Rejection of genetic influences on behavior as well as Rejection of gradualism before speciation, which I leave for last since it is to do with "racism".
1) Bio-centric depictions of evolution seem as if evolution is all about cute animals and not for example social systems. Science2.0 keeps anything not about biology out of its “evolution” section (it is fully under "Life Sciences" with a narrow definition of "life"). This is basically done because, for example, meme-evolution, is not politically correct and rejected as “social Darwinism”, read: Hitler and his pals. If evolution is only about animals and plants and, grudgingly accepted, bacteria and viral particles, then it is not about such structures as, say, crime and imprisonment and definitions of crime inside a political system that is lobbied by forces that reproduce/procreate via building prisons and surveillance technology. The big problem with this anti-postmodern, purist delineation of “proper” science:
The beginning of life from pre-biological evolution is thus implicitly rejected, meaning that the origin of life is squarely left in the hands of God almighty.
For example, a limited concept of "reproduction/procreation", one perhaps demanding a division of systems like cells or at least sacks of membranes, fails not only to describe social systems' evolution, but it fails to describe all kinds of more general evolutions, especially that happening among molecules in the absence of membranes. This means that we would refuse to count the very origin of life as being based in evolution. A prion molecule refolding another one would not be “reproduction/procreation”. "Reproduction" then would be assumed to somehow start almost by accident to a sort of pro-animal that we would have no idea where it came from. However, the molecules that make up even the most primitive sort of biological unit are already all about reproduction. Relative to them, you always already have a sort of society of interacting molecules. The first cells are not the beginning of evolution, they are the results of a "social" evolution. If you refuse “social Darwinism” for political reasons, you refuse Darwinism, period.
The fact that there are any sort of systems more numerous so that it is interesting to talk about them at all is another way of stating that they are naturally selected to appear numerously, and that is their way of "reproducing". Whether some of the information carriers that are involved in rendering them numerous ("reproduce") is according to some sort of criterion more inside a visible boundary of the systems, or simply the system itself (for example the shape of a prion), or perhaps rather outside of them, should not be the criterion for “reproduction”.
Bio-centrism, for example here on Science2.0, is restriction to biological evolution without explicitly telling the reader, as if cute animals are all there is to evolution and as if that is the current state of science. I charge that this implicitly rejects the most important part of evolution. It needs to be stressed that life via evolution is precisely nothing else but the mathematics of getting numerous/powerful/predominant in some way. All else represents evolution upside down. For example, a basic concept of “reproduction” comes causally before "life" but does fully belong to evolution. Having "life" causally before "reproduction" is claiming "life" without and before evolution!
2) Overambitious rejections of “gene centrism” are popular around here. Strangely, they seem to be accompanied with bio-centric evolution, although it is biology where genes are central. As one who rejects bio-centric evolution, I am automatically immune to extreme “gene centrism”! But what is “gene centrism”?
There are extreme forms like the simplistic interpretation of the “selfish gene” and its popularization. Again, it is so called skeptics and cheerleaders for naïve scientism, especially “new atheists” who have used such in order to attack higher level descriptions like group selection. I have always supported group selection! However, group selection must be based on solid mechanisms, like inclusive fitness for example, and that means genes!
“Gene centrism” must be seen in the historical context of that if you do not strongly focus on DNA molecules and their chemically described interactions, you have the still huge crowd of religious people simply not grasping that evolution needs no mystic ingredients. “Gene centrism” tells them: “Look, there is a mechanism that one can understand by reductive science”. “Gene centrism” never meant to say that the universe has been created by racist little DNA molecules that consciously “desire” to do something or “know” anything.
That a gene “wants” something or is “selfish” is always a shorthand, and those who use it have always explained that it is such! It is short for: Genes are vitally involved in ("central to") determining behavior, and thus they are naturally selected, meaning they invade the gene-pool to a certain ratio given a particular environment. This can be well modeled with fitness parameters like expected* benefits b and expected costs c (Hamilton formula of inclusive fitness as applied in evolutionary game theory). The models have been confirmed, via numerical simulation for example, to allow the emergence of cooperation and altruism, and the models have been also predictive, for example they have predicted population oscillations of competing mating strategies in Side-Blotched Lizards.
The rock-paper-scissors game theoretical model that predicted the population oscillations of different mating strategies, subsequently discovered among lizards. Source: wikipedia
*Important: “expected” does not mean that an old person cannot have children anymore and thus “expects” c = 0 costs for drowning while 'trying to help his drowning young brother'. “Expected” means that these parameters are expectation values that make only sense by evaluating them through the dynamics of large populations.
3) Rejection of genetic influences on behavior and the rejection of gradualism before speciation are closely related to rejecting the central role of genes in biological evolution. For example, altruism among lower animals is very much about inclusive fitness, which needs genes: We become reckless and take huge risks once a relative is just insulted, the reason being that relatives carry some of our own genes, while we hardly care if a stranger is killed across the street.
Both, rejection of genetic influences on behavior and the rejection of gradualism before speciation seem to fight “racism”. In short: If behavior is not genetic, great apes all learn to rape their females in school, thus society or your political enemy, perhaps religion can be blamed. And if any and all small differences between groups, for example in IQ or aggression, are completely rejected in case the groups are not already different species (meaning they can still interbreed like interracial couples), then there would be no such gradual differences between races, especially not in their “behavior”, and all differences are again due to bad teachers or the media or whatever you prefer. Even worse: races are at times refused to even possibly exist, which is a very anti-scientific attitude, namely the restriction of terminology as such, before even getting to criticize the empirical measurement procedures on which one may operationally define differences that are to be categorized by different words!
A surprisingly large number of otherwise relatively rational science bloggers, for example all popular writers on NatGeo’s ScienceBlogs, especially the Nazi guilt ridden German ones, subscribe to this anti-science. And it is especially bad anti-science, because it removes vital parts from evolution so that evolution no longer works without – you guessed it – God almighty actively guiding juvenile animal behavior and letting new species drop straight from heaven. How could there ever be different species if no differences ever start to appear between different groups? Are we supposed to believe that populations must be locally separated for thousands of years before anything else but skin color can possibly differ, and that then first the sexual organs must differ so widely that interbreeding is impossible, before even a single average IQ point may dare to gradually deviate, regardless of how you measure IQ? What utterly politically motivated pseudoscience!
A macro evolutionary population invasion occurred, namely that of the anti-scientific scientist and especially science writer in the internet enhanced environment under publish-or-perish selection mechanisms stabilized by the interplay of mob-democracy with establishment manipulation. The crazy thing is that especially those who claim to defend evolution, agnosticism, secularism, and for example proper physics free from crackpottery, are usually the worst by implicitly pulling out the core of the very fields they supposedly support. It may be good news, since because of this, ever more, a minority, but still increasing numbers, do realize that science is a socially constructed belief system in the process of evolution.