James Shapiro Article and Neo-Darwinism

Tue, 15 Sep 1998 07:17:18 EDT

In a message dated 9/14/98 David Campbell wrote:

<<Catastrophes are another factor outside of natural selection that may have
had a large impact on the course of evolution. A classic example of this
problem is a set of twins, one of whom gets hit by lightning but the other
lives and has lots of kids. Obviously, natural selection acting on the genes
was not relevant. Likewise, there is hardly any genetic factor which will
better enable an organism to survive a bolide impact in the immediate
vicinity. "Survival of the fit enough" rather than the fittest is a more
accurate picture of evolution.>>


Catastrophes, of course, are irrelevant to the debate on the origins of
systems such as those described by Shapiro in his article.

He proposes this intriguing question: "Is there any guiding intelligence at
work in the origin of species displaying exquisite adaptations that range from
lambda prophage repression and the Krebs cycle through the mitotic apparatus
and the eye to the immune system, mimicry and social organization?" While he
doesn't follow up on what "intelligence" might mean and never mentions it
again, he has introduced the word, and someone needs to follow up its

He continues, "Borrowing concepts from information science, new schools of
evolutionists can begin to rephrase virtually intractable global questions in
terms amenable to computer modelling and experimentation. We can speculate
what some of these more manageable questions might be: How can molecular
control circuits be combined to direct the expression of novel traits? Do
genomes display characteristic system architectures that allow us to predict
phenotypic consequences when we rearrange DNA sequence components? Are
molecular heuristics at work as signal transduction networks regulate the
action of natural genetic engineering hardware?"

I suggest that not only will information theory and computer modelling open up
new understandings, but that *intelligent guidance* should not be ruled out on
an a priori basis. I think that is all IDers ask for. As Shapiro said,
"Novel ways of looking at long standing problems have been the motors of
scientific progress."

Can you give any reason why "intelligent guidance" should not be included
among the novel ways of looking at long standing problems?