Re: 'Directed' evolution?

Keith B Miller (
Mon, 21 Sep 1998 15:03:51 -0600

Howard wrote of Denton new book:

>In brief Denton argues that the universe possesses a remarkable set of
>properties and cababilities not only for the *being* (day-to-day
>functioning) of carbon-based life but also for its *becoming*
>(actualization in the course of time) via the processes of evolutionary
>development. In this respect he accepts the fundamental assumptions of
>contemporary natural science, the assumptions that I have elsewhere called
>the "robust functional economy principle" and the "robust formational
>economy principle."
>But he goes on to argue for the additional and far more provocative
>conclusion that the processes of evolutionary development are not radically
>contingent, but 'directed.' The 'direction' of which he speaks does *not,*
>however, give any comfort to the proponents of any form of episodic
>creationism. It is not the 'directing' action of an external or
>transcendent agent who occasionally intervenes to bring about an outcome
>different from what otherwise would have occurred. It is a directing action
>*built into* the very properties and capabilities of atoms, molecules and

I find this both interesting and astonishing. How can Denton reconcile
this view with the perspective presented in "Evolution: A Theory in
Crises?" It is hard, I would say impossible, to see that work as anything
else than a polemic against common descent. Its arguments, many of them
without scientific merit, have fueled much of the recent attack on
macroevolution and theistic evolution.


Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506