Re: evolution method

Mark Phillips (mark@ist.flinders.edu.au)
Mon, 21 Dec 1998 11:14:58 +1030

> >Do the believers on this list who really grasp biology feel that
> >the evidence for descent and the mechanisms themselves are
> >logically separable or is this wishful thinking?
>
> At this point, I would say it is wishful thinking. If you allow
> common descent then you need the variation and selection which is
> produced by your "motors" to get the variation we see. If you allow
> the "motors" you get variation from common ancestors. It is a
> package deal.

I disagree.

First, it is my understanding that in the evolutionary community
today, there are a number of competing theories proposed as
explanations of "common descent". Many in the academic community
would like to paint these as mild variations of a theme, but it seems
to me that there is scope here for significantly differing theories.
I would not be at all surprised if in the next 50 years or so, there
were a major shift in our understanding of evolutionary mechanisms.
Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me that the evidence we have so
far doesn't pin us down to the Darwinian mechanisms which are commonly
accepted. If I am right, then it is entirely reasonable to accept
common ancestry while remaining agnostic about the precise mechanisms
which gave rise to common ancestry.

Second, progressive creationism is entirely consistent with "common
ancestry" (broadly understood). That is, God could have created life
in a hierachical manner (the essence of "common ancestry"), where each
branching in this hierarchy was achieved via a miracle.

Since there are a range of different explanations all consistent with
"common ancestry", it seems to me quite reasonable to accept the
latter without being committed to any of the former.

Mark.

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