Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)

Date: Sun Apr 15 2001 - 08:25:33 EDT

  • Next message: "Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)"

    In a message dated 4/14/01 8:15:56 AM, writes:

    << The basic idea of biological evolution, that there has been a long
    process of "descent with modification", is so well established a theory that
    likelihood of it being overturned is extremely remote.>>

    Right, up to a point. The argument, however, is over the mechanism.
    Darwinian evolution is the claim that natural selection did it all--random,
    undirected mutations selected by the environment for their adaptive
    advantage. Do we agree on that that is the claim? When I examine in detail
    what _modification_ entails, (for example, in the transition from a small,
    terrestrial mammal to a huge aquatic whale), the required magnitude and
    coordination of all the changes makes the theory of natural selection as the
    sole mechanism simply unacceptable to me. Any major biological transition
    presents similar problems. I am willing to give more details of the
    transitional problem of whales if you are interested.

    But descent with modification is not the only characteristic of the biota
    that requires explanation. Dobzhansky himself said that other
    characteristics that need to be accounted for are the _discontinuities_ and
    the _hierarchical organization_ of the organic world. Again, I am willing to
    go into more detail on these matters if it interests you.

    The devil is in the details, as they say. And the more one examines the
    details of the _mechanism_ of evolution, the more devilish they become. If
    you are satisfied that "descent with modification" is all there is to the
    theory of evolution, then there is little else to discuss.

      <<The views of the great majority of opponents of evolutionists, all the
    YECs and crypto-YECs, are out of court. >>

    It's probably the small minority that you should be listening to.

    <<I have no problem with the suggestion that present evolutionary theories
    may need significant modification. What I do have a problem with is the
    that that modification must involve miracles, which is what ID claims amount

    My point is that we will need to step outside present evolutionary theories
    to obtain the full explanation of organic life, and possibly outside the
    natural order as well. Just because science in the past has succeeded
    without reference to a transcendent intelligence does not mean that will
    always be the case.

    I picture in a crude sort of way the action of God re the creation as being
    on a continuum with the horizontal-axis being historic time and the
    vertical-axis bring the percentage of the phenomenon in question being he
    result of God's intervention. At the left hand pole is the big bang, which
    was 100 percent the result of God's action. At the right hand extreme are
    natural processes that can proceed with no input from God other than his
    general providence. This continuum could be plotted as a rapidly descending
    curve from the high point with the big bang at the beginning of time to the
    recent times when natural selection is the major non-human force for change
    in the environment. I would see spikes of activity before or at the origin of
    life, perhaps at the assembly of metazoan body plans, and certainly near or
    at the origin of humanity.

    By the way, do you also hold that human beings came into being without divine


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