In a message dated 4/14/01 8:15:56 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org 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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