Critiques of evolutionary ideas, from Don't forget...

From: bivalve (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 17:59:10 EDT

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    Many arguments by those in the broadly defined theistic evolution camp criticize errors routinely made by both certain atheists and certain design, young-earth, etc. advocates, such as god of the gap theology. Thus, they may be critiquing both atheists and theists at once.

    Regarding the development of higher-level patterns, here is an example of appealing to natural factors, but outside of natural selection, to explain some patterns: R. D. K. Thomas, R. M. Shearman, and G. W. Stewart. 2000. Evolutionary exploitation of design options by the first animals with hard skeletons. Science, 288:1239-1242. Hard parts are classified by seven properties with two to four possible states each. This gives a total of 182 possible pairs of characters (four are logically or functionally impossible). Of these, 146 combinations were already present in the Burgess Shale fauna (over 80 percent); almost all of the remainder have since (or in other Cambrian faunas) been exploited. The early establishment of the major body plans may thus represent a rapid exploitation of the available options, followed by variations on the basic theme. Many of the post-Cambrian options are those exploited mainly by vertebrates. Functional combinations may represent strange att!
    ractors. Thus, natural selection plays a role (e.g., promoting certain combinations to be more frequent than others), but physical constraints may be just as important, if not more so, in establishing phylum-level patterns.

        Dr. David Campbell
        "Old Seashells"
        Biology Department
        Saint Mary's College of Maryland
        18952 E. Fisher Road
        St. Mary's City, MD 20686-3001 USA, 301 862-0372 Fax: 301 862-0996
    "Mollusks murmured 'Morning!'. And salmon chanted 'Evening!'."-Frank Muir, Oh My Word!

    ---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
    From: george murphy <>
    Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2001 08:15:11 -0400

    > wrote:
    >> In a message dated 4/13/01 9:40:04 AM, writes:
    >> << A critical study of evolution in
    >> this sense will conclude that it's a pretty good theory, the best we have at
    >> present, though certainly not perfect. >>
    >> George,
    >> Pretty good, but not good enough. You seem to be content to stop there. We
    >> shouldn't be. Someone on another list serve said that the theory of
    >> evolution is _overextended_. That is a fair assessment, IMHO. I do not think
    >> Darwinian evolution can accomplish all that is claimed for it. For a final
    >> biological theory I think we will need to include (1) intelligent design, (2)
    >> development not only at (2a) the individual level, but also at (2b) the
    >> phyletic level, and (3) Darwinian evolution, and perhaps others, such as
    >> self-organization.
    >> Not only must the remarkable _diversity_ of the biota be considered, (which
    >> is the favorite property of the biota for evolutionists) but also its
    >> _discontinuties_, and its _hierarchical organization_. To expect natural
    >> selection to account for all this is just too much. We need thinkers who can
    >> think outside the evolutionary paradigm.
    >> In short, I believe we should be looking for other processes at work in the
    >> organic world besides evolutionary ones. Then evolution will then be seen as
    >> one of several or more coordinated processes, rather than the only one, that
    >> have shaped the organic world to what it is.
    > The sentence of mine which you quote was intended just as a quick summary
    >of the situation, not a comprehensive evaluation of evolutionary theory.
    > The basic idea of biological evolution, that there has been a long
    >process of "descent with modification", is so well established a theory that the
    >likelihood of it being overturned is extremely remote. The views of the great
    >majority of opponents of evolutionists, all the YECs and crypto-YECs, are out of
    > The questions you're raising have to do with the nature and extent of an
    >adequate theory of evolution. "Darwinian evolution" may be convenient shorthand,
    >but what does it mean? Does anyone today accept evolution exactly as Darwin
    >posed it - including his complete lack of knowledge of Mendelian genetics? Does
    >"Darwinian evolution" just mean "natural selection"? That is certainly very
    >important but natural selection can't be the entire story because there has to be
    >something to "select".
    > I have no problem with the suggestion that present evolutionary theories
    >may need significant modification. What I do have a problem with is the notion
    >that that modification must involve miracles, which is what ID claims amount to.
    >George L. Murphy
    >"The Science-Theology Interface"

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