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

From: Tim Ikeda (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 19:38:01 EDT

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    Bob wrote:
    >> This continuum could be plotted as a rapidly descending
    >> curve from the high point with the big bang at the beginning of time to
    >> recent times when natural selection is the major non-human force for
    >> 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
    >> at the origin of humanity.

    Howard J. Van Till replied:
    >1. As noted above, an act of "exnihilation" at the beginning could not be
    >plotted on the intervention axis.
    >2. Why propose these ad hoc spikes? Isn't it striking that these irruptive
    >interventions are hypothesized to be located either at places where our
    >scientific understanding is (at present) least developed, or where the
    >relationship of our species to the rest of God's creatures is at issue?

    I've observed a similar pattern to the proposed timing of extranatural
    assembly events. The adaptive radiation of cichlids that occurred in Lake
    Victoria (probably over a period of only 10K-20K years) and the
    drosophilia radiation that happened on the Hawaiian islands seem to be
    generally accepted yet the hominid sequence is often questioned. But I
    doubt that the magnitude of morphological and genetic changes involved
    in human evolution are all that different from the fish and fruitfly
    examples, given the relative timescales involved.

    As I've said previously (& for about the past 4-5 years), if one
    wants to study and document examples of design, doesn't it make
    sense to find the most recently emerged and simplest systems?
    That approach reduces the problems of signal loss over time and
    complications from -- to borrow a term from ID theory -- "additive
    complexity" that would tend to increase background noise.
    Experimental tractability is an important consideration in science
    (though perhaps not well understood by the general public).
    Certainly most biologists are acutely aware of this factor.

    On a different approach, what is it about ID theory that leads
    some to believe that irruptive interventions are not likely to
    be observed today? I can see no reason to suppose that an active
    designer would stop at just the time when our abilities to record
    and document intervention are the greatest they've ever been.

    Tim Ikeda

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