Re: Pasteur and nature of science

From: george murphy (
Date: Mon Jan 07 2002 - 07:42:10 EST

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    Bill Payne wrote:

    > On Sun, 06 Jan 2002 15:50:37 -0500 george murphy <>
    > writes:
    > > In discussing the IDEA website we've noted its misleading definition
    > > of "Darwinism." Here's a misleading definition of evolution.
    > Evolution is
    > > "descent with modification" not (as a matter of definition) "life
    > changing
    > > from simple to complex." The emergence of a new species would not
    > > necessarily involve any increase in complexity, & might even involve
    > > simplification. This isn't to deny that the complexity of organisms
    > has
    > > increased over the past ~3.5 x 10^9 yr, but that's not inherent in the
    > idea
    > > of evolution.
    > I followed the response to the use of "uniformitarianism", and to an
    > extent agreed. But I think this one is splitting hairs.
    > >From the Kansas Science Standards (p 70 of 75): "Evolution - Biological:
    > .....With respect to living organisms, evolution has two major
    > perspectives: The long-term perspective focuses on the branching of
    > lineages; the short-term perspective centers on changes within lineages.
    > In the long term, evolution is the descent with modification of different
    > lineages from common ancestors..."
    > Without the concept of "molecules to man" (increasing complexity), you
    > cut the heart out of the theory.

              You're confusing the theory with its consequences. The basic idea
    of any evolutionary theory is descent with modification, with specifically
    Darwinian (& Wallace) versions of the theory proposing natural selection as
    the mechanism. One consequence - or at present "hope" because there are still
    lot of gaps - is that "molecules to man" can be explained in terms of such a
    theory. Similarly, Kepler's laws of planetary motion are not assumed in
    classical mechanics but are a consequence of Newton's laws of motion & the law
    of gravitation.
            I'm speaking here of the logical structure of the theories. Things
    are somewhat different if we look at the historical development of theories.
    Kepler's laws are one thing that motivtaed the development of Newtonian
    mechanics, & the fossil record is one thing that motivated evolutionary
              Note that the standards you cite do not contain your "heart of the



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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