From: Josh Bembenek (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Aug 19 2002 - 13:24:38 EDT
I'd like to comment breifly on the Orr review. The following paragraph
supposedly disproves Dembski's efforts:
"The problem with all this is so simple that I hate to bring it up. But here
goes: Darwinism isn't trying to reach a prespecified target. Darwinism, I
regret to report, is sheer cold demographics. Darwinism says that my
sequence has more kids than your sequence and so my sequence gets common and
yours gets rare. If there's another sequence out there that has more kids
than mine, it'll displace me. But there's no pre-set target in this game.
(Why would evolution care about a pre-set place? Are we to believe that
evolution is just inordinately fond of ATGGCAGGCAGTÖ?) Dembski can pick a
prespecified target, average over all fitness functions, and show that no
algorithm beats blind search until he's blue in the face. The calculation is
irrelevant. Evolution isn't searching for anything and Darwinism is not
therefore a search algorithm."
There is a key simple flaw with Orr's analysis. His simple idea that my
sequence has more kids than yours is filled with hidden goals or targets.
To have any sequence generate "more" kids you must have met the following
1. Stable, Biologically active sequence.
2. Sequence able to replicate.
3. Sequence capable of being improved.
In Dawkins book he mentions histone 3, a protein of about 100 residues which
change in only two or three positions throughout all the diversity of life
and throughout "evolution." This sequence meets the first two requirements
but has never been improved since it was first happened upon. This data
tells us that precursors to this sequence must not have been active because
the sequence is NOT malleable- all residues must be fixed for the protein to
perform the job it currently holds. In the end Orr is assuming that we can
start with criteria 1 and 2 firmly in place and then hypothesize about 3.
Assuming that an inactive sequence can generate any kids at all as an answer
to the derivation of novel functional genetic sequence completely misses the
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