From: Sarah Berel-Harrop (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat Sep 27 2003 - 10:47:49 EDT
Re: RFEP & IDHoward, let me take a guess at what he's talking about
here, one that has the potential to get way over my head
It is true that there are "evolutionists" who have derided
"hyperadaptionist" accounts of evolution. Lewontin &
Gould prominent examples. Their complaint has been that
the construction of evolutionary scenarios based upon
selectionist accounts amounts to plausible (and in some
cases, not-so-plausible) "just-so"stories. The spandrels
paper one example of another way to explain something's
evolutionary history (the gene or trait is a byproduct of a
prior choice). There are also views involving utterly random
occurences. Go to talk.origins and ask for Larry (who is
a molecular biologist) and you can get an earful about it.
Lewontin in particular, and I don't know where but I will
dig up the reference if anyone wants it, discusses
differences in genes and proteins as what this author
here terms as non-functional, Lewontin typically calls
it noise. What was he talking about? The example I
am thinking of involves 200 or so variants of I think
hemoglogin, maybe myoglobin - that is not to mention
the differences at the genetic level which are not even
expressed - of which maybe three have an apparant
difference in function. L says it's silly to look for a
functional, adaptionist explanation for those differences.
This author says, there's a function out there somewhere,
you just haven't found it and if you do it will connote
It is interesting to me to read this article that says he
is wrong to say you should not look for function in this
context, does the author ever share exactly how many
differences there actually are and his methodology for
ascribing them to design? And his comment that there is
some kind of difference at the cellular level is interesting -
that is actually a research question that can be done, if
it has not already been done, and it may give useful
information. However, to go from that to "design" is a
big step. It seems to me that so many of these design
arguments do not properly address the huge variation that
exists in nature. Sure you can say that the variation
exists for the designer's inscrutable purpose but why
does that have explanatory power - from a scientific
point of view - greater than this is noise. At least when
you call it noise you are not committed to the explanation
and you can discard it.
----- Original Message -----
From: Howard J. Van Till
To: Jack Haas ; asa list
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2003 8:43 AM
Subject: Re: RFEP & ID
> A related area of research involves the question of why those different
> sequences are used. Evolutionists typically view them as the result of
> random changes.
Note how the camps are defined and named: there's the ID camp, and there's the Evolutionist camp. Either/or.
> In other words, there is no functional reason for the
> differences. This is typical for evolutionary theory. Rather than search
> for a function, evolutionary theory quickly concludes that a design is
> vestigial or perhaps the result of neutral evolution. In this way
> evolutionary theory, not ID, stifles research.
Here it would seem that the ID camp owns the idea of "function." Those "evolutionists" are not interested in finding function, but IDers are. Would an evolutionist care to defend the idea that looking for biological function is a stupid, non-evolutionist thing to do?
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