Re: It's the Bible or evolution

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Thu Sep 29 2005 - 12:33:49 EDT

Re: "...the idea that the search is not random is non evolutionary."
 Ah, but is this not precisely where the elegance of the selection
process manifests? The process of "exploration" does not proceed
randomly in any mathematical sense. With each extension into the space,
the conditions of the evolutionary " exploration" change. Some paths may
simply form the foundation for a subsequent evolutionary extension (the
basic algorithm for eventually exploring the entire space). But
selection (testing), when and in whatever form it may impose itself,
alters that algorithm profoundly. The selection action is in itself
virtually cannot be random because its affect is shaped by the
particular circumstance - the configuration of the DNA and its contexts,
both structurally and ambient.

A substantially deficient result places that particular development path
at risk or even results in its termination. On the other hand, a
substantially advantageous result outcompetes one or more of less
beneficial (whatever that might mean) alternatives from the same branch
point. The whole calculus of outcomes is also very dependent upon
whether there is a single or many similarly satisfactory (in the eyes of
the Creator) courses of action and outcomes.

All of this is precisely the means by which that the entire space need
not be explored at all, and in fact may be continuing to be explored
because the potential of the space has not necessarily been exhausted.


Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> Randy:
> Your descriptions below are nice and symmetric, but I think there is
> more to the story. For instance, if TE is not breaking the link
> between God and creation, and God can accomplish his will via the
> evolutionary process, then why must the detection of divine action be
> out of bounds? And why is evoluiton a fact? I would be delighted if
> this were merely a misunderstanding, and if I am guilty of imposing a
> particular view of what "evolution" means.
> We discussed the problem of evolution searching the DNA space and
> creating new species. You mentioned that it is probably likely that
> this would happen, with the justification that "We certainly know that
> the full design space doesn't need to be tested and that any such
> 'testing' is not at random."
> Actually, the idea that the full design space need not be searched is
> weak, and the idea that the search is not random is non evolutionary.
> The only way I know that the full design space would not need to be
> searched would be if that space was largely filled with useful,
> functioning designs. But this clearly is not the case. It certainly is
> true that there is flexibility in known genomes. One can make all
> sorts of changes and still have a functioning genome. But this should
> not be confused with any idea that functioning genomes are common in
> the DNA space. Quite the opposite. The bottom line is a search through
> the DNA space would have to cover the majority of the space before
> obtaining appreciable probabilities of hitting on functioning genomes.
> --Cornelius
>> Cornelius,
>> I think this is a very pertinent paragraph in the sense of
>> understanding the fundamental difference between ID and TE. Do I
>> understand the issue correctly as follows?
>> ID perspective:
>> In common usage among scientists and laity, evolution refers
>> to the development of species through random, purposeless, unguided
>> events rather than by any type of divine action. As such, evolution
>> is inherently antithetical to any orthodox view of creation. In
>> response to the specific retort of TE folks that that this combines a
>> metaphysical interpretation of meaning and guidance (or the lack
>> thereof) with the science and is not truly core scientific evolution,
>> the ID community responds, "indeed, but that's just the
>> point--scientists have combined scientific and metaphysical views
>> into a single concept called evolution and that is what we oppose."
>> TE perspective:
>> The "common usage" is wrong and evolution can and should be
>> divorced from the "random, purposeless, unguided.." metaphysical
>> interpretation. Then it can be possible to harmonize with various
>> views of creation. In response to the specific retort of ID that
>> this is not how evolution is discussed and taught in practice, the TE
>> community responds "indeed, but that's just the point--evolution is
>> too commonly taught with a metaphysical atheistic flavor and we
>> should oppose that error rather than agree with the fusion and oppose
>> evolution altogether."
>> So I do think you are correct that many people (though not all!) use
>> "common descent" and "evolution" to mean "as opposed to any divine
>> influence". The ID community chooses to accept the definition and
>> fight the terms while the TE community chooses to accept the terms
>> and fight the definition.
>> Randy
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Cornelius Hunter"
>> <>
>> To: <>; <>
>> Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 4:25 PM
>> Subject: Re: It's the Bible or evolution
>>> Clearly there is a conflict between evolution and orthodoxy, so I
>>> don't think that the conflict view is "simply false." A way to
>>> avoid this would be to remake the theory of evolution such that it
>>> is considered to be merely God's deterministic creation tool, but of
>>> course this is not evolution as we know it. The point is not whether
>>> common descent or evolution, *per se* can be viewed as orthodox. Of
>>> course they can when the additional evolutionary thinking is not
>>> attached. But this is not what is meant by these terms. Common
>>> descent and evolution are used to refer to the idea that there is a
>>> break in the link between God and creation, such that designs in
>>> creation do not represent divine will. How can this be orthodox?
>>> --Cornelius
Received on Thu Sep 29 12:35:40 2005

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