Re: Developing story: Steve Gould's friend says Gould would never have signed NCSE's "Steve" list

From: Dr. David Campbell <>
Date: Tue Oct 25 2005 - 14:41:05 EDT

> On the one hand, he did clearly question the idea that NS is
> adequate the explain the whole shebbang, and I would agree with Behe
> that NS by itself might not be able to do it. In support of this, he
> brought in (for example) Kauffmann's work on self-organizing
> complexity, as a non-ID challenge to NS. On the other hand, he also
> seemed to imply that ID is questioning whether NS really does much of
> anything. This confuses me.
> When I mention "microevolution" to my ID friends, they tell me that
> they have no problem with this, and yet microevolution (or adaptation
> if you prefer) is run by NS, at least in my understanding. If so,
> then it *has* to be "a major mechanism" in evolution. Saying that NS
> is a major mechanism is not at all the same thing as saying that it
> is the one and only mechanism, or even the one single major one. The
> choice of the indefinite article here does seem deliberate, and
> appropriate. Am I missing something?

As far as I can tell, there is general agreement that NS is not the
whole picture. At the very least, mutations must occur for NS to act
on. In addition, there are the roles of factors such as sexual
selection, catastrophes, random genetic drift, drastic mutations (such
as genome duplication), genetic interactions, particular constraints,
historical contingency, etc. The relative roles for selection versus
other factors is very much an issue of current research, which
unfortunately provides opportunities for quote mining to distort into
antievolutionary assertions. These factors can operate at micro and
macro levels, no matter what criteria are used to draw that line.

I have not encountered a coherent distinction between microevolution
and macroevolution as used by ID or YEC.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections Building
Department of Biological Sciences
Biodiversity and Systematics
University of Alabama, Box 870345
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0345  USA
Received on Tue Oct 25 14:42:01 2005

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