Re: Biological and Technological Evolution

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Sat Nov 19 2005 - 14:07:54 EST

Regarding biological evolution, we have to differentiate between what is
detectable scientifically (pace ID) and what may be posited on other
grounds. A theistic view insists on Providence, though the level of
involvement claimed varies among the holders. A deistic view has no
intervention. Atheism, materialism, scientism also insist on no
intervention, and no source. However, there is some level of teleology in
all the views. This does not have to be on the level of a plan, but
springs from the tendencies within the genome, the forces and limitations
of previous states, etc. A mutation may produce enhanced activity yet be
ruled out because the product interferes with other vital processes.
There was a recent report in /Science/, which I didn't locate, on two
similar materials, three letters v. the letters + H.

Technology often develops on the basis of "lucky accidents." If I recall
correctly, galvanic action, muscle twitches when a metal probe touched
it, gave rise to voltaic cells. Galvani's purpose, so far as I can
determine, had nothing to do with what resulted, and on which we are

If the technology is sufficiently advanced, we can detect it. Nature does
not produce metal gears. But how can one tell that a river rock has been
used as a hammer, unless perhaps we find mashed bark clinging to it? A
flint nodule may be smashed to give a sharp-edged piece suitable for use
as a scraper. How does not tell whether it was produced purposefully or
accidentally. I recall reading about the argument that went on before the
"discovery" of Piltdown man.

Demski's statement begs the question. We know enough about technology and
its history to recognize some artifacts. We find them where there is
additional evidence of human activity. But we do not have proof that
there is an analogous manufacture of organisms. Of course, if somebody
turns up an unmanned factory under the ice on Titan producing
nonreproducing organisms ...

On Sat, 19 Nov 2005 05:37:43 -0500 (EST) Gregory Arago
<> writes:
What are the differences between biological evolution and technological
Some of the basics are:
Biological Evolution – Organic-al (includes the physiological dimensions
of human beings who 'evolve'), (Pseudo-)Vital, includes Randomness,
Natural Selection and Sexual Selection, Ateleological
Technological Evolution – Mechanic-al (does not include the physiological
dimension of the supposed ‘evolvers’ of technology), (Pseudo-)non-Vital,
includes Purposefulness, Human Selectio n, Asexual Selection, Teleology
(i.e. means-end rationality)
Do ASA members agree with these differences and what other differences or
similarities should be identified about these two varieities of
evolution? Is one variety of evolution more valid than the other?
As an example, one Christian mathematician/philosopher claims the
“Biological evolution is indeed a form of technological evolution.” – W.
Dembski (2001)

All comments are appreciated.


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Received on Sat Nov 19 14:15:05 2005

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