Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Thu Aug 23 2007 - 13:24:51 EDT

Moorad correctly noted that a definition of evolution is needed;
likewise ID must be defined. Also, there's some confusion about
exactly what should be predicted.

In the present context, universal common descent and abiotic origin of
life without supernatural intervention is a reasonable description of
the evolutionary option, though of course one might accept any portion
of that without accepting all of it.

The more ID claims I see the less sure I am about its definition.
Behe specifically claims that there is extensive common descent but
significant intervention.

As Michael noted, evolution's predictions of continuity make us to
expect that, within the vagaries of the fossil record, we should see a
sequence of organisms making a chain of relationships. The patterns
of molecular and anatomical similarity likewise match the expectations
of evolutionary continuity. I have not found any evidence of an edge
of evolution that separates one organism from another when the
branches are traced back along an evolutionary tree, though the branch
tips may be widely spaced. On the other hand there are clear external
constraints on the tree from the laws of physics, etc.

To some extent there's a half empty/half full component-there's a lot
we don't know about complex molecular systems. However, ID rhetoric
tends to claim that a half-full glass has been proven scientifically
to be empty, whereas in reality evolutionary explanations keep being
developed for additional systems.

Evolutionary theory does not predict the exact historical contingent
path taken by organisms, just as gravitational theory does not tell us
how many planets to expect in any part of the galaxy, but they both
predict the types of patterns that we do see .

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Thu Aug 23 13:25:00 2007

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