Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Mon Sep 22 2008 - 22:47:17 EDT

Hi Timaeus,

I think you did a nice job of outlining some of the bogus arguments against
ID and explaining why many mainstream IDers have problems with TE.

However, as someone who was recently promoted to the level of “prominent ID
proponent,” I’d like to add another level to what I consider to be a core
issue.

You write:

“I want to make it clear from the outset that ID is not opposed to evolution
as such. It is in fact, in pure form, neutral on the question whether
species are created by the direct action of an intelligent maker, or through
a process of evolution. The science of ID, insofar as it can be accepted as
science, can establish only the fact of design, not the causal history by
which design was instantiated in nature. Thus ID has no reason for being
dogmatically opposed to evolution as the “historical” means by which design
found its way into living things.”

Indeed. I have always argued that design can be expressed through
evolution, as there is no valid reason for considering the two to be
mutually exclusive. They not only can co-exist, they can interface.

“So what is ID opposed to? It is opposed only to the notion that the
evolutionary process is unguided by any designing intelligence.”

This is good, too.

“In other words, it is opposed only to orthodox neo-Darwinism, as advocated
by people like Dawkins and Coyne and Sagan and Gould.”

Okay, here’s where we run into trouble. You would need to actually define
“orthodox neo-Darwinism.” For example, Dawkins and Gould not do advocate
the same view of evolution. Dawkins places great emphasis on natural
selection, while Gould emphasizes contingency.

I’m a “prominent ID proponent” who also accepts “orthodox neo-Darwinism.” I
fully accept everything about mainstream evolutionary theory. I don’t view
“orthodox neo-Darwinism” as something that is wrong or misguided. I simply
view it as being an incomplete perspective. In other words, if evolution is
a 3-D process, “orthodox neo-Darwinism” is a 2-D representation.

A simple way to represent orthodox neo-Darwinism is as RM + NS. I accept RM
and I accept NS and I accept the way they interact. I simply add another
dimension to it, where I propose that evolution = RM + NS under control.

Of course, we know from artificial selection that such control is possible.
But this is extrinsic control (control of the environment). I think a truly
clever designer would have figured out a way to take such extrinsic control
and make it intrinsic (embed it into the fabric of life itself). How much
control is possible? That is the VERY question that can allow us to view
orthodox neo-Darwinism from a positive, ID perspective.

So I guess I am trying to say that while I agree that ID opposes the notion
that the evolutionary process is unguided by any designing intelligence, I
don’t think it opposes orthodox neo-Darwinism. Unless orthodox neo-Darwinism
is just a proxy for the non-teleological insistence that in the end, things
‘just happen.’ But if that’s the case, it’s better to describe it as
non-teleology.

- Mike Gene

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Received on Mon Sep 22 22:47:30 2008

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