Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one

From: PvM <>
Date: Thu Sep 25 2008 - 13:59:01 EDT

And yet in 'edge of evolution' Behe seems to be arguing exactly that there
are limits to evolution, in other words, it denies evolution as an
explanation for how life evolved.

In fact, the logic dictates that there remain two explanations, one which
requires an active intervention to overcome limits of evolution, such as
argued by most of the prominent ID proponents, and then there is the 'moving
the goalposts' variant, which seems to be gaining some traction, which moves
all the 'design' to the initial conditions, which is also known as 'front
loading' while allowing that natural processes themselves were fully
sufficient to explain the evolution, once set in motion.

Logic dictates that until ID's definition of design is changed, ID
necessarily entails a denial of evolution as being sufficient. Even Behe
places the Edge of Evolution at the level of Genera and above. Although he
still seems to accept Common Descent he also seems to believe that
evolutionary theory is insufficient to explain CD about the species level.

That strong evidence from the pseudogene points well beyond the ancestry of
humans. Despite some remaining puzzles," there's no reason to doubt that
Darwin had this point right, that all creatures on earth are biological

The bottom line is this. Common descent is true; yet the explanation of
common descent—even the common descent of humans and chimps—although
fascinating, is in a profound sense trivial. It says merely that
commonalities were there from the start, present in a common ancestor. It
does not even begin to explain where those commonalities came from, or how
humans subsequently acquired remarkable differences. Something that is
nonrandom must account for the common descent of life.

All creatures are biological relatives but something non-random must account
for the common descent of life. True, evolutionary theory provides quite a
credible answer, however ID seems to confuse the concept of random when it
moves from the fact of evolution to the mechanisms of evolution.
Which leads Behe down a path of ignoring scientific findings in support of
his belief that evolutionary processes cannot explain many of the features
of life. The alternative? Behe won't tell.
--For example, the possibility of intelligent design is quite compatible
with common descent, which some religious people disdain. What's more,
although some religious thinkers envision active, continuing intervention in
nature, intelligent design is quite compatible with the
view that the universe operates by unbroken natural law, with the design of
life perhaps packed into its initial set-up. (In fact, possibilities two and
three listed above—where nonrandomness was assigned either to complex laws
or to the environment—can be viewed as particular examples of this. I think
it makes for greater clarity of discussion, however, just to acknowledge
explicitly in those cases that the laws or special conditions were purposely
designed to produce life.)
In other words, common descent may be correct, evolutionary mechanisms may
be correct and thus all we have is a belief that these laws were purposely
designed to produce life. Fine, that is a valid religious position fully
compatible with evolution. However, the standard ID proponent does not seem
to like this as it does not require an actively participating Designer (wink
wink), just as Darwin had argued. In the latter case however, ID offers
nothing new scientifically speaking, and when insisting on an intervening
Designer (wink wink) it suffers from an ever worse problem, the lack of
relevant hypotheses which are based on a denial of evolutionary processes
being sufficient.
By its foundation in not explained by natural laws thus designed, ID has
thus either chosen to remain without anything novel (front loading) or
without any competing hypotheses (interventionism).
On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 6:07 PM, Nucacids <> wrote:
> Hi Ted,
> What I am saying is that ID has an appeal that extends beyond the inner
> circles' CD-denial.  I think this is so for two reasons.  First, the inner
> circle's version of ID is just a variant of design arguments that have been
> part of Western culture for centuries. Thus, ID spoke to a larger population
> than the creationist community –anyone sympathetic to design arguments.
> Second, Behe as the break-out guy is key – for his acceptance of evolution
> clearly testifies that ID does not entail a denial of evolution.  And, more
> importantly, *the logic backs this up.*
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Received on Thu Sep 25 13:59:40 2008

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