Re: [asa] Rejoinder 1B from Timaeus: to Mike Gene, Jack Syme, et al.

From: Nucacids <>
Date: Fri Sep 26 2008 - 19:40:04 EDT

Hi Timaeus,

“But natural selection, despite Dawkins, can only explain the survival of
the fittest, not the arrival of the fittest. Natural selection can sculpt,
but the block of stone that it sculpts has to come from mutations, and given
Dawkins’s rejection of God, angels, Demiurges, etc., the mutations cannot be
intelligently guided. (We’ll leave aside his curious, ID-like proposal of
aliens, heard in the Expelled film!) So chance plays a big part in
evolution, no matter what Dawkins says.”

I agree that evolution, from a non-teleological viewpoint, rests heavily on
chance. It is, in essence, the foundation. This is why Dawkins was never a
very good critic of Behe. If you are dealing with the origin of a system
where its function depends on the interaction of multiple parts, then at
some point, you’ll have to invoke cooption. Yet from a non-telic
perspective, cooption is just a fortuitous event. Of course, there is no
reason to insist cooption must always be viewed this way.

“Thus, to add a designing, intervening intelligence, whether transcendent or
immanent, to explain the origin of even one feature of even one creature, is
to add a non-natural element to nature, an element the existence of which
Darwin and all orthodox neo-Darwinists deny.”

Yes, the non-telic perspective is an extremist perspective. This is why we
could put someone like Gould and Gish at opposite ends of a continuum and
most people here (I assume) would be somewhere between.

“Further, Denton’s position does not require absurdly low-probability
events, in which co-ordinated mutational sequences capable of building
complex organs arise by chance; for Denton, those mutational sequences were
programmed from the start.”

But there are problems here. For example, how does Denton explain
contingency? Is he advocating determinism?

“It sounds as if your position is close to, if not identical with, Denton’s.
Have you any comments on his work, if you’ve read it?”

My own views fall somewhere between those of Denton and Behe.

- Mike Gene

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Received on Fri Sep 26 19:40:20 2008

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