Re: [asa] Jerry Coyne's latest blog post

From: Nucacids <>
Date: Wed Apr 22 2009 - 23:53:12 EDT

Coyne provides an interesting quote from Darwin:

I entirely reject, as in my judgment quite unnecessary, any subsequent addition 'of new powers and attributes and forces,' or of any 'principle of improvement', except in so far as every character which is naturally selected or preserved is in some way an advantage or improvement, otherwise it would not have been selected. If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish. . . I would give absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.

This adds another dimension to Darwin's complete insistence on strict gradualism and this dimension is metaphysical. By conferring omnipresence to natural selection (purchased with strict gradualism), by wanting it to function as a Law, it would crowd out any teleological force or divine intervention.


Neutral theory was able to remove Darwin's stranglehold because it opened the door just enough to let only Chance through. This is why Coyne insists, "But any injection of teleology into evolutionary biology violates precisely the great advance of Darwin's theory" and "If we're to defend evolutionary biology, we must defend it as a science: a nonteleological theory in which the panoply of life results from the action of natural selection and genetic drift acting on random mutations."

Strict gradualism was an extension (prediction) of Darwin's nonteleological perspective.



  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Austerberry, Charles
  Sent: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 3:57 PM
  Subject: [asa] Jerry Coyne's latest blog post


  Truckling to the Faithful: A Spoonful of Jesus Helps Darwin Go Down

  Though I disagree with his theology, Jerry Coyne is right that honesty requires acknowledgement of the entire spectrum of views regarding the compatibility of theism and evolution. It wasn't long ago that the many (perhaps majority) who see theism and evolution as compatible were too often ignored. Now that the views of Collins, Conway Morris, the two Millers, Haught, and others are better known, the incompatibilists are worried that their view is being ignored. But as far as I can tell, the incompatibilist view is still very widely seen and heard, both from the New Atheists like Coyne and from the anti-evolutionists (whether YEC, OEC, or ID). So, I don't blame the NCSE for emphasizing the compatibilist view. But, Coyne may have a point that the incompatibilists should be acknowledged a bit more (even if they are wrong :).


  Charles (Chuck) F. Austerberry


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Received on Wed Apr 22 23:54:13 2009

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