Re: design and the nature of science (was: Re: [asa] Re: Gingerich on TE and ID)

From: Cameron Wybrow <>
Date: Mon Jun 15 2009 - 10:34:55 EDT

Actually, Bernie, that's not the case. Here are just three paragraphs for

If the parts of the universe are so fine-tuned that they cannot help but
fall together into certain biologically functional arrangements, then
irreducibly complex structures will of course form through a front-loaded
evolutionary process. The evolutionary process would then be analogous to
the embryological process, in that the outcome would be planned from the
beginning, with the changes all ready in advance. But this would be a
planned evolutionary process, unlike Darwin's evolutionary process, the
essential nature of which is to be unplanned. Irreducible complexity does
not clash with "evolution"; it clashes with "unplanned evolution". Behe
assumed that any careful reader of *Darwin's Black Box* would understand
that he was talking about "unplanned evolution".

Of course, there is as yet no evidence that fine-tuning can accomplish such
an evolutionary feat. Fine-tuning at the evolutionary level essentially
requires that the earliest DNA has the plan for the whole march of life
implicit in it, and this claim is still highly speculative, and will remain
so until we understand what all the apparently unused DNA is for. But this
view is no more speculative than Darwinism itself. Each view requires one
seemingly incredible claim. Darwinism requires us to believe that time
after time, over the course of life, accident produces new functional
structures, with the whole process conveniently tending upwards toward man;
front-loading or fine-tuning requires us to believe that level after level
of biological complexity is packed into the fundamental properties of the
chemical elements, and this gives to biochemical necessity the awesome power
that Darwinism gives to chance. On the face of it, it seems incredible that
either chance or necessity could have such powers.

The smart money, I would say, is on the view that the evolutionary process
is in fact intelligently guided. It's a view consistent with our knowledge
of integrated complex systems, and of the limited power of Darwinian
mechanisms. It's a view in tune with common sense. It's the view that
seems to be held by Ted Davis and George Murphy and Robert Russell, and
also, I am told, by Owen Gingerich and other TEs. It is also a view
compatible with the arguments of Behe and of many other ID supporters. But
it is of course a view which, according to many here, is unscientific, or
non-scientific. I never said that intelligently guided evolution was
"scientific" in the sense of a formal scientific hypothesis, but I certainly
believe that it is compatible with the best scientific data -- more
compatible, in fact, than pure Darwinism is. Once again, I think that TE,
when it is not afraid to say directly and without ambiguity that God
controlled the evolutionary process to produce certain specific results, is
in tune with some versions of ID.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dehler, Bernie" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 3:19 PM
Subject: RE: design and the nature of science (was: Re: [asa] Re: Gingerich
on TE and ID)

>I think one TE could say "yes" (fully gifted creation- Howard Van Till),
>and another might say "No" because God needs to guide it somewhat or at
>certain times.
> Cameron said:
> ID says, "NO -- unless the properties of the atoms and the laws of nature
> are fine-tuned, which implies design."
> If ID says it could happen, then that blows apart Behe's mousetrap example
> (irreducible complexity), which is a pillar for ID I think ("Icons of ID"
> if you will).

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Received on Mon Jun 15 10:38:29 2009

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