Re: [asa] SC Morris piece "Darwin was right. Up to a point."

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Thu Aug 20 2009 - 15:22:34 EDT

Hi Chuck,

About all SCM is arguing is that the outcomes of evolution (i.e. evolutionary convergence) belie the claim that random mechanisms necessarily result in contingent outcomes.

So, for instance, more than half a dozen versions of the camera eye, all evolved independently, might suggest that something more than "chance" is involved.

SCM doesn't really put a thesis as to HOW this happens, he merely points out that it DOES happen, and that it makes certain claims - particularly Stephen Jay Gould's famous claim about rerunning the tape of life and getting a different outcome - questionable if not impossible.

It's a bit like having a lottery where you KNOW the mechanism is random, but the winners belong to a rather predictable demographic. The implication is that SOMETHING is going on, we just haven't put our finger on it yet.

If that seems counter-intuitive, you might like to consider that the winners of lotteries do, in fact, always fall within a certain demographic such that despite rigorous efforts to keep the mechanism random, the outcome is always predictable within limits.


You wrote:
> The BioLogos blog (Science and the Sacred) on BeliefNet recently highlighted
> this article by Simon Conway Morris from last February that I had missed:
> The comments posted below the article were overwhelmingly negative.
> Seems to me that Simon Conway Morris was simply stating that there are
> unsolved mysteries (such as evolutionary convergence, and human minds) that
> random mutation plus natural selection alone cannot explain. He also
> implies that such things as minds and direction in evolution are consistent
> (expected) with theism but perhaps not with atheism.
> It might seem that Morris concludes the article (with the bit about the
> coffin marked Atheism) by saying that the existence of minds and of
> convergence in evolution prove the existence of God. But the image of
> Darwinian evolution as God's "search engine" does not seem to match up with
> standard apologetic intelligent design-based proposals.
>>From this short piece I can't tell if Morris thinks the search engine is
> guided, or the "possibility space" being searched is designed, or neither.
> Perhaps Morris is mostly just trying to refute simplistic (New?) Atheist
> arguments such as "No Gaps, so No God" and "Random, so No God".
> Anyway, I like his emphasis on unsolved questions and mysteries.
> Cheers!
> Chuck Austerberry
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Received on Thu Aug 20 15:23:14 2009

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