Re: [asa] historical versus experimental sciences

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Date: Fri Aug 21 2009 - 18:24:21 EDT

Your comment on "chance and necessity" does indicate the sticking point for ID and many evangelicals (as well as the late 19th century Princeton Sem. crowd).? Curiously it didn't seem to bother the biblical writers.? Qoheleth's statement in Ecclesiastes 9:11 could be used as a motto for Darwinian evolution (even as Cameron wants to define it):? "The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all."? Similar thoughts are expressed in Proverbs.



Karl V. Evans? (asa member)

-----Original Message-----
From: Tim <>
Cc: asa <>
Sent: Thu, Aug 20, 2009 7:48 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] historical versus experimental sciences

Cameron Wybrow wrote:?
> Note also Hebert's own rather pathetic explanation to try to get out > of the?
> consequences of his research: he postulates an evolutionary cleansing?
> mechanism for which he has *absolutely no empirical evidence*, merely?
> because without such a mechanism he does not see how he can fight off?
> "creationist" conclusions. Sadly, that's the neo-Darwinian way of doing?
> science. When the facts are against you, postulate undocumented > mechanisms,?
> forces, factors, etc. Do *anything* but admit that the evidence may > be more?
> in favour of intelligent design than of accidental mutations and > fortuitous?
> selections. In neo-Darwinism, empiricism goes out the window in > favour of?
> maintaining *a priori* commitments to chance and necessity. This is why?
> neo-Darwinism is an embarrassment to science. It does not meet the > minimum?
> requirements of intellectual honesty, which dictate that when opponents?
> score a point, it should be granted to them.?
Actually, there are many *known* mechanisms behind the accumulation of genetic changes and these often happen together. The question is which mechanisms have the strongest influence. This matters because different mechanisms produce different phenomena and this potentially allows one to distinguish between mechanisms. From those models, one can go back and examine whether those influences are consistent in similar situations. One can also work deeper, even to the core biochemistry, to see what makes mitochondria exceptional in this regard. What Herbert found was that neutral drift was likely not a dominant mechanism in reducing within-species diversity for the gene encoding cyt-c oxidase. *That* observation didn't fit with empirical results. Other researchers have confirmed this and presented evidence supporting models with more frequent sweeps. In contrast, neutral theory is more in accord when they examine nuclear genes. This points to several possible mechanisms operating
 with the mitochondrion, a few of which might be amenable to confirmation.?
Interestingly, the results do confirm a strong temporal correlation with between-species diversity and the proposed time since the populations split. That's certainly an unexpected result for those proposing a separate creation model for species.?
Cameron, I personally don't consider meteorology an embarrassment to science because meteorologists don't discard "*a priori* commitments to chance and necessity" when they can't predict the weather several weeks in advance. There are any number of phenomena found in all branches of the physical sciences for which we don't have refined explanations -- Some hints in many cases, but still with details undetermined. Does it raise your ire when scientists persist in investigating mechanisms of "chance and necessity" in other fields? At least in my work, I always work to exhaust natural mechanisms first. Further, if one finds that evolutionary mechanisms are too flexible, how does adding "intelligent design" to the explanatory mix help? And why is the history of life afflicted with such metaphysical uneasiness and not, say, embryological development, cancer or oil viscosity breakdown in engines??
T. Ikeda?
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Received on Fri Aug 21 18:25:14 2009

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