Re: [asa] Endosymbiosis

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Sun Nov 01 2009 - 22:43:29 EST

Heya Dave,

The problem I'm having here is that the mere ability to investigate a
certain aspect of nature (either just by observation, or even in the more
narrow 'scientific' sense) does not make the associated narrative therefore
scientific. In one interview, I recall Margulis making the point that even
competitors in the business world have to cooperate - she didn't expand on
this, but I can see her doing so in a number of ways (Agreement to abide by
certain rules, legal or otherwise. Working off of a competitor's innovation.
Etc, etc.) And there seems to be a vast gulf of difference between observing
competition in nature, and declaring nature to be "red in tooth and claw",
for example. (Or, to give the other example between these two, observing
symbiotic relationships and declaring that nature therefore comprises a
single cooperative whole.)

And I would point out one lesser-emphasized aspect of the human condition:
It's claimed that humans tend to find patterns where there are none. But we
also have a tendency to not notice patterns that really do exist. (There's
that GK Chesterton quote of, 'Those who make history tend not to know
history. You can tell this by the sort of history they make.') I'd also
stress that I'm not saying that these patterns/narratives are purely
scientific. Far from it - I'm pointing out that, even though they make use
of some scientific observations, they are themselves extra-scientific. And I
think pointing this out (as in the case of Margulis and the Neo-Darwinian
views of nature) is not only important, but so too is bringing the TE / ID /
generally theistic perspective to the table.

On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 10:07 PM, dfsiemensjr <> wrote:

> I think a different line has to be drawn. Gaia is clearly extrascience,
> but it looks to me as though one can observationally distinguish between
> cooperation and competition. For example, chimps have a large size
> difference between males and females, and the males have large canines. They
> have a strongly competitive life style. Bonobos have a smaller difference in
> size, smaller canines, and seem to have much more friendly exchange among
> themselves. Human beings, with even less size difference and canines of
> little use in a fight, tend to get along in community, although there has
> been a great deal of competition among communities--earlier duchies and
> similar smaller groups, now more commonly nations. Similarly, there are
> carnivores and herbivores, attackers and defenders generally. Battles among
> herbivore males usually result only in the weaker taking a walk, not
> succumbing.
> In contrast to the matters detected observationally, there are metaphysical
> claims. One is that Nature is all there is, and it is without design. The
> photon or proton that strikes a spot on a DNA molecule is simply a random
> event. A different view is that the Creator established the rules by which
> natural events occur, but with generally the same kind of randomness.
> Another has the deity controlling events, but without leaving fingerprints.
> On this view the trajectory of the particle could have been designed into
> creation at the beginning or launched just before impact, but without our
> ability to detect the design. ID changes this to claim that at least some
> events bear the empirically discoverable fingerprints of God (or something).
> The notions of constraints--the inevitability of life and
> intelligence--could be investigated scientifically, except that the
> situation is so complicated that we cannot calculate a probability. In
> addition, there is the human tendency to discover patterns even in random
> patterns. That we like to find patterns, that we want to explain what
> underlies phenomena, makes speculation and metaphysics almost inevitable,
> but we need to understand the differences between what we can confirm and
> what we only imagine.
> Dave (ASA)
> On Sun, 1 Nov 2009 18:42:27 -0500 Schwarzwald <>
> writes:
> There's something I'd like to draw attention to here: The fact that
> Margulis (and seemingly neo-darwinists) place quite a lot of emphasis on and
> stock in something that seems very "extra-scientific". Namely, narratives.
> Nature as being competition-centric, "red in tooth and claw" versus nature
> as cooperative, achieving symbiotic relationships, etc. I suppose we could
> add in other views, like Michael Denton's perspective on nature as arranged
> such that the introduction and development of life (and eventually,
> intelligent life) as being inevitable. Or Simon Conway Morris' views that
> nature is rather tightly constrained, inevitably leading to certain forms
> (and again, inevitably, intelligent life). I'm sure there are others.
> Now, I'd argue that all of these views - from Margulis' and the
> Neo-Darwinists' to Conway Morris' and Denton's - are ultimately not pure
> science. And I also recognize that TEs don't have a unified view on such
> things. However, I do think this sort of thing is incredibly important for
> TEs (and ID proponents) to not only think about, but to write about, even
> cooperate on. And I also think that the reaction to Margulis and Lovelock
> should be taken note of. If I'm right that these "narratives" are ultimately
> extra-scientific, yet still treated as topics of professional interest by
> scientists, then I think this illustrates a problem that TEs are going to
> eventually have to face (and are being faced now by men like Conway Morris,
> etc.) Namely, the bulk of the controversy with religion and evolution does
> not have to do with the science itself, and that accepting the science yet
> rejecting the narrative (or worse, proposing an alternative narrative - say,
> one that emphasizes teleology and otherwise) is inevitably going to lead to
> a conflict that will at once be both inside and outside "science".
> Or, put another way: For TEs, just as with ID proponents, it's not going to
> be enough to accept the science and the data. Rejecting that
> extra-scientific narrative means that the spot that (rightly or wrongly)
> Behe and Dembski occupy today, will be occupied tomorrow by Ken Miller,
> Conway Morris, and others (and, at least with the more rabid wing - whose
> influence even I think is on the wane - 'tomorrow' is 'today'.)
> On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 8:53 PM, Randy Isaac <>wrote:
>> Dave,
>> Lynn Margulis has done a lot of railing against neo-Darwinism over the
>> years. She really is a maverick--and a rather refreshing one, in a way. (She
>> was the first wife of Carl Sagan) She came up with the endosymbiotic theory
>> which emphasized the cooperative element in prokaryotic evolution. That is,
>> different prokaryotic strains merged. Strongly rejected at first, it's
>> become more accepted now, I think. In a broader sense, she emphasizes
>> cooperation among various species, and consequent gene sharing, instead of
>> competition. She loves to tweak neo-darwinists for their emphasis on
>> competition.
>> She's pretty feisty in her manner. I think she was somehow involved with
>> Lovelock in developing the Gaia hypothesis.
>> When she calls a "mechanism" of evolution as being bogus, it's pretty
>> clear she's trying to get more acceptance of her own ideas of the importance
>> of cooperation relative to competition. As usual, both sides have probably
>> exaggerated the relative importance of their own ideas and there's an
>> element of truth on both sides.
>> Randy
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* David Clounch <>
>> *To:* Gregory Arago <>
>> *Cc:* George Murphy <> ; Ted Davis<>;
>> asa <>
>> *Sent:* Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:02 PM
>> *Subject:* Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?
>> I just witnessed Lynn Margulis rail against 'neo-Darwinism' *and*
>> 'western' biologists wrt their supposed 'mechanisms' of 'evolution,' which
>> she thinks are bogus)
>> Can you point to this? Thanks.
> ____________________________________________________________
> Top Bathroom Remodelers
> Get up to 4 free bathroom remodel estimates today. No obligation!<>

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Nov 1 22:44:06 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Nov 01 2009 - 22:44:06 EST