Re: [asa] Endosymbiosis

From: dfsiemensjr <>
Date: Mon Nov 02 2009 - 14:32:59 EST

I agree with your first paragraph, but need to note the standard human
tendency to undergird a view with "I'm right, so you have to agree."
Remember, those who think they're right are very irritating to those of
us who know we are. There is also the tendency to see every claim as
fitting one's personal viewpoint, thereby making correction impossible.

As to Chesterton's statement, I have to agree, but, as you note, I think
the cause is ignorance of history. What one has not grasped cannot be
entered into a view. What has been indoctrinated in altered form will not
enter a pattern reflecting the truth. And I thought I had noted that
nonempirical stuff got added to the empirically derived theories.
Dave (ASA)

On Sun, 1 Nov 2009 22:43:29 -0500 Schwarzwald <>
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 <>

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 <>
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 <>

  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.

----- 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.

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Received on Mon Nov 2 15:55:20 2009

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