Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record

From: John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue Dec 01 2009 - 18:02:54 EST

"For example, my own view of human origins allows for common descent of our biological form, but I believe a special creative act is required for our full humanity in the image of God (say, in the creation of the human soul)."

I wouldn't consider this a different category than TE. I would say the boundary between TE and other forms is the "common descent of our biological form" with variations on the theme after that. I myself am open to the possibility of this intervention but I consider it a meaningless distinction and not worthy of differentiation simply because we can never verify this one way or the other. I am agnostic on this and I think that is the only reasonable position because I don't see how we can ever meaningfully settle it otherwise. The only distinctions that matter are what we can settle from science and evidence which would include CD.

The "many who reject Darwinian evolution are still comfortable with common descent" are an interesting twist but I don't know who this would be referring to except possibly Behe and other ID'ers, unless you consider yourself in the category based on your distinction of Darwinian evolution but which I wouldn't. To me I consider Darwinian evolution to be only defined by the mechanisms of evolution that Darwin identified which would include your definition. I do not bundle in his extra-scientific philosphical beliefs or speculations because they simply do not matter so that would exclude your definition.

So I cannot see any useful value in the distinction between those "who reject Darwinian evolution" and "are still comfortable with common descent". I think CD pretty much brings along the rest of Darwin's mechanisms or at least it should logically, even if you augment them with some outside intelligence or intervention.

Thanks

John

----- Original Message ----
From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 11:40:58 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record

Hi,

This is a funny group to interact with, I must admit. It seems that Michael Roberts is the only one to get the point.

While I don't necessarily disagree with Mike and Ted in their reference to Kuhn and all, and I suspect that Dawkins himself wouldn't disagree, the main point is that there is NO ANOMALY. Not a single one. That's the main question I'm asking here. Are there any anomalies with respect to this particular issue? The closest thing to one that I can think of is the question of stratiographic inversions. But once the possibility of an inversion is allowed, it's no longer an anomaly. A far cry from Ptolemaic epicycles.

As for John's question about common ancestry, I have to say that the sentence was added in order to preclude some objections that I've heard on the list from several folks, that many who reject Darwinian evolution are still comfortable with common descent. I'm taking common descent the way that Steve Martin did. It's possible that a "special creationist" event (e.g. injection of information) would be required in order to go from ancestor to descendent--as he points out, this is consistent with some ID advocates. Whether you want to call this common descent is a matter of semantics. I am willing to call that common descent. For example, my own view of human origins allows for common descent of our biological form, but I believe a special creative act is required for our full humanity in the image of God (say, in the creation of the human soul).

The point remains. There are no exceptions in the fossil record to the canonical common descent sequence.

In Chapter 4 Dawkins points out that the common YEC model, that fossils were laid down in the flood and their sequence reflects the organism's ability to flee the encroaching flood waters, would at best produce a statistical distribution in the fossil record rather than the exceptionless pattern that we find.

TG

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Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
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Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
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Received on Tue Dec 1 18:03:10 2009

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