conservation of information
Sat, 21 Aug 1999 12:04:16 EDT

Hi Tim,

Having read interesting posts of yours in the past, I was disappointed to
hear you refer to critics of Darwinism as "bashing evolution". Such
terminology is why I usually find myself emotionally on the side of
creationists, even though my own thoughts are not consistent with either
Darwinism or creationism.
I was impressed with two articles Steve cited recently.

The first, by Johnson seems an eminently reasonable definition of the
philosophies behind Darwinism and creationism. If people are free to reject
those philosophies with which they disagree, and science firmly identifies
itself with a particular philosophy, shouldn't anyone feel free to reject

The second article, written by someone dissatisfied with both Darwinism and
creationism (my position), was also offered by Steve-even though, as a
creationist, he obviously is not in complete agreement. On the subject of
evolution, religious people appear more tolerant and open to discussion than
those who defend Darwinism. People discussing this subject have firm
philosophical commitments, which I have no desire to change. However, for
those people looking for alternatives I suggest a simple one.

Lee Spetner's discussion of information obscures his real position-a form of
neo Lamarckism. The "intelligent design" some people see in nature might
merely be the existence of will. Great designs are often simple. I see no
reason to restrict the possession of will to humans-or to mammals-or to any
form of life. (Humans do seem to have more than their share of it.) The
ability to make choices is one definition of life. Those who see life as a
mechanistic, predictable, deterministic process would disagree, of course.
Even Darwinists sometimes admit they don't know what causes mutations to take
the form they take. Some even admit they don't know the source of macro
mutations. Insistence that they must be "random" seems a determination to
maintain ignorance about them. Whether, as Spetner suggests, mutations are
influenced by use (and use can be a result of will) would be difficult to
determine, if the process were slow and subtle. However, since science has
declared Lamarckism to have been officially "discredited", many scientists
would fear to even try.