"Bashing, choice & lamarkism" was "conservation..."

Sat, 21 Aug 1999 17:13:47 EDT

To tikeda@sprintmail.hormel.com (Tim Ikeda)

Tim: "bashing evolution" is a fair description of what
>many, including Johnson, do to promote creationism in lieu
>of presenting a positive, testable theory of creation. If they
>in fact did manage to present something besides "it's not
>evolution" and other, purely negative negative arguments then
>I would be happy to choose another descriptor.

>Note that I do not make it a practice to charcterize all
>critics of Darwinism as "evolution bashers", only certain
>ones. Further, one who is not a Darwinist is not necessarily
>an anti-evolutionist.

Hi Tim, thanks of the reasoned response. Many people
become defensive when their beliefs are challenged,
but with a lifelong interest in science, I hadn't expected
it of scientists. Maybe it isn't universal, but ridicule and
personal attack seems a common tactic among people
defending Darwinism. As far as I can tell, Johnson accepts
some form of evolution. It is Darwinism he challenges.
If creationism isn't testable, neither is "random mutation
and natural selection as an explanation of macro evolution",
IMHO. (Anything else isn't really Darwinism, is it? Ideas
about evolution were around before Darwin.) Surely you
aren't suggesting no one should criticize Darwinism except
Darwinists?? (Apparently that that is Lowenton's view: --the
experts should be accepted without questions from an ignorant
populace!!) I disagree with Johnson about religion but I have
read many of his critics of, none of whom I found as reasonable
as Johnson, himself. I'll try to get Tower of Babel.

>I have to disagree with this characterization of Johnson's
>arguments regarding the philosophies behind Darwinism. Johnson's
>position has been critically examined by others on this list an
>in print. Ultimately, I've found Johnson's philosophical
>characterization of evolution to be excessively strict and
>not even in line with other Christian views (particularly TE).

Perhaps all Darwinists aren't materialists, but most admit
to a strictly mechanistic philosophy. It's hard for me to imagine
a belief in Darwinism and not be a materialist. But then there are
an infinite variety of ways people manage to make sense of their world.

>I'm not sure of that author's position wrt common descent.


>What is yours? My view is that common descent is effectively
>a fact. I call this "evolution". I have difficulty finding
>common ground with people who cannot seem to get their minds
>around such a simple and straightfoward deduction from the
>patterns of life we see today.

I am agnostic on common descent. There is lots of evidence for it.
But was there one common ancestor? 5? 10? 100? 1000?

>And what of the Morrises, Hams or Gishes. Or Johnson's attempts
>at relating materialistic evolution with decay of morals
>in society? They've got to drop that devisive line. Even other
>Christians have complained about the polarizing effects
>their rhetoric has had. Similarly I wish Provine and Dawkins
>would shut up about their pet teleological conclusions from
>evolution. You heard it from me: "That's all crap."

I rarely read Morris, etc. I do read Dawkins -because I feel I
should understand what someone is saying before I disagree.

>By far, the majority of scientists that I know tend to be
>much more careful of teleology and science.

I agree. (secret: I have a scientist in the family) However, scientists
aren't the usually participants of this debate. I've yet to meet a Darwin-
defender who would admit the possible existence or teleology.

>> 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.

>.I disagree. Aren't you talking about the definition of free will
>instead> snip. Define "choice" in a manner
>that applies to humans and E. coli and we'll discuss. The idea
>of "choice" carries so much metaphysical baggage that I'd hesitate
>to include it in a discussion of bacterial behavior without
>massive qualificiations.

Even if evidence were found for "use" as an influence on mutations,
that would say nothing about "will". "Use" could consist habit or instinct
-and be random. "Will", which is not random, remains outside the realm
of science.---unless science figures out a way to define and measure it.
Is everything which has an effect upon the physical world the concern of
Should science ignore what it can not now measure? Consciousness and
mind are two other concepts science is trying to define and measure. If they
exist, each have an effect upon the physical world. If science is
unsuccessful in
measuring such concepts, would they be justified in saying they don't exist?
Hard questions, but I suspect science will be stuck with "random mutation and
selection" until it addresses them.

>Denton also rejects Lamarkian evolution in his recent book, even
>though I suspect it could be helpful for his pet theory. Mike
>does not claim that it doesn't happen but that Lamarkian mechanisms
>are generally only found in special cases -- not generally as might
>otherwise be suspected.

With Darwinism in such shambles, I wouldn't ridicule anyone's ideas
--including proteinoids and creationism and design. Science is in need of
daring new thoughts, and I'm confident they will materialize-so long as
no one passes a law that everyone has to believe in Darwinism.