Re: Michael Palevitz

From: Chris Cogan (
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 21:16:32 EST

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    > I'm really sorry for this double post. I'm having some technical
    difficulties (for the last few months even)

    > Anyway, I would like to say something in response to this little snippet
    from Palevitz's article.

    > > Sure,
    > > Behe is coy enough (and a tad disingenuous) to avoid calling his
    > > God, but that's consistent with recent creationist strategy. Having
    > > to convince the Supreme Court that \"scientific creationism\" is
    > > they now package it as \"intelligent design theory.\"

    > Palevitz misses the point. Behe isn't being coy or disingenuous. He
    knows that science can't look for God. But science can make observations
    about intellegence and create tests for it. He is making the observation
    that certain mechanisms in life have unknown origins. The most similar
    mechanisms with known origins were intellegently designed. Therefore, it is
    not such an illogical leap to concider that these life mechanisms were also

    > Perhaps the designer is an alien. Perhaps a type of organization of
    energy that sustains intellegence but is unknown to us, however could have
    evolved in a purely naturalistic universe, decided to play around with
    carbon. Science fiction, speculation...of course. But the inference of
    design in nature is not an unscientific observation and does not
    automatically lead to the God depicted in the Bible.

    > It should not be dismissed by the scientific establishment purely because
    theists will use it as evidence that God exists.

    I agree, but would point out that there seems to be no evidence to make this
    hypothesis preferable to ordinary naturalistic evolution. And, even if it
    turns out that there is an alien designer, we have a long way to go before
    we have exhausted non-interventionist evolutionary theory. Behe (and Hoyle)
    only really serve to point out how much we don't know about how histone-4,
    etc. came about. The idea that their work on such things proves that purely
    naturalistic, *unintelligent* evolution is false is ludicrous, like arguing
    that the non-availability of a striaight land route between LA and New York
    means that it's impossible to get from LA to New York. I suppose this
    approach to falsifying naturalistic evolution could work, but it would take
    a *lot* more work than Behe or Hoyle have given it, because of the sheer
    quantity of prospective paths that would have to be excluded by their
    method. It doesn't look too promising to me, however.


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