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Fact, Fable, and Darwin (If you haven't read this already, you should!!!)
American Enterprise Magazine ^ | 8/04 | Rodney Stark

Posted on 08/02/2004 3:58:04 PM PDT by Renfield

Fact, Fable, and Darwin By Rodney Stark

I write as neither a creationist nor a Darwinist, but as one who knows what is probably the most disreputable scientific secret of the past century: There is no plausible scientific theory of the origin of species! Darwin himself was not sure he had produced one, and for many decades every competent evolutionary biologist has known that he did not. Although the experts have kept quiet when true believers have sworn in court and before legislative bodies that Darwin's theory is proven beyond any possible doubt, that's not what reputable biologists, including committed Darwinians, have been saying to one another.

Without question, Charles Darwin would be among the most prominent biologists in history even if he hadn't written The Origin of Species in 1859. But he would not have been deified in the campaign to "enlighten" humanity. The battle over evolution is not an example of how heroic scientists have withstood the relentless persecution of religious fanatics. Rather, from the very start it primarily has been an attack on religion by militant atheists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science.

When a thoroughly ideological Darwinist like Richard Dawkins claims, "The theory is about as much in doubt as that the earth goes round the sun," he does not state a fact, but merely aims to discredit a priori anyone who dares to express reservations about evolution. Indeed, Dawkins has written, "It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane...."

That is precisely how "Darwin's Bulldog," Thomas Huxley, hoped intellectuals would react when he first adopted the tactic of claiming that the only choice is between Darwin and Bible literalism. However, just as one can doubt Max Weber's Protestant Ethic thesis without thereby declaring for Marxism, so too one may note the serious shortcomings of neo-Darwinism without opting for any rival theory. Modern physics provides a model of how science benefits from being willing to live with open questions rather than embracing obviously flawed conjectures.

What is most clear to me is that the Darwinian Crusade does not prove some basic incompatibility between religion and science. But the even more immediate reality is that Darwin's theory falls noticeably short of explaining the origin of species. Dawkins knows the many serious problems that beset a purely materialistic evolutionary theory, but asserts that no one except true believers in evolution can be allowed into the discussion, which also must be held in secret. Thus he chastises Niles Eldridge and Stephen Jay Gould, two distinguished fellow Darwinians, for giving "spurious aid and comfort to modern creationists."

Dawkins believes that, regardless of his or her good intentions, "if a reputable scholar breathes so much as a hint of criticism of some detail of Darwinian theory, that fact is seized upon and blown up out of proportion." While acknowledging that "the extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record" is a major embarrassment for Darwinism, Stephen Jay Gould confided that this has been held as a "trade secret of paleontology" and acknowledged that the evolutionary diagrams "that adorn our textbooks" are based on "inference...not the evidence of fossils."

According to Steven Stanley, another distinguished evolutionist, doubts raised by the fossil record were "suppressed" for years. Stanley noted that this too was a tactic begun by Huxley, always careful not to reveal his own serious misgivings in public. Paleontologist Niles Eldridge and his colleagues have said that the history of life demonstrates gradual transformations of species, "all the while really knowing that it does not." This is not how science is conducted; it is how ideological crusades are run.

By Darwin's day it had long been recognized that the fossil evidence showed that there had been a progression in the biological complexity of organisms over an immense period of time. In the oldest strata, only simple organisms are observed. In more recent strata, more complex organisms appear. The biological world is now classified into a set of nested categories. Within each genus (mammals, reptiles, etc.) are species (dogs, horses, elephants, etc.) and within each species are many specific varieties, or breeds (Great Dane, Poodle, Beagle, etc.).

It was well-known that selective breeding can create variations within species. But the boundaries between species are distinct and firm--one species does not simply trail off into another by degrees. As Darwin acknowledged, breeding experiments reveal clear limits to selective breeding beyond which no additional changes can be produced. For example, dogs can be bred to be only so big and no bigger, let alone be selectively bred until they are cats. Hence, the question of where species come from was the real challenge and, despite the title of his famous book and more than a century of hoopla and celebration, Darwin essentially left it unanswered.

After many years spent searching for an adequate explanation of the origin of species, in the end Darwin fell back on natural selection, claiming that it could create new creatures too, if given im-mense periods of time. That is, organisms respond to their environmental circumstances by slowly changing (evolving) in the direction of traits beneficial to survival until, eventually, they are sufficiently changed to constitute a new species. Hence, new species originate very slowly, one tiny change after another, and eventually this can result in lemurs changing to humans via many intervening species.

Darwin fully recognized that a major weakness of this account of the origin of species involved what he and others referred to as the principle of "gradualism in nature." The fossil record was utterly inconsistent with gradualism. As Darwin acknowledged: "...why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?"

Darwin offered two solutions. Transitional types are quickly replaced and hence would mainly only be observable in the fossil record. As for the lack of transitional types among the fossils, that was, Darwin admitted, "the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory."

Darwin dealt with this problem by blaming "the extreme imperfection of the geological record." "Only a small portion of the surface of the earth has been geologically explored, and no part with sufficient care." But, just wait, Darwin promised, the missing transitions will be found in the expected proportion when more research has been done. Thus began an intensive search for what the popular press soon called the "missing links."

Today, the fossil record is enormous compared to what it was in Darwin's day, but the facts are unchanged. The links are still missing; species appear suddenly and then remain relatively unchanged. As Steven Stanley reported: "The known fossil record...offers no evidence that the gradualistic model can be valid."

Indeed, the evidence has grown even more contrary since Darwin's day. "Many of the discontinuities [in the fossil record] tend to be more and more emphasized with increased collecting," noted the former curator of historical geology at the American Museum of Natural History. The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism, Stephen Jay Gould has acknowledged. The first problem is stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear. The second problem is sudden appearance. Species do not arise gradually by the steady transformation of ancestors, they appear "fully formed."

These are precisely the objections raised by many biologists and geologists in Darwin's time--it was not merely that Darwin's claim that species arise through eons of natural selection was offered without supporting evidence, but that the available evidence was overwhelmingly contrary. Unfortunately, rather than concluding that a theory of the origin of species was yet to be accomplished, many scientists urged that Darwin's claims must be embraced, no matter what.

In keeping with Darwin's views, evolutionists have often explained new species as the result of the accumulation of tiny, favorable random mutations over an immense span of time. But this answer is inconsistent with the fossil record wherein creatures appear "full-blown and raring to go." Consequently, for most of the past century, biologists and geneticists have tried to discover how a huge number of favorable mutations can occur at one time so that a new species would appear without intermediate types.

However, as the eminent and committed Darwinist Ernst Mayr explained,The occurrence of genetic monstrosities by mutation...is well substantiated, but they are such evident freaks that these monsters can only be designated as 'hopeless.' They are so utterly unbalanced that they would not have the slightest chance of escaping elimination through selection. Giving a thrush the wings of a falcon does not make it a better flyer....To believe that such a drastic mutation would produce a viable new type, capable of occupying a new adaptive zone, is equivalent to believing in miracles.

The word miracle crops up again and again in mathematical assessments of the possibility that even very simple biochemical chains, let alone living organisms, can mutate into being by a process of random trial and error. For generations, Darwinians have regaled their students with the story of the monkey and the typewriter, noting that given an infinite period of time, the monkey sooner or later is bound to produce Macbeth purely by chance, the moral being that infinite time can perform miracles.

However, the monkey of random evolution does not have infinite time. The progression from simple to complex life forms on earth took place within a quite limited time. Moreover, when competent mathematicians considered the matter, they quickly calculated that even if the monkey's task were reduced to coming up with only a few lines of Macbeth, let alone Shakespeare's entire play, the probability is far, far beyond mathematical possibility. The odds of creating even the simplest organism at random are even more remote--Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, celebrated cosmologists, calculated the odds as one in ten to the 40,000th power. (Consider that all atoms in the known universe are estimated to number no more than ten to the 80th power.) In this sense, then, Darwinian theory does rest on truly miraculous assumptions.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the current situation is that while Darwin is treated as a secular saint in the popular media and the theory of evolution is regarded as the invincible challenge to all religious claims, it is taken for granted among the leading biological scientists that the origin of species has yet to be explained. Writing in Nature in 1999, Eörs Szathmay summarizes that, "The origin of species has long fascinated biologists. Although Darwin's major work bears it as a title, it does not provide a solution to the problem." When Julian Huxley claimed that "Darwin's theory is...no longer a theory but a fact," he surely knew better. But, just like his grandfather, Thomas Huxley, he knew that his lie served the greater good of "enlightenment."

When The Origin of Species was published it aroused immense interest, but initially it did not provoke antagonism on religious grounds. Although many criticized Darwin's lack of evidence, none raised religious objections. Instead, the initial response from theologians was favorable. The distinguished Harvard botanist Asa Gray hailed Darwin for having solved the most difficult problem confronting the Design argument--the many imperfections and failures revealed in the fossil record. Acknowledging that Darwin himself "rejects the idea of design," Gray congratulated him for "bringing out the neatest illustrations of it." Gray interpreted Darwin's work as showing that God has created a few original forms and then let evolution proceed within the framework of divine laws.

When religious antagonism finally came it was in response to aggressive claims, like Huxley's, that Newton and Darwin together had evicted God from the cosmos. For the heirs of the Enlightenment, evolution seemed finally to supply the weapon needed to destroy religion. As Richard Dawkins confided, "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

Atheism was central to the agenda of the Darwinians. Darwin himself once wrote that he could not understand how anyone could even wish that Christianity were true, noting that the doctrine of damnation was itself damnable. Huxley expressed his hostility toward religion often and clearly, writing in 1859: "My screed was meant as a protest against Theology & Parsondom...both of which are in my mind the natural & irreconcilable enemies of Science. Few see it but I believe we are on the Eve of a new Reformation and if I have a wish to live 30 years, it is to see the foot of Science on the necks of her Enemies." According to Oxford historian J. R. Lucas, Huxley was "remarkably resistant to the idea that there were clergymen who accepted evolution, even when actually faced with them." Quite simply, there could be no compromises with faith.

Writing at the same time as Huxley, the leading Darwinian in Germany, Ernst Haeckel, drew this picture:

On one side spiritual freedom and truth, reason and culture, evolution and progress stand under the bright banner of science; on the other side, under the black flag of hierarchy, stand spiritual slavery and falsehood, irrationality and barbarism, superstition and retrogression.... Evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth. Whole ranks of...sophistries fall together under the chain shot of this...artillery, and the proud and mighty structure of the Roman hierarchy, that powerful stronghold of infallible dogmatism, falls like a house of cards.

These were not the natterings of radical circles and peripheral publications. The author of the huge review of The Origin in the Times of London was none other than Thomas Huxley. He built his lectures on evolution into a popular touring stage show wherein he challenged various potential religious opponents by name. Is it surprising that religious people, scientists as well as clerics, began to respond in the face of unrelenting challenges like these issued in the name of evolution? It was not as if they merely were asked to accept that life had evolved--many theologians had long taken that for granted. What the Darwinians demanded was that religionists agree to the untrue and unscientific claim that Darwin had proved that God played no role in the process.

Among those drawn to respond was the Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, who is widely said to have made an ass of himself in a debate with Huxley during the 1860 meeting of the British Association at Oxford. The relevant account of this confrontation reported: "I was happy enough to be present on the memorable occasion at Oxford when Mr. Huxley bearded Bishop Wilberforce. The bishop arose and in a light scoffing tone, florid and fluent, he assured us that there was nothing in the idea of evolution. Then turning to his antagonist with a smiling insolence, he begged to know, was it through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed descent from a monkey? On this Mr. Huxley...arose...and spoke these tremendous words. He was not ashamed to have a monkey for an ancestor; but he would be ashamed to be connected with a man who used his great gifts to obscure the truth. No one doubted his meaning and the effect was tremendous."

This marvelous anecdote has appeared in every distinguished biography of Darwin and of Huxley, as well as in every popular history of the theory of evolution. In his celebrated Apes, Angels and Victorians, William Irvine used this tale to disparage the bishop's snobbery. In his prize-winning study, James Brix went much farther, describing Wilberforce as "naive and pompous," a man whose "faulty opinions" were those of a "fundamentalist creationist" and who provided Huxley with the opportunity to give evolution "its first major victory over dogmatism and duplicity." Every writer tells how the audience gave Huxley an ovation.

Trouble is, it never happened. The quotation above was the only such report of this story and it appeared in an article titled "A Grandmother's Tales" written by a non-scholar in a popular magazine 38 years after the alleged encounter. No other account of these meetings, and there were many written at the time, made any mention of remarks concerning Huxley's monkey ancestors, or claimed that he made a fool of the bishop. To the contrary, many thought the bishop had the better of it, and even many of the committed Darwinians thought it at most a draw.

Moreover, as all of the scholars present at Oxford knew, prior to the meeting, Bishop Wilberforce had penned a review of The Origin in which he fully acknowledged the principle of natural selection as the source of variations within species. He rejected Darwin's claims concerning the origin of species, however, and some of these criticisms were sufficiently compelling that Darwin immediately wrote his friend the botanist J. D. Hooker that the article "is uncommonly clever; it picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, and brings forward well all the difficulties. It quizzes me quite splendidly." In a subsequent letter to geologist Charles Lyell, Darwin acknowledges that "the bishop makes a very telling case against me." Indeed, several of Wilberforce's comments caused Darwin to make modifications in a later revision of the book.

The tale of the foolish and narrow-minded bishop seems to have thrived as a revealing "truth" about the incompatibility of religion and science simply because many of its tellers wanted to believe that a bishop is wrong by nature. J. R. Lucas, who debunked the bishop myth, has suggested that the "most important reason why the legend grew" is, first, because academics generally "know nothing outside their own special subject" and therefore easily believe that outsiders are necessarily ignorant, and, second, because Huxley encouraged that conclusion. "The quarrel between religion and science was what Huxley wanted; and as Darwin's theory gained supporters, they took over his view of the incident."

Since then the Darwinian Crusade has tried to focus all attention on the most unqualified and most vulnerable opponents, and when no easy targets present themselves it has invented them. Huxley "made straw men of the 'creationists,'" as his biographer Desmond admitted. Even today it is a rare textbook or any popular treatment of evolution and religion that does not reduce "creationism" to the simplest caricatures.

This tradition remains so potent that whenever it is asked that evolution be presented as "only a theory," the requester is ridiculed as a buffoon. Even when the great philosopher of science Karl Popper suggested that the standard version of evolution even falls short of being a scientific theory, being instead an untestable tautology, he was subjected to public condemnations and much personal abuse.

Popper's tribulations illustrate an important basis for the victory of Darwinism: A successful appeal for a united front on the part of scientists to oppose religious opposition has had the consequence of silencing dissent within the scientific community. The eminent observer Everett Olson notes that there is "a generally silent group" of biological scientists "who tend to disagree with much of the current thought" about evolution, but who remain silent for fear of censure.

I believe that one day there will be a plausible theory of the origin of species. But, if and when that occurs, there will be nothing in any such theory that makes it impossible to propose that the principles involved were not part of God's great design any more than such a theory will demonstrate the existence of God. But, while we wait, why not lift the requirement that high school texts enshrine Darwin's failed attempt as an eternal truth?

Rodney Stark was professor of sociology at the University of Washington for many years and is now university professor of the social sciences at Baylor University. He is author of For the Glory of God (Princeton University Press) and other acclaimed books on science and religion.

The Miracle of Creation

Freeman Dyson, professor emeritus at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, is a preeminent mathematical physicist, and one of the most wide-ranging thinkers and writers in modern science. These observations are drawn from interviews with Monte Davis and Stewart Brand.

QUESTION: How do we understand the universe at all? Do you agree with Carl Sagan that humans find the mathematics of gravitation so simple and elegant because natural selection eliminated the apes who couldn’t understand?

DYSON: Not at all. For apes to come out of the trees, and change in the direction of being able to write down Maxwell’s equations, I don’t think you can explain that by natural selection at all. It’s just a miracle.

QUESTION: You have written that “as we look out into the universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.” Is that a playful suggestion?

DYSON: It’s not playful at all.

QUESTION: Then we seem to be talking about sentiments that most people would consider religious. Are they religious for you?

DYSON: Oh yes.

QUESTION: The dominant tendency in modern science has been to assert that we occupy no privileged place, that the universe does not care, that science and religion don’t mix. Where do you fit into those ideas?

DYSON: The tendency you’re talking about is a modern one, not old. I think it became almost a dogma only with the fight for acceptance of Darwinism, Huxley versus Bishop Wilberforce, and so on. Before the nineteenth century, scientists were not ashamed of being religious, but since Darwin, it’s been taboo.

The biologists are still fighting Wilberforce. If you look now, the view that everything is due to chance and to little bits of molecular clockwork is mostly propounded by biologists, particularly people like Jacques Monod—whereas the physicists have become far more skeptical about that. If you actually look at the way modern physics is going, it’s very far from that. Yes, it’s the biologists who’ve made it so hard to talk about these things.

I was reading recently a magnificent book by Thomas Wright, written about 1750, when these inhibitions didn’t exist at all. Wright was the discoverer of galaxies, you know, and he writes:

“I can never look upon the stars without wondering that the whole world does not become astronomers; and that men, endowed with sense and reason, should neglect a science that must convince them of their immortality.”

QUESTION: There’s a provocative sentence in your book Imagined Worlds: “The laws of nature are constructed in such a way as to make the universe as interesting as possible.” What do you mean by that?

DYSON: It’s the numerical accidents that make life possible. I define an interesting universe as one that is friendly to life, and especially one that produces lots of variety.

QUESTION: What accidental numbers make that possible?

DYSON: If you look at just the physical building blocks, there’s a famous problem with producing carbon in stars. All the carbon necessary for life has to be produced in stars, and it’s difficult to do. To make carbon, you’ve got to have three helium atoms collide in a triple collision. Helium has an atomic weight of 4, and carbon is 12. Beryllium, at 8, is unstable, therefore you can’t go from helium to beryllium to carbon; you have to make helium into carbon in one jump. This means three atoms colliding together.

QUESTION: Which statistically is not so often.

DYSON: No. But Fred Hoyle, who discovered this process, came up with one of the most brilliant ideas in the whole of science. He said that in order to make carbon abundant as it should be, there must be an accidental, coincidental resonance. This means that there’s a nuclear state in the carbon nucleus at precisely the right energy level for these three atoms to combine smoothly. The chance of having that resonance in the right place is maybe 1 in 1,000. Hoyle believed it must be there in order to produce the carbon. Of course, the nuclear physicists then looked for this resonance, and found it!

There are other famous cases: The fact that the nuclear force is just strong enough to bind a proton and a neutron to make the heavy isotope hydrogen, but not strong enough to bind two protons to make helium with an atomic weight of 2. Just two protons stuck together is a rather narrow range of strength. So the nuclear force is fine-tuned so that hydrogen doesn’t burn to helium right away. If the two hydrogen nuclei did bind, all the hydrogen would burn to helium in the first five minutes. The universe would then be pure helium and a rather boring place. Whereas, if the force were a little bit weaker, so that the neutron and the proton didn’t bind, you wouldn’t get any heavy elements at all. You’d have nothing but hydrogen. Again, this would make for a boring universe.

Published in One America September 2004


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: crevolist; darwin; evolution; huxley; wilberforce
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To: Havoc

re: "Dr" Dino Kent Hovind...

1) Dinosaurs and man did not coexist. The evidence for this is so vast, so encompassing, and so clear that to build one's career upon this issue is mind boggling.

2) His supposed PhD is from Patriot University. There is no such thing. It was a diploma mill from some guy's garage. He has no CV, did no work for it. It's fake, it's a lie. It's not real. This is indefensible. And widely documented on the internet.

3) A simple google search, something you must be firewalled against, provided this as the first hit. It seems to be written by a creationist (though I'm not sure) and one who was taken in by Hovind's charisma.

http://www.blessedquietness.com/journal/housechu/hovind.htm

Let me know if you actually read it... maybe I need to post it's full text here.

Summary: Kent Hovind is neither a PhD and he is a liar and a tax cheat.


651 posted on 08/06/2004 7:10:08 AM PDT by whattajoke
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To: Right Wing Professor; RUCKUS INC.

I think the bigger problem here is not a matter of the bacteria or the blue whale. It is the matter of going from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction - the core issue both of you are chasing. This then requires the independant spontaneous generation of two entirely seperate and distinct sets of organs geared to opposite sides of a single purpose and yet 100% compatible with each other and functional to the end that neither process knows it's heading toward as this is essentially happening in a vacuum with no purpose in mind. IT would be a random, uncontrolled and unguided happenstance governed by only chaos for it's outcome. This is why it is often waved as a huge red flag for evolution. It is not an issue evolution can really overcome though the attempt is interesting. This, to me isn't much different than the idea of a space shuttle engine assembly falling out of the sky one moment, and the fuel system the next - just random chance, and both matching up to work to perfection. I wouldn't want to calculate the odds myself. But engineers who worked on the things would probably bust you upside the head for saying that random chance could replace them.. rofl.


652 posted on 08/06/2004 7:13:42 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc

Space Shuttle engines and fuel systems, to my knowlege, are not living, reproducing organisms. I know you know this, and I know you've been told this, but for some reason you don't seem to understand the difference.

Engineers would laugh at you for suggesting that their work is somehow some way related to biological processes.

As you're fond of saying, "rofl." You laugh too much and learn too little.


653 posted on 08/06/2004 7:18:25 AM PDT by whattajoke (.)(.)
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To: Havoc
It is the matter of going from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction - the core issue both of you are chasing.

Don't move the goalposts yet because you are wrong yet again. Bacteria do exchange DNA, so you are chasing another chimaera.

654 posted on 08/06/2004 7:36:36 AM PDT by balrog666 (A public service post.)
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To: whattajoke
Dinosaurs and man did not coexist. The evidence for this is so vast, so encompassing, and so clear that to build one's career upon this issue is mind boggling.

No, it isn't clear. It might be clear in light of the theory of evolution; but, it isn't otherwise clear that such is the case. And I don't believe that Hovind built his career on this notion. His career appears to have been built mainly on his background as a teacher.

2) His supposed PhD is from Patriot University. There is no such thing. It was a diploma mill from some guy's garage. He has no CV, did no work for it. It's fake, it's a lie. It's not real. This is indefensible. And widely documented on the internet.

I know people who got degrees in computer sciences from NCR and similar outfits who know just about as much about computers as I do now. I don't find that this invalidates what they know. I'd have to investigate further; but, I'm not terribly interested beyond the appearance that this is being used to sidestep his arguments rather than deal with them. He could be Bill Clinton, that doesn't persay invalidate his case anymore than I would argue Being a Catholic Pope would invalidate anything he said. I would argue that both reputations would require a careful critique of what they are saying - not who they are. People screw up in life. That doesn't mean we invalidate them for being screw ups at some point in their life. The information they present is what we have to look at. And not liking the information is not the same as it being wrong.

3) A simple google search, something you must be firewalled against, provided this as the first hit. It seems to be written by a creationist (though I'm not sure) and one who was taken in by Hovind's charisma.

I don't think that's particularly necessary unless we're going to change topic to Kent Hovind, I'm happy to read it. And at this point, I have. So you've discredited the man; but, not what he said. Or are we to assume this guy may have been a plant setup specifically in hopes that discrediting him would discredit what he says.. lol. What he actually says comes from another source for which he gives credit. So, I guess we're at this point left with the material he presents.. right.

655 posted on 08/06/2004 7:48:36 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: whattajoke
Space Shuttle engines and fuel systems, to my knowlege, are not living, reproducing organisms. I know you know this, and I know you've been told this, but for some reason you don't seem to understand the difference.

That was specifically the point of using their complexity as an example. They aren't living reproducing organisms. They merely are being compared to a portion of the organism specifically geared to reproducing. It would be a miracle enough that the two independant systems would mate up if created at random and blindly and show up on the same universe much less on the same planet. If they mate up and actually worked together, it would be even more incredible.

Engineers would laugh at you for suggesting that their work is somehow some way related to biological processes.

No, they actually would not. They have some level of sense as well and understand that complexity is mirrored all over. Many will admit that their designs are less complex than what is found in biological systems, some will note that they think their designs at least as complex. I know, I've had similar discussions with Engineers in my own family and in facilities I've both worked in and visited. Aircraft engineers love to talk, btw. As do, I assume, most engineers in general. Circuit board designers can teach you a thing or two as well.

As you're fond of saying, "rofl." You laugh too much and learn too little

The latter does not follow from the former. I just happen to find some things funny and don't mind expressing it. I am curious and spend much of my off time trudging through one topic or another - learning new things. Your opinion on a subject you are unfamiliar with doesn't much sway me. You are trying to buy believability of HighSchool students with your pile of theories. They ain't buying it. There are guys out there with degrees out the wazoo that not only disagree with evolution; but, are disagreeing because of what they have observed in science. This tells us that it's not a matter of a level of learning that is involved. It the learning level didn't solve it for guys with Phds who got them legitimately. So your argument fails. Which puts you back in the position of dealing with the central argument - not tangents intended to distract.

656 posted on 08/06/2004 8:04:53 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc
I think the bigger problem here is not a matter of the bacteria or the blue whale. It is the matter of going from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction - the core issue both of you are chasing.

I suspect you know absolutely nothing about biology or about the living organisms that bridge this "divide" quite handily. There are many variations on sex, and there are organisms that reproduce both sexually and asexually. Then there is the dandelion, a flowering plant that has abandoned most aspects of sexuality.

657 posted on 08/06/2004 8:19:32 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: Havoc
IRS raids business, home of creationist (Dr. Dino)

Kent Hovind Arrested for Assault, Burglary (Dr. Dino)

658 posted on 08/06/2004 8:19:36 AM PDT by balrog666 (A public service post.)
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To: balrog666
Don't move the goalposts yet because you are wrong yet again. Bacteria do exchange DNA, so you are chasing another chimaera.

Not trying persay to move the goalposts. These two have been back and forth on this issue for a while now and I was looking at it from the point of what they seem to be driving at from opposite directions. Saying bacteria exchange dna doesn't make the case for explaining dual complex complementary systems.

659 posted on 08/06/2004 8:35:30 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: js1138

Stating that organisms merely are capable of it, does not explain how any or even one of the systems came to be. You haven't explained the issue, you just sidestepped it.


660 posted on 08/06/2004 8:37:09 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: balrog666
The Hovind Bankruptcy Decision.
661 posted on 08/06/2004 8:37:54 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Since 28 Oct 1999, #26,303, over 195 threads posted, and somehow never suspended.)
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To: balrog666

Ok, like I said before, you've killed the messenger, now how about the message. His presentation is a combination of the theories of other people - not things he came up with from whole clothe... Killing the messenger doesn't kill the message. You should know this from history. But it is a common debate tactic which I noted earlier.


662 posted on 08/06/2004 8:39:11 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc

But if you are looking for intermediates (and no one would ever accuse you of looking for evidence) you would find living intermediates. I thought intermediates were important.


663 posted on 08/06/2004 8:39:56 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: js1138

LOL. Intermediates. Now I think we're into the definition of the word "is".


664 posted on 08/06/2004 8:52:50 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc
Yay, for the first time you admit something that you previously didn't know/admit; that Hovind is a bum. Congrats.

Engineers have been engineering for an incredibly minute amount of time, WRT evolution. Give engineers a few billion years and methinks they'd come up with some better models.

There are guys out there with degrees out the wazoo that not only disagree with evolution; but, are disagreeing because of what they have observed in science.

Actually, what you'd learn is that there are 3 distinct grouping of these degreed folks.
1) the rather disturbingly large group with fake, questionable, shoddy "degrees" like Hovind.
2. The rather disturbingly large group who certainly DO NOT disagree at all with evolution, but have been misrepresented by creationists time and time again.
3. The incredibly small insular group who actually do have real degrees (like Duane Gish) who do the vast majority of creationist "work," and the other minute (there are 2, I think) group of ID proponents with real (though not biology) degrees out the wazoo.

The list is always the same, their arguments are never new, and their level of subterfuge is always monumental. Cripes, I could give you a list of scientists named Steve, all with PhD's, who all accept evolution. And that list would be bigger than any of your questionable ones.
665 posted on 08/06/2004 9:04:58 AM PDT by whattajoke (.)(.)
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To: balrog666

666


666 posted on 08/06/2004 9:08:54 AM PDT by whattajoke (.)(.)
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To: Havoc
Not trying persay to move the goalposts.

I know, I know, this is an ad hominem post, but you have mentioned how you like to learn stuff, so I'm just trying to help. It's "per se" and grammatically speaking, your sentence structure stinks.
667 posted on 08/06/2004 9:11:19 AM PDT by whattajoke (.)(.)
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To: whattajoke

You're welcome. It's an honest debate tactic lol


668 posted on 08/06/2004 9:39:24 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Renfield
(If you haven't read this already, you should!!!)

Why?
First of all, anyone who uses three exclamation points has some serious mental health problems (to say nothing of grammatical savvy).
Second of all, not having a life is even sadder than not having a brain. Topics which deal with "faith", from any angle, by definition involve the unproveable, so only a neurotic would obsess on it.

669 posted on 08/06/2004 10:04:45 AM PDT by Publius6961 (I don't do diplomacy either.)
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To: RUCKUS INC.
Right, and what came out of the egg?

Which egg? There have been lots of eggs. There were eggs before there were chickens, hence my response.

and what did it reproduce with?

Depends on what "it" was in the first place.
670 posted on 08/06/2004 11:13:33 AM PDT by Dimensio (Join the Monthly Internet Flash Mob: http://www.aa419.org)
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To: Havoc
Kent Hovind hasn't even done the work required of a Ph.D.:

The Dissertation Kent Hovind Doesn't Want You to Read

671 posted on 08/06/2004 11:46:53 AM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Junior

Are you a little behind on this or what LOL.


672 posted on 08/06/2004 11:48:09 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc
Hovind is a tax cheat:

The Hovind Bankruptcy Decision

Paragraph 3: "On March 25, 1996, the IRS filed its Motion to Dismiss alleging that this chapter 13 case was filed in bad faith for the sole purpose of avoiding payment of federal income taxes."

673 posted on 08/06/2004 11:51:41 AM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: whattajoke

Right. LOL. The numbers game again. We got more so we're right. You guys need to meet the Catholics and perhaps find out that argument hasn't worked real well for them either. Sorry to name names; but, this is an argument they whip out without thinking a lot of times and generally always have to eat it. You should know better


674 posted on 08/06/2004 11:52:35 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Junior

Again, are you a little behind on this or what?


675 posted on 08/06/2004 11:53:12 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc

Left behind, or right?


676 posted on 08/06/2004 11:53:33 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: js1138

Behind.. as in missed the boat, lost in space, out in the woods, etc. Behind as in the show started and he walked in late. Behind. As in another word for Butt with a different usage. English word use here, not yet up to speed (apparently) with the conversation. We on the same page?


677 posted on 08/06/2004 11:58:22 AM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc

I was thinking Left Behind, as in half-A$$ed.


678 posted on 08/06/2004 11:59:55 AM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: Havoc

Hey, I've got work to do. I usually try to pick up a thread where I left off. I just hadn't gotten far when I saw your "so outrageous, it must be replied to" posts on that fraud, Hovind.


679 posted on 08/06/2004 12:00:00 PM PDT by Junior (FABRICATI DIEM, PVNC)
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To: Junior

Sorry, my post was referring to a different poster on a different thread. Guess I can't tell my left from my right. The discussion was heating up about here:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1185658/posts?page=95#95


680 posted on 08/06/2004 12:21:46 PM PDT by js1138 (In a minute there is time, for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. J Forbes Kerry)
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To: whattajoke
Yay, for the first time you admit something that you previously didn't know/admit; that Hovind is a bum. Congrats.

Sorry, missed this. I think I noted very much earlier that Chick and rivera were shadey though they might otherwise support my position on a number of issues. I don't need their help. Making things up and the like is not proper whether you guys do it or someone else does. What's your point. There was nothing to "admit". I didn't quote Hovind here nor invoke him, I was merely curious at his being referenced here and in bad terms and what caused the bad terms. I agreed upon reviewing the evidence. I would reserve full judgement for later but on the surface, I agree that the guy is trouble.

But it appears at the same time that my initial observation is turning out to be true. Hovind was gone after in hopes of shutting him up apparently; because nobody is touching the fact that the guy was teaching other people's theories. Doesn't exactly make him the onus of the issue then, does it. It rather keeps him from being useful in spreading other people's theories. And yes, I have seen this tactic before.

Like debating zealots from the cults..

681 posted on 08/06/2004 12:25:07 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Junior

Ok. No prob. Was hoping to get your attention. I didn't particularly see what was so outrageous; but, since you've caught up..


682 posted on 08/06/2004 12:27:28 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: js1138

You had me wondering there for a minute, thought you'd lost it lol.


683 posted on 08/06/2004 12:31:17 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Havoc

You are nuts. You wrote that you could produce a list of people with tons of degrees who disagreed with evolution, and I merely responded in two ways; one: pointing out those lists are a joke and two: A tongue in cheek effort was made last year to garner a bunch of (real)PhD's, all with the same first name, to reply to creationists with.

That they always fail to see the humor/irony in that is not my fault.


684 posted on 08/06/2004 1:18:22 PM PDT by whattajoke (.)(.)
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To: whattajoke
Project Steve: FAQs (National Center for Science Education)
685 posted on 08/06/2004 1:36:30 PM PDT by PatrickHenry (Since 28 Oct 1999, #26,303, over 195 threads posted, and somehow never suspended.)
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To: whattajoke

No, I'm just used to seeing silly things from other people and they don't offer it as a joke or as humor. So, I don't tend to take the same argument anywhere else as humor. It is largely never presented as humor.


686 posted on 08/06/2004 1:48:46 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Publius6961

"....Second of all, not having a life is even sadder than not having a brain. Topics which deal with "faith", from any angle, by definition involve the unproveable, so only a neurotic would obsess on it...."

By your definition, the "neurotic" would include: Jesus, St. Paul, John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, Saint Jude, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Moses, Abraham, Noah, Patrick Henry, John Witherspoon, and a host of other notable people...including Charles Darwin, who studied religion at Cambridge University, with the aim of becoming a clergyman in the good ol' C of E, prior to accepting the position of Naturalist aboard the Beagle.

It is curious that just posting an article which questions current scientific orthodoxy provokes ad-hominem attacks. You don't know me. How are you able to judge the fitness of my nervous system?





687 posted on 08/06/2004 2:10:24 PM PDT by Renfield (Philosophy chair at the University of Wallamalloo!!)
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To: whattajoke

Nuts, no. Just responding to what you posted. Just as you responded to mine. It's not a problem of misunderstanding. I see this issue of Well all of science believes x, they can't all be wrong. All of China is communist, they can't all be wrong. See how that works. Just makin a point.


688 posted on 08/06/2004 5:40:38 PM PDT by Havoc (.)
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To: Heartlander; RUCKUS INC.
If a ‘spiritual being’ created time, space, and matter – “It” existed before any known physical quality that we know i.e. time, space, and matter. We cannot apply (or limit) physical qualities to something beyond the physical.

And, therefore, there is nothing of any testable reliability you can say about it. Since testable reliability is based of chronologically ordered perceptions of physical causality.


689 posted on 08/07/2004 3:48:21 PM PDT by donh
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To: Heartlander
Does ‘naturalism’ ignore design and why?

Well, I claim to be a naturalist, and I don't "ignore" design--but I don't mistake that prediliction for the current status of science. There are any number of ways design could prove right. However, they would have to get on the table before they could be considered. Here's some examples: a network video feed from God or Little Green Men, explaining the exact details of their interference in our origins--including numerous references to mechanisms of reproduction which science does not presently perceive, but which turn out to be accurate. "Kilroy was here", or, say, the pythagorean theorem, found etched in the junk genes of humans. But then, having seen some actual, explicit evidence, subject to examination, the question just shifts over to "what made the Little Green Men?" or "what made God?". So that would be less of a paradigm shift than the stealth creationist members of the ID brigade would like to suppose.

What would not be science, would be, A la' Behe or Dembski, to make a claim, dressed up as if in sophisticated math or biological science regalia, that because you don't know how something happened, and under what conditions, it must be a miracle.

Particularly when such a claim belies a current story, however incomplete, regarding a lot of stuff that we know, in fact, happened, and roughly how.

690 posted on 08/07/2004 4:10:13 PM PDT by donh
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To: VadeRetro; Alamo-Girl; marron; cornelis; xzins; unspun; Slingshot; PatrickHenry
“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”

Hi VadeRetro! Actually, I agree with this statement. I downloaded Dobzhansky’s article by that name, and enjoyed it very much. Basically, I agreed with everything he said – up to page 4. You can probably pick out the offending passage readily enough. Lurkers who want to follow along, the article can be found here: Dobzhansky on Evolution

The passage reads: “Only a creative and blind process could produce, on the one hand, the tremendous biologic success that is the human species and, on the other, forms of adaptedness as narrow and as constraining as those of the overspecialized fungus, beetle, and flies mentioned above.” Actually, Dobzhansky is less than clear about what he means by a “blind” process; for he goes on to say, “I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation.”

Yet the choice of “God” or “Nature” would seem to make a very great difference in the type of evolutionary theory that would follow from that choice. Bear in mind that on the basis of the extant human cultural record to date, “God” and “blindness” have been universally considered as mutually-exclusive terms. I am not aware of any exception to this rule. So if Nature is “blind,” then I guess that just tells you that she isn’t God: She is not “sui generis,” but goes by a rule….

Dobzhansky oddly, but very graciously concludes his article by citing “one of the great thinkers of our age,” Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “a creationist, but one who understood that the Creation is realized in this world by means of evolution.”

I suspect this is a mere tip of the hat to Father Pierre on Dobzhansky’s part; for Teilhard’s evolutionary theory stands Darwinist evolutionary theory on its head. Mind you, both agree on the idea of evolution; but there is virtually no correspondence whatever in the details of their two theories.

Plus I do not see any possible correspondence between their respective fundamental premises. Darwin, in effect, is a material determinist; Teilhard, in effect, a spiritual determinist. Darwin is functioning on the uncreated, eternal-universe model, in which infinite amounts of time make it possible for “Nature” – a kind of God-substitute – to “create” everything that ever was, is, or will be by means of random material processes constrained only by the requirements of successful natural selection for survival fitness – of optimal “fit” between living organisms and the (also randomly changing) ecological niches they exploit. His “survival of the fittest” model is premised on the existence of discrete living bodies in constant competition – intraspecies, interspecies, and with the environment in toto.

For Teilhard, on the other hand, evolution is essentially teleological -- it is ultimately goal-directed and, as such, purposeful. He speaks of the “Omega point” toward which all of evolution is inexorably proceeding, which is, at the same time, identical with God’s willed intent for nature in the original Creation event that began the universe and all things in it. It is clear that a purposeful process cannot be a random one. And yet Teilhard speaks of energy in its motions as the most fundamental substrate of cosmic nature, and “radial energy” as the source of the self-transformation of individual living forms. That is, directed energy – respectively both divine and innate in creatures -- not natural selection, is the essential driver of all creation, self-organization, and “self-transcendence” – that is, of all natural evolution. And for Teilhard, energy has another name: Spirit.

Yet Teilhard never extends his energy concept to the idea of a universal field. Darwin doesn’t speak of energy at all as relevant to this evolutionary theory: He was still very much a thinker on the model of classical mechanics, which focuses on the interactions of bodies, rather than on any putatively deeper level of reality. Teilhard lived in the post-relativity and post-quantum theory world; but apparently he distrusted Einstein’s field theory, and did not take quantum theory into effect; so he seems not to have made the connection between energy and a putative universal field.

Anyhoot, as you can see, we may have two “evolutionists” here; but they don’t seem to agree about anything! So I wonder why Dobzhansky, advocate of the Darwinist view, would bring up Teilhard de Chardin in the first place….

Yet, even though Darwin and Teilhard mainly disagree, they might agree that one of Dobzhansky’s statements is penetrating and most germane: “What do these biochemical or biologic universals [e.g., DNA, basic amino acids, proteins, etc.] mean? They suggest that life arose from inanimate matter only once and that all organisms, no matter how diverse in other respects, conserve the basic features of the primordial life.”

For the Darwinist, the “primordial life” is the ancient trace back to the Common Ancestor, and even way back before its emergence, to the one spontaneous abiogenesis that resulted in the rise of organic life from inorganic matter by means of random processes. For Teilhard, on the other hand, it looks like the “primordial life” would be the ancient trace back to the Logos of God, Alpha and Omega.

And thus in this case we have two men who are able to agree on the validity of a statement, and yet radically disagree on what the statement actually means.

VR, you argue for the Darwinist position on the strength of the following:

“A fossil series from land animals to whales and Precambrian life come to mind. Essentially any new fossil that falls upon and further outlines the generally accepted phylogenetic tree of life is a Darwinian prediction fulfilled.

“Then you have the new lines of evidence confirming the old. In particular, the convergence of independent phylogenies (molecular, morphological, paleontological).

“Then there's the data from embryology, these days being examined at the genetic/molecular level in the discipline of evolutionary developmental biology.”

I do not mean to suggest that these things do not fulfill the Darwinist prediction. It seems to me they do.

Notwithstanding, my perception is that Darwin’s predictions rest on a partial view of nature. As Dobzhansky himself points out, “A theory can be verified by a mass of facts, but it [then] becomes a proven theory, not a fact.” I gather he recognizes that, unless one knows absolutely everything – which is impossible -- then one really can’t even speak of “certain” facts. It seems human beings have to theorize – from partial knowledge of the world – in order to get along.

Still, I think of what Ernst Mayr said about living systems – that they “almost always have the peculiarity that the characteristics of the whole cannot (not even in theory) be deduced from the most complete knowledge of components, taken separately or in other partial combinations.”

If Mayr is right, then you can pile up fossils from now to kingdom come, and you still will not have come up with a single definitive or “certain” fact. Fossils are not only parts; they are long-dead parts and signally mute. As living parts, we humans do not ever see the “whole” of which we are parts either. And therefore we do not and cannot know everything: We are contingent beings, and captive in 4D space-time (as it were).

And yet even as parts, living organisms coordinate and comprise greater wholes. The model of the human body or of cellular life in general shows this. The model of human thinking shows this. The model of society – human and non-human – shows this same pattern.

And the insight has biological significance, as Menas Kafatos and Robert Nadeau point out (The Non-Local Universe, 1999):

“DNA is the whole within the part that sets the boundary condition of cells… a complete master strand of the master molecule of life exists in the nucleus of each cell…. The boundary conditions within each cell resonate with the boundary conditions of all other cells and maintain the integrity and uniqueness of whole organisms.”

Seems to me there has to be a whole lot of “successful communication” going on in order for such things to occur. And that means there had to have been an exchange of information and, thus, there also had to have been a means for the transmission of information to sites where it’s needed, etc.

I figure you need a field for that.

I have (as you know) deep reservations about the Darwinist evolutionary model. Don’t get me wrong, as micro-evolutionary theory, I think it’s got plenty to recommend it. But to say it is “macro” strikes me as quite a stretch. FWIW.

But neither am I thrilled by Teilhard’s model: It seems to me he doesn’t leave enough “wiggle room” in there for contingency, for chance.

I think a state-of-the-art evolutionary theory these days would require the adoption of a field model, and also the recognition that intelligence -- in the form of successfully communicated information -- is everywhere at the bottom of living forms; and that non-living, inorganic forms also are constituted from the same information source….

Anyhoot, it looks to me like, one way or another, evolutionary theory has a future as a “going concern.”

Thanks so much for writing, VR.

691 posted on 08/07/2004 4:42:00 PM PDT by betty boop
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To: betty boop
You're basically right that Tielhard, like Darwin himself, is a historically important and interesting figure who is a bit out of date. My original point is that Darwin, unlike Tielhard de Chardin, set forth a theory which has yielded great scientific fruit.

Dobzhansky explains this in some detail. As it happens, I cited his title but not his text. It's a good article but itself a bit out of date. We have even more evidence now that Darwin was on the right track.

692 posted on 08/07/2004 5:40:33 PM PDT by VadeRetro
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To: betty boop
Sharply written, beautiful essay, betty boop! Thank you oh so very much! I particularly endorse this:

I think a state-of-the-art evolutionary theory these days would require the adoption of a field model, and also the recognition that intelligence -- in the form of successfully communicated information -- is everywhere at the bottom of living forms; and that non-living, inorganic forms also are constituted from the same information source….


693 posted on 08/07/2004 9:58:06 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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