This month's issue of Natural History includes a special report on intelligent design with statements by three prominent Creationists: Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski and Jonathan Wells. It also includes responses from three prominent evolutionists: Kenneth R. Miller, Robert T. Pennock and Eugenie C. Scott, as well as an overview of the debate by Barbara Forrest. Begin here with the introduction:
Tranquility's comment on Miller's "Comment on The Flaw in the Mousetrap"
All Miller has done is pointed out that some genes of Behe's systems have been reused. But we have admitted that on dozens of occasions. Miller has not explained what in-between steps are required and where the completely new genes came from. Miller is simply quoting rhetoric.
Why doesn't a believer (in macroevoltuion) in this forum follow Miller's refs and summarise it? I've never seen a compelling example of molecular macroevolution yet. Just think, you could be the first in this forum to post actual evidence of molecular macroevolution as opposed to the similarity arguments posted in the thousands!
Anyway, wasn't Behe an old-earth theistic evolutionist? I once read his comments somewhere (Miller's book?) that he has no problem with common descent and organismal evolution (even humans from apes). He only has a problem with the molecular part. What do you think?
What's really funny is that TB doesn't have a problem with common descent, random mutation (although I think he's backsliding a bit - gotta figure out where all that variation came from in a short time), and natural selection. He also doesn't seem to have a problem with anything beyond the molecular level. What's funny is that TB is trying to cram everything into the last 6000 years, whereas Behe accepts the an old Earth, geological uniformitarianism, etc.
I believe the genomes were created as fully working sets of genes about 6000 years ago!
I accept that the plasticity of the genome has allowed all sorts of point mutaitons, recombinations, gene losses and duplications. That part is trivial abd can occur quickly. Just throw a spanner in the works and let selection see what survives.
These two aspects are easily married.
I have no problem agreeing with much of Behe's work. It does not matter that he is convinced of common descent. He still points out that the cellular subsystems in both higher and lower lifeforms appear designed. I agree but disagree about common descent. I don't think Behe ever goes on record as to how much the I of ID contirbuted to the putting together of the subsystems in his version of common descent. If the I of ID tinkered non-stop then his version and ours only differ by the fact that his faith in the details of Genesis is weak.
[This message has been edited by Tranquility Base, 11-18-2002]
Hi TB: I guess if you accept Behe's assessment, we're at the "any port in a storm" version of the argument, yes? However, my point was simply that there is a reaaaalllly "big tent" that I find amusing on the creationist side. I suppose, in fairness, you can claim there's about an equally big tent on the evolution side - from Margulis and Lovelock to Mayr and Futuyma passing through Gould and Eldredge. The difference is that the evolution side isn't demanding that everyone adhere to a particular dogma to be "Right" - and all the biologists I've ever heard or read accept some of the really basic foundations (i.e., "evolution happens"). Creationists don't (or don't appear to).
quote:I accept that the plasticity of the genome has allowed all sorts of point mutaitons, recombinations, gene losses and duplications. That part is trivial abd can occur quickly. Just throw a spanner in the works and let selection see what survives.
This may not be the right thread, but the "rapid speciation after the flood" thread is getting bogged down by Williams et al. However, I find this statement interesting with all kinds of implications.
Let's see: there are approximately 1.4 million identified living species (i.e. that have received a scientific name, at least). Based on biodiversity studies, there may in reality be as few as 10 million (the low end, not including bacteria) or as many as 100 million (the high end, but including bacteria). Figures are from Wilson 1990 "Diversity of Life" and should be considered approximations - I personally feel that the low end is too low, and the high end is way too high. Creationists posit between 18,000 (Morris, "Genesis Flood") and 30,000 (Fred Williams from this site - I don't know where he got that figure) "Kreated Kinds" at the time of the Flood. According to you, random mutation, recombination, etc, produced this explosion of diversity that makes the "Cambrian Explosion" look like a wet firecracker.
Please provide evidence, of any kind, or even a decent explanation, of how the observed mechanism of random mutation etc caused 18,000 kinds to became 10 million in 4500 years (using the lower end of both, because the high end gets even more ridiculous). Please note you need to explain 2218 speciation events/year - every single year since the Flood. While you're at it, please explain where all the transitional fossils showing the steps in this extreme radiation are located? (Man, I loved saying that...) Also, please explain why this rapid speciation is no longer occurring - or failing that, when the rapid speciation ceased. Finally, please explain biogeography (in the sense of, for instance, living marsupials in Australia, extinct marsupials and living placentals in South America, etc, as well as distinctive island faunas - I'm looking for which created kind was the first to set foot in those areas after the flood - the Kreated Kind Ancestor of the existing fauna.)
That'll do for a start. If you can't at least come up with the answers to these simple questions, then you have even less evidence on your side than I believe you do.
PS: Regarding the variations amongst creatonists compared to that among evolutionists?
If we compare OECs with YECs, yes there is a bg difference. But, taking Behe as an example of an OEC, we (YEC and OEC) agree on the fundamental issue that the gene families and cellular systems were created by God de novo.
Evolution? Most agree. But the debates on gradulaism vs punctuated equilibrium are not trivial and on the issue of how life actually came to be there is absolutely no consensus and a vast array of wild ideas.
On the basic mechanisms of macroevolution that have made it such a supossedly systematic process, there is no consensus - it's pretty hard to have a consensus about something that nobody works on.
[This message has been edited by Tranquility Base, 11-19-2002]