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Author Topic:   Criticizing neo-Darwinism
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2445 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 223 of 309 (460527)
03-16-2008 2:59 AM
Reply to: Message 214 by RAZD
11-14-2007 7:19 PM


Re: Problems
RAZD writes:
There are no "intentional and systematic, teleological changes in genetic information."
To refute this, all you need to do is provide evidence of such change.
Any discussion of this without evidence will be taken as tacit admission that there is no evidence for "intentional and systematic, teleological changes in genetic information."
On the one hand, this is entirely sensible. I'm relatively unschooled in these matters, but I would expect that things like plant hybridization, animal husbandry, and the genetic engineering applied to various bacteria could all count as cases of "intentional, systematic, teleological changes in genetic information." People have the wherewithal to demonstrate changes of that sort.
On the other hand, cases of that sort are not the topic of discussion. For the cases that are on topic -- changes in genetic information that have occurred and are observable in nature without deliberate human intervention -- it's really not enough to say "show evidence of deliberate, purposeful change," because in saying that, you entail but do not specify a set of conditions for recognizing "deliberate, purposeful" behavior as such in observable processes. (That is, you beg the question of how to establish a basis of proof for externally directed causation in genetic change.)
I'm just a "junior member" here so far, but I've noticed some EvC threads that tried to explore this problem, along the lines of "what sort of evidence would it take to support a conclusion of intentional design in evolution?" Of course, none of these threads leads to a fully satisfying conclusion: no consensus is ever reached such that the ID-ists and non-D-ists agree on what sort of obtainable evidence is required, and a plan unfolds to seek out that evidence and settle the matter.
And of course, the basic difficulty is the inscrutability of any given "designer". There's no getting around the fact that we mere humans cannot know, with indisputable certainty, what the real purpose is, or even know which of the following is true: (a) all genetic changes are the purposeful work of a given designer, or (b) only some are purposeful, and the rest are mistakes / abominations / inconsequential to the designer / countermeasures from a "competing designer", etc. Both (a) and (b) (in all its variants) can be -- and have been -- used as arguments by those who simply cannot accept (for whatever reason) the complete absence of a designer. And all of these considerations are basically incompatible with the scientific method.
Viewed from the other perspective, the basic difficulty is that there really is no need for a designer, or even for any particular purpose (known or unknown) that is all-encompassing and yet only exists (is only definable) outside the physical system it's supposed to apply to. A properly empirical account of genetic change is based on principles that describe self-organizing, self-perpetuating, and eventually self-directing organisms that tend to have plenty of time to try things out and establish what sorts of patterns succeed best for propagation within a given set of circumstances -- and eventually, some of these organisms may get to work out a sense of purpose on their own.
So I'm sorry to say it, but the request for evidence quoted above is of no practical use. Either such evidence is ubiquitous and unassailable (for those who need a supernatural entity to assign meaning to their existence and who view themselves as beloved devotees of that entity), or else the very concept of such evidence is vacuous and unfounded (for those who consider a designer to be an unnecessary fabrication).

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 214 by RAZD, posted 11-14-2007 7:19 PM RAZD has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 224 by Wounded King, posted 03-16-2008 4:31 AM Otto Tellick has replied

  
Otto Tellick
Member (Idle past 2445 days)
Posts: 288
From: PA, USA
Joined: 02-17-2008


Message 225 of 309 (460554)
03-16-2008 3:39 PM
Reply to: Message 224 by Wounded King
03-16-2008 4:31 AM


Re: Problems
Thanks for the reply, WK. I fully agree with what you say, although when I first looked at your post, I assumed there was a typo of some sort in this part:
Wounded King writes:
So while these debates are not likely to ever lead to a final determination on the metaphysical aspects of the question they do serve to highlight why ID can be considered a suitable scientific theory.
You intended to have a "not" at the end of "can", right? ("ID cannot be considered a suitable scientific theory." -- that's where the rest of your comment leads). The inability ID proponents to rectify their various conflicting assertions on the basis of evidence (because the conflict arises from different beliefs, or -- heaven forbid! -- different interpretations of the Bible) strikes me as a defining attribute of their overall position in the debate.
It sounds like you are saying this site is pointless since neither side will ever be able to convince the other.
I realize that my comment could come across as being absolutely pessimistic about the value of the EvC forum, and that's not my intention (I'm still spending time here, after all). Ideally, proponents on both sides get a better understanding of how the other side thinks, and we all learn to communicate more effectively with those who don't share our own views, in hopes of establishing whatever sort of consensus may be possible. And all readers (especially the folks "in between") get exposed to a lot of very illuminating and helpful information.
My point was simply that it's impractical to request objective, verifiable evidence for the sort of "design" that ID posits for descent with modification, because there's no objective, verifiable basis for knowing what would constitute such evidence.
Edited by Otto Tellick, : No reason given.
Edited by Otto Tellick, : added to second paragraph ("... different beliefs, or -- heaven forbid! --"), in consideration of those ID-ists who assert that the Bible is not the basis for their beliefs.

autotelic adj. (of an entity or event) having within itself the purpose of its existence or happening.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by Wounded King, posted 03-16-2008 4:31 AM Wounded King has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 226 by Wounded King, posted 03-17-2008 4:52 AM Otto Tellick has not replied

  
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