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Reply #30: I'm sorry, I really don't want to come across as insulting [View All]

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FarrenH Donating Member (485 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. I'm sorry, I really don't want to come across as insulting
Edited on Sun Jul-13-08 02:03 PM by FarrenH
but this

The mechanists never did come up with a proper explanation of how order could grow out of disorder through random permutations -- or how doing significant damage to existing, well-functioning genes could lead to individuals of superior fitness. But at the time that didn't really matter. The real argument was between the those who claimed that science could explain everything and those who insisted science must break down at a certain point and fail to explain life, or consciousness, or whatever other sticking-point seemed handy.

The mechanists decisively won that argument back about 85-90 years ago -- because the 20th century was determined to throw its lot in with science, and the mechanistic view of evolution seemed to be the purest and most scientific available. But it was also narrow, limited, and dehumanizing -- which is why the creationists and IDers are still around. Mechanistic evolution just left too much out of the equation to provide a satisfactory explanation of the abundance and potential of life.

Much of the new evolutionary thought today harks back to the vitalistic ideas that got tossed in the dustbin during the 1920's. Form, for example. In everyday experience, you know that if you're going to cook, say, an apple pie, you'll do best if you have both an idea of what an apple pie should look like and taste like and also a set of detailed step-by-step instructions. However, mechanistic evolution insists that the instructions are all that's needed -- and if they're perfectly written and perfectly adhered to, the result will be an acceptable apple pie. But that sort of perfection doesn't exist anywhere in real life. It's not the way cooking works -- and it's unlikely to be the way evolution works, either.


Is simply wrong. Its a false history of science. Its basically the logic employed by creationists, whether you believe in creationism or not. It shows a complete misunderstanding of the Modern Synthesis, which does not posit that "order grew out of disorder through random permutations" and in fact quite neatly explains, instead, how very ordered (at a molecular level) species of organisms change over time into other species. In fact the modern synthesis relies on the fact that the universe is very ordered. It is because DNA molecules and cells behave in a particular, ordered manner that species evolve. There is no resurgence of "vitalism" in biology. There is no recipe. No higher guiding principle. And there are no serious evolutionary biologists who entertain such ideas.

There is a lot of misunderstanding on this thread. Some of the posts are indistinguishable from Christian or Muslim creationist drek. I recommend reading the following web sites:

Evowiki
Panda's thumb
Richard Dawkins' Website
The unofficial Stephen J Gould Archive

ETA: Some of the handwaving about Quantum Physics on this thread is similarly misinformed. A lot of stuff at a quantum level is mysterious because it is difficult to see how it coheres with the behaviour (of atoms and molecules) that we see at larger scales. It is because what happens at larger scales of reality (which evolutionary biology examines) is very ordered that it neatly fits into the modern synthesis. Absent some need to examine quantum effects to account for particular outcomes in, say, protein synthesis, there is no compelling reason to bring quantum physics into the discussion, just as there is no compelling need to understand quantum effects to predict that a ball will fall to the ground if dropped from a tall building.
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  -Altenberg 16: An Expos Of The Evolution Industry - Investigative Science Report By Suzan Mazur althecat  Jul-12-08 04:30 PM   #0 
  - Shhh...don't tell people how easy it is to get rich  wtmusic   Jul-12-08 04:38 PM   #1 
  - I do hope the rest of this e-tome has more substance than the  Sinistrous   Jul-12-08 04:44 PM   #2 
  - That's the hook... it is redolent in substantive content.... a veritable treasure chest  althecat   Jul-12-08 04:52 PM   #4 
     - Your hook is "ad-hominems, half-truths, and misstatements"? Wow  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:06 PM   #9 
        - Not my hook and not my representation of it.....  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #11 
           - Ah, I thought you were claiming the rest of the e-book was what was substantial  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:17 PM   #14 
              - .... snap...  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:20 PM   #16 
  - I still don't see where it matters that much  angrycarpenter   Jul-12-08 04:51 PM   #3 
  - The sharp point of this argument is survival of the fittest...  althecat   Jul-12-08 04:55 PM   #5 
  - My thoughts on th esubject would be that  truedelphi   Jul-13-08 12:21 AM   #24 
  - For scientists, the origin of life is indeed important  Alcibiades   Jul-12-08 09:55 PM   #23 
  - Well the introduction is clearly a load of  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:02 PM   #6 
  - The rest of the article consists mainly of conversations with eminent scientists  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:03 PM   #7 
  - From one of the web's most prominent biology bloggers:  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:08 PM   #10 
     - Thanks - I knew I'd seen something about Mazur a few months ago  muriel_volestrangler   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #12 
        - I do not know what PZ Meyers beef is - probably professional jealousy  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:18 PM   #15 
           - PZ Myers beef is the way very powerful and useful theory  FarrenH   Jul-12-08 05:44 PM   #18 
           - There are lots of strong viewpoints juxtaposed in this article  althecat   Jul-12-08 06:03 PM   #19 
              - You're correct in saying that a simple "selfish gene" principle  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 01:59 PM   #31 
           - I saw the article in Science yesterday...  arendt   Jul-12-08 06:44 PM   #21 
              - Thanks for a thoughtful response...  althecat   Jul-13-08 12:38 AM   #25 
                 - Thanks for an interesting topic.  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:13 AM   #27 
                    - My pleasure.... n/t  althecat   Jul-13-08 04:03 PM   #33 
  - exactly. the same person was trying to peddle this b.s. in another forum  RainDog   Jul-13-08 05:24 PM   #35 
  - If you want to live in the Stone Age, unplug your computer and go live in a cave. n/t  IanDB1   Jul-12-08 05:03 PM   #8 
  - This is not a about creationism. It is about cutting edge physics mathematics and biologgy.  althecat   Jul-12-08 05:13 PM   #13 
  - Will the REAL Christianity please stand up?  IanDB1   Jul-12-08 05:35 PM   #17 
  - The sole interest in Truth of the Selection-by-Nature, scientismificist hirelings  KCabotDullesMarxIII   Jul-12-08 06:14 PM   #20 
  - Well , I got it directly from a REAL expert about the Universe  dixiegrrrrl   Jul-12-08 07:58 PM   #22 
  - Evolution definitely needs to get out of a couple of jam-ups  starroute   Jul-13-08 01:53 AM   #26 
  - Yes. This "long view" fills in around the "short view" I gave in #21  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:24 AM   #28 
  - "But that just means science still has a lot to learn -- it doesn't mean  KCabotDullesMarxIII   Jul-13-08 11:22 AM   #29 
  - I'm sorry, I really don't want to come across as insulting  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 01:37 PM   #30 
     - Then explain the title of Jacques Monod's "Chance and Necessity"  starroute   Jul-13-08 02:18 PM   #32 
     - The modern synthesis is exceptionally good at  FarrenH   Jul-13-08 04:50 PM   #34 
     - I don't really want to come across as insulting, but...  arendt   Jul-13-08 10:11 PM   #36 
        - Biology is not reducible to chemistry, but it is constrained by chemistry  eridani   Jul-14-08 03:02 AM   #38 
        - Arendt,  FarrenH   Jul-14-08 03:12 AM   #39 
        - Yeah, I was cranky too. Just got done mixing and pouring a ton of concrete, tired...  arendt   Jul-14-08 07:58 AM   #41 
        - Here's some more from Myers,  FarrenH   Jul-14-08 05:26 AM   #40 
  - Science, properly practiced, is not concerned with philosophical/ideological  struggle4progress   Jul-14-08 12:15 AM   #37 
 

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