It seems we can now put together at least a draft outline composite response to the UD pro-darwinism essay challenge of a year ago, based on Jerad’s remarks at 70 in the one-year anniversary thread, and a key concession by EL at 149 in the same.
In the interests of moving the discussion on the merits forward [I am open to improved drafts or a full form submission . . . ], first here is the Smithsonian chart of the Tree of Life, the context:
Now, PART I:
EL, 149: >> “As yet we have no empirically supported naturalistic theory of abiogenesis.” >>
For PART II, we will need to highlight that Jerad is responding to some earlier remarks in the thread:
[KF:] Until you have a credible, observational evidence warranted account of how blind watchmaker chance and necessity accounts for FSCO/I, all you have is materialist just so stories that have determined the conclusion in the question begging ideological a prioris.
Given that we have a few thousands years of observing what morphological changes breeding programs can develop coupled with the fossil record and the morphologies it shows, what we know of the genome and the bio-geographic distribution of species AND not wanting to assume a ’cause’ we have no evidence to have existed at the times under consideration I’d say the evolutionary model is pretty good.
Science makes observations and tries to construct models that explain what is observed. When a better (or more refined/specific) model is proposed and verified (on existing and new data) then the paradigm changes.
As always, attacking evolutionary theory doesn’t give you ID. ID needs to develop its own explanatory model. niwrad has a thread which s/he has pointed out to me wherein s/he has a preliminary model. What do the rest of you think of it? I’ve only had a brief chance to consider it but I found some intriguing ideas there.
[KF:] As the main point in the OP highlights, there is but one empirically justified source of FSCO/I, design. That is, empirically and inductively, FSCO/I is known to be a reliable sign of design, as deer tracks are reliable signs of the passage of certain animals.
As usual, I beg to differ. At least as far as the diversification of life on earth is concerned given a as yet unknown original replicator.
[KF:] This also accords with the implications of functionality dependent on correct configuration and coupling of multiple, well matched parts. Namely, that most — vastly most — of the field of possibilities will be non-functional configs; yielding the islands of function in a much larger sea of non function effect. That means that once complexity is above 500 – 1,000 bits, solar system or observed cosmos resources cannot plausibly account for the observed outcome on blind chance and mechanical necessity due to overwhelming search and sampling challenges. The needle in the haystack problem, in short.
Again, evolutionary theory posits that the diversification of life as we know it arose from minor modifications of a first basic form. The minor modifications were also functional. Cumulative selection by environmental pressures (among other things) created new functional configurations. No need to search a vast configuration space for new forms. The ones that survived to reproduce were functional and derived from other functional forms. The modifications that were not functional did not survive. This happens with human pregnancies. It’s possible that up to a third of human pregnancies spontaneously abort because something is wrong.
In this way all the life forms that have ever existed on earth form a great web of functional forms. No islands. Holes in the web maybe, but no disconnected pieces. And no need to randomly search a vast configuration space for new functional configurations.
By the way, you make the assumption that the configuration space would have to be exhaustively searched. This, even under your assumption, is not the case. Once a functional configuration was found you’ve got your first basic replicator and the evolutionary process can begin.
Also, it is not known, nor does ID specify, what kind of functional configuration you’re saying needed to be found. As a result, there’s no way to test how many functional configurations there would be in the configuration space. Some details to bolster your model would be good.
And, once again, evolutionary theory does not yet know what the first basic replicator was. Neither does the ID community. How it came about is a separate issue. I will grant you that the first basic replicator could have been designed and then, if there was no further intervention, evolutionary processes can explain all that happened after that. But, so far, the ID community has got no proposed first replicator or its source. But, it has to be said, claiming the first basic replicator on Earth came from a designer does lead to the question of where the designer came from. Unless you’re inclined to stop asking questions.
[KF:] The red herring on demanding that we ignore what we know per empirical warrant to do something that in effect demands us to create a time capsule and travel back to remote times, is a fallacious distractor from what we do and can know. It also is inconsistent, as there is a double standard in inductive reasoning.
Not at all. Evolutionary theory invokes observable forces/causes that can be reasonably supposed to have been available in the given time frame. ID proposes an unspecified/undefined ‘designer’ for which there is no independent evidence. Also, evolutionary theory explains more of the evidence we have: why are some things the way they are? When did some transitions happen? How did they happen? Not specific to the molecular level (which is unknowable) but the model matches the data and can predict undiscovered forms.
[KF:] That is, the inductive logic whereby in making a design inference we reconstruct or infer on best empirically grounded explanation of the credible cause of key features of a situation we did not directly see from its traces in the present and known characteristic empirically grounded causal processes that yield such results is a commonplace in science.
If you use special pleading (i.e. there was an intelligent designer around at the time with the necessary skills and equipment) without any independent evidence then your inference is less parsimonious. Aside from the fact that the ID community has yet to come up with a core hypothesis which can be tested against the evolutionary model of universal common descent with modification. As far as I know there is yet no consensus about when design was implemented for example. There’s lots of work to do!!
[KF:] That sort of double standard on warrant is a characteristic feature of an imposed ideological a priori. In this case, the known one of materialism.
It’s just a matter of what can be reasonably inferred from what we know of the situation. We don’t know there was a designer around at the time. And, again, even if that were granted as an acceptable axiom there is not explanatory ID model to work with.
[KF:] Such ideological a prioris compromise the key value and aim of science to be open to and seek an accurate report or account of the world.
Well, I would always want to find a model that fits that has the fewest assumptions. I don’t see what that has to do with materialism.
I’d consider what I wrote above to be a decent outline/draft of my response to your ‘darwinian essay challenge’. I feel that the basic argument is there.>>
It has taken a year to get to this point, but it is a beginning.
Let us trust that we can now see a turn towards focussing on the merits. As promised, I will wait for five comments below before commenting, and will wait two full days before posting any headlined response. END