After fifteen years of news coverage on issues of interest to the ID community, I finally got to say what seems evident to a news writer (who doesn’t wave pom poms for Darwin’s followers):
First, the fossils speak, but hardly with one voice:
University of Chicago biochemist James Shapiro, not a design theorist, offers in one of his lectures four kinds of rapid, evolutionary change that Darwin “could not have imagined”: horizontal DNA transfer, symbiogenesis, genome doubling, and built-in mechanisms of genome restructuring. His approach is in sharp contrast to the “defend Darwin” strategy usually championed in the academy. So it is no surprise that he is a controversial figure. But is he right in saying that many possible mechanisms of evolution owe little or nothing to Darwin’s theory, the only concept of evolution most of us hear about?
It is reasonably estimated that there are 8.7 million species today (excluding bacteria), but that only about 14 percent have been identified — and only 9 percent of ocean life forms. Our picture of Earth’s life forms might change radically if we had more information about all the others. For example, an entire kingdom of life, the Archaea, was only identified in the 1970s.
How did all these life forms get to be where they are? As we examine some evidence-based mechanisms, we should keep in mind a critical question: How does a given mechanism fit our current picture of evolution? And how much change can it account for?
The welter of data coming back from paleontology, genome mapping, and other studies presents a challenging picture. With so much new information, the history of life begins increasingly to resemble the history of human civilizations. There is peril in that, principally to older ideas that depended on less information and more overarching theory.
Overarching theories often falter when evidence replaces speculation. Darwinian evolution is, despite legislative protection, certainly one of the victims. By contrast, discarded and ridiculed theories like Lamarck’s (inheritance of characteristics acquired in life by the parents) may turn out to have some basis in epigenetics.
So, to start this series, instead of contemplating yet another picture derived from grand theories, let us assemble, under eight headings, some of what we have learned in past decades that we did not expect. That might help us evaluate theories, new and old. More.
Read there, argue here.
See also: Talk to the Fossils: Let’s see what they say back
Yes, it is true. I dragged back from the assaults of Darwin’s followers. I didn’t know how to dissemble in fashionable Christian mags. You know: Fluffarella Fluffarelli discovers Darwin. Hooray!!! No. Don’t tune up the guitar for me.
I don’t believe any aspect of materialism/naturalism, for good reason. I offer it no terms, in consequence.
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