From Philip Ball at Nautilus:
Ah, but isn’t all this wonder simply the product of the blind fumbling of Darwinian evolution, that mindless machine which takes random variation and sieves it by natural selection? Well, not quite. You don’t have to be a benighted creationist, nor even a believer in divine providence, to argue that Darwin’s astonishing theory doesn’t fully explain why nature is so marvelously, endlessly inventive. “Darwin’s theory surely is the most important intellectual achievement of his time, perhaps of all time,” says evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner of the University of Zurich. “But the biggest mystery about evolution eluded his theory. And he couldn’t even get close to solving it.”
Hey, wait a minute. I put the obvious question to friends in biology: If the biggest mystery in evolution eluded Darwin’s theory, why is it “the most important intellectual achievement of his time, perhaps of all time”?
The answer was swift in coming: Wagner, News is informed, is actually criticizing Darwinism, but in the age of Daniel Dennett and Zack Kopplin, one needs to slather on the blather, praising the Sage of Down to ridiculous extremes, before getting round to what one really means to say.
These findings uncover a property of biological systems even deeper than the evolutionary processes that shape them. They reveal the landscape on which that shaping took place, and they show that it was only possible at all because the landscape has a very specific topology, in which functionally similar combinations of the component parts—genes, metabolites, protein or nucleic-acid sequences—are connected into vast webs that stretch throughout the whole of the multidimensional space, each intricately woven amidst countless others. More.
So this is a demonstration of the fine tuning of the universe for life?
But isn’t that heresy?
Indeed. Rob Sheldon writes to say,
Rob Sheldon: If those graphics in the article are accurate, it says that the topology-maps of gene-space are highly connected. This is another way of saying that there is long-range order built into the universe. Since no one thinks that the universe has physical laws that are finely tuned in this fashion, it conveniently moves all the information in the system into the fabric of the universe.
But while it may remove the fingers of God from the origin-of-life, it forces space-time to exhibit the fingerprints of God. Look at that graphic again. Doesn’t that remind you of a fingerprint?
I don’t think this is too likely an explanation for OOL, but if it were, it would be a deep criticism of Darwin, and stronger support for ID that even ID claimed.
No wonder Wagner, author of Arrival of the Fittest, had to slather on the blather before he could say what he wanted to. He may yet have to publicly humble himself again and proclaim Darwin the Greatest. Ever. Whatever.
See also: New origin theory for cells that gave rise to vertebrates: If the neural crest cells did not have to evolve, but rather the “incredible properties” were there all along, is that not an argument for design in nature?
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