The Templeton Foundation has sponsored a new site called Map of Life. This site is coordinated by Simon Conway Morris, author of the book Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe.
While Conway Morris is not a professed ID’er, his views are very closely aligned with that of Intelligent Design. Morris believes that by looking at evolutionary convergences, we can see the design of life. Morris thinks that there is a lot of life that is contingent, but that the massive convergences show that the contingencies are not the ruling factor, but rather that life’s plan (which Morris believes to have been designed by God) simply cannot be beat by any contingency.
This new website aims to document many of the convergences throughout life, so that students and researchers are able to learn about and understand the enormous depth of convergence found within life.
It should be noted that the website claims to be incompatible with ID. But the only way in which it is incompatible with Intelligent Design is by redefining it. The website defines Intelligent Design as the idea that “organisms were supernaturally created and have remained unchanged since the time of their creation”. While some in the ID movement might believe this statement (though I can’t imagine who), it is certainly not a defining quality. Michael Behe, for instance, one of the primary movers in Intelligent Design, would disagree, as would many others. The site makes a few practical objections to ID, but I don’t think they are worth engaging for as long as ID is so well misrepresented. The page ends with the statement, “This suggests that evolutionary outcomes can be much more predictable than generally thought, and raises interesting questions about how patterns of convergence arise.” An interesting ID project if there ever was one!
Personally, I think Morris (as well many others) might actually consider himself an ID’er, if only he bothered to actually discover what is meant by it!
I encourage everyone to browse the website. Lots of interesting stuff!