Intelligent Design

Convergent Evolution Online

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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!

7 Replies to “Convergent Evolution Online

  1. 1
    Atom says:

    Hey Johnny,

    You wrote:

    While some in the ID movement believe this statement, it is certainly not a defining quality

    I’m sure this has been pointed out to you, but I don’t know anyone who holds to fixivity of species. Not even YECs (AiG, CMI, ICR) hold to it. It was a strawman coming from Dr. Morris, and I would like to point out that no one I’ve read (Behe, Dembski, Meyer, Axe, Gauger, etc.) holds to species fixivity.

    I’d like to call Dr. Morris out on this and have him provide documented cases where any ID advocate has argued in favor of that idea. If it really was a defining ID characteristic (as he claims) it shouldn’t be hard to find several examples. I could be wrong and would accept being shown so. But if he can’t, he really should remove that from his site.

    Atom

  2. 2
    johnnyb says:

    Atom – I totally agree. However, I didn’t want to speak for all ID’ers 🙂

    I think that’s a good challenge. Someone *should* challenge Morris to find a place where *any* ID person advocated for species fixity. There might be one or two obscure people, but I can’t imagine who it would be.

  3. 3
    johnnyb says:

    Atom –

    I amended the post slightly on that sentence to be more clear.

  4. 4
    Richard Johns says:

    The blurb about ID looks like an obvious shibboleth by Morris. I doubt that he seriously means it, but rather sees it as a professional necessity. I mean, he’s a sophisticated thinker.

  5. 5
    Paul Giem says:

    johnnyb,

    I strongly second Atom’s point. Conway Morris is not only inaccurate for ID advocates in general, it is inaccurate for YEC’s (and YLC’s). I say this as a knowledgable (on this subject) creationist. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a good place on his website to challenge his definition of ID. Perhaps someone can personally respond to him.

  6. 6
    Paul Giem says:

    Richard (#4),
    you may be on to something.

  7. 7
    Robert Byers says:

    I always have thought that the weak underbelly of evolution was there constant need to invoke convergent evolution. There is so much likeness in form of unrelated life or claims of unrelated life that the evolution from mutation/time just seems unlikely.
    This yEC gut sees marsupials as simply placentals with a few adaptatins upon entering some area. I see this constantly in the fossil record for other creatures also.
    They have to invoke convergent evolution to explain why a marsupial lion or wolf looks soooo alike to lions and wolves elsewhere yet is unrelated.
    They have to.
    If one added up all the convergent claims it would soon be obvious there is something fishy about why things look the same.
    A worthy place for some creationist to aim at.

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