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Darwin’s “could not possibly . . . ,” a case where we need to take the “liberal” interpretation


UD News highlights from C Hunter, how Darwin wrote:

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.

Hunter aptly picks up that:

. . . this was hardly a concession. Darwin may sound generous here, allowing that his theory would “absolutely break down,” but his requirement for such a failure is no less than impossible. For no one can show that an organ “could not possibly” have been formed in such a way. So in short order Darwin reduced what seemed to be a dilemma for his theory into a logical truism. Evolution was protected from criticism and all that was needed to explain complexity was a clever thought experiment. Darwin so lowered the requirements that anyone with a pen and a vivid imagination can now claim to have solved the problem of complexity.

This little rhetorical fast-move is well-highlighted, and I am glad that UD News has headlined it. (I would put up a comment in the thread, but I suggest we reserve it for some time for Mr Zimmer to state his case.)

Now, I have long pointed out that subtlety in the Darwin clip, and have suggested that we take a “liberal” rather than a “literal” view of it. Similar, to how Behe treats it in putting forth his case for irreducible complexity.

I see where Mr Zimmer seems to have played the same fast move:

he demanded that skeptics of the chromosome two argument show why the evolutionary fusion hypothesis is not possible

H’mm . . .

I propose that we do the same “liberal interpretation” with anything Mr Zimmer writes.

And of course, let us direct attention to the thread by News, open for Mr Zimmer to speak.

So, no comments here. END