Intelligent Design

[quote mine] “we regard as rather regrettable the conventional concatenation of Darwin’s name with evolution”

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Here is a quote mine for the day which I found in an article Bill referenced earlier (see: Start the revolution without ID). The quote is by one of the world’s leading scientists, Carl Woese:

we regard as rather regrettable the conventional concatenation of Darwin’s name with evolution

I agree. Let me suggest that if the conventional concatenation is “Darwinian evolution” a better concatenation would be “designed evolution” or even (hehe) “created evolution”.

Salvador
PS

Following Bill’s lead in trying to make money off of the ID/Evolution controversy, I staked out my claim to the domain name www.DesignedEvolution.com

I’m putting it up for sale immediately.

24 Replies to “[quote mine] “we regard as rather regrettable the conventional concatenation of Darwin’s name with evolution”

  1. 1
    realpc says:

    Using “evolution” as a synonym for NDE has caused a lot of confusion. And so has calling ID “creationism.”

    This is not the old evolution vs. creationism debate, but that’s how the media has presented it to the public.

    ID is a theory of evolution, not a criticism of evolution. It is a criticism of NDE theory.

    I think it’s very important to clarify the terminology. Although the implications of ID, if it’s proven, are revolutionary and would overturn scientific “naturalism,” ID is still scientific/mathematical.

    People do not understand this, and that is partly because of the terminology. Also because of the relentless propaganda from Dawkins, etc.

  2. 2
    johnnyb says:

    “Also because of the relentless propaganda from Dawkins, etc”

    Dawkin’s propoganda would be meaningless if it were not for the hordes of journalists who repeat it.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    I will say it again. ID has nothing against NDE nor the traditionally accepted definiton of evolution used by nearly all of the science community in the world. There should be no dispute on this. ID does not dispute it.

    The caveat is only that NDE is limited in what it can explain which is what I am sure Woese would say too.

    The debate is not over the definiton of evolution or how an allele spreads in a population. The debate is over the creation of new alleles which is what the Woese article is about.

    There is a further debate over how fast an allele can spread in a population but that is not a debate over the population genetics process itself but the mathematics behind it.

  4. 4
    realpc says:

    “ID has nothing against NDE”

    Of course it does. NDE says new species originate ONLY because of natural selection and random (unintentional) genetic variations. ID is completely at odds with this theory.

    Everyone agrees that there are random variations, and everyone agrees that there is natural selection and adaptation. Everyone agrees that species change gradually and adapt to a changing environment. But that is not NDE, because NDE goes farther and makes a statement about the origin of new species.

    ID, as I understand it, denies that new species can originate ONLY as the result of random mutations and natural selection. So ID is a denial of the central claim of NDE.

    The public is confused because the central claim of NDE is not explained in the media, and neither is the central claim of ID.

  5. 5
    realpc says:

    “Dawkin’s propoganda would be meaningless if it were not for the hordes of journalists who repeat it.”

    Well why do they repeat it? It must strike them as reasonable. He sells books because people want to read them. Why? Probably because Dawkins offers certainty. He claims, with force and insistence, to have all the ultimate answers.

    But his arguments are getting pretty hysterical and irrational. God can’t possibly exist because the origin of life is utterly improbable. So the origin of God is even less probable — I am not kidding, that is his proof of atheism.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    NDE is a multi faceted theory and ID does not dispute any of it. We had this same discussion a couple days ago and Joseph provided a quote from Michael Behe which supported this postion as basic ID. Behe assumes all the mechanisms of NDE work but that they don’t explain everything.

    What many will do is take NDE and extrapolate from the minor changes we can observe and imagine how it could produce major changes over large amounts of time. This is what ID disputes because there is no proof of this. ID does not dispute the basic process of NDE which is why I will always claim that ID subsumes NDE. So the dispute is over the extent of allele creation over time and only over this.

    If we accept NDE but point out that NDE is very limited in allele creation, we win. If we reflexively fight it we loose big time because we look like fools.

    If the claims of NDE and ID are not explained in the media, look at ourselves as much as to the Darwinists. We constantly shoot ourselves in the foot.

  7. 7
    realpc says:

    jerry, I agree that ID does not dispute the parts of NDE — accidental mutations, natural selection, gradual adaptation — but the parts are different from the central claim, which says these parts explain the origin of species.

    However, I do not strongly disagree with your point. ID does not deny NDE, it goes beyond it. That might be easier for the mainstream to accept.

    But I do feel that the philosophical centers of NDE and ID are radically different. NDE says the universe, and nature, are mindless, while ID says the opposite.

    The universe as Great Mind is too reminiscent of God for the current scientific mainstream. It will require a radical shifting of mental gears, because science has strongly aligned itself with atheism since the NDE synthesis.

  8. 8
    jerry says:

    realpc,

    I believe that ID has positioned itself badly. Its image is as an alternative to NDE not as an improvement on it, and one that is heavily associated with creationism and fundamentalist religion. We can deny that but 1) the constant belaboring of the differences and our endless criticism of NDE instead that we accept nearly all of NDE and 2) the frequent promotion of ID by creationists both on this site and elsewhere has led the Darwinists (the extreme part of NDE) to easily pigeon hole the entire concept as pseudo religion and anti-science.

    Where I come from, if you discuss evolution you are considered a “whack job” because everybody thinks a non-Darwinian approach is led by kooks. When it gets a fair hearing ID is impressive but right now it has a lot of baggage and rarely gets that fair hearing.

  9. 9
    realpc says:

    jerry,

    Yes, the association of ID with Christian Creationism is very unfortunate. Many people have closed their minds to ID because of this association. Even on this blog, a Creationist getting a Ph.D. in biology was announced as something positive. That just reinforces the idea that ID is irrational and anti-science.

    So I more or less agree with you.

  10. 10
    j says:

    ID subsumes the mechanisms of NDE.

    Methodological materialism is crippled science.

  11. 11
    tribune7 says:

    I am going out on a limb and making a prediction that within 5 years Woese becomes an IDist.

  12. 12
    scordova says:

    jerry,

    There was as “jerry” who was part of UD for several months, if that’s you, welcome back.

    NDE fails on its own demerits. Many modern biologists are distancing themselves from the theory. It would not be a good foundation for ID to build upon.

    A better foundation is Designed Evolution. Although I personally reject absolute common ancestry from a single organism, I’m of the strong opinion there were several but limited number of ancestral forms which evolved rapidly. Reverse engineering the ancestral form would be a compelling endeavor.

    Woese argues against absolute common ancestry. If he is right, people will be willing to throw out even more sacred cows in the future.

    the time has come for biology to go beyond the doctrine of common ancestry

    Carl Woese

    Woese uses the word “doctrine” to describe the idea of common ancestry. And if one wanted to be a stickler, even Darwin suggested there could have been multiple ancestors.

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    j,

    Behe doesn’t have any problem with NDE as a scienfific discipline. Which advocates of ID do? NDE is essentially populaton genetics but also recognizes that new alleles arise in various ways. A claim that new alleles arise only from random mutation has mostly been abandoned and they recognize other sources of new alleles. That is what the Woese paper and the Scwartz paper a couple days ago are all about.

    ID recognizes all these potential sources of new alleles and goes a step further and say that there are places where new alleles arise that only make sense if there was an intelligent force behind it. So ID subsumes NDE but also extends it. ID has no problem with population genetics or random mutations, only the absurd non scientific lengths many people take it.

    NDE is not methodological materialism. That is a philosophy that the current scientific community wants to have as the basis for all science including NDE, and has nothing to do with NDE particularly other than NDE is an area of science. It applies to all the hard science such as chemistry, physics, geology and the numerous disciplines of biology.

    I agree that methodological materialism is a bogus philosophy of science and it also limits scientific enquiry. But equating methodological materialism with NDE is not appropriate.

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    Salvador,

    I guess I disagree with you a little. I have little problem with NDE because as I have noted above and on other threads it is essentially population genetics with a source of new allele creation. Also its definition of evolution works in every case that ID is interested in so why not use it.

    These are all separate issues and the only problem ID would have with it is their current claim that all new alleles are created only through some random process. The debate is essentially over new allele creation but once the alleles are created there is very little of substance to argue about. ID is certainly not going to the wall to deny population genetics.

    You and others have debated the speed with which an allele can become fixed in a population but that is not the real area of debate. It always has been the source of new alleles.

    I think the speed of allele fixing is important and should be pursued but to focus too much on it gets in the way especially if it is natural selection, genetic drift or some other process. I know little about the specific terminology in genetics so there may be better words to describe this.

    So I recommend that we not bash NDE but focus just on the bad science that is used to generate hypotheses about allele creation. Tell everyone we endorse NDE but in a more limited fashion than many do in current evolutionary biology. Our problem is the absurd length evolutionary biology takes it.

    Such an approach is geared to put us on the inside of science where we can agree with Woese or Schwartz but also point out that their hypotheses are limited too. The current scientific community won’t accept us but we can claim that we accept 98% of what they do and it is just the 2 % we disagree on. Right now we are positioned in the public mind as complete opposites. Even on this site people fail to see that for the most part we agree on many, many things with NDE.

  15. 15
    LeeBowman says:

    In your reference to Goldenfeld and Woese’s paper, which highlights the concept of “the revolution of thought that accompanies tha acquisition of an entirely new body of data”, and with an acceded march to “supercede molecular reductionism”, I believe we can see that happening, and with ID as a player.

    Regarding ‘designed’ evolution I’ve held that view all along. Has the microprocessor evolved (from the 8080)? Of course, but how? In the beginning the tracings and masks were hand drawn, then reduced photographically, but with todays multilayer designs with millions of junctions, the designs are produced with software, and the masks etched by short wavelength energy beams. Man is the designer, but without software tools from Synopsys and others, http://tinyurl.com/yqbr43 it would be impossible.

    Am I limiting the Cosmic Designer by implying that evolution is a design tool? Not really, since information input and choice would still be a cosmic designer’s providence, the tools being merely adjuncts to help with the grunt work, to aid in survival,and to produce diversity.

    Regarding your name registration, I also see where a Lee Bowman registered ‘guidedevolution.com’ as well a few months back. Perhaps we’re seeing a new trend in evolutionary concepts in the making. Even ideas evolve …

  16. 16
    scordova says:

    Jerry,

    Thank you for you reply. First off, from a scientific, not personal standpoint, I don’t have yet a strong bent against common descent. [Every one here knows however, my personal views].

    PEH (prescribed evolution), Evo-Devo, neutral theory, directed evolution [Denton], cooperative evolution [Goodwin], process structuralism [sternberg/salthe], pre-programmed evolution [james shapiro], self-organization [kauffman], and so many others give good reasons to doubt NDE. More recently, Eric Davidson said, “neo-Darwinism is dead”. Jeffrey Schwartz, Stephen Gould, and so many others have pointed out problems with NDE.

    If I had to pick a non-ID evolutionary theory, NDE would be at the bottom. Evo-Devo or the ideas laid out by Meuller and Newman would be closer to the top.

    My personal view coincides with those of the Baraminology group, but that’s not to say there isn’t great value in the other evolutionary models. My negativity toward NDE is shared by many non-ID proponents.

    Thus, if many non-ID evolutionists reject NDE, it might not be of any benefit for the ID proponents to jump onto the NDE bandwagon since it may be a sinking ship scientifically.

  17. 17
    jerry says:

    Salvador,

    I think you are missing my point. None of the people you mention actually have a problem with NDE in total. We tend to lump a criticism of one part of the NDE paradigm with a complete criticism of the whole paradigm. In the process we end up looking like anti-science bumbling fools.

    NDE is what is taught in every biology course and in every textbook in the country. And nothing will change that at any time in the foreseeable future. Why? Because nearly all of it is unassailable.

    Their definition of evolution is not going to change. It makes sense and works. Nothing in population genetics is going to change including natural selection, genetic drift etc. What will change. Darwin’s gradual approach will still be covered because it works in places, which no one in ID denies but something will be added. What will be added is that some researchers explain the appearance of major new alleles not by the gradual accumulation of small allele changes due to random mutations but by things such as HGT or symbiosis or whatever mechanism Schwartz or others come up with. So there will be a different subsection of most textbooks dealing with these ideas of creating new alleles and everybody will nod their heads because it all makes sense and is reasonable and ID will be left out. Not only will they be left out but the emphasis will be that they were never needed to solve the problems that traditional gradualism couldn’t explain. Look what we are adding to the textbooks.

    We tend to look at these papers from Schwartz, Woese etc and shout hallelujah because they agree with us and say the wicked witch is dead but what we are doing because we are on the outside is giving a new witch credence. The Wizard of Oz plays out as one witch replaces another.

    We will be left out because of our intransigence and the failure to see what the argument is all about. The argument has always been about new allele creation. So when we reflexively bash NDE we are only really bashing a part of it and that part is changing as we watch this week with the Woese and Schwartz publications. Woese, Margulis, Schwartz etc. will be what is recognized not ID.

    Behe accepts NDE but points out its limitations so why cannot the rest of see that to do so helps us and not hurts us. NDE works in limited areas and to criticize it makes us look like we are criticizing the obvious. When we accept NDE, even embrace it for where it works then we can get to criticize the part of it that is nonsense.

    As it is now, few on this site realize that. Tell me what is wrong with the statement: ID encompasses NDE. By saying that we are not agreeing with the gradualism approach of Darwin carte blanche but agreeing that there are definitely times when the approach can work. It also does not put us in opposition to such things as population genetics which is a major part of NDE and we can all agree with the traditional definition of evolution. But by saying ID subsumes NDE it implies that there is more to the problem than NDE can explain. ID would also encompass Woese, Schwartz, Margulis etc if any of their ideas were shown to work. ID has no problem with naturalistic explanations if there is evidence to support it.

    If every ID proponent started every presentation with how much we agree with current evolutionary science we would get more hearing. But we just constantly find fault with NDE and to scientists who are taught it, they know that this is nonsense because most of NDE is very logical.

    ID as currently marketed is a PR disaster. It is a great product with poor marketing execution.

  18. 18
    j says:

    jerry,

    You state, “Behe doesn’t have any problem with NDE as a scientific discipline.” Of course he does. You also ask us to “Tell me what is wrong with the statement: ID encompasses NDE.” What’s wrong is that it’s not true. ID does not emcompass NDE. While Behe and ID do not have an issue with the existence of the mechanisms of NDE — natural selection and random mutation, essentially — they certainly do have a problem with the fundamental claim of NDE, that those mechanisms are fully sufficient to explain all biological phenomena. The distinction is important.

  19. 19
    jerry says:

    j,

    This is a response I gave last week on the origin of the term, neo Darwinism or what is usually called the modern synthesis.

    It flowed from studies of population genetics in the 1920’s and 1930’s and by the early 1940’s they agreed on the process that spread traits throughout the population. It is essentially the same today but has been updated with all the findings in biology in the last 50 years.

    At the beginning of the 20th century Darwinism was moribund and it was resurrected by three findings. First was Medelian genetics which provided a mechanism for the spread of traits in a population. Second was the work by Morgan on fruit flies which showed how mutations arose and were passed on. Third, the realization that the earth was much older than suspected. At the end of the 19th century the prevailing view was that of Lord Kelvin’s that the earth was 100-200 million years old and there was not enough time for Darwin’s ideas to work. When science indicated the earth was probably 3-4 billion years old, this changed everyone’s thinking that there was enough time for Darwin’s ideas to work.

    Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_synthesis

    “Tenets of the modern synthesis

    According to the modern synthesis as established in the 1930s and 1940s, genetic variation in populations arises by chance through mutation (this is now known to be sometimes caused by mistakes in DNA replication) and recombination (crossing over of homologous chromosomes during meiosis). Evolution consists primarily of changes in the frequencies of alleles between one generation and another as a result of genetic drift, gene flow, and natural selection. Speciation occurs gradually when populations are reproductively isolated, e.g. by geographic barriers.”

    Non of population genetics is unfriendly to ID and little of the ideas about mutation are unfriendly.

    The part of Neo Darwinism that we disagree on is the extent of the changes that can arise from mutations not how the changes can spread in a population or the fact that mutations do happen.

    Separate the idea of how mutations arise from the concepts of how they spread in a population such as natural selection. They are not related and are discussed together only because some people insist that they are.

    It will help focus discussions on the ideas that matter. ID does not dispute that natural selection happens so why make an issue of it. The real issue is how the new alleles arise not how they spread in the population.

    The NDE definitions work for ID so why not use them and join the rest of the scienfific community. To challenge them on this is foolish and I believe very counterproductive. Challenge them not on their definitions but the implications of the evidence. That is where they are very, very vulnurable.

    Natural selection is such a slam dunk idea that we lose every time we dispute it. Accept it and then relegate it to its minor consequences where it belongs. That is where we win.

    Here is a Behe quote about evolution that Joseph provided

    “Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor. The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

    Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.–Dr. Behe”

    As I said we look foolish to constanty bash NDE. If we are sophisticated and join the mainstream it then is possible to criticize what is really vulnurable and is the real issue, namely how new alleles arise.

    If you disagree then let me know specifically what you disagree with.

  20. 20
    j says:

    jerry,

    I don’t disagree with your overall point. ID could probably benefit from making it clearer that it does not deny the existence of the mechanisms of NDE, and that the real issue is the “origin of the fittest” alleles. It has never denied this, but the misrepresentation of ID by its opponents tends to obscure this.

    My only point is that the term “NDE” is generally used as shorthand for the the phrase “Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory.” So, to be accurate, one cannot say “ID encompasses NDE.” ID is a theory of intelligence detection. NDE is a theory of biological evolution — that insists that intelligence had absolutely nothing to do with all biological complexity and diversity.

  21. 21
    jerry says:

    j,

    You said “NDE is a theory of biological evolution — that insists that intelligence had absolutely nothing to do with all biological complexity and diversity”

    That is a philosophical statement not a scientific statement and as such is not part of the science of NDE.

    Keeping it to science, ID is as much a theory of evolution as NDE is. A frequent commentator here, bFast, wants to call it IDE because it more accurate description. By making loud noises about how evolution works ID cannot avoid being a complete theory of evolution. Thus, it has opinions on the definition of evolution, population genetics, mutations and the origin of new alleles. So it must be a complete theory or else it cannot expect to play in the game. The one and only modification it makes to NDE is to say that some of the alleles or combinations of alleles that have arisen give the appearance of having been designed by an intelligence. That is all!!! It doesn’t deny the possibility that some of the alleles can form by the NDE process alone.

    Thus, it encompasses NDE but also extends it by saying that there are other origins of new alleles besides the gradual accumulation of mutations over time. That is the only difference. I understand that has a big, big implications philosophically but as far as the science alone, it is the only difference. The ideas of Woese, Schwartz, Margulis etc. are hypotheses that also say new alleles do not arise by gradual accumulation and are not antithetical to NDE or ID. They are extending NDE in another way. ID will have no problem with these other hypotheses if there is evidence to show they work. All these authors are doing is trying to extend NDE in a little different way and find hero status in the annals of science.

    ID is perceived as an alternative to NDE by the science community and the general public and also as a religiously inspired doctrine. I am arguing, it should not create this image and try hard to create a different one. One of the ways that these current images happens is when ID bashes NDE. It also happens when people with religious motives become major sponsors of it. Especially when most of the religious sponsors represent fundamentalist religions doctrines. If ID is to create new images in the scientific public and the general public it has to change its strategies and methods of communication. Right now it is a PR disaster.

  22. 22
    j says:

    jerry,

    That is a philosophical statement not a scientific statement and as such is not part of the science of NDE.

    Nonetheless, “There is no such thing as philosophy-free science; there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination” (Dennett). And materialist philosophy is inextricably associated with Darwinism (NDE included).

    Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication:

    However much we may wish it, we can hardly follow Professor Asa Gray in his belief “that variation [in nature] has been led along certain beneficial lines,” like a stream “along definite and useful lines of irrigation.”

    bFast…wants to call it IDE

    In the past, Dr. Dembski proposed “Intelligent Evolution”.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....chives/134
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....hives/1199

    By making loud noises about how evolution works ID cannot avoid being a complete theory of evolution. …it must be a complete theory or else it cannot expect to play in the game.

    This is like saying, “By making claims about the amount of time that evolution has had to occur, radiometric dating cannot avoid being a complete theory of evolution.” ID is a means of detecting the effects of intelligence. There may be theories of evolution (guided evolution, front-loaded evolution, etc.) that are consistent with the findings of intelligent design theory, but they cannot be a part of intelligent design theory.

    It also happens when people with religious motives become major sponsors of it. Especially when most of the religious sponsors represent fundamentalist religions doctrines.

    It’s a big tent. But I hear what you’re saying. Materialists’ misrepresentation of ID as “creationism” and a “God of the gaps” argument delayed my discovery of ID for many years. “Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure.” [ 🙂 ]

  23. 23
    jerry says:

    j,

    What I am saying is that there is a lot of correct thinking in the NDE paradigm, that is obvious to whoever is presented it. I have been through the Berkeley course on evolution twice by different instructors. It is available on the internet. There is little of the science which I disagree with but I see how they weave the bogus in with the correct. It is interesting how they do it.

    There is the one fatal flaw which they never teach but that does not mean we do not accept the correct parts. So what I am recommending is that we accept what is established and works. Then we will have credibility when we point out the flaws of what is bogus.

    People here reflexively bash NDE and that does zero good. You mentioned that public perception delayed your discovery for many years. I believe that many who endorse ID contribute to the erroneous public perception which is that ID is a phenomena of fundamentalist religion. Just follow the thread on the Dembski/Shermer debate. Coming from a part of the country where a fundamentalist is a rare bird, I know what people think when they hear that someone questions Darwinism.

  24. 24
    j says:

    jerry,

    Point taken.

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