In a prior post RDFish starts off with a promisingly cogent observation:
We’re not arguing about “evolutionary adaptation”, but rather about the highly intricate, multi-component mechanisms we observe in organisms. Of course large populations and crossovers can help a bit with local optima, but saying these things will “tend to avoid” them is wishful thinking – there is just so much that can be assembled that way, which is why GAs come up with optimizations and not novel mechanisms. The important point, though, is not to argue about this in the abstract, because there is no way to demonstrate (yet) whether or not the combinatorial resources were sufficient or not.
Leading Mapou to respond:
Wow. RDFish is moving dangerously close to accepting the designer hypothesis (i.e., life requires consciousness)
To which RDFish responds indignantly:
HUH? Why in the world would you say that – I haven’t moved one iota in that direction, of course, because there isn’t a shred of evidence for it. I deny that evolutionary theory accounts for biological complexity, but that doesn’t lend any credence whatsoever to the notion that some conscious being thought up designs for all us creatures and built us somehow!
I am always amazed when one of our opponents reveals that the metaphysical blinders they are wearing restrict their vision to such a degree that they cannot see the blatantly obvious implications of their own conclusions.
Let’s lay it out step by step.
- Given our current understanding of causation, there are three and only three possibilities regarding the provenance of “highly intricate, multi-component mechanisms we observe in organisms.” The first two possibilities, which in combination are often referred to as “natural causes,” are law and chance, including a combination of the two. The third possibility, Aristotle’s tertium quid, is the act of an intelligent agent.*
- The project of modern evolutionary theory is to demonstrate that the highly intricate, multi-component mechanisms we observe in organisms can be reduced to purely natural causes.
- The project of intelligent design is to demonstrate that intelligent agency is a better explanation for the highly intricate, multi-component mechanisms we observe in organisms.
- Modern evolutionary theory and ID are playing a zero sum game. If modern evolutionary theory is correct about the sufficiency of natural causes to account for the observations, ID would be falsified. If ID is correct about the insufficiency of natural causes to account for the observations, that aspect of modern evolutionary theory would be falsified.
- In the comment above, RDFish denies that evolutionary theory currently accounts for biological complexity.
- Other things being equal, RDFish’s observation – to the extent it is true – undermines the standing of modern evolutionary theory.
- Since we are playing a zero sum game, it follows that Mapou is generally correct; RDFish’s observation supports a design approach to the extent it undermines a non-design approach to origins, even if RDFish himself does not understand it.
RDfish again: “I deny that evolutionary theory accounts for biological complexity, but that doesn’t lend any credence whatsoever to the notion that some conscious being thought up designs for all us creatures and built us somehow!”
Uh, Fish, since it is one or the other, denying that one can explain the observations does tend to lend credence to the other (which is not to say that it establishes it, but it does tend in that direction).
*There may, of course, be an unknown quartium quid (a fourth causal force in addition to law, chance and agency) that has escaped detection from the time of Aristotle to this moment. That is why I qualify with “given our current understanding of causation.” We do not know what we do not know, but if we must choose based on what we do know, there are only three choices.