Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

What’s the Alternative?

The most common question evolutionists ask, when presented with the many scientific problems with Charles Darwin’s theory, is “what’s your idea?” The simplest known form of life is immensely complex, if evolution is true then many advanced mechanisms of biology must have evolved early on—before they were needed, new species appear abruptly in the fossil record, adaptation occurs via intricate mechanisms that respond to the environment, similar species reveal profound differences, and different species reveal profound similarities. The fundamental predictions of evolution have gone wrong and so it would seem only natural to question the theory. Is it not reasonable for evolutionists to ask “what’s your idea?” It would seem so, but in fact that simple question reveals what is at the core of evolutionary thinking.  Read more
"What's the alternative?" is a valid question. Whether we like it or not, biology needs a unifying theory at its heart. Darwinism provides the illusion that there is a scientific theory at the heart of biology. It may be terrible at predicting things at higher taxonomic levels, so that it always has to be fitted backwards to the data, and also provides only very sketchy attempts at explaining the designs. But at least it provides a framework. The basic ID premise (that biology contains some structures that must have been designed / could not have evolved) does not do this. An evolutionist can understand what wer mean when we talk about 'epicycles', but the problem is that epicycles didnt destroy Ptolemaic cosmology until someone had assembled a new one in its place. ID-theorists need to build, on this foundation, a theory of why for example the distinct classes mammals and reptiles exist and have so many similarities in design and genetics, if not due to each having a common ancestor. For example, a theory of nested, iterative specialisation, by analogy to technological R&D. That would explain most functional / ordered / nested homology (generally regarded exclusively as evidence for evolution) in one fell swoop, as well as convergence, and would give us a structure into which we can place new data. This will show evolutionists that ID is not just 'magic', but refers to an evolution-like process which explains amongst other things why some of the data is 'evolution-like' (so that most existing data does not need to be thrown out *and even interpretations* do not need to be totally disregarded as they may now represent the results of technological evolution, giving glimpses into the way the design was done). Having thus reassured the career-minded practitioners, we can then point out it also explains many anomalies and deals with the heretofore total failure of Darwinism to explain gross designs in a scientific way. Once this is done, there is the process of finding Behe's edge of evolution, which might also take a lot of work, and thus nobodies job need be at risk.andyjones
May 2, 2010
01:27 PM

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