An Alternative to Evolution: Expounded Upon (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, July 18, 2018, 11:45 (149 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

DHW: Again and again you insist that evolution = random chance. It doesn’t! You resolutely refuse to recognize the fact that theistic evolutionists (including our resident panentheist David and the Catholic Church) and our resident agnostic (me) accept the possibility of DESIGNED evolution. Design is not an alternative to evolution, unless you think we are all idiots.

TONY: Do me a favor, if you are talking about anything other than the standard Theory of Evolution, as defined in science literature, then please call it something else because it is not what I am talking about.

And you go on to produce an article with the heading “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.” But science didn’t stop 150 years ago, and theories are being modified all the time. Darwin insisted that Nature doesn’t make jumps. In our times Gould has come up with punctuated equilibrium, but he doesn’t reject the “theory of evolution”. He modifies it. Even Michael Behe, a leading proponent of Intelligent Design, accepts common descent:

Michael Behe defends Intelligent Design Theory - BBC

On this week's Sunday Sequence, the American biochemist Dr Michael Behe explained why he believes Intelligent Design Theory is a scientific proposition rather than a religous belief. Behe accepts much that is widely taught within contemporary science -- including common descent and a universe that is billions of years old -- but argues that Darwian explanations of human evolution fail to make sense of the "irreducible complexity" that can be seen in the world.

His argument is not against Darwin’s theory of common descent, which lies at the heart of evolution, but just like yours it is against randomness as an explanation: life, and especially human life, is too complex to have arisen by chance. That is also David’s view. Evolution IS common descent, and current disagreements centre not on whether it happened but on HOW it happened. Here is the conclusion of an article in the Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought:
Biologists therefore do not argue about whether evolution has taken place, but many details of how evolution proceeds are still matters of controversy.

That doesn’t mean you must believe in evolution, of course, but it clarifies the distinction you refuse to make. An “Alternative to Evolution” has to be an alternative to common descent. An alternative to Darwinian evolution has to be an alternative to common descent by random mutation. Your design theory provides an alternative to random mutation. It does not provide an alternative to common descent. When the Catholic Church says it accepts evolution, it does not say it accepts randomness; it accepts common descent. If you want linguistic precision (you asked me to be more clear in my use of language), then the heading for this thread should be "An Alternative to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Random Mutations". You do not offer an alternative to David’s theory of evolution by divine design, or my theory of evolution by cellular intelligence.

TONY: If the hypothesis you are referring to uses the word 'Designed..." anything, it is NOT the Theory of Evolution that my hypothesis is against. I have even stated explicitly that the design could have progressed through special creation, periodic dabbling, or preprogrammed development…..

Agreed. You are against that part of Darwin's theory which attributes evolution to random mutations. So if you now add to your list the possibility that the design could have progressed through the descent of one organism from another, bingo, you will have evolution by design – an alternative to evolution by random mutations. What could be clearer than that?

TONY: […] the Theory of Evolution, in any formal definition, states explicitly that it is based on random mutations and gradual change. That is the Theory of Evolution.

You then produce the summary of Darwin’s theory, which of course includes his theory of how evolution proceeds gradually by random mutations, and many scientists do stick rigidly to it. By all means attack them for doing so. But this is 2018, not 1859. Look at David’s comment below the quote:

DAVID: All I accept is that life appears to have evolved from one-celled organisms to us in a bush like pattern. I think it was designed by God who guided the process.

How then can you say that your theory of a designed language is an alternative to evolution, when David suggests that your designed language explains “how evolution proceeds” (Fontana)?
You want clarity. Then once again: make it clear that your design theory offers an alternative to the random component of Darwin's theory (gradualism is another point at issue), but not to common descent.

DAVID: Speaking for Tony, there are only chance or design as possibilities, and for Darwinists only chance exists.

By which I take it you mean random mutations as opposed to design. Atheistic so-called “Darwinists” have seized on Darwin’s theory as if somehow it disproved the existence of God, but Darwin himself rejected this distortion. He was an agnostic, and saw no reason why his theory should offend anyone’s religious beliefs.

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