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Unread August 19th, 2006, 07:43 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 483
Default Re: Battle Against Scientific Illiteracy

Carey: To characterize pre-Cambrian life as "not much" is very strange . . .
Good point Carey—I suppose I understated things . . . not to mention there wasn’t even a universe—no time, no space, no matter—only 10 billion years prior to those 4 billion years when life appears to have begun here on Earth.

And I’m inclined to agree that the “origin of bacteria in the first place was momentous.” And you may have a point in that that is where I “should really have directed [my] critique”—so if you want to start a new thread (or continue this one) explaining how your natural selection explains the momentous origin and evolution of life/bacteria during that 4 billion years, go for it.

But I suspect that you’ll not be furnishing much in the way of theories/ explanations/ evidence that will provide the predictive power, understanding, and convincing coherence of a good physical science theory, say like gravity. Nevertheless, still, go for it. If nothing else, perhaps you’ll see better the current shortcomings in, as Mayr calls it, your “philosophy of biology.”

Nonetheless, however you cut it, the evolution from single cell creatures to sapient beings in a little over ½ billion years via, primarily, “random mutation” and “natural section” (and yes, I know, there’s the other incidentals you’ve mentioned like your drift, migration, recombination) is, to my way of thinking, well, not nearly as convincing as say the explanation of gravity by Einstein’s general relativity theory.

Carey: In previous posts, you have implied that biologists have it all wrong, that they are delusional about what 'the evidence actually tells us regarding the origin and evolution of life', that they are a bunch of self-important, myopic people.
Carey, Carey, you go too far—maybe self-important and myopic (especially those in academia), but I doubt they have it “all wrong,” or that they’re necessarily “delusional” (although Dawkins may be). Here’re are things I've actually said:
I’d say that Darwinians need to be a bit more modest and circumspect regarding what they think they actually know and what the available science and the evidence actually tells us regarding the origin and evolution of life (and the universe too for that matter), and regarding the limitations and occasional circularity of their various theories/explanations/assumptions; and thereby avoid half-ass notions like “evolution”—or natural selection for that matter—being comparable in any substantial way to the superb theory of gravitation; and maybe also avoid making arrogant assumptions and decrees like Mr. Selfish Gene Dawkins’s, “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose [blah, blah, blah].”

We sapient beings find ourselves in a universe that began about 14 billion years ago, apparently from a singularity, with inexplicably low entropy. Life on Earth seems to have begun around 4 billion years ago…. and today, somehow, voila, we sapient beings find that we exist.

Some Darwinians say that sapient beings are the result mostly of chance, while some contend that sapient beings are here b/c our planet would have created selection pressures to make it so (although exactly why our planet would necessarily be predisposed to behave that way doesn't seem to be too clear).
But Carey says that "No one with all his marbles thinks that higher intelligence (or any other adaptation) is the result of pure (or mostly) chance," but then adds that, "things might turn out very differently (e.g. if the earth's orbit were such that the end-Cretaceous asteroid didn't hit us . . .)"???? Whatever.

Last edited by Fred H.; August 20th, 2006 at 09:22 AM.
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