Throughout the history of evolutionary biology, as well as many other sciences, there has been a conflict between two styles of thinking. One is conventionally called functionalism, although in evolutionary biology the term “adaptationism” is more frequently used today because a trait’s “functional fit for it’s office” is produced through adaptation by natural selection (i.e., function is explained by adaptation through natural selection). The functionalist stance is one that explains organismal traits through their functional and adaptive values.
The alternative style of thinking does not have a generic name in biology, although in other areas of study it is called “structuralist.”
Michael Denton in Evolution: Still A Theory In Crisis or Gunter P. Wagner in The Intellectual Challenge of Morphological Evolution: A Case for Variational Structuralism?
Typology is perfectly consonant therefore with descent with modification. Each cladogram is witness to descent with modification and the existence of distinct Types. The modifications are novel taxa-defining homologs, acquired during the process of descent along a phylogenetic lineage, each of which defines a new Type.
– Denton, Michael. Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis
I repeat, Michael Denton accepts common descent is is not a Creationist. My original thread has been inundated with scoffing and mocking and young earth creationism, all of which are far removed from the subject matter of Denton’s latest book. Trying again.
Michael Denton’s new book is out, Evolution: Still A Theory In Crisis.
Denton’s stance is for structuralism and against functionalism, especially as functionalism appears in it’s current form as the modern synthesis or neo-Darwinism (the cumulative selection of small adaptive changes).
Denton argues for the reality of the types, that “there are unique taxon-defining novelties not led up to gradually from some antecedent form” and that the lack of intermediates undermines the Darwinian account of evolution. He also argues that a great deal of organic order appears to be non-adaptive, including “a great number of the taxa-defining Bauplans,” and that this also undermines the Darwinian account of evolution. Evo-devo is also showing us that “Darwinian selection is not the only or even the main factor that determined the shape and main branches of the great tree of life.”
(crossposted from here and here)
(Edited Feb 2, 2016 to add eight figures)
Since 2005, Uncommon Descent (UD) – founded by William Dembski – has been the place to discuss intelligent design. Unfortunately, the moderation policy has always been one-sided (and quite arbitrary at the same time!) Since 2011, the statement “You don’t have to participate in UD” is not longer answered with gritted teeth only, but with a real alternative: Elizabeth Liddle’s The Skeptical Zone (TSZ). So, how were these two sites doing in 2015?
Number of Comments 2005 – 2015
In 2015, there were still 17% more comments at UD than at TSZ – 53,100 to 45,200.
Though UD is still going strong, there is a slight downwards trend (yellow line) in the daily number of comments.
Here’s the article in full:
Christian Today Article
The best bit?:
….However, the UMC has taken the view – expressed though it is in dusty legalese – that in allowing the promotion of intelligent design at its conference would to connive at something which is, not to put too fine a point upon it, not true.
In this respect, it is surely right. It’s always possible to find things about life and its development that evolutionary theory has not yet succeeded in explaining. To argue from this that the answer must be “God did it” is ultimately self-defeating. Science advances, the number of unknowns diminishes, and God is driven into a smaller and smaller space accordingly. This “God of the gaps” approach has long been discredited.
The UMC appears to have taken the view that giving a platform – no matter how small – to a view as mistaken as this undermines the credibility of the gospel because it encourages people to believe things that aren’t true. Building a faith around falsehood is putting people’s souls in peril. The Discovery Institute may not like it, but the UMC is surely right to stand its ground.
(format not the same as the original). Thoughts?
As an ID proponent and creationist, the irony is that at the time in my life where I have the greatest level of faith in ID and creation, it is also the time in my life at some level I wish it were not true. I have concluded if the Christian God is the Intelligent Designer then he also makes the world a miserable place by design, that He has cursed this world because of Adam’s sin. See Malicious Intelligent Design.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”
If that’s not enough to convince the reader that Elizabeth is no prophet, there’s aways other things we can point to.
No Free lunch pages 148-49 Continue reading
ID is based on three premises and the inference that follows (DeWolf et al., Darwinism, Design and Public Education, pg. 92):
1) High information content (or specified complexity) and irreducible complexity constitute strong indicators or hallmarks of (past) intelligent design.
2) Biological systems have a high information content (or specified complexity) and utilize subsystems that manifest irreducible complexity.
3) Naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes do not suffice to explain the origin of information (specified complexity) or irreducible complexity.
4) Therefore, intelligent design constitutes the best explanations for the origin of information and irreducible complexity in biological systems.
So to falsify ID all you have to do is show that undirected causes such as natural selection and drift can produce CSI and/ or IC. Continue reading
If I had to choose which book would be the most challenging to Evangelical Christians, and which might turn them to atheism or agnosticicsm, it would be this book:
Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary