In a recent UD post, Gil has been more specific than he often is, so I thought I would respond here:
The resolution of the debate about the creative powers of natural selection is dead simple and utterly trivial to figure out.
- Natural selection throws stuff out. Throwing stuff out has no creative power.
- Existing biological information, mixed and matched, can be filtered by natural selection, as in sexual reproduction, but nothing inherently new is created.
- Random errors can produce survivability quotients, but only in circumstances in which overall functional degradation supports survival in a pathological environment (e.g., bacterial antibiotic resistance), and only given massive probabilistic resources and a few trivial mutational events capable of producing the survival advantage.
- Random errors are inherently entropic, and the more complex a functionally-integrated system becomes, the more destructive random errors become. Anyone with any experience in even the most elementary engineering enterprise knows this.
To his first, I cite this:
To the second, I say: why not? Every mutation is something new, and that can be “mixed and matched” as well as “existing information”.
To the third, I say: this is simply not the case.
To the fourth, I say: this assertion assumes that the biological landscape is as rugged as the engineering landscape. It clearly is not. Engineered artefacts are usually highly vulnerable to slightly alterations – A stuck screw can render an entire motorcycle worthless, as Robert Pirsig noted. This is not the case with biological organisms, which countless slight variants are perfectly viable, as is evidenced by the fact that although all children (including even monozygotic twins) are unique, most are viable.
Yet, we are expected by Darwinists to believe that throwing a sufficient number of monkey wrenches into the complex machinery of living systems, over a long enough period of time, can turn a microbe into Mozart.
Is not unreasonable at all 🙂