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Darwinian Tensions.

By Anthony O’Hear

All Evolutionists Now

darwincardIN A BROAD SENSE, I suppose, we all accept evolution, if by ‘we’ we mean anyone likely to be reading this. Of course, if ‘we’ includes the whole world, we all don’t; and many who do accept the theory of evolution probably have only the vaguest notion of why they should. How much this matters is another question, but quite clearly to anyone who looks at the evidence without any preconceptions it is hard not to think that life on earth has come about through evolutionary processes. In particular, all that we know of geology and its related disciplines tells us that the earth is very old, and has itself been subject to a process of continuous development. From the fossil record we can also conclude that life itself is very old, and that its earliest forms were very simple compared to much of what we see around us to-day. We also see evidence of species long since extinct. Then, from biology and from the remains of older, now extinct forms of life, we see remarkable similarities among natural forms and their embryos, which strongly suggest common ancestries. We know from experiments and observations that a process very similar to what is described in evolutionary theory (to put it no stronger) actually does occur in the world to-day. From genetics and micro-biology we know a great deal about the mechanisms of hereditary transmission and about the relationships between genes and behaviour, and between genes and morphology. And no doubt there is much more and in very great detail which contributes most impressively to filling out the evolutionary picture and to its broad credibility.

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2 Comments

  1. Bob Puharic wrote:

    Well, I was disappointed in the article. It tries to take the objections of ID, reject them, but keep them while mapping them into some amorphous ‘morphogenetic analysis.’

    I’m a chemist, not a biologist, but I know non-science when I see it. While he talks about ‘survival’, he forgets evolution doesn’t care about survival. It cares about reproduction. He talks about ‘truth’ and ‘beauty’ as if these have scientific meanings. And he forgot that there IS a feedback mechanism in biology which takes the world into account. Darwin discovered it; it’s called ‘natural selection.’

    It’s too much to hope for, I guess that, when dealing with the human species, people keep trying to inject timeworn, and wrong, ideas into science. Science is radical in its simplicity. People object to that. And they do so without reason or justification.

    Thursday, 17 December 2009 at 19:00 | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Anthony O’Hear replies: Bob Puharic correctly says that the notions of truth and beauty do not have scientific meanings. In a way this is to concede at least part of my argument, which was to suggest that to make sense of such notions we will have to go beyond the scientific. This, though, means that the question of the acceptability of scientific theories and their scope (i.e. their truth) is something which will take us beyond the scientific. So unless we are prepared to countenance considerations beyond the strictly scientific we are going to lose any justification for taking scientific theories (including evolution) as true or approximately true. As for evolution caring nothing for survival, it cares nothing for reproduction either, as it is not the sort of thing which can care. However there isn’t going to be any reproduction without a good bit of survival, so both seem to be required biologically.

    Tuesday, 22 December 2009 at 02:06 | Permalink

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