Is “Directed Evolution” Darwinian? [with addendum]
|April 11, 2007||Posted by William Dembski under Evolution, Intelligent Design, Darwinism|
I posted a reference the other day to a peer-reviewed paper by two Finnish ID-supporters that I claimed supported ID. The paper highlighted that evolutionary methods work to the degree that they are directed. As is typical with our detractors, whenever a pro-ID paper by pro-ID scientists comes out in a peer-reviewed biology journal, they try their best to show that it doesn’t actually support ID. An example is the following post at PT by Steve Reuland:
In reading Reuland’s critique, try to keep track of “rational design,” “directed evolution,” and “Darwinian methods.” Reuland conflates the last two. In so doing, Reuland completely misses the boat. So let me spell it out: DIRECTED EVOLUTION IS NON-DARWINIAN. DARWINIAN EVOLUTION IS NON-DIRECTED. I’ve been saying this now for close to a decade (see ch. 4 of my book No Free Lunch). Just because the word “evolution” is used doesn’t mean that homage is being paid to Darwin. “Directed evolution” properly falls under ID.
[Steve Reuland, commenting at the Panda’s Thumb on this post, claims that I’ve misrepresented him and the paper. If he but were to read the paper closely, he would find that it distinguishes between Darwinian evolution as an “inspiration” to directed search and “Darwinian blind search” as inherently limited. Darwinian evolution, which is blind, is the inspiration for evolutionary computing, which employs well-crafted fitness landscapes to achieve ends and therefore is not blind — and therefore is properly a branch of ID and non-Darwinian. Yes, we’re playing a turf war here. But it will not do to have Darwin discard teleology and then to claim teleological processes as Darwinian. This is an abuse of language. Leisola and Turunen skirted the edge yet nuanced their views adequately; but Reuland is guilty of it.]