Co-option, Berra’s Blunder, and Speculation Presented as Fact
|March 27, 2009||Posted by GilDodgen under Intelligent Design|
In Bill Dembski’s thread, No Major Conceptual Leaps, I posted a comment about the evidential, logical, and probabilistic vacuity of the Darwinian co-option hypothesis. (I use the word hypothesis with reservation. A hypothesis in a domain such as this should at least be based on a minimal, mathematical probabilistic analysis.)
In response to my comment, another commenter offered this as a refutation.
This text from Deborah A. McLennan, of Evo Edu Outreach, is utterly embarrassing for her cause, because it makes the case for design, just as Tim Berra did with his infamous blunder.
The co-option of traits to serve new functions is not a difficult concept to understand. In fact, we ourselves do it all the time, which is why we speak about “new wine in old bottles” or “rebranding” for the repackaging of ideas, and more recently in keeping with the new management-speak, “repurposing”. We are forever finding new functions for old devices, using an old boot as a planter, a fishing rod to fly a kite, a magnifying glass to start a fire, a shell as currency, a berry or a root to dye cloth. The only difference between human and evolutionary co-option is that we purposefully change an object’s function, while evolution simply takes advantage of an opportunity with no direction, purpose, or forethought.
The only verifiable examples of co-option she presents involve agency. How about just one verifiable example of co-option that does not rely on agency? In addition, note the final sentence, which is pure speculation based on an assumed premise, but presented as fact. This is not how science works.
If you compare a 1953 and a 1954 Corvette, side by side, then a 1954 and a 1955 model, and so on, the descent with modification is overwhelmingly obvious. This is what paleontologists do with fossils, and the evidence is so solid and comprehensive that it cannot be denied by reasonable people…
The point is that the Corvette evolved through a selection process acting on variations that resulted in a series of transitional forms and an endpoint rather distinct from the starting point. A similar process shapes the evolution of organisms.
Tim Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism, 1990, pg 117-119
This is Phillip Johnson’s observation:
Of course, every one of those Corvettes was designed by engineers. The Corvette sequence — like the sequence of Beethoven’s symphonies to the opinions of the United States Supreme Court — does not illustrate naturalistic evolution at all. It illustrates how intelligent designers will typically achieve their purposes by adding variations to a basic design plan. Above all, such sequences have no tendency whatever to support the claim that there is no need for a creator, since blind natural forces can do the creating. On the contrary, they show that what biologists present as proof of “evolution” or “common ancestry” is just as likely to be evidence of common design.
Phillip Johnson, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds, 1997, pg 63.
It is illuminating that Darwinists, in many attempts to defend their blind-purposeless-undirected-chance-and-necessity hypothesis, draw on analogies from design and agency while trying to explain away agency and design.
It seems to me that this exercise should result in at least a modicum of cognitive dissonance.