Is Evolution Repeatable?
|September 19, 2006||Posted by Dave S. under Intelligent Design|
One of our commenters here, trrll, made the oft-cited claim that evolution is unrepeatable. I asked what evidence there is of this and he made some unsubstantiated claims. Because of the frequency of such claims here I asked that he back them up before he comments here again. As of now the result of my request is the sound of crickets chirping. To be fair, perhaps trrll didn’t see my last response. If not he’s sure to see this.
I posted a paper on the sidebar back in January written by Jean Staune titled Non Darwinian Evolution. Professor Dembski had originally linked to it as an article but I thought it important enough to make a permanent link to it on the sidebar. It’s a survey of evolutionary scientists in Europe who reject both creationism and the Darwinian mechanism of chance & necessity. Among those non-creationist dissenters from Darwinism are several who say that evolution is repeatable i.e. that if it happened again here or elsewhere it would follow the same course. An inescapable conclusion of Darwinian evolution is that evolution would NOT repeat itself due to being driven by random mutation and there being so many possible paths that a random walk could take.
A small excerpt:
Repeatabilty of Evolution
One of the fundamental predictions which rises from Darwinian theory is the impossibility that evolution can reach the same goal twice. Authors as different as Richard Dawkins or Stephen Jay Gould agree on this point: the role of contingency is central in the evolutionary process (the Ã¢â‚¬ËœbulletÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is always shot randomly) and there are so many possible targets (Ã¢â‚¬Âthe range of possibilities is almost infiniteÃ¢â‚¬Â), that it is unthinkable that the process of evolution, if it really rests on the Darwinians mechanisms, can produce the same result twice. In theory, if one received an image coming from another planet, the simple presence of a cat or a dog would be enough to disprove Darwinism. However for the three authors whom we gather in this school, evolution must more or less follow identical paths in different places.
I encourage everyone to read the paper. One might also be well served to compare and contrast these non-Darwinian schools of thought with Doctor Davison’s Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis, also on the sidebar. I think you’ll find that Davison’s conclusions are largely compatible with some of the European thinking (although I might wrong on that and I’d like Doctor Davison to chime in on that score if he would take the time to review Staune’s paper).
I’ll close this with another small excerpt from Staune:
What about Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Intelligent Design Ã¢â‚¬Â?
If Intelligent Design theorists recognize that all living beings have a common ancestor, Intelligent Design is nothing more than a particular school of thought of non-Darwinian evolutionist biology of the type: Ã¢â‚¬Å“ non random macro mutation Ã¢â‚¬Â similar to Schutzenberger, Denton and ChauvinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ideas. But more extreme than them. Non-Darwinians of this sort say that we need to include something able to coordinate or channel the macro mutations (like meteorologists need a more global concept on Pluto which obliges them revisit all their world views but do not include the direct intervention of a designer) to really understand how evolution works. These scientists will not claim that this is evidence of a Creator even if it is fully compatible with such a concept.
If Intelligent Design rejects the idea of common ancestry, or even if, Intelligent Design is Ã¢â‚¬Å“ agnostic Ã¢â‚¬Â concerning this idea, it would be a catastrophe for any sort of non-Darwinian way of thinking. Recent history fully demonstrates that if you deny the existence of common ancestry, the concluding result of your action will be the reenforcement of Darwinism. The existence of common ancestry is a thing of the past and not of the present. Evolution cannot be established as much as for example, the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun but evolution is as well established as possible for a phenomenon that belongs to the past. To deny it is to re-enforce Darwinism and to discredit the non-Darwinian school of thought.