Jejudo, South Korea
No, it would refute natural selection as the panacea for all biological phenomena that we see. As I mentioned to Ron before, Darwin's theory has been wrongly used as a nostrum to apply to all things, in both scientific and philosophical questions. I am not implying that you do this sort of thing. But there are many who do. If something in nature is found which would be impossible or immensely improbable for natural selection to produce, this would at least help put Darwinism back in it's proper boundaries. As I said before, of the ID people I have read, most of them believe in natural selection. It is the extent of it's influence that is in question ... what it can reasonbly be thought to accomplish.
You're right to point out that Darwinism has been used in places where it has no place going. Social Darwinism is one of the dumbest ideas around. Survival of the fittest, a phrase Darwin never used, far too easily, implies a value, a significance that isn't there. It is a description, not a value. Evolution doesn't care what happens, it isn't going to tell you what to do, it can't speak, it is not God. Yes, both protractors and proponents have sometimes mixed it up, but that's because we often conflate Nature with God. Look at the questions that were posted again. How many of those actually deal with evolution? Both sides in this argument barely understand what it is we're talking about (not you, Stephan, you seem to get it -- or almost get it. See below.).
But Brad, this is not "just wrong". Look at the total trend of evolution (if you believe it happened via that process). Sure there may have been the flow and ebb of the tide, from complex organisms back to simpler ones, but it has always been one step back then two steps forward. And look where we are in complexity, not theoretically speaking, but actually speaking. You are right in saying that evolution does not dictate that it necessarily had to lead to us, but it did lead to us. So the question about complexity is still valid. Especially if you hold that things like consciousness and rationality are advanced evolutionary traits. The Darwinian mechanism could have gone the other way and created more viable slimeballs with much less complexity, but it hasn't.
I do believe it happened that way, but I have no faith in evolution. I do not believe that things will turn out right if we let evolution take its course. I believe that we can and should value consciousness and rationality (and many, many other things that we do) but I don't believe evolution cares one way or the other or at all. It's a process, an algorithm, and nothing more. There is no telos to evolution, no total trend, no way of ever saying things like evolution tends to move from simple to complex, from bad things to good things, from things we don't like to things we like.
Evolution is not a substitute for God. If people sometimes conflate the two, it's because they can't shed the idea that Nature will actually tell them something if they listen to Nature long enough. Nature doesn't talk, we do. Evolution is a description, not a prescription.
This is true to some degree, but it still doesn't eliminate the problem. Let's say there is a mechanism made of 50 protein parts, and can function without 3 of them. You still have 47 parts (and not to mention all the steps taken to assemble the parts - in engine assembly, for example, the assembly steps taken always exceed the number of parts) which you have to explain how the addition of each part provided a functional advantage to the organism. From what I have read, this is the biggest problem ID people have with evolutionary theory. A lot of complex systems exist with nothing in the Journals to actually show how it could happen via natural selection. I am not a bio-chemist, and cannot go into detail defending what I barely understand. I guess I am just openly verbalizing my doubts of Darwin as well, from everything I have heard. But if you get a chance, try reading Michael Behe's book "Darwin's Black Box". You say that a good theory can withstand doubt. I think it would be an enjoyable book for you. I warn you though ... He goes into painful detail on the biochemical level, not the most preferrable reading for poets like yourself and I.
Yeah, I suppose I should read the book. I've read about it however. Am I wrong that one of his examples is a mousetrap? If so, the problem is the difference between a purposely designed tool and no tool at all. This, perhaps, is one problem in explaining evolution. I can think of many examples that show what algorithms can do (computers), I can give many examples that show how species do indeed change over time (dogs), but these are, to some extent, designed examples. The idea of evolution is that the algorithm exists and it works, but it does not ask where that algorithm comes from. It can't. This is not a weakness of science, science is not a panacea as you yourself say.
On a different note, part of the problem is with a thing some of us call scientism. Scientism does indeed make the claims I'm trying to dispute here, but that's not science. Scientism is a type of rhetoric.
I see value in this, but this is plausible only where plausible alternate functions can be suggested. But from what I have read, there are a myriad of systems for which there are no serious suggestions of another function other than the known one. In fact the uniqueness and apparant specification for some things are so strong, that creative suggestions for other uses become comical at times.
But what we have to do then is go specific, each case must be examined separately. And I disagree, poets can learn from biochemistry, I've read some really good poems and essays that have done just that. Don't ask twenty question as if the sheer number makes a point (as in the above questionaire), ask about each one and expect an answer.
How much more then should the converse strike you in the same way? An argument that depends upon a single principle which is overly simplistic also ignores this diversity and complexity.
But evolution isn't just one principle, it works in conjunction with physical laws. It may be evoutionary advantageous for a species of insect to grow to our size but it ain't going to happen because of the square/cube law. They would collapse under their own weight (But, hey, I still liked "Them").
As far as complexity goes, my point was that the universe is complex with or without evolution. It's not a reason to believe in evolution or not. More later, running out of time.
But that is what is at issue with ID. Some scientists believe very strongly that teaching Darwinian theory as the explain-all for the complexity of life is not correct.
Hmmm, you're right. It doesn't. I think I've already addressed this.
If we don't yet know the irrefutable fact, then logical possiblitites are appropriate.
Are you kidding? Science is never irrefutable, that's why it's science and not religion.
And as to the sun 1000 years ago, there is a vast difference between logically possible and logically plausible.
But the original point was that logical possibility is enough to demand the teaching of creationism in schools as a science. I think that misunderstands science and assumes that it is some kind of religion. It is not. I'll have to come back to this. Out of time.