Statesboro, GA, USA
Which scientific fact would that be? All Natural Sciences use induction. I live on a volcanic island, the volcano, Mt. Halla, is extinct. Does that mean that it's not a fact that Mt. Halla created this island?
since when did induction and imagination become synonyms? Induction is still dependent upon the data and likelihood of explanation. In this case, your example is pretty well established. I feel differently about macro-evolution.
I want to keep things straight. Evolution is a fact, you've conceded this here, what you want to dispute is the mechanism, the theory of natural selection.
No ... evolution as an explanation of the diversity of life is not the fact. The diversity of life itself is the fact. "Evolution" is the theory of how it came to be. If by "evolution" you mean differing traits among species arising because of random mutations and natural selection ... I will say "yes" it is fact. But if by "evolution" you mean the origin of all the complexity we see, and the ability for one major system to become another, I disagree. Let us clarify "evolution". Even Behe agrees that Darwin's mechanism works. The question is the scope of it's work.
But here's the problem. If you agree that evolution works to some degree but not to say, the speciation level, you've (or Behe) should posit a mechanism that stops evolution. The only argument given so far is irreducible complexity -- and that's not a mechanism, it's the scientific quivalent of, "Gee, I can't imagine how that happened." It doesn't even attempt to answer, "Gee, how did that happen."
This is just a disagreement about who has the burden of proof. Since we are discussing Macro-evolution, I would say that in order to achieve the ambitious goal of establishing it as "fact" rather than theory, the burden of positive proof would be on the evolutionist at the biochemical level. Otherwise it is "We know it happened, but can't describe it".
As to the need for something to "stop" natural selection, why would we need it? Bicycles haven't been shown to travel to the moon, but we don't invent mechanisms that would stop it. The difficulties it would take to get it there apart from a fueled spacecraft, in light of natural law that we already know, are enough to "stop" it. Random mutation and natural selection have not been shown able to produce the complexity at the microbiological level.
How the assembly line got started is a different issue, but we already have the assembly line. It's called DNA. The point of the analogy is to stress that we can already see a tremendous amount of change in a human lifetime. The only difference is familiarity
One little detail you're forgetting ... the assembly line "DNA" and the final product are, for all practical purposes, one and the same. That DNA is part of the organism which orchestrates it's development. The whole question is how that eloborate system came about from one cell that didn't have the DNA (or any thing else) to start with. How can you say the only difference is familiarity?? ... the miracle of complexity was already in place before your birth and consequent growth.
Actually, computer simulations show that it is remarkably easy to create an eye, provided that the program has the same assumptions that our theory of natual selection posits.
I'd be interested in hearing how this intelligence-produced model can really be comparable to unaided natural selection. What are these asumptions?
Not at all, the Cambrian explosion presents a very large tree, the subsequent extinction is a kind of pruning through natural processes. I have no idea what you mean by convergence.
I was more referring to the lack of a trunk. The Cambrian explosion more resembles a tree turned on it's head. If more diverse life followed, instead of pruning, you would say that the subsequent growth was a kind of expansion "through natural processes". This method is so general that it could describe anything at all.
The problem the Cambrian period presents us with is that very few real examples of life are preserved beforehand, which can be directly tied to the plethora that sprung up suddenly. The connection is arbitrary and forced ... or so it seems to me.
Out of time, but I'll try to get to the Behe quotes later. It's a horrible analogy really, confusing human and evolutionary time scales
I would encourage you to actually read his book... He is much better at describing the difficulties of evolution at the micro level, than at telling stories. The whole point of the story was not a direct analogy, but to illustrate the difficulty he percieves in his own studies with the general theory. He gets into much greater detail in his descriptions of biochemistry ... and far exceeds my understanding, as well as yours. But it's still fun to read it. And might give you a fresh perspective, to at least counter Dawkins and Gould.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-30-2003 02:26 AM).]