EvoBio, ID, and OEC. Where to go from here?

Over the last several months I’ve been focused on reading the literature and having private conversations with those who have opposing views of me when it comes to origins. I’ve done this hoping to get a better understanding of their position and to find common ground. I think this has been a success. Through my studies I’ve come to the conclusion that there are four scientifically (i see no theological difficulties with any of these positions) plausible (or conceivable) views or models one could take:

  1. The standard evolutionary model. Modern evolutionary theory can more or less explain the biodiversity we see today. This doesn’t explain away design. I’d argue there is good evidence for fine-tuning in biology and other aspects of evolutionary history.

  2. Standard evolution model with intelligence as an additional mechanism. I picture this is something like Behe holds to. Not much different from (1). Just an additional mechanism.

  3. Progressive creationism with universal common ancestry. This is something I get the feeling WLC favors. As does @Guy_Coe correct? Speciation happens due to saltations. Proponents of this position says it explains the stasis and discontinues in the fossil record

  4. Separate ancestry. Or the orchard model. I think this position is favored by @pnelson. Correct me if I’m wrong here, Paul. Just thinking of your Dynamic Creation Model. This position argues that there are basic types (at the Family level seems to be the most popular) that are created separately then go on to evolve into all the genera and species within that family. It looks a bit like this:

I hold to number (1) and don’t see that changing. But these other positions I would feel comfortable with accepting if it came to that. Mainly because I don’t see research changing that much. In model number four I think evolutionary biologists would still have a huge role to play. Still would have to determine how the families evolved and draw relationships.

So my question is if something like number (4) were true what would research be like? How about for a biological anthropologist like me? Could I still study human evolution since we fall into the same family with other hominids? What about the zoologists? Geneticists? What would change and what would stay the same? Thoughts?

Note: do not argue against or for a certain model on this thread. If you wish to please start another thread. My questions are hypothetical


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The problem with this option is that intelligence does not look like a mechanism. The Artificial Intelligence people have been trying to produce mechanical intelligence for many decades now, and it is still hard to find anything there that resembles intelligence. On the other hand, there seems to be some kind of intelligence throughout the biosphere. So it looks as if intelligence could not be an additional mechanism because it is neither additional nor mechanical.


What do you mean by this? Intelligence is already part of the standard model, since Darwin (e.g. sexual selection).

You’ll have to do a bit more work to make sense of this one. Do you mean from a YEC or an OEC point of view? @pnelson is a YEC. @AJRoberts holds something closer to this, and she is OEC.

By intelligence I mean the kind envisioned by ID proponents. And I’m most defintely talking old earth here.

I would love for @AJRoberts to give her thoughts.

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So you mean scientifically detectable divine intelligence?

Yep. Intelligence is needed to produce a mutation or strings of mutations here, new gene there, etc.

Then your categories don’t include undetectable intelligent design (e.g.: Would God’s Guidance Be DNA-Detectable?). This is far more viable than #2, and appears to be the view of a large number of people.

I think undetectable intelligient design would probably fall under (1). But again, we are nitpicking the categories where I’m more interested in the types of research that would be done under a model like (4).

Bariminology. However we’ve already gone over why that does not work terribly well:

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I have a couple of papers by Wood and Wise on it I’ve been meaning to read. It’s an interesting concept but I too see conceptual problems with it. What do you think the role of evolutionary biologists would be if something like (4) were correct?

It is hard to imagine that counterfactual world.

I agree. This is why I find certain objections to ID to be based on a category error. When an ID critic asks in a scoffing tone, “What was the mechanism by which God designed the first life?”, to me this is as misguided as asking, “What was the mechanism by which Mozart thought up his flute concerto?” or “What was the mechanism by which Frank Lloyd Wright designed his buildings?” And on the flip side, when some pro-ID people speak of design as a mechanism, I think they are confusing themselves and others. I think that people on both sides often confuse design with implementation. For implementation, you need mechanisms; for design, you don’t. Design takes place in the mind. (Even if for practical purposes one makes use of ruler and pencil and paper, or computer drafting programs, to assist the mind.)


Though I could see geneticists and Evo devo’s having a role in trying to determine the boundary between “kinds”. And is disagreement on that boundary really that terrible of a thing? Evo bio’s disagree on a whole lot. In my personal experience it’s been where does a certain Tyrannosaur belong among all Tyrannosauroids

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Sure, but there are no boundaries between kinds discernable in the data. Perhaps they exist, but we do not have the resolution to make sense of it. It becomes an ink blot test, with different people squinting at the data in the different ways. You can try. The effort ends up undermining the claim in the first place.

I intently disagree. There is a big difference between:

1a. God intervened at times but we can’t prove it with science.

1b. God did not ever intervene.

1a is acceptable to many people in theology (e.g. @jongarvey) but 1b is not. You are collapsing because the look the same to science, they are worlds apart in theology.

Is “intelligence” a strictly accurate view of sexual selection? Given that females are supposed to make a choice between males based on criteria, maybe it is - but then they also exercise a choice to eat, or not.

As I understand it the idea was that some female behavioural variation inexplicably got selected, so that female elks, say, went wild over antler spread to the exclusion of all else. Far from being intelligent, it led in the classical account to extinction. The story is tosh, of course, but we’re talking about the theory here.

Intelligence would make some sound decision that big antlers make strong males, or that pretty bowers show surplus energy, making mating investment worthwhile. As it is, even the scientists usually can’t find a secure adaptive advantage and put it down to an arbitrary female preference produced, in turn, by stochastic variations.

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