Günter Bechly is a distinguished paleontologist, specializing in fossil dragonflies, exquisitely preserved in amber for tens of millions of years. After revealing his support for the theory of intelligent design, he was pushed out as a curator at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany. He subsequently joined Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture as a Senior Fellow.
Wikipedia Erases Paleontologist Günter Bechly | Evolution News
Some more information. He recently was a guest on an apologetics program, that (if McLatchie follows through) will probably have me soon. (Of note, @Joel_Duff, is he using your figure unattributed? Or is that from somewhere else?). In this video, he actually defines common descent as neo-Darwinian evolution. So the two are interchangeable in his view. This is a highly idiosyncratic definition.
On his blog site he explains his position this way:
Rejects Common Descent
Even though, intelligent design theory is in principle compatible with universal common descent and guided evolution, I personally have come to reject common ancestry as naturalistic mode of macroevolution in favor of a sophisticated version of progressive (Old Earth) special creation in terms of non-random adaptive macromutations in the “womb” of parental organisms (analogous to Schindewolf’s and Goldschmidt’s “hopeful monsters”, recently endorsed by Rieppel 2017, as well as other representatives of saltationism, mutationism and orthogenesis) combined with the instantiation of a new form that preexisted as template in the mind of the designer (“special transformism” sensu Chaberek 2017). Nevertheless, I do affirm that every organism (apart from the first living cell) was produced / born from a biological parent organism and thus did not pop into being ex nihilo. I also affirm microevolutionary speciation within biological kinds through Neodarwinian processes. However, these never generate new specified complex information, but mostly represent devolution or variation or reshuffling of pre-existing information (e.g., homozygosity from heterozygosity, deactivation or detioration of genes, polyploidy, gene duplication, horizontal gene transfer, hybridogenesis). The two above mentioned affirmations may qualify as affirmation of universal common descent in the eyes of most evolutionary biologists, but the difference is that I only affirm common ancestry in terms of an unbroken lineage of individual maternal and paternal relationships (individual common ancestry), but reject the origin of new biological kinds from other biological kinds via transformation lineages of ancestral species (supraindividual common ancestry). The fact that because of the delicate and intricate interdependence of different genes and their products during ontogenesis, any transition necessarily has to include a coordinated major reprogramming of different genes as well as of epigenetic factors in the zygote cell, shows that the apparent distinction between guided evolution and special creation is rather blurry and in either case involves heavy physical intervention (coordinated and synchronized in multiple individuals within a population). When the distinctive genetic makeup is not inherited from the parents but introduced by design from an external intelligent agent, the process is rather akin to special creation than common ancestry.
Sort of at least. This is a surprising position to unpack.
As a scientist, who should follow the evidence wherever it leads, I came to doubt the naturalistic Neodarwinian paradigm of unguided evolution via a purely mechanistic process of chance (random mutation, sexual recombination, genetic drift) and necessity (natural and sexual selection), even when supplemented with more modern concepts like symbiogenesis, multilevel (group) selection, epigenetic inheritance, evolvability, natural genetic engineering, phenotypic plasticity, and niche construction, as suggested by the proponents of an extended evolutionary synthesis (“Third Way of Evolution”, “Evolution 2.0”). None of these phenomena can explain the origin of complex biological novelty, and some (e.g., natural genetic engineering, phenotypic plasticity, and evolvability) require intelligent design themselves. Therefore, I signed the “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” list.
It appears he dislikes @Perry_Marshall’s Evolution 2.0 too.
Loves Darwins’ Doubt
Even before my “conversion” to intelligent design theory, I became convinced that only a goal-directed (teleological) process, either with laws of biological form (structuralism) or with non-random adaptive macro-mutations, can explain the evidence. This assumption is also compatible with and supported by the discontinuous fossil record, which strongly suggests saltational origins. Therefore, I totally agree with the views in Stephen C. Meyer’s book " Darwin’s Doubt ".
A Paleontologist Enamored with Meyer, Dembski, Behe, and Axe
My rejection of unguided evolution was not motivated by religion, but by some very convincing and still unrefuted scientific arguments from intelligent design proponents, based on information theory (William Dembski, Stephen C. Meyer), population genetics (Richard Sternberg), molecular machines (Michael Behe), and new proteins (Douglas Axe). These arguments emphasize the discontinuities of the fossil record, the prohibitive waiting time for coordinated mutations, the problem of new specified complex information in the genetic code and irreducible complexity of molecular machines, the isolated islands of functionality (folding proteins) in the vast search space of possible aminoacid sequences, which all strongly limit the feasibility of Neodarwinian unguided processes.
Does Not Like BioLogos
The BioLogos Foundation also promotes a version of theistic evolution, which they call evolutionary creationism, and explicitly distances itself from the intelligent design movement. However, their list of beliefs is mostly compatible with intelligent design. The affirmation of common descent cannot be a distinguishing feature, as several eminent intelligent design proponents either explicitly affirm common descent (e.g., Michael Behe, Richard Sternberg, Michael Denton), or remain agnostic about it (e.g., William Lane Craig), or at least affirm that there is substantial evidence for common descent (e.g., Walter Bradley, Vincent Torley, myself, and even a few YECs like Todd Wood and Kurt Wise). I am therefore somewhat at a loss, what is the actual point of theistic evolution sensu BioLogos, and their official statements do not really help either. I rather looks like theistic evolution is Neodarwinism in a cheap tuxedo with a gratuitous God, who has no detectable influence on nature. In this case theistic evolution would just be a redundant and superfluous concept that was only forged in the misguided delusion that a surrender to materialistic science might make religion more respected or at least tolerated by modern secular culture.