The Massive Confusion On ID and Evolution

I am an accomplished and credentialed mind reader!

I made an inference about what Dawkins believes based upon his writings. Maybe you can convince him to come here and clear the matter up. :slight_smile:

Sure at $15,000 per appearance. :sunglasses:

You spoke of improbabilities. Dawkins writes that the improbabilities can be overcome. Have you ever read The Blind Watchmaker?

Oh, yes, Mung, I’ve read The Blind Watchmaker. Actually it’s quite a good exposition of Darwinian thinking. Even Behe admires it on that score. But I thought you were trying to make a very specific point about something Neil or I said, connected with something very specific that Dawkins said.

Behe wrote Darwin’s Black Box after The Blind Watchmaker came out, so I’m not sure Dawkins has responded in detail to Behe’s remarks on improbability there. Maybe he has, but I don’t know where he would have published them. Presumably Dawkins would say that there are “islands of fitness,” where organisms can “rest” in their evolutionary journey as they cross the vast ocean to become very different forms over the long haul. (Maybe he thinks the Type II Secretory System was one such island en route to a flagellum, for example.) Didn’t he write a book called Climbing Mt. Improbable, or something like that? Maybe he responds to Behe’s arguments there?

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Neil stated that “everything that happens is wildly improbable.” Apparently we should not be at all surprised if the evolution of the eye is wildly improbable. And of course, we are not surprised at all that the evolution of the eye is wildly improbable.

So even if the evolution of the eye is wildly improbable, we don’t have reason to doubt that it actually took place because, you know, wildly improbable stuff happens all the time.

It does not of course follow that the sequence of wildly improbable events that took place in order for the eye to evolve is anything other than a sequence of wildly improbable events multiplied by the probability of each independent event.

Neil invites us to believe that miracles happen all the time. Who can say otherwise. But that’s not science.

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The astute will notice a strong similarity between probability arguments against Evolution and some probability arguments against the Resurrection (Torley on The Resurrection: Take Two). Anyone else notice this?


The even more astute will wonder about the role of probability arguments in the arguments for evolution.

People who complain about the role of probability arguments against evolution need to take a serious look at the role of probability arguments for evolution. If not why not?

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Clearly you are not paying attention. Probability figures into the argument for the Resurrection too. However, the reasoning used against both evolution and the Resurrection follows the same pattern. Probabilistic arguments for the Resurrection and Evolution are mainly deployed to debunk this poor arguments.

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I am paying very close attention. Probability arguments for evolution have little to nothing to do with attempts to debunk evolution. Population genetics, for example, is based on probabilities. The probability that a beneficial mutation will not move to fixation has absolutely nothing to do with arguments against evolution.

Inferences for common ancestry also have little to nothing to do with attempts to debunk evolution.

Probabilistic arguments for evolution are mainly deployed to debunk poor arguments against evolution? How is that working out, in practice?

About as well as it is working for @dga471 on the Resurrection, for very much the same reasons.

No - it’s highly preditable allowing final causation. I heard only the headlines that some young man was killed by violating Adaman islanders immigration policies, and that he was thought to be a Christian Missionary.

From that it was easy to deduce that he was the kind of Christian who was highly motivated to evangelize “unreached” tribes whatever the cost and in despite of both laws and local wishes. So he was probably unsupported by a bona fide mission organisation, probably an American fundamentalist, and hence more likely to come from a southern state.

Granted most young Alabaman fundamentalists don’t get themselves skewered on the Andaman Islands, but given sufficient final purpose, it was unsurprising that this one did. What would have been improbable is that, given the same person with thesame history, he would have gone out to join ISIL.

With more relevance to the world of life, it’s indeed vanishingly improbable that any American with no particular purpose in mind would ever, in a million years, have ended up making repeated attempts to get ashore on the Andaman Islands despite arrow wounds, etc. So final causation is what makes the impossible possible, in this case.


I don’t get where you are coming from in this…
The entire point of the ressurection is that it’s not only improbable, it’s impossible under normal conditions.

Yet, if Jesus is truly God in the flesh, we are not talking about normal conditions! :slight_smile:



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Today in the USA is the holiday celebration of Thanksgiving. And for Christ-followers, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the biggest reason for thanksgiving.

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This is the first time ive heard someone apply the term “Macro-Evolution” to an entire ecosystem of multiple species: in this case it is said that temporarily “changing the ecosystem (by hitting the earth with an asteroid) is Evolution without changing allele ratios.”

And i suppose this is “true enough” for our purposes. But, technically speaking, the only unchanging genomes are for the one or more species going extinct!

For the rest of the surviving species, it should be understood without too much fuss that brand new factors in natural selection are ALSO being unleashed (by the asteroid strike) that could very well affect most of surviving creatures’ allele percentages for one or more traits!

This is exactly what triggered the expansion of various shrew like mammals into new niches previously occupied by larger reptiles.

Didn’t realise - Happy Thanksgiving, all you guys over there. Why aren’t you eating?

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Let me put it differently. It is wildly implausible, based on a mechanistic view of everything, and calculating probabilities based on that mechanistic view.

All of the ID arguments about “wildly improbable” are also using a mechanistic view in their estimating of probabilities.

Once you start looking at purposes and teleology, then the picture changes. And much of what ID sees as improbable about biological systems is not nearly as improbable from that teleological perspective.

The trouble, however, is that the ID people want to put the teleology in the wrong place. And that’s part of the argument between ID and biology.

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You should read the paleontological literature. If you’re getting your definitions from creationists or from non-paleontologists responding to them, you aren’t getting the real meaning.

Sure. Nobody says that macroevolution and microevolution can’t happen simultaneously.

If whole species are going extinct… its hard to call it macro-evolution. I would call it the END of evolution for those species.