Hello everyone. I’m thoroughly impressed with the work done on this site. Personally, I am partial to what William Lane Craig calls the “mythological interpretation” of Genesis 1-11 mostly because I accept the conclusions of mainstream biblical critics on this point, and I think Paul’s use of Adam in Romans 5 can be adequately accounted for under this interpretation. Nevertheless, I want to understand the science.
I have recently become convinced that the "Third Way"or Extended Evolutionary Synthesis put forth by people like James A. Shapiro and Denis Noble is the best way to understand how evolution works. But I’ve noticed that both Shapiro and Noble issue certain caveats concerning the viability of population genetics, and/or discovering mutation rates, and I am interested in hearing how Swamidass (or Venema, or Buggs) might reply to the caveats offered by Shapiro and Noble. Here are some quotes from them:
Shapiro- “We have progressed from the Constant Genome, subject only to random, localized changes at a more or less constant mutation rate, to the Fluid Genome, subject to episodic, massive and non-random reorganizations capable of producing new functional architectures. Inevitably, such a profound advance in awareness of genetic capabilities will dramatically alter our understanding of the evolutionary process. Nonetheless, neo-Darwinist writers like Dawkins continue to ignore or trivialize the new knowledge and insist on gradualism as the only path for evolutionary change.”
This is a quote from Shapiro from Perry Marshall, which Marshall also quotes in his book Evolution 2.0:
"Last year I attended a lecture at Fermilab by Dr. Shapiro. After his talk, a group of people huddled around him in the cafeteria, peppering him with questions.
One guy suddenly ‘got’ what he’d been saying all night long. ‘You mean the mutations aren’t random?’ he asked. 'No sir. They’re not random at all. “When bacteria are comfortable and well-fed, certain DNA changes occur at a frequency of less than one per billion cells.
But when they’re starving, the mutation rate skyrockets by a factor of 100,000. They develop new adaptations so they can survive.’"
Here is Denis Noble:
“For example, the equations of population genetics, which are based on neo-Darwinist mechanisms, could still be valid as descriptions of the particular conditions and processes they were designed to describe, though we should note that those conditions are highly idealized. A rough analogy is the way in which Newtonian mechanics has been replaced by quantum mechanics. That does not invalidate the use of Newton’s equations in many situations to which they apply well enough. But, as with the move in physics to acknowledge what nature tells us by developing new models, we should move on to new mathematics when it becomes clear that our existing maths is inadequate for the job.” https://thebestschools.org/dialogues/evolution-denis-noble-major-statement/
to be fair, in another place, he says this:
“Of course, that does not mean that the neo-Darwinist mechanism (chance genetic variations followed by natural selection) does not happen. Nor does it mean that all the impressive developments of population genetics using the mathematical ideas developed by neo-Darwinism suddenly become incorrect.”
Dr. Swamidass, your input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for what you do here. Eventually, I’m hoping to put the answers I find on this topic into a theological book, and/or scholarly article . I have 2 degrees in theology but I know next to nothing about science, so your work is a great help to me.
P.S. Sorry for not being able to link to everything I posted, it said I could only put 2 links in my post.