What are the biggest holes in evolution?
examples of convergence in nature might tend to indicate theistic guidance - SBF
So bats and birds both learned to fly because "god did it". Really?
Haven't you considered convergence as evidence of divine direction? Here's an explanation by Simon Conway Morris a professor of palaeontology at Cambridge.
Haven't you considered convergence as evidence of divine direction?
Yes and rainbows are caused by angel farts
Excellent article. Also touches on the point that unguided evolution leaves us no reason to suppose that humans view the world rationally. Darwinians left room for natural selection being a guided process, it's neo-Darwinians who insisted it was directionless. How could Darwin trust his own mind any more than his dog? The more I think about it the more evolution gives reason for believing in God. How could
Darwin was right. Up to a point
What, one wonders, would Charles Darwin or indeed his pugnacious supporter Thomas Henry Huxley have made of the recent rash of posters aimed at those who have nothing better to do than look at the sides of buses? These now serve to inform the world at large that, by the way, there may not be a God (although if you keep staring at buses you may also read precisely the opposite message).
With atheist banners passing him by Darwin, I imagine, would have harrumphed and in his characteristic manner passed the problem to his devoted chum. Huxley, I further suspect, would have quietly deplored the fact that the lower orders might take this sort of thing seriously, but would probably also look on it as another useful opportunity to further his secular agenda.
So what's new? Darwinian has reached near saturation and among the customary pieties there is little doubt that it will conveniently serve as a love-in, with much mutual self-congratulation, for atheism. But perhaps now is the time to rejoice not in what Darwin got right, and in demonstrating the reality of evolution in the context of entirely unexceptional natural processes there is no dispute, but what his inheritance is in terms of unfinished business. Isn't it curious how evolution is regarded by some as a total, universe-embracing explanation, although those who treat it as a religion might protest and sometimes not gently. Don't worry, the science of evolution is certainly incomplete. In fact, understanding a process, in this case natural selection and adaptation, doesn't automatically mean that you also possess predictive powers as to what might (or even must) evolve. Nor is it logical to assume that simply because we are a product of evolution, as patently we are, that explains our capacity to understand the world. Rather the reverse.
But wait a moment; everybody knows that evolution isn't predictable. Yes, a rich and vibrant biosphere to admire, but no end-product any more likely (or unlikely) than any other. Received wisdom pours out the usual litany: random mutations, catastrophic mass extinctions and other mega-disasters, super-virulent microbes all ensure that the drunkard's walk is a linear process in comparison to the ceaseless lurching seen in the history of life. So not surprisingly nearly all neo-Darwinians insist that the outcomes – and that includes you – are complete flukes of circumstance. So to find flying organisms on some remote planet might not be a big surprise, but certainly no birds. Perhaps all life employs cells, but would anybody dare to predict a mushroom? In fact the evidence points in diametrically the opposite direction. Birds evolved at least twice, maybe four times. So too with the mushrooms. Both are among the less familiar examples of evolutionary convergence.
Convergence? Simply how from very different starting points organisms "navigate" to very much the same biological solution. A classic example are our camera eyes and those of the squid; astonishingly similar but they evolved independently. But let's not just concentrate on the squid eye, from molecules to social systems convergence is ubiquitous. Forget also the idea that in biology nearly anything is possible, that by and large it is a massive set of less than satisfactory compromises. In fact, paradoxically the sheer prevalence of convergence strongly indicates that the choices are far more limited, but when they do emerge the product is superb. Did you know eyes can detect single photons and our noses single molecules? Evolution has reached the limits of what is possible on planet Earth. In particular our doors of perception can only be extended by scientific instrument, enabling a panorama from the big bang to DNA.
Yet how the former led to the latter, how it was that complexity emerged and is sustained even in that near-miracle of a chemical factory we call the cell is still largely enigmatic. Self-organisation is certainly involved, but one of the puzzles of evolution is the sheer versatility of many molecules, being employed in a myriad of different capacities. Indeed it is now legitimate to talk of a logic to biology, not a term you will hear on the lips of many neo-Darwinians. Nevertheless, evolution is evidently following more fundamental rules. Scientific certainly, but ones that transcend Darwinism. What! Darwinism not a total explanation? Why should it be? It is after all only a mechanism, but if evolution is predictive, indeed possesses a logic, then evidently it is being governed by deeper principles. Come to think about it so are all sciences; why should Darwinism be any exception?
But there is more. How to explain mind? Darwin fumbled it. Could he trust his thoughts any more than those of a dog? Or worse, perhaps here was one point (along, as it happens, with the origin of life) that his apparently all-embracing theory ran into the buffers? In some ways the former possibility, the woof-woof hypothesis, is the more entertaining. After all, being a product of evolution gives no warrant at all that what we perceive as rationality, and indeed one that science and mathematics employ with almost dizzying success, has as its basis anything more than sheer whimsy. If, however, the universe is actually the product of a rational Mind and evolution is simply the search engine that in leading to sentience and consciousness allows us to discover the fundamental architecture of the universe – a point many mathematicians intuitively sense when they speak of the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics – then things not only start to make much better sense, but they are also much more interesting. Farewell bleak nihilism; the cold assurances that all is meaningless. Of course, Darwin told us how to get there and by what mechanism, but neither why it is in the first place, nor how on earth we actually understand it.
To reiterate: when physicists speak of not only a strange universe, but one even stranger than we can possibly imagine, they articulate a sense of unfinished business that most neo-Darwinians don't even want to think about. Of course our brains are a product of evolution, but does anybody seriously believe consciousness itself is material? Well, yes, some argue just as much, but their explanations seem to have made no headway. We are indeed dealing with unfinished business. God's funeral? I don't think so. Please join me beside the coffin marked Atheism. I fear, however, there will be very few mourners.
Wow this is really interesting. It's exactly what I've been thinking! I've ordered his book about convergence published by Cambridge UP. Can't wait to read this.
One big hole is the idea, that the details of the evolution process that are so proudly presented, were so painstakingly discovered with so much ingenuity, are presented as the latest "truth"even named after their discoverers, without stopping to pause and think, that even a greater ingenuity would be required to create such a process in the first place, especially if automatically arising out of the original beginning event of movement through time, energy, space, laws. observing is easier than creating. has anything ever been observed that was not also created? evolution is easy, some aspects of the process can be observed as they happen.
even a greater ingenuity would be required to create such a process in the first place
That's not an argument for a God though prologos. That's an argument for God being made by an even bigger God who was made, in turn, by a yet bigger God ad infinitum. Turtles all the way down argument.
And what exactly is wrong with the 'turtles all the way down' argument?
Crap. Sorry . . . . I think I was channelling . . . someone . . for a moment.
It's okay, I'm fine now.
Mephis said: That's not an argument for a God though prologos. I was not arguing for the existence of any particular "god", but against the idea that the evolution process could have arisen without cause, however deep you would like to trace the turtles. Note that I mentioned :movement through time. . The big bang beginning model assumes there was no movement through time before spacetime. without movement through time, why would there have to be causality? As H. Truman said: The buck stops here . I buck= many turtles, --oh deer.
Obviously you weren't arguing for any particular god, because your argument vanishes into an infinity of successively more powerful gods. This has nothing to do with evolution though? I did notice your movement through time suggestion, I'm just not sure what relevance cosmology 101 has to a debate on evolution. But if you want an explanation, try something on 'imaginary time' for one model which works to explain things. eg Hawking lecture here: http://www.hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time.html