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In our opinion, neo-Darwinism adequately accounts for microevolution.
GodEvolving I'd be interested inJohn's and your views on Jack Miles' provocative book . Miles' analysis of the Gospels isexplicitly a 'literary' one treating the Bible as an art-work ratherthan as history or theology, but his thesis could be considered as apossibility for our 'objective' understanding of God and Christ. Theargument, briefly, is that God evolves and changes His mind - frombeing the Lord of Hosts to becoming the Lamb, renouncing His violentinterventions in the world and instead seeking to redeem humanity andalso Himself (as the creator of a world in which evil, violence andrivalry flourish).
One way of looking at this is that God has three modes - an eternal andunchanging one as sustainer of all that is and can be; an evolutionaryone as creator of this particular world in which He sees humans evolve;and a participative one, changing from the God of the Old Testament tothe God of the New. Olaf Stapledon has a similar perspective in hisremarkable non-Christian theological novel .
Can God be lonely? No - but a Perfect Being without a Creation cannotknow what it is like to be imperfect and a Creator. The world makessense as God's project - perhaps one of an infinite array - in which Heexplores what He in his lone perfection cannot know...
Right now there is a federal trial under way in Dover,Pa., USA,over a school policy requiring teachers to explain to students about"Intelligent Design" before teaching evolution. as a scientist and as aChristian wha do you think about "Intelligent Design" being taught inscience classes?
Evolution clearly happens and there is very strong genetic evidence forthe evolutionary connection of most animals including man. Howeverbecause evolution is a mechanism based on 'randomness' it isfundamentally non-deterministic and thus it is quite possible for otherprocesses to be at work as well, alongside evolutionary ones. Also itis quite impossible to calculate the likelihoods of evolutionaryoutcomes of any complexity, so it is impossible to know the likelihoodof the observed evolutionary outcomes. If a toss of 4 coinscomesdownwith 1 heads and the rest tails you have no strong reason to supposethat there is anything else happening than randomness: if a toss of4,000 coins comes down with 1 heads and the rest tails it is not, ofcourse, that this has happened by chancebut you'dcertainly be more inclined to look for additional factors - even moreso with 4 million coins. This would still be true if you hadatrillion trillion samples of 4 million to choose from - the likelihoodof this event with a fair coin is 2^-4M or roughly 10^-1.2M
Similarly, the idea proposed by some ID advocates that certainbiological systems couldn't possibly have evolved is almost certainlywrong. But it is quite reasonable to point out that many biologicalsystems are of such complexity that the likelihood of 'random'evolution with natural selection being the story of theiremergence seems small and is certainly inscrutable. In some ways we cancompare evolution to gravity and Dawin to Gallileo (not Newton, becauseNewton worked out an amazingly accurate theory ofgravity). Gravity is an extremely important physical force,butit isnot the physical force. Indeed one of thereasons thatleading physicists of the 19th Century were so cautious about Darwinismwas that, on the basis of what was then known of the physical forces ofnature, the sun could not be old enough to allow time for evolution tohave occurred. It was only when Einstein's corrections toNewton'stheory of gravity uncovered the possibility of massive energy releasein nuclear transformations that the source of the Sun's energy wasunderstood.
Neo-Darwinism: The Current Paradigm. by Brig Klyce
This scenario is inconsistent with neo-Darwinian gradualism, according to which macroevolution is simply cumulative microevolution over long periods of time.
The NCSE's notion that "[t]here is no unchallengeable orthodoxy," is plainly false, once you understand that the orthodoxy is not simply neo-Darwinism, but materialistic accounts of evolution.
Neo-Darwinism - New World Encyclopedia
apostle of Darwinian evolution, Ernst Mayr, turned 100 recently. His mind still sharp, he recounted in the July 2 issue of 1 the battles that led to “Neo-Darwinism” in the 1940s. Surprising though it may be to some, there was no consensus on speciation, natural selection and other key evolutionary concepts for eighty years since Darwin published his book. Only in the 1940s did a compromise called the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis satisfy the majority of Darwinians. Neo-Darwinism still reigns today, despite strong minority positions such as punctuated equilibria and Gaia, along with a number of sects that deny certain aspects of the Synthesis.
Mayr lays the background of his youthful acceptance of evolution:
Mayr claims that the taxonomists and the population geneticists had solved parts of the problem; all that remained was to get the parties together. That compromise was achieved by Theodosius Dobzhansky with Mayr’s assistance. He claims the neo-Darwinian synthesis that resulted has been remarkably stable, even through the discovery of DNA and the revolution in molecular genetics, but part of that stability has been due to enforcement: “At a meeting in Princeton in 1947, the new paradigm was fully acknowledged and it was confirmed again and again in the next 60 years. Whenever an author claimed to have found an error in the Synthesis, his claim was rapidly refuted.”
In his conclusion, Mayr notes that new battles have arisen over allopatric vs. sympatric speciation, the enormous amount of biodiversity, and non-allopatric genetic mechanisms such as “speciation by hybridization, by polyploidy and other chromosome rearrangements, by lateral gene transfer, and by symbiogenesis.” He regrets he will not be able to continue exploring the new frontiers of evolutionary biology.
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Gene Expression » A neo-neo-Darwinian Synthesis?
After the careful analysis by Chen , one might understand if a neo-Darwinists lost patience at this point in the discussion and simply asserted that it must have happened as they describe.
Is the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis Robust Enough to …
Consider the neo-Darwinian catechism on the role of variation in evolution, which consists of 3 concepts. The first 2, which go back to Darwin’s time, are that mutation is merely a source of “raw materials” and merely a source of “chance.” The view of mutation and selection as opposing forces was developed by the Modern Synthesis.
"Towards A Neo-Darwinian Synthesis Of Neoclassical …
I care very much aboutscience and religion. (Christianity ismy native faith, and I am very devout though also rather heterodox.)
I tend to strongly favor strictevolutionary theoryover all forms ofcreationism, for example. I also tend to think of miracles -ifthereare miracles at all - as restricted to humanly-mediated healings, anddiscount other miracle stories as mythical or folkloric, etc.
However, I have a problem. Avery simplethought-experiment -- a bitof counterfactual history -- seems to put in grave doubt my basicassumptions, assumptions I believe I share with most peoplewhocaredeeply about both science and religion.
It is embarrassingly simple. Suppose that adestructive event, anasteroid strike for instance, were to occur at a very "inopportune"time for the unfolding of salvation history. Suppose thiseventoccurred during the life of Jesus but before His ministry. (Itcan belocated elsewhere, but for Christians this is a good place to put theevent). Suppose that this event either destroyes all humanlife,ordestroys all human life in Judea, or indeed, it is sufficient for aChristian to imagine a very localized event affecting the personof Jesus.
Such an event at precisely such a momentposesspecial problems that itwould not cause earlier or later. For instance, I amreconciledto theidea that life on earth (or human life) might have never arisen due tosuch an event; or having, arisen, might have been so terminated, inprehistory. God plainly appears to permit such lamentableeventsbothvery large and very small -- it is integral to the very structure ofthis universe that such events can and will occur, on all scales. Thiscan be reconciled to Chrstianity.
Likewise, as a Christian, I amreconciled, though toa lesser degree,to the notion that such an event might have occurred at any point afterJesus' career. I strongly prefer to think of humanity ashaving adestiny and of the modern world as being part of that destiny, but thisis not a particularly biblical view. Such an event in theyearsafterChrist would, I guess, be an acceptable biblical End of the World.
No, the problem is precisely with ahypothetical . Imagine, to give another example, a Judea-destroying asteroidoccurring after the Babylonian exile and before Alexander. Thisisscientifically entirely possible! And yet what remains of theveryidea of salvation history, what remains of the prophets, in the lightof such counterfactual history? It seems to mock them, andmockthemdevastatingly.
I believe that this modestthought-experiment, of such a humblegarden-variety sort that anyone who has seen a Hollywood disaster moviecan easily grasp it, casts grave doubt on the ways we, as people whoare committed to both science and religion, adjudicate their respectiveclaims. Either God can and when necessary will act to protectHisgrand project of salvation history -- giving us the sort of large-scalemiracle that is at odds with our scientific sense of things -- or, ifHe does not, the very idea of salvation history is irretrievably leftin tatters.
My apologies for posing my question atsuchlength! I pose it to thetwo of you because I trust that you will not respond glibly.
Argumentsfrom counterfactuals are rather dangerous, but I think theessence of your problem is that, having decided in advance forphilosophical reasons that God does not intervene in nature, you canhypothesise 'random' natural events that could have frustrated God'sdecisive intervention through Jesus Christ. But the essenceofChristianity is that God has intervened in nature through theincarnation and resurrection of Jesus. And I think theChristiananswer to your question is that if there had been such a meteorite, Godwould have deflected it, though I would add that He would probably havedone so by means of an infinitessimal adjustment a long time before theevent (indeed the moon and Jupiter both act to greatly reduce theincidence of meteor strikes on earth).
Of course we don't understand precisely Godinteracts withnature, but we know from our own experience that persons do interactwith nature and since we don't even understand how human persons doit's a bit much to expect to understand how God does. We doknowthatpractically all systems in nature are subjet to chaotic dynamics -cloud-like rather than clock-like and also subject to quantumfluctuations, so at a physical level the world is radicallynon-deterministic and does not exclude other causalprinciples. Johntalks suggestively about "active information" and suggests that in 100years time these issues may be a lot better understood. Afterallchaotic dynamics itself is a relatively new area and is much betterunderstood now than 30 years ago. Remember that real scienceisaboutwhat is imperfectly understood and un-known: the idea that sciencedeals in solved questions is quite mistaken.
Inthe life ofJesus, God's providential care ensured that its purpose was notfrustrated (the warningabout Herod), but part of that purpose was that the Son of God shouldin due course share to the uttermost the human experiences of sufferingand death, thereby bringing about our redemption from their bondage.
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