Thursday, January 04, 2007

Evolution: An idea on the verge of extinction?

You can always count on intelligent design creationists to predict the in-the-not-too-distant-future demise of evolution. The lastest(?) to do so is SBWillie at overwhelming evidence. One of his arguments for this is that he claims that evolution is a tautology (i.e. survival of the fittest leads to the fittest surviving). This is simply wrong. Fitness is a probabilistic term where those that are better adapted, compared to others in the same population, are more likely to reproduce and pass on their traits (as an aside, I would personally like to call it "survival of the fitter"). In order for it to be a tautology, the consequence would always have to follow from the premise (also see claim CA500 at talkorigins). Even Answers in Genesis recommend that this argument should not be used. So, the answer to SBWillie's question:

Could Darwinists have been so silly to have based their entire field of study on a glaringly obvious tautology?
would appear to be no. He continues:

What if "Survival of the fittest" were the "engine" that drives life on? Do we really live in a selfish world where only the most ruthless competitors stand a chance of survival? Fortunately this is not the case. When Darwin originally wrote his "Origin of Species" he was completely unaware of the many forms of symbiosis, co-operation and even generosity in the animal kingdom. The only way a Darwinist can continue to believe in this core dogma is by closing his eyes to the last hundred years of biological research.
The only one's who think that Darwinists believe this are strawman-wielding ID creationists. After all, there is nothing quite like misrepresenting your opponents positions, attacking it and then claiming victory.

Unlike Evolutionists, we Proponents of ID do not pretend that we have all the answers. We only wish to humbly point out that scientists who refuse to accept Intelligent Design may be risking lives. For example, it is widely acknowledged amongst AIDS researchers that the reason why the virus is so hard to fight is because it "evolves". Millions of dollars are being spent on researching how this life-form evolves and where has it got us? Perhaps the reason for failure of conventional research has less to do with "bad luck" or "lack of budget", but a fundamentally wrong approach. Is it not possible that life cannot evolve in the way that Darwinists think, but that it only adapts in precisely the way predicted by the theory of Intelligent Design?
And now, Darwinists are risking lives as well. I don't think I've come across a ID creationist claiming this before (not in the sense it's used here anyway [they usually say something along the lines that Darwinism leads to Nazism]). SBWillie, HIV does evolve - no doubt about it. I would love to see SBWillie explain just how scientists have got it wrong and more to the point just how ID theory is getting it right. Of course, no such explanation is given.

There is much work still to do, but as yet mainstream science has not yet managed to argue away this new science. I think this may be proof that our ideas are valid.
Methinks he must mean apart from pointing out that ID is not science, thus showing that his ideas are not scientifically valid.

All we need to do in order to win this debate is to keep making clear arguments that show the inherent contradictions and absurdities of Darwinism.
And all we get from SBWillie is false claims and strawmen instead.

I believe that ID provides exactly the scientific framework to help simplify the complex problems that continue to puzzle mankind. I personally predict that one or more of the bigger commercial research organisations will come over to our side of the debate within a matter of months: Why wouldn't they accept the truth when there is so much of their own money at stake!
I'm sure someone will continue to issue a few more ID books. There is, after all, money to be made from that.

It looks to me as if SBWillies prediction of evolution's demise is based on rubbish reasoning.


At 1:43 AM, Blogger Moss said...

That article you linked to about HIV evolving gives a good case for ID.

"An evolutionary trade-off -
If a patient is already infected with a drug-resistant HIV strain, basic evolutionary theory has also pointed out a way to make the drug useful again. Studies of the evolution of resistance often show that you don't get something for nothing. Specifically, it "costs" a pest or pathogen to be resistant to a pesticide or drug. If you place resistant and non-resistant organisms in head-to-head competition in the absence of the pesticide or drug, the non-resistant organisms generally win."

Strange that it claims that evolutionary theory has produced this understanding. It is probably more accurate to say that population genetics have given us this understanding but it seems to be more of a case for ID. The only way the HIV or any pathogen is "evolving" (becoming resistant) is by sacrificing its overall fitness and losing genetic information.


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