It is becoming apparent that there are quite a few people in this group, who are mortified of what might happen, if they change their minds about Young Earth Creationism. That said, there are others where I sense some hope.
Here is my latest exchange with Dave. Dave is one who I place in the latter camp. He seems genuinely thoughtful and doesn’t retreat in to ad hominem attacks or outlandish gambits. This particular exchange is actually related to a scientist, the late Eric Davidson, whose work broke new ground in understanding ontogeny but for some reason, whose work as been somewhat co-opted by creationists who have managed to convince themselves his research somehow disproves evolution by natural selection.
The short conversation below relates to a biographical article that I posted about Dr. Davidson’s work from Developmental Biology.
Dave: I read the article and have an appreciation for scientists that can study and tease out the intricate details of the complete systems being described. But ( you knew that was coming) it occurred to me that a system (by common definition) must have a purpose and design to achieve the purpose or it is useless. A waste of energy and resources. I agree that what we can observe in living organisms is a “natural process” in action. An existing system functioning in harmony with other existing complex systems. I still don’t see where anyone has observed the natural formation of any new biological systems- just the discovery of existing systems. It is beyond credulity (apparently I do not possess sufficient imagination) to think that all existing biological systems we observe today randomly developed in harmony so that life happens. It is by design and that design has been discovered. That’s all.
My response is as follows:
R.L.: I think this is the fundamental flaw the keeps creationists from understanding how evolution actually works. And that is the notion that something that is useful, must have some intelligent designer. Evolution is a blind process and natural selection is the unintelligent sculptor. It goes something like this: the processes, body types, etc., that work well to suit a purpose, those same processes, body types, etc., you feel must have been made by someone, are simply the processes, body types, etc. that worked well enough to be passed on via genetic transfer, to the subsequent generation. The processes, body types, etc., that didn’t work well, didn’t get passed on. So what looks like some intentional act, is actually just a natural process of selecting for what works best in a given environment for a given period. It’s not random. The survival and reproductive success of an individual is directly related to how well, or how poorly, its inherited traits function in its environment. There is beauty in knowing that this process has been ongoing for billions of years. There is beauty in knowing there need not be a supernatural director of these things. Reality is amazing enough!
The fight for scientific literacy continues!