Monday, April 25, 2005


Billy 'god did it' Dembski took a comment of mine off of his blog this morning. I think this is funny. Why didn't he answer it that stupid fuck? Or at least leave it there? I realize it's his blog, but it seems slightly disingenuous to manipulate it like that. It gives the impression that HE IS RIGHT! But he does have some explanation for removing comments:

"(1) Thou shalt not be boring, and the person you least want to bore is me. In particular, I’ve been at this game for about fifteen years now, so I’ve seen most of the objections. Don’t repeat what I likely have already seen (for an overview of the sorts of objections I’ve seen and handled, consult my book The Design Revolution)."

OK. If that's how you're going to be about it, I need to go read your no doubt stupid book and get back to you.

I plan to even though it will be an incredible waste of time I am sure.

Anyway, I posedt a comment about the evo-devo bit I wrote about yesterday. I pretty much just wrote that while ID folks are out to show how there is conflict within evolutionary biology, no serious evolutionary biologist gets to working in a lab or in the field or whatever and says, holy shit, I think I'm going to invoke a conscious designer to explain this complex trait.

I don't think so.

Rather, people like Arthur Wallace say: we can't explain these traits, namely the origin of the different animal body plans, simply by invoking mutations with small phenotypic effects and selection (as if anybody ever claimed this). Then folks like Wallace invoke these sorts of things to explain it:

"He places particular emphasis on gene duplication, changes in spatio-temporal gene-expression patterns, internal selection, coevolution of interacting genes, and coadaptation."

This is from the book's description. No 'conscious designer' here.

Of course this may be missing the point of Nelson and Dembski. I think their point may be something like: see how these things can't be explained by evolutionary theory? Well we can explain them! God or aliens or the world spirit did it! Well, unfortunately that doesn't amount to much of an explanation. Also, if it did, very few, IF ANY, practicing evolutionary biologists think that we need to go outside of a naturalistic framework because IN PRINCIPLE, and eventually in practice, these sorts of things will probably be explained.

But two issues: is anything in science ever actually explained FOR GOOD? And secondly, there seems to be something to be said for keeping one's metaphysics (or even mechanical explanations assuming ID folks want to say that aliens did it and they have a whole different naturalistic story for how they got here) SIMPLE. Assuming explanation is possible at all, it certainly seems possible in PRINCIPLE that we can explain all biological phenomena in terms of natural mechanisms.

Well...clearly I need to work this out a bit more.

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