Science & creationism

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Mon Aug 30 02:29:37 EDT 1999

> ...regarding dog breeds there is intelligent action taking place external
>  to the dogs not just plain old randomness.

	Many people who are unhappy with the idea of evolution by natural
selection claim that order cannot arise from 'just plain old randomness'.
What they fail to appreciate is that the order comes in from the _selection
criteria_, and these can operate on purely random variation to produce an
ordered result.

	This is totally beside the question of whether additional processes
are involved, as Grehan's orthogenesis. Natural selection operating on
random variation _works_, as can be seen from the rapid evolution of
antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Computer modeling of evolution
has also shown natural selection operating before our eyes, purely from
applying selection criteria to random variation. You can argue all you
like about whether other processes operate as well as natural selection--
but no one can maintain that natural selection won't work at all.

	In the case of _natural_ selection, the criteria arise from
interactions with the environment (including other species, and other
members of the same species) and no intelligence is required. It's
simply a mindless algorithm, which nonetheless works.

	One is always free to maintain that a higher power _designed_ the
world so natural selection would work--so there is no conflict with
religion here, barring those people who believe evolution never happened.

	But maintaining that natural selection applied to random variation
_cannot_ produce order, or 'improvements' according to some criteria, is
simply incorrect. One can argue about what _kind_ of order, or how _much_
order, can be produced in how much time--but not about whether any order
at all will come about.

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at

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