Are those ears or a beak?

Over at the blog Uncommon Descent, there is an interesting discussion revolving around the views of Eugene Koonin who dethrones natural selection as the central mechanism of evolution.  I’ve discussed the implications of these views here and here.

Allen MacNeill, a biologist from Cornell University, summarized Koonin’s arguments as follows:

In other words, the evolving evolutionary synthesis of the 21st century is de-emphasizing adaptation.

Indeed.  But by de-emphasizing adaptation, we are de-emphasizing the reach of the designer-mimicRecall that I have argued the reason Darwin mistakenly insisted on strict gradualism is that only then would the reach of the designer-mimic be omnipresent. If the designer-mimic is continually shoved off to the sidelines, then the appearance of design will become more and more of an enigma for non-teleologists.

MacNeill also wrote:

But the emerging picture of the genome (and the phenome for which it is at least partially responsible) is that, rather than being a coherent, homeostatic, apparently “rationally designed” entity, it is a frothing ocean of randomly varying nonsensical and furiously selfish genetic entities, none of which give a tinker’s dam about the phenome.

Here we are deep into the land of Rabbits and Ducks. “The emerging picture” is a perception and perceptions are not observations.  While MacNeill himself may see a frothing ocean of randomly varying nonsensical and furiously selfish genetic entities, none of which give a tinker’s dam about the phenome, the same picture can just as easily be viewed as a coherent, homeostatic, rationally designed dynamic.  Consider the multiple essays I have posted over the last few weeks about the “selfish genetic entity” known as the Alu element.  The emerging picture is that of an astoundingly ingenious way to reformat genomes to facilitate and nudge the evolution of the human brain!  And we’re just beginning to scratch the surface.

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One response to “Are those ears or a beak?

  1. Good post although I have yet to go over and actually check out the links. I am glad you included that quote from Macneil. It shows the preconception that its the duck. It interests me that ID is known as a “science stopper”, yet scientists like this (who im making the assumption doesn’t agree with any form of ID) step out and say things like this “…randomly varying nonsensical…” Isn’t the point of science to take something that may not make any sense and do your best to find some sense about it.

    Anyhow, I hate writing random stuff, but recently I came across a good argument. Its also a tired argument, im sure, but I can’t remember any good answers. What do you think about the “bad design” argument. I don’t mean that as in why animals don’t have wheels instead of legs, but more like about viruses, etc. They seem like they would have been the result of a design, but that is a messed up design haha. Do you have any good posts about this or any helpful links?

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