Intelligent Design is NOT Anti-Evolution- The Debate Begins
Good day- Over the past many, many years, IDists have been telling people that intelligent design is not anti-evolution. Most people understand and accept that, while others just refuse to, no matter what.
Ogre MKV falls into the latter group. He has banned me from his blog for correcting his blatant misrepresentations of Intelligent Design. Yet now he has agreed to debate a few issues. The first issue we will debate is the question- “Is Intelligent Design anti-evolution?”- Ogre obviously will take the affirmative- just as he has announced.
I welcome this exchange because every other time I have tried to talk about this- that ID is not anti-evolution- all I got was "It is too!" type of arguments thrown back at me-> even though I presented the evidence that supports my claim. So this will be a first for me- that is someone actually trying to support the claim that ID is anti-evolution. It will be interesting to see what evidence he provides to support his claim.
With that said, in this post I will provide the evidence (again) that firmly demonstrates that ID is not anti-evolution. I will be presenting several authoritative definitions of “evolution” followed by what the ID leadership has to say about evolution. So without any further adieu, I give you-
Intelligent Design is NOT Anti-Evolution
In order to have a discussion about whether or not Intelligent Design is anti-evolution or not we must first define “evolution”. Fortunately there are resources available that do just that.
Finally, during the evolutionary synthesis, a consensus emerged: “Evolution is the change in properties of populations of organisms over time”- Ernst Mayr page 8 of “What Evolution Is”
Biological (or organic) evolution is change in the properties of populations of organisms or groups of such populations, over the course of generations. The development, or ontogeny, of an individual organism is not considered evolution: individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are ‘heritable' via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportions of different forms of a gene within a population, such as the alleles that determine the different human blood types, to the alterations that led from the earliest organisms to dinosaurs, bees, snapdragons, and humans.
Douglas J. Futuyma (1998) Evolutionary Biology 3rd ed., Sinauer Associates Inc. Sunderland MA p.4
Biological evolution refers to the cumulative changes that occur in a population over time. PBS series “Evolution” endorsed by the NCSE
Biological evolution, simply put, is descent with modification. This definition encompasses small-scale evolution (changes in gene frequency in a population from one generation to the next) and large-scale evolution (the descent of different species from a common ancestor over many generations) UC Berkley
In fact, evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.
Helena Curtis and N. Sue Barnes, Biology, 5th ed. 1989 Worth Publishers, p.974
Evolution- in biology, the word means genetically based change in a line of descent over time.- Biology: Concepts and Applications Starr 5th edition 2003 page 10
Those are all accepted definitions of biological “evolution”. (Perhaps OgreMKV will present some definitions that differ from those. Most likely I will only comment on any differences if the differences are relevant.)
With biology, where-ever there is heritable genetic change there is evolution and where-ever you have offspring that are (genetically) different from the parent(s) you have descent with modification.
Next I will show what Intelligent Design says about biological evolution and people can see for themselves that Intelligent Design is not anti-evolution:
Intelligent Design is NOT Creationism
Scott refers to me as an intelligent design "creationist," even though I clearly write in my book Darwin's Black Box (which Scott cites) that I am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent. In fact, my own views fit quite comfortably with the 40% of scientists that Scott acknowledges think "evolution occurred, but was guided by God."- Dr Michael Behe
Dr Behe has repeatedly confirmed he is OK with common ancestry. And he has repeatedly made it clear that ID is an argument against materialistic evolution (see below), ie necessity and chance.
Then we have:
What is Intelligent Design and What is it Challenging?- a short video featuring Stephen C. Meyer on Intelligent Design. He also makes it clear that ID is not anti-evolution.
Next Dembski and Wells weigh in:
The theory of intelligent design (ID) neither requires nor excludes speciation- even speciation by Darwinian mechanisms. ID is sometimes confused with a static view of species, as though species were designed to be immutable. This is a conceptual possibility within ID, but it is not the only possibility. ID precludes neither significant variation within species nor the evolution of new species from earlier forms. Rather, it maintains that there are strict limits to the amount and quality of variations that material mechanisms such as natural selection and random genetic change can alone produce. At the same time, it holds that intelligence is fully capable of supplementing such mechanisms, interacting and influencing the material world, and thereby guiding it into certain physical states to the exclusion of others. To effect such guidance, intelligence must bring novel information to expression inside living forms. Exactly how this happens remains for now an open question, to be answered on the basis of scientific evidence. The point to note, however, is that intelligence can itself be a source of biological novelties that lead to macroevolutionary changes. In this way intelligent design is compatible with speciation. page 109 of "The Design of Life"
And that brings us to a true either-or. If the choice between common design and common ancestry is a false either-or, the choice between intelligent design and materialistic evolution is a true either-or. Materialistic evolution does not only embrace common ancestry; it also rejects any real design in the evolutionary process. Intelligent design, by contrast, contends that biological design is real and empirically detectable regardless of whether it occurs within an evolutionary process or in discrete independent stages. The verdict is not yet in, and proponents of intelligent design themselves hold differing views on the extent of the evolutionary interconnectedness of organisms, with some even accepting universal common ancestry (ie Darwin’s great tree of life).
Common ancestry in combination with common design can explain the similar features that arise in biology. The real question is whether common ancestry apart from common design- in other words, materialistic evolution- can do so. The evidence of biology increasingly demonstrates that it cannot.- Ibid page 142
And from one more pro-ID book:
Many assume that if common ancestry is true, then the only viable scientific position is Darwinian evolution- in which all organisms are descended from a common ancestor via random mutation and blind selection. Such an assumption is incorrect- Intelligent Design is not necessarily incompatible with common ancestry.- page 217 of “Intelligent Design 101”
That is just a sample of what the Intelligent Design leadership say about biological evolution- they are OK with it. And the following is from “Uncommon Descent”:
9] “Evolution” Proves that Intelligent Design is Wrong
The word “evolution” can mean different things. The simplest meaning is one of natural history of the appearance of different living forms. A stronger meaning implies common descent, in its universal form (all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor) or in partial form (particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor). “Evolution” is often defined as descent with modifications, or simply as changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population.
None of those definitions can prove ID wrong, because none are in any way incompatible with it.
ID is a theory about the cause of genetic information, not about the modalities or the natural history of its appearance, and is in no way incompatible with many well known patterns of limited modification of that information usually defined as “microevolution.” ID affirms that design is the cause, or at least a main cause, of complex biological information. A theory which would indeed be alternative to ID, and therefore could prove it wrong, is any empirically well-supported “causal theory” which excludes design; in other words any theory that fits well with the evidence and could explain the presence or emergence of complex biological information through chance, necessity, any mix of the two, or any other scenario which does not include design. However, once we rule out “just-so stories” and the like, we will see that there is not today, nor has there ever been, such a theory. Furthermore, the only empirically well-supported source of functionally specific, complex information is: intelligence.
To sum it up: no definition of evolution is really incompatible with an ID scenario. Any causal theory of evolution which does not include design is obviously alternative to, and incompatible with, ID.
However, while many such theories have indeed been proposed, they are consistently wanting in the necessary degree of empirical support. By contrast, design is an empirically known source of the class of information – complex, specified information (CSI) — exhibited by complex biological systems.
They go on to say:
10] The Evidence for Common Descent is Incompatible with Intelligent Design
ID is a theory about the cause of complex biological information. Common descent (CD) is a theory about the modalities of implementation of that information. They are two separate theories about two different aspects of the problem, totally independent and totally compatible. In other words, one can affirm CD and ID, CD and Darwinian Evolution, or ID and not CD. However, if one believes in Darwinian Evolution, CD is a necessary implication.
CD theory exists in two forms, universal CD and partial CD. No one can deny that there are evidences for the theory of CD (such as ERVs, homologies and so on). That’s probably the reason why many IDists do accept CD. Others do not agree that those evidences are really convincing, or suggest that they may reflect in part common design. But ID theory, proper, has nothing to do with all that.
ID affirms that design is the key cause of complex biological information. The implementation of design can well be realized through common descent, that is through implementation of new information in existing biological beings. That can be done gradually or less gradually. All these are modalities of the implementation of information, and not causes of the information itself. ID theory is about causes.
And finally there is front loaded evolution (Mike Gene) and a prescribed evolutionary hypothesis (John Davison)- both are ID hypotheses pertaining to evolution.
Mutations are OK, differential reproduction is OK, horizontal gene transfer is OK. With Intelligent Design organisms are designed to evolve, ie they evolve by design. That is by “built-in responses to environmental cues” ala Dr Spetner’s “non-random evolution hypothesis” being the main process of adaptations.
As Dembski/ Wells said Intelligent design only has an issue with materialistic evolution- the idea that all organisms have descended from common ancestors solely through an unguided, unintelligent, purposeless, material processes such as natural selection acting on random variations or mutations; that the mechanisms of natural selection, random variation and mutation, and perhaps other similarly naturalistic mechanisms, are completely sufficient to account for the appearance of design in living organisms. (Also known as the blind watchmaker thesis)
Intelligent Design is OK with all individuals in a population generally having the same number and types of genes and that those genes give rise to an array of traits and characteristics that characterize that population. It is OK with mutations that may result in two or more slightly different molecular forms of a gene- alleles- that influence a trait in different ways and that individuals of a population vary in the details of a trait when they inherit different combinations of alleles. ID is OK with any allele that may become more or less common in the population relative to other kinds at a gene locus, or it may disappear. And ID is OK with allele frequencies changing as a result of mutation, gene flow, genetic drift, natural and artificial selection, that mutation alone produces new alleles and gene flow, genetic drift, natural and artificial selection shuffle existing alleles into, through, or out of populations. IOW ID is OK with biological evolution. As Dr Behe et al., make very clear, it just argues about the mechanisms- basically design/ telic vs spontaneous/ stochastic.
Now we are left with the only way Intelligent Design can be considered anti-evolution is if and only if the only definition of evolution matches the definition provided for materialistic evolution. However I cannot find any source that states that is the case.
So the bottom line is Intelligent Design says “evolved, sure”. The questions are “evolved from what?” and “how did it evolve?”.