- Futuyma, D.J. in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates, 1986; p.12
from talk origins: (on the above)
This description would be incomprehensible to Darwin since he was unaware of genes and genetic drift. The modern theory of the mechanism of evolution differs from Darwinism in three important respects:
1. It recognizes several mechanisms of evolution in addition to natural selection. One of these, random genetic drift, may be as important as natural selection.
2. It recognizes that characteristics are inherited as discrete entities called genes. Variation within a population is due to the presence of multiple alleles of a gene.
3. It postulates that speciation is (usually) due to the gradual accumulation of small genetic changes. This is equivalent to saying that macroevolution is simply a lot of microevolution.
In other words, the Modern Synthesis is a theory about how evolution works at the level of genes, phenotypes, and populations whereas Darwinism was concerned mainly with organisms, speciation and individuals. This is a major paradigm shift and those who fail to appreciate it find themselves out of step with the thinking of evolutionary biologists. Many instances of such confusion can be seen here in the newsgroups, in the popular press, and in the writings of anti-evolutionists.
From the book jacket of The Blind Watchmaker:
Natural selection, the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non-random process that Darwin discovered, has no purpose in mind. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.
(from Darwinism, Design and Public Education
1925- Scopes: Maynard M. Metcalf (zoologist)- 1st expert witness for the defense Ã¢â‚¬Å“Evolution and the theories of evolution are fundamentally different things. The fact of evolution is a thing that is perfectly and absolutely clear, but there are many points- theoretical points as to the methods by which evolution has been brought about- that we are not yet in possession of scientific knowledge to answer.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Fast forward to 1982- Yale biologist Keith Stewart Thompson breaks evolution down a little further- into 3 meanings: change over time, common ancestry and the natural mechanisms that produce change in organisms.
Jump to 2003 and it gets broken down even further.
The meanings of evolution, from Darwinism, Design and Public Education:
1. Change over time; history of nature; any sequence of events in nature
2. Changes in the frequencies of alleles in the gene pool of a population
3. Limited common descent: the idea that particular groups of organisms have descended from a common ancestor.
4. The mechanisms responsible for the change required to produce limited descent with modification, chiefly natural selection acting on random variations or mutations.
5. Universal common descent: the idea that all organisms have descended from a single common ancestor.
6. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Blind watchmakerÃ¢â‚¬Â thesis: 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.
With the above in mind it has become obvious to me that IDists and anti-IDists (blind-watchmaker proponents) differ on four major points. These are as follows:
(in no necessary order of importance)
1) The starting point of the evolutionary process.
2) The phenotypic & morphological plasticity allowed/ extent the evolutionary process can take a population (do limits exist?).
3) The apparent direction the evolutionary process took to form the history of life. Is it possible to increase genetic, phenotypic and morphological complexity on the scale required?
4) The mechanism for the evolutionary process. Is the genetic code really akin to a computer code? Can a Ã¢â‚¬Å“blind-watchmakerÃ¢â‚¬Â thesis really hold water with what we do know about lifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s complexity, the laws of nature, the requirements for life and the requirements for complex life?
For example the starting point of the evolutionary process- Creationists say it was from the originally Created Kinds. What were those Kinds? That is what we need science for. If we knew the answers science wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be necessary.
The same can be said of evolutionists and their search for LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor). Was it one population, one organism or multiple populations?
IDists would also like to know lifeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s origins and will accept what the evidence leads to. If it leads to we are the ancestors
The starting point is important in that if life did not arise from non-living matter via unintelligent, blind/ undirected processes, there would be no reason to infer its subsequent diversity is the result of those processes.
Point 2 above deals with limits. Creationists say there are limits, a boundary that canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be passed. Possible boundaries would be between prokaryotes and eukaryotes; single-celled and metazoans; shell and no-shell; vertebrates and invertebrates. IDists
Evolutionists say no such boundaries exist but can only get around the alleged barriers via assertion. IOW they throw vasts amounts of time at the issue.
We know limits exist in life & to life itself. Why should the evolutionary process be exempt? Evolutionists want Creationist to point to a boundary. Some say it has been done. Genetic homeostasis is the term used for the resistance a population has towards change. That term came about because what has been observed in the lab, and in the real world, is that although allele frequencies do change, the overall body plan remains the same.
Point 3 above will be clarified here. I am not saying the theory of evolution says anything about a direction. I am saying that the way evolutionists are applying the theory to come up with a history of life (on Earth) implies that life started out much simpler and then evolved to be more complex. Creationists say that the originally created kinds had more genetic information than the extant fauna & flora.
The mechanism- Random mutations culled by natural selection, environmentally induced mutations, organism induced mutations, some pre-programmed plan, lateral transfer, culled by any selection process.