Evolution is Still Not a Theory in Crisis, but Neo-Darwinism Might Be

(system) #1
A Review of Michael Denton’s “Evolution: Still A Theory in Crisis”
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/evolution-is-still-not-a-theory-in-crisis-but-neo-darwinism-might-be

(Wm Dawit Wallace) #2

I think it was Ted Davis who made the distinction between the fact and the theory of evolution. The theory is neo Darwinism and may well be in crisis, I have suspected this for quite a long time. The fact of evolution encompass common descent or descent with modification and seems as well demonstrated as anything in science is.

(Doug B) #3

Could there be anything more confusing–more obfuscating–than ID people latching on to highly esoteric criticism of conventional evolution (natural selection and mutation)? I suggest BioLogos tread very carefully in discussing highly specialized (speculative really) critiques of evolution. It’s certainly worth pointing out the incoherence of such an effort by Denton. But let’s stay with the meat and potatoes while so many of our co-coreligionists in the US can’t even swallow any part of evolution.

(George Brooks) #4

Jim Stumpf introduces the article with the following STATEMENT OF POLICY FROM BioLOGOS !!!

"At BioLogos, we state clearly that we accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for common ancestry by the process of evolution. We do not, however, commit to a particular scientific account of the mechanism(s) of evolution, because this is still an active area of research in the scientific community. "

“So there will be some diversity of opinion on this among those associated with BioLogos. The Discovery Institute—the most prominent organization advocating for Intelligent Design—has even more diversity in the range of scientific explanations that are accepted, from Young Earth Creationism to acceptance of common ancestry.”

Could anyone possibly dispute the wording of these descriptions and statements of policy?

(sy_garte) #6


The interesting thing about the book is that Denton does NOT make that claim. Unless by natural evolutionary processes you mean gradualism and accumulation of small changes. Denton seems to be fully on board with “natural evolutionary processes” in the more expanded definition to include genome re engineering, and saltational changes brought about by many mechanisms other than point mutations in structural genes. A good example is the paper he cites of a transposon insertion causing a loss of repression of several genes, whose expression contributed to the origin of mammalian pregnancy innovations.

(James Stump) #7

George, I’m not sure this qualifies as a “statement of policy.” I do think it is a statement of fact, though, and one that has been repeatedly stated since I’ve been at BL.

By the way, my ancestors dropped the “f” from our last name when they immigrated from Germany to England many generations ago.

(James Stump) #8

Doug, I don’t think the extended evolutionary synthesis qualifies as speculation. The biologists Sy mentions in the review are not crackpots. And we think it is helpful for people to hear that there really is disagreement and debate within the scientific community about some elements of evolutionary science. What needs to be exposed for the masses is when ID people try to make that sound like evolution is in crisis.

(Steve Schaffner) #9

A couple of typos: it’s Kimura, not Nomura, for the Neutral Theory, and I think Jablonka is meant, not Jablonska.

(sy_garte) #10

Oops. Thanks Steve. Jim, can you fix those? Thanks

(James Stump) #11

Fixed. Thanks.

(George Brooks) #12

How odd that I would have known about that “f” … maybe your folks were on the same boat that MY folks were on?

Thank you for the nudge, @jstump !!!

[reference to now deleted post … also deleted]


(sy_garte) #13

Not following you there, George. What are you referring to?

(sy_garte) #15

Still not getting it. What did Jim say that was different from what I said? I dont see that.

(sy_garte) #17

What I am asking you is about the quote from Jim. Where did you get that? Unless I am mistaken, those were your words, not Jim’s


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(sy_garte) #19


Funnily enough both spellings are used, even within the same linked article, But Aniko tells me you are right, for an Austrian town.

(sy_garte) #21

As I said in my first response to you, no he does not make a sweeping generality about lots of evolutionary jumps that only a Designer can bridge. Nor does he suggest a handful of necessary assists. He does not mention a Designer at all. The alternate mechanism he proposes to explain macro evolution is not based on a designer but on biological mechanisms.

And I find nothing in Jim’s Introduction that contradicts this statement, or anything I wrote in the review.

So can we close this excruciating line of enquiry now? Thanks.

(George Brooks) #22

Sy, thank you for your helping understand what it was you were challenging.

I can see where my trouble occurs:

You say: ""But, like the creationists, he argues that macroevolution is a different story . . . "

But based on the specifics of your last post, one would be reasonable to amend the next part of the sentence to read:

“[. . . but UNLIKE the creationists he proposes . . . ] an entirely different [non-Theistic] mechanism to explain the jumps from fins to limbs, or scales to feathers.”

Would you concur @Sy_Garte ?


(sy_garte) #23

Yes, that is exactly correct. Thanks

(Dcscccc) #24

commondescent is a fact? i dont think so. can you give the fact that support this suppose fact? thanks.