left biblioblography: Evolutionary Convergence - The Teleological Argument Approached Again

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Evolutionary Convergence - The Teleological Argument Approached Again

Cross posted @ God is 4 Suckers!Troodondinosauroid

I was reading about this over at PZ Myers' blog about how some claim that similarities in evolutionary pathways indicates some sort of designer's manipulation. Convergent evolution.

And here I will say it: there was a designer, there still is a designer, and the design is ongoing, a work in progress.

The designer that I speak of is the process of evolution. It has no face: no direction: no 'grand purpose' in mind. It just is, and it just does what it does and all the vocabulary and spin and sugar-coating and politics and rhetoric cannot alter that.

The creationist George McReady, spun it thusly:

For instance, we have the shark, the ichthyosaur (an extinct kind of fish-shaped reptile), and the dolphin (a true warmblooded mammal, and not a fish at all), all of which greatly resemble each other in external shape and general appearance. Each has the same long, sharp snout, the same powerful tail, the same general fishlike shape. And yet the first of these is a true fish, the second was just as true a reptile, while the third is a mammal, bringing forth its young alive and feeding them by milk, just as does a cow or a horse, though it lives in the sea.

Here the evolutionists have to say that this peculiar shape and general form has been evolved separately and independently in each of these three instances. Indeed, Henry Fairfield Osborn, President of the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, declares that a very similar shape and form has been independently evolved “at least twenty-four times.”—”Encyc. Brit.,” Vol. XX, p. 578…

From this large group of facts we become convinced that these many similar or identical structures, which must have been evolved quite independently (if evolved at all), make too great a draft on our credulity. At least, these hundreds of examples of “parallel evolution” greatly weaken our confidence in homology, or similarity of parts and organs, as a proof of blood relationship.

Well, no, to be honest, it certainly doesn't stretch my credulity: it's a far leap from the premise 'Look at all the similarities inherent among species' (given that we share a large percentile of DNA with a banana) to 'there's a divine hand behind it all'. If anything, these items reinforce the concept of natural selection. Certain forms work better in the water: other forms work better on the land. We should be surprised to see marine species using flippers instead of four legs, when they swim? It would be more interesting to see a gilled mammal. A literal 'sea-cow', that was gilled, grazed underwater, had four legs and horns, etc.

 So we have evolutionary relay, convergent evolution, and parallel evolution as constructs. No doubt some IDiot will use these as being contradictory to one another, when all three can be used as the situation fits.

As an aside, it amuses me to see how the hereafterians sputter in horror at the concept of a universe lacking a guiding hand. As if left to our own devices, we somehow become a psychopathic bunch of nerve endings unable to restrain our baser impulses.

Till the next post, then.

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