I invite you to consider…
What if evolution were true, but it wasn’t quite like Darwin said?
What if there were a new evolutionary model that could explain why fossils show almost no change for millions of years…. then suddenly the Cambrian Explosion: Thousands of new species emerge intact, virtually overnight.
What if this new theory pointed the way to new innovations in artificial intelligence and adaptive computer programs?
What if “Evolution vs. Design” wasn’t an either/or proposition – but both+and?
What if, instead of arguing endlessly about fossils, we could precisely track evolutionary history with the precision of 1’s and 0’s?
Can Anybody Actually Win The Evolution 2.0 Prize?
Science, God, and
Happy Chemical Accidents
There’s a million codes out there. HTML, bar codes, zip codes, Java, English and Chinese.
Out of a million codes, 999,999 are designed by humans.
There’s one code we don’t know the origin of – and that’s DNA. We don’t know of any codes that are not designed. This implies design in DNA.
That’s an unsolved science mystery. So I and a group of Private Equity Investors have formed a company, Natural Code LLC, to offer a multi-million dollar technology prize for Origin Of Information.
There are two kinds of evolution:
1) There’s the version that you read about in the bookstore. It’s two-thirds science fiction.
2) Then there’s the version that PhD biologists, cancer researchers and genetic engineers use to do their jobs.
The two are entirely different.
Popular books tell you evolution works like this: Read more »
I appeared on WTVR’s “Good Morning Virginia” talking about Evolution 2.0:
Generally, Jonathan and his audience were skeptical of macro-evolution and common descent. We discussed what Intelligent Design is, and what it is not; and how ID relates to evolution. I insisted that macro-evolution demands a higher view of God… a God that does not have to keep coming back and introducing new life forms on earth.
As I say in Evolution 2.0: “Darwinists underestimate nature. Creationists underestimate God.”
Midway through the show, a caller asked about epigenetics.
A man is charged with first degree murder. His attorney agrees the man committed the crime… but argues that the killer is innocent because wasn’t in control of his own actions. That the killing was a result of him being, as Richard Dawkins argues in The Selfish Gene, a lumbering robot programmed by his genes.
Does this reasoning make sense?
Denis Noble of Oxford University, author of Dance to the Tune of Life: Biological Relativity and The Music of Life explores the consequences of reductionist philosophy at Oxford’s Rhodes House lecture.
What do YOU think? Post your comments below –
The joint meeting of the Royal Society and the British Academy of Science, New trends in evolutionary biology: biological, philosophical and social science perspectives was a rematch of sorts.
The two sides had already exchanged views in a 2014 Nature Comment, “Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Researchers are divided over what processes should be considered fundamental.”
The Nature Comment had been set up as point and counterpoint. Kevin Laland and colleagues, Tobias Uller, Marc Feldman, Kim Sterelny, Gerd B. Müller, Armin Moczek, Eva Jablonka argued the point, “Yes, urgently. Without an extended evolutionary framework, the theory neglects key processes.”
Gregory A. Wray, Hopi E. Hoekstra, Douglas J. Futuyma, Richard E. Lenski, Trudy F. C. Mackay, Dolph Schluter, Joan E. Strassmann argued the counterpoint, “No, all is well. Theory [Modern Synthesis] accommodates evidence through relentless synthesis.“
I had attended the joint meeting of the Royal Society and British Academy (RA-BA) before NASA researcher, Lynn Rothschild, brought the Nature Comment to my attention.
What struck me about both the meeting and the Comment was the fact that the proponents of a “constantly synthesizing” version of the Modern Synthesis had failed to present a statement of their theory. This was not a minor detail, but such a glaring omission. I wondered how the editors of Nature had allowed what was going to be debated to remain completely undefined.
Similarly, the organizers Read more »
I got this question from an inquisitive reader:
I’m wrestling with some essential Jerry Coyne here. I figure this is pretty fundamental and therefore worth my taking the time to understand better.
What we mean by “random” is that mutations occur regardless of whether they would be good for the organism. That is, the chances of an adaptive mutation occurring is not increased if the environment changes in a way that would favor that mutation. The word “random” does not, to evolutionists, mean that every gene has the same chance of mutating, nor that mutation rates can’t be affected by other things. What it means is that mutation is not somehow adjusted so that good mutations crop up just when they would be advantageous. My friend Paul Sniegowski, a professor at Penn, uses the term “indifferent” instead of “random,” and I think that’s a better way to describe the neo-Darwinian view of mutations.
– What Coyne says is actually consistent with how you and Denis Noble and others define “random,” yes? no?
FRANCIS COLLINS, U.S. DIRECTOR OF THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT: “Will we turn our backs on science because it is perceived as a threat to God, abandoning all the promise of advancing our understanding of nature and applying that to the alleviation of suffering and the betterment of humankind?
“Alternatively, will we turn our backs on faith, concluding that science has rendered the spiritual life no longer necessary, and that traditional religious symbols can now be replaced by engravings of the double helix on our altars?
“Both of these choices are profoundly dangerous. Both deny truth. Both will diminish the nobility of humankind. Both will be devastating to our future. And both are unnecessary. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshipped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate and beautiful—and it cannot be at war with itself. Only we imperfect humans can start such battles. And only we can end them.”
“At the time of this writing, the biologist Craig Venter is engaging in the creation of artificial life. He conducted experiments and stated them in a famous paper titled “Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesized Genome.”
“I have an immense respect for Craig Venter, whom I consider one of the smartest men who ever breathed, and a “doer” in the full sense of the word, but giving fallible humans such powers is similar to giving a small child a bunch of explosives.
“If I understand this well, to the creationists, this should be an insult to God; but further, to the evolutionist, this is certainly an insult to evolution. And to the probabilist, like myself and my peers, this is an insult to human prudence, the beginning of the mother of all exposures to Black Swans.”
-Nassim Nicholas Taleb, from his book “Antifragile.”
“A forest is much more than what you see,” says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.
I got this astute blog comment from Frank Morris:
“I was so impressed by your debate with Stephen Meyer that I finally bought your Evolution 2.0 book. I can’t wait to read it to see how it compares with my own journey getting kicked around by hostile Darwinians on blogs as I continued to question their seemingly crazy theory.
“Stephen Meyer, on the other hand, was profoundly disappointing. I rejected ID over 10 years ago, but I always thought that, in principle, the concept of ID accepted any form of intelligent cause, not just the God answer. The reality of cellular intelligence has forced the Discovery Institute to expose their bluff. Dr. Meyer seems to be trying to change it from ID to OD, a step up to Omniscient Design.
“He’s wrong. Omniscient means all-knowing. Cells, who are clearly rearranging their own genomes, are very intelligent, but not omniscient.
“Cells are not gods, as another responder suggested. They are intelligent little critters trying their best to survive, but they don’t simply know all things by omniscience. They use internal homeostatic systems, environmental monitoring systems and intercellular communication to establish their needs and responses to need. So they need to SEEK information about their external and internal status, which means they don’t just magically know all things. On top of that is the lack of the perfection one would expect of omniscience. Thanks for the article.”
I replied back to Frank:
“The universe really is “inspirational matter,” we now know, and is not merely inert. Now we might call it instinct, evolution, nuclear fusion, DNA, hardwiring, the motherboard, healing, growth, or just springtime, but nature clearly continues to renew itself from within.
“God seems to have created things that continue to create and recreate themselves from the inside out. It is no longer God’s one-time creation or evolution; rather, God’s form of creation precisely is evolution.”
-Fr.Richard Rohr, from his book Falling Upward
I was intrigued by the suggestion by one of the guests that cells might have some form of intelligence.
I’d like to know what experiments and tests have been proposed so that evidence of this intelligence can be shown and measured. It’s all well and good coming up with far out ideas like that, but if they can’t be demonstrated there is little point is trying to build an idea based on the hypothesis. It would be far more honest to prove the claim before trying to build an idea on it.
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