Friday, June 16, 2006

The Secular Outpost: Collins defends God

Ok, here we go, I guess this will be my first official post on my own blog. I actually left the following as a comment at The Secular Outpost: Collins defends God where Taner Edis linked to an article about Human Genome scientist Francis Collins and his belief in so-called "Theistic Evolution",,2087-2220484,00.html

Pasted from the linked article, my comment follows:

"Among Collins’s most controversial beliefs is that of “theistic evolution”, which claims natural selection is the tool that God chose to create man. In his version of the theory, he argues that man will not evolve further.

“I see God’s hand at work through the mechanism of evolution. If God chose to create human beings in his image and decided that the mechanism of evolution was an elegant way to accomplish that goal, who are we to say that is not the way,” he says. "

How are these views really any different from Intelligent Design creationism? They are clearly contradictory with the actual content of evolutionary theory.

If a presumed God sets out create an organism, say a "man in his own image" then this is teleological and is not really different from intelligent design. It sees humans as the inevitable result and goal of evolution. One might then ask, why did God prefer modern Homo sapiens sapiens over the other now extinct hominids such as H.s. neanderthalensis?

Key to Darwinian evolution is that variation is produced at random, and that traits are selected for, or against, by historically contingent environmental conditions. I see no way that you can defend natural selection as the process of evolution, and then turn and argue that it is the mechanism of a purposeful designer.

This would be like arguing that God provokes some mutation in a particular individual, and then may tinker with various environmental variables to make a trait adaptive.

This would take any real meaning out of the term "natural selection," rendering it a only illusion because of supernatural intervention.

The only view of god that is reconcilable with what we know of actual biological evolution is that of a Deist god who fine tuned the universe for life, and let natural processes take their course. Then this god, still imaginary as far as I am concerned, retired to watch his grand experiment without further intervention.

If I am wrong in my reasoning, please anyone, explain to me where.

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