Hitchens sees a new wrinkle in the debate over “intelligent design.”
New wrinkle? A lack of eyeballs is hardly a firm basis for basic belief. I don’t think the salamander is proof one way or the other. “Except that the eyes were denoted only by little concavities or indentations. Even as I was grasping the implications of this, the fine voice of Sir David Attenborough was telling me how many millions of years it had taken for these denizens of the underworld to lose the eyes they had once possessed.”
millions? why would there be eye sockets at all? As we say in Austin – onward through the fog.
Normally I highly esteem Mr. Hitchen’s great intellect. Here, however, he seems to take the position that a salamander with no eyes shows de-evolution, the existence of de-evolution proves evolution, so therefore only evolution can be correct. That argument is not very well thought out.
Caveat–I’m an evangelical Christian and believe in creation. That said, I don’t believe that the species we see to day are exactly the same as time they were created. I think God allowed for speciation and adaptability intra-species but not inter-species, and that is critical. We have scientific proof of changes within individual species, but no documented changes (of which I’m aware) between species.
Mr. Hitchens apparently is using speciation (reverse speciation?) as a proof of evolution (or disproof of Creationism/ID) when I think all it shows is that over time, creatures physically adapt to their surroundings.
I am an atheist and a hardcore materialist and while Hitchens is, of course, correct, the power of intelligent design is that it isn’t science and it isn’t testable. An intelligent designer could do whatever the f*** it wanted to and unless you have some means of testing its inscrutable purpose, eyeless salamanders cannot prove it false.
Our desinger may have wanted to reuse a module from other salamanders rather than hack out a completely new one. Perhaps he was rushed that day, or just not quite up to snuff or something.
The disappearenace of eyes in salamanders is not by any means much different from the disappearance of tails in humans. Of course it is all evidence for descent with modification, but another problem it has is that the ID people do not deny what they call micro-evolution. The evidence is so powerful for that that it constitutes to sort of proof these people always demand. What they do is attempt to preserve certain kinds of features as being somehow too complicated to explain by descent with modification. This carves out a space for a necessary designer (God wink wink). The god of the gaps was feeling rather cramped and the ID people are trying to excavate enough room for him to breathe comfortably.
They will never fail, because they just don’t get it….
Hitchens shoots himself in the foot when he conflates creationism with intelligent design.
What’s really amusing -considering doug’s absolute certainty- is that many scientists consider the possibility that an alien species introduced changes long ago, even though that’s pretty much what ID claims. The only difference is the agent. Aliens are much more scientific.
He is quite correct in that ID can’t be properly falsified.
The linked article is, however, ludicrous.
Casey misunderstands what I am asserting has been proven. That mutations cause adaptive changes in organisms is certain.
Beyond that I have absolute certainty about nothing. I take provisional acceptance of hypothesis quite seriously and have changed my mind on big things in the past.
That having been said, ID *is* creationism. That “aliens” may have introduced changes isn’t a particularly testable hypothesis. Now find a spaceship with geneatic technology in the fossil record with a load of transitional organisms in stasis, and you may have a basis for discussion.
Of course panspermia as the origin for the original replicators has been proposed, but the acceptance of that hypothesis still does not explain the nested hierarchy of change discovered in the fossil record…
Yo, creationist here. Seriously, a critter without (working) eyes is “proof” that…. well… it’s not proof of ANYTHING. At BEST, you can draw a loose inference, at worst, it proves you are trying too hard.
I would posit that the ability to DEGENERATE, or to loose things are what we should EXPECT in a degenerative world. Even with the existence of genetic mutation (which obviously happens to a lesser or greater degree), we creationists EXPECT to see degenerative mutation.
Hitchens pointing out a degenerative mutation as “proof” of evolution seems a bit counter-productive if you ask me. Using the example of a genetic failure to prove evolutionary progress is not even an argument…
I’ve got an idea… let’s move all these critters up to the surface… and see how many millions of years it will take them to re-develop eyes again… (o wait, they wouldn’t survive long enough for us to find out).
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