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Moran: Sternberg and Behe “Appear to Know More About Evolution than Their Opponents”

Photo: Smok wawelski, by Panek, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

Evolutionist Laurence Moran writes, “Richard Sternberg says ENCODE disproved junk DNA, therefore intelligent design.” The post is about the recent debate in Poland, which David Klinghoffer wrote about here (“In Debate on Intelligent Design, Critic Cites Dragon Legend to Justify Evolution’s Failures”). Note Professor Moran’s last paragraph in particular:

Sternberg scores big at 2:51:11 when he asks, “Can there be Darwinian evolution … or any evolution in general, without natural selection?” The correct answer is yes. Malgorzata Moczydlowska-Vidal says no and so does Michael Ruse. Ruse then goes on to explain why he dismisses random genetic drift. Sternberg then explains neutral evolution and Michael Lynch’s drift-barrier hypothesis and why some biologists use them to explain some of the ID challenges. Sternberg (and Behe) appear to know more about evolution than their opponents. [Emphasis added.]

Like most supporters of “constructive neutral evolution” (CNE) — sheer luck on steroids is how one might think of CNE — Moran is powerfully irked by the excessive reliance on natural selection in biological explanation, by Richard Dawkins and others.

But the whole point of selection, for Darwin as well as his 20th-century intellectual followers, was to bias or direct the deliverances of chance variation, so that “luck” didn’t have to do all the work. CNE dumps selection, however, for “x had to evolve because complexity just accumulates by chance,” which looks like a poor exchange on the best of days.

Design thinkers in biology may often appear an embattled minority, but we’d guess that most ID proponents are relieved they don’t have to live in a mental world limited to choosing between selection and CNE. No thanks: we’ll pass.