The Egnor Files continued

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Egnor Wrote:

Dr. Cartwright is mistaken. Darwin asserted that all natural biological complexity arose by random undesigned variation and natural selection.

Anyone familiar with Darwin would understand that this is incorrect. In fact, Darwin is clear that he considers natural selection one of various mechanisms, although he considered it the most relevant one. Also, Egnor may want to familiarize himself with the concept of randomness as used by Darwin. In fact, Darwin used an analogy to artificial selection to formulate his thesis of natural selection, in other words, one may argue that in this sense, Darwin identified the designer.

Charles Darwin Wrote:

Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.

Source: Origin of Species, Introduction, page 6

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… and I imagine that Mr Graham must have used “chance” in relation only to purpose in the origination of species. That’s the only way I have used the word chance as I have attempted to explain in the last two pages of my “Variation under Domestication”

Charles Darwin in a letter to Lord Farrer

To sum up on the origin of our Domestic Races of animals and plants. I believe that the conditions of life, from their action on the reproductive system, are so far of the highest importance as causing variability. I do not believe that variability is an inherent and necessary contingency, under all circumstances, with all organic beings, as some authors have thought. The effects of variability are modified by various degrees of inheritance and of reversion. Variability is governed by many unknown laws, more especially by that of correlation of growth. Something may be attributed to the direct action of the conditions of life. Something must be attributed to use and disuse. The final result is thus rendered infinitely complex. In some cases, I do not doubt that the intercrossing of species, aboriginally distinct, has played an important part in the origin of our domestic productions. When in any country several domestic breeds have once been established, their occasional intercrossing, with the aid of selection, has, no doubt, largely aided in the formation of new sub-breeds; but the importance of the crossing of varieties has, I believe, been greatly exaggerated, both in regard to animals and to those plants which are propagated by seed. In plants which are temporarily propagated by cuttings, buds, &c., the importance of the crossing both of distinct species and of varieties is immense; for the cultivator here quite disregards the extreme variability both of hybrids and mongrels, and the frequent sterility of hybrids; but the cases of plants not propagated by seed are of little importance to us, for their endurance is only temporary. Over all these causes of Change I am convinced that the accumulative action of Selection, whether applied methodically and more quickly, or unconsciously and more slowly, but more efficiently, is by far the predominant power.

Variation under Domestication

Now perhaps Egnor meant to say that Neo-Darwinism placed quite some weight on ‘random variation’ and it is good to come to realize that Darwin’s original position may have been more correct.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 10, 2007 10:44 PM.

Paul Nelson: Skepticism of the dino bird hypothesis explored was the previous entry in this blog.

Denial, the first step towards recovery of despair is the next entry in this blog.

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