J. Scott Turner – Purpose and Desire

Via Peter Borger kom ik op de hoogte van het bestaan van Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It (2017).

Als ik meer informatie zoek, kom ik direct op de website The third way; evolution in the era of genomics and epigenomics met een lange lijst van biologen die zich daaraan verbonden hebben. De introductie luidt: The vast majority of people believe that there are only two alternative ways to explain the origins of biological diversity. One way is Creationism that depends upon intervention by a divine Creator. That is clearly unscientific because it brings an arbitrary supernatural force into the evolution process. The commonly accepted alternative is Neo-Darwinism, which is clearly naturalistic science but ignores much contemporary molecular evidence and invokes a set of unsupported assumptions about the accidental nature of hereditary variation. Neo-Darwinism ignores important rapid evolutionary processes such as symbiogenesis, horizontal DNA transfer, action of mobile DNA and epigenetic modifications. Moreover, some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis. Many scientists today see the need for a deeper and more complete exploration of all aspects of the evolutionary process. Men distantieert zich van Intelligent Design: It has come to our attention that THE THIRD WAY web site is wrongly being referenced by proponents of Intelligent Design and creationist ideas as support for their arguments. We intend to make it clear that the website and scientists listed on the web site do not support or subscribe to any proposals that resort to inscrutable divine forces or supernatural intervention, whether they are called Creationism, Intelligent Design, or anything else. Daarbij gaat het over het inroepen van bovennatuurlijke krachten; ik hou me wat dit betreft aan de uitgangspunten van Thaxton. Wel is mijn scope breder dan door Thaxton verwoord, maar past binnen het meerstromenland van Bechly.

Ik vermoed dat the Third way een grote overlap heeft met Intelligent Design. Helemaal samen vallen ze niet: the goal is to focus attention on the molecular and cellular processes which produce novelty. Ik denk dat produce novelty en irreducible complexity elkaar (deels) uitsluiten, maar ik laat dit punt voor nu rusten.

De beschrijving van het boek van Turner op de website van the Third way: : A professor, biologist, and physiologist argues that modern Darwinism’s materialist and mechanistic biases have led to a scientific dead end, unable to define what life is—and only an openness to the qualities of “purpose and desire” will move the field forward.

Scott Turner contends. “To be scientists, we force ourselves into a Hobson’s choice on the matter: accept intentionality and purposefulness as real attributes of life, which disqualifies you as a scientist; or become a scientist and dismiss life’s distinctive quality from your thinking. I have come to believe that this choice actually stands in the way of our having a fully coherent theory of life.”

Growing research shows that life’s most distinctive quality, shared by all living things, is purpose and desire: maintain homeostasis to sustain life. In Purpose and Desire, Turner draws on the work of Claude Bernard, a contemporary of Darwin revered among physiologists as the founder of experimental medicine, to build on Bernard’s “dangerous idea” of vitalism, which seeks to identify what makes “life” a unique phenomenon of nature. To further its quest to achieve a fuller understanding of life, Turner argues, science must move beyond strictly accepted measures that consider only the mechanics of nature.

Het functiebegrip van de biologie is m.i. een uitgekleed begrip: het doel, de reden mist. Turner geeft purposefullness aan als een noodzakelijk element om te komen tot een coherente theorie van het leven. Ook de link naar het vitalisme van Benard is interessant; ik zal later ingaan op het vitalisme.

Turner maakt op zijn eigen website nog enkele interessante opmerkingen. Ten eerste heeft hij nog enkele boeken geschreven die gaan over bouwen en design in biologie. Lezenswaardig lijkt me. Ten tweede ziet ook hij hoe de academische vrijheid bedreigd wordt: the grave threat facing intellectual freedom in the modern world. This threat is, I believe, pervasive, and growing at an alarming pace. Paradoxically, nowhere is the threat graver than in the very place that should be defending it most strenuously: the academy. I have lately come to the conclusion that the battle for intellectual freedom in the universities has largely been lost. En: Intellectual freedom can now only be found outside the academy, if there. I’m grateful I was in a position to retire, as it was the only way I could see to recoup my freedom of inquiry.

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2 reacties

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