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Underestimating Natural Selection

In a New York Times op-ed, Robert Wright, an author and fellow at the New America Foundation, writes that both sides of the science-is-incompatible-with-religion debate are wrong. "Oddly, an underestimation of natural selection's creative power clouds the vision not just of the intensely religious but also of the militantly atheistic," Wright says. In particular, Wright focuses on the human moral sense and says that reciprocal altruism could be shaped by natural selection and that a distant god could have molded that evolution so that it will "eventually 'converge' on certain moral intuitions."

At the Sandwalk, Larry Moran says that the evolution of a sentient, moral species wasn't inevitable. "My version of evolution, involving copious amounts of chance and accident, just happened to produce sentient beings on this planet," he blogs.

Bayblab's Bayman also weighs in. "There is no evidence that evolution is directional (what about convergent evolution?). But is there evidence that it isn't ('junk' DNA)? I think this one ends in a draw," he blogs. The Bayman also points to this video of Wright on Charlie Rose discussing his new book The Evolution of God.