evolution

“Defenders of Intelligent Design Deserve Our Gratitude”

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I saw this post this morning and thought I would immediately repost.

These are the words of noted atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel and was taken from his new book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. Yep, you read that right: Atheist. And yep, why the materialistic Neo-Darwinian worldview is Almost Certainly False. Typically, proponents of intelligent design are labeled as IDiots and mischaracterized into religious zealots. It is extremely refreshing to read this article and it’s quoted material:

In thinking about these questions I have been stimulated by criticisms of the prevailing scientific world picture… by the defenders of intelligent design. Even though writers like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer are motivated at least in part by their religious beliefs, the empirical arguments they offer against the likelihood that the origin of life and its evolutionary history can be fully explained by physics and chemistry are of great interest in themselves. Another skeptic, David Berlinski, has brought out these problems vividly without reference to the design inference. Even if one is not drawn to the alternative of an explanation by the actions of a designer, the problems that these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously. They do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair.

Of the Darwinian worldview, Nagel has this to say:

I believe the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion. That world view is ripe for displacement…. (emphasis mine)

The people at the Discovery Institute and Evolution Views & News must be feeling a certain amount of elation at Nagel’s words. Not that it necessarily matters. The questions they raise about the Neo-Darwinian evolution are valid, thought-provoking, yet mocked.

On Nagel:

Nagel is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of the prestigious Balzan Prize for his work in moral philosophy. He has received fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among other institutions. He is one of America’s top philosophers. Obviously, he also is a man of great courage and independence of thought. (emphasis mine)

Clearly, Without Distortions

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For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. –Romans 1:20 (emphasis mine)

The true scientific model of the origin of species, by design not by chance, can be demonstrated by com­mon sense and the simplest of sci­entific experiments with any species, particularly of butterflies; whereas it is scientifically impossible to sustain the evolutionary model without having to distort objective truth itself. –Bernard d’Abrera, The Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the World (emphasis mine)

I wanted to follow-up on my last two posts in which I was critical toward Answers in Genesis and the RATE Project by ICR. Some may think I may think I was just bashing them. I do not mean to, but there is a reason why I have a deep conviction about this: scientific data should be able to stand as neutral. God makes it clear in nature that he can be understood. We should never have to bend or distort data to fit a philosophy, whether religious or atheist.

In his writings on modern thought and culture, Francis Schaeffer has emphasized going back to the basic and primary question of “Is there a God?” Science and the evidence we uncover are the best way to decide that. All people, whether believers, agnostics, atheists, or whatever, should be able to use the tools of analysis and it will point to God’s handiwork. What truth do we observe?

  • A universe that came out of nothing and had a beginning.
  • The universe’s physical laws are fine-tuned to support life. For instance, if the force of gravity were any stronger or weaker by 1 part in 10100 (a 1 with 100 zeroes behind it) the universe could not support life. For perspective, there are 1080 atoms in the entire universe.
  • The Earth is uniquely situated in our galaxy such that it provides the overall best conditions for scientific discovery of the universe. (refer to The Privileged Planet dvd)

These points are all based on scientifically verified data, and they all seem to point to a Designer behind the universe. Also, this data was not generated by the religious, either. In fact, the Big Bang was a hard pill to swallow for naturalists, who believed that the universe had always existed. The data for the Big Bang forced scientists to accept the view that the universe, at one time, did not exist. And then it existed. The philosophical ramifications were obvious-it pointed to an external cause, namely a creator. Yet scientists, regardless of personal beliefs, accepted the data.

What about the theory of evolution? Does nature proclaim it as truth? Not at all.

  • Fossil evidence: researchers have been looking for over 100 years for missing links between the major species without result.
  • The fossil record of the Cambrian “explosion” demonstrates the exact opposite of what Darwin predicted. Here you have almost all of the basic body plans (phyla), rather than only a few basic types of animals that gradually divide into the phyla.
  • DNA: this discovery has only exacerbated evolutionary theory. As Bill Gates has noted, “DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” There is no scientific theory or explanation for the origin of the informational code in DNA.
  • Cells are nano-machines: they read DNA and make small molecular machines that perform specific tasks that are essential for life. There is also no scientific theory or explanation for the origin of cellular functioning.
  • Irreducible complexity: many aspects of cellular functioning require many parts, working together. Removal of any of the parts yields a non-functioning system. To pass on this function to off-spring, all parts must be present, which challenges evolutionary model.
  • Butterflies: the caterpillar spends its life gorging itself. In the chrysalis, the caterpillar literally dies and its body is used as food by a latent set of genes that use the caterpillar’s body to build the butterfly. The big question- how did these butterfly genes evolve?

All these facts are direct challenges to evolution and, as d’Abrera stated above, evolutionary biologists do not accept the data and have to distort truth to fit their philosophy. If it is fair to ask evolutionists to evaluate the data neutrally, outside of their preconceived notions, it is fair to ask Christians to do the same. In my view, since God made it, it is a win-win situation.

Defeating Darwinism Review

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Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds

This is a good book for students, parents and other adults alike who are looking for perspective on the claims of Darwinism. It is less technical than other books I have read, but is more for development of critical thinking. It does a great job in illustrating the bias of the media through the example of the Scopes trial, through a comparison of the facts and the distorted lens of the play/movie “Inherit the Wind.” I didn’t know much about this subject, and anti-religious bias is so clear.

One notable quote in the book is from James Shapiro, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago. He said in response to Michael Behe’s book “Darwin’s Black Box”: “There are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation for such a vast subject—evolution—with so little rigorous examination of how well its basic theses work in illuminating specific instances of biological adaptation or diversity.” Is Shapiro an ID advocate? Not in the least! Yet he can look at Darwinism and evaluate it openly for what it is and what it lacks. He thinks critically, and that is what this book seeks to promote.

Overall, a fine book. It will help you see the difference between the scientific evidence and the materialistic philosophy that dominates the culture.

Darwin’s Heretic

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I finally found the time to watch this video (at least the 20 minutes provided here) on Alfred Russel Wallace. It is amazing that I have never heard to this guy before. Who really has? How can that be? He was a cofounder with Darwin, and remained an unknown to us today. How can his ideas and life be so buried from the general public?

I found Wallace’s book “The World of Life” in Kindle format on-line, and look forward to reading it this year. It is interesting to note that Wallace was not a theist. He came to his conclusion of intelligent evolution based on observations of the natural world.