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Evolution, Theistic Evolution, and Intelligent Design

— Below is a beefed-up version of a piece I posted here at UD  earlier this year. The version below appeared at the Chuck Colson blog.

Evolution, Theistic Evolution, and Intelligent Design

By William Dembski

In 1993, well-known apologist William Lane Craig debated professional atheist Frank Zindler concerning the existence of the Christian God. The debate was published as a video by Zondervan in 1996 and is readily available at YouTube. The consensus among theists and atheists is that Craig won the debate. Still, Zindler presented there a challenge worth revisiting:

The most devastating thing, though, that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people, the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin, there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.

Zindler’s objection to Original Sin and the Fall is the subject of my just-published book The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (see www.godornot.com, which includes a $5,000 video contest connected with the book). What interests me here, however, is the logic that is supposed to take one from evolution to the death of Christianity—and presumably to the death of God generally.

By evolution Zindler means a Darwinian, materialistic form of it, one that gives no evidence of God and thus is compatible with atheism (this is, in fact, what is meant by evolution and how I’ll use the term in the sequel). But Zindler is not arguing for the mere compatibility of evolution with atheism; he is also claiming that evolution implies, as in rationally compels, atheism. This implication is widely touted by atheists. Richard Dawkins pushes it. Cornell historian of biology and atheist Will Provine will even call evolution “the greatest engine for atheism” ever devised.

To claim that evolution implies atheism is, however, logically unsound (even though sociological data supports the loss of faith as a result of teaching evolution). Theistic evolutionists such as Francis Collins, Denis Alexander, and Kenneth Miller provide a clear counterexample, showing that at least some well-established biologists think it’s possible for the two to be compatible. Moreover, there’s no evident contradiction between an evolutionary process bringing about the complexity and diversity of life and a god of some sort (deistic, Stoic, etc.?) providing the physical backdrop for evolution to operate.

The reverse implication, however, does seem to hold: atheism implies evolution (a gradualist, materialist form of evolution, the prime example being Darwinian). Indeed, the atheist has no other rational options in explaining the diversity and complexity of life. The atheist may, in the face of reason, invoke pure chance to explain the emergence of life. Thus the atheist might want to say that organisms simply materialized as the result of vastly improbable thermodynamic accidents. But such appeals to chance are no better than empty appeals to divine action. “Chance did it” and “God did it” without further elaboration are equally empty. “Getting lucky” is not a scientific hypothesis.

If atheism is to offer a comprehensive worldview, it must supply a creation story, and the only such story that has any hope of being rationally compelling is a gradualist, materialist one. This may rightly be called Darwinian evolution (the adjective “Darwinian” here looks to Darwin’s original inspiration but also factors in how his ideas have been extended since). Accordingly, atheism implies Darwinian evolution. This (reverse) implication explains why intelligent design (ID) is so vehemently opposed by atheists. ID claims to find scientific evidence of intelligent agency in the emergence of biological systems. By thus challenging Darwinian evolution, ID challenges atheism.

The rationale here is a simple application of the logical rules modus ponens (If A, then B; A; therefore B) and modus tollens (If A, then B; not B; therefore not A). Thus,

Premise 1:     If atheism is true, then so is Darwinian evolution.

Premise 2:     But if ID is true, then Darwinian evolution is false.

Premise 3:     ID is true (the controversial premise).

Conclus 1:    Therefore Darwinian evolution is false (modus ponens applied to Premises 2 and 3)

Conclus 2:    Therefore atheism is false (modus tollens applied to Premise 1 and Conclus 1)

Evolution is the mainstay of an atheistic worldview—is it any coincidence that the day-job of the world’s leading atheist (Richard Dawkins) is evolutionary biology? ID, by challenging this mainstay, fundamentally undermines an atheistic worldview. It’s therefore ironic that theistic evolutionists are not just hardening their support of evolution but even actively turning against ID, arguing that Darwinian evolution is more compatible with Christian theism than ID.

When I got into this business 20 years ago, I thought that any Christian (and indeed any theist), given solid evidence against Darwinian evolution (as ID is now increasingly providing—see my book The Design of Life and Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell) would be happy to trash it and move to some form of intelligent design (whether discrete creations or gradual guidance or information front-loading or whatever). But that has not happened. Theistic evolutionists have now baptized Darwinism. Thus, in the 2001 PBS evolution series, Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller referred to himself as an orthodox Catholic and an orthodox Darwinian. Francis Collins and his associates at www.biologos.org follow Miller here in trying to convince religious believers that Darwinian evolution provides the best fit with their faith.

Ironically, theistic evolutionists now make common cause with atheistic evolutionists—specifically against ID. ID has become public enemy number one for both atheistic and theistic evolutionists (the recent spate of books by both sides confirms this point—atheist Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True as well as theist Kenneth Miller’s Only a Theory). Consequently, not just the mainstream academy but the mainstream Christian academy (Wheaton College, Calvin College, Seattle Pacific University, etc. — most schools in the CCCU) have now closed their doors to ID and to hiring faculty that explicitly support it.

Shocked alumni are welcome to prove me wrong. Christians in general need to consider this: The only thing theistic evolutionists have to say to a Richard Dawkins who uses evolution as a club to beat believers is that he’s making a category mistake, trying to get science to do the work of theology (to which Dawkins would respond “so much the worse for theology”). By contrast, ID takes the club out of Dawkins’ hands and breaks it, showing that the theory of evolution on which he relies is all washed up.

As my colleague Noel Rude has rightly pointed out, “New knowledge is always destabilizing, and the instinct for stability and the preservation of prestige and power always preclude the quest for truth.” The Christian academy is as guilty here as the non-Christian. Thus, we find theistic evolutionists not just criticizing ID but denying it any legitimacy whatsoever. How convenient, since adopting the party line grants theistic evolutionists acceptance in the secular culture denied to ID proponents. Notwithstanding, being public enemy number one among the intelligentsia (atheist, and now increasingly theist) has this advantage: we can pursue the quest for truth without a conflict of interest.

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21 Responses to Evolution, Theistic Evolution, and Intelligent Design

  1. Dr Dembski,

    By contrast, ID takes the club out of Dawkins’ hands and breaks it, showing that the theory of evolution on which he relies is all washed up.

    I find it difficult to square this conclusion with your earlier openness as to what form of ID might actually be operating in the real world. It seems to me that you are saying that either evolution never happens (and the Designer is personally responsible for every individual genome) or even one act of Designer intervention would be sufficient to refute the theory of evolution.

    Certainly, if each indivual genome, from virus to Savior, was personally designed, we have a neat inversion of “it only looks designed”. It only looks evolved, it is really Designed. But I’m not so clear on how even one act of design would destroy all of evolution. If we could prove that the giraffe’s laryngeal nerve was designed, then what? We would still know nothing about the intelligence that introduced this design, or how it was introduced, or why. Dawkins could sniff something about space aliens and continue clubbing away.

    We are close to this now, with GM crops and gene therapy. In 25 years, no one will blink twice at designed DNA. It will be all you can do to prove that a pattern was there before the 21st century and still represents design.

  2. Premise 1: If atheism is true, then so is Darwinian evolution.

    Premise 2: But if ID is true, then Darwinian evolution is false.

    Premise 3: ID is true (the controversial premise).

    Conclus 1: Therefore Darwinian evolution is false (modus ponens applied to Premises 2 and 3)

    Conclus 2: Therefore atheism is false (modus tollens applied to Premise 1 and Conclus 1)

    The logic looks correct provided Premise 1 is correct.

    There are some atheists/agnostics who could disagree with Premise 1. These would be those who accept common descent but reject Darwinian evolution as the primary mechanism of evolution, they would include people like Masotoshi Nei (NAS member).

    There were other evolutionists like Goldshmidt, Morgan, Kimura who were not Darwinians. The mutationist school of evolution is coming back. There explanation for the appearance of design is that it is a post-dictive illusion.

    The book No Free Lunch negates the power of post-dictive explanations when we have independently recognizable patterns (like convergence). But the non-Darwinian evolutionists are sticking to their guns that design is an illusion, but what else can they do short of admitting the existence of an Intelligent Designer?

  3. I take it that Prof. Dembski here is talking specifically about ‘Darwinian evolution’, which in turn I believe is the claim that evolution has not only taken place but was/is wholly unguided. I believe Darwin himself pretty much said (I wish I had the quote) that if anything in nature could be shown to have arisen by anything but a random and unguided process, his entire theory was scrapped.

    So if you prove one thing was designed (even the giraffe’s laryngeal nerve), down comes Darwinism. Evolution could still be true, but it wouldn’t be Darwinian evolution.

    That said, I have some criticisms of Prof. Dembski’s article here.

    The day job of Richard Dawkins is not ‘evolutionary biologist’, and has not been for a long time. When’s the last time he was in a laboratory? What’s the research he does? The man, at his height, was more a glorified science journalist than anything else. His day job is writer, or “advocate for atheism”. No one thinks that John Polkinghorne’s day job is or has been (for a long while) “physicist”, and with good reason.

    I also disagree that atheism (in the broad sense) requires evolution. Modern atheism does, because of how much political and philosophical capital has been invested in it (and in a very narrow form of it – see the reactions to Fodor’s book, etc.) Atheism is entirely compatible with full-blown ‘fully formed creatures popping into existence’, so long as they pop into existence uncaused, or by a mindless process.

    But I think the point may be that yes, modern atheism is dramatically invested in not just evolution, but Darwinism specifically.

  4. I suppose we could take a poll of atheists to determine how many would change their minds if they found Darwinism wanting as an explanation. OOL researcher Robert Shapiro gives the sentiments of some determined to have materialistic explanations:

    Some future day may yet arrive when all reasonable chemical experiments run to discover a probable origin of life have failed unequivocally. Further, new geological evidence may yet indicate a sudden appearance of life on the earth. Finally, we may have explored the universe and found no trace of life, or processes leading to life, elsewhere. Some scientists might choose to turn to religion for an answer. Others, however, myself included, would attempt to sort out the surviving less probable scientific explanations in the hope of selecting one that was still more likely than the remainder

    But the problem is not so much converting atheists but persuading believers not to leave the faith because of Darwinism. Believers may leave the faith on other grounds, but showing them that Darwinism is untrue will help curb the exodus.

    When the Ken Millers and Francisco Ayalas of the world are challenged on scientific grounds they will eventually lose.

    Already Miller’s “pseudogene” arguments against Behe are being refuted in the mainstream. Pagels and many others are showing that Darwin was wrong on many levels.

    Sternberg is making mincemeat of Falk and Ayala. If this were a boxing match, the refs would stop the fight.

    Personally I think the best arguments for atheism are:

    1. that we don’t hear God’s voice or see his actions directly every day like we do of people.

    2. the problem of evil

    Not that I agree with those arguments, but I think they are sustantive relative to Darwinism.

    As Spetner said:

    There may be good reasons for being an atheist, but the neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution isn’t one of them

  5. “I thought that any Christian (and indeed any theist), given solid evidence against Darwinian evolution (as ID is now increasingly providing—see my book The Design of Life and Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell) would be happy to trash it and move to some form of intelligent design (whether discrete creations or gradual guidance or information front-loading or whatever). But that has not happened.”

    That clearly is because they don’t think your claims against evolution have empirical support.

    Many have made peace with evolutionary theory and view ID advocates’ continuing misrepresentation of it as deeply unhelpful.

  6. Harfen,
    Many have made peace with evolutionary theory and view ID advocates’ continuing misrepresentation of it as deeply unhelpful.

    What misrepresentation of evolution? Am I being misrepresentative when I say that Darwinian processes have never demonstrated a gain in functional information (passed the fitness test)? Or that the Origin of life (OOL) research is one of the, if not the, most vexing problems in molecular biology? or that life appears suddenly on earth as soon as water is on earth? or that the first microbial life (as well as the later early sponges and jelly fish) “terra-formed” this earth to make it hospitable for higher life-forms to exist, or that the Cambrian explosion saw the sudden appearance of most all the major phyla (body plans) with no credible transitional series? or that the fossil record is replete with suddenness an stasis along high taxonomic lines? or that molecular systematics provides no corroborating evidence for proposed evolutionary transitions? Please tell me, is this misrepresentative to the actual state of the evidence as it really is?

    all the evidence I alluded to is “scientific” But when evolutionists continually attack ID as unscientific is that not misrepresentative? Shoot I would call some (or is that most?) of the low-handed tactics, and smear campaigns against ID advocates, that I’ve personally seen, by evolutionists as blatantly and willingly deceptive. Thus the shoe is definitely on the other foot as far as you claiming ID misrepresents evolution.

  7. But I’m not so clear on how even one act of design would destroy all of evolution.

    Nakashima-san raises a good point which in fairness Dr. D addresses: By evolution Zindler means a Darwinian, materialistic form of it, one that gives no evidence of God and thus is compatible with atheism (this is, in fact, what is meant by evolution and how I’ll use the term in the sequel).

    I don’t think there is any — even unserious — disagreement on this board that genomic changes can be fixed by natural selection.

    The concerns are whether this process can adequately account for all life differences, much less that it should be dogmatically accepted that it does; and whether moral, much less theological, conclusions can be made via observing this process in nature.

    Dembski is also addressing the claim that evolution refutes the story of Adam and Eve and hence shows all Judeo-Christianity (and I suppose Islam as well) to be false.

    I’m not so sure that evolution — or genetic science anyway — successfully refutes Adam and Eve since all humanity is traceable to a single female ancestor, but simply making the claim reveals a fatal flaw in the worldview of the materialist evolutionist; namely good and evil exist and evolution despite numerous attempts fails miserably to account for that.

  8. Premise 1: If atheism is true, then so is Darwinian evolution.

    Premise 2: But if ID is true, then Darwinian evolution is false.

    Premise 3: ID is true (the controversial premise).

    Conclus 1: Therefore Darwinian evolution is false (modus ponens applied to Premises 2 and 3)

    Conclus 2: Therefore atheism is false (modus tollens applied to Premise 1 and Conclus 1)

    This argument assumes that the designer is God. Can anyone explain to me how this is squared with the insistence one sees around here that ID says nothing about the identity of the designer?

    The problem with the logic is that nothing is said about the “if evolution is false…” statement.

  9. 9

    http://flyingbuffaloes7.net/keluar10.html

    My view of the universe differs considerably from the generally accepted scientific dogma. I propound that symmetrical solids are the building blocks of all matter and every universe. The symmetrical solids are firm and stable in shape but not actually solid; they are instead hollow. These solids are then spun very rapidly, making them appear to be spheres, when in fact they are tetrahedrons, hexahedrons, octahedrons, dodecahedrons and icosahedrons. I understand that my theory would be deemed implausible by scientists who perceive existence as being a cosmic accident, devoid of any Intelligent Design.

    Scientists who are open to the possibility of a Deity being responsible for the creation of universes will be able to grasp the simplicity and plausibility of the design that I have presented. I have proposed that each particle of matter is embedded with a consciousness, and that every particle is held together by that consciousness. Matter is used to construct celestial bodies, each of which also contains a consciousness or a collection of consciousnesses. Many celestial bodies make up solar systems, and they are contained in galaxies, which are within universes.

    The universes are built on planes. There are twelve universes, each shaped like a pentagon, and all the universes have adjacent boundaries touching other universes. These universes form a hollow dodecahedron, which I have named the Universal Dodecahedron. The dodecahedron spins very rapidly, so rapidly that it cannot be seen from outside the dodecahedron.

    However, when something goes inside the hollow dodecahedron and lands on a point in the planar universe, it is immediately caught within an illusion, the illusion being that, despite the dodecahedron spinning rapidly, and all of the celestial bodies within the universe also moving rapidly, it seems to be stationary. I have named this illusion the “illusion of no motion”.

    Each universe is composed of many stars. The centre of each star is another rapidly spinning symmetrical solid. If the star’s motion were to stop, it would reveal a gigantic, hollow hexahedron – a big box.

    The suns are giant, hollow hexahedrons or cubes. They spin so fast that they create vortices at their poles that funnel gaseous fuel onto the sides of the hexahedron which combust. In other words, stars are external combustion engines. They are not nuclear furnaces, as is commonly believed by most scientists. The planets in a solar system are necessarily on a plane because universes are built on flat planes, and also because if they were to stray too far off the plane, they would be in danger of being sucked into the vortices that fuel the sun. Likewise, all the celestial bodies of the universes have to be on a plane because if they stray too far off the plane, they could also be sucked into a nearby star’s vortices.

    As stars pass through areas with lots of fuel they will burn hotter, and as they move through areas with less fuel they will be cooler. As our sun moves through areas with lots of fuel, it burns hotter, and, consequently, the Earth becomes warmer and more of its surface is tropical. When our sun passes through an area that is short of fuel, it will not burn so hotly, and consequently the tropical areas contract, and the polar ice caps expand. Scientists have dubbed these cooler periods ice ages. Our sun is currently in a position where it has a “fuel feast”, which is warming the Earth. Hence, global warming is being experienced. The converse of this situation would be when our sun is in an area where there is a shortage of fuel, at which time it burns cooler. This results in the Earth going into an ice age.

  10. I had no idea it was possible to be a professional atheist. Are there universities where one can study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Atheism (presumably known colloquially as taking a BAth)?

    Since there appears to be no objective standard against which success or failure in these debates can be measured, deciding who wins must be largely a matter of where the observer’s sympathies lie. Both sides could claim victory but how could they be disproven? On the little I have seen of him in the videos, Dr Craig is a skillful debater but that does not mean his arguments are as unanswerable as some here seem to believe.

    As for evolution being a mainstay of atheism, we should remember that Dawkins wrote in The Blind Watchmaker:

    An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: “I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn’t a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.” I can’t help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

    Atheism existed well before Darwin published his seminal work but, in earlier years, it was safer not to admit to it. Bear in mind, he went to University in Edinburgh where just 128 years earlier another student, Thomas Aikenhead, had been hanged in public for espousing atheist views in a private conversation. On the other hand, David Hume’s atheism was well known but he was tolerated, possibly because, being cannier than Aikenhead, he was careful not to push the issue.

    The point is that it is both quite possible to be atheist without accepting the theory of evolution and for believers to reconcile an acceptance of the theory with a belief in God. It only offers an explanation of how like has changed and diversified over time. It says nothing about how it might have originated. At most, it could be said to have narrowed the gap in our knowledge that could be filled by God, not closed it.

  11. Seversky you state:

    “I had no idea it was possible to be a professional atheist.”

    which strangely reminded me of the ACLU poster child:

    Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

    and this hour long documentary of her life:

    The life and death of Madalyn Murray O’Hair:
    http://defendingcontending.com.....ray-ohair/

    video description:
    In spite of this documentary attempting to paint Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair in a favorable light, you can’t help but see the irony of her life in the oddity surrounding her death.

    In this documentary the true O’Hair is revealed including a domestic incident which resulted in her battery on police officers which led to her running from the law. Also included is O’Hair’s desire to defect to Russia during the height of the Cold War, but even the Godless Soviet Union wouldn’t take her so she did the next best thing . . . she helped bring Communism to America.

    However, in spite of her life being devoted to mocking God and hating Christians, it was her death that was the events surrounding her death that I found most interesting. Scoffers are a dime a dozen, but O’Hair’s demise was anything but normal.

    As with any documentary dealing with God-mockers, viewer discretion is advised.

  12. sorry I posted before checking the video links, they are no longer valid.

  13. Dembski writes,

    “If atheism is to offer a comprehensive worldview, it must supply a creation story …”

    Not at all, for two reasons. One is that atheism is not a worldview. It is simply a non-belief in gods of any kind. Whatever worldview an atheist holds (and materialism is not the only possibility), the reason that the non-belief in gods seems to be prominent is because we live in a culture which has been suffused with theism for centuries.

    Second, a worldview need not have a creation story. In fact, in my worldview, knowing why the universe is as it is, and why it came to be that way, is impossible. We can’t know, and we have to live with that lack of knowledge. (I suppose you could call that a creation non-story, if you wish.) Religions can have a creation story if they wish – there are hundreds of them, but a comprehensive worldview which accepts the limitations of human knowledge need not have a creation story.

  14. Bornagain77 your arguments are all too common and all too readily dismissed.

    Regarding your first objection see;
    here

    here

    and here

    As for the rest;
    The Precambrian to Cambrian Fossil Record and Transitional Forms

    The “cambrian explosion”: A challenge to evolutionary theory?

    Many of us moved on from these stale arguments long ago.

  15. harfen, I glad you are at peace with the “evidence”,,, kind of reminds of the boy whistling in the dark to calm himself. You don’t mind if I fan a few doubts myself do you?

    Scientific Evidence For The First Life On Earth – video
    http://science.discovery.com/v.....dence.html

    Dr. Hugh Ross – Origin Of Life Paradox – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4012696

    Life – Its Sudden Origin and Extreme Complexity – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4287513

    Explaining Life by Explaining it Away — February 6th, 2010 by Douglas Axe
    Excerpt: Think of it this way. If no conceivable mixture of small molecules provides even a faint hope for the emergence of metabolism catalyzed by genetically encoded enzymes, then whatever these mixtures may or may not do, they can’t explain life as we see it. And as the evidence now stands, one would be hard pressed to argue that there is even a faint hope.

    The Fossil Record – The Myth Of +99.9% Extinct Species – Dr. Arthur Jones – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4028115

    Ancient Fossils That Have Not Changed For Millions Of Years – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4113820

    THE FOSSILS IN THE CREATION MUSEUM – 1000′s of pictures of ancient “living” fossils that have not changed for millions of years:
    http://www.fossil-museum.com/f.....8;limit=30

    “The point emerges that if we examine the fossil record in detail, whether at the level of orders or of species, we find’ over and over again’ not gradual evolution, but the sudden explosion of one group at the expense of another.”
    Paleontologist, Derek V. Ager

    “A major problem in proving the theory has been the fossil record; the imprints of vanished species preserved in the Earth’s geological formations. This record has never revealed traces of Darwin’s hypothetical intermediate variants – instead species appear and disappear abruptly, and this anomaly has fueled the creationist argument that each species was created by God.”
    Paleontologist, Mark Czarnecki

    “There is no need to apologize any longer for the poverty of the fossil record. In some ways, it has become almost unmanageably rich and discovery is outpacing integration. The fossil record nevertheless continues to be composed mainly of gaps.”
    Professor of paleontology – Glasgow University, T. Neville George

    “Evolution requires intermediate forms between species and paleontology does not provide them.”
    David Kitts – Paleontologist

    “The long-term stasis, following a geologically abrupt origin, of most fossil morphospecies, has always been recognized by professional paleontologists” – Stephen Jay Gould – Harvard

    Genesis 1:21 & 25
    So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.,,,,, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

    “Now, after over 120 years of the most extensive and painstaking geological exploration of every continent and ocean bottom, the picture is infinitely more vivid and complete than it was in 1859. Formations have been discovered containing hundreds of billions of fossils and our museums now are filled with over 100 million fossils of 250,000 different species. The availability of this profusion of hard scientific data should permit objective investigators to determine if Darwin was on the right track. What is the picture which the fossils have given us? … The gaps between major groups of organisms have been growing even wider and more undeniable. They can no longer be ignored or rationalized away with appeals to imperfection of the fossil record.” Luther D. Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma 1988, Fossils and Other Problems, 4th edition, Master Books, p. 9

    “The evidence we find in the geological record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be …. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than in Darwin’s time … so Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated”.
    David Raup, Curator of Geology at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History

    The Fossil Record – Don Patton – in their own words – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....6900194790

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.” Fossils and Evolution, TS Kemp – Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

    “Every paleontologist knows that most new species, genera, and families, and that nearly all categories above the level of family appear in the record suddenly and are not led up to by known, gradual, completely continuous transitional sequences.”
    George Gaylord Simpson (evolutionist), The Major Features of Evolution, New York, Columbia University Press, 1953 p. 360.

  16. Off topic – A cartoon video compilation of militant atheists answers to theists:

    Militant Atheism: A Never-Ending Cycle Of Insanity
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PoyRKS9Sy0

  17. Atheists as well as theists consistently fall into the same anthropocentric trap in regard to the concept of “design”.
    Dawkins is no exception. His use of the term “designoid” is an attempt to address the problem but it does not work.

    This issue is handled in some depth in my recent book “Unusual Perspectives”, which available in electronic format for free download from the eponymous website.

    Chapters 10 and 11 have the greatest relevance although much of the other material has some bearing on this topic.

  18. Aleta in 13:
    Not at all, for two reasons. One is that atheism is not a worldview. It is simply a non-belief in gods of any kind. Whatever worldview an atheist holds (and materialism is not the only possibility), the reason that the non-belief in gods seems to be prominent is because we live in a culture which has been suffused with theism for centuries.

    However worldview’s definition:

    1.The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
    2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/worldview

    More importantly atheism is a positive claim to knowledge as it claims that all the evidence we have for God is false. If I make the same claim about gravity i.e I lack the belief in gravity hence I reject all of the positive evidence for gravity you would expect me to provide positive arguments for my belief.

  19. “…sociological data supports the loss of faith as a result of teaching evolution…”

    I was unaware of such data. Some citations to the literature would be helpful to me.

  20. If my understanding is correct, Phillip Johnson’s wedge strategy was to unite young earthers, old earthers, and theistic evolutionists against the small but powerful group of naturalists.
    Well, surprise. Theistic evolutionists would rather fall in lock step with Richard Dawkins than be associated in any way with any kind of so called Creationists. Yet they bemoan the consequences of the cultural drift as if they were not mightily contributing to it by giving their proxy to the Darwinists who lead the assault.

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