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Is Richard Dawkins a stage magician?

Richard Dawkins has a new book out soon; ‘The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.’ An unfortunate title perhaps, bearing in mind the type of acts that have performed under that banner headline in the past. So is Dawkins no more than a travelling conjurer pulling bunnies out of hats in the name of science? Is his show cart of evolution just a charade of smoke and mirrors?

Let’s be frank, Dawkins is in reality more dangerous than a harmless travelling charlatan – the type of twisting rhetoric that Dawkins engages in is the type that leads to tyranny, not to respectful dialogue or family entertainment. He should be more careful, but he seems to have sacrificed his cares on some high alter; perhaps the million dollar book deals are clouding his judgment, but in reality his atheism leaves him unaccountable to anyone but himself or his atheist friends in the Royal Society. Yes, his rhetoric often appears to be as dangerous as that of the atheism of the twentieth century that led to fascist and communist regimes that abused human rights and led to the deaths of millions.

Dawkins is currently being serialised in The Times. A first article is Creationists, now they’re coming for your children.’ 24th August 2009 in which he makes unsubstantiated, fear-mongering statements and compare those who disagree with evolution to ‘Holocaust deniers.’ You only have to read some of the responses to his article to see the irrational fear that he has stirred up in people who claim to be acting purely in the name of reason. One wrote; “We must act now. Free people everywhere should unite and stamp out this menace” All in the name of reason of course.

How stupid is that? I won’t grace him with the platitude that he does not know what response his words have. He is too intelligent for that, but why is he doing it? Any belief on his part to moral superiority is pure fantasy.

I am sure Richard Dawkins is aware that Holocaust denial is illegal in some countries; perhaps it is his aim to make evolution denial illegal in those countries where there is a resistance to Darwinism. ‘If evolution cannot win in the market place of scientific ideas, then we’ll sure win in the courts once it is a mandated belief’ would appear to be the direction of his rhetoric. What is Dawkins afraid of? Can’t evolution hold its own in the science arena?   

Next Dawkins thinks he ought to tell the Vicars and Bishops how to preach. He notes of course that all the leading clerics accept evolution, as if the authority of theologians will establish a truth in science.

But what of Dawkins’ scientific smoke and mirrors?

Nowhere in this article does he seek to qualify what he means by evolution. Evolution is a fact he asserts, a statement that even Henry Morris would have agreed with in part, but what type of evolution is ‘fact’? Natural selection of pre existing genetic information does not explain causally where that genetic information came from. Dawkins peddles the simplification that the process that gave a dalmatian spots is the same process that turns a bacterium into an ostrich, or a fish into a hippo. But Dawkins knows that neo-Darwinism is more complicated than that. The problem for Dawkins is that belief in evolution is dependant upon such over simplifications, because if people really understood the complexity of organic life and what is being claimed then they would not accept unguided molecule to man evolution. In other words evolution is rejected because people understand it too well, not too poorly, and Dawkins has to keep to the simple text to keep the illusion going. 

So we may ask – why cannot Dawkins and others conduct the discussion of origins in a more rational manner without the type of smoke and mirrors and fear-mongering rhetoric that is being engaged in with his article? What is at stake really? Is it science or is it his atheism?

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84 Responses to Is Richard Dawkins a stage magician?

  1. lol. Pick on someone of your own intelligence Andrew.

  2. Andrew, thanks for this post.

    At first when I read

    Dawkins is in reality more dangerous than a harmless travelling charlatan

    I thought, Isn’t that tone a bit more reactionary than necessary?
    But as I read what Dawkins has said and advocated about evolution dissenters, I changed my mind. If people listen to him… and some apparently do… ‘danger’ is not an exaggeration.

    I agree too, it is frustrating that rhetoriticians for Darwinism refuse to disclose what they mean by ‘evolution’ in distinction to their opponents. But apparently, as you point out, they use misleading language because their appeal can’t stand if the true nature of the disagreement is made clear.

    OT: ‘alter’ sp. –> ‘altar’

  3. I have been asking for a coherent defense of naturalistic evolution for the four years I have been commenting here. So far no one has stepped up. Maybe Sir Richard can do it and all the RFD’s here will have their own bible to quote.

    So it will not be John 3, 12-18. Instead it will be Richard 14, 151-225 This should be a ROLAIDS for the anti ID commenters.

    Let the fun begin.

  4. When I read his heavy-handed rhetoric, I can only ponder as to why rational people take his pseudointellectual tripe seriously.

  5. You must be new here, Skew.

    How could Christianity be termed “invaders” when the province under contention was founded by them?

  6. Jerry,

    I have been asking for a coherent defense of naturalistic evolution for the four years I have been commenting here. So far no one has stepped up.

    Hmm. So nobody has ever mentioned Theodosius Dobzhansky’s Genetics of the Evolutionary Process, or George Williams’s Adaptation and Natural Slelection before?

  7. Skew posted: “…the ravaging theism atheism and materialism that has scourged humanity since the dawn of time, and led to such tragedies as the Inquisition, the Crusades, and even the suicide bombings of the modern day Middle East the Holocaust, the systematic slaughter of people whether religious or not under atheistic dictators such as Pol Pot and Stalin, all of which abuse human rights and lead to the deaths of millions.”

    Fixed it for you.

  8. Barb, wrt communism – it was a religion as good as any – and I don’t see the Khmer Rouge as an army of atheists either. Sorry, but I find your fix bad. Where did you get it?

  9. Communism, by definition, is a system of government and not a religion. My fix was to prove that theism isn’t responsible for the mass murder of 20 million Soviet citizens – materialist philosophy and atheism and Joseph Stalin did that.

  10. I think it’s also worth noting all of the good, compassionate, selfless deeds that have come about from Christianity. Then lets compare that to how many of such movements came about from Darwinian philosophy.

  11. Skew Jones: This kind of inane response is tantamount to the kindergarten : “I know you are but what am I?” tantrum.

    Grow up. Get a life.

  12. think it’s also worth noting all of the good, compassionate, selfless deeds that have come about from Christianity

    I agree completely, as well as pointing out that 3 out of the 4 greatest American philanthropists have been atheists or agnostics (according to the New York Times).

  13. Matthew 7:15-17
    “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit.”

    The Fruit of Evolution – video
    http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/fruit.xml

    From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    Stalin’s Brutal Faith
    http://www.icr.org/index.php?m.....038;ID=276

    The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression:
    Excerpt: Essentially a body count of communism’s victims in the 20th century, the book draws heavily from recently opened Soviet archives. The verdict: communism was responsible for between 85 million and 100 million, non-war related, deaths in the century. (Of Note: Atheistic Communism is defined as Dialectic Materialism)
    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Bo.....0674076087

    Atheist Atrocities Frightening Stats About Atheists
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP1KpNEeRYU

  14. I agree completely, as well as pointing out that 3 out of the 4 greatest American philanthropists have been atheists or agnostics (according to the New York Times).

    I’m not surprised to see that coming from the New York Times actually. Funny you mention 3 people though, because I had in mind a broader scope as far as charitable contributions. It seems to be unanimous among sources ranging from both sides of the spectrum that even though religious conservatives make on average about 6% less than their less-religious liberal counterparts, they still manage to give 30% more per household in charitable contributions per year. Just a couple sources (But you can find many more from google):

    ABC News

    Boston Globe

  15. Oh yeah, this is a notable quote from the ABC article as well:

    It turns out that this idea that liberals give more…is a myth. Of the top 25 states where people give an above average percent of their income, 24 were red states in the last presidential election.

    Just FYI.

  16. Oh yeah Atheism/Materialism in its full glory:

    http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TC.....ower4.html

    Civilians Killed by Governments in the Twentieth Century: Top
    Twenty Regimes

    Location (Regime) Deaths Era

    Soviet Union (Communists) 61,900,000 1917-1990
    China (Communists) 35,200,000 1949-present
    Germany (Nazi Third Reich) 20,900,000 1933-1945
    China (Kuomintang) 10,400,000 1928-1949
    Japan (Imperial-Fascist) 6,000,000 1936-1945
    China (Communist Guerrillas) 3,500,000 1923-1948
    Cambodia (Communists) 2,000,000 1975-1979
    Turkey (“Young Turks”) 1,900,000 1909-1917
    Vietnam (Communists) 1,700,000 1945-present
    North Korea (Communists) 1,700,000 1948-present
    Poland (Communists) 1,600,000 1945-1948
    Pakistan (Yahya Khan) 1,500,000 1971
    Mexico (Porfiriato) 1,400,000 1900-1920
    Yugoslavia (Communists) 1,100,000 1944-1990
    Russia (Czarist) 1,100,000 1900-1917
    Turkey (Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk”)900,000 1918-1923
    United Kingdom (Constitutional) 800,000 1900-present
    Portugal (Fascist) 700,000 1926-1975
    Croatia (Fascists) 700,000 1941-1945
    Indonesia (Suharto) 600,000 1965-present

    The top twenty regimes have killed–roughly–
    156,000,000 civilians in this century.

    [The majority of the victims being "victims" of Communism/Dialectic Materialism!]

    Hey Dave how bout backing up your atheistic arrogance with a little stepping and move you arse to your your atheistic utopia of North Korea,,I’ll chip in for your ticket!

  17. I’ll chip in for you to Skew

  18. Dave,,,would you mind picking you best, most concrete, proof of evolution from Theodosius Dobzhansky’s Genetics of the Evolutionary Process, or George Williams’s Adaptation and Natural Selection and lets see how well it holds up to scrutiny?

  19. bornagain,

    Hey Dave how bout backing up your atheistic arrogance with a little stepping and move you arse to your your atheistic utopia of North Korea,,I’ll chip in for your ticket!

    What a rude comment.

  20. It is only rude to you if you find moving there unpleasant!

  21. In 1983, Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature, gave an address in London in which he attempted to explain why so much evil had befallen his people:

    Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
    Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

  22. [The majority of the victims being "victims" of Communism/Dialectic Materialism!]

    Political ideology = atheism?

    How convenient.

  23. The philosophy of materialism is at the root of communism:

    Georgi Plekhanov, the father of Russian Marxism, later introduced the term dialectical materialism to Marxist literature[2]. Stalin further codified it as Diamat and imposed it as the doctrine of Marxism-Leninism. The term wasn’t coupled by Marx himself, and it refers to the combination of dialectics and materialism in Marx’s thinking as material forces causing social and economic changes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....aterialism

  24. bornagain,

    Your silly reply only tells me you need to improve your quality of discourse before we can resume any kind of discussion.

  25. Dave,
    Ok Dave I’ll play nice,,,PLEEEEASE back up your claims for evolution with a little evidence,,,so as I can expose you for the fraud you are!

  26. Hey Skew,,, I am a Christian in a Christian Nation!,,, Your the one who is out of place!!!!!
    How bout you putting you best evidence for evolution forward and see how it stands to scrutiny!!!!
    I’ll kill two birds with one stone!

  27. Long term,,,Yes,

    there are many ancient bacterium recovered and “revived” from salt crystals and amber crystals which have been compared to their living descendants of today. Some bacterium spores, in salt crystals, dating back as far as 250 million years have been revived, had their DNA sequenced, and compared to their offspring of today (Vreeland RH, 2000 Nature). To the disbelieving shock of many scientists, both ancient and modern bacteria were found to have the almost same exact DNA sequence.

    The Paradox of the “Ancient” Bacterium Which Contains “Modern” Protein-Coding Genes:
    “Almost without exception, bacteria isolated from ancient material have proven to closely resemble modern bacteria at both morphological and molecular levels.”
    Heather Maughan*, C. William Birky Jr., Wayne L. Nicholson, William D. Rosenzweig§ and Russell H. Vreeland ;
    http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/...../19/9/1637

    and this:

    Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25- to 40-million-year-old Dominican amber
    Dr. Cano and his former graduate student Dr. Monica K. Borucki said that they had found slight but significant differences between the DNA of the ancient, 25-40 million year old amber-sealed Bacillus sphaericus and that of its modern counterpart, (thus ruling out that it is a modern contaminant, yet at the same time confounding materialists, since the change is not nearly as great as evolution’s “genetic drift” theory requires.)
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/...../5213/1060

    30-Million-Year Sleep: Germ Is Declared Alive
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/f.....gewanted=2

    In reply to a personal e-mail from myself, Dr. Cano commented on the “Fitness Test” I had asked him about:
    Dr. Cano stated: “We performed such a test, a long time ago, using a panel of substrates (the old gram positive biolog panel) on B. sphaericus. From the results we surmised that the putative “ancient” B. sphaericus isolate was capable of utilizing a broader scope of substrates. Additionally, we looked at the fatty acid profile and here, again, the profiles were similar but more diverse in the amber isolate.”:
    Fitness test which compared the 30 million year old ancient bacteria to its modern day descendants, RJ Cano and MK Borucki

    Thus, the most solid evidence available for the most ancient DNA scientists are able to find does not support evolution happening on the molecular level of bacteria. In fact, according to the fitness test of Dr. Cano, the change witnessed in bacteria conforms to the exact opposite, Genetic Entropy; a loss of functional information/complexity, since fewer substrates and fatty acids are utilized by the modern strains. Considering the intricate level of protein machinery it takes to utilize individual molecules within a substrate, we are talking an impressive loss of protein complexity, and thus loss of functional information, from the ancient amber sealed bacteria.

  28. And of course this:

    Both the oldest Stromatolite fossils, and the oldest bacterium fossils, found on earth demonstrate an extreme conservation of morphology which, very contrary to evolutionary thought, simply means they look very similar to Stromatolites and bacteria of today.

    AMBER: THE LOOKING GLASS INTO THE PAST:
    Excerpt: These (fossilized bacteria) cells are actually very similar to present day cyanobacteria. This is not only true for an isolated case but many living genera of cyanobacteria can be linked to fossil cyanobacteria. The detail noted in the fossils of this group gives indication of extreme conservation of morphology, more extreme than in other organisms.
    http://bcb705.blogspot.com/200.....st_23.html

    Bacteria: Fossil Record – Ancient Compared to Modern – Picture
    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/b.....riafr.html

    Shark’s Bay – Modern Stromatolites – Pictures
    http://seapics.com/feature-sub.....tures.html

    Ancient Stromatalites – Pictures
    http://microbes.arc.nasa.gov/a.....lites.html

  29. You want to defend short term? I got you there to!

  30. “Hey Jerry, you might try a little book called Origin of the Species. A little dated, but it’s a good introduction to beginners.”

    There is no evidence for naturalistic evolution in the Origin of Species. It is all about artificial selection. Very much intelligently designed.

    As I said no coherent defense of naturalistic evolution. If any of these books mentioned had anything of substance, they would be repeated over and over again here.

    By the way when we say things like this we mean macro evolution not the trivial micro evolution which we all agree on.

  31. “Hmm. So nobody has ever mentioned Theodosius Dobzhansky’s Genetics of the Evolutionary Process, or George Williams’s Adaptation and Natural Slelection before?”

    No they haven’t and my guess is that they do not have anything of note just as no other book has anything of note.

    I asked you for examples of cumulative evolution yesterday and you essentially punted. So no, no one has ever been able to defend naturalistic evolution that I have ever seen. Amazing phenomena. We will have to see how Sir Richard handles it. Will he put on his Mickey Mouse ears and wave a magic wand.

    I always love it when those trained in evolutionary biology don’t have anything they can defend. What is in the water they drink?

  32. Dave,
    To be honest with you,,I have debated atheists for several years now,,,I usually have been polite to the point of fault,,, in return I have for the majority of times been maligned, cussed, ridiculed, threatened with death and all sorts of evil response,,,all for sticking to the truth of the evidence and proving evolution wrong with the best of what ability I have been given,,,Though you may take me for being rude with you, I am actually trying my very best to wake you from the deception you are in,,, for I figure a few hurt feelings by you now will be far better than the consequences of being separated from God eternally,,,Maybe I am wrong to be this way with you,,,every one is different,,,but truly I am not meaning it personally,,,

  33. Dawkins has said that “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    Now, I’m a big, big fan of Intelligent Design and all, but I have never asserted, and have never heard anyone assert that “Intelligent Design makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled theist.”

    Theism stands up just fine on other grounds.

    So, according to Dawkins, the outcome of this scientific debate is crucial to his worldview (that is, unless atheists are to be intellectually unfulfilled).

    It isn’t to mine.

    So who is more likely to be wearing the bias goggles?

    I’d say it’s the atheists, and by a mile.

    And all according to the testimony of one of their chief spokesmen and heroes, in one of his most famous utterances.

  34. 34

    Andrew,

    When you write:

    in which he makes unsubstantiated, fear-mongering statements and compare those who disagree with evolution to ‘Holocaust deniers.’ You only have to read some of the responses to his article to see the irrational fear
    I have to agree. Pieces like this add nothing to the debate and only stir up pointless bickering.

    This reminds me of another quote in the same vein. This one was coming from the opposite side and was just as ridiculously hyperbolic. Actually, I would say even more so. The author was writing about Dawkins and said:

    his rhetoric often appears to be as dangerous as that of the atheism of the twentieth century that led to fascist and communist regimes that abused human rights and led to the deaths of millions.

    This is exactly the kind of thing we could do without.

  35. ‘If evolution cannot win in the market place of scientific ideas, then we’ll sure win in the courts once it is a mandated belief’ would appear to be the direction of his rhetoric.

    Refresh my memory, which side has tried to “Wedge” itself into school science classrooms, tried to get itself mandated by law in compliant state legislatures and failed miserably in every court case it has ever been involved in and which side is the dominant scientific theory in biology?

    In other words evolution is rejected because people understand it too well, not too poorly, and Dawkins has to keep to the simple text to keep the illusion going.

    So what you’re saying is that the vast majority of professional biologists who have spent their entire careers studying it simply don’t understand evolution at all, that they should kneel humbly at the feet of all the engineers, mathematicians, lawyers, philosophers, and veterinarians who understand it so much better than they do and pay heed to their lofty wisdom?

  36. Dawkins is a tormented soul.

    He’s smart enough to recognize the ultimately nihilistic implications of his philosophy. (No, it’s not science, but a desperate attempt to cram the evidence into a conclusion that was reached in advance.)

    I recognized the nihilistic implications of his philosophy (with which I was raised) when I was seven years old, but assumed that the “scientists” had it all figured out and that they were right.

    I lived with this nihilism, in a Dawkins-style state of torment, and put my faith in the “fact” that scientists had it all figured out, until I finally realized that the “scientists” didn’t have the goods to support their claims that the debate was over.

    The debate was not over.

    Tormented souls desire to drag others down into their torment so they will have company. I was once such a person.

    It takes one to know one.

  37. jerry,

    asked you for examples of cumulative evolution yesterday and you essentially punted

    Punted? How so? I pointed out that any example of natural selection in the wild, where the survivors of one round of selection are the source for the next generation is one of cumulative selection. Must I now spoon feed you a specific example, as if you have no idea of examples where this is so? Frankly, I assumed you have SOME knowledge of studies of natural selection in the wild (I can’t imagine anyone involved in the evolution/ID debate who cannot think of at least ONE). Maybe an example of non-cumulative selection would help: one where the entire population is entirely refreshed entirely refreshed with individuals who were not involved in the previous round of selection would fit that criteria (i.e, ‘single-step’ selection, to use Dawkins’s term).

    Perhaps you have never read The Blind Watchmaker. Dawkins explicitly defines cumulative selection on page 45:

    The essential difference between single-step selection and cumulative selection is this. In single-step selection the entities selected or sorted, pebbles or whateverthay are, are sorted once and for all. In cumulative slelection, on the other hand, they ‘reproduce’; or in some other way the results of one sieving process are fed into a subsequent sieving, which is fed into into…and so on. The entities are subjected to selection or sorting over many ‘generations’ in succession. The end-product of one genration of selection is the starting point for the next generation of selection, and so on for many generations. (my emphasis)

    Dawkins goes on to add this:

    i>It is natural to borrow such words as ‘reproduce’ and ‘generation’, which have associations with living things, because living things are the main examples we know of thaings that participate in cumulative selection

    So do you see now why I answered the way I did? Far from punting, I’m trying to treat you like an intellectual adult, one who presumably can take the concept and take it to its logical conclusions. I’m assuming you have read the book and/or understand the concept well enough to discuss it intelligently, and thus can take the simple definition I provided and apply it on your own.

  38. “I’m trying to treat you like an intellectual adult, one who presumably can take the concept and take it to its logical conclusions.”

    I did take it to its logical conclusion and that is there are no examples except trivial ones. You essentially said that any change is accumulation and you also said you do not have any examples of consequence. So be it. That is the ID position and I said you confirmed it yesterday to which you said you didn’t care.

    Well thank you for making the ID position and along the way you said Dawkins has no examples of consequence or else why not cite them. This thread is about Dawkins. You are just confirming what we already know.

  39. Obviously I assumed wrong.

  40. The end-product of one genration [sic] of selection is the starting point for the next generation of selection, and so on for many generations.

    Very nice, but this is just storytelling without any of the critically essential details. Science requires hard analysis:

    1) Which mutations would produce the intermediate steps, and by what mechanism would this be accomplished?
    2) What is the probability that this could occur?
    3) What would be the naturally-selectable advantage at each step?
    4) Would there be sufficient reproductive events in the time allowed (the probabilistic resources) to fix the mutation in the population?
    5) How many of the beneficial mutations would not be passed on as a result of the vagaries of life (disease, predators, accidents, etc.)?

    Without these questions being answered with some hard and empirically verified analysis — of course, Dawkins never asks these questions, and therefore makes no attempt to answer them — Dawkins’ assertion in your quote cannot be assumed to be anything other than pure, unsubstantiated speculation designed to support a conclusion that was reached in advance, based on a philosophical predisposition.

    Keep in mind that I’m not talking about trivial examples like antibiotic resistance and finch beak variation, but the grand claim that this can be extrapolated to explain everything in biology, including the information-processing machinery of the cell and the human mind.

  41. Gil:

    Very nice, but this is just storytelling without any of the critically essential details.

    Dawkins’ level of detail in TBW is certainly pathetic. If ID were tasked with matching it, I’m sure it could do so easily.

  42. Gil,

    I’m afraid cumulative selection works exactly as Dawkins described it. And it is demonstrably better than single step selection, which was the only point Dawkins was making with the WEASEL program. Dawkins is also correct that living things employ cumulative selection in nature. I can’t think of a single example in the wild that doesn’t. Jerry unwittingly admitted the truth of the matter: its a trivial point. Yes, it’s trivial because natural selection is cumulative selection in the wild, and even in the lab unless extraordinary measures (like replacing survivors with a fresh generation for the next round)are taken to change it. Jerry seems to want an example that isn’t trivial. But if natural selection in the wild is cumulative selection (and it is), then one has to wonder exactly what jerry means by ‘trivial’ Does he mean he wants an example of rapid or dramatic response to selection, as opposed to some long,drawn-out, gradual example? Or maybe what he means by trivial is adaptation of low relative complexity? In either case then, he is concerned not with cumulative selection, per se, but in something else, strength of selection, or generation of variation, perhaps. So dwelling on the definition of cumulative selection and Dawkins’s little program demonstrating it is a ridiculously trivial pursuit. Yet almost every Id proponent in the known universe seems obsessed with it.

    You’d be better off focusing on things that are actually worth focusing on, like how the eukaryotic genome came to have the architecture it does, or why Australia has no native placental mammals, or why we find seashell fossils on mountain tops, or how phyla originate. Surely these are more interesting subjects than the difference between single-step selection and cumulative selection.

  43. I asked for an example of cumulative selection and what I received for an answer was not how a certain quality appeared over time by an accumulation of changes. What I received was any change from one generation to the next is cumulative selection. You would think that the big deal that Dawkins made of this concept that somewhere there would be examples of substance. I have yet to receive such examples so I can only conclude they don’t exist and the concept is essentially meaningless in the evolution debate. If people had some they would only be too eager to give them.

    Now the examples should not be trivial examples. A trivial example would be something like a change in beak size which is not anything new but just a temporary change in the frequency of some alleles and something that could revert in a few generations or more. Also trivial and may not be accumulation are deteriorations or reductions in the gene pool. For example it is possible to loose something over time through something such as genetic drift and my understanding of accumulation is that this is lost and not gains. So we have a process in the wild where by the gene pool declines. Now if one want to call this cumulative, then so be it but it does not explain anything of substance.

    I though I asked for examples that would indicate that this concept of cumulative selection led to something of substance. So I don’t see anything so I assume the process is either bogus or trivial. If one wants to hang their hat on such a concept, then to me this is a victory for the ID position.

  44. “You’d be better off focusing on things that are actually worth focusing on, like how the eukaryotic genome came to have the architecture it does, or why Australia has no native placental mammals, or why we find seashell fossils on mountain tops, or how phyla originate. Surely these are more interesting subjects than the difference between single-step selection and cumulative selection.”

    None of these are of any issue for ID since none of these examples point to any naturalistic mechanism except for the obvious one of seashells. Even if the others did point to a mechanism, ID does not have problems with naturalistic processes which can be validated.

    For example, the appearance of seashells on mountain tops is consistent with plate tectonics. No big deal. But contrary to this, there is no naturalistic mechanism especially Darwinian processes that explains the origin of phyla . It is easily explained by ID but the origin of phyla does not have to be an instance of agency for ID to be valid and if a valid and supported process was determined then ID would accept it. But as of this moment it does not exist.

  45. jerry,

    You would think that the big deal that Dawkins made of this concept that somewhere there would be examples of substance.

    Dawkins didn’t make a big deal of the concept, other than to show how cumulative selection has an advantage over single-step selection, and that living things don’t use single-step selection. It’s creationists and IDers who have, willfully or not, completely misrepresented Dawkins point and have almost made careers out of recycling that misunderstanding in books and articles.

    Since cumulative selection is what occurs in the wild, what you are asking for really has nothing to do with cumulative selection per se, as I pointed out, and everything to do with what you brought up yourself that you considered non-trivial, which are merely rehashings of what you have brought up elsewhere on this board and ignored the responses. You have for example, asked about the origin of insect wings, and ignored my response to you about it. Why should I even be interested in citing this example again to you, given your previous track record? Art Hunt gave examples from plants, to which you pleaded ignorance about botany, which is fine, but they are examples nonetheless. All are examples of cumulative selection, since that is what is the paradigm for living things in the wild. So for you to stand there and claim evolutionary biologists don’t present examples to your requests is just plain chutzpah.

  46. Jerry,

    But contrary to this, there is no naturalistic mechanism especially Darwinian processes that explains the origin of phyla

    I take it you are unaware of the work of Doug Erwin?

    Erwin, DH (1999). The origin of bodyplans. Amer.Zool. 39: 617-639

  47. Are Your hurt feelings better now Dave?

    Just to pick one statement you made:

    You have for example, asked about the origin of insect wings, and ignored my response to you about it.

    So why can we not evolve fruit flies into “better” fruit flies now?

    …Advantageous anatomical mutations are never observed. The four-winged fruit fly is a case in point: The second set of wings lacks flight muscles, so the useless appendages interfere with flying and mating, and the mutant fly cannot survive long outside the laboratory. Similar mutations in other genes also produce various anatomical deformations, but they are harmful, too. In 1963, Harvard evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr wrote that the resulting mutants “are such evident freaks that these monsters can be designated only as ‘hopeless.’ They are so utterly unbalanced that they would not have the slightest chance of escaping elimination through natural selection.” – Jonathan Wells
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....footnote19

    Darwin’s Theory – Fruit Flies and Morphology – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZJTIwRY0bs

    Dave why is as far back we go in the fossil record the wings are already there?

    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

    Dave please do feel free to list pictures of fossilized transition from non-winged insects to winged insects!

    Do you have any examples of increased complexity leading towards speciation Dave?

    “The closest science has come to observing and recording actual speciation in animals is the work of Theodosius Dobzhansky in Drosophilia paulistorium fruit flies. But even here, only reproductive isolation, not a new species, appeared.”
    from page 32 “Acquiring Genomes” Lynn Margulis.

    At one of her many public talks, she [Lynn Margulis] asks the molecular biologists in the audience to name a single unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. Her challenge goes unmet.

    Michael Behe – Darwin’s Black Box – Page 26

    Natural Selection and Evolution’s Smoking Gun, – American Scientist – 1997
    “A matter of unfinished business for biologists is the identification of evolution’s smoking gun,”… “the smoking gun of evolution is speciation, not local adaptation and differentiation of populations.”
    Keith Stewart Thomson – evolutionary biologist

    Selection and Speciation: Why Darwinism Is False – Jonathan Wells:
    Excerpt: there are observed instances of secondary speciation — which is not what Darwinism needs — but no observed instances of primary speciation, not even in bacteria. British bacteriologist Alan H. Linton looked for confirmed reports of primary speciation and concluded in 2001: “None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....why_d.html

    Why is this evidence ignored by you Dave? Please feel free to explain the stasis in clear detail so all us IDers can be refuted…I guarantee you I will listen to any solid evidence you can produce and will expose your bluff on all conjecture you put forth!

  48. Dave listed:

    Erwin, DH (1999). The origin of bodyplans. Amer.Zool. 39: 617-639;

    Excerpt:
    The breadth of this event is now well documented among soft-bodied, skeletonized and trace fossils.

    Dave Please list pictures of, or lab work verifying, suggested transition actually occurred:

    Both the oldest Stromatolite fossils, and the oldest bacterium fossils, found on earth demonstrate an extreme conservation of morphology which, very contrary to evolutionary thought, simply means they look very similar to Stromatolites and bacteria of today.

    AMBER: THE LOOKING GLASS INTO THE PAST:
    Excerpt: These (fossilized bacteria) cells are actually very similar to present day cyanobacteria. This is not only true for an isolated case but many living genera of cyanobacteria can be linked to fossil cyanobacteria. The detail noted in the fossils of this group gives indication of extreme conservation of morphology, more extreme than in other organisms.
    http://bcb705.blogspot.com/200.....st_23.html

    Bacteria: Fossil Record – Ancient Compared to Modern – Picture
    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/b.....riafr.html

    Shark’s Bay – Modern Stromatolites – Pictures
    http://seapics.com/feature-sub.....tures.html

    Ancient Stromatalites – Pictures
    http://microbes.arc.nasa.gov/a.....lites.html

  49. Actually Dave the evidence supports terra-forming of the early earth:

    Interestingly, while the photo-synthetic bacteria were reducing greenhouse gases and producing oxygen, and metal, which would be of benefit to modern man, “sulfate-reducing” bacteria were also producing their own natural resources which would be very useful to modern man. Sulfate-reducing bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by detoxifying the primeval earth and oceans of poisonous levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ores. Metal ores which are very useful for modern man as well as fairly easy for man to extract today (mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper to name a few). To this day, sulfate-reducing bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these heavy metals in the ecosystem which are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms. (Ross: Creation As Science)

    Bacterial Heavy Metal Detoxification and Resistance Systems:
    excerpt: Bacterial plasmids contain genetic determinants for resistance systems for Hg2+ (and organomercurials), Cd2+, AsO2, AsO43-, CrO4 2-, TeO3 2-, Cu2+, Ag+, Co2+, Pb2+, and other metals of environmental concern.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....04577v8t3/
    http://www.int-res.com/article.....26p203.pdf

    The role of bacteria in hydrogeochemistry, metal cycling and ore deposit formation:
    Textures of sulfide minerals formed by SRB (sulfate-reducing bacteria) during bioremediation (most notably pyrite and sphalerite) have textures reminiscent of those in certain sediment-hosted ores, supporting the concept that SRB may have been directly involved in forming ore minerals.
    http://www.goldschmidt2009.org...../A1161.pdf

    Transitional Metals And Cytochrome C oxidase – Michael Denton – Nature’s Destiny
    http://books.google.com/books?.....3&lpg

    As well, geological processes helped detoxify the earth

    The Concentration of Metals for Humanity’s Benefit:
    Excerpt: They demonstrated that hydrothermal fluid flow could enrich the concentration of metals like zinc, lead, and copper by at least a factor of a thousand. They also showed that ore deposits formed by hydrothermal fluid flows at or above these concentration levels exist throughout Earth’s crust. The necessary just-right precipitation conditions needed to yield such high concentrations demand extraordinary fine-tuning. That such ore deposits are common in Earth’s crust strongly suggests supernatural design.
    http://www.reasons.org/TheConc.....tysBenefit

    And on top of the fact that poisonous heavy metals on the primordial earth were brought into “life-enabling” balance by complex biogeochemical processes, there was also an explosion of minerals on earth which were a result of that first life, as well as being a result of each subsequent “big bang” of life there afterwards.

    The Creation of Minerals:
    Excerpt: Thanks to the way life was introduced on Earth, the early 250 mineral species have exploded to the present 4,300 known mineral species. And because of this abundance, humans possessed all the necessary mineral resources to easily launch and sustain global, high-technology civilization.
    http://www.reasons.org/The-Creation-of-Minerals

    To put it mildly, this minimization of poisonous elements, and maximization on useful minerals, is strong evidence for Intelligently Designed terra-forming of the earth that “just so happens” to be of great benefit to modern man.

  50. Cumulative selection has never been observed to bring forth new protein machinery and new body plans.

    Nor has it been observed to bring forth regulatory networks.

    The mere existence of regulatory networks is evidence against non-telic evolution.

  51. Art Hunt’s example from plants is an example of genetic engineering.

    Neither random mutation nor natural selection had anything to do with it.

  52. Matteo:

    Theism stands up just fine on other grounds.

    ID-style theism would thrive just fine even if godless evolution should win the culture war?

    On grounds of the inerrancy of the Bible?

  53. Question:

    Would the changes seen in the Peppered Moth in the wild have occurred faster under cumulative selection or single-step selection?

  54. Dave,
    Do you consider the peppered moths to be conclusive proof of evolution?
    If so, Why? If not please give your most solid piece of evidence for evolution.

  55. Dave please address my refutation of your Erwin paper

  56. Cabal

    ID-style theism would thrive just fine even if godless evolution should win the culture war?

    I believe Matteo strictly made a point of referring to non-ID styled theism as far as what grounds it would remain to stand upon. This is implicitly obvious if you read the context of his message.

    On grounds of the inerrancy of the Bible?

    This question then comes from a false premise, or a deceptive one, because eliminating ID from an ID-styled theism does not necessarily follow a strictly biblical theism.

    Now if you instead avoided loading the question with a false premise by asking what grounds would biblical theism stand upon completely independent ID, then we could give a valid answer. Christian theology would then hold onto historical facts, geological evidences, and empirical evidences(such as the shroud of Turin for example) if(and that’s a HUGE if) ID were ever to be ruled out.

    But what if the question (when converted into a valid one) was turned upon you? What grounds would your philosophy stand on if Darwinism lost the culture war?

  57. Consider:

    Boraas ME, DB Seale & JE Boxhorn (1998). Phagotrophy by a flagellate selects for colonial prey: A possible origin of multicellularity . Evolutionary Ecology 12(2): 153-164

    Predation was a powerful selective force promoting increased morphological complexity in a unicellular prey held in constant environmental conditions. The green alga, Chlorella vulgaris, is a well-studied eukaryote, which has retained its normal unicellular form in cultures in our laboratories for thousands of generations. For the experiments reported here, steady-state unicellular C. vulgaris continuous cultures were inoculated with the predator Ochromonas vallescia, a phagotrophic flagellated protist (‘flagellate’). Within less than 100 generations of the prey, a multicellular Chlorella growth form became dominant in the culture (subsequently repeated in other cultures). The prey Chlorella first formed globose clusters of tens to hundreds of cells. After about 10–20 generations in the presence of the phagotroph, eight-celled colonies predominated. These colonies retained the eight-celled form indefinitely in continuous culture and when plated onto agar. These self-replicating, stable colonies were virtually immune to predation by the flagellate, but small enough that each Chlorella cell was exposed directly to the nutrient medium.

    Question:

    Would this have occurred faster under single-step selection?

  58. Dave Wisker,

    You have a tendency to just cite papers as proof of something. Many of us do not have access to these papers and when we do the language is so specific to the discipline that it takes too much time to invest to decipher what is actually being said. When I asked for a layman’s account of your recommended theory of stereochemistry as the origin of the DNA code you presented a rather vague theory that was very interesting (a couple codon strings bind with the corresponding amino acid) but hardly anywhere near a proof of anything.

    I suggest you do the same for Erwin and present his thesis for the origin of body plans. The phyla certainly had no predecessors except for maybe one and there was no diversity in the original set. So what explains these two phenomena. Certainly this could be put in plain English.

  59. Dave Wisker,

    You seem to think we are defending single step selection. We realize the interaction of biological processes with the multitude of environments is a very complicated process and that changes take place over periods of time.

    So what is the issue? If you want to say that these changes over an extended period of time is cumulative selection then ok we agree. But has anything of consequence happened in the evolution debate due to this process. Then we do not say, ok. We say that micro evolution is just fine and dandy but macro evolution is bogus. And we are back at the beginning again and cumulative selection is a trivial process

    Dawkins knows what the game is about and it is not just the operation of micro evolutionary processes over time creating minor changes. It is about the creation of new information that fuels the major changes in the path from microbes to man. Has cumulative selection ever done that? NO! It has never done that with any consistency. So we should move on and forget about it since it is not a player in the game.

  60. jerry,

    Whatever gave you the idea that I see my citations as ‘proof’ of anything? If it helps to clarify things, I cite papers that I think support for a hyopthesis or theory, or as evidence against a particular theory or hypothesis, not because they are ‘proof’ one way or another.

    Now, as to your complaint about my ‘vague’ explanation of the stereochemical hypothesis, I appreciate the feedback, since I have no real idea what level of sophistication you have in molecular biology. If you need further clarification, feel free to ask for more.

    As for the Erwin paper, I’ll try and summarize it in a comment later today.

  61. jerry,

    You seem to think we are defending single step selection. We realize the interaction of biological processes with the multitude of environments is a very complicated process and that changes take place over periods of time.

    So what is the issue?

    I’m not trying to say you are defending single-tep selection. I’m merely pointing out that even the “trivial” examples you aren’t interested in still illustrate Dawkins’s basic point (as in the Peppered Moth example), and also in the far less trivial example regarding multicellularity.

    If the fact cumulative selection works much better than single-step selection seems uncontroversial to you,then welcome to the club. One wonders why so much effort is being wasted trying to make Dawkins’s point more than it is or ever claimed to be.

  62. Cabal said:

    ID-style theism would thrive just fine even if godless evolution should win the culture war?

    On grounds of the inerrancy of the Bible?

    Well, number one, godless evolution is in precisely no danger of winning the culture war, if opinion polls are anything to go by.

    Number two, a thoroughly robust case for theism can be made without reference to empirical science. See, for instance, Edward Feser’s “The Last Superstition” for an explanation of why this is so. Theism rests on solid philosophical, historical, and experiential grounds. ID is icing on the cake, of course, but it is not at all crucial.

    My point is that Dawkins himself has basically asserted that Darwinism (or, if you prefer, unguided evolution) *is* crucial to what atheists believe, and this makes it ipso facto more likely to be coloring their interpretation of scientific evidence.

    For the atheists to be asserting that theists are the ones with the bias is absurd on the face of it. Of course, both sides of the argument should be scrutinized for bias, but atheists have been allowed to skate over the issue of their own bias for far too long.

  63. Matteo: “For the atheists to be asserting that theists are the ones with the bias is absurd on the face of it. Of course, both sides of the argument should be scrutinized for bias, but atheists have been allowed to skate over the issue of their own bias for far too long.”

    I think it’s fair to say there is confirmation bias on both sides.

    It does appear to be the case that most ID proponents are not only people of faith, but mostly mainstream Christian. There are exceptions of course (Berlinski comes to mind), but they seem rare. I think the question to ask then is – what came first, ID acceptance or faith? I’m sure there may be exceptions, think we all know the answer to that one (and if ID was or is ever intended to be an evangelical ministry I don’t think it would ever be an effective strategy).

    Given the way religious mindsets tend to be extremely persuasive in influencing every part of a person’s life (sex, family, politics, science, etc), it isn’t hard to see that confirmation bias is likely to be at play. Perhaps for the religious believer there is a threat here too – after all the believer stands to lose a lot more than the average atheist does.

    Do atheists have similar biases? Most certainly, but I think the story here is probably more complicated. Perhaps the biases are more set in those who have a public personae (Dawkins etc) than the general run-of-the-mill atheist.

    I personally know I have biases and I try to deal with them as best I can – that’s partly why I come here to have those biases challenged and because ID does genuinely intrigue me (but I don’t think there’s nearly enough evidence yet). Although I identify as an atheist (and I’m a former Christian so I’ve been in both camps), I certainly don’t think I carry the same kind of protectionism that a committed person-of-faith might have. And again I’ve been in both camps, so I know the difference – when it comes to a defender of the “faith” of atheism, I’m a bit of a deal loss I’m afraid. If I “lost” my atheism it wouldn’t be a big deal – after all, who wouldn’t mind being wrong about something more “out there”? But for me atheism represents the best (and honest) approach to the evidence (or mostly lack of it) currently available.

    Oddly enough though if I did ever get to the point of accepting ID, I think it would not bring me closer to Christianity – quite the opposite in fact; I personally think ID is very hard to reconcile with Christian theology and the Bible. I could see a better fit with any number of faiths or religions than Christianity (I know some have tried to do this reconciliation, but at best it looks jury-rigged and the result of post-hoc reasoning rather than a true meshing of ideas – and it usually ends up being a mish-mash of miscellaneous scriptures that really do not add up to a whole).

  64. JTaylor,

    Good points, but it does vary from person to person. I was a convinced Darwinist for awhile even after becoming Catholic. It was the scientific arguments that changed my mind. If materialism were somehow overthrown as a philosophy (perhaps due to ID), then that merely puts one in the position (a position I was in for a dozen years; for me materialism was overthrown by undeniable mystical experience) of trying to figure out just What The Deal really is. Yogic Hinduism, Buddhism, Deism, The Occult, etc, etc are all possible contenders. There is still a great deal that one must sort out for oneself…

  65. Jtaylor,
    Something that may interest you:

    What I find very interesting, from what we now know to be true from 4-Dimensional space-time cosmology, is that each individual person/observer can be considered the “center of the universe” no matter where they are in the universe since, depending on where in the universe you are observing, the entire universe does in fact seem to “center” on you when you observe it.

    This fact is clearly illustrated by the fact the Cosmic Background Radiation, left over from the creation of the universe, is coming at us equally from all points surrounding us in space.

    COBE – WMAP Satellites – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huaS_iSITQs

    Earth As The Center Of The Universe – image
    http://universe-review.ca/R02-16-universe.htm

    Plus, In what I consider an absolutely fascinating discovery; Space itself was created in the Big Bang and continues to “expand equally in all places” i.e. The universe is not expanding “into” anything outside of itself. Thus from a 3-dimensional perspective, any particular “material” spot in the universe is to be considered just as “center of the universe” as any other particular spot in the universe is to be considered “center of the universe”.

    To help you get your mind around this “observer centered” 4D space-time universe Taylor:

    Quantum mechanics tells us that sub-atomic “reality” is not independent of the observer, and shows us that our “material” reality does not “materialize” from the “wave function” until observation occurs.

    The Miraculous Foundation of Reality – Dr. Quantum – Double Slit & Entanglement – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzQuU6FpYAk

    Thus since wave collapse is dependent on a observer, anywhere you are in the universe the wave collapse to quasi 3D particle will always center on you giving you a consistent position of centrality in the universe.

    Pretty neat huh JTaylor? Why should the universe or the sub-atomic world even care if we exist?

    Thus in summary:
    Quantum mechanics tells us that wave collapse to quasi 3D particle is “centered” on each individual observer, whereas 4-D space-time cosmology tells us the universe is “centered” on each individual observer in space-time,,,a rather interesting congruence in science, between the very large and the very small! A stunning congruence that they apparently have an extremely hard time joining together mathematically (Penrose: Einstein). Yet a congruence that Jesus seems to have joined together with His resurrection from the dead as is somewhat clearly illustrated in this following video:

    A Particle Physicist Looks At The Turin Shroud Image – 4:25 minute mark of video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgvEDfkuhGg

    Pretty neat huh JTaylor?!? A Life centered cosmos! I wonder what Copernicus would have thought of these revelations of science.

    John 1:4
    In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

  66. “Given the way religious mindsets tend to be extremely persuasive in influencing every part of a person’s life (sex, family, politics, science, etc), it isn’t hard to see that confirmation bias is likely to be at play.”

    I love the way people try to load the question or debate with nonsense. It is so typical here.

    There are a whole bunch of theists out there who say they do not believe in ID. But then again what is meant by ID. The official definition here is

    “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause”

    So if one believes in God, is this person a believer in ID? Yes, any believer in God is a supporter of ID except for those strange people who believe there is a God and He never did anything, maybe not even creating the universe. They may differ dramatically on how easily or difficult it is to discern design especially with science.

    But are the mindsets of these theists being influenced by their religion? The range of opinions amongst them is so varied it would be hard to see where. But atheists must have a certain mindset. It would be tough to be an atheist and be a supporter of ID. An atheist must a priori restrict possible answers to certain questions about causes. So I can definitely see a bias there where the theist can accept a much wider set of solutions.

    What about those people who believe in God and always thought Darwin’s ideas explained evolution till they started reading about it. What about those people who believe in God and thought Darwin’s ideas explained evolution before and after they started reading about it. Which ones are biased? Remember ID as a subject area is a recent phenomena but the idea of design is an old one.

    I am one who thought Darwin’s ideas explained life until I started reading about it about 10 years ago. Nothing has changed about my religious beliefs, politics or beliefs in science because of it. Well that is not quite true. I do know a ton more science today than I did 10 years ago. I am now also convinced that most scientists are no better than used car salesmen and will do anything for money and position including biasing research conclusions or cherry picking results. I used to have respect for scientists but that is now gone. But what I believe about science itself has not changed.

    What I am observing here is people who are anti ID trying to get religion into the discussion of ID anyway they can because they have no science to stand on. This thread is about Dawkins and on another thread it was sort of admitted that he is a fraud and has not provided anything of substance to the evolution debate. An incredible conclusion. He brings rhetoric only, just as Darwin did and like Darwin, Dawkin’s facts are irrelevant. Darwin wrote one of the greatest rhetorical masterpieces of all time. It was not good science but it was extremely well written. Dawkins is also a gifted writer but must bring religion into his discussion also.

    By the way Darwin did do some good science but it was about barnacles and earth worms and his categorizing of species was decent and his description of the geology of South America was good. But his work on evolution was flawed and badly reasoned. But as I said extremely well written. So Darwin and Dawkins are exceptional writers but both are flawed when they wrote/write about evolution.

  67. Jerry: “I love the way people try to load the question or debate with nonsense. It is so typical here.”

    (In response to my statement: ““Given the way religious mindsets tend to be extremely persuasive in influencing every part of a person’s life (sex, family, politics, science, etc), it isn’t hard to see that confirmation bias is likely to be at play.”)

    Why is it nonsense Jerry? It is a reasonable and I believe a very accurate statement of the faith position (and I speak from experience too). I’m assuming you are likely a believer of some fashion. Can you honestly tell me that your faith does not inform or influence probably every aspect of your life?

  68. Jerry,

    Good post. Also, I had forgotten about something pertinent: from the Darwinists we have both the Dawkins quote about being an intellectually fulfilled atheist, and, quite often a “reassurance” (when the heat is on them politically) that Darwinism and religion are compatible.

    So, from their very own statements: they need unguided evolution in order to be intellectually fulfilled atheists, and we don’t need ID to continue with our theism.

  69. JTaylor:

    Someone else who’s not a Christian is Stuart Hameroff of Penrose/Hameroff fame, who acknowledges that his ideas about “quantum vitalism” touch on ID. In fact he deliberately provoked Richard Dawkins about it to his face, at Beyond Belief 2006:

    I closed with a slide of the DNA molecule which emphasized it’s internal core where quantum effects rule, suggesting a Penrose non-computable influence in genetic mutations and evolution (aimed at Dawkins in the form of a quantum-based intelligent design).

    Another person with beliefs similar to vitalism is Rupert Sheldrake, who is not particularly orthodox in his Christianity.

    Overall, if you look around for people who have scientific beliefs which imply ID or are compatible with ID, as opposed to people who are explicit ID proponents or active in the ID scene, then orthodox Christians are much less predominant.

    (More anon time permitting.)

  70. “Can you honestly tell me that your faith does not inform or influence probably every aspect of your life?”

    My faith certainly affects many aspects of my life but not all and certainly how I look at ID. I am a big Phillies fan which has nothing to do with religion and for the first time in a long time last year and this year have been pleasant because of this. I don’t make a big deal of this at home because my son is a big Mets fan. I will go to the shore for a vacation next week and that has nothing to do with religion. I went to Stanford and got an MBA and worked in advertising and that that nothing to do with religion. I was a math and physics major undergraduate and that had nothing to do with religion. I spent 4 1/2 years in the navy and that had nothing to do with religion. It has no effect on how I think about science or on a lot of other things I do every day. It does make me honest though. At least I think it does. So I call things as I see them. And ID has had no effect on my life other than it consumes too much of my time with science and answering inane questions on this site. It certainly has had nothing to do with my religious beliefs and does not influence any aspect of my life other than as I said, it is too time consuming. I rarely discuss it with others except here.

    So all I see from comments such as yours is a desperate attempt to somehow impugn ID by diverting attention away from the failures of evolutionary biology and try to say the other side is religiously driven and thus, their ideas are therefore suspect. It is the tactic used here all the time and it is a bogus argument but it seems to be all that is in the arsenal of the anti ID people. They certainly do not have any science supporting their position. And I find that pathetic and dishonest. But today is just another day in trenches and the anti ID oblige because the average observer here can see right through the faux arguments and that continue to make the pro ID argument easy.

  71. anonym

    Thanks very much for the link to Stuart Hameroff’s Web site. Lots of good articles there.

    Dave Wisker

    I completely agree with your remark in #19 above. Foul language has no place on this Web site, and the author of the offending comments should apologize.

  72. Seversky,

    “Refresh my memory, which side has tried to “Wedge” itself into school science classrooms, tried to get itself mandated by law in compliant state legislatures…”

    … and through fiat of the courts?

    Sounds like Atheist and the ACLU to me. Their Wedge of atheism started some 40 years ago.

    The insanity that is atheism led to hundreds of millions of deaths around the world.

    Everywhere the Marxist go, nations fall, people die and tyrants rise.

    High time that one-sided, atheistic fascist rule end. Before more people die or “become partners with God in matters of life and death.”

  73. bornagain77,

    I agree with vjtorley, you should apologize. I don’t want to have to moderate you, but you’re not immune from it.

  74. PaulN:

    Christian theology would then hold onto historical facts, geological evidences, and empirical evidences(such as the shroud of Turin for example)

    Interesting statement. What hold would it get from very much contested ‘historical facts’, ‘geological evidences’, and even the shroud of Turin!?

  75. Matteo,

    we don’t need ID to continue with our theism.

    How true. All you need for theism is faith. Scientists like Kurt Wise or John Baumgardner are proof of that.

  76. DATCG

    High time that one-sided, atheistic fascist rule end.

    I have some questions, if you don’t mind.

    What would you do with the atheists that refuse to become theists?

    What particular god is it that you think people should believe in? Allah? Thor? Any god in particular? The god you happen to believe in?

    Sounds like Atheist and the ACLU to me. Their Wedge of atheism started some 40 years ago.

    You do know that the ACLU often defend theists and their rights, don’t you?

  77. vjtorly,

    Dave Wisker

    I completely agree with your remark in #19 above. Foul language has no place on this Web site, and the author of the offending comments should apologize

    Thanks. Actually, bornagain did post a ‘notpology’, essentially blaming the big bad atheists for his behavior, and also informing me that putting up with his rudeness was worth it since he was actually trying to save my soul. I know, pathetic.

    He also seems to think he hurt my feelings. Not so. I have been called far worse by far better debaters than him, and had a beer with them afterwards. The fact is, his debating style is shallow, tiresome, selectively-informed and non-engaging. The “love it or leave it” remark finally convinced me he isn’t a serious participant. There are far more serious participants here that are worth engaging.

  78. Cumulative selection only makes sense in a design scenario.

    In a non-telic scenario there just isn’t enough time in the universe.

  79. Dave Wisker,

    Thanks. Actually, bornagain did post a ‘notpology’, essentially blaming the big bad atheists for his behavior, and also informing me that putting up with his rudeness was worth it since he was actually trying to save my soul. I know, pathetic.

    Take it easy on calling people “pathetic”.

  80. Denyse:

    Natural selection of pre existing genetic information does not explain causally where that genetic information came from.

    And “design” doesn’t explain where the designer came from. There are no ultimate explanations, and science doesn’t pretend to offer any.

  81. Rob,

    And “design” doesn’t explain where the designer came from. There are no ultimate explanations, and science doesn’t pretend to offer any.

    You’re welcome to believe that there aren’t any ultimate explanations, but let’s not mistake that as anything other than a belief that you hold.

  82. “You’re welcome to believe that there aren’t any ultimate explanations, but let’s not mistake that as anything other than a belief that you hold.”

    As is the belief that there is such a thing as an ultimate explanation.

  83. 83

    In my mind, the greatest scientific offense of Dawkins was to use his fame to advance his pet notions of gene-centric evolution in the popular literature. He certainly was not reporting on scientific consensus.

    We ID proponents are acutely aware that much of the “genetic” regulatory network is encoded in DNA regions that are transcribed, but not translated. Of course, there is also epigenetic regulation. Genes are only a small part of the story, and Dawkins has done a lot of the work in persuading the general public otherwise.

  84. DATCG @ 72

    The insanity that is atheism led to hundreds of millions of deaths around the world.

    What of the insanity of a god who wipes out almost the entire population of the world in one fell swoop?

    Who is the greater monster?

    Come to think of it, how great are the monsters who still believe that was the right thing to do?

    Everywhere the Marxist go, nations fall, people die and tyrants rise.

    Exactly. For all practical purposes, there is no difference between Marxist autocracy and fundamentalist theocracy. We don’t need either.

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