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The Evolutionist is “Shocked, Shocked to Find Religion in Here”

Religious doctrinaire PZ Myers now incredibly claims there is no religion in evolution. After seeing Paul Nelson and Ronald Numbers discuss the issue, Myers reveals he is deeply in denial.

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13 Responses to The Evolutionist is “Shocked, Shocked to Find Religion in Here”

  1. Dr Hunter,

    You cite Kant,

    Thus, God’s choice, not having the slightest motive for tying [the planets] to one single arrangement, would reveal itself with a greater freedom in all sorts of deviations and differences” –Immanuel Kant, 1755

    When an astronomy professor teaches a process of solar system formation that uses completely mechanistic forces to arrive at planets all in the same plane, traveling in the same direction, are they in your view displaying religious convictions?

    This is an interesting, non biological example of a design inference. I am not a historian of design inferences, but I do know that today, no-one introduces bills into state legislatures asking for the strengths and weaknesses of orbital mechanics to be taught in the public school system. So the argument from the design of the solar system must have been abandonded at some point in the past. Why did that happen?

  2. 2

    Nakashima:

    My sense is that design theorists would argue that the design inference cannot be made of our solar system since it contains no specified complexity (i.e. information). Matter simply obeyed basic physical laws of the universe with one result being the synthesis of our solar system. So one can’t ask where the information came from (because there is none) – but one can ask where the physical laws that formed it came from. That’s a different question.

    That same arguement can’t be made of the living cell – it does contain immensely complex information whose chance synthesis from fundamental building blocks that were just obeying simple laws of physics is indeed highly improbable – some would say impossible. This information content of the cell constitutes significant specified complexity, justifies the inference of design and implies that there must have been a designer from which that information came.

  3. Nakashima-san:

    So the argument from the design of the solar system must have been abandonded at some point in the past. Why did that happen?

    Ignorance.

    We now (should) know better-

    From The Privileged Planet:

    “The same narrow circumstances that allow for our existence also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”

    “The one place that has observers is the one place that also has perfect solar eclipses.”

    “There is a final, even more bizarre twist. Because of Moon-induced tides, the Moon is gradually receding from Earth at 3.82 centimeters per year. In ten million years will seem noticeably smaller. At the same time, the Sun’s apparent girth has been swelling by six centimeters per year for ages, as is normal in stellar evolution. These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the Earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.”

    Einstein’s equation on relativeity was “proven” during a solar eclipse.

    And we wouldn’t exist without our Moon.

  4. Note to PZ Meyers-

    The recurrent laryngeal nerve is the way it is because of timing issues.

    IOW if it was shorter the impulses would reach their destination too soon.

    The spine of bipeds are also OK and bad backs can be traced to the people who have them- lack of care.

    Also evolution via an accumulation of genetic accidents cannot explain anything.

  5. Douglas Moran,

    My sense is that design theorists would argue that the design inference cannot be made of our solar system since it contains no specified complexity (i.e. information).

    Hi Douglas,

    Pardon my jumping in, but I think this statement could be questioned. According to fine-tuning arguments, the solar system just happens to be arranged in one of the very few configurations that is consistent with the existence of life. Doesn’t that indicate that it “contains” some amount of FSCI?

  6. Douglas,

    Here are some more details concerning my previous post. I couldn’t find relevant stats for the entire solar system, but this page gives Hugh Ross’ computation of the probability of a planet capable of supporting life existing anywhere in the universe. So let’s just consider earth itself—that actually will make my point stronger.

    I’ll use Robert Hazen’s formula for functional information, from this page:

    I(E_x) = -log_2[F(E_x)]

    Here the function x is the promotion of the existence of life. Ross’ calculation shows that F(E_x) = 10^-182. Therefore the quantity of functional information contained just in this one aspect of earth’s configuration is:

    -log_2(10^-182) = 605 bits

    which is greater than the standard 500-bit limit that bounds naturalistic processes. Hence the solar system (earth, in particular) does contain “information” in the form of FSCI, and we can infer it was designed.

  7. Herb,
    This site has a more “up to date” refinement of Ross’s paper that will give you a higher “information content” reading:

    Probability For Life On Earth – List of Parameters, References, and Math – Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/probabi.....h-apr-2004

  8. bornagain77,

    Thanks—Up to 937 bits now!

  9. Mr Herb,

    I think Hazen-sensei’s formula requires knowing all configurations that provide that function at that level. I think this is one of the big problems for your approach (which is also Mr Kairosfocus’ approach here, I think). We know one configuration, but we don’t know all of them.

  10. Mr Nakashima,

    But don’t Ross’ calculations already account for that? Presumably for all 322 parameters he considers, he has determined a range of values which are consistent with life as we know it, and probabilities that each parameter will actually fall into that range.

    For example, he states that the chance of getting an acceptable value for the infall of buckminsterfullerenes from interplanetary and interstellar space upon the surface of a planet is 0.3. This obviously allows a number of configurations.

    If you’re objecting that Ross didn’t consider exotic forms of life unlike those we are familiar with (silicon based, hortas, etc), then you might have a point.

  11. In reference to the quotations, it’s funny how taking potshots at the design flaws of a mythical creator passes as science.

  12. 12
    Cornelius Hunter

    Nakashima (1):

    When an astronomy professor teaches a process of solar system formation that uses completely mechanistic forces to arrive at planets all in the same plane, traveling in the same direction, are they in your view displaying religious convictions?

    Your question avoids the crux of the matter. It would be like asking: If a professor teaches Hinduism, is he displaying religious convictions?

    Obviously, the answer is “It depends.” What is the professor saying about Hinduism (or the solar system formation)? One can teach from a scholarly perspective, or from a religious-advocacy perspective (which is what evolutionists usually do).

    When evolutionists teach that evolution (biological or cosmological) is a fact, as they practically always do, then yes, they are displaying religious convictions.

    But if the professor teaches from a scholarly perspective, where the evolutionary theory (biological or cosmological) is explained alongside the data, then the professor is not displaying religious convictions. But evolutionists rarely do this.

  13. When evolutionists teach that evolution happens, they are speaking about allelic change. This is change “e-volvere” by any standard.

    This is hardly religious conviction. By the way, Cornelius…why did you leave our discussion at that site which cannot be named?

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