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Theistic Evolutionists Close Ranks — Let the Bloodletting Begin!

Theistic evolutionists hold that Darwinian evolution is God’s way of bringing about the diversity of life on earth. They used to be content to criticize ID on scientific grounds. But that’s no longer enough. They are now charging ID with undermining the very fabric of civilization and even the Christian religion itself. Ken Miller’s most recent book, just out, makes this point in the title — Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul. From the title, you’d think that Darwin is the Messiah and that until his ideas about evolution gained acceptance, our souls were in jeopardy.

Miller has called himself an Orthodox Christian and an Orthodox Darwinian (cf. the 2001 PBS Evolution Series). But one has to wonder which of these masters he serves more faithfully. A year or so ago, when Richard Dawkins’s website posted a blasphemy challenge (reported at UD here — the challenge urged people to post a YouTube video of themselves blaspheming the Holy Spirit), I asked Ken Miller for his reaction. He pooh-poohed it as “a clumsy attempt to trivialize important issues.” The obvious question this raises is whether systematic efforts by atheists to trivialize (and indeed denigrate) important issues is itself an important issue.

Could it be that the evolutionists’ assault on both science (by perpetuating the fraud that natural selection has unmatched creative powers) and religion (by using evolution as a club to beat people of faith) is undermining America’s soul? Not according to Miller. He’s got other fish to fry. For him, it’s the ID proponents’ assault on evolution that is undermining America’s soul. Forget about Dawkins and his blasphemy challenge. Let’s shaft the ID community.

Francis Collins agrees. His endorsement of Miller’s book leaves no doubt that the ID people are a bigger threat than the atheistic evolutionists like Dawkins:

“In this powerfully argued and timely book, Ken Miller takes on the fundamental core of the Intelligent Design movement, and shows with compelling examples and devastating logic that ID is not only bad science but is potentially threatening in other deeper ways to America’s future. But make no mistake, this is not some atheistic screed — Prof. Miller’s perspective as a devout believer will allow his case to resonate with believers and non-believers alike.” –Francis Collins, Director, the Human Genome Project and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

With devout believers like this, give me a good infidel any time. Ever since Phil Johnson began publicly voicing his criticisms of Darwinism in the early 90s, his biggest detractors and most vicious critics have been — surprise, surprise — fellow Christians. In fact, we had a Mere Creation conference at Biola University in 1996 rather than at Calvin College (where we had planned to hold it initially) because Howard Van Till was so enraged with Johnson during his visit in the winter of 1996 that he was visibly shaking (Johnson and Niles Eldredge were having a debate at Calvin College — Eldredge turned to Phil after witnessing Van Till’s meltdown and remarked that even though things get heated among fellow evolutionists, it’s nothing like what he witnessed here).

So here’s the deal, everyone. Theistic evolutionists are implacably opposed to ID (Denis Alexander, head of a Templeton funded science-religion center in Oxford recently admitted, in these very terms, that this is his view toward ID when he asked for my consent to use and edit a video of me — and you wonder why I didn’t give my permission). They are happy to jump in bed with Richard Dawkins if it means defeating ID. They are on the wrong side of the culture war.* And they need to be defeated.

What’s our strategy. The strategy is multipronged. Let me just give you one prong: WIN THE YOUTH. The release date for Miller’s book is June 12th. I’ve got a book titled Understanding Intelligent Design: Everything You Need to Know in Plain Language (co-authored with youth speaker and high-school teacher Sean McDowell) whose release date is July 1st. It is geared specifically at mobilizing Christian young people, homeschoolers, and church youth groups with the ID alternative to Darwinian evolution. You might want to compare Francis Collins’ endorsment of Miller’s book with Ann Coulter’s endorsement of mine:

In my book Godless, I showed that Darwinism is the hoax of the century and, consequently, the core of the religion of liberalism…. Liberals respond to critics of their religion like Cotton Mather to Salem’s “witches.” With this book, two more witches present themselves for burning: Sean McDowell, whose gift is communicating with young people, and Bill Dembski, often called the Isaac Newton of intelligent design. I think Dembski is more like the Dick Butkus of Intelligent Design. His record for tackling Darwiniacs is unmatched. This book gives young people all the ammo they need to take on Darwinism and understand the only viable scientific alternative to Darwinism: intelligent design. Every high school student in America needs a copy of Understanding Intelligent Design. –Ann Coulter, BESTSELLING author of Godless: The Church of Liberalism

You know, I would be happy to sit down with theistic evolutionists and discuss our differences. I think they are wrong to baptize Darwin’s theory as God’s mode of creation. But I don’t think they are immoral or un-Christian for holding their views. But ID proponents, for wanting ID to have a place at the table as a scientific alternative to Darwinism, are, according to Miller, Collins, Alexander, etc., immoral, undermining Western civilization, and destroying America’s soul. Well, you want this fight, you’ve got it.

————
*Miller himself uses the warfare metaphor in the subtitle of his most recent book — Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul.

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133 Responses to Theistic Evolutionists Close Ranks — Let the Bloodletting Begin!

  1. I think that this is really a symptom of ID’s success. When what Dawkin’s calls in Expelled “an opposing doctrine”, begins to gain some traction and validity it the public’s eyes it becomes no longer good enough to just ignore it politically. Now the evo-materialists feel like they are loosing ground and that is why they are mounting this offensive. Miller has made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions that he views ID as the down fall of science. This is ridiculous and a flat out lie. ID opens up questions about THE most fundamental of all questions; that of origins. If IDists make a claim it allows those in opposition to counter it. This brings greater depth, interest and understanding to science. ID has brought evidential scientifically supported conceptual challenges to the science of origins and it’s current mainstream proclamation. The truth about ID, thanks to the internet and the growing body of scientific literature on it, is now experiencing greater exposure than ever. Personally I agree that the issue of fundamentalist religious interpretation IS a political and philosophical mountain that ID is going to have to climb- but once people realize that ID can be stripped down from just a fundamentalist interpretation and that it is actually perfectly compatible with science and philosophy – then human nature will take over and people will seek the freedom to learn, believe and respect a valid scientific theory regardless of how it may rub a few people. The media may never going to stop calling ID “creationism” but people will continue to cut through the BS as more and more literature accumulates on the subject. Darwinists have force fed their philosophy to the public for years. Now it’s time for some long over due balance. Let’s allow the pendulum to swing back to academic freedom. And Bill while I think at the end of the day that this is more of a battle of ideas than of politics – I do totally agree that it is a battle that must and will continue to be fought. To the other side this is all merely a battle about politics money religion and power- but for us actually fighting for change we know what it’s really about; the freedom to express valid and cogent ideas without fear of persecution.

  2. Didn’t Ken Miller make some noise about Dawkins at one point, only to have PZ Myers start screaming about how Miller was a creationist – resulting in an email exchange and Myers never bringing Miller up again, and Miller never going after Dawkins again?

    To be honest, though I’m probably best classified as a TE, I have serious misgivings about Ken Miller. He insists he’s not a TE anyway, but something doesn’ts it well with me when it comes to how he approaches the issue.

  3. I love it when theistic evolutionists stop the presses to announce how “devout” they are as Christians, prompting us to withhold our suspicions that their real devotion is to Darwin. We are not supposed to notice, I guess, that true fidelity to Christianity would include, at a minimum, faith in the Biblical teaching that God’s handiwork has been made manifest in his creation.

    As Psalm 19 instructs us, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” And, of course we read in Romans 1:20, that the invisible things are clearly seen “being understood by the things that are visible.”

    Now I would expect even a mainstream Christian to take these passages seriously, but a “devout” Christian ought to be downright passionate about them. According to St. Paul, design is a self-evident truth, so much so, that a Christian, agnostic, cynic, or anyone else who questions it is “without excuse.” What can we say, then, of those who, in fact, don’t believe it at all and yet publicize their Christianity for strategic advantage.

    Clearly, they want their God and their Darwin too; but they want a quiet God and a loud Darwin. To believers they say, “Hey, I am a Christian.” leaving the convenient impression they believe in a purposeful, mindful creator. To the academy they say, “Don’t worry, I am first and foremost a Darwinist, so I really believe in a purposeless, mindless process that relegates God to footnote status. I you don’t believe me, just watch how I slander and smear the ID people.”

    Not only does their duplicity betray the public trust, it retards scientific progress. More to the point, these disingenuous hacks harm the ID movement 100 times more than Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens could ever hope to. There is just enough sugar in their confection to make young Christians swallow the poison whole and join the ranks of the anti-ID militants. Although I am a Catholic Christian myself, I do, nevertheless, find the radical atheists easier to bear. Spare me from the soul selling, split-the-difference, have-it-both-ways Christians.

  4. I am really comforted that TEs are so explicitly against us. I would be seriously worried of the opposite.

    Why? Indeed, I am not interested in the religious aspects of the debate. But, trying to be consistent with my usual attitude, that is to stick to the scientific (and some time philosophical) aspects of the ID issue, I stay convinced that TEs have the worst point of view on those apects: one that is gross, inconsistent, scientifically, logically and philosophically flawed.

    I have no doubt: I prefer a Dawkins to a Miller. So, if fight has to be, it’s OK for me, but be it a fight on scientific and intellectual grounds. I think there are already too many religious fights to add a new one to the lot.

  5. H’mm:

    This thread opens up some significant issues, on the — now too often unnecessarily contentious — interaction between philosophy, science, and theistic worldviews, and on their implications for society.

    I think a pause to look at Newton’s General Scholium to that most significant of all scientific works, Principia, will be enlightening on where all this started. That is , with men who saw God’s handiwork and beauty in the heavens and in the mathematics that captured the order of the cosmos — an order that they saw as self-evidently a product of mind. (Well do I recall a recent thread in which someone tried to insinuate that such an inference to mind is nonsense, and thread to dismiss the significance of Newton as a result; only to show himself the live donkey kicking a safely dead Lion. Newton’s insight on the mathematical elegance of creation is indeed a key point, and our recent observations on just how finely tuned th mathematics and parameters of the cosmos are underscores his point.)

    What Darwinism did was to create and/or popularise the perception that one could dispense with the most obvious inference on the source of that elegant order; for once one injected enough time into the equation, the intermixing of chance and selection filtering would allow life to spontaneously form, then develop the body-plan level diversity we see today and in the fossil record.

    So, the heavens were emptied of Wonder. At least in the minds of those who were enthralled by Darwin’s vision.

    Then, from the 1930s on, along came information science.

    Suddenly, we had a quantitative approach to understanding the significance of high contingency used to hold and transmit functional information. And, we had an obvious reason to see that there is an inherent probabilistic resources issue in the notion that chance + necessity could jointly spontaneously originate cosmos and life then diversity and finally intelligence. Namely, we saw that the cosmos was astonishingly finely-tuned, and that life was equally astonishingly finely tuned and intricately — sometimes, irreducibly — complex. So much so that the search resources of the observed cosmos are soon exhausted: it is EASY to get to and surpass 500 – 1,000 bits of information storage capacity. And we know that that cosmos could not plausibly exceed 10^150 quantum states across its entire credible lifespan.

    So, chance + necessity end in search resource exhaustion on the gamut of our observed cosmos, thence probabilistic absurdity.

    But equally, we have a directly observed case in point of a third force: intelligence. For we are intelligent agents.

    Such agents use UNDERSTANDING and CREATIVITY to routinely innovate FSCI well beyond the Dembski type bound. So, we have a probabilistic resource challenged, institutionalised proposed mechanism, vs a mechanism that can account for what we see but is counter to a major, institutionally dominant worldview. (I also of course join many others to note that there is no credible evolutionary materialist account of the origin and trustworthiness of the mind, i.e there is a second self-referential absurdity here.)

    Our effective alternatives are: [A] an unobserved vastly wider cosmos as a whole — one sufficiently quasi-infinite to swamp the odds, or [B] inference to intelligence. The second has the key advantage that we know what intelligence can do, and we observe just such intelligence in action all the time. In short the latter is empirically anchored, factually adequate, coherent and elegantly powerful as an explanation. Indeed, it is classically scientific!

    Why, then, is it so stoutly resisted, to the point of rage, slander and unjustified career-busting a la Expelled?

    Because much is at stake, and but little of that has to do with real science. And, everything to do with the insistence of evolutionary materialism that its visions and agendas for our lives, institutions and communities must prevail in the names of progress, modernity and liberation from any notion that — however remotely — supports the idea that we are stewards of Creation accountable before our Creator.

    Some very serious soul-searching is in order for the evo mat advocates and their fellow travellers such as Mr Miller.

    GEM of TKI

  6. 6

    William Dembski said,

    Ken Miller’s most recent book, just out, makes this point in the subtitle — Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul.

    That’s not the first Darwinist book with “the Battle for America’s Soul” in the title. The full title of what was supposed to be the definitive book about the Dover case, Darwinist Edward Humes’ book, is “Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul.”

    From the title, you’d think that Darwin is the Messiah and that until his ideas about evolution gained acceptance, our souls were in jeopardy.

    Darwinism is another Church of Latter-Day Saints, even more so than Mormonism. Darwinists shamelessly use “I love Darwin” knick-knacks, celebrate Darwin’s birthday, etc., but so far as I know Mormons don’t do the same for Joseph Smith. I don’t think that being descended from monkeys is anything to be ashamed of, but nor do I think it is cause for celebration.

    I was astonished that the Kitzmiller v. Dover plaintiffs had the chutzpah to choose a theistic evolutionist, Ken Miller, as their lead expert witness in what was supposed to be a lawsuit seeking enforcement of the so-called “separation of church and state”! Theistic evolutionists are mascots who are trotted out to show that evolution theory is not just motivated by atheism.

    Darwinists tout Judge John E. Jones III as a “churchgoing Christian.” In the conclusion section of his Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion, he arrogantly told people what their religious beliefs are supposed to be:

    Repeatedly in this trial, Plaintiffs’ scientific experts testified that the theory of evolution represents good science, is overwhelmingly accepted by the scientific community, and that it in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator.

    The Clergy Letter implies that questioning evolution theory is blasphemous or sacrilegious:

    We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris.

    Ironically, though the Jewish religion originated the Genesis story of creation, the Anti-Defamation League is one of the most fanatical opponents of criticisms of Darwinism — see

    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....d-adl.html

  7. Theistic evolutionists hold that Darwinian evolution is God’s way of bringing about the diversity of life on earth.

    Obviously, they can’t show how so this is a matter of faith. Just one more plank in the case that Darwinian evolution, unlike ID, is a religion, and one more example of how irony rules in the era of the internet.

  8. tribune7 (7)

    I think the irony might be in your comment, as theistic evolutionists would say that it’s the God bit that can’t be shown scientifically, not the evolution bit…

  9. theistic evolutionists would say that it’s the God bit that can’t be shown scientifically, not the evolution bit…

    Sooooooooo. Do it :-)

    You get a Nobel prize if you can.

    And, while you are demonstrating Darwinian evolution — that all life came from a single ancestor solely via natural selection and random changes to the genome — scientifically, explain how ID refers to God.

  10. 10
    Granville Sewell

    If Ken Miller calls himself an “orthodox” Christian, I assume that means he believes in the resurrection of Jesus. If so, his thinking is rather bizarre: “I believe God can create a human out of a decaying body, but to suggest he had anything to do with the sudden appearence of all the animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion is unthinkable.” If not, this is just more deceit, another attempt to “say anything to calm the barbarians”.

  11. ??? I don’t get it – I come to this site looking for ideas and answers, not to promote anything.

    My comment was about the position of theistic evolutionists.

    Again, I’m not in the business of trying to explain how ID refers to God. But I can quote how Dr Dembski thinks it does (see above): -

    “They are on the wrong side of the culture war.* And they need to be defeated.”

  12. Granville: Miller claims to say the Nicene Creed every Sunday and mean it. I’m sure Francis Collins means it as well. But it doesn’t stop them from being ID’s most implacable opponents.

  13. Duncan: Maybe this blog’s not for you. The Internet is a big world.

  14. Were it not for the aberrant intermingling of metaphysics and physics (meaning the study of the phenomena), particularly among Darwinists, that of confusing ontological naturalism and methodological naturalism (to use Plantinga’s terms), this “battle” might not exist. Science has always portrayed itself as rational, logical, and unbiased. I think this might be the greatest lie of the 20th century.

    Having read Collins and listened to Miller’s diatribes, these men may be committed Christians in belief, but are deeply affected by the confusion of Plantinga’s distinctions. The difference in tone, in manner, and in rational discourse held by ID advocates, though no less rigorous, is glaring evidence that some false orthodoxy is being outdone. I am grateful for this restraint, difficult as it might be.

    Frankly, it embarrasses me as a Christian that this ignominious noise comes out of a so-called follower of Christ.

  15. Dr Dembski, I appreciate this is your blog and you’re perfectly entitled to remove my comments. It would disappoint me, and I can assure you that I come in good faith. For what it is worth, I’m a ‘don’t know’ with regard to ID vs evolution. Of course, this may already condemn me here, lol.

    My question is, if ID has nothing to do with God, why might not believing in ID make someone a bad Christian?

  16. Duncan I don’t get it – I come to this site looking for ideas and answers,

    If you are looking for answers you should ask questions not express strong opinions based on incorrect assumptions i.e. I think the irony might be in your comment, as theistic evolutionists would say that it’s the God bit that can’t be shown scientifically, not the evolution bit…

    But if you want answers –hopefully you lurk for a bit — I’ll give you these:

    1. Darwinian evolution has not been demonstrated.

    2. ID does not refer to God.

  17. My question is, if ID has nothing to do with God, why might not believing in ID make someone a bad Christian?

    Having and/or expressing doubts about the methodology behind ID would not make you a bad Christian.

    Knowingly ascribing false motives to the proponents of ID or knowingly claiming ID is something it is not, however, would fall into the “bearing false witness” category.

  18. 18

    Miller’s brand of Christianity (All mere appearance on the outside yet no real substance on the inside) reminds me of the religion of the the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Though they were definitely “orthodox”, devout and pious, to the public around them, As far as Jesus was concerned they had missed the boat big time as far as God was concerned,

    Take this following eye opening passage:

    Matthew 23:27

    “How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of people’s bones and every kind of impurity.

    John the baptist did not have a high opinion of religious hypocrites either:

    Matthew 3:7

    But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them, “You children of serpents! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

    I have a very hard time seeing how Miller’s head doesn’t explode. How in the world is it possible to believe in the miracles of God (especially the resurrection), yet at the same time, believe that totally natural processes created all life on earth. I would be in a nut house if I held such inconsistent thinking with sincerity.

  19. 19
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77:“John the baptist did not have a high opinion of religious hypocrites either:

    Matthew 3:7

    But when John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them, “You children of serpents! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”

    Seems like even John the Baptist was affirming the truth of evolution.

  20. 20

    HA HA Junkyard

  21. duncan 15
    Because – Christ is (Christianity IS) Creation with a purpose from a “Personal God” having Mind, “Intelligence” “Information” NOT random chance without such Purpose. Pleas ask yourself if you have even come to terms with the basics since your questions begs an answer. LOL x LOL

  22. junkyard 19
    Please explain – “Seems like even John the Baptist was affirming the truth of evolution.”

  23. Check out my UD blog post on biology textbook quotes here.

    Of particular interest are these quotes from Miller’s books:

    “[E]volution works without either plan or purpose — Evolution is random and undirected.”

    (Biology, by Kenneth R. Miller & Joseph S. Levine (1st ed., Prentice Hall, 1991), pg. 658; (3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 1995), pg. 658; (4th ed., Prentice Hall, 1998), pg. 658; emphasis in original.)

    “Darwin knew that accepting his theory required believing in philosophical materialism, the conviction that matter is the stuff of all existence and that all mental and spiritual phenomena are its by-products. Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but also heartless–a process in which the rigors of nature ruthlessly eliminate the unfit. Suddenly, humanity was reduced to just one more species in a world that cared nothing for us. The great human mind was no more than a mass of evolving neurons. Worst of all, there was no divine plan to guide us.”

    (Biology: Discovering Life by Joseph S. Levine & Kenneth R. Miller (1st ed., D.C. Heath and Co., 1992), pg. 152; (2nd ed., D.C. Heath and Co., 1994), p. 161; emphases in original.)

    So, according to Ken Miller, humanity came about without either plan or purpose, matter is the stuff of all existence and all mental and spiritual phenomena are its byproducts, the method by which God created man is purposeless and heartless, humanity is just one more species in a world that cares nothing for us, the human mind is nothing more than a mass of evolving neurons, and there is no divine plan to guide us.

    How does one square this with orthodox Christianity? It sounds like the antithesis of the Christian faith to me.

    Yes, there is a battle for America’s soul, and the quotes above are designed to destroy it. In addition, it is Darwinian orthodoxy that represents bad science. It attempts to cram the evidence into a conclusion that has already been reached, and to either ignore or explain away contrary evidence with storytelling and speculation that defies simple analytical scrutiny.

  24. 24
    Granville Sewell

    My question is: if ID has nothing to do with God, why might not believing in ID make someone a bad Christian?

    Duncan,

    You are asking a legitimate question:

    1. a person who believes that all living things are the result of natural selection of random mutations can be a good Christian, just not a very logical one. There is so much evidence, overwhelming evidence, that an intelligence was involved in the origin and development of life, that the only real reason for believing the contrary is a philosophical bias which excludes this possibility a priori. There is very little direct evidence for the miracles of the Bible, so it seems illogical to accept these and “a priori” (this is the important point) exclude the possibility that God has also played a role in natural history. (By the way, I do believe in the resurrection, but I don’t claim this is based on scientific evidence; I find some of the other miracles reported in the Bible almost impossible to believe, not because I a priori exclude the possibility of miracles, but some of them just don’t sound credible.)

    2. I don’t agree that ID has nothing to do with God. ID proponents argue that there is evidence in living things (especially at the microscopic level) of “design”, but the evidence doesn’t tell us who this designer is. This is true, we cannot be sure, based on what we see through the microscope, that the designer was not Dawkin’s “more evolved” alien from another planet. However, the sudden appearence of time, space, matter and energy in the Big Bang, and the fine tuning of the laws of physics was clearly not the work of Dawkin’s alien, so it seems likely the same intelligence that designed the laws of physics was involved in the origin and development of life. Thus I don’t have a problem identifying the designer with a supernatural creater, a “God” by most definitions. However, if I start claiming the scientific evidence points toward the Christian God and away from Allah, then you will know I am confusing science and religion.

  25. 25
    JunkyardTornado

    alan:

    An attempt at humor, or irony.

    But possibly we could read into John’s statement, who knows. He also says regarding Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.” There is an awful lot of likening of people to animals in the Bible. Then in Revelation you have angels showing up with heads of cows and birds and so forth.

    And in Genesis the serpent is condemned to crawl on his belly, implying he didn’t previously, and also that things could have possibly been different from an evolutionary standpoint.

    Then again maybe all of this is completely specious.

  26. Gil,

    I haven’t read Miller’s textbooks so I haven’t read those quotes in context. Is he explaining other people’s views; does he make surrounding comments that explicitly show he believes the same?

  27. —–duncan: “My question is, if ID has nothing to do with God, why might not believing in ID make someone a bad Christian?”

    Dr. Dembski has not made that claim, as he magnanismously gives militant TE’s the benefit of the doubt.

    I, however, am not as charitable as he. For my part, not believing in the SCIENCE of intelligent design does not necessarily make one a bad Chrisitan. However, denying the Bible’s teaching about the EVIDENCE of design and slandering your ID opponents with lies is inconsistent with the Christian faith.

  28. Larry said:

    “Darwinism is another Church of Latter-Day Saints, even more so than Mormonism.”

    What is this relating to? And, by the way, do you know what you are talking about?

  29. Junkyard wrote:

    “But possibly we could read into John’s statement, who knows. He also says regarding Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.” There is an awful lot of likening of people to animals in the Bible. Then in Revelation you have angels showing up with heads of cows and birds and so forth.”

    You crack me up! Between your two possibilities, I’ll take this has humor, rather than irony. (BTW, it really did make me laugh; I’m not being sarcastic.)

  30. You know, it’s funny how the TE’s like to throw the “methodological naturalism” or “god-of-the-gaps” arguments to “refute ID” when, if those same (flawed) arguments were applied to the account of Christ’s resurrection, would completely destroy Christianity.

    These guys are simply “useful idiots.”

  31. 31
    JunkyardTornado
  32. 32
    JunkyardTornado

    “The discovery that sharks can reproduce asexually by parthenogenesis now changes this paradigm, leaving mammals as the only major vertebrate (backboned creatures) group where this form of reproduction has not been seen.”

  33. junkyard 31 -
    I’ll accept that as significant to this discussion if you can show me some prophecy predicting this particular offspring, time and place of birth and any unusual-supernatural characteristics this progeny has to its peers. Perhaps we will see a decline in shark attacks on humans – GLORIOUS – we might even find a rather wet manuscript of the Chronicles of SHARK within a few billion years give or take hey.

  34. 34

    Eric Anderson said,

    Larry said:

    “Darwinism is another Church of Latter-Day Saints, even more so than Mormonism.”

    What is this relating to? And, by the way, do you know what you are talking about?

    Well, I thought that “latter-day saints” was a reference to the founders of the Mormon church, e.g., Joseph Smith. I just looked up “latter-day saints” and it appears that the term may refer to members of the church. So maybe I didn’t know what I was talking about — it happens to people.

    Anyway, my analogy still holds. I just don’t see Mormons worshipping Smith in the same way that Darwinists worship Darwin, e.g., I don’t see “I love Smith” knick-knacks.

  35. What’s our strategy. The strategy is multipronged. Let me just give you one prong: WIN THE YOUTH.

    *Miller himself uses the warfare metaphor in the subtitle of his most recent book — Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul.

    The general mood among my associates is that the Darwinists haven’t even begun to see what will be unleased on them. They’ve only been sparring with scouting parties so far, they haven’t seen yet a truly organized and large-scale assault yet, but they will…
    :-)

    The main reason a large-scale organized assult will happen is that the Darwinists no longer have a monopoly on the dissemination of information. Their tactics of censorship and intimidation don’t work like they used to….

    Cheap access to the interenet and video and teleconferencing cannot be policed by them. These communication mediums are not yet even being fully leveraged, but they will be, and as they are leveraged the great Berlin Wall will collapse.

    Most importanly, the facts are on the side of ID.

  36. JunkyardTornado,

    Of course I can’t prove to you that the Virgin Birth was a miracle. Still, until you see humans walking through walls and ascending into heaven, then you either have to accept the Gospels’ accounts as miraculous or dismiss them as fiction. Giving a naturalistic explanation won’t do.

    Which brings me to the point which you missed. My point was not whether the Gospels were accurate. Rather, my point had to do with the damage TE’s can do to the Church (and many have already done). TE’s, if they were consistent with their argumentation, would dismiss all the miracles of the Bible as simple “gaps” in our understanding of the physical universe and become either theological liberals (more consistent) or simple atheists (fully consistent).

  37. 37

    Cool Funny Off Topic Video

    Signs Of Life:

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....7e8f8937f9

  38. 38
    JunkyardTornado

    Saint and Sinner:

    Your remarks about methodological naturalism destroying Christianity called to mind an idea I had that what if the Virgin Birth had a natural explanation. It doesn’t destroy my faith, personally.

    (Gen 3:14) The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;

    (Gen 3:15) And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

    [the latter verse is supposed to be prophetic of the virgin birth].

  39. Saint and Sinner

    you either have to accept the Gospels’ accounts as miraculous or dismiss them as fiction

    You forgot the third choice – simply saying you don’t know if the accounts are true or not.

  40. Larry wrote:

    “Anyway, my analogy still holds. I just don’t see Mormons worshipping Smith in the same way that Darwinists worship Darwin, e.g., I don’t see “I love Smith” knick-knacks.”

    OK, fair point.

  41. Patrick:

    I haven’t read Miller’s textbooks so I haven’t read those quotes in context. Is he explaining other people’s views; does he make surrounding comments that explicitly show he believes the same?

    Check out the following article:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....direc.html

  42. I tend to be a radical middle Christian. Ready for spiritual and moral war but wanting peace, radically convinced of Christ and his words but always trying to avoid extremes.

    With devout believers like this, give me a good infidel any time.” Indeed, I could point to many muslims who have a better understanding of God and creation than Miller and cie. I could also point out many materialist Darwinists who see theistic evolution as an oxymoron – laughable and foolish.

    Richard Lewontin- Harvard geneticist said,

    “We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubsantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover the materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

    And from Steven Weinberg,

    The world needs to wake up from the long nightmare of religion. Anything we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done, and may in fact be our greatest contribution to civilisation.” – Steven Weinberg, NYT, 21nov06

    Darwinism being the “greatest engine for atheism ever devised” hardly fits a Xian world-view.

    Therefore, these Darwiniac Xians are seriously deluded.

    Is Christ truly the descendant of apes? Or of a real literal Adam? Indeed, Christ is called “the last Adam”.

    Seeing that Christ held a literal Adam and Eve, as well as did the apostles, I can never understand these mentally blind (inspite of being highly educated) Xians supporting the greatest engine of atheism ever devised.

    It does not add up and will never add up.

    A Xian, by very definition, must believe the gospels and the canonical writings of the apostles. These are the primary source of all we know of Christ and his life.

    So where do these blind followers of the blind get off denying the very words that their faith is supposedly based on?

    There is nothing in the words of Christ, the prophets or the apostles that remotely suggests a symbolic Adam or an Adam descending from something previous, something less, something merely animal.

    It doesn’t ring true. That’s because it ain’t.

  43. Borne: I submit that theistic evolution is self contradictory.

    How does God USE random variation and natural selection? How can both God and nature do the selecting? If the variations are random, how can they produce a finished product that God would have in mind? If they produce the finished product that God had in mind, how can they be random?

    Either an organism’s fate will be determined by the “unfolding” of an internal principle (directed evolution), in which case there is only one possible outcome, or its fate will be determined by random chance (Darwinian evolution), in which case there are many possible outcomes.

  44. StephenB, I think you are right that there is potential self contradiction.

    If there was an intended result, there must have been some guiding direction (whether direct intervention from time to time or a front-loading process that would lead to a known and intended outcome). But that kind of process doesn’t sound very Dariwinian — certainly not a process based on RM+NS.

    The only way to get out of this intellectual conundrum is to take the view that there in fact was not an intended result, and that, therefore, whatever RM+NS produced was perfectly fine, thank you very much.

    The problem with this view, at least for the theistic evolutionist is two-fold: (i) it doesn’t sound much like rational theism, certainly not any one that posits an active creator, which Ken Miller gives lip service to, and (ii) RM+NS is woefully inadequate to account for the creation.

  45. Saint and Sinner,

    A problem here is that you’re employing a term like ‘miracle’ without realizing that what constitutes a ‘miracle’ is itself debated even among orthodox Christians, and leads into a question of what constitutes ‘supernatural’. What specific way would God have to accomplish the Virgin Birth (or any other miracle) for it to have truly been an act of God? Why couldn’t the virgin birth been have an event orchestrated far in advance through natural channels? Heck, what is the difference between a natural and a supernatural thing? Because the naturalists essentially take the tact that ‘Everything that truly exists is natural’.

    I don’t think TEs are ‘supporting the greatest engine for atheism ever devised’ – and I think regarding evolution (Not Darwinism, which I frankly consider to be a different thing at this point) as such an engine purely because some atheist it is unbelievably dangerous. What if an atheist said that Protestantism ‘Was the most important event in Western History as far as justifying and laying the groundwork for atheism goes’? Should we declare Protestantism an atheist tool and condemn it?

    Do NOT let atheists dictate what you can and cannot believe, or what does or does not support atheism over theism. If you let them control the debate like that, they’ll pigeonhole you. And I remind everyone here that Dawkins and other atheists are on record as saying they think Young Earth Creationism is the only true option for any Christian. Do you honestly think it’s coincidental that said atheists also think YEC is the easiest view of Genesis for them to attack and disprove?

  46. 46
    Granville Sewell

    Dick Butkus of Intelligent Design?? Bill Dembski? Well, they do look a lot alike. :-)

  47. —–Eric Anderson: “The only way to get out of this intellectual conundrum (guided evolution=intended result; Darwinian evolution=unintended result) is to take the view that there in fact was not an intended result, and that, therefore, whatever RM+NS produced was perfectly fine, thank you very much.”

    Exactly right. Under the circumstances, the Creator would simply have to live with the surprise result. Weight that against, the Bible’s account: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; …”

  48. Miller himself uses the warfare metaphor in the subtitle of his most recent book — Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul.

    In this mighty “war of culture,” affecting as it does the whole history of the World, and in which we may well deem it an honour to take part, no better ally that Anthropogeny can, it seems to me, be brought to the assistance of struggling truth. The history of evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth. ~ Ernst Haeckel

  49. StephenB,

    I know you and I have locked horns on this in the past. But I have a question for you: What if a Theistic Evolutionist believes in evolution, in Common Descent, but rejects ‘random and unguided’. As in, God may have well foreseen and preplanned the entire development of life from its origin to its current state, and that humanity/intelligent life certainly was the a goal and intention of these processes. Is such a person a darwinist? A TE? An evolutionist? An IDer? A mix?

  50. Is such a person a darwinist? A TE? An evolutionist? An IDer? A mix?

    Such a person would be a Michael Behe.

  51. scordova,

    I’d agree. But that presents a dilemma to me: I accept evolution without problem. Common descent, fine as well. I don’t rule out the thought that there could have been some direct ‘act’ by or on behalf of God in that history, but I personally don’t think it’s lab demonstrable (And Behe, it seems, is open to that possibility as well.)

    But it seems to me that I can call myself all of those things. I can be a darwinist because I accept so much of the science-sans-philosophy. I can be an evolutionist because I certainly accept evolution and common descent. I can be a TE because I believe these things are all guided by God. I can be an IDer because I believe design is an integral part of our natural history.

    I don’t think I’m alone in this view. As I said, I do not like how Ken Miller approaches this subject, or Francisco Ayala. Collins has been soft on the subject, but more amenable in general as a result. And I think warring on TEs as a group, rather than focusing on particular advocates, would be a mistake.

    But, I’m just one lone voice. I just wanted to see where I would be classified by people here. I do not mind being placed in Behe’s niche at all.

  52. nullasalus: “I know you and I have locked horns on this in the past. But I have a question for you: What if a Theistic Evolutionist believes in evolution, in Common Descent, but rejects ‘random and unguided’. As in, God may have well foreseen and preplanned the entire development of life from its origin to its current state, and that humanity/intelligent life certainly was the a goal and intention of these processes. Is such a person a darwinist? A TE? An evolutionist? An IDer? A mix?

    You have been a good sport about my relentless assault on TE’s, and I will not violate that spirit of friendliness and mutual respect. In any case, what you describe is not theistic evolution in the modern sense. Essentially, you are in the Behe camp.

    A person who believes that God purposely and mindfully directed the process of evolution with a specific end in mind is simply a theist who believes in evolution. That sounds suspiciously like theistic evolution, but it isn’t. If the process is pre-planned, it is teleological, meaning that it “unfolds” with and end in mind—it has a goal—it goes through a “maturation” process guided by an internal principle. In the old days, this is what theistic evolution meant, because many who used the term were referring to Teilhard De Chardin, who proposed a teleologically driven form of evolution. Other theistic evolutionists of that era simply believed in a non-Teilhardian theistic evolution that was, nevertheless purposeful in its formulation. The design was real. It can either be set up in advance to do its own thing (unfold according to plan), or it can accomodate intervention at various times and places. Either way is compatible with ID.

    Against this notion is the idea that no teleology is necessary, that an unguided, random process without any aim at all can produce and sustain life given enough time. Put another way, time and chance, as its advocates would have it, can make up for the lack of planning. This is Darwinism and it was originally conceived not as an explanation for Biblical creation but as alternative to it. Accordingly, it develops not according to an “internal principle,” which has an end in mind, but rather through “external adaptation,” which does not. It simply doesn’t know where it is going. By definition, it is unplanned. Under these circumstances, any notion of design is, as Darwin pointed out, an illusion. Today’s theistic evolutionists (most, not all) believe in this form of evolution except they say that God planned it. Well, you can immediately grasp the problem here. To say that God used a Darwinian process is to say that God planned an unplanned process. Remember, a Darwinian process is, by definition, unplanned. There are exceptions to this, but most TE’s are Christian Darwinists, which, as I hope I have shown, is a contradiction in terms.

    So, if you believe in a purposeful, mindful evolution, you are not a theistic evolutionist, except in the historical sense. I salute you for that. I would rate attitudes about ID in four categories. [A] Design is illusory [B] Design is real, but undetectable [C] Design is real and detectable, [D] Design is real, detectable, and measurable.

  53. Larry writes:

    Anyway, my analogy still holds. I just don’t see Mormons worshipping Smith in the same way that Darwinists worship Darwin, e.g., I don’t see “I love Smith” knick-knacks.

    True. But, then again, there is no such thing as special Darwinist underwear. So, it probably evens out in the end.

  54. Poor theistic evolutionists, they want to be accepted as religious by the religious and as modern and scientific by the materialists. They are afraid that if they don’t appeal to the materialists that they will be shunned by them. So how to kill both birds with one stone? Claim to be religious but support evolution. In order to prove you aren’t an irrational religious nutcase you can’t just support evolution, no, who knows, you may be a closet creationist (equalivalent to a child molester by materialists because you do immense damage to children by denying them their Darwinian savior. Soyou have to prove you are one of them, you have to go out of your way to attack the creationist bogeymen to prove to materialist “society” that you really are “normal” and have accepted Darwin as your own personal savior even though you believe in God.

    They hate ID because they feel rejection of evolution reflects badly on them. And after all, what they really care about is their prestige and the social connections they bring. They are either liars about their religious beliefs or they are sell outs.

  55. JunkyardTornado,

    “Your remarks about methodological naturalism destroying Christianity called to mind an idea I had that what if the Virgin Birth had a natural explanation. It doesn’t destroy my faith, personally.”

    I understand. However, things like the resurrection cannot have a naturalistic explanation if Christianity is true for the simple fact that the reason given for Christ’s resurrection was his righteousness (Acts 2:24, Rom. 1:4).

    Also, an ascension into heaven isn’t exactly natural either.

    However, the same methodological naturalism that TE’s use to deflect ID arguments is the same methodological naturalism that atheists and skeptics use to argue against the historicity of the Gospels. “Since we should favor a naturalistic explanation over a supernatural one (no matter how absurd the former is), the Gospels must be a-historical because they have supernatural content in them,” or so the saying goes.

    I’ve heard it several times from atheists and skeptics, and it is the guiding presupposition of unbelieving “Bible scholars”.

    Lastly, I apologize if I came across as a bit harsh. I’m simply used to debating the snarky (or so they think) militant atheists.

  56. StephenB,

    Thanks for the courtesy. That adds to my dilemma – which is essentially that this debate is fraught with all manner of confusing terms. The fact that I’m ‘historically a theistic evolutionist, but technically an IDer, even if I lean towards B’ highlights the problem for me.

    I think there are many more people like me who would define as ‘theistic evolutionist’, or come vastly closer to that than, say, Francisco Ayala’s take (Miller I am not familiar enough with, but Ayala’s views on evolution honestly strike me as true snake oil. Especially in light of his recent change.)

    I guess all I’d say further is, be wary of attacking TEs. I’m willing to bet a lot of them are like myself.

  57. nullasalus,

    First of all, I responded to the specific use of the Virgin Birth in my response to JunkyardTornado. I have no problem with the providence via secondary means. I’m a Calvinist, that’s how I believe that God brought about the entirety of history: through human choice.

    However, there are certain things that cannot be naturalized: the Resurrection, for example.

    “Do you honestly think it’s coincidental that said atheists also think YEC is the easiest view of Genesis for them to attack and disprove?”

    First of all, YEC isn’t the easiest to disprove. It’s simply has more things to defend. Secondly, I take an Instrumentalist view of science. So, the dating methods, starlight, geology, etc. normally used as “evidence” for an old universe don’t phase me.

    I could become a Biblical errantist, an open theist, deny the virgin birth, half the events told in the gospels, etc. all so that I would have to defend a “minimal” Christianity, but those positions aren’t what I’m convicted of.

  58. Back to the theme of this thread:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....direc.html

    Ken Miller has attended the Church of Darwin for many years, and has made big bucks as a result of it. He now claims that he never inhaled the anti-Christian theology which has been published repeatedly in his books.

    Give me a break. He actually believes what was published in those books. Six of his 11 editions contain this stuff. Now he claims that it was a “mistake.” How can one read one’s own published works and not know what was in them?

    Ken Miller is a classic con artist, who uses his “religious faith” to further his own purposes, both monetary and in terms of self-aggrandizement. In my opinion he is in the same category as the TV preachers who con people out of their hard-earned money with phoney promises. It was for such people that Jesus reserved His contempt.

  59. Saint and Sinner,

    “First of all, YEC isn’t the easiest to disprove. It’s simply has more things to defend.”

    That’s beside the point for me. Atheists *believe* it’s the easiest to disprove. And coincidentally, many of them insist it’s the only view of Genesis to have. I’m suggesting that many of them insist on the latter owing to the former.

    Again, what I’m illustrating is this: I think it is a tremendous mistake to regard evolution as verboten for religious believers just because some atheists crow about how the idea of evolution is a powerful force for atheism. It is, frankly, an intellectual trick.

  60. nullasalus: I am sorry that these terms can be so elusive and confusing. Much of the chaos comes from the theistic evolutionists who have done so much dissembling. If the terms “evolution” and ” evolution” have become so fluid, it is because TE’s (and Darwinists) have made it a point to misuse those words for no reason other than to muddy the debate waters.

    In fact, I have noticed that it is the ID advocates who work hard to nail down their own definitions and the Darwinists and TE’s who don’t. I don’t think that is an accident. Those who are on the losing side of an argument benefit from confusion while those on the winning side don’t.

    I tried to make my case in as few words as possible, so you either find my arguments persuasive or you don’t. In either case, I don’t think you are a TE, so my criticisms are not directed at you. Granted, no one argues against the TE’s more fiercely than I do, but I have good reasons for it. My main quarrel is with the few big guns in academy who sustain the TE movement not the many seekers of truth who have fallen into that camp unaware of the deceptions that have been visited upon them. I am merciless with the former because of their duplicity, but as gentle as a lamb with the latter because of their innocence.

    Francis Ayala is clearly part of the elitist problem that I describe. He misuses words, misrepresents arguments, and subordinates his faith to Darwinist ideology. Indeed, he accepts and even celebrates the incredibly unjust decision at the infamous Dover trial, agreeing that ID is little more than recycled Creation Science. I gather that you have spent enough time on this site to know how untrue that is.

  61. Sorry, I meant that the terms “evolution” and “theistic evolution” have become muddled do to the dissembling of Darwinists and TEs.

  62. Ken Miller is a classic con artist, who uses his “religious faith” to further his own purposes, both monetary and in terms of self-aggrandizement. In my opinion he is in the same category as the TV preachers who con people out of their hard-earned money with phoney promises. It was for such people that Jesus reserved His contempt.

    Thanks, Gil. Too many people forget about what Jesus did or said. It is always good when someone speaks for him and can apply the label Pharisee to someone, even though they may have never met the person. Bravo.

  63. nullasalus and StephenB:

    I will try to give, in short, my brief categorization about wht is TE and whta is not, in the hope it can help debate. With a gross, but probably useful, simplification, we can have:

    1) There is no design. Only the laws of physics as we know them are real. They can perfectly explain the generation and evolution of living beings without any problem, if not about the details. The laws themselves can appear finely tuned for life, but that can be explained in some way (see infinite universes), or just deos not need to be explained. Everything is strictly determinuistic (except the random, non significant aspect of quantum level). That’s, more or less, the “Dawkins” position.

    2) There is no design detectable in the generation of living beings. The known physical laws are perfectly capable to explain what we observe, and nothing more is requested. But the existence of the universe as it is is designed, and God knew perfectly that such an universe would have, in a natural way, generated life. God may interact with the universe in other specific ways (revelation, miracles), but that is only a matter of faith and has nothing to do with science. That’s, more or less, I believe, Miller’s position. That’s TE in a strict sense. Please note hat, in this scenario, evolution is completely random and unguided, although God has designed the general scenario where such a random and unguided process would generate life. In other words, God’s main achievement here would be to have created Darwin’s theory, and made a world appropriate for it.

    3) Design is perfectly detectable in biological information. The existing physical laws as we know them are completely unable to explain what we observe in living beings. No random and unguided process can explain that evident, complex and efficient information, its existence and its richness. Only the intervention of a designer can explain that. That’s ID.

    In the context of ID, however, there a re various different possibilities when you try to hypothesize how the designer has implemented that information. I’ll try to summarize that too:

    3a) I’call this view “weak ID”, and I want to say immediately that it is IMO a very anomalous, and not very useful, point of view. I would not even cite it, if it were not the view expressed by Behe in TEOE, and may be a generic possible “compromise” between ID and TE. I don’t agree with it, and I was very surprised to understand that it is Behe’s philosophical view, but that is only further evidence that, while in ID we agree on very definite scientific facts (and Behe is certainly one of the best thinkers in ID as far as science is concerned), we can very well completely disagree in our philosophical, or religious, beliefs.
    The 3a) option, as far as I understand it, is something like that: The implementation of design in the living world is absolutely impossible without the intervention of a designer, and that can be shown scientifically. But, as God is omnipotent, he could just have chosen one of the infinite possible worlds, so that the real world is one where absolutely unlikely things have happened. (I apologize immediately with Behe and everyone else if I am understanding that thought in a wrong way: I am ready to correct myself, if that’s the case).
    The point is that, in that view, design is real and detectable, but it was implemented “before” the creation of the universe, and not in its laws (otherwise, that would not be different from TE), but rather in an arbitrary selection of a specific possible contingent world: IOW, there is no scientific reason why life should happen in this universe, indeed in itself that’s almost impossible, but God just “selected” an almost impossible outcome in the beginning. The important point is that no further detectable intervention is necessary “after” that first, metaphysical selection.
    I will not comment further about that for two reasons: that I find no reasonable appeal in that view, and out of respect for Behe, whom I deeply love for all his other thinking.

    3b) Let’s call that “front-loading”. Many friends here are more or less for that kind of explanation. As I have written many times, front loading is a perfectly reasonable theory, but it is not my cup of tea, so again I apologize in advance for any misunderstanding.
    As I see it, the main point in front loading is that biological information is implemented “all at once”, at some point of time, and then develops successively, according to the specific designed plan it contains. That is completely different from the views of TE, where no specific biological information is designed, and also from Behe’s view, where the design implementation does not happen “inside” the phenomenal world.
    I believe that frontloading theories come in different forms, according to where and how the initial information was implemented. I think all of us may agree that OOL is a reasonable moment, but I will not go into details about frontloading because I would ceratinly say wrong things, being that a theory which I have never been really interested in.

    3c) Let’s call that “strong ID”. Here I am more at ease, because that’s exactly my point of view. The point is simple. Biological information is designe, not only at its origin, but at each single important increase of information. Each new plan is a new plan, more or less derived from the existing ones, but essentially a new design. That design, therefore, was implemented in biological beings many times: at OOL certainly, and then at each step where new information was necessary. Indeed, the implementation could be continuous or discrete: that is an important point, but does not change the fundamental scenario. For very strong IDists, like myself, the design implementation is necessary up to the level of species programming, but my friend Jerry would not agee with that, and would like to allow a greater range of action for the “abilities” of microevolution. But the point is, “at least” OOL and the higher levels of taxonomy are certainly, heavily, specifically designed.

    How that implementation takes place is all anothe matter. Here again, we have differences. Personally, I am not so much on the side of “miracles”, but rather of higher laws, at present not understood by us, which allow a natural interaction between a conscious designer and the objective world (more or less, the same unknown laws which allow consciousness interaction and design in the case of human beings). But that’s just my point of view.

    Finally, I will sum up my personal judgments about those positions.

    I find 1) completely false and unsatisfying: it explains nothing of what we really observe, and it artificially denies even the existence of the most important observable phenomena: consciousness, design, purpose, etc. But, at least, it has some form of internal consistency…

    I find 2) (TE) completely unreasonable, cognitively ambiguous and irritating, and I have no reasons at all to take it seriously. It’s a way of thinking which has no respect for the objectivity of reality, and no internal consistency.

    I find 3a) equally unreasonable and inconsistent. At least, it is a minority position (I am not really aware of anyone else believing that out of Behe, but I may be wrong).

    I respect 3b) (frontloading) as a real possibility, but I don’t believe it is true. I find many difficulties with that approach, which it is not the case to discuss here.

    I absolutely believe in 3c (strong ID).

    Let’s remember, however, that all positions under 3) are ID positions: they agree that design is perfectly detectable.

    1) and 2) are definitely not compatible with ID.

  64. gpuccio,

    “Please note hat, in this scenario, evolution is completely random and unguided, although God has designed the general scenario where such a random and unguided process would generate life.”

    It God knows that the process will generate life (and certainly human life), then it’s not ‘completely random and unguided’. And I notice you’re leaving out the belief that evolution was guided, but the guidance is not detectable in a scientific sense. (I thoroughly believe it is evident in a philosophical sense.)

    Either way, I have no argument with StephenB at this point. I do not accept the TE views where life/evolution IS out and out unguided (Ayala I know had this view at least until recently – Miller, I’m not sure of, as he’s argued God could work through quantum events). With regards to TE, my argument is only that I’m sure many people accept what amounts to a ‘historical TE’ stance and view themselves as TEs.

    If Miller is being irrationally hostile to ID and is proposing a ludicrous TE view, I have no problem with an ID criticism of Miller. Or of Ayala. Or of others, on the points of their belief. I am, however, very worried about attacking ‘TEs’ wholesale.

  65. 65
    Granville Sewell

    gpuccio,

    You have a good summary of the various options, but I think you have misunderstood Behe’s views. I have read both of his books and had a long conversation with him in 1997. I heard him refer to himself as a “minimalist”: I think while he of course realizes that neither natural selection nor any other unintelligent process can explain the origin or major steps in the development of life, he, like most of us who support ID, feels uneasy speculating as to exactly how the designer might have been involved, because he simply isn’t sure. (Which is why many people say ID isn’t science, I disagree: you can conclude that something is designed without knowing who, when or how.)

    While all we can do is speculate on how God designed things, we can do more than speculate on what Michael Behe thinks about it; I don’t have God’s e-mail address but I do have Behe’s if you want it.

  66. 66
    JunkyardTornado

    Granville Sewell: “I think while [Behe] of course realizes that neither natural selection nor any other unintelligent process can explain the origin or major steps in the development of life, he, like most of us who support ID, feels uneasy speculating as to exactly how the designer might have been involved, because he simply isn’t sure. (Which is why many people say ID isn’t science, I disagree: you can conclude that something is designed without knowing who, when or how.)

    Cannot we say that something is designed by whatever preexisting physical conditions resulted in its existence?

    When someone says intelligence design caused something, it is not known for example that human intelligence is not a mechanism. In fact, any attempt to understand intelligence will unavoidably end up treating it as if it were a mechanism.

    So someone produces a painting, and you can talk about him having an image in his mind, i.e. an image that is physically extant in some form in his brain. So there were certain requirements, in terms of the sophistication of his eyes and his brain’s storage capacity and granularity. Then previous to this, he had developed certain abilities of manual dexterity, habituated by repeated trial and error over some extended period of time, enabling him to manipulate brushes and so forth, as well as developing the knowledge through indoctrination and/or practice of which type of brush produced which effect, etc, plus knowledge acquired through trial and error, practice, or indoctrination regarding pigments and the various psychological effects they produce when applied to canvas. Then you could talk about innate impulses we observe in higher lifeforms to copy or reproduce things in their environment, often as a means to strengthen bonds with others in the individual’s social group to whom the individual relies on for access to food, mates, and so forth. So you can say that all these preexisting physical conditions plus some others are what led to the output of the painting. Saying that “intelligence” produced it is an appeal to ignorance.

  67. gpuccio, very good summary.

    JT –Cannot we say that something is designed by whatever preexisting physical conditions resulted in its existence?

    That’s seems to be what the TEs say.

  68. 68
    JunkyardTornado

    tribune7 –

    I’ll try not to sidetrack this thread, but just to reiterate my understanding which came to me recently, from something I read previously and had forgotten about. The problem with RM/NS as a mechanism is that you’re putting too heavy a burden on the mutations, specifically because of the results regarding probability obtained by Dembski. The mutations are defined as happening by chance.

    However, this does not preclude the obvious fact that the biological world as a whole could be the output of a mechanism. Its just that ultimately, you have to trace any mechanism back to something that has always existed, not something that came into existence by chance. So the question isn’t one of “intelligence”. The question is, did whatever ultimately create us always exist, or just come into existence at a point in time for no reason at all, and the only alternative is the former.

    And it is crucial to point out that any mechanism that output the biological world would be an alternate encoding for the biological world so the two would equate, and so in some sense whatever mechanism created us would have to be intelligent as well, and could not be less complex than us. Maybe everyone here already has that understanding, but I think it has to be pointed out that the biological world could be the output of a mechanism which in turn could be the output of a mechanism, etc.

    But also regarding mutations and Dembski’s probability calculations, the question remains, if raw probability has nothing to do with our existence, then why is the universe as large as it is, if that size has no relevant bearing on us at all, and presumably we are the endpoint of creation.

    That’s all I’ve got to say.

  69. 69
    Granville Sewell

    I have no philosophical or religious quarrel with those, like Miller or Collins, who argue that the laws of nature are so cleverly designed by our Creator that they alone could have created the human brain. They are cleverly designed, and they alone probably do explain chemistry and geology and astronomy and meteorology, so it is not surprising that many assume they can explain biology as well. The problems I have are logical: the laws of physics are very clever, but obviously not clever enough to explain all of biology:
    http://www.discovery.org/a/4474

  70. 70

    Junkyard,
    I don’t feel that is an appeal to ignorance in the least. Science is continually on a quest to discover a more complete understanding on the truth (thus ignorance is acknowedged at the start), yet materialist have artificially retarded scientific progress by saying something (God as a cause) is impossible prior to investigation of this “ignorance”. Yet if this artificial barrier is removed, as is warranted by the stunning complexity we find in even the simplest life, then science is better able to find a ” natural” mechanism by which God interacts with His creation.

    You can clearly see what I mean by “not disallowing God as an answer” by this line of investigation I took on another thread (Muller Genetic Entropy).

    —-

    Let me try to be clear of how I am using the term Genetic Entropy since it is broader than how Sanford uses it;

    I am arguing for the Theistic ID(CSI)/GE(Genetic Entropy) mo^del which will hold that a single parent species (kind) is created by God with all inbuilt ability for variation of kind built into it, and that once God has created the species (kind) He does not personally “tinker” with the architecture of it anymore after He has created it. Thus, He lets nature take its course, so to say, with Genetic Entropy.
    So we have a overall scientific mo^del to make predictions, perform tests, and check results with (not a mechanism but a mo^del mind you). What predictions can we make with this mo^del? Well we can infer and predict quite a lot actually. We can infer that the original genome of the parent species is optimal. We can infer that all adaptations of sub-species will always come at a cost of the original (CSI) information that is/was in the genome of the parent species i.e. we can infer loss of meaningful Genetic Diversity with all sub-speciation events. We can predict that sub-species will have less of a ability to sub-speciate (to radiate) than the original parent species did. We can predict that any naturally occurring mutations to the parent species genome will be detrimental to the overall complexity of the genome even though the “loss of information” may be beneficial for adaptations (Behe; Edge). We can predict that the longer God does not touch the basis architecture of His creation, and the longer “nature” permanently alters the genome of His creation, the more likely it is the species will lose morphological variability within species and adaptive flexibility of species, this also be predicted to be followed by the more likely it is the parent and sub species (kind) will go extinct.

    I probably left a few very important predictions out but this should be very basic outline of the Theistic ID/GE mo^del.

    So this is the basic mo^del that I start out with (a mo^del that is not artificially hampered by materialism), then I look in detail to different studies such as the trilobite study (Webster) and I find a consistent, detectable, tree-like, pattern of radiation away from parent species (more ancient lineages). I look to present day cichlid studies and again I find that the “ancient lineages” of cichlids have a greater propensity to radiate, plus I find greater meaningful genetic and morphological diversity (more photo-receptors in particular) for the “ancient lineages” of cichlids.
    As well I look at the oldest mtDNA evidence for we have for humans (40 to 50k ya) and I find a loss of genetic information. Present day study on humans produce loss patterns of genetic diversity from east-African populations. Dogs produce same loss pattern, Sheep same, Pigs same etc. etc.
    I look to the overall fossil record and consistently find a burst pattern of radiation from a distinct parent (kinds) species with marked gradual decline in diversity and variability over long periods of time for species (Kind). (MacNeill)
    I look to bacteria and I find all adaptation of bacteria to come at a cost of original CSI in bacteria with no demonstration of complexity above the level of parent bacteria (Behe; Edge)
    All these factors are predicted in the original and no overwhelming anomalies can be found (the materialistic evolution of RM/NS is bursting at the seams with overwhelming anomalies)
    For me this makes the case quite clear that this consistent testable pattern establishes the Theistic ID/GE mo^del as solid and testable.

    As with the 1st and 2nd law (Conservation of Energy and Entropy) flowing hand in hand to establish thermodynamics, I firmly believe that Conservation of Information and Genetic Entropy will flow hand in hand as primary principles guiding biological research. Though, anomalies may come up with Genetic Entropy, as they have come up with Entropy itself, that have to be dealt with, Genetic Entropy as a primary principle for biology appears to be intrinsically stable as an overriding scientific principle, guide, and structure, by which to make biological predictions and tests with.

    As a sidelight, I’ve been mulling over the principle of Conservation of Information (Dembski), in looking at Dr. Zeilinger’s work with quantum teleportation. And somewhat apart from the CSI developed by Dr. Dembski, I find this principle of Conservation of Information to run much, much deeper than I had expected. Indeed it seems to run into the fabric of reality itself. Dr. Zeilinger’s work with quantum teleportation actually establishes, through repeatable experimentation, that “transcendent information” is do^min^ate of energy/matter! Yet this is a very, very peculiar thing, for as James Joule, the father of the first Law of thermodynamics, wrote:

    “It is manifestly absurd to suppose that the powers with which God has endowed matter can be destroyed any more than they can be created by man’s agency.” i.e. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed.

    Thus since energy can not be created nor destroyed by man’s agency, who are we to think that “transcendent information” ,which has the power to tell energy exactly what to be, should be any “less than” than energy in this “eternal” attribute.
    Thus is it perfectly reasonable to think that “transcendent information”, which is in fact do^min^ate of energy, can neither be created nor destroyed also i.e. It is not reasonable to presume that “information” does not also have this “eternal” characteristic since it is indeed primary over energy. IMHO this interesting peculiarity found for the “do^min^ance of “transcendent information” found in quantum teleportation necessitates, even warrants, the inference to the “infinite mind of God” to stay consistent with logic, with the first law, indeed to stay consistent with what we know for reality as a whole.

    So Junkyard is it totally unreasonable when I make this measured inference or am I breaking some rule that you seem to think needs to be in place for science?

  71. nullasalus:

    Thank you for the feedback. Let’s see if we can clarify some more aspects. You say:

    “It God knows that the process will generate life (and certainly human life), then it’s not ‘completely random and unguided’.”

    No. The point with TE as I have defined it (that is, point 2 of my summary) is that God creates an universe where completely random and unguided processes will generate living beings. So, God knows that the universe as a whole will generate life, but the processes inside the universe which generate life are totally unguided and random.

    That’s an important point, becasue it is the whole difference betweem ID and TE (just a note: in this post I will go on using the term TE in a very specific sense, that is what I have defined at point 2 of my previous post. I don’t imply anything at all for anyone who things differently and who can well call himself in the same way).

    Again, to be clear: TE means (in the sense I have given) that one accepts that completely random and unguided processes inside the known universe can generate life. That’s Miller’s position, as far as I can understand. RM + NS are completely capable to explain life.

    Now, we have to understand that RM + NS do not require God in any way (except for a God having created a world where random mutations and natural selections happen). The process by which RM creates (according to both darwinists and TEs) biological information is not different from the process by which a deck of cards has some order after shuffling, or the molecules of a gas arrange themselves in a container. The processes are strictly deterministic. The observed patterns are strictly random. NS, according to both darwinists and TEs, is only a logical principle which can be factored in, but it is completely blind and unguided.

    So, in the view of TEs, once you have the world with its known laws, no God is necessary to generate living beings: they will come out of themselves. God may have known it in advance when He created the premises (the universe, the laws, etc.), but we can stop there. For the rest, He is not necessary: His laws, determinism and randomness have done all the rest.

    So again, God may have arranged anything in the beginning, but still the process, for TE, is completely random and unguided, and therefore indistinguishable from any similar random unguided process in the world.

    You say:

    “And I notice you’re leaving out the belief that evolution was guided, but the guidance is not detectable in a scientific sense. (I thoroughly believe it is evident in a philosophical sense.)”

    Here I think there is a misunderstanding on your part about the true nature of ID. ID indeed believes that evolution was guided. that’s strictly ID.

    As for the “guidance” being detectable in a scientific sense, we have to distinguish between two different things:

    a) The guidance process, that is thw way the designer interacts with relity to implement the information.

    b) The guidance outcome, that is the intelligent information itself.

    ID state that b) is detectable. ID has no specific position about a) being detectable or not.

    The two things are completely different. Design detection (which means point b) is a definite theory, largely supported by facts. It is the essence of all ID reasonings. Design can be detected. It is detected. That detection tells us nothing both about the designer and the process of design. It just tells us that design was implemented. We still don’t know by whom or how.

    Is that clear?

    My impression is that when you say that “the guidance is not detectable in a scientific sense”, you are thinking of the process by which the guidance is imparted, not of the result. You are speaking of a), not of b). If, instead, you are speaking of b), then you are simply wrong (IMO, because I, as all IDists, am strongly convinced that design can be detected), and anyway your view is not anymore different from the one of strict TE: indeed, if we have no way to distinguish between biological information and any other outcome of unguided processes, we are again in the situation of strict TE: biological information can perfectly be explained without any intervention of God, just as any other random process can.

    About detecting the process, here we may have very different views. Personally, I think that something of the process should be detectable, let’s say “on our side”. But others may think differently. I believe Dembski himself has not a clear opinion about that, at least judging from what I have read. See also next point about that.

    You say:

    “I do not accept the TE views where life/evolution IS out and out unguided (Ayala I know had this view at least until recently – Miller, I’m not sure of, as he’s argued God could work through quantum events).”

    Well, here I would say you are ID, but may be I don’t understand well your position.
    About Miller, he has to decide: either darwinian evolution is sufficient in itself, and then there is no need for God to work through quantum events, or in any other way. If he believes that God is guiding evolution through tampering with quantum events, then he is definitely ID. That’s what many IDists think, including me.

    Let’s discuss better that aspect of quantum tampering. The random part of qauntum mechanincs is, by definition, random. In itself, therefore, it does not allow any transmission of information. That’s why if God (or our consciousness) wants to impart some specific information to events, He had to “tamper” with quantum mechanisms. The result will no more be random, but it will still be compatible with a “random appearance”. Pseudo random distributions which in reality vehicle design are exactly what we observe whenever design is present.

    So, if God “tampers”, the result is design, and design can be recognized for the meaning (functional specification) it has. Then Miller is wrong, and ID is right, even if the “process” of tampering were not scientifically detectable. If God does not “tamper”, then events are really random, no design is there, and we are in the darwinist, or TE, scenarion, as you please.

    You say:

    “With regards to TE, my argument is only that I’m sure many people accept what amounts to a ‘historical TE’ stance and view themselves as TEs.”

    No objection to that. Anyone can view himself as he likes. But I suspect most of these “historical TEs” are really IDists. They have just to define better their categories.

    You say:

    “If Miller is being irrationally hostile to ID and is proposing a ludicrous TE view, I have no problem with an ID criticism of Miller. Or of Ayala. Or of others, on the points of their belief.”

    Neither have I.

    You say:

    “I am, however, very worried about attacking ‘TEs’ wholesale.”

    No worry. we are attacking what I have defined, which is “strict TE”. In other words, the belief that both strict darwinian evolution (unguided) and the existence of a creator God are true and perfectly compatible. That’s the object of the attack. Nothing else.

  72. JT– The only thing in post 68 that I can see that might contradict my understanding of ID is “So the question isn’t one of “intelligence”.

    If you can find design, and you find design you have to say that you found design.

    W/regard to but I think it has to be pointed out that the biological world could be the output of a mechanism which in turn could be the output of a mechanism, etc. my response is “sure”. But why is that a better explanation than Goddidit?

    There is a limit to the human mind. What came before the Big Bang, and before that and before that etc. Where did the mulitverse come from etc. etc.

    The big question ultimately boils down to faith.

    if raw probability has nothing to do with our existence, then why is the universe as large as it is, if that size has no relevant bearing on us at all, and presumably we are the endpoint of creation.

    That’s something to ponder. What would be even more remarkable is that despite the size of the universe Earth is the only place that could support life, which is something also that should be pondered.

  73. 73
    JunkyardTornado

    tribune7:What would be even more remarkable is that despite the size of the universe Earth is the only place that could support life, which is something also that should be pondered

    So, the conditions necessary for life on a planet are unremarkable enough that we would expect to have found them more often in the universe than we have? And the fact that we haven’t suggests intelligent design? What you wrote could be interpreted that way, though maybe that isn’t what you were saying.

    Does The Priviledged Planet say that the conditions they identified that are necessary for life on a planet are so rare that those conditions could not happen by chance in the Universe? Haven’t read the book, so was wondering if you have a reference if they address this.

  74. 74

    Case For Creator – Privileged Planet

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....2b6b03a578

  75. 75
    JunkyardTornado

    Granville Sewell:
    the laws of physics are very clever, but obviously not clever enough to explain all of biology:
    http://www.discovery.org/a/4474

    I have perused “My Failed Simulation on Evolution” though not the other article in its entirety, “A Mathematician’s View of Evolution”.

    AS far as the former, if you had a program that would output the entire biological world of encyclopedias, airplanes and other manmade artifacts, then your program would equate to them in their entirety, i.e. would just be a compressed form of all that. I was curious what the size of this program was, and whereas your presentation was tongue in cheek I believe, what did you plausibly expected to accomplish.

    Any program that could output the biological world could not be less complex than the biological world, because we could use the least complex of the two of them (the program and the biological world) to accurately refer to the other. So my point is, I think anybody would have to admit there would have to be a lot more than those four physical laws to account for the biological world. Everything hinges on initial conditions. You can use something even more trivial than those four laws, and given the correct initial conditions, generate anything. If those initial conditions came into existence by chance then of course that limits what we could reasonably expect them to be.

    Just some feedback to indicate I’ve read one of the papers you provided. Respond or don’t respond to this at your discretion.

  76. 76

    Junkyard stated:
    So my point is, I think anybody would have to admit there would have to be a lot more than those four physical laws to account for the biological world.

    Who, or what, told the laws to be at the precise unchanging values they are Junkyard?

  77. 77
    Granville Sewell

    “I think anybody would have to admit there would have to be a lot more than those four physical laws to account for the biological world”

    JT,

    Well, you would think, but I’m looking right now at a copy of a page from a physics textbook that says “Clearly many different forces are encountered every day. Yet all of them arise from just three fundamental forces in nature*: the gravitational, the electric and the nuclear force…The gravitational force, the electric force, and the nuclear force govern all that happens in the world.” (* apparently the author combines the strong and weak nuclear forces here?)

    I’m sorry, but this is the “official” position of the scientific establishment today, and you and I are considered kooks for doubting it.

  78. 78

    ba77:
    “I am arguing for the Theistic ID(CSI)/GE(Genetic Entropy) mo^del which will hold that a single parent species (kind) is created by God with all inbuilt ability for variation of kind built into it, and that once God has created the species (kind) He does not personally “tinker” with the architecture of it anymore after He has created it

    I don’t assume you meant that those seperate species just materialized instantanteously into existence. My own model roughly (which may have no empirical basis at all), is that you had cells emerging with a huge amount of junk-dna and only a very limited amount of express functionality. So all the mutations necessary were there at the very beginning. THen over time this very complex but nonfunctional genetic material got sifted out to be functional.

  79. Granville Sewell:

    Thank you for the comment.

    First of all, I want to state again my complete admiration for Behe: he is a great man and scientist, and, as far as I can judge, a very honest, sincere and amiable one.

    Obviously, one can partially disagree even with a person one deeply admires. That was my position in my post.

    Your comment has made me think about the question. My observations were based on what I remembered from when I read TEOE, some time ago. I had not ckecked.

    In general, I agree with you that Behe’s position is that he “feels uneasy speculating as to exactly how the designer might have been involved, because he simply isn’t sure”. I can appreciate that position, and if you read my previous post you will see that I consider very important to distinguish between the detection of the design as an outcome, and the detection of the process of design (even if I am not completely unwilling to make risky speculations about the second :-) ).

    Anyway, my sensation was that Behe had done something more than simply “not being sure” in the last part of his book. So I have tried to check.
    the passage I was remembering is at page 231 – 232. I cite some paragraphs here, but anyone can check in the book:

    “But the assumtpion that design unavoidably requires “interference” rests mostly on a lack of imagination.

    One simply has to envision that the agent who caused the universe was able to specify from the start not only laws, but much more.

    Suppose the laboratory of Pope Mary’s physicist is next to a huge warehouse in which is stored a colossal number of little shiny spheres. Each sphere encloses the complete history of a separate, self-contained, possible universe, waiting to be activated. (In other words, the warehouse can be considered a vast multiverse of possible universes, but none of them has yet been made real).

    In one small closet of the small room of the small wing are placed possible universes that would actually develop intelligent life.

    One afternoon the uberphysicist walks from his lab to the ware house, … and selects one of the extremely rare universes that is set up to lead to intelligent life. Then he “adds water” to activate it. In that case the now-active universe is fine-tuned to the very great degree of detail required, yet it is activated in a “single creative act”.

    After that first decisive moment the carefully chosen the carefully chosen universe undergoes “natural development by laws implanted in it.” In that universe, life evolves by common descent and a long series of mutations, but many aren’t random. there are myriad Powerball-winning events, but they aren’t due to chance. They were foreseen, and chosen from all possible universes.

    Those who worry about “interference” should relax. The purposeful design of life to any degree is easily compatible with the idea that, after its initiation, the universe unfolded exclusively by the intended playing out of natural laws.”

    Here ends my partial citation. My comments? Well, maybe Behe is not exactly expressing his final views here, but I do think he is stretching the matter a little bit too much. He relives a strange version of the multiverse hypothesis, which differs from that of strict materialists only in the fact the the myriad universes “are not yet real”, and that a designer chooses the appropriate one. But Behe should reflect that, if it were so, there would be no way of knowing if all the other possible universes do exist, and in that case the designer would not be required at all, and for the anthropic principle we are abserving the only universe which looks designed, but is not.
    I have always found the argument of the multiverse and anthropic principle at best childish, indeed really stupid and artificial. I think that when materialists use it, and I think the same when Behe does.
    The problem is that no real theist can think that “the universe unfolds exclusively by the intended playing out of natural laws”. That view, strictly deterministic, is completely irreconcilable with even the concept of free will in humans! Strict determinism is a total folly, incompatible with all we know about consciousness, purpose, design, free will. And it is not even required by physics! Strict determinism is just a religion, like strict materialism, and a very bad one indeed.

    So, with all my respect for Behe, I just don’t share with him the need to make “those who worry about “interference” relax”. They can stay tense as long as they like. Interference exists. I interfere with reality every day, and I don’t think I am in any way privileged. Why should we deny God what we can daily achieve?

  80. 80
    Granville Sewell

    gpuccio,

    I think I know Michael Behe well enough to reassure you that this story (which he calls a “cartoon example”) does not represent his preferred view, and I’m sure he would agree with you that it is far-fetched. Let’s attribute it to his keen sense of humor.

  81. nullasalus : “I don’t think TEs are ’supporting the greatest engine for atheism ever devised’ – and I think regarding evolution (Not Darwinism, which I frankly consider to be a different thing at this point) as such an engine purely because some atheist…”
    1st My statement was directed at Darwinism. That’s what Miller and his ilk support.

    2nd, The question is not who said it. The question is is it true? Can the statement about it being the greatest engine of atheism be substantiated?

    And the answer is yes. Otherwise how else do you explain the large number of atheists sprouting like spawned orcs on the World landscape since Darwin’s dangerous idea took hold? You find far less atheism amongst scientists in physics and other hard sciences so it isn’t because of theories in those domains. Darwinism has most certainly been an engine for atheism.

    Darwinism is the greatest ‘scientific’ support of atheism there is today. Without it atheists have nothing. Of course even with it they have nothing, since it isn’t true and since there are 1000s of other domains from which evidence for the existence of God may be gleaned. But there are no domains whatsoever from which atheism can be logically derived.

    All that exists can be a focal point for logically inferring the existence of God. Nothing that exists can be used to logically infer there is no God.

    TEs want it both ways, as was said several times here.

    Imo, TEs are compromisers with the enemy. They are like the collaborators of the Nazis in WWII – loved neither by the Nazis nor their own people.

    There are two philosophies at work in this, not merely differing scientific ideas, and they don’t mix well at all.

  82. Just to quote a few others on the consequences of Darwinism.

    “Before Darwin, we thought that a benevolent God had created us.” (Gould S.J., “So Cleverly Kind an Animal,” in “Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History,” [1978], Penguin: London UK, 1991,
    reprint, p.267).

    * “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”

    “…although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (Dawkins R., “The Blind Watchmaker,” [1986], Penguin:
    London, 1991, reprint, p.6).

    `The proposition that the things and events in nature were not designed to be so, if logically carried out, is doubtless tantamount to atheism.’ Asa Gray

    “There is indeed one belief that all true original Darwinians held in common, and that was their rejection of creationism, their rejection of special creation. This was the flag around which they assembled and under which they marched. When Hull claimed that “the Darwinians did not totally agree with each other, even over essentials” (1985:785), he overlooked one essential on which all these Darwinians agreed. Nothing was more essential for them than to decide whether evolution is a natural phenomenon or something controlled by God. The conviction that the diversity of the natural world was the result of natural processes and not the work of God was the idea that brought all the so-called Darwinians together in spite of their disagreements on other of Darwin’s theories…” (Mayr, Ernst [Emeritus Professor of Zoology, Harvard University], “One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought,” Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, 1991, p.99).

  83. 83

    [ba77:] JT: “Does The Priviledged Planet say that the conditions they identified that are necessary for life on a planet are so rare that those conditions could not happen by chance in the Universe? Haven’t read the book, so was wondering if you have a reference if they address this.

    bornagain77 (#74)

    “Case For Creator – Privileged Planet

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....2b6b03a578

    ————————–

    The clip starts off by saying the list of necessary factors for life “has grown” to 20. Here are examples of some of these factors it lists:

    -A planet has to be in the right place in the galaxy.

    -It has to be in a planetary system with large outer planets to server as a buffer.

    -The sun it has has to be at the right temperature.

    -The planetary crust has to be at the right thickness to enable plate tectonics.

    And so on.

    Then the present the following calculation: 10^11 * 1/10 * 1/10 * 1/10 … *1/10 [where there are 19 occurrences of 1/10].

    If I’m not mistaken 10^11 * 10^-19 = 10^-8.

    But the total they immediately present after this is 10^-15, as the probability of getting the above planetary conditions.

    Even at this level, we’re not anywhere close to Dembski’s probability bound, so what on earth is the point of all this? If these things can come into existence somewhere purely by chance, then what’s the point?

    Here in the video, and I genuinely regret having to say this, is where the blatant dishonesty sets in.

    Here one of the narrator starts talking about the probabilistic resources in the galaxy. He mentions that there are 100 billion stars in the galaxy. How stupid or dishonest do you have to be to make such an argument or be swayed by it? (And let me repeat – I sincerely regret having to say this.)

    How many galaxies are there in the universe????? I suppose I would direct this query to the british dude with the authoritative-sounding accent they use whenever they start talking about math.

    But even just erroneously considering a single solitary galaxy, the presenters by no means claim it would be impossible, just very rare. So once again, what’s the point?

    Then finally they provide some clips from the author of Rare Earth, and he as well never implies that probability bounds have any bearing at all on such factors appearing on a planet.

  84. check out this list Junkyard:

    http://www.reasons.org/resourc.....arth.shtml

    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters ? 10-388

    dependency factors estimate ? 10-96

    longevity requirements estimate ? 1014

    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters ? 10-304

    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in universe ? 1022

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10282(million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Is that past the probability bound?

  85. Junkyard re 78

    you state “My own model roughly (which may have no empirical basis at all)

    Watch it Junkyard you were very close to admitting the truth there.

  86. 86

    ba77 -it looks like you were setting me up a little bit there with that first video, because this latter source looks to be somewhat more serious (though give me some time to look at it.)

    But why would you present that first one, which IMO was basically a joke? (e.g. for no good reason they throw a pompous sounding british narrator into the mix occasionally, to give the proceedings some weight when maybe the producers felt like it was lacking.)

  87. LOL Junkyard,
    I have to admit I was looking to set you up there, and you fell for it hook line and sinker, Man I love it when a plan comes together! LOL

  88. Gpuccio: thanks for your well-thought-out post. You have performed a valuable service by breaking these matters down in categories and describing the ways that life may have been set up from a design perspective.

    I offer one final thought about which you may or may not have an opinion. With regard to the theistic evolutionists argument that that God can use an “unfolding” Darwinian process to create biodiversity, I submit the following.

    A random (Darwinian) process cannot “unfold.” The only thing that can unfold is a non-random plan in which the finished product is built in as a kind of “seed” or, if you like, an “internal principle.” An acorn, for example, has the seed of a tree built in, meaning that there is only one possible outcome for the process. It does not “adapt” its way to its intended result, it “matures” its way to the intended result.

    God could have used an evolutionary process which would unfold to the point where you and I could be the finished product. Obviously, such a plan would have to include not only the unfolding of the organism, but also its ecological environment. A Darwinian process, however, cannot unfold in the direction of a desired end, because it must allow for many possible outcomes, otherwise it would not be a random process.

    Darwinian processes “adapt” randomly and unpredictably, they do not “unfold” purposefully and predictably. That means that IF GOD used secondary causes, such as a non-intervention evolutionary process, that process can produce an INTENDED outcome only if it unfolds according to an internal principle or plan. In other words, the finished product can match the intended result only if one outcome is possible. If a process is truly “random,” (Darwinian) then it is not unfolding according to plan; it is merely changing randomly.

    A plan cannot provide for both [A] many possible outcomes and [B] the exact outcome desired. It can produce one or the other, but not both. Thus, when TE’s suggest that God could have used a Darwinian process (by definition a random process that needs no directional or internal principle), they are talking nonsense. They are using the language of teleology (maturation, unfolding etc), while arguing on behalf non-teleology (adaptation, random change). It is a complete intellectual madhouse.

  89. StephenB:

    I perfectly agree with you.

  90. Granville Sewell:

    “I think I know Michael Behe well enough to reassure you that this story (which he calls a “cartoon example”) does not represent his preferred view, and I’m sure he would agree with you that it is far-fetched. Let’s attribute it to his keen sense of humor.”

    I am really happy of your reassurance. Indeed, that was the only part in his wonderful book which worried me a little…

  91. 91
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77:

    As far as the second site,

    http://www.reasons.org/resourc.....arth.shtml

    which I’m still going through, there’s no commentary by the author – don’t imagine there’s the equivalent of peer review to be found anywhere either – though I’m still surfing around looking for any other commentary on it.

    My initial reaction is how do we know all those variables are independent. He doesn’t address this at all. If the probability of factor A is .1 and factor B is .1 the combined probability is not necessarily .01 if the two factors are causally connected.

  92. 92
    JunkyardTornado

    My initial reaction is how do we know all those variables are independent. He doesn’t address this at all.

    correction
    (from article):
    “dependency factors estimate ? 10-96″

    OK, some dude name Hugh Ross has a dependency factor estimate of 10^-96. There are 6 mentions of this article on the world wide web.

  93. 93

    Well Junkyard,
    After reviewing the list again, My initial reation is that each Characteristic is sufficiently unique in underlying requirements to warrant its inclusion in the list. As well Dr. Hugh Ross does have that nifty reference list we can go through piece by piece if you want.

  94. 94

    Junkyard,
    That Dude named Hugh Ross is a PhD astrophysicist who has made many correct scientific predictions using his own uniquely devised creation mo^del. i.e. That dude is a Doc!

  95. 95
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77: You could have said to begin with, “Yes, the thesis of the Privileged Planet, is that the mere factors necessary for life to even exist exceed the probability bounds of the universe”, and then presented this paper. Instead, you directed me to some frankly embarassing, dumbed-down video, which only claimed that conditions for life were kind of rare, and that furthermore there were only 20 of these factors.

  96. 96

    LOL Junkyard,
    Now Now junkyard don’t feel too bad, would you have given me that same courtesy if you were in my shoes? I don’t think so. LOL, I’m still laughing about it. LOL

  97. JT — So, the conditions necessary for life on a planet are unremarkable enough that we would expect to have found them more often in the universe than we have?

    The conditions for life to exist appear to be quite remarkable, and if they weren’t we would expect life to be common throughout the universe as per Star Trek.

    And the fact that we haven’t suggests intelligent design?

    No, it suggests that we are the endpoint of creation :-)

  98. 98
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77:

    There’s no way for me to evaluate that list of 322 items unless some explanation for them are provided. Are these 322 items evaluated in detail in The Privileged Planet (Which, BTW have you read?) Where for example does it explain why X amount of tin is required in the crust of the planet for life to exist there, and that the probability of that amount of tin occurring is .1, and furthermore that such probability is independent of say, the occurence of zinc and potassium, which must also be present in the planet’s crust in amounts that have been determined with a great degree of certainity for life to exist there? Where does it do this for the other 319 items in the list? I think you implied you had some handle on this list yourself. Such a list, if it has a significant degree of validity, would be a phenomenal accomplishment for this guy to have achieved, one presumably that would have at least some recognition, acknowledgement, or analysis pro or con by others in his field. But I just don’t see anything.

    And if all this is elaborated on in Privileged Planet (in which case I need to get to the library) can you explain how on earth it morphed into that laughable version of it presented in the video?

    Regards

  99. 99

    Junkyard,
    I can just about guarantee you that Dr. Ross has every parameter on that list backed up by a peer reviewed paper in his List of references and/or in his book he wrote on the subject which he also lists on the site I referenced. As for why his exceptional work doesn’t doesn’t get recognition in the scientific community at large?
    Did you happen to notice the extremely cold shoulder that Dr. Behe got after his excellent book Edge of Evolution? Junkyard if you haven’t noticed there is an extreme bias against anything that may allude to an “Intelligent Designer” in science.

  100. 100

    Your post disturbs me Bill. This is the exact reason why I personally broke ranks with the creationists, even though I still am one. Your strategy will not work. The creationists tried it already and it has been proven not to work. We all need to stop being so focused on proving how right we are and do something positive. There were lots of scientists before Copernicus who proposed a heliocentric solar system. They all failed because they had no Kepler. And if Kepler had spent his time making propaganda and arguing with the Ptolemaic astronomers, he never would have had the time to make the discovery that ultimately allowed Copernicus to prevail. ID needs a Kepler, not a Goebbels.

  101. 101

    Junkyard ,
    As far as I know, Dr. Ross, whose paper I referenced, and Dr. Gonzalez, who authored the Privileged Planet, have not directly collaborated on this line of research. While Gonzalez research is first rate and very note worthy (he made many discoveries himself such as the galactic habitable zone), Dr. Ross’s work is in more of the hard hitting science variety as far as getting down to the nitty gritty details of the actual numbers.

  102. —–tragicmishap: “Your post disturbs me Bill. This is the exact reason why I personally broke ranks with the creationists, even though I still am one. Your strategy will not work. The creationists tried it already and it has been proven not to work. We all need to stop being so focused on proving how right we are and do something positive. There were lots of scientists before Copernicus who proposed a heliocentric solar system. They all failed because they had no Kepler. And if Kepler had spent his time making propaganda and arguing with the Ptolemaic astronomers, he never would have had the time to make the discovery that ultimately allowed Copernicus to prevail. ID needs a Kepler, not a Goebbels.”

    This argument always comes from our enemies and never from our friends. Basically, it goes something like this:

    “Why don’t you guys stop making the rational case for intelligent design and use the time to create a miracle of some kind. Then everyone will give you some respect.”

    It is a cute trick inasmuch it changes the focus from the fact that [A] ID has been shamelessly slandered even though it has the best arguments to [B] the charge that ID has not yet yielded sufficient practical results to blow away its critics. Obviously, it ignores the fact that Darwinism, the competing idea, has not provided a single benefit for mankind in 150 years. I will take a 15-year-old promise over a 150-year-old failure any day.

    Even if ID never produces another positive result, it has already challenged the anti-intellectualism of politically correct culture and helped it back on the road to intellectual and mental health. On the other hand, ID will likely offer countless other benefits, all of which will be ignored by the elitists for as long as possible.

  103. 103

    I will say that, ‘science’ aside, there’s one area I’d like to see more ID effort devoted to: The philosophical and rhetorically persuasive end.

    I would love for someone to write articles, even a book, at how what we see in biology and evolution clearly indicates (and favors) a view rooted in design rather than an assumption of unguidedness.

    Then again, maybe I should be the one doing that instead of just complaining from the sidelines.

  104. 104

    ba77: (#98,#99)
    A statement concerning the ministry of
    Dr. Hugh Ross
    by Borton Davidheiser: Ph.D., Zoology

    [Dr Davidheiser is a YEC creationist]:

    …Here is what Dr. Ross tells his audience about the second law of thermodynamics: “… If I was concerned about the second law of thermodynamics, I’d be very much afraid of my blood boiling or freezing. But I’ll tell you something. I don’t lose any sleep over it.” (Laughter from the audience.)He says that the probability of the second law not working is one chance in 10 power of 80. He does not say how he arrived at this but it would not be a fixed number. It would not be the same for water at room temperature rising one degree above room temperature as it would be for the same water causing blood to boil when ingested. But both would violate the second law. In the taped talk Dr. Ross tells the audience that the probability of thirteen Biblical prophecies, selected out of thirty-five hundred, coming true strictly by chance, is one chance in 10 power of 138. He does not explain on the tape how he arrived at this number, but it is by attributing very large odds against each one of these prophecies coming true, and the total number of prophecies from which the sample was selected is irrelevant. If the probability for each one of these thirteen prophecies coming true is taken as one chance in a million, the chance that all of them will happen is one chance in 10^78. If the probability for each happening is reduced to one chance in a billion, the probability for all of them coming to pass is one chance in 10^117. This is still short of his 10 power of 138 figure by a factor of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. With his figure of 10 power of 58 he concludes that this “means that the Bible, based on these thirteen predictions alone, is proved to be 10 times more reliable than the second law of thermodynamics”(10 power of 138/10 power of 80= 10^58). Flaunting figures like this impresses the naive, especially when the figures are used to uphold the Bible

    An especially competent scientist who is a creationist …says the naive followers of Dr. Ross will forgive him readily for his scientific mistakes and there is no need to mention so many of them, for “his errors are innumerable, and you could spend the rest of your life recounting them.”

  105. 105

    Nice little opinion piece junkyard;
    And that is what it is exactly an opinion piece. The reason why YEC have such a beef with Dr. Ross is that he is able and does provide scientific evidence (not opinions mind you) that YEC is full of holes. Read his blog reasonstobelieve.org, you will see he does not play when it comes to establishing facts using the scientific method.
    As a sidelight, if you are going to use opinion pieces to try to hold on to your positions, I would just as soon respectfully agree to disagree with you and not debate you any longer.

  106. 106
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77:

    I identified the source as YEC to let readers draw their own conclusion. I don’t withhold information as a debating tactic.

    Regarding Ross’ list – I think you’ve implied you personally vouch for the figures in it, and I was thinking if it were me what would it take for me to do the same. By no means would I have to see every single one of those 322 figures explained. But if I had read some of Ross’s work where he explained in detail maybe 10 or 12 of those in a very convincing way, maybe that would be enough for me to put my faith in the guy for the remainder. But I have searched the web and I don’t see anything were Ross is explaining any of these figures. (in case you are able to point me somewhere).

    After further reading, my understanding is that the Privileged Planet was in fact based around the 20 factors identified in the video. Now maybe the claims of Privileged Planet were quite a bit more conservative, by why would not the much more impressive list produced by Ross (who I believed was a consultant for the book in some capacity) have been utilized, if anyone was convinced at all of it validity.

    In searching the web, I did run across commentary somewhere to the effect that Ross merely looked at the attributes of earth, and assumed that since earth contains life, we would have to find another planet nearly identical to earth to find life. Maybe that’s not what he did, but its as good a guess as any, because no methodology is supplied at all.

    also from that YEC article:

    The first chapter of Genesis records the chronological order of events as they occurred during the creation week. Dr. Ross lists thirteen creation events and says the probability that Moses could have put all of them in the correct order, if he arranged them by chance and not by inspiration, is only one chance in six trillion (13 factorial = 6,227,020,800, or about six billion). But he says Moses did arrange them in the correct order. Except by faith, how is there any way of knowing whether Moses recorded the events in the right order or not? The only other basis for standardizing seems to be by comparing them with the order offered by “science,” that is, using as a standard the order give by evolutionary scientists in their textbooks. Actually, this is putting the authority of the evolutionary scientists above the authority of the Bible.

    He tells that the chance of the law of gravity not working is one chance in 10 power of 200. Newton’s law of gravitation, no doubt, is the most inclusive generalization ever made: Every object in the universe attracts every other object in the universe with a force proportional to its mass and inversely to the square of the distance between them. What would cause this not to work? However, gravity may appear not to work when a magnet lifts a paperclip from the top of a desk, but it is working. Gravity might even appear not to be working when a ball is thrown upward, but of course it is. Also gravity might appear not to work if a predominance of the randomly moving molecules in an object happened by chance to be moving upward in synchrony and the object levitates for a brief moment. But gravity still would be working. Furthermore, the probability of this happening would not be a definite number but would depend upon the size and weight of the object. It would not be the same for a grain of dust as for a freight locomotive.

    —————–

  107. 107
    JunkyardTornado

    Also my understanding is virtually everything he has written is contingent on a Big Bang Cosmology to which he is thoroughly and utterly committed. So the entire Bible is reinterpreted to make it to conform to such a view. Steady-state, plasma cosmology, etc. are completely ruled out.

    Seems like he has a lot of interesting observations, though. Not saying the guy is worthless.

  108. 108

    Junkyard , Did you even bother to check out the 258 references besides the ones he has in his book:

    http://www.reasons.org/resourc.....arth.shtml

    #1 All the references in Fine-Tuning of Physical Life Support Body by Hugh Ross (Pasadena, CA: Reasons To Believe, 2002) apply. What follows are 257 references that are in addition to those.

    Here is just one reference (#241 on the list) that shows why life is improbable on Europa just because of improper sulfate content (thus why it is a parameter for probability life on earth):

    #241 William B. McKinnon and Michael E. Zolensky, “Sulfate Content of Europa’s Ocean and Shell: Evolutionary Considerations and Some Geological and Astrobiological Implications,” Astrobiology, 3 (2003), pp. 879-897.

    Here are another site with 226 references for a similar paper he has done:

    http://www.reasons.org/resourc.....arth.shtml

    Yet Junkyard this apparently escaped your attention since you stated:

    But if I had read some of Ross’s work where he explained in detail maybe 10 or 12 of those in a very convincing way, maybe that would be enough for me to put my faith in the guy for the remainder,

    I am inclined to think that you do not even really care to learn when you pass up the footnotes, which are in plain sight, on his site, then cite an opinion piece, and then have the audacity to say he has not defended himself. If this indeed so, I think you would rather sidetrack the discussion with irreverent spin than to meaningfully contribute to any discussion.

  109. 109
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77:
    My original question was the following: “Does The Priviledged Planet say that the conditions they identified that are necessary for life on a planet are so rare that those conditions could not happen by chance in the Universe? Haven’t read the book, so was wondering if you have a reference if they address this”

    So the question concerned probabilities. I do not deny that life requires certain parameters to exist. The question is, of those 322 parameters listed by Ross, is there anywhere he says, “Factor X is required for life and the probability of factor X is P and here is how that probability was determined.” The tendency for Ross not to explain how probabilities were calculated was noted repeatedly in the YEC article I quoted, for example.

    Actually, after my last post i decided to bite the bullet and go through every article at ReasonToBelieve.org (Ross’s site) that contains the word ‘probability’. I am through about 28 of the 92 such articles, and so far, NOWHERE does he give an explanation as to how the probability for ANY factor necessary for life was calculated. That includes the article you just mentioned:

    http://www.reasons.org/resourc…..arth.shtml

    Undeniably here he gives a list of factors required for life, but he does not say how their probabilities were calculated (actually in that specific article he doesn’t even give the probabilities.) So IOW, its just an even less detailed version of the list you originally posted. I’m thinking that other reference you copied from his footnotes will also not give any method that was used to determine probability. (#241 William B. McKinnon and Michael E. Zolensky, “Sulfate Content of Europa’s Ocean and Shell: Evolutionary Considerations and Some Geological and Astrobiological Implications,” Astrobiology, 3 (2003), pp. 879-897.)

    I certainly don’t deny that even the mere conditions for life are highly improbable, but it would make a difference to say that it is highly unlikely they would arise more than once in the universe, as opposed to it exceeds the probability bounds for them to have arisen at all (the latter being what Ross says).

    But anyway, I should be finished going through these article in ninety minutes or so, but already I’ve found a lot of interesting quotes which I will list later (e.g. Ross explaining in detail why only carbon-based life-forms are possible.)

  110. 110

    Junkyard,
    How The probabilities are calculated is as they are calculated in the video I cited, Each parameter is given a very conservative number for occurrence such as .1 = 10%, .5 = 50%, .01 = 1% and so on and so forth. Since each parameter is sufficiently unique in its demand to be met, it warrants consideration in the list. Though as you noted may be is some unseen overlap for underlying concerns, thus his 10^-96 dependency factors estimate, which is again very generous for the calculation (he effectively eliminated about 90 parameters from the calculation with that dependency factor adjustment) Yet even with such a very conservative and generous allowance for dependency, he still easily passes the probability bound of the universe.
    Hope it is clear for you now.

  111. 111

    I should probably note that the probability bound here is just an arbitrary number for our purpose for this calculation since it is not on the microscopic level that we are dealing with.

  112. 112
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77:” should probably note that the probability bound here is just an arbitrary number for our purpose for this calculation since it is not on the microscopic level that we are dealing with.

    The microscopic level is irrelevant. You still have to consider probabilistic resources for something.

    (#110):
    I’m looking down that original list and for probabilities I see: .01,.001,.0001,.4,.3,.3,.1 and so on.

    The YEC talk about Ross assigning without explanation an arbitrary probability of 10^138 to 13 Biblical Prophecies coming true by chance.

    I want to find one place where the calculation of a probability is explained.

  113. 113
    JunkyardTornado

    ba77:

    Well, I’ve got articles 46-80 left (articles containing “probability” on reasons.org, Ross’s site) but I’ve hit the wall. If for some reason you want to go through those and find ANYWHERE a probability for a factor necessary for life is given AND how that probability was determined go ahead (or not).

    As I said, thus far in what I’ve searched, (1-45;80-92) there are none. There are a lot of interesting quotes, though:

    [Didn't necessarily want this to be a hit piece. Oh well.]

    ——————————
    First, scattered throughout the returned articles were pages containing questions sent in by listeners and/or readers. Here were some interesting ones:

    Kim from Denmark asked: How does Dr. Ross figure out all of those probabilities for the fine-tuning of the universe?

    David wanted to know: Are the probabilities calculated and the methods used to get them commonly accepted by the scientific community?

    Chris in Charlotte, NC: Is the use of probability a valid argument for the existence of God?

    Josh in Huntington, WV: Don’t we have to know about all of the fundamental constants before declaring the probability of the universe developing through random chance?

    What was interesting about the particular links above, is that you would click on them and they would go NOWHERE. They were dead links. They were the ONLY dead links in any of the returned pages.

    —————

    Letter from Ross to supporters:

    Dear friends,
    I started to write about probability theory and its application to the ongoing origin of life question, but my wife (and editor), Kathy, reminded me that this is a letter to friends, not another apologetics article. Guess which kind of writing is harder for me…

    —————–

    Here’s an interesting quote:

    “If we suppose that our universe is so constructed that the self-organization of life is not an unlikely event, then we have evidence of the supererogatory goodness of our universe, of its being more than just minimally fit for the existence of life. This supererogatory goodness of the universe would itself call for theistic explanation.”

    Consider what he is saying here (someone named Collins, I believe, or maybe it was Koons, not Ross though, but a full length article on Ross’s site): If life is not unlikely, that as well demands a supernatural explanation! So all these probability calculations by Ross and his people are pointless! Whether life is or is not unlikely, a supernatural explanation is demanded.

    ————————-

    In a pdf article, “Are We Alone” by Seth Cooper, Ross is quoted at length saying that only carbon-based forms of life are possible. Copying is turned off, so to read what he says, you’ll have to go to the article. In the same article it also says (somewhat incredibly) that evolutionary scientists have admitted that Ross’ calculations rule out life on earth coming from aliens.

    ——————-

    The figures for number of planets, number of habitable planets, etc at the end of the original list seemed quite definite and authoritative. But those values (and others) vary continually throughout Ross’s site:

    (Original list:)

    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in universe ? 1022
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10282(million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Here were some other values given:

    If, for example, each star in that 0.1-percent group has ten planets around it, the number of planets would add up to a hundred million trillion (that is, 1020).

    The data demonstrate that the probability of finding even one planet with the capacity to support life falls short of one chance in 10140 (that number is 1 followed by 140 zeros).15

    The overall probability of a given planet being habitable is 10^-33
    The probability that any given planet will manifest all 66 characteristics is less than 1 chance in 10 83

    This list [of essential life factors] grows longer with every year. It started with two parameters in 1966,1 grew to eight by 1970, to twenty-three by 1980, to thirty by 1990, and to forty by 1995.2 Currently, the list includes more than 120 parameters and shows no signs of leveling off.3 [2001]

    [the list as of 2004 had jumped to 322]

    ————-

    Interesting quote:

    [The probability angle in the following is what's kind of unsettling.]

    Astronomers and physicists have not proved in an absolute sense that the Creator is Jesus Christ, but they have demonstrated the enormous probability that He is. The probability numbers are large enough to eliminate other possibilities from realistic contention.

    However debatable may be the scientific inquiries that hinge on probability calculus, there can be little doubt about the clarity of scripture in this regard: It is unique to humanity that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

    …just the last decade, significant characteristics of the universe have for the first time been measured. In those measurements both the existence and the identity of the Creator have been unmistakably revealed. He is none other than the personal, almighty, transcendent God of the Bible. The facts and the probabilities have ruled out all other candidates.

    ————————

    The following are the articles that contained a lot of info related to life factor probabilities (without any of them actually explaining how probabilities were calculated):

    Worldview and science [1st returned article]

    Astronomical Evidences for the God of the Bible

    Theism vs. the Many-Worlds Hypothesis
    by Robert Koons, PhD

    Design and the Anthropic Principle
    by Hugh Ross, Ph.D.

    Design Evidences in the Cosmos

    Facts for Faith
    Issue 7 2001

  114. 114

    JY,
    your hung up on his method?

    here is an excellent site, other than Dr. Ross’s, for probability of Jesus fulfilling prophecy:

    Mathematical Probability that Jesus is the Christ

    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/radio034.htm

    excerpt:

    Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College, Peter Stoner, has calculated the probability of one man fulfilling the major prophecies made concerning the Messiah. The estimates were worked out by twelve different classes representing some 600 university students.

    The students carefully weighed all the factors, discussed each prophecy at length, and examined the various circumstances which might indicate that men had conspired together to fulfill a particular prophecy. They made their estimates conservative enough so that there was finally unanimous agreement even among the most skeptical students.

    From these figures, Professor Stoner, concludes the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of the prophecies (Idem, 107) – the likelihood of mere chance is only one in 10^17!

    Another way of saying this is that any person who minimizes or ignores the significance of the biblical identifying signs concerning the Messiah would be foolish.

    But, of course, there are many more than eight prophecies. In another calculation, Stoner used 48 prophecies (Idem, 109) (even though he could have used Edersheim’s 456), and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is the incredible number 10^157. In fact, if anybody can find someone, living or dead, other than Jesus, who can fulfill only half of the predictions concerning the Messiah given in the book “Messiah in Both Testaments” by Fred J. Meldau, the Christian Victory Publishing Company is ready to give a ONE thousand dollar reward! As apologist Josh McDowell says, “There are a lot of men in the universities that could use some extra cash!” (Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, California: Campus Crusade for Christ, 175).

    Thus even with the most unrealistic skeptics helping assign chances to the problem at hand you still soon pass Dembski’s PB threshold.

    As well I wanted to comment on the fact that you seem to be confusing the probability of a given sequence of atomic molecules filling a particular space shape, which is where 10^150 PB is applied, with the probabilities that certain overall environmental characteristics necessary for life will be met in any particular location of the Galaxy. They are two different things entirely, but if 10^150 is what you require for something to be impossible by chance so be it.

  115. 115
    JunkyardTornado

    correction:

    Here were some other values given:

    If, for example, each star in that 0.1-percent group has ten planets around it, the number of planets would add up to a hundred million trillion (that is, 10^20).
    [its 10^22 in the list above.]

    The data demonstrate that the probability of finding even one planet with the capacity to support life falls short of one chance in 10^140 (that number is 1 followed by 140 zeros).

  116. 116

    Now Junkyard,

    Here is the short video again:

    The privileged planet excerpt:

    Pay attention to how they assign probability to the 20 parameters they consider, then you will see how Dr. Ross assigns his probability.

    (If this doesn’t explain it for you I give up!)

    http://www.godtube.com/view_vi.....2b6b03a578

  117. 117

    If you notice revised and updated you will find that the more parameters that were discovered that were necessary for life would add to the probability. If you notice the dates the smaller probabilities are his earlier papers when he started this line of research.

  118. 118

    Correction

    If you notice they say either – revised and/or updated, and you will find that the more parameters that were discovered, that were necessary for life, the more they would add to the probability he calculated. If you notice the dates the smaller probabilities are his earlier papers when he started this line of research.

  119. 119

    StephenB: I’m not saying it’s fair that we need to make scientific leaps while Darwinism doesn’t. I’m saying if we wish to win this war, that is what is required. War isn’t fair.

    It’s simply human nature and social inertia. Darwin has inertia going for it. And average human beings will not give you the time of day unless you do something for them they can appreciate. Scientists and lay people alike are not inclined to give ID a chance because ID has not done anything for them. If we don’t come up with something like Kepler’s eliptical orbits that beautifully solves a pressing issue, very few will be motivated to muster the energy that it takes to overcome Darwinism’s greater inertia. It’s just human nature. It’s not fair or rational, but it is human.

    And it wouldn’t take “a miracle” as you suggest. We believe that ID is the superior scientific theory. As such, if applied rigorously it should yield scientific results that are superior to Darwinism. Right now, all I see is a lot of arguing about who is right about the current evidence. ID should be looking forward, creating new evidence and making new discoveries. Stop whining to the refs, and do what it takes to overcome the obstacles and win.

  120. —–”tragicmishap: “It’s simply human nature and social inertia. Darwin has inertia going for it. And average human beings will not give you the time of day unless you do something for them they can appreciate. Scientists and lay people alike are not inclined to give ID a chance because ID has not done anything for them.”

    I don’t know where you are getting this. The vast majority of the American people, at least those who care, believe in design and reject Darwinian evolution. The only reason that the chance worshippers (Dave Scots wonderful phrase) have any credibility at all is because the secular press and the secular academy keeps pushing it down our throats. We need to push back now. The discoveries will come in time, but maybe not right away.

  121. 121

    All I’m saying is that according to observable evidence, the propaganda approach has failed to make any headway beyond that which has already been made. Follow the evidence where it leads. Publishing picture books for ages 3-10 may have won public opinion, but it got creation science no further. You know what that approach did do though? It made creation science a laughing stock in the academic communnity, fit only for Sunday School children.

    Maybe we should be trying something different with our resources, as ID has always been advertised as “a new approach”. If as you say (and I agree), the public opinion war has already been won, why do we need to focus on that theater? It makes no strategic sense. Focus our resources on the front lines. Offensive warfare is all about applying a large amount of force at a small, weak point in the enemy’s defenses to achieve a breakthrough and a major victory. I don’t understand why “WIN THE YOUTH” is supposedly our most effective strategy at this point. IMO, that is now liberated territory. Now we have to win the adults.

  122. tragic

    Now we have to win the adults.

    No, we have to win our constitutional right to teach the controversy without teaching religion along with it. The prevailing theory of evolution is an emperor wearing no clothes. If it can be taught objectively it will get laughed out of the classroom on its own lack of merit. The opposition knows this is true which is why they must resort to legal chicanery to keep their exclusivity in the classroom.

    Creation science poisoned the well by a) starting from a literal interpretation of Genesis and making ridiculous arguments for how many disparate scientific disciplines from physics to geology to astronomy are all wrong and 2) trying to get the Genesis interpretation taught in science class which is not going to pass constitutional muster. The chance worshippers know that and have been very successful in equating intelligent design with creation science in order to win the court cases. Unfortunately they’ve been given a lot of help because it’s quite true that many, or at least enough, intelligent design proponents are guilty as charged. The Dover school board deserved to lose when the facts came out – lying under oath, hiding the source of money to pay for textbooks, declaring in school board meetings they were standing up for Jesus, and things like that. Intelligent design has to be divorced from the religious motivations. I fear that might not be possible. The well was poisoned too well. The only thing that appears to be possible at this point in time is teaching the scientific weakness of evolution by chance & necessity – God knows it’s incredibly weak and getting weaker every day. Once chance & necessity is put down something else will rise by default whether it’s taught or not because students are going to be able to figure out by themselves that if it didn’t happen by chance then it must have happened by design – there’s just no third option.

  123. Publishing picture books for ages 3-10 may have won public opinion, but it got creation science no further. You know what that approach did do though? It made creation science a laughing stock in the academic communnity, fit only for Sunday School children.

    Creation science is the laughing stock of academia because it was bad science, not because it was presented in Sunday school. The creation science of the past left a blemish on the new generation of creationists like myself.

    It is not well-known, but a fairly sizeable portion of the ID movement came from a mix of Old-Earth Creationists and re-treaded TE’s, and many of these were from academia. See: Eugenie Scott defeat Ed Brayton. I pointed out there, that ID was primarily for university students and professors, not kids.

    That means ID was geared to the adults and not to the youth initially. What needs to happen:

    1. Gear ID toward the youth

    2. If creation science is fixable, and if it gets fixed, then it can begin to wedge into academia like ID has. It’s not there yet, it has a ways to go [finding a revision to Maxwell's equations would be a good start if the creationist want to wage a serious scientific onslaught. Until then, creation science is like a great race car stuck in the mud]…if creation science succeeds, ID for biology will be proven beyond a shadow of doubt.

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    The only thing that appears to be possible at this point in time is teaching the scientific weakness of evolution by chance & necessity – God knows it’s incredibly weak and getting weaker every day.

    Who now? ;)

    PS I am led to understand “God knows” is a religion-neutral idiom. I just thought it was funny given your astute observation abouthow design should be taught.

  125. tragicmishap: this is an ongoing conflict over two world views.

    ID advocates celebrate freedom of expression, employ a legitimate scientific methodology, and go where the evidence leads. Darwinists deplore freedom of expression, impose an unduly restrictive process, and ignore evidence that does’t support their ideology.

    While I don’t accept creation science, I don’t think that it is nearly so ridiculous as radical Darwinism. To propose that God created the world in seven days is less laughable than to propose that everything created itself.

    So if school children are laughing about creation science, it is because Darwinists have brainwashed them in materialistic ethics. That means that we need to educate the next generation of children to refrain brainwashing the generation that follows them. That way they won’t shut down ID labs, withhold research funds, and, at the same time, demand to know why more research isn’t being done.

    It is one thing to have the majority on our side, which we do. It is quite another thing to be liberated from the tyrants who have the power to discredit our scientists and ruin their careers. It should not be necessary to come up with some new scientific breakthrough as a means of winning back our freedom of expression. If anything, that is putting the cart before the horse.

  126. Let us say the YEC case has a remote chance of succeeding. Fine, I’ll take that as a given….but what if Maxwell’s equations can be reformulated successfully in favor of YEC?

    Understand, the age of the Earth and Universe is an empirical, theoretical, and historical question. It does not have to be a theological question!

    If this simple question about reality is answered for a shorter time frame than say 100,000,000 years (not even 10,000), then Darwinism is toast!

    To that end, when I was at GMU, there was some discontent about mainstream cosmology. The question was, “how can gravity assemble stars and galaxies”. At least 3 professors and the chair of our Center for Space and Earth Observation, a PhD from MIT by the name of Menas Kafatos, beleived, gravity did not assemble stars and galaxies, but rather electricity!!!

    I’m now convinced gravity did not assemble stars and galaxies. God used electricity, not gravity!!!

    Maxwell’s equations deal with electricity and magnetism and light. These developments are friendly to YEC, because if the speed of light were faster in the past, a plasma cosmology could assemble stars and galaxies in a matter of hours — and any development friendly to YEC is friendly to ID.

    See:
    Plasma Cosmology Rocks!

    If the TE’s want some bloodletting, what will happen if in addition to their new foes (the ID proponents), their old foes (the YECs) re-join the battle. Whoa!

  127. Denis Alexander is director of the Faraday Instiute in Cambridge.

  128. scordova:

    1. Gear ID toward the youth

    Indeed. Preferably like soon to be EXPELLED John Freshwater did.

  129. 129

    DaveScot, I appreciate your analysis, but no scientific theory ever disappeared without a ready replacement. Most people cannot function without a coherent worldview. We need to be making positive arguments. People get frustrated with negative ones.

  130. 130

    StephenB:

    Regarding freedom of expression, that’s exactly what I’m worried about. I’m worried about tyranny of Darwinism being replaced with tyranny of ID or whatever. Science and humanity will gain nothing by replacing one form of indoctrination with another.

    “It is one thing to have the majority on our side, which we do. It is quite another thing to be liberated from the tyrants who have the power to discredit our scientists and ruin their careers.”

    Actually the advantage in the former area can very easily lead to the advantage in the latter. Raise funding for private scientific enterprise. Doing that would require a massive amount of money and minds, all focused on making discoveries rather than lecturing 8 year olds and insisting how right we are.

  131. 131

    One more comment: “DaveScot, I appreciate your analysis, but no scientific theory ever disappeared without a ready replacement.”

    ID is not ready, and I think we all know that. My point is that it getting even more people on board will not make ID more ready. The only way to do that is focus on the realm of creative ideas and furthuring science, not on propaganda objectives.

  132. tragicmishap

    ID is as ready as chance & necessity. Maybe more. We can at least prove that intelligent agents can cause complex specified information to appear where none existed before.

    Look at it like a murder case where we need to show means and opportunity.

    Chance & necessity – we can show opportunity but not means. In other words, we can place the alleded perpetrator at the scene of the crime but we can’t prove it had the means to commit the crime.

    Intelligent design – we can means but not opportunity. In other words, we can show that intelligent designers can cause highly improbable specified changes to heritable genetic material but we can’t prove the perpetrator was at the scene of the crime.

    As far as I’m concerned that puts chance & necessity and intelligent design on equal footing. Preferring one over the other is a matter of dogma not science.

    Plus the assertion that for a scientific theory to be falsified requires a replacement theory is a dog that doesn’t hunt. That is not part of any philosophy of science that I ever heard of. It’s a lame assertion made by chance worshippers and nothing more.

  133. —–“tragicmishap: “Regarding freedom of expression, that’s exactly what I’m worried about. I’m worried about tyranny of Darwinism being replaced with tyranny of ID or whatever. Science and humanity will gain nothing by replacing one form of indoctrination with another.”

    So, do you have any reason to believe that ID supporters will not tolerate those who disagree with them? You are being tolerated here, aren’t you?

    In any case, I get it. You feel a great sense of urgency that the ID community may someday gain power and tyrannize the Darwinist community, even though you have no evidence to support those concerns. On the other hand, you are not overly concerned that the Darwinist community already has power and tyrannizes the ID community daily, even though you have been given abundant confirmations of that fact.

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