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The Case for Intelligent Design

Posted by iusbvision on February 10, 2007

Why do I believe in Intelligent Design? The simple answer is of course that the Bible says so. However, for someone who does not accept the Bible as the source of absolute truth, that statement does not carry much weight.  So instead of explaining what the Bible says about creation, I will take this opportunity to share why I believe the Bible is the source of absolute truth, thus validating its statements about creation.

There are two particular reasons that I accept the Bible as God’s Word and thereby absolute truth. The first is its continuity. The Bible is the only book that was written over a 1500 year span, by over forty different writers from all walks of life, in different times and places, and in three different languages.  With all that diversity, it tells one story that all the authors agree upon. This is a phenomenon. I cannot find two people to completely agree upon a single subject, let alone forty! This is truly evidence that deserves attention.

The second is the fulfillment of prophecy. There are over 700 prophecies in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament. At least 175 of them deal with the first coming of Jesus Christ. Many prophecies would be easy for Christ fulfill Himself, as many critics have pointed out, such as praying for his enemies (Psalm 109:4) and remaining silent before his accusers (Isaiah 53:7). It is the prophecies that Christ had no control over which drive the point home, such as being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and  not having his bones broken during the crucifixion (Psalm 34:20), (a mandatory practice for those crucified).

These two examples are just two of many reasons that I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. As far as science is involved, the Bible has always been on the cutting edge of scientific fact, even before scientists made their discoveries. For example, Aristarchus (310 B.C. – 230 B.C.) is the earliest scientist believed to have theorized that the Earth had a set orbit. However, 600 years earlier, the Book of Psalms records that the Earth has been established so that it cannot be moved.  This is talking about the Earth’s orbit. It has an established orbit so it does not float into space.

It is also commonly believed that the Greeks discovered that the Earth was round.  Pythagarus, in 500 B.C. is commonly credited with this discovery. However, again, the Bible was on the scene first. In 800 B.C., the prophet Isaiah recorded that God “sits above the circle of the Earth”.  The Hebrew Bible taught this scientific fact hundreds of years before science “discovered” it.

There are many other examples that I would be happy to debate on our Weblog. I encourage both creationists and evolutionists to visit our Weblog for the free exchange of ideas.

Jarrod Brigham

85 Responses to “The Case for Intelligent Design”

  1. Sam said

    Jarrod,

    The stated underpinning of your pro-ID position negates any need for argument. Rather than attempting to spin ID as a legitimate scientific theory, you claim to support such a theory simply because it is consistent with the Bible (although in a recent perverse twist, even members of Discovery Institute dispute a literal reading in terms of creation).

    Anyway, your candidness is appreciated.

  2. Sam said

    Jarrod writes:

    “It is also commonly believed that the Greeks discovered that the Earth was round. Pythagarus, in 500 B.C. is commonly credited with this discovery. However, again, the Bible was on the scene first. In 800 B.C., the prophet Isaiah recorded that God ‘sits above the circle of the Earth’. The Hebrew Bible taught this scientific fact hundreds of years before science ‘discovered’ it.”

    Minor clarification: a circle does not necessarily represent a sphere or even one of slightly irregular shape, such as planet Earth. A circle is a two-dimensional object and could just as well represent a disk – a rather flat one at that.

    The Bible is most certainly not the origin of evidence or even claim that our world is a sphere. Spare me, please.

    :)

  3. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    Regarding your first statement, I would like to submit that (macro)-evolution has become as much of a religion as Christianity. There is no observed case in which one species actually evolved into another new species. Micro-evolution has been proven. Macro-evolution, however, is taken on faith.

  4. Sam said

    Rachel,

    As much as I am inclined to agree with you in your logic and supposition, you are extremely incorrect here. There is no possible way that advocates of macroevolution can provide you with a real-time video of macroevolution. You are requesting the impossible, just as the prosecutors of OJ Simpson were asked to present in a very similar way, despite the fact that virtually incontrovertible circumstantial evidence was provided in terms of his guilt, such as the 1:6 billion chance that blood other than that of OJ Simpson’s was present at the crime scene.

    There is no “religion” behind the fact of macroevolution. It is considered by almost every scientist in the world – Christian or not – to be an undeniable conclusion based upon a truly monumental mass of material evidence.

    You are requesting a literal “observation” of events that occurred in the past. That won’t be possible.

    I’m sorry that common descent is not congruent with your religious upbringing, but it remains a biological fact.

  5. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    First of all, common descent is not necessarily incongruent, in my mind, with my religious upbringing. Why do you assume that the issue I have with macro-evolution is necessarily based on my religious beliefs? You know what they say about assumptions – they make an ass out of you and umption (sorry, couldn’t resist the “Long Kiss Goodnight” movie quote). However, I think we should not call things facts which have not been shown scientifically to be facts.

    Second, I am not requesting this “observation.” The scientific method requests it of good science.

    Third, why did macroevolution only happen in the past? Was there a time when it just stopped for some reason? According to the Darwin I know, it continues. And if it continues, it should be observable (no, not necessarily in real time, but observable nonetheless.)

    Also, you say “almost every” scientist in the world believes macro-evolution to be fact. How many is almost every? Is it possible that almost every scientist who does NOT believe this, you dismiss out of hand? I just want to differentiate between solid science and ideology, which in the final analysis, is what religion is made up of. Also, it is noteworthy that there have been times in the past when “almost every” scientist believed the sun moved around the earth. In that case, almost every scientist was wrong.

    I am not one of those people with a Jesus fish on my car, nor do I have a Darwin fish with legs on my car. I usually leave the evolution debate alone, but I did want to make the point that there are very many people who defend evolution with the fervor of blind faith, and macro-evolution, so far, is only ideology.

  6. Sam said

    Rachel,

    You’re kind of scaring me here (also regarding your bizarre, seemingly offhand dismissal of the reality of global warming).

    Macroevolution goes on, but still it occurs over a long period of time – longer than we can demonstrate. You can’t videotape it. It’s not like placing a 640×480 camera in the ceiling of a convenient store.

    “How many is almost every”?

    Try 100%.

    Evolution has indeed been demonstrated by good science. By the way, are you a scientist?

    I’m going to ask this again: do you truly think you have any idea what you are talking about?

    Would you like me to cite 100,000 pages of peer-reviewed articles right here? Is that what it takes?

    You appear to suggest that your disbelief in macroevolution is NOT related your belief in Biblical creation. Is that what you’re saying? You’re just doing so based on your armchair scientific side? Surely the scientists are all wrong… right?

    I have no doubt whatsoever that your denial of macroevolution is based on your religious belifes, by the way. No idiot would believe otherwise.

    Evolution has indeed been shown to be a scientific fact. I regret that the weight of the evidence is incongruent with your spiritual beliefs and no matter what you say, we both know that it is the basis for your refusal to accept the reality of reality.

  7. Sam said

    I’m going to repeat what I said on the global warming thread: the exasperated nature of my replies should not be taken personally.

    Rachel… why couldn’t you have at least gone under the pseudonym of Chuck Norton?

    :):)

  8. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    Ouch. I’m not sure if the idiot referred to was me or what but, I will state again, I do not necessarily feel that macro-evolution is incongruous with my spiritual beliefs. My questions, and that’s what they are (I am not implying that I know whether it is fact or not), are based on a desire to have more information before I personally call something a fact.

    If someone presented evidence to me tomorrow that irrefutably proved macro-evolution, I would try to learn as much as I could about the mechanism for my personal knowledge, and I would go right on believing that God created human beings, however He chose to do it. It is hurtful to me that you would imply that I am lying about my motivation for questioning. Also, I think questioning is good; it’s what helps me learn, and it’s what help me figure out what I believe and why. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why my questioning evokes such vehement anger from you. It doesn’t make sense, unless, as I have stated, there is an element of faith/ideology in the belief in evolution. People get angry about faith and ideology, but facts are facts.

    Also, 100 percent of scientists believe that macro-evolution is a fact? Are you sure you want to make this statement? That’s a very strong statement to make without evidence. If I can manage (and I’m sure I can) to find ONE scientist who feels otherwise, your statement is shown to be false. Personally, I’m very careful about saying things like “always,” “never,” and 100 percent unless I am absolutely sure.

  9. Sam said

    Rachel,

    Believe what you want to believe about evolution. It is reasonable to question why someone such as you would cling to the idea that macroevolution isn’t true based upon the lack of real-time evidence. You refer to the notion of “irrefutable proof”. Aside from mathematics, theories such as gravity are generally not “proven” per se. A lot of it is based on “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”, i.e. P

  10. Sam said

    Rachel,

    Believe what you want to believe about evolution. It is reasonable to question why someone such as you would cling to the idea that macroevolution isn’t true based upon the lack of real-time evidence. You refer to the notion of “irrefutable proof”. Aside from mathematics, theories such as gravity are generally not “proven” per se. A lot of it is based on “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”, i.e. P is less than 0.05. In the case of macroevolution, P is less than 0.00000001. You don’t understand that or you don’t want to, which is fine.

    The main argument against common descent is not scientific, but rather a belief that man was created separately by God. Jarrod summed it up pretty well. Aren’t you a Christian fumdamentalist as well?

    Are you actually stating that you have a strong objection to the notion of common descent irrespective of faith, rather based solely on a careful analysis of the scientific findings thus far? If so, you are pitting yourself against an overwhelming volume of scientific evidence to the contrary.

    Don’t kid yourself Rachel or worse, profess to others in that capacity. The overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of common descent goes against the grain of your belief system. I’m very surprised you have the nerve to question that and/or the patently obvious fact that you question evolution simply based on your religious belief. You’re being absurd here.

    What percentage of scientists, in terms of a concensus on evolution, would satisfy you? I offered 100%. You countered by insinuating that if you could find one single dissenter, my statement would be refuted. Well, perhaps you can. (Age-old creationist argument) Perhaps the figure is closer to 94.6%. What does that show? Does it suggest that by virtue of sub-unanimous agreement among scientists, there remains a distinct chance that macroevolution is wrong?

    “It is hurtful to me that you would imply that I am lying about my motivation for questioning.”

    I’ll go out on a limb here. Yes, you ARE lying about your motivation for questioning. Perhaps irrelevant to your level of consciousness, you are on the surface LYING with respect to your motivation for questioning. You have NO idea what you are talking about, yet have no problem LYING about what is truly known in the world in order to falsely support your belief system, whether it be in favor of the absence of global warming (yes, you did state that – not just question the human cause of it) or the idea that God created man separate from other taxa.

  11. Rachel Custer said

    Sam,

    My whole point has been that I do not know whether or not macro-evolution has happened. I am not questioning the scientific evidence, I am trying to learn, as I stated. You can believe it or not, I really don’t care one way or the other.

    However, I must say, it amazes me that you seem to know so much about my belief system when I am still figuring it out myself. You base your accusations of dishonesty on the belief system you believe me to hold, which is, as you stated, one of “Christian fundamentalism” (with a blatantly negative tone). It seems to me you are unable to comprehend that I could question macro-evolution unless I am a “religious fundamentalist.” Therefore, you have obviously decided that you know exactly what I believe spiritually so that you can discredit my questioning. I try to deal with people as multi-dimensional and understand that sometimes people don’t fall neatly into the stereotypical categories that we often create for them. I thought you were able to do this as well, but perhaps in this situation, you are failing to see that I am a person with many different facets. Attempting to describe me and my belief system completely with the label of “religious fundamentalist” seems beneath your intellectual level, which I have seen on many other posts.

    You have stated before that you are a professor, I believe. Don’t you encourage questioning and attempts to gain additional knowledge by your students? Or do you respond the same way to their questions that you have responded to mine on this thread? I feel like this thread has started with misunderstanding and gone directly to plain meanness. I’m sorry if you still feel I am lying, but you will probably continue to believe what you want to believe. People are funny that way. However, I will continue to question what I believe, what I want to believe, and why, because I feel that is how I will grow in my beliefs.

  12. Chuck Norton said

    Sam POSTED ABOVE QUOTE –

    Sam Says:
    February 10th, 2007 at 8:10 pm
    Jarrod writes:

    “It is also commonly believed that the Greeks discovered that the Earth was round. Pythagarus, in 500 B.C. is commonly credited with this discovery. However, again, the Bible was on the scene first. In 800 B.C., the prophet Isaiah recorded that God ’sits above the circle of the Earth’. The Hebrew Bible taught this scientific fact hundreds of years before science ‘discovered’ it.”

    Minor clarification: a circle does not necessarily represent a sphere or even one of slightly irregular shape, such as planet Earth. A circle is a two-dimensional object and could just as well represent a disk – a rather flat one at that.

    The Bible is most certainly not the origin of evidence or even claim that our world is a sphere. Spare me, please.

    – END QUOTE –

    Sam,

    Jarrod is quoting the English translation of the Bible where Isaiah says “he who stands on the circle of the Earth”. You say that this is invalid because a circle is not a sphere. However if you look at the original text in the original language the word means roundness. There are several known flaws in the English translation, this is one of them.

    Do you say that the world is round? Lots of people do and we all know that it means sphere.

    “the suggestion that the Bible writers thought the Earth to be flat hardly deserves comment. Rather than teaching a flat Earth, those writers actually depicted our planet as a circular sphere. Isaiah said, in speaking of God, “It is He who sitteth upon the circle [Hebrew chuwg ] of the Earth” (40:22). William Wilson suggested these meanings for the word chuwg: “circle, sphere, the arch or vault of the heavens; the circle of the earth, orbis terrarum ” (n.d., p. 77). All of these renderings share a common thought—that of roundness, not flatness. The charge that the Bible gives credence to the concept of a flat Earth is baseless, and represents little more than wishful thinking on the part of the Good Book’s critics.”

    There are several scholars who have researched this.

    Also see – • Dr. Donald DeYoung, Ph.D. (Physics), Astronomy and the Bible, pg. 17, published by Baker Book House

  13. Erkki KochKetola said

    Modern biblical scholarship casts doubt on the original authorship of Isaiah, which could potentially mean that the text we have was written after the Greeks demonstrated that the world was round. Furthermore, Anaximander believed that the Earth was cylinder, with a flat top; such a belief could be what Isaiah is alluding to. We credit the Greeks with this discovery because they were the first to demonstrate it through empirical proof. It’s conjectured that Pythagoras was the first one to suggest a spherical earth (based on his idea of the “heavenly spheres”), a doubtful claim at best since his followers advocated a flat earth, but the first we know of to actually demonstrate it was Eratosthenes (Plato advocated a spherical Earth, and Aristotle also provided some reasons why the Earth ought to be spherical, but Eratosthenes was the first to actually demonstrate it through experimentation).

  14. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    Modern biblical scholarship, by which I assume you mean liberal Christianity, has become much less about biblical scholarship and much more about modern scholarship. If you are going to use it as an example, please at least link to your sources, so we can see for ourselves that they have an agenda.

  15. Erkki KochKetola said

    Rachel, my comment was made on the foundation of a well-established set of facts, i.e. it’s general knowledge. Take a look at any reasonably balanced article about Isaiah, and you’ll find the biblical criticism in there. I’m looking for information on the age of the oldest surviving text of Isaiah with little success. If anyone can point me in the right direction, I’d be much obliged.

  16. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    Here is a site I found; I’m honestly not sure how helpful it is, as I am working on a paper and only had time to do a quick search. Hope it helps.

    http://www.bibleandscience.com/languages/hebrew.htm

  17. anonymous said

    “However, 600 years earlier, the Book of Psalms records that the Earth has been established so that it cannot be moved. This is talking about the Earth’s orbit. It has an established orbit so it does not float into space.”

    Jarrod (or anyone else):

    Would you explain the logical progression from “Earth cannot be moved” to “it has an established orbit”?

    Did anyone interpret the statement this way prior to the establishment of heliocentric models? I would think that one would almost certainly take this statement literally, rather than deduce the notion of an orbit. I can imagine making the connection with hindsight and some imagination, but not deriving scientific value directly from this aspect of the Bible.

  18. Erkki KochKetola said

    The Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest, but I don’t think any of their text has made it into mainstream sources yet. Jarrod was likely using something based on the Masoretic Text, which dates to the 9th Century AD (or CE, as they like to say nowadays). Absent specific information on the age of the Isaiah texts found at Qumran, I can only speculate as to their age (the earliest possible dating being the 2nd Century BC). Contrast this with the fact that the Pythagoreans were known to have speculated that the Sun was the center of the Universe, a Greek astronomer in the 3rd Century BC offered a heliocentric cosmology, and Seleucus of Seleucia is known to have offered a mathematical proof of a heliocentric model in 190 BC.

    This is, of course, not definitive proof that the ancient Hebrews didn’t know that the Earth revolved around the Sun prior to contact with the Greeks. We know that the Hebrews were a literate people well prior to the 2nd Century BC, and there was a textual tradition upon which the Dead Sea Scrolls were obviously based. But we don’t know when heliocentrism entered Hebrew cosmology. Therefore, the oldest known discovery of heliocentrism is Greek.

    As to your conceit that “[t]he Bible is the only book that was written over a 1500 year span, by over forty different writers from all walks of life, in different times and places, and in three different languages…[w]ith all that diversity, it tells one story that all the authors agree upon,” let me quickly observe that:
    (1) The Bible is based on an oral tradition stretching back several millenia, which contains elements borrowed from or common to other oral traditions. For example, there’s a flood myth in every Indo-European and Semitic culture (which is likely to be based on the flooding of the Black Sea).
    (2) There are other mythological traditions that go back at least as far as, if not further than, the Hebrew tradition. Egypt and China both have very old traditions; China’s would be even richer if Qin Shi Huang hadn’t ordered the Burning of the Books and Burial of the Scholars.
    (3) Not all authors in the Bible agree with each other in every respect.
    (4) The account that we now consider authoritative was arrived at through a political process over the course of several centuries. Other branches of Christianity have different canons from that which the Protestants inherited from the Roman Church.

  19. Sam said

    Erkki,

    Your knowledge base is beyond me in terms of the histoty of all this. Is there any way you can water your post down to a take home message? Not to insinuate that Jarrod et al. lack a similar background.

    I’m also anticipating a response to the latest comment from Anonymous, because the same thing occurred to me. By stating that a planet is fixed, how does that allow one to conclude that they were talking about a relatively fixed orbit? Certainly beyond what I know.

    My lay-person understanding is that people thought the earth was “fixed” even much later, at least in the context of what the sun was doing. It’s hard to believe that the Bible speaks of Earth in orbit… but maybe so. I couldn’t say.

  20. Erkki KochKetola said

    Sorry, that should be “As to Jarrod’s conceit,” etc.

  21. Erkki KochKetola said

    Sam,

    Which post in particular?

  22. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    I think Jarrod was more referring to the fact that, while the Bible was written by over 40 different people from very different times and walks of life, it contains an amazingly cohesive message throughout. The story does not vary. The points made in the Old Testament are the same points and lead directly to and through the New Testament. It is so amazing as to be unbelievable, really; that is, unless there was a supernatural inspiration.

  23. Sam said

    “It is so amazing as to be unbelievable”

    I’ll go with that option in a nanosecond and actually, it doesn’t seem so amazing at all to someone like me that people of like-mindedness kept climbing on and adding to the original thesis. Just MHO.

    :):)

    Erkki: #18.

  24. Erkki KochKetola said

    Alright.

    Heliocentrism: We don’t know exactly how old the Dead Sea Scrolls are, and I’m not sure what their version of Isaiah says in that passage, so I could be wrong here. However, I seriously doubt Jarrod has any idea either. He cited a version of Isaiah that can be reliably dated back to the 9th Century AD. We know that the Greeks were talking about the sun being the center of everything by the 2nd Century BC. Ergo, they were the first we know of.

    The Bible being the oldest written tradition we have: Not true, but even so, so what? It’s based on an oral tradition that goes back even further, which was shared by other people. There are other written and oral traditions that go back even further that are about as consistent as the Bible. The Bible we have was, as you point out, based on a cumulative process of editing and compilation over the course of several millenia. Of course it’s going to agree with itself; people were trying to find ways to make that so.

    Rachel,

    Of course the OT points to the NT; or, rather, the NT points to the OT. Jesus was a Jew. Most of his followers were Jews. Early Christianity was an offshoot of Judaism. Duh.

  25. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    I guess I failed to make my point clearly. I’ll try to do so by an analogy. Think about a student in a library. He has a cart. He rolls the cart to one section of the library and pulls out a book at random; then he rolls the cart to another completely different section of the library and pulls out another book. He does so until he has picked out forty books.

    Now, what are the chances that these books, read together, written by authors from different times, different places, different viewpoints, would read as a cohesive story with one basic underlying message?

    You mentioned that “people are trying to make it [agree with itself].” However, people in general are very rarely able to make one point that withstands scrutiny the way the Bible does (for example, this blog…almost every post contains some mistake in either judgment or fact). And I am referring to every post by everybody. The people who agreed on the most fundamental truths of the Bible never met each other, and were as far apart politically, economically, and ideologically as they could get – before they met God. I will never convince you with these arguments. They are human and therefore fallible. To read the Bible as if it is divinely inspired, one must meet God and understand what it is that He is trying to say all throughout His Word. Or, at the very least, one must come with an open mind.

  26. Sam said

    Convergent (and purposeful) validity in this case marks a nice underpinning of the existence of Christianity, but not the correctness of many of its assertions. In particular, evolution and Biblical creationism are mutually exclusive options. Only one can be true and within the court of science, it is evolution far and away. Biblical creationism is definitely excluded by the laws of evolution. Biblical creationism is simply incorrect based on how science is defined in the modern age. Incidentally, many devout Christians such my mother have no problem accepting common descent. I actually feel that Biblical creationists, by virtue of arcane beliefs they hold onto, are willfully ignorant of the case for evolution (although they sure look hard at the pieces we don’t know yet).

    In any event, the analogy itself does not seem accurate. You have forty editors of the Bible over time and I would think that each of these editors had some idea of the nature of the work they were contributing to.

  27. Craig Chamberlin said

    I have two questions that might be pertinent to this discussion:

    1) If the world was not created by an intelligent designer – what other possibility could there be?

    A: Macro-evolution

    2) If Macro-evolution is true, then what created the single celled organism that had the capacity to evolve?

    A: Randomness?

    My implications here are simple:

    1) If an individual does not believe there is an intelligent designer then they will believe in the opposite (a world created by a random sequence of events). Ironically, how often does random and perfect coincide without an intelligent intercessor?

    Let me share a bit of wisdom, “If you look hard enough, you’ll find what you are looking for.”

    If someone wants macro-evolution to be true, then they will discover a way to fill the holes to make it true. This is the supposed ‘leap of faith’ referred to more often than not regarding evolution.

    The difference here is creationists are aware of their leap, and actually celebrate it – evolutionists are in denial of it.

    Now Sam will jump on this argument, suggesting I am making accusations. Before you do so, let me ask you this. While you have been adamantly defending macro-evolution on this blog, why is it you haven’t posted this supposed ‘hard hitting unrefutable evidence’ you consistently speak of?

    Your argument has been, “The Majority of Scientists agree with me.” But as you know, what many people accept as truth may not be, and here you are backing yourself into a corner because guess what, the majority of the population in the United States believe that Christianity is the truth – does this make it the truth? Obviously you do not believe so, or perhaps you are just unsure. Regardless, this is the logical deduction of your argument for macro-evolution.

    2) If an individual believes in Macro-evolution, they still cannot answer this question, and in doing so, even admit to the possibility of a diety or intelligent intercessor. Otherwise, they must admit that the beginning of the universe was completely and utterly random.

    However, there are inconsistencies that fall under this presumption. If the earth was created completely by chance, then the notion of intelligence and reasoning also ‘exist’ only by chance. However, intelligence is far too static and the consistencies of the universe also far too static for it to have occurred randomly. There exists a paradox in this logic.

    Lastly, can you prove to me 100% that macro-evolution is the underpinning of our entire existence? You cannot, because it requires to you believe, to a degree, in the tools science uses to determine our existence. Therefore, your faith is in your science and in mans ability to comprehend the universe. If this is where you want your faith about creation, that is fine, but admit to it instead of making accusations towards Christian creationists and denying that you take no leap of faith and therefore, you are correct and Christians are wrong.

  28. anonymous said

    Craig,

    If you are at all serious about discussing the biological theory of evolution, you should at least understand that it does not have anything to do with how Earth came to be, or even the origin of the first life form, for that matter.

    Your first question presents a false dichotomy for how the world was created, either:
    a) intelligent designer
    b) macro-evolution

    Macro-evolution has nothing to do with how the world was created (supernatural or not). It simply does not address this question.

  29. Craig Chamberlin said

    Anonymous,

    I respectfully disagree,

    When discussing the origin of the human species Macro-evolution theorizes the beginning as being single celled organisms. Thus the precedent established is that “In the beginning [of creatures on earth], there was a single celled organism…” The ‘theory’ of macro-evolution is based upon this hypothesis and this hypothesis is created with no firm basis other than presumptions about how macro-evolution has simply ‘worked out’ to get where we are today.

    Yes, I understand that we cant go back in time to find out whether or not this theory is true or this hypothesis is true, that is why the hypothesis requires a leap of faith – because it cannot be proven.

    Therefore, the presumption must be that an intelligent designer created the single-celled organism so that the organism could one day have intelligence. Show me ‘one’ instance of this happening in all time at any point in this universe. It is impossible to create something with higher intelligence than the creator or creators(let alone with the innate capacity to evolve into a creature of intelligence) without a creature of higher intelligence being its creator.

    If I create a computer program, I can only write it as intelligent as my capacity to write it and instruct it, I can not randomly enter data and have it assemble together into something that will one day evolve itself into something of higher intelligence (the crux of why artifical intelligence is unfeasable).

    Therefore, there is a conflict between creationism and macro-evolution, unless many want to compromise and say both are true. In other words, if someone believes in evolution, then they ought to also believe that the single celled organism was created by an intelligent designer – and if this is the case, believe this designer is of higher intelligence than the creatures it created (thus something with an intelligence cannot create something with a higher intelligence than itself).

    Even this is assuming the theory of macro-evolution is true, not taking into account the faith one must ‘also’ have in sciences capability to determine both the events leading up to the creatures that exist on earth today and its capability to actually prove that it is correct in its presumptions (is macroevolution seeming far fetched yet?)

    Let me explain it in another way. There seems to be some descrepancy as to what ‘truth’ is. Truth is something that is, and always will be – it is an absolute. Otherwise, truth does not exist and is subjective (which is both laughable and a paradox). Now, when scientists create their theories, they are not saying they are ‘truths’, they are saying they are ‘theories’ – which means they very well may be wrong. This is the irony here, is that although many scientists understand this – others (including Sam) come here and state “IT IS FACT”. Here is the primary fallacy in twenty-first century science. Scientists have never created or ‘discovered’ truths, they discover ‘observable facts’ and collaborate them into ‘theories’. This is an important job, to be sure, as without it we wouldn’t have many of the things we have today. However, modern science thinks it is discovering truth, which in essence, is not their job, even the best scientists admit to this.

    Now my controversial point begins. This is why [many?] people believe in the Bible and not in the theories set forth by science. It is because the story of Christ’s salvation has been the truth since it was preached. All inane details aside (debates about abortion, evolution, etc.) – the simple truth of the Bible preaches that Jesus died for our sins and through him, we can be freed from the pains [and guilt] of the sins of this world [this does not necessarily mean being happy all the time, nor does it mean life will be easy]. Find a Christian who has given himself to Christ who says this is completely and utterly false and I will be shocked – I have yet to find one. This is the point – truth is always true, theories are what they are, temporary. Science has seen them come and go. So, in essence, a person can build his life on truth – or he can build it on theory, they are given that option. Most do it with a combination of both. To each his own, it is not my place to judge, I am just making observations.

    So this is for those of you who sit back and ponder, “How can they possibly believe in this book?” It is simple, because it has stood the test of time for us time and time again. Science has not, and neither has man. Which one should I put my faith in? The answer may appear obvious to me, but it may appear as preaching to others.

    It appeared pertinent to your post, thanks for your feedback.

  30. Rachel Custer said

    Craig,

    Some excellent points. Evolution states that all life spring from other, previously existing life. However, it fails to account for the fact that, one time and ONLY one time, this natural law had to be violated and life had to spring from no life. One time. If it happened, why hasn’t it happened since? And how does it happen? It is counterintuitive to everything we understand as humans. “Something” does not, in our experience, spring from “nothing.” And yet, people who believe evolution must believe that this happened, once and only once.

  31. anonymous said

    Craig,

    Do you accept ANY scientific theories (e.g. gravity, plate tectonics, etc)?

    Do you fault our understanding of gravity for not explaining from where mass comes?

    Seriously, what is it about evolution that you do not like scientifically? Within the realm of biology, can you list a SINGLE observation that is inconsistent with evolutionary theory?

    I suspect you won’t accept this fact, but you clearly do not understand what is meant by the term scientific theory.

  32. anonymous said

    “And yet, people who believe evolution must believe that this happened, once and only once.”

    Rachel, Your statement is not true. The only people who must believe this are atheists. Evolution does not imply atheism. It is merely a theory to explain the record of, and ongoing, biological diversification that we observe.

    Nothing about evolutionary theory precludes the notion that God started the process.

    Evolutionary theory is just like gravity in that it describes a mechanism by which observable phenomena occur; it does not explain WHY things behave they way they do or WHAT got them started.

    The conflict for some comes because evolutionary theory (and astronomy and cosmology and chemistry and geology) directly contradict a LITERAL interpretation of Genesis.

    If you choose to believe that a literal interpretation of the Bible is the only real Truth, that’s fine. But if that is the case, then your problem is with science, not evolutionary biology.

  33. Erkki KochKetola said

    Rachel,

    The Bible does not agree with itself 100%. There are numerous contradictions in it, but insofar as anyone does agree on anything, it’s because they were working within the same mythos. For examples of other mythoi that agree with each other to the same extent that the Bible does, you might want to check out the various versions of Leif Eriksson’s story of the colonization of Greenland.

    As to the rest, you guys are showing that you don’t understand what science is all about. Your comment, for example (#30) displays profound ignorance (or willful distortion). Life does not only come from other life; otherwise, yes, there had to have been a god. We don’t precisely understand how life came about, but there have been experiments done that demonstrate that organic molecules can be spontaneously generated under the right conditions. Once you have organic chemistry, the rest is basically details.

    You people are basically arguing for a “God of the Gaps,” stating that since science cannot precisely describe something, it’s worthless as a tool for describing it. This is not how the scientific method works. First, scientists accept that we may never know everything (and that no one person can know everything). A scientific theory is an attempt to explain what we do know. Second, a scientific theory is always subject to falsifiability. Although many scientific theories have been abandoned (e.g., caloric theory of heat), many more are still accepted as working at a certain level of observation; take, for example, the relationship between Newtonian physics and quantum theory – the former operates at the macroscopic level and the latter at the atomic level. Even Newton’s laws of motion are still taught, even though we know that Newton’s theories were flawed in many respects. Third, science only deals with natural phenomena, not supernatural phenomena. God is supernatural, and therefore is not amenable to scientific understanding. This is not a flaw with science, but rather a flaw with God.

    Your inability to deal with the fact that the Bible does not have to be the truth – this is the real issue, not whether it is true, but whether it must be true – is not our problem. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence on evolution explicitly and implicitly contradicts both Theistic Creationism and Intelligent Design. This is not our opinion, this is a fact – it is not a fact because we say it is, but because it simply is a fact. If you have any doubts, the library has some excellent texts and access to a lot of excellent journal articles on evolutionary biology. I strongly recommend reading them.

    In short, read a fucking book. When you’re ready to move past the magical realism into the simply real, we’ll have something to talk about. Meanwhile, I’m done here, because I don’t have time to continue arguing with the invincibly ignorant.

  34. Craig Chamberlin said

    Anonymous,

    Do you accept ANY scientific theories (e.g. gravity, plate tectonics, etc)?

    Do I accept them as credible observations made by science? Of course. Do I accept them as absolute truths? Forgive me for saying no.

    Do you fault our understanding of gravity for not explaining from where mass comes?

    Irrelevant, I place fault nowhere. Science is the collaboration of ‘observable facts’ into ‘theories’. Because science cannot explain something it has observed it just means it has not observed it yet or adequately deduced the facts that fall within the realm of its understanding. You are changing the subject here.

    Seriously, what is it about evolution that you do not like scientifically? Within the realm of biology, can you list a SINGLE observation that is inconsistent with evolutionary theory?

    You didn’t read my post, go back up and read it again. Evolutionary theory has no firm basis. Period. It is a guess, although an educated one at that, held up with deep conviction as if it is absolute. In reality, no science is.

    I suspect you won’t accept this fact, but you clearly do not understand what is meant by the term scientific theory.

    Offer me a correction and I’ll gladly listen. You have responded to nothing made in my post, which leads me only to suspect that either you didnt understand it or you have no response to it and therefore, I am correct in my presumptions.

    You stated to Rachel:

    Rachel, Your statement is not true. The only people who must believe this are atheists. Evolution does not imply atheism. It is merely a theory to explain the record of, and ongoing, biological diversification that we observe.

    Now you are either lying, living in denial or simply not paying attention to my argument above. All creatures evolved from one single celled organism can not be 100% proven, and will never be proven, and therefore requires a leap of faith on the part of the ‘believer’. Lest you create a time machine, you are putting your faith in science and man. What Rachel stated is the absolute truth one has to face when they accept Macroevolution. “Where did that cell come from?” I’m not suggesting your theory answers this question, but it is certainly forced upon you. Do with it what you will.

    In adopting a theory as truth, you accept a truth that forces additional questions onto you – a person needs to be able to answer these important questions. In offering up macro-evolution science has actually suggested intelligent design. Imagine that.

  35. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    Cute rant. Offer responses to my arguments and I may take you seriously. The fact is macro-evolution forces new questions that you refuse to accept or understand. You can try to mask it with arguments “god in the gaps” you read about on wikipedia – but someone who can truly critically think about these issues can address arguments head on. I’d suggest this for yourself rather than making accusations with no context.

    It would definitely further the discussion.

  36. Rachel Custer said

    Erkki,

    We have, as I noted above, come to an impasse. Your faith leads you to believe what you believe, and mine leads me to believe what I believe. The difference in our world views seems to be that you feel it is ok to look down on people who do not believe in your faith, and to imply their ignorance. May I ask, Erkki, how many times you have read the Bible or other books on the Christian faith written by Christians and not people attempting to undermine Christianity or view it in terms of the world? Should I assume that, because you do not understand Christianity, you never read a book? My mother used to tell me something that I think is applicable to your last post: the de facto use of expletives implies that one does not have a good enough vocabulary to say what they would like to say in an educated way, and shows ignorance. You can read all the books you like, but if you continue to speak in an uneducated way, you will always appear uneducated.

  37. Sam said

    Craig,

    “1) If the world was not created by an intelligent designer – what other possibility could there be?

    A: Macro-evolution”

    The Wedge strategy has attempted in its recent history to suggest what is known as a contrived dualism on the question of origins. If evolution can’t explain all of commen descent (yet), one should consider the only alternative, namely intervention this process by way of an intelligent source. Yet, presumably other mechanisms could be proposes as alternatives as well. No such serious alternative hjas been proposed. The most glaring problem with the underpinning of the ID movement is that it proposes that (1) any current shortomings of the theory of evolution could be overcome instantly by suggesting if evolution can’t yet explaining every conceivable facet, ID could just step right in and fill those gaps and/or replace the entire underpinning of macroevolution and/or speciation. It is an argument by default in its nature.

    Interestingly, what you are doing is switching this around. If ID isn’t true, then macroevolution must be true. Still a contrived duality in terms of the possible explanations for the chronic propagation of species differentation. The best-established explanation for the diversity of life on the planet, chronologically as well snap-shot, is that of macroevolution. The evidence for macroevolution (common descent) is massive and so far, not a single piece of evidence supporting it has been shown to be false or incorrect. This isn’t the same as observing that the continually-refined scientific theory of evolution doesn’t answer every question at any single point in time. It has answered most already, however.

    “2) If Macro-evolution is true, then what created the single celled organism that had the capacity to evolve?

    A: Randomness?”

    As stated by Anonymous, the theory and fact of common descent spend less time pondering the question of how inorganic matter on the earth hundreds of millions of years ago gave rise to life as we know it. A few mechanistic explanations have been suggested, but evolution theory (when I say evolution, I am referring specifically to macroevolution, speciation or common descent – all essentially the same thing) is applied more appropriately to what happens in the evolution of life once it has been started. It really does not focus on how certain atoms or molecules came together and produced the first organic compounds, the first prokaryotic one-celled organism, etc. The question you asking is essentially beyind – or a prior – to questioning the fact of macroevolution.

    “My implications here are simple:

    1) If an individual does not believe there is an intelligent designer then they will believe in the opposite (a world created by a random sequence of events). Ironically, how often does random and perfect coincide without an intelligent intercessor?”

    In line with the comments of Anonymous, I don’t think that evolution has attempted to offer a major case for, less than insist upon, a biological explanation for development of the earliest form of biological life. Also, you use the term “random” in a way that suggests you may not really have a basic understanding of how macroevolution works. The progression isn’t actually random as you portend it to be.

    “Let me share a bit of wisdom, ‘If you look hard enough, you’ll find what you are looking for.’”

    I don’t believe that was Darwin’s mindeset back in the mid-1800s. He was not looking for a rational simply to support his supposed athestic inclinations. People weren’t necessarily looking for a pattern like evolution prior to observing eventually that a growing multitude of scientifically- validates observations would lead any reasonable-minded individual that common descent was clearly a strong candidate for explaining the diversity of life on the planet, irrespective of the religious inclination of the investigator whi generally holds true to this day. Even if Darwing DID develop suspicions regarding speciation prior to his elegant amassing of an assortment of a wealth of data supporting such a supposition, logic should not lead one to determine that his speculations were incorrect simply because he entertained them beforehand. In fact, this sort of logical thought rocess drives much of current scientific progress. As an example, scientists began to suspect the existence of black holes based on astrological patters within the universe. Subsequent examination of hard and extensive data, admittedly based on prior suspicion based on much less data, actually led to a much more firm scientific premise for the existence of black holes. Note that we still can’t see black holes. I would like to know if this is necessarily a problem for you.

    In short, I disagree with the logical premise of your statement. Just because you suspect something to be true does not necessarily lead to a situation in which essentially all available evidence shall bring you closer to that original hunch.

    “If someone wants macro-evolution to be true, then they will discover a way to fill the holes to make it true.”

    You are making the case above that people construe the evidence for evolution to be true only because they wanted it to be so in the first place, and that this dogma-driven approach is a better explanation as to why scientists are now so certain among themselves regarding the fact of evolution. Your argument boils down to “when there’s a will, there’s a way” and it represents an attempt to place evolutionary thought and ID on equal grounds (each supposedly “vying” for the true explanation… contrived dualism again). With all due respect, Craig, it’s a scarily weak argument, not even one that exists among the scientific community. We might all well state the same about black holes, about gravity, about the speed of light. The manner in which you observe an apple falling to the ground is exactly the manner in which scintists, mainly biologists, observe the evidence for common descent.

    “This is the supposed ‘leap of faith’ referred to more often than not regarding evolution.

    At least within the scientiic community, you couldn’t be more wrong.

    “The difference here is creationists are aware of their leap, and actually celebrate it – evolutionists are in denial of it.”

    No, that is the difference between faith based on theistic authority (scriptures, for example) and belief in a reality based on observation of natural phenomenona using established principles of natural science exploration. Your attempt to equate the two approaches is in error. You might be aware of some leap of faith in terms of what you believe about the large question of the meaning of life. Evolutionists are quite certain from scientific peer-reviewed evidence about the propagation of life on the planet, which does happen to disagree with Biblical creationism (He said; He said; He said; etc.) Once again, many Christians have no problem ackowledging the reality of evolution.

    “Now Sam will jump on this argument, suggesting I am making accusations. Before you do so, let me ask you this. While you have been adamantly defending macro-evolution on this blog, why is it you haven’t posted this supposed ‘hard hitting unrefutable evidence’ you consistently speak of?”

    I guess that I haven’t because so many peer-reviewed books, websites, individual articles, conferences, etc. have been devoted to all the details to such an enormous extent that I wondered to myself (short of providing multiple links, which I provided already), what would the IUSB Vision staff like to see directly within the space of this weblog? You are now calling me to the carpet, asking me to provide the evidence in favor of evolution for all Vision bloggers to see. Perhaps in a starnge twist, you are actually asking me to paraphrase in my own words this body of evidence, conceivably to prove that I understand the content of the sources I would otherwise simply cite. We all have lots of other things to do with our time and I hope you are not actually suggesting that I lake my own time literally rehas hundreds of thousands of pages of peer-reviewed vidence not only in support of macroevolution theory, but perhaps even the sizeable wealth of data refuting the most recent creationists arguments. So let me honor your request in two ways. First, I will provide several links that summarize most of the evidence in favor of evolution. Where it seems reasonable I will lift text out of certain sections, simply in order to spare you and other interested readers from having to examine those links.

    Thus, below is a list of several primary links that have taken years to amass and organize the scientific evidence for evolution:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#proof

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html#pred4

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/default.html#intro

    For good measure, below is a near-exhaustive scientific refutation of the previous young earth creationists arguments (not that you asked):

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/howgood.html

    It sounds, as well, as though you wanted some direct text in terms of “hard-hitting evidence” underscoring the reality of common descent. I’m sure you are already wondering why all of th this pro-evolution evidence has been catalogued within a single site. Doesn’t this make sense? People concerned about organizing this evidence precisely for the likes of you have made a humongous attempt over many recent years to place almost everything within one link – a vast summary of peer-reviewed research demonstrating the reality of common descent – purely for your convenience.

    Given that you seemed to be requesting some actual text within my response in favor of the overwhelming evidence for evolution, I am quoting the text below verbatim from one of the links above (29+ evidences) not that I will finish answering Craig’s questions at the botom (also I realize that some of this lift may be difficult to follow for various reasons):

    29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

    Part 1:
    The Unique Universal Phylogenetic Tree

    Copyright © 1999-2004 by Douglas Theobald, Ph.D.

    Previous
    Next
    “As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever-branching and beautiful ramifications.”

    Charles Darwin
    The Origin of Species, p. 171

    Part 1 Outline

    The fundamental unity of life
    A nested hierarchy of species
    Independent determination of the historical phylogeny
    Statistics of incongruent phylogenies
    Intermediate and transitional forms
    Reptile-birds
    Reptile-mammals
    Ape-humans
    Legged whales
    Legged seacows
    Chronology of common ancestors
    References
    Prediction 1.1: The fundamental unity of life

    “OH JEHOVA, quam ampla sunt opera Tua.”
    – Carolus Linnaeus
    at the beginning of Systema Naturae, 1757
    According to the theory of common descent, modern living organisms, with all their incredible differences, are the progeny of one single species in the distant past. In spite of the extensive variation of form and function among organisms, several fundamental criteria characterize all life. Some of the macroscopic properties that characterize all of life are (1) replication, (2) heritability (characteristics of descendents are correlated with those of ancestors), (3) catalysis, and (4) energy utilization (metabolism). At a very minimum, these four functions are required to generate a physical historical process that can be described by a phylogenetic tree.

    If every living species descended from an original species that had these four obligate functions, then all living species today should necessarily have these functions (a somewhat trivial conclusion). Most importantly, however, all modern species should have inherited the structures that perform these functions. Thus, a basic prediction of the genealogical relatedness of all life, combined with the constraint of gradualism, is that organisms should be very similar in the particular mechanisms and structures that execute these four basic life processes.

    Confirmation:

    The common polymers of life

    The structures that all known organisms use to perform these four basic processes are all quite similar, in spite of the odds. All known living things use polymers to perform these four basic functions. Organic chemists have synthesized hundreds of different polymers, yet the only ones used by life, irrespective of species, are polynucleotides, polypeptides, and polysaccharides. Regardless of the species, the DNA, RNA and proteins used in known living systems all have the same chirality, even though there are at least two chemically equivalent choices of chirality for each of these molecules. For example, RNA has four chiral centers in its ribose ring, which means that it has 16 possible stereoisomers—but only one of these stereoisomers is found in the RNA of known living organisms.

    Nucleic acids are the genetic material of life

    Ten years after the publication of The Origin of Species, nucleic acids were first isolated by Friedrich Miescher in 1869. It took another 75 years after this discovery before DNA was identified as the genetic material of life (Avery et al. 1944). It is quite conceivable that we could have found a different genetic material for each species. In fact, it is still possible that newly identified species might have unknown genetic materials. However, all known life uses the same polymer, polynucleotide (DNA or RNA), for storing species specific information. All known organisms base replication on the duplication of this molecule. The DNA used by living organisms is synthesized using only four nucleosides (deoxyadenosine, deoxythymidine, deoxycytidine, and deoxyguanosine) out of the dozens known (at least 102 occur naturally and many more have been artificially synthesized) (Rozenski et al. 1999; Voet and Voet 1995, p. 969).

    Protein catalysis

    In order to perform the functions necessary for life, organisms must catalyze chemical reactions. In all known organisms, enzymatic catalysis is based on the abilities provided by protein molecules (and in relatively rare, yet important, cases by RNA molecules). There are over 390 naturally occurring amino acids known (Voet and Voet 1995, p. 69; Garavelli et al. 2001); however, the protein molecules used by all known living organisms are constructed with the same subset of 22 amino acids.

    The univeral genetic code

    There must be a mechanism for transmitting information from the genetic material to the catalytic material. All known organisms, with extremely rare exceptions, use the same genetic code for this. The few known exceptions are, nevertheless, simple and minor variations from the “universal” genetic code (see Figure 1.1.1) (Lehman 2001; Voet and Voet 1995, p. 967), exactly as predicted by evolutionary biologists based on the theory of common descent, years before the genetic code was finally solved (Brenner 1957; Crick et al. 1961; Hinegardner and Engelberg 1963; Judson 1996, p. 280-281).

    The scientists who cracked the genetic code in the 1950’s and 1960’s worked under the assumption that the code was universal or nearly so (Judson 1996, p. 280-281). These scientists (which included Francis Crick, Sydney Brenner, George Gamow, and several others) all made this assumption and justified it based upon evolutionary reasoning, even in the complete absence of any direct experimental evidence for a universal code.

    Figure 1.1.1. The standard genetic code and known variant nuclear codes. (1) Candida, a unicellular yeast. (2) Micrococcus. (3) ciliated protozoans and green algae. (4) Mycoplasma. (5) suppressor codon in bacteria. (6) Euplotes. (7) the selenocysteine codon (8) Spiroplasma. (9) Micrococcus. (10) resume codon in ssrA RNA (Lehman 2001).

    “Crick urged on his companions two other simplifying assumptions of great audacity. … they assumed, with some apprehension, that the genetic code would be the same for all living things. There was no evidence whatever for this; …. Yet universality seemed inevitable for an obvious reason: since a mutation that changed even one word or letter of the code would alter most of a creature’s proteins, it looked sure to be lethal.” (Judson 1996, p. 280-281)

    In fact, the assumption of a universal genetic code was instrumental in their success in solving the code. For instance, in 1957, nearly ten years before the genetic code was finally solved, Sydney Brenner published an influential paper in which he concluded that all overlapping triplet codes were impossible if the code was universal (Brenner 1957). This paper was widely considered a landmark work, since many researchers were leaning towards an overlapping code. Of course, it turned out that Brenner was correct about the nature of the true code.

    In 1961, five years before the code was deciphered, Crick referenced Brenner’s work in his landmark report in the journal Nature, “General nature of the genetic code for proteins” (Crick et al. 1961). Although the organism used in the paper was the bacterium E. coli, Crick titled the paper “the genetic code for proteins”, not “a genetic code” or “the genetic code in E. coli”. In this paper, Crick and others concluded that the code was (1) a triplet code, (2) non-overlapping, and (3) that the code is read from a fixed starting point (i.e. the “start” codon) (Crick et al. 1961). These conclusions were explicitly based on the assumption that the code was essentially the same in tobacco, humans, and bacteria, though there was no direct empirical support for this assumption. These conclusions, when applied to organisms from bacteria to humans, turned out to be correct. Thus, experimental work also assumed a universal code due to common descent.

    In fact, in 1963—three years before the code was finally solved—Hinegardner and Engelberg published a paper in Science formally explaining the evolutionary rationale for why the code must be universal (or nearly so) if universal common descent were true, since most mutations in the code would likely be lethal to all living things. Note that, although these early researchers predicted a universal genetic code based on common descent, they also predicted that minor variations could likely be found. Hinegardner and Engelberg allowed for some variation in the genetic code, and predicted how such variation should be distributed if found:

    “… if different codes do exist they should be associated with major taxonomic groups such as phyla or kingdoms that have their roots far in the past.” (Hinegardner and Engelberg 1963)

    Similarly, before alternate codes were found, Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel expressed surprise that minor variants of the code had not been observed yet:

    “It is a little surprising that organisms with somewhat different codes do not coexist.” (Crick and Orgel 1973, p. 344)

    Crick and Orgel were correct in their surprise, and today we know of about a dozen minor variants of the standard, universal genetic code (see the grey, red, and green codons in Figure 1.1.1). As Hinegardner and Engelberg predicted, the minor variations in the standard genetic code are indeed associated with major taxonomic groups (vertebrates vs. plants vs. single-celled ciliates, etc.).

    Common metabolism

    All known organisms use extremely similar, if not the same, metabolic pathways and metabolic enzymes in processing energy-containing molecules. For example, the fundamental metabolic systems in living organisms are glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. In all eukaryotes and in the majority of prokaryotes, glycolysis is performed in the same ten steps, in the same order, using the same ten enzymes (Voet and Voet 1995, p. 445). In addition, the most basic unit of energy storage, the adenosine triphosphate molecule (ATP), is the same in all species that have been studied.

    Potential Falsification:

    Thousands of new species are discovered yearly, and new DNA and protein sequences are determined daily from previously unexamined species (Wilson 1992, Ch. 8). At the current rate, which is increasing exponentially, nearly 30,000 new sequences are deposited at GenBank every day, amounting to over 38 million new bases sequenced every day. Each and every one is a test of the theory of common descent. When I first wrote these words in 1999, the rate was less than one tenth what it is today (in 2006), and we now have 20 times the amount of DNA sequenced.

    Based solely on the theory of common descent and the genetics of known organisms, we strongly predict that we will never find any modern species from known phyla on this Earth with a foreign, non-nucleic acid genetic material. We also make the strong prediction that all newly discovered species that belong to the known phyla will use the “standard genetic code” or a close derivative thereof. For example, according to the theory, none of the thousands of new and previously unknown insects that are constantly being discovered in the Brazilian rainforest will have non-nucleic acid genomes. Nor will these yet undiscovered species of insects have genetic codes which are not close derivatives of the standard genetic code. In the absence of the theory of common descent, it is quite possible that every species could have a very different genetic code, specific to it only, since there are 1.4 x 1070 informationally equivalent genetic codes, all of which use the same codons and amino acids as the standard genetic code (Yockey 1992). This possibility could be extremely useful for organisms, as it would preclude interspecific viral infections. However, this has not been observed, and the theory of common descent effectively prohibits such an observation.

    As another example, nine new lemur and two marmoset species (all primates) were discovered in the forests of Madagascar and Brazil in 2000 (Groves 2000; Rasoloarison et al. 2000; Thalmann and Geissmann 2000). Ten new monkey species have been discovered in Brazil alone since 1990 (Van Roosmalen et al. 2000). Nothing in biology prevents these various species from having a hitherto unknown genetic material or a previously unused genetic code—nothing, that is, except for the theory of common descent. However, we now know definitively that the new lemurs use DNA with the standard genetic code (Yoder et al. 2000); the marmosets have yet to be tested.

    Furthermore, each species could use a different polymer for catalysis. The polymers that are used could still be chemically identical yet have different chiralities in different species. There are thousands of thermodynamically equivalent glycolysis pathways (even using the same ten reaction steps but in different orders), so it is possible that every species could have its own specific glycolysis pathway, tailored to its own unique needs. The same reasoning applies to other core metabolic pathways, such as the citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation.

    Finally, many molecules besides ATP could serve equally well as the common currency for energy in various species (CTP, TTP, UTP, ITP, or any ATP-like molecule with one of the 293 known amino acids or one of the dozens of other bases replacing the adenosine moiety immediately come to mind). Discovering any new animals or plants that contained any of the anomalous examples proffered above would be potential falsifications of common ancestry, but they have not been found.

    Prediction 1.2: A nested hierarchy of species

    As seen from the phylogeny in Figure 1, the predicted pattern of organisms at any given point in time can be described as “groups within groups”, otherwise known as a nested hierarchy. The only known processes that specifically generate unique, nested, hierarchical patterns are branching evolutionary processes. Common descent is a genetic process in which the state of the present generation/individual is dependent only upon genetic changes that have occurred since the most recent ancestral population/individual. Therefore, gradual evolution from common ancestors must conform to the mathematics of Markov processes and Markov chains. Using Markovian mathematics, it can be rigorously proven that branching Markovian replicating systems produce nested hierarchies (Givnish and Sytsma 1997; Harris 1989; Norris 1997). For these reasons, biologists routinely use branching Markov chains to effectively model evolutionary processes, including complex genetic processes, the temporal distributions of surnames in populations (Galton and Watson 1874), and the behavior of pathogens in epidemics.

    The nested hierarchical organization of species contrasts sharply with other possible biological patterns, such as the continuum of “the great chain of being” and the continuums predicted by Lamarck’s theory of organic progression (Darwin 1872, pp. 552-553; Futuyma 1998, pp. 88-92). Mere similarity between organisms is not enough to support macroevolution; the nested classification pattern produced by a branching evolutionary process, such as common descent, is much more specific than simple similarity. Real world examples that cannot be objectively classified in nested hierarchies are the elementary particles (which are described by quantum chromodynamics), the elements (whose organization is described by quantum mechanics and illustrated by the periodic table), the planets in our Solar System, books in a library, or specially designed objects like buildings, furniture, cars, etc.

    Although it is trivial to classify anything subjectively in a hierarchical manner, only certain things can be classified objectively in a consistent, unique nested hierarchy. The difference drawn here between “subjective” and “objective” is crucial and requires some elaboration, and it is best illustrated by example. Different models of cars certainly could be classified hierarchically—perhaps one could classify cars first by color, then within each color by number of wheels, then within each wheel number by manufacturer, etc. However, another individual may classify the same cars first by manufacturer, then by size, then by year, then by color, etc. The particular classification scheme chosen for the cars is subjective. In contrast, human languages, which have common ancestors and are derived by descent with modification, generally can be classified in objective nested hierarchies (Pei 1949; Ringe 1999). Nobody would reasonably argue that Spanish should be categorized with German instead of with Portugese.

    The difference between classifying cars and classifying languages lies in the fact that, with cars, certain characters (for example, color or manufacturer) must be considered more important than other characters in order for the classification to work. Which types of car characters are more important depends upon the personal preference of the individual who is performing the classification. In other words, certain types of characters must be weighted subjectively in order to classify cars in nested hierarchies; cars do not fall into natural, unique, objective nested hierarchies.

    Because of these facts, a cladistic analysis of cars will not produce a unique, consistent, well-supported tree that displays nested hierarchies. A cladistic analysis of cars (or, alternatively, a cladistic analysis of imaginary organisms with randomly assigned characters) will of course result in a phylogeny, but there will be a very large number of other phylogenies, many of them with very different topologies, that are as well-supported by the same data. In contrast, a cladistic analysis of organisms or languages will generally result in a well-supported nested hierarchy, without arbitrarily weighting certain characters (Ringe 1999). Cladistic analysis of a true genealogical process produces one or relatively few phylogenetic trees that are much more well-supported by the data than the other possible trees.

    Interestingly, Linnaeus, who originally discovered the objective hierarchical classification of living organisms, also tried to classify rocks and minerals hierarchically. However, his classification for non-living objects eventually failed, as it was found to be very subjective. Hierarchical classifications for inanimate objects don’t work for the very reason that unlike organisms, rocks and minerals do not evolve by descent with modification from common ancestors.

    The degree to which a given phylogeny displays a unique, well-supported, objective nested hierarchy can be rigorously quantified. Several different statistical tests have been developed for determining whether a phylogeny has a subjective or objective nested hierarchy, or whether a given nested hierarchy could have been generated by a chance process instead of a genealogical process (Swofford 1996, p. 504). These tests measure the degree of “cladistic hierarchical structure” (also known as the “phylogenetic signal”) in a phylogeny, and phylogenies based upon true genealogical processes give high values of hierarchical structure, whereas subjective phylogenies that have only apparent hierarchical structure (like a phylogeny of cars, for example) give low values (Archie 1989; Faith and Cranston 1991; Farris 1989; Felsenstein 1985; Hillis 1991; Hillis and Huelsenbeck 1992; Huelsenbeck et al. 2001; Klassen et al. 1991).

    There is one caveat to consider with this prediction: if rates of evolution are fast, then cladistic information can be lost over time since it would be essentially randomized. The faster the rate, the less time needed to obliterate information about the historical branching pattern of evolution. Slowly evolving characters let us see farther back into time; faster evolving characters restrict that view to more recent events. If the rate of evolution for a certain character is extremely slow, a nested hierarchy will be observed for that character only for very distantly related taxa. However, “rate of evolution” vs. “time since divergence” is relative; if common descent is true, then in some time frame we will always be able to observe a nested hierarchy for any given character. Furthermore, we know empirically that different characters evolve at different rates (e.g. some genes have higher background mutation rates than others). Thus, if common descent is true, we should observe nested hierarchies over a broad range of time at various biological levels.

    Therefore, since common descent is a genealogical process, common descent should produce organisms that can be organized into objective nested hierarchies. Equivalently, we predict that, in general, cladistic analyses of organisms should produce phylogenies that have large, statistically significant values of hierarchical structure (in standard scientific practice, a result with “high statistical significance” is a result that has a 1% probability or less of occurring by chance [P

  38. Sam said

    Over the past two hours, amongst all of this ongoing nonsense (:)), I drafted a reply to Craig’s initial detailed thread at a level he seemed to be requesting. Unfortunately I included several links so now my post will likely remain in limbo for a day or longer. Enjoy the existing thread.

  39. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam,

    Now THATS a post, give me a day or two to look it over… haha… seriously.

  40. anonymous said

    Craig,

    I do owe you an apology. It is true: I didn’t read your entire post before my comment. I have now read all of it, and I still conclude that it is not pertinent to a discussion regarding the scientific value of ID vs Evolution. The muddled logic and misunderstanding of basic science represented by your opening dichotomy persist throughout.

    However, I recognize that perhaps you were writing in response to other theistic issues brought up within this tread. I have no desire to engage you in issues of theology, and therefore should have ignored your comments. It was rude of me to assume your intention (i.e. to discredit evolution as a scientific theory for invalid reasons), and I really do apologize.

    Notably, Sam and Erkki more than have the scientific side of this covered (my only concern in this thread), and they are both great writers. Accordingly, I’m going to bail.

    I would like to exit with some positive comments: save the flagrant plagiarism by Scott Gorney, this was a great issue of the Vision. Jarrod’s sincere opening to his article on ID, and the equal coverage for evolution were outstanding. You’ve generated several day’s worth of dialog, and even if nobody’s opinion has budged one inch, I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed the opportunity to become more entrenched ;)

  41. Sam said

    Sorry, the rest was deleted owing to a clause indcating p-value (it was less than 0.01). Let me include the rest, becaue at the every end of what was quoted is Craig’s final question and my answer to them. I can only it is not interrupted in the same manner. Bear in mind, below is still quoted from Talk Origins:
    ___

    “As a representation of universal common descent, the universal tree of life should have very high, very significant hierarchical structure and phylogenetic signal.

    Confirmation:

    Most existing species can be organized rather easily in a nested hierarchical classification. This is evident in the use of the Linnaean classification scheme. Based on shared derived characters, closely related organisms can be placed in one group (such as a genus), several genera can be grouped together into one family, several families can be grouped together into an order, etc.

    As a specific example (see Figure 1), plants can be classified as vascular and nonvascular (i.e. they have or lack xylem and phloem). Nested within the vascular group, there are two divisions, seed and non-seed plants. Further nested within the seed plants are two more groups, the angiosperms (which have enclosed, protected seeds) and the gymnosperms (having non-enclosed seeds). Within the angiosperm group are the monocotyledons and the dicotyledons.

    Most importantly, the standard phylogenetic tree and nearly all less inclusive evolutionary phylogenies have statistically significant, high values of hierarchical structure (Baldauf et al. 2000; Brown et al. 2001; Hillis 1991; Hillis and Huelsenbeck 1992; Klassen et al. 1991).

    Figure 1.2.1. A plot of the CI values of cladograms versus the number of taxa in the cladograms. CI values are on the y-axis; taxa number are on the x-axis. The 95% confidence limits are shown in light turquoise. All points above and to the right of the turquoise region are statistically significant high CI values. Similarly, all points below and to the left of the turquoise region are statistically significant low values of CI. (reproduced from Klassen et al. 1991, Figure 6).

    Potential Falsification:

    It would be very problematic if many species were found that combined characteristics of different nested groupings. Proceeding with the previous example, some nonvascular plants could have seeds or flowers, like vascular plants, but they do not. Gymnosperms (e.g. conifers or pines) occasionally could be found with flowers, but they never are. Non-seed plants, like ferns, could be found with woody stems; however, only some angiosperms have woody stems. Conceivably, some birds could have mammary glands or hair; some mammals could have feathers (they are an excellent means of insulation). Certain fish or amphibians could have differentiated or cusped teeth, but these are only characteristics of mammals. A mix and match of characters like this would make it extremely difficult to objectively organize species into nested hierarchies. Unlike organisms, cars do have a mix and match of characters, and this is precisely why a nested hierarchy does not flow naturally from classification of cars.

    If it were impossible, or very problematic, to place species in an objective nested classification scheme (as it is for the car, chair, book, atomic element, and elementary particle examples mentioned above), macroevolution would be effectively disproven. More precisely, if the phylogenetic tree of all life gave statistically significant low values of phylogenetic signal (hierarchical structure), common descent would be resolutely falsified.

    In fact, it is possible to have a “reciprocal” pattern from nested hierarchies. Mathematically, a nested hierarchy is the result of specific correlations between certain characters of organisms. When evolutionary rates are fast, characters become randomly distributed with respect to one another, and the correlations are weakened. However, the characters can also be anti-correlated—it is possible for them to be correlated in the opposite direction from what produces nested hierarchies (Archie 1989; Faith and Cranston 1991; Hillis 1991; Hillis and Huelsenbeck 1992; Klassen et al. 1991). The observation of such an anti-correlated pattern would be a strong falsification of common descent, regardless of evolutionary rates.

    One widely used measure of cladistic hierarchical structure is the consistency index (CI). The statistical properties of the CI measure were investigated in a frequently cited paper by Klassen et al. (Klassen et al. 1991; see Figure 1.2.1). The exact CI value is dependent upon the number of taxa in the phylogenetic tree under consideration. In this paper, the authors calculated what values of CI were statistically significant for various numbers of taxa. Higher values of CI indicate a greater degree of hierarchical structure.

    As an example, a CI of 0.2 is expected from random data for 20 taxa. A value of 0.3 is, however, highly statistically significant. Most interesting for the present point is the fact that a CI of 0.1 for 20 taxa is also highly statistically significant, but it is too low—it is indicative of anti-cladistic structure. Klassen et al. took 75 CI values from published cladograms in 1989 (combined from three papers) and noted how they fared in terms of statistical significance. The cladograms used from 5 to 49 different taxa (i.e. different species). Three of the 75 cladograms fell within the 95% confidence limits for random data, which means that they were indistinguishable from random data. All the rest exhibited highly statistically significant values of CI. None exhibited significant low values; none displayed an anti-correlated, anti-hierarchical pattern.

    Note, this study was performed before there were measures of statistical significance which would allow researchers to “weed out” the bad cladograms. Predictably, the three “bad” data sets considered under ten taxa—it is of course more difficult to determine statistical significance with very little data. Seventy-five independent studies from different researchers, on different organisms and genes, with high values of CI (P

  42. Sam said

    Once again, I placed the second half to my post (much of it filled with comments from another source, but importantly comments of my own near the end). Still it doesn’t show up.

    Apologies for the numerous typos in the first half (above). I am too lazy to prepare my responses in Word first. Spell-check or not here, I simply go right at it.

    Hope you manage to receive part II sometime this week.

  43. Rachel Custer said

    Anonymous,

    Thank you very much for the kind comments.

    By the way, can anybody outline the basic ideas of ID for me? (Please keep it VERY basic; I am not big on extremely involved scientific arguments. I’ll also search the web and see what I can turn up, but would appreciate links from others. To be honest, I don’t even know what the ID theory says.

  44. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam,

    Thank you for the detailed follow-up to my arguments, I am going to address this issue to the best of my ability without attempting to throw in… muddled logic. I assure you these issues are not easily explainable, as we are dealing with issues that pertain to extensive deduction and years of controversy. Things have sounded muddled mostly because of my lack of time spent on making things clear.

    “The gloves have come off” so to speak this semester for me, I cannot any longer spend too much time on the weblog because it has affected my grades – so my points will attempted to be both swift and direct (so I apologize if any of my statements offend).

    Now, on to the topic at hand:
    Your first point was well taken – and illustrates the attempt of the “God of the Gaps” strategy. I was not attempting to give the common theological rebuttle to macro-evolution nor did I suggest that whatever science cannot explain, it must have been an intelligent designer. Let me clarify something here:

    Science and common sense directly contradict the theory of macro-evolution.

    Now I know you think this is an unbelievable statement. The reasoning is this, macro-evolution suggests that creatures of higher intelligence spawned from nothing (or a single celled organism capable of evolving). Much to Erkki’s dismay, one will find that even though it has been known that “in the right conditions” life may spring from “nothingness”, there has been no instance in the history of all scientific observations that has shown “intelligent life” just “appear” from nothingness. Therefore, science, which is based off of closely observed facts, has never observed such an event occurring. However, those who accept the theory of macro-evolution must accept this presumption as a truth for the theory to be correct.

    Let me clarify even more:
    1) The single celled organism had the capacity of higher intelligence from the beginning. (Macro-evolutionary fact)
    2) Science does not yet know where this single celled organism came from. (Fact)
    3) Science has never observed an instance in which intelligent life simply “appeared” under the “right conditions”. (Fact)

    Therefore, the presumption that such a single celled organism appeared from nothingness is a “leap of faith” because such an event has never occurred or been observed by science. Am I clear yet? Do you understand that I am not suggesting that science is incapable of explaining its theory? I am putting forth the idea that once someone accepts this theory, they are taking a leap of faith on things science has not discovered (and may never discover). One needs to fill this hole with something, whether it be a God, “Perfectly” Random events or even Aliens.

    You are saying “Look at the science! It is so obvious that it is true.”

    I am saying, “I understand what your science is saying, but if that [macro-evolution] is true, then this [intelligent life spawning from nothingness] must also be true, and that doesn’t make any sense [because science has never observed such an event happening nor can it explain it, “leap of faith”]!”

    Now, as you said, science has not observed everything. You illustrated the example of black holes. Yes, I understand that science will not be able to observe everything it predicts, but you also need to understand, that although you predict it, you still haven’t observed it, and you still do not know if it is fact – you believe it based upon your calculations and extensive testing that the theory you created is the truth. Alas, all others have deduced the same thing, and therefore it must be. Yet, you do not realize where your faith lies, it lies in science and in mans capability to deduce its own origins. As I said before, you can believe this as you wish, but understand where your faith in the origin of man lies, it lies in science.

    You know as well as I that the majority of the scientific community has at one time accepted truths and revoked them later [everything from dieting to the shape of the earth], so forgive me for not being too enthusiastic about accepting this ‘obvious scientific truth’, when it comes to the origin of man my faith is better left in the truth that has yet to fail me.

    Now onto my second point:
    Once you have accepted this theory of macro-evolution you must start looking for the higher intelligence that created the organism capable of evolving into a being of intelligence. This is not an optional thing for you. Something with a higher intelligence than man had to create the single celled organism capable of evolving into man. This is simple logical and scientific deduction as well.

    Let me try to clarify here:
    1) Science has never been able to produce something with a higher intelligence than itself. (Fact)
    2) When writing computer programs, the closest we can get to intelligence, which is a computer program, can only be as intelligent as the creator or creators of the program. (Fact)

    Science, therefore, contradicts the notion of atheism in this sense. Never has it been known in science that intelligence spawned from nothing, and since man is capable of intelligence, it only could have spawned from something of higher intelligence. This is not a reach, it is an observable fact based upon sciences observations to this point.

    Therefore, the ‘poof from nowhere we have intelligence’ is impossible according to science – and yet science accepts a theory that suggests as such. Now, the common response to this is, “Hey, we’re just reporting what we observe, we are in no way trying to be ideological here.” Well, I’m sorry, but you are. A theory about the creation of man is ideological or is presumed ideological whether you like it or not. I understand you are going to be frustrated when people argue with you or criticize you, but can you blame them? Science is suggesting it has discovered a theory that contradicts many individual’s theology. Also, it refuses to answer simple contradictions within its own field and typically responds, “Oh intelligence from nothing? Yeah, we just haven’t discovered that… YET. (Leap of Faith)” Be prepared to take the heat.

    Anyways, I hope I have made my points clear and I appreciate your detailed response Sam. I will not rebuke your scientific arguments individually because it appears more appropriate to take it at the macro-level (pardon the pun).

  45. Craig Chamberlin said

    Rachel,

    Like they had said, the Intelligent Design theory is actually riddled with scientific holes. The irony in the theory is they are attempting to explain the supernatural by observational science, which is self-defeating to me.

    I’d imagine it equates in the scientific community to those who attempt to prove that ghosts exist. Just what kind of evidence could they possibly find to tangibly prove God created the earth?

    Intelligent design is a theological argument moreso than a scientific one and evolutionary theory clashes with modern day theology, thus the debate exists. Scientists want theologists to scientifically disprove evolution and theologists want scientists to theologically disprove creation. Which leads to the loads of fun we have today.

    The primary problem:
    Individuals are using science as theology.

  46. Craig Chamberlin said

    Anonymous,

    Thank you for the kind response.

    As I just said above, in dealing with the origins of man science has crossed the boundary into theology – this is not the first time science has done this. I realize that it was not intentional, they were just doing their jobs, but it is expected when dealing with such issues that they will interfere with theology AND science will be forced to answer some theological questions.

    Ironically, it is not the place for science to answer such questions, but it is the job of theologists. However, we’ve reached a new millenia where science has become a theology and is defended as such. Many scientists would have one time simply said, “Hey, this is what we’ve observed, we could be wrong, have faith in what you believe in.” Today, it is different, and what you get is: “WHAT?! You believe in the Bible!? Unbelievable! Don’t you know that book has been scientifically disproven?” or “Pish posh! We evolved from apes, no God created us, look at the evidence!”

    Science has become a theology and is commonly used to disprove theology – so those who embrace it as such MUST be able to answer theological questions. Those who argue it as theology can no longer hide behind “Hey, we aren’t trying to interfere with theology, it’s just science.” I hope this clarifies things a bit.

  47. Hellig said

    “Like they had said, the Intelligent Design theory is actually riddled with scientific holes.”

    So is swiss cheese. Yet I don’t see anyone doing pirouettes trying to negate its existence.

  48. Andrew Filmer said

    I won’t pretend to have actually followed this thread all the way, but would like to add a comment: The Catholic Christian Church, which – despite its limitations, historical and otherwise – still does maintain the largest worldwide congregation, and acknowledges that many elements of the Old Testament are metaphorical rather than literal, including the Book of Genesis, and thus allows room for matters such as the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution.

    I’m not saying that they’re right or wrong, but I would like it noted when generalizing the biblical nature of the Intelligent Design Theory that not all Christians are on the same page on this issue.

    Myself, I’m more concerned about the people who still act like monkeys (and in some cases, single-celled organisms) rather than whether or not we came from them.

  49. Craig Chamberlin said

    Hellig,

    I was merely pointing out that it is more theological than scientifical. This doesn’t mean I am trying to discredit the theory (obviously I believe in an intelligent designer) I was just pointing out the fact that as per its “scientific credibility” it is a weak argument and it will not get you far when arguing with scientists.

    Andrew,

    haha, I enjoyed your last comment. It is an interesting issue when it comes to Biblical interpretation and literalism. The irony is that the arrogance of man leads them to believe they can fully understand what happened, but when dealing with the supernatural, man is clueless and ignorant (and always has been).

    It would be like the intellectual capacity of a roach attempting to prove the existence or fully understand its creator. That is why so much of it needs to be taken on faith, although most refuse to accept this and instead rely on the tools of man to determine what is ‘the truth’ about creation and what God is ‘really like’.

    The most common result is an attempt for science to disprove science, but the supernatural (a diety) cannot be used to disprove science because science is incapable of understanding or prooving the supernatural. This, I believe, is the crux of the attempt at the study of intelligent design. It is, however, shying away from the purpose of faith by attempting to prove something it is incapable of proving (because man cannot fathom nor scientifically prove something far beyond itself dimentionally).

    C.S. Lewis said it best:
    If we lived in a one dimensional plane, we could not possibly fathom the existence of a second. But when we are forced into the second dimension we respond, “Of course! It was so obvious!”

    When we are in the second dimension, we could not possibly fathom the existence of a third, nor prove its existence with tools within the second dimension, but when the third dimension is revealed we reply, “It makes perfect sense!”.

    Man as we know it lives in the third dimension and science has even suggested the existence of higher dimensions. Yet, we are incapable of fathoming such dimensions, and this would be the dimension God would exist in.

    I don’t expect everyone to agree on this, but it is an interesting perspective about man in a third dimension attempting to explain with it’s dimensions tools a dimension far beyond itself. When we pass into the next dimension (death?) it ought to appear as obvious as traveling from the first to the second or the second to the third, “Of course! A fourth dimension!”

    More and more theology here – interesting ideas, but that is all they are, unprovable ideas.

  50. anonymous said

    Craig,

    It is ironic, but the only way that science can be described as theology is when it is misrepresented by people like you. Your arguments all hinge on your misunderstanding of what science is. Seriously.

  51. Rachel Custer said

    Craig,

    I just read Mere Christianity, and C.S. Lewis is a genius. Your application of his quotes is a good one.

    Anonymous,

    I think Craig was speaking more about science’s inability to operate outside of the world. Theology necessarily discusses issues that are not of this world; therefore, science is ill-equipped to even discuss theology. It is simply not the job of a scientist.

  52. anonymous said

    Rachel,

    I was responding to several instances where I believe Craig attempted to make that point. Here’s one, from post #46:

    “However, we’ve reached a new millenia where science has become a theology and is defended as such.”

    The statement is complete nonsense, and is one of many he has made that demonstrates profound ignorance on this topic.

  53. Rachel Custer said

    Oh, sorry, I thought it was a response to just the last post. Actually, I agree with him, but only for some scientists.

  54. anonymous said

    Rachel,

    I’m pretty sure I understand your intended meaning. However, please realize that the actions or personal statements of “some scientists” do not change the definition of what science is.

    I would not object to a statement like the following: “some individuals attempt to use science as a means to weigh in on issues of theology”.

    That said, when this occurs it is typically not by scientists, and it is certainly not endorsed by the scientific community.

  55. Sam said

    Here is another quote (below) rising to the level of complete nonsense and demonstrating profound ignorance on this topic:

    “Science and common sense directly contradict the theory of macro-evolution.”

    Any attempt to discuss the scientific basis for common descent with a creationist is an exercise in futility. Likewise, any attempt by a creationist to convince the overwhelming majority of scientists and scientific organizations that all of these consonant observations exist only to suggest the illusion of macroevolution also represents an exercise in futility. I have no problem in simply agreeing to disagree.

    The DI-fueled drive to portray the fact of evolution as mere theory predicated upon an opposing ideology has been ongoing for some time.

  56. Erkki KochKetola said

    I said I was done, but Craig said something that’s dying for a correction. To wit:

    Once you have accepted this theory of macro-evolution you must start looking for the higher intelligence that created the organism capable of evolving into a being of intelligence. This is not an optional thing for you. Something with a higher intelligence than man had to create the single celled organism capable of evolving into man. This is simple logical and scientific deduction as well.

    You again demonstrate that you don’t understand what the theory of common descent via natual selection actually predicts. No “higher intelligence than man” is necessary, because the theory predicts that life came about through the continued aggregation of complex organic molecules, which randomly formed into at least one kind of unicellular organism. Once that happened, unicellular organisms began to proliferate and (randomly) developed more complex structures; prokaryotes vs. eukaryotes. These structures conferred some sort of survival advantage to the organism possessing them, so they were retained and passed on to succeeding genetrations of these same unicellular organisms. Next to form were primitive multicellular organisms, which developed into more complex multicellular organisms, and so on.

    It has been mathematically demonstrated that this process can and does occur. The field of cellular automata is predicated upon the realization that a very simple set of rules can give rise to very complex structures. See, for example, Conway’s Game of Life. No need for an intelligent designer here; it’s all algorithmic.

    The only requirement – and the only possible way that God, if He exists, could have had any influence over the development of life if you accept common descent via natural selection – is that the initial conditions be conducive to the development of these organisms. Since we are here, having this discussion, I submit that initial conditions were so conducive.

  57. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam,

    Merely because you state my argument is ignorant does not make it so. It is interesting that you found that line offensive, as I knew you would. Yet you so strongly cling to a theory by which the basis has not been scientifically proven thus requiring you to continue to have faith that it will one day be proven. So yes, we can agree to disagree.

    You came to this website with a deep conviction about the “truth” of macro-evolution, yet it forces new questions onto an individual who accepts it as their truth – you refuse to answer or address them because it is ‘theology’ and no longer ‘scientific’. You can’t avoid the questions forever. “We are no longer talking about science!” you claim. I argue that you are correct, in fact, I argue that since you arrived at this discussion you were arguing your science as theology – so don’t back away from your argument saying “Oh, I was just saying science can back up its theory. But now suddenly you changed the discussion to theology which has nothing to do with science.”

    Erkki,

    If you use big words it doesn’t mean you know what you are talking about. You re-stated the ‘exact same argument for macro-evolution that has been posted three times already with larger words’. You fall under my category QUITE WELL in fact – maybe you should read it again:

    Therefore, the presumption that such a single celled organism appeared from nothingness is a “leap of faith” because such an event has never occurred or been observed by science. Am I clear yet? Do you understand that I am not suggesting that science is incapable of explaining its theory? I am putting forth the idea that once someone accepts this theory, they are taking a leap of faith on things science has not discovered (and may never discover). One needs to fill this hole with something, whether it be a God, “Perfectly” Random events or even Aliens.

    You also are living in a fantasy land, you are suggesting that they have mathematically proven that intelligent life can spring from nothingness. What absurd pro-evolution propaganda have you been reading? This has never been proven in the scientific community, and I’d like to see your ‘hard hitting evidence’ to back up such an outrageous claim. Please link me a site to the “Mathematical formula of creating organisms capable of intelligence.”

    Face it Erkki, you are taking a leap of faith and believing instead of a higher intelligence bringing about our intelligence, it just so happened to randomly occur. If you don’t want a God to exist, then you will be able to rationalize his non-existence (like you have so done here).

    Erkki, I show great concern for what you say here – as now I can see you have your full faith in science’s capability to dis-prove the supernatural (existence of a diety). This is laughable as science cannot prove anything that is supernatural, let alone prove it’s non-existence. You might want to re-evaluate where your faith is, as you should know the fallability of both science and man. You’re building your belief system on shifting sands.

  58. Erkki KochKetola said

    Craig,

    First, you’re misrepresenting my argument. I never claimed that “intelligent life” (for any value you wish to choose for “intelligent,” so as to somehow distinguish it from life that’s not “intelligent”) sprang from nothingness. I said that life developed as the result of the fortuitous combination of organic molecules, and that life grew more complex as time went on, going through many iterations to get where we are today. Intelligent life (again including whatever species you want in that category) evolved from more primitive life forms.

    Second, I’m not “taking a leap of faith” at all. I’m explicitly trying not to take a leap of faith and assume that an intelligent designer brought this all about, simply because we don’t understand the precise sequence of developments. The preponderence of the evidence suggests that we evolved as the result of natural processes. Therefore, Occam’s razor suggests that supernatural powers are unnecssary for life to evolve.

    Third, at no point have I claimed that science can prove or disprove the existence of any deity. What it has done is demonstrate rather convincingly that such deities need not exist for many things which were formerly believed to require them. It has also debunked many claims about supernatural phenomena. Furthermore, as soon as something becomes amenable to scientific analysis, it is by definition no longer supernatural.

    Lastly, why should I believe in the Christian God over any of plethora of other deities proposed to exist throughout the history of man? I could just as easily argue for the existence of the Æsir and Vanir, or the Olympian Gods, or the Hindu Gods, or…. All of their claims are just as elusive of scientific analysis as yours. All of them also rest on the same authority; their own. You can no more disprove the existence of Oðinn or Zeus than I can God. I find it strange that you should even try to claim that any sort of problem with theory of evolution necessarily makes the case for the existence of God, when your argument itself rests on a leap of faith.

    I’ll give you points for trying.

    This time I’m done for real.

  59. Craig Chamberlin said

    Erkki,

    Your blindness amuses me.

    Here is your argument:

    1) I never claimed that “intelligent life” (for any value you wish to choose for “intelligent,” so as to somehow distinguish it from life that’s not “intelligent”) sprang from nothingness.

    A) We have yet to understand the structure of DNA molecules to their fullest, yet you claim a stucture so perfect happened by chance. Give me the odds on that one.

    2)I said that life developed as the result of the fortuitous combination of organic molecules, and that life grew more complex as time went on, going through many iterations to get where we are today.

    A) Hence your ‘perfectly random events’ theory – which has yet to actually be proven by any form of scientific experimentation. *cough* leap of faith *cough*

    3) Intelligent life (again including whatever species you want in that category) evolved from more primitive life forms.

    A) Awkward deduction, there is a ‘huge’ hole in your theology here Erkki:

    You stated:
    I never claimed that “intelligent life” (for any value you wish to choose for “intelligent,” so as to somehow distinguish it from life that’s not “intelligent”) sprang from nothingness.

    and

    – I said that life developed as the result of the fortuitous combination of organic molecules, and that life grew more complex as time went on, going through many iterations to get where we are today.

    These two ideas directly contradict eachother. You are saying that the molecules that came into existence from nothingness had the capacity to create intelligent life and yet such an idea has never been observed nor recreated by science up to this point. Yet you adamantly cling to this theory as if it is a truth.

    Let me clarify here:
    You stated the molecules that had the capacity for intelligent life sprang from nothingness – and once these molecules were under the ‘perfect’ circumstances, they beget intelligent life. So you are actually stating that molecules with the capacity for intelligence sprang from nothingness which contradicts your first statement entirely and is a laughable assumption by any scientific means. Never has it been observed or shown that intelligence can spawn from non-intelligence

    Secondly, your question involving the Christian God is irrelevant to this discussion. The difference here is creationists all know they are taking a leap of faith, and that their diety is not provable by inferior man’s science. So don’t bother asking for me to scientifically prove the existence of something far beyond myself – it would be futile. Such arguments are better left for theological and philosophical discussions, man made science is and would be a futile attempt to prove [and dis-prove] such a greater power.

    Thirdly, you stated:

    “I’m explicitly trying not to take a leap of faith and assume that an intelligent designer brought this all about, simply because we don’t understand the precise sequence of developments. ”

    Here is your leap of faith Erkki. Your assumption is that there was no intelligent designer, therefore you believe it is so. My argument specifically does not attempt to state that since macro-evolution cannot declare its precise events then it must have been an intelligent designer. The fact is your assumption made here is not based on science and mine is.

    You basically said here, “Just because we haven’t proven this precise sequence of events YET doesn’t imply that it was an intelligent designer.”

    My argument was, “Science has never seen such an event occuring, in fact, it has never seen an instance of intelligence spawning from non-intelligence, therefore, it is scientifically a safer assumption to accept the idea of an intelligent intercessor.”

    Otherwise you will be in a circular argument:
    – Intelligent life sprang from nothingness in macro-evolution so
    – Macroevolution must be true because intelligent life has at one time sprang from nothingness!

    You are using your own assumptions to justify the outrageous premise of your own theory – this is circular reasoning.

  60. anonymous said

    Craig,

    From what I can tell, your argument boils down to this:

    You contend that the theory of evolution forces one to believe that a purely natural process produced the first life form. Since science has not demonstrated that such an event occurred, you conclude that one holds that belief purely as a matter of faith, and accordingly the theory of evolution has a theological component.

    I’d like to say, one more time for the record, that your argument is false. The fact of evolution does not depend on how the first life form originated. If we could somehow know that God, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster, or some intelligent being deposited the first life form on Earth, that would in no way contradict the theory of evolution (common descent, micro-evolution, macro-evolution, and natural selection).

    Evolution accounts for the change of life with time and the mechanism by which that change occurs (i.e. natural selection); it does not insist upon an atheistic view for how the process began. We simply don’t know, and when scientists say they don’t know, it should not be translated to, “but we’re absolutely sure that it was a purely natural, atheistic process”.

    When I explained this to Rachel, you replied with:

    “Now you are either lying, living in denial or simply not paying attention to my argument above.” (Post #34)

    Why do you say this? My contention is most certainly a fact! Many scientists are deeply religious. Some like to believe that unless there is scientific proof otherwise (which we do not have), that the first life form was indeed an act of God. Yet, THEY STILL RECOGNIZE THE SCIENTIFIC FACT OF EVOLUTION.

    I don’t doubt that many scientists suspect that abiogenesis was a natural process, but again, the theory of evolution does not hinge on this being the case.

    The ONLY way that evolution, or any other science for that matter, could be construed as theology would be if it made statements that were not falsifiable or continued to make assertions despite evidence to the contrary.

    The theory of evolution does not include either, and for you to say otherwise I will respond with your own words:

    “Now you are either lying, living in denial or simply not paying attention to my argument above.”

  61. Sam said

    Craig,

    Below are my responses to the second half of a previous reply from you (#27):

    “Your argument has been, ‘The Majority of Scientists agree with me.’ But as you know, what many people accept as truth may not be, and here you are backing yourself into a corner because guess what, the majority of the population in the United States believe that Christianity is the truth – does this make it the truth? Obviously you do not believe so, or perhaps you are just unsure. Regardless, this is the logical deduction of your argument for macro-evolution.”

    At least half of the U.S. population indeed does not believe in the existence of macroevolution, a fact that almost every U.S. scientist pities. However, we are speaking of two populations here; that of the U.S. overall (a vastly retro nation in this context), and that of the population of U.S. scientists. In terms of knowledge about the mechanisms and general reality of evolution, I’ll go with our group of scientists. Also, you employ the term “Christianity” in such a way as to lump quite a few dominations together. In reality, many Christians have no problem with evolution as fact.

    “2) If an individual believes in Macro-evolution, they still cannot answer this question, and in doing so, even admit to the possibility of a diety or intelligent intercessor. Otherwise, they must admit that the beginning of the universe was completely and utterly random.”

    Hopefully you understand by this point how this question is neither central nor relevant to the fact of evolution, once life was instigated.

    “However, there are inconsistencies that fall under this presumption. If the earth was created completely by chance, then the notion of intelligence and reasoning also ‘exist’ only by chance. However, intelligence is far too static and the consistencies of the universe also far too static for it to have occurred randomly. There exists a paradox in this logic.”

    Here you refer to the idea of whether the earth was created by chance or not. This is beyond the scope of evolution, and evolution bears no responsibility (nor should it) to account for such events beyond the scope of speciation.

    “Lastly, can you prove to me 100% that macro-evolution is the underpinning of our entire existence?”

    No scientific theory, even one regarded as fact (such as evolution), necessarily explains all facts of biological life irrespective of the time the theory takes to develop. Furthermore, you should know that “proof” is an exceptionally elitist term, relegated primarily to the field of mathematics. You are being unfair when you refer to the “incompleteness” of the present state of the theory of evolution in this regard. ID, on the other hand which is THE SUBJECT OF THIS THREAD – NOT EVOLUTION (ANOTHER THREAD) – hasn’t even begun to scratch its own surface. It has not even managed to elevate itself to the level of a scientific theory according to the vast majority of scientists in the field. Finally, evolution theory has never been advanced by anyone as the explanation behind not only how life propagates in the planet, but also how it got started and perhaps where (?) it came from.

    “You cannot, because it requires to you believe, to a degree, in the tools science uses to determine our existence. Therefore, your faith is in your science…”

    I’ll grant you that one point. In order to utilize what we have deemed to be the scientific approach to anything, one must believe in it. You are free to question the present method of scientific inquiry in this world and in fact, many do (such as pro-ID people).

    In any event, as I mentioned beofre there is no point arguing with the likes of you. I answered your questions, sent a few links that would definitely cover every question you could conceivably have, provided truncated text from one of them, all to which you continue to scoff at. You are not arguing with me. You are arguing with all of science. No one is pointing a gun up against your head, forcing you to believe in common descent.

    Sam

  62. Sam said

    I see that no one has bothered to answer the question by Anonymous in #17.

  63. Rachel Custer said

    Sam and Anonymous,

    I didn’t answer the question because I have no idea. I haven’t ever studied that particular aspect of the Bible, and didn’t make the original statement, so I thought it better for someone who had to answer the question.

    Also, here’s what I see happening on this thread, especially regarding Anonymous’ post. One could hardly disagree that there are scientists who make the leap from studying evolution to making a “factual” statement about the origins of the first life, in much the same way as there are “Christians” who misuse the Bible to suit their own un-Christian behavior or beliefs (e.g. the KKK). It seems to me that this is the “leap of faith” we are discussing, and quite possibly it only involves a part of the scientific community who is attempting to use science to fit their own ideology. There will always be some of these people, within any ideological group. In Christianity, they are reprehensible, at least to me, because they make people question and distrust Christianity. I think in science, they are just as reprehensible, because they only succeed in making people question and distrust science. What I hear you saying is that not all scientists do this. It is sometimes difficult for people to see past the ones who do, just as it is difficult for people to see past Christians who use Christianity for their own selfish means. I think perhaps we should acknowledge that these people exist everywhere, but also realize that there are many scientists who earnestly seek the truth, just as we as Christians would like people to look past all that and see that there are Christians (the vast majority, in fact) who are earnestly seeking the truth.

  64. Jarrod Brigham said

    THis is incredible. I cannot believe how much dialogue has taken place on these articles. I really wish I was not bogged down with homework these last two weeks, I really wanted to get in on this discussion.

    Allow me to address the point in #17.

    First, I will admit that I came to this conclusion in hindsight, but only because I was told about the Earth’s rotation before I came across this passage.
    Second, let me make the point that I believe each word is used in the original language for particular reasons. For example there are three Greek words for love in the original languages. However there is only one used when translated in English, anyone who has studied multiple languages knows this.

    I have searched for an answer and I believe I have one. I cannot take credit for this, as it belongs to Jonathan Safarti of the Answers in Genesis research.

    The next verse says, ‘[God’s] throne is established of old’, where the same word kôn is also translated ‘established’. And the same Hebrew word for ‘moved’ (môt) is used in Psalm 16:8, ‘I shall not be moved.’ Surely, [no one]would accuse the Bible of teaching that the Psalmist was rooted to one spot! He meant that he would not stray from the path that God had set for him. So the earth ‘cannot be moved’ can also mean that it will not stray from the precise orbital and rotational pattern God has set (‘firmly established’) for it.

    This is available at http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0207dembski.asp

    I hope that helps. Next week I should have more time to get on the weblog. If you have other questions for me, please feel free. I will do my best to answer them.

  65. Sam said

    “What I hear you saying is that not all scientists do this.”

    What we have been stating, but the other side doesn’t seem to want to hear it, is that very few scientists “do this”, and by that I assume you mean allow their philosophical instincts to govern the science they perform. Most scientists will tell you that they follow the data, not the other way around.

    “It is sometimes difficult for people to see past the ones who do.” I would suggest this to be a deliberate shortsidedness, mainly on the part of the politcal right wing. You’ve probably heard the name Richard Dawkins, simply because he’s one of those rare birds – a truly outspkoen atheists – and scientist – who enjoys claiming that evolution is just one of several arguments against God. If he were such an unusual case (and an excellent and prolific writer), you would not have heard of him (assuming you have).

    Once again, what I continue to hear from your position is that we are merely talking about two sides of one coin (again touching upon contrived dualism), each of which is driven by an underlying ideology, one that favors a creator and one that does not. This position is flatly and often deliberately incorrect. Find a single “associate” at the Discovery Institute who is not already on record as stating that evolution in ingruent with the type of society we should be encouraging at broader levels.

    I’ll state this fact again: those who argue against evolution do so based 100% on the fact that it contradicts their religious faith. Not so in the case of every scientific association endorsing evolution as fact. Their personal beliefs about the origin of life, the meaning of life, an afterlife, etc., have nothing to do with a scientists’s obligation to be led by the facts, not the other way around.

  66. Sam said

    Post above – CORRECTED below

    “What I hear you saying is that not all scientists do this.”

    What we have been stating, but the other side doesn’t seem to want to hear, is that very few scientists “do this”, and by that I assume you mean allow their philosophical instincts to govern the science they perform. Most scientists will tell you that they follow the data, not the other way around.

    “It is sometimes difficult for people to see past the ones who do.” I would suggest this to be a deliberate shortsidedness, mainly on the part of the politcal right wing. You’ve probably heard the name Richard Dawkins, simply because he’s one of those rare birds – a truly outspkoen atheist – and scientist – who enjoys claiming that evolution is just one of several arguments against God. If he WEREN’T such an unusual case (and an excellent and prolific writer), you would not have heard of him (assuming you have).

    Once again, what I continue to hear from your position is that we are merely talking about two sides of one coin (again touching upon contrived dualism), each of which is driven by an underlying ideology, one that favors a creator and one that does not. I’m sure Craig would agree. This position is flatly and often deliberately incorrect. Find a single “fellow” at the Discovery Institute who is not already on record as stating that evolution in incongruent with the type of society we should be encouraging at broader levels.

    I’ll state this fact again: those who argue against evolution do so based 100% on the fact that it contradicts their religious faith. Not so in the case of every scientific association endorsing evolution as fact. Their personal beliefs about the origin of life, the meaning of life, an afterlife, etc., have nothing to do with a scientists’s obligation to be led by the facts, not the other way around.

  67. Jarrod Brigham said

    Interesting, but you cannot be more wrong. Creationists have evidense, we have lots of evidense. I did not include it in my article because I put out strict instructions that the articles were not to attack the opposing point of view.

    Here is an excellent article, using evolutionary timescales, that shows that the Earth cannot possibly be billions of years old.
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/4005.asp

    Evolutionists do not want to read our research because they cannot explain evolution, let alone explain away creation.

    Even the great Charles Darwin stated evolution was foolishness. It is in his book, Origin of the Species, check out the chapter on the evolution of the eye.

    Mainstream scientists claim constantly that our data is not reviewed by scientific journals, that is because they refuse to look at our evidence.

    I challenge you to look at the link and dispute Dr. Safarti’s evidence. I thought somewhere on the blog it is said that you are a science professor. I welcome your disputes. I believe that Dr. Scott also reads our blog, I welcome him to challenge the physics aspect.

    You are correct that evolution and creation are two sides of the same coin. They are both faith based teachings.

  68. Jarrod Brigham said

    I have much more evidence at home, unfortunately I am at work and my lunch break is over, but I can provide documentation that the man who discovered carbon 14 dating showed that the Earth is not even 20K years old. If you want me to put it on the blog, just let me know.

  69. Sam said

    Jarrod,

    All of that evidence has been refuted, along with every other so-called “scientific” pro-creationist argument:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/howgood.html

    I’ve looked through answers in Genesis. Now I would ask you to examine the link I provided.

    Indeed, it would be nice for a geophysicist to join in.

  70. Jarrod Brigham said

    You have not looked very well into Answers in Genesis if you are quoting a website that attacks Dr. Kent Hovind. Even AIG has articles telling people not to listen to Dr. Hovind. I very sincerly doubt he is even a Christian. One just needs to look at his criminal record.
    I am asking you to refute his evidence point by point, not provide a website link that refutes someone else’s evidence.

  71. Jarrod Brigham said

    I see nothing in this website that refutes the evidence provided by actual scientists such as Jonathan Safarti or Ken Ham. They attack the claims of “Dr” Kent Hovind. He has an education degree from an unaccredited university. He is hardly the backbone of the young earth’s arguements. What this website has done is commonly called a strawman.

  72. Sam said

    Are you suggesting that Safarti’s arguments for a young earth (based on the proper use and interpretation of carbon dating) are completely different from those offered previously by Hovind and therefore, I need to go and read his books as well?

  73. Sam said

    “Evolutionists do not want to read our research because they cannot explain evolution…”

    Do you really believe that, Jarrod. You are stating the the scientists who study evolution cannot explain their subject matter. Is that correct?

    And despite my attempt to convince you otherwise by way of simple fact and logic, you truly believe that evolution is merely faith-based, no different from creationism?

    Is this was you truly believe?

  74. Sam said

    I came across the following book on Amazon, written by Dr. Safarti:

    “Refuting Evolution: A Handbook for Students, Parents, and Teachers Countering the Latest Arguments for Evolution (Paperback)”

    Jarrod – is this a book you would recommend?

    I’m just curious, because here’s what the two Spotlight Reviews had to say (they tended to be kinder than many of the customer reviews):

    UTTERLY WORTHLESS
    “Given Sarfati’s qualifications we may expect an authoritative scientific statement of “Creation Science.” Unfortunately, it is a rehash of all the old arguments rather than a report on scientific findings. Much of the book is given over to citing the Bible, and instructing us in what creationsts may or may not believe. Thus, “the Hebrew words for the animals taken into the ark do not include invertebrates” from which it follows “they must have survived off the ark somehow.”(p. 46). Yes, how, and what is the empirical evidence for this amazing statement. On the same page, Koalas could have migrated to Australia from Mt. Ararat. Could they really? Just as easily they could have been dropped by UFOs. There is no evidence for either scenario. One has to conclude that Sarfati has no idea about science despite his Ph.D. There is nothing new in Refuting Evolution. It is astonishing to see how much of modern science the fundamentalist Christians have to reject to uphold their faith. To support their imaginings, devotees have to reject all of historical geology and astronomical cosmology. Any evidence which shows the earth to be quite old must be rejected, which includes earth magnetism, nuclear physics, dendrochronology, as well as glottochronology. What is more, creationists also reject modern historical and archaeological scholarship which sees the story of Genesis as a myth borrowed from older Mesopotamian civilizations. At the end, Sarfati argues that the “intelligent design” explanation is legitimate. He fails to bring forward any evidence showing how a process of deliberate design may have worked. Rather it is the same old negative argument, nature is too complex for the trial and error of evolution. Not even the Bible describes a design process, rather the opening words of Genesis strike this non-expert as plain and simple word magic.”

    HISTRIONICS AND PROPAGANDA
    “Sarfati’s `book’ – small pages, large font and all – seems to be a collection of half-truths, bizarre extrapolations, aspersion casting, and nonsense. Does anyone really wonder why the only people that give it the time of day are lay creationists? The laughable naivet displayed by Sarfati in his description of molecular phylogenetics indicates that he has at best a cursory understanding of it. Considering that Sarfati may have had Batten look over this section for him – a creationist that has made many of the same errors in his own writing that Sarfati does in his book – there is little reason to wonder how such nonsense made it into print.

    Sarfati’s ‘common designer’ alternative is a case in point. He mentions only similarities – if he had an understanding of how such analyses are
    done, he would – or should – have known that it is not mere similarity that indicates descent.

    If this ‘common designer’ schtick of Sarafti’s and other creationists made any sense, should not the DNA of a whale be more ‘similar’ to that of a shark, given their morphological similarity? Sarfati even alludes to this when he mentions the relationships of crocodiles to chickens rather than reptiles (which actually, contrary to Sarfati’s ignorant implication, makes perfect sense).

    Furthermore, Sarfati makes a blatant false claim on p. 83:”Similarities between human and ape DNA are often exaggerated. This figure was not derived from a direct comparison of sequences. Rather the original paper inferred 97% similarity between human and chimp DNA from a rather crude technique called DNA hybridization.”

    In reality, the % ‘similarity’ figures had been batted about for a few years – it was the Sibley paper that got quite a bit of attention because 1. DNA-DNA hybridization compares the entire single copy genome; and 2. Sibley and Ahlquist were accused of fraud because they did not
    explain the techniques they used in deriving their figures and when others replicated their work, they came up with slightly different
    numbers. The original numbers were gleaned form direct DNA sequence comparisons, and, sadly for Sarfati’s readers (and Sarfati himself), the numbers have been borne out by ever more studies using many more loci.

    Studies pre-dating the S&A paper cited in Sarfati’s book:

    Chimpanzee Fetal G-gamma and A-gamma Globin Gene Nucleotide Sequences Provide Further Evidence of Gene Conversions in Hominine Evolution. Slightom et al., 1985, Mol Biol Evol 2(5):370-389. This paper found a 1.4-2.25% nucleotide difference, depending on which sets of alleles are compared.(1.8 kilobases). That is 97.75-98.6% identity.

    Primate Eta-Globin DNA and Man’s Place Among the Great Apes. Koop et al., 1986. Nature 319:234-238. This paper found a 1.7% distance measured by direct comparison of aligned nucleotide sequences (2.2 kilobases in a pseudogene). That is 98.3%.

    Just one paper of many post-dating it that come to similar conclusions:

    A Molecular View of Primate Supraordinal Relationships from the Analysis of Both Nucleotide and Amino Acid Sequences. Stanhope et al., 1993. In Primates and Their Relatives in Phylogenetic Perspective. MacPhee, ed. This book chapter discusses Epsilon globin gene, (~4 kilobases), 1.1%.
    That is 98.9% identity.

    When one knows a little bit of science, creationist claims can seem to have merit. When one knows quite a bit of science, one can see how shallow and nonsensical creationist claims can be.

    On the next page, Sarfati refers to electrical engineer ReMine’s self-promotion book and his application of “Haldane’s dilemma.” Which
    it would seem Sarfati does not appear to understand any better than ReMine does. Sarfati writes: “Population genetics calculations shows that animals with human -like generation times of about 20 years could substitute no more than about 1700 mutations in that time.”

    Where to start?

    What is the evidence that the ancestor of both humans and apes had a 20 year generation time? Sarfati presents none. ReMine didn’t either. Sarfati does not mention that the calculation applies only to fixed, beneficial mutations, and not all mutations (most of which are neutral with regard to fitness and so can accrue much faster in a population). Why is that? Was it to make the total estimated difference between
    humans and chimps seem that much more unbridgeable? Or was it because Sarfati, like his Answers in Genesis colleague, Batten, doesn’t understand (or care about) the difference?

    Did Sarfati present any evidence that even if that number is correct, that human evolution cannot be accounted for? No. Just assertions and emotional rhetoric. Most other topics were dealt with in a similar fashion. Of course, as is clear from the many positive reviews, the average reader will not know – or care about – the disinformation, the errors of omission, the empty rhetoric, etc.

    Again, when one knows a little bit of science, creationist claims can seem to have merit. When one knows quite a bit of science, one can see how shallow and nonsensical creationist claims can be.”
    ____

  75. Sam said

    “What this website (countering the young earth creationist arguments)has done is commonly called a strawman.”

    Ironically, you have managed to denigrate – unintentionally, perhaps -the entire body of so-called “scientific evidence” that creationists argue to be in favor of a young earth. It doesn’t matter whether or or not Kent Hovind is involved. I’ll let you be the one to state that Talk Origins was wasting its time in carefully refuting each and every single young earth creation scientist argument. In my opinion, virtually the entire concept of Biblical creationism is a “straw man” as you put it – that is, so easy to refute, based on so many lines of material evidence, as to be laughable (similar to Chuck Norton’s recent “article” insinuating that global warming isn’t occurring after all).

    I mean, why even take the time to frame the age of the earth as a legitimate debate? I couldn’t agreee with you more. “Suppose one claims the earth to be less than 20,000 years old.” This might serve as a quintessential example of a “straw man argument”, perhaps sufficiently representative to be included in a dictionary.

    Aside from quoting from Scripture, Sarfati adds nothing to this issue in terms of anything scientific.

    :)

  76. Craig Chamberlin said

    Anonymous,

    Let me clarify… again:

    From what I can tell, your argument boils down to this:

    You contend that the theory of evolution forces one to believe that a purely natural process produced the first life form. Since science has not demonstrated that such an event occurred, you conclude that one holds that belief purely as a matter of faith, and accordingly the theory of evolution has a theological component.

    I’d like to say, one more time for the record, that your argument is false. The fact of evolution does not depend on how the first life form originated. If we could somehow know that God, or a Flying Spaghetti Monster, or some intelligent being deposited the first life form on Earth, that would in no way contradict the theory of evolution (common descent, micro-evolution, macro-evolution, and natural selection).

    The theory of evolution has a theological “leap of faith” component because it is a creation story without a beginning. Therefore, if someone accepts this creation story they have to fill in the beginning with faith. This is faith in an intelligent intercessor, Aliens, perfect randomness or even your spaghetti monster.

    I was not arguing the theory itself was a ‘theology’ – rather those who have adapted it as theology are no longer considering it a theory (and yes, there are many out there). For example, macro-evolution is used to disprove creationism, yet the theory claims it “has nothing to do” with the notion of an intelligent creator. “Thats not the question we’re answering.” you state, but yet, your theory is used to disprove Biblical creationism. Irony.

    But here is the utter failure in such a “strong argument against Biblical creationism” that I think even Jarrod might have missed. A supernatural being like God, who created the earth under his own will could have created it in any possible way he wished. Thus, perhaps the process of creating life was the forced intercession of organisms fashioned by the earth in one day to life as we know it on earth! “That has never happened!” science will argue. “As we observe it, this all happened over billions of years!” Yet, here we have a problem, because creationists claim it happened in a day. Better yet, we don’t have a problem, because it was done by a God! To hint at the idea that God could not have conducted this “billion year” process within a day is laughable, because it is an attempt to disprove what such an awesome creator could have done with tools fashioned by the inferior created. [E.g. a Roach attempting to prove [dis-prove] with its own intellectual capacity the existence or power of a diety.]

    So now we have two conflicting sciences. Creationism and Evolution. Creationism, as I stated above, appears to be self-defeating to me, because they already have an argument that cannot be disproven. A supernatural intelligent intercessor capable of forming all of earth as we know it in a day. The intercessor, who created time, was unaffected by science’s time [billions of years] in the creation process. Or perhaps even more fascinating, having the ability to perform “billions of years” [if science is even correct about this] within the span of a day.

    Anonymous, I’m sure we both have a problem with the same people. They are those who come claiming the notion of Biblical creation is laughable because “science has disproven it”. Yet, anyone with a common theological sense knows that this theory is impossible to disprove, because it means disproving the capabilities of a diety that created our own ability to even have the capacity to disprove anything.

    Evolution accounts for the change of life with time and the mechanism by which that change occurs (i.e. natural selection); it does not insist upon an atheistic view for how the process began. We simply don’t know, and when scientists say they don’t know, it should not be translated to, “but we’re absolutely sure that it was a purely natural, atheistic process”.

    I appreciate your defense of science, but I was not arguing macro-evolution was suggesting it was a purely atheistic process. I was arguing that science still has not ever been able to observe intelligence spawning from non-intelligence so using these two observations, one can scientifically disprove atheism.

    1. We all evolved from the single celled organism capable of intelligence. (Macro-evolutionary fact)
    2. Science has never observed nor been able to recreate intelligence from non-intelligence (fact)

    Therefore by scientific deduction, it is safer to assume the single-celled organism [if macro-evolution is correct about this] spawned from an intelligence because never have we observed something capable of intelligence spawning from non-intelligence.

    RECOGNIZE THE SCIENTIFIC FACT OF EVOLUTION.

    I don’t doubt that many scientists suspect that abiogenesis was a natural process, but again, the theory of evolution does not hinge on this being the case.

    The ONLY way that evolution, or any other science for that matter, could be construed as theology would be if it made statements that were not falsifiable or continued to make assertions despite evidence to the contrary.

    I realize that science can back up its theory scientifically, but it cannot back it up theologically [nor does it try too]. My arguments are against those who proclaim the notion of creation as “rubbish” simply because what science has observed up to this point. To make such a theological assertion [the non-existence of a Biblical creator] based off of a scientific theory is a dangerous theological precedent. Especially when any scientist of any credibility proclaims macro-evolution has nothing to do with theology. I appreciate you taking this stance on the issue and I sincerely appreciate your first paragraph on this point.

    The problem here is science is being used to dis-prove theology. So expect individuals to defend their own theology and look for evidence of a younger earth. As I had stated though, we are attempting to use man made processes to prove the process of creation when if it was supernatural, it was far beyond our scientific or intellectual comprehension. Science, therefore, can only deduce the natural, and therefore will only deduce everything happened naturally [over billions of years perhaps?]. Creationists will look for observable evidence of a young earth [and has actually found some].

    I appreciate your detailed arguments.

  77. Sam said

    “The theory of evolution has a theological “leap of faith” component because it is a creation story without a beginning.”

    With all due respect, I still don’t think you understand the point Anonymous was trying to make or any of mine either. There is simply no “leap of faith” component or requirement underlying the scientific theory and fact of evolution. I know that makes you red in the face and you still want to claim otherwise, but if you consult a body such as the National Academy of Science, they will tell you that evolution does not require a leap of faith. Many Christians who know enough about the evidence for common descent will tell you the same thing.

    This fact becomes all the MORE true given that evolution stops short of speculating on how or why the earth was created, or even when and where the very first organic molecule came into existence. This is not the territory of common descent. Evolution AVOIDS making leaps of faith by claiming explicitly not to be in a position to answer questions it doesn’t think it can answer. That is the OPPOSITE of making a leap of faith.

    “Creationists will look for observable evidence of a young earth [and has actually found some].”

    Like WHAT?

    :)

  78. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam,

    You are having trouble discerning theology and scientific fact. Read my first paragraph again. Once someone accepts your theory they are faced with theological questions and this theory is being used to contradict theological ideas. I cannot, with all my efforts, possibly make myself any more clear.

    I will try one more time:
    If you accept macro-evolution as your creation story, you still must make a faith based decision about the single celled organism. THIS is the “Leap of Faith” which neither contradicts intelligent design nor contradicts Biblical theology.

    If you do not see this, you are blind or do not understand the difference between theology and science.

  79. Sam said

    Craig,

    “If you accept macro-evolution as your creation story, you still must make a faith based decision about the single celled organism. THIS is the “Leap of Faith” which neither contradicts intelligent design nor contradicts Biblical theology.”

    No, I don’t. You TELL me that beyond macroevolution I must now decide upon or make some leap of faith regarding the notion of life arising by chance or perhaps via an intelligent source. I am agnostic in that regard. So no, I don’t have to make that leap of faith you continue to speak of. Your question is unanswerable except througb leap of faith. Perhaps we can agree on that.

    What I do know for sure is that life has been propagating on this planet for 100s of million years by way of common descent, and that part requires no leap of faith whatsoever.

    It amazes me that you continue to turn the tables and accuse someone like me of having trouble discerning theology from scientific fact. This from someone who calls macroevolution my “creation story” for the VERY PURPOSE of confusing theology with science.

    :):)

  80. Sam said

    What I find very interesting about this long thread (which has been quite enjoyable) is the title is called “The Case for Intelligent Design (ID)”, and yet no one has piped in with any positive evidence indicating that an intelligent source created us separately from other animals (one of its tenants). Pretty much the whole thread is a band and forth regarding evolution and guess what? That’s a pretty good reflection of what goes on nationally. ID has been dismissed as a scientific theory or even based upon science. It’s often referred to as a “negative argument”. In other words (consistent with the false contrived dualism concept referred to previously), creationists spend most of their time picking away at macroevolution and whenever they see a gap or inconsistency, guess what? Better side with ID, then. Case closed for all of evolution. (“God of the gaps”… “anything we haven’t learned or figured out yet – STOP RIGHT THERE…”)

    I guess you know what I think.

    :)

    Kudos once again to Jarrod for at least starting this thread in an intellectually honest manner! He couldn’t have stated the case better.

  81. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam,

    Haha, your hilarious :)

    http://www.dictionary.com:
    ag·nos·tic
    –noun 1. a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

    2. a person who denies or doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in some area of study.

    4. asserting the uncertainty of all claims to knowledge.

    Let me explain your problem:
    If you are 1: You are taking a leap of faith
    If you are 2: It doesn’t deal with faith nor theology – it simply states there are no ‘absolutes’ or one cannot have ‘absolute knownledge’ in a certain area of study.
    If you are 4: Still simply saying there are no ‘absolutes’.

    You must be 1, thereby claiming the existence of a higher unknown intelligence that must’ve been the cause of all the universe, and thus taking a leap of faith. Just because you can’t specify or explain which higher power you believe in doesn’t mean you aren’t taking a leap of faith. You still believe in a higher power, you just don’t believe any religion could possibly understand it. Which is fine, but understand you are still leaping.

    No, I don’t. You TELL me that beyond macroevolution I must now decide upon or make some leap of faith regarding the notion of life arising by chance or perhaps via an intelligent source. I am agnostic in that regard. So no, I don’t have to make that leap of faith you continue to speak of. Your question is unanswerable except througb leap of faith. Perhaps we can agree on that.

    Live in denial all you want Sam, you refuse to face a question that you must face based upon simple reasoning. Just because you are ignoring the question and saying, “Oh I dont know, I’m just agnostic on that issue.” doesn’t mean the question isn’t theologically pertinent nor does it have any theological relevance. You are filling the hole with an agnostic diety whether you realize it or not. Thus falling under my points made perfectly.

    It is like me asking you what + what = 4 and you responding, “Man could never possibly know what + what = 4, therefore I do not have to answer the question nor put any interest in it. In fact, I can ignore it entirely.” The fact is someone has to ask the question regarding the premise of such a conclusion [4] and they can’t just simply ignore them because they are inconvenient. It must be asked because it is the only way to further knowledge and understanding. Above all, you as a proclaimed scientist / teacher of science should understand this.

    Macro-evolution, thus, is saying “Man came from a single celled organism.”
    and I am replying, “Okay, well, how is that possible?”
    You reply “I am agnostic on that issue.”
    Then I reply again, “So you have a conclusion without a beginning? Doesn’t that bother you?”
    You respond again, “Of course not! Because I can ignore the beginning!”

    I also appreciate you attempting to mischaracterize my argument into a “God of the Gaps” argument when I was in no way suggesting as such. I have reached a point and now realize that you do not understand or are underequipped to participate in either a theological or philosophical debate, that is fine, but do not typecast me or my argument nor throw out typical macro-evolution rebuttle propaganda. If you have a problem with the specifics of my arguments, point them out.

    Science does not dis-prove a creator or an intelligent designer and is incapable of doing as such. Many who believe in macro-evolution think it does, this is the problem. Individuals are using science to disprove theology, and this notion is a joke. Therefore, these posts are very relevant to this debate because intelligent design is just as likely as it was before macro-evolution even became a theory.

  82. Sam said

    Man you are WAY into trying to pigeonhole people, aren’t you? Going as far as to look up the freaking meaning of “agnostic” so that you can claim that Sam Scott, one way or another, IS INDEED making a leap of faith at some point along the way?

    Craig – can we PLEASE get around this faith-based, religion-tinged rhetoric about belief in a higher power, where the first organic molecules came from or whatnot and talk about the case for ID and/or evolution from a scientific, evidence-based perspective?

    If you’d prefer to continually frame everything in a theo-scientific sphere in an attempt to lump everyone together and minimize critical distinctions on the basis of the scientific method, go right ahead, but I won’t be reading or responding.

    The “God of the gaps” comment wasn’t about you. It was about the case typically made for ID. Did you make a scientific case for ID? Honestly I don’t remember.

    You are right. I do NOT WANT to engage in a discussion about theology with you. I couldn’t care less about this subject in and of itself at the moment. Even the Discovery Institute attempts to claim that they make no connections whatsoever between theology and science. You keep stating that somehow I have this obligation to argue with you or make some admission regarding leap of faith about what occurred before the commencement of common descent. It may be relevant to you, but it is not relevant to me and by NO means MUST such conjecture be entered into a scientific discussion about evolution or ID.

    Your logic and statements go round, round, round, and round. “typical macro-evolution rebuttle (sic) propaganda” Spoken like a classic lay undergraduate fundamentalist who’s learned a few big words to toss around. Go ahead and continue to insist that I can’t discuss philosophy with you, don’t understand what you’re writing about, mischaracterize your comments, misconstrue this or that, etc. On! and on! and on! and on!

    “Live in denial all you want Sam, you refuse to face a question that you must face based upon simple reasoning. Just because you are ignoring the question and saying, “Oh I dont know, I’m just agnostic on that issue.” doesn’t mean the question isn’t theologically pertinent nor does it have any theological relevance.”

    You just don’t give up, do you? I’m going to right this ship one more time for YOU and state, now for the 6th or 7th time, that EVOLUTION SAYS NOTHING ABOUT CREATION, OR HOW ALL OF LIFE BEGAN. Evolution is not a “CREATION STORY”. It DOESN’T CARE about CREATION (how life started). It does not address or insinuate about CREATION, other than to rule out BIBLICAL CREATION (quiete effectively I might add). The theistic element you can’t help yourself from trying to weave into the issue is OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF WHAT EVOLUTION MAKES CLAIMS ABOUT.

    I absolutely DO NOT have any obligation whatsoever to answer to you in terms of how I think life first began or where it came from in order to have a discussion about evolution or even ID.

    You simply CANNOT get that through your skull, now can you? Or do you just not want to?

    How’s the weather up there, Craig? Any better than last week?

    :):):)

  83. Sam said

    “Macro-evolution, thus, is saying “Man came from a single celled organism.” and I am replying, “Okay, well, how is that possible?”
    You reply “I am agnostic on that issue.”

    Wow.

    Wow. Where to start.

    (Deeeeep breath…)

    Talk about mischaracterizing what someone states.

    Go back up a few posts, Craig. You claimed that I MUST make a leap of faith NOT to get from a one-celled organism to a two-celled organism, but how to get from the absence of life to the FIRST SIGNS of life. Go read your post.

    Evolution has a lot to say indeed about the development of multicellular organisms. If you are truly interested in that evidence, go to one of the links I provided to you. The evidence is to broad to summarize for you in a post within a thread on ID.

    Being an agnostic, which typically claims a lack of sufficient information from which to reach profound conclusions on issues such as a higher power or what event sparked the existence of organic compounds on planet earth, has NOTHING TO DO with believing that two-celled organisms came from one-celled organisms.

    “Man came from a single-celled organism”.

    Absolutely. And your question?

    “Okay, well how is that possible?”

    That’s a question that textbooks have been devoted to. Go do some reading, why don’t you? If you’re really interested.

    “I am agnostic on that issue.”

    (See above)

  84. Craig Chamberlin said

    Sam,

    Thank you and I will let the readers make their own evaluations based upon our discussion. :)

  85. Sam said

    Craig,

    Fair enough by me. That is certainly a diplomatic way to give this thread a breather…

    Cheers :)

    Sam

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