Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Antony Flew – did he really write There IS a God?

In late October, celebrated (former) atheist Antony Flew’s long-awaited There IS a God, with Roy Varghese, appeared. It is an elegant little book, as one might expect from a British philosopher. Its sparkling clarity does more than illuminate Antony Flew’s change of mind on the subject of God. Authorship controversy? Well, yes, some argue that Flew didn’t really write the book. Fundies are holding him captive in a church basement, see? Oh, come on. If Flew had suddenly, dramatically, turned back to atheism, would the same people suggest that he was senile or that he didn’t really write the (later) retraction? Is that truly the atheists’ best shot? Then their case is worse than I had realized. As a matter Read More ›

Evolution and the NFL theorems

Ronald Meester    CLICK HERE FOR THE PAPER  Department of Mathematics, VU-University Amsterdam, “William Dembski (2002) claimed that the NoFreeLunch-theorems from op- timization theory render Darwinian biological evolution impossible. I argue that the NFL-theorems should be interpreted not in the sense that the models can be used to draw any conclusion about the real biological evolution (and certainly not about any design inference), but in the sense that it allows us to interpret computer simulations of  evolutionary processes. I will argue that we learn very little, if anything at all, about biological evolution from simulations. This position is in stark contrast with certain claims in the literature.” This paper is wonderful! Will it be published? It vindicates what Prof Dembski has been saying all the time Read More ›

“Making Space for Time” – Is cosmic order evidence for ID?

Making Space for Time – Physicists meet to puzzle out why time flows one way. Scott Dodd. Scientific American, January 2008 p 26,27,28.   This article cites physicists invoking multiverses to explain high order in the early cosmos – and that less order would have prevented universes from surviving or evolving to support intelligent life. This sounds like evidence for Intelligent Design – and efforts to explain it away. This calls for brilliant astrophysicists and mathematicians to address this controversial evidence from an ID perspective. Note particularly: ————— “The cosmic microwave background radiation, a remnant of the big bang, shows that 380,000 years after its birth, the universe was filled with hot gas, all evenly distributed and highly ordered. Eventually Read More ›

Design of Life: Molecular clock – right twice a day?

2006 and 2007 have been years in which a number of key science papers addressed things we know – that ain’t so. One story is the serious challenges to the long contested “molecular clock” theory. [ … ] In the science literature, many adjustments are offered to make the fossil record and molecular data match. Of course, some adjustment is certainly inevitable, but after a while a question arises. One can live with a clock that is routinely ten minutes slow. But if it is variably slow, slower at some times than others, there may come a point when one asks, why consult a clock anyway? Or, more to the point, should this device properly be called a clock? Read Read More ›

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin?

Another Darwin Biography

Ecclesiastes tells us, “Of making books there is no end,” and nowhere is that a greater truism than in the ever growing corpus of Darwiniana.  At present writing OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), the world’s largest bibliographic database, lists 14,129 books and articles with occurrences of Darwin, Darwinism, or Darwinian in the title.  That’s enough to confirm the second half of that verse, namely, that “much study is wearisome to the flesh.”  Fortunately, there are at present only two outstanding biographies of the man many consider the most influential scientist of all time.  The first is Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist (1991).  Still frequently cited in the literature, Desmond and Moore’s 800-page biography has been overshadowed more recently by the completion of Janet Browne’s even more corpulent 2 volume prize-winning biography Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1995) and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (2003).  But the sheer massiveness of both endeavors (Browne’s effort totals nearly 1,200 pages in all) means that few but the most obsessive investigators will venture to traverse that terra incognita.  A book of more modest and accessible proportions seemed overdue.  Then I saw it – a   comparatively slim biography resting humbly on the shelves of Barnes & Nobles’ science section (it really belonged in the philosophy section but we’re coming to that).  It was David Quammen’s The Reluctant Mr. Darwin recently published in 2006.  Excluding the notes, bibliography, and index the total narrative comes to a mere 253 pages, and at $14.95 its price was destined to welcome rather than frighten readers away.  I said to myself: “Here is a book people are likely to actually read!”  I bought it and read it in a weekend. I’m glad I did, but not for reasons one might expect.
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Debates in evolution: What if the tape of life were replayed? Would humans result?

Stephen Jay Gould, the great American paleontologist, liked to say – particularly in A Wonderful Life, that if the tape of evolution were replayed a million times, a species like ours would not necessarily evolve. He made this point in, and a debate rages to this day about whether he meant chance, as Daniel Dennett claims, or contingency, as Michael Shermer claims. Biochemist Michael Denton of the University of Otago in New Zealand has an interesting take on the question in Nature’s Destiny: Go here for more.

Today at Design of Life: Channel your inner fish?

Tiktaalik, an early fossil fish with sturdy forefins, helps illustrate the difference between the approach of scientists who are convinced Darwinists and that of scientists who view the problems of evolution primarily in terms of information theory (intelligent design).

The Darwinist says, There! – we have found a missing link, so now we KNOW! what happened (because our theory explains everything).

An information theorist I consulted had an entirely different approach to the problem. He said that we do not know what happened, because we do not know how the information that produced this change came to be in the system. We have observed only the change itself, not the arrival of the information (which is the key point).

Go here for more.

Ann Coulter on legacy media obsessions with US presidential candidate Huckabee’s views on evolution. Read More ›

Guillermo Gonzalez: Is Earth an accident or a staging platform for exploration of the universe?

You’d think astronomers would be happy to sponsor the latter idea but then you must have been out of town when Guillermo Gonzalez’s story broke. Read Denyse O’Leary’s interview with Gonzalez here. Also, Gonzalez on intelligent design – both non-falsifiable and already falsified? Howzzat? Also: Defeat organized stupidity. Buy and read The Design of Life!

Excerpts from the Dennis Prager show: The central dogma in neuroscience? And at least one reason why it isn’t true.

Bill Dembski asked me to post some excerpts from this interview that Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and I did with American radio host Dennis Prager, on the difference between the mind and the brain (as set out in our book The Spiritual Brain, Harper One, 2007). I finally got a chance to transcribe a bit of it, so here is that bit:

DENNIS PRAGER: We always or nearly always associate scientists with skepticism if not downright hostility to the notion that there is something in us that is not physically or materially explicable. The notion that we have a soul, well, but you can’t measure a soul, you can’t see it, and it is not available through an x-ray and yet there are some scientists who say that science itself may argue for the existence of a soul and even for a higher intelligence.

And there is a book that has received remarkable reviews, just published it’s called that argues and the neuroscientist in this case is a professor at the University of Montreal, an assistant professor in the departments of radiology and psychology and he is Mario Beauregard and in Toronto is Denyse O’Leary who is an award-winning Canadian science writer and journalist. They have co-authored this book.

So, tell our many listeners in North America, what is the basic theory of your book? Read More ›

On the Origin of Species in 8 pages

HERE IS THE LINK  A taste “INTRODUCTION When on board H.M.S. ‘Beagle’, I began patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts, which seemed to throw light on the origin of species. I have not been hasty in coming to a decision. I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed here on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. Although much remains obscure, I can entertain no doubt that the idea which I formerly entertained, that each species has been independently created, is erroneous. I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main, but not exclusive, means of modification.” We talk a lot Read More ›

Darwinist Negative-Review Spam Campaign Backfires at Amazon

Last week, The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence In Biological Systems was in the 17,000-20,000 range at Amazon.com. Since the Darwinist-sponsored negative-review spam campaign (with “reviews” written mostly by people who obviously had not read the book), and as of this writing, the book is sitting at about 3,000, and is: #1 in Books > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology #1 in Books > Science > Biological Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology