Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Noted philosopher William Lane Craig responds to the American Humanist Association “Kids without God” web site

As I have just noted, the AHA has put up a blog promoting its brand of evolutionary materialist naturalism to children: . . . the AHA has a web site that promotes its brand of naturalism — in effect, atheism rooted in evolutionary materialism, but with the attempt to promote human values and being “good without God” — to children (here) with a section for teens (here). The sneering, condescendingly sophomoric tone and dismissivenes of the site is clear right from its declared (and very familiar-sounding) theme: Welcome to Kids Without God, a site for the millions of young people around the world who have embraced science, rejected superstition, and are dedicated to being Good Without A God! Noted Christian Read More ›

New Paper in Nature Argues That Ediacaran Fossils Not Ancestral To Cambrian Fauna

A new paper has just been published in Nature by Gregory J. Retallack of the University of Oregon. The paper argues that the Ediacaran fauna are not ancestral to the animals which arose in the Cambrian explosion and that life existed on land 65 million years before previously thought. Retallack further argues that the iconic fossils of Dickinsonia and Springgina, which appear in the Precambrian Ediacaran assemblages, were not in fact animals at all. Rather they were, according to Retallack, lichens, soil structures and traces of slime moulds. The paper reports, Newly documented palaeosols in the Ediacara Member of the Rawnsley Quartzite in South Australia now call for a re-evaluation of its famous fossils, widely considered evolutionary predecessors of the Cambrian explosion of marine animal Read More ›

Four Flaws With The Argument From Suboptimal Design

Today I received an inquiry from a friend who is an atheist regarding the question of suboptimal design in nature. He was interested in learning how I would respond to “apparent instances of poor design, both in humans and throughout the animal kingdom.” He gave a few examples, “rang[ing] from technical design flaws such as the recurrent laryngeal nerve, to vestigial features such as the marsupial mole having non-functioning eyes hidden under its skin, to ‘commonsense’ features such as using the same mouth for both eating and breathing, leading to an untold number of deaths through choking.” In response, I identified four fundamental flaws with the argument from suboptimal design in nature. Here is my reply: Thanks for your question. Read More ›

How Evolutionists Stole the Histones

The recent finding that the DNA packaging technology and structure, known as chromatin, is not limited to eukaryotes but is also present in archaea, and so from an evolutionary perspective must have “evolved before archaea and eukaryotes split apart—more than 2 billion years ago,” is merely the latest in a string of misadventures evolutionists have incurred ever since they stole the histones.  Read more

Larry Moran defends Paul Nelson!

On Sunday, November 25, Dr. Paul Nelson gave a video presentation at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in southern California, entitled, Darwin or Design? Watching the video, I thought that he did a brilliant job in exposing the inadequacy of natural selection to account for major evolutionary changes – especially, the origin of animal body plans. I strongly recommend that Uncommon Descent readers take the time to watch Dr. Nelson’s presentation. It’s one of the best critiques of neo-Darwinian evolution that I’ve ever seen. Devastating is the only word I can use to characterize it. How Animal Body Plans expose the inadequacy of Neo-Darwinian Evolution, in a nutshell Dr. Nelson has kindly summarized his case, in a comment he made Read More ›

Jerry Coyne and Poisoning the Well

A disturbing feature of the debate over origins is the fact that many evolutionists, rather than offering facts or ideas, instead use the rhetorical tricks to push their ideas. Some of these are more subtle than others. One tactic that has been popular for well over a decade is this – if a Darwin-doubter makes a claim that natural selection (or some other idea) might be challenged in the literature by some otherwise-orthodox figure in biology, then one of Darwin’s modern supporters is almost guaranteed to send an email like the following (I’d be surprised if there wasn’t actually a template for this): Dear [[mainstream biologist]], I have been viciously fighting the evil creationists to prevent biology from being thrust Read More ›

Video: Paul Nelson At Saddleback

A few weeks ago, our own Paul Nelson gave a lecture at Saddleback Church entitled “Darwin or Design: “Darwin or Design: The Evidence of Nature and the Nature of Evidence.” That lecture is now available for viewing online at your convenience. Enjoy!

How Legs Evolved: Acompañado de Otros Muchos Cambios

A report today on new research out of Spain on embryonic development of zebrafish reads “From Fish to Man: Research Reveals How Fins Became Legs.” In this study evolutionists altered the expression levels of some regulatory genes resulting in deformed fins. The idea is that the deformed fin is taking its first step toward evolving into a tetrapod limb, and that this significant evolutionary transition was due not to an altered protein changing the way fins are built, but rather a change in the levels of existing proteins. As one of the researchers explained:  Read more

At The Washington Post, William Lane Craig Discusses “Humanism for Children”

The Washington Post features an interesting article by philosopher William Lane Craig on the American Humanist Association’s recent move to promote secularist values to children. He writes, The American Humanist Association is promoting a new Web site that is designed to furnish children with a naturalistic or atheistic perspective on science, sexuality, and other topics. The stated goal of the Web site is laudatory: “to encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and tolerance among young people, as well as to provide accurate information regarding a wide range of issues related to humanism, science, culture, and history.” The problem is that those values have no inherent connection with naturalism, which is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that there is nothing beyond the physical contents of the universe. Read More ›

Science is Good, But Not That Good

In a comment to my last post timothya asked “Can anyone provide a brief synopsis of a reliable way of knowing that is founded on a method other than science?” That timothya would even ask such a question suggests that he is sore tempted by the siren’s song of scientism. To which I say, “lash yourself to the mast timothya, and let me help you sail past this dangerous island.” Before we can deal with the manifold errors of scientism we must first define what we are talking about. “Scientism” is the idea that science provides the only valid way to know any truth. Some scientists have stretched the idea even further and asserted that since we can know truth only Read More ›

Transcription Factors Controlling Transcription Factors

Researchers at the University of Warwick have found another round of “conserved” non coding sequences, this time in the four plant species: the papaya, poplar, Arabidopsis and grape. And if the these similar DNA sequences are found in such disparate species, then the sequences must have been present in a very distant, and much simpler, common ancestor. The problem these CNS’s are apparently rather clever. Not only do they appear to be regulating gene expression by influencing transcription factor binding, but they many of the genes regulated by these sequences are themselves transcription factors. As one researcherexplains:  Read more

New Paper in Bio-Complexity: “Time and Information in Evolution”

Readers may recall a paper published in 2010 by Wilf and Ewens. A rebuttal to that paper (authors Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski, Ann K. Gauger, Robert J. Marks II) has now been published in Bio-Complexity. From the abstract, Wilf and Ewens argue in a recent paper that there is plenty of time for evolution to occur. They base this claim on a mathematical model in which beneficial mutations accumulate simultaneously and independently, thus allowing changes that require a large number of mutations to evolve over comparatively short time periods. Because changes evolve independently and in parallel rather than sequentially, their model scales logarithmically rather than exponentially. This approach does not accurately reflect biological evolution, however, for two main reasons. First, Read More ›

Could the Internet ever be conscious? Definitely not before 2115, even if you’re a materialist.

This is a post about two scientists, united in their passion about one crazy idea. Brain scientist and serial entrepreneur Jeff Stibel thinks that the Internet is showing signs of intelligence and may already be conscious, according to a recent BBC report. So does neuroscientist Christof Koch (pictured above). Koch, who has done a lot of pioneering work on the neural basis of consciousness, was the Lois and Victor Troendle Professor of Cognitive and Behavioral Biology at California Institute of Technology from 1986 until September 2012, when he took up a new job as Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. Stibel, who is nothing if not passionate about his cause, refers to the Internet Read More ›

Biomimetics: Learning From Biology

What happens when engineers look at biology? Unlike evolutionists, they see designs for all kinds of useful applications. “Biomimicry,” explains one article, “is an incredibly productive technique.”  Read more

TNA on “The Folly of Scientism”

Here.  An excerpt: The fundamental problem raised by the identification of “good science” with “institutional science” is that it assumes the practitioners of science to be inherently exempt, at least in the long term, from the corrupting influences that affect all other human practices and institutions. Ladyman, Ross, and Spurrett explicitly state that most human institutions, including “governments, political parties, churches, firms, NGOs, ethnic associations, families … are hardly epistemically reliable at all.” However, “our grounding assumption is that the specific institutional processes of science have inductively established peculiar epistemic reliability.” This assumption is at best naïve and at worst dangerous. If any human institution is held to be exempt from the petty, self-serving, and corrupting motivations that plague us Read More ›