Biology Intelligent Design Naturalism

Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism in Biology Submissions Starting to Come In

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We are excited to report that we have received a steady stream of submissions to AM-Nat Biology over the last few weeks. If you haven’t submitted your abstract, please do so soon.

Some of the submissions we have received include:

  • Alu elements as biological RAM
  • Errors as designed features of living systems
  • Measuring the amount of information a cell contributes to its own mutations
  • How rejecting methodological naturalism is a requirement for justifying evolution
  • Engineering problems solved by biology
  • And more!

Our review committee is actively reviewing submissions. We hope you join us! AM-Nat is an online conference series, so you can join us to watch or present from anywhere in the world. The last conference had presenters from Israel, Spain, Iceland, Canada, the US, and other countries.

You can find more information at am-nat.org. Feel free to submit abstracts or questions to info@blythinstitute.org. I will also answer questions about the conference here.

10 Replies to “Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism in Biology Submissions Starting to Come In

  1. 1
    rvb8 says:

    I’d love more information, or just a blurb on the submission, ‘Errors as designed features of living systems’.
    Is this the unanswerable rebuttal to the, ‘bad design’ observation?

    Also, why is the submission, ‘Engineering problems solved by biology’, a refutation of Methodological Naturalism? I submit a more accurate title, considering scientists and engineers often look to nature for structural, chemical , and design answers to everyday problems, should be, ‘Engineering problems solved by NATURE’.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    rvb8, I’ve noticed that lately you have been using the ‘Bad Design’ argument to try to say that Darwinian evolution, and atheism in general, are true. My question to you is this, ‘Why are using an argument based on Theistic premises to try to prove Darwinian evolution, and atheism in general, are true?’

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....34/?MUD=MP

    “The fact that evolution’s acceptance hinges on a theological position would, for many, be enough to expel it from science. But evolution’s reliance on metaphysics is not its worst failing. Evolution’s real problem is not its metaphysics but its denial of its metaphysics.”,,,
    Cornelius Hunter – Darwin’s God – pg. 159

    rvb8, the reason that you are forced to make a Theistically based ‘bad design’ argument may surprise you. You are forced to make Theistically based ‘bad design’ arguments because Darwinian evolution is, in reality, a pseudo-science that is based on bad liberal theology rather than a ‘hard’ science based on the empirical testing of a natural law.

    It is interesting to point out, whilst all the equations that accurately describe the universe are based on universal constants or natural laws of some sort, the math of Darwinian evolution is not based on any universal constant or natural law of any sort.,,,
    ,,, (and) Without a universal constant or natural law to base its math on, Darwinian evolution is not testable, (i.e. potentially falsifiable by direct experiment), and therefore Darwinian evolution does not qualify as a proper science in the first place but is more realistically classified as a unfalsifiable pseudoscience:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-622311

    In order to more clearly illustrate the fact that Darwinian evolution is not a hard science, Eugene Koonin, who is Senior Investigator of the Evolutionary Genomics Research Group at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), recently argued that, in order to make evolution a ‘hard’ science, “sheer chance” should replace natural selection as the default explanation for why any particular biological feature might have arisen:

    Why Biologists Waste Time Looking For Adaptations That Don’t Exist – Jan. 2017
    Excerpt: The problem, according to Eugene V. Koonin,,, is that the emphasis on Darwinian natural selection as the main force driving evolution, has too often encouraged a fruitless search for adaptive explanations–where none is really necessary.,,,
    The temptation, he points out, is to come up with a ‘just-so’ story that suggests why–when a more precise and fruitful avenue, for one example, would be to sequence the critter’s genome and do a comparison to its cousin critters’ genomes.,,,
    A more simplified and more realistic approach, Koonin suggests, is to assume a neutral null model and then seek evidence of selection that could falsify it.
    “Null models are standard in physics but apparently not in biology,” he writes. “However, if biology is to evolve into a ‘hard’ science, with a solid theoretical core, it must be based on null models, no other path is known. ”
    This is not a minor problem in the field, he argues. The temptation to assume adaptation and look for adaptive/survival explanations at this level of research, can mislead scientists,,,
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jo.....ont-exist/
    “the proper null hypothesis posits that it is a result of neutral evolution: that is, it survives by sheer chance provided that it is not deleterious enough to be efficiently purged by purifying selection.”
    Eugene V. Koonin
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5180405/

    So apparently for evolutionists, saying that something like the human eye happened by ‘sheer chance’ is even more scientific than them saying natural selection produced a trait??? But wasn’t natural selection originally suppose to be the ‘Designer substitute’ that could explain the ‘apparent design’ of something like an eye without resort to a Designer? i.e. without resort to God?

    Student: Where did the eye come from?
    Teacher: By sheer chance.
    Student: What about God?
    Teacher: Don’t be unscientific, it happened by sheer chance.

    rvb8, let us be VERY clear to the fact that ALL of science, every discipline within science, is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility. Modern science was born, and continues to be dependent on, those basic Theistic presuppositions:

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    Moreover, if we cast aside those basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and try to use Atheistic Materialism, i.e. methodological naturalism, as our basis for understanding the universe, and for practicing science, then everything within that atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, observations of reality, beliefs about reality, sense of self, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.

    Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a framework of illusions and fantasy
    Excerpt: Thus, basically, without God, everything within the atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, observations of reality, beliefs about reality, sense of self, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.
    It would be hard to fathom a more unscientific worldview than Darwinian evolution and Atheistic materialism/naturalism in general have turned out to be.
    Scientists should definitely stick with the worldview that brought them to the dance! i.e Christianity!
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q94y-QgZZGF0Q7HdcE-qdFcVGErhWxsVKP7GOmpKD6o/edit

    Again, it would be hard to fathom a more unscientific worldview than Darwinian evolution and Atheistic materialism/naturalism in general have turned out to be.

    Where Darwinian evolution goes off the rails, theologically speaking, as far as science itself is concerned, is that it uses bad liberal theology to try to establish the legitimacy of its atheistic claims, all the while forgetting that it itself is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and of our mind to comprehend it.

    In fact, Charles Darwin’s book, ‘Origin’, instead of being based on hard science, is replete with bad liberal theology.

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):
    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    To this day, since Darwinists have no empirical evidence to back up their claims, Darwinists are still dependent on bad liberal theology in order to try to establish the supposed ‘scientific’ legitimacy of Darwinian claims:

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    Thus rvb8, if you truly believe you don’t need God in order to do good science, then why in blue blazes are Darwinists so critically dependent on God in order to try to establish Darwinism as a supposedly ‘scientific’ theory?

    Ought not you just point to the ‘law of evolution’, or abundant empirical evidence, in order to prove your point? OHH, that’s right, there is no ‘law of evolution’ within the physical universe, nor is there any abundant empirical evidence, so you are stuck complaining how much better you would have made life and the universe if only you were God instead of you letting God be God.

    rvb8, contrary to how enamoured you may be with the thought that you could do God’s job better than God can, personally, I find you to be a very poor candidate for doing the job of God.

  3. 3
    Silver Asiatic says:

    rvb8

    I’d love more information, or just a blurb on the submission, ‘Errors as designed features of living systems’.
    Is this the unanswerable rebuttal to the, ‘bad design’ observation?

    You have an entire thread dedicated to your notions on this and I don’t think you’ve done much of anything to provide a rebuttal.

  4. 4
    johnnyb says:

    rvb8 –

    Thanks for your interest!

    I’d love more information, or just a blurb on the submission, ‘Errors as designed features of living systems’. Is this the unanswerable rebuttal to the, ‘bad design’ observation?

    I don’t know – I didn’t submit it, and we only have abstracts. I think in general terms it is about information theory and how many systems use predictable/correctable copying errors to allow higher-speed information transfer, and how that relates to genome operation.

    Also, why is the submission, ‘Engineering problems solved by biology’, a refutation of Methodological Naturalism

    You should come to the conference and ask that question.

    I submit a more accurate title, considering scientists and engineers often look to nature for structural, chemical , and design answers to everyday problems, should be, ‘Engineering problems solved by NATURE’.

    If you think that the conversation needs a different turn, please feel free to submit an abstract.

  5. 5
    Eric Anderson says:

    johnnyb, no doubt I am late to the party, but this seems like an interesting forum/conference. How did you get involved?

  6. 6
    velikovskys says:

    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator.

    Since ID is based on the assumption that something about a designer( intelligence ) can be determined by the analysis of a patterns of design, skeptics of intelligent design use the same assumption to gain an idea of other qualities of the designer based on observation of designs in the organic world. Archeologists use the same technique.

    Since ID requires an undesigned designer at some point, a eternal deity is a possibility. To not consider such a being would be a theological assumption.

    Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science.

    Only if the God proposed has no entailments.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    reiterate: “Ought not you just point to the ‘law of evolution’, or abundant empirical evidence, in order to prove your point? OHH, that’s right, there is no ‘law of evolution’ within the physical universe, nor is there any abundant empirical evidence, so you are stuck complaining how much better you would have made life and the universe if only you were God instead of you letting God be God.”

    “contrary to how enamoured you may personally be with the thought that you can do God’s job better than God can, myself, I find you to be a very poor candidate for doing the job of God.”

    Shoot, you are not even a real ‘person’ to begin with under your Darwinian presuppositions, so you don’t even qualify as a real human being much less God almighty! 🙂

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    V

    skeptics of intelligent design use the same assumption to gain an idea of other qualities of the designer based on observation of designs in the organic world.

    Skeptics of intelligent design who infer that there is a designer and then go on analyze other qualities of the designer have already accepted the ID proposal that a designer exists.

    Beyond that, I’d enjoy learning more about your analysis of the designer, even though that is outside of the scope of ID science. It’s a philosophical or theological analysis instead.

    Design can be good or bad, great in scope or small, accomplished for profound meaning or lesser purposes. But they’re all design.

    Intelligence and purpose are necessary, defining components of design. Goodness, evil, efficiency, sophistication – are not necessary attributes. Design can be good or bad – but it remains evidence of an intelligent designer nontheless.

    But in any case, if you’d like to pursue this further, I would like to know your thoughts.

    What attributes do you infer from the designer of the universe? Scope of the design? Intellecutal capability? Beauty of diversity and harmony?

    Einstein has something to say about it – as do many philosophers and scientists.

  9. 9
    velikovskys says:

    Sa:
    Skeptics of intelligent design who infer that there is a designer and then go on analyze other qualities of the designer have already accepted the ID proposal that a designer exists.

    Not exactly, they assume organic forms we see are the result of an agency.

    Beyond that, I’d enjoy learning more about your analysis of the designer, even though that is outside of the scope of ID science. It’s a philosophical or theological analysis instead.

    So it is beyond ID to infer from the pattern of elements of life that intelligence is required as a quality of the agency? So are you saying there are only philosophical and theological ways to determine the possible designer?

    Design can be good or bad, great in scope or small, accomplished for profound meaning or lesser purposes. But they’re all design

    Totally agree, and various attributes of the designer might be inferred from those qualities. Knowledge, limitations ,goals ,experience.

    Intelligence and purpose are necessary, defining components of design

    That would fit one definition of design,another definition would be the pattern of elements of a thing. If ID uses the first definition it is assuming its conclusion

    Goodness, evil, efficiency, sophistication – are not necessary attributes. Design can be good or bad – but it remains evidence of an intelligent designer nontheless.

    If it is shown to be the product of intelligent design. So ID doesn’t use some of those qualities as an indicator of intelligence?

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Vel

    Thanks for your reply.

    Not exactly, they assume organic forms we see are the result of an agency.

    I’m not sure I follow that. If you’re investigating aspects of the designer, what other agency would you be considering other than a designer?

    So it is beyond ID to infer from the pattern of elements of life that intelligence is required as a quality of the agency? So are you saying there are only philosophical and theological ways to determine the possible designer?

    ID only proposes that some aspects of nature give evidence of having been designed by intelligence. The last two words are redundant to the term “design”. The ID concept is built on the idea that there are only two options for explaining origins: design or non-design. Non-design would be chance or unintelligent natural laws. The fact that a designer of some kind exists is an inference linked necessarily to the existence of intelligent-design.

    But yes, given the designer of all time, space, matter and natural laws – there is no way for science to access that. It can only be a philosophical or theological analysis, and so it goes beyond ID science.

    Totally agree, and various attributes of the designer might be inferred from those qualities. Knowledge, limitations ,goals ,experience.

    Yes, agreed. You could conclude “the design is bad”, but if it is design then it’s not materialism.

    That would fit one definition of design,another definition would be the pattern of elements of a thing. If ID uses the first definition it is assuming its conclusion

    This is where it gets tricky and definitions of functional, specified complex information are ways to provide clarification. It’s the old “are snowflakes designed”? That’s a situation with an apparent design in the pattern of the snowflake, but also with known natural cause. ID looks at complex designs which have no known (at least at present) natural causes. This allows the ID proposal to be falsified if a natural cause can be found to create the design.

    If it is shown to be the product of intelligent design. So ID doesn’t use some of those qualities as an indicator of intelligence?

    I used the word “sophistication” and I guess that would be used as a marker for design (like complexity). Things perhaps like symmetry or precision (fine-tuning) would be other markers. But these are not like saying “good design” or “bad design” – so the argument of a bad design or the presence of evil wouldn’t affect it. You can have a very sophisticated design that is not efficient. In the same way, you could have something very finely-tuned to some parameters that is could also be less effective than some other design. But the fine-tuning is evidence of intelligence as the source, and that unintelligent forces or chance could not produce the effect.

    The ID proposal starts as an intuition: “This looks designed”. Then it looks to falsify that with natural causes. Failing that, the inference that it was designed (with intelligence as the source, necessarily) is the best explanation.

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