Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Bill Dembski: Evolution “played no role whatever” in his conversion to Christianity #4

arroba Email

(Dembski discovers Darwin’s awesome cultural noise machine.)

Comment on Dembski interview here.

We’ve been pointing out highlights from James Barham’s The Best Schools interview with design theorist Bill Dembski – who founded this blog – about why he decided to take aim at the Darwin frauds and their Christian enablers. How did they in particular end up on his windscreen?

TBS: When did you first come to doubt that the theory of natural selection adequately explains the fact that living things appear to be designed—an appearance that even Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett freely admit?

WD: The funny thing—especially in light of my work on intelligent design—is that evolution played no role whatsoever in my conversion to Christianity. My dad was an evolutionist. He even taught evolution at the college level. He would often joke that a few million years ago, we were swinging from trees. I accepted evolution on becoming a Christian, and I didn’t see any fundamental conflict between the two.

After becoming a Christian, I started reading the creationist literature (there was no ID literature to speak of, then) and seeing the tension between Darwinism and the more conservative reading of Scripture that was customary in the evangelical circles in which I moved. But what decided me against Darwinism wasn’t its unacceptability to any preferred construal of Christianity. It was this.

We all have intuitions about what’s within the reach of chance and what isn’t. If I get out a fair coin and flip it three times, I might witness three heads in a row, no problem. I might even flip 10 heads in a row if given an hour or two to toss the coin. But getting 100, to say nothing of 1,000, heads in a row by chance seems completely absurd.

Well, when I was reading about the origin of life (this was in 1980), it seemed to me utterly ridiculous that chemistry left to its own devices could pull off this feat of forming first life. Once naturalism lost its hold on me with regard to the origin of life, skepticism of Darwinism vis-à-vis the subsequent history of life followed. Indeed, without naturalism to prop up Darwinism, the evidence for this unguided form of evolution is underwhelming, to say the least. Phillip Johnson showed this quite effectively in Darwin on Trial. Others have as well. I came to the same conclusion within a year after my conversion to Christianity.

See also: Why Bill Dembski took aim against the Darwin frauds and their enablers #1

Why Bill Dembski took aim against the Darwin frauds and their enablers Part 2

Bill Dembski: The big religious conspiracy revealed #3

Comment on Dembski interview here.

I said "a sprinkle of lights that waited thousands of years" - I'm not a YEC. I was thinking in years of technological development. ScottAndrews2
The truth is that no one even knows the half of what is going on within the genome of any living thing. The evidence suggests not only design, but design thinking 1,000 steps ahead, far above the level of any human intellect. It's easy to stop there and zero in on my comparison to human intellect. If that's all we know, then to what intellect am I comparing it? I've heard that point and I acknowledge it. It's reasonable and valid. But it is what it is. It all points to forethought and design. The absence of a known designer simply isn't a valid reason to retreat to a far worse explanation. Allow me to speculate wildly. No need to point it out, that's what I'm doing. But when we consider how many steps of forethought are already apparent, it's reasonable to conclude that not only was someone thinking outside the box, but that we don't even have a clue where the edges of the box are. Again, I'm speaking purely from imagination. It's already been observed in some studies that living things can gain genetic material from the food chain. What if the genetic material that distinguishes one species from another is partially in the ancestor and partially spread about in plant life or elsewhere? What if front-loading wasn't even "loaded" in the genome of the organisms themselves? Yes, that's just crazy talk. But we know enough about biology to know that we've only scratched the surface of how it works. I'm not saying that we shouldn't form hypotheses based on what we know. But we should remain humble in the face of all we don't, and not try to place everything in a very tiny box outlined by our presently limited knowledge. I know how foolish this sounds, but I gain perspective from looking at the stars. There are countless trillions of them burning unimaginable energy, and all we see are a sprinkle of lights that waited thousands of years for us to build telescopes and realize what they really were. The technology to build simple microscopes and then more powerful ones only opens our eyes to a depth of design no one could have imagined. The more we learn, the more we are humbled and the more we discover to learn about. It's like having a child and enjoying each day as his mind develops and you're able to share more and more with him. That's not much of an appeal to science, I know. But it's the perspective we can miss if we judge all that exists by the tiny part we observe and minimize all that we haven't seen yet. ScottAndrews2
It’s ID that claims animals were created from scratch, nobody else.
Except ID does not make such a claim. And it is obvious that you do not know anything about the "Ark story"- did you realize taht teh same evidence for a snowball earth is also evidence for a global flood? Joe
So you think you could design things better??? Allrighty then, look forward to your work 'transcendently' creating a universe and life within it from scratch. Please do keep us up to date on your progress! :) bornagain77
And you are certain of this proclamation of yours exactly how???
I'm certain because if humans were designed then the designer is a cretin. Food and air down the same pipe? What a joke. Peter Griffin
Peter though most of what you wrote is just tripe, and I will not bother to read it nor respond to it (just as you have treated me), this comment of yours caught my eye;
'But while it appears to be design there is no consciousness behind it.'
Really??? And you are certain of this proclamation of yours exactly how??? Is it from the scientific evidence we now have in hand??? Certainly Not!!! Contrary to what you so dogmatically stated, without even a footnote or reference,, the 'scientific' argument for God from consciousness can be framed, and supported empirically, like this;
1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a 'epi-phenomena' of material reality. 2. If consciousness is a 'epi-phenomena' of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality. 3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality. 4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
references for you to not read:
Quantum mind–body problem Excerpt:Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind%E2%80%93body_problem Dr. Quantum - Double Slit Experiment & Entanglement - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579 The Mental Universe - Richard Conn Henry - Professor of Physics John Hopkins University Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke "decoherence" - the notion that "the physical environment" is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in "Renninger-type" experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy. http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf Wheeler's Classic Delayed Choice Experiment: Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles "have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy," so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory. http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/basic_delayed_choice.htm "It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness." Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays "Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays"; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.
Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries:
Eugene Wigner Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another. http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_Course/WignerBio/wb1.htm
i.e. In the experiment the 'world' (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a 'privileged center'. This is since the 'matrix', which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is 'observer-centric' in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”
Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness - Richard Conn Henry - Professor of Physics - John Hopkins University Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe. And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial… https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/the-quantum-enigma-of-consciousness-and-the-identity-of-the-designer/ What drives materialists crazy is that consciousness cannot be seen, tasted, smelled, touched, heard, or studied in a laboratory. But how could it be otherwise? Consciousness is the very thing that is DOING the seeing, the tasting, the smelling, etc… We define material objects by their effect upon our senses – how they feel in our hands, how they appear to our eyes. But we know consciousness simply by BEING it! https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/neuroscience/another-atheist-checks-out-of-no-consciousnessno-free-will/comment-page-1/#comment-411601 “the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter... we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.” Sir James Jeans Psalm 33:13-15 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. Centrality of Each Individual Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics https://docs.google.com/document/d/17SDgYPHPcrl1XX39EXhaQzk7M0zmANKdYIetpZ-WB5Y/edit?hl=en_US
more detailed notes in the first part of the paper here:
Let There Be Light http://lettherebelight-77.blogspot.com/2009/10/intelligent-design-anthropic-hypothesis_19.html
committed to protecting their atheistic ideology at all cost rather than ever admitting, even to the most trivial level, the possibility of design in nature and biology.
I admit that there is "design" in nature and biology. But while it appears to be design there is no consciousness behind it. So, if all biology is designed why does the designer only act in ways that evolution is also constrained by? I.E. why do innovations in a single species not get re-used in all species, why are those innovations constrained to only descendants exactly as would be expected from evolution. If you post anything other then a response in your own words I won't read it. Peter Griffin
especially since the vast majority of neo-Darwinists I’ve met are note interested in any fair and rational weighing of the evidence but are delusionally bent on protecting their ideology at all cost rather than admit to the overwhelming evidence of design in nature and biology.
You say "vast majority". So therefore there are some who rational weigh the evidence. And yet those few remain neo-Darwinists. So, rationally examine the evidence: neo-Darwinist. Refuse to examine the evidence: neo-Darwinist. So BA, if people who examine the evidence with an open mind remain neo-Darwinist then what's your point? It can't be that the evidence does not support neo-Darwinism, as those who examine it openly remain darwinists. So what is your point?
It makes defending ID a lot easier with people like you defending Darwinism!
Except I'm not particularly defending Darwinism am I? I'm asking questions about ID, this is an ID blog. Peter Griffin
Correction: That’s OK Peter, I really didn’t expect you to read it and listed the evidence, primarily for the benefit of others,,, especially since the vast majority of neo-Darwinists I’ve met on the internet are not interested, at all, in any fair, and/or rational, weighing of the evidence, but are delusionally committed to protecting their atheistic ideology at all cost rather than ever admitting, even to the most trivial level, the possibility of design in nature and biology.,,, By the way, thanks for such transparency of atheistic motives. It certainly makes defending ID a lot easier with people like you defending neo-Darwinism! bornagain77
That's OK Peter, I really didn't expect you to read it and listed it for the primarily for the benefit of others,,, especially since the vast majority of neo-Darwinists I've met are note interested in any fair and rational weighing of the evidence but are delusionally bent on protecting their ideology at all cost rather than admit to the overwhelming evidence of design in nature and biology. By the way, thanks for such transparency of atheistic motives. It makes defending ID a lot easier with people like you defending Darwinism! :) bornagain77
BA, TLDR; Peter Griffin
It's ID that claims animals were created from scratch, nobody else. And how do you feel working for somebody who believes that the Ark story is literally true? Does that not give you pause when you are writing your "Darwinists are so dumb" posts? Peter Griffin
This following video, and article, are very interesting for they talk about the scientific evidence for a 'genetic Adam' and a 'genetic Eve', and how the evidence relates to Noah's flood:
Does human genetic evidence support Noah's flood? - Fazale Rana - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4116168 Book Review; Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of Man: Excerpt: The Bible claims that there was a genetic bottleneck at the Genesis flood. Whereas all females can trace their ancestry back to Eve (through the three wives of Noah's sons), all males trace their Y-chromosomes through Noah (through his three sons). This predicted discrepancy for molecular dates of mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome data is actually seen in the scientific literature. http://www.godandscience.org/newsletters/2005-09.html The Non-Mythical Adam and Eve! - Refuting errors by Francis Collins and BioLogos - August 2011 http://creation.com/historical-adam-biologos
CMI has a excellent video of the preceding paper by Dr. Carter, that makes the technical aspects of the paper much easier to understand;
The Non Mythical Adam and Eve (Dr Robert Carter) - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ftwf0owpzQ Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics by Dr Robert W. Carter - 11 May 2010 Excerpt: It comes as a surprise to most people to hear that there is abundant evidence that the entire human race came from two people just a few thousand years ago (Adam and Eve), that there was a serious population crash (bottleneck) in the recent past (at the time of the Flood), and that there was a single dispersal of people across the world after that (the Tower of Babel).1 It surprises them even more to learn that much of this evidence comes from evolutionary scientists. http://creation.com/noah-and-genetics
This following secular article 'honestly' admits that 'some big canyons' were formed by catastrophic floods:
Secular Geology Admits to Rapid Canyon Formation by Megafloods - June 21 2010 Excerpt: “Our traditional view of deep river canyons, such as the Grand Canyon, is that they are carved slowly, as the regular flow and occasionally moderate rushing of rivers erodes rock over periods of millions of years.” Quoting Michael Lamb of Caltech, co-author of a paper in Nature Geoscience, the article said that such is not always the case: “We know that some big canyons have been cut by large catastrophic flood events during Earth’s history.” http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev201006.htm#20100621a
The following article investigates eight anomalies of the Grand Canyon that strongly suggest rapid formation by a catastrophic flood of global proportions:
Eight factual descriptions of the Grand Canyon http://www.canyonministries.com/content/view/31/54/
Here is another anomaly of the Grand Canyon:
Grand Canyon Sand Hails from Back East Excerpt: Sands from the Appalachians have found a tourist mecca in the arid Southwest, it seems. Two weeks ago it was reported that Utah’s Navajo sandstones came from the Appalachians, and now a geologist from Univ. of Arizona thinks the same for Grand Canyon sandstones, He bases his conclusion on radiometric dates of zircons in the sand which match those in Appalachia. This would require huge rivers bearing sand thousands of miles westward to Wyoming, “from whence winds blew it south into the dune fields” of Arizona. The resulting sand pile covered an area the size of the Kalahari desert. “I was very surprised by what we found,” said one of the geologists. http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev0903.htm#geo71
Here is a site that, though written from a Young Earth perspective, gives a fairly good overview of the many strange anomalies in the fossil record that point to an ancient global flood:
The Fossil Record http://detectingdesign.com/fossilrecord.html
Of related interest; Rainbows are formed by what are called ‘Quantum Catastrophes’. Thus, since I find Quantum Mechanical phenomena to be thoroughly Theistic, as to the necessity of providing a coherent 'non-local' (beyond space and time) causation, that does not dissolve into absurdity as postulated ‘non-reductive’ materialistic causes do for non local events, then yes I actually do think God does form rainbows;
Quantum Catastrophes Excerpt: Catastrophes [1] are at the heart of many fascinating optical phenomena. The most prominent example of such a catastrophe is the rainbow. http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~ulf/catastrophe.html 27 Amazing Miracles in Real Life Excerpt: Our son died of a brain tumor at 17. On the second anniversary of his death, as I was driving to work, a double rainbow appeared in the clear sky. One end was on the road in front of us and the other at the cemetery where he was buried. —Peggy H., Boone, North Carolina http://www.rd.com/family/27-amazing-miracles-in-real-life-2/
As well, there is actually very strong archaeological evidence tracing all human races to the three sons of Noah:
Tracing Your Ancestors Through History - Noah's Descendants - video http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/video/1 TABLE OF NATIONS (GENEALOGY OF MANKIND) by Tim Osterholm Excerpt: The fact is, that wherever its statements can be sufficiently tested, Genesis 10 of the Bible has been found completely accurate; resulting partly from linguistic studies, partly from archaeology, and, more recently still, from the findings of physical anthropologists, who are, to this day, recovering important clues to lines of migration in ancient historic times. As implied in verse 32 of Genesis 10, this Table includes everybody; meaning that so-called fossil man, primitive peoples (ancient and modern) and modern man are all derived from Noah's three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. http://www.soundchristian.com/man/
Peter even though the inference to design is purely scientific. In fact it the very same type of scientific inference that Charles Darwin himself used to try to make his case for evolution,,,
Stephen Meyer - The Scientific Basis Of Intelligent Design - video http://vimeo.com/32148403
,,, you made a theological argument to undercut the purely scientific case for design we see in life. i.e. Instead of honestly addressing the fact that Darwinism is repeatedly shown to be impossible, many times over, from strict probabilities of math and physics, even granted the most generous assumptions for probabilistic resources of the entire universe, you completely ignored that 'elephant in the living room' scientific problem (Denialism) to focus on what you think to be a solid argument that goes against design. And I ask you so what??? All you have done is attack the Bible!!! but Intelligent Design does not seek to defend the Bible in the first place!!! If you got a problem with the Bible I suggest you go to one of the thousands of sites dedicated to the study of the Bible and present your evidence to them!,, Myself, speaking theologically, I find your claim,,,
a global flood (for which no physical evidence exists)
,,to be not nearly as solid as you think it to be: This following article points to a global anomaly in sediment layers. A anomaly that would be expected from a global flood perspective:
Ancient Earth Smackdown at Santa Fe Tells Global Story - August 2010 Excerpt: “Geologist John Wesley Powell called this major gap in the geologic record, which is also seen in other parts of the world, the Great Unconformity.” Clicking on the link elaborates further: “The Great Unconformity is a geologic feature that exists across the world at a relatively consistent rock strata (or depth relative to sea-level).” Any unconformity worldwide in its extent would seem to require to a global catastrophe. http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev201008.htm#20100810a
Worldwide 'planation' also points to a global disaster from water:
Planation surface Excerpt: planation surface, any low-relief plain cutting across varied rocks and structures. Among the most common landscapes on Earth, planation surfaces include pediments, pediplains, etchplains, and peneplains. There has been much scientific controversy over the origins of such surfaces. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/462878/planation-surface It’s plain to see - Flat land surfaces are strong evidence for the Genesis Flood Excerpt: A planation surface is a large, level, or nearly level, land surface that has been ‘planed’ flat by running water. Scientists believe that running water cut these surfaces because they are covered by rounded rocks. Water is the only agent we know that can produce rounded rocks, by tumbling them against each other as it transports them along.,,, Planation surfaces sometimes cut across tilted sedimentary rocks. They are especially easy to recognize. The layered sedimentary rocks are often a combination of hard and soft rocks. Only a gigantic, fast-running water flow could have cut both the hard and soft rocks evenly.,,, Geomorphologist Lester King has documented that planation surfaces are abundant on all continents and found at different elevations. He noted about 60% of Africa is a series of planation surfaces. Some planation surfaces are located on the top of mountains. http://creation.com/its-plain-to-see
This ‘global anomaly’ of planation, is exactly what we would expect to see from a global flood perspective, yet the dating of the global catastrophe(s) from water, as far as I know, is not yet known to accurate detail. Indeed I know of no secular reference of any known ‘mass extinction’ that mentions any ancient global disaster for water covering the face earth, to form this worldwide 'unconformity' and planation. And yet, there the worldwide anomaly sits. An anomaly that certainly requires a global deluge to explain!: The following videos outline some surprisingly strong geological evidence for a global flood that will make any honest person scratch their head in wonder:
Startling Evidence That Noah's Flood Really Happened - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGeULHljDn8 The Worldwide Flood - Geologic Evidences - Pt 1 with Dr. Andrew Snelling - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwGgSNDPhO0 The Worldwide Flood - Geologic Evidences - Pt 2 with Dr. Andrew Snelling - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMSSwoJFq-8
Here is a article that gives evidence of ‘submerged’ landscapes, just as the preceding video postulated:
The Rise and Fall of Submerged Landscapes - July 2011 http://crev.info/content/110710-rise_and_fall_of_submerged_landscapes
The following video is very interesting for it shows a geological formation that is now known to have been formed by a catastrophic flood, yet Charles Darwin himself had 'predicted' the geological formation was formed 'gradually':
Where Darwin Went Wrong - geology video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3darzVqzV2o
Peter Griffin, how be this: You manufacture the animals from scratch - must be viable originals, not copies - and we'll do the boat. Seems like a fair division of labour to us. Stay in touch. News
OT; New video with Dr. Behe
Michael Behe & Daniel Kuebler - Science and Faith Conference - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZqVhXJzMXU
But getting 100, to say nothing of 1,000, heads in a row by chance seems completely absurd.
And yet getting two of every animal into a big boat while there is a global flood (for which no physical evidence exists) that wipes out every living thing is not absurd?
Indeed, without naturalism to prop up Darwinism, the evidence for this unguided form of evolution is underwhelming, to say the least.
It's almost as if Dr Dembski is saying that Darwinism can do everything that's claimed for it as long as there is a little guidance. And therefore undercuts every "bodyplan not possible", "islands of functionality", "no evidence the transformations are even possible" argument ever made at Uncommon Descent, ever! Peter Griffin

Leave a Reply