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Advice for Students Taking Classes from Darwinists

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I spend a bit of time teaching and talking to junior-high and high-schoolers, especially homeschool students. One of the things that I try to teach them is how to approach teachers who are Darwinists when they get to college. Anyway, I though some readers might be students and might appreciate the advice. Obviously, this is not gospel-truth, but it might give you a place to start from.

Remember that Even if Your Professor is a Darwinist that Doesn’t Mean Your Professor is Dumb

First and foremost, remember that you are a student. Your professor, wrong-headed as they may be on evolution, still has more experience and wisdom in their field than you do. At the very least, they have been doing it longer and are more widely read. You should remember that your primary goal in school is not to be right, but to learn. I have always found that even when someone else is dreadfully wrong, there are usually things that I can learn from their approach. In addition, sometimes you may even find them to be right, and for you to be wrong. I have learned most about biology, for both ID and Creation, by reading evolutionists. I find several of them have found ideas that are extremely profound and helpful for someone who is both a Creationist and an ID’er like myself. You may have to tweak them to apply them correctly, but if you spend your time arguing rather than listening, you will never find them.

Evolution is a Big Word – Use it to Your Advantage

One of the things that organizations like the NCSE have done is to generate a “consensus” about “evolution”. However, as I pointed out here, the effort to forge a consensus on “evolution” meant that they had to make the definition so broad that it can include pretty much anything, including Intelligent Design as well as Creationism. As it stands now, the technical definition of evolution is broad enough that anyone can make legitimate and correct use of the term.

So, students, use this to your advantage. Never say that you don’t believe in evolution – because it simply isn’t true. The term “evolution” is now so broad, that as long as you think that you look different from your parents, you can say that you “evolved”. So, don’t fall for a trap if a professor asks if anyone doubts evolution. You don’t! You may doubt certain theories within evolution, but so does everyone – there are many speculative theories in evolution that not everyone ascribes to. Why should you be forced to be singled out because there are certain parts that you disagree with?

Are you not a selectionist? Well, neither is Larry Moran. Do you not believe that we all descended from a single, universal common ancestor? Well, neither do a lot of biologists, who have a range of opinions on the subject.

Therefore, if the conversation comes up, be specific about your objections. Say, “I totally agree that we have evolved, and that many organisms share a common ancestor, but I disagree that every single organism shares a single common ancestor.” Or say, “I agree that we evolve and change, but I disagree that natural selection is a capable mechanism for generating complex adaptations and novelty.” By being specific, you prevent the other party from employing vague generalizations. If you had instead said, “I don’t think evolution is true because I don’t believe we all share a common ancestor,” then you open the door for the professor to refute you by pointing to types of change that you probably agree with. Don’t give them that opportunity. Be specific about your disagreement, and make them give evidence that is specifically in support of their position.

Many ID’ers and Creationists have gotten their PhD in evolutionary biology, not to criticize it per se, but because evolutionary biology, as it is currently defined, has a broad enough conception of evolution to include these theories. That isn’t to say that the professors are broad-minded enough to be nice to people to hold these theories, but, on the definitions, a lot of what ID’ers and Creationists are interested in studying is reasonably called evolutionary biology. As an example, people who are interested in computability theory are also interested in learning the limits of computation. Doesn’t it make sense that people who are interested in evolutionary theory also be interested in learning the limits of evolution? Creationists believe that certain organisms all came from a single pair. Aren’t they just as interested as everyone else as to how they got to be so different? Thus, “evolution” is not the boogey-man, because evolution specifies neither a specific sequence or a specific mechanism, but rather the broad question of whether things change.

Be Careful of the Bait and Switch

I have seen this one over-and-over again. If you say, “give me an example of a random/haphazard mutation generating a beneficial mutation,” the professor is likely to respond by saying something like, “well, the immune system generates mutations that allow antibodies to adapt to new antigens.” The statement, as it stands, is 100% correct. However, it is not an answer to your question. Why? Because adaptation to antibodies is a cell-directed process, not a haphazard process. There is a tiny amount of randomness involved. However, out of 3,000,000,000 base pairs, the mutation system focuses on the 600 base pairs that matter. That means that it is .00002% random and 99.99998% directed by the cell. However, the word “mutation” in the sentence probably made you think that it was unguided. I’m not saying your professor is doing this intentionally, but it happens accidentally all of the time. They might say, “well such and such evolved”. They may even be right. But the question wasn’t “did it evolve?”, but “by what mechanism did it evolve?”

Be Open to Having Your Ideas Challenged

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you may be coming to class with bad conceptions. Even when they are basically right, sometimes they have rough edges. The best way to polish off your ideas is to have critics critique them. Just because you have an idea that gets shot down doesn’t mean it is completely wrong. It might mean that it is completely wrong, or it might mean that you are not all the way correct yet. Most theories in science start off disproven, and end in irrelevance. It isn’t that they are wrong, it is rather than, when they start, they are still fuzzy around the edges, so there are a lot of cases where the evidence goes the other way, because the phenomena isn’t fully understood. Then, by the time we have all of the edges smoothed out, someone will have come out with an even deeper way of understanding the phenomena, so the theory becomes somewhat irrelevant. Don’t be afraid of being part of this process. Good ideas take time to develop. Don’t expect your first, off-the-cuff answer, to have all of the solutions. But the fact that your off-the-cuff answer isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it is definitely wrong, either. It just means you have more thinking to do.

What’s really interesting about the ID movement is that people think that if they disprove a single conception in ID theory, that it means that the whole enterprise is broken. Ha! I can’t imagine a single area of science where such a notion would be remotely taken seriously. Imagine if someone were to say that all of evolutionary biology should be discarded because there was a single equation in it that wound up being faulty. What a ridiculous notion!

My own best work has come from when I offered a half-baked notion that I truly believed, but was then shot down. What did I do? Did I go and cry home to Mama? Heck no! I thought about it. What was it about my position that was right? What was wrong? How could it be more explicit? Perhaps it needed reformulating? Perhaps I needed to recruit another field to help? This is where good ideas come from. The most dangerous thing is not having your ideas challenged, but presuming that it will be easy, and presuming that the other people will have no answers. The key is learning to use those answers constructively to improve yourself.

Be Open About Yourself

This is the most dangerous part of my suggestions. Many people say, “keep your head low until you get tenure.” Screw that. As I said earlier, remember that you are in school to learn, and it is important to be humble. But you don’t want to get there on false grounds, either. This fails for a variety of reasons. First, everybody has one more grant to get before they come out and say what they really feel. There will never be a good time. If you practice being a coward, then being a coward is what will come easiest. If you instead practice being forthright about yourself without being prideful, that will be what becomes second-nature to you. Second, if you come out after you get tenure, then that raises questions. Were you lying before-hand? If you were lying about your position, does that mean that you were lying about your research? It is better to be open up-front, so that later it doesn’t look like you have been deceitful. Finally, you are probably missing some really important contributions, and making some negative ones. Maybe there is a student that could have been encouraged by you. Maybe if you allowed your real thoughts to come through, you would have had a breakthrough.

You may get kicked out of the program (either explicitly or just not being welcome), but often times you find out that people grow to respect you. And, if they kicked you out for being yourself, why did you want to be part of their club anyway? There are other ways to contribute. I know it is a lot of work that feels like it got flushed down the drain. Trust me, I have lost two children, I know what it feels like to have major parts of your life just ripped out of you. But, you know what? There are good things ahead.

Be Sure You Understand Before You Criticize

This goes with the first point. Sometimes, things sound crazy the first time you hear them, but wind up making a lot of sense. Your first goal shouldn’t be to criticize, but to learn. Is the reason you are having trouble because it is wrong, or just because you don’t understand it?

Along with this, keep in mind Aristotle’s exhortation – “it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to hold a thought without agreeing with it.” You should be able to examine a thought just like you examine a stone or an organism. You should be able to spot its strengths and its weaknesses. Every idea has strengths and weaknesses, and it is good practice to identify strengths in your opponents ideas and weaknesses in you own. It also teaches humility.

Don’t Always Jump on the First Inconsistency

This is something I learned early. Sometimes, even if you find an inconsistency, that is not where the trouble lies. Sometimes, it just indicates that there is a deeper problem that needs to be examined. For instance, I was taught that (a) mutations are the result of accidental copying errors, (b) organisms change by mutation and selection, and (c) organisms can have new functionality through this. Now, the thing is, I (and many other Darwin-doubters) automatically jumped on (b) and (c), and kept assuming (a). We had all assumed that (a) was experimentally derived. But it turns out that (a) is probably the most problematic of the statements. Once you recognize that mutations can arise through directed means, then it is not so hard to imagine organisms can evolve new (or at least new-ish) functionality. However, that was a deeper issue. Often, but not always, the surface issue is just indicative of a deeper issue that needs to be addressed.

Also, Question the Materialism

Going with the previous point, sometimes the real, underlying issue is materialism. That is, the professor might not believe that mind has distinctive causal powers at all. Sometimes, this can generate a good discussion (though sometimes it is more useful with classmates than with a professor who is stuck in his materialist worldview). Ask your classmates if they believe that there is such a thing as “choice” and “creativity”. If they do, they are most of the way to ID already. Ask them if they believe they have a soul? If they do, then they should immediately go out and sign the “Dissent from Darwin” list, since they believe that a very important part of the human animal (the soul) did not arise through mutation and selection. Materialism and Darwinism go hand-in-hand, because if creativity and choice are real, then they are non-mechanical – i.e., spiritual. If they are spiritual, it seems difficult to see how they could have evolved through DNA. If they didn’t evolve through DNA, then that means that Darwinism is incorrect on one of the most profound (and obvious) aspects of the human animal.

The question is, why is it so obviously wrong there? The answer is that Darwinism and Materialism are inextricably linked. They are not allowed to propose such things under the constraints of their materialist philosophy. However, if their materialist philosophy is driving them so far in the wrong direction about obvious truths in modern humanity, might it be just as wrong when asking about the causes available in the remote past?

Don’t Be Suckered Into Mechanisms

Going with the previous point, many people who criticize ID ask for a mechanism for the design. This is assuming the truth of materialism, rather than asking. Creativity is inherently non-mechanical. Also, it presumes that the question of mechanics is the most important one. However, logical causes, when they play a role, are almost always more important than mechanical or historical causes, even when they all occur together.

Think of it this way – let’s say I have a computer program written by a friend. I hand it to you and ask you to analyze it. Then I ask, “what keyboard did they use to type it?” Now, they may have used a keyboard to type it, but what kind of a question is that? Does it even matter? Doesn’t that question even miss the entire point of a computer program? Products of design focus on logical causes such as organization, symbols, meaning, and purpose. Those are the important questions. Yes, historical questions are worthwhile. But that doesn’t mean we will always have the answers in the form we want them, and they may not even be theoretically answerable in the form we are asking! Being a materialist puts you in a straightjacket. It is ridiculous for a non-materialist to assume such a straightjacket even for a moment.

The world is bigger than that.

Sometimes, Humility and Listening Wins More Points than Talking

I could write on this one, but it turns out I already did, so if you are interested, read this older post.

Anyway, I wish you all well in your classes with Darwinian teachers. If you have other ideas and suggestions, please post below!

NOTE – I added “Don’t Be Suckered Into Mechanisms” and “Also, Question the Materialism” after I initially posted this.

42 Replies to “Advice for Students Taking Classes from Darwinists

  1. 1
    Curly Howard says:

    Wow, this is by far the most pompous bit of writing I have read here at UD. It would be pretty funny actually, if you weren’t being completely serious.
    I could almost see it developed into an SNL skit.

    It does provide some interesting insight into the mind of the creationist, though.

    This isn’t an early April fools joke is it?

  2. 2
    Graham2 says:

    I don’t think JB should be allowed near students, ever.

  3. 3
    wallstreeter43 says:

    Sounds like the atheists got their tail feathers ruffled . It really pains me to see this happen. 🙁

  4. 4
    Mark Frank says:

    How often does debate about evolutionary biology actually come up in the classroom? (A ) In the USA (B ) Elsewhere?

    It never came up when I was at school and my children never mentioned it.

    I suspect this may be advice for a situation that never actually happens.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    CH accuses JB of being pompous

    pompous: having or showing the attitude of people who speak and behave in a very formal and serious way because they believe that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people

    Yet JB advised students to respect their professors since they are not dumb, be open to having your ideas challenged, etc.. in fact he stated

    “it is important to be humble.”

    Thus CH, you have made a false accusation. Why did you do this?

    Graham2 states:

    I don’t think JB should be allowed near students, ever.

    Why, do you have a problem with children having humble attitudes and inquisitive minds in class?

    In other words, why do you personally want Darwinism taught without question whilst other theories are always questioned?

    Mark, you pretend as if the issue never comes up. Yet, one of the very first ‘big’ questions that many children ask of their parents is ‘Where did I come from?’

    For you to pretend the issue never comes up is simply Denialism.

    Mark, please be honest, why did you deny the question ever comes up?

  6. 6

    So, dear student:

    – Your professors are knowledgable and may occasionally be right about something peripheral. Be humble.

    – Equivocate on definitions in order to misrepresent yourself.

    – Miss the point of abstractions. Request detailed mechanisms.

    – Learn from your critics. When they find problems with your arguments, retain your conclusions and adjust your arguments.

    – Don’t misrepresent yourself.

    – Be sure to understand what you criticize.

    – Look deeper. Then make stuff up. But be humble.

    – Change the subject.

    – Avoid all discussions of mechanisms. Talk about abstractions (“logical causes”) instead.

    – Above all, act humble.

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Dear student-

    Your biology professors don’t even know what makes an organism what it is. That means they have no idea if one type of organism can evolve into another type as evolutionism requires. That also means that universal common descent is not science as it cannot be tested.

    Your biology professors will equivocate on definitions in order to make evolutionism seem plausible

    Evolutionism claims to have detailed mechanisms so by all means have your biology professors elucidate them. But remember they most likely won’t be able to.

    Learn about BIOLOGY and forget evolutionism as the latter will never help you in any way whereas the former is very important.

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    Mark Frank:

    How often does debate about evolutionary biology actually come up in the classroom? (A ) In the USA (B ) Elsewhere?

    It should be a daily occurrence especially given the subject. If it isn’t a daily thing then there are many students who are incapable of original thought and lack critical thinking skills.

  9. 9
    johnnyb says:

    Graham2 –

    “I don’t think JB should be allowed near students, ever.”

    One of the best compliments I ever received.

    Mark Frank –

    How often does this come up? Quite a bit, actually. Especially if one studies biology or evolutionary biology (which several of my former students do). However, much of this advice applies to a host of subjects as well.

    .Reciprocating Bill –

    “Equivocate on definitions in order to misrepresent yourself.”

    I reject that interpretation. I, and, frankly, any other ID’er, is *almost never* the one equivocating on what evolution is. It is *constantly* happening on the evolutionary side. I encouraged a *single* definition of evolution, one that is supported by multiple organizations. Please tell me how consistently applying a term and being specific about areas of disageement is equivalent with equivocating.

    “Miss the point of abstractions. Request detailed mechanisms.”

    Actually, my point was that without the details, it is too easy to abstract to the wrong thing. Do you think that a process that is 9.99998%directed but 0.00002% random should be abstracted as “random mutation” or “directed mutation”? I would love to hear your answer on this.

    “Avoid all discussions of mechanisms.”

    I did not say that, either. Mechanism, actually, is one of my favorite topics. I simply reject evolutionary mechanism as being the foundation stone of biology. Logical patterns (both within and between organisms) are much more important.

  10. 10
    jerry says:

    I rather like this. Especially

    Being a materialist puts you in a straightjacket. It is ridiculous for a non-materialist to assume such a straightjacket even for a moment.

    Didn’t we have some clown here asking for the mechanism and some of the commenters in the past asked how the designer did it. As if we needed a video tape of each event.

    Also it is the Darwinist who cannot provide any mechanism to account for changes in life over time.

    In no way am I close to being a YEC, but there are a lot of good maxims in this discussion. For example, just asking a Darwinist for a definition of “evolution” often gets them in the dodge mode. Click on the link to the various definitions of evolution.

    Be Careful of the Bait and Switch

    How many times has a Darwinist used examples of micro evolution as their basis for believing in naturalistic evolution? Or that microbes change rapidly in the body during a epidemic. As if anyone who espouses ID does not believe in either.

    My guess, is that this OP hit home. I keep finding new gems.

    For example, another truism

    I have learned most about biology, for both ID and Creation, by reading evolutionists.

    When I was first introduced to the controversy I mainly read books by those who support Darwin’s ideas. It is there that I found the truth. They couldn’t justify their beliefs. If the advocates cannot defend their position, then what must the truth be. So I highly recommend reading what the Darwinist recommend.

  11. 11
    Neil Rickert says:

    Or say, “I agree that we evolve and change, but I disagree that natural selection is a capable mechanism for generating complex adaptations and novelty.”

    Why say anything at all?

    Personally, I agree with the quoted sentence (beginning “I agree”). And I don’t run into fights from saying that. Yet I rarely do say it. If I were a student, I would not be saying that in class. A good teacher doesn’t expect students to believe everything unquestioned. He wants the student to think for himself. He wants students to ask questions when they are puzzled, not when they merely disagree.

    But let’s look at this from the teachers point of view. I don’t teach biology, but I have taught mathematics and computer science for many years. My job as a teacher is not to present truth. My job is to teach the consensus. Well, strictly, it is to teach the syllabus which is based on the consensus. If I disagree with the consensus, I might casually mention that in class. But I won’t insist on it.

    To be more explicit, my views about AI (Artificial Intelligence) is well outside the consensus. I would not teach an AI class, because my views are too far from the consensus for me to do it properly. If I were to teach what I take as truth on AI, I would be doing my students a serious disservice. They came there to learn the consensus, and it is knowledge of the consensus that they will need when looking for jobs.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    My job is to teach the consensus.

    Of course it should be a requirement of every honest human being to say that this particular consensus has no basis in science.

    That would start an interesting discussion in class, one that might get closer to the truth.

    He wants the student to think for himself. He wants students to ask questions when they are puzzled, not when they merely disagree.

    If I disagree with something, am I not in a puzzled state if what I am disagreeing with is offered up in a classroom as science especially if there is no basis for it? Of course we know what is being disagreed with has no basis in science. It is a puzzlement in a science class.

  13. 13
    johnnyb says:

    Neil Rickert –

    A good teacher doesn’t expect students to believe everything unquestioned.

    I agree. But there are a *lot* of less-than-good teachers out there. Check out Bergman’s Slaughter of the Dissidents for numerous documented examples.

    My job as a teacher is not to present truth. My job is to teach the consensus. Well, strictly, it is to teach the syllabus which is based on the consensus. If I disagree with the consensus, I might casually mention that in class.

    I agree in general, except that I would flip what was true vs. what is required by the syllabus. If the syllabus has a bunch of rubbish on it, I think the students have a right to know about it. And I don’t mind the flip side, where someone who disagrees with me is the teacher. It is this dynamicism that makes subjects interesting instead of hopelessly boring. Good teaching means passion and energy, which is difficult to do if it requires presumed agreement with the syllabus. What I usually do is tell the students what motivates the other party to believe such things (and, by “motivation”, I don’t necessarily mean bad motivations, but also good ones – basically, what the world looks like from their perspective). By doing that, you can usually present a much more interesting and textured view of what is happening. Then you come back with where and why they went wrong.

    I would not teach an AI class, because my views are too far from the consensus for me to do it properly.

    That’s unfortunate! That’s precisely what makes classes interesting! I would encourage you to re-think this decision, for the sake of the students!

    They came there to learn the consensus

    Wrong. The focus should on learning how to think, not what to think. If they only wanted the what, they could have just gone to a library.

    Don’t let your students down – be yourself and be interesting and tell them the story of the dynamic interaction of everyone. You will find that the students wind up learning the what just fine.

  14. 14

    JB:

    I reject that interpretation.

    Yet is is accurate.

    Decoding others’ utterances is, in part, a process of discerning what a speaker intends (“means”) by the use of words. Context plays a key role in disambiguating words with multiple meanings, and hence what the speaker intends the listener to take away from an utterance.

    If, in the context of college instruction that concerns biology, a professor asks “who believes in evolution,” all students, creationist and not, will be clear that s/he is referring to evolution in the sense described by evolutionary biology (descent with modification over deep time due to variation, selection and other natural mechanisms, human evolution, etc). Only a moron would sincerely conclude that the professor actually intends “evolution” in a sense that “pretty much means anything,” including “do you look different than your parents.”

    Since the creationist in fact will know what the professor intends to convey by his question, hiding behind the equivocations and rationalizations you suggest is flat dishonest.

    Actually, my point was that without the details, it is too easy to abstract to the wrong thing. Do you think that a process that is 9.99998%directed but 0.00002% random should be abstracted as “random mutation” or “directed mutation”? I would love to hear your answer on this.

    Abstraction finds similarities amongst concrete differences. Three galaxies and and three bacteria are different in virtually every physical respect – yet share the abstract commonality of threeness. Similarly, the key functional accomplishment of the immune system is attained by means of a selectionist process that shares abstract similarity with natural selection. It is perverse (and uncomprehending) to ignore/deny that similarity, as well as (again) the professor’s intention in pointing to that mechanism.

  15. 15
    Zachriel says:

    johnnyb: Don’t Be Suckered Into Mechanisms

    Heaven forbid mechanisms be discussed in a science class.

  16. 16
    Curly Howard says:

    Good point mark, this almost never does come up.
    Especially in a general biology course, which is as far as most students get.

    This little creationist’s handbook is a perfect example of the debate against evolution. It consists of someone who knows next to nothing about biology, disagreeing with someone who has studied it for the majority of their life. Challenging the consensus may be a noble cause in many cases, but not in this one. You guys just look like a bunch of preschoolers. Like i said, it gets to the point where it would be comical, if you guys weren’t so serious.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Reciprocating Bill at 6 implies that JB said:

    “Avoid all discussions of mechanisms.”

    Yet at 9 JB responded:

    Mechanism, actually, is one of my favorite topics.

    I agree. Let’s talk about ‘causal mechanisms’ Reciprocating Bill. For instance, the ‘causal mechanism’ of Natural Selection is found to reduce, or preserve, information. The ‘causal mechanism’ of Natural Selection never creates information.
    Or how about the ‘causal mechanism’ of Random Mutation? When Darwinists state that a mutation happened ‘randomly’, they are in fact appealing to a ‘mechanism’ that is every bit as wishful as an appeal to a ‘miracle’.
    In fact, as JB somewhat pointed out, the vast majority of mutations that happen to a genome are now known to be accomplished via very sophisticated molecular machines and feedback processes in a non-random fashion. Even where mutations are more prone to happen accidentally, i.e. randomly, in a genome, it is found that the genome ingeniously positions itself in such a way as to minimize the detrimental effects of the random mutations on the information it carries.
    What ‘causal mechanism’ in the cell knows what information is important to protect and exactly how does that ‘causal mechanism’ accomplish it?

    etc.. etc..

    Beyond those insurmountable difficulties of ‘causal mechanism’ for the Darwinian worldview, we can also get into the ‘causal mechanism’ of consciousness and free will. RB, exactly what is the ‘causal mechanism’ for my subjective conscious experience? Or by what ‘causal mechanism’ did I decide to lift my right hand instead of my left hand?

    Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of ‘academics’, a ‘miracle’ by raising his hand,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

    RB of related note as to the ‘causal mechanism’ of raising my arm, what exactly is the ‘causal mechanism’ by which a single photon gets from point A to point B?
    In the following video Anton Zeilinger, whose group is arguably the best group of experimentalists in quantum physics today, ‘tries’ to explain the double slit experiment to Morgan Freeman:

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? (Prof. Anton Zeilinger) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Prof. Zeilinger makes this rather startling statement in the preceding video that meshes perfectly with the ‘first mover argument’::

    “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    If that was not enough to get his point across, at the 4:12 minute mark in this following video,,,

    Prof Anton Zeilinger Shows the Double-slit Experiment – video
    http://www.dailymotion.com/vid.....iment_tech

    Professor Zeilinger states,,,

    “We know what the particle is doing at the source when it is created. We know what it is doing at the detector when it is registered. But we do not know what it is doing in-between.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    RB, as a Theist, I have a ‘causal mechanism’ to explain how the photon gets from point A to point B

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    What is your ‘causal mechanism’ RB?

    Or RB, exactly what is the ‘causal mechanism’ by which electrons continue to follow laws?

    “Joel Primack, a cosmologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, once posed an interesting question to the physicist Neil Turok: “What is it that makes the electrons continue to follow the laws?” Turok was surprised by the question; he recognized its force. Something seems to compel physical objects to obey the laws of nature, and what makes this observation odd is just that neither compulsion nor obedience are physical ideas. (p.132) In a Landscape in which anything is possible, nothing is necessary. In a universe in which nothing is necessary, anything is possible. It is nothing that makes the electron follow any laws.
    Which, then, is it to be: God, logic, or nothing?
    This is the question to which all discussions of the Land-scape and the Anthropic Principle are tending, and because the same question can be raised with respect to moral thought, it is a question with an immense and disturbing intellectual power.
    For scientific atheists, the question answers itself: Better logic than nothing, and better nothing than God. (…) The laws of nature, as Isaac Newton foresaw, are not laws of logic, nor are they like the laws of logic. Physicists since Einstein have tried to see in the laws of nature a formal structure that would allow them to say to themselves, “Ah, that is why they are true,” and they have failed.” (p.133)
    Berlinski, The Devil’s Delusion pg. 132-133

    The Laws of Nature (Have Never ‘Caused’ Anything) by C.S. Lewis – doodle video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    Or RB, by what ‘causal mechanism’ does an apple fall to the ground?

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf

    You see RB, you are only under the illusion that you have coherent ‘causal mechanisms’ to appeal to apart from God. The fact of the matter is that without God nothing in the universe would ‘live, move, or have being’, i.e. Without God there would be no ‘causal mechanisms’ whatsoever!:
    Verse and Music:

    Acts 17:28

    For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    Jewel – Hands (Official Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfsS3pIDBfw

  18. 18

    BA:

    Reciprocating Bill at 6 implies that JB said:

    “Avoid all discussions of mechanisms.”

    Yet at 9 JB responded:

    Mechanism, actually, is one of my favorite topics.

    *Whoosh*

    Yes, JB LOVES to discuss mechanism. Until the topic is ID. Then he advises his hypothetical student, “Don’t Be Suckered Into Mechanisms.” I just take note of the absurd double standard.

    You see RB, you are only under the illusion that you have coherent ‘causal mechanisms’ to appeal to apart from God. The fact of the matter is that without God nothing in the universe would ‘live, move, or have being’, i.e. Without God there would be no ‘causal mechanisms’ whatsoever!

    Tectonic plates move because of underlying convection and because without God there would be no causal mechanisms. Chemical bonds form because of electrostatic attraction between between the opposite charges of electrons and protons and because without God there would be no casual mechanisms. Supernovae occur due to the gravitational collapse of the core of a massive star and because without God there would be no causal mechanisms. Cardiac infarct occurs when blood flow stops to part of the heart due to the occlusion of a coronary artery and because without God there would be no causal mechanisms. The patellar reflex occurs when the muscle spindle of the quadriceps muscle has been stretched, producing a signal which travels back to the spinal cord and synapses (without interneurons) at the level of L4 in the spinal cord. From there, an alpha-motor neuron conducts an efferent impulse back to the quadriceps femoris muscle, triggering contraction. And because without God there would be no causal mechanisms…

    Now, what can we subtract from the above, and retain meaningful causal explanations?

  19. 19
    bFast says:

    Reciprocating Bill, “Yes, JB LOVES to discuss mechanism. Until the topic is ID. Then he advises his hypothetical student, “Don’t Be Suckered Into Mechanisms.” I just take note of the absurd double standard.”

    I think the issue here is one of giving too much power to the mechanism. The RM+NS theory calls on the mechanism of random mutational events to provide the gris for the mill of all complexity. The proof? Well, some scientist raised a bazillion bacteria, and was able to prove that the bacteria evolved the ability to digest something or other. As I understand it, the evolution involved two mutational events. As I understand it, the population of the working sample was greater than the population of all mammals ever.

    Does the bacteria experiment validate RM provides the gris for the mill of all complexity? Have we seen just how complex and intricate are some of the biological functions?

  20. 20
    Joe says:

    RB:

    Yes, JB LOVES to discuss mechanism. Until the topic is ID. Then he advises his hypothetical student, “Don’t Be Suckered Into Mechanisms.” I just take note of the absurd double standard.

    Let’s see, evolutionism claims to have step-by-step mechanisms that are capable of producing the diversity of life. ID does not make that claim hence there aren’t any double-standards.

  21. 21
    jerry says:

    Heaven forbid mechanisms be discussed in a science class.

    But in terms of the Origin of Species there is no known mechanism. So what should be discussed is that there is no mechanism that can explain species change of any consequence.

    If this is mentioned just once at some point during any biology course including evolutionary biology courses, the world would be better off. Darwin would be forgotten and OOS would be in the dustbin of history where it belong. Better science could begin.

  22. 22
    ppolish says:

    “Even if Your Professor is a Darwinist that Doesn’t Mean Your Professor is Dumb”

    That needs to be printed on a t-shirt and worn in Jerry Coyne’s classroom. It’s a compliment right?:)

    “Together We Can Cure Darwinism” is kinda catchy too. T-shirt time.

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    RB, you state:

    “Tectonic plates move because of underlying convection”

    Explain how one photon of energy gets from point A to point B so as to have the energy necessary to drive convection RB:

    “We know what the particle is doing at the source when it is created. We know what it is doing at the detector when it is registered. But we do not know what it is doing in-between.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    as to:

    Chemical bonds form because of electrostatic attraction between between the opposite charges of electrons and protons

    Really??? That sounds so 1800’s to me RB

    Photonic Brain
    Excerpt: Living systems have mastered the making and breaking of chemical bonds, which are quantum mechanical phenomena. Absorbance of frequency specific radiation (e.g. photosynthesis and vision), conversion of chemical energy into mechanical motion (e.g. ATP cleavage) and single electron transfers through biological polymers (e.g. DNA or proteins) are all quantum mechanical effects.
    http://photonichuman.weebly.co.....brain.html

    Models of Chemical Bonding
    *Classical Model
    The classical model corresponds to the basic classification of compounds to covalent and ionic categories. This model do not take quantum behavior into the account. This model assumes the electron as point charges which will attract or repel according to law of electrostatics.

    *Polar Covalent Model,,,

    *Quantum Mechanical Model
    Electron-Tunneling Model is a good example for quantum mechanical effect that permits electrons to travel (“tunnel”) through a barrier which separates two closely adjacent regions of lower potential energy. One of the result is that the effective volume of space available to the electron is increased, and according to the uncertainty principle, this increase will reduce the kinetic energy of the electron.
    http://chemistry.tutorvista.co.....nding.html

    What compels the electron to ‘tunnel’ from point A to point B RB?

    “Joel Primack, a cosmologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, once posed an interesting question to the physicist Neil Turok: “What is it that makes the electrons continue to follow the laws?” Turok was surprised by the question; he recognized its force. Something seems to compel physical objects to obey the laws of nature, and what makes this observation odd is just that neither compulsion nor obedience are physical ideas. (p.132) In a Landscape in which anything is possible, nothing is necessary. In a universe in which nothing is necessary, anything is possible. It is nothing that makes the electron follow any laws.
    Which, then, is it to be: God, logic, or nothing?
    – Berlinski – Devil’s Delusion

    As to:

    Supernovae occur due to the gravitational collapse of the core of a massive star

    What causes gravity RB?

    I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    J. Budziszewski – Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming –

    RB, you also mention heart attacks and, I believe, knee jerk reactions, (which I consider your whole response to be by the way). Please explain to us where hearts, knees, and those extremely complex cascades you mentioned came from in the first place RB.
    Perhaps you can start by telling us where the vision cascade came from?

    Could the eye have evolved by natural selection in a geological blink? March 18, 2013
    Excerpt: Let us return to the question, how do we see? Although to Darwin the primary event of vision was a black box, through the efforts of many biochemists an answer to the question of sight is at hand. When light strikes the retina a photon is absorbed by an organic molecule called 11-cis-retinal, causing it to rearrange within picoseconds to trans-retinal. The change in shape of retinal forces a corresponding change in shape of the protein, rhodopsin, to which it is tightly bound. As a consequence of the protein’s metamorphosis, the behavior of the protein changes in a very specific way. The altered protein can now interact with another protein called transducin. Before associating with rhodopsin, transducin is tightly bound to a small organic molecule called GDP, but when it binds to rhodopsin the GDP dissociates itself from transducin and a molecule called GTP, which is closely related to, but critically different from, GDP, binds to transducin.
    The exchange of GTP for GDP in the transducinrhodopsin complex alters its behavior. GTP-transducinrhodopsin binds to a protein called phosphodiesterase, located in the inner membrane of the cell. When bound by rhodopsin and its entourage, the phosphodiesterase acquires the ability to chemically cleave a molecule called cGMP. Initially there are a lot of cGMP molecules in the cell, but the action of the phosphodiesterase lowers the concentration of cGMP. Activating the phosphodiesterase can be likened to pulling the plug in a bathtub, lowering the level of water.
    A second membrane protein which binds cGMP, called an ion channel, can be thought of as a special gateway regulating the number of sodium ions in the cell. The ion channel normally allows sodium ions to flow into the cell, while a separate protein actively pumps them out again. The dual action of the ion channel and pump proteins keeps the level of sodium ions in the cell within a narrow range. When the concentration of cGMP is reduced from its normal value through cleavage by the phosphodiesterase, many channels close, resulting in a reduced cellular concentration of positively charged sodium ions. This causes an imbalance of charges across the cell membrane which, finally, causes a current to be transmitted down the optic nerve to the brain: the result, when interpreted by the brain, is vision.
    If the biochemistry of vision were limited to the reactions listed above, the cell would quickly deplete its supply of 11-cis-retinal and cGMP while also becoming depleted of sodium ions. Thus a system is required to limit the signal that is generated and restore the cell to its original state; there are several mechanisms which do this. Normally, in the dark, the ion channel, in addition to sodium ions, also allows calcium ions to enter the cell; calcium is pumped back out by a different protein in order to maintain a constant intracellular calcium concentration. However, when cGMP levels fall, shutting down the ion channel and decreasing the sodium ion concentration, calcium ion concentration is also decreased. The phosphodiesterase enzyme, which destroys cGMP, is greatly slowed down at lower calcium concentration. Additionally, a protein called guanylate cyclase begins to resynthesize cGMP when calcium levels start to fall. Meanwhile, while all of this is going on, metarhodopsin II is chemically modified by an enzyme called rhodopsin kinase, which places a phosphate group on its substrate. The modified rhodopsin is then bound by a protein dubbed arrestin, which prevents the rhodopsin from further activating transducin. Thus the cell contains mechanisms to limit the amplified signal started by a single photon.
    Trans-retinal eventually falls off of the rhodopsin molecule and must be reconverted to 11-cis-retinal and again bound by opsin to regenerate rhodopsin for another visual cycle. To accomplish this trans-retinal is first chemically modified by an enzyme to transretinol, a form containing two more hydrogen atoms. A second enzyme then isomerizes the molecule to 11-cis-retinol. Finally, a third enzyme removes the previously added hydrogen atoms to form 11-cis-retinal, and the cycle is complete.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cal-blink/

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    ppolish at 22, that got a smile 🙂

  25. 25
    Quest says:

    Ba77,

    Unfortunately I found no real connection between quantum entanglement/non-locality and the existence of the soul… you probably have to explain it to me in few sentences or link me to some kind of the video that does it…

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Quest, Perhaps Stuart Hameroff can help you see the connection between quantum mechanics and the ‘soul’:

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    http://vimeo.com/39982578

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Supplemental notes:

    Higher Dimensional Special Relativity, Near Death Experiences, Biophotons, and the Quantum Soul
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XGuV7FWwaDag4T5glstQWjsQNtWHKw3T9qLF14fUHHo/edit

  27. 27
    humbled says:

    Very few people are willing to accept their area of expertise is bogus, let alone professors especially if they are committed dirt worshippers. No point in arguing, these fundamentalists don’t listen anyway.

    Once you’ve graduated you can argue and humiliate darwinists as much as you like 😉

  28. 28
    bFast says:

    ppolish, “Together We Can Cure Darwinism”. Love it!

  29. 29
    Seversky says:

    How many “Darwinists” are teaching evolutionary biology, where “Darwinism” refers to the theory advanced by Charles Darwin of evolution through natural selection without any knowledge of the role of genes in the process?

    I can point to a survey which found that something like 18% of high school biology teachers were openly advocating creationist beliefs in the science classroom, a direct breach of their contractual and moral duties as teachers.

  30. 30
    Seversky says:

    How many “Darwinists” are teaching evolutionary biology, where “Darwinism” refers to the theory advanced by Charles Darwin of evolution through natural selection without any knowledge of the role of genes in the process?

    I can point to a survey which found that something like 18% of high school biology teachers were openly advocating creationist beliefs in the science classroom, a direct breach of their contractual and moral duties as teachers.

  31. 31
    johnnyb says:

    Seversky – you should know that Dareinism refers to evolution by haphazard mutation plus selection, essentially a synonym for the Modern Synthesis. This is its definition both in the general public and in academia.

  32. 32
    Robert Byers says:

    Okay dumb is the wrong word for evo teachers. Yet if they have applied their thinking to the subject there is right to question standards of intellectual sharpness.
    Keep it under your hat but heep your wits about you.
    in fact the student should press for the top three biological scientific evidences for big time evolution.
    That would settle to the student about the credibility of evolution as a scientific theory.

  33. 33
    bFast says:

    Seversky, “where “Darwinism” refers to the theory advanced by Charles Darwin of evolution through natural selection without any knowledge of the role of genes in the process?”

    Seversky, the real question is, how many people use the term “Darwinism” with your definition in mind? While it is the classic definition, differentiated by the neo- that is often prepended to clarify the marriage between genetic mutationism and simple Darwinism.

    If you are determined to misunderstand what is commonly meant when the term Darinism is flashed around, then you are determined to be confused. If you really don’t realize that you are misunderstanding what is commonly meant, well, you aren’t very quick to follow the argument, are you?

  34. 34
    Seversky says:

    To me, it is fairly obvious that “Darwinism” is used as a pejorative epithet which encompasses not just the biological theory of evolution but all the negative (in the minds of its critics) connotations of atheism, materialism, racism that are associated with it and the political ideologies that have allegedly been inspired by it. I Occasionally use “Paleyism” and “neo-Paleyism” in a similar role.

  35. 35
    not_querius says:

    Seversky, you are absolutely correct. The UDites use the term as a pejorative term. As Mr Mullings would say, their refusal to adjust their behaviour after repeated corrections is very telling.

  36. 36
    ppolish says:

    The dictionary definitions of “Darwinism” are pretty straightforward and non controversial. I would argue that the number of people who would describe themselves as “Darwinist” is decreasing. I would also the trend will continue.

    “Intelligent Design” is used quite often as a pejorative term. I would argue that that will decrease as time goes by.

  37. 37
    ppolish says:

    Google Definition of ID:
    “the theory that life, or the universe, cannot have arisen by chance and was designed and created by some intelligent entity.”

    Google Defintion of Darwinism;
    “the theory of the evolution of species by natural selection advanced by Charles Darwin.”

    They don’t contradict. Both can be true. Evidence for ID is more rigorous though.

    Evidence that is causing many to leave town on the Multiverse Express. Choo Choo.

  38. 38
    johnnyb says:

    Seversky –

    “To me, it is fairly obvious that “Darwinism” is used as a pejorative epithet”

    It is sometimes used as a pejorative epithet (though not in this post), but it is a highly specific pejorative. IDists don’t just throw the term around, it means something highly specific.

    “which encompasses not just the biological theory of evolution”

    Actually, this is where you are mistaken. It does *not* encompass the theory of evolution. It encompasses the Modern Synthesis as a total or near-total explanation for biological complexity.

    “but all the negative (in the minds of its critics) connotations of atheism, materialism”

    This is true, because the entire motivation for Darwinism was as a creation story for materialists. Unlike evolution in general, or even universal common descent, there is no evidence for Darwinism, and was propped up simply because it provided a good creation story for materialists.

    “racism”

    Actually, Darwinism was a primary motivator for biological racism. This is acknowledged by everyone from Stephen Jay Gould to John West.

  39. 39
    not_querius says:

    Unlike evolution in general, or even universal common descent, there is no evidence for Darwinism, and was propped up simply because it provided a good creation story for materialists.”

    I suggest that you read Barry’s post about evidence.

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    hey johnnyb, your paper was mentioned right off the bat in Dr. Giem’s latest lecture:

    Are Minds Computers? 3-21-2015 by Paul Giem
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dtGD6-e9_Y

  41. 41
    johnnyb says:

    BA77 –

    Thanks for letting me know! I’ll probably post on that soon!

  42. 42
    Joe says:

    To me, it is fairly obvious that “Darwinism” is used as a pejorative epithet

    To me it is obvious that is nothing but a conspiracy theory nut job talking.

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