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Kirk Durston on evolution and faith

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What if you found out that one of the most frequent reasons that people have abandoned their faith was itself looking very sketchy indeed? I’m talking about evolution and its consistent failure to verify its most important prediction — without which it is dead in the water, as it were. The Darwinian theory that the full diversity of life evolved from a single primitive cell. (August 18, 2021)

You may also wish to see: Kirk Durston On Science’s God of the Gaps

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

15 Replies to “Kirk Durston on evolution and faith

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Short and sharp.

    The focus on limits of variation is a good clarifier, not often heard.

    Automistake and autocorrect is BRILLIANT.

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    Well done. It sounds like Dr. Kirk has been reading up on creationist arguments. He explained them well, including Dr. John Sanford’s argument about the degrading genome highlighted in his book “Genetic Entropy”. The reproducibility argument was well stated as well. And the problem with lots of interpretation, just so storytelling, etc. with the data was pointed out as well. It’s a good video and worth listening to.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    In his video Dr. Durston mentioned this article,

    Survival of the fittest theory: Darwinism’s limits
    03 February 2010 by Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini
    Excerpt: Much of the vast neo-Darwinian literature is distressingly uncritical. The possibility that anything is seriously amiss with Darwin’s account of evolution is hardly considered. Such dissent as there is often relies on theistic premises which Darwinists rightly say have no place in the evaluation of scientific theories. So onlookers are left with the impression that there is little or nothing about Darwin’s theory to which a scientific naturalist could reasonably object. The methodological scepticism that characterises most areas of scientific discourse seems strikingly absent when Darwinism is the topic.
    https://massimo.sbs.arizona.edu/sites/massimo.sbs.arizona.edu/files/publications/JF_MPP_darwinisms_limits.pdf

    In that article Palmarini discusses a few important reasons why there is something ‘seriously amiss’ with natural selection. Yet in that article Palmerini did not mention, (in my honest opinion), the most salient point, that Fodor and Palmarini mentioned in their book, “What Darwin Got Wrong”, for why there is something ‘seriously amiss’ with natural selection.

    In their book Fodor and Palmarini state that, “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.”,,, they then comment, “”The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection. It’s inconceivable that so many different organisms, spanning different kingdoms and phyla, may have blindly ‘tried’ all sorts of power laws and that only those that have by chance ‘discovered’ the one-quarter power law reproduced and thrived.”

    Post-Darwinist – Denyse O’Leary – Dec. 2010
    Excerpt: They quote West et al. (1999),
    What Darwin Got Wrong – pg 79
    “Although living things occupy a three-dimensional space, their internal physiology and anatomy operate as if they were four-dimensional. Quarter-power scaling laws are perhaps as universal and as uniquely biological as the biochemical pathways of metabolism, the structure and function of the genetic code and the process of natural selection.”
    They comment,
    “In the words of these authors, natural selection has exploited variations on this fractal theme to produce the incredible variety of biological form and function’, but there were severe geometric and physical constraints on metabolic processes.”
    “The conclusion here is inescapable, that the driving force for these invariant scaling laws cannot have been natural selection. It’s inconceivable that so many different organisms, spanning different kingdoms and phyla, may have blindly ‘tried’ all sorts of power laws and that only those that have by chance ‘discovered’ the one-quarter power law reproduced and thrived.”
    Quotations from Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong (London: Profile Books, 2010), p. 78-79.
    http://post-darwinist.blogspot.....html#links

    What Darwin Got Wrong – Book – page 79
    https://books.google.com/books?id=ZxwO01AAFYMC&pg=PA79

    The reason why these universal and as uniquely biological ’4-Dimensional’ quarter power scaling laws are impossible for Darwinian evolution to explain is that, as Fodor and Palmarini explained, Natural Selection operates at the 3-Dimensional level of the organism and the ’4-Dimensional’ quarter power scaling law are simply ‘invisible’ to natural selection.

    And the reason why 4-Dimensional things are, for all practical purposes, completely invisible to the 3-Dimensional realm is best demonstrated by the ‘thought experiment’ of ‘flatland’:

    Dr Quantum – Flatland – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEVEKL1Fbx0

    Flatland – 3D to 4D shift – Carl Sagan – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnURElCzGc0

    And the reason why life is found to be based on 4-Dimensional principles rather than on 3-Dimensional principles, (as would be expected if natural selection were true), is because, in life, “it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.”

    Information and entropy – top-down or bottom-up development in living systems? A.C. McINTOSH –
    Excerpt: This paper highlights the distinctive and non-material nature of information and its relationship with matter, energy and natural forces. It is proposed in conclusion that it is the non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics to be in ordered disequilibrium and with specified raised free energy levels necessary for the molecular and cellular machinery to operate.
    http://journals.witpress.com/paperinfo.asp?pid=420
    Dr Andy C. McIntosh is the Professor of Thermodynamics at the University of Leeds, UK

    The amount of “non-material information (transcendent to the matter and energy) that is actually itself constraining the local thermodynamics (of life) to be in ordered disequilibrium” is immense.

    When working from the thermodynamic perspective, it is found that a ‘simple’ bacterium contains 10^12 bits, which is equivalent to the information content of “the largest libraries in the world.”

    Biophysics – Information theory. Relation between information and entropy: – Setlow-Pollard, Ed. Addison Wesley
    Excerpt: Linschitz gave the figure 9.3 x 10^12 cal/deg or 9.3 x 10^12 x 4.2 joules/deg for the entropy of a bacterial cell. Using the relation H = S/(k In 2), we find that the information content is 4 x 10^12 bits. Morowitz’ deduction from the work of Bayne-Jones and Rhees gives the lower value of 5.6 x 10^11 bits, which is still in the neighborhood of 10^12 bits. Thus two quite different approaches give rather concordant figures.
    http://www.astroscu.unam.mx/~a.....ecular.htm

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.”
    – R. C. Wysong – The Creation-evolution Controversy

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    As well, it is also found that “the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000.”

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/in-a-ted-talk-heres-the-question-you-may-not-ask/

    Needless to say, that is an immense amount of immaterial information in life that the mindless, unguided, processes of Darwinian evolution cannot possibly explain the origin of, and that is constraining life to operate on a 4-Dimensional scale instead of operating on a 3-Dimensional scale as would be expected under the reductive materialistic presuppositions of Darwinian evolution.

    It is also very interesting to note exactly where this 4-dimensional, quarter power, scaling breaks down and does not hold as being true in life.

    As the following article states, “Brain is one of the most energy demanding organs in mammals, and its total metabolic rate scales with brain volume raised to a power of around 5/6. This value is significantly higher than the more common exponent 3/4 (4- dimensional Quarter Power Scaling) relating whole body resting metabolism with body mass and several other physiological variables in animals and plants.,,,”

    Scaling of Brain Metabolism and Blood Flow in Relation to Capillary and Neural Scaling – 2011
    Excerpt: Brain is one of the most energy demanding organs in mammals, and its total metabolic rate scales with brain volume raised to a power of around 5/6. This value is significantly higher than the more common exponent 3/4 (4- dimensional Quarter Power Scaling) relating whole body resting metabolism with body mass and several other physiological variables in animals and plants.,,,
    Moreover, cerebral metabolic, hemodynamic, and microvascular variables scale with allometric exponents that are simple multiples of 1/6, rather than 1/4, which suggests that brain metabolism is more similar to the metabolism of aerobic than resting body. Relation of these findings to brain functional imaging studies involving the link between cerebral metabolism and blood flow is also discussed.,,
    General Discussion Excerpt:
    ,,It should be underlined that both CBF and CMR scale with brain volume with the exponent about 1/6 which is significantly different from the exponent 1/4 relating whole body resting specific metabolism with body volume [1], [2], [3]. Instead, the cerebral exponent 1/6 is closer to an exponent,, characterizing maximal body specific metabolic rate and specific cardiac output in strenuous exercise [43], [44]. In this sense, the brain metabolism and its hemodynamics resemble more the metabolism and circulation of exercised muscles than other resting organs, which is in line with the empirical evidence that brain is an energy expensive organ [10], [17], [18]. This may also suggest that there exists a common plan for the design of microcirculatory system in different parts of the mammalian body that uses the same optimization principles [45].,,
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0026709

    In fact, the “high rate of metabolism (in the brain) is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity. The metabolic activity of the brain is remarkably constant over time.”

    Appraising the brain’s energy budget:
    Excerpt: In the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body. This high rate of metabolism is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity. The metabolic activity of the brain is remarkably constant over time. ?
    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/16/10237.full?

    Darwinists simply have no clue why life would be constrained to 4-Dimensional constraints in the first place, much less do they have any clue why the brain in particular would be an anomaly to the ‘quarter power law’ for life, and instead be based on 6-Dimensional considerations rather than being based on 4-Dimensional considerations like the rest of life is based upon.

    Whereas, on the other hand, this 6-Dimensional ‘anomaly’ for the brain is to be expected under Christian presuppositions where it is held that we have an immaterial mind that is distinct from the body, (as well as being distinct from the soul).

    In other words, the most parsimonious explanation for the ‘anomalous’ 6 Dimensional constraint on the brain’s metabolic activity in particular is that the material brain was designed, first and foremost, to house the “higher dimensional” immaterial mind and to give this ‘higher dimensional” immaterial mind the most favorable of metabolic environments at all times.

    Verse:

    Matthew 22:37
    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

  5. 5

    BA77 Please, for the sake of efficiency / convenience, all that is created, the substance of it is per definition called “material”, and “objective”. The substance of any creator is per definition “spiritual”, and “subjective”.

    It is simply convenient and efficient to have 1 word for the substance of all what is objective (material), and 1 word for the substance of all what is subjective (spiritual).

    So when you say the mind is immaterial, but it is distinct from the subjective soul, then your naming is messing up efficiency / convenience, because then you create a 2nd name for the substance of a creation.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Sorry Mohammadnursyamsu, today is not my day to please your personal preferences for word choice. Tomorrow is not looking so good for you either.

  7. 7

    @bornagain Without efficient naming, then obviously you cannot think efficiently.

    There should be 1 word for the substance of all that is objective, and there should be 1 word for the substance of all that is subjective.

    You can debate about what those words should be, but it would just create a conceptual mess to have many different words.

    I have no doubt you will make errors in distinguishing what is subjective, from what is objective, due to your in-efficient naming.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Mohammadnursyamsu, I have not interacted with you very much on UD. So, to be clear, from what little I have read of your reasoning, I do not agree with quite a few of your conclusions.

  9. 9
    AnimatedDust says:

    BA: you should find this helpful—

    http://neophilosophical.blogsp.....u.html?m=1

  10. 10

    @bornagain Obviously you are fact obsessed, and clueless about subjectivity, same as any atheist. Or else you would be mindful of enforcing a clear cut border between what is subjective, and what is objective.

    @animated dust I remember you asserted the error that God is objective, and not subjective. Funny how you now reference the atheist neo, to back up your point of view. Funny how your views are basically the same as the views of a fact obsessed atheist.

  11. 11

    @animated dust

    Also, I read that page of neo. Whatever is it that you get out of neo’s page of nonsense and innuendo?

    Neo goes to research my personal information and post about it on the internet, which is totally creepy. How would you like it if I go and research you and post about it on the internet? It is a total creepshow to do that obviously.

    Then he gets a lot of stuff wrong, and talks a lot of nonsense, and then declares that I am mentally ill, based on his judgement of my writings.

    So what exactly is it, that you get out of this?

    It is just a creepy atheist, calling his debating opponent crazy. Not having any argumentation to the point at issue, the atheists resort to other means. And then you have a lot of other sore losers chime in with him.

    It means nothing to me that everyone disagrees with me. Only argumentation counts, and the rest does not count.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    “bornagain Obviously you are fact obsessed,”,,,

    And you think that is a bad thing on a forum that focuses on science???

    So again, “from what little I have read of your reasoning, I do not agree with quite a few of your conclusions.”

  13. 13

    @bornagain The mechanism of creation, and intelligent design, is choice. The agency of the choice is inherently subjective. You would make a mess when you theorize facts about agency.

    It is not scientific when someone states as fact what the personal character of someone is. Because personal character is on the side of what makes a choice, agency, and therefore it is inherently subjective. Subjective meaning that it can only be identified with a chosen opinion.

    So you should see how fact obsession could lead to pseudoscience.

  14. 14
    AnimatedDust says:

    BA and I are more accurately described as truth obsessed. We want to know what is objectively true.

    Objective = facts
    Subjective = feelings

    You just admitted you want to argue more than anything else, apparently caring less about what’s true, rather than just having the argument. Since English isn’t your first language, you might consider that. But if argumentation is the goal, then I expect more of the same. It’s all you’ve ever done.

    We want to know whether the God of the Bible is true for everyone, like if the Second Coming is tomorrow, and everyone sees it, in the process of bending their knees and confessing Jesus Christ is Lord, it’s because it’s objectively true. Not just true for me, as some would like to characterize it now.

    I get a great laugh out of you equating BA and I with atheists, by the way.

  15. 15

    @animated dust

    Feelings are at the agency of your decisions. Feelings are an attribute of you, as being a decisionmaker.

    By decisions, you create stuff, like create an internet posting.

    Therefore:
    1. Creator / chooses / spiritual / subjective / opinion
    2. Creation / chosen / material / objective / fact

    And God is obviously classified in category 1, as being inherently subjective. And this is only disappointing if you favor objectivity over subjectivity. If you favor the creation over the creator.

    There is no doubt that the material creation is objective. And then you want to put God in with the same category of all what is material.

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