Books of interest Intelligent Design

A prof on looking into ID literature for the first time…

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The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms

When Robert Shedinger, a religion prof at Luther College in Iowa, looked into the ID controversy, he was surprised to discover that “this literature was far more scientifically substantive than the usual caricature, and this drove me to immerse myself in the scientific literature of evolutionary biology to see if it was as convincing as usually portrayed.”

Um, yes. And the longer such critiques can be evaded rather than addressed, the more substantive they will be.

Here’s the gen on his new book, The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms: Darwinian Biology’s Grand Narrative of Triumph and the Subversion of Religion:

Is Darwinian evolution really the most successful scientific theory ever proposed—or even the best idea anyone has ever had, as Daniel Dennett once put it? The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms provides a comprehensive critical reading of the literature of evolutionary biology from Darwin to Dobzhansky to Dawkins, revealing this popular account of evolution to be a grand narrative of Darwinian triumph that greatly overstates the empirical validity of modern evolutionary theory. The mechanisms driving the evolutionary process truly remain a mystery more than one hundred fifty years after Origin of Species, a fact that can free religion scholars to think in more creative ways about the positive contributions religious reflection might make to our understanding of life’s origin and diversity. The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms calls for an embrace of mystery, understood not as an abdication of the scientific quest for truth but as a courageous and humble acknowledgment of the limits of human reason and an openness to a fundamentally religious orientation toward life.

Here’s a Q and A Shedinger has offered, outlining his thoughts:

  1. What is the grand narrative of Darwinian triumph?

  2. This refers to how Darwin’s theory of natural selection has been passed from one generation of scientists to another as the most successful scientific theory of all time despite serious questions about its empirical foundation. This narrative acts to ensure the scientific status of biology as a purely materialist discipline, but actually undermines a serious attempt to grapple with the origin and diversity of life.
  3. How does this grand narrative subvert religion?
    By claiming that the diversity of life can be fully explained in purely material terms–as the result of natural selection acting on the inherent variability of organisms–this narrative renders religious ideas about a creator God or gods or some creative intelligence at work in the world of no explanatory value. Religious scholars and thinkers are thus reduced to accommodating their religious reflections to this scientific truth in ways that evacuates religious ideas of their meaning.
  4. What aspects of modern evolutionary theory remain a mystery?
    There are currently no good scientific explanations for how life emerged from inanimate matter or how mind emerges from the material brain. Likewise for the origin of the genetic code and the grammaticality of DNA. How and why did multi-cellular organisms evolve since single-celled bacteria dominate the planet and seem far better adapted to the conditions of life? How did the various animal body plans come into existence so suddenly in the Cambrian period 520 million years ago with no new body plans having evolved since? Why do so few fossil species show any evolutionary development over their life histories? This is just a sample of the many mysteries.
  5. How do you feel about movements like creationism and intelligent design?
    As a trained biblical scholar I cannot read the book of Genesis literally or historically. The 4.5 billion year age of the Earth is well established scientifically, and the fossil record as well as the biogeographical distribution of species around the world is strong support for an evolutionary process. So I cannot accept strict creationist ideas. I am, however, open to the intelligent design idea that life’s history cannot be explained without recourse to some type of intelligent agent. I do not identify this agent with the biblical God as some intelligent design advocates do, but I am sympathetic to the criticisms of Darwinism coming from the intelligent design movement and the principle that life cannot be explained apart from intelligence.
  6. What motivated you to delve so deeply into the history and development of evolutionary theory?
    I took over the teaching of a science and religion class from a retiring colleague some years ago and began reading intelligent design literature so I could accurately represent it in class. To my shock I found that this literature was far more scientifically substantive than the usual caricature, and this drove me to immerse myself in the scientific literature of evolutionary biology to see if it was as convincing as usually portrayed. It was through this process that I began to see the contours of a grand narrative of Darwinian triumph emerging from the literature.
  7. Why do you feel it is valid to read scientific literature from the perspective of a scholar trained in the humanities?
    Because science is just as much a human undertaking as any other academic discipline, and the production of knowledge is always bound up with the exercise of power. Humanities scholars–and religion scholars in particular– who are trained to be sensitive to these power dynamics have much to contribute to an understanding of how and why certain scientific ideas develop and become dominant in a culture.
  8. Do you think the mystery of life on Earth will ever be fully understood scientifically?
    It is impossible to say. But I think the obstacles to a fully scientific understanding are profound. And in many ways I hope the answer here is no. I find grappling with mystery much more exhilarating than knowing all the answers.

11 Replies to “A prof on looking into ID literature for the first time…

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    In point 5 the Prof states,

    the fossil record as well as the biogeographical distribution of species around the world is strong support for an evolutionary process. So I cannot accept strict creationist ideas.

    And yet, the fossil record as well as the biogeographical distribution of species around the world ARE NOT strong support for an evolutionary process.

    The fossil record in and of itself is upside down from what Darwin predicted:

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    In Allaying Darwin’s Doubt, Two Cambrian Experts Still Come Up Short – October 16, 2015
    Excerpt: “A recent analysis of disparity in 98 metazoan clades through the Phanerozoic found a preponderance of clades with maximal disparity early in their history. Thus, whether or not taxonomic diversification slows down most studies of disparity reveal a pattern in which the early evolution of a clade defines the morphological boundaries of a group which are then filled in by subsequent diversification. This pattern is inconsistent with that expected of a classic adaptive radiation in which diversity and disparity should be coupled, at least during the early phase of the radiation.”
    – Doug Erwin
    What this admits is that disparity is a worse problem than evolutionists had realized: it’s ubiquitous (throughout the history of life on earth), not just in the Cambrian (Explosion).
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....00111.html

    “In virtually all cases a new taxon appears for the first time in the fossil record with most definitive features already present, and practically no known stem-group forms.”
    TS Kemp – Fossils and Evolution,– Curator of Zoological Collections, Oxford University, Oxford Uni Press, p246, 1999

    “What is missing are the many intermediate forms hypothesized by Darwin, and the continual divergence of major lineages into the morphospace between distinct adaptive types.”
    Robert L Carroll (born 1938) – vertebrate paleontologist who specialises in Paleozoic and Mesozoic amphibians

    Likewise there are many examples of biogeographical distribution of species that simply do not fit the Darwinian narrative. Many examples are highlighted in the following article

    Problem 9: Neo-Darwinism Struggles to Explain the Biogeographical Distribution of many Species.
    Excerpt: Thus, neo-Darwinian evolutionists are forced to appeal to “unlikely” or “unexpected” migration of organisms, in some cases requiring the crossing of oceans to account for the biogeographical data. This kind of data may not necessarily absolutely falsify Darwinism, but at the least it challenges the simplistic argument that biogeography supports universal common descent through congruence between migration pathways and evolutionary history. In many cases, the congruence is simply not there.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91181.html

    In fact, what is termed to be ‘convergent evolution’, the repeated independent origin of complex structures, destroys the logic behind common ancestry

    Problem 7: Convergent Evolution Challenges Darwinism and Destroys the Logic Behind Common Ancestry.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91161.html

    Extinct Four-Eyed Monitor Lizard Busts Myth of a Congruent Nested Hierarchy – Günter Bechly – April 23, 2018
    Excerpt: One of the most essential doctrines of Darwinian evolution, apart from universal common descent with modification, is the notion that complex similarities indicate homology are ordered in a congruent nested pattern that facilitates the hierarchical classification of life. When this pattern is disrupted by incongruent evidence, such conflicting evidence is readily explained away as homoplasies with ad hoc explanations like underlying apomorphies (parallelisms), secondary reductions, evolutionary convergences, long branch attraction, and incomplete lineage sorting.
    When I studied in the 1980s at the University of Tübingen, where the founder of phylogenetic systematics, Professor Willi Hennig, was teaching a first generation of cladists, we still all thought that such homoplasies are the exceptions to the rule, usually restricted to simple or poorly known characters. Since then the situation has profoundly changed. Homoplasy is now recognized as a ubiquitous phenomenon (e.g., eyes evolved 45 times independently, and bioluminiscence 27 times; hundreds of more examples can be found at Cambridge University’s “Map of Life” website).
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/04/extinct-four-eyed-monitor-lizard-busts-myth-of-a-congruent-nested-hierarchy/

    The Real Problem With Convergence – Cornelius Hunter – May 25, 2017
    Excerpt: 21st century evolutionists are still befuddled by convergence, which is rampant in biology, and how it could occur. This certainly is a problem for the theory.,,,
    a fundamental evidence and prediction of evolution is falsified.
    The species do not fall into the expected evolutionary pattern.
    The failure of fundamental predictions — and this is a hard failure — is fatal for scientific theories. It leaves evolution not as a scientific theory but as an ad hoc exercise in storytelling.
    https://www.evolutionnews.org/2017/05/the-real-problem-with-convergence/

    Thus the evidence he sites as “strong support for an evolutionary process” simply is nowhere near a strong as he imagines it to be.

    This reminds me of this recent article that pointed out that there is simply no ‘high confidence’ evidence’ a Darwinist can offer as “strong support for an evolutionary process”

    Darwinism Flunks Science Criteria (for high confidence evidence), Says Biomedical Engineer – April 7, 2019
    Excerpt: The commonly cited evidence for evolution (e.g., the fossil record, homology, and vestigial organs) do not meet any of the 6 criteria for high-confidence science.
    For example, the process that produced the life-forms found in the fossil record cannot be repeated, cannot be directly measured, and cannot be studied prospectively.
    Also, interpretations of the fossil record are replete with bias and are based upon many assumptions (for example, we are asked to assume that a life-form that is not found in a given layer of fossils did not exist at that time, yet we also are asked to assume that absence of transitional fossils in the fossil record does not imply that they did not exist).
    Finally, the interpretation of the fossil record (i.e., the effort to explain how the life-forms contained in the fossil record came to exist) extrapolates far from the actual evidence (fossilized bones) to try to explain the process responsible for the origination of the life-forms. The very low confidence provided by this type of evidence cannot provide clarity; it can only provide fuel for endless debate.
    In stark contrast, experimental evolution studies like Richard Lenski’s Long Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE) meet all 6 criteria and provide very high confidence.
    Experimental evolution can be repeated, can be studied prospectively and directly measured, with minimal bias and assumptions, and the results can be summarized with sober judgement.
    The evidence from these high-confidence experimental evolution studies simply must be prioritized over the low-confidence evidence.
    Yet, biology textbooks routinely prioritize the low-confidence evidence over the high-confidence evidence. The high-confidence evidence from experimental evolution studies paint a highly constrained picture of evolution.
    For example, Lenski’s 70,000 generations of E. coli show that evolution is highly constrained – unable to produce the innovations necessary to change body plans over time or to produce new molecular machinery. The orphan genes that are prevalent in all life-forms cannot be explained by the evolution observed in these studies.
    When high-confidence evidence is appropriately prioritized over low-confidence evidence, the result is a profound new view of evolution – one that they did not teach you in biology.
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/darwinism-flunks-science-criteria-says-biomedical-engineer/

    Thus although the Professor is right that a strict young earth creationist (YEC) is very difficult to defend, none-the-less, old earth creationism, (which many of the early Christians have historically held to be true, (for instance Lord Kelvin)), is very much a scientifically defensible position to hold.

    For instance:

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted space-time energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted space-time energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (G. Gonzalez; Hugh Ross). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    Theism compared to Naturalism – Major predictions of each Philosophy – video
    https://youtu.be/WY5ppoqPNVo

    As you can see, when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact modern science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/sabine-hossenfelder-dusts-off-superdeterminism/#comment-681612

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 1

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted time-space energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted time-space energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    Both contenders for the crown in cosmology – Big Bang and Steady State – were naturalistic/materialistic (nat/mat) theories

    The current age of the universe is estimated to be around 13.82 bn years, somewhat older than the 6000 years predicted by one interpretation of a theistic faith.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    Theism covers a number of faiths. Not all of them hold that God is sustaining the entire universe from second-to-second.

    Non-locality in quantum mechanics (a nat/mat theory) does not necessarily imply that the universe is dependent on something outside itself for continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality.

    Consciousness is not observed to exist apart from a physical substrate. A living brain exhibits consciousness, a dead brain does not. The signs of consciousness that were once exhibited by a dead brain have so far proven to be unrecoverable in all cases.

    Researchers are still arguing over how to understand the “observer effect” in quantum physics. It certainly doesn’t support the simplistic notion that consciousness is what holds reality together and it doesn’t answer the obvious question which is that, if nothing exists until it is being observed or measured, what is being observed or measured in the first place?

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9)

    Both Newtonian mechanics and relativity are nat/mat theories.

    None of the theistic faiths that I’m aware of make specific predictions about the rate at which time passes.

    Psalm 90:4 – “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” refers to God’s perception of time.

    2 Timothy 1:9 – “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” concerns salvation not time.

    And neither make any prediction concerning the speed of light.

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).

    Observations and calculations have shown that, if certain fundamental physical (nat/mat) constants varied from their observed values by even a small amount, the universe in which we live could not exist. The vast majority of this universe is unremittingly hostile to organic life such as ourselves. It is a huge leap of faith from those observations to the conclusion that this entire universe was created just for us.

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (Gonzalez).

    Nat/mat estimates concerning the prevalence of life in the universe vary considerably. Our planet could be unique, not just “extremely unique” (is that like being ‘a bit pregnant’) in the sense that there is no other exactly like it that we know of. On the other hand, astronomers are finding plentiful evidence of planets around nearby stars so it’s certainly possible that there are other planets similar to Earth which bear life. Any theistic prediction that the Earth is unique as a home for life is in serious danger of being proved wrong.

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth.

    Nat/mat observations find evidence of life stretching far into deep time, tailing off billions of years ago and completely at odds with a special creation event 6000 years back.

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD)

    The simplest life found on earth so far is not necessarily the earliest life ever to appear on Earth. Its relative complexity does not contradict the hypothesis that much simpler forms existed earlier or support a claim that they were created by a god.

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas.

    The nat/mat theory of evolution predicted that the “unfolding” of life would proceed in small, incremental steps but allowed that the rate at which it could happen could vary considerably. The 20-25 mn year Cambrian Explosion was a period when it happened a lot more rapidly but there is evidence of life preceding it. It was not the original creation event described in Genesis.

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. […]

    Nat/mat theory holds that fossilization is a very rare event but even so transitional fossils have already been found. Theism makes no predictions about the existence let alone the frequency of fossils, transitional or otherwise, in the geological record.

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    It is estimated that new species are being discovered by science at the rate of 15000 – 20000 per year. The rate of speciation can vary hugely, new species of large animals taking hundreds of thousands of years to appear while new bacteria or viruses can emerge in just a few years. One study cataloged some 1400 human pathogens of which 87 were characterized as “novel”. If evolution occurs, there is no reason to think it has stopped now.

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’(C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    Nothing in that research contradicts Darwin’s original claim that it was a question of degree not of kind.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”.

    Nat/mat still predicts that much of our DNA is ‘junk’. The ENCODE researchers were heavily criticized for overstating their case.

    Theism said nothing about the existence of DNA, let alone how much of it night be ‘junk’

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford)

    Nat/mat theory always held that more mutations were detrimental than beneficial if for no other reason than that there are many more ways for something to go wrong than to go right. With the advent of neutral theory, the majority of mutations are held to be neutral or nearly so, a much smaller number are detrimental and a much smaller number still are positively beneficial, all of that being dependent on circumstances.

    As noted before, theism made no predictions concerning the existence of DNA, let alone the relative frequencies of neutral, detrimental or beneficial mutations.

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe.

    Nat/mat argues that morality is subjective. Theistic faiths simply argue that the morality dispensed by their chosen deity overrides all others. That doesn’t make it objective. The claim that morality is somehow embedded in our genes or in the fabric of the universe is an entirely unsubstantiated claim.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    As noted above, quantum theory is a nat/mat theory. It just deals with nat/mat reality on the very smallest scales. It lends no support to the concept of a transcendent soul which at best is poorly-defined and at worst is incoherent.

    Furthermore, in his The Life of Samuel Johnson James Boswell recounts the following episode:

    After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — “I refute it thus.”

    The reality is that, if you kick a stone hard now, it will hurt your foot just as much as it did in Johnson’s day. Quantum theory has not changed that one jot. What has changed profoundly is our understanding of the nature of matter right down to the quantum scale. And quantum theory and the phenomena it describes do not appear in any theology. It is entirely a product of naturalistic science. If we had relied on religion to guide us in these matters we would still be entirely ignorant about the quantum domain.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    (January 2019 – defense of all 16 predictions against Seversky’s naturalistic counterclaims))
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/michael-shermers-case-for-scientific-naturalism/#comment-670894

  4. 4
    Brother Brian says:

    When Robert Shedinger, a religion prof at Luther College in Iowa, looked into the ID controversy, he was surprised to discover that “this literature was far more scientifically substantive than the usual caricature,

    I guess the obvious question should be asked. What scientific credentials does a religion prof have? As much as a bornagain Christian? As much as an Orthodox Jew? As much as a conspiracy theorist?

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, the decisive evidence on the world of life is coming on seventy years old: coded, digital information in DNA and intricate, complex organised molecular nanotech execution machinery. Language, algorithms [thus purpose], coordinated execution machinery antecedent to life. Including, antecedent to self-replication per von Neumann kinematic self replicator. If that has not told, the problem is not science or empirical evidence or what we know about functionally specific complex organisation and associated information or language and algorithms and their known cause. It is ideology and its institutional dominance backed by obviously powerful interests. Until such are sufficiently broken, their imposed crooked yardsticks as standards of straight, accurate and upright will always lock out what is genuinely such. Not even a naturally straight and upright plumb-line can easily break the stranglehold of such a system. De system, de system, de system . . . as Mutabaruka sang, decades ago. KF

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    BB at 4:

    What scientific credentials does a religion prof have? As much as a bornagain Christian? As much as an Orthodox Jew? As much as a conspiracy theorist?

    Apparently far more than an atheistic troll on UD has:

    Founders of Modern Science Who Believe(d) in GOD – Tihomir Dimitrov – (pg. 222)
    Quotes: “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God.”
    (Newton 1687,Principia)

    “When I reflect on so many profoundly marvellous things that persons have grasped, sought, and done, I recognize even more clearly that human intelligence is a work of God, and one of the most excellent.”
    (Galileo, as cited in Caputo 2000, 85).

    “To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power, to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful working of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more gratifying than knowledge.”
    (Copernicus, as cited in Neff 1952, 191-192; and in Hubbard 1905, v)

    “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”
    (Kepler, as cited in Morris 1982, 11; see also Graves 1996, 51).

    “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”
    (Bacon 1875, 64).

    “And thus I very clearly see that the certitude and truth of all science depends on the knowledge alone of the true God, insomuch that, before I knew him, I could have no perfect knowledge of any other thing. And now that I know him, I possess the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge respecting innumerable matters, as well relative to God himself and other intellectual objects as to corporeal nature.”
    (Descartes 1901, Meditation V).

    “The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God.”
    (Faraday, as cited in Seeger 1983, 101).

    “I think men of science as well as other men need to learn from Christ, and I think Christians whose minds are scientific are bound to study science that their view of the glory of God may be as extensive as their being is capable of.”
    (Maxwell, as cited in Campbell and Garnett 1882, 404-405)

    “Overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all around us; and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through Nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living things depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.”
    (Kelvin 1871; see also Seeger 1985a, 100-101)

    “When with bold telescopes I survey the old and newly discovered stars and planets, when with excellent microscopes I discern the unimitable subtility of nature’s curious workmanship; and when, in a word, by the help of anatomical knives, and the light of chemical furnaces, I study the book of nature, I find myself often times reduced to exclaim with the Psalmist, ‘How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all!’ ”
    (Boyle, as cited in Woodall 1997, 32)

    “The examination of the bodies of animals has always been my delight, and I have thought that we might thence not only obtain an insight into the lighter mysteries of nature, but there perceive a kind of image or reflection of the omnipotent Creator Himself.”
    (Harvey, as cited in Keynes 1966, 330)

    “There is for a free man no occupation more worth and delightful than to contemplate the beauteous works of nature and honor the infinite wisdom and goodness of God.”
    (Ray, as cited in Graves 1996, 66; see also Yahya 2002)

    “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.”
    (Pasteur, as cited in Lamont 1995; see also Tiner 1990, 75)
    http://www.academia.edu/273960.....OD_Journal

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    What scientific credentials does a religion prof have?

    More then you and any other person who thinks blind watchmaker evolution is science.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Both contenders for the crown in cosmology – Big Bang and Steady State – were naturalistic/materialistic (nat/mat) theories

    That is false.

    The current age of the universe is estimated to be around 13.82 bn years, somewhat older than the 6000 years predicted by one interpretation of a theistic faith.

    LoL! You are conflating the age of the earth with the age of the universe.

    Consciousness is not observed to exist apart from a physical substrate.

    That is also false.

    Both Newtonian mechanics and relativity are nat/mat theories.

    That is also false.

    The nat/mat theory of evolution predicted that the “unfolding” of life would proceed in small, incremental steps but allowed that the rate at which it could happen could vary considerably.

    Except it doesn’t have a mechanism capable of doing that.

    Nat/mat theory holds that fossilization is a very rare event…

    That is nonsense. OBSERVATIONS tell us that, not any theory.

    Nat/mat still predicts that much of our DNA is ‘junk’.

    No, it does not

    As noted above, quantum theory is a nat/mat theory.

    No, it is not.

    This is a new level of pathetic, even for Seversky. The post is full of lies, misconceptions and misrepresentations.

  9. 9
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 3 :

    (January 2019 – defense of all 16 predictions against Seversky’s naturalistic counterclaims))
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/michael-shermers-case-for-scientific-naturalism/#comment-670894

    If I remember correctly, 8 posts at around 14,500 words. I’m sorry but saying much the same thing at much greater length is not any more persuasive..

  10. 10
    Brother Brian says:

    Sev

    I’m sorry but saying much the same thing at much greater length is not any more persuasive.

    Are you suggesting that brevity is more persuasive than the written equivalent of the Gi$h Gallop?

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, unlike you, I do not make false claims with no empirical backing. I take care to reference each of my claims. This takes time and words. You, on the other hand, since you have no evidence for your claims can spew falsehoods in a much shorter space.

    Also of note to being persuasive, I have given up years ago trying to persuade you of anything and have settled for showing the unbiased reader how dishonest and vacuous you are in your arguments. Thanks for helping in that endeavor. At least you are of some use after all.

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