Intelligent Design

A role model for ID-sympathetic college students, author and physician David A. Cook, MD

Spread the love

The Choosing

I’m honored to have the chance to present a post-Darwinist conversion account by one of our Uncommon Descent readers, Dr. David Cook, MD. Physicians like him serve as role models to the young and are a symbol to the scientific community that highly intelligent and scientifically literate people can be skeptical of Darwinian evolution.

Dr. Cook is a graduate of Vanderbilt, home of one of the first IDEA chapters in the nation. I asked him not to be shy about his accomplishments, because people like him are the ones who most effectively communicate to the world that a person can be quite literate in science and still question Darwinian evolution. His example empirically disproves the false claims of Dawkins, Harris, KCFS, NCSE, and others who insinuate that exposure to criticism of the Darwinian orthodoxy will deteriorate scientific understanding.

Here is Dr. Cook’s CV followed by an account of his post-Darwinist conversion. I trust that many of our readers can identify. His words to the students, “it is OK to believe in science and disbelieve in Darwinism, and that you can be a fine doctor too.”

-Undergraduate degree in Medical Biology, Summa Cum Laude, University of

Utah, 1983

Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, 1981

Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, 1984

– Doctor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical School, 1987

Founder’s Medal for First Honors (graduated first in class)

Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society 1985 (Junior year, one of

only four in class)

Merck Award, 1987

Upjohn Award, 1987

– Orthopaedic Residency at University of Wisconsin-Madison 1987-1992

Administrative Chief Resident, 1991-1992

Alumni Award, University of Wisconsin, 1992

– Certified by American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, 1994, exam

score 99th percentile, recertified 2003

– Chief of Orthopaedic Services, Vandenberg Hospital, and Orthopaedic

Consultant to the U.S. Space Command 1994-1996

– Six published articles in orthopaedic journals of no interest to anyone but

another orthopaedist. One of them was the first large study on MRI

findings in ACL-injured knees. Several have been cited in other studies.

– Currently in private practice in Layton, Utah, raising kids and reading

and writing as a hobby.

Here are some of his reflections and words of encouragement to ID-sympathetic college students:

Post-Darwinist conversion summary:

I believed in Darwinian-type evolution up through undergraduate and more or less through medical school. What else was there? My church does not take a position on the subject. We believe that “Man was created in God’s image,” but how God went about it is unspecified. The spectrum of beliefs on this topic among church members spans nearly the entire range; we are only required to accept that God was involved and behind it somehow. I used to just vaguely believe that “evolution is how He did it.”

In medical school (Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN) I was faced with learning all I could about the human body, from the microscopic sub-cellular level on up to and including how humans interact with each other and their environment, and all the things that can go wrong with the system.

The more I learned, the less sense it made to me that such an incredibly complex, incredibly integrated on all levels entity could possibly have arisen as a result of chance, no matter over what time period and no matter what selection mechanisms were involved. There are just way too many examples of processes, structures, and functions that are not only amazingly complex themselves, but engage in incredibly coordinated cooperation with other parts and functions. Any physiological process you can think of is this way, bone homeostasis being the currently most familiar to me because of my specialty of orthopaedic surgery; how could the amazing feedback system among the intestine, liver, kidney, and bone have arisen without some sort of coordinating agency? Gross anatomy is the same way on a macro level; muscle, nerve, vascular, bone, and joint systems all mesh in an elegance of function.

And when you expand the question to the whole of life it becomes mind-boggling: fish, insects, birds- did you ever look at an ant under a microscope? What awesome little machines they are. And that’s only on the outside. And supposedly primitive creatures like sharks turn out to have sensory and surveillance equipment to put the CIA to shame.

I began questioning fellow classmates and a few professors. By what possible sequence of events could this amazing symphony of form and function have arisen through chance processes? I received no satisfactory answers. The ones who even took the question seriously assured me that there were experts and specialists in the field out there who understood it all, it had all been investigated, and Darwinism was the answer. Just because we students didn’t understand it didn’t mean no one did. I could rest assured that somebody knew all that.

To me it didn’t make sense but for awhile I accepted that I just didn’t have the background and knowledge to understand it but there were those who did and all scientists believed it and I could therefore not worry about it. The only people I ever heard of who were disagreeing with Darwinism were religious biblical fundamentalists who believed in a literal six 24-hour day creation story. I already didn’t believe that (the lights ruling the day and night didn’t show up until the 4th “day”, what kept track of time before that, for one thing) so I had no trouble discounting these people’s objections without really paying much attention to them.

If memory serves it was “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael Behe that I first encountered as a challenge to Darwinism from a scientific perspective. I now realize there were others published before that but this was the first for me. It immediately reminded me of all the other systems I’d learned about that just seemed too complex and inter-related to have arisen by chance. “Irreducible complexity” is a magnificently concise term for what I’d been observing and I wish I’d thought of it myself. The bacterial flagellum is just one, and not even the most complex, example of many myriad structures and functions that this concept applies to.

So I started reading and collecting books. At present count I have 29 volumes on the top shelf in my library directly pertaining to evolution. To be fair I included a couple of Richard Dawkins; “The Blind Watchmaker” and “The Selfish Gene.” To me these read more like philosophical treatises than scientific explanations.

I no longer accept that somebody, or anybody, understands how it all happened. I no longer believe neo-Darwinism as an explanation for life on earth. I have adopted Denyse O’Leary’s term “post-Darwinist” to describe my current position.

I am currently reading Dr. J.C. Sanford’s book on the human genome. The notion has previously occurred to me more than once that humans have been deteriorating genetically for quite some time, but it never occurred to me that this could be investigated or quantified. I am excited to see what he has to say about it. (I emailed my PhD physicist brother, who has a very dry sense of humor, about Dr. Sanford’s thesis, and he just today replied; “Regarding the deteriorating human genome, I’ve been saying that for years. We’re interfering with Natural Selection by treating the sick. All this health care will one day kill us.” I think he was joking. (He’s read Hoyle’s Cosmology textbook, BTW, and no longer believes in the Big Bang.)

The discovery that believing in the validity of science and the scientific method does not require a belief in Darwinism has given me a surprising feeling of relief and intellectual freedom. I can explore interesting ideas like Intelligent Design and Panspermia without feeling vaguely guilty about it. I believe the most exciting discoveries about life are in the future, and are not going to be found by those clinging to the restrictive blinders of mutation and natural selection as the only possible explanations.

I believe ID has some very important things to say about life and I am excited to see where it’s going to go in the future. Besides establishing that life was designed, I am looking forward to investigations of how it got to earth, how it progressed, was it brought or sent here sequentially (my personal leaning at this time; have you read Fred Hoyle’s and other’s books on panspermia?) or was it pre-programmed to develop? Can we find any clues about where it came from? If not ultimately, at least right before it got here? Also, can we find evidence for more than one mind behind the multitude of designs? There is a way to identify the author of a book using computer “word-prints.” (This is how Joe Kline was identified as the author of the anonym ously-published “Primary Colors” about the Clinton campaign.) Could we someday apply a similar, though necessarily much more complex, process to identify features of different form of life characteristic of different designers?

The possibilities are exciting and seemingly endless. I understand that right now during the fight for legitimacy for ID there is probably little energy to spare, but hopefully once the concept is accepted as a legitimate target for research money the field can expand and address many other questions. I’m looking forward to it.

My message for the students you talk to would be that it is OK to believe in science and disbelieve in Darwinism, and that you can be a fine doctor too.

In appreciation for Dr. Cook’s willingness to give an account of his journey, I’m giving a plug for his novel, The Choosing. Interestingly, “choice” is the salient characteristic of an intelligent agency. I suppose it was destined Dr. Cook would join our little community here at Uncommon Descent.

In my time on the college campuses, a very large proportion of ID-sympathetic college students in the biology curriculums were pre-med. To learn about the surprising amount of ID-sympathy on college campuses in the science and biology students and faculty see the following links:

UK Guardian: Most of the next generation of medical and science students could well be creationists

40% of freshman in UCSD’s sixth college reject Darwinism

Dean of Harvard Medical School endorses pro-ID book, medical professors revolt against Darwin

36 Replies to “A role model for ID-sympathetic college students, author and physician David A. Cook, MD

  1. 1
    jpark320 says:

    Wow that was really great though, how he can’t imagine how God could make light and keep track of time without the sun; we could lock ourselves in a cave w/ some lights and a stop watch – I’m sure God could manage… let’s just say there’s better reasons to disbelieve YEC.

    Overall, very good and informative. Not to mention he’s super smart and loves ID haha.

    With my time her at UD I def. learned two things:

    1) ID is not religious.

    Ask any Calvinistic YECer (like me) – we get frustrated like mAD cRaZy yO! At our brothers who hold onto ID as a centerpiece for Evangelsim “apart from the Bible” O_o

    (yes, just like we frustrate you Old Earthers)

    “Plenty” of agnostics and atheists that believe in ID.

    2) It’s pure science.

    Though I always use the Bible as my authority for everything and share ID only in the context of Evangelism, never “Bible free” (firmly believing man’s will is bondaged to sin and if they believe in ID and not Christ what’s the value?), if I wanted to I could construct a secular science only argument and simply by choice I do not, but many people do in here.

    Face it, from a YEC point of view ID is definitely not religious and we take the good science from it and learn – b/c we’re certainly not taking the religious component of it (there is none)!

    PS I’m talking about the distinction between Calvinism and Arminianism – we don’t need to get into it here (Go to my blog!) The C vs A debate would take too long and I would be too tempted to reply back; it would be bitter and end with account suspensions (Go to my blog!) :p

  2. 2
    JGuy says:

    Awesome. It’s always good to see a convert from the dark side. Funny bit about the conversation/exchange he had with his brother on genetic degeneration.

    Well, now all we have to do is complete the ultimate mission of ID and convert him into a young earth creationist! ~~ booo ahh ahh ahh! ~~ It’s all unfolding exactly as planned!

    [I wonder how many people will buy into that conspiracy joke]

  3. 3
    Janice says:

    It was the biochemistry of the formation of insulin that made me question evolution. About two years later, during what I can only describe as a “hounds of heaven” episode, I read an argument that was based on mutation rates, the supposed evolution of the horse and the age of the earth. That led me to abandon belief in The General Theory of Evolution, realise there must be a God and then go looking to find out who He might be. It took, maybe, another three months to find Him.
    That was over 25 years ago. At the time I had no idea that anyone, anywhere, was a Creationist of any sort. But I soon started coming across books and pamphlets. Then a junior resident at the hospital where I was an intern showed me a copy of an ICR magazine and a few weeks later I discovered the Creation Science Foundation (later AiG and now, in Australia, Creation Ministeries International).

    I have to say I’m surprised that Dr Cook is interested in panspermia since AFIK it answers nothing.

    But apart from that I’m hoping someone will be able to help me. I’ve been reading on the “demarcation problem” in the philosophy of science. Popper said something is scientific if it can be falsified. Lakatos talked about “research programs” with a hard core theory and more flexible auxiliary hypotheses. Kuhn and Feyerabend I can’t be bothered with. There are nomothetic sciences in which researchers are looking for general laws which govern repeatable events and ideographic (or historical) sciences in which researchers look for the best explanation for a specific event.

    It seems to me that most of this is about what scientists are doing and how they are doing it. What I want to know is whether any philosophers of science have worked on how scientists interpret the results of what they have done.

    For instance, in “The Methodological Equivalence of Naturalistic and Non-Naturalistic Origins Theories” (at http://www.discovery.org) Meyer wrote, “The exclusion of one of the logically possible programs of origins research by assumption, therefore, seriously diminishes the significance of any claim to theoretical superiority by advocates of a remaining program.”

    What if he had written, “The exclusion, by assumption, of one of the logically possible interpretations of data therefore seriously diminishes … etc”?

    Lysenkoism was naturalistic but it was also Marxist. It wouldn’t have mattered how Lysenko did his experiments (assuming he actually did any of them) whatever results he got would have been interpreted according to Marxist theory and, therefore, would have been in error more likely than not.

    Is this a question for philosophers of science? Any links?

  4. 4
    DaveScot says:

    Janice

    I have to say I’m surprised that Dr Cook is interested in panspermia since AFIK it answers nothing.

    It makes complete sense of all the data regarding evolution on this planet. Plus it’s an elegant repetition of a pattern – phylogeny is the same process as ontogeny only on a different time scale. Both processes are predetermined with chance playing little or no role and the environment only serving to provide cues for moving to the next stage of the process. On an even grander scale it repeats the process of life reproducing itself and moving from one location to another.

    Of course it doesn’t answer the ultimate question of where the first life came from but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. The truth isn’t necessarily what you want it to be, it is what it is.

    Directed Pansperimia

    Francis Crick Remembered

    Panspermia Website

  5. 5
    JGuy says:

    Janice,
    Honestly, my mind tends to feel a sense of slow motion with this topic. That is, when I try to discuss philosophy of science. I feel like I am usually missing a better definition of something… or something like that.

    Anyway, you replaced Meyer’s words:
    “programs of origins research”
    ..with..
    “interpretations of data”

    …and effectively ask, “What if he wrote that?” – Is this regarding more on how scientists intrerept? or more About what is the significance of Meyer’s statement in the re-wording? or.. are my questions the same and just in different wording. 😛

    Anyway, it does seem, to me, that Meyer’s reference to “programs of origins research”, is simply him referring to ways of thinking about the world and/or how people will approach the intrepretation of the data collected.

    [I don’t know of what material is out there on HOW to intrepret data.]

    I might be probing into something over my head here… in fact.. let me know if I am already lost and push me back into reality.

  6. 6
    jb says:

    Fascinating and excellent interview.

    Dr. Cook, I’m curious about your interest in panspermia. Earlier in the interview you mention being a member of a church, so I take it from that that you are a believer in some form of Christianity. How do you square your Christian beliefs with panspermia?

    [Moderators, forgive me if this is stepping too far into the religion category. I’ll accept my lashing with a wet noodle if this is out of line. But I’m rather curious about this point.]

  7. 7
    Tims says:

    I hate to say this but an Orthopedic Surgeon is not the best resource for providing an argument against NDE. Those of us in the academic realm know how much time is placed in a Medical Doctorate’s understanding of Molecular Biology, especially a medical doctorate awarded in 1987 and a surgeon not even a diagnostician. Now if the fellow was to have a PhD in Biology, Embryology, Molecular Biology or Biochemistry and has enough research to support his claims, well that could turn the tide.

    The understanding of cellular interactions at the molecular level by layman has been shown time and time again to not be substantial enough to provide an adequate base for which to make profound claims. It is like a mathematician explaining the enzymatic process involved in nucleotide incision repair, compared to a biochemist whose works include research of nucleotide incision repair. One just has more clout in the scientific community due to experience and understanding of the material.
    Perhaps ID could swing the tide if more people where to publish research related to ID from backgrounds in research based biological fields.

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    Even though many here are aware of my personal beliefs about the identity and history of life (that it was specially created) on Earth, I think the Panspermia perspective has added a valuable dimension to the ID hypothesis. Individuals like Francis Crick (a Nobel laureate) and Fred Hoyle (author of Intelligent Universe) were valuable (perhaps unwitting) pioneers of modern ID theory. Even today, SETI is used as a staple example for the ID movement.

    I should point out, even Walter Brown (a Young Earth Creationist) has given good reason for expecting to discover life outside of Earth and some of his predicitons (like the discovery of bacteria in meteorites) have been confirmed. He predicts the same kinds meteorites have landed on Mars, and thus life is on Mars!

    Panspermia should not be written off on a whim. Though I accept the idea of an ultimate special Creator for life and the universe, there is nothing theologically preventing the existence of alien civilizations. Some creationists have pointed out the legendary Nephilim may be a human like race that aren’t exactly human.

    Some creationists have speculated the Nephilim or ancient humans may have discovered means of high speed space travel if they found a means of altering the vacuum properties of space (see the creationist website http://www.setterfield.org).

    Of course the other technological problems the ancient civilization would have to overcome may seem insurmountable, but well, despite that, I’m not so sure the case is closed on anything…

    There is one other thing. If the Intelligent Designer is the author of human language, is it possible he gave ancient civilizations special technology we don’t have today, or had to rediscover in the space age? Right now, though I have my personal views, I don’t discourage the exploration of any hypothesis, as even a failed exploration (like OOL or search for the Aether) will have value….

  9. 9
    dacook says:

    Thanks, scordova, for the plug.

    JGuy: I’m not totally opposed to a young earth, I just believe the evidence currently favors old earth. I believe the “days” of creation were creative periods of unkown length, possibly unmeasurable to man because god works on a different timescale. But it would not distress me to ultimately find the earth was young.

    Janice: Please look into panspermia before you dismiss it. I too at first thought it was crackpot until I started seriously reading Hoyle.
    See http://www.panspermia.org/

    My little book is for people who like fast-paced action-adventure with a healthy dose of clean romance.

    The definition of intelligence I like best is “the ability to choose between good and evil.” This is what sets humans apart from all other creatures.

    Making significant choices and dealing with their consequences is the theme of the book but it doesn’t moralize; its main purpose was to be a fun read, and I’ve been told it is.
    http://www.amazon.com/Choosing.....38;s=books
    Thanks again for the plug :).
    David A. Cook, M.D.

  10. 10
    avocationist says:

    Scordova,

    Some creationists have speculated the Nephilim or ancient humans may have discovered means of high speed space travel if they found a means of altering the vacuum properties of space.

    In this context, I have always found the Tower of Babel story very intriguing. What was going on such that God said there is no end to what these humans will be able to do, and put a stop to it? Perhaps they did get influenced by bringers of knowledge they were not ready for.

  11. 11
    Douglas says:

    David Cook,

    I just have one question for you: Who’s that woman on the cover of your book, and what’s Data doing there?

  12. 12
    JGuy says:

    Scordova:
    You said, “Even today, SETI is used as a staple example for the ID movement.”

    From the UD SciPhi audio files,
    Nick Matzke said that SETI was not a search for specified complexity (eg. prime number sequences), but narrow band emissions. What comments might you have about that? Has ID misrepresented or abused SETI for ID’s arguments?

  13. 13
    JGuy says:

    dacook:

    “I’m not totally opposed to a young earth, I just believe the evidence currently favors old earth. … But it would not distress me to ultimately find the earth was young.”

    That’s good. Have you seen any of Setterfields arguments? And ICR’s research on the topic?

    I hope you haven’t seen these yet. So,to make your day more interesting.
    Example articles:
    http://setterfield.org/simplified.html

    http://www.icr.org/article/114/

    http://www.icr.org/article/117/

    ..and one of my favourite groups of essasys by Sean Pitman, one of your fellow MD’s :):

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/

  14. 14
    jpark320 says:

    Tims said

    I hate to say this but an Orthopedic Surgeon is not the best resource for providing an argument against NDE. Those of us in the academic realm know how much time is placed in a Medical Doctorate’s understanding of Molecular Biology, especially a medical doctorate awarded in 1987 and a surgeon not even a diagnostician… The understanding of cellular interactions at the molecular level by layman has been shown time and time again to not be substantial enough to provide an adequate base for which to make profound claims. It is like a mathematician explaining the enzymatic process involved in nucleotide incision repair, compared to a biochemist whose works include research of nucleotide incision repair. One just has more clout in the scientific community due to experience and understanding of the material.
    Perhaps ID could swing the tide if more people where to publish research related to ID from backgrounds in research based biological fields.

    1) Well I’d have to say this is crazy! Find me a doctor who doesn’t know molecular biology…

    2) I think it is very inaccurate to compare Dr. Cook or any physician with a layman in biochemical understanding.

    3) Would it be fair to characterize a Ph.D’s understanding of Human evolution abysmal b/c he doesn’t understand the person on a systems lvl?

    4) Most Ph.D researchers don’t have any more detailed knowledge of evolution in general. They only have extra knowledge one disease process or pathway (compared to an MD).

    5) I’m confident Dr. Cook understands biochemistry.

  15. 15
    JGuy says:

    dacook:
    This was a classic article:
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....tissue.asp

    ICR and the like don’t deny radioactive decay took place. The arguemnt is more about how valid are those assumptions behind the intrepretation.

    I’m personally excited that this is exclusively a young earth world view approach to the radiometric paradigm. That’s mostly because the only source for the YEC’s reasoning is the literal view of Genesis. So, it means all credit goes to the scripture as a guide, and would be the ultimate punch in the eye for materialism [not to mention a fatal one].

  16. 16
    JGuy says:

    TIMS:
    These articles are written by an MD:
    http://arn.org./eyw.htm

    It should show, since it is being written FOR the layman, that MD’s have understanding of the chemical pathways.

    By the way – sorta a tangent here – but it’s always been my personal huntch (supported by some PhD’s) that DNA, though most critical in development, is slightly (if not highly) overrated in it’s credit to morphological development. If this is the case, and it very well may be, then whence comes major heritable modifications?

  17. 17
    DaveScot says:

    Tims

    I hate to say this but an Orthopedic Surgeon is not the best resource for providing an argument against NDE.

    They can’t possibly be worse than life scientists trying to understand engineeering and design.

    Those of us in the academic realm know how much time is placed in a Medical Doctorate’s understanding of Molecular Biology

    Thos of us in industry know how much engineering acumen folks in academic life science have too.

    The understanding of cellular interactions at the molecular level by layman has been shown time and time again to not be substantial enough to provide an adequate base for which to make profound claims.

    Did you know that you can buy books and further your own education without having it spoonfed to you in a classroom? University classes are a one size fits all way to learn. It’s optimized for the average student and thus is non-optimal for above or below average students.

    Perhaps ID could swing the tide if more people where to publish research related to ID from backgrounds in research based biological fields.

    Perhaps biologists would be given more credence if they didn’t treat everyone else as morons who should accept their just-so narratives as fact when they’re nothing more than speculation and not very credible speculation at that to anyone who actually has some real-world experience in complex system design.

  18. 18
    dacook says:

    jb; I missed your question earlier, sorry for the delay.
    I see no conflict between panspermia and Christianity.
    Since you asked for it: My current belief (subject to change depending on further evidence), briefly, is that God and His helpers performed a grand terraforming project: Over a time span which is long in our current frame of reference (but not necessarily long to them in their frame) these Beings formed the planet, placed it in orbit (4th day), then seeded it sequentially with intitially simple, then gradually more complex organisms which came from elsewhere in the universe. I believe that life had no beginning, and neither did the universe (reference Fred Hoyle’s cosmology text which has been endorsed by at least one university astrophysicist I know of). I could expound for quite a while on this but it’s probably already way too long & far off topic.

    Douglas: That’s the first I’ve heard anyone say he looked like Data, but now that you mention it, he does, kinda. The illustration was done by an artist.

    jpark320: My account is a summary of my own experience, not a comprehensive argument against NDE. That would take too long and wasn’t the purpose of the piece. There are many good arguments against NDE, from a number of different perspectives; I can provide a suggested reading list if you wish. I have spent many years now reading on the subject and watching the debate and becoming steadily more convinced that NDE is not true.

  19. 19
    dacook says:

    jguy:
    I’ve looked at answersingenesis.org(even had it on my favorites list for awhile) and some of the other YEC sites. Some of what they have to say is interesting and bears watching, but I still think the weight of evidence favors old earth. I do not believe this contradicts Genesis, only a certain interpretation of Genesis.
    If the evidence turns out to have been misinterpreted and I later have to change my mind that will be OK.
    I try not to be afraid of the truth, whatever it turns out to be. I find I feel freer in my mind with that attitude. (The truth will set you free ;))

  20. 20
    Douglas says:

    Dr. Cook,

    For comparison: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_(Star_Trek) .

    Now, about that woman on the cover – did your artist have a model? (Have patience with me…I still haven’t learned to not judge a book by its cover.)

  21. 21
    Douglas says:

    (I’m not sure what happened with the link above. Let’s try this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Star_Trek .)

  22. 22
    scordova says:

    I think it would be good to cease confronting Dr. Cook about YEC or extraterrestrials unless he asks us to comment on it.

    I would prefer discussion about insights from his field professional expertise.

    Since this thread is about him, let’s help present his ideas and insights to the readers of UD. Let’s not start an argument with him about YEC or Extra Terestrials. There will be other threads for that sort of thing.

  23. 23
    Douglas says:

    Arrrrrgh. This place needs an “edit” function.

  24. 24
    Michaels7 says:

    Dr. Cook,

    Thank you for sharing and being a role model for students that do not find NDE robust enough to answer all questions our quaint little biosphere called earth. Critical thinking is important and voices like yours need to be heard by students that would normally be intimidated by appeals to authority and consensus thinking, authority figures and peer pressure.

    Indeed irreducible complexity is shredding evolution. Imagination and fiction are fun, but sooner or later one must accept reality that not all is kosher in NDE.

    “The Modern Synthesis is superceeded…”

    “Darwinism is dead”

    Dr MacNeil, Cornell, good friend of Will Provine.

  25. 25
    Michaels7 says:

    Tims says,

    Appeal to higher authority…

    “The understanding of cellular interactions at the molecular level by layman has been shown time and time again to not be substantial enough to provide an adequate base for which to make profound claims.”

    For your appeal to authority greater than Dr. Cooks, I ask you to falsify the following Four Null Hypotheses put for by Trevors and Abel in their paper at Theoretical Biology and Medical Modeling.

    Testable hypotheses about FSC*
    What testable empirical hypotheses can we make about FSC that might allow us to identify when FSC exists? In any of the following null hypotheses [137], demonstrating a single exception would allow falsification. We invite assistance in the falsification of any of the following null hypotheses:

    Null hypothesis #1
    Stochastic ensembles of physical units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #2
    Dynamically-ordered sequences of individual physical units (physicality patterned by natural law causation) cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #3
    Statistically weighted means (e.g., increased availability of certain units in the polymerization environment) giving rise to patterned (compressible) sequences of units cannot program algorithmic/cybernetic function.

    Null hypothesis #4
    Computationally successful configurable switches cannot be set by chance, necessity, or any combination of the two, even over large periods of time.

    We repeat that a single incident of nontrivial algorithmic programming success achieved without selection for fitness at the decision-node programming level would falsify any of these null hypotheses. This renders each of these hypotheses scientifically testable. We offer the prediction that none of these four hypotheses will be falsified.

    The fundamental contention inherent in our three subsets of sequence complexity proposed in this paper is this: without volitional agency assigning meaning to each configurable-switch-position symbol, algorithmic function and language will not occur. The same would be true in assigning meaning to each combinatorial syntax segment (programming module or word). Source and destination on either end of the channel must agree to these assigned meanings in a shared operational context. Chance and necessity cannot establish such a cybernetic coding/decoding scheme [71].”

    *Functional Sequence Complexity

    For the entire paper, http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g.....id=1208958

    I am just a lay person. So, maybe I am naive. Are these Four Null Hypotheses so easily falsifiable? If so, you should check into the million dollar prize they offer for the Origin of Life project.

    Biographical: Dr. David L. Abel is a theoretical biologist focusing on primordial biocybernetics. He is the Program Director of The Gene Emergence Project, an international consortium of scientists pursuing the derivation of initial biocybernetic/biosemiotic function. DLA is supported by grants from The Origin-of-Life Foundation, Inc. a 501-c-3 science foundation. Jack T. Trevors is Professor of Environmental Biology/Microbiologist at the University of Guelph. Professor Trevors is also an editor for the The Journal of Microbiological Methods, editor-in-chief of Water, Air and Soil Pollution and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. JTT is supported by an NSERC (Canada) Discovery Grant.”

    So there ya go Tims. Break the bank. They have judges, an internatinoal consortium of scientist here:
    http://lifeorigin.org/rul_judg.htm

  26. 26
    Michaels7 says:

    Or for optional link to the Theoretical Challenge put before all scientist:

    http://www.tbiomed.com/content/2/1/29

    It is pragmatic and straigtforward science based upon observation and logical insight.

  27. 27
    jpark320 says:

    @ Dr. Cook –

    I understand that it was your personal account, sorry for that jab in the side (just can’t help myself sometime you know)?

    I’m just surprised at Tims’s allegation that you don’t know any molecular biology, when I as a Med Student, am drudging through what seems like endless powerpoints upon powerpoints of molecular biology 🙁

  28. 28
    jpark320 says:

    @ Dr. Cook –

    While on the subject that “NDE is not in your expertise” -_______-

    Could you comment on Haldane’s dilemma in light of your specialty, the limbs?

    What major hurdles need to be jumped by evolution in order to create all the specialized limbs of bipeds and more specifically the human hand?

    I’m very, very skeptical after the gross lab of thinking fish –> amphi bian limb transition via NDE and even primate to human limb evolution – walking and grasping are so complex!

  29. 29
    Janice says:

    JGuy,

    Thanks for responding. Sorry for my lack of clarity but, “a better definition of something,” is exactly what I’m missing.

    It seems to me that most of the work done in trying to define science (so as to distinguish it from pseuodoscience) revolves around things like how you express your hypotheses (are they testable?), what research methodology you use (is it repeatable and verifiable?) and what you are measuring (is it observable?). But I hadn’t been able to find anything on how you interpret the data that your research effort produces except for these lines from Meyer. It’s in the last paragraph in the article I referenced previously.

    “A rational historical biology must not only address the question “Which materialistic or naturalistic evolutionary scenario provides the most adequate explanation of biological complexity?” but also the question “Does a strictly materialistic evolutionary scenario or one involving intelligent agency or some other theory best explain the origin of biological complexity, given all relevant evidence?” To insist otherwise is to insist that materialism holds a metaphysically privileged position. Since there seems no reason to concede that assumption, I see no reason to concede that origins theories must be strictly naturalistic.”

    I kept looking today and came across the notions of “evaluative presuppositions” and “epistemic objectivity”. These could be useful ideas.

    For instance, just as Lysenko interpreted whatever he did with Marxist presuppositions so now do members of various interest groups interpret the results of, say, social science research according to their presuppositions. So radical feminists say that the fact that so few CEOs are women is because of patriarchal oppression of women because that is what they presuppose men do while they ignore the fact that most women would rather mother their own children than be the CEO of some big company.

    So, in relation to the quotation above from Meyer, what we might say is that evidences that appear to support the General Theory of Evolution could be the result of applying atheistic evaluative presuppositions to the interpretation of the data. That is, just as with Van Til’s presuppositionalist apologetics, it may be that the interpreters can be charged with assuming what is to be proved which is, of course, a logical fallacy but AFIK few people working in the sciences or applied sciences (such as medicine) are required to study logic. Years ago a fellow tried to introduce the study of logic into undergraduate science programs at my old university but the rest of the faculty didn’t think it necessary.

    Maybe, and maybe especially in relation to origins research, what interpreters should be doing is viewing the data with “epistemic objectivity”. (And if they don’t it’s not science?) Not sure about that yet but I’ll keep on looking.

  30. 30
    JGuy says:

    dacook.. douglas was trying to show you this guy “Data”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Data2.jpg

    Good to see you are open to YEC. Did you check out the Setterfield research I linked to?

    Glad to meet you – even if merely virtually. 🙂

  31. 31
    scordova says:

    Jguy,

    Can we stop badgering Dr. Cook about YEC? See my comment above.

    Sal

  32. 32
    dacook says:

    jpark320
    Dr. Sanford addresses the cost of selection in his book on genomic degeneration. While I don’t recall he used the eponym, the numbers he uses are similar to Haldane’s so I assume that’s probably where he got them. (Brief summary of Haldane’s dilemma here:
    http://ourworld.compuserve.com.....aldane.htm)

    The basic concept is that in slow-reproducing species especially, there is a cost to be paid in terms of selecting out individuals who do not have whatever genetic improvement you’re looking for. You’d just have to kill off too much of your breeding stock, and expect too many offspring from what was left, to be realistic. It is a good argument against NDE. To be fair there are some counter arguments from Darwinists; you can decide which side is most convincing.

    Regarding human limb development, the hand is truly an amazing piece of engineering: Just in the finger, the balanced interplay of the extensor complex with both flexor tendons and the beautiful dynamic balancing and coordinating act the lumbrical muscles do (MP flexors, IP extensors; what a great design to facilitate overall function) is an example of irreducible complexity,. Remove just one component and the whole thing is grossly handicapped and dysfunctional.
    The opposable thumb is another marvel, from the saddle joint of the first carpometacarpal articulation to the coordination of the thenar muscles with the extrinsic extensors, abductors, and long flexor. It is truly a symphony of inter-related form and function.
    The knee is another marvel of coordinated complexity. It also contains an excellent example of structures, the menisci, which were considered nofunctional vestigial remnants like the appendix only a few decades ago but which are now known to be essential for normal functioning and preservation of articular cartilage.
    I do not believe there is any way these structures, or any of the other very many examples in the human body, could have arisen by any conceivable pathway of DNA mutation or any of the described rearrangment mechanisms.
    I do not buy Dawkins’ hand-waving invocations of incrementality; the more you look at how DNA actually works the less believable those explanations are. And for a whole structure such as these to have arisen as one “mega-mutation” as some have suggested is just ludicrous.

  33. 33
    dacook says:

    Janice:
    Your last post reminded me of a piece I had in the local newspaper a few years ago when a new find of an old skull in Africa had set off another round of “human ancestor” stories. I’ll post it if I can find it.

    JGuy;
    I agree there is a resemblance. The cover was done by a professional illustrator using several computer programs. I believe the people are from Poser.
    (If you buy a copy of the book you can have a closer look including of the pretty girl ;))
    http://www.amazon.com/Choosing.....38;s=books

  34. 34
    dacook says:

    Janice;
    Found it. It was a letter to the editor in March 2001. The paper had taken the editorial stand that no alternatives to Darwinism should be allowed to be taught in the schools and this skull was another proof of the truth of Darwinism and the triumph of science over the forces of superstition.
    I wrote this in response (I could have made it longer but they’re very strict about length limits. The did publish a guest column I wrote another time which set off a real storm):

    “The recent front-page story on the ancient skull discovered in Kenya, and your editorial of March 24 about it, are perfect examples of the tautological reasoning which cripples real advances in the study of the origins of life. There is nothing about that skull itself, taken without preconceived assumptions, to suggest that it is an ancestor of modern humans.
    Here is how it goes; an anthropologist discovers an old skull or skeleton. Since he knows that humans descended from earlier primates, he immediately interprets the old bones as probable ancestors of humans. He then announces that he has discovered more evidence that humans descended from primates. The media and uncritically thinking masses then accept the discovery and the inference as if they were the same thing.
    The whole body of so-called evidence for human evolution arose the same way. I include DNA matching and the rest of it, not just old bones. It is evidence for evolution only because it was interpreted as evidence by people who assumed it was evidence. This is tautology; circular or repetitious reasoning. It leads back to the initial assumption without really going anywhere in between.
    What was actually discovered in Kenya was a very old primate skull. Period. Everything after that is inference. To me it looked like a gorilla, or other great ape. How many great ape skulls have been left lying around Africa over the years?
    This type of circular reasoning is so ingrained in orthodox evolutionary dogma that unfortunately most don’t even notice they’re doing it, but it plays out predictably every time a discovery like this is made. Watch for it next time.”

    I have not changed my opinion since I wrote that. Evidence is always interpreted based on the presuppositions of the observer. Often really significant results are tossed because they don’t fit what was expected.
    Often what we “know” prevents us from learning anything new. A good example in medicine was the discovery by two Australian pathologists (J. R. Warren and Barry Marshall) that peptic ulcer disease is caused by a bacteria. At the time everyone “knew” that ulcers were caused by too much stomach acid produced by people of a certain hard-driving personality type. These doctor’s discovery was initially scoffed at and called “the most preposterous thing ever heard.” Finally in desperation Marshall had himself scoped to show no disease, then drank a brew of the bacteria he’d isolated. Sure enough he developed the disease and now his bacteria are accepted as the cause of most duodenal ulcers and half of stomach ulcers.

    Darwinists are scoffing today. One day Behe, Demski, et. al. will be recognized as the pioneers they are, similar to those Australians.
    Sorry this is so long; scordova feel free to snip and edit as needed.

  35. 35
    scordova says:

    Dr. Cook,

    By all means speak freely. We are honored to hear from you.

    Salvador

  36. 36
    Janice says:

    dacook,

    Good letter. Thanks.

Leave a Reply