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Barr v. Arrington


Over at the First Things blog Stephen Barr said that there is no way to compute the probabilities of evolution.

I disagreed and pointed him to Dembski’s and Marks’ work at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab. Barr responded by citing a 2003 article by Wesley Elsberry and said the critique of Dembski’s work was, if valid, “very damaging.”

I responded by pointing out that the Dembski/Marks article to which I had linked was from 2009 and therefore it was not possible for Elsberry to have critiqued it in 2003. Here’s where things got interesting. Instead of allowing my response through, the FT moderator deleted it.

When I learned this I posted the following protest: “My responses to SMB and David Nickol were deleted. Why? What policy of moderation did I violate? Are you just trying to cover for the fact that one of your board memebers (SMB) is one of the most useful of all of the useful idiots so valuable to the materialist enemies of Christianity?”

A different moderator must have been at the helm, because he let it through.  Update:  FT has now deleted this response too.

Jerry Beckett responded: “You can’t be serious. If any of “materialist enemies” invoke Dr. Barr in support of their worldview, kindly refer them to his Modern Physics & Ancient Faith. Christianity has absolutely nothing to fear from evolution by natural selection . . .”

Here is my reply to Beckett:  Update:  The FT moderator refused to let this response see the light of day.

Jerry, yes, I am serious, and I will let the materialists speak for themselves:

Will Provine:
Evolution is the “greatest engine of atheism.”

“. . . belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.”

“Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.”

“The frequently made assertion that modern biology and the assumptions of the Judeo-Christian tradition are fully compatible is false.”

Richard Dawkins:

“Catholic morality demands the presence of a great gulf between Homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom. Such a gulf is fundamentally anti-evolutionary. The sudden injection of an immortal soul in the time-line is an anti-evolutionary intrusion into the domain of science.”

“. . . although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

Daniel Dennett:

“Evolutionists who see no conflict between evolution and their religious beliefs have been careful not to look as closely as we have been looking, or else hold a religious view that gives God what we might call a merely ceremonial role to play.”

Ernst Mayr:

“The natural causes postulated by the evolutionists completely separated God from his creation, for all practical purposes. The new explanatory model replaced planned teleology by the haphazard process of natural selection. This required a new concept of God and a new basis for religion.”

T.H. Huxley

“In addition to the truth of the doctrine of evolution, indeed, one of its greatest merits in my eyes, is the fact that it occupies a position of complete and irreconcilable antagonism to that vigorous and consistent enemy of the highest intellectual, moral, and social life of mankind – the Catholic Church.”

Ernst Haeckel

“Our concern is rather with the unparalleled influence that Darwinism, and its application to man, have had during the last forty years on the whole province of science; and at the same time, with its irreconcilable opposition to the dogmas of the Churches.”

Julian Huxley:

“In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created: it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion.”

E.O. Wilson:

“If humankind evolved by Darwinian natural selection, genetic chance and environmental necessity, not God, made the species.”

Stephen Jay Gould:

“No intervening spirit watches lovingly over the affairs of nature . . . whatever we think of God, his existence is not manifest in the products of nature.”

Douglas Futuyma:

“By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous.”

Stephen M. Barr:

I paraphrase: “Darwinian evolution is true.”

Jerry, you do the math. I don’t care what else Barr has written. Indeed, the greater his prominence among Christian thinkers the more harm he has done in lending his imprimatur to the Darwinian project.

Yes, yes, I know, Barr wrote an article in which he said God was behind it all. I’ve read and re-read the article, and all it goes to show is that Provine was right. “One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.”