Culture Intelligent Design Naturalism

Darwin skeptic Robert Shedinger calls out Paul Davies

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Shedinger, author of The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms: Darwinian Biology’s Grand Narrative of Triumph and the Subversion of Religion (Cascade, 2019), offers some thoughts on origin-of-life theorist Paul Davies’ decades-long dance around design in nature:

No better advertisements for intelligent design exist than works written by establishment scientists that unintentionally make design arguments. I can think of few better examples than well-known cosmologist Paul Davies’s recently published book The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Solving the Mystery of Life (2019).

With a nod toward James Clerk Maxwell’s entropy-defying demon, Davies argues that the gulf between physics and biology is completely unbridgeable without some fundamentally new concept. Since living organisms consistently resist the ravages of entropy that all forms of inanimate matter are subject to, there must be some non-physical principle allowing living matter to consistently defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics. And for Davies there is; the demon in the machine turns out to be information.

Robert Shedinger, “Hey, Paul Davies — Your ID Is Showing” at Evolution News and Science Today

It’s interesting how someone coming relatively new to a situation spots the polite avoidance of the obvious: Davies is talking about design in nature—and that level of design is not reached without an intelligence external to the design. Those who have dealt with scholarly evasions for decades, by contrast, view them as just part of the landscape. Davies has built a career out of stopping just short of admitting that.

At heart, the conflict is not about intelligent design vs. evolution but design, where intelligence as a real fact of nature vs. naturalism, where intelligence is an illusion.

Shedinger will doubtless find plenty of material for his next books.

See also: A Darwinian skeptic confesses. It’s not clear how much of modern Darwinism was ever about science, in terms of shedding light on the history of life, as opposed to casting it in specific terms.

27 Replies to “Darwin skeptic Robert Shedinger calls out Paul Davies

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Perhaps Shedinger can assist the fight to contain COVID-19 by explaining the “Designer”‘s rationale for designing it?

  2. 2
    Ed George says:

    And the award for the most glaringly stupid thermodynamic argument goes to:

    Since living organisms consistently resist the ravages of entropy that all forms of inanimate matter are subject to, there must be some non-physical principle allowing living matter to consistently defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

  3. 3
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    @Seversky I never published anything in Nature or Science, only in lesser journals like Langmuir and Macromolecules, but I do try to keep up with the literature. Nobody ever uses “intelligent design” to do any actual science.

    Neat recent stuff about the evolution of coronavirus, though. We only knew about 5-6 major strains of it, this new one is the 6th-7th. Most of that stuff is going up on pre-print servers right now. I saw David Hillis put up some good stuff about the phylogeny using Nextstrain code.

  4. 4
    Jim Thibodeau says:

    @EdGeorge: that’s Henry Morris’s terrible SLoT claim from his book Scientific Creationism. He was neither a physicist nor a biologist, and it shows.

    It wasn’t science 46 years ago, and it isn’t science now.

    (Now I’m going to stop thinking about Thermo before I have nightmares about GFE and deriving Nernst 🙂 )

  5. 5
    Ed George says:

    That life doesn’t violate the second law is known by any high school kid who has taken a physics class. That an obviously incorrect argument is still being made to support ID is not doing the movement any favour.

  6. 6
    jawa says:

    Alexa stats

    EN:……. 231,952…… 1%
    TO:…… 422,691……. 1%
    UD:…… 503,893…… 1%
    SW:…… 783,954…… 1%
    PT:….. 2,624,689….. 3%
    TSZ:.. 8,868,936….. 9%

    SW – tremendous improvement !

    TSZ keeps struggling with internet traffic

    PS continues off the Alexa radar

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Ed George claims that

    That life doesn’t violate the second law is known by any high school kid who has taken a physics class. That an obviously incorrect argument is still being made to support ID is not doing the movement any favour.

    Seeing that high school kids in public schools are also taught the pseudoscience that is Darwinian evolution, the claim that “life doesn’t violate the second law is known by any high school kid” is not really that much of a defense against the observation that…

    “living organisms consistently resist the ravages of entropy that all forms of inanimate matter are subject to, there must be some non-physical principle allowing living matter to consistently defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics”,,,

    Perhaps Ed George, since he was apparently taught in high school how this ‘defiance of entropy’ happens, can enlighten us to exactly how it is remotely possible for “living matter to consistently defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics”?

    Or, to put the question to Ed George much more simply, (and as Stephen Talbott asked), “the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    I have an answer, but it is certainly not an answer that Ed George, nor any other atheist, will ever like.

    It is the ‘soul’ holding the body together for ‘precisely for a lifetime’

    What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?

    Drawing – soul leaving the body at death
    https://slm-assets.secondlife.com/assets/5935044/lightbox/Spirit%20Release.jpg?1342658045

    Moreover, advances in quantum biology support my contention that it must be the soul that “holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime,”,,,

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

    The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule in our bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, of course, being the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Stuart Hameroff states in the following video, the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    Leading Scientists Say Consciousness Cannot Die It Goes Back To The Universe – Oct. 19, 2017 – Spiritual
    Excerpt: “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://www.disclose.tv/leading-scientists-say-consciousness-cannot-die-it-goes-back-to-the-universe-315604

    Verse:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    Supplemental note:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video (how consciousness, quantum information theory, and molecular biology correlate – 27 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/4f0hL3Nrdas?t=1634

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    JT, you are just refusing to look in the right places or to acknowledge design when you see its signs. You are also neatly side-stepping the a priori ideological imposition and censorship that are just as blatant. Kindly, explain to me how the genetic code is not precisely that, an alphanumeric, string data structure code expressing algorithms, thus manifesting language and goal directed procedures. Both of these are characteristics of intelligence. If you put up such an explanation, _____, kindly identify an actually observed case where such elements, beyond 500 – 1,000 bits, came about by blind chance and/or mechanical necessity without intelligently directed configuration ____ . Predictably, on long track record, you will duck this. I note, we are surrounded by trillions of observed cases of such functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I] and EVERY one of these came about by design. KF

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Notice, the OP, that unintentional, one step short of inferring design work is a telling sign.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    JT claims,

    Nobody ever uses “intelligent design” to do any actual science.

    Really??? Perhaps JT can tell exactly which of these scientific instruments used in ‘actual science’ are not Intelligently Designed?

    Examples of scientific instruments
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_instrument#Examples_of_scientific_instruments

  11. 11
    martin_r says:

    seversky @1
    you wrote: “Perhaps Shedinger can assist the fight to contain COVID-19 by explaining the “Designer”‘s rationale for designing it?”

    Seversky, how many times should i explain it to you, that viruses are population regulators …
    e.g. T4 bacteriophage regulates/controls the population of bacteria.

    And the corona virus? i don’t know, perhaps it regulates the populations of bats. Perhaps the Chinese should not eat the bats … i don’t know…

    Yes, obviously, sometimes the host can change. Why it is so difficult to see ?

    So let me repeat it once again, viruses were designed to regulate/control the population of organisms.

    Everything needs to be regulated and controlled. Only very naive people WHO NEVER MADE ANYTHING (e.g. biologists) can seriously think, that Earth’s ecosystem self-designed. Even an ecosystem needs an engineer.

    Look up the Biosphere 2 project – humans tried to design an ecosystem – it was a disaster.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2

  12. 12
    martin_r says:

    JAWA @6

    EN-evolution news
    UD -uncommon descent

    and what the other short forms stand for ?

    Thank you

  13. 13
    martin_r says:

    Seversky
    and one more thing in regards to your faith in scientists (you know, the other post i made)
    I have nothing against science. Actually, thank to modern biology science, my faith in a creator is much stronger now.

    So, please do not misunderstand me.

    Sure, it is your decision, that you decided to BELIEVE in a very absurd ‘scientific’ theory. It is your decision, that you believe in a theory developed by biologists – natural science graduates – WHO NEVER MADE ANYTHING and claiming that very advanced autonomous self-navigating flying systems self-designed. To believe that in 21st century, requires lots of faith. Or … to be mentally ill.

    So, it is your decision that you BELIEVE in miracles and absurd fairy-tales.

    What i wanted to say, is, that you are a BELIEVER too, and your faith in a very absurd theory is obviously much stronger than my faith in a creator/engineer/designer.

  14. 14
    Truthfreedom says:

    @1 Seversky

    Perhaps Shedinger can assist the fight to contain COVID-19 by explaining the “Designer”‘s
    rationale
    for designing it?

    You are asking for a rationale while you attach yourself to a doctrine (evolutionary atheism) that clearly denies your intellectual capacities:

    “Your decisions result from molecular-based electrical impulses and chemical substances transmitted from one brain cell to another. These molecules must obey the laws of physics, so the outputs of our brain—our “choices”—are dictated by those laws.”
    Jerry Coyne (the dim-witted biologist)
    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Jerry-A-Coyne-You-Dont-Have/131165

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Acartia Eddie:

    That life doesn’t violate the second law is known by any high school kid who has taken a physics class.

    It’s the origin of life via materialistic processes that violates the second law.

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Jimmie:

    Nobody ever uses “intelligent design” to do any actual science.

    The mere existence of genetic algorithms refutes that claim. Tat said, no one uses blind watchmaker evolution for anything. It’s not only useless but it is harmful.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    Earth to seversky- ID is OK with COVID-19 evolving from some other virus. But thanks for continuing to expose your ignorance wrt ID.

  18. 18
    OldArmy94 says:

    Seversky is making a theological argument against an Intelligent Designer, not a scientific one, so I guess we should be grateful that he now accepts the premise that viruses are intelligently designed.

  19. 19
    Axel says:

    @ET, your #10, in response to JT’s post #3 to the contrary :
    Surely, the whole of empirical science is predicated upon design.

  20. 20
    martin_r says:

    Axel @19
    “the whole of empirical science is predicated upon design.”

    Good point !!!

    Biologists in their labs are doing reverse-engineering

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Axel @ 19- What you say is true. But denial is strong:

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” – the Crick

  22. 22
    Truthfreedom says:

    We need very intelligent, trained people and their derived intelligent technology/ apparatuses to fight against a virus that according to atheists is the result of a mindless, dumb process.

  23. 23
    martin_r says:

    Truthfreedom @22

    indeed, just consider the sophistication of the virus-design … a tiny viral particle which can’t be seen with the naked eye / light microscope, turned the whole world upside down. Our most advanced technologies are useless… we can only sit and wait for our designed immune system to take care of 🙂 because we can’t … we can only sit and wait 🙂

  24. 24
    Axel says:

    Martin_r, your point about reverse-engineering is an even better and more succinct point. One that I had been striving in vain to recollect.

    Reading your post, ET’s and Tf’s, it strikes me how one can become so demoralised-cum-disoriented one can become, when in possession of a supremely obvious truth, in the face of a totalitarian coalition in the form a powerful establishment, as deliberately ignorant as they are highly educated – simply by arguing with them, day in and day out.

    But it has to be done, and seems to be bearing some fruit. Even a leading epidemiologist in the UK said the other day that he thought it was satire, when handed PM Johnson’s plan to allow the pandemic to rage…. to build up an immunity in the surviving population ! It’s all so surreal, isn’t it ? Your post, Tf, captures it.

  25. 25
    jawa says:

    Martin_r @12:

    Good question.

    TO: Talk Origins (.org) which apparently is associated with SW and PT

    SW: sand walk blogspot by Canadian Dr Larry Moran (former professor at U Toronto) who has posted comments here in UD too.

    PT: Panda’s Thumb that includes contributions by Dr Arthur Hunt of the U of Kentucky who has posted comments here too.

    TSZ: the skeptic zone that includes contributions by folks that have posted comments in UD too.

    PS: Peaceful Science by Dr Joshua Swamidass / some relation with the Templeton foundation.

    Did I answer your question satisfactorily?

  26. 26
    jawa says:

    Alexa ranks

    EN:….. 228,640…. 1%
    TO:….. 422,843….. 1%
    UD:…. 504,103…. 1%
    SW:…. 784,144…. 1%
    PT:….. 2,991,209…. 3%
    TSZ:… 8,869,016…. 9%

    % based on 100M active websites

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    The top 1% story again.

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