Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Finally, a book on the ID debate that addresses actual issues


From David Snoke’s review at the Christian Scientific Society of Perry Marshall’s Evolution 2.0: Breaking the DeadlockBetween Darwin and Design

Perry Marshall is a well known, successful expert on internet marketing, and his career has included developing new algorithms and paradigms in business and market analysis. For several years, he has been involved in online discussions about intelligent design and evolution. He has now come out with a book giving a comprehensive presentation of his views. The book will be quite useful as an introduction to the debate, especially for those who are not experts in biology. His writing style is easy to read and to the point.

Here are some of the things I like about the book:

1) He gets the biology right. In Part 3 of the book, he summarizes many of the mechanisms understood by all experts in biology to be part of the story, but which often get left out or marginalized in the debate. Some biologists smugly dismiss anti-evolutionists who don’t refer to many of the newly discovered mechanisms in biological adaption. But Marshall shows that a good understanding of these mechanisms doesn’t make the case for undirected evolution any easier.

2) He addresses in depth the main issue: information. As a computer person, Marshall focuses in on how the biological mechanisms aren’t just “like” information and computer code, they “are” information and code. More.

That is indeed the main issue, if not the only one.  Certainly, it is the one that we hear the most ridiculous bafflegab around.

But I don’t believe for a minute that the deadlock can be broken. No Darwin follower or Christian for Darwin (if anyone now cares) wants honest accounting.

Darwinism is a well-funded, sometimes legislated, dead idea. Which means it can keep going indefinitely without any evidence whatever, only funding and legislation.

And rare is the science journalist who considers the case honestly, as opposed to waving pom poms in defense of his or her career.

Serious consideration of design in nature will have a hard time gaining a foothold, despite massive evidence ( see convergent evolution, for example).

But people are funded to write things like this:

When Behe claims that irreducible complexity is best explained by a designer, Jantzen reminds us that best is a comparative term and can only mean “best among the known explanations.” If history is any guide here, we should expect that we don’t yet know all the possible explanations, so Behe’s claim [design in nature] is considerably weakened.

As noted earlier, the fact that we don’t know all possible explanations has never prevented anyone from honestly making a reasonable judgment.

Unless that person have already decided that metaphysical naturalism and mindless materialism must be true regardless of the state of the evidence. Which is what gets funding nowadays. (Hollers for Jesus are an added perk in some venues, for those interested.)

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Interesting, BA77. If there ever could exist "pure chance", then no purposeful, functioning order could ever come from it. Something 'ordered' is needed to create 'something ordered'. Random chance is non-order, by definition. We observe ordered systems and processes. The elements of life, self-replication, inheritance, functions that evolutionary claims rely on could not have come from a random source -- they had to come from pre-existing order, which comes from design. It's impossible to model pure chance, but if anyone could do it, they'd just need to show how ordered processing-systems emerge from random chaos. Silver Asiatic
Silver Asiatic as to:
So, after all of that, it’s back to: Design Chance
In addition to what you have highlighted, it is interesting to point out that 'chance' is not even a cause within itself but is just a place holder for ignorance. i.e. A placeholder for the 'we don't know' hypothesis. Although the term “chance” can be defined as a mathematical probability, such as the chance involved in flipping a coin, when Darwinists use the term ‘random chance’, generally it’s substituting for a more precise word such as “cause”, especially when the cause, i.e. ‘mechanism’, is not known. Several people have noted this ‘shell game’ that is played with the word ‘chance’.
“To personify ‘chance’ as if we were talking about a causal agent,” notes biophysicist Donald M. MacKay, “is to make an illegitimate switch from a scientific to a quasi-religious mythological concept.” Similarly, Robert C. Sproul points out: “By calling the unknown cause ‘chance’ for so long, people begin to forget that a substitution was made. . . . The assumption that ‘chance equals an unknown cause’ has come to mean for many that ‘chance equals cause.’” Barbara - UD Blogger The Universal Determinism Dichotomy (UDD) - David L. Abel - 2015 Excerpt: We sometimes appeal to yet-to-be-discovered laws when trying to explain what appears to be chance phenomena. Most theorists, however, attempt to reduce Chance Contingency to unknown and/or very complex physical causation, as summarized by Peale.12 Thus Chance Contingency as a true cause may be only “apparent.” Sproul argues effectively that chance is not a cause of anything. Chance is nothing more than a statistical description of unknown or complex physical causation. Chance, therefore, cannot have any physical effects, since it is not a physical cause. 13,,, 13. Sproul RC. - Not a Chance: the Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books; 1994 https://www.academia.edu/12267097/The_Universal_Determinism_Dichotomy_UDD_
Thus, to say 'it happened by chance', as it is usually used by atheists/Darwinists, is in reality a 'placeholder for ignorance' instead of being an appeal to a known cause. Wolfgang Pauli comments on the shell game that Darwinists play with the word 'chance' here
Pauli’s ideas on mind and matter in the context of contemporary science - Harald Atmanspacher Excerpt: “In discussions with biologists I met large difficulties when they apply the concept of ‘natural selection’ in a rather wide field, without being able to estimate the probability of the occurrence in a empirically given time of just those events, which have been important for the biological evolution. Treating the empirical time scale of the evolution theoretically as infinity they have then an easy game, apparently to avoid the concept of purposesiveness. While they pretend to stay in this way completely ‘scientific’ and ‘rational,’ they become actually very irrational, particularly because they use the word ‘chance’, not any longer combined with estimations of a mathematically defined probability, in its application to very rare single events more or less synonymous with the old word ‘miracle.’” Wolfgang Pauli (pp. 27-28) http://www.igpp.de/english/tda/pdf/paulijcs8.pdf
Thus, when an atheist states that something happened by chance, we have every right to ask, as Talbott points out in the following article, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”
Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness - Talbott - Fall 2011 Excerpt: The situation calls to mind a widely circulated cartoon by Sidney Harris, which shows two scientists in front of a blackboard on which a body of theory has been traced out with the usual tangle of symbols, arrows, equations, and so on. But there’s a gap in the reasoning at one point, filled by the words, “Then a miracle occurs.” And the one scientist is saying to the other, “I think you should be more explicit here in step two.” In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.” This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?” http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/evolution-and-the-illusion-of-randomness
jw777 There are a few additional arguments under the "we don't know" theory and they're basically something like "it was something weird that might exist, or not". That includes multiverse - which is basically Chance, except it has to also be "something weird" that we don't know about that caused the origin of unknown universes, unknown laws and unknown origin of our universe. But adding more complexity and dynamics to the problem only increases design-evidence. Plus the multiverse gives us fluffy pink unicorns that BA explained elsewhere. But the other part is "weird physics caused it". In that case, quantum effects, supposedly, cause things to pop into existence from nothing. This is "we don't know but it definitely happened by something weird that we have never observed". So, there are a lot of places for someone to run and hide to when they don't want to deal with evidence for a designer. But none of these places can be defended with any integrity or conviction. The case for Design covers numerous aspects of what we experience in human life on earth and what we observe scientifically. The other bogus "we don't know, but ..." claims are really variations of "Blind, unintelligent, chance, accidental occurrences Caused everything". So, after all of that, it's back to: Design Chance One of those options has much better evidence in its favor, answers more of the problems and does not lead to absurd conclusions. To then state "we don't know and therefore will not affirm that one choice is more reasonable" is unscientific. So, the "we don't know" theory is an indicator of an internal bias and most likely some kind of fear or something like that. It's not accurate since "we do know" that there is significant evidence supporting design. Those who fail to admit that are saying something about their own lack of willingness to assess the facts. Silver Asiatic
Excellent and keep them coming. We are in a revolution and authors should see a chance here to write on things that matter. Robert Byers
Looks intriguing. I am still wading my way through Being as Communion after months. I find that it is so dense as to be completely unassailable but also barely comprehensible. BA and SA @ 2 and 3: are there any other arguments against the possibility of designer? Every counter-position put forward falls pretty neatly under those headings. jw777
No Darwin follower or Christian for Darwin (if anyone now cares) wants honest accounting.
An excellent example is the TSZ ilk using AVIDA as evidence that natural selection can produce IC. Of course AVIDA doesn't mimic, simulate nor instantiate NS but the TSZ ilk will say otherwise. They have to ignore pee4r-review to take that view. Virgil Cain
Silver Asiatic ah yes. LOL! and let's not forget the other all important sub-hypothesis to the God would not have done it that way hypothesis, i.e. "If I ever could design something as complex as an eyeball I could design it better than God did therefore the eyeball is not designed" hypothesis :) Also known as the "sheer unmitigated audacity" hypothesis :) bornagain77
LOL, BA. A component of your second one is: "I don't like how it was designed, so it wasn't designed". :-) Silver Asiatic
Silver Asiatic, let's not forget the two auxiliary hypothesis to the,,,
“we don’t know” theory
and those are the ABG hypothesis, i.e. "Anything But God" hypothesis, and the "God would not have done it that way because I would not have done it that way" hypothesis. :) Here is Perry Marshall's website, 'Cosmic Fingerprints', with a lot of interesting links to talks his has given and articles he has written. http://cosmicfingerprints.com/read-prove-god-exists/ of particular interest: http://cosmicfingerprints.com/solve/ bornagain77
But I don’t believe for a minute that the deadlock can be broken. No Darwin follower or Christian for Darwin (if anyone now cares) wants honest accounting.
I don't want to be pessimistic but I agree with that. The deadlock will change though. Eventually it will be more difficult to find authentic Darwin followers, but they will still cite him as the genius who taught us the truth about nature. But radically different materialist theories will clutter up the discussion and the design argument will have to deal with them all somehow. The fall-back default position is the "we don't know" theory, as referenced. There are, supposedly, other options besides Design and Non-Design (chance) but nobody knows what they are. Silver Asiatic

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