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J. P. Moreland on when it is right to reject “science”

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In connection with five myths about science:

Most Christians would accept treatment recommendations for cancer if 95% of oncologists embraced that treatment as the best. But 95% of biologists, paleontologists and scientists in related areas accept the general theory of evolution, but most Christians do not. Are Christian views regarding evolution rational and, if so, why? There are at least four criteria for when it is rational to go against the overwhelming percentage of experts in an area of science, e.g. those who accept evolution:

(1) Make sure there is not an alternative interpretation of the Bible that is interpretively reasonable and that resolves the tension.

(2) The presence of a band of highly trained, academically qualified scholars with a good track record for publishing in top journals or with highly regarded book publishers, and who are unified in rejecting the view held by even a vast majority of the relevant experts.

(3) There are good historical, sociological, or theological explanations for why the expert majority holds to the problematic view (for example, evolution) instead of their adherence to the problematic view being largely a rational commitment based on a lot of good arguments and strong evidence.

(4) Given that Christianity is a highly rational worldview with much evidential and argumentative support, any view that cuts against central components of a Christian worldview should be rejected precisely due to that fact.

J. P. Moreland, “Five Myths About Science” at Crossway

Thoughts?

J. P. Moreland is the author of Scientism and Secularism: Learning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideologyand, more recently, Finding Quiet.

See also: Theologian, battling depression, reaffirms the existence of the soul J. P. Moreland reasons his way to the evidence and captures his discoveries in a book.

32 Replies to “J. P. Moreland on when it is right to reject “science”

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    “But 95% of biologists, paleontologists and scientists in related areas accept the general theory of evolution, but most Christians do not.” MOST??
    I gotta believe that if you ask the audience at a random PTA whether or not they “believe in Evolution”, you’ll get better than 75% “Yes, I believe” response. And I would also guess that better than 50% of that same audience are “Christians”. Obviously, before religion fell out of favor in the mid-20th century, essentially EVERYBODY who believed in Evolution was also a Christian. (The non-Christian corners of the world have never HEARD of the theory.] Did Darwin himself ever declare he was an Atheist?
    In fact, even today I assume that only some tiny number of Fundamentalists reject Evolution because it disagrees with some literal reading of the Old Testament. For most Christians, what matters is the New Testament, and God could have simply used Evolution as one of the tools to get from the original void to the Birth in Bethlehem. Up until Intelligent Design showed up, EVERY educated person who had been taught about Evolution in grade school accepted The Theory of Evolution the same way they accepted the statement that the Sun was just another star. (Doing the technical reading and conducting the experiments to confirm the “star” statement is not the kinda thing you do in junior high.)

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    Vmahuna
    ^^^^^^
    What he said.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    It is not only right, but imperative, that, not only Christians, but people who want to practice science that does not devolve into sheer insanity, reject any supposed scientific worldview that presupposes reductive materialism and/or methodological naturalism as being true as a starting presupposition.

    Science itself simply cannot be based on reductive materialism and/or methodological naturalism. The prime example of this is Darwinian evolution itself. Darwinists love to claim that their worldview is the ‘scientific’ worldview and that Intelligent Design is pseudo-science, but the reality of the situation is quite the opposite. In fact, the science of biology itself certainly does not need Darwinism as a starting presupposition.

    As Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, stated, “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    Or as A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, stated, “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    Darwinian Evolution simply has nothing to do with the science of biology. Materialists like to claim evolution is indispensable to experimental biology and led the way to many breakthroughs, yet in an article entitled “Evolutionary theory contributes little to experimental biology”, this expert author begs to differ.

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.
    I also examined the outstanding biodiscoveries of the past century: the discovery of the double helix; the characterization of the ribosome; the mapping of genomes; research on medications and drug reactions; improvements in food production and sanitation; the development of new surgeries; and others. I even queried biologists working in areas where one would expect the Darwinian paradigm to have most benefited research, such as the emergence of resistance to antibiotics and pesticides. Here, as elsewhere, I found that Darwin’s theory had provided no discernible guidance, but was brought in, after the breakthroughs, as an interesting narrative gloss.
    In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.,,,
    Darwinian evolution – whatever its other virtues – does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. – Why Do We Invoke Darwin? – 2005

    Again, the science of Biology itself owes nothing to Darwinian presuppositions. Darwinian evolution is simply a metaphysical belief, i.e. atheistic materialism, that is, as the late Dr. Skell alluded to in the preceding article, added onto, even forced onto, biological discoveries as a ‘narrative gloss’ after the discovery was made.

    At the 7:00 minute mark of this following video, Dr. Behe gives an example of how positive evidence is falsely attributed to evolution by using the word ‘evolution’ as a narrative gloss in peer-reviewed literature:

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdh-YcNYThY

    Jonathan Wells weigh in here:

    Darwinian ‘science’ in a nutshell:
    Jonathan Wells on pop science boilerplate – April 20, 2015
    Excerpt: Based on my reading of thousands of Peer-Reviewed Articles in the professional literature, I’ve distilled (the) template for writing scientific articles that deal with evolution:
    1. (Presuppose that) Darwinian evolution is a fact.
    2. We used [technique(s)] to study [feature(s)] in [name of species], and we unexpectedly found [results inconsistent with Darwinian evolution].
    3. We propose [clever speculations], which might explain why the results appear to conflict with evolutionary theory.
    4. We conclude that Darwinian evolution is a fact.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ilerplate/

    Ann Gauger weighs in here:

    Rewriting Biology Without Spin By Ann Gauger – Jan. 12, 2014
    Excerpt: It’s a funny thing—scientific papers often have evolutionary language layered on top of the data like icing on a cake. In most papers, the icing (evolutionary language) sits atop and separate from the cake (the actual experimental data). Even in papers where the evolutionary language is mixed in with the data like chocolate and vanilla in a marble cake, I can still tell one from the other.
    I have noticed that this dichotomy creates a kind of double vision. I know what the data underlying evolutionary arguments are. By setting aside the premise that evolution is true, I can read what’s on the page and at the same time see how that paper would read if neutral, fact-based language were substituted for evolutionary language.
    Let me give you an example.,,,
    http://www.biologicinstitute.o.....thout-spin

    In fact, not only does Darwinian evolution have nothing to do with the science of Biology, advances in quantum biology have now shown that Darwinian evolution, with its reductive materialistic framework, is not even on the correct theoretical, i.e. metaphysical, foundation in order to properly understand biology in the first place:

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

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video (27:15 minute mark, how quantum information theory relates to molecular biology)
    https://youtu.be/4f0hL3Nrdas?t=1634

    By any reasonable measure one may wish to invoke to determine whether something is scientific or not, Darwinism simply fails to qualify as a science.

    “There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.”
    – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17
    Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7f_fyoPybw

    The main reason that Darwinian evolution fails to qualify as a science is that, although falsification is considered the gold standard to judge whether a theory is scientific or not, Darwinists themselves simply refuse to accept any reasonable falsification criteria for their theory:

    As Karl Popper stated, “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

    “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”
    Karl Popper – The Two Fundamental Problems of the Theory of Knowledge (2014 edition), Routledge

    Here are a few falsifications of Darwinian evolution that Darwinists simply refuse to ever accept as falsifications of their theory:

    Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are found to be ‘directed’.

    Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute.

    Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke.

    Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see 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.

    Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is 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. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

    Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species.

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

    Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place!

    Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!.

    The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the “Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy.

    Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    Darwinist’s, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.

    On top of all that, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on intelligent design and is certainly not based on methodological naturalism as is presupposed by Darwinists.
    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science, (i.e. that the universe is rational and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can dare understand that rationality), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results, from top to bottom science itself is certainly not ‘natural’.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever just found laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analysed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.

    In fact, (as I have pointed out several times now), assuming Naturalism instead of Theism as the worldview on which all of science is based leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science itself.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft).
    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    – Darwin’s Theory vs Falsification – video – 39:45 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/8rzw0JkuKuQ?t=2387

    Thus, although the Darwinist may firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Moreover, since science itself was born out of the Christian worldview itself, by men who were, by and large, devoutly Christian in their beliefs, then Christians certainly have nothing to fear from all the bluff and bluster coming from Darwinists, (i.e. from their false claim that only their worldview is the supposed ‘scientific’ worldview, and that Christianity is a anti-scientific myth). The reality of the situation turns out to be quite the opposite from what Darwinists constantly try to portray to the general public. The reality of the situation is that, as shocking a it may be for some people to hear, Christianity is the scientific worldview and Darwinian evolution is the anti-scientific myth!

    The Importance of the Warfare Thesis – Cornelius Hunter, PhD in Biophysics – July 26, 2015
    Excerpt: Historians have understood for the better part of a century now that this Warfare Thesis (between science and religion) is a false history. It was constructed by evolutionists to frame the origins debate in their favor. In fact the conflict is the exactly the opposite—it is between the metaphysical foundation of evolutionary thought and science. That metaphysical foundation of naturalism is unyielding and unbending, and it makes no sense on the science. It is the evolutionists who have a conflict between their religious beliefs and science. The Warfare Thesis is an attempt to turn the tables and turn the attention away from the obvious problems with evolutionary thought.
    Evolutionists say that their skeptics suffer from bad religion and bad science. In fact, the metaphysical foundation of naturalism is not biblical (in spite of the fact that it comes from Christians), and evolutionary theory is not scientific. Science does not indicate that the world spontaneously arose.,,,
    Clear scientific evidence for evolution? Abundant genetic and fossil evidence for evolution? Yes, the scientific evidence is clear, and the genetic and fossil evidence is abundant, but it does not support evolution. Not even remotely.
    Of course Scripture can have different interpretations. But the science leaves no such wiggle room. It does not prove, indicate or suggest that the species arose spontaneously, as a consequence of natural laws and processes. That is a metaphysical mandate that is in conflict with the science.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....logos.html

    Christians – Not the Enlightenment – Invented Modern Science – Chuck Colson – Oct. 2016
    Excerpt: Rodney Stark’s,,, book, “For the Glory of God,,,,
    In Stark’s words, “Christian theology was necessary for the rise of science.” Science only happened in areas whose worldview was shaped by Christianity, that is, Europe. Many civilizations had alchemy; only Europe developed chemistry. Likewise, astrology was practiced everywhere, but only in Europe did it become astronomy.
    That’s because Christianity depicted God as a “rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being” who created a universe with a “rational, lawful, stable” structure. These beliefs uniquely led to “faith in the possibility of science.”
    So why the Columbus myth? Because, as Stark writes, “the claim of an inevitable and bitter warfare between religion and science has, for more than three centuries, been the primary polemical device used in the atheist attack of faith.” Opponents of Christianity have used bogus accounts like the ones I’ve mentioned to not only discredit Christianity, but also position themselves as “liberators” of the human mind and spirit.
    Well, it’s up to us to set the record straight, and Stark’s book is a great place to start. And I think it’s time to tell our neighbors that what everyone thinks they know about Christianity and science is just plain wrong.
    – per cns news

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast what is good.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    Yap, I’m in agreement with Vmahuna and AaronS1978. Claiming that most Christians reject evolution is a very strange statement. as far as I’m aware, most major Christian denominations don’t have a problem with evolution.

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Yes, most people will believe in “evolution” when it is explained as “cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms over time”.

    Do most Christians believe that human beings evolved from bacteria to non-human animals (chimps) through an entirely materialistic process?

    Even when I was a believer in evolution, I could never accept that humans evolved from irrational animals. And the bacteria-to -human story always seemed absurd. I think a lot of normal people actually feel the same way about it.

  6. 6
    hazel says:

    Of course Christians don’t think “human beings evolved from bacteria to non-human animals (chimps) through an entirely materialistic process” because they believe in God’s presence in everything that happens. I don’t see how that precludes a Christian from believing that life has evolved over the last four billion years under God’s “invisible hand”, as a Christian might describe it.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    For Darwin Day, 6 facts about the evolution debate – Feb. 2019
    Excerpt: Roughly eight-in-ten U.S. adults (81%) say humans have evolved over time, according to data from a new Pew Research Center study. This includes one-third of all Americans (33%) who say that humans evolved due to processes like natural selection with no involvement by God or a higher power, along with 48% who believe human evolution occurred through processes guided or allowed by God or a higher power. The same survey found that 18% of Americans reject evolution entirely, saying humans have always existed in their present form. (See the full report for a deeper look at the ways question wording and format can affect survey results on evolution.)
    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/11/darwin-day/

    So who is correct? Well if scientific evidence itself is to be given any place as a guide in a scientific debate about the origin of humanity, then the 18% of Americans who reject evolution entirely, are, in all likelihood, the ones who are correct as far as the scientific evidence itself is concerned:

    First off, although the fossil record from the Cambrian explosion onward reveals a very un-Darwinian pattern of sudden appearance of a ‘kind’ and then overall stasis,,,

    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 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

    “The facts of greatest general importance are the following. When a new phylum, class, or order appears, there follows a quick, explosive (in terms of geological time) diversification so that practically all orders or families known appear suddenly and without any apparent transitions. Afterwards, a slow evolution follows; this frequently has the appearance of a gradual change, step by step, though down to the generic level abrupt major steps without transitions occur. At the end of such a series, a kind of evolutionary running-wild frequently is observed. Giant forms appear, and odd or pathological types of different kinds precede the extinction of such a line.”
    Richard B. Goldschmidt, “Evolution, as Viewed by One Geneticist,” American Scientist 40 (January 1952), 97.

    Although the fossil record from the Cambrian explosion onward reveals a very un-Darwinian pattern of sudden appearance of a ‘kind’ and then overall stasis, no where is the fossil record more distorted from what it actually is, (i.e. suddenness and overall stasis), than it is in when Darwinists try to link man with chimps/apes:

    Contested Bones: Is There Any Solid Fossil Evidence for Ape-to-Man Evolution? – Dr. John Sanford and Chris Rupe
    Excerpt: We have spent four years carefully examining the scientific literature on this subject. We have discovered that within this field (paleoanthropology), virtually all the famous hominin types have either been discredited or are still being hotly contested. Within this field, not one of the hominin types have been definitively established as being in the lineage from ape to man. This includes the famous fossils that have been nicknamed Lucy, Ardi, Sediba, Habilis, Naledi, Hobbit, Erectus, and Neaderthal. Well-respected people in the field openly admit that their field is in a state of disarray. It is very clear that the general public has been deceived regarding the credibility and significance of the reputed hominin fossils.
    We will show that the actual fossil evidence is actually most consistent with the following three points. 1) The hominin bones reveal only two basic types; ape bones (Ardi and Lucy), and human bones (Naledi, Hobbit, Erectus, and Neaderthal). 2) The ape bones and the human bones have been repeatedly found together in the same strata – therefore both lived at the same basic timeframe (the humans were apparently hunting and eating the apes). 3) Because the hominin bones were often found in mixed bone beds (with bones of many animal species in the same site), numerous hominin types represent chimeras (mixtures) of ape and human bones (i.e., Sediba, Habilis).
    We will also present evidence that the anomalous hominin bones that are of the human (Homo) type most likely represent isolated human populations that experienced severe inbreeding and subsequent genetic degeneration. This best explains why these Homo bones display aberrant morphologies, reduced body size, and reduced brain volume.
    We conclude that the hominin bones do not reveal a continuous upward progression from ape to man, but rather reveal a clear separation between the human type and the ape type. The best evidence for any type of intermediate “ape-men” derived from bones collected from mixed bone beds (containing bones of both apes and men), which led to the assembly of chimeric skeletons. Therefore, the hominin fossils do not prove human evolution at all.,,,
    We suggest that the field of paleoanthropology has been seriously distorted by a very strong ideological agenda and by very ambitious personalities.
    https://ses.edu/contested-bones-is-there-any-solid-fossil-evidence-for-ape-to-man-evolution/

    Here is a video playlist of Dr. Giem’s series reviewing John Sanford’s book “Contested Bones”. (The last videos listed in the series also deal with the misleading genetic evidence).

    “Contested Bones” review by Paul Giem – video playlist
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6ZOKj-YaHA&list=PLHDSWJBW3DNU_twNBjopIqyFOwo_bTkXm

    Moreover, the death of Adam and Eve from the supposedly incontrovertible genetic evidence is, much like Mark Twain’s death, greatly exaggerated.

    There are several problems with the genetic evidence. First off the strength of the 99% figure is far weaker than is commonly believed: As Richard Sternberg noted, “One can seriously call into question the statement that human and chimp genomes are 99% identical.,, the figure of identity that one wants to use is dependent on various methodological factors.”

    Guy Walks Into a Bar and Thinks He’s a Chimpanzee: The Unbearable Lightness of Chimp-Human Genome Similarity – Sternberg – 2009
    Excerpt: One can seriously call into question the statement that human and chimp genomes are 99% identical. For one thing, it has been noted in the literature that the exact degree of identity between the two genomes is as yet unknown (Cohen, J., 2007. Relative differences: The myth of 1% Science 316: 1836.). ,,, In short, the figure of identity that one wants to use is dependent on various methodological factors.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....think.html

    Moreover, the way in which the 99% figure for genetic similarity was originally derived, to put it mildly, has much to be desired. In fact, the original DNA similarity comparisons, according to a Darwinist, “needs to be treated like nuclear waste: bury it safely and forget about it for a million years”,,,

    The Rise and Fall of DNA Hybridization – Jonathan Marks – 2011
    Excerpt: the technique of DNA hybridization had devolved into being doubly “tricky” – but more significantly, the outstanding charge of data falsification was there in black-and-white in the leading science journal in America. It seemed as though nothing more needed to be said for the “wheels of justice” to begin turning. Yet they didn’t.
    In 1993, I was asked by The Journal of Human Evolution to review Jared Diamond’s book, The Third Chimpanzee. Noting that the book’s “hook” was based on the Sibley-Ahlquist work, which Diamond was still touting uncritically, I said:
    Perhaps you recall Sibley and Ahlquist. In a nutshell, their results were: (1) chimp-gorilla DNA hybrids were more thermally stable than chimp-human hybrids; (2) the differences were insignificant; and (3) reciprocity was very poor when human DNA was used as a tracer. Unfortunately, the conclusions they reported were: (1) chimp-human was more thermally stable than chimp-gorilla; (2) differences were significant; and (3) reciprocity was near-perfect. And they got from point A to point B by (1) switching experimental controls; (2) making inconsistent adjustments for variation in DNA length, which was apparently not even measured; (3) moving correlated points into a regression line; and (4) not letting anyone know. The rationale for (4) should be obvious; and if (1), (2) and (3) are science, I’m the Princess of Wales. This work needs to be treated like nuclear waste: bury it safely and forget about it for a million years.31
    31Marks, J. (1993) Review of The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond. Journal of Human Evolution,
    24:69-73.
    http://webpages.uncc.edu/~jmar.....isited.pdf

    More recent research has brought the fallacious 99% figure down substantially. As the following article states, “Ann Gauger, estimates that humans and chimps share around 92% of our DNA. To put that in perspective, scientists tell us that we’re 90% identical to cats.”

    Are We 99% Chimps?
    NOT SO FAST, BONZO By: John Stonestreet|Published: January 24, 2017
    Excerpt: Writing at Evolution News and Views, David Klinghoffer points out that the “99%” myth is based on hopelessly outdated research. But it got a shot in the arm after researchers at the Genome Consortium announced in 2005 they’d sequenced chimp DNA and compared it with our own.
    Newspapers the world over trumpeted the similarity between the two genomes as further proof of our close ancestry. What they neglected to mention was that the project only compared protein-coding segments of the genome, which in humans, account for just 2% of the total! The rest is what Francis Collins once termed “junk DNA.” Except, as scientists have since discovered and Collins has admitted, this “junk” serves regulatory roles that determine how other genes are expressed, particularly in the brain. In other words, “junk DNA,” which makes up the vast majority of our genome, is a vital part of what makes humans, human and chimps, chimps.
    Second, it turns out that the “99%” figure resulted from using a complete human genome as the template to sequence that of chimpanzees. That would be like assembling a jigsaw puzzle based on how another puzzle fit together!
    The comparison also selected for areas of greater similarity and discarded those that didn’t match. To put it very simply, the two genomes looked similar because researchers expected them to look similar.
    Based on what we now know, biologist and Senior Fellow at the Center for Science and Culture, Ann Gauger, estimates that humans and chimps share around 92% of our DNA. To put that in perspective, scientists tell us that we’re 90% identical to cats.
    Fake Science: “About 99% of Our DNA Is Identical to That of Chimpanzees”
    David Klinghoffer | evolutionnews.org | January 2, 2017
    How Chimps and Humans are Different, Pt. 1: The Genome
    Discovery Institute | November 18, 2016
    How Chimps and Humans are Different, Pt. 2: Human-specific Genes
    Discovery Institute | November 22, 2016
    http://www.breakpoint.org/bpco.....y/13/30394

    And even more recent research by Jeffrey Tomkins and Richard Buggs has brought that figure down to 85%:

    New Chimp Genome Confirms Creationist Research
    BY JEFFREY P. TOMKINS, PH.D. * | FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
    Excerpt: The first time they constructed a chimp genome and compared it to humans, they claimed 98.5% DNA similarity based on cherry-picked regions that were highly similar to human. However, an extensive DNA comparison study I published in 2016 revealed two major flaws in their construction of the chimp genome.1
    First, many chimp DNA data sets were likely contaminated with human DNA, especially those produced in the first half of the chimpanzee genome project from 2002 to 2005. Second, the chimpanzee genome was deliberately constructed to be more human-like than it really is.2 Scientists assembled the small snippets of chimp DNA onto the human genome, using it as a scaffold or reference. It’s much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle by looking at the picture on the box as a guide. Since many chimpanzee data sets likely suffered from human DNA contamination, the level of humanness was amplified. I studied the 2005–2010 data sets that showed less human DNA data contamination and found they were only 85% similar to human at best.1
    Just this year, scientists published a new version of the chimpanzee genome.3 This new version incorporated an advanced type of DNA sequencing technology that produces much longer snippets of DNA sequence than earlier technologies. It also involved better protocols that greatly reduce human DNA contamination. And most importantly, the authors report that the DNA sequences have been assembled without using the human genome as a scaffold.
    They also acknowledged the flawed nature of previous versions of the chimp genome:
    The higher-quality human genome assemblies have often been used to guide the final stages of nonhuman genome projects, including the order and orientation of sequence contigs and, perhaps more importantly, the annotation of genes. This bias has effectively “humanized” other ape genome assemblies.3
    This confirms what many creationists have been pointing out for years.
    Curiously, the authors of the new chimp genome paper said very little about the overall DNA similarity between humans and chimpanzees. However, the University of London’s specialist in evolutionary genomics, Dr. Richard Buggs, evaluated the results of an analysis that compared this new chimp version to the human genome and discovered some shocking anti-evolutionary findings.
    Dr. Buggs reported on his website that “the percentage of nucleotides in the human genome that had one-to-one exact matches in the chimpanzee genome was 84.38%” and “4.06% had no alignment to the chimp assembly.”?4 Assuming the chimpanzee and human genomes are about the same size, this translates to an overall similarity of only about 80%! This outcome is way outside the nearly identical level of 98 to 99% similarity required for human evolution to seem plausible.
    http://www.icr.org/article/new.....t-research

    Geneticist: On (Supposed 99%) Human-Chimp Genome Similarity, There Are “Predictions” Not “Established Fact” – July 31, 2018
    Excerpt: To come up with the most accurate current assessment that I could of the similarity of the human and chimpanzee genome, I downloaded from the UCSC genomics website the latest alignments (made using the LASTZ software) between the human and chimpanzee genome assemblies, hg38 and pantro6.,,,
    The percentage of nucleotides in the human genome that had one-to-one exact matches in the chimpanzee genome was 84.38%
    In order to assess how improvements in genome assemblies can change these figures, I did the same analyses on the alignment of the older PanTro4 assembly against Hg38 (see discussion post #40).,,,
    The percentage of nucleotides in the human genome that had one-to-one exact matches in the chimpanzee genome was 82.34%.
    – Richard Buggs
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/07/geneticist-on-human-chimp-genome-similarity-there-are-predictions-not-established-fact/

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Even if DNA were as similar as Darwinists have falsely portrayed it to be, the basic ‘form’ that any organism may take is simply not reducible to mutations in DNA, (nor is the basic ‘form’ reducible to any other material particulars in molecular biology, (proteins, RNAs, etc.. etc.. ,,), that Darwinists may wish to invoke). That is to say, ‘you can mutate DNA til the cows come home’, (Stephen Meyer), and you will still not achieve a fundamental change in the basic form of any organism. And since the basic ‘form’ of an organism is forever beyond the explanatory power of Darwinian mechanisms, then any belief that Darwinism explains the ‘transformation of forms’ for all of life on earth is purely a pipe dream that has no experimental basis in reality.

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    To further drive this point home of biological form not being reducible to mutations in DNA, Dolphins and Kangaroos, although being very different morphologically from humans, are found to have very similar DNA sequences to humans. In regards to dolphin DNA, Richard Sternberg states, “Basically the dolphin genome is almost wholly identical to the human genome,, yet no one would argue that bottle-nose dolphins are our sister species”

    Richard Sternberg PhD – podcast – On Human Origins: Is Our Genome Full of Junk DNA? Part 2. (Major Differences in higher level chromosome spatial organization)
    5:30 minute mark quote: “Basically the dolphin genome is almost wholly identical to the human genome,, yet no one would argue that bottle-nose dolphins are our sister species”,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-gene-that-sets-primates-apes-and-humans-apart-from-other-mammals/#comment-669528

    Where tremendous differences are found between chimps and humans (and all other distinct kinds of species) are in alternative splicing patterns. As the following article states, “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,”

    Evolution by Splicing – Comparing gene transcripts from different species reveals surprising splicing diversity. – Ruth Williams – December 20, 2012
    Excerpt: A major question in vertebrate evolutionary biology is “how do physical and behavioral differences arise if we have a very similar set of genes to that of the mouse, chicken, or frog?”,,,
    A commonly discussed mechanism was variable levels of gene expression, but both Blencowe and Chris Burge,,, found that gene expression is relatively conserved among species.
    On the other hand, the papers show that most alternative splicing events differ widely between even closely related species. “The alternative splicing patterns are very different even between humans and chimpanzees,” said Blencowe.,,,
    http://www.the-scientist.com/?.....plicing%2F

    In fact ., due to alternative slicing, “Alternatively spliced isoforms,,, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,,” and “As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms,,”

    Frequent Alternative Splicing of Human Genes – 1999
    Excerpt: Alternative splicing can produce variant proteins and expression patterns as different as the products of different genes.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....PMC310997/

    Widespread Expansion of Protein Interaction Capabilities by Alternative Splicing – 2016
    In Brief
    Alternatively spliced isoforms of proteins exhibit strikingly different interaction profiles and thus, in the context of global interactome networks, appear to behave as if encoded by distinct genes rather than as minor variants of each other.,,,
    Page 806 excerpt: As many as 100,000 distinct isoform transcripts could be produced from the 20,000 human protein-coding genes (Pan et al., 2008), collectively leading to perhaps over a million distinct polypeptides obtained by post-translational modification of products of all possible transcript isoforms (Smith and Kelleher, 2013).
    http://iakouchevalab.ucsd.edu/.....M_2016.pdf

    And although the purported evidence for human evolution is far weaker and illusory than most people realize, it is very interesting to note where leading Darwinists themselves admit that they have no clue how evolution could have produced the particular trait of language in humans.

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/comparing-human-and-chimp-dna-using-a-software-analogy/#comment-654635

    Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by this confession by leading Darwinists that he wrote a book entitled ‘Kingdom of Speech’ on the subject. The following quote provides an overview of Tom Wolfe’s main argument in his book:

    “Speech is not one of man’s several unique attributes—speech is the attribute of all attributes! Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.”
    —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech

    In other words, although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, and sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and, more specifically, infuse information into material substrates,,

    What is more interesting still, besides the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information and have become ‘masters of the planet’ through the ‘top-down’ infusion of information into material substrates, is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis. (In fact, the failure of Darwinian processes to be able to generate information is the number one source of contention between Darwinists and ID advocates)

    As Vlatko Vedral, who is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, states, “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing scientific proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’ ,,, than finding both the universe, and life itself, are both ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and, moreover, have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our unique ability infuse information into material substrates.,,,

    Verses:

    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Perhaps a more convincing evidence that we are made in the image of God and that our lives have meaning and purpose could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was indeed God. That just so happens to be precisely the claim of Christianity:

    June 2019 – allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/a-science-writer-considers-the-cost-of-science-functioning-as-an-inquisition/#comment-679139

    (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,,
    Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to 3-D Hologram – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    Claiming that most Christians reject evolution is a very strange statement. as far as I’m aware, most major Christian denominations don’t have a problem with evolution.

    That all depends on what definition of “evolution” you are using.

  10. 10
    hazel says:

    I addressed that question a bit in 6.

  11. 11
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hazel

    Of course Christians don’t think “human beings evolved from bacteria to non-human animals (chimps) through an entirely materialistic process” because they believe in God’s presence in everything that happens. I don’t see how that precludes a Christian from believing that life has evolved over the last four billion years under God’s “invisible hand”, as a Christian might describe it.

    Yes, that is a very common view, it is the theistic evolutionary view. There are three (at least) problems that Christians have to reconcile with that view.

    1st, if God is involved in evolution, then there can be no valid argument against Intelligent Design theory.
    2nd, following this, why should God conceal all His actions beneath a “silent hand” and have, as a result, a process that makes it appear as if God does not exist?

    3rd – Christians would still need to reconcile the Darwinian-gradualist view of the origin of human beings. Supposedly, the rational-intellect, consciousness and moral conscience of human beings evolved from random, physical mutations. This greatly conflicts with Christian doctrine (aside from all the problems it has scientifically). Morals would be oriented towards survival and reproductive success and not towards the goal of heaven in the afterlife.

    So, yes, probably most Christians would want some kind of mixture of Christianity and Darwinism and they think such a thing is possible. But they’re either not really believing in evolution or not believing in Christianity – or both.

  12. 12
    hazel says:

    Thanks for the reply, SA

    You write, “1st, if God is involved in evolution, then there can be no valid argument against Intelligent Design theory.”

    That of course depends on the details of Intelligent Design theory, and it appears to me (with my limited reading), that there is no clear specifics about what that entails. I assume all Christians believe in Intelligent Design of some sort, at least of the “invisible hand” type.

    You write, “2nd, following this, why should God conceal all His actions beneath a “silent hand” and have, as a result, a process that makes it appear as if God does not exist?”

    I don’t understand this objection. Christians believe, I think, that God created the universe that makes it possible for atoms to exist, but they don’t expect to see signs of God’s active hand in chemical reactions, for instance. If it is apparent to the Christian that God has created something (the universe, chemicals, life, human beings), that how could the process of those things happening make it appear he doesn’t exist?

    You write, “3rd – Christians would still need to reconcile the Darwinian-gradualist view of the origin of human beings. Supposedly, the rational-intellect, consciousness and moral conscience of human beings evolved from random, physical mutations. This greatly conflicts with Christian doctrine (aside from all the problems it has scientifically). Morals would be oriented towards survival and reproductive success and not towards the goal of heaven in the afterlife.”

    I’ve already pointed out that of course the Christain doesn’t believe in a materialistic viewpoint, but I don’t know what a Christian view would preclude a gradualist view of change; or the existence of rationality, consciousness, and morality in human beings; nor the existence of events that look “random” to us but are in fact guided by God.

    To repeat, of course the Christian rejects a materialistic metaphysic, but I don’t see how that precludes a belief in “God guided” evolution, which is a phrase I think is commonly used.

    You write, “So, yes, probably most Christians would want some kind of mixture of Christianity and Darwinism and they think such a thing is possible. But they’re either not really believing in evolution or not believing in Christianity – or both.”

    To repeat, they are just not believing in a materialistic viewpoint about evolution, but I don’t see that accepting the gradual development of life over the last four billion years is a necessary conflict with Christianity.

  13. 13
    Latemarch says:

    So, yes, probably most Christians would want some kind of mixture of Christianity and Darwinism and they think such a thing is possible. But they’re either not really believing in evolution or not believing in Christianity – or both.

    Syncretism always comes to a bad end.

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hazel
    I think we have to sort some things out because there appears to be a conflict in our mutual understandings.

    That of course depends on the details of Intelligent Design theory, and it appears to me (with my limited reading), that there is no clear specifics about what that entails. I assume all Christians believe in Intelligent Design of some sort, at least of the “invisible hand” type.

    I’ll start here. You’re saying that there are no clear specifics, but that all Christians believe in Intelligent Design of some sort. You’re indicating that you understand the specifics well-enough to assign the belief to all Christians. Intelligent Design is the theory that some aspects of nature show evidence of having been designed by intelligence. So, if you think (I believe, correctly) that all Christians accept that view to some extent, it means that Christians believe that there is some observable evidence in nature for the Intelligent Design of God. To me, that seems pretty obvious. I don’t know how anyone could be a Christian and deny it. But, believe it or not, I have met Christians who are totally opposed to Intelligent Design and claim that there is no, zero, evidence of Design in nature. In my view, they twist themselves in knots to defend that, and actually distort Christian teaching, but anyway … let’s start with the notion that all Christians believe that evidence of Intelligent Design is found in nature. By evidence, I mean scientifically observable evidence. If it is scientifically observable (that is what ID looks at), then science should know about it, right? Science should agree “yes, this is evidence that there is or was Intelligent Design in nature”. But I don’t think science quite agrees with that. Evolutionary biology does not present evidence and state “this is evidence of Intelligent Design in nature”. However, we said that all Christians believe that there is evidence of Intelligent Design. Can we see the conflict here?

    I don’t understand this objection. Christians believe, I think, that God created the universe that makes it possible for atoms to exist, but they don’t expect to see signs of God’s active hand in chemical reactions, for instance.

    Well, as we agreed above, all Christians believe in some sort of Intelligent Design idea – that there is evidence of Intelligence in nature. So, all Christians observe this, somewhere. Whether in chemicals, life itself, or the meaning of human life.

    If it is apparent to the Christian that God has created something (the universe, chemicals, life, human beings), that how could the process of those things happening make it appear he doesn’t exist?

    Here is the conflict. If it is “apparent” that God created something, how is it apparent? By what we observe? Well, if nothing that we observe shows evidence of having been designed by intelligence, then there is no reason to believe that God is an invisible hand. God would just be a meaningless proposition. God would simply be invisible, not even a hand. To say that God created every atom and put it into the exact position that it exists in today and for all of the history of the universe is to say that it is impossible to observe the act of Intelligence. A random occurrence of cloud formations is no more significant than Michaelangelo’s sculpture. It is just God moving molecules into various places. But instead, we observe things, like the fine tuning of parameters for life on earth, that contrasts with what we see of random effects of an explosion for example. One shows precise order, the other chaos. So, we discern the presence of design in one.

    To repeat, they are just not believing in a materialistic viewpoint about evolution: I don’t see how this is a necessary conflict with Christianity.

    It is not a conflict with Christianity, it is a conflict with evolution. In fact, scientists will say that it is not evolution. For example, where can I find a “non-materialistic evolutionary” idea? In biology textbooks?

    A Christian could say “Yes, I believe in evolution. God evolves things by taking dirt from the ground and then creating various plants and animals out of the dirt. So, everything evolved that way. God shaped Adam and Eve and all the birds and plants and mammals, all evolved from dirt and shaped by God’s own hands.”

    So, there’s a Christian evolutionary view. It is perfectly compatible with Christianity. But did evolutionary theory have to change in order to make it compatible? Yes, obviously – it’s just Creationism presented in a style of evolution. So, why not? Why can’t we have that in biology textbooks?

  15. 15
    hazel says:

    You write in the middle of your first main paragraph, “By evidence, I mean scientifically observable evidence.”

    I didn’t mention “scientific evidence”. I believe Christians derive many of their beliefs from other than scientific evidence, including their internal spiritual sense of their relationship with God. I certainly know people who have exclaimed at the beauty of a sunrise on a lovely spring morning and exclaimed that it all spoke to the wonderful existence of God and his design for the world. I think they would perhaps scoff at the idea that somehow “scientific evidence” was a consequential or compelling part of their belief in God’s design at that moment.

    This is why I mentioned that there are no clear specifics, as far as I can see, as to what ID means. I see here at UD lots of arguments about complex mathematics that mean to provide scientific evidence that intelligence (to the Christian: God) is involved, but I don’t pay attention to those (partially from lack of background knowledge). However, as I’ve said, I know Christians who use Intelligent Design to describe their overall belief in the pervading presence of God, and who would be as uninterested in the mathematical arguments as I am.

    If you restrict the idea to a Christian that ID is a belief that scientific evidence for God’s presence can be found, then I think many Christians would say that is not what they mean by God’s design, and say they don’t accept ID. But this is a disagreement among Christians about what ID means, and one that Christians would have to discuss among themselves.

    You write, “ If it is “apparent” that God created something, how is it apparent? By what we observe? Well, if nothing that we observe shows evidence of having been designed by intelligence, then there is no reason to believe that God is an invisible hand.”

    As I said above, I believe that many (most?) Christians believe that they have a spiritual access to truth beyond the mere experience of the senses. See again my first main paragraph above. If you are limiting the belief in God to one that is only justified if one can see at least some distinct, observable, scientific evidence that he exists, it seems you might be falling prey to the very materialism that you don’t believe in: that only material evidence counts.

  16. 16
    AaronS1978 says:

    I just wanted to add my two cents here about whether or not Christians can believe in God and in evolution. Chapter 1 Genesis verse 20 through 24 Speaks of God commanding the earth and the waters to bring forth all the life that exists. For example genesis 24 it states “then God said let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature”

    This is not the only time this is stated and it is taught especially among Catholics that it is gods word that commands the world to bring forth all the living things. God himself does not sit down and construct these creatures from scratch in a grease monkeys overalls with a wrench. It is simply a command that he gives the world that he has created to bring forth these living creatures. The power of God’s word

    It does not give any detail of how the earth accomplishes this or how the waters accomplish this (It does say that God is responsible for creating all the creature in the sea but again by his word)

    It is just that God gave the word and the earth brought it forth as it did with all the plants and all the creatures of the sea.

    This leaves plenty of room to believe that evolution took place.

    Then in Genesis chapter 1, 26 it is stated “ Then God said let us make human beings in our image after our likeness let them have dominion over the fish of the sea the birds of the air the tame animals all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the earth”

    27 “God created mankind in his image in the image of God he created them male and female he created them”

    This is where God specifically creates humans but again it is not specific how, Just that God creates humans in his image

    This is the very thing that almost every anti-theist attempts to attack this is what motivates most animal cognitive science this is the thing that causes 100% of the contention between the idea of evolution and Christian belief

    It is the attempt to knock this down “in the image of God”

    It is not until Genesis chapter 2 number 7 that God is described taking the dust of the earth, molding us like clay and breathing the breath of life in us.

    Again the only thing that this really truly implies is that we are of the earth and God had a specific hand in our creation. It can be taken that the breath of life is the soul of humankind and even though evolution produced our bodies, our mind and soul were created by God himself. God uses the earth to create our bodies and our bodies come from the earth hence ashes to ashes dust to dust. God also doesn’t just snap his fingers and make us pop into existence he molded us like clay instead (molded Natural selection has been described as sculpting a living organism).

    So the idea that Christians can’t believe in evolution and can’t believe in God is not exactly true, there’s plenty of room for both, how God does things is how God wants to do things and we truly cannot question it. The real issue comes in when scientists specifically anti-theist attacked the idea of the image of God and this is were all of the fighting starts and this is were almost every single one of the anti-theist try to knock down

    We’re only different from animals and degree

    There’s no immaterial soul everything can be described materialistically ( God use material to create our body)

    Humans have no special abilities over animals abstract thought as an illusion or animals can do it too kind of maybe

    The mind is an illusion ( go fig the thing that is attributed to the soul)

    Morality is just an evolved survival tactic ( God gave us the capacity to know the difference between good and evil) Again another attack on in image of God

    Why are certain scientist calling for humanzee, This is both in human does not prove that we aren’t exceptional and created in God’s image, But the idea is to show that our abstract capacities are material in nature, that we don’t have a soul, and we are directly connected by evolution to the animal kingdom.
    The only thing this proves is that we are monsters if we do it, and that we are only going to create a defective human or a defective chimpanzee. There is no reason for this, And the people that suggested think it’s going to humble us. I have never heard such a stupid statement in my life

    If you all see the pattern you can probably understand why Christians have a lot of contention between certain contemporaries of science

    It is amazing that people like Francis Collins can do his work in neuroscience, biology, and genetics and Christians don’t just come out and start attacking him for doing science. He’s a Christian and he doesn’t attack the “in the image of God”

    However a large majority of anti-theist scientist specifically target this and even do experiments to just prove it is wrong, which is highly biased even though they state their not being biased. It is so convenient that everything they find somehow supports we are not exceptional.

    And then people wonder why the other group gets so upset.

    Because when you attack the idea that we are created in the image of God you were also attacking the idea that God exists and God had a hand in the creation of all that exists

    In parallel with DNA and the environment which are entirely and totally intertwined, being made in the image of God and the existence of God are completely intertwined attack one and you attack the other

    Many people had no problem with believing in evolution until it was wielded as a weapon against the idea of God and was used to undercut the idea that we were created in the image of God

    This contention was created, evolution can be believed in by Christians very easily with no real problem and many Christians used to and still do believe evolution took place. In fact it can be argued that God had no direct involvement in the creation of all the things that live as it was God’s command of the earth and the sea that brought these things forth

    So can Christians believe in evolution? absolutely. But when evolution is used to try to undercut what we are then you’re going to end up getting a fight, it’s not evolution it’s self that’s the problem, it’s the people that like to interpret it that way and vice a versa.

  17. 17
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hazel

    I didn’t mention “scientific evidence”.

    When we refer to Intelligent Design on this particular blog, we are talking about the theory of Intelligent Design, which is a scientific theory. If you’re talking about various understandings of God that use aspects of design in nature, like beauty or philosophical ideas of purpose and causality, those are not-scientific, yes. There is St. Thomas’ 5th way argument from Design, which is also not scientific. Yes, also Christians can have an intuitive sense. All of this said, we are applying the ideas to “evolution”, which also has a lot of conflicting definitions. A Christian can say that they see a spiritual, intuitive beauty in evolution and therefore there is no conflict with Darwinism. But I have already explained the problems with that idea.
    I also write from a Catholic perspective and the idea that there is no observable evidence of the existence of God to be found in nature, is a proposition that has been condemned as a heresy. So, strictly speaking, a Catholic-Christian cannot deny the observable, non-intuitive evidence of Design. Other Christians can think all sorts of things, including that Christ did not rise from the dead as a living human being, but as a spiritual manifestation. That idea is also condemned by Catholicism, but many Christians believe it.
    So, talking about “what Christians believe” or “what evolution is” or “what Design is” requires all sorts of agreed-upon definitions.

    However, as I’ve said, I know Christians who use Intelligent Design to describe their overall belief in the pervading presence of God, and who would be as uninterested in the mathematical arguments as I am.

    That is fine except we are talking about a reconciliation of evolution and Christianity. Evolution proposes distinct ideas that Christianity must respond to. Christianity cannot merely say that it will accept every and any idea that evolutionary theory comes up with. I already mentioned the idea that morality evolved from mutations and natural selection. That idea gives an origin and therefore purpose to moral norms. This conflicts with Christianity. Evolution proposes that religion itself is a feature of human life that evolved from mutations and selection.

    If you restrict the idea to a Christian that ID is a belief that scientific evidence for God’s presence can be found, then I think many Christians would say that is not what they mean by God’s design, and say they don’t accept ID.

    As above, when we talk about ID here we are talking about a theory that has a definition. It is not equivalent to all arguments about design in nature. ID does involve probability, statistics and math. It is a scientific theory. So, if a person says they accept ID but they do not accept that there is scientific evidence for Design, they are confusing and contradicting the issues. ID has a definition and meaning on this site. You can look it up in the glossary of definitions provided here.

    As I said above, I believe that many (most?) Christians believe that they have a spiritual access to truth beyond the mere experience of the senses. See again my first main paragraph above. If you are limiting the belief in God to one that is only justified if one can see at least some distinct, observable, scientific evidence that he exists, it seems you might be falling prey to the very materialism that you don’t believe in: that only material evidence counts.

    You did not address my point about theistic evolution, but it remains. If a person is going to reconcile Christianity and evolution, they have to talk about evolution. Yes, they can say they believe, spiritually, that God placed fossils on the earth in various locations. They can say that God created mutations to make it look like things evolve, but nothing ever really evolves. But ID is materialistic because it attempts to speak to evolutionists using evolutionary ideas. Clearly, atheists are not going to listen to someone who claims that God creates all organisms out of nothing and that scientific observations are just illusions. ID is trying to speak the language of the people it is trying to convince. ID is not a theological proposition. ID can support Christian theology but it is not a replacement for it.

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AaronS1978

    Because when you attack the idea that we are created in the image of God you were also attacking the idea that God exists and God had a hand in the creation of all that exists

    Right because if we were created for a purpose by a loving God, and we are made in the same image as God, then we have a responsibility in using our life for a purpose. We have respond to the gift of creation by showing gratitude to God, and by living in the way that God directs us. But people do not like that and want to imagine that they are free of all restraints. They use the gift of life and their own qualities (given to them that they did not create themselves) to attack the idea of God, who is the one who gave them life and those gifts in the first place.

  19. 19
    hazel says:

    SA, you write, “SA, you write, “When we refer to Intelligent Design on this particular blog, we are talking about the theory of Intelligent Design, which is a scientific theory.”

    I didn’t know that Intelligent Design was restricted to that meaning. Then I think my points stand that many Christians would not consider themselves supporters of Intelligent Design if they were aware of this distinction.

    You write, “I also write from a Catholic perspective and the idea that there is no observable evidence of the existence of God to be found in nature, is a proposition that has been condemned as a heresy. So, strictly speaking, a Catholic-Christian cannot deny the observable, non-intuitive evidence of Design.”

    It seems to me that believing that one has observable evidence of God in nature is different than saying that is “scientific” evidence. For instance, is not a rainbow observable evidence of God? Does the fact that we know how the physics of water and light count as scientific evidence for God?

    You write, “I already mentioned the idea that morality evolved from mutations and natural selection. That idea gives an origin and therefore purpose to moral norms. This conflicts with Christianity.”

    But if God guided those mutations, helped the physical brain to evolve over time, and implanted a soul with moral capabilities, what is the conflict?

    I think again you are arguing against a materialistic metaphysical viewpoint about evolution, and the world in general. Of course, the Christian rejects those.

    You write, “Yes, they can say they believe, spiritually, that God placed fossils on the earth in various locations.”

    I am surprised at that sentence. Fossils form when creatures die and their remains are preserved for various reasons. God doesn’t have to place them. What problem might a Christian have with the existence of fossils.

    You write, “They can say that God created mutations to make it look like things evolve, but nothing ever really evolves.”

    If God created mutations and other aspects of evolution that caused gradual changes in creatures over time (which is what the Christian I am describing most likely), what is the problem with that? One would still say “things evolved”.

    Again, I repeat, I think a deep conflation of what happens and a metaphysical interpretation of the world behind what happens is running through this discussion. For instance, I am sure every religion has well-educated people, including evolutionary scientists, who accept both evolution and their religious interpretation of it, and are aware that there are both materialistic and non-materialistic metaphysical ways to view what they understand.

    P.S., for kf: “Lewontin”. Ha, beat you to it! 🙂

  20. 20
    AaronS1978 says:

    I actually really enjoy the different perspectives here on this op I really do, this is been a nicer discussion 🙂

  21. 21
    hazel says:

    Agreed, Aaron.

  22. 22
    john_a_designer says:

    In his 1985 Gifford Lecture, which are prestigious lectures on natural theology sponsored by Scottish universities, Carl Sagan had some interesting things to say about science, the universe and religious experience.

    According to Sagan,

    “The word ‘religion’ come from the Latin for ‘binding together,’ to connect that which has been sundered apart… And in this sense of seeking the deepest interrelations among things that appear to be sundered to be sundered, the objectives of science and religion, I believe, are identical or very nearly so…

    By far the best way I know to engage, the religious sensibility, the sense of awe, is to look up on a clear night. I believe that it is very difficult to know who we are until we understand where and when we are. I think everyone in every culture has felt a sense of awe and wonder looking at the sky. This is reflected throughout the world in both science and religion. Thomas Carlyle said that wonder is the basis of worship. And Albert Einstein said, ‘I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive in scientific research.’”

    Sagan then shows, and comments upon, several pictures of astronomical objects that invoke in him a sense of awe and wonder. As an amateur astronomer many of them are very familiar to me. Indeed, as an amateur astronomer I personally share Sagan’s experience of awe and wonder.

    However, Sagan then ends his lecture in an odd way. After showing us what an awesome and wonderful world we live in he writes:

    “as Ann Druyan [Sagan’s wife] has pointed out an immortal Creator is a cruel god, because He, never having to face the fear of death, creates innumerable creatures who do. Why should he do that? If He’s omniscient, He could be kinder and create immortals, secure from the danger of death. He sets about creating a universe in which many parts of it and perhaps the universe as a whole, dies… There is a clear imperative in Western religion that humans must remain small and mortal creatures. Why?”

    To me this seems to be totally contradictory. As long as the God of traditional religion doesn’t exist the universe is a place of awe and wonder. But then He show up and suddenly those wonderful thoughts and feelings disappear. The cup suddenly goes from more than half full to more than half empty. My question also is why? Why would it, and does it, make any difference?

    It appears to me that as human being we are “hardwired” to think and believe a certain way.

    For example, why do people, like Ann Druyan, who do not believe in immortality think about it and ponder it? Why does she get upset with a Creator she does not believe exists? Or, why do atheists, like Sagan, ponder whether or not the universe has some kind of higher meaning or purpose? Are those who seek out E.T. intelligent beings (who may after all be more advanced and therefore wiser than us) really seeking a God substitute because that is the way they are hard wired? On naturalistic evolution why would we be hardwired this way? Or, is it all just an accidental fluke?

  23. 23
    AaronS1978 says:

    “as Ann Druyan [Sagan’s wife] has pointed out an immortal Creator is a cruel god, because He, never having to face the fear of death, creates innumerable creatures who do. Why should he do that? If He’s omniscient, He could be kinder and create immortals, secure from the danger of death. He sets about creating a universe in which many parts of it and perhaps the universe as a whole, dies… There is a clear imperative in Western religion that humans must remain small and mortal creatures. Why?”

    This is a very odd thing to say and I say this because the fact that it is complete disregard to the very center of all Christian belief. God became flesh and was named Jesus Christ, he was crucified died and was buried and he grows again on the third day.

    One of my very points of the reasoning for why God came down and became flesh was to show exactly that he could experience the fear of death and come back from it that, he could be like us. That he could share in the very same thing he created.

    This is only one point of many but as AS would say, Only a loving God would do something like that.
    And for me only a just God would make himself part of his own creation to show that God could experience the same pain and suffering we do

    Now you can argue that Jesus was armed with the knowledge that he could not die but that’s not true Jesus was fully human and was not given that knowledge, god it separated himself for that reason

  24. 24
    john_a_designer says:

    My main point above @ 22 was to ask: what business is it for a scientist like Carl Sagan to tell everyone else what think and believe about religion? Has science answered the “big questions?” Has Sagan been proven correct in his belief of an oscillating universe and therefore the universe is eternal? Or, that the origin of life could be explained in purely naturalistic terms and by the early 21st century we would pretty much understand how it happened?

    On the other hand, I think Moreland makes a big mistake by using the term evolution very loosely and imprecisely. A lot of Christians believe that God has guided and directed evolution and accept the idea of common descent. (Personally, I am agnostic about common descent but believe that “evolution” is in some sense guided and directed.) Of course that clashes with the view the first chapter of Genesis must be interpreted literally. Ironically, St. Augustine (354-430 AD) did not interpret Genesis 1 literally but rather allegorically. He was a student of Greek science and was quite prescient about modern science and the so-called conflict between science and religion (which even existed in the 5th century.) For example, long before Einstein, the theory of general relativity and modern cosmology Augustine argued that space and time were actually created at the beginning of the universe. He believed that God existed, or transcended space and time and therefore there was no “before,” before the beginning. On the other hand, he cautioned people against thinking too deeply about such questions. For example, he rhetorically asked the question: “what was God doing before the creation of the universe?” Answer: “Creating hell for people who ask questions like that.” He was joking!

  25. 25
    ET says:

    hazel:

    I addressed that question a bit in 6.

    What question?

    You posted:

    I don’t see how that precludes a Christian from believing that life has evolved over the last four billion years under God’s “invisible hand”, as a Christian might describe it.

    belief would be about right as there isn’t any evidence for it. Also it goes against the Bible so why even bother calling yourself a Christian if what you accept is contrary to what the Bible says?

  26. 26
    daveS says:

    JAD,

    Has Sagan been proven correct in his belief of an oscillating universe and therefore the universe is eternal?

    I know he described such a theory in Cosmos, but did he actually believe it was “true”? My take was that he simply offered it as a possibility, conditional on the amount of matter in the universe.

  27. 27
    ET says:

    hazel:

    This is why I mentioned that there are no clear specifics, as far as I can see, as to what ID means.

    Intelligent Design is the detection and study of (intelligent) designs in the universe, including the universe. How do we do that? We use our knowledge of cause and effect relationships.

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Hazel

    I didn’t know that Intelligent Design was restricted to that meaning. Then I think my points stand that many Christians would not consider themselves supporters of Intelligent Design if they were aware of this distinction.

    I agree. If ID is meant as “the scientific theory”, then many Christians would not accept it, as I think most do not today. If ID is meant as “something in nature that makes me think about God” (or something like that), then most Christians would accept it. But the latter case is not really “evidence”, except that it is a subjective feeling. “The rainfall sounded sad and I cried”. Is there “evidence” that the rainfall made a sad sound? I’d say, no. It’s just a subjective feeling the person has. We can’t observe the sadness in the sound of the rain. Another person hears the same rain and feels nothing.

    It seems to me that believing that one has observable evidence of God in nature is different than saying that is “scientific” evidence. For instance, is not a rainbow observable evidence of God? Does the fact that we know how the physics of water and light count as scientific evidence for God?

    It’s a challenging question. In the Catholic teaching, for example, the evidence is not primarily scientific, but rather logical or metaphysical. We see an ordered universe and then life which moves towards the completion of actions, or purposes. So, yes, not everything we see in nature is necessarily reducible to science, and as you said, beauty is evidence in itself. Additionally, there is subjective, intuitive evidence which is spiritual and not reducible to science. The Christian faith is based on that kind of evidence, where prophets or seers had direct vision of God, or heard divine words, etc. So, it’s a good point to offer that we have many kinds of evidence and we could apply that to the understanding of evolution. The conflict comes from the evolutionary community itself, which will not accept any evidence except for observed, empirical, material evidence. When we say there is a conflict between Christianity and evolution, it refers to evolutionary teaching in mainstream biology today.

    But if God guided those mutations, helped the physical brain to evolve over time, and implanted a soul with moral capabilities, what is the conflict?

    If God guided the mutations, then they are not random and then it would be false to say that “evolution proceeds without direction or purpose” which is what biology texts state. The development of life on earth would not be the result of random mutations and selection, but rather “mutations guided by God and the guiding hand of God”. Evolution could exist, but it would have a purpose. That means that the mutations could not come from blind, unintelligent effects. The mutations are guided by intelligence. Nowhere in evolutionary biology does it accept that notion. Why don’t Christian biologists just say it? They could write papers stating that mutations are actually guided by God, and evolution is guided to the purposes of God. But nobody does it. Instead, they say that mutations are random and evolution proceeds blindly.

    I think again you are arguing against a materialistic metaphysical viewpoint about evolution, and the world in general. Of course, the Christian rejects those.

    Right, that’s the key point. When we talk about a conflict with “evolution”, it means the materialistic view of evolution that is found in textbooks and scientific papers. Many people have come up with their own ideas of evolution, non-Darwinian evolution or guided evolution or theistic evolution of various kinds. But none of these are “mainstream evolutionary theory”. There are no peer-reviewed papers (maybe a few on non-Darwinian evolution) supporting those views scientifically. I am not saying that there can only be one evolutionary theory, the materialistic one, but that is the only one used in mainstream science today.

    You write, “Yes, they can say they believe, spiritually, that God placed fossils on the earth in various locations.”
    I am surprised at that sentence. Fossils form when creatures die and their remains are preserved for various reasons. God doesn’t have to place them. What problem might a Christian have with the existence of fossils.

    Ok, two things. First, we assume that fossils are formed in the way you describe. There is no way to prove that God did not place them into the earth, one at a time. Second, consider the point:

    Theisitic evolutionist: “God could have guided all of the mutations and then adjusted populations so that new features appear”.
    Evolutionist: “New features form when mutations accumulate and preserved in a population under various selection pressures. God doesn’t have to place them. ”

    I have just paraphrased your response on fossils and used evolutionary artifacts. That is exactly what evolutionists will say if someone says that God guides mutations. If God guides mutations, then He could have planted fossils.
    The reason Christians could have a problem with fossil evidence is that evolutionists make it appear as if humans evolved from ape-like ancestors since the fossils show similar morphology. So, they could say that the fossils look similar and are found in similar places, but God actually placed them there after He created Adam and Eve and their ancestors. There is no way to prove that wrong.

    If God created mutations and other aspects of evolution that caused gradual changes in creatures over time (which is what the Christian I am describing most likely), what is the problem with that? One would still say “things evolved”.

    My point is that it is a radically different notion of what evolution is than what mainstream science teaches. But yes, I agree, a Christian could claim that there is no disagreement between evolution and Christian faith by adjusting various aspects of both, somehow as you point out. For myself, I see evolution as one thing, making certain claims. It’s the Blind Watchmaker, that Dawkins defined. A blind, unintelligent process created all life from bacteria to humans. It has no plan or purpose. That’s evolution. It is entirely materialistic and a person could claim that there is an invisible, non-detectable presence of God in the process, but a person could also say there is zero evidence of this invisible God and there would be no difference to anything in evolution in either case. God would be an unnecessary element added to evolution, and also difficult to explain God’s presence since evolution is supposedly blind and not directed towards purposes.

    For instance, I am sure every religion has well-educated people, including evolutionary scientists, who accept both evolution and their religious interpretation of it, and are aware that there are both materialistic and non-materialistic metaphysical ways to view what they understand.

    I fully agree with you and I have met several Christians who fit that profile that you offer. They are evolutionary scientists and believe themselves to be good, practicing Christians. But I totally disagree with those people and I think they are confused. Usually, they will distort Christianity to fit evolution. One scholar, Ken Miller, a Christian, claims that God didn’t know that humans would form from evolution. So, he has to change the nature of God to fit the evolutionary story. But he feels fine about it, and will claim that there is no conflict between evolution and Christian belief.

  29. 29
    john_a_designer says:

    DaveS @ 26:

    I know he described such a theory in Cosmos, but did he actually believe it was “true”? My take was that he simply offered it as a possibility, conditional on the amount of matter in the universe.

    My take was that it was his pet theory because it fit perfectly with his naturalistic/materialistic world view. Most people I know believe their pet theories to be true. So are you saying that Sagan was only feeding his national T.V. audience a bunch of B.S. he didn’t really believe to be true?

    He also presented it as a scientific explanation not as a metaphysical (philosophical) explanation which it truthfully and honestly is. Cosmos was billed as a science education program not Carl Sagan’s personal opinions, beliefs and philosophical speculations. This is not to say that science, specifically astronomy and cosmology, doesn’t have some deep philosophical and theological implications.

    If it was just one of several possibilities why didn’t he mention the other possibilities? I don’t recall that he did anything like that. For example, why didn’t mention the possibility of an eternally existing transcendent cause? Isn’t that a logical possibility? I would argue that it is.

    If Big Bang cosmology is true then the universe had a beginning. Furthermore, if we accept the standard model of the big bang, based on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, not only did the universe have a beginning but so did space and time. Therefore, based on what we presently know there was no time (no before) the origin of the universe. So that empirically rules out any possibility of an infinite regress. In other words, there is no evidence that the universe always existed—yet logically something must have always existed. What is that something?
    Leibnitz argued that there are two kinds of being: (1) contingent being and (2) necessary, or self-existent, being. Contingent beings or things (books, ink, paper, planets or people, rocks trees and poison ivy etc.) cannot exist without a cause. By contrast, a necessary being does not require a cause. Everything we observe in the universe, including the universe as a whole, appears to be contingent. However, it is logically possible that whatever it is that caused the universe exists necessarily or, in other words, is self-existent. An eternally existing (or self-existing) transcendent being, does not require any other explanation because it is the explanation. To prove this simply ask yourself the question, ‘what caused the always existing something to exist?’ The answer should be obvious to anyone who considers the question honestly. Obviously, since it has always existed, it wasn’t caused by anything else, therefore, doesn’t need to be explained by anything else.

    The evidence from the big bang itself suggests that whatever caused the universe transcends the universe. Furthermore, if it is the cause of the universe it must, in some sense, have always existed. It must be eternal. Transcendence and eternality are attributes of what theists call God. So big bang cosmology gives us two thirds of what we mean by God.

    Theists also believe that God is personal. He has a mind and intelligence, volition and the ability to communicate with other personal beings. I would argue that for God to be the ultimate explanation He must be personal. If the eternally existing, transcendent being is not personal then we are back at an infinite regress. Because whatever it was that caused the universe must have created it freely and intentionally. In other words, there wasn’t anything that caused God to create the universe. He created it simply because he wanted to.

    Does this argument prove that God exists? No it doesn’t. However it does offer a viable, logical and rational alternative to naturalism and materialism, as well as other world views, like pantheism.

    In his book, Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science & Cosmology, R.C. Sproul, outlines the parameters of logic on this question– whether or not the idea of a necessarily existing being is logically valid– as follows:

    “Logic requires that if something exists contingently, it must have a cause. That is merely to say, if it is an effect it must have an antecedent cause. Logic does not require that if something exists, it must exist contingently or it must be an effect. Logic has no quarrel with the idea of self existent reality [an uncaused cause or necessary being]. It is possible for something to exist without an antecedent cause. It remains to be seen if it is logically necessary for something to exist without an antecedent cause. For now it is sufficient to see that self-existence is a logical possibility. The idea is rationally justified in the limited sense that it is not rationally falsified. Something is rationally falsified when it is shown to be formally or logically impossible.” (p172-173)

    Again, I am not claiming that I can prove that God exists. My argument is really very modest. I am only arguing that (1) the concept of God is a logically valid and rational. And, (2) God is the best explanation why anything at all exists. The philosophical arguments for God’s existence are not the only reason Christian theists believe in God. Indeed, many people become Christians without even knowing about them.

  30. 30
    daveS says:

    JAD,

    So are you saying that Sagan was only feeding his national T.V. audience a bunch of B.S. he didn’t really believe to be true?

    Of course not. There are obviously many possibilities besides selling a pet theory and (inexplicably) feeding his audience a phony theory he thought could not be true. Recall that when Cosmos aired, whether the universe was closed or open was a more wide-open question than it is now. So it was natural to ask what would happen if the universe eventually collapsed.

    Cosmos was billed as a science education program not Carl Sagan’s personal opinions, beliefs and philosophical speculations.

    I beg to differ. The full title of the tv series was Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The entire series was infused with Sagan’s personality, values, beliefs, and speculations.

    If it was just one of several possibilities why didn’t he mention the other possibilities? I don’t recall that he did anything like that. For example, why didn’t mention the possibility of an eternally existing transcendent cause? Isn’t that a logical possibility? I would argue that it is.

    It could be a logical possibility. Lots of things are logically possible though, and not all of them can be included. And Sagan was an astronomer, so perhaps he knew more about a possible “Big Crunch” and rebound than transcendent causes.

  31. 31
    SmartAZ says:

    Before we can discuss evolution I require you to tell me something you know. Not something you heard from somebody else, not something you saw in a book, not something you are commanded to believe. I want you to tell me an actual fact, something you can point to and say “That is evolution.” Do not change the subject to “evidence”. Tell me one thing you know.

  32. 32
    hazel says:

    SmartAZ, I think if you applied that criteria to what you consider as known, you would know very little, as almost all knowledge is something you heard from someone else. What is the highest mountain, who was President in 1920, what is the capital of Mongolia, what does the liver do, what is the molecular structure of water, how far does a falling object go in 5 seconds, and so on?

    We are all extremely dependent on knowledge acquired by others and passed on to us.

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