Intelligent Design

Magnetoreception Ability Discovered in Dogs

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new study out of Europe has demonstrated for the first time magnetoreception abilities in dogs. We recently discussedthese amazing abilities in a range of species including fish, turtles, butterflies and homing pigeons. Even though researchers have not yet figured how these species sense and process the Earth’s magnetic field data, it is clear that these species use much more than merely the compass direction given by the field. In some cases it appears the organism is using the field intensity and inclination (the angle which the magnetic field lines make with the Earth surface) data. This new study on dogs has found yet another measurement. The dogs appear to be sensitive to real-time changes in the field’s declination angle (the difference between the field lines and true north).  Read more

29 Replies to “Magnetoreception Ability Discovered in Dogs

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    If this is accuraletly done it shows the unlikelness of this evolving in so many unrelated creatures.
    More likely its from a common blueprint in all creatures etc.
    If God created biology then it would be like physics. Laws and processes and simple common concepts for like needs.
    Biology shows such a thing and evolution is a victim of each years more research into biology.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Well that certainly adds tremendous weight to the following hypothesis:

    Foxes use the Earth’s magnetic field as a targeting system By Ed Yong | January 11, 2011
    Excerpt: Cerveny spent over two years studying wild red foxes in the Czech Republic, with the help of a 23-strong team of wildlife biologists and experienced hunters. The team recorded almost 600 mousing jumps, performed by 84 foxes at a wide variety of locations and times.
    They found that foxes strongly prefer to jump in a north-easterly direction, around 20 degrees off from magnetic north. This fixed heading was important for their success as hunters. They were more likely to make a kill if they jumped along their preferred axis, particularly if their prey was hidden by high cover or snow. If they pounced to the north-east, they killed on 73% of their attacks; if they jumped in the opposite direction, they success rate stayed at 60%. In all other directions, only 18% of their pounces were successful.
    Could the foxes be taking their direction from the environment? Cerveny thinks not. He found that the animals leapt in the same direction regardless of the time of day, season of year, cloud cover, or wind direction. Cerveny thinks that the only remaining explanation is that foxes align their pounces to the Earth’s magnetic field.

    Does fox use magnetic north to detect prey under three feet of snow? – video

    Supplemental notes:

    Dr. Cornelius Hunter: Evidence Against Darwinian Evolution in the Hammerhead Shark – podcast
    Excerpt: The unique design of the hammerhead’s aerodynamic head, or cephalofoil, includes electromagnetic tracking of prey and binocular vision.

    Magnetic fields light up ‘GPS neurons’, scientists say – 27 April 2012
    Excerpt: Researchers have spotted a group of 53 cells within pigeons’ brains that respond to the direction and strength of the Earth’s magnetic field.,,, Every neuron had its own characteristic response to the magnetic field, with each giving a sort of 3-D compass reading along the familiar north-south directions as well as pointing directly upward or downward.
    In life, this could help the bird determine not only its heading just as a compass does, but would also reveal its approximate position.
    Each cell also showed a sensitivity to field strength, with the maximum sensitivity corresponding to the strength of the Earth’s natural field.
    And just like a compass, the neurons had opposite responses to different field “polarity” – the magnetic north and south of a field, which surprised the researchers most of all. ,,,
    “That’s one of the beautiful aspects of what we’ve identified, because it shows how single brain cells can record multiple properties or complex qualities in a simple way.”

    A Cat’s 200-Mile Trek Home Leaves Scientists Guessing – January 2013
    Excerpt: Nobody knows how it happened: an indoor house cat who got lost on a family excursion managing, after two months and about 200 miles, to return to her hometown.
    Even scientists are baffled by how Holly, a 4-year-old tortoiseshell who in early November became separated from Jacob and Bonnie Richter at an R.V. rally in Daytona Beach, Fla., appeared on New Year’s Eve — staggering, weak and emaciated — in a backyard about a mile from the Richters’ house in West Palm Beach.

    Evolutionists Conclude Magnetoreception Evolved After They Doubted its Very Existence – December 28, 2013
    Excerpt: From loggerhead turtles and homing pigeons to monarch butterflies and rainbow trout, scientists are researching not only how magnetic signals are sensed but how they are later processed. By exposing animals to different magnetic field patterns and observing their behavior scientists can infer much about how the signals are processed.

    Explore amazing animal migrations – book
    Description: Author Ben Hoare explores the mysteries of animal migration over land, through oceans and by air and traces in detail 50 remarkable journeys, including those by species as diverse as polar bears, wildebeest, hummingbirds, iguanas, dragonflies, bats and sharks.

    Where Does a Bird’s Magnetic Sense Reside? – June 30, 2013
    Excerpt: The beak contains areas rich in iron, the article explains. Prior research had been inconclusive about a beak-to-brain connection from those iron particles to the brain. Recently, a German team cut the nerve between those regions and the brain in half of a group of Eurasian reed warblers, then moved the whole population from their normal take-off grounds in Russia to the east, 1000 km away. Here’s what happened as a result:
    “The warblers that had their beak-to-brain connection cut flew northeast, as if they had departed from near Kaliningrad — they had lost their “map sense” and could no longer determine their location. Those with the nerve intact, on the other hand, quickly oriented themselves and turned northwest, toward their breeding grounds, the team reports this week in PLOS ONE. This meant that the beak-to-brain system, which, according to the earlier tests, had no impact on the “compass sense,” did matter for the “map sense” of the birds — if the link was damaged, the birds simply did not know they had been displaced.”
    But the experiments are still inconclusive, so far, to explain all the observations. More iron clumps have been found in the birds’ inner ear, Current Biology reports:
    “This organelle is found in hair cells in a wide variety of avian species, but not in rodents or in humans. This structure may function as (1) a store of excess iron, (2) a stabilizer of stereocilia, or (3) a mediator of magnetic detection. Given the specific subcellular location, elemental composition, and evolutionary conservation, we propose that this structure is an integral component of the sensory apparatus in birds.”
    By “evolutionary conservation,” the authors meant no evolution was found. The trait is common to all birds. Further, no precursor in reptiles was identified, nor any ancestry for the organelle. It appears evolutionary theory is useless for understanding bird migration.

    Quantum compass for birds – January 2011
    Excerpt: In the new research, physicists at the University of Oxford and the National University of Singapore calculated that quantum entanglement in a bird’s eye could last more than 100 microseconds — longer than the 80 microseconds achieved in physicists’ experiments at temperatures just above absolute zero,,, The new prediction interprets data from earlier experiments that hinted at a quantum basis for magnetic navigation in migrating birds. In 2006, researchers in Frankfurt, Germany, netted 12 European robins migrating from Scandinavia. Researchers locked the robins in a wooden room and applied small magnetic fields tuned to a frequency that would disturb entangled electrons, if the birds indeed relied on entanglement to navigate.
    The magnetic field, at 150 nanoTesla, was about 300 times weaker than Earth’s magnetic field, so it wouldn’t be expected to confuse the birds in the absence of an entanglement-based navigation system. But with the magnetic field on, the birds flew randomly instead of all flying in the same direction.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    This ‘quantum navigation’ over long distances for birds is indeed very impressive:

    Featherweight songbird is a long-distance champ – February 2012
    Excerpt: A tiny songbird weighing just two tablespoons of sugar migrates from the Arctic to Africa and back, a distance of up to 29,000 kilometres (18,000 miles), scientists reported on Wednesday.

    Study shows alpine swift (bird) can stay aloft for 200 days – Oct. 8, 2013
    Excerpt: In analyzing the data captured by the sensors, the researchers found that the test birds stayed in the air at one point for 200 days, covering approximately 10,000 kilometers in the process. This, the researchers report, is the longest flight duration ever recorded by a bird, and is only equaled by some sea-going creatures who need only propel themselves forward—birds of course also have to keep themselves in the air, a process that consumes a lot of energy.
    Some of the most obvious questions that come to mind regarding the birds are: how do they eat and drink? When do they sleep? Prior research has an answer for the first, they eat what is known collectively as aerial plankton—a mix of fungus spores, small insects, seeds and even bacteria that float about in the sky. The water in their food is apparently enough to sustain the birds indefinitely. As for how and when they sleep, scientists are still divided. Data from the sensors in the study indicated slow-downs, or periods of reduced activity where the birds glided more than flapped, but that clearly isn’t enough evidence to prove that the birds were sleeping. Some suggest that the birds, like some other organisms, don’t have to sleep, or only do so during certain periods of their lifecycle, such as during mating season.

    As well this ‘quantum navigation’ of birds is very nuanced:

    To Birds, Storm Survival Is Only Natural, – November 12, 2012
    “…powerful new satellite tracking studies of birds on the wing… reveal birds as the supreme masters of extreme weather management, able to skirt deftly around gale-force winds, correct course after being blown horribly astray, or even use a hurricane as a kind of slingshot to propel themselves forward at hyperspeed. …
    Among a bird’s weather management skills is the power to detect the air pressure changes that signal a coming storm, and with enough advance notice to prepare for adversity. Scientists are not certain how this avian barometer works, yet the evidence of its existence is clear. …
    …once the storm had passed they took off, presumably heading back to where they wanted to be. “Birds have tremendous situational awareness…They know where they are and where they’re going, they’re able to fly back repeatedly, and they’ve shown an amazing ability to compensate for being pushed off track.”

    FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds – Starling murmurations – video

    Starlings – Murmuration

    Here is an interesting story about Einstein and the magnetic field:

    One story Einstein liked to tell about his childhood was of a wonder he saw when he was four or five years old: a magnetic compass. The needle’s invariable northward swing, guided by an invisible force, profoundly impressed the child. The compass convinced him that there had to be “something behind things, something deeply hidden.”

    Verse, Quote, and Music:

    John 14:4-5
    “You know the way to the place where I am going. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

    “Death is not the end, it is simply walking out of the physical form and into the spirit realm, which is our true home. It’s going back home.” –
    Stephen Christopher

    Alison Krauss-Gillian Welch – I’ll Fly Away – music video

  4. 4

    We don’t know the exact mechanisms but it seems to involve very much naturally occurring chemicals. God of the Gaps or ID isn’t an explanation.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Lincoln Phipps as to your ‘God of the Gaps’ quip, it might interest you to know that God is NOT a ‘God of the Gaps’ but is a God of the whole show:

    Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – John Lennox – 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    God is not a “God of the gaps”, he is God of the whole show.

    In fact contrary to the false history that Atheists give of science vs. religion,,,

    Episodes in the Origin & Development of Science by Michael Keas – Fall 2013
    Excerpt: We have documented the truth that Christianity was a major factor in the growth of science. Why do myths of science–faith disharmony dominate popular culture today? Misconception flourishes when famous and influential scientists make pronouncements about the history of science based on their own biased assumptions rather than the actual historical record. An anti-Christian agenda also often lurks below.
    Stephen Hawking is among the worst offenders.,,,
    This is a triumphalist account of science history, in which naturalism is the heroic defeater of science-stopping biblical religion. It is also pure myth, thoroughly at odds with a half-century’s worth of research by historians of science.

    In spite of this false myth that atheists continually perpetuate, The fact of the matter is that the success of modern science testifies to the truth of Christianity,,

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.

    Jerry Coyne on the Scientific Method and Religion – Michael Egnor – June 2011
    Excerpt: The scientific method — the empirical systematic theory-based study of nature — has nothing to so with some religious inspirations — Animism, Paganism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Islam, and, well, atheism. The scientific method has everything to do with Christian (and Jewish) inspiration. Judeo-Christian culture is the only culture that has given rise to organized theoretical science. Many cultures (e.g. China) have produced excellent technology and engineering, but only Christian culture has given rise to a conceptual understanding of nature.

    Here are a few notes as to how badly naturalism/materialism has missed the mark as coherent worldview within science:

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted time-space energy-energy always existed. Whereas Theism predicted time-space energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is a ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. –

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geo-chemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photo-synthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple.. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are 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. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus homo) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. –

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life 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. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    Mr. Phipps, as to your quip about ‘naturally occurring chemicals’, it might interest you to know every class of elements that exists on the periodic table of elements is necessary for complex carbon-based life to exist on earth. The three most abundant elements in the human body, Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, ‘just so happen’ to be the most abundant elements in the universe, save for helium which is inert. A truly amazing coincidence that strongly implies ‘the universe had us in mind all along’. Even uranium the last naturally occurring ‘stable’ element on the period table of elements is necessary for life. The heat generated by the decay of uranium is necessary to keep a molten core in the earth for an extended period of time, which is necessary for the magnetic field surrounding the earth, which in turn protects organic life from the harmful charged particles of the sun. As well, uranium decay provides the heat for tectonic activity and the turnover of the earth’s crustal rocks, which is necessary to keep a proper mixture of minerals and nutrients available on the surface of the earth, which is necessary for long term life on earth. (Denton; Nature’s Destiny). These following articles and videos give a bit deeper insight into how elements were formed and the crucial role that individual elements play in allowing life:

    The Elements: Forged in Stars – video

    Michael Denton – We Are Stardust – Uncanny Balance Of The Elements – Fred Hoyle Atheist to Deist/Theist – video

    “Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance of various key elements for life) – podcast

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.

    The Role of Elements in Life Processes

    The vastness, beauty, orderliness, of the heavenly bodies, the excellent structure of animals and plants; and the other phenomena of nature justly induce an intelligent and unprejudiced observer to conclude a supremely powerful, just, and good author.
    — Robert Boyle (1627 – 1691), father of experimental chemistry

  6. 6
    Jeff M says:

    It’ll be cool to see how this actually functions. I’d wager that we’ll eventually find that magnetoreception is far more common in the Animal Kingdom than first thought.

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    Earth to Lincoln Phippps- Please tell us how unguided evolution explains it.

  8. 8
    Axel says:

    ‘God is not a “God of the gaps”, he is God of the whole show.’

    With their ludicrous ‘promissory note’ atheists, apparently, are unable to distinguish between ‘intuitive knowledge’ and ‘discursive knowledge’. ‘One day, my son….’

    Sisyphus was a better bet. Their theorists can’t accept the empirical truths of quantum mechanics – most notably, of course – the implications of non-locality, indeed, its ‘prima facie’ meaning.

    How it must rankle with the trolls who have been banned from this site, since it gets so many hits.

    What have you got to say for yourself, Mr Phipps, in response to the extraordinarily lengthy list of failures of the world-view of naturalism/materialism, as briefly adumbrated by bornagain77’s post #5?

    Are you duly embarrassed beyond belief, and deeply penitent for your folly?

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Forensic science is just a “criminal/perpetrator of the gaps” argument. Archaeology is just a “scribe/ artisan of the gaps” argument.


  10. 10
    CuriousCat says:

    We don’t know the exact mechanisms but it seems to involve very much naturally occurring chemicals. God of the Gaps or ID isn’t an explanation.

    I think the main question here is how this mechanism came out. Since we have not figured it out, why should we assume that “naturalism of the gaps” argument holds? The same question holds, in spite of our highly accumulated knowledge about biology and chemistry, for many other unsolved problems in biology.

  11. 11
    Mapou says:


    God of the Gaps or ID isn’t an explanation.

    This is nonsense. ‘God of the gaps’ is an excellent and powerful explanation. It simply means, intelligent designers did it.

    The alternative, ‘evolution of the gaps’, is a superstitious explanation that amounts to saying, ‘dirt did it’.

    I choose the ‘God of the gaps’ explanation. You people need to get a clue.

  12. 12
    Box says:


    God of the Gaps or ID isn’t an explanation.

    S.Talbott: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs”.

  13. 13
    GMD says:

    Scanning the article I found it interesting that changes in the intensity and declination of the magnetic field affected the dog’s behavior such as body orientation and some metabolic processes in a measurable way. I was thinking could animals’ unusual behavior just before an earthquake be a result of a change in the magnetic field of the local area? A quick Google search found some articles on changing magnetic fields leading up to and during an earthquake. Here is an old NASA article:

  14. 14
    Axel says:

    Absolutely, folks. ‘The Dirt of the Gaps’, mapou!

  15. 15
    Axel says:

    They asked for that one, mapou! I liked your ‘dirt-worshippers’ designation, immediately, but I’ve also noticed it has a significant impact on others.

  16. 16
    sixthbook says:

    At least a God of the gaps explanation works while a naturalism of the gaps fails laughably.

  17. 17

    ID remains as a candy-coating over the supernatural.

    bornagain77 list of misinformed conclusions are deceitful or boring depending upon their intent. As the same tired old copy+paste they are disingenuous and fail to highlight that methodological naturalism is the working assumption of science. bornagain77 has done the trick of intellectual theft by taking the work of people of all walks of life and re-branding it is “theism” when bornagain77 notices that its the more likely science and the religious version is silly.

    It is scientists that are finding the evidence for the Big Bang and identifying when and it was not 10,000 or so years ago which was and remains a popular Theistic version in the US. There have been many religions and it really is a coin-toss of if they promote Always Existed or some kind of Created.

    Throughout the list there is error after error as the dogmatic creationist hops from journal to journal claiming papers that support creationism (only the papers never actually have any need to say that). The volume and tactics are like the Seventh Day Adventists.

  18. 18

    Joe, you asked “Please tell us how unguided evolution explains it.” but given as evolution is guided by the environment can you care to ask the question in a more meaningful way ?

    I don’t know if you are slow to pick up stuff or a troll as the articles state that humans are not fully aware of how the process works though the mechanisms seem to utilise some iron-based chemicals.

    Remember that living things are part of nature and what is used by living things are naturally available. bornagain77 finds this an amazing coincidence but I hope ’77 is an anomaly and others around here will find this an obvious point.

    ID/creationism in this respect is useful as their anti-Evolution/anti-Naturalism arguments seem to always involve gaps in our Scientific knowledge.

    Thanks I guess.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Lincoln Phipps you claim

    “methodological naturalism is the working assumption of science”

    Really??? And exactly why would anyone, save a self-serving naturalist, try to limit what science can conclude from its investigations beforehand? Do you have some type of scientific proof that naturalism is true that we are not privy to? A proof so solid that it should compel us to impose such an arbitrary rule on science beforehand? If so please do share. I would be especially interested in how you circumvent the ‘supernatural’ dilemma that mathematics presents for atheistic naturalism:

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time ….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.

    “Nothing in evolution can account for the soul of man. The difference between man and the other animals is unbridgeable. Mathematics is alone sufficient to prove in man the possession of a faculty unexistent in other creatures. Then you have music and the artistic faculty. No, the soul was a separate creation.”
    Alfred Russell Wallace, New Thoughts on Evolution, 1910

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.

    Mario Livio, or the Poverty of Atheist Philosophy: A Review of “Is God a Mathematician?”
    Excerpt: In short, Wigner committed a treason against science. He didn’t, in an Einsteinian fashion, just declare a personal faith in a God that had only marginal relevance to his scientific studies. He went farther than that: he implied that science was impossible and inexplicable without accepting a higher reality, transcending the mind of man and its capabilities for reasoning and experimentation. The short and ostensibly innocent article faced some really violent reactions; some objected to the conclusions in it, others to the premises, and still others refused to even deal with it, pretending it had never been written. But Wigner remained right about one thing: Despite the many attempts, no one could give a rational explanation for what Wigner described as the “uncanny ability of mathematics to describe and predict accurately the physical world.”

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video

    1. If God did not exist the applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.
    2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.
    Galileo Galilei

  20. 20
    Joe says:

    Lincoln Phipps:

    Joe, you asked “Please tell us how unguided evolution explains it.” but given as evolution is guided by the environment can you care to ask the question in a more meaningful way ?

    Please present the evidence that evolution is guided by the environment. Heck you can’t even reference the alleged theory of evolution.

  21. 21


    please understand the difference between methodological naturalism (which is the assumption of naturalism) and metaphysical naturalism which is the philosophical, stronger view, of naturalism.

    Methodological naturalism does not claim that naturalism is true. This difference has been debated again and again and you are unlikely to have missed this difference so you really are just trolling.

    I don’t see why we should accept Berlinski’s comments given he’s not that well know as contributing anything to extend mathematics.

    As for atheism I’m going to guess that you think atheism is the claim that there is no god. Sticking atheistic naturalism doesn’t change naturalism one bit. The debate about abstracts has gone on for millennia and it doesn’t provide any “‘supernatural’ dilemma that mathematics presents for atheistic naturalism” !

    Given you haven’t got past methodological naturalism it’ll be a waste of my time discussing the probability of what can be with someone who already has all the answers.

  22. 22


    thank you – you has asked “Please present the evidence that evolution is guided by the environment”,

  23. 23
    Joe says:

    So the environment guided bacteria to produce more bacteria?

    I asked for evidence for the environment guiding evolution and LP sends me to Lenski’s expereiement which doesn’t support his claim.

    Lincoln, you have to actually make your case as opposed to just linking to something that doesn’t support you.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Lincoln Phipps, (actually it is you who is the troll buddy! 🙂 hate to break the bad news to ya,, lol ) and contrary to whatever you assume about me, I am quite familiar with the distinctions between methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism,,,

    Does Epistemological Naturalism Imply Metaphysical Naturalism? – William Lane Craig – video

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video

    In these following videos, Alvin Plantinga reveals just how arbitrary this artificial imposition of materialism onto science is;

    Alvin Plantinga: Divine Action – video

    But what I find interesting in the supposed distinction is that the only people who ever defend methodological naturalism as supposedly ‘the’ scientific method, (as if the assumption naturalism had anything whatsoever to do with science) are in fact atheists who hold to metaphysical naturalism as a starting assumption. Why is this? To an unbiased observer, such as myself, watching such shenanigans from atheists I firmly think atheists are trying to rig the game beforehand!

    “For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses.”
    Phillip Johnson – The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.

    There are two definitions of Science in our Culture – Phillip E. Johnson – audio (26:36 minute mark)

    As to your comment about mathematics not being in conflict with naturalism (and your self-serving dismissal of Berlinski’s astute observation), perhaps since your tastes are so refined in mathematics as to reject Berlinski, you will be more accepting of Godel’s observation?

    “Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine.”
    Kurt Gödel

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    LP, re:

    >> please understand the difference between methodological naturalism (which is the assumption of naturalism) and metaphysical naturalism which is the philosophical, stronger view, of naturalism. >>

    Via Lewontin’s a priori materialism, so-called methodological naturalism too often is metaphysical naturalism, dressed up in a lab coat and smuggled in the back door. As in, you imply, assume or assert a monopoly of “science” and its methods on serious knowledge, then you lock in the notion that only that which is consistent with materialism is permitted, before evidence can speak. Then you announce, tada proof of evolutionary materialism as settled science tantamount to fact Fact FACT. (Especially on matters such as origins where we did not actually see the fact, and cannot.)

    Cat chasing tail in ideological circle.



  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Phipps, although I think you already know this:

    Rose-Colored Glasses: Lenski, Citrate, and BioLogos – Michael Behe – November 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Readers of my posts know that I’m a big fan of Professor Richard Lenski, a microbiologist at Michigan State University and member of the National Academy of Sciences. For the past few decades he has been conducting the largest laboratory evolution experiment ever attempted. Growing E. coli in flasks continuously, he has been following evolutionary changes in the bacterium for over 50,000 generations (which is equivalent to roughly a million years for large animals). Although Lenski is decidedly not an intelligent design proponent, his work enables us to see what evolution actually does when it has the resources of a large number of organisms over a substantial number of generations. Rather than speculate, Lenski and his coworkers have observed the workings of mutation and selection.,,,
    In my own view, in retrospect, the most surprising aspect of the oxygen-tolerant citT mutation was that it proved so difficult to achieve. If, before Lenski’s work was done, someone had sketched for me a cartoon of the original duplication that produced the metabolic change, I would have assumed that would be sufficient — that a single step could achieve it. The fact that it was considerably more difficult than that goes to show that even skeptics like myself overestimate the power of the Darwinian mechanism.

  27. 27
    Box says:

    L. Phipps holds that neuro-chemical pathways are formed by arguments.

    I am the atheist in that I have never known a state of having any belief in god. If you consider how belief is formed in your brain then whatever neuro-chemical pathways are needed: I don’t have those and I’m unlikely to because the theist arguments diminish in scope whilst the science just works.

    I am the new atheist in that I don’t see theism as deserving any intrinsic respect nor that it has any truth value except within its own fictional worldview. I see theism as an anti-humanism as worse as any state-ism.

  28. 28
    TSErik says:

    L. Phipps holds that neuro-chemical pathways are formed by arguments.

    I am the atheist in that I have never known a state of having any belief in god. If you consider how belief is formed in your brain then whatever neuro-chemical pathways are needed: I don’t have those and I’m unlikely to because the theist arguments diminish in scope whilst the science just works.

    I am the new atheist in that I don’t see theism as deserving any intrinsic respect nor that it has any truth value except within its own fictional worldview. I see theism as an anti-humanism as worse as any state-ism.

    No matter the evidence, no matter the argument, no matter the reality, LP, by admission, will never alter his belief because of an axiomatic a priori worldview. This isn’t exactly “following where the evidence leads”.

    Isn’t this what many in UD have discussed before? The rejection scientific discovery because it doesn’t fit the a priori commitment?

    Further, I cannot be the only one who finds this situation ironic. I mean, one cannot find a better example of a pot calling what it presumes to be a kettle black.

  29. 29

    Magnetoreception is truly remarkable, but this study is not. There are serious problems with the paper that are already being picked apart. Let’s not put too much weight behind the “results” of the study just yet.

    Again, though, magnetoreception is an incredible example of design in action in those creatures in which it is confirmed.

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