Intelligent Design

New paper by Steiner Thorvaldsen on intelligent design and natural theology

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Readers may well remember the flap over a recent paper by Ola Hössjer and Steiner Thorvaldsen on fine-tuning in biology in Journal of Theoretical Biology. Here’s a new paper by Thorvaldsen:

Abstract: Natural Theology is an attempt to provide arguments for the existence of God based on reason and ordinary experience of nature. It became quite popular with both orthodox Christians and Deists between about 1650 and 1850, inspiring much of the scientific fieldwork done during that period. However, Darwin’s theory of evolution brought about a temporary decline of this Christian apologetic tradition. Intelligent Design is a relatively new scientific research program that investigates the effects of intelligent sources, and challenges basic parts of contemporary Darwinism. Fred Hoyle first issued the ideas of Intelligent Design in modern times when he discovered the unique energy level of the carbon atom in the 1950s. On Copernicus’s 500th birthday in 1973, Brandon Carter presented the discovery that the fundamental constants of physics are fine-tuned to precise values for life permittance. In the 1990s, Michael Behe and others presented arguments for Intelligent Design in molecular biology, and irreducibly complex biochemical machines in living cells.

In this paper, we briefly present Intelligent Design and discuss its possible application within a revitalized version of Natural Theology. The paper is mainly written from a scientific perspective.

Steinar Thorvaldsen, “Intelligent design and natural theology” at Theofilos

Here’s the pdf.

See also: Karsten Pultz Comes To The Defense Of The Elsevier Editors Who Say They Did Not Know That The Hossjer–Thorvaldsen Paper Was ID-Friendly. The editors need not, of course, sympathize with the ID perspective to think that evidence for it should be permitted to be discussed. At one time, that was a conventional intellectual position. But the Darwinians, as we’ve said here earlier, are an early flowering of Cancel Culture. No evidence may be discussed that may be thought to favor an Incorrect view.

5 Replies to “New paper by Steiner Thorvaldsen on intelligent design and natural theology

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    This is the disclaimer issued by the editors of the Journal of Theoretical Biology following the original success in sneaking an ID-friendly paper into the journal.

    The Journal of Theoretical Biology and its co-Chief Editors do not endorse in any way the ideology of nor reasoning behind the concept of intelligent design. Since the publication of the paper it has now become evident that the authors are connected to a creationist group (although their addresses are given on the paper as departments in bona fide universities). We were unaware of this fact while the paper was being reviewed. Moreover, the keywords “intelligent design” were added by the authors after the review process during the proofing stage and we were unaware of this action by the authors. We have removed these from the online version of this paper. We believe that intelligent design is not in any way a suitable topic for the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Blew it in the second paragraph with “the need to respond to the environmental crisis”. These writers are Gaian demons, not Christians. When they seek “integration” of science and religion, they mean that religion should help science kill all non-aristocrats.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, ever so quick to belittle ID every chance that he gets, cites the disclaimer. What he fails to mention is that the paper was NOT retracted. i.e. The paper is still up on JTB’s website,

    You can still read the entire paper here on JTB’s website,,,

    Using statistical methods to model the fine-tuning of molecular machines and systems – Steinar Thorvaldsen -Ola Hössjer – 21 September 2020
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519320302071

    And although News cited the very suspicious manner in which the disclaimer was issued for the paper that literally had ID written all over it,,,,,

    Karsten Pultz Comes To The Defense Of The Elsevier Editors Who Say They Did Not Know That The Hossjer–Thorvaldsen Paper Was ID-Friendly – Nov. 2020
    Excerpt: My initial reaction when I first read the disclaimer was the same as Klinghoffer’s. I had to laugh.
    After following the debate for a couple of weeks and pondering the editor’s action, I ended up changing my view.
    Although the disclaimer is ridiculous, I’m now convinced it does not imply that the editors are morons who failed to see that this paper literally has ID written all over, nor do I think it is an action taken solely in order to comply in cowardly fashion with the neodarwinist’s bullying demands.
    It is my firm belief that they exactly knew what they were doing. The editors must have expected the furious reaction from the ID opponents and might very well in advance have decided that a disclaimer of this sort would be their response.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/karsten-pultz-comes-to-the-defense-of-the-elsevier-editors-who-say-they-did-not-know-that-the-hossjer-thorvaldsen-paper-was-id-friendly/

    ,,, And although News cited the very suspicious manner in which the disclaimer was issued for the paper, Seversky was still very quick to overlook the suspicious manner in which the disclaimer was issued, (and to also overlook the fact that the paper was not retracted), and to quickly cite the disclaimer.

    In fact, Seversky’s only caveat to the disclaimer was to accuse ID proponents of nefariously “sneaking an ID-friendly paper into the journal.”

    How dastardly of those ID proponents to ‘sneak’ an ID-friendly paper into the Journal. 🙂

    Small problem with Seversky’s accusation of ID proponents ‘sneaking’ the paper into the Journal, the paper literally, from top to bottom, has Intelligent Design written all of it. i.e. There is nothing ‘sneaky’ in the paper in regards to getting the inference to Intelligent Design in the back door. i.e. Intelligent Design is NOT hidden in the fine print of the paper, but is literally dripping off every page and word of the paper!

    So since there is nothing hidden and nefarious in the paper itself in regards to ID, lets look at the disclaimer itself, which Seversky cited, to see if there is anything hidden and nefarious.

    The first line:

    The Journal of Theoretical Biology and its co-Chief Editors do not endorse in any way the ideology of nor reasoning behind the concept of intelligent design.

    With such a strong statement as that one would rightly expect the specific scientific reasons to be given, at least, a short mention. But alas, no specific scientific reasons are given for ‘disclaiming’ ID. The authors instead, in the very next sentence, say they ‘disclaimed’ ID merely because,,,

    Since the publication of the paper it has now become evident that the authors are connected to a creationist group (although their addresses are given on the paper as departments in bona fide universities).

    So the editors disclaimed the paper for philosophical, even Theological, not scientific reasons???

    Moreover, they do not state their specific philosophical, nor Theological, reasons for disclaiming the paper. They merely state that “the authors are connected to a creationist group.”

    I guess they are trying to imply that the authors are Young Earth Creationists (YECs) who hold that the earth was created a few thousand years ago. But I do not know that for sure since the editors did not specify exactly which ‘creationists group’ the authors may be affiliated with.

    Nor is it likely the Norwegian authors are associated with YECs since YEC is pretty much relegated to America. Nor does the paper itself even imply that YEC might be true.

    I guess it is enough for the editors to simply smear the authors with the ‘Creationists’ label.

    Yet, others who are not so enamored with the Idea that the universe, and everything in it, simply must be an unforeseen accident, may not find the ‘Creationist smear’, all by its lonesome, to be an adequate scientific reason for the editors ‘disclaiming’ Intelligent Design.

    In fact, the ‘Creationist smear’ that was used by the editors is, in reality, not even a scientific reason at all, but it is merely a logical fallacy which is commonly known as a ‘ad hominem’.

    Common Logical Fallacies
    1. Ad Hominem Fallacy
    In logic and rhetoric, a personal attack is called an ad hominem. Ad hominem is Latin for “against the man.” Instead of advancing good sound reasoning, an ad hominem replaces logical argumentation with attack-language unrelated to the truth of the matter.,,,
    An ad hominem is more than just an insult. It’s an insult used as if it were an argument or evidence in support of a conclusion. Verbally attacking people proves nothing about the truth or falsity of their claims.
    https://thebestschools.org/magazine/15-logical-fallacies-know/

    ,, In their disclaimer, the editors further claimed that

    We were unaware of this fact while the paper was being reviewed. Moreover, the keywords “intelligent design” were added by the authors after the review process during the proofing stage and we were unaware of this action by the authors. We have removed these from the online version of this paper.

    This is simply unbelievable. As mentioned previously, the paper, despite the removal of the specific words Intelligent Design’ from the paper, literally has the inference to Intelligent Design written all over it. It is beyond the pale to believe that the editors were ‘unaware’ of this fact in their initial reviewing of the paper.

    The editors finish their disclaimer with,

    We believe that intelligent design is not in any way a suitable topic for the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

    And again they do not list any specific scientific reasons for rejecting Intelligent Design (ID), So I guess the we are stuck with the logical fallacy of ‘ad hominem’ being the chief, and only, reason for ‘disclaiming’ ID.

    So again, “Others not so enamored with the Idea that the universe. and everything in it, simply must be an unforeseen accident may not find the ‘Creationist smear’, all by its lonesome, to be an adequate scientific reason for the editors ‘disclaiming’ Intelligent Design.

    So in conclusion, despite Seversky’s accusation of “sneaking an ID-friendly paper into the journal”, there is nothing hidden or nefarious in the paper in regards to its inference to ID. The inference to ID is literally dripping off every page and word of the paper. Again, you can read the paper for yourself here,

    Using statistical methods to model the fine-tuning of molecular machines and systems – Steinar Thorvaldsen -Ola Hössjer – 21 September 2020
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022519320302071

    Whereas in the declaimer we find much that is nefarious and hidden. Namely, and chiefly, they list no scientific reasons for ‘disclaiming’ ID, (nor do they even claim that the authors made some glaring scientific mistake that would warrant it being ‘disclaimed’), but they use, as their primary reason for ‘disclaiming’ the paper, a logical fallacy which is commonly known as a ad hominem.

    That is not science, it is politics!

    One would hope for much better science, (rather than simply a ad hominem logical fallacy), from a supposedly scientific Journal in its critique of a paper that it, apparently, philosophically, not scientifically, disagrees with.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Polistra states, “Blew it in the second paragraph with “the need to respond to the environmental crisis”. These writers are Gaian demons, not Christians.”

    But what are you REALLY trying to say Polistra? 🙂

    All kidding aside, I perused the paper and other than the one sentence that Polistra cited, the paper, from my brief perusal of it, does not get too far into environmental concerns. The paper appears to be a well written article on ID and Natural Theology with numerous references to back up its claims.

    And although Polistra might personally find the discussion of environmental issues to be the work of “Gaian demons”, the fact of the matter is that Christians do indeed have a theological basis for being concerned about the environment.

    In the Bible we are, in fact, called to be ‘good stewards’ of the earth,

    Christians Need to be good Stewards of the Environment –
    Excerpt: The well-being of the environment is the responsibility of all people. From the water in the ground, to the air that we breathe and everything in between, is a gift from God, and worthy of preservation. The book of Genesis says, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Gen 1:15, New American Standard). It is clear by this passage that God intended for man to not only care and prepare the land for growth, but also to remain faithful in his responsibilities that God had given him. Christians should not neglect their responsibility toward protecting the environment and living a life that exemplifies this cause.
    David wrote, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1). Just as Adam was placed in the garden to keep and protect it—Christians have the same responsibility to keep the earth God has placed into their care.
    https://www.123helpme.com/essay/Christians-Need-to-be-good-Stewards-of-202249

    And I remember well the pollution of the 1960s and 1970s. Many lakes were dead because of industrial pollution. Smog was so bad in Los Angelas that on many days people with asthma and other health issues had to stay indoors. etc.. etc..

    This is no longer the situation here in America.,,, China, I hear, is a different story.

    Let’s just say that here in America we have come a very long way since the 1960’s and 1970’s in regards to cleaning up our environment.

    In fact, I hold that we have been, by and large, good stewards of the environment since the 1960s and 1970s.

    Where today’s environmentalists go completely off the rails into ‘environmental radicalism’ is that they have, apparently, completely forgotten to consider God in their evaluation of the environment and do not view man as being a ‘good steward’ of the earth, but, instead basically, view man as being parasitic on the earth.

    The root cause of climate catastrophism
    Excerpt: I believe that the root of today’s environmental catastrophism is a framework of false, anti-human assumptions and values.
    Catastrophists,,, believe that long-term human survival requires that we human parasites refrain from impacting the delicate, nurturing Earth. If we do that, the Earth will supposedly be a stable, safe, and sufficient place to life. Thus, minimizing our impact on our environment—being “green”—is a proper goal.
    None of this is true.
    https://industrialprogress.com/the-root-cause-of-climate-catastrophism/

    As is apparent to everyone, global warming alarmists want to take draconian measures to, basically, completely shut down industry so as to avert their imagined impending climate catastrophe. (A imagined climate catastrophe which always seems to be 10 to 12 years off in the future).

    The presupposition behind their desire to, basically, eliminate industry, is their belief that industry is, obviously, ‘unnatural’ in their view of things and that by eliminating, or severely curtailing, industry it will restore the earth to its ‘natural balance’.

    Yet, when clearly looking at the evidence objectively, (instead of through the fearful, and distorted, lens of impending climate catastrophe), we find that the supposed ‘settled science’ behind the climate fear mongering is anything but settled,

    Top Scientist: Money Dictates Climate Science

    Top Scientist: UN “Climate Finance” Is Subsidy for Kleptocracy – 26 January 2016
    Excerpt: Dr. Singer, an atmospheric and space physicist with unassailable scientific credentials, told The New American in an interview after his speech that climate science was far from settled, and that taxpayer money distributed by governments was buying the cooperation of scientists. He also suggested that human impacts on the climate, if there are any, are likely to be so tiny as to be completely insignificant.
    “The climate has always been changing — warming and cooling, warming and cooling,” Singer said. “So we assume that this is a continuing process. The fact that we are now fairly well advanced in the industrial revolution — it has no influence on natural forcing, we don’t affect what the sun does, we don’t affect the volcanoes. So the null hypothesis, which means the normal way events go, we would assume that all changes in climate, even today, are due to the same kinds of natural forcing.”
    The burden of proof, then, is on the alarmists demanding trillions of dollars and vast new controls over humanity under the guise of battling alleged anthropogenic (man-made) global warming (AGW) — not the other way around. “The null hypothesis that has to be disproven or amended is that natural forcings are changing the climate, simply because it’s always been that way and we would assume that it would continue that way,” Singer emphasized. “So the burden of proof definitely has to be on the people who want to control CO2.” Other speakers at the summit emphasized that CO2 is the gas of life, not pollution.
    https://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/22402-top-scientist-un-climate-finance-is-subsidy-for-kleptocracy

    Moreover, when we look at the evidence through the lens of Intelligent Design, (instead of artificially excluding Intelligent Design from consideration), we find that the earth gives every indication of being prepared in advance, i.e. ‘terraformed’, for billions of years, by God for a technologically advanced civilization to appear.

    Hugh Ross has done excellent work in this area of research.

    Life and Earth History Reveal God’s Miraculous Preparation for Humans – Hugh Ross, PhD – video (2015)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Y496NYnm8

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    As well, Michael Denton’s work in this area, i.e. “Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis”, also deserves a honorable mention.

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    Privileged Species – video (2015)
    https://youtu.be/VoI2ms5UHWg

    A Reasonable, but Incomplete, Account of How Humans Mastered Fire – Michael Denton – August 4, 2016
    In short, the discovery of fire, our subsequent mastery of it, and the road it opened up to an advanced technology were only possible because of our inhabiting a world almost exactly like planet earth, complete with atmospheric conditions exactly as they are, along with the properties of carbon and oxygen atoms (and indeed many of the other atoms of the periodic table), and because we possessed a unique anatomical design (including the hand) uniquely fit for fire-making.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03048.html

    Fire-Maker – Michael Denton – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an98jVCyApo

    Moreover, Darwinists simply have no clue why man is gifted, above all the other creatures on earth, with a unique ability to ‘master the planet’ by infusing information into the proper material substrates in order to intelligently design industry in the first place.

    Leading evolutionary scientists themselves admit as much,

    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.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    January 2017 – Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language,,, Best Selling author Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by this honest confession by leading Darwinists that he wrote a book on the subject.,,,
    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.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-623446

    Thus basically, the atheistic belief, (behind the global warming hysteria, i.e. the belief that man, or more particularly the technologically advanced civilization of man, is ‘unnatural’, even parasitic, and therefore should be eliminated for the good of the world as a whole so as to avert some imagined impending global catastrophe), is a fallacious belief that simply has no real scientific and/or evidential basis in reality.

    The scientific evidence on global warming itself, contrary to what the media may claim to the contrary, (and as referenced earlier), is very suspect.

    On the other hand, the scientific evidence for the ‘Anthropocentric Thesis’ as Michael Denton termed it, gives us every indication that the earth was prepared in advance for man to use, (albeit, to use it wisely as good stewards and to not abuse it.)

    Gen 1:15
    “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it”

    In conclusion, only the Biblical view of creation gives us the proper and correct understanding of our place in nature and, while encouraging us to be good stewards of the environment that God has given us, the Biblical view does not fall prey to the radical environmentalism that threatens to impoverish, even starve to death, a very large percentage of humanity.

    Though environmentalists may want to live in a utopian world where no industry, airplanes, or cars exist, I can assure you that if their utopian vision ever became a reality, and they had to personally face the consequences of their utopian vision, they would be singing a VERY different tune!

    The world would be a very different, and harder, place for man to live without industry to help us along. VERY different and harder!

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