Intelligent Design

Ruse on Dawkins’ Delusion

Spread the love

Michael Ruse on Richard Dawkins “The God Delusion” (heavily edited)

“God is getting a bit of a bashing these days. Above all, there is the smash-hit best seller The God Delusion, by the brilliant science writer Richard Dawkins. Why this sudden enthusiasm for atheism? The new skeptics are writing brilliant works, bringing reason and evidence to bear on the God question, and showing in altogether new ways why religion is false and dangerous to boot.

Dawkins is brazen in his ignorance of philosophy and theology (not to mention the history of science). Dawkins is entirely ignorant of the fact that no believer – has ever thought that arguments are the best support for belief. John Henry Newman wrote: “I believe in design because I believe in God; not in a God because I see design.”

Dawkins is a man truly out of his depth. Does he honestly think that no philosopher or theologian has ever thought of or worried about the infinite regress of the cosmological argument?

One person who comes in for withering scorn in The God Delusion is me. Even though I am not a Christian, I nevertheless think that one can be a Christian with integrity and that Darwinism does not in itself preclude Christianity. In fighting fundamentalism – from scientific creationism to intelligent design theory – one should be willing to work with liberal Christians.

Suppose it is true – that if you are a Darwinian, then you cannot be a Christian. How then does one answer the creationist who objects to the teaching of Darwinism in schools? If theism cannot be taught in schools (in America) because it violates the separation of church and state, why then should Darwinism be permitted? Perhaps, given the U.S. Constitution, the creationists are right and Darwinism should be excluded. ”

MICHAEL RUSE   ISIS volume 98, Issue 4, Page 814–816, Dec 2007

97 Replies to “Ruse on Dawkins’ Delusion

  1. 1
    Latemarch says:

    We’d have more time for Biology if we didn’t have to annotate a just-so story to every biological fact.

  2. 2
    larrynormanfan says:

    Ruse is my kinda guy. I love the Newman quote.

  3. 3
    tribune7 says:

    If theism cannot be taught in schools (in America) because it violates the separation of church and state, why then should Darwinism be permitted?

    It’s something I always wondered about. The education I got was seriously materialist (and anti-religious) and I count myself lucky for having survived it.

  4. 4
    StephenB says:

    I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how one reconciles Theism (purposeful, mindful, creator) with Darwinism (purposeless, mindlesss process).

    According to the Christian religion, God manifests himself in nature through design; according to Darwinist ideology, design is an illusion.

    According to true TE (Christian evolution), evolution unfolds with purpose from the inside according to a pre-ordained plan; according to false TE (Christian Darwinism) creation adapts without purpose from the outside accordinng to the demands of the environment.

  5. 5
    alan says:

    larrynormanfan (me to for 30 years) – check your fondness for the Newman quote with Rom. 1:20 along with StephenB above & bililiad. I suspect you see design in Isaiah 53. Superspiritualism is deceptive and God, yes THE GOD has given us plain and recognizable RECORDS/Revelations in Creation and His Word…don’t you think?

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    I do not believe that there are many or any TE’s who accept your definition of Darwinism. That is the problem. You impose a definition they won’t accept. Now most evolutionary biologist and people like Dawkins will accept your definition but not everyone who believes that life unfolded according to variation and natural selection and in a gradualistic manner.

  7. 7
    StephenB says:

    —–Jerry: “I do not believe that there are many or any TE’s who accept your definition of Darwinism. That is the problem. You impose a definition they won’t accept. Now most evolutionary biologist and people like Dawkins will accept your definition but not everyone who believes that life unfolded according to variation and natural selection and in a gradualistic manner.”

    Jerry, an organism can “unfold” only if it was programmed to do so. If it adapts according to random variation and natural selection, then it is not unfolding.

    Incredibly, Christian Darwinists insist that there was a plan for there to be no plan. Don’t you see that? They are pushing pure contingency. You can’t turn telelogy on, off, and back on again.

    That is why Miller first wrote in his textbooks that evolution is an unguided process. When he got caught, he changed the word to “guided.” For all I know, he has changed it back again.

    Stephen Barr insists that the words “guided” or “unguided” are meaningless. How convenient for him. I guess he means that it is sort of guided and sort of non-guided. He doesn’t know what he means except that he believes Darwin.

  8. 8
    StephenB says:

    —-Alan writes, “larrynormanfan (me to for 30 years) – check your fondness for the Newman quote with Rom. 1:20 along with StephenB above & bililiad. I suspect you see design in Isaiah 53. Superspiritualism is deceptive and God, yes THE GOD has given us plain and recognizable RECORDS/Revelations in Creation and His Word…don’t you think?”

    Thank you Alan, I am glad that somebody else gets it.

  9. 9
    StephenB says:

    Billiard:

    Basically, Johnson is providing the same old argument that illogical Christian Darwinists always use. God’s designs appears imperfect, therefore they are not designed.

    According to the Christian religion, God’s designs were compromised through original sin and nature was adversely affected. But, of course, Christian Darwinists don’t think about that because they are not rational.

    Again, the author insists that religion boils down to faith. As he puts it, “you believe or you don’t.” But rational people have reasons for believing, irrational people, like the author, simply believe. He adds, “I don’t need God to make sense.” That is total nonsense from a theological perspective. God created a rational universe, rational minds, and a correspondence between the two.

    Further, the author writes, “I do not understand why so many ID proponents are so easily threatened by the idea that man evolved.” But ID allows for evolution, so he clearly is confused about the nature of intelligent design. The issue is, as I pointed out earlier, whether that evolution is directed or non-directed. Rational people make distinctions like that. Irrational people simply use the generic term “evolution,” thinking that they have said something meaningful.

    Incredibly, he quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas, Mr. Design, to argue against design. This is another indication that he cannot reason in the abstract. He selectively offers this out-of-context quote from Aquinas: “In the end, we know God as unknown.” Would it be too much to expect Johnson to know that Aquinas is talking about God’s attributes, not his existence?
    To top it all off, he quotes from the anti-Christian Gnostic Gospels (does he know they are the Gnostic Gospels, I doubt it) while ignoring the Gospels themselves. Thus, he puts words in the Apostle Thomas’ mouth that he didn’t say or could not have believed. This is the way Christian Darwinists reason: subordinate God to Darwin at any cost. That is another way of saying that Christian Darwinists don’t reason at all.

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    StephenB, I thank you for all of well-argued comments on this thread and others.

  11. 11
    gore says:

    Stephen B: You said “Further, the author writes, “I do not understand why so many ID proponents are so easily threatened by the idea that man evolved.” But ID allows for evolution, so he clearly is confused about the nature of intelligent design. The issue is, as I pointed out earlier, whether that evolution is directed or non-directed. Rational people make distinctions like that. Irrational people simply use the generic term “evolution,” thinking that they have said something meaningful.”

    Thank you for spelling this out for people. This shows that they spend much of their time reading books like “Scientists Confront Creationism”,and nearly the whole book argues the age of the earth haha.

    I had a college professor tell me he thinks ID is garbage because it believes the earth is 6k years old. Its sad how misinformed people are, over the true arguments!

  12. 12
    rockyr says:

    Well put StephenB, about Aquinas. Bililiad, Newman’s quote is NOT anti ID per se. And you are both correct that seeing design in nature can and does lead some or many people to God, even if it did not convince Newman. (It would be interesting to know why it did not convince Newman then, some 150 years ago, and whether he would be more impressed by science today.)

    (Re: “Aquinas: “In the end, we know God as unknown.” Would it be too much to expect Johnson to know that Aquinas is talking about God’s attributes, not his existence?”)

    Just to put the famous Newman quote in perspective. This is important, since many get confused about the quote. Even the great scientists-theologians, like father Stanley Jaki, seem to have misunderstood this Newman quote as being against ID!

    These authors give reasons why and in what context Newman used the apparently anti-design quote:

    It is therefore not surprising that Newman thought that the greatest proof of God’s existence is the ‘moral proof’, that is to say, conscience itself. … He even goes so far as to say that, were it not for conscience, he would be an atheist, a pantheist or a polytheist for he sees no reflection of the Creator in this “busy little world.”

    It is interesting to note the contrast between Newman’s view and that of contemporary ‘Intelligent design’ proponents. Newman states flat out that “I believe in design because I believe in God; not in God because I see design”. Perhaps all ‘ID’ theorists should bear in mind that “The Almighty is something infinitely different from a principle, or a centre of action, or a quality, or a generalisation of phenomena”.

    http://ipsumesse.blogspot.com/.....art-1.html

    or

    You (Newman) did not like the traditional approaches to the existence of God?
    I was never convinced by the more external proofs for God. ‘I believe in design because I believe in God; not in a God because I see design’. Besides, ‘life is for action’: if we insist on proofs for everything, we will never commit ourselves.

    http://www.catholicireland.net.....038;art=26

  13. 13
    rockyr says:

    Bililiad, you are raising another good point about those who want science to explain everything about life and about design. It can’t be done.

    (Re: And what about agnostics like DaveScot? Isn’t it the case that more religious scientists would support ID if it weren’t an impediment to their scientific careers, as DaveScot said in another thread?)

    I don’t know exactly what DaveScott said, (he doesn’t want to debate with me for some reason), but he and others, like MacJohnson, or even the former chief Vatican astromoner father Coyne, are somewhat correct, when they expect science to “explain” things, or some things that are actually scientifically explainable. The problem is how they see science, ID, and their role and power to explain things rationally. While DaveScott may think that ID will explain everything, MacJohnson seems to think that ID will explain nothing, and father Coyne seems to think, if he indeed does, that ID somehow “belittles God’s power and might”.

    —–

    (Scientifically, attributing every aspect of biology to the arbitrary design of a divine tinkerer explains as much about biology as attributing the eruption of volcanoes to the anger of the Lava God would explain geology. A theory, by definition, makes predictions that can be tested. Intelligent Design predicts nothing, since it essentially states that every thing is the way it is because God wanted it that way.

    According to the mindset of ID leaves could have been green or they could have been blue. But God chose green because he was feeling a bit green that day. Or maybe he thought green would really bring out the color of Adam’s eyes; it’s hard to say really. But it definitely had nothing to with the unguided selection of the chlorophyll molecule to best utilize atmospherically filtered sunlight as an adenosine triphosphate producing energy source.

    Biology (already burdened with the study of the most complex phenomenon known to man) is reduced by Intelligent Design to a meaningless cataloguing service for divine handicrafts. It can no longer seek to understand so much as a sniffle or a dandelion seed without endlessly recycling the same useless answer: must be how God wanted it!)

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=23404

    (Father Coyne… Intelligent Design reduces and belittles God’s power and might, according to the director of the Vatican Observatory…. annual Aquinas Lecture on “Science Does Not Need God, or Does It? A Catholic Scientist Looks at Evolution” at Palm Beach Atlantic University,… The talk is sponsored by the Newman Club, and scheduled in conjunction with the Jan. 28 feast of St. Thomas Aquinas. )

    http://www.catholic.org/nation.....p?id=18503

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    The process is both guided and unguided. There are parts of it that need guidance and vast amounts that don’t. So a TE will say that some parts of it are guided and then the majority is not. Most species on the planet arrive via the unguided process but many do not and need guidance.

    That is what ID is saying. It is a question of how the guidance takes place. The TE will generally say it takes place in small increments but I don’t personally find that reasonable given the evidence. But that is what they say.

    This is hard to understand. Most species in the world arrive via Darwinian processes. It has been the theme of many of my posts on this site in the last few months and what I have been saying is obvious and not one of the main writers of ID disagree.

    I believe when the proponents of ID admit this is how things happen, then a true dialog will be able to begin because they will then be dealing with truth. But the reflexively anti Darwin rhetoric gets in the way of truth and getting ID ideas accepted.

  15. 15
    jerry says:

    I meant to say “This is not hard to understand.” in the third paragraph.

  16. 16
    jerry says:

    gore

    you said

    “I had a college professor tell me he thinks ID is garbage because it believes the earth is 6k years old. Its sad how misinformed people are, over the true arguments!”

    ID has can blame themselves for a lot of this. I would say that 95% of those going around promoting ID are YEC. ID encourages this in the so called big tent concept. So if a professor encounters an ID argument it is probably accompanied by a YEC argument. So I can understand how the confusion is made. It is constant fodder for those who are exposed to ID by an advocate.

    When I discuss this with non family member and some family members they think I have gone off the deep end because of the YEC associations. The net result is I never discuss it except here on UD.

    The only way out of this is for ID to formally discuss evolution in terms of a 4.5 billion year old earth and how life unfolded over time and where the probability of ID happened. That would chase the YEC’s away but leave ID with very few foot soldiers and a much smaller source of money.

  17. 17
    StephenB says:

    Jerry, if only the TE’s would admit that some elements in the process are guided, there would be no problem. That would mean that some things are designed and we could all come together and sing the praises of ID. They claim that it is part of God’s design to allow design to be undetectable. The reason that TE’s are hard to understand is because they are irrational.

    Lets break it down:

    Evolution occurs in an organism either because [A] it is UNFOLDING according to some INTERNAL PRINCIPLE with some end in mind or [B] it is changing unpredictably and ADAPTING to the demands of the EXTERNAL environment with no end in mind.

    If it is A, then it is guided and non-random, if it is B, then it is unguided and random.

    If it is A, then a purposeful design is present in the thoughtful arrangement of physical elements that we call information, a manifestation of the internal principle that causes the unfolding; if it is B, then design is not present since the elements and the patterns of development have not been arranged.

    If it is A, then the texture of the finished product has been decided on beforehand, if it is B, then there is no way of knowing what the finished product will be like.

    If it is A, then design is PERCEIVED, and open to scientific investigation; If it is B, then design is merely CONCEIVED, and cannot be the subject of rational inquiry.

    If it is A, then God/intelligent designer created some things by design (DNA molecule, human souls) and some things through law and contingency (snowflakes, moon craters); If it is B, then either God/intelligent designer created everything through contingency (chance), or else there is no God/intelligent designer and everything created itself.

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    Jerry: The only way out of this is for ID to formally discuss evolution in terms of a 4.5 billion year old earth and how life unfolded over time and where the probability of ID happened. That would chase the YEC’s away but leave ID with very few foot soldiers and a much smaller source of money.

    I agree. I’ve said it before. In this battle, it all comes down to who has the most money. How can ID scientists get their hands on enough money to conduct research and educate the public in a clear unambiguous manner? Even though I respect the YEC for their sincere convictions, I believe that they are mistaken and that they are being foolish for basing their faith on a particular interpretation of the book of Genesis, an interpretation which may turn out to be wrong. The problem is that the ID movement feels that it cannot sever its ties with YEC because, as you pointed out, of the money problem.

    My position is that IDers should do it anyway. If most IDers are Judeo-Christians, they should have faith that the money will come from somewhere. The Big Tent approach makes no sense, in my opinion. It shows a lack of courage and faith is 99% courage.

  19. 19
    chuckhumphry says:

    Mapou,

    I agree as well.
    While the age of the Earth is found through naturalistic science, ID science should accept this date until -and only until – ID science has become the predominant paradigm. Then, we can conduct experiments on the age of the Earth that agree with Intelligent Design.

  20. 20
    JDH says:

    What I don’t understand is why committed materialists like Dawkins debate at all. They have self-defeating arguments.

    If I am right and the universe was designed with a purpose – then the materialist is wrong.

    If the materialist is right and the universe contains no purpose – why is he expending so much energy trying to convince me of the purposelessness of life.

  21. 21
    alan says:

    The difference between the Christian Faith and others is it is 99% belief on what is rather than what is man-generated philosophy. The 1% seems like 99% in light of our fallen nature and dependancy on our Originator – don’t you think?

    I really would like to know how Jerry know or even can claim belief that “Most species in the world arrive via Darwinian processes.” Are there not from ZERO to precious few “intermediate” forms from which to make this claim. Is this not an example of the “other” kind of faith?

  22. 22
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Do you guys think Design Proponents will eventually put forth a “unified theory”? Looking at the big picture.

    The “Design of Life” explores a bit of what I’m talking about. For instance, in Chapter 6 (I think) the authors talk about how the progressive development of organisms, could have occurred in a bunch of unconnected stages (I like this idea). Or that it could have been a tree of life like process.

    It also talks about ‘design modules’ being created and undergoing environmental chance (maybe guided by intelligence).

    That’s the kinda stuff I find cool about ID.

  23. 23
    Mapou says:

    JDH: What I don’t understand is why committed materialists like Dawkins debate at all. They have self-defeating arguments.

    I think people like Dawkins do it for the money. Dawkins is like a lawyer who’s paid to defend a criminal and does it regardless of his belief in his client’s guilt or innocence. Dawkins is more of an unscrupulous opportunist than anything else. He’s PR man for the Darwinists.

    PZ Myers and others like him, on the other hand, do it because they’re scared. They know that they don’t really have a leg to stand on but they’re scared of people like Dembski and Behe. They’re scared because if the IDers succeed, their sworn enemy (Christian fundamentalists) will win a huge political victory and impose their morality on them through legislation via the ballot box. They’re full of hate.

  24. 24
    bFast says:

    The big tent holds much more than the YECers. It also holds those who are not Judeo-Christians. I like the big tent as it is, if only because without it we’ld have to kick out Salvador Cordova. That would be a pitty. Hey, what do you do with those who are seriously open to the possibility of a young or old earth? Are they big enough to enjoy the big tent?

  25. 25
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    You have several misunderstandings. I will point out what I think is the correct interpretation.

    “If it is A, then the texture of the finished product has been decided on beforehand, if it is B, then there is no way of knowing what the finished product will be like.”

    This is not correct since for B there is constraint on what can appear depending on the original gene pool. Over time most new species will appear under the B scenario but will be constrained from the original gene pool and what little variations may appear through mutations. The variations will be trivial because as Behe has shown mutations are very limited as to what can appear.

    So B will produce most of the species we see once the original gene pool arises from process A. Let’s take an example, birds. Birds arise from process A and have a fairly wide gene pool. Over time, 130 million years various new families, genera and species arise as this gene pool gets narrowed due to environmental process and natural selection. We see a lot of different birds, some larger, some smaller, some with different body shapes but none that are inconsistent with the original gene pool with some minor mutations.

    Process A starts the gene pool and process B produces the variety but within definite boundaries.

    “If it is A, then design is PERCEIVED, and open to scientific investigation; If it is B, then design is merely CONCEIVED, and cannot be the subject of rational inquiry.”

    No, both can be examined by science. If you take my bird example, it is possible to show through genome analysis just what causes the different types of birds and my guess it will all be trivial such as different gene mutation leading to differences of size, shape, etc. If such is the case then we have proof of the power of natural selection acting on minor mutations to produce al the variety but we also have proof of its limitations. We have the perfect world for ID. Acceptance of Darwinian process for minor variation which explains most species in the world and proof that it cannot handle the big stuff. Then ID is the true science and current biology is shown for what it is, ideological.

    “If it is A, then God/intelligent designer created some things by design (DNA molecule, human souls) and some things through law and contingency (snowflakes, moon craters); If it is B, then either God/intelligent designer created everything through contingency (chance), or else there is no God/intelligent designer and everything created itself.”

    You use the word “everything” for process B. Just think in terms of most things but only after the heavy lifting was done by process A. And just remember that process
    B is limited so we will have definite limitation on what can turn up. After all a bird is a bird even though some are 40 times bigger than others and eat different things have different sounds etc.

  26. 26
    PannenbergOmega says:

    That would be awesome if science ended up proving that it was a young universe after all.

    There’s just so much data out there pointing to an old cosmos though. I mean doubting traditional darwinian theory is one thing (that’s radical enough). But being a Young Earth Creationist, that would be living in a vacuum.

  27. 27
    Atom says:

    I’m with bFast. I like the tent as it is: Muslims, YECs, Agnostics, Deists, and whoever else can help with research into design in the universe.

    Trying to placate the Darwinists/Materialists is a losing game. Don’t think that abandoning your YEC friends will gain you favor in their eyes. Heck, they even say things about Ken Miller (a fellow Darwinist) since he has religious convictions and Ruse, since he respects religious people!

    I don’t think ID needs anyone’s approval. If there really is design in the universe, then no amount of political harrassment or human effort can change that. Even if ID is laughed out of town (which it is in academia and popular media), it doesn’t change the facts of the earth’s history.

    Let’s stop worrying so much about what others think and just focus on slowly but surely making progress in the science. The publicity from actual discoveries and predictions will eventually come.

  28. 28
    Jason Rennie says:

    “I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how one reconciles Theism (purposeful, mindful, creator) with Darwinism (purposeless, mindlesss process).”

    Hi StephenB,

    What you propose is incompatible and irredeemably so. The problem is that Darwinism != evolution. I’m not a theistic evolutionist for a variety of reasons, but the people that subscribe to the idea of evolution do not necessarily embrace the nihilistic implications of full fledged Darwinism. God could operate purposefully through an evolutionary process in a number of ways (in theory anyway). The problem is with the explicitly purposeless approach that is the problem.

  29. 29
    PannenbergOmega says:

    No disrespect to YECs intended in my last statement.

    Good point, as usual Atom.

  30. 30
    Jason Rennie says:

    Is there any reason people aren’t taking this “Darwinism is a religion” approach in court ? Given that youcould actually call Dawkins or Dennett as a witness in favour of that proposition and cite their works extensivly. They could even be called as expert witnesses.

    Ironically they would either have to “help the creationists” or else make public fools of themselves by admitting on the stand to telling bald faced lies in everything they have recently written. Given the egos of the people involved i’d doubt they would do that even in service to the “cause”

  31. 31
    jerry says:

    Atom,

    If you want the big tent then never, never complain about ID being misunderstood. You have joined hands with a group that espouses nonsense science based on ideology alone so stand up and be prepared to have ID be called nonsense too and lose your right to also call Darwinist nonsense.

    There is an expression “the pot calling the kettle black” which applies.

  32. 32
    Mapou says:

    Atom: Let’s stop worrying so much about what others think and just focus on slowly but surely making progress in the science. The publicity from actual discoveries and predictions will eventually come.

    I agree that a true scientist should not worry about what others think and that should include everybody, even members of one’s own religion. Otherwise, we are guilty of the same bias that we accuse the Darwinists of harboring. We should go wherever the data leads. Right now the data leads to an old earth and that’s where we should go.

    I see no reason to accomodate a faction just because they don’t agree with the data. They are basing their belief solely on a few obscure passages in one book, passages that are clearly open to interpretation. In my opinion, their faith is not in question but their logic is. The fact remains that the God of the Bible is also known as the Ancient of days, not the Young of days.

  33. 33
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Mr. Rennie, have you ever thought of emigrating to the United States? With all due respect to the UK. 🙂

    You have good ideas.

  34. 34
    StephenB says:

    —–Jason Rennie: “What you propose is incompatible and irredeemably so. The problem is that Darwinism != evolution. I’m not a theistic evolutionist for a variety of reasons, but the people that subscribe to the idea of evolution do not necessarily embrace the nihilistic implications of full fledged Darwinism. God could operate purposefully through an evolutionary process in a number of ways (in theory anyway). The problem is with the explicitly purposeless approach that is the problem.”

    Hi Jason: I think we are in agreement. I agree that there is such a thing as legitimate theistic evolution. However, I insist that the process must be guided. I further insists that the so-called theistic evolutionists are they are called today are really Christian Darwinists under another name, because they are positing an undguided process. Or, am I presuming that you agree with me when you don’t. Jerry, seems to disagree with me, suggesting that they are proposing a process that is both guided and unguided.

  35. 35
    StephenB says:

    Jerry: with all due respect, I didn’t say that the products of process “A” never undergo evolutionary change. My purpose was to establish a descriptive vocabulary for analysis. I am reading Michael Behe’s latest book right now and I agree with most of what I find there. I assume that you agree with me that Michael Behe has established the “edge” of evolution, and that it can do no more than what he says it can do. If that assumption is wrong, please let me know.

    Also, you are not, in my judgment, sufficiently differentiating between Behe’s evolutionary paradigm and the TE paradigm. The distance between them is greater than what you seem to want to acknowledge. Further, we do not know for sure that the human and animals species are as changeable as you, me and Behe think they are. Even though your points are well-thought out, I am not at all sure that Demski, Meyer or all the other ID’s would sign on to your analysis in every detail. So, I don’t think you can confidently speak for the whole ID movement.

    In any case, we are getting away from the very reason that I raised the issue in the first place. I said originally that Christian Darwinists are irrational because they profess a religion that celebrates the perceptibility God’s design, while they hold to a science that disavows it. Further, they quote St. Thomas Aquinas, Mr. Design, to argue against design. Further still, they subordinate their religion to their science, even as they go out of their way to publicize that same religion. I could go on, but that will do for now. You obviously disagree with my point that the TE’s are irrational or else you would not have challenged it. And you have challenged it many times. So, given the criteria that I have just established (I will offer many more if you like), what I am asking you to explain is why you think that their position is rational and why I am wrong.

  36. 36
    DaveScot says:

    pannenberg

    There’s just so much data out there pointing to an old cosmos though.

    I agree. Just a few examples:

    Trees produce annual rings of varying thickness. One can begin by taking the pattern in the oldest rings in living trees and unmistakably match the pattern with the youngest rings in petrified trees. You can go back farther than 6000 years by that alone.

    Annual deposition of snowfall on glaciers leaves a distinct layer each year. Ice cores from very old glaciers have a million layers.

    Continental drift happens at a steady pace. Africa and South America fit together like a hand in a glove but the rate of drift, which is well understood by new continental plate forming in oceanic rifts, requires that many millions of years of drift occured to reach the current separation.

    Volcanic islands such as the Hawaiin chain where the islands are formed one by one as the crust passes over a fixed hot spot in the mantle can be seen progressively eroding when they are past the hot spot at an erosion rate which requires millions of years for the extinct volcano cone to erode back beneath the sea again.

    Galaxies with measurable velocities can be seen a great distance apart with obvious disruption caused by a close encounter between them. The current velocities require many millions of years to get that far apart.

    There is so much disparate evidence of an old universe everywhere we look that if the universe was created a mere 6000 years ago then whoever or whatever did the creating went to an awful lot of trouble to make it appear to be vastly older than that.

  37. 37
    bFast says:

    StephenB (5):

    I am still waiting for someone to explain to me how one reconciles Theism (purposeful, mindful, creator) with Darwinism (purposeless, mindlesss process).

    Let me take a whack at this one. When construction workers pour cement, the frequently remove the air bubbles with a vibrator that they stick into the pour. The purpose of the vibrator is to induce “randomness” though the intended result is not random. By the same token, many theistic evolutionists would likely agree with me that God knew that the laws he made, including the “vibration” of random mutation, would result in the class of creature that he could have a relationship with. As such, the random process described by evolution may be very much like the random process used by the construction industry.

    Jerry(34):

    You have joined hands with a group that espouses nonsense science based on ideology alone

    I think that the assumption that the only reason one is a YEC is ideology is somewhat misguided. Do remember that the darwinian community says the same about the IDer, obviously wrongly.

    I remember a discussion with Peter Borger on ISCID’s brainstorms. He, a biologist, says that his science fits easier with a young biology than with an old one. When challenged about all of the other science that implies an old earth, he responds by saying that he is a biologist, not one trained in the other sciences. His science, he contends, requires either regular miraculous intervention to undo the destruction of deleterious mutations, or it requires a young biology.

    If PB can honestly make statements like this, then it is not unreasonable for scientists in specialized fields, including the field of biology, to recognize that their science is best supported by a young earth. I, therefore, am not willing to contend that PB is a young earther because of religious ideology. Further, I believe that PBs voice should be welcomed within the ID community.

  38. 38
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Hi Mr. Scot, thank you for these examples.

    About the Genesis account, whether one believes it or not, can be interpreted many ways without taking a biblically ‘revisionist’ interpretation.

  39. 39
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    you said

    “I said originally that Christian Darwinists are irrational because they profess a religion that celebrates the perceptibility God’s design, while they hold to a science that disavows it.”

    No, No, No!!

    They may misinterpret the data but that does not mean they are irrational. They see massive amounts of species determined by Darwinian principles and make the mistake that all can arise by this process.

    One of their problems is that they subscribe to Darwinian processes because of theological processes. I described this in the thread that Dembski took down. They will look at ID as leading to a God that is not as powerful as theirs. I have some sympathy for this as I always looked at ID leading to a constant tinkering that is beneath an omnipotent God.

    Intervening with the free willed limited knowledgeable humans is one thing but having to intervene in the system that He set up from the beginning seems to be a little bit beneath an omnipotent God. That is their rationale and I do not view it as irrational. I ascribed to it till I got curious and started to investigate the issue nine years ago.

    My guess is that what really happened is beyond our comprehension.

    I have come to my conclusions by reading what Behe, Dembski and others have written and I see nothing in what they wrote that would contradict my assessment. In the Design of Life, Dembski and Wells describe natural selection leading to short fat humans in high latitudes because of cold and British starlings that morphed in the US because of environmental pressures. I doubt they would disagree with anything I wrote.

  40. 40
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    “There is so much disparate evidence of an old universe everywhere we look that if the universe was created a mere 6000 years ago then whoever or whatever did the creating went to an awful lot of trouble to make it appear to be vastly older than that.” – DaveScot

    Which might seem odd to an engineer. But not to an artist or an author. It would be impossible to accurately date any of my paintings or books based on internal evidence alone – and when it comes to the study of the universe (without revelation), internal evidence is all we’ve got.

  41. 41
    Atom says:

    jerry,

    I’m fine with being labeled anything they want to throw at me – they already do, trust me. As I said, I think you’re overestimating the impact of disavowing YEC.

    How respected are OECs by the DarwinMats? How many OEC articles pass peer review? How many OECs are held up as examples of rationality?

    So misrepresentation of ID will not be as bad if we disavow YEC? PZ and Dawkins will make peace?

    You’re kidding yourself if you think the age of the earth has much to do with how DarwinMats view ID. Even OEC is an attack on their religion, so don’t expect the misrepresentation to stop once you adopt an OEC stance.

  42. 42
    Atom says:

    Addendum:

    If you still think OEC views will be safe from vilification and misrepresentation, please see Guillermo Gonzalez.

  43. 43
    jerry says:

    Atom,

    I agree that their basic disagreement is not the age of the earth but the implications for their ideology. But Matzke once said he is happy that ID associates with the YEC’s because it is so much easier to then discredit ID because of this association.

    ID has no credibility as long as it openly associates with anyone that professes bad science. How do you separate the two and why should anyone listen to ID proponents as long as they have this association. How do you tell the difference. We can on this site but it has taken a long time for many.

    It is not the Darwinist that you have to reach, but the average person and right now they are being inoculated against ID because of the YEC connection.

  44. 44
    Mapou says:

    Atom: How respected are OECs by the DarwinMats? How many OEC articles pass peer review? How many OECs are held up as examples of rationality?

    It has nothing to do with being respected by others, in my opinion. It has to do with being true to the scientific evidence wherever it leads. It’s about being true to the principles of good science. If the YECs don’t like it, so be it. At least, that’s the way I and many others see it. Besides, it’s not as if the IDers are being flooded with cash from their YEC connections anyway. Where are the mega million dollar labs that are doing ID research? I don’t see them. I am a believing Christian and I think that YECs should fall in line with the science or fall by the wayside. Sorry.

  45. 45
    Atom says:

    Mapou,

    With all due respect, that is your take on the science. As someone pointed out in the case of Peter Borger, he would scientifically disagree with you. As would many other very well-educated YECs.

    jerry,

    Again, even if ID was not associated with YEC, it would still be called as much. Look at Matzke and Forrest and all that “ID = Creationism” garbage they know is false, yet still perpetuate.

    Again, I think your guns are aimed at the wrong row of soldiers.

  46. 46
    StephenB says:

    Jerry, you continue to miss the point. Theistic evolutionists are irrational because they misuse and misrepresent the very religion they claim to believe in ,a misreprentation that prompts them to misinterpret the data. They say they are Christians. Well, what is the teaching of Christianity? Christianity teaches, among other things, that God created a universe that is designed and, that that same design is perceptible

    But these so-called Christians obviously do not believe what their religion teaches. In fact, they believe the very opposite. They believe that God did not create any such universe at all. They insist that the Biblical God could not have done what the Biblical God said he did do, that is, create a world in which design is apparent. They go on to say that any such design is only an illusion. Why? The God described in the Scriptures they claim to believe in is, nevertheless, not, IN THEIR OPIION sufficiently powerful for them, so they arbitrarily characterize him in a different way. Not in the way God describes creation, but in a way that they would prefer to think about the creation, Biblically justified or not. Then, they take that new paradigm and interpret the data accordingly. That is irrational.

    —–Jerry: “One of their problems is that they subscribe to Darwinian processes because of theological processes. I described this in the thread that Dembski took down. They will look at ID as leading to a God that is not as powerful as theirs. I have some sympathy for this as I always looked at ID leading to a constant tinkering that is beneath an omnipotent God.”

    Well, that is your opinion and their opinion. It is not my opinion, nor is it Biblical teaching. It may well be that God chooses to tinker for a lot or reasons, not because he cannot do otherwise but because he has good reasons for doing so. William Dembski has pointed out that the “engineer” analogy may not be the proper one to use. It may well be that God acts like an “orchestra leader,” conducting his creation over time. Maybe, that is because his people are interacting with his creation and need some kind of supervision. God could have caused the Red Sea to part by using natural means. He could have set the flood up through billions of years of chance happening. On the other hand, he may have just stepped in and done it. Maybe God really did part the Red Sea. Maybe, for all we know, God commands his angels to regulate every physical law in the universe in such a way that those same laws can be measured and used for good.

    Does it mean that God cannot operate from a distance even though he sometimes prefers to be up close and personal? Does it mean that God is no longer omnipotent because He chooses send his Son to become God incarnate when he could have just as easily found a way to do it without intervening in mans affairs? I don’t have any idea, of course, but that is the point. Neither do the Theistic evolutionists.

    It is not rational to take one’s own unwarranted interpretation of Scripture and impose it on the evolutionary process, especially when that interpretation is ANTI-SCRIPTURAL. That is a good example of “stacking the deck” rather following where the evidence leads. And yes, it is irrational. It is bad theology, bad philosophy and bad science. Most of all, it is incredibly presumptuous to think that our uninformed opinion about which tasks challenge God the most should cause us to rewrite Scripture and then impose it on our science.

  47. 47
    StephenB says:

    Jerry, you continue to miss the point. Theistic evolutionists are irrational because they misuse and misrepresent the very religion they claim to believe in ,a misreprentation that prompts them to misinterpret the data. They say they are Christians. Well, what is the teaching of Christianity? Christianity teaches, among other things, that God created a universe that is designed and, that that same design is perceptible

    But these so-called Christians obviously do not believe what their religion teaches. In fact, they believe the very opposite. They believe that God did not create any such universe at all. They insist that the Biblical God could not have done what the Biblical God said he did do, that is, create a world in which design is apparent. They go on to say that any such design is only an illusion. Why? The God described in the Scriptures they claim to believe in is, nevertheless, not, IN THEIR OPIION sufficiently powerful for them, so they arbitrarily characterize him in a different way. Not in the way God describes creation, but in a way that they would prefer to think about the creation, Biblically justified or not. Then, they take that new paradigm and interpret the data accordingly. That is irrational.

    —–Jerry: “One of their problems is that they subscribe to Darwinian processes because of theological processes. I described this in the thread that Dembski took down. They will look at ID as leading to a God that is not as powerful as theirs. I have some sympathy for this as I always looked at ID leading to a constant tinkering that is beneath an omnipotent God.”

    Well, that is your opinion and their opinion. It is not my opinion, nor is it Biblical teaching. It may well be that God chooses to tinker for a lot or reasons, not because he cannot do otherwise but because he has good reasons for doing so. William Dembski has pointed out that the “engineer” analogy may not be the proper one to use. It may well be that God acts like an “orchestra leader,” conducting his creation over time. Maybe, that is because his people are interacting with his creation and need some kind of supervision. God could have caused the Red Sea to part by using natural means. He could have set the flood up through billions of years of chance happening. On the other hand, he may have just stepped in and done it. Maybe God really did part the Red Sea. Maybe, for all we know, God commands his angels to regulate every physical law in the universe in such a way that those same laws can be measured and used for good.

    Does it mean that God cannot operate from a distance even though he sometimes prefers to be up close and personal? Does it mean that God is no longer omnipotent because He chooses send his Son to become God incarnate when he could have just as easily found a way to do it without intervening in mans affairs? I don’t have any idea, of course, but that is the point. Neither do the Theistic evolutionists.

    It is not rational to take one’s own unwarranted interpretation of Scripture and impose it on the evolutionary process, especially when that interpretation is ANTI-SCRIPTURAL. That is a good example of “stacking the deck” rather following where the evidence leads. And yes, it is irrational. It is bad theology, bad philosophy and bad science. Most of all, it is incredibly presumptuous to think that our uninformed opinion about which tasks challenge God the most should cause us to rewrite Scripture and then impose it on our science.

  48. 48
    jerry says:

    StephenB,

    I suggest you take your understandings on TE’s and go to ASA and challenge them. I don’t think you will fair well because you will be dealing with people who quote the scriptures more than anyone here and some are trained theologians.

    I don’t agree with them on several issues but understand them and I do not see any of the things you are claiming in their positions. So have at with them and see if you can pin them down to what you say they are. They have written several books on evolution so they have a paper trail you can use.

    By the way they recently had a discussion on what it meant to be a TE and as far as could tell there was no consensus amongst them. It all turns to theology and not to science very quickly. The one thing that seems to unite the most vocal is their dislike for ID. A few are very sympathetic to ID.

    One thing you will have to recognize is that there are few if any Catholics there. Many Catholics hold the TE point of view and I doubt you will find any Catholic who does not believe in the obvious design in the world, just how God created that design. I would not want to be with you when you confronted a Catholic theologian who is a TE and told him he was going against the teachings of his Church.

  49. 49
    jerry says:

    bfast,

    you said

    “When challenged about all of the other science that implies an old earth, he responds by saying that he is a biologist, not one trained in the other sciences. His science, he contends, requires either regular miraculous intervention to undo the destruction of deleterious mutations, or it requires a young biology.”

    I find this an absolutely incredible statement. There are thousands of species which are described in writing for at least 4,000 years and none of these species have deteriorated including man. This is 2/3 of the supposedly age of the earth. Such a statement should impeach Borger as a source for anything in the area of biology.

    How would Borger explain the thousands of bird species, different types of beetles, zillions of fish varieties, the dispersion of like animals to a specific continent, etc. etc. Where did they come from? It is statements like Borger’s that give ID a bad name.

  50. 50
    Mapou says:

    Atom: With all due respect, that is your take on the science. As someone pointed out in the case of Peter Borger, he would scientifically disagree with you. As would many other very well-educated YECs.

    I’m sure that Borger would think that he’s scientifically disagreeing with me but the scientific evidence clearly shows that he would be wrong, sorry. And he would also be wrong theologically. As I pointed out in a parallel thread, in an article I addressed to YEC Dr. Giem, how can you have a literal day having a literal morning and a literal evening three days before the sun was created? How can that be? Especially since the same scripture insists that the sun (the main luminary) was created to govern the day? Obviously there are problems with either the text of Genesis or with our understanding of the words. After all, these are extremely ancient texts and something in the meaning of words is bound to be lost over the centuries.

    The whole YEC stance sounds more like some people simply refuse to admit that the doctrine they were raised with could be mistaken. It’s human nature. I think it’s time that they confess that they are not infallible with regard to their Biblical interpretation. Again, I do not question the faith of any Christian but I do question the logic of some. God does not insult our intelligence. We should not insult his.

  51. 51
    Parmenides says:

    StephenB, you are right in thinking TE is inconsistent with Scripture. The biggest problem is that evolutionary processes are random like an explosion in a boiler factory. The Bible is permeated with the concept of the Sovereignty of God who lets not a sparrow fall in vain, Calling a bird of prey from the East, a man of my council from a far country and who has numbered the hairs on your head. Furthermore, the random process approach means that the rational processes of the human mind are more or less another boiler explosion result. This means that rationality is not the “image of God in man” so there is no necessary conection between reason and ontological reality. This is amajor flaw in Humanistic thinking which reduces it to something resembling Kantianism. There is no necessary way “the real is rational and the rational is real”. Are there rational arguments for evolution? It’s no more significant than a preferance for chocolate ice cream.

  52. 52
    StephenB says:

    Jerry, my plate is full with the TE’s that visit this website and their enablers. By TE I mean any evolutionist who posits that God was somehow involved with the creation of the world, but that he did not leave clues in the form of detectable design. Many TEs say the world was designed, but that such design is not detectable. They cop out by saying that the “design is in the evolutionary process,” which nevertheless cannot be detected. that is there position. If you disagree with me, then I suggest you read them further. If they did believe in detectable design, then they would be ID and not TE. Otherwise the term TE has no meaning. So, I don’t know what you mean when you say that they don’t take that position.

    Again, I have been asking this simple question for a long time and no one has yet stepped up to the plate to answer it. I think it is a fair question, and I don’t believe you have even acknowledged it, much less address it. You say that I would not fare to well in another venue, but I have already had encouters with similar groups and they cannot answer the question either. As I have tried to point out many times, the TE’s harm the ID movement much more even than the YEC’s. At least the YEC’s are supportive even if they are somewhat stigmatized. At least they will give straight answers to straight questions, and at least they are consistent.

    Is there anyone else out there that will step up to the challenge. If you are a TE or a Christian Darwinist, how do you reconcile your Biblical teaching that design is real with your Darwinist ideology that design is illusory?

  53. 53
    Jason Rennie says:

    “Mr. Rennie, have you ever thought of emigrating to the United States? With all due respect to the UK.”

    Thanks 🙂 Actually I live in Australia. And i’m in no rush to move unless there are jobs to be had on arriving.

  54. 54
    Jason Rennie says:

    “I further insists that the so-called theistic evolutionists are they are called today are really Christian Darwinists under another name, because they are positing an undguided process.”

    I’m not sure. I think to some degree people may just be talking past each other. I may be mistaken but i’ll opt for charitable understandings from people where possible.

    “Jerry, seems to disagree with me, suggesting that they are proposing a process that is both guided and unguided.”

    I guess it depends exactly what is meant. A process cannot obviously be guided and unguided at the same time and in the same way. That would be a contradiction. But it could be the case that a process is set in motion such that it will reach a desired outcome without guidance during its progression. The would seem to be a “guide/unguided” process. But even something like that would still be a “creationist approach” to someone like Dawkins or Dennett and would be incompatible with “Darwinism” in the sense they mean it.

  55. 55
    Jason Rennie says:

    “By TE I mean any evolutionist who posits that God was somehow involved with the creation of the world, but that he did not leave clues in the form of detectable design”

    Wouldn’t this claim hinge critically on the meaning of the word “detectable”.

    You may well be talking past each other on this point, which is probably best avoided.

    Even Richard Dawkins concedes that an intuition of design about the natural world is perfectly reasonable and almost overwhelming at times. So clearly in some sense design is not just “detectable” but “obvious”.

    On the other hand, the specific level of design and understanding may not be easily nailed down or determined in any particular case. How designed is any random rock you pick up off the ground ?

    In a theological sense the random stone is every bit as much designed and purposed as the most intricate molecular motor but the amount of design and so on is undetectable in the case of the rock, at least for any meaningful sense.

    I agree it is mistaken to claim that much of what we see in nature is not clear evidence of design, but I can see why some people for a variety of reasons stop shy of wanting to mark things as designed.

    Some people might do it for self-serving reasons related to academic standing and “fear or man”, but because some people do it for that reason does not mean everybody does. To claim that this is the case is as stupid as certain left wing idiots claiming that any difference in ratios of ethic groups or sexes in a work place is the result of racism of sexism. Maybe it is, but there are lots of others entirely mundane reasons for such observations that are nothing to do with intentional “misdeeds” on anybodies part.

  56. 56

    I don’t have the quote right in front of me, but I do think Ruse is one of those fine chaps who thinks that science–all study–must be at least provisionally atheistic, or simply CEASE to be true science.

    Then we have this:

    “Dawkins is entirely ignorant of the fact that no believer – has ever thought that arguments are the best support for belief. John Henry ‘Newman wrote: “I believe in design because I believe in God; not in a God because I see design.'”

    Ruse, like Allen Orr, has good and well-meaning sentiments, but while this is a nice gesture, it worries me. Not getting too much ideology into all this, and not saying that liberal Christians are not just that, and only that, I think you have to be careful whom your allies are. Liberal Christians tend to equivicate on a number of ideas–not just Darwinian descent.

    And while Dawkins is surely ignorant of much of theology and the “what” of what Christians might think as a group (as Ruse points out), it is however simply not true that arguements FOR belief and not simply “belief” have not come and gone before. Ever since the Kaalam and the Anslem argument others have branched off to show others how/what might be at work in the Cosmos. More rencently the whole ID project seems geared at putting “design” back into the swing of things after it fell out of favor with the rise of Charles Darwin and the refutation of Paley.

    Either God has something to do with the Known Universe and the granduer of life, or does not.

    Those are the chocies.

    While ID dosen’t specify the Designer’s identity and simply brushes aside the arguments about genetic imperfections, it seems to hold to a monotheistic belief in an entity that can do just about everything. Some people no doubt believe just because they do. It’s true that most people I talk to who’re professing believers in one thing or another don’t expend great energy in seeking out abstruse arguments or Design issues. Others enjoy learning about the undergirding of that faith or if in the Doubtful about other details that might point to Design parameters.

  57. 57
    PannenbergOmega says:

    “Even Richard Dawkins concedes that an intuition of design about the natural world is perfectly reasonable and almost overwhelming at times. So clearly in some sense design is not just “detectable” but “obvious”.”

    This is why we might win.

  58. 58
    Jason Rennie says:

    “the rise of Charles Darwin and the refutation of Paley”

    I’m not sure it is fair to say Paley was ever refuted as such. Some of the natural theology stuff was over the top and a bit “completely out to lunch”, but I think Paley’s argument is as sound today as it ever was in the past.

    There are political/religious reasons for why it fell out of favour but I don’t think it was ever abandoned because the argument was shown to be wrong.

  59. 59
    Jason Rennie says:

    I should add, sorry, Darwinism claims to remove design from nature by showing the process by which it is created.

    Darwin’s idea seeks to reduce the watch that has been found to just another fancy rock that can be explained by natural processes.

    I would contend Darwin demotes the watch to a rock, it doesn’t show how a real watch can get there.

    If you see what I am saying. I’m probably expressing it badly.

  60. 60
    Jason Rennie says:

    Hmm … too keep blathering, perhaps this is the way to frame the argument in future.

    If Darwin claims to reduce the watch to a fancy rock and not a designed object after all, then the Darwinist really needs to put up or shut up. Obviously this challenge has been pushed aside for years, but I don’t think the nature of the claim has been pressed strongly enough. Oh well, anyway, just food for thought.

  61. 61
    bevets says:

    My favorite quip: “I confess that it is the first time in my life that I have felt sorry for the ontological argument.”

    Dawkins is a highly skilled writer, but this book should embarrass any self-respecting atheist.

  62. 62
    StephenB says:

    Jason:

    I am not sure what you are saying here. All of the players in this drama, including TE’s, agree that design is “apparent,” but that doesn’t stop the TE’s from claiming that a design inference should not be regarded as a legitimate scientific process.

    The subtle differences among TEs are real, but they somehow melt away when the subject of methodological naturalism is brought into the discussion. Consider the theistic evolutionist who says the following: [a] granted the world was designed, however, [b] methodological naturalism requires that I may not consider the explanatory filter under any conditions or support those who do. Doesn’t that cancel out the apparent open-mindedness? What practical difference is there between a Richard Dawkins, who denies that God exists and insists that science does not address the supernatural, and a Theistic evolutionist who acknowledges God but insists, nevertheless, that the effects of God’s handiwork may not be considered from a scientific perspective. Each claims that ID is not science; each is willing to militate against the ID scientist.

    There is one difference, however. Dawkins is not going to recruit Christians into his camp as enemies of intelligent design, because he knows that Christianity and Darwinism are incompatible. The theistic evolutionist, deluded as he is, will much more easily persuade the Christian that Darwinism is indeed quite compatible with Christianity and therefore win a new convert to the anti-ID camp. There is just enough sugar in the poison to make it palatable. Sure, some TE’s are less hostile to ID than others, but they are hostile nonetheless. When Cardinal Shonborn expressed sympathy for the ID movement, it was the Catholic theistic evolutionists who came down hardest on him. Suddenly, the subtle differences among them became less of an issue than their differences with him. So, I ask the follow up question: Are there any theistic evolutionists out there who have ever taken the side of an ID scientist, not to the point of agreeing with the arguments, but even to the point of acknowledging that ID deserves a fair hearing? If not, then why am I getting all this resistance from those who say I am being too hard on the TE’s.?

  63. 63
    Jason Rennie says:

    “but that doesn’t stop the TE’s from claiming that a design inference should not be regarded as a legitimate scientific process.”

    Is it unreasonable to take this position though ? Anti-realist approaches to science are perfectly legitimate, although they do pay the price of abandoning the search for truth and substitute it for a simple pragmatism.

    Frankly I think it is on this point anybody who say “ID cannot be science” needs to be forced to confront what such a claim means.

    “Consider the theistic evolutionist who says the following: [a] granted the world was designed, however, [b] methodological naturalism requires that I may not consider the explanatory filter under any conditions or support those who do.”

    I don’t really have a problem with people who want to do that unless they are unwilling to take seriously the implications of that position. Once you say the above (which I would stress really is a legitimate thing to say from a philosophy of science perspective depending on what view ofg science you take) then you commit yourself to abandoning science as capable of understanding truth about the world. I don’t really see this as a problem if someone wants to do that, as long as they don’t then try to lie and pretend that science can still function as an arbiter of truth.

    “t was the Catholic theistic evolutionists who came down hardest on him”

    I don’t have much patience for catholics that don’t take their faith seriously.

    “Are there any theistic evolutionists out there who have ever taken the side of an ID scientist, not to the point of agreeing with the arguments, but even to the point of acknowledging that ID deserves a fair hearing?”

    Mike Behe did exactly that. He was a TE until a light went on.

    I agree with you that the TE is confused and potentially dangerously misguided, but they do come around.

    I suspect you are better off letting them face the reality of the people they have gotten themselves into bed with on their own rather than attacking them though. Show them what their “allies” are really like rather than attacking them.

  64. 64
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Is Alister McGrath a Theistic Evolutionist? I’m afraid I don’t
    know much about him, other than that
    he debates Dawkins.

  65. 65

    […] Michael Ruse on Dawkins’ Delusion (Uncommon Descent) […]

  66. 66
    jerry says:

    PannenbergOmega,

    I read his book where he takes on Dawkins but it was all on theology and little if any on biology. So I assumed he accepted gradualism as the means for evolution. I had no feeling that he supported ID. IF someone has a different interpretation please feel free to add to this. It was a couple years ago that I read the book.

  67. 67
    StephenB says:

    —–Atom: You have made a great point at @48.

    —–You write, “Again, even if ID was not associated with YEC, it would still be called as much. Look at Matzke and Forrest and all that “ID = Creationism” garbage they know is false, yet still perpetuate.”

    If the creationism stigma did not exist they would have had to invent it.

  68. 68
    Atom says:

    Mapou,

    As YEC (in its American flavor) is highly theological, do not be surprised if there is a theological answer to your question: G-d himself, we are told, is light. The Shekinah (physical manifestation of G-d’s Spirit) is also described as a light source in Torah: a pillar of fire. So your problem disappears as there was a light source hovering over the face of the waters.

    But this is what I simultaneously don’t like about YEC and respect at the same time. On one hand, “scientific” arguments along theological lines are almost impossible to refute and therefore to me are not really evidence based – they’re more faith based. But having the faith to take G-d at his word, even when you think you are smarter than his Word, is something I find respectable in the highest degree. It takes the greatest humility.

    So this is why I like ID – it keeps the evidence and arguments on an evidential basis without resorting to faith based arguments.

    As far as YECs can contribute to this evidentiary base, they are more then welcomed in the big tent. Their theological arguments and interpretations may not be agreed upon by the others in the big tent, but that holds for any other group within the big tent. If everyone agreed on everything it would be more of a cult than a science exploration.

  69. 69
    StephenB says:

    For anyone who thinks that I have been too hard on the TE’s, I offer a paradigm example.

    If you want to know what is really going on with the Theistic Evolutionists, just move to the next thread by DHL entitled, “Florida’s Darwinian standards evolve to a ‘scientific theory.’”

    Notice that section in the report in which Dr. Joseph Travis, from Florida State University weighs in on the controversy. Consider the following facts about him obtained from this article and other sources:

    —- He is clearly in the camp of Theistic Evolutionists

    —- He has been given the privilege of making policy decisions for the state (By playing it both ways, (God and Darwin) he has influence with atheists and Christians.)

    —- He is a fierce anti-ID opponent.

    —- He plays the religion card (one of several “Roman Catholics” who spoke) [“What! Me, an ideologue? Why, I’ll have you know that I am a Catholic” (Or Christian, or religious person, or whatever banner they can raise to appear oh, so reasonable.)

    —- He insists that Darwinism and Catholicism are compatible (The Church of which he AND ME are members teaches otherwise)

    —- He wants to force Darwinism down our throats.

    —- He uses the generic term “evolution” and avoids the word Darwinism

    —- He labels ID as “creationism”

    —- He wants to upgrade the term “theory of evolution” to “the scientific fact” of evolution and make it mandatory

    This is the profile that I have been telling you about and Travis embodies it very well. This is not the exception, this is the rule. Richard Dawkins cannot create anywhere near the havoc or confusion as a man such as this.

  70. 70
    StephenB says:

    Good grief! I mean, “The Church of which He and I are members.” (Yikes!)

  71. 71

    Bevets, from your link I came across a Betrand Russell quote I had heard of before but forgot the exact wording. Now I see it is just as I remembered:

    It appears that during those ages when animals were torturing each other with ferocious horns and agonizing stings, Omnipotence was quietly waiting for the ultimate emergence of man, with his still more widely diffused cruelty. Why the Creator should have preferred to reach his goal by a process, instead of going straight to it, these modem theologians do not tell us. Religion and Science (1961) p. 73

    Contrast with Ruse from above, as quoted in part:

    Even though I am not a Christian, I nevertheless think that one can be a Christian with integrity and that Darwinism does not in itself preclude Christianity.

    I wonder if Ruse has thought this through. Come to think of it, I wonder if theologians or for that matter IDers have thought through the horrid implications of a deity that would use the methodology of death and terror and stings and poison and territorial bluff to make new species–mammals from reptiles, humans then, from common simian warriors on the savannahs of Africa, and man eating crocs out of the old archasaurs.

    Ruse sounds like he’s trying to comfort people and have the best of both tasty cakes.

    He can’t. At some point ID will have to face up to what kind of Intelligence made the whole ball of wax and why certain gruesome methods were employed rather than just fiat, as described in all ancient texts including Genesis.

    This is slightly different from the Classical Problem of Pain. The two could be intermixed, but for most human beings by pain we mean life’s many trials and trevails and illness, death, disease, and other accompanying troubles all the way down to a thin bank account and bad hair days. We know there is no perfection and are not guaranteed such in some fallen state.

    But Russell’s observation is a little different. It has less to do with “pain” for humans than the methods a Designer would employ in LEADING UP to mankind’s creation from lower creatures.

  72. 72
    bFast says:

    S Wakefield Tolbert:

    I wonder if theologians or for that matter IDers have thought through the horrid implications of a deity that would use the methodology of death and terror and stings and poison and territorial bluff to make new species–mammals from reptiles, humans then, from common simian warriors on the savannahs of Africa, and man eating crocs out of the old archasaurs.

    ID is not that great of fit with Christianity, is it? No better case can be made to challenge the propoganda that ID is “creationism in a cheap tuxedo”. I concur with you that there is significant tension between Christian theology and ID.

  73. 73
    Patrick says:

    Tolbert,

    Dembski actually wrote on this topic with this essay:

    http://www.designinference.com.....eodicy.pdf

  74. 74
    Jason Rennie says:

    “At some point ID will have to face up to what kind of Intelligence made the whole ball of wax and why certain gruesome methods were employed rather than just fiat, as described in all ancient texts including Genesis”

    I think the big problem you have with this is essentially a lack of facts in evidence.

    There are assumptions underlying the thinking that can’t simply be assumed but must be demonstrated about the alleged “cruelty”.

    How much does an antelope suffer when taken by a lion ? At all ? A lot ?

    What is it like to be a bat ?

  75. 75
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Patrick, what exactly is being said in Christian Theodicy? That actions (the fall) changed the universe (through quantum entanglement) from good to one where natural and personal evil reign?

  76. 76
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Jason Rennie, could you elaborate on your own theological views?

    I understand you are not a Theistic Evolutionist.

  77. 77
    PannenbergOmega says:

    I guess what Dembski’s paper is saying is that our minds and our actions influence the universe.

    When we rebelled against God, that changed our universe. Not only that but it changed the past too. This reminds me of an episode of Star Trek TNG where Q was messing around with different timelines.

    Anyway, I guess Dembski’s ideas on the fall go along with his view that the Universe is more like a ‘great thought’ than a ‘great machine’.

  78. 78
    Paul Giem says:

    Mapou, (53)

    You say, “As I pointed out in a parallel thread, in an article I addressed to YEC Dr. Giem, how can you have a literal day having a literal morning and a literal evening three days before the sun was created?

    You might want to return to that thread to see my answer. I might be wrong, but I don’t think it is quite as cut and dried as you apparently implied.

    S. Wakefield Tolbert, (74)

    Your problem is one of the reasons why Darwin favored a process that did not require God for the apparent long ages of progressively more complex animals. However, its apparent implications can be ignored or resisted as long as the alternatives to OEC are unacceptable.

  79. 79

    Jason R. (77)

    How much does an antelope suffer when taken by a lion ? At all ? A lot ?

    What is it like to be a bat ?

    Well, I don’t know. How could I? How could any human?

    WE CAN MAKE some guesses based on the screaming and bleating and the fact that while there are exceptions, we usually find this stuff disturbing. If for no other reason than an evolutionary warning signal to leave the vicinity because predators are at work. This is the evolutionary explanation for being grossed out. If you see the insides of an animal you need to split. Predation is at work and best to split. Now some have taken the tack of actually using children’s stories to demonstrate that this is not evil but merely UNPLEASANT. And its true there’s a difference. Not all unpleasantries are wicked in and of themselves.

    Aslan is a good lion. He is not safe. Neither is the Leviathan in Job (probably a Nile crocodile).

    But contrary to the pollyannish stuff seen on some presentations, death is not always quiet or merciful. It is myth that animals usually dispatch their prey better and more humanly than….humans….

    From the above article as evidence about what “animals” think it seems there are some refutations in the works that animals run on autopilot and don’t think things through. The dark cloud in this silver lining that tends to refute the older Darwinian notion that the mind is an illusion caused by the cascade of neural synapses and pre-programmed responses is that now animals are known to percieve more than we might like to think. Of course this could still be good news for everyone. Maybe your little Fido and Muffin the cat actually DO understand you after a while?

    Paul Giem:

    Aye. And that would solve the issue. Yes, there can be tension between traditional Christianity and ID, and YES, this COULD refute the notion of ID being Creationism dressed in a tux for a night on the town.

  80. 80
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Thanks Jerry for that info.

    “Comment 61 by Jason Rennie”

    Thank you for pointing out that William Paley was never refuted by Charles Darwin or his minions. Rather there was a paradigm shift in the culture.

  81. 81
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Hey, if we in the West can get rid of a Communist super power. I’m sure we can get rid of the Darwinist junta our societal institutions.

  82. 82
    YEC says:

    RE # 39
    “Trees produce annual rings of varying thickness. One can begin by taking the pattern in the oldest rings in living trees and unmistakably match the pattern with the youngest rings in petrified trees. You can go back farther than 6000 years by that alone.”

    Dave, it is interesting that you chose tree-ring chronologies as your first evidence for an old earth. Back when I was first becoming convinced that YEC was true, tree-rings were one of the remaining glaring difficulties for YEC in my mind. So I started studying the matter. I found that as with most bold simplistic claims made by evolutionists, the simplistic claim is not nearly as well supported by the evidence as you would be led to believe, and it ignores many inconvenient facts that point to something contradictory.

    Tree-ring matching is not an exact science by any measure. In the end you will find that a “match” is all in the eye of the beholder. In other words when a dendrochronologist has convinced himself that he is found a match, then he simply declares it is match. While measurements and statistics can be part of the consideration process, in the end it comes down to dendrochronologist’s own subjective judgement. Pilcher wrote a textbook on dendrochronology, in it he quotes Douglas — the father of dendrochronology — as saying, “There is no mechanical process, no rule of thumb, no formula, no correlation coefficient, to take the place of this personal comparison between different ring records; the operator does not dare to seek relief from his responsibility.” Pilcher then goes on to say, “The situation has not changed. There are many aids to cross-dating available, but the ultimate test remains the personal judgment of the dendrochronologist.” When you consider that in Bristlecone pines (the most well-known chronologies) it is not uncommon for 5% of the rings to be “missing”. It is the thin rings of one tree that one usually uses to match with the thin rings of another tree, and it is the thin rings that are most liable to be missing. So you get a lot of wiggle room in your “match”. I could go on and on about the pitfalls of matching, but what about the “fact” that the “oldest living tree” was almost 5,000 years old? That puts it pre-flood, and I don’t find any arguments that it may have survived the flood convincing.

    This paper gives many of the reasons to believe that these rings probably aren’t annual rings – these Bristlecones are probably growing more than one ring per year.

    http://www.creationontheweb.co.....95-103.pdf

    It has been demonstrated that many species of the same genus as Bristlecones (as well as species from vastly different genera – including angiosperms)) grow more than one ring per year in the same types of environments that these Bristlecones grow in, and it has been demonstrated that Bristlecones themselves can grow more than one ring per year.
    I have to go now … bottom line, tree-rings appear to be no problem for YEC. If you have questions feel free to ask.

  83. 83
    DaveScot says:

    YEC

    Let’s grant for the sake of argument that tree rings might not be reliable enough in and of themselves. It’s the weight of it all combined as I clearly stated.

    You still have to show that all these processes and observations from disparate sources are together so unreliable as to beggar belief.

    You have a number of processes and observations to go. I’m all ears. May I suggest you start by showing how astronomical observations of objects in motion that clearly disrupted each other in passing, the disruption is perfectly explained by precise laws of physics, and are now separated such a distance and moving at such a velocity that only the passage of millions of years can explain that separation. I think you’ll have to discount the laws of physics there but I’m open to anything you want to propose. Astrophysics is a tough nut to crack. It explains observations with exquisite precision.

    I’ll see if I can find some specific examples for you. Some of the Hubble photographs of galaxies that had made close encounters in the distant past are breathtaking in beauty and explained to many decimal points of precision by the laws of physics.

  84. 84
    Mapou says:

    Paul Giem: You might want to return to that thread to see my answer. I might be wrong, but I don’t think it is quite as cut and dried as you apparently implied.

    I posted a reply to your answer but, unfortunately, I noticed that most of my comments are being censored by someone (Dave Scot, most likely) with administration privilege of the Uncommon Descent blog. Somebody is letting me know in no uncertain terms that I am no longer welcome to post here. It’s been fun.

    Gentle warning not to goad me. You know what you wrote. I’ll take you back off the moderation list now. You’re too well informed about the issues surrounding ID (scientific, political, religious) to let go so easily. -ds

  85. 85
    DaveScot says:

    Here’s a nice one. Head on collision of a large galaxy by one of two possible smaller interlopers. The collision created a ring-like shock wave, like a pebble plopped into a pond, that sent material flying out from the point of impact at 200,000 mph. The shockwave is 150,000 light years across. How did that happen in 6000 years or less?

    http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/ast.....wheel.html

  86. 86

    Post (76)

    Patrick says:

    Tolbert,

    Dembski actually wrote on this topic with this essay:

    http://www.designinference.com…..eodicy.pdf

    Well….OK…it was good. Very interesting, but when it comes to the anticipation of “evil” by a Creator or the traditional concept of the God of the Bible, this is now turning into guesswork. There seemed to be three major possibilities here and none of them seemed adequate IMO. The first problem is that compared to our general conception of the God of the Bible (and I DO understand that so far with modern science we can take the literal assumptions away from Genesis in some cases) makes him very weak and uncreative as a Designer. No human engineer would make the human eye as vulnerable to damage as it is, for example, and of course a tidy engineer would not have wired it backwards using hit or miss issues vast eons of time either.

    Second, I’m not convinced that all pain is evil. That’s our word for destruction of living things for sheer convenience. I agree CS Lewis that not all “evil” can be attributed to human failings. If that’s what such things as predation can even be called.

    Is it?

    “unpleasant things happening to animals” has traditionally been seen as part and parcel of the Fall, and Paul tells us that due to human sin all of creation is upset.
    But is this the same as the result of human sin, and evil per se?
    Are lions evil? Hmmm.

    But perhaps there is a different meaning here?

  87. 87
    DaveScot says:

    Wakefield

    Are lions evil?

    I’d think not. Evil to me entails malicious intent. Animal instinct as far as I know doesn’t have malicious intent. Real evil seems to be a uniquely human quality.

    What intrigues me more is what it takes to overcome predatory instinct and turn a carnivorous predator into a gentle herbivore. Would selective breeding over thousands of years bring out a lion that eats straw as an oxen?

    I’ve photographic proof of two natural predators, two 70 pound dogs and one 10 pound cat, sleeping together by mutual choice. They were raised together in an environment where there was no death or destruction or hunger. I’m not about to test it but I presume that the dogs would no more eat the cat if they were starving than they’d eat me or any other pack or flock members. There’s a rabbit in the pack too. But these are domesticated animals bred to perform jobs and one of those jobs is guard the flock don’t eat the flock in the case of the sheepdog. Fend off large predators a wild dog would avoid, don’t eat the low hanging fruit (the flock) but still hunt wild game to feed himself, all while the shepherd is gone for weeks and months at a time so all that responsibility is on the sheepdog. Sheepdogs are incredible animals. This is my first one and I was amazed by the instincts that run contrary to their wild ancestors. That behavior is now instinctive due to hundreds of generations of selective breeding. Hundreds of generations isn’t much time for random mutation to produce novelty so I think the most likely explanation is the traits were already there, made recessive by millions of years (more or less) of necessity, but made dominant again in a comparatively small number of generations of different necessity. Both the dogs and the cat enjoy eating a surprisingly large range of fruits, vegetables (grains, legumes, tubers) and could easily survive without meat in their diets just as humans can easily survive as herbivores.

    Lions, while they might not have a digestive tract (but maybe they have the potential in their DNA!) such that they can literally eat straw as an oxen, still make me wonder how many generations of selective breeding it would take to breed the carnivore out of them and turn them into natural herbivores if hunger was never a factor and they were raised in intimate contact with their natural prey. Sort of like how easy it was to breed the natural instincts out of wild dogs (wolves or whatever) to make livestock guard dogs.

    Such an experiment with a lion, if it resulted in a herbivore, might be construed as supportive evidence that lions started out as non-predatory herbivores, a state of nature easily restored in the right environment because the traits are recessive but still in them, and something changed long ago to make them into carnivorous predators. Not that I’m reaching for evidence of a Garden of Eden or anything like it, but evidence is evidence and it must be followed wherever it leads. Being an agnostic isn’t all that bad. We get to follow the evidence wherever it leads and leave the door open to any reasonable possibility. The downside is that few possibilities have the door slammed completely shut by the evidence so we kind of wander around in a constant state of wonderment. I guess after a while you learn to live knowing that you don’t really know much with absolute certainty – the only thing you’re sure of is that you don’t hold many absolute truths.

  88. 88
    PannenbergOmega says:

    I really hate to keep harping on this..

    If certain ideas in quantum mechanics are true (I am no expert) and if we are the only sentient life in the universe. That means that our minds (let’s not kid ourselves, apes and dolphins are not men) could be entangled with the cosmos. After all the universe is supposed to be mind-stuff right?

    So if our actions can effect the universe, then perhaps because of our sin there is natural evil.

    Could anyone express in a better way?

  89. 89
    jerry says:

    We have discussed evil here many times and the same arguments seem to always come up. One of them is what is evil. There seemed to be a certain naivety as to what is truly evil.

    Many people describe evil as what makes them feel uncomfortable. The more squeamish we get, the more something becomes evil to us. The richer we get and more privileges we have the more we feel guilty at any harm to others including animals.

    The anthropomorphism of pets is a particular case. We look at our dog or other pet and put ourselves in their place and we do not like what we see when they are treated poorly. This feeling is doing wonders for the the pet care business as pet owners are making play dates for their pets. It is spawning businesses that are now supporting families and not just a way to make some spare cash.

    True evil is someplace else than how one animal treats another in the wild.

  90. 90
    PannenbergOmega says:

    Larry you should check our Wolfhart Pannenberg. He’s a theistic evolutionist. I guess it’s an ironic choice for a name on my part, but he is a vigorous defender (like NT Wright) of a physical resurrection of Jesus. Which I like.

  91. 91
    Jason Rennie says:

    “Well, I don’t know. How could I? How could any human?”

    But that is the point. The argument requires more than educated guesses it requires knowledge.

    The quality of the argument will depend on how good you think the guesses are. But because it is based on guess work it undercuts the strength of the argument.

  92. 92
    Jason Rennie says:

    “Jason Rennie, could you elaborate on your own theological views”

    This thread is too long already. Just shoot me an email thesciphishow@gmail.com and i’ll be happy to talk.

  93. 93

    Post (90) Dave Scot said, in part:

    Wakefield

    Are lions evil?

    I’d think not. Evil to me entails malicious intent. Animal instinct as far as I know doesn’t have malicious intent. Real evil seems to be a uniquely human quality.

    Well in principle I agree completely, Dave S.

    I think evil, like all issues that must deal with intention (which is what I actually think the Cosmos is about, in answer to the question someone had if I were a darwinian or not..)

    Lions are no more “evil” than caterpillars munching on leaves if by “evil” we mean the intent to harm beyond filling the stomach.

    However, it is a keystone of Christianity, as Dr. Dembski pointed out at his Design Inference blog, that the term HAS been applied to unpleasant actions like predation and death or just falling off things and getting hurt. In tradition the “godhead of humanity” (mentioned by St. Paul, BTW) caused this at the Fall. One assumes that Paul, being a Pharisee, had a leg up on Hebrew scholarship about why bad things happen to good people and animals alike. While science cannot find the 8 person bottleneck in the Ark or the limited gene pool of the “two of every kind”, the Scriptures do indicate that before the flood meat was not on the menu for human beings. Except maybe Abel’s offering…

    Satisfied with neither the literalist interpretation of Genesis or the Lewis interpretation that acknowledged the time issues of a young earth and predation that preceded humans, Dr. Dembski comes up with a novel if unprovable assumption about God foreseeing this issue.

    So while lions nor bugs nor bats are evil per se, this unpleasantry is STILL the “side result” of mankind’s Fall. I am not going to delve too much into this except to make the point that by “evil” we can’t mean of course that animals cogitate on vengeance and anger or sin. Rather, while his approach is different in arrangement, Dr. Dembski seems to acknowledge that God foresaw that the contrast of the good with gore would cause people to understand their own actions and thus appreciate the light from darkness.

    Now–as to engineering or reverse engineering any creature, especially carnivorous, to meet human expectations. This is tricky. Dogs are not good examples due to their herd nature. Humans are now the masters. Not all killers like to kill humans on a regular basis (though wolves and dogs and other precusors to dogs no doubt preyed on humans at one time).

    An honest breeder will assure you that the German Shepard and Pit Bull are still killers, and the Victorian penchant for making little lap yappers has not taken all their aggressiveness away, though it has given many breeds hip displaysia and the need for Caesarian birth.

    My expertise is in crocodilians, actually. Perhaps not the best example, as they neither herd (though some are communal) nor have been bred by humans for any sport or protective purpose beyond leather and meat and cheapjack entertainment, they are the smartest of the reptiles and fiendishly clever hunters, looking for travel patterns before striking, sometimes weeks later.

    In captivity they have wide ranges of behavior of many of the same species that have killed or critically injured their keepers or some that let you rub their backs.

    They can and will learn patterns and people.

    My Alexandra is a small croc who won’t mess with me due to the fact that I intimidate her. Women and chidren can’t approach her enclosure. She won’t mess with me as I won’t give her the reaction she is looking for. I have shaved off about 20% of her aggressiveness. I have no illusions, however, that were she large enough she’d shave the meat off the fingers of anyone like a chicken wing if she had a bad scale day.

    It WOULD be interesting to see how far this “engineering” might work. In point of fact, there USED to be a veggie croc millions of years ago.

    A dead end completly–or is a linkage still there?

    I don’t know.

    Most people who try and “tame” any wild animal generally end up in disappointment, even with mammals like the big felines and bears.
    She is not trustworty. Lions and bears and tigers have been known to be TV stars and cute pets one day and then after 25 years of living near master’s sofa have killed other animals and even their owners in these crazy stories you hear about.

    Not trustworthy.

    Keep in mind also that dogs can be made to obey. What pleases the master pleases the pack. Alex knows I can ring her neck.

    Felines don’t work this way. They are absurdly cute until the day the 400 pounder is large enough to crack your skull with its incisors, which has also happened. Or chew your neck (see Sigfreid and Roy on this one).

  94. 94
    allanius says:

    Bertrand Russell’s smug dismissal of nature as “cruelty” is characteristic of lovers of theory, from Plato to Calvin to Descartes to Sartre. Like Dawkins, if he had not been ignorant of Christian theology he might have been surprised to discover that he was not the first to see total depravity in nature.

    In philosophy, theory tends to appeal to those who have a psychological need for negation. They are unhappy, and they long for a transforming moment, and theory appears to make such a moment possible because of its capacity to negate the value of that which exists. Hence for Plato all matter was evil; the only thing of any value was pure intellect.

    Unfortunately theory leads to nothingness by negating existent values. Just as it was impossible for Plato to describe beauty in any concrete way after he had negated the beauty of actual things, so it was impossible for Russell and Sartre to give any concrete substance to their concept of value after negating the value of nature.

    A more mature view of nature sees it as a blend of goodness and things that are not so desirable. Clearly the design of the cell, of human organs, of the body itself, of a tree, of the galaxy, of our atmosphere and the ecosystem–clearly all of these things are “very good.” They are very well designed. Clearly the overwhelming beauty of nature and her creatures is also good. To deny this self-evident goodness is a form of insanity.

    But nature is not “the good,” as Aristotle came too close to claiming. Nowhere in the sacred text is there any claim that nature is the good–is equal in value or even approximate to God.

    Nature is a mortal thing. The instances of “creulty” cited by Russell and his fellow narcissists are not only anthropomorphic–are not only, as Lewis pointed out, a pathetic fallacy–but are also part of its mortality.

    In scripture, goodness is attributed to God only. Nothing in the mortal realm is “good” in the sense that God is good. The light of men is said to be life–the thing all men desire most. But men are mixed creatures. There is life in them–they are alive–and yet at the same time they are mortal.

    We have just come through a harrowing age of theory and unjustified optimism about the potential of man to save himself without God. When we were children, we reasoned like children. But now that it has become abundantly evident that the theories of Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx and Freud cannot save us, perhaps it is time to start reasoning like adults.

    Such reasoning requires a balanced view of nature and rejects the preening spitefulness seen in Russell and his friends, who care for nothing but making themselves seem wise.

  95. 95

    allanius:

    That was thought provoking. I felt provoked even before finishing it.

    Wow.

    for Plato all matter was evil; the only thing of any value was pure intellect.

    Unfortunately theory leads to nothingness by negating existent values. Just as it was impossible for Plato to describe beauty in any concrete way after he had negated the beauty of actual things, so it was impossible for Russell and Sartre to give any concrete substance to their concept of value after negating the value of nature.

    “Shadows and dust, General Maximus, we are but shadows and dust….”

    I think the Gnostics held this also, which claims the body per se is evil. Human flesh, that is, misinterpreting Paul’s warnings about the failings of the Flesh to mean not the Sin Nature but human bodies per se.

  96. 96
    YEC says:

    Dave,

    I remember being incredulous the first time I heard the notion of a young earth. It wasn’t until looking into the evidence for a young earth, and for an old earth for myself that my mind began to change. So I don’t blame you a bit for being skeptical and I wouldn’t expect your mind to be changed by anything less than rigorous examination of lots of information for yourself. I suspect at this point you probably aren’t the slightest bit interested in doing that because you think it would be a huge waste of time.

    I addressed the first item on the list of evidences you gave for believing in an old earth. Often people tend to list what they think is the strongest evidence first. Maybe that wasn’t the case for you, but my rebuttal of tree-rings didn’t seem to faze you in the least. Again, I don’t blame you if you want to have each and every evidence you can think up addressed, but I simply don’t have time to try to address every argument you could come up with.

    What I would ask of you is this: Would you mind taking just a little bit of time thinking about what you consider the MOST convincing single evidence for an old earth? Something that is so strong in your opinion that if someone were able show that it was possible to interpret this evidence from a young-earth framework, it would at least give you pause to think “maybe I should give this whole age-of-the-Earth thing a rethink.” I know you have asked about colliding galaxies, but I get the impression that it may been first thing that came to your mind, and may not be the most convincing evidence that you can think of. Frankly, it would probably take me some time to do some digging before I could address this one, and I have many things on my plate right now. I don’t mind spending some time on this if you think you are willing to have your mind changed by the evidence, if you are not really willing, then I can put my time to better use right now. I would hate to spend a lot of time on it and have you say, “well that’s fine but what about this OTHER piece of evidence?”

    It may take to some time to research what ever you come up with, so please be patient with me. We can take this discussion off-line if you prefer.

    Hope you have a great day!

  97. 97
    DaveScot says:

    YEC

    There’s no single thing I find most convincing. It’s all the disparate things taken together that I find convincing. One can certainly contrive plausible sounding explanations for one observed phenomenon at a time but when contrivance must be heaped upon contrivance it becomes apparent that it’s an informal logical fallacy of assuming the result. It’s assumed that the universe was created 6000 years ago then any empirical data to the contrary is somehow made to fit that result.

    Little needs to be contrived to explain an old universe and the list of conforming things is vast from rates of radioactive decay, to radiative cooling of planets, to tree rings, to sedimentation, to erosion, to plate tectonics, to stellar evolution, to colliding galaxies, to matter collapsing under gravity, to the light from distant objects reaching us in a span of time constrained by a maximum speed of 300 million meters per second for electromagnetic wave propagation. I can’t pick just one as the most compelling. It’s the combined weight of all of them being handily explained by a few basic laws of physics.

    I picked the tree ring example as the first in the series because it was a good example of a process that requires not a whole lot more than 6000 years. I picked ice cores second because those up the ante to a million years and is a different process. I chose the formation of the Hawaiin island chain next because that ups the ante again to millions of years and is yet another process. I chose colliding galaxies next because the process is so different from any of the others and the example given ups the ante to hundreds of millions of years for shockwave from the collision to propagate as far as it did at 200,000 miles per hour. Even if the shockwave were somehow travelling at the speed of light it would still take 150,000 years to travel that far.

    Explanations for all these things happening in 6000 years or less will be highly contrived while the explantions for them occuring over longer periods of time require no contrivances.

Leave a Reply