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Left to Right: Ellie Crystal, Jon Stewart, Edward Larson, William Dembski

Bombadill, I quite agree that the notion that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain is nonsense. You will find, though, that this is the position that many naturalists take and they won't see consciousness as any problem for evolution. Just a heads up if you ever deploy the consciousness argument against a naturalist... be prepared to demonstrate that consciousness can't just be a property of the brain. Cheers, DMT taciturnus
Thanks for the article, I've been trying to find something like this for a while. I especially liked the part where Dr. Moreland lists four factors that suggest consciousness is not matter nor is it a product of matter. It seems naturalists are denying the existance of the immaterial mind just as they're denying the existance and detectibility of design in biology. Well eventually they're going to have to do some explaining as the public becomes more educated about design and the mind. jasonng
They would indeed be hard-pressed to provide a reasonable explanation for how we could have naturally "developed" a first-person perspective, artistic sensibility, compassion and the bevy of complex emotions we experience daily. A compelling article by a guru on this issue: http://www.boundless.org/features/a0000901.html Bombadill
"To think that fully-endowed humans could not think of even the simplest cultural advances for 25 times that length of time is simply incredible." It really is, which brings up the question of whether they were really as mentally developed as we are; perhaps brain capacity is not the sole factor in the eventual rise of civilization. Consciousness probably arrived much more recently and acted as a powerful catalyst that changed humans from mere cave dwellers to rational creatures with incredible ingenuity. One has to wonder what the naturalist would offer as a reason for the emergence of consciousness; no other trait in biology compares to it. Perhaps as we study it more we'll find it to be the most irreducibly complex system in biology, it seems baffling that it could've emerged through "slight, successive modifications". jasonng
What's interesting is that creation stories from various religions where rational suddenly appears all predate paleontological confirmation that rational man really did appear suddenly. This has inspired a lot of science fiction stories of alien visitors. Has everyone here seen and read "2001 - A Space Odyssey"? How about Von Daniken's "Ancient Astronauts"? Maybe Professor Dembski can give us some non-Judeo/Christian creation accounts to read that have rational man appearing in a sudden fashion. DaveScot
Bombadill, I'll play devil's advocate here: The naturalist would say that human consciousness is an "emergent property" of the brain. The "I" that you think is real is actually just an illusion of the brain. taciturnus
Related to this discussion: http://www.theistic-evolution.com/transitional.html Bombadill
Ah, all good stuff. Another conundrum for me is human consciousness. Where/when/how does the naturalist posit that we suddenly gained consciousness? And hasen't Neuroscience confirmed that we possess a dualistic nature? That the brain is just the physical aparatus for the mind. Stuff to chew on. Bombadill
Bombadill, I think the Reasons To Believe website (http://www.reasons.org) pretty much duplicates what Charlie said - with a Christian perspective of course. Take a look. Lurker
What I cannot get my head around is that according to the most recent narrative man acquired its current level of intelligence and then left no major record of this increased intelligence for almost 150,000 years. http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v433/n7027/full/nature03258_r.html&filetype=&dynoptions= The article name is “Stratigraphic placement and age of modern humans from Kibish, Ethiopia" if you want to look it up. That used to be the link to the article...but it has since disappeared The official age of the oldest anatomically modern humans is now 195,000 years, some 65,000 years older than previously thought. This announcement was made in the February 2005 issue of Nature by Ian McDougall, Francis H. Brown and John F. Fleagle, based on revised radiometric dates calculated from sediments surrounding two human skeletons in Ethiopia. These specimens, named Omo I and Omo II, were found in the 1967 by Richard Leakey, and were then dated at 130,000 years old. The authors believe these are “the earliest well-dated anatomically modern humans yet described.” The earlier record was about 160,000 years. Revisions sometimes have unintended consequences. Timelines are tied with other events, so moving one date by a third is bound to shake up other calibration points. Brown says that pushing the emergence of Homo sapiens from about 160,000 years ago back to about 195,000 years ago “is significant because the cultural aspects of humanity in most cases appear much later in the record – only 50,000 years ago – which would mean 150,000 years of Homo sapiens without cultural stuff, such as evidence of eating fish, of harpoons, anything to do with music (flutes and that sort of thing), needles, even tools. This stuff all comes in very late, except for stone knife blades, which appeared between 50,000 and 200,000 years ago, depending on whom you believe.” Fleagle agrees that there is a “huge debate” in the archaeological literature about the dating of the first cultural artifacts, though the accepted date hovers around 50,000 years. “As modern human anatomy is documented at earlier and earlier sites,” it becomes evident that there was a great time gap between the appearance of the modern skeleton and ‘modern behavior.’” Another consequence is that inferences about modernity from appearance are more subjective. Omo II was supposed to be a more primitive form, but appears from the newest dates to be nearly contemporaneous with Omo I. The team interpreted the history of rock and ash layers to arrive at the dates of the fossils, and selected feldspar crystals for potassium-argon analysis. Even with the new dates that make him a contemporary of Mr. Modern Omo I, Fleagle says, in effect, “well, what do you know; primitives and moderns lived at the same time.” Obviously judgments about who is primitive and who is not are highly subjective. The other inference about the culture gap has amazing ramifications. They are claiming that human beings, virtually indistinguishable from us in capabilities and intelligence, went for up to 150,000 years without learning how to make a tool, catch a fish, harpoon a mammoth, ride a horse, plant a farm or drill holes in a reed to make even a simple flute. What did our ancestors do for amusement? Look how much humans have accomplished in the 6,000 years of recorded history, from cuneiform to Saturn spaceships. To think that fully-endowed humans could not think of even the simplest cultural advances for 25 times that length of time is simply incredible. Gumpngreen
Thank you Charlie. I'm excited about what I'm learning. I intend on launching an in depth personal study of the ancestry issue, specifically. And then there are some philosophical and theological issues I need to tackle (from my Christian perspective), like if we are not related to hominids, why were these species even created, etc... Kind of a secondary issue though, I suppose. The bottom line is, I want to come to a solid conclusion for myself, whether I'm comfortable with that conclusion or not. Bombadill
"Revealed" is too strong a word. I meant something more fudgey like " inferences drawn from molecular studies..." Charlie
Bombadill, as Davescot says, relatedness does not necessarily imply lineage. Here is my quick recollection ( I am decidedly non-expert), unsubstantiated by references, of the state of some of our 'ancestors'. When the Chad skull was found, with its chronologically out-of-order features, one of my pet theories came back to me from the pages of the popular science magazines: some 'ancestors' are likely interesting branches of a tree (at which time I learned about the 'bush') but are deadends which have passed no genetic information to either extant homo or apes. "If Toumai (Chad) could be a failed twig of a branch, why are we so sure Lucy (australopithecines) is an ancestor?" thought I. Well, as it turns out, very many, maybe a majority (?) of the relevant Ph.ds wonder that as well. The australopiths are not universally believed to be on our branch, but may represent another deadend in another direction. Some argue that habilis is not a viable taxon, as it is merely a misnomer for a group of specimens that belong with either the australopiths or erectus. With the discovery of the Dmnasis skulls in Georgia came the revelation (to me) that there was no good reason to place habilis as a 'homo' at all, but that it should be relegated to the sidelines with Lucy, and that our genus should start with erectus. Good news, if you agree with those evolutionary paleoanthropologists at the Senckenberg conference, who argued vehemently that erectus did not deserve a taxon either, but represented only the normal range of variations expected in a single species (ours). Molecular studies have revealed that Asian erectus ( as opposed to the African version, sometimes called ergaster) predates, of course, the putative exit from Africa of man. As indicated both by mitochondrial studies, and especially those studies of y-chromosome inheritance, our last common African parents left Africa thousands, not millions, of years ago- and so even National Geographic has to dismiss erectus in Asia from our branch. Who is left then as an indisputable ancestor to modern man? Modern man. Does this prove that man did not descend from apes (sorry, hypothetical apelike common ancestors)? Of course not. But to me it shows that the evidence to force such a belief is not compelling . Charlie
Dr. Dembski, any of your books that cover this specific question in detail? Thanks! Bombadill
"I guess I’m just confused about how “much” evolution I agree with, or to what degree I guess." Join the club. We were taught this stuff was all writ in granite. Upon closer scrutiny one finds it's in crayon. :-) DaveScot
How did a wag once put it? "Punk eek is the theory that evolution always goes on somewhere else." taciturnus
Awesome. Thanks for sharing that info. Yeah, Homology between genomes has always seemed to me to be more logically the result of a "design economy", or the efficient re-use of "materials" by the designer. I don't see why this couldn't have been the case. I guess I'm just confused about how "much" evolution I agree with, or to what degree I guess. Bombadill
"Is it without reason for me to conclude that hominids and the like, were nothing more than humanoid animals that simply became extinct?" In point of fact that's the truth. There's only one species of genus homo or even australopithecus that isn't extinct. We're it. All she wrote. The rest are dust and exceedingly rare bits of fossilized bone. There's considerable controversy over whether there was ever more than one species of homo too. Here's a good link for more info: http://www.archaeologyinfo.com/species.htm "Why do Darwinists posit that they are our ancestors?" They are committed to the story that we evolved from a different species. If not a hominid species then what? What cannot be reasonably argued with is genetic evidence from living tissue. Every living thing on earth is clearly related. We all share the same genetic code from the simplest bacteria to humans. However, relationships between living things are just that, relationships (not necessarily common ancestry) and doesn't speak to how the relationship was established. Common design or common ancestry? Or even Lynn Margulis' theory on symbiosis where all living things exchange genetic information (horizontal genomic transfer). If Lynn is right then life could have evolved from a million different ancestors and all the different original genomes got blended together. No one can say for sure. DNA doesn't survive long after its owner dies so there's no way to sequence any genomes from ancient life to see how it compares to currently living things. Like I said, for me the numbers don't add up. 500 million years ago our ancestors were ostensibly primitive fish. Since then those fish evolved into humans. That's a lot of evolution. But in the last 3 million years there has been no incontrovertable speciation in the homo genus. No new species in 3 million years but in 500 million years there was enough evolution to turn fish into men? That just doesn't add up. There must have been a thousand intermediate species between humans and fish yet as far as we know it takes something more than 3 million years for just one new species. There doesn't seem to be enough time. This is where Gould and Eldredge come on the scene. Recognizing the time problem with evolution (it's more than just the fish to human numbers that don't add up) they came up with a theory called punctuated equilibrium (punk eek) which basically states that species remain constant for a long time then they undergo rapid bursts of evolution. They postulated mechanisms by which this happens which is mostly just small populations sometimes get genetically isolated and undergo rapid speciation in isolation. That too is another just-so story - an ad hoc explanation to explain predictive failures in Darwin's theory. DaveScot
Guys, forgive my ignorance because I'm still very much learning about the issues surrounding this debate. My current position is that of what I would call a "very-objective-age-of-earth-undecided- creationist-with one thing for certian: changed radically by the person of Christ" (how's that for a title?). That useless bit of info aside, DaveScot, maybe you can help me with this: Is it without reason for me to conclude that hominids and the like, were nothing more than humanoid animals that simply became extinct? Why do Darwinists posit that they are our ancestors? Why can't they simply be extinct animals? I mean, they are basing this almost exclusively on fragments of jaw bones, some teeth and femurs, right? Some guidance and comment on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Bombadill
actually, from what i've read the former pope's statements on evolution have been distorted. i don't think he was actually endorsing the idea of darwinism or common ancestry at all. i've read a number of catholic articles on this matter, but it's been months so i don't recall exactly all the particular details. it's been used by many darwinists as -'ah ha, see, even the pope sees it!' which is why many articles have been written by members of the catholic church to explain that the statements have been distorted and taken out of context. i could always google this, but it's nearly 1:30 in the morning. :) jboze3131
Someone is sure to accuse me of inaccuracy in that "species" h.sapiens is only acknowledged to be a few hundred thousand years old. Where is the evidence that h.sapiens is a different species than h.habilis? In fact there is none. It's not possible to empirically determine if h.sapiens and h.habilis could interbreed to produce fertile offspring. The fact of the matter is that for as much as the fossil evidence can reveal h.sapiens and h.habilis are more like each other than a beagle and a boxer and there's no reason at all to presume that habilis and sapiens weren't in fact just variation within the same species. There is quite lively argument today that all homo back to habilis were the same species dating back over 2 million years. DaveScot
Speaking of evidence... Modern humans have been found in the fossil record dating back a few million years. In those few million years h.sapiens has spread all over the globe. In those few million years not a single new species has diverged from our line. Yet neoDarwinists ask us to believe that in the 500 million years from the Ordovician fish evolved into modern humans. In 3-4 million years (and possibly much longer) no significant evolution at all occured in h.sapiens but we're to believe that in a period roughly 100 times longer h.sapiens evolved from primitive fish? Excuse me, but those numbers don't even come close to adding up. Zero evolution multiplied by one hundred still equals zero evolution. DaveScot
Me: "The question of who did the designing is not addressed in ID theory because, first, it’s unscientific to begin with, and second, it’s not the point of the investigation." I would like to amend this statement of mine. The question of who did the designing is not NECESSARILY unscientific, because the designer could possibly be an empirical entity or phenomenon (e.g. an extraterrestrial biological entity (EBE)); I made the mistake of presuming the designer is supernatural in that post. However, it's still not pertinant to ID theory because it's not the point of investigation. The study of Intelligent Design in nature is still a legitimate field of scientific inquiry. David crandaddy
On the Panda's Thumb thread about the Jon Stewart show Henry J thinks he's being clever in saying http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/09/evolution_schme.html#comment-48388
Re “Thaxton: “I have difficulty with common ancestry”, and when asked if he accepted the evolution of humans fro prehominids, he answered, “Personally I don’t, no”” Somebody should have asked if he thought he was descended from people that lived 1000 years ago. When he says “yes” or “of course”, ask for evidence. Henry
Henry, Henry, Henry... In every instance where a human was observed being born, and there have been lots and lots of instances, the mother was a human. In science such predictable repeatability over millions and millions of individual observations with not a single exception is the stuff of laws. It's thus a law that humans only come from a human mother. This is the evidence - it's natural law. Where one might reasonably ask for evidence is when some neoDarwinian story-teller claims that humans came from non-humans. This has never been observed. Where's the evidence, Henry? DaveScot
zenx27z: "Why does science and a belief in God have to be mutually exclusive?" They aren't. Science and theology are both legitimate itellectual disciplines. Each one complements the other, but they are SEPARATE disciplines, nonetheless. Theology is essentially unscientific because God is essentially a nonempirical agent, and science is only capable of studying empirical phenomena. Here is where the bulk of the argument against Intelligent Design theory comes in. Opponents of ID love to accuse it of being theistic creationism in disguise. This is simply false because ID is the study of design itself, not the designer. All ID theorists do is look at nature and ask the question, "Is there intelligent design in nature, and if so, is it scientifically detectible?". The question of who did the designing is not addressed in ID theory because, first, it's unscientific to begin with, and second, it's not the point of the investigation. Secular fundamentalists have succeeded in establishing a secular religion based on the ideology of methodological naturalism as science. They like to equate ID with creationism because then they can dismiss it as religion without actually having to subject their religion to the critical scrutiny it cannot withstand. Ironic, isn't it? David crandaddy
"Why does science and a belief in God have to be mutually exclusive?" They aren't. What I'm trying to figure out is why some people insist ID and atheism have to be mutually exclusive. Science is agnostic and so am I. DaveScot
I'm a huge fan of the Daily Show, a former Catholic (religiously questioning currently) and probably the type of person the Daily show expected to trivialize you. I appreciate your willingness to go on a show where you could have very possibly been set up to look like an idiot. (Fortunately that Crystal person did that for herself) Why does science and a belief in God have to be mutually exclusive? Pope John Paul talked about how Evolution was perfectly coherent with Christianity. Galileo talked about science as being a way to get closer to the workings of God. Does everyone have to be an ideologue? I wish you had more time to talk... I have a feeling most reasonable people would find what you have to say fascinating. zenx27z
I'm sorry this is off topic, Bill, but I would really like to read some of your theological work. In fact, there are probably several people on this blog who would be interested in it. Could you please tell us where we can find it? Thanks. Nice picture, by the way! David crandaddy
It was unfortunate for you that Jon Stewart forced you to say that your religious conversion came before your work on ID. Didn't look good. And his asking you why the Crazy-Crystal woman's ideas shouldn't be taught in schools made it pretty clear where his sympathies lie. jimpressario
Yep. The Force was with you Bill. :D Jedi Deist
Dembski definitely had the best showing IMO. Most airtime and best points. jzs
Video here: http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/the_daily_show/videos/celebrity_interviews/index.jhtml dave
Stage name. Bombadill
I second what Qualiatative said. Crystal is really a perfect last name for her, don't you think? mechanicalbirds
It appears that they put you all in a line in accordance with increasing intellectual vigor and reasonableness. Qualiatative

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