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The Problem of “God-talk” in Biology Textbooks

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Why the textbook zombie can’t just die. From a recent article on science education:

Abstract: We argue that a number of biology (and evolution) textbooks face a crippling dilemma.

On the one hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks include theological claims in their case for evolution.

(Such claims include, for example, ‘God would never design a suboptimal panda’s thumb, but an imperfect structure is just what we’d expect on natural selection.’) On the other hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks exclude theological claims in their case for evolution. So, whether textbooks include or exclude theological claims, they face debilitating problems. We attempt to establish this thesis by examining 32 biology (and evolution) textbooks, including the Big 12—that is, the top four in each of the key undergraduate categories (biology majors, non-majors, and evolution courses).

In Section 2 of our article, we analyze three specific types of theology these texts use to justify evolutionary theory. We argue that all face significant difficulties.

In Section 3, we step back from concrete cases and, instead, explore broader problems created by having theology in general in biology textbooks. We argue that the presence of theology—of whatever kind—comes at a significant cost, one that some textbook authors are likely unwilling to pay.

In Section 4, we consider the alternative: Why not simply get rid of theology? Why not just ignore it? In reply, we marshal a range of arguments why avoiding God-talk raises troubles of its own. Finally, in

Section 5, we bring together the collective arguments in Sections 2-4 to argue that biology textbooks face an intractable dilemma. We underscore this difficulty by examining a common approach that some textbooks use to solve this predicament. We argue that this approach turns out to be incoherent and self-serving. The poor performance of textbooks on this point highlights just how deep the difficulty is. In the end, the overall dilemma remains. (paywall)

Steve Dilley and Nicholas Tafacory, “Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t” at Communications of the Blyth Institute

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37 Replies to “The Problem of “God-talk” in Biology Textbooks

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    On the one hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks include theological claims in their case for evolution.
    (Such claims include, for example, ‘God would never design a suboptimal panda’s thumb, but an imperfect structure is just what we’d expect on natural selection.’) On the other hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks exclude theological claims in their case for evolution. So, whether textbooks include or exclude theological claims, they face debilitating problems. We attempt to establish this thesis by examining 32 biology (and evolution) textbooks, including the Big 12—that is, the top four in each of the key undergraduate categories (biology majors, non-majors, and evolution courses).

    Well that blows the entire “God of the Gaps” objection out of the water, which happens to be one of the top two arguments that ‘elite’ atheists try to use.

    Elite Scientists Don’t Have Elite Reasons for Being Atheists – November 8, 2016
    Excerpt: Dr. Jonathan Pararejasingham has compiled video of elite scientists and scholars to make the connection between atheism and science. Unfortunately for Pararejasingham, once you get past the self-identification of these scholars as non-believers, there is simply very little there to justify the belief in atheism.,,,
    What I found was 50 elite scientists expressing their personal opinions, but none had some powerful argument or evidence to justify their opinions. In fact, most did not even cite a reason for thinking atheism was true.,,,
    The few that did try to justify their atheism commonly appealed to God of the Gaps arguments (there is no need for God, therefore God does not exist) and the Argument from Evil (our bad world could not have come from an All Loving, All Powerful God). In other words, it is just as I thought it would be. Yes, most elite scientists and scholars are atheists. But their reasons for being atheists and agnostics are varied and often personal. And their typical arguments are rather common and shallow – god of the gaps and the existence of evil. It would seem clear that their expertise and elite status is simply not a causal factor behind their atheism.
    Finally, it is also clear the militant atheism of Dawkins is a distinct minority view among these scholars.
    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/elite-scientists-dont-have-elite-reasons-for-being-atheists/

  2. 2
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Casey Luskin did an analysis of biology textbooks several years ago as a DI project. It was well-researched and excellent, exposing many of the issues these authors raise. That analysis was ridiculed and ignored. Now, years later these academics discover that there is an intractable problem for biology textbooks, saying the same thing as the Luskin analysis said. So, ID was correct on that one, contributing valuable research to the work of science.

    We attempt to establish this thesis by examining 32 biology (and evolution) textbooks, including the Big 12—that is, the top four in each of the key undergraduate categories (biology majors, non-majors, and evolution courses).
    In Section 2 of our article, we analyze three specific types of theology these texts use to justify evolutionary theory. We argue that all face significant difficulties.

    The authors, publishers and scientific consultants on these textbooks over the past 40+ years wrote with a theological bias. This was done either deliberately, or through complete ignorance and blindness to the atheistic/theological prejudice of the biological community. This analysis proves it. None of those biology textbooks even reconsidered their own ill-informed and inappropriate theological views. Authors continually denied that such a thing as theological bias in biology even existed. But now it is shown that Darwinism has this problem which cannot be avoided or overcome, obviously, because Darwinian thought is a theological proposition itself and always was one.
    So again, these are things that ID has always exposed. The scientific community denied and ridiculed ID for that. I remember a biologist telling me once that “scientists don’t write the textbooks so you can’t blame the scientific community for the theological bias”.
    But as these researchers point out, biologists themselves, not just textbook writers, cannot solve this problem.
    I conclude that ID was correct, and ID-opponents were not just slightly-mistaken, but they were (and continue to be) totally blind, ignorant or just outright deceptive (lying) about what they publish and teach in the name of biology.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Scientific textbooks should not contain theological references at all unless it is to answer specific theistic claims about the science. And we should not forget the context of a Christian creationist movement bent on inserting their dogma into the science classrooms. A movement which, although rebuffed in the courts, has still succeeded to the extent that, in one survey, around 14% of high school biology teachers openly taught creationism in blatant defiance of the law and the Constitution.

  4. 4
    Brother Brian says:

    Sev

    Scientific textbooks should not contain theological references at all unless it is to answer specific theistic claims about the science.

    I don’t think they should contain theological references at all. I don’t remember my biology and evolution texts mentioning anything about theology unless it was a history text or a philosophy text. For the same reason that I don’t remember my geology texts talking about Noah’s flood or a young earth theory. Or my cosmology texts talking about the earth being created in six days.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states that,

    Scientific textbooks should not contain theological references at all unless it is to answer specific theistic claims about the science.

    And yet the authors in the OP found that theology was essential to arguments made in the biology textbooks. Go figure.

    This finding should not be all that surprising since all of science, every discipline of it, is dependent on basic theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the world and of our ‘made in the image of God’ minds to be able to comprehend that rational intelligibility of the universe:

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    The truth about science and religion By Terry Scambray – August 14, 2014
    Excerpt: In 1925 the renowned philosopher and mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead speaking to scholars at Harvard said that science originated in Christian Europe in the 13th century. Whitehead pointed out that science arose from “the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher”, from which it follows that human minds created in that image are capable of understanding nature.
    The audience, assuming that science and Christianity are enemies, was astonished.
    http://www.americanthinker.com.....igion.html

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate available at the bottom of the site
    Excerpt: When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary.
    The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://justinholcomb.com/2012/.....god-exist/

    Where Darwinian evolution goes off the rails, theologically speaking, as far as science itself is concerned, is that it uses bad liberal theology to try to establish the legitimacy of its atheistic claims, all the while forgetting that it itself, in order to stay scientific, is absolutely dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our minds to comprehend it.

    In establishing the fact that Darwinists use bad liberal theology to try to establish their science, it is interesting to point out that Charles Darwin’s degree was in liberal theology and was not in mathematics. nor any other field that would be considered essential for founding of a brand new branch of science.

    Charles Darwin – The Rest of the Story
    Excerpt: Charles Darwin received a general degree in Theology from Cambridge, graduating in 1831.,,,
    he almost became an Anglican Minister and his degree was in Theology.
    http://creationanswers.net/biographies/CDarwin.htm

    In fact, the liberal ‘unscientific’ Anglican clergy of Darwin’s day were very eager to jump on the Darwinian bandwagon from the beginning, whilst the conservative ‘scientific’ clergy reacted against Darwin’s theory:

    Reactions to Origin of Species
    “Religious views were mixed, with the Church of England scientific establishment reacting against the book, while liberal Anglicans strongly supported Darwin’s natural selection as an instrument of God’s design.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.....of_Species

    Pastor Joe Boot and Dr. Cornelius Hunter have both done work exposing the faulty liberal theology that underlays Darwinian thought..

    The Descent of Darwin (The Faulty Theological Foundation of Darwinism) – Pastor Joe Boot – video – 16:30 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKzUSWU7c2s&feature=player_detailpage#t=996

    The Descent of Darwin – Pastor Joe Boot – (The Theodicy of Darwinism) – article
    http://www.ezrainstitute.ca/ez.....spring.pdf

    Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil – 2001
    Excerpt: (Cornelius Hunter) shows how Darwin’s theological concerns-particularly his inability to reconcile a loving, all-powerful God with the cruelty, waste, and quandaries of nature-led him to develop the theory of evolution.
    Hunter provides the crucial key to engaging the intelligent design debate in the context of modern theology. He addresses the influences of Milton, rationalism, the enlightenment, and Deism, quoting extensively from Darwin’s journals, letters, and scientific writings.
    https://www.amazon.com/Darwins-God-Evolution-Problem-Evil/dp/1587430118

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, Charles Darwin’s book itself, the Origin of Species, instead of being filled with experimentation and mathematics, is replete with bad liberal theology.

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):
    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    To this day, as the authors in the OP made clear, Darwinists are still very much dependent of bad liberal theology, instead of any compelling scientific evidence, in order to try to make their case for Darwinian evolution.

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    That Darwinists would still today be so dependent on such a faulty theological foundation based in bad liberal theology, in order to try to give force to their arguments, is, contrary to what Darwinists may believe, actually another compelling argument that drives my point home that basic Theistic presuppositions are necessary for us to even be able to coherently practice science in the first place.

    Darwinists, with their vital dependence on bad liberal theology in order to try to make their case for Darwinian evolution are, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.

    “In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”
    Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

  7. 7
    AaronS1978 says:

    On that topic one of the reasons why I never had any issues with evolution is that all the biology books and classes that I ever went through never mentioned any kind of Theistic undertone, They really did a good job just separating and of course that was close to 26 years ago and I want you to know they definitely taught evolution one might say it was the only game in town and I grew up believing that the appendix was absolutely useless (now it’s not) But I also I never thought that that was an proof against God

    When I returned back to school the books were entirely different and often there were comments made like a creator would not designed a sub optimal part

    It’s one of the reasons what motivated me to start posting on sites like this

    But I agree completely and full heartedly that all scientific text should be completely devoid of Theistic claims, one way or another and should just lay down the evidence and allow people to make an educated decision.

    And I think that was a huge factor of why I didn’t become a raging atheist and I remained Catholic
    Was many of the text books I read were just information and mechanics when it came to biology

    I was always incredibly fascinated with these things because of how these mechanics would work and how amazing it was that these functions would arise naturally

    It wasn’t until I started hearing things like dawkins/Maher screaming at me, that such and such wouldn’t design this and as long as there’s an explanation there’s no need for that and you are dumb and violent for being religious. Then I started having problems with my faith and science

    And I remember the exact time that this little drama started and Dawkins was the first cause, I wouldn’t even have thought twice about the war between science and religion if it wasn’t for him because I didn’t think there was one that’s not how I was raised

    So there was never a conflict I could do science and math and feel comfortable with myself while feeling comfortable with my religion is well

    It is quite literally his fault I hate the current culture and I started to loath science because these people wielded it like a weapon against my faith, And I have to make an honest effort to not allow myself to hate science because of them, and it is quite squarely because of him, he was literally my first cause.

    That’s why I make a very clear distinction between anti-Theists and Atheists. I never met an atheist that really cared that I believed in God

    I met tons of anti-Theists That always asked me why I was so smart but yet believed in God and I always found that remarkably insulting.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Scientific textbooks should not contain theological references at all unless it is to answer specific theistic claims about the science.

    Scientific textbooks should not contain blind and mindless references at all unless it is to answer specific theistic claims about the science.

    And we should not forget the context of a Christian creationist movement bent on inserting their dogma into the science classrooms

    As opposed to the materialistic dogma being promoted now.

    Our opponents are either totally clueless, dishonest or two-faced.

    And we should not forget the context of a Christian creationist movement bent on inserting their dogma into the science classrooms

  9. 9
    MatSpirit says:

    “Such claims include, for example, ‘God would never design a suboptimal panda’s thumb, but an imperfect structure is just what we’d expect on natural selection.’”

    But I thought ID was a scientific movement, discussing an unknown Intelligent Designer, not God. It’s hardly making a theological argument to point out that an Intelligent Designer wouldn’t make an Unintelligent Design.

    Could somebody give us a few quotations from actual textbooks where they claim that God wouldn’t do it like that?

    Also, if the Blyth Institute would stop trying to charge $20.00 to read the article he’s telling us about, no one would have to make these requests because I’m sure it’s just chock full of such quotes, each with full atribution. Perhaps JohnnyB could post the article here.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 5

    And yet the authors in the OP found that theology was essential to arguments made in the biology textbooks. Go figure.

    I’m not aware of any theological concepts that are essential to biology or science in general but if the authors of the OP provide examples perhaps you could post two or three of them.

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77 @ 6

    Moreover, Charles Darwin’s book itself, the Origin of Species, instead of being filled with experimentation and mathematics, is replete with bad liberal theology.

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):
    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2…..46391.html

    We’ve been over this one before. In 1859, Darwin was publishing to a much more religiose audience that exists today. He anticipated criticism of his work on theological grounds and tried to forestall it as far as possible. None of the points Dilley raises above are essential to Darwin’s theory. In my view you could strip all the theological references out of Origins and the remaining science would stand unharmed in the slightest.

    I wonder where Dilley stands on the teaching of Christian creationism in the science classroom.

  12. 12
    vmahuna says:

    Well, this is all very fascinating, but you’re ignoring the fact that textbooks are bought by a VERY small number of committees (several decades back, most other States simply bought whatever Texas bought). So if you want to SELL the TEXT-book you’re writing, you’d better comply with the known wishes of your CONSUMERS (i.e., NOT the students or their parents, but the entrenched Book Buyers). There’s probably a little more flexibility with college texts, where each course can have a different book, but again, even as a teacher you understand that if you wanna STAY as a teacher, you don’t want to upset whoever in the department approves books.
    The same is of course true for History books, and, amazingly, the History of the United States CHANGES every couple years as the Liberals decide that the last new attempt to explain the Civil War (or anything else) doesn’t have quite the right spin.
    So, what the analysis of Science (Biology?) text books does NOT show is how working Biologists (i.e., people who have regurgitated enough from the approved text books to get degrees and corresponding jobs) look at Evolution. What it DOES show is “what are the political leanings of the folks who select texts.”

  13. 13
    harry says:

    The phenomenon in question is a corpse. The forensic pathologist, after a thorough scrutiny of the corpse, declares that the phenomenon was not brought about by natural causes, but was the result of intelligent agency and recommends to the police that a murder investigation should be initiated. Nobody screams “God of the gaps!!!”

    The phenomenon in question is a radio transmission from deep space containing a series of prime numbers in ascending order going way beyond our largest known primes. The SETI scientist declares that this radio transmission is proof of intelligent life in the Universe other than that on planet Earth. Nobody screams “God of the gaps!!!”

    The phenomenon is life on planet Earth. It is discovered that it is the result of massive quantities of extremely precise digital information that directs the construction of intricate protein machines, and guides chemical reactions, the combination of which gives rise to self-replicating, metabolizing nanotechnology the functional complexity of which is light years beyond anything modern science knows how to build from scratch. The only known source of massive quantities of extremely precise, digitally stored, functionally complex information is intelligent agency. The very definition of technology is that it is the application of scientific knowledge for a purpose. Life is nanotechnology that makes our technology look crude. It is the result of the application of an immense amount of scientific knowledge. Yet if anyone suggests the obvious, that the best explanation for this phenomenon is intelligent agency, the atheistic nut jobs who have perverted contemporary science all scream in unison “God of the gaps!!!”

    Why? Why weren’t they complaining about the forensic pathologist or the SETI scientist? Because they are fundamentalists. There is a negative connotation to the word “fundamentalist.” That is the one I mean when using the word in regard to these atheistic fundamentalists. There is also a very positive meaning of the word. St. Athanasius, who defended Christian orthodoxy against the Arian heresy that denied the divinity of Christ, was a fundamentalist. We all need to be fundamentalists like Athanasius. We do not want to be fundamentalists as the word applies to atheistic fundamentalists, who irrationally cling to their atheism in spite of the fact that the discoveries of modern science have rendered contemporary atheism irrational. It is obvious that they are just desperately clinging to their atheism and have lost the relentless objectivity required by true science.

  14. 14
    ET says:

    seversky:

    In my view you could strip all the theological references out of Origins and the remaining science would stand unharmed in the slightest.

    What science? There wasn’t any science supporting his main idea that natural selection ie blind and mindless processes, could produce the appearance of design without an intelligent designer. There wasn’t any science supporting his claim of universal common descent/ common ancestry.

    Neither Darwin, nor anyone else since, knows how to test the claims he made in his books. If there was any science involved then ID would be a non-starter.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Here’s a Grand Idea: Teach SCIENCE in science classrooms. Teach BIOLOGY in biology classes. Openly discuss the evidence. Openly discuss how the evidence could have possibly come to be the way it is. Discuss how to test those ideas and test those that you can.

    That can’t be allowed, though- for obvious reasons…

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky you stated that “We’ve been over this one before.”

    Indeed we have. But you are apparently impervious to thinking critically about your own atheistic worldview. So to repeat yet again for unbiased readers, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of Intelligent Design and/or Theism and is certainly not based on Atheistic Naturalism and/or Materialistic presuppositions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  17. 17
    Silver Asiatic says:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/interesting-quotes-from-biology-textbooks/

    The phrase, for example, “blind watchmaker” is theological. Textbooks never point that out.

  18. 18
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I think one of the points that Creationists make is that if it is ok to teach atheism in the classroom, then it should be ok to teach Christian theology. Then evolutionists respond by saying that their theological views within the study of evolution are just a defense against what Creationists teach.

    Most comprehensive studies of evolution will mention Creationism at some point, and many today also include Intelligent Design under the main topic. Is Creationism a valid alternative to evolutionary theory? Textbooks say that it is not — and that’s the intractable problem, since it is a religious opinion.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks S.A. for the reference

    To continue on with the fact that Darwinian evolution does not even qualify as a science, but is much more realistically classified as a religion for atheists,,,

    Whether or not a scientific theory is potentially falsifiable or not is considered the gold standard by which to judge whether a theory is scientific. As Popper himself stated,

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

    In regards to that standard, it is not that Darwinism is not falsifiable, it is that Darwinists simply to refuse to accept the fact that their theory has been falsified by numerous lines of evidence. In the minds of Darwinists, empirical evidence is simply never allowed to falsify Darwinian evolution as a scientific theory. Here are a few falsifications of Darwin’s theory that Darwinists simply refuse to accept as falsifications of their theory:

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

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

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

    Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever.

    Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thus Seversky, since Darwinism is obviously not based on empirical science it follows that it must necessarily be a faith based belief system for atheists. i.e. a religion.

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

  20. 20
    AaronS1978 says:

    Thanks SA @17

  21. 21
    johnnyb says:

    One of the problems that the authors uncover is the way that evolution is demonstrated. Most of them demonstrate evolution *not* by actually pointing to the power of evolution itself (i.e., experimentally demonstrated causation), but rather by saying that if God were designing it, biology would not have the structure that it does. This requires knowledge about God and what God would or wouldn’t do, and the structure of the argument *relies* on this information.

    On the other hand, the authors note that if God-talk is completely absent – that is, there is a true “wall of separation”, then science would be unable to speak against creationism, because it isn’t matched on causal grounds. In other words, the creationist argument has access to a larger causal scope than the scientists, and therefore the scientists are unable to make an argument that X happened their way and not the creationists’ way, because they can’t include the creationists’ considerations in their reasoning. Since >90% of the world is religious and includes religious forms of thought in their thinking, this means that science would be unable to even offer an argument about whether or not creationism was true, because it would be forbidden from talking along the same lines.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Of semi related note. Dr. Michael Egnor recently touched upon the main philosophical failure inherent within Darwinian materialism:

    “Materialism, in my viewpoint, is not even really a philosophical perspective. It’s just a mistake. It’s like,, claiming 2+2=5 is mathematics. It’s not really mathematics. It’s just an error. And materialism isn’t even sufficiently coherent, in my view, to qualify as a philosophical perspective. The best philosophy originated with the ancient Greeks. Particularly with Aristotle. And what Aristotle proposed, and what really became mainstream metaphysics for such philosophers as Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the scholastic philosophers, is that things that exist in the world are composites of form and matter. And the form is the intelligible aspect of things. And matter is what makes something an individual thing not just sort of a theoretical thing. But the actuallity, the intelligibility, of something is in the form. It’s not in the matter. Form is what makes things real. And what I believe materialism does in modern science is it denies that the form of things is the most important aspect of them.”
    Michael Egnor: The (neuro-scientific) Evidence against Materialism – 27:17 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/BqHrpBPdtSI?t=1637

    Here is a clear example of what Dr. Egnor is talking about. When Darwinian materialists deny ‘form’, they end up denying that species truly exist. (And if you cannot even define what a species truly is in your materialistic philosophy, then that makes writing a book entitled “Origin of Species” futile, i.e. “just a mistake.,,, like,, claiming 2+2=5 is mathematics.”

    Darwin, Design & Thomas Aquinas
    The Mythical Conflict Between Thomism & Intelligent Design by Logan Paul Gage
    Excerpt: First, the problem of essences. G. K. Chesterton once quipped that “evolution . . . does not especially deny the existence of God; what it does deny is the existence of man.” It might appear shocking, but in this one remark the ever-perspicacious Chesterton summarized a serious conflict between classical Christian philosophy and Darwinism.
    In Aristotelian and Thomistic thought, each particular organism belongs to a certain universal class of things. Each individual shares a particular nature—or essence—and acts according to its nature. Squirrels act squirrelly and cats catty. We know with certainty that a squirrel is a squirrel because a crucial feature of human reason is its ability to abstract the universal nature from our sense experience of particular organisms.
    Think about it: How is it that we are able to recognize different organisms as belonging to the same group? The Aristotelian provides a good answer: It is because species really exist—not as an abstraction in the sky, but they exist nonetheless. We recognize the squirrel’s form, which it shares with other members of its species, even though the particular matter of each squirrel differs. So each organism, each unified whole, consists of a material and immaterial part (form).,,,
    One way to see this form-matter dichotomy is as Aristotle’s solution to the ancient tension between change and permanence debated so vigorously in the pre-Socratic era. Heraclitus argued that reality is change. Everything constantly changes—like fire, which never stays the same from moment to moment. Philosophers like Parmenides (and Zeno of “Zeno’s paradoxes” fame) argued exactly the opposite; there is no change. Despite appearances, reality is permanent. How else could we have knowledge? If reality constantly changes, how can we know it? What is to be known?
    Aristotle solved this dilemma by postulating that while matter is constantly in flux—even now some somatic cells are leaving my body while others arrive—an organism’s form is stable. It is a fixed reality, and for this reason is a steady object of our knowledge. Organisms have an essence that can be grasped intellectually.
    Denial of True Species
    Enter Darwinism. Recall that Darwin sought to explain the origin of “species.” Yet as he pondered his theory, he realized that it destroyed species as a reality altogether. For Darwinism suggests that any matter can potentially morph into any other arrangement of matter without the aid of an organizing principle. He thought cells were like simple blobs of Jell-O, easily re-arrangeable. For Darwin, there is no immaterial, immutable form. In The Origin of Species he writes:
    “I look at the term species as one arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms. The term variety, again, in comparison with mere individual differences, is also applied arbitrarily, for convenience’s sake.”
    Statements like this should make card-carrying Thomists shudder.,,,
    The first conflict between Darwinism and Thomism, then, is the denial of true species or essences. For the Thomist, this denial is a grave error, because the essence of the individual (the species in the Aristotelian sense) is the true object of our knowledge. As philosopher Benjamin Wiker observes in Moral Darwinism, Darwin reduced species to “mere epiphenomena of matter in motion.” What we call a “dog,” in other words, is really just an arbitrary snapshot of the way things look at present. If we take the Darwinian view, Wiker suggests, there is no species “dog” but only a collection of individuals, connected in a long chain of changing shapes, which happen to resemble each other today but will not tomorrow.
    What About Man?
    Now we see Chesterton’s point. Man, the universal, does not really exist. According to the late Stanley Jaki, Chesterton detested Darwinism because “it abolishes forms and all that goes with them, including that deepest kind of ontological form which is the immortal human soul.” And if one does not believe in universals, there can be, by extension, no human nature—only a collection of somewhat similar individuals.,,,
    Implications for Bioethics
    This is not a mere abstract point. This dilemma is playing itself out in contemporary debates in bioethics. With whom are bioethicists like Leon Kass (neo-Aristotelian and former chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics) sparring today if not with thoroughgoing Darwinians like Princeton’s Peter Singer, who denies that humans, qua humans, have intrinsic dignity? Singer even calls those who prefer humans to other animals “speciesist,” which in his warped vocabulary is akin to racism.,,,
    If one must choose between saving an intelligent, fully developed pig or a Down syndrome baby, Singer thinks we should opt for the pig.,,,
    https://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-06-037-f

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Evolutionary science arrogates the role of defining what a human being is. According to evolution, the difference between a human person and a non-human animal is a question of some physical mutations alone. In that view, human nature cannot have an immaterial soul. According to Catholic doctrine, for one example, the human soul is created directly by God at conception and is the rational, immaterial element in human persons that is not present in non-human animals.
    Evolution makes a theological claim that there is no immaterial soul in humans. For evolution, all aspects of human life are traced to physical changes from non-human ancestors. Evolutionists try to claim that all human morality and even religion itself is reducible to fitness adaptations. That has a huge theological impact, obviously.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    The failure of Darwinian materialism to be able to explain the ‘form’ of any particular species, (to define ‘what a human being is’ as Silver Asiatic put it), now, with the advance of modern science, plays out empirically and is not just an issue of being a philosophical mistake, i.e. (“Materialism,,, it’s just a mistake.,,, like,, claiming 2+2=5 is mathematics.”)

    Darwinists hold that the basic form of an organism is achieved by mutations to DNA.

    Columbia Genome Center
    http://meyersarch.com/columbia-genome-center/

    Yet, as Jonathan Wells states in the following article, Studies using saturation mutagenesis in the embryos of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice also provide evidence against the idea that DNA specifies the basic form of an organism. Biologists can mutate (and indeed have mutated) a fruit fly embryo in every possible way, and they have invariably observed only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly.

    Jonathan Wells: Far from being all-powerful, DNA does not wholly determine biological form – March 31, 2014
    Excerpt: Studies using saturation mutagenesis in the embryos of fruit flies, roundworms, zebrafish and mice also provide evidence against the idea that DNA specifies the basic form of an organism. Biologists can mutate (and indeed have mutated) a fruit fly embryo in every possible way, and they have invariably observed only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/jonathan-wells-far-from-being-all-powerful-dna-does-not-wholly-determine-biological-form/

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: But there are solid empirical grounds for arguing that changes in DNA alone cannot produce new organs or body plans. A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12. None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–,,,
    (As Jonathan Wells states),,, We can modify the DNA of a fruit fly embryo in any way we want, and there are only three possible outcomes:
    A normal fruit fly;
    A defective fruit fly; or
    A dead fruit fly.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....38811.html

    In the following video, at the 5:55 minute mark, Stephen Meyer states that ‘you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan.’

    ‘Now one more problem as far as the generation of information. It turns out that you don’t only need information to build genes and proteins, it turns out to build Body-Plans you need higher levels of information; Higher order assembly instructions. DNA codes for the building of proteins, but proteins must be arranged into distinctive circuitry to form distinctive cell types. Cell types have to be arranged into tissues. Tissues have to be arranged into organs. Organs and tissues must be specifically arranged to generate whole new Body-Plans, distinctive arrangements of those body parts. We now know that DNA alone is not responsible for those higher orders of organization. DNA codes for proteins, but by itself it does not insure that proteins, cell types, tissues, organs, will all be arranged in the body-plan. And what that means is that the Body-Plan morphogenesis, as it is called, depends upon information that is not encoded on DNA. Which means you can mutate DNA indefinitely. 80 million years, 100 million years, til the cows come home. It doesn’t matter, because in the best case you are just going to find a new protein some place out there in that vast combinatorial sequence space. You are not, by mutating DNA alone, going to generate higher order structures that are necessary to building a body plan. So what we can conclude from that is that the neo-Darwinian mechanism is grossly inadequate to explain the origin of information necessary to build new genes and proteins, and it is also grossly inadequate to explain the origination of novel biological form.’
    – Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins and Information for Body Plans – video – 5:55 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/hs4y4XLGQ-Y?t=354

    And here is an excellent powerpoint presentation by Dr. Jonathan Wells, starting around the 15:00 minute mark, showing that the central dogma of Darwinian evolution, which simply stated is “DNA makes RNA makes protein makes us”, is incorrect at every step.

    Design Beyond DNA: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Wells – video (14:36 minute mark) – January 2017
    https://youtu.be/ASAaANVBoiE?t=876

    Dr. Jonathan Wells: Biology’s Quiet Revolution – podcast – April 15, 2016
    On this episode of ID the Future, Dr. Jonathan Wells discusses a popular claim, which he describes as “DNA makes RNA makes protein makes us”—or, every organism contains a program for itself in its DNA. Though this view fits neatly with the perspective of Darwinian evolution, it has been shown to be incorrect at every step. Listen in as Dr. Wells explains.
    https://www.discovery.org/multimedia/audio/idtf/2016/04/dr-jonathan-wells-biologys-quiet-revolution/

    The failure of reductive materialism to be able to explain the basic form of any particular organism occurs at a very low level. Much lower than DNA itself. In the following article entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Thus, not only do Darwinists presently have no clue how an organism might achieve its ‘defining form’ of its particular species, since their theory is based on reductive materialism, it is in fact impossible for them to ever find a real clue as to an organism might achieve its ‘defining form’ of its particular species.

    And whereas mathematics and empirical science have both falsified Darwinian claims for the origin of form, i.e. claims for the “Origin of Species”, on the other hand, the Christian Theist can appeal directly to recent advances in empirical science, via experimental realization of the Maxwell demon thought experiment, to support his claim that the basic form of the organism is an immaterial aspect of an organism that must somehow be coming into a developing embryo during development and that this immaterial aspect is what is ‘defining’ what the organism truly is.

    As was pointed out in the following recent video,,,,

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

    ,,, some ‘outside observer’ who, due to the quantum non-locality of the quantum coherence and/or entanglement of biological molecules, must necessarily exist outside the space-time of the universe, is now required in order for us to give an adequate causal account so that we may explain how it is even possible for this immense amount of positional information, (about 300 trillion times the information content contained within the books of all the largest libraries in the world), to somehow be coming into the developing embryo ‘from the outside’, by some ‘non-material’ method.

    Whereas Darwinists, because of their reductive materialistic framework, deny the existence of anything beyond space and time, especially denying that God could possibly be directing embryological development, on the other hand, Christianity just so happens to give us an adequate causal account for exactly Who this outside observer might be Who is imparting this immense amount of positional information into a developing embryo. i.e. Who is defining the immaterial ‘form’, i.e. the ‘soul’, of an organism

    Verses:

    Hebrews 4:13
    And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

    Psalm 139:13-14
    For You formed my inward parts;
    You covered me in my mother’s womb.
    I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Marvelous are Your works,
    And that my soul knows very well.

    Jeremiah 1:5
    “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,,,

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

  25. 25
    SmartAZ says:

    Any theological argument for or against evolution misses the point. Evolution violates science without regard to any theological consideration. The first step in the scientific method is “Observe something,” and evolution has not been observed. If you ask evolutionists to say something they know, rather than something they memorized, they can’t offer a single fact. (They usually offer personal insults instead!)

  26. 26
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 23

    Evolutionary science arrogates the role of defining what a human being is

    No, amongst other things, it attempts to explain how the humanity emerged as a separate animal species through naturalistic processes. If it “defines” what a human being is it is only in terms of the physical properties that distinguish us from the other animals.

    According to evolution, the difference between a human person and a non-human animal is a question of some physical mutations alone. In that view, human nature cannot have an immaterial soul. According to Catholic doctrine, for one example, the human soul is created directly by God at conception and is the rational, immaterial element in human persons that is not present in non-human animals.

    An immaterial soul, whatever that might be, is not an observable property of a human being or any other animal. In fact, other than Christian hubris, we have no reason to think such a thing exists at all, so it is irrelevant to the theory of evolution.

    Evolution makes a theological claim that there is no immaterial soul in humans

    Religion makes the scientific claim that there exists an entity called the soul which is an attribute or property of human beings but not other animals. Science takes the rational position, following Hume, that a wise man apportions his belief to the evidence and, since no one has been able to find compelling evidence for such an entity, there is no reason to believe such a thing exists.

    Evolutionists try to claim that all human morality and even religion itself is reducible to fitness adaptations.

    Even theists believe morality and religion make us better fitted to survive in some sense, else why bother with them?

    That has a huge theological impact, obviously.

    Maybe so, but commenting on the theology of a particular faith is not the same as practicing a particular religion. For example, I can discuss the contradictions in Christian theology while remaining an agnostic/atheist/naturalist/materialist.

  27. 27
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky,

    No, amongst other things, it attempts to explain how the humanity emerged as a separate animal species through naturalistic processes. If it “defines” what a human being is it is only in terms of the physical properties that distinguish us from the other animals.

    But as you explain below, science only recognizes the existences of physical/material evidence. So, science sees the difference between human and other animals entirely as the physical differences, all of which emerged from evolution. For example, in the supposed history of the development of human from non-human, science must be able to determine (define) what a human is and therefore when it first emerged. If there is no immaterial/rational soul in a human person, then the difference is entirely physical.

    An immaterial soul, whatever that might be, is not an observable property of a human being or any other animal. In fact, other than Christian hubris, we have no reason to think such a thing exists at all, so it is irrelevant to the theory of evolution.

    There are many discussions on this site about why we should accept that immaterial entities do exist and why, for example, human consciousness and the rational intellect are non-material. You also offer a tautology by speaking of “observable” regarding that which is immaterial – since you’re speaking of scientific observation which is limited to the material. Science cannot analyze immaterial entities. That is a limit of science, but that limit should not mean that anything that is outside of the scope of science does not exist.

    Religion makes the scientific claim that there exists an entity called the soul which is an attribute or property of human beings but not other animals.

    As above, religion asserts that the human soul, which lives on after death for example, is not a material/physical thing. So, to say that the soul exists would not be a scientific claim. There is no expectation that science is capable of studying immaterial entities.

    Science takes the rational position, following Hume, that a wise man apportions his belief to the evidence and, since no one has been able to find compelling evidence for such an entity, there is no reason to believe such a thing exists.

    You’re reducing all evidence to physical or material evidence. But in many of the classic arguments for the existence of the soul, the evidence is philosophical or logical, not physical. It is the rational intellect that is the most significant difference between human and non-human life, and yet we cannot trace self-awareness and rational knowledge to physical evidence.

    Even theists believe morality and religion make us better fitted to survive in some sense, else why bother with them?

    In the theistic view, survival of the species is not the ultimate goal. The benefits of morality and religion are to increase goodness in people – make them better humans, so they become more like God who created them. In the evolutionary view, morality and religion serve only the purpose of temporal survival of the species. If someone doesn’t care that much about the survival of humanity, then morality has little value, and there are no ultimate consequences to violating evolutionary-morals. In the theistic view, human beings are accountable in a future life for their actions. This is a huge difference in the theological view of evolution versus theism.

    Maybe so, but commenting on the theology of a particular faith is not the same as practicing a particular religion. For example, I can discuss the contradictions in Christian theology while remaining an agnostic/atheist/naturalist/materialist.

    The concern is that evolution is making theological statements. Evolutionary books criticize Creationism. But as with your example above, if you are going to discuss what you perceive as contradictions in Christian theology, you’re engaging in theology and giving theological opinions. So, you’d want to study the Christian faith. For the sake of argument you’d have to accept that God exists, and that God has certain powers and that God did things in history. How could evolution analyze any of that? Could science tell us whether a monotheistic religion is more correct than a polytheistic one? Obviously, science cannot tell us anything about the properties of heaven, for example – how it is populated and governed, how large it is, what a soul encounters in heaven – and not even on how to get to heaven.

    But my key point is that evolution reduces all of human life to the material and physical and as such, concludes that there can be no heaven or hell since neither is physically observable.

  28. 28
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic @ 27

    But as you explain below, science only recognizes the existences of physical/material evidence. So, science sees the difference between human and other animals entirely as the physical differences, all of which emerged from evolution. For example, in the supposed history of the development of human from non-human, science must be able to determine (define) what a human is and therefore when it first emerged. If there is no immaterial/rational soul in a human person, then the difference is entirely physical.

    Science deals with what can be observed in the physical world, however indirectly, and with what can be inferred from observation. You could say that gravity or magnetism are immaterial phenomena but we infer their existence from their observable effects on the physical world. The differences between human beings and other animals can be observed from their physical forms and their behavior. If a soul has no observable effects in the physical world then what reason do we have to assume it exists at all?

    There are many discussions on this site about why we should accept that immaterial entities do exist and why, for example, human consciousness and the rational intellect are non-material.

    Consciousness and rational intellect may be immaterial phenomena but we know of them by their observable effects in the physical world, specifically the physical behavior of human beings and some other animals.

    Science cannot analyze immaterial entities.

    I say it can, again, from analysis of their observable effects in the physical world. Once more,unless putative immaterial phenomena have observable effects then what reason do we have to assume that they exist at all?

    That is a limit of science, but that limit should not mean that anything that is outside of the scope of science does not exist.

    Agreed.

    There are also many things that could exist. But because something could exist does that mean it necessarily does exist? We create many stories about things that could exist. Are all those stories true simply because they could be true?

    As above, religion asserts that the human soul, which lives on after death for example, is not a material/physical thing. So, to say that the soul exists would not be a scientific claim

    That’s right. A scientific claim would be something like a soul has property X which would have the effect Y if it exists. For example, there was a doctor, if I remember correctly, who proposed that the soul had mass, albeit very small, and weighed bodies before and after death to see if there was any measurable difference in weight that could not be attributed to other factors. Whatever the outcome, that was a scientific approach to an immaterial phenomenon.

    You’re reducing all evidence to physical or material evidence. But in many of the classic arguments for the existence of the soul, the evidence is philosophical or logical, not physical.

    I don’t see it as “reducing” all evidence to physical or material evidence. It is the best we have.

    According to some estimates, there are over 4000 religions I the world. Whatever the actual number, that is an awful lot of philosophical, theological and logical arguments out there. They can’t all be true. How do we decide between them? One way is to see if any of them have observable effects on the physical world that can be predicted from those arguments.

    In the theistic view, survival of the species is not the ultimate goal. The benefits of morality and religion are to increase goodness in people – make them better humans, so they become more like God who created them. In the evolutionary view, morality and religion serve only the purpose of temporal survival of the species

    As I’ve said before, religion seems to amplify both the good and the bad in people. Good people can be inspired by their religious beliefs to acts of great goodness but equally religious beliefs have been used to justify what would otherwise be considered terrible acts of evil.

    If someone doesn’t care that much about the survival of humanity, then morality has little value, and there are no ultimate consequences to violating evolutionary-morals

    Is there nay need for “ultimate consequences”? A psychopath might decide that the pleasure he gets from torturing and killing others is sufficient justification in itself for committing those acts. The rest of us potential victims beg to differ and take whatever steps are necessary to ‘neutralize’ the threat he poses to our survival and well-being. Isn’t it possible to develop a moral code based on our common interests. If God can do it, why can’t we?

    The concern is that evolution is making theological statements. Evolutionary books criticize Creationism. But as with your example above, if you are going to discuss what you perceive as contradictions in Christian theology, you’re engaging in theology and giving theological opinions.

    The theory of evolution makes no theological claims. Darwin and other scientists have engaged with theological criticisms of the theory but that does not imply that the theory itself is somehow propped up by theological claims. Again, following Laplace, it has no need of such hypotheses. It works well enough without them.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    seversky:

    Science deals with what can be observed in the physical world, however indirectly, and with what can be inferred from observation.

    And that is exactly why we infer intelligent design with respect to the existence of the genetic code.

    If a soul has no observable effects in the physical world then what reason do we have to assume it exists at all?

    We wouldn’t be alive without one. Is that an effect in the physical world?

    Again, following Laplace, it has no need of such hypotheses.

    Except that has nothing to do with Laplace. Laplace was talking about the need for God to intervene in order to keep the planets and systems working.

  30. 30
    Brother Brian says:

    SA and Sev, very good discussion. This is an example of how people can disagree and not take it to the personal level.

  31. 31
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB – thanks. In fairness, I am coming in fresher, having stepped away for a while. I think what happens is that over months debating with the same persons, it seems that we go over and over the same issues and the other person refuses to yield or perhaps doesn’t understand. So frustration increases. Again and again, it seems that we cannot budge the other person and then it’s easy to conclude that the other person is dishonest or willfully ignorant – then the insults follow from that. When I catch myself having a nasty attitude, then I step away. Right now I ‘m more calm, so we’ll see how long that lasts. 🙂

  32. 32
    Brother Brian says:

    SA@31, I think we can all be guilty of this at times. However, there are a couple people here who take some perverse pride in being rude and abusive.

    The issue of not being able to convince the other that you are right is usually not due to willful ignorance, as some repeatedly claim. I know, in my case, I just don’t find the arguments that are being made to be very compelling. Maybe it is because of my biases, or because of the biases of the person I have having the discussion with. This being said, I have almost never seen someone change their opinion on blogs. I suspect that this is due to the nature of people who post on blogs. They usually post because they have strong opinions on various subjects. People with strong opinions are difficult to sway.

  33. 33
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky @ 28

    Thanks for a detailed reply. There’s one area where we are misunderstanding each other, I think. When I speak about the “human soul”, I am talking about the immaterial component of rationality, conscious awareness, moral conscience, intelligence and the “life principle” in humans. All of those things comprise the soul. So, the difference between a dead human and living human – is the soul. The rational, conscious power in humans is the soul.

    Science deals with what can be observed in the physical world, however indirectly, and with what can be inferred from observation. You could say that gravity or magnetism are immaterial phenomena but we infer their existence from their observable effects on the physical world.

    Yes, agreed. We could infer the existence of the soul from the effects of intelligence and moral conscience and self-awareness – immaterial aspects but which have an observable impact.

    The differences between human beings and other animals can be observed from their physical forms and their behavior.

    This is where evolution defines what human beings are. At one point in history, it is presumed, there were no humans on earth – only non-human ancestors. Then, humans existed. But evolution defines that transition entirely in terms of physical aspects, and these are arbitrary. Evolution proposes that there were “part human” animals. Eventually, when there was a “fully human” animal, it differed only in terms of behaviors and physical attributes. So, the idea that there was a blending of human and non-human is how evolution gives a radical definition to the nature of human life. Theologically, it rejects the idea that God created human life, as distinct and unique, without a mix of human and non-human. The classical notion is that a human differs from animal mainly in the possession of the immaterial soul (rational intellect, consciousness, moral awareness). The fossil record cannot show that such an aspect emerged gradually, and in any case, those immaterial qualities cannot evolve through mutations.

    If a soul has no observable effects in the physical world then what reason do we have to assume it exists at all?

    I hope I answered that above. We observe the effects of the soul in the effects of the rational intellect upon the world.

    Consciousness and rational intellect may be immaterial phenomena but we know of them by their observable effects in the physical world, specifically the physical behavior of human beings and some other animals.

    When I read this, I recognized that you were not understanding my definition of the soul. Yes, the soul “contains” the immaterial powers of rationality, moral awareness, consciousness, etc. Evolution can observe the effects but cannot speak of the origin of the immaterial quality of human life.

    Science cannot analyze immaterial entities.
    I say it can, again, from analysis of their observable effects in the physical world.

    Yes, science can analyze the effects, but not the thing itself. In the same way, ID looks at the effects of Intelligence, but cannot observe the actual designing intelligence if it is, indeed, immaterial. The intelligence that created the universe, for example, would not be observable although the effects (fine tuning, etc) are something that can be analyzed.

    There are also many things that could exist. But because something could exist does that mean it necessarily does exist? We create many stories about things that could exist. Are all those stories true simply because they could be true?

    Yes, but I think we’ve got the answer to this as you’ve pointed out. We see some effects, we do not directly observe the cause. So, we propose that something exists or existed to cause the effects. We say that something could have existed that caused it. So, it’s not just a fictional story but a proposal that fits the evidence. Something caused the universe. If the universe is the entirety of material, spacial and temporal reality, then whatever caused it to exist must transcend matter, space and time. Yes, we are just saying “it could be this” but it’s not like inventing something out of nothing.

    I don’t see it as “reducing” all evidence to physical or material evidence. It is the best we have.

    We have logical evidence, as I gave above. Whatever created the universe could not be a material being. That’s not physical evidence, but just logical. We also have testimonial evidence. We believe Socrates existed because we trust the testimonial evidence surrounding a life about a person who seems to be Socrates. But it’s not physical evidence. If we relied on physical evidence alone, we’d have to conclude that Socrates did not exist.

    According to some estimates, there are over 4000 religions I the world. Whatever the actual number, that is an awful lot of philosophical, theological and logical arguments out there. They can’t all be true. How do we decide between them? One way is to see if any of them have observable effects on the physical world that can be predicted from those arguments.

    It’s a great question and I offered a couple of additional methods beyond observable, physical effects. We look at the origin of the religions, their internal consistency and the testimonial evidence that surrounds them.

    As I’ve said before, religion seems to amplify both the good and the bad in people. Good people can be inspired by their religious beliefs to acts of great goodness but equally religious beliefs have been used to justify what would otherwise be considered terrible acts of evil.

    That seems right. Religion moves people to a higher level of action and also causes greater corruption when used badly. So the valleys are an equal reaction to the peaks. But I think human life is striving for the best. If religion was eliminated because of its power to corrupt, we would also lose its power to achieve greatness.

    Is there nay need for “ultimate consequences”? A psychopath might decide that the pleasure he gets from torturing and killing others is sufficient justification in itself for committing those acts. The rest of us potential victims beg to differ and take whatever steps are necessary to ‘neutralize’ the threat he poses to our survival and well-being. Isn’t it possible to develop a moral code based on our common interests.

    I think of Orwell’s, Animal Farm. The tyrants took over and the common people (animals) did nothing because of fear of torture or death. They accepted their lot in life as the best that it gets. Is it worth risking the limited number of days we have on earth for the sake of some good that we may never see? Or do we just accept the little bit of good we can have under a tyrrany? Religion gives hope to people, that there is happiness beyond. That is why people will risk their lives to change things. That is why the Communists wanted to stop religion because if gave higher meaning and purpose than the Communist state has, and offered an ultimate moral judgement against tyrranical rulers after their death.

    If God can do it, why can’t we?

    We’re talking about a huge (infinite) difference simply in knowledge. God knows the meaning and purpose. We are pretty much blind to whatever effects our moral decisions will have in the future. We can make moral decisions today, but are they really good? We may discover that we cause more damage later.

    The theory of evolution makes no theological claims. Darwin and other scientists have engaged with theological criticisms of the theory but that does not imply that the theory itself is somehow propped up by theological claims.

    I would think that evolution would not be able to make a critique of Creationism in that case. Both are different ways of looking at the development of life.

  34. 34
    ET says:

    Brother Brian:

    I know, in my case, I just don’t find the arguments that are being made to be very compelling.

    No one cares what you find compelling. And everyone notices that you don’t have anything to explain what we observe.

    And if someone could step up and demonstrate that blind and mindless processes could do what ID says requires a Designing Intelligence then most, if not all, IDists would change their story/ opinion. It takes science and evidence to do so. That is why IDists probably will never change their minds. ID has the science and evidence whereas there aren’t any viable scientific alternatives.

  35. 35
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BB

    The issue of not being able to convince the other that you are right is usually not due to willful ignorance, as some repeatedly claim. I know, in my case, I just don’t find the arguments that are being made to be very compelling. Maybe it is because of my biases, or because of the biases of the person I have having the discussion with.

    Just following the previous …

    Design is one of the alternatives that you have to choose from. The other is non-design, a blind, mindless origin to all things. You don’t find Design compelling. But do you find a materialist origin story a compelling argument?

  36. 36
    Brother Brian says:

    SA@35, I have no idea how life arose on earth, and neither does anyone else. There are some interesting lines of research into it but even if we are able to produce life in a lab just by replicating what we think early conditions were like and letting it run for several million years, all we could conclude was that it was possible. We could never conclude that that is how it actually happened. And it wouldn’t rule out design.

    For the origin of life there is no compelling evidence or argument for either design or a natural cause. All we can say is that it was one or the other.

    However, with regard to the diversification of life after it got started, I think that the evolution concept is supported by compelling evidence from a number of different disciplines.

  37. 37
    ET says:

    There is overwhelming evidence for ID at the origin of life. The codes required, alone, are such evidence. Spiegelman’s Monster looms large as a huge obstacle to materialistic origins. Nature tends towards the more simple. It is OK with rocks and water.

    However, with regard to the diversification of life after it got started, I think that the evolution concept is supported by compelling evidence from a number of different disciplines.

    What? First ID is not anti-evolution. How life originated dictates how it evolved. Then there is a mechanism issue. We can’t even test the premise that bacteria can evolve into something other than bacteria. So that is still a huge issue.

    Knowing what we do about developmental biology it is beyond absurd to think that blind and mindless processes can put together the genetic toolkit to make it all happen. Nature just lucked out on meiosis? Really?

    That is the next problem. Once sexual reproduction starts populations would tend to stay more or less the same. Only when humans step in does anything of note happen. But even then there are limits.

    The evidence for bigfoot is more compelling than that for universal common descent

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