Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design News

This IS news. Christians should confront Darwinism

Spread the love

Christians for Darwin?

We are looking at you. We are looking at you now.

Do you renounce the nonsense? Or just hope to get more funds from it until you quietly retire?

Suggested by poli sci prof J. Budziszewski. Here:

Christians need not be afraid to confront the inconsistencies of Darwinism

Can you name something that natural selection doesn’t explain? The most distinctive things about us—what Christians call our spiritual qualities—can’t be explained by natural selection. Tell me the adaptive value of a sense of beauty. Or say you are moved to awe by Bach’s Air on the G String: How does awe help you to pass on your genes to the next generation? One sociobiologist, an atheist, speculated that a gene for believing in God would help social groups cohere. But then why not just have a gene for cohering? Why should natural selection first produce a gene that makes us need to believe in something nonexistent, and later produce another that makes us think it does exist? Besides, I haven’t noticed that believing in God does make people cohere. It can make them war against each other because they worship different gods. These are such crazy, made-up, ex post facto explanations.

Are we legally allowed to ask these questions? Do Christians for Darwin allow them to be confronted?

Hope that guy’s job is safe.

Follow UD News at Twitter!

 

39 Replies to “This IS news. Christians should confront Darwinism

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    And how do we distinguish designer genes fro Designer genes?

  2. 2
    Axel says:

    Trouble is, logical inferences based on the soundest premises mean nothing to atheists, no matter how seminal the truth of such inferences. They are secular fundamentalists. Period.

  3. 3
    Larry Moran says:

    I frequently refer to Intelligent Design Creationists as IDiots because they don’t understand evolution.

    Budziszewski and Denyse O’Leary say that Christians should confront “Darwinism” and the best challenge they can come up with is, “Tell me the adaptive value of a sense of beauty.”

    I am told that there really are some ID proponents out there who understand evolution. Would some of you please explain to Budziszewski and O’Leary that there’s more to evolution than adaptation? Maybe a sense of beauty evolved without being an adaptation.

    I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.

    BTW, if ID is supposed to have nothing to do with gods then why is this post relevant?

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    ‘Maybe a sense of beauty evolved without being an adaptation.’

    ‘I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.’

    What? You mean with ‘maybes’? That won’t butter the parsnips Laurence. Back to the drawing-board, there’s a good chap.

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    Soon atheism, materialism and Darwinism will be crushed like so many filthy and disgusting bugs. Atheists will be thoroughly discredited and shunned by the whole world. They will cower in fear like rats and try in vain to hide the shame of their nakedness. 😀

    I’m in a good mood today. LOL.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    — Mahatma Gandhi

    … especially when the take different views on questions like evolution, apparently.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Mung @ 1

    And how do we distinguish designer genes fro Designer genes?

    Designer genes have a little leather label sown on saying “Levi(ticus)”.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    LM:

    I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.

    Don’t give up now. It’s almost working.

  9. 9
    StephenB says:

    Larry–hit-and run–Moran

    I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.’

    Don’t tell us what you can do, Larry. Show us what you can do. How do you get a sense of awe and beauty from evolution? For that matter, how does variation, selection, genetic drift, or whatever other “process” you worship produce Mozart’s symphony #25.

    Meanwhile, I am always happy to explain how these things are possible if you are ready to learn. Are you ready to learn, Larry? Or, are you ready to teach. Please do one or the other: Open up you mouth and teach or close your mouth and learn.

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    Larry Moran:

    Budziszewski and Denyse O’Leary say that Christians should confront “Darwinism” and the best challenge they can come up with is, “Tell me the adaptive value of a sense of beauty.”

    Funny you should say this because it is an excellent argument against Darwinian evolution.

    I am told that there really are some ID proponents out there who understand evolution. Would some of you please explain to Budziszewski and O’Leary that there’s more to evolution than adaptation? Maybe a sense of beauty evolved without being an adaptation.

    This is total BS. Beauty is not a physical property of the universe. Therefore, is cannot evolve either by adaptation or other material means. There is nothing in biology that selects for beauty. There cannot be, by definition.

    I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.

    It might work if you came out less like a know-it-all bore.
    Everybody knows what Darwinian evolution means. It’s a pathetic little theory based on superstition. We don’t need you to teach us what crap is.

    BTW, if ID is supposed to have nothing to do with gods then why is this post relevant?

    It’s relevant because it’s about some Darwinist crap or other. Besides the fact that most ID supporters are Christians has nothing to do with the validity of ID.

    Moran, my advice to you is this: Smoke some weed or something. It might wake up the dormant half of your brain.

  11. 11
    velikovskys says:

    Stephen B:

    Meanwhile, I am always happy to explain how these things are possible if you are ready to learn.

    How do you know?

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. (we are not worthy) Moran

    Aesthetic Arguments for the Existence of God – Peter Williams
    Excerpt: Beauty. . . can be appreciated only by the mind. This would be impossible, if this `idea’ of beauty were not found in the mind in a more perfect form.
    http://www.quodlibet.net/artic.....etic.shtml

    Although the argument from beauty is certainly a very powerful Theistic argument, I find Professor J. Budziszewski argument from agent causality to be much more powerful than the argument from beauty:

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    http://www.undergroundthomist......theist.pdf
    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – 2012 audio of lecture
    University of Wyoming J. Budziszewski
    http://veritas.org/talks/profe.....er_id=2231

    Now Dr. Moran, I know that you think the argument from beauty can be brushed off with a mere wave of the hand, (beauty is ‘only’ in the eye of the beholder anyway is it not?), but I think the argument from personal agency should give you a bit more pause.

    You see Dr. Moran, if you deny the fact that you are really a personal agent, then you forfeit any right you may have to argue in a logically coherent manner.

    In other words, the denial of agent causality within yourself undermines your ability to rationally practice science itself.
    After all why should I believe what a ‘illusion’ called Dr. Moran says about what is true and what is not true about reality?

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    Moreover, the denial that you have a free will only compounds the denial that ‘you’ are really a real person instead of a neuronal illusion:

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Physicalism and Reason – May 2013
    Summary: So we find ourselves affirming two contradictory propositions:
    1. Everything is governed by cause-and-effect.
    2. Our brains can process and be changed by ground-consequent logical relationships.
    To achieve consistency, we must either deny that everything is governed by cause-and-effect, and open our worldviews to something beyond physicalism, or we must deny that our brains are influenced by ground-consequence reasoning, and abandon the idea that we are rational creatures.
    Ask yourself: are humans like falling dominoes, entirely subject to natural law, or may we stand up and walk in the direction that reason shows us?
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2.....nd-reason/

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    In the following article, Dr. Nelson ties the ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design:

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause,, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....90071.html

    And indeed, as Dr. Nelson alluded to, personal agency is very much closely associated with the creation of new information

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomena: the creation of new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    And although Dr. Nelson alluded to writing an e-mail, (i.e. creating information), to tie his ‘personal agent’ argument into intelligent design, Dr. Nelson’s ‘personal agent’ argument can easily be amended to any action that you, as a personal agent, choose to take:

    You didn’t walk through the door. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.
    You didn’t raise your hand. Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.
    You didn’t etc.. etc.. etc… Physics did, and informed the illusion of you of that event after the fact.”

    Of related interest, Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of ‘academics’, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his hand,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

    Now, Dr. Moran, I know you probably think you have agent causality all ‘explained away’ and that we are all IDiots for believing that we are real persons, with real purpose, instead of just neuronal illusions, but in your valiant effort to explain evolution to us IDiots, I would hope that you would not mind also explaining how unguided material processes, i.e. evolution, produced my subjective sense of self.

    ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    There is simply no direct evidence that anything material is capable of generating consciousness. As Rutgers University philosopher Jerry Fodor says,

    “Nobody has the slightest idea how anything material could be conscious. Nobody even knows what it would be like to have the slightest idea about how anything material could be conscious. So much for the philosophy of consciousness. Regardless of our knowledge of the structure of the brain, no one has any idea how the brain could possibly generate conscious experience.”

    As Nobel neurophysiologist Roger Sperry wrote,

    “Those centermost processes of the brain with which consciousness is presumably associated are simply not understood. They are so far beyond our comprehension at present that no one I know of has been able even to imagine their nature.”

    From modern physics, Nobel prize-winner Eugene Wigner agreed:

    “We have at present not even the vaguest idea how to connect the physio-chemical processes with the state of mind.”
    Contemporary physicist Nick Herbert states,

    “Science’s biggest mystery is the nature of consciousness. It is not that we possess bad or imperfect theories of human awareness; we simply have no such theories at all. About all we know about consciousness is that it has something to do with the head, rather than the foot.”

    Physician and author Larry Dossey wrote:

    “No experiment has ever demonstrated the genesis of consciousness from matter. One might as well believe that rabbits emerge from magicians’ hats. Yet this vaporous possibility, this neuro-mythology, has enchanted generations of gullible scientists, in spite of the fact that there is not a shred of direct evidence to support it.”

  13. 13
    ppolish says:

    How many people in the world believe in Evolution? Majority of the believers are Theists, right? Probably a 2/3’s majority. Higher?

    As Design becomes ever more apparent and obvious, Theist Evolutionists will decline and Theist Design will increase. But some Theists will take the Teleological View – and “Christians for Teleology” will be derided by some IDers instead of “Christians for Darwin”.

    Looking forward to the Teleology vs Theology debate in Biology.

  14. 14
    soundburger says:

    Larry Moran often goes to his fallback position that ID people don’t understand evolution. The notion that he, and others, have attempted for twenty years to teach evolution without satisfying results actually argues AGAINST his position.

    Is evolution really such a complex process that even after twenty years, those who DO understand it are forced to swing, like squirrels moving along treetops, from one possibility to another, one ‘maybe’ explanation to another to display their knowledge of it?

    Wow, quite a process. We can’t fully explain it; we grasp at straws to do so, we can’t replicate it in a lab, and our finest engineers are incapable of producing anything remotely as sophisticated as what it produces.
    Hmmm…seems like Something or Someone much smarter than us is responsible. Maybe Moran would call that someone or something an IDiot too?

  15. 15
    Box says:

    Larry M.: Maybe a sense of beauty evolved without being an adaptation.

    That is your great insight, isn’t it Larry? All the fancy stuff in nature just happens to form for no reason at all.

    If only ppl like Budziszewski and Denyse O’Leary were willing to listen ….

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    semi related: Here is a recent talk from Nancy Pearcey

    Discipleship and Finding Truth | Nancy Pearcey – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6J1xZ3zliQ

    of note:

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

  17. 17
    ppolish says:

    “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”

    “With a side of bacon?”

    “Sure, side of bacon”

    “Coming up, hon”

    What if the God of Evolution only has the top 1% of the top 1% surviving? Based on Love. Wonderful Survivors, but sucks for the rest of us. There’s always Purgatory whew. Love your neighbor. Then love them some more. And some more:) More.

  18. 18
    Robert Byers says:

    Ots a bad idea to take on Darwin etc by minor human character traits.
    All that needs to be done is demand from them biological scientific evidence for extreme unlikely deeds as turning bugs into buffalos. Gish into elephants
    beauty does not exist but simply is the original right answers to symmetry
    beauty is onl;y perceived because most of nature is not right.
    Music is just tones of voice using instruments and hits a thought inus and we live on a hair trigger with our “emotions”.
    . .

  19. 19
    Larry Moran says:

    I’m still waiting for some courageous ID proponent to step up to the plate and explain to the IDiots what’s wrong with the logic in the argument.

    I know there are some readers who can do it. This would be a good time to demonstrate that some ID proponents are actually capable of understanding evolution and capable of critical thinking.

    Or perhaps it’s impossible for ID proponents to be self-critical?

  20. 20
    vjtorley says:

    Professor Moran,

    I have a simple question for you. You write:

    Would some of you please explain to Budziszewski and O’Leary that there’s more to evolution than adaptation? Maybe a sense of beauty evolved without being an adaptation.

    Now, your point that “there’s more to evolution than adaptation” is fair enough, but your suggestion that a sense of beauty evolved without being an adaptation is pure supposition, unless you are prepared to tell us which features of living things could not have evolved without being an adaptation? Putting it differently, which features of living things is natural selection required to explain?

    On a previous occasion, you’ve acknowledged that human intelligence was an adaptive trait. What other organismic traits would you add to the list, and why?

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    Larry Moran:

    Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations.

    No one disputes this. Not Denyse O’Leary, not J. Budziszewski, not the most ardent YEC’ist.

    From the OP: Can you name something that natural selection doesn’t explain?

    Well, can you?

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    Larry Moran:

    I frequently refer to Intelligent Design Creationists as IDiots because they don’t understand evolution.

    Let’s be honest. You frequently refer to Intelligent Design Creationists as IDiots because you’re a bigot.

  23. 23
    Mung says:

    Let’s approach this differently. Can natural selection explain beauty? Sure it can. Natural selection can explain anything. Is there anything natural selection cannot explain?

    Do tell.

  24. 24
    Andre says:

    Prof Moran

    I frequently refer to Intelligent Design Creationists as IDiots because they don’t understand evolution.

    If I had a dime for every time you said it I would be stinking rich, but saying it is so does not make it so. The only person here that does not understand evolution is you, had you actually understood it you would have realized that molecules to man all by itself without design is not highly improbable, or lucky its, flat out impossible.

    But no, Prof Moran’s faith requires him to believe that dirt can make itself and can magically come alive all by itself! You have more blind faith than most theists I know Prof Moran.

  25. 25
    Mung says:

    Andre, you’ve just inspired the creation of a new web technology!

    I will get rich if … says …

    I get 90% you get 10%. Fair enough?

    p.s. If you say no I still get 90%

  26. 26
    Andre says:

    Mung

    You can have 100%

  27. 27
    Box says:

    // Summation of an article by Moran: //

    According to Moran evolution is a fundamentally random and unpredictable process. Chance events like mutations, random genetic drift and the accidents and contingencies in the history in life are much more important than natural selection.
    Moran doesn’t see perfection in nature, so he doesn’t need natural selection to explain it—“modern species do not look designed”.

    – – – –
    “Chance” as an explanation is already part of the design inference explanatory filter, so it’s entirely unclear to me as to why Larry holds that his views are of any special interest to ID.

  28. 28
    Eugen says:

    Andre to Mung:

    “You can have 100%”

    Very nice. Now you are like N.Tesla.
    🙂

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a response to Dr Moran’s insistence that most of the genome is junk by a ENCODE researcher:

    “That said, I can’t help but notice a trend: over time, “junk DNA” is disappearing. Good riddance: this is just a term for DNA that we don’t have any guesses about its function. The more we learn about the genome, the more functions we uncover, thus fewer unknowns and a more seemingly “useful” genome. Where will it end? I have no idea,,,”
    http://www.reddit.com/r/asksci.....of/c667vqi

    Dr. Moran, us IDiots, and your captive audience of college students, are low hanging fruit in your grand scheme of turning everyone into mindless Darwinbots. Don’t you think you should redouble your efforts on educating these ENCODE researchers who disagree with you on how evolution ‘really’ works since they are far more influential, with their research, than us in creating doubts about unguided evolution?

  30. 30
    Timaeus says:

    Larry Moran wrote:

    “I’ve been trying to teach Denyse about evolution for almost twenty years. It’s not working.”

    Perhaps teaching is not your strong point, Larry. There is some empirical evidence of that, I believe.

    Or perhaps it is expertise that is the problem. Last time I checked your website for your publications on evolutionary theory, I found many popular articles on ID and creationism, and some apparently self-published biochemical data on your university website. I couldn’t find a single article on evolutionary theory in a peer-reviewed journal on the subject for over 10 years into the past. For someone who has so many opinions on evolution, and voices them so loudly in non-professionally-controlled environments such as blog sites, you are surprisingly absent from the professional discussions. Perhaps you can explain the inverse relationship between your popular involvement in debates over evolution and your visibility in the technical books and articles on the subject of evolution.

    It strikes me that spending hundreds of hours every year trying to convince ID people and creationists they are wrong would not be as profitable a use of a Toronto professor’s time as actually researching evolutionary mechanisms and publishing the findings at academic conferences, in books, and in journals.

  31. 31
    Silver Asiatic says:

    It’s been difficult enough for Professor Moran to try to teach Richard Dawkins what evolutionary theory really is.

  32. 32
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Box 27 – thanks for the link to that article.

    LM says:

    The end result of evolution by accident is modern species that do not look designed.

    I won’t bother to ask for scientific evidence that “modern species do not look designed” because none can or will be provided. But more importantly, Prof. Moran doesn’t understand what design is, as revealed here …

    A the risk of forcing an analogy, it’s useful to think of evolution as a tinkerer and not a designer. This is the view originally espressed by François Jacob, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1965 along with Jacques Monod. Jacob points out that the tinkerer takes whatever parts and pieces are lying around and cobbles together something that works. That’s what evolution does, whether the mechanism is natural selection, random genetic drift, or anything else. The implications are profound. It means that the modern product of all this tinkering comes from a long line of Rube-Goldberg-like ancestors with no discernable plan or goal.

    It’s making a distinction between a tinkerer and a designer.

    Again, I’d love to see the scientific evidence that explains the difference between tinkering and designing, but in any case … the tinkerer who puts various parts together into a whole, is engaging in a design process.

    The parts have a purpose (design), they fit together as a functional whole (organism) with various purposes (“cobbles together something that works”). It’s design.

    Edit – oh yeah, and this is the theological viewpoint he added It means that the modern product of all this tinkering comes from a long line of Rube-Goldberg-like ancestors with no discernable plan or goal.

  33. 33
    soundburger says:

    Whenever Larry writes things like
    “Or perhaps it’s impossible for ID proponents to be self-critical?”
    – and he writes things like that a LOT, it’s he, not anyone else, who ends up looking like an idiot.

    and, for that matter, can anyone here recall Larry himself EVER being ‘self-critical’? It seems to me that he is missing the gene for that.

  34. 34
    Larry Moran says:

    @Vincent Torley #20

    Thank-you for a serious response.

    Now, your point that “there’s more to evolution than adaptation” is fair enough, but your suggestion that a sense of beauty evolved without being an adaptation is pure supposition, unless you are prepared to tell us which features of living things could not have evolved without being an adaptation? Putting it differently, which features of living things is natural selection required to explain?

    First, let’s be clear that I did not claim that beauty evolved without being an adaptation. I merely pointed out that it was a possibility that was ignored in the example of how Christians should confront “Darwinism.”

    But, for the record, I strongly suspect that beauty is in the mind of the beholder and there’s no set of genes that determine what we find beautiful. A sense of beauty seems to be an epiphenomenon derived from the evolution of intelligence, sight, sound, smell, and the production of hormones.

    The point, as I think you know, is that the original question was meaningless since no evolutionary biologist—and no Darwinist—thinks that beauty is an adaptation. Thus, the question, “Tell me the adaptive value of a sense of beauty.” reveals a lack of understanding of evolutionary biology.

    Don’t you agree? Wouldn’t you ask a similar question of Budziszewski? Wouldn;t you say to him that his suggestion that a sense of beauty evolved as an adaptation is “pure speculation”? Wouldn’t you demand the same sort of evidence and logic that you demand of me?

    You have been trying really hard to understand the concepts of Neutral Theory and random genetic drift as well as the flaws in adaptationist thinking. I appreciate that. It was a struggle for me as well when I first encountered the modern way of looking at evolution.

    Now you can help your fellow ID proponents by pointing out the serious flaws in the logic of the post above. That is not a good lesson on how Christians should confront “Darwinism,” is it?

    BTW, are you proud of the way most ID proponents responded to my questions on this thread? You are very critical of the way scientists express themselves and you are quick to point out any flaws in facts or logic whenever you spot them. Fair enough, but do you apply the same standards to your ID friends?

    I ask because you know full well that scientists criticize other scientists on a regular basis in an effort to arrive at the truth. Even in this very thread, someone has taken to time to point out that I don’t agree with Richard Dawkins. How come that same sort of self-criticism is never seen in the ID community?

  35. 35
    StephenB says:

    Take a deep breath, Larry. Budziszewski is arguing against naturalists, not neutralists. Just read the headline (“the inconsistencies of Darwinism”) To be more specific, he is arguing that Naturalists cannot explain a sense of beauty by appealing to (surprise, surprise) natural selection as the mechanism that could pull it off. Thus, if you are a neutralist, his argument doesn’t apply to you directly. There is nothing wrong with his logic.

    Obviously, you missed the humor and the irony of this interaction. You claim IDists are Idiots because they cannot make the distinction between Neo-Darwinism and Neutral Theory. Yet, here you are charging after Budziszewski for challenging Darwinism as if he was attacking your precious neutral theory. So whose logic is faulty here? Clearly, it is yours.

    Of course, the broader point stands. No naturalistic theory of evolution can explain the sense of beauty. So the only other question left to discuss is this: Can you explain it by arguing from a neutralist perspective, that is, by emphasizing genetic drift and de-emphasizing natural selection. Of course, you cannot, and of course, you are just blowing smoke.

    Falling back on the same mindless logic of your Neo-Darwinist peers, you assert that Mozart’s Symphony #5 derived from matter. If there is one thing that Neo-Darwinists share with neutralists, it is their undying faith in that infallible process of “poofery.” Well, at least you didn’t use the word “emerge.” That’s progress, I guess.

  36. 36
    mike1962 says:

    SB: No naturalistic theory of evolution can explain the sense of beauty.

    Good post, but beauty exists within consciousness, so it would be better to say that no naturalistic theory of evolution can explain consciousness and the meaning that consciousness experiences.

    Personally, people who don’t get this are not worth having a discussion with when it comes to these sorts of issues. They are blind and no quantity of words can change that sad fact.

  37. 37
    Timaeus says:

    I’ll take Larry Moran’s silence on my request for a list of his recent peer-reviewed publications in evolutionary biology as a concession that he has no such publications. I.e., I will infer that he is a commentator on debates over evolutionary theory, not an evolutionary theorist himself.

    Of course, being a commentator on something is not a bad thing in itself. For someone to say: “Gould says such-and-such about evolutionary mechanisms, and Futuyma says something different, and Coyne says something different, and here are some of the points over which these men have disagreed” — that would be pedagogically useful for many readers. But that’s not the way Larry Moran has ever written about evolution.

    Larry writes in this fashion: “Evolution doesn’t happen that way; it happens this way.” That is, Larry does not merely describe what the experts think, and indicate areas of possible strength in weakness in their various views, but tells his readers which views are right and which are wrong, which evolutionary biologists know what they are talking about and which don’t. He poses as someone who can referee the conflicts, who stands above all the others and can pass judgment on their scientific competence and the correctness of their theories, and, in a pinch, when none of them is right, can tell us the way evolution really happened, on his own authority. This is pretty arrogant for a guy with no recent publications in the field, and whose work (as far as I can tell) is never or rarely cited by Shapiro, Newman, Wagner, Jablonka, or any of the other currently important evolutionary theorists.

    Larry has an inflated idea of his own importance within evolutionary theory. In fact, in reality, he is just one more of 10,000 guys in the world with a Ph.D. in biology or biochemistry or genetics who is under the illusion that knowing one of those fields automatically makes one an expert on evolutionary theory and evolutionary mechanisms. But the people who actually *do* evolutionary theory seem to take little notice of Larry Moran (or his blog site) at all.

    Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Larry regularly gets invited to big conferences on evolutionary theory to be the keynote speaker; maybe his judgments are revered around the world the way Ernst Mayr’s used to be. If so, I’ll be glad to be corrected, and to retract my statements. Someone here can write in with evidence of the hundreds of times Larry’s research on evolutionary mechanisms have been cited in the literature, with the details of the publications Larry hasn’t bothered to list on his web site, etc. What I can see for the moment, however, is that Larry Moran is a nobody in evolutionary theory, a biochemistry teacher at Toronto with an interest in evolutionary theory who is convinced he knows more about it than almost everyone else on the planet, but with no track record to corroborate that opinion.

    That’s the problem with the internet age. Through web sites and blogs, it gives people the ability to be prominent, and many readers assume that prominence equals importance. But it doesn’t. The Kardashians and Paris Hilton are as prominent in popular culture as Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep, but they aren’t nearly as important. To be important, as opposed to prominent, one has to demonstrate ability. *Ability*, not the verbal fluency to hold forth on a subject on a blog site. And in science, ability is proved not on blog sites but at conferences, in articles, and in books. So what is needed is a list of Larry’s publications in these venues.

  38. 38
    Robert Byers says:

    Just on the point about beauty.
    Beauty is not shown by evolutionary concepts of senses or anything else.
    Beauty in fact is from God.
    That is God made everything perfect once.
    We recognize perfect/beauty when ww see symmetry. In nature or people.
    so there is only accuracy in nature.
    Yet we create a category called beauty because most of nature/man is not accurate in its symmetry.
    So beauty does not exist but only accuracy and this shows a creators idea.
    We know beauty when we see it but only because we see accuracy .
    Its not in the eyes of the beholder. Its in Gods creation and then that creation was ruined with only remnants of accuracy left.

  39. 39
    evnfrdrcksn says:

    36

    beauty is undeniably in the eye of the beholder. that’s why that phrase exists. a toad plopped in front of a sunrise won’t “appreciate” it. when you say that “beauty exists within consciousness” you’re not just missing the point, you’re clear into outer space.

Leave a Reply