Darwin Under Siege in Hyde Park

September 4, 2012 2:00 am 68 comments

Dr. Jerry Coyne, evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago

Warning bells are sounding out of the quaint Hyde Park neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. Hyde Park, of course, is home to the University of Chicago and home to outspoken atheistic biologist and blogger, Dr. Jerry Coyne. In an 8/30/12 post on his Why Evolution is True blog, Coyne revealed some disturbing “heretical” trends that are brewing in the world of evolutionary biology.

This time the evolution-doubters are not the “silly” Christian fanatics at the Discovery Institute, nor the “moronic” Jewish agnostic, David Berlinski; it’s not even “creationist” rabbi’s like myself. No, this time the defectors from and critics of, neo-Darwinian orthodoxy (“Darwin was, Darwin is, Darwin will be”), are from the ranks of the non-creationists!

The title of the post says it all: “Larry Moran reviews Shapiro’s anti-Darwinian book; and another new anti-evolution book is about to appear.” Coyne is referring to his University of Chicago colleague, Dr. James Shapiro, a geneticist and microbiologist at that august institution. Coyne is not happy at all regarding Shapiro’s “beefs against the modern theory of evolution.” In fact some of Shapiro’s views seem almost blasphemous to a loyal Darwinist like Coyne: “Shapiro seems to have an almost teleological view of how evolution operates.” Coyne goes on to inform us that “virtually all the non-creationist…approbation of Shapiro’s views, come from molecular biologists.” He then wonders if “there’s something about that discipline (the complexity of molecular mechanisms?) that makes people doubt the efficacy of natural selection.”

Distinguished philosopher, Dr. Thomas Nagel

Can you imagine the nerve of those uppity molecular biologists?! After all, what the hell could they possibly know – except of course, “the complexity of molecular mechanisms” – that would give them the chutzpah to challenge Coyne’s scientific position? Don’t these molecular biologists know that before expressing any type of view on science they are supposed to first seek approval from the zealous defender of the Darwinian faith, Dr. Jerry Coyne? Don’t they know that creationists could use these types of views to question neo-Darwinian theory?

There is more bad news. “And now we learn that another respected philosopher (Jerry Fodor was the first) has come out against neo-Darwinism too: the distinguished philosopher Thomas Nagel is about to issue Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Concept of Nature is Almost Certainly False.” In fact, there are a number of distinguished philosophers besides Nagel and Fodor who have attacked Darwinian orthodoxy; the prominent British philosopher, Antony Flew, renounced his long-held atheism after concluding that the origin of the first bacterium and its genetic code could not possibly have emerged through any conceivable unguided process; Darwinian psychology and socio-biology was shredded by Australian philosopher of science, David Stove, in his classic work, Darwinian Fairy Tales; and let’s not forget Coyne’s agnostic, and decidedly non-creationist nemesis, Dr. David Berlinski, who holds a PhD in philosophy from Princeton University.

Dr. James Shapiro, geneticist and microbiologist at the University of Chicago

Dr. Coyne, perhaps the reason that non-creationists are starting to question some of your views is because they really are worth questioning. Perhaps, like an old gunslinger in the West, your time is fading; or perhaps you are being forced to confront what real science is all about. It’s about the pursuit of truth at all costs, even if it means having to abandon long-held, deeply cherished views.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi, a regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website. If you wish to be informed when new articles appear, send an email to moe.david@hotmail.com with the email address and the word “Subscribe” in the subject line.

68 Comments

  • [][]“… the prominent British philosopher, Antony Flew, renounced his long-held atheism after concluding that the origin of the first bacterium and its genetic code could not possibly have emerged through any conceivable unguided process;…”[][]

    Looks like Flew fell for the old “God of the Gaps” fallacy. But it’s still a fallacy, no matter who falls for it (or even how many do).

  • Well, it’s a sad say for atheists everywhere. A downright tragic day for those atheists who’ve put all their skeptical eggs into the “science will explain everything” basket. And to go one step further, suicide watch is recommended for those atheists (Coyne, Dawkins, Dennett, Schermer, Moran, Myers, etc) who sincerely think that they are brilliant while the IDiots haven’t quite evolved to their point of enlightenment.

    To what am I referring? The ID sites are abuzz with the latest scientific breakthrough published in Nature: The ENCODE project has found “biochemical functions for 80% of the genome.” With only 147 cells of the several thousand human cell types analyzed, “it’s likely to go to 100 percent.” It means the IDiots (I use the term with affection) were right and ID is officially a science since it was correctly predicted and subsequently tested that there was no junk in DNA since it was designed. However, those in denial will likely call it a lucky guess. Can’t wait for that!!

    The other thing we can learn from this vindication of ID, is that the charge that ID will only hinder science and human progress can now be leveled at the materialist scientists who, due to their atheistic worldview – wouldn’t have gone looking for function in DNA’s non-coding areas in the first place. This new discovery will aid in our fight against genetic diseases and cancer.

    Suicide hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE

    • It is interesting to hear about your dreams, Rex. That “vindication of ID” one is particularly creative.

    • [][]‘… the “science will explain everything” basket….‘[][]

      There is no reason to ever expect science to “explain everything” in any particular person’s lifetime, or in any particular century.

      The key issue is that while science can explain at least some things, religion can explain absolutely nothing at all. The reason is that science is based on reality, and religion isn’t based on reality. Nature actually exists, and the supernatural doesn’t.

    • [][]“… atheists … skeptical eggs …”[][]

      Also note that being an atheist is not the same thing as being a skeptic.

  • Kevin Bjornson

    Anthony Flew was quite elderly, and in considerable pain, at the time he made those comments. I bear some responsibility for his confusion, as I discussed these matters with him when I met him at an ISIL conference in Vilnius. I discussed theories that plants might be conscious, and I invited Steve into the discussion, whereupon he went into his schtick on paganism vs. Christianity.

    We can only talk about natural things, or we talk nonsense. Because our means of communication and our language are natural. We can’t talk about the supernatural, except as other-than natural. The lack of a positive definition of terms, renders into nonsense any attempts at supernatural talk.

    Let’s us talk about analogy. Suppose that you’re on the phone with someone, and the phone is voice only with no video. You cannot reasonably expect to have TV contact as well, because the means of communication do not include video. By the same token, we cannot talk about the supernatural, using natural-only means.

    • Kevin,
      I’ve heard the “ANtony Flew was an old senile man” excuse before. It really does not befit someone as intelligent as yourself to bring that up. If you read Flew’s book “There IS a God”, it is clear that his position was stated quite lucidly and coherently.

      • There IS a God in the same sense that there IS a Voldemort and a Winnie-the-Pooh. They are all popular fictional characters with many stories about them.

      • [][]“… his position was stated quite lucidly …”[][]

        No matter how “lucidly” you can state your belief in something unreal, your faith cannot make it real.

        God is no more real than Santa Claus.

    • I think we can talk about the supernatural utilizing the same language we talk about any non-material perceptions. We manage to communicate quite well when discussing the very real concepts of hope, love, joy, sympathy, curiosity, etc. Any discussion of consciousness would also lend itself to language capable of describing the supernatural.

      • Correct. Fiction is not, and never has been, a problem for the use of human language. Humans have always been able to use language to talk and write about things both real and fictional. Gods are among the oldest and some of the most popular fictional subjects.

        Naturally, there is no rational way to take stories about the supernatural literally, e.g., as if God actually existed. It is a contradiction to try to talk about the unreal (aka the “supernatural”) as if it were really real. That has not detracted from the popularity of such fiction, of course. (It doesn’t even stop people from trying to kid themselves that something supernatural is miraculously somehow really out there, somewhere — or maybe nowhere, as Rabbi Averick likes to say.)

      • [][]“… non-material perceptions.”[][]

        A “non-material perception” is like a square circle — not an actual possibility in the real world.

        A perception is an interaction between some part of the material world and a sensory system. A “non-material perception” is a “perception that never happened” (because it couldn’t happen).

      • [][]“… the very real concepts of hope, love, joy, sympathy, curiosity, etc.”[][]

        Not only are those concepts real, but so are all the things they refer to. That makes them significantly different from the “concept” of “a supernatural God,” which is nothing at all real.

        In other words, while imagination, as such, is very real, imaginary beings, e.g., God, are not real.

  • [][][]
    Moshe Morris
    September 5, 2012
    9:19 pm
    “… blind laws will never be able too account for [nature].”
    [][][]

    Therefore, goes the “Intelligent Design” belief, we must resort to blind (i.e., religious) faith.

    But, REASONABLY SPEAKING, “unguided natural processes” make sense, whereas unthinking faith in the supernatural does not make any sense. (And “thinking faith” is a contradiction in terms.)

  • Vocal cord paralysis

    Rabbi, still wondering how reconcile the obvious poor design of the recurrent laryngeal nerve and ID.

    (I’m sure you are familiar with the recurrent laryngeal nerve, seeing as how well educated you are, but for the benefit of your readers the recurrent laryngeal nerve innvervates the vocal cords. The nerve originates in the brain, but instead of traveling directly to the vocal cords, first descends into the chest and loops back upwards. This nerve takes the same course in most mammals, including giraffes where the detour amounts to several feet of redundant nerve. Doesn’t seem like intelligent design to me.)

    • Vocal cord,

      I don’t really know anything at all about the laryngeal nerve and can’t say anything one way or another. I can’t even evaluate if its a good question or not. However, I will take your word that it is.

      I confine my writings to the issue of Origin of Life, which I understand quite well. It is a very simple issue. The simplest living bacterial cell has molecular machinery and a digitally encoded information processing system that makes our current information systems look positively childish and there is zero naturalistic explanation for its origin, other than of course speculative theories.

      Origin of Life researcher, Dr. Eugene Koonin has suggested that perhaps the multiverse theory will solve our problems, after all, if you can roll the dice an infinite number of times, anything can happen. The fact that an accomplished scientist could suggest something so absurd is the clearest indication of how the agenda of SCientific Naturalism has distorted the entire scientific endeavor.

      If you have issues with ID and evolution, I would suggest contacting Dr. Paul Nelson, Dr. Rick Sternberg, or Dr. Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute in Seattle. They have the scientific expertise necessary to deal with those types of questions.

      • [][]“The simplest living bacterial cell has molecular machinery and a digitally encoded information processing system that makes our current information systems look positively childish and there is zero naturalistic explanation for its origin, other than of course speculative theories.”[][]

        The explanation for the “bacterial digitally encoded information processing system” is that it is an imaginary “system” made up by believers in supernatural powers (such as the “IDOL” doctrine).

        In real life, bacteria do not “process information.” Bacteria have no clue what information is. Indeed, on the molecular level, there is no such thing as “information.” Information is entirely a product of human conscious processing.

      • The notion of a “multiverse with infinite dice rolls” is just as nutty as the notion of an “omnipotent god with infinite wisdom.” They are variations on the theme that “nature just isn’t enough” (to make all our wishes come true).

    • Vocal cord paralysis, it seems to me that if the laryngeal nerve was so poorly designed, those organisms would have become extinct long ago. Since they’re not, the design of the laryngeal nerve is a non-issue. It certainly doesn’t keep humans from speaking. So what’s the problem? And how did the blind spot in our retina keep up from getting to the top of the food chain?

    • {}{}“… the obvious poor design of the recurrent laryngeal nerve …”{}{}

      You are missing the fact it could not have been a “poor design” in any way, since there never way anyone around to design it, period.

      Since there was not design, there was not “good design” and there was no “poor design.” (There was no design in the universe until after humans evolved — not before.

  • Thank you for another insightful article, Moshe. You are so close to the truth. Please accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior so that you may join him in everlasting life!

  • “ID theory is not cast in stone at all and is advocated buy top notch scientists using a scientific method. ”

    Ha, ha, ha, ha! Can you give an example of an hypothesis that falls under the umbrella of “ID theory”? Can you then tell me what empirical data you would collect to test that hypothesis? Finally, what would you expect the data you collect to show if your hypothesis is correct, and what you would you expect the data to show if your hypothesis isn’t correct?

    I can’t wait to see how you dodge the questions.

    • “IDOL” theory has no scientific traction or grounding at all (not even of any kind). The notion of a supernatural “Intelligent Designer Of Life” is strictly fiction. The notion cannot be made into any sort of legitimate hypothesis, and there is no possible empirical data relating to it.

    • “Dodge”? Or simply ignore?

    • I’m not going to try and defend ID as a theory – I’m also not sure how one would do that. But leaving aside the question of whether or not it is science, let’s ask whether or not what they say has any truth or validity to it.

      Modern science has discovered a world that is much less physical than we imagined. The world of the quantum, mathematical formulas at the foundation of physical laws with finely set parameters to some of those laws, coded and communication systems, molecular machines, etc.

      The point of the ID community is that unguided, blind forces are incapable of accounting for these observations and discoveries.

      Note how I phrased that – in particular the word incapable. The claim of ID is not that science has YET to discover how blind laws can account for these phenomenon, but that blind laws will never be able too account for these phenomenon.

      That does NOT preclude discovering further mechanisms which can explain aspects or elements of these phenomenon, but the claim is that those mechanisms themselves will require a more fundamental explanation and that ULTIMATELY SPEAKING, that explanation will have to require some sort of intelligent entity capable of producing that which we observe.

      Now, this may be more of a philosophical point than a scientific one (although it may have ramifications for science), but that doesn’t mean that the point is not true.

      That is the criteria by which ID should be evaluated – is it true or not. I think that if people take the time to understand the science and understand what ID is saying they will realize that they have some rather strong and compelling points to make [even if one doesn't want to accept the idea that it's a scientific theory, which I myself suspect is going too far].

      • [][]“[T]he ["Intelligent Design"] claim is that those mechanisms themselves [i.e., nature, as such] will require a more fundamental explanation and that ULTIMATELY SPEAKING, that explanation will have to require some sort of intelligent entity capable of producing that which we observe.”[][]

        In other words: Since humans are not smart enough to have already understood everything, the only possibility is that there is some being who is not only more intelligent than we are, but who is not even actually real.

        Or: The only possible “explanation” for things we don’t understand is some entity which is utterly impossible to ever understand and which must be believed in by blind, blinder, always and evermore blinding, faith. Nature simply cannot be natural!

      • Okay… how does one assess whether or not it is true that unguided forces are incapable of producing the complexity of the life, the Universe, etc.?

        • I think that different members of the ID community take different approaches. Dembski uses mathematical criteria to determine whether or not something was designed.

          Stephen Meyer approaches the issue from what he calls the Reference to the Best Explanation – which he argues for in his book Signature in the Cell. To be honest, this position does not argue that unguided forces will never be capable, just that:

          * The evidence for such a position falls short AND
          * The argument for an intelligent designer is the best eplanation of the available evidence

          You’ll have to see his book for more details. It’s a bit long, but utlimately speaking worth a serious read. [I would recommend taking a look at my series on DNA before reading the book: http://morethinking.com/series/dna/

          I heard Michael Behe claim in a debate that he takes a more intuitive approach – that it’s just obviously designed.

          I imagine there are other approaches also, but off the top of my head that’s what I can come up with.

          Personally speaking, I think Behe’s approach is the most honest – I think when one takes the time to see what modern science has discovered the idea that this can all come about vis-a-vis random, blind, unguided forces seems ridiculous.

          That doesn’t mean that we should abandon intellectually addressing the issue (as Dembski and Meyer attempt to do), just that sometimes we over-intellectualize that which is obvious.

          I would personally add one other point. One does not need to show that blind forces of nature are incapable of producing the various types of design that we observe in nature. One rather needs to show that blind forces are capable of producing such design.

          True, I may not be able to discount the SPECULATIVE possibility that blind forces can produce all of this, but I also have no reason to take the idea seriously without some sort of compelling evidence.

          One of the major diifferences between science and philosophy/mythology is the critirea of rigorous proof based on observation and experimentation with predictive power.

          With Newton’s equations one can discover new planets and get to the moon. With our understanding of DNA one can work with and manipulate cells and creatures in a manner we couldn’t before.

          The theory of random mutations plus natural selection offers none of that predictive power and lacks the same type of solid evidence and observation required in other areas of science. Indeed, Professor Shapiro says that it contradicts what we witness in the cell [as he mentions in a lecture which you can find in this article: http://morethinking.com/2011/antibiotic-resistance-and-evolution-understanding-what-really-happens/.

          In short, I have no reason to take blind forces of nature seriously as the ultimate source of the design we see in nature. The design itself argues against such an explanation, the evidence for such an explanation is lacking and our scientific observations argue against such a position.

          And this is just in the area of biology – we haven’t even touched on the fine-tunings of the universe, the nature of the atom and other relevant topics.

          • }[][]“I have no reason to take blind forces of nature seriously as the ultimate source of the design we see in nature.”[][]{

            Your formulation of the problem is not a correct one. That is, since you are assuming that there is “design in nature,” you are assuming the conclusion you wish to reach.

            In fact, we do not see “design in nature.” We only see design in man-made products.

            “Design in nature” is a fantasy (or at least a metaphor that cannot reasonably be taken literally).

          • [edit]

            }[][]“I have no reason to take blind forces of nature seriously as the ultimate source of the design we see in nature.”[][]{

            Your formulation of the problem is not a correct one. That is, since you are assuming that there is “design in nature,” you are assuming the conclusion you wish to reach.

            In fact, we do not see “design in nature.” We only see design in man-made products.

            “Design in nature” is a fantasy (or at least a metaphor that cannot reasonably be taken literally).

          • }[][]“* The argument for an intelligent designer is the best explanation of the available evidence”[][]{

            Since a “Supernatural Designer” is an impossibility, the assumption of one certainly cannot explain anything at all.

          • [][]“One rather needs to show that blind forces are capable of producing such design.”[][]

            Clearly, “blind forces” are utterly incapable of “producing design” (since designing is a conscious process).

            But since there is no “design in nature,” there is no need to try to show that anything (blind or supernatural) is “capable of producing such design.”

            Religious beliefs in supernatural designers/creators/tuners are pure fantasy, and senselessly unrealistic.

          • }[][]“I think when one takes the time to see what modern science has discovered the idea that this can all come about vis-a-vis random, blind, unguided forces seems ridiculous.”[][]{

            If you ASSUME that some supernatural explanation for nature is necessary — or even possible — then you could take the view that “nature on its own” seem ridiculous to you.

            And also note that not only is there no reasonable alternative to nature, it makes no sense to think of nature as “random.”

      • [][]“That is the criteria by which ID should be evaluated – is it true or not.”[][]

        “ID” cannot possibly be true, since it asserts the existence of something supernatural, i.e., unreal.

        “Creation, by God!”, aka “Intelligent Design Theory,” has a big emotional appeal to some people, but it has zero scientific grounding and evidence (not to mention zero credibility as a rational philosophic concept). “ID” is nothing but religious fantasy.

        It can be popular, and even fun, as fiction, but there is no getting around the fact that it is fiction.

    • If scientists cannot distinguish between intelligent design and unintelligent design it follows that Darwin’s theory of unintelligent design isn’t scientific. In fact given the philosophical assumption of unadulterated Naturalism, everything from the origin of species to the origin of phyla collapses into pure chance (random genetic variations filtered by a randomly generated filter). One might as well have a theory that predicts that completely random things just happen. (Of course microevolution is fine within limits, but it does does a better job of explaining macrostasis than macroevolution and the origin of the higher taxa.)

  • Averick has absolutely no clue how science works, or the basic methodology that guides it. I’m also quite confident that these upcoming books will be beyond the comprehension level of the creationist Rabbi; one of the trademarks of the Creationist, is a complete lack of understand of their opponent’s position and a willful ignorance of the empirical data that supports the evolution of life.

    Of course, in his dramatic headline and article he completely fails to see the obvious; one can challenge Darwin, without challenging the whole of Evolutionary Theory, just as easily as one could challenge Sigmund Freud, without challenging the guiding principles behind psychoanalysis. Evolutionary Theory has come a long way since the publication of The Origin of Species, and it would continue to thrive and grow even if elements of Darwin’s Natural Selection fell by the wayside, to be replaced by a more modern and tested mechanism to guide the changing of species over time.

    This is a great article, as it clearly illustrates the complete ignorance of it’s author. It’s hilarious that the same Creationists that think they’re qualified to deny scientific fact, are absolutely thrilled to embrace science when they falsely believe—of course, guided by the same scientific illiteracy—that science is backing their position.

    The elephant in the room is that Rabbi Averick and other Creationists have done absolutely no scientific research to try to prove their fantastical hypothesis, and are somehow under the delusion—again guided by ignorance—that they win by default, should Evolutionary Theory ever be falsified. Let me help you Rabbi, it won’t be. Books like the ones you trumpet, are simply fine-tuning (or at least attempting to fine-tune) the facts behind the mechanisms guiding the evolution of species.

    • The issue isn’t so much the entire theory of evolution as it is the mechanism of evolution. The neo-Darwinian theory of evolution states that evolution is driven by natural selection working on random genetic mutations.

      Professor Shapiro says that that simply is not true (you can read his book or articles on Huffington Post to learn more about his position).

      The philosophical/theological significance of the mechanism is that atheists such as Coyne and Dawkins have pinned much if not all of their atheistic belief on the mechanism of evolution. Challenge the mechanism and you challenge their atheism (particularly if one replaces the mechanism with the type of mechanism that Professor Shapiro is recommending).

      [NOTE: Professor Shapiro is NOT from the ID movement and while he respects some of their scientific observations he has taken issue with some of their stances.]

      • [][]“Challenge the mechanism and you challenge their atheism …”[][]

        That is true only if your “challenge” is that the “mechanism” cannot be a natural one, but must instead be supernatural (i.e., not possible in the physical world of reality). And the problem with any “challenge” of that sort is that there are no rational grounds for making it.

        Whatever the process (or “mechanism”) is, it has to be 100% natural — or else it never happened (or could ever have happened).

        Atheism is logically unassailable. There is no reasonable way in all the world to challenge it. If you wish to go “out-of-this-world” . . . . well, otherworldly “challenges” cannot be applied to real life (they are stuck in the realm of fiction).

      • Also, what about Rabbi Averick’s disclaimers that his “IDOL” theory has absolutely no complaint about evolution — that the “origin of life” is quite a separate issue and is his designated “unnatural process”?

    • What if someone were to develop a Theory of Conservation by Means of Natural Selection to more accurately describe how nature actually functions. Given that stasis is a natural phenomenon that needs a naturalistic explanation, it seem quite logical and plausible to explain the stability of the higher taxa by the function of natural selection acting to eliminate useless transitional forms and thus inhibit major evolutionary change from occurring on a gradual step-by-step basis.

      Stasis is natural. Is evolution? How do you know?

    • David,

      I’ll ignore all your pompous declarations and try to deal with the very small part of your post that actually had substantive content.

      You are correct, one can certainly challenge parts of Darwinian Evolution without abandoning it entirely. The point of my article was that people like Coyne are the ones really holding back true scientific progress in these areas. He clearly sees himself, not as a scientist, who is constantly open to evaluating new approaches and ideas, he has fallen into the rut of defender of the faith. His incredulity that “non-creationists” could challenge Darwinian orthodoxy is laughable.

      As I’ve stated many times, I don’t argue with people about evolutionary theory, there are others much more qualified than myself to do that. To imply, as you do, that Paul Nelson, Rick Sternberg, Michael Behe, Doug Axe, etc. are not highly qualified scientists is of course ridiculous. You are clearly one the “Coynian” advocates of evolution. You care much more about atheism than you do about true science.

  • Your title “Darwin under siege”, which for a creationist may sound like something negative or scary, is actually a completely normal and positive thing for a science. Every scientific theory is per definition constantly under siege, as it is considered valid until proven otherwise.
    A completely different story from ID or creationism whose ideas and principles are cast in stone without room for self-critique, and hence evolution.

    • Pierre,

      1. A theory must first be proven then it is considered valid, it does not become valid by default

      2. I don’t know what you mean by “creationism”, but ID theory is not cast in stone at all and is advocated buy top notch scientists using a scientific method. You can disagree if you like, but your accusations regarding the integrity of the scientists involved are, in my opinion, baseless.

      3. What I meant by “Darwin Under Siege” is that Jerry Coyne frames the whole debate as involving “creationists”, “Non-creationists”, “Molecular Biologists” who obviously don’t understand the subject as well as he does. It is clear from Coyne’s presentation that he has an agenda, and the agenda is not Science.

      4. I believe in Science, Coyne believes in Atheism

      • [][]“… ID theory … is advocated buy top notch scientists using a scientific method.”[][]

        No, it isn’t. It is a patently false claim that your “IDOL” theory can be advocated using a scientific method. The notion of “Intelligent Design Of Life” is fiction, not science.

      • 1. Actually, a hypothesis must be proven, then it becomes a theory. This proves your lack of understanding for scientific categories.
        2. Of course it isn’t cast in stone. It’s an illogical and proven wrong approach to the origin of the universe.
        3/4. Are you truly trying to say that your agenda is science? Even if coyne’s was to support the disbelief of a god, it’s quite obvious that yours is to prove a belief in god.

      • [][]“4. I believe in Science,…”[][]

        You can either believe in the supernatural, or you can believe in science — but you cannot reasonably believe in both. Logically, it is either-or.

        There are, of course, people who try to believe in both — but the attempt never makes any sense. One might as well try to believe that circles are square as that religion is logically compatible with science.

        • Paul Sternberg

          I don’t see how it follows at all logically that science and religion are either/or scenarios. If science is concerned with he discovery of what we can understand about the physical universe, then it can stand equally under a theistic worldview or a materialist worldview – their perspectives towards naturally occurring phenomena are identical.

          It is when “scientists” enter the metaphysical and make pronouncements not on what they can observe and measure, but what they speculate to be true, then they enter into conflict with theistic worldviews. The problem is not one of science excluding religion, but science trying to enter into the realm of religion. There are logical, philosophical and historical arguments for the existence and action of God, but they are outside the the observational, empirical realm of science. Science cannot logically exclude God because it can only do so by definition, not evidence.

          Those who defend the idea that science excludes the possibility of God continually return to the materialist assumption and not evidence. Declaring something is not so without a complete investigation of all of the evidence is the mark of a closed mind, not a scientific mind.

          • [][]“Declaring something is not so without a complete investigation of all of the evidence …”[][]

            What you need to acknowledge is that there already has been a complete investigation of all the evidence for the existence of a supernatural God.

            And it was actually quite a simple process, since there is zero evidence for the supernatural.

            As somebody said: [][]“There are logical, philosophical and historical arguments for the existence and action of God, but they are outside the the observational, empirical realm of science.”[][]

            In other words, since there is zero evidence for God, all the alleged “logical, philosophical and historical arguments for the existence and action of God” don’t amount to a hill of beans!

          • [][]“The problem is not one of science excluding religion, but science trying to enter into the realm of religion.”[][]

            Since religion is fantasy fiction, when science tries to enter that realm, the result is science fiction. Fiction, per se, including both those types, is a perfectly legitimate realm of human endeavor.

            Just don’t confuse fantasy and science fiction with reality.

          • [][]“Science cannot logically exclude God because it can only do so by definition, not evidence.”[][]

            Science logically must “exclude God” because there is zero evidence to provide any basis for inclusion. Science deals with nature, not the unreal — with facts, not fiction.

  • Evolution is based on the principles of science, and as a science it evolves based on criticism that can be proven. Religion, Intelligent Design are based on faith, not science. No scientific fact whatsoever indicates any preliminary “design”, on the contrary. Creationism, ID are fabrications of the human mind, especially the minds that have been subjected to early-childhood religious indoctrination. GOD is the biggest HOAX man has ever invented …

    • Your basic model of religion is incorrect. Faith and science are not co-equal frameworks that oppose each other. They are two different (and under simple terms quote broad) conceptions and concerns, which overlap in part and diverge in part, in the scope of their concerns.

      Unfortunately, your ideas about religion are fabrications of the natural mind, especially the minds that have been subjected to early-adulthood atheist indoctrination. ATHEISM is the biggest HOAX man has ever invented …

      • The difference between us, is that I have not been subjected to ANY religious nor anti-with religious education,so I can analyze these phenomena from a neutral point of view. I see a planet where billions of people that are equally convinced that their version of the “supernatural” story is the right one and that all the others got it wrong, and are often willing to die and/or kill for that “truth”. Religion is so obviously a belief system that you inherit from your parents, through early-childhood indoctrination, and it is one of the great mysteries how believers don’t see to grasp that simple fact. If you wouldv’e been born in Iraq, then you would be a Muslim, in Calcutta you would be a Hindu, and in France or Sweden probably an atheist. Doesn’t that ring a bell ? And I’m not talking about churchbells ….

      • Trying to rationalize your religious beliefs is NOT a legitimate part of the pursuit of truth. Fantasy is not reality; religion is the rejection of truth and science (in favor of belief in the supernatural instead).

      • Really ??? Is gravity under siege? Is a sun centered solar system under siege?

      • [][]” Faith and science are not co-equal frameworks that oppose each other.”[][]

        That’s for sure!

        Science is the practice of learning about reality by applying reason to experience. Faith is the rejection of reason. They are most certainly not “co-equal”!

  • [][]“… confront what real science is all about. It’s about the pursuit of truth at all costs, even if it means having to abandon long-held, deeply cherished views.”[][]

    The pursuit of truth means being realistic, i.e., sticking to nature no matter how fervently you wish that some sort of “supernatural intervention” were possible.

    One necessary cost of the pursuit of truth is giving up the fantasies of religion as anything but fiction.

    • “The pursuit of truth means being realistic.”

      No; yours is the self-fulfilling statement of a material realist. Just because you believe that is the only possible reality does not confine “truth” in all its possible conceptions to your material framework. What we can say is that certain physical properties of matter must be tested physically.

      A pursuit of truth requires humility toward what can be proved — and toward what can’t be proved. It does not require presumptive rejection of a whole body of ideas, some which may prove true and others not, under the umbrella of religion and faith.

      You might want to rethink that position. Your anger and your prejudice is showing.

      • [][]“A pursuit of truth … does not require presumptive rejection of a whole body of ideas,… under the umbrella of religion and faith.”[][]

        Well, yes, in fact it does.

        The practice of “having religious faith” is exactly the opposite of the “pursuit of truth.”

        Truth requires fidelity to what is real, while religious faith is based on dismissing reality in favor of fantasy.

    • I absolutely agree. Creationists seem to live some sort of a mental “cage” where scientific findings are OK as long as they fit within the cage’s borders. Any finding that contradicts it is considered suspicious to say the least and triggers endless discussions. In that way, faith slows down the scientific process of understanding how the world works.

  • Are you under the impression, Rabbi Averick, that if Darwin is shown to be wrong, it will be proof of “Creation, by God!”? Or even a hint that the supernatural could miraculously be possible?

    If so, you are on the wrong track.

    There is no possible alternative to life having originated by an “unguided” process (since guided processes only became possible after the origin of life, if there was an origin).

    • “There is no possible alternative to life having originated by an “unguided” process (since guided processes only became possible after the origin of life, if there was an origin).”

      Steve, this fails a basic smell test of logical consistency. Why do you define life as the inception point of guided process? Could one not argue that geology is a “guided process” (guided by physical laws and observable mechanics), and yet it is not “life” per se?

      I agree with you that Darwin being wrong does not automatically prove to us that God created the universe. But your premise that guided processes can only begin after the inception of life makes no sense.

      • [][]“Could one not argue that geology is a “guided process” (guided by physical laws and observable mechanics),…”[][]

        You cannot reasonably argue that position. “Intelligent design” of geological processes is not a logical position to take, given the facts on the ground.

      • [][]“Why do you define life as the inception point of guided process?”[][]

        Because you cannot intelligently guide any processes if you are dead, or were never born.

    • I love this. You create a ridiculous notion about God and then say its ridiculous. Classic just classic.

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