A Review of Zombie Science: Is Darwinism Dead?

By Sean McDowell Published on May 7, 2017

With the release of his 2000 book Icons of Evolution, Jonathan Wells became one of the leading critics of Darwinian evolution. Unlike some detractors, Dr. Wells has impeccable credentials — with Ph.Ds. in molecular and cell biology from U.C. Berkeley and religious studies from Yale.

Last week he released a new book that is just as controversial (and frankly, just as fun), called Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution. He begins the book with a story about the so-called “war on eggs,” in which the U.S. government promoted the idea that eggs raise cholesterol and are thus unhealthy.

There is only one problem with this narrative — It’s false. That’s right, the science simply doesn’t support the claim that eggs are bad for you. In fact, it’s just the opposite! In 2015, the U.S. government finally backed off.

What do we conclude from this? According to Dr. Wells, “Obviously, we cannot always trust what ‘science says,’ and an endorsement by the government doesn’t make it any more trustworthy. In fact, we are told many things by ‘science’ that are not true.”

What is Zombie Science?

The premise of Zombie Science is that something similar is going on in the question of human origins. Rather than following the evidence wherever it leads, says Wells, many scientists are committed to methodological naturalism, the view that science is limited to materialistic explanations. (Materialism is the view that nothing exists except matter and energy, there is no God involved in nature in any way.)

Wells is careful to say he is not calling certain people zombies, but rather that some things used as examples to prove Darwinism seem to live on even after science has shown these examples to be dead — hence his use of the title “zombies.”

In Icons, Wells argued that some of the most common examples for Darwinian evolution misrepresent the evidence. In Zombie Science, Wells updates his criticism. He shows that the same examples keep showing up in textbooks, even though it’s been known for decades that they don’t match up with the evidence.

Could These ‘Zombies’ Be Simple Mistakes?

If these icons were innocent mistakes, then biologists would have eagerly corrected them, right? Since they persist, says Wells, there must be something else besides the evidence that keeps them “alive.”

Publishers could possibly be forgiven if this was the only mistake.

For instance, Darwin considered embryological development the best evidence for his theory. He cited drawings from the German Biologist Ernst Haeckel, which allegedly reveal how the development of various vertebrate animals mirrors the larger evolutionary story of common descent. Yet it has been known since at least 1997 that the Haeckel’s drawings were cherry-picked, inaccurate and fake. In fact, Wells concludes, “The real issue is that Haeckel’s drawings omitted half of the evidence — the half that doesn’t fit Darwin’s claim that embryos are most similar in their early stages” (58).

Nonetheless, Haeckel’s drawings continue to appear in textbooks published after 2000, such as Donald Prothero’s 2013 textbook Bringing Fossils to Life. And the 2016 textbook Biology, by Mader and Windelspecht, uses re-drawn versions of Haeckel’s embryos that make the same (mistaken) point.

Publishers could possibly be forgiven if this was the only mistake. But as Wells indicates, similar misrepresentations continue for other “icons” including the Miller-Urey experiment, Archaeopteryx, peppered moths, Darwin’s finches and more. Like zombies, these “evidences” simply won’t die.

Dead Flies and Horses

One of the most interesting sections of the book was the discussion of epigenetics. Broadly speaking, epigenetics refers to the various factors involved in development, including genetics.

In the 20th century, the dominant view of biology was that evolution proceeded genetically from DNA to RNA to proteins to us. As a result, evolution could advance through genetic mutations that accumulate over time.

But according to Dr. Wells, there are significant carriers of information beyond DNA sequences. Biological membranes are one example. In other words, the claim that the genome carries all the information necessary to build an organism is false. As a result, mutations or changes in DNA alone are not enough to build new function and form. Wells concludes:

All of the evidence points to one conclusion: No matter what we do to the DNA of a fruit fly embryo, there are only three possible outcomes: a normal fruit fly, a defective fruit fly, or a dead fruit fly. Not even a horse fly, much less a horse. (94)

Is Darwinism Dead?

Wells also offers critiques for newer “icons,” such as whale evolution, antibiotic resistance, vestigial structures such as human tailbones and the appendix, and the evolution of the human eye. And he pulls no punches. He believes that materialism corrupts both science and religion.

Towards the end of the book, Wells makes a bold prediction:

Today, evolutionary theory is like spring ice. It still covers the lake, and to many people it still looks solid. But it’s honeycombed with melt-water. It can no longer carry the weight it once did. Summer is on the way.

You may agree with Dr. Wells. Or you may think he’s mistaken. But a book with as cool of a title as Zombie Science at least deserves a fair reading.

 

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

Originally appeared at seanmcdowell.org. Reprinted with permission.

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  • Gary

    In order for evolution to be true, it must be planned and implemented by a thinking being who is outside of nature (supernatural), who has the ability to make things evolve. Materialists deny that such a being exists, thereby destroying the only possibility that evolution could be true.

  • brothergc

    good read , oh wait ! The expert on everything Tim horton will be here soon ( sarcasm) to post and taunt everyone here , wait for it !!!

    • Timothy Horton

      Are you willing to defend any of Moonie Wells’ YEC stupidity? Or are you just here to run your mouth and run away like the rest of the YECs?

  • GPS Daddy

    Worldview is an important and unavoidable element in how one interprets science. If your alive and human you have a worldview. In your worldview you make assumptions. You take these assumptions as true without “proving” them. In fact, a true base assumption cannot be proven scientifically.

    Methodological Naturalists have their set of things they assume to be true that are not provable. The claim that the material world is all there is, is one such assumption. There is no way to show or prove this statement true. It must be assumed.

    Faith is a necessary element of these assumptions. You must have faith that they are true. This is the core of religion… everyone has religion.

    We see this assumption being played out in the sciences with statements like “the appearance of design” or “science is fully capable of explaining our world”.

    • Timothy Horton

      The claim that the material world is all there is, is one such assumption. There is no way to show or prove this statement true. It must be assumed.

      It’s an assumption based on thousands of years’ of empirical data. In the entire time since humans began keeping records there has never been a single verified case of any supernatural entity producing any observed physical phenomenon. Science relies 100% on methodological naturalism because it works. It makes correct predictions, it produced tangible results. If you can figure out a way to incorporate supernatural interference into scientific experiments you’d be the most famous scientist in history. But I seriously doubt you can do it.

      • Gary

        You mean besides the entire universe, and life on earth, being verified examples of a supernatural entity producing observed physical phenomenon?? Nature would not exist had it not been made by a supernatural entity. Logic 101.

        • Timothy Horton

          LOL! You need to look up what the word “verified” means. HINT: it doesn’t mean “my mythology tells me so!”.

          • Gary

            If you were willing, and able, to think logically, you would conclude that the ONLY way the universe could exist is by being created by a supernatural being.

          • davidrev17

            But then Gary, ol’ Tim would have to “repent” of His very bizarre, illogical/incoherent notion, that the universe – is responsible for “its own creation.” Naaahhhh…too much at stake for that!

          • Gary

            I agree.

          • Timothy Horton

            Still confusing your mythology with reality. Try again.

          • davidrev17

            But Timothy, just what is “reality” anyway, when according to your illogical tail-chasing worldview, everyone’s personal neurochemistry (or “selfish genes”) is cognitively calling-the-shots – for each-and-every one of WE 7-plus billion people, at the same time…24/7 – 365?? Do tell, please..

          • Timothy Horton

            Word salad.

          • Gary

            It is YOUR mythology that is unrealistic. Evolution is impossible without a thinking being making it happen. If you were sane, you would agree.

          • Timothy Horton

            Golly. If only you had some scientific evidence to back up all that empty bluster. But alas you don’t.

          • Gary

            There is no scientific evidence to back up what you believe. There is no scientific evidence that the universe, or life, just happened without being caused, or that the universe and life created themselves. Logic and experience proves that what you believe to be true is impossible. In all of history, it has never been scientifically proven that things just appear without being caused, or that things create themselves. It just never happens. Yet, you believe it does, despite all of the evidence proving it does not. You believe things are true that science proves cannot be true. So, don’t ask others for scientific evidence when you refuse to believe scientific evidence.

          • Timothy Horton

            There is no scientific evidence to back up what you believe.

            LOL! There’s plenty of scientific evidence for evolution. It’s in colleges and universities all over the world, libraries, science labs, natural history museums, and of course all over the web. You just can’t see any of it from the dark place you keep your head.

          • Gary

            You are insane. And since you insist on denying reality, I’m going to try to treat you as the mentally ill person that you are. Sometimes, I might forget, but I’ll try to remember that your elevator does not go all the way to the top.

      • davidrev17

        But Timothy, once again you illogically fail to differentiate between the “historical sciences” – i.e., abductive reasoning, or “Inference to the Best Explanation” (IBE) research, specifically employed for trying to assess past, no doubt “unobservable” events in history – and the “experimental sciences”; of which, by contradistinction, primarily deal with the repeatable, thus “empirically verifiable” events taking place somewhat simultaneously in nature – WITH those pesky, ever-present rational/moral conscious observers, conducting and/or controlling these scientific “experiments.”

        So you’re essentially conflating the obvious distinction, in kind, say between scientific apple’s, and scientific oranges?? I thought you proudly professed one of those ultra-HIGH triple-digit IQ’s, compared to that of mine, which could be approaching double-digits??

        Anyway, you also make the profoundly embarrassing similar error, when you habitually fail to distinguish between ontological claims, and epistemological claims, in so many of your posts to others, when discussing these issues.

        This is why the atheistic materialist, forced to rely upon pure “scientism,” is rationally and/or logically hamstrung, quite naturally (no pun intended) – when debating about “Ultimate Questions”; namely a process, which looks very much like a one-armed-man, trying helplessly to row-a-boat.

        You know what though: the “Spirit of Truth” Himself could help you think much more incisively, and clearly than you do now – if you’d just bow-the-knee of your NON-physical heart to the Lord Jesus, Israel’s Redeemer?? Just look how He’s helped me over the years…and my IQ, as I said, only hovers in the upper-range of single-digits??

        • Timothy Horton

          Your posts are almost but not quite completely unlike legible English.

          • Boommach

            In other words, you don’t have a cogent response. We also see zero evidence of life spontaneously appearing out of nowhere. Life, in and of itself, is miraculous. The simplest systems devised by man all started with an idea and creativity. The mitochondria of the simplest living cell is a marvel of intricate inner workings. For you to assume it all came about magically by happenstance and without a Master Creator is asinine. A monkey given a typewriter, sufficient time and paper would sooner bang out a copy of ‘War and Peace’. I fully understand how important it is for you to believe your nonsense magic. Your faith does not stand up to scrutiny.

          • Timothy Horton

            Define “life”. Then provide your scientific positive evidence for supernatural POOFING of life into existence. Then go pick up your Nobel Prize.

          • Boommach

            In other words, you still lack a cogent response.

          • davidrev17

            AMEN! And he knows it too!

          • Timothy Horton

            My response was to point out you’re arguing from ignorance and personal incredulity, which you are. You can’t fairly critique evolutionary theory when you have zero understanding of it.

          • Boommach

            All I would ask is that you, as per the scientific method…duplicate it. You cannot expect life to spring out of nothingness unless you have faith in nothingness. You are free to believe anything you wish and you’re more than free to believe in the great Lie. Many people have the exact same faith as you. There are many intelligent people to give you comfort up until you die. Enjoy your life, Tim.

          • Timothy Horton

            All I would ask is that you, as per the scientific method…duplicate it.

            It’s demands like that which show me just how scientifically illiterate you are.

            An event doesn’t have to be repeated for science to understand how the event happened. All that has to be repeatable are the tests left on the evidence the event left behind, which they are. Do you think geologists have to raise a second Mt. Everest to understand how plate tectonic forces form mountains?

          • Boommach

            Where does life spring into existence from nothing EVER?

          • Timothy Horton

            All the evidence we have to date suggests life – self-replicating biochemical molecules – is a self emergent property of chemistry when the proper conditions are present. Again all the evidence suggests that is what happened around 4 billion years ago on the early Earth. There is exactly ZERO evidence for any supernatural POOFING of life into existence.

          • Boommach

            The evidence is that the simplest lifeforms are incredibly complex. All the evidence from the most understood mechanisms is that none spring into existence without a designer and a creator. You have no evidence. You have a faith based on lies. You don’t have the intellectual honesty to admit it. But then, the truth is of the Lord.

          • Timothy Horton

            Define “complex”. The rest of your blithering is more argument from your ignorance and personal incredulity. That kind of empty verbiage may work with your equally ignorant Fundy buddies but it’s a non-starter in science.

          • Boommach

            As you well know, I have not been “blithering”. You’re closed minded and blind. Many, irrefutably intelligent people, likewise are see your silly faith as incredulous. You feign ignorance about the definition of ‘complexity’. You won’t like this but try to conjure up some courage to step outside your safe zone and open up you mind. Perhaps you can examine your heart later.
            “https: www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=oS-GYLVNh-k

          • Timothy Horton

            As you well know, I have not been “blithering”.

            That’s all you’ve been doing while demonstrating your scientific ignorance. You wouldn’t recognize any recent scientific work on Abiogenesis if it crawled up your leg and bit you in the butt. Try searching PubMed or Google Scholar for recent research like new info on the RNA world hypothesis. Try reading scientific journals like Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres or papers like Kawamura’s 2017 Walking over 4 Gya: Chemical Evolution from Photochemistry to Mineral and Organic Chemistries Leading to an RNA World

            Remember -you’re the only one who can cure your willful ignorance.

          • davidrev17

            Timothy it’s rather obvious that you’ve been “into the mushrooms” again. “All the evidence suggests…”?? Baloney! What evidence?? And what about “geochemical relevance,” with regard to the OOL??

            This philosophical naturalism-of-the-gaps” nonsense you continue to cleverly, yet erroneously propound like a smokescreen, as in just just above, must be why you never bothered to respond to a quote I sent you recently from an extremely technical analysis re: “PRE-biotic chemistry,” from world-renowned organic synthetic chemist, Rice University’s Dr. James Tour, called “Animadversions of a Synthetic Chemist.”

            (I’ll repost Dr. Tour’s & his team’s conclusory evaluation of the “scientific” state of research in “Abiogenesis” – in 2017 – so all will see that once again, you’re just whistlin’ naturalistic Dixie…under the guise of “science.”)

            * * *

            “THE WORLD’S BEST synthetic chemists, biochemists, and evolutionary biologists have combined forces to form a team—a dream team in two quite distinct senses of the word. Money is no object. They have at their disposal the most advanced analytical facilities, the complete scientific literature, synthetic and natural coupling agents, and all the reagents their hearts might desire. Carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleic acids are stored in their laboratories in a state of 100% enantiomeric purity.

            “Would the dream team—please—assemble a living system?

            “Take your time, folks, take a few billion years.

            “Nothing? Well, well, well.

            “Let us assume that all the building blocks of life, and not just their precursors, have been made to high degrees of purity, including homochirality where applicable—the carbohydrates, the amino acids, the nucleic acids, and the lipids. They are stored in cool caves, away from sunlight, and away from oxygen. These molecules are indifferent to environmental degradation.

            “And let us further assume that they are all stored in one comfortable corner of the earth, not separated by thousands of kilometers or on different planets.

            “And that they all exist not just in the same square kilometer, but in neighboring pools where they can conveniently and somehow selectively mix with each other as needed.

            “Now what? How does the dream team assemble them without enzymes?

            “Very well. Give the dream team polymerized forms: polypeptides, all the enzymes they desire, the polysaccharides, DNA and RNA in any sequence, cleanly assembled.

            “Ready now?

            “Apparently not.

            “We teach our students that when a mechanism does not support their observations, the mechanism must either be revised to support the facts or entirely discounted. They are not required to provide an alternative.

            “We are such stuff as dreams are made on. It has a ring among prebiotic chemists.

            The Current State

            “THOSE WHO THINK scientists understand the issues of prebiotic chemistry are wholly misinformed. Nobody understands them. Maybe one day we will. But that day is far from today. It would be far more helpful (and hopeful) to expose students to the massive gaps in our understanding. They may find a firmer—and possibly a radically different—scientific theory.

            “The basis upon which we as scientists are relying is so shaky that we must openly state the situation for what it is: it is a mystery.”

          • Timothy Horton

            Needs dressing with that word salad.

          • davidrev17

            It’s obvious you hadn’t read what was posted, with your knee-jerk reply; besides, “Facts are stubborn things…” Enough said.

          • Timothy Horton

            I don’t need to read anything more about James Tour. He’s a chemist who doesn’t accept evolution and has become somewhat of a poster boy for the Liars For Jesus of the Discovery Institute. The problem is Tour himself on his web page admits he is totally unqualified to discuss evolution.

            Tour: “Assuming that I have something significant to contribute to the evolution vs. creation debate, many ask me to speak and write concerning my thoughts on the topic. However, I do not have anything substantive to say about it. I am a layman on the subject. Although I have read about a half dozen books on the debate, maybe a dozen, and though I can speak authoritatively on complex chemical synthesis, I am not qualified to enter the public discussion on evolution vs. creation. So please don’t ask me to be the speaker or debater at your event, and think carefully about asking me for an interview because I will probably not give you the profound quotations that you seek. You are of course free to quote me from what is written here, but do me the kindness of placing my statements in a fair context.”

            That’s why you look like such a fool when you blindly regurgitate IDiot propaganda like this.

          • davidrev17

            Dr. Tour is talking about philosophy & theology – NOT the science involved in PRE-biotic chemistry; which is precisely what my post to you was all about, with regard to utterly falsifying your whimsical naturalistic notions (i.e., outright falsehoods) on the current scientific state of Abiogenesis.

            So why don’t you try reading your quotation of Dr. Tour again, very slowly if necessary; that would surely help your hopeless cause in this discussion, as in notice His words. Because even this “ignorant, single-digit-IQ creationist” was able to easily discern the “context” of your quotation. Talk about “looking like a fool”??

            And lastly, your typical reliance upon what’s called the “Genetic Fallacy,” is revealing indeed; because facts, are still facts – even if/when you state them. Now, “go and see what that means.”

          • Timothy Horton

            Then we’re in violent agreement. Anything Tour says about the evolutionary sciences is his ignorance based opinion and can be safely ignored.

          • davidrev17

            Then the utter cricket-silence that still surrounds the extremely technical, evidential-based article from which I posted – meaning its scientific refutation in peer review – is still curious indeed. So much for your bush-league opinions on Abiogenesis.

            Or perhaps you’ll be publishing a rigorous scientific refutation yourself, in the professional/technical literature (sometime soon?), on Dr. Tour & team’s still powerfully compelling scientific conclusions, in order to correct things, huh??

          • Timothy Horton

            Then the utter cricket-silence that still surrounds the extremely technical, evidential-based article from which I posted

            Which one was that? All I saw was Tour’s personal opinions not shared by anyone else in the scientific community. You certainly didn’t provide any published scientific research. Some day the IDiots will learn religiously based personal opinions carry no weight in the scientific community. But not today it seems.

          • davidrev17

            Simply scroll-down through the entire body of “Animadversions of a Synthetic Chemist,” @ Inference: International Review of Science, Volume Two, Issue Two, (May 19, 2016) – for an in-your-face example of a mind-boggling technical treatment of the current state of understanding in PRE-biotic chemistry.

            And I’m still hearin’ those crickets of refutation too, in the professional/technical journals! (BTW: that “Inference” Journal, was the very location from which I copied/pasted the above quote to you awhile ago, as I’ve had it “Bookmarked” ever since I encountered it.)

            Also, I haven’t even logged-on to any “DI” website in at least a few weeks now; though an article on ENV several months ago, about this article, immediately moved me to the journal website where the article itself was published. Admittedly, so much of it was light-years beyond my pea-brained ability to comprehend; however its plain-English conclusions by Dr. Tour & his team, were perfectly understandable.

            Translation: You’re woefully ill-informed in this area, contra your bush-league smoke-and-mirrors confident statements above, to the contrary.

          • Timothy Horton

            Apparently you’re too ignorant to know the difference between a peer-reviewed scientific research paper and an opinion piece like Tour’s “Animadversion” you keep pimping.

          • davidrev17

            See also:

            James Tour’s more recent (Sept. 28, 2016) “Experiment Reviews,” in the same journal, “Inference: International Review of Science,” Volume Two, Issue Three; whereby he provides sound critiques, thus bringing into scientific disrepute a few of the author’s extravagant extrapolational flights-of-fancy, of which clearly exceeded the known evidential base in current Abiogenesis-related research.

            Incidentally, one of the two (2016) papers he reviews, was published in the esteemed journal “Science.” Nothing has changed either, as he even references his team’s work in the prior “Animadversions” paper.

          • Timothy Horton

            LOL! Inference: International Review of Science isn’t a peer- reviewed science journal. They publish essays and opinion pieces. From their own ABOUT page:

            “Inference seeks to publish a wide range of authors, from established to emerging voices, regardless of geography, and will publish essays in languages other than English, wherever possible.

            Although the editors have every intention of appealing to experts for advice, Inference is not a peer-reviewed journal.”

            Tour’s opinion and $4.75 will get you a venti latte at Starbuck’s.

          • davidrev17

            Once again, you jump-off that intellectual cliff immediately, by majoring in your philosophical minor-league usage of the “Genetic Fallacy.”

            Plus according to your illogic, that must be why the names of some of the most distinguished scientists et al. on this planet, have papers published it too; like Dr. Tour & team’s “Animadversions, containing no less than dozens of peer-reviewed references.

            Must be tough to lose these debates to so many ignorant creationists – especially ones with single-digit IQ’s like myself? And you consistently refuse to acknowledge these embarrassing losses too, since your vacuous worldview is as empty of reason & logic, as your arguments are! But I guess that’s to be expected…

          • Timothy Horton

            You mistook an unsupported and non-reviewed opinion piece by someone with an extreme fringe position for scientific research. You’re as ignorant and clueless as all the other Creationists who come shuffling through here.

          • Timothy Horton

            WTF is this Tour’s “team” you keep blithering about? The article you posted was an opinion piece from just Tour. Unless you’re talking about the “team” of Liars For Jesus at the DI pushing this horse poo.

          • davidrev17

            See early in the published paper, 1st paragraph under “The Synthesis,” note 3.

          • Timothy Horton

            (facepalm) You clueless boob. Those people are scientists who helped Tour with his research on molecular structures he calls “nanomachines”. They have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with Tour’s personal incredulity over evolutionary processes. I’d bet any amount of money those researchers don’t share Tour’s idiosyncratic views on evolution.

            Sorry but Tour is out on the branch by himself with his personal wingnuttery.

          • davidrev17

            Your mindless arrogance is beyond believability Timothy; because you’re not even capable of carrying-on an elementary scientific conversation with Dr. Tour in his world-renowned area of expertise – yet you presume to critique his scientific credentials??? Wow! And I’m still waiting to read some of your world-class scientific published papers too??

          • Timothy Horton

            Tour has zero credentials to be critiquing evolutionary biology. He admits it himself. His opinions on the topic are as valuable as yours – absolutely worthless except as propaganda for professional liars like the Discovery Institute.

          • Boommach

            I didn’t think you’d watch the vid. I didn’t espect you to cogently respond. I expected what you invariably deliver which is and that is to call me stupid in so many silly words. You don’t have the courage to venture beyond what the “smart’ people tell you to believe. Remember, you’re the only one who can cure your willful ignorance. All the evidence points to a Creator. All of it. You are free to believe anything you wish. The Lord is there for everyone; from our most brilliant to our most basic dumbaas. I don’t think you’re stupid but those whom you choose to follow; regardless of their intellect, they are leading you where you do not want to go and forever. That’s just the way it is.

          • Timothy Horton

            Why would I waste time on a religious propaganda video? I don’t read AIG or Chick tracts either. If you’re so ignorant you use those sorts of garbage spewers for your “science” sources you have no business and no ability to discuss topics in evolutionary biology.

          • Kevin Quillen

            did you feel the breeze when it went over your head?

          • Timothy Horton

            That was the wind whistling through the empty space between your ears. 😀

      • GPS Daddy

        Good attempt at deflection, Timothy. Try and make the discussion about a different issue so you don’t have to deal with my argument.

        The foundational assumptions of methodological naturalism cannot be shown to be true with science… they are assumed to be true. You have faith in them just like a Christian places faith in a Designer behind life. You cannot escape this. Life is designed this way. We are free to choose what we believe but we are not free from placing faith in someone or something.

        The spiritual/non-physical world is easy enough to show. In fact once this is understood then it clear that the physical world, while real, is the smaller part of existence. We only need to consider the existence of things like numbers. One, 1, etc.. are real but are not physical. They are just one example of a real but non-physical “thing”.

        Remeber, Timothy, religion is a first amendment right. You are free to choose methodical naturalism as your worldview.

        • Timothy Horton

          The spiritual/non-physical world is easy enough to show.

          Then show it and quit hand-waving.

          • GPS Daddy

            I did.

          • Timothy Horton

            No you didn’t. Mental constructs like numbers are 100% the result of material processes inside our 100% material brain. Try again to show me evidence for the supernatural or the spiritual.

          • Gary

            The evidence will be shown to you soon. I wish I could see the look on your face when it happens!!

          • Timothy Horton

            Yeah sure. You’ll get it to me the second Tuesday of next week, right?

          • Gary

            It won’t be me. I wish it could be.

          • Kevin Quillen

            Gary; you are just casting pearls before swine. He will have to learn the hard way.

          • Gary

            LOL! And he will. But too late.

          • GPS Daddy

            There goes those pesky religious presuppositions again. It’s clearly obvious that an abstract concept of one exists even if all the currently functioning brains cease to work simitaniously.

            Are you telling me that if one apple is setting on a table that one apple would cease to be on the table of all the brains in the world died at the same time? If there is still one apple on the table then it’s not just a mental construct.

          • Timothy Horton

            It’s clearly obvious that an abstract concept of one exists even if all the currently functioning brains cease to work simitaniously.

            Show you evidence for this claim. Sorry but the stuff you make up on the fly isn’t evidence.

            If there is still one apple on the table then it’s not just a mental construct.

            The apple stays there but the mental construct vanishes as soon as the material brain dies. Duh.

          • GPS Daddy

            How many apple are still on the table, Timothy?

          • Timothy Horton

            One. Do you really not understand the difference between a physical object and someone’s mental construct of that object?

            Let’s try this. Suppose you go camping in the deep dark forest. In the middle of the night you are awakened by a noise outside your tent. It’s just a lone raccoon looking for food. You poke your head out but the darkness and your fear makes your mental image form as IT’S BIGFOOT!!

            How many raccoons are there? How many sasquatch are there?

          • GPS Daddy

            You do not understand that the ‘one’ is more than a mental construct. We have a mental constructs of real things. In this case numbers are real but not physical. The nature of their realness is a different topic. But they are real and non-physical.

            The only way you can deny this, is on the basis of your religious beliefs. You assume that there is only the physical therefore a “number” can only be a mental construct. This fails because it is clear that the apples have a count, a number, that describes “the number” that are there and no human mind is needed in this. There will be just one apple on the table regardless of the human perception. And this same number can describe any other thing that has “one”.

          • Timothy Horton

            You do not understand that the ‘one’ is more than a mental construct.

            LOL! You still don’t understand the difference between one physical object and the mental concept of one which requires a physical brain.

            You still forgot to provide that evidence of the supernatural or the spiritual. Forgetful sort, aren’t you?

          • GPS Daddy

            If you will read my comment you will see that I covered the difference between a physical object and a mental construct. What blinds you, Timothy, is the presupposition you make in that there can be no non-physical things. This assumption is a powerful assumption in your life but is also a lie. It causes you to dismiss evidence that is right in front of you. I can’t make you see that a numbers have a non-physical existence. You choose not to see it.

          • Timothy Horton

            I can’t make you see that a numbers have a non-physical existence

            Numbers only have a non-physical existence as thoughts in a material brain. They don’t exist apart from the physical substrate. We know this is true from all the experiments on consciousness which is greatly affected by brain trauma and the effects of drugs which alter the brain’s physical working.

            You made a really silly claim and now are squirming because you have evidence of the supernatural or the spiritual.

          • GPS Daddy

            And, to your second point, if you cannot see the plain and clear example of non-physical numbers how are you going to accept the super non-physical?

          • Timothy Horton

            There aren’t any non-physical numbers. There are non-physical concepts of numbers which vanish when the material brains which conceive them stop functioning.

            It’s the same with emotions like love or envy. There aren’t any substances called “love” or “envy” floating around in deep space waiting for a human to find them. Like numbers they are purely mental constructs which rely 100% on physical brains and bodies to exist.

          • GPS Daddy

            Oh my… how you speak your presuppositions without even realizing it. I get it that you assume that only the physical exists. We have covered that. Numbers are an excellent example of a non-physical reality because we recognize that “one” apple is on the table regardless of a human mind involved or not. But there can be “one” acorn or “one” orange on the table. We recognize that this “one” applies to anything. Yet if we take “one” apple and add to it “one” apple then we have “two” apples… just like we do if a human mind is that involved. The human mind changes nothing. The abstract “concepts” are all there regardless of a human mind. The human mind has just discovered them.

          • davidrev17

            “No you didn’t. Mental constructs like numbers are 100% the result of material processes inside our 100% material brain. Try again to show me evidence for the supernatural or the spiritual.”

            ☆ ☆ ☆

            Please cite to the abundance of scientific agreement in the hard sciences, within any of the distinguished professional, technical journals, which affirms your statement:

            “Mental constructs like numbers are 100% the result of material processes inside our 100% material brain.”

            ☆ ☆ ☆

            And once you’ve brought forth those citations, I expect you’ll do the same by providing the “hard scientific” evidence for ethics, human language (Noam Chomsky et al. sure have tried!), art, beauty, music, and poetry; just to mention a few exceedingly problematic, perennially recalcitrant challenges for YOUR materialist, reductive “scientism” to resolve??

            Wow! For a guy who’s already proven to know little, if anything about the basics of the philosophy of science; now you really go-off the deep end, by once again demonstrating ZERO understanding in the philosophy of mathematics Timothy. This must be why you never responded to my post just above last night.

            The secular Jew & polymath, Dr. David Berlinski (smart enough to hang his academic shingle with the “DI”); both an eminent mathematician & consummate philosopher of science (i.e., physics), could penetratingly sharpen your focus in this area of which you’re so woefully ill-informed – if you’d simply humble yourself “like a little child,” and learn from much of his academic work??

            Then when you’re finished learning from Berlinski, spend some time pondering that still-powerfully compelling (1960) essay I cited above last night, by the late Nobel laureate physicist, Eugene Wigner, entitled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural [hard] Sciences.”

            And please: none of your typical emotional tirades; just provide some very thoughtful, and clearly relevant information with regard to the context of which I’ve addressed here…no aimlessly wandering about in thoughtless equivocation, if you’d be so kind. Thanks!

          • Timothy Horton

            tl;dr

          • davidrev17

            Just what I expected: vintage TH…aimlessly wandering about in thoughtless (tail-chasing) equivocation, when you’re totally at a loss in framing some sort of cogent response – to direct questions – related to those pseudo-scientific puerile assertions of yours. “Science says”? 🙂 Always a pleasure Tim!

          • Timothy Horton

            Thanks for admitting you can’t show how any mental construct can exist as a non-physical entity outside of a human brain.

            Say hi to IDiot Berlinski next time you go to him for a science lesson. 😀

          • davidrev17

            Yet the Judeo-Christian Scriptures FIRST “revealed” this very worldview and/or “reality” in which Homo sapiens’ reside – exemplified in below observations made by distinguished physical scientists – beginning around 3,450 years ago. Hmmm…As the intellectial stalwart, Gomer Pyle proclaimed: “Shaaazaaamm”!

            Yet “science says,” during the 21st-century – and in the prestigious Journal “Nature” too:

            ▪ ▪ ▪

            “A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “MENTAL” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great THOUGHT, than like a great machine. MIND no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the CREATOR and GOVERNOR of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. THE UNIVERSE IS IMMATERIAL-MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL.”

            -– Dr. Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University , “The MENTAL UNIVERSE” ; Nature 436:29,2005 (My emphasis, of course.)

            ▪ ▪ ▪

            Then consider what MIT Professor of Physics & Mechanical Engineering, Seth Lloyd concludes, in a (Dec. 2013) paper, “The Universe as Quantum Computer,” where Dr. Lloyd describes reality as representing a “giant quantum computer.”

            (These are not religiously-premised observations either.)

            ▪ ▪ ▪

            And here’s a quote from Albert Einstein, (1956).

            “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world to the degree that we may speak of such comprehensibility as a miracle or an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one should expect a chaotic world which cannot be in any way grasped through thought. . . . The kind of order created, for example, by Newton’s theory of gravity is of quite a different kind. Even if the axioms of the theory are posited by a human being, the success of such an enterprise presupposes an order in the objective world of a high degree which one has no a priori right to expect. That is the “miracle” which grows increasingly persuasive with the increasing development of knowledge.”

            ▪ ▪ ▪

            “It may be premature to believe that the present philosophy of quantum mechanics will remain a permanent feature of future physical theories; it will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that THE CONTENT OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS IS AN ULTIMATE REALITY.” (Emphasis mine again.)

            — Nobel laureate mind-brain quantum physicist, Eugene Wigner, “Remarks on the Mind-Body Question,” (1961).

            ▪ ▪ ▪

            And these above observations re: the “new physics” of quantum mechanics, confidently affirmed/established now, after almost 90-years of rigorously-tested research in “mind-brain” quantum physics, could be multiplied ad nauseam too. The 21st-century scientific reality that the NON-physical is “everywhere,” has become a NO-brainer amongst otherwise thinking people Timothy.

          • davidrev17

            If NON-physical numbers are simply “mental constructs” – then why is it, that the entire “physical” universe has rendered, or yielded itself explicable, in “purely elegant mathematical equations”?? Be very careful now Timothy.

            And for some staggeringly relevant insight into this still-ongoing mystery in the hard sciences, see the late Nobel laureate mind-brain quantum physicist, Dr. Eugene Wigner’s, still-philosophically-unsettling classic work in this area, entitled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences,” in Communications in Pure and Applied Mathematics, vol. 13, No. I, (February, 1960). New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

            Just more current scientific implications, inferences, or just plain hard-evidence, that just like the Judeo-Christian Scriptures first revealed some 3,500 years ago: MIND does indeed represent Ultimate Reality!

            Simply take the time to read some of the prodigiously published work of now retired, “Orthodox/von Neumann” mind-brain quantum physicist, Dr. Henry Stapp. After all, a whole host of Nobel laureate physicists have continued to buttress, or expand upon the notion Albert Einstein first made public, at least 100-years ago: i.e., “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is its comprehensibility.” Just let that sink in.

            Then Eugene Wigner, in another classic (1960) observation, stated that [even back then], “consciousness was an ULTIMATE reality.” (My emphasis.) And the ongoing research in mind-brain quantum physics to this very day – as in the “new physics of quantum mechanics – has never brought forth ANY contravening evidence.

            This is precisely why this issue is still called “the hard problem of consciousness” in current neuroscientific research; that is from the perspective of strict Methodological Naturalism.

            And God forbid that some brilliant physical scientist should, as a precisely causal “Inference to the Best Explanation,” boldly make the very comfortable, or easily plausible inference TO a NON-physical, transcendent, Uncreated First Cause, of ALL that exists, behind it all; because after all, that sounds too much like that troublesome, meddling Creator God revealed in the Bible!

            “Facts are stubborn things…”

      • llew jones

        You don’t seem to be able to say anything particularly relevant young Timmy. Here’s one of your atheist mates who, unlike you, can see the real difficulty with scientism and its inability to explain what distinguishes humans from animals (generously of course, we are assuming you are not Balaam’s talking donkey).

        Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False is a 2012 book by Thomas Nagel, Professor of Philosophy at New York University.

        In the book, Nagel argues that the materialist version of evolutionary biology is unable to account for the existence of mind and consciousness, and, therefore, is, at best, incomplete. He writes that mind is a basic aspect of nature, and that any philosophy of nature that cannot account for it is fundamentally misguided. He argues that the standard physico-chemical reductionist account of the emergence of life – that it emerged from a series of accidents, acted upon by the mechanism of natural selection — flies in the face of common sense.

        Nagel’s position is that principles of an entirely different kind may account for the emergence of life, and in
        particular conscious life, and that those principles may be teleological, rather than materialist or mechanistic. He stresses that his argument is not a religious one (he is an atheist), and that it is not based on the theory of intelligent design (ID), though he also writes that ID proponents such as Michael Behe, Stephen C. Meyer, and David Berlinski do not deserve the scorn with which their ideas have been met by the overwhelming majority of the scientific establishment.

        wiki

        • Timothy Horton

          Great. A philosophy professor philosophizing about evolution and the supernatural. Actual science scares the pants off your guys, doesn’t it?

          • llew jones

            You are slipping into an intellectual mire young Timmy. He’s not talking about the manipulated data that undergirds Neo Darwinism and which you fondly imagine is dinky di science but rather he is talking about mind and intelligence and Neo Darwinism’s inability to account for its existence in humans.

          • Timothy Horton

            He can talk about any woo he can dream up. It’s what he can support that matters to science. Right now that seems to be diddly-squat.

  • Gary

    Darwinism has been dead since it was first thought of. It is no more realistic and possible now than it was in 1862. Material things can only exist if they have a designer and maker. And, things can only change if someone makes them change. But the believers in evolution deny that such a being exists.

    Houses, cars, clothing, telephones, and everything else people use are made by someone. Those things don’t make themselves. Even evolutionists admit it. But evolutionists DENY that things that are much more complex than houses, cars and phones, such as, planets, trees, rabbits and people were made. They even get angry at the suggestion.

    If evolutionists won’t accept reality, we should treat them like we treat others who refuse to accept reality. Belief in evolution should be considered a mental illness.

    • Timothy Horton

      LOL! It’s hard to know how to respond to such overt ignorance and stupidity. Even the most hard case, dyed-in-the-wool YECs admit some evolution (which they call microevolution) has taken place. Seems Gary’s dark pit of ignorance goes a bit deeper than most. 🙂

      • Gary

        We do know that you won’t be able to respond with any facts. Are you in a mental institution now, or waiting for an opening?

        • Timothy Horton

          It’s a fact when it comes to the evolutionary sciences you have no idea what you’re mumbling about. 🙂

          • Gary

            Fact 1: evolution that is not planned and made to happen by a supernatural being is impossible.
            Fact 2: anyone who denies fact 1 is denying reality.

          • Timothy Horton

            Fact 3: Everything Gary writes about science is pulled straight from a posterior orifice. 😀

          • Gary

            Real scientists are willing to face reality. That disqualifies you.

          • Kevin Quillen

            typical lib. Cannot refute an argument, so here comes the personal attack. So predictable.

            Everyone should stop responding to this troll.

          • Thomas Paine

            I do not deny that natural selection acting on random mutation is real, and can explain variations in species but it cannot carry all the weight of the Neo-Darwinian enterprise of Macro Evolution explaining the origin of all life, but would love to hear all of your evidence for it.

  • Timothy Horton

    Keep doubling down on that stupidity. Tour’s research group at Rice has nothing to do with his personal opinions on evolutionary theory. It’s the group at Rice led by Tour which researches nanotechnology. But you dug down this deep in the stupidity pit, may as well keep digging.

    • davidrev17

      You’re not even qualified to carry Dr. Tour’s briefcase, or scientific-jock for that matter. Night night Timmy…you keep thinking…and thinking…

      • Timothy Horton

        On the subject of evolutionary biology I am. Most all scientists in the field know more on the subject than Tour who flat out admits he’s a layman.

        Besides, aren’t you the one always griping about logical fallacies? Then you come back with a big fat argument from authority. How’s that foot taste?

        • davidrev17

          Stay on topic Timothy…we started on Abiogenesis; then I pummeled your baloney with solid scientific evidence from a world-renowned expert in PRE-biotic chemistry…aka the scientific research surrounding that very knotty, and still philosophical conundrum of Abiogenesis.

          And then you ran from a single-digit-IQ, bible-thumpin Creationist. Plus, I still noticed those crickets chirping, after my post to you re: another one of your highly imaginative, yet clearly incoherent statements, i.e., “numbers” being nothing more than “mental constructs”? That was profound!

          • Timothy Horton

            Stay on topic Timothy

            The topic is you pimping an opinion piece by a chemist and admitted layman on evolution, one pushed by the liars at the Discovery Institute. You don’t understand the topic, you don’t even understand the difference between a layman’s opinion and peer-reviewed research so you keep sticking your foot deeper and deeper into your mouth. What else do you want to embarrass yourself over?

          • davidrev17

            But that’s just your very UNscientific opinion Timothy. Just what is it you were hoping to communicate in “origin of life” research anyway – aka Abiogenesis and/or Pre-Biotic chemistry; because all you’ve been demonstrating thus far, is your propensity for uttering little, if anything of substance – other than these mind-numbing tail-chasing forays into “pretzel logic.” I am impressed though!

          • Timothy Horton

            But that’s just your very UNscientific opinion Timothy.

            No, it’s a fact Tour is unqualified in the subject and he published a non-reviewed opinion piece which virtually no one in the scientific community agrees with. But it was aimed at scientifically illiterate Creationists just like you which is why you swallowed the whole thing in one gulp.

  • llew jones

    You will find this six minute chat in a Q&A by John Lennox, emeritus professor of mathematics at Oxford University UK, on youtube. Lennox is well known for his demolition of new atheists like Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss and others.

    John Lennox Evolution or Design? Coding in the cell.

    • Timothy Horton

      LOL! Another non-science blabbering about things way outside of his field. I stopped soon as he got to the first lie – that the first biological self replicators had to be as fantastically complex as extant unicellular animals.

      Where do you find these Creationist nincompoops? Is there some secret society you all belong to?

    • GPS Daddy

      Timothy would make the same argument even if there was a line of PhD biologist and chemists sitting in front of him. He spouts his religion.

      • Timothy Horton

        Are you willing to defend the dumb ID-Creationist claims Lennox made in that clip? I listed four of them.

  • John Doane

    What’s trying to keep alive these icons of evolution is the religion of Western pantheism. Pantheists deny the Supernatural and believe that meaning can be found in aligning with the perceived principle behind nature, namely evolutionary progress. This same religion is behind the deliberately anti-Biblical presuppositions of modern cosmology and uniformitarian geology. So the issue is not “science” vs. religion; it is rather a spiritual fight of pantheism vs. Biblical Christianity.

    • Gary

      You’re right. It is a religious disagreement. Evolution is a religious doctrine for materialists (naturalists, pantheists). They believe that nature has always existed in some form, and that it has the ability to change itself (evolve). What is curious is their denial that nature is capable of thought or intention in making those changes.

    • Timothy Horton

      This same religion is behind the deliberately anti-Biblical presuppositions of modern cosmology and uniformitarian geology.

      I’d love to hear your description of “Biblical” geology. That should be good for lots of entertainment. 🙂

  • Timothy Horton

    I see all the happy little Creationists got cold feet. Not one was willing to defend the rehashed anti-science stupidity in Moonie Wells’ latest vomit. What a surprise.

    • Thomas Paine

      Leading with an Ad Hominem attack usually inicates a weakness of a evidence or ability to provide an argument for your assertions or theories. I grant that natural selection acting on random mutation can account for variation in species but why don’t you just provide your evidence of how the Neo-Darwinian mechanism produces life in the first place??

      • Timothy Horton

        Evolution has nothing to do with producing life in the first place. That’s abiogenesis, a separate scientific field. Evolution only deals with what happens after the first imperfect self-replicators competing for resources are present.

    • Thomas Paine

      How common (or rare) are functional sequences (i.e. proteins) among all possible combinations of amino acids? This proposition is very weak under the wieght of how life came into being in the first place you need to provide better evidence. What is the cause of life coming from non life–as even the most ardent narturalist knows that the universe and all life had a begining

      • Timothy Horton

        All the evidence we have to date suggests that life – imperfect self replicators – is an emergent property of chemistry. Under the right conditions self sustaining chemical reactions like life naturally occur. What those specific conditions are is a prime focus of abiogenesis research. We have bits and pieces but not enough to solve the whole jigsaw puzzle. It’s quite possible we may never know exactly how the first life formed since we’re trying to duplicate events that happened close to 4 billion years ago. Again, none of that has any bearing on the established fact of evolution over deep time or the well known mechanisms of that evolution.

        Maybe in the meantime you can give us the mechanism(s) of the how the Intelligent Designer produce the first life and the subsequent “designs” of the species we see. How about it?

        • Thomas Paine

          You are making a category mistake–I’ll forgive you though:) There is a complete difference between agency and mechanism. ex. We can study the function of the combustion engine and all of its component parts to describe how it was constructed-made, and its function. but we do not suggest that their is no need anymore for an intelligent creator/agent (named Henry Ford) behind it. See you look at complex things and start with the A Priori commitment although they appear to have been intelligently designed with a purpose it cannot be because you are bound within your closed system of Scientific Study. See we theist’s do not believe that Science has buried God and are willing to let the facts lead where they will in the end but recognise and are awe struck by the Creator who made them the way that he did. Nonetheless that does not mean that we cannot be civilized to one another.

          • Timothy Horton

            You demand infinite detail from science but can’t provide one single thing to support your contentions. No timeline, no mechanism(s), no explanatory power, nothing but POOF! That’s a big time science fail for you.

            Finding complexity in biological systems is not evidence for external conscious design because we know for a fact iterative processes using feedback (i.e. evolution) can and do produce amazingly complex things.

            No positive evidence for “intelligent design” means science ignores “intelligent design” until it has a reason not to.

          • Thomas Paine

            So your mind that produced the thoughts that asserted your propositions and refuted mine has and intelligence but the complex thing that exist in the nature, the world and the universe cannot according to you and the likes of a Richard Lewontin Et Al…cannot (“let a divine foot in the door”). K!

          • Timothy Horton

            English isn’t you first language, is it?

          • Thomas Paine

            Good one!! You live in a closed system of Orthodox belief that far surpasses any Evangelical Orthodoxy that you criticise–God Bless.

        • realeastender

          I had to laugh at your assertion that “we have the bits and pieces but not enough to solve the whole jigsaw puzzle”. Who are you kidding – you haven’t even got the right pieces!
          I am always greatly amused by those ardent followers of the absurdity of abiogenesis who are quick to ridicule those who believe in an intelligent supernatural Creator, and yet are quite happy to place all their own unshakeable faith in this implausible, unprovable, unsubstantiated, and totally irrational nonsense masquerading as “science”!

  • James Downard

    Btw I’ll point out to Sean on that embryo matter, we’ve got actual microphotographs of embryos to use now, and so the Haeckel matter is becoming moot (though Moonie West seems unable to give up his Icon of the Icons, no matter what).

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