Mt. Rushmore: Nature’s Greatest Wonder

A review of Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design, by Matti Leisola and Jonathan Witt.

By John Zmirak Published on April 19, 2018

Poor Sonny Bono. He met and fell in love with the younger, more gifted Cher when she was only 16. And he had to break the news to her: Mt. Rushmore is not a natural formation.

So reports the Chicago Tribune, anyway. I don’t know how hard she pushed back. How long the argument took. Or what evidence she offered that Mt. Rushmore was not designed and carved by Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum between 1927 and 1941. That instead, the random forces of nature had somehow contrived it. Over millions of years of wind and weather, they formed precise portraits of four human beings. Not just any humans, but American politicians. But not just any politicians. Four men who would someday become key U.S. presidents. Imagine the odds of nature happening to pick just those four. Why didn’t the wind and rain slowly carve into the granite the faces (let’s say) of James Buchanan, Warren Harding, William Henry Harrison, and William Jefferson Clinton?

Why didn’t Nature choose James Buchanan, Warren Harding, William Henry Harrison, and Bill Clinton?

Sonny might have said all this. Cher could have answered: “It’s just the power of Natural Erosion. Given enough time, nature might very well carve out more presidents. Or maybe it will switch to Grammy winners. Who’s to say? There’s no design behind all this. It’s just blind chance and mindless forces. Isn’t Nature amazing?”

Alphabet Soup Writes Its Own Cookbook

For those who study deeply the sciences of life Cher might not seem so foolish. Because the odds are much, much better that nature could have carved out Mt. Rushmore on its own than they are that any of the following things happened randomly. (At least not in the amount of time that has elapsed in the history of the universe.)

  • Organic chemicals combined to form the immensely complex and fragile structures of enzymes and proteins. (Imagine alphabet soup randomly combining to form sentences. And then the recipe for alphabet soup.)
  • Those enzymes combined and learned to cooperate to form the tiny biocomputer facility we call a cell. (The alphabet soup forms a Help Wanted ad for a chef to come cook more soup.)
  • Such cells differentiated, and learned to work together to form higher organisms. (The alphabet soup writes the chef’s autobiography.)
  • The cells in those organisms underwent major mutations to form whole new physical structures of new species that weren’t unviable mutants, but better adapted organisms. In decades of lab research on microorganisms, scientists have found exactly zero mutations like that. (The alphabet soup forms a series of cookbooks. It lists the chef as the author.)
  • The same process of natural selection and random mutations happened often enough, and turned out well enough, to explain how infinitesimal microorganisms “evolved” into plants, then animals, then humans. (The alphabet soup develops into a variety of ethnic cuisines, from Jamaican to Japanese.)

Nice Career You Got There. What a Shame if Something Happened to It …

Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola can feel Sonny Bono’s pain. He’s a widely published research scientist who has taught at major universities and worked for multinational corporations. But he had a problem. He found the arguments of Darwinism increasingly unpersuasive. That made him deeply nervous. As he recounts in painful anecdote after anecdote, very bad things happen to the careers of scientists who question that theory. They get called “fundamentalists” and prevented from speaking or publishing. Then hounded out of their jobs. They get the full Galileo treatment, in fact — which is ironic, since that astronomer is supposed to be one of their heroes.

The fundamental rule of discourse in the sciences: Absolute soulless materialism. The absence of God or meaning. That is the holy premise which no one may touch, lest he die like the Nazis at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

In his memoir and science brief Heretic (co-written with former Stream managing editor Jonathan Witt, now of the Discovery Institute) Leisola explains the incoherence of Darwinian, unguided evolution. He shows how it fails on its own terms.

It cannot in fact account for “the origin of species.” It cannot account for life itself, much less for its “random” development from protozoa to primates. Nor can materialist science account for why our universe seems fine-tuned to produce live, conscious creatures such as us who can write about it.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

Taking Scientific Materialism on Faith

Again and again, when faced with its failure to explain such basic realities, Darwinists take refuge in “fudge” factors, hand-waving, or quasi-religious explanations. My favorite? Those who “explain” that our universe favors life because it’s just one of a countless, infinite number of universes that randomly emerged. Of course, by definition, we can never have any evidence of any of these other universes. We have to take them on faith. Just as we must take on faith that some random process which someone will discover somewhere down the line will fill in all the gaping (and growing) gaps in Darwinism.heretic

Yes it’s true that at every stage of life, what scientists see looks much more like the result of exquisite, fine-tuned Design than the results of countless accidents. It looks more like Mt. Rushmore than the Grand Canyon. In explaining evolution itself, scientists constantly lapse into teleological language. They say that organisms “develop” new organs and functions “in order” to compete more robustly for survival.

But that’s not true for their theory. Their grand claim is that “stuff just happens” at the biomolecular level and then gets preserved by natural selection. Natural randomness and mutation act on our DNA like a spider monkey. With a wrench, inside a shop full of auto parts. But given enough time, that monkey will build a Lamborghini. And a Volkwagen Passat. And maybe a Segway.

Spider Monkeys in an Auto Shop

We can’t find the fossil evidence Darwin predicted of the countless Edsels and Yugos which the spider monkeys got wrong. Instead we find one beautifully designed vehicle after another, each one quite different. That’s a huge problem for Darwinists. Equally troubling: The more we learn about genetics, the less plausible random mutations seem as the means of developing new, healthy species. (Here you have to imagine the spider monkey somehow stumbling into making the car’s radio and computers.)

Why all the mental gymnastics to avoid what is obvious to any six year old? Because the alternative is unthinkable. You aren’t allowed to think it. To do that violates the fundamental rule of discourse in the sciences: Absolute soulless materialism. The absence of God or meaning. That is the holy premise which no one may touch, lest he die like the Nazis at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Or at least his career will.) Leisola quotes the admirably candid Harvard Darwinist Richard Lewontin here:

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

A Mind Opener

Read the absorbing, informative Heretic for a scientist’s first-hand account of how he discovered intelligent design. He shows why it’s a more robust and persuasive heuristic for understanding life. If it’s ever an audio book, Discovery Institute should hire Cher to read it.

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • Howard Rosenbaum

    Harvard Darwinist Richard Lewontin like his name implies is all about winning ” tin man arguments”. You know, the hollow disingenuous sentiment so often proffered by pundits posing as journalists on CNN ” The Most Trusted Name in News” – now that’s gotta be satire ..! It’s the logic of todays liberal left. I might have mistaken his argument as sarcasm had It not been quoted in the context of this book review.
    However until a Hillary or an Obama “mysteriously ” appears on that national facade , I’m holding firm to my simple yet profound faith in intelligent design ….

  • Matthew Wade

    Darwinism was the original “fake news”. It’s quite disgusting really, the length of mental gymnastics and flights from common sense that “scientists” will go to in order to root out even a reference to an all-powerful, intelligent design creator. But, but, but…..mutations and “missing links”…..or something.

    • swordfish

      Thank you professor Wade. You do realise that Darwin was a Christian?

      • Ken Abbott

        In what sense? He was baptized in the Church of England but heavily influenced by Unitarianism (first that of his mother, then many associates later in life), which is not orthodox Christianity. In correspondence written two years before his death, Darwin wrote, “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.” No one would accept that as a credible profession of Christian faith–it is, in fact, a rejection of that faith.

        • swordfish

          In the sense that he was baptised and brought up as a Christian and was a practising Christian at the time he wrote On the Origin of Species – i.e., the sense that actually matters. That he had increasing doubts later in his life is irrelevant.

          • Ken Abbott

            That Charles Darwin was baptized in the Church of England is a fact, but unless you subscribe to baptismal regeneration (I rather doubt you do–the Anglicans don’t, although Article 27 is–typically–somewhat ambiguous on the point) Christian baptism does not make one a Christian. According to his autobiography, he abandoned belief in the Bible as the inspired word of God and in the occurrence of miracles in the late 1830s, well before publishing OOS. He seems to have been distressed by the teaching that those who reject belief in God would face judgment and eternal punishment (as he believed his deceased father and brother had been non-Christians). Perhaps the best that can be said about Darwin’s religious beliefs at the time of the writing of OOS is that he was some form of deist, which is certainly not Christian. If by “practicing” you mean merely outwardly observant, going through the motions for social approval, that qualifies him only to be a weed in the wheat field of the Christian church.

          • swordfish

            Pathetic No True Scotsman obfuscation. Who are you to tell others whether they’re really Christians or not? It certainly isn’t necessary to accept the Bible as the “inspired word of God” to be a Christian.

          • Ken Abbott

            Sorry, but that’s a “pathetic” off-target hurling of the NTS objection. The Christian faith has a content, one important part of which is the belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Jesus said that by their fruits we shall know them. Bad trees produce bad fruit, good trees produce good fruit. Words and deeds count. Professions of faith must be credible, otherwise they’re just words.

          • swordfish

            Sorry, but your comment was a rock-solid NTS – if you don’t like someone’s beliefs (or someone’s scientific conclusions, in this case), they’re Not a True Christian. As I said, who are you to judge?

            If the Bible has to be the “inspired word of God”, how can it have been interpreted as everything from a totally literal account of reality to a sophisticated allegory by different Christian sects. And why are there so many completely different Christian sects in the first place?

            There are Jehovah’s Witnesses who probably think Catholics aren’t True Christians.

          • Ken Abbott

            No, it was not. The category of “Scotsman” has a true definition; the term has content. The same holds for the category of “Christian.” It is legitimate–indeed, it has to be thus–to draw a boundary around what really constitutes either a Scotsman or a Christian. It’s when someone starts to redraw the boundary lines to include things that are not inherent to the category that you fall into the fallacy. A true Scotsman, at basis, is a man born within the boundaries of Scotland. There may be other commonly agreed-upon characteristics of Scotsmanness that the definition should include. But if you start to argue that No True Scotsman puts marmalade on his porridge, then you fall into the fallacy unless it is generally agreed upon that all men from Scotland have that particular culinary preference. The same holds for a Christian. The term has a meaning, a content. There is a boundary around it, outside of which it is legitimate to say that is not characteristic of a Christian, it fails to meet the definition. And the definition of what constitutes Christian belief is historically established. Your example of JWs fits the bill nicely, since they are modern-day Arians and Arianism has officially been defined as outside the bounds of orthodox Christianity since the early 4th century. Of course, the JWs are convinced otherwise, and of course they will question the status of a trinitarian Roman Catholic, but they’re on the outside and the group has defined itself as not including their peculiar beliefs. There’s a reason why Christians consider the JWs to be part of a non-Christian cult.

          • swordfish

            It doesn’t actually matter to the science of evolution (or to me) what Darwin’s religious beliefs were, any more than it matters what colour socks he wore. I only mentioned it because a lot of people seem to have the idea that Darwin was some sort of evil satanist who set out to destroy Christianity and invented evolution as a way to do it. This is a completely incorrect and misleading picture.

            As to whether he was in fact a ‘True Christian’, it seem to me that if someone goes to church and claims to be a Christian, then it’s silly to argue with that, especially when you’re talking about a historical period in which almost everyone was a Christian. If it walks like a duck…

          • Andrew Burns

            “This is a completely incorrect and misleading picture.” Intentional or not. I can’t think of anyone in history who’s theory has provided so many people with an easy escape route away from a loving creator.

            It is truly sad, and I hope when Darwin sits at judgement seat he’ll feel sick that he lead so many astray.

            If a Camera was left in the woods, anyone in their right mind would say that camera was created, it has an obvious design, yet those trees over there they just sprung up randomly over millions of years of random mutation without any thought or design behind it whatsoever.” I dare say, those Evolutionists have more faith than most Christians.

          • swordfish

            “If a Camera was left in the woods, anyone in their right mind would say that camera was created, it has an obvious design,”

            That’s because we know a camera is designed and manufactured. Primitive people finding that same camera would probably think it was some sort of magical object.

            “yet those trees over there they just sprung up randomly over millions of years of random mutation without any thought or design behind it whatsoever.”

            This is a common misconception. Evolution isn’t just ‘random’. It’s random mutations upon which natural selection operates. In other words, mutations which confer a reproductive advantage are selected, and ones which don’t, die out.

            “I dare say, those Evolutionists have more faith than most Christians.”

            The majority of Christians worldwide accept evolution.

          • Ken Abbott

            Sorry for the delayed response. I was just sorting through old emails and came across the above. Your statement “especially when you’re talking about a historical period in which almost everyone was a Christian” bears additional comment for the unwarranted assumption in that last phrase. Sure, the vast majority of Europeans self-identified as Christian, but were they really converted, “born again” spiritually as is the biblical designation? Lots and lots of folks were “Christian” in name only, culturally so. They had been baptized and brought up in the church and may even have been regular attenders at church services. But had they ever internalized, made personal, that faith? That’s the distinction I’ve been laboring to get at. There is a genuine difference between a profession of belief in Christianity and a true possession of saving faith. Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord, Lord” is really a member of the kingdom of heaven. And only a truly converted/born again individual who has the Holy Spirit indwelling him will show the good fruits of a changed life and changed behavior (hence the statements about trees and fruit I made in a previous post).

            “What colour socks.” Swordfish, are you a British subject? I am myself a near-lifelong Anglophile, having had the privilege of residence in the UK twice for a total of six years, all fondly remembered.

          • swordfish

            Regarding your argument: Catholics think Protestants aren’t True Christians; Protestants think Catholics aren’t True Christians; Jehovah’s Witnesses think all other Christians aren’t True Christians, and so on. Why should I should weigh your belief about your fellow Christians higher than their own?

          • Ken Abbott

            I gather you believe what it means to be a Christian is a matter of opinion. But the Bible says differently. In answering the Philippian jailer’s question, “What must I do to be saved?”, Paul and Silas replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Paul told the Romans that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” and he talks in Romans 8 about the characteristics of the one who by belief in Christ has the Spirit of Christ. And remember that to which I referred in my post yesterday about spiritual rebirth–that comes right out of John 3 when Jesus told the Pharisee Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God he had to be born again by the Spirit. So a transformative belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is the bedrock of Christianity, what C. S. Lewis famously termed “mere Christianity.”

            While some Roman Catholics might still think Protestants aren’t Christians, the church’s official position since Vatican II is that Protestants are “separated brethren,” Christians outside of communion with the bishop of Rome, sort of like the Eastern Orthodox in that regard. And there are many Protestants who are skeptical about the claims of Roman Catholicism to be a true church of Christ, but most of us acknowledge that there are many true Christians within the RCC despite that church’s many false teachings. As to the JW’s, their teachings about the person of Jesus–that he is not God, but a created and subordinate being–makes them modern-day Arians, and Arianism has been outside the boundaries of orthodox Christianity since the Council of Nicaea in AD 325.

            Bottom line, swordfish: Ultimately only God knows the heart. If a person makes a credible profession of faith in Christ–talks the talk and walks the walk–then I would have no basis for doubting said profession. But it is not enough to claim something and have nothing to back it up.

          • swordfish

            “I gather you believe what it means to be a Christian is a matter of opinion. But the Bible says differently.”

            It is a matter of opinion how the Bible should be interpreted. If taken literally, the world is only 6,000 years old, there existed a talking snake, slavery is fine, conquest rape is fine, divorce is forbidden and the use of any force at all – even in self-defence – is similarly forbidden. Meanwhile, your interpretation implies that all those who die before they are ‘born again’ will go to Hell, including children.

            “Ultimately only God knows the heart.”

            In that case, you can’t know that Darwin wasn’t a True Christian, not that you’ve managed to establish the existence of such a thing.

          • Ken Abbott

            I think we’re at an end here, swordfish. You keep switching the topic of discussion without really engaging the content of my responses. Good day to you.

          • Ken Abbott

            One other thing: How is Rachel Dolezal *not* an African-American if you apply this form of reasoning?

          • Ken Abbott

            In thinking about the direction of this exchange, it strikes me that we may be proceeding from different definitions of “Christian.” Perhaps establishing a common understanding of the term would facilitate matters.

  • Craig Roberts

    We take the side of (RELIGION) in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the (RELIGIOUS) community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to (RELIGION).

    We’re all like children discussing the relative merits of the ‘stork theory’ versus the ‘cabbage patch theory’. Nobody knows for sure. But the question of “where do babies come from?” is to compelling to leave a mystery.

    I stand guilty as charged.

    • AndRebecca

      I think Genesis is the first book to read on where babies come from. It’s pretty clear. Song of Solomon might be the next to read.

      • Craig Roberts

        Perfect example. If a scientist told me that he had invented or even discovered a talking snake I would tell him to stop pulling my leg. But because it’s in Genesis I’m like, “Of course a snake can talk. It’s right there in the Bible.”

        • AndRebecca

          God created (produced) the world and then let man know that his part was to reproduce in the world. First without shame, and then after eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, with problems attached. Also, He told the people in Genesis to stay away from the Amorites in places like Sodom and Gomorrah because He wasn’t going to accept that sort of stuff no matter how forgiving He might be.

  • This wasn’t supposed to happen. What was is that as scientific knowledge progressed, religion would grow increasingly implausible as science told us everything we need to know and solved all the world’s problems. First the 20th century happened, and exactly as God is Dead Nietzsche predicted. Then the more science tells us, and the more we understand how the world works, the more we realize we don’t know, and the more implausible does everything coming from nothing for no reason at all become. It never was.

    • swordfish

      “religion would grow increasingly implausible as science told us everything”

      That is exactly what has happened. Religious belief has declined as scientific understanding has increased.

      But your claim that scientific understanding is becoming “more implausible” doesn’t stack up. Sticking to evolution, not one piece of evidence has been discovered in the last 159 years which disproves it. Everything which has been discovered, such as the way genetic inheritance works, the structure of the DNA molecule, or the continued unearthing of ‘missing links’, has only bolstered evolution further.

      • Oh, not you again. Why don’t you go to some other website where people buy your nonsense. Right, everything came from nothing for no reason at all. Of course chance explains everything. Only dolts like you believe the ridiculous.

        • swordfish

          “Oh, not you again.”

          That’s not very nice!

          “Right, everything came from nothing for no reason at all.”

          Evolution explains how the diversity of life developed, it hasn’t got anything to do with ‘everything coming from nothing’.

          • It wasn’t intended to be nice! And read the article again, slowly. It doesn’t explain anything!!!

          • swordfish

            Evolution is a fact. Natural selection is the theory which explains that fact. The silly nonsense in this article doesn’t even begin to challenge this in any way. If you want to dispute a scientific theory, you need a fact or observation which disputes it, not just “I can’t believe it!”.

          • Not it’s not! Darwin is dead, and holding on to your religious faith in him is unseemly.

          • swordfish

            So is Newton but gravity didn’t die with him, and faith is belief without evidence – evolution is based on the evidence so isn’t faith.

          • I truly mean this with all due respect, you are dumber than an anvil. I mean spectacularly dumb. But on second thought, that’s not really it. You’re probably very intelligent. What you are is blind, as blind as a bat. But I’ll condescend to challenge your atheist dogma: faith is trust based on adequate evidence. Adios.

          • swordfish

            Mike, is there any position you couldn’t adopt based on faith?

          • My friend, do you not get it that EVERYTHING depends on your definition of faith? Is this really beyond you? Are you so committed to your definition that yours is the only definition? Truly this confounds me because it’s not that complicated.

          • swordfish

            Muslims, Hindus and Mormons have faith also.

          • I think I may take back my statement above about your intelligence. Unless you define faith, and we agree on a definition, then your statement is meaningless. And since you’re an atheist you will insist faith is believing without evidence, then we cannot have a conversation. BTW, your faith in Darwin is impressive.

          • swordfish

            You’ve already defined it as “faith is trust based on adequate evidence”, so I’m simply going with that. Members of all other religions have faith in their own beliefs, hence faith is useless as a means of discovering truth.

            And once again, evolution isn’t based on faith, it’s based on evidence.

            You’re right that we can’t have a conversation, and I don’t particularly enjoy talking with you as you’re quite rude and arrogant (which doesn’t say much for Christianity), but I still feel it’s worthwhile to challenge lies about science.

          • Of course it says much for Christianity! Jesus came to save sinners, and being perfect isn’t part of the equation. That’s why daily repentance for things such as rudeness and arrogance is part and parcel part of the Christian life. We try better the next day, but will likely stumble and fall, so that’s why we have need of Christ’s righteousness. My own will only get me condemned because I can never live up to the standard of perfection. That’s why mercy and grace are at the heart of the Christian religion. That’s why Jesus had to die in our place, to pay the price for God’s perfect justice. We live in a moral universe that Darwin and materialism cannot explain, and Christianity is by far the best explanation for it.

            BTW, how much evidence is there for the archangel Gabriel visiting Mohammed to reveal the Koran to him? There is none. But there is a huge amount of historical and archaeological evidence for the life of Jesus, his death, and resurrection. You lump all religious faith together as if they all had equal amounts of evidence for their veracity. They do not.

          • swordfish

            Mike, if you’re happy with your beliefs, then I have no problem with that. I hope you have a good day. But you’re still completely misinformed about evolution 🙂

          • Sir, I appreciate the sentiments, but my happiness has nothing to do with it. Christianity often makes me miserable. What has everything to do with it is TRUTH. If Christianity isn’t THE TRUTH, and if there is not enough evidence to get me to a certainty beyond a reasonable doubt, a la a court of law, I want nothing to do with it. You act as if evolution and the “facts” have no metaphysical or philosophical or religions implications, and are not informed by such assumptions. You would, in that, be wrong.

          • Oh, I almost forgot. My apologies for my rudeness and arrogance!

          • GPS Daddy

            >>Evolution is a fact

            If evolution is a fact, swordfish, then you have evidence that life comes from non-life, that intelligence comes from non-intelligence, and personhood comes from non-personhood.

            So please produce this evidence.

          • swordfish

            “Life coming from non-life” is the field of Abiogenesis, which isn’t part of evolution. I’m not clear what “personhood coming from non-personhood” is supposed to be exactly, but in any case, the evidence for evolution consists of 159 years of scientific literature, which you’re welcome to study.

          • GPS Daddy

            That is so not an answer, swordfish. But we have come to expect as much for you.

          • swordfish

            What would you consider acceptable evidence for evolution? (Bearing in mind that I have to be able to present it in a short comment with no links.)

          • GPS Daddy

            What is acceptable evidence to call something scientific, swordfish? You have had this discussion countless times with soooo many people here on The Stream comment sections. I’m amazed at how new atheists can be shown the truth over and over again and then come back like things were never discussed before. This is purely tolling on your part, swordfish.

          • swordfish

            “I’m amazed at how new atheists can be shown the truth over and over again and then come back like things were never discussed before.”

            I’ve no idea what you’re even talking about here. What truth?

            “This is purely tolling on your part, swordfish.”

            You ask for answers to three (somewhat irrelevant) questions about evolution. When I point you to the body of scientific research and evidence in favour of evolution, you say that’s “not an answer”. I ask you in return what you’d accept as evidence – you reply that I’m trolling?! Are you serious? I don’t think so.

          • GPS Daddy

            >>I’ve no idea what you’re even talking about here

            Oh, my. Now you lie.

            >>You ask for answers to three (somewhat irrelevant) questions about evolution

            I asked you is response to this question:

            What is acceptable evidence to call something scientific, swordfish?

            When you can give me this answer then I will have information by which I can respond.

          • swordfish

            Since you accuse me of lying, I’m not inclined to continue this particular exchange, but just for laughs:

            “What is acceptable evidence to call something scientific,”

            Your question is malformed and ambiguous. Please restate it in such a way that it’s possible for me to try and answer it.

      • Trilemma

        As scientific understanding has increased it has become clear that abiogenesis by random natural processes is impossible due to the laws of statistics, chemistry, and thermodynamics. This is why Antony Flew converted from atheism to deism.

        • swordfish

          Abiogenesis (life coming from non-life) isn’t part of evolution at all, so that’s irrelevant. Thermodynamics isn’t any sort of barrier to evolution as it only applies to closed systems and I have no idea what supposed problems there are with statistics or chemistry. We now have an understanding of evolution down to the molecular level, which Darwin didn’t have, so that can hardly be a problem. As for Anthony Flew, so what? Many more people have converted from theist to atheist.

          • Trilemma

            You can’t have evolution unless you have the first cell to start with.

          • swordfish

            You wouldn’t need a complete cell, only a self-replicating molecule, but otherwise you’re correct. However, there isn’t any known reason why the formation of such a molecule is impossible.

          • Trilemma

            A molecule that can self-replicate from monomers does not exist nor is there any evidence one ever did. The closest a molecule has come to self-replication that I know of is tC19Z which can only self-replicate 48% of itself.

      • Kevin Quillen

        you have a real problem with irreducible complexity and symbiotic relationships. I think if Darwin was alive today and could look through a high powered microscope at a simple single cell (he thought it was simple), he would change his mind.

        • swordfish

          This is nonsense. There is no such thing as “irreducible complexity”, this is just a fake ID talking point. Anything which can be assembled in small steps can evolve. Consider the human eye, often used as an example of irreducible complexity – even a single light-sensitive cell is very helpful to an organism by letting it know when it’s night and day.

          Darwin would most certainly NOT change his mind if he were alive today. He’d be amazed by how much our understanding of life has *cough* evolved, and that his theory has never been seriously challenged.

  • swordfish

    Question: Is God smart enough to create us using evolution?

    • tz1

      It depends on what you mean by “Evolution”.
      Could he have directed adaptation to create Adam and Eve? yes.
      But the adaptation requires the coding system of DNA/Ribosomes, and that is too complex to have arisen spontaneously. So that, at least, would have to have been created.

      • swordfish

        So your answer is ‘no, God isn’t smart enough’.

        • Zmirak

          It’s as if you asked “Is God smart enough to create a square circle?” The word “evolution” in context means RANDOM, unguided mutations culled by natural selection. If God loaded the dice to create us, it wasn’t random. If it was random, He didn’t predetermine it. (That’s what “random” means.)

          • swordfish

            That’s an interesting point, but you’ve avoided answering the question! It looks like you’re arguing that God can’t do anything natural?

          • Zmirak

            No, I’m saying God can’t create square circles, or true falsehoods. If evolution was planned by God, it’s not random. If it’s random, it wasn’t planned by God. This isn’t theology, it’s logic.

          • swordfish

            According to 2014 research, mutations aren’t entirely random – repeated sequences are more likely to mutate, so this might mess with your Logic. At least we can add ‘randomness’ to the list of things an omnipotent God can’t do.

    • Trilemma

      Yes, that would be the easier way. Create life to be adaptable and let nature do most of the work.

  • Boris

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the author of this book to get a Nobel Prize for Science for refuting the longest standing, best established, most useful and most productive scientific explanation we have ever had. Science will never accept any supernatural claims for anything for very good reasons. The only way we could ever accept any magical explanations for something is to first eliminate all possible naturalistic explanations. However we could never be sure we’ve done that. Supernatural explanations are really science stoppers. Theists just want scientists to stop finding naturalistic explanations because they prove their religion to be false especially in the life sciences. Scientists don’t pay any attention to philosophical and theological arguments. Why should they? Scientists can only work with evidence and there’s not a shred of evidence for anything supernatural existing or ever occurring in this universe. If there were theists would not have to resort to arguments like the First Cause Argument, Design Argument, Ontological Argument, Fine Tuning Argument and so on. Arguments are not evidence but they are proof that the theists don’t have any evidence for their claims.
    Science produces results. Therefore Intelligent Design Magic and Creation Magic are not only not science, they aren’t even subjects. Claiming “God did it” isn’t going to advance human knowledge one bit. No Christian college or university that teaches life sciences teaches this garbage and in fact the Christian academic community has gone to great lengths to distance itself for this religious propaganda which is what this garbage really is. Christian colleges and universities have been teaching Darwinian Evolution by Natural Selection for about a century now, since before the Scopes trial.
    Biology without evolution is natural history, not biology. There is a great deal of important information in natural history that should be taught, but evolution is the unifying idea that ties it all together, allowing one not only to know the facts but to understand them and to know where the facts come from. Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without the periodic table of the elements.

Inspiration
Lessons From a Stolen Bike
Alex Chediak
More from The Stream
Connect with Us