The State of the Delusion

darwin2by Brad Nelson3/19/15
Mr. Kung thought it would be a good idea to present a summary of the whole Darwinian/Intelligent Design conundrum. So I blame him if this reads badly or seems irrelevant. 😉 I have to do it this way because it takes the pressure off.

The following is not a brag. I admit to being quite dense compared to people such as Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute and the author of a couple excellent books on intelligent design. I’ve usually had to work hard to understand things that come somewhat easily to other people. That’s my cross to bear but, added with a bit of resolve and petulance, it’s a driving force to try to stay informed.

So I’ve read a ton of books in the past six months…ever since Glenn’s excellent and annoying Corvettes and Creation article. And I say “annoying” because that’s what piqued my interest to delve beyond the public veneer of Darwinism. And this pursuit has since cost me a great deal of time and money regarding the purchase of various books and the hours spent in the difficult pursuit behind and beyond the disinformation and ideological zealotry surrounding this subject…sometimes on both sides. So, thank you, Glenn. 🙂 That list of books I’ve recently read includes:

Darwin’s Black Box
The Signature in the Cell
The Edge of Evolution
Uncommon Dissent
Darwin’s Doubt
The Evolution Revolution
Icons of Evolution
Plus various articles and essays by David Berlinski, miscellaneous videos, and miscellaneous articles and videos from Evolution News.

Also included in the mix (and extremely important in regards to getting at the truth) are various books on the philosophy of atheism/naturalism, including:

God’s Undertaker
The Devil’s Delusion
God and Stephen Hawking
The Trouble with Physics
Illogical Atheism

All of the above are top-notch books. And it took a whole lot of reading to blast through the clutter of disinformation which is the calling card of the naturalists/Darwinists. It’s fairly steeped in the culture, and conservative culture is not left unaffected. And to understand the underlying philosophy of naturalism/atheism is, in part, to understand why the theory of neo-Darwinism is so full of fraud, exaggerations, and just plain kool-aid in the first place. (Hint: It’s a fundamentalist religion.)

But what I’m going to do in this essay is not hit you over the head with a lot of notes and links. You can do the reading for yourself, and I suggest that you do. Make up your own mind. However, because I am an objective and honest reviewer and philosopher, if you simply don’t have the time and want to gain an inkling for what is really going on, I will give you a somewhat concise summary.

First, no one knows how life started, at least not with the objective ability to demonstrate this. And no known process, other than intelligence, could be capable of it. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some unknown process. But even then, what has been discovered so far is that life is not a function of matter. It’s a function of information (at the very least). The materialist, gene-centric view of the cell and of life is dead, or should be dead.

Matter is a mere tool of information just as your RAM, hard drive, and video screen are the tools of the software programs that run underneath it all and allow your computer to do useful work. The gene should be infused with no more majesty or mysticism than a brick, even though enough of them can form the Great Wall of China (but only because of a wall designer in the first place).

Life is so astoundingly complex and is integrated into complex systems resembling (and likely surpassing) what you see on a printed electronic circuit board. And although a future unknown cause of the emergence of life is conceivable, in theory, to conceive of an “unknown process” capable of creating the digital information in DNA and the complex integrated systems inside the cell is to likely posit some sort of creative process that can look ahead. And that implies something more than a dumb, repetitive, algorithmic “law of nature.”

The fossil record does not show or suggest common descent, a core element of Darwinism. Instead, it shows species suddenly coming into being, staying more or less the same over long time spans, and then vanishing from the fossil record (if they have indeed gone extinct). Every attempt at a Darwinian “tree of life” gives a mess of convoluted results. Worse, natural selection/mutation — the main theoretical driver of neo-Darwinism creation — has not been shown to create anything more complex than seasonal variations in a finch’s beak. All forms of purported Darwinian evolution (with rare and specific exceptions as described by Behe in The Edge of Evolution) are just shifting between the expression of existing variations, not the creation of variation (aka “survival of the fittest” rather than “arrival of the fittest”). Or the purported “evolution” (including the acquisition of immunity to a chemical by some organisms) is due to a degradation of existing function (what Behe calls “the scorched earth tactic”), not new function. There are many stories from Darwinists which try to say otherwise, but it’s a continual “Where’s the beef?” moment. They have nothing but just-so stories told using the authority and stature of science.

And most scientists now know this. Akin to the global warming fraud, there is so much vested interest in forwarding the existing paradigm that it’s a question only as to whether the lies of omission are greater than the lies of commission regarding pretending that neo-Darwinism is still a credible theory. Neo-Darwinism exists substantially to suit the ideological leanings of atheists and those in the scientific establishment who want to forward a metaphysics of the merely material. It certainly does little to explain the facts as we know them.

And they wish to self-define any truth as belonging exclusively to the citadel of science. Their convenient logic is that anything outside of the paradigm of naturalism is not science and thus is not fundamentally a fact. And this state of affairs maintains them as the guardians of what-is. However, their reductionist/materialist view is so ideologically rigid and so intent on explaining away inconvenient things, eventually (and naturally) these views get taken to their logical extreme wherein naturalists commonly deny even their own minds (the mind having done the impolite thing by being most decidedly immaterial).

So basically atheism/naturalism is sort of a Kooksville. It leads to absurdity and self-refutation. It does so because naturalism (the belief that matter is all there is and has ever been and ever will be) combined with Darwinism says that the only reason we have the traits that we do (including the thoughts and ideas in our head) is because they provide some survival advantage, thus we cannot tell which (if any) ideas or thoughts are just useful and which are true — including, you might see, the entire idea of naturalism itself. So I do not use the word “kook” lightly but use it to reinforce the fact that this is a foundation built upon something even lest solvent than sand. No wonder the atheists/materialists must yell so loudly. They doth protest too much.

The apparent successor to neo-Darwinism is the theory of intelligent design which Stephen Meyer and others forward not as a religion couched in science but as a historical science. A historical science is a science regarding things we can no longer directly experience. The Big Bang and aspects of geology are historical sciences. No one can create another Big Bang to test their theories, so there is a lot of historical spelunking that goes on. Neo-Darwinism tries to be a historical science (although I agree with those who say it is short of being a theory and is little more than a collection of just-so stories). The legitimacy of a historical science is based on the idea that effects that we see in the past are best explained as the result of causes that are known to be in operation today. In Meyer’s terms that includes intelligence in regards to life.

The implications of intelligent design are as stunning as they may be brief, for once one has deduced an intelligent designer, one wonders just how much more there is to be learned of causes. The effects, well yes, we can study DNA and the details of life for centuries and likely never get bored and never run out of new things to discover. But if life itself was created by a designer who is not around to be interviewed, that would seem to put up a distinct wall regarding how far certain areas of basic inquiry can go.

Another offshoot competing with, and actively undermining (even if this is not their intention), intelligent design as a successor to failed neo-Darwinism are various theistic evolutionary theories, some of which try to use the bible as evidence for proving a literal interpretation of Genesis (including a young earth and all that). My opinion on that is that this is just as misguided as the atheists/naturalists using the intransigence of their naturalist ideology to blind them from the facts of the world.

In summary (of this summary), one may safely ignore what the neo-Darwinists are saying. One may be cautiously intrigued by the approach of intelligent design. And one should leave all forms of theistic evolution alone. It’s the same muddle as Darwinism, but from the opposite end. But quite aside from all that (where politics, entrenched establishments, and metaphysics collide), the real show is in studying biology. If you can, watch a few videos on the internet regarding the transcription of DNA, the production of ATP, motor proteins, cellular replication, or many other things. Despite the fact that neo-Darwinism is a useless (probably even inhibiting) label thrown on the top of some very good science, there is in fact much excellent science being done and wondrous discoveries being made, almost daily.

In fact, the discoveries are of systems so complex, so integrated, so “irreducibly complex,” that neo-Darwinism becomes a laughable idea on the face of it. As for what could produce such systems, well there’s the rub. This points to the fascinating wide-open field of future discovery.

The bottom line is that neo-Darwinism is defunct as a theory and has been for some time. It lives only on the groupthink and vested interest of scientists. Some don’t want to rock the boat, for to say that one doesn’t believe in neo-Darwinism is a serious career risk, just as it is regarding global warming. For many others they like having science self-defined as the decider of all truth because of their naturalist metaphysics which demotes all other forms of knowledge to mere opinion. Others, particularly the vocal atheists who seem to set the agenda for the rest, are just axe-grinding religious zealots. In the case of generally unhinged people such as Richard Dawkins, one wonders if perhaps, when he was a boy, a vicar ran over his puppy. There seems to be extra spin on the disdain of the main talking-head atheists/Darwinists.

In this whole business it has been very difficult for any and all sides to separate facts from the strident and over-zealous wish that a particular metaphysics or belief system win out. Well, my advice is to turn it off and actually study some of the amazing facts of biological life. We live in an age of great discovery. And I can’t help thinking that some of the enthusiasm for this discovery is dampened because to frankly promote what is being found would be to cement in the minds of most the idea of a Creator. That is the logical conclusion.

But however one looks at it, do look at it. I think Jonathan Wells’ book, The Icons of Evolution, is actually a good place to start. He does an excellent job debunking neo-Darwinism. He gives you the near full spectrum (minus the nitty gritty philosophy that Lennox and Bo Jinn do so well) including showing the fraudulent nature of Darwinism as an ongoing propaganda campaign in contrast to the real story of various biological facts. And he makes those biological facts interesting and relatively easy to understand.

As for the biological facts of DNA, proteins, RNA, and all the fascinating micro-machinery of life, the details are nothing less than astonishing. You may have heard, for instance, of Francis Crick’s “central dogma” regarding DNA. It’s that DNA makes RNA and RNA makes protein. That’s it. End of story. But as has since been learned, this is no longer even marginally true. A string of DNA, for instance, may (via editing and splicing by special proteins quite outside of the control of DNA) can produce all kinds of different proteins…even hundreds. How can an undirected, random process evolve that seems to have the brain of a computer? Good question. To be able to ask that question is to go beyond the strict and stifling dogma of neo-Darwinism and begin to understand how remarkable life really is.

Still, the big mysteries endure. Is there a God? If so, what is this Creator like and what is the overall purpose of this universe, if any? And what started life? If it was indeed designed, by whom, when, how, and how many times? The big questions still endure even while the strident dogma (hopefully) falls aside and makes room for a true appreciation for life and this universe.


Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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24 Responses to The State of the Delusion

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    A nice summation of the issues. I’m beginning to think of evolutionary theorists of all sorts as resembling the famous story of the six blind men and the elephant. Each sees a piece of the truth and thinks he has the whole picture. (I’ve also previously used this as a description of macroeconomic theoreticians, even including it in a paid review of Joseph Stiglitz’s book on the 2008 financial panic.)

    A Midwestern SF fan once did a lecture at ConGlomeration on ID, making the same point you do that ID concludes that there was, or at least may have been, some sort of intelligence involved in making the universe/Earth/life. If you have a specific theory from a specific religion, that isn’t ID (or at least not ID as a scientific theory). The same fan, incidentally, also got InConJunction to play the movie 1776 (since the convention is held around July 4) as a sing-along. (I once mentioned to him that my favorite song from the musical is “Molasses to Rum to Slaves”, that superb blast at New England hypocrisy.)

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Timothy.

      I think the most interesting aspect of all this is that neo-Darwinism just flat out doesn’t explain the factual findings. More than one person who has switched from Darwin believer to skeptic has noted that although the theory perhaps didn’t pertain to his specialty, he or she just assumed it pertained to all the others.

      So you get this picture of honest, hard-working scientists (much like the honest, hard-working public) who just assumes that Darwinism is true, even if in their specific specialty it doesn’t seem to matter.

      And more than one scientists recounts (either before or after becoming a skeptic) going into the published literature looking for a Darwinian explanation for how some biological feature came to be. They might start by following a footnote in a book to another book or research paper that purports to explain it. Then what happens is that these other books or papers contain only fuzzy Darwinian stories (not explanations and precise examples) and point to other papers where the Darwinian creation of some biological feature is supposedly explained and proven. But you never do find it. It’s like chasing the end of a rainbow. Other than telling stories about how neo-Darwinism creates some feature (via pure assumption), there are actually zero published scientific papers that give an account of how even one feature was built.

      The commitment amongst scientists, particularly Darwinists, is to a naturalistic explanation. And that’s fine. I have no problem with that. But even so, neo-Darwinism doesn’t match the facts. It can’t explain what we do see. So one either needs to scrap neo-Darwinism (unlikely given the way science operates…they’ll stick to even a bad theory until something else shows up) or create a better naturalistic theory.

      And that’s the problem. There is not even a glimmer of a hint of a hope regarding a naturalistic cause for life. But the greater commitment is to naturalism (mixed inexorably with the atheistic religious outlook and just outright hostility to the theistically religious). This causes (humorously, and ironically) a “Darwin of the Gaps” way of thinking. Even if, they say, Darwinism doesn’t actually explain what we see today, the assumption is that it some day will. It has to, according to their way of thinking.

      And it’s not, as other intelligent design advocates have said, that the assumption of naturalistic causes isn’t a powerful and productive way to see things. But it’s not the only way to see things. And when you come across something as bizarre and unexpected as a digital code in DNA, and a protein/RNA operating system of the cell (complete with amazing and intricate micro-machinery), it may be time to expand one’s outlook.

  2. Bell Phillips says:

    Back in college, I worked as an intern at the Army Corps of Engineers. One summer I was given the task of figuring out why a newly constructed piece of machinery for opening and closing dam gates was not working correctly. It had been built from plans that had been used many, many times before without problems. I was supposed to look for a mistake in transcribing the drawing. There wasn’t one. Then I started checking other things, and it turned into this huge project. There were two questions to be answered: 1.) How can we fix this problem? and 2.) what caused it? (In other words, who will be paying for it?).

    I had a team of surveyors with all the latest measuring equipment. I had the original designs. I could talk to the people who installed it. I spent hundreds of hours investigating. Finding a fix wasn’t too hard (although, I would have been responsible for a huge waste of money if I was wrong), but after all of that, the cause of the problem remained a mystery. I had an idea, maybe, but I was a long way from being able to say anything definitively. I don’t recall who ultimately paid for the repairs.

    I say that to say this, “historical science” is an educated guess at best. The fact that with all the resources available to me, and some very smart people looking over my shoulder, there was no way to determine what happened totally confirmed my suspicions that the confidence exuded by evolutionist, geologists, cosmologists, and, very importantly in a non-philosophical way, criminal forensic scientists, was deeply, deeply misguided.

    I think asking about how things came about, and looking for the best possible answers is a fundamental human drive and also a very good thing. But it needs to be done with the humility to admit that you can never be sure, and sometimes you just don’t know at all.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I say that to say this, “historical science” is an educated guess at best.

      And Stephen Hawking is stretching it out into pure fantasy with his theory of the multiverse.

      Because of the gaps in our knowledge and lacking direct access to past events (we must therefore do a lot of inferring), it leaves a lot of room for story telling. And this story telling tends to be rooted in our deepest beliefs and wishes about reality. What is silly perhaps to you or me (creating 10500 universes in order to avoid a Creator) seems normal to Stephen Hawking, even required despite this theory’s definite lack of normal scientific parsimony.

      That’s a reminder that the BS we’ve been fed about science welcoming criticism and being inherently self-correcting is just that: a smoke screen. If they were so darned intent on self-correcting, they wouldn’t try to hide the fact the neo-Darwinism can’t explain the creation of the complex structures of life. There isn’t even a hope the theory can do so. And this is a reminder to what extent that beliefs and metaphysics can override any scientific or factual concerns. And mostly this happens on the side of the scientists but it is, of course, not unknown among theists.

      Granted, any kind of historical science is inherently a bit fuzzy and open to error and various interpretations. But one does the best that one can do. Except that science is not even approaching the best that one can do regarding these subjects. They are too intent on beating an ideological drum and holding onto their intellectual aristocracy than actually figuring out what is what, no matter where those answers may lead. Yes, I agree with you that a little humility is needed. And if that’s what it takes to un-blinker many folk, then so be it.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Thanks for writing that Brad. Now, I have to think about it. Rats!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Mr. Kung, let me know if you have any questions. That, I find, is the best way to spur thought on these matters. I may not know the answer, but I think I have a pretty good idea who does.

  4. Brad — great job boiling down all that reading. I’ve read several of the books you listed — isn’t Berlinski a wonderful writer? Pete knows quite a few of those authors because he does art work for the Discovery Institute in Seattle. Such truly amazing brains.

    Several years ago I was having a lunch-table discussion with one of my teaching colleagues — a brilliant science instructor. She was stoutly defending neo-Darwinism, and I, having just plowed through Behe and Wells, was giving her a rough time. I finally reduced her to a disgusted “Psht!” Which, I pointed out to her, was not an argument. But that’s where evolutionary “science” is right now — reduced to a “Psht!”

    I agree with Bell — we can’t know for sure about the past, even about yesterday, let alone thousands of years ago (I’m one of those young earthers you mentioned :-)). We can only be marginally more informed about the past than we can about the future. We don’t know for sure if what the historians say is valid; we date bones by the rocks we find them in and rocks by the bones; we pick a story and stick to it — regardless. I tend to think we’re best off taking God’s word for what happened, after all, He was actually there.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      A lot of Darwinist arguments (like a lot of climate alarmist arguments) amount to a slightly more sophisticated-sounding “Psht!” It’s the old principle: “When you’re weak on the law, argue the facts. When you’re weak on the facts, argue the law. When you’re weak on both, bullshit the jury.” They just have different ways of bullshitting the jury.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Deana, be sure to express to Pete once again that I am extremely jealous of his contact with Discovery Institute. I expect a signed copy of “The Icons of Evolution” on my desk tomorrow. 😉

      I think the issue of the Young Earth is highly problematic simply because, regarding all the ways we have of knowing the approximate age of the earth (most of which are not dependent upon buried bones), if it turns out to be 6000 years old then we are back to square one, living in a universe that is not rational, not predictable, and which seemingly is constructed in such a way so as to fool us. The idea, in large measure derived from a Christian world view, of a rational universe made by a rational Rule Maker would be overturned.

      “God’s word” could be said to be written in all the ways we have to deduce the age of the earth, just as the Designer’s genius is said to be found in the many wonderful examples of life. I think literalism regarding Genesis is highly problematic in terms of squaring this Designer/Creator with the world we see around us.

  5. Jerry Richardson says:

    Brad,

    the clutter of disinformation which is the calling card of the naturalists/Darwinists.—Brad Nelson

    You always bring up interesting points en passant as one might say in chess. I am currently interested in the topic of disinformation because it is a major tool in propaganda campaigns. Obviously, when someone is trying to peddle falsehood they cannot simply deal with clear and factual information; they must resort to confusion (clutter as you called it) and disinformation. Of course, as usual, things are not always black-and-white simple. Disinformation can result from non-malicious error. Disinformation is not always a result of someone trying to propagandize us. Either way, as you pointed out disinformation has to be cleared away before truth can proceed.

    Thanks for all your nifty thoughts.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Much of this disinformation and fraud, Jerry, stems simply from the culture of science. Neo-Darwnisism — although it can’t explain much and fosters inside it a noxious atheism and intolerant and decidedly non-scientific mindset — is the water that all the scientific fish swim in. It’s just accepted, if not actually believed. It’s a fashion of “scientific correctness.” And to swim against this current right now is risky, so few do.

      And there are some brilliant essays in “Uncommon Dissent” which speak to this point. And David Berlinski has done so most eloquently as well in various places. Science has become an aristocracy, and not the idealistic “search for knowledge” that everyone supposes it is. Inside each discipline, scientists are stilling doing good work. As Stephen Meyer and others have noted, they may layer evolutionary language over the top of their papers and reports like a light condiment, but the meat of their research is approached as if the subject of their studies were a designed and fully integrated system.

      I suspect neo-Darwinism won’t just fall but will crash, and probably within the next five years. The problem is, the mutation/natural selection paradigm can so obviously not explain what we see in life. And that’s the bottom line. It just doesn’t work.

      Group think, the embedded interest of politicized science, and the atheistic religion factor will provide intransigence. Worse, the public itself is in no shape to do anything but accept as true whatever is dispensed to them from the top. It’s not all their fault because living even a good and honest life leaves little time for staying up on the thousands of scientific specialties, even if just at a layman level.

      So we do depend on the integrity of scientists. And that integrity has fallen way short. There is a deep corruption caused by political and power concerns. And with no independent news media to help correct things, it is left to places such as StubbornThings to try to sort this out.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    One of my favorite lines from Narnia is from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”:

    “But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.

    
”It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time.

    Charles Darwin wasn’t necessarily wrong regarding the material (and somewhat ugly and brutal) aspects of life. He saw “natural selection” as the “deep magic” governing life. And that outer veneer — where a creature’s traits intersect with life and with other creatures in a free-for-all for survival and reproduction — is described in part by natural selection. Species are changed, at least in the micro, to adapt to the environment. And “adaptation” very often means simply some small and advantageous improvement in regards to survival; a further small protection from being eaten by something else.

    Darwin saw the micro aspect of life and I think understandable, and quite correctly, penned the situation in these lines to J.D. Hooker:

    What a book a Devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low & horridly cruel works of nature!

    Life contains many pleasures and rewards as well. It’s not all bad. But some of it is truly awful, worse for some than others. We can be grateful for the gift of life. But it does come with some astonishing hard rules and realities.

    But Darwin was talking only about the “deep magic,” the level beneath appearances and common conceptions…a level that even the White Witch understood existed.

    But Darwin did not know about “a magic deeper still.” We see aspects of this magic in the megabytes of digital code in the DNA molecule, in the micro-machinery of the cell, and in the entirety of this system which seems to be a sophisticated program and operating system of incredible complexity. These are not things merely of survival and reproduction. There is a higher orchestration occurring.

    This deepest of all deep magic — which we are privileged to see in its material/informational trappings by using modern technology — is still mysterious. Some will read the Bible for the ultimate clues. Others, such as myself, will use logic and reason and try to piece together some picture from the evidence. Whatever the case may be, it is fascinating to wake up and find oneself deep in the world of Narnia where deep magic, and a deeper magic still, show themselves through the workings of life.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      That’s a very nice interpretation of things, though there may be some disagreements over what the “deeper magic” is.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        there may be some disagreements over what the “deeper magic” is.

        I wound certainly hope so, Timothy. I don’t think anyone really knows.

        How does one characterize what we know? What’s the paradigm? Is it a never-ending series of universes blooming out of Vishnu’s navel? Is it a gift from a triune God, but sort of a dangerous “gift” indeed because one could be sent to hell for an infraction? Is it sort of a pregnantly-rich, non-specific, esoteric type of energetic “essence” as in the Tao? Is it Zeus throwing lighting bolts from the clouds? Is it something else?

        What we do appear to see is the result of skillful planning — aka “intelligence.” It’s an intelligence the loves to create, even if the essence of creation is a sort of survival of the fittest landscape. That’s the weird part. You have genius, and yet hold onto your socks, that’s a saber-toothed tiger behind you.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Well, the Jewish origin story comes closest to what science believes is the actual story, provided you don’t read it too literally. If anyone knows of a more accurate ancient version, I’d like to know what it is.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Yes, you certainly have a beginning (Big Bang). And the rest of it….well, no other creature on earth could have written anything like a creation story. So, indeed, the other thing that strikes me is the idea of making mankind in His image. That idea is a big no-no for the crowd who thinks there is no significant difference between humans and, say, beetles. But there is. There clearly is.

            Whether Genesis was an expression of the human ego and intellect, or was divinely inspired, no other creature could have been a part of this. No other creature can contemplate being itself, rather than just being in the moment, so to speak. No other creature can consider the idea of deep magic of any kind.

            I just made a Progressive cry. I apologize.

    • Darwin didn’t understand that there is a “ghost in the machine.”

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I quite agree, Deana. From what I can tell, the entire neo-Darwinian project exists simply to sanctify atheism/materialism and to refute theism.

  7. LibertyMark says:

    Great bibliography, Brad! Now if I can simply find the reading time…

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Mark. And the entire point of this post was to give a summary to those who just don’t have time. Many of those books necessarily overlap, but I would perhaps start with “The Icons of Evolution” to get the lay of the landscape. “Illogical Atheism” is great to get to the philosophical underpinnings. And to get beyond the rhetoric (either for or against) and to the facts, you could do worse than Stephen Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt” which incorporates some of the ideas in previous books, such as those by Behe and Dembski (but does not replace them).

      The bottom line is that Meyer has made a logical theist out of me, rather than a somewhat empty-headed one. There is indeed a “signature in the cell.”

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a download link for Stephen Meyer’s free chapter being offered, The Meaning of Evolution, which is from his peer-reviwed volume Darwinism, Design, and Public Education. This was noted in an article at Evolution News & Views.

    Perhaps this information is a little geeky for the neophyte. (And starting with point #2 of section II, my eyes began to glaze over and I didn’t read further into the details of the misuse and abuse of the word, “evolution.”)

    But the first section where Meyer explicates the six definitions of “evolution” is pretty good reading. Granted, you wonder if he is spitting into the wind simply because of the religious-like fundamentalist emotional attitude of Darwinists, materialists, and atheists. So much of this isn’t about science, facts, evidence, and learning. It’s about ideology and world views.

    But it’s a worthy effort by Meyer. More importantly, Meyer’s six points also show the state-of-the-art in terms of thinking regarding all this. Yes, the point is to de-mystify and correct the clutter of bad, lazy, and just disingenuous thinking from the Left. But it’s also a good look into the basics of what we know and what we don’t know (and what we think we know because some people shout a lot and try to intimidate those with a different opinion).

  9. Timothy Lane says:

    There was an article in the paper today on a fossil wolf from Taimyr in Siberia that seems to alter the timeline for the divergence of dogs and wolves. The fossil is dated back 35,000 years, but already shows the beginning of the divergence, which has previously been dated back (based on the rate of DNA change) about 10,000 or so years. It also hints that the evolution of domesticated dogs may be more complex than was previously thought. This is hardly an argument for or against any particular theory of evolution, but it’s a good reminder of how uncertain the evolutionists remain today (despite their overt confidence).

  10. Rob says:

    Best, most compact synopsis of todays modern mosh pit of scientific opinion around evolution, ID and creationism I have read anywhere online. Nicely done. Amazingly concise distillation of subject matter with a great deal of detail to sort through.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Rob. I’m not sure there’s a whole lot more I can say about it without repeating myself. Definitely the evidence supports theism of some kind. But Intelligent Design does not say who the designer may be. It does not support any particular religion.

      But the complexity of life as we have come to know it puts a stake in the heart of the ratchet theory of Neo-Darwinism, that a series of small changes can create complex systems. The moment someone can show how a software program such as Excel can be created by the slow accumulation of random changes, then you will have some good evidence for Neo-Darwinian theory.

      But not before then. All they have now, as David Berlinski says, is a series of anecdotes.

      Still, I would personally caution theists from getting too enthusiastic. Darwin was not out of line when he wrote, “What a book a devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horribly cruel work of nature!” Nature is indeed harsh. The designs of our bodies may be remarkable, but they are subject to great and painful errors.

      And if man is on the top of the totem pole and made in god’s image, one has to wonder why the Creator was satisfied with dinosaurs ruling the land for 135 million years…their reign apparently halted only by a random comet.

      Even if one could gloss over the difficulties of divining some kind of overall plan to creation, it must be admitted that inherent to the plan is things killing and eating other things. I think one of the appeals of atheism is that at least there is then no one to blame and no reason to take personally the inherent hardships and unfairness of life.

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