Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

By Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.

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In October of 1992, Spectrum Magazine ran an article written by a young physician, Gary Gilbert, in which he attempted to justify his loss of faith on the basis of the existence of pseudogenes.

Pseudogenes are regions of DNA that have codes very similar to known genes, but often have stop codes in every reading frame, so that no protein could ever be produced from the code they contain. They were presumed by evolutionists to be copies of protein-coding genes that, through the process of evolution, have been mutated so extensively that they are no longer functional.

Gilbert learned that there was a pseudogene within the five functional genes of the beta globin gene family on chromosome 11 that was present in both humans and chimpanzees.  Since the likelihood of a functional gene being similarly disabled in both humans and chimpanzees is very low, Gilbert concluded, in his Spectrum article, that both humans and chimpanzees were descended from a common ancestor that had that pseudogene.  Gilbert decided, on that basis, that the Biblical account of origins could not be correct and therefore concluded that we humans arose as a result result of evolutionary processes.  Of course, this was a huge stretch, but it was enough for Gilbert; and his article was the basis for a number of Adventists losing their sense of direction in scripture, especially with regard to origins.

 

Are pseudogenes functionless?

For decades, I have explained to students in molecular biology that pseudogenes are not functionless and never were.  In the case of the beta globin gene, I pointed out to them that the two pseudogenes in the beta globin gene family (there are five globin genes which occur on the chromosome in the same order as they are utilized in the developmental process) are so placed that one of them is located just before the genes that are activated in ontogeny (at the beginning of fetal development), and the other one is located just before the two beta globin genes that are utilized in the adult. That was, for me anyway, clear evidence for regulatory functionality.  So, I instructed my students to this concept.

In philosophy class, I handed out or at times gave, as part of the final exam, Gilbert’s article as required reading for my students.  I required them to analyze his logic and conclusions. Almost always the students concluded that Gilbert was not coming to the data to find answers, but he was seeking to use science to support his own pre-determined philosophical position.

It has taken some years for our understanding of pseudogenes to come out of the dark. First came indications that many pseudogenes were functional.  Then certain experiments that knocked them out indicated that quite a number were in fact essential (1, 2).  More recently, in 2012, the startling revelations of the ENCODE project (3) demonstrated that almost all DNA was functional.  This discovery was soon followed by articles boldly proclaiming that “Pseudogenes are not pseudo any more” – such as an article by Wen et. al. (4)  In this particular article the authors note:

“The study of functional pseudogenes is just at the beginning. There remain many questions to be addressed, such as the regulatory elements controlling the cell or tissue specific expression of pseudogenes. But, definitely, the so-called pseudogenes are really functional, not to be considered any more as just “junk” or “fossil” DNA. Surely, many functional pseudogenes and novel regulatory mechanisms remain to be discovered and explored in diverse organisms.” [emphasis added]

Finally, within the last year, the hemoglobin pseudogenes have themselves been the object of some study, specifically the HPPB1 gene that sits amidst the “functional” genes of the beta globin locus. As we had suspected on the basis of a considered study of placement, it is not only highly conserved (something Gilbert could have seen early on), but is essential for function. Even a single base change in the pseudogene region is responsible for pathology in humans (6).

What is the take home lesson from this? When we think we find evidence that a clear reading of the Bible story of origins is wrong, it would be well to consider the mantra of the skeptic: “An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence.” Before you decide God was wrong when He wrote with his finger in stone (7) that he made the earth in six days, perhaps we would be well served to consider all the evidence, and then, with humility, acknowledge our own ignorance and bow before the Creator in reverence and awe. Who knows, had the author of this article reserved judgment, or better yet, had he pursued the functionality of the pseudogene, perhaps we could be talking about the Adventist Nobel Laureate who discovered the functionality of pseudogenes?  – instead of lamenting for a soul who chose to abandon the Biblical account of origins to follow the philosophies of Darwinism.

 

References:

1. Shinji Hirotsune, Noriyuki Yoshida, Amy Chen, Lisa Garrett, Fumihiro Sugiyama, Satoru Takahashi, Ken-Ichi Yagami, Anthony Wynshaw-Boris & Atsushi Yoshiki. 2003. An expressed pseudogene regulates the messenger-RNA stability of its homologous coding gene. Nature 423, 91 – 96;

2. Evgeniy S. Balakirev and Francisco J. Ayala. 2003. Pseudogenes: Are They “Junk” or Functional DNA? Annual Review of Genetics, Vol. 37, pp. 123-151

3. The ENCODE Project Consortium. 2012. An Integrated Encyclopedia of DNA Elements in the Human Genome. Nature. 489: 57-74

4. Yan-Zi Wen,  Ling-Ling Zheng, Liang-Hu Qu, Francisco J. Ayala and Zhao-Rong Lun. 2012. RNA Biology 9:1, 27–32.

5. Moleirinho A, Seixas S, Lopes AM, Bento C, Prata MJ, Amorim A. 2013. Evolutionary Constraints in the β-Globin Cluster: The Signature of Purifying Selection at the δ-Globin (HBD) Locus and its Role in Developmental Gene Regulation. Genome Biology and Evolution. 5: 559–571.

6. Giannopoulou E, Bartsakoulia M, Tafrali C, Kourakli A, Poulas K, Stavrou EF, Papachatzopoulou A, Georgitsi M, Patrinos GP. 2012. A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism in the HBBP1 Gene in the Human β-Globin Locus is Associated with a Mild β-Thalassemia Disease Phenotype. Hemoglobin. 36 (5): 433-445.

7. Exodus 31:16-18

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1,067 thoughts on “Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

  1. Nic&#032Samojluk: He believes, I think, that when all the evidence is in, there will be a harmony between revelation and science.

    And what did he say he would do if there was not harmony? He has made crystal clear that he would go with the science and his reason on numerous occasions. Would you do the same? Would you reject God’s word and instead trust someone else’s science and your own ability to decipher it? Have the courage to say a “yea” or “nay.”




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    • @Kent: “And what did he say he would do if there was not harmony? He has made crystal clear that he would go with the science and his reason on numerous occasions. Would you do the same?”

      Here is what Pitman allegedly stated:

      “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well” (http://www.educatetruth.com/theological/the-credibility-of-faith/comment-page-1/#comment-18717

      This statement seems to indicate that Pitman’s faith in the biblical record and biblical chronology is so strong that he is willing to defy the odds of being wrong.

      I agree with him on the belief that millions of years of pain, suffering and death is not the way God created human life. Such theory contradicts the plain teaching of Scripture. Darwinian evolution destroys the most fundamental pillar of the Christian faith: the belief that God created humans in a perfect state, there was a moral fall, which moved God to implement a Plan of Salvation.

      If Darwin is right, then we have no need for a plan of salvation. We have done quite well thanks—not to Jesus Christ—but rather to natural selection and genetic mutation. We started as an insignificant cell, progressed through apes to Homo Sapiens. This is what Pitman rejects, and I do as well. Pitman sees no chance that empirical science will ever produce credible evidence matching this wild scenario.

      I see his statement as confirming his unswerving reliance on the biblical story. I do agree with him with this view with the following minor observation:

      In the unlikely event that science would be able some day to empirically demonstrate that the theory of evolution is right, then I would opt for Dr. Jack Provonsha’s golden parachute:

      Instead of abandoning the Bible and Christianity, I would consider the possibility that the pre-Adamic animal life was the result of the activity of Satan following his expulsion from heaven. The suffering, pain and death of animals for millions of years would be the result—not of Adam’s sin—but the rebellion of Lucifer in heaven.

      Now regarding the story of creation recorded in the book of Genesis, I believe that it represents a reliable record of the creation of the human race. My view is that the information found in Genesis 1 & 2 was not the result of a dictation Moses received from heaven.

      The record does not make any reference to a vision. I conclude, therefore, that Moses most probably inherited said information from his ancestors going back all the way to Adam and Eve




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    • @Professor Kent: You said that Sean “has made crystal clear that he would go with the science and his reason on numerous occasions. Would you do the same?”

      If the scientifically confirmed body of Jesus Christ was found in a tomb near Jerusalem, would you continue to believe in the risen Christ?




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  2. Nic&#032Samojluk: There is no way for science to provide this kind of certainty. A single resurrection, would negate such a claim by science, and the Bible provides credible evidence that Jesuss Christ did come back to life, in addition to Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus.

    In the modern age of science, there have been billions upon billions of human deaths with zero documented resurrections after >24 hours. Birds and mammals that we breed to consume have a similar physiology, and none of trillions upon trillions have come back to life after >24 hours. You say science can’t provide a level of 99.999999999999% certainty. Okay, what percentage would you peg a human resurrection at? Go ahead: make me look bad.

    There is no difference between a supernatural resurrection and a supernatural creation in terms of what science can support. Science absolutely cannot falsify either event, in spite of your wildest imagination. You’ve accepted both on similar levels of evidence. If you are going to make the pretense, as Sean does, that your set of beliefs are “superior” because they are backed by “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” (i.e., science), you’ve deluded yourself as well.




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    • Science is pretty conclusive that human resurrection cannot be achieved by any known naturalistic means or human level intelligence. Science has not shown, however, that human resurrection cannot be achieved via suprahuman intelligence and creative power – such as God-like creative power. Quite the contrary. The best evidence in hand strongly favors the conclusion that such an event did in fact happen in Earth’s history – as recorded by the Bible. The Biblical account is therefore not on the same level as a just-so children’s story or moral fable. It has the weight of empirical evidence to back it up…




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    • @Kent: “You say science can’t provide a level of 99.999999999999% certainty.”

      That certainty was demolished by the resurrection of two men: Jesus and Lazarus!




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  3. Professor Kent,

    One more thing. I have no desire to belittle those who believe in theistic evolution. Belittling people is always contrary to the spirit of Christ. I reserve the right to politely disagree, and I do disagree with theistic evolution. But while I disagree with theistic evolution and even protest against it, I want to be kind to those who hold to this view.




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  4. Bob&#032Helm: Professor Kent,
    One more thing. I have no desire to belittle those who believe in theistic evolution. Belittling people is always contrary to the spirit of Christ. I reserve the right to politely disagree, and I do disagree with theistic evolution. But while I disagree with theistic evolution and even protest against it, I want to be kind to those who hold to this view.

    I admire your stance, Bob. Well stated.




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  5. Professor Kent,

    Why is the virgin birth of Jesus Christ so incredible in your eyes? Dolly the sheep and subsequent clones were born asexually. If scientists can achieve this feat today, why can’t the Lord of science do the same thing? And as I recall, the DNA that was used to clone Dolly came from another sheep’s ear. If that is the case, why is it so far-fetched to believe that God designed Eve from Adam’s rib? And as as for the dead rising, I am only aware of one scientific law that prevents it – the second law of thermodynamics, which requires movement from order to disorder, and death is clearly more disordered than life. However, the second law does not apply in an open system with directed energy being fed into that system to create order. Human beings can design clones today, but a clone of a dead person is a replica. It’s still not the same person. But what if we postulate a clone that has its brain wired identically to the brain of the person who died, so that all the memory comes back? Of course, human beings are not intelligent enough to pull that off, but suppose God is intelligent enough. Isn’t that what a bodily resuurection really is? If God is real, I don’t see why the resurrection of the dead is far-fetched at all. God’s miracles are merely unexplained events that can strengthen faith. They are not magic or capricious. They are possible for one simple reason – God’s intelligence is vastly greater than the intelligence of human beings!




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  6. George&#032Evans: I agree it is physically impossible to form a living breathing organism from dirt, IF there is no God in the vicinity. But how is it physically impossible if God is there?

    It isn’t. Problem is, you can’t accept this possibility based on “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and claim your beliefs are superior because they’re based on science and your reason. You absolutely cannot falsify the claim that God made it happen.




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      • @Sean: “Yes, you can. You can falsify the God-only hypothesis by showing that some other mechanism is also able to do the job.

        You can also effectively falsify this hypothesis by showing that the other associated evidences, such as the claim that Jesus tomb was empty, aren’t true…”

        This is a brilliant response! I am saving it in my computer memory for future use. Thanks, Sean, for the crystal clear manner in which you answered Kent’s objection.




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  7. Sean&#032Pitman: If there was no evidence supporting the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, why then should we put our faith in this story over any other fantastic story in any other religious text or morale fable? – blind faith? Fidestic religion? What good is that?

    There is evidence. Obviously. But where is the physical evidence? What do we have other than an eyewitness account? We have eyewitness accounts–hundreds–of encounters with Bigfoot and with aliens. If you insist Christ’s resurrection is supported by scientific evidence, I’d like to know what it is. You tell me why your intelligent, God given brain is able to discern truth from eyewitnesses better than Joe Blow scientist.




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    • Where is the nonphysical evidence of the details described in the Bible? – outside of the testimony that the Bible itself gives? – that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a Holy life, died, and was Resurrected? All these is dependent upon the witness of the Bible itself and the Bible’s established credibility.

      How then is the credibility of the Bible established? Through historical evidence, to include fulfilled prophecies, the willingness of all of the disciples to put their lives on the line for their story, and the fact that no one countered the testimony of the disciples regarding the empty tomb.

      I’d say that’s far far better evidence than any alien or Big Foot encounter story… at least for anyone who is actually looking for the Truth.

      Of course there are those who will reject this evidence – obviously. However, there were those in Jesus’ day who would reject the Truth even though they themselves saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. For such people, the weight of evidence isn’t the answer. They love their lies so much that they won’t change their minds regardless of the evidence presented – they actually want to be deceived. For such, there is no hope – nothing further God can do.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. Sean&#032Pitman: There’s no scientific reason to say that, given someone with enough knowledge and creative power, especially someone with evident access to Divine Power or God-like power, that a body could be raised from the dead. To the contrary. The weight of empirical evidence in hand suggests that it did actually happen.

    Wow! Science actually supports Christ’s death!

    With your reasoning, I’m sure would then agree there’s no scientific reason to say that, given someone with enough knowledge and creative power, especially someone with evident access to Divine Power or God-like power, that a body couldn’t experience a warm feeling when the gut upon reading the Book of Mormon. Right? In fact, millons of Mormons who have experienced the sensation attest to this reality. Indeed, “the weight of empirical evidence” supports this claim, too!




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  9. Sean&#032Pitman: Let’s be a bit more specific, shall we? Let’s say your horoscope said, “The stars are so aligned that today you will win the Califoria Lottery using the following sequence of numbers…” and you do in fact win with those numbers. Then, the next day your horoscope says, “Today your mother will visit from out of town. She will show up at 9:32 am.” – and she does. Then, the next day your horoscope says, “Obama will kill a fly on national television today” and he does. After a while, if such things keep happening and your horoscope keeps being proved right, time and again, in such a specific easily falsifiable manner, it would in fact build up a greater and greater degree of credibility – of predictive value. After such a string of fantastic predictions, you might even think twice about going outside the next day if your horoscope told you that, “If you go outside today, you’ll be hit by lightening and suffer sever brain damage.”

    Something similar could be said for a true prophet – if what he says, which is very specific, continues to come true, his/her claim to be a true prophet of God increases in predictive value. However, if his/her falsifiable claims, in the name of God, are in fact falsified, the predictive value of the “prophet hypothesis” declines. This is in fact a form of scientific reasoning.

    So, the reason why astrology isn’t considered to be a valid science is because it’s claims are too general to be effectively tested or because whenever specific claims are made, they are, as often as not, effectively falsified. That’s why. And, the same would be true for the Bible as well if its claims could be effectively falsified as well – it would have no rational credibility than astrology

    Again you are right about astrology but you must be consistent. If you reject astrology for lack of specificity I do not see where is your basis for accepting apocalyptic literature as specific and therefore scientific.

    Please show me where biblical prophecy has the specificity you are demanding of astrology. If one is not scientific the other must also be rejected as unscientific.

    Prophecy like miracles never exists in the natural world explicable by natural mechanism.

    Faith not science is for miracles and prophecy. Trying to explain the supernatural by natural science simply by changing the definition of science is a fools errand.




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    • @Pauluc: “Faith not science is for miracles and prophecy.”

      Fine, then stay away from non-scientific things like the Big Bang, Singularity, and the emergence of everything from nothing!




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    • If Biblical prophecies are in fact no more specific or falsifiable than your example of an astrology prediction, then it would be no more rational to accept Biblical prophecies as any more valid or useful than astrology.

      Fortunately, most Biblical prophecies are far far more specific and clear than you seem to comprehend. For example, the prophecies of Daniel regarding the future succession of kingdoms are so specific that biblical critics long argued that these prophecies had to have been written after the fact. The problem here, of course, is that only someone living during the time of Nebuchadnezzar (who was also considered to be a mythical figure by Biblical critics for a long time) could have written these accounts. Such information was subsequently lost to history until fairly recently. Daniel’s prophecies regarding the Messiah are equally specific. Etc…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: So if the 70 weeks is so specific why is there dispensational and Macabean alternative interpretations. Isn’t it a little circular to take the 457 decree of ezra 7 rather than the 445 decress of Nehemiah 1-2, the 519 decree of Ezra 6 or the 536 decree of Cyrus simply on the basis of the one that fits the conclusion?

        Is this how you would do science?

        These are faith based interpretations that may be logical but are not at all within the purview of science.




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        • So, you’re really trying to equate Biblical prophecy with astrology? Why then accept Biblical prophecy as valid and astrology as nonsense? Why have “faith” in one and not the other?

          I see you skipped over my argument for the succession of kingdoms to argue against the 70 weeks prophecy? No matter, the 70 weeks prophecy, though it requires a bit more research, is quite clear as well. Just because there are alternative interpretations, as there are for most if not all scientific theories, doesn’t mean that they all make sense or are equally valid.

          In any case, as you mention, there are four decrees in the Bible given to rebuild Jerusalem:

          (1) Ezra 1:1-14, 1st year of Cyrus, dated to 538 B.C.
          (2) Ezra 6:1-12, 2nd year of Darius dated to 520 B.C.
          (3) Ezra 7:1-27, 7th year of Artaxerxes dated to 457 B.C.
          (4) Neh 2:1-8, 20th year of Artaxerxes dated to 444 B.C.

          Because there are four different decrees concerning the exiles and Jerusalem, a bit of research is required to determine the correct starting date. Which one of these decrees is the fulfillment of Daniel 9:25?

          In short, there are really only two decrees – the decree of Cyrus to rebuild the temple and the first decree of Artaxerxes to rebuilt the entire city and government. The other two decrees are simply restatements of these original decrees that were not being fully carried out or which were being questioned.

          In any case, let’s consider each one of them and see which one is the most reasonable candidate:

          First, let’s consider the degree of Cyrus. According to Isaiah 44:28 and 45:13 Cyrus was (1) to rebuild the city, and (2) to set the exiles free to go to Jerusalem. Isaiah uses the verb “bana” (to build) employed also by Daniel, but not the verb “shûb” (restore). In its place we find the verb “shalach” (to send, let go free). This is somewhat different from what we have in Daniel and, more importantly, quite different from its presumed fulfillment recorded in Ezra 1:2-4 (a summary of Cyrus’ decree). In short, what is built under Cyrus’ decree is only the temple, not the city.

          Of course, some have argued that when Cyrus authorized the rebuilding of the temple he was in fact authorizing the rebuilding of the whole city. However, there is no evidence in Ezra and Nehemiah or anywhere else in the Bible that would suggest that the exiles understood Cyrus’ decree to be an authorization to rebuild the city. So, The decree of Cyrus recorded in Ezra 1:2-4 does not meet the requirements stipulated by Daniel’s prophecy because it allows only for the rebuilding of the temple and does not address the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem.

          The second decree is the one by Darius in 520 B.C. According to Ezra 5, Zerubbabel and Joshua, under the influence of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, reinitiated the project of rebuilding the temple several years after it was stopped. When Tatnai, governor of the province, saw the building activities, he questioned the legal basis for what they were doing and wrote a letter to Darius asking him to verify the information he had obtained from the Jews in Jerusalem. An investigation was made and the decree of Cyrus was found. Consequently, Darius issued another decree confirming the first one (Ezra 6:3-12). The decree of Darius is not significantly different from Cyrus’ edict. The only important difference is that the king ordered Tatnai not to interfere with the project of rebuilding the temple and to impale anyone who would oppose it. Therefore, Darius’ decree is effectively the same as that of Cyrus and, for the same reasons, does not meet the requirements stipulated by Daniel’s prophecy.

          The third decree is the one of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. recorded in Ezra 7:12-26. This decree is significantly different from the previous ones partially because by then the temple had been finished. The decree of Artaxerxes also included several important elements: (1) Granted permission to the exiles to return to Jerusalem, (2) funds were assigned for the support of the temple in Jerusalem, (3) temple and temple personnel were tax exempted, (4) Ezra was to investigate the condition of the people in Judah, possibly in order to bring their lives into agreement with the Mosaic law, and (5) it established a legal system based on the Torah for a the Jews in Judeah and throughout the Trans-Euphrates province. This last point included setting up magistrates and judges to enforce the law. Of particular importance is vs. 26: “Whoever does not obey the law of your God and the law of the king must surely be punished by death, banishment, confiscation of property, or imprisonment.”

          The Persian king made the Mosaic law “part of his own law” granting it imperial authority. The Jews could now use it freely to regulate their lives and in the administration of justice in Jerusalem. The king restored the authority of the Jews to govern themselves on the basis of the law of God. It is to this type of restoration that Daniel 9:25 was pointing in its prophetic announcement. The decree of Artaxerxes, recorded in Ezra 7, was comprehensive enough to permit the rebuilding of Jerusalem. In fact, the rebuilding of the city is implicit in the authorization to set up a judicial system at a central place based on the law of God. In addition, we also find clear evidence in Ezra and Nehemiah to the effect that Ezra was authorized to rebuild the city. The first line of evidence is found in Nehemiah 1. About 13 years after Ezra arrived at Jerusalem, Nehemiah is informed that those who returned to Palestine were “in great trouble and shame” and that “the walls of Jerusalem” were broken down and the gates destroyed by fire (1:3). The reaction of Nehemiah to this information (vs. 4) “is so strong that this report cannot refer to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar some 140 years previously.” He would have known long before 444 B.C. what the Babylonian army had done to Jerusalem in 586 B.C.. Nehemiah is referring to a recent event and indicates that the rebuilding of the city had been in progress but was stopped and much of the work done had been damaged and/or destroyed. This rebuilding project took place before 444 B.C. but was unfinished. The question is, when did the rebuilding of the wall begin? Was it during the time of Cyrus, Darius or Artaxerxes? The biblical text provides a clear answer. According to Ezra 4:7-23 it took place during the reign of Artaxerxes.

          The subsequent decree given by Artaxerxes to Nehemiah was simply a restatement of his original decree to do what he had already commanded should be done.

          https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/70weeks%26457BC.pdf

          So, in the words of Ellen White,

          In Ezra 6:14 the house of the Lord at Jerusalem is said to have been built, “according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.” The three kings did the one work; it was begun by Cyrus, carried forward by Darius, and completed by Artaxerxes. The scripture counts this collective action as one decree. That the later decrees were a continuation or completion of that of Cyrus, see Ezra 6:1-14. Taking B. C. 457 as the date of the commandment, every specification of the prophecy concerning the 70 weeks is fulfilled.

          This understanding is also supported by the witness of the Gospel authors in their account of the “wise men” from the east determining, from the Jewish prophecies, that the time of the Messiah was near.

          Beyond this, the fulfillment of the 70 weeks prophecy by the life and death of Christ, and the beginning of the Christian Church, is a dramatic example of the specificity of Biblical prophecy. It is very difficult to come up with any other rational alternative without turning one’s self into a pretzel in the process. The puzzle pieces fit together extremely well – which is absolutely amazing given the very strong evidence that Daniel was in fact written hundreds of years prior to the birth of Jesus. It is therefore not because of something like astrology that those like John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, and even Sir Isaac Newton connected the 70th week with the Messiah. It’s a very rational conclusion, empirically rational, given the evidence in hand…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          Thanks Sean

          You have articulated the orthodox protestant interpretation which I am happy to accept as a religious or theological conclusion. What you said is a long winded expansion of what I said originally. It is logical and rational given the evidence in hand but it has nothing to do with science. If you want to approach this scientifically you would have to indulge in some source, literary and historical criticism, something you would of course never do.

          Further you are fixated on expanding science to be no more than logic and empirical rationality and seem unable to comprehend that scientists consider science to be a formal method that had a defined target and method. To me this inability is totally incomprehensible.

          As you illustrate once again here you clearly are very clever and smart and manifest great ability to argue any position but you also have something of the savant with an apparent inability to even comprehend the possibility or cogency of any alternative.

          Your lecture to George about humility is staggeringly ironic.




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        • Again, statements regarding the nature of the empirical world cannot be shown to be “logical” or “rational” without the use of a form of scientific reasoning – without presenting a hypothesis that is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. That’s science my friend.

          What is staggering here is that you seem to reject the very methods of science as being scientific when, at the same time, you appeal to these very same arguments to support your conclusions regarding the artefactual origin of a polished granite cube. You believe the cube to be clearly artefactual, but you don’t believe that such a conclusion is anything more than “folklore” – certainly not based on a form of science or scientific reasoning. That truly blows my mind. It seems completely irrational to me.

          As far as critical analysis of the Bible, I’m all for it. Such is part of science and rational investigation. However, as far as I can tell, the critics of the Bible throughout history have only served to highlight the Bible’s credibility – time and again. As some have said, “The Bible is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.”

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  10. Sean. Now you have opened the door I have no choice but to respond to your question.

    “Again, you fail to address the concept that taxonomy is a science. Classification can be and has been demonstrably wrong. You could classify an object as a true artefact, but that classification can be tested and falsified via a demonstration that some raw force of nature is capable of doing the job. That is why taxonomy is a valid science. Look it up already.” – Sean Pitman

    1] You are of course correct. Taxonomy is real science because it correspond exactly to my definition of science not to yours.

    2] Tell me your personal and private classification of haematological malignancies. You are of course able to use whatever you want but don’t be surprised if you no longer get much work in response to your idiosyncratic schema of diagnostics.

    3] I will stick with the WHO classification because all accredited immunopathologist in my country have signed on and agree that this is what we use for the present. It is the current consensus based on expert agreement and a published standard.

    It is a taxonomy supported by the evidence from the published literature in haematology and pathology and the agreement of the community of experts and practitioners.

    4] Such is the formal science of taxonomy in any field. Without a published standard and support of the community and expert it can never exist.

    5] This is what all of science is; an agreed method and repository of knowledge. Without agreement on both it can never exist. Does this mean it is always right and will never change. Of course not it does however mean that to function there must be some agreement or orthodoxy against which novelty can then be compared.




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    • Sean. Now you have opened the door I have no choice but to respond to your question.

      “Again, you fail to address the concept that taxonomy is a science. Classification can be and has been demonstrably wrong. You could classify an object as a true artefact, but that classification can be tested and falsified via a demonstration that some raw force of nature is capable of doing the job. That is why taxonomy is a valid science. Look it up already.” – Sean Pitman

      1] You are of course correct. Taxonomy is real science because it correspond exactly to my definition of science not to yours.

      So, the classification of highly symmetrical polished granite cubes as true artefacts can be scientific? – contrary to your recent claims? Interesting…

      2] Tell me your personal and private classification of haematological malignancies. You are of course able to use whatever you want but don’t be surprised if you no longer get much work in response to your idiosyncratic schema of diagnostics.

      Classification of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube as a true artefact is neither personal or private. Such a cube would generally be classified as an artefact by scientists – for valid scientific reasons. This last point is key here. Such a classification of the granite cube isn’t based on philosophy. It is based on scientific methodology independent of philosophical positions.

      3] I will stick with the WHO classification because all accredited immunopathologist in my country have signed on and agree that this is what we use for the present. It is the current consensus based on expert agreement and a published standard.

      It is a taxonomy supported by the evidence from the published literature in haematology and pathology and the agreement of the community of experts and practitioners.

      The same is true for the granite cube. But, again, you have to ask yourself why the granite cube was classified as it is? Upon what argument is it based? Does the argument make sense?

      Published taxonomic classifications don’t always make sense. For example, the classification of a certain form of Hodgkin lymphoma didn’t make sense to me (HL-like PTLD). It seems to me to have features much more like a large B-cell lymphoma. So, I published my argument and the next WHO book that came out changed the classification of this form of Hodgkin lymphoma according to my argument.

      Now, what would have happened if I hadn’t published my argument? Would that have changed the truth of it or the scientifically-relevant basis for it? No. It would still have been true and anyone with background with lymphomas would have understood the argument – even if it hadn’t yet been published. And, it would have been wise for me to start suggesting treatments accordingly – even before the publication came out.

      Again, science can be done, quite well, on the individual level.

      4] Such is the formal science of taxonomy in any field. Without a published standard and support of the community and expert it can never exist.

      Not true. Even without publication the fact that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube is artefactual can be determined on an individual basis – by anyone with at least some experience working with the material of granite.

      5] This is what all of science is; an agreed method and repository of knowledge. Without agreement on both it can never exist. Does this mean it is always right and will never change. Of course not. It does however mean that to function there must be some agreement or orthodoxy against which novelty can then be compared.

      Not true. If someone came to you and told you that the consensus of some group of scientists was that a highly symmetrical granite cube, if found on Mars, wouldn’t be classified as a likely artefact, would that really change your own personal opinion if such a cube were actually found on Mars? If so, you’re incapable of thinking, scientifically, for yourself. You’re too heavily influenced by the status-quo.

      Science is about methodologies that can be effectively used on the individual level – regardless of what anyone else thinks or does. This is why science is the great leveler – like the Colt 44. It doesn’t matter how famous some scientist or group of scientists may be. They can still be wrong and little ol’ me can know it all by myself by using scientific methodologies to figure out why they’re wrong…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: Thanks Sean. So at least we agree that taxonomy as science exists only when we accept a published standard and any critique of that standard must be within the forum of science the published literature of science.




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        • @Bruno:
          unfortunately I would be less certain than you seem to be.

          On one hand he is board certified and trained in an orthodox medical institution and in the army where I would expect he was properly indoctrinated into evidence based medicine which is the medical equivalent of the methodological naturalism of science.

          But from what he has expressed on this site I would be somewhat wary of his iconoclastic stance and clear antagonism to any expertise. This could mean that he was unable to work within a team or accept that anyone else could be right or have views or any value. In medicine we usually consider such a maverick a “cowboy” and I for certain would be reluctant to use a “cowboy” within my team team. I would have to be guided by those who had experience and seek recommendation from those with medical knowledge.

          Essentially I would seek peer review just as I do in science.

          I would also be some reservations about the impact of fundamentalist thinking on delivery of medical care. Would he perform an abortion or would he treat a patient with AIDS acquired through MSM? My impression is that he does compartmentalize his professional activity and his fundamentalist religious views but his militant actions against LSU does give me pause and raises concern.




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        • It isn’t that I don’t value the opinions of others, especially their professional opinions. However, if these opinions make no sense to me after I’ve studied the concept(s) in some detail, I’m not going to turn off my own brain just because some “expert” said this or that… and neither should you or anyone else for that matter.




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  11. “Such is false humility in an effort to appear intellectual, paternalistic, or above the lower-class superstitions of the ignorant masses.”

    Fraid not pard. Such humility is a recognition that one doesn’t know. That’s all right you know, not to know, but to keep searching anyways.




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    • It’s fine to say that you don’t know. Certainly there are many honest agnostics who are earnestly searching. However, it’s quite another thing to suggest that you know, or are pretty certain, that no one else can know. That’s when one starts moving beyond an honest humble search and steps into the realm of deliberate skepticism – which is no longer a form of true humility or an unbiased search.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  12. Sean you say

    “quoting pauluc; “It is a taxonomy supported by the evidence from the published literature in haematology and pathology and the agreement of the community of experts and practitioners.”

    The same is true for the granite cube. But, again, you have to ask yourself why the granite cube was classified as it is? Upon what argument is it based? Does the argument make sense? ”

    To test your statement I have just done a search on pubmed for granite cube and for WHO classification.

    “granite cube” = 0
    “WHO classification AND haematology” = 698

    This does not at all support your contention that as for WHO classification of haematological malignancy so for granite cubes.

    Classifications of granite cubes is not anything to do with formal science. It is no more than folklore and common wisdom.




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    • Classifications of granite cubes is not anything to do with formal science. It is no more than folklore and common wisdom.

      Now you’re back to calling the work of someone working alone, like Leonardo da Vinci, “folklore” or “common wisdom” rather than valid research and real science.

      Beyond this, you know as well as I do that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube would be classified as a true artefact by all or nearly all mainstream scientists and non-scientists alike wherever it happened to be found – for scientific reasons that are generally applicable and which have been detailed in literature (especially SETI literature). It’s not just “folklore” – despite its common use in movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and the like.

      Consider also that there is no true “wisdom” regarding the empirical world that isn’t based on scientific reasoning – regardless of if it has or hasn’t been published in some specific journal. It’s the scientific argument itself that is important and can stand on its own – regardless of the opinion of anyone else or the willingness or unwillingness of anyone to publish the argument.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  13. Thank you Dr Chadwick!!! My faith is bolstered! Specifically, my faith that God still has His “7,000” who have not bowed the knee to the Baalim of scientific correctness. The problem with the professors who we hear about on EducateTruth.com, who promote the idea that evolution is the best explanation of origins we have available…all the while feining faith in the God of the Bible…is that this sets students up for life to make the silly mistake that Gilbert did, of abandoning the Biblical certainty of origins for the wildly uncertain speculations, and constantly readjusting theories of evolutionary beginnings. I don’t wish anyone ill, but I do wish all those who are thus double-minded would act like ladies and gentlemen of honor, and withdraw from our tertiary institutions to do their teaching paid by secular donors rather than dishonestly accepting the tithe of the Lord while doing dishonor to His reputation.




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  14. “True humility, however, is found in kneeling before God and publicly acknowledging Him as one’s Creator and Savior and thanking Him for showing us at least a small glimpse of His Glory through the works of His hands and the inspiration of Scripture.”

    Or true anthropomorphic Paternalism.




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  15. “It’s fine to say that you don’t know. Certainly there are many honest agnostics who are earnestly searching. However, it’s quite another thing to suggest that no one can know. That’s when one starts moving beyond an honest humble search into the realm of deliberate skepticism which is no longer a form of true humility.” – Sean Pitman

    I agree with you 100% on that one pahdner. It would be absolute arrogance to suggest someone else has not found God from their perspective. I have many religious types that feel they have found God and it would be immoral for me to dissuade them otherwise.

    The fact that their experiences or beliefs differ does not disprove God. It does however suggest the subjectivity of the experience. Hard to make an empirical meal for all out of those ingredients. I guess the problem I have is when one of my friends – Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Adventist, Muslim, etc. – thinks he or she is more right than the others. How does one decide? Well pahd, your formula is the weight of the evidence, whereas our good trail buddies Pauluc and Jeffrey think that barometer falls short of the mark. You all seem like decent cowpokes but your spurs all seem to jangle to a different ontological beat. Now humility it my books is knowing I don’t know and suggesting you righteous fellers may not have the answer. If you do you sure are having a heck of a time gettin’ on the same horse!




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    • Just because there is disagreement among various individuals doesn’t mean that they’re all wrong or that there is no objective evidence or rational method to determine which is most likely true among the competing options presented. As Thomas Kuhn famously pointed out, science itself has unavoidable subjective elements to it. That is why scientists who are presented with the very same information do not always come to the very same conclusions as to what it means or how it should be interpreted. That is why it is left to you, as an individual, to make up your own mind regardless of what anyone else may think.

      So, for you to argue that you know that no one has rational or otherwise reasonable empirical evidence for the existence of a personal God, much less the Christian God, suggests that you know better – that you actually have an opinion on the topic which you think is clearly correct while those who disagree with you are almost certainly mistaken. Such is not an argument from the position of “humbleness” or even “ignorance”. You’ve actually taken on a definitive position at this point – a position where you assume that you know the truth better than anyone who believes in God knows it. You’re arguing that, rationally, no one can know if a God of any kind does or doesn’t exist. You seem to be an agnostic apologist who thinks and argues that you’re obviously right while all those who believe in God are most likely wrong – hardly a position of enhanced humbleness or timidity regarding your own views of reality…

      Let’s just admit it up front then… We both think we know something the other hasn’t yet recognized. I think that’s quite clear. So, let’s drop all this paternalistic language and innuendo, which is clearly pejorative in a discussion like this, and try to deal with the actual evidence and arguments specific to it – i.e., specifically why you think the evidence in hand does not clearly require the need for a God or god-like being to explain (vs. why I think it does).

      To quote Charles Barkley, “I might be wrong, but I doubt it…” 😉

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  16. “It’s all dogma if you turn off your brain – even the notion of eventual “oblivion” for everything and everyone, or that there really is no personal God, quickly turns into dogma that some find “liberating” for some strange reason. Keep searching.” – Sean Pitman

    Couldn’t agree with you more son. Keep seachin’ and take a peek beyond that creationist corral of yours from time to time. . Don’t be scared of the majesty and mystery of the unknown. As much as you think you know the answers that give your life purpose face up to the fact you could be absolutely wrong. There is much grace in that humility. All the cosmic best …..




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    • Likewise, consider that you might be wrong – seriously wrong.

      It’s not true humility that causes one to suggest that all should consider rejecting the evidence that God has given us to know and understand something of His signature in nature and in the Bible. Such is false humility in an effort to appear intellectual, paternalistic, or above the lower-class superstitions of the ignorant masses. True humility, however, is found in kneeling before God and publicly acknowledging Him as one’s Creator and Savior and thanking Him for showing us at least a small glimpse of His Glory through the works of His hands and the inspiration of Scripture.

      If you’re only speaking for yourself that’s one thing. There are honest agnostics and you could be one of them. However, if you honestly don’t know, how then are you so confident in your position that you see yourself clear to suggest to me that I should be like you? How do you know that you know enough to be as confident in your agnosticism as you seem to be?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  17. What do you see in the cosmos ( off of earth) that is analogous to a highly polished granite cube? Perhaps you need to get a bit real here pard if you want to talk about the intelligent design of the universe. Last time I looked it didn’t seem to be made if highly polished granite cubes.




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    • Please do answer my question about the granite cube before we continue on to discuss other potential artefacts within the universe. Please tell me if you would classify a highly symmetrical polished granite cube as a clear artefact of at least human level intelligence and creativity? – yes, or no? – and why?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  18. Well pard,

    Let me throw a horseshoe right back to you: does a violent cosmos with exploding and dying stars and black holes indicate intelligent design? What happens to humanity when our sun burns out? Would any god like creature, unless it was filled with malice or indifference design such a place?

    Now I understand theodicy apologetics but they don’t strike as all that intelligently designed. You show me the evidence that the world was once a perfect place and I reckon I’d reconsider.

    You see a hypothetical granite cube doesn’t mean a correlative hill of beans to me if you can’t explain the over all intelligent design of the universe that seems quite oblivious to sentient life. Hope that ain’t too pejorative for ya all 🙂




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    • Now you’re getting into the motives of the proposed designer(s) of various artefacts – or designs that don’t reach your personal idea of perfection. Such arguments are irrelevant to the rational/scientific detection of true artefacts.

      First things first my friend. Before we start talking about possible motives for the designer, we first we have to establish the rational basis by which one detects true artefacts. I suggest to you that it doesn’t matter what the motives of the designer might have been when it comes to detecting that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube was deliberately and intelligently designed. The works of an evil designer can still be detected as requiring deliberate intelligence. The detection of design, of a true artefact, is therefore independent of the motive of the designer.

      Do you agree or disagree? Would you recognize such a granite cube as a true artefact of deliberate intelligence – even if it were found on an alien planet all by itself (i.e., without any other information about the nature, character, or motives of the designer)? Yes, or no? – and why?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  19. Would you agree that it would take a god or god like entity to design the universe?

    If so, would you agree that we can deduce the nature of the designer from the design? By looking at the evidence ofmthe design.?

    Would you agree that Science can be used to investigate the cause and effect nature of the origins of the universe.?




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  20. ” i.e., specifically why you think the evidence in hand does not clearly require the need for a God or god-like being to explain (vs. why I think it does).” – Sean Pitman

    Because God is the constantly evolving anthropomorphic abstraction for what we do not know. The evidence at hand requires investigation of cause and effect as far as Science will take us. Did God make us in His image or are we making Him in ours?




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    • Let’s start with the basics. I’ll ask you the same question I asked Pauluc: Does the origin of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube require intelligent design, on at least the human level of intelligence and creativity, to explain? Or, is it likely that the more we learn the more we’ll understand how the origin of such a cube doesn’t actually require an intelligent designer? Is this concept just an “anthropomorphic abstraction”? In other words, is it possible for scientific methodologies and forms of reasoning to detect intelligent activity behind various artefacts, on at least the human level, regardless of where these artefacts might be found in the universe?

      Remember, science (and rational thought in general) isn’t based on what might be known in the future, but upon what little is known right now.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  21. Sean&#032Pitman: Remember, science (and rational thought in general) isn’t based on what might be known in the future, but upon what little is known right now.

    You are absolutely right. But how do you know what is known right now?

    Science as a process has defined a repository of scientific knowledge that is open scrutable and freely accessible. The peer reviewed literature.

    Otherwise we are in the position that I can claim that I modelling myself after your paradigm of Da Vinci have a personal repository of knowledge that informs me and shows that you are totally wrong but I do not wish to let you know what that data is.

    On the other hand I might accept as you seem to do that science is simply the knowledge that is in the world as a result of logical thought by individuals. Nowdays that would be any information on the internet which resulted from someone asking a question to address an hypothesis.

    You and I know that most of what is on the internet is simply common wisdom and prejudice even if apparently following scientific processes of gaining knowledge.

    Before you can make any statement of what little is known you must establish what your criteria for knowledge “science” is.

    Science as accepted by most scientists has done so, you have not and the result is you have some woolly notion that “science” can be the basis of religion and faith.

    You have not distinguished between the EG White use of science in its classical sense as simply knowledge whether coming from experience faith or revelation and Science as a modern enterprise based on a method including hypothesis generation experiment and communication of that information by the accepted method of peer reviewed publication.




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  22. Sean

    Now that you seem to have rejected and frustrated my perfectly rational use of your defined method of science

    “.. presenting a hypothesis that is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. That’s science my friend”

    to validate astrology with my falsifiable hypothesis about predictions of travel I really am not sure we can ever agree on definitions and practice of science.

    Like Leonard seems to have done I will take my leave and wish you the best for your personal activity and faith journey. I will continue to pray for you and seek that God frustrates your intentions toward LSU like he used the curse of Balaam against Gods people.




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    • 1 Kings 18:17-18

      Remember, you’re the one claiming that Biblical prophecy is no more rationally tenable than astrology… despite what seems to me to be the considerable weight of evidence demonstrating the amazingly specific, detailed and reliable nature of the Biblical prophecies presented (unlike your astrology comparison).




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  23. So Bob, would YOU reject Scripture if one of its most fundamental claims was shown by science to be patently false? Absolutely, physically impossible? I mean with greater than 99.99999999999999999999% certainty.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Like Jesus wasn’t really physically raised from the dead? Somehow it was demonstrated that his body was still here with us? where His body was stolen and secreted away like the priests originally claimed?

      I think that would be a problem for most Christians – as it would have been for his disciples as well. Faith, in the face of such evidence would certainly be “in vain”. – 1 Corinthians 15:14

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • Yes, I would. Just as I reject the claims of the Book of Mormon because the weight of evidence does not support it. If we refuse to evaluate claims on the basis of evidence, we are liable to follow any charlatan that comes along- like Jim Jones or David Koresh.@Professor Kent:




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    • There is no way for science to provide this kind of certainty. A single resurrection, would negate such a claim by science, and the Bible provides credible evidence that Jesuss Christ did come back to life, in addition to Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus.




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  24. Dr. Chadwick, thank you for your fine article. I also read Dr. Gary Gilbert’s “Spectrum” article in 1992, and as I remember, it was one of the first overtly pro-Darwin articles to appear in “Spectrum.” But rather than give up on the Biblical creation account, I wrote to the Geoscience Research Institute to get their response and waited for further research on pseudogenes. Once again, time and research have shown that “God’s truth abideth still,” as Martin Luther so aptly wrote in the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.”




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  25. When we based our beliefs on science and human reason rather than a personal relationship in Jesus, we need to be prepared for the knowledge base to change. That is its nature. Much of what we think we know today will likely change in time, but God never changes.

    If you think you need the fossils and polonium halos and pseudo pseudogenes to believe God is real, then you simply don’t know Jesus.




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    • Certainly the Holy Spirit guides the minds of those earnestly searching for Truth. However, the Holy Spirit does not replace the human mind or negate the need for human effort and investigation to search out truth from error based on the weight of evidence that God has provided – evidence calculated to appeal to the intelligent, candid, rational mind. Otherwise, what would be the point of giving us powers to reason and think in a rationally manner? – from cause to effect or from effect to likely cause?

      God might never change, but our understanding of Him most certainly can change and grow and improve over time with additional experiences and additional evidences. For example, did the disciples of Jesus have more faith in Him and His identity before or after the empirical evidence of Resurrection was given to them?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: “If you think you need the fossils and polonium halos and pseudo pseudogenes to believe God is real, then you simply don’t know Jesus.”

      True. But if you know Jesus and you know that God is real, then obviously you do not do science pursuant to the assumption that God has never intervened in the material world. You do creation science.




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      • The interesting thing is that polonium halos, pseudogenes, and fossils are able to lead people to Jesus who do not already know him. There are many examples of people being lead to God through the study of nature and the discovery of the Divine signature in various features of nature…




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        • Of course! The Psalmist dstated that the heavens declare the glory of God, and we find in the last book of the Bible a call toworship the One who made heavens,the earth, and the fountaimns of water.

          The theory of evolution is a clever maneuver designed in hell to lead humans to give credit for what exists to the god of Natural Selection.




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      • @David Read:

        Science has no opinion on whether God or the supernatural have never intervened they assume that he does not routinely intervene and that we can assume natural process as explanation. Only in that way can you at all invoke predictable causation and effectively manipulate the natural world. That is how evidence based medicine works and how evidence based science works. Whether you like the philosophy or not it is the de jure standard in science.




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        • @pauluc:

          “Science has no opinion on whether God or the supernatural have never intervened they assume that he does not routinely intervene and that we can assume natural process as explanation.”

          I would venture a guess that a large percentage of evolutionary scientist despise the idea of God and the bible. You are certainly a kind, trusting soul, Paul.




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        • @pauluc: “Science has no opinion on whether God or the supernatural have never intervened . . .”

          Not true, Paul. When science insists on abiogenesis, even though there is no empirical or logical reason to believe that it could happen, science is expressing an extremely strong– in fact absolute–philosophical opinion that if God exists, to exist is all God has ever done. If Science were open to the existence of a Creator God who had ever created or otherwise intervened in nature, science could easily say, “God created the first life forms, then evolution took over.”

          But, of course, the entire purpose of evolutionary science is to be able to deny the existence of a Creator God without looking foolish. It has not been entirely successful. Because when people claim that life can accidentally self-assemble, or that the genetic code somehow wrote itself, they look foolish.




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        • Again, science does not rule out intelligent manipulation as a cause for various phenomena in nature. Entire scientific disciplines are based on the ability to detect deliberate intelligent activity through the study of the artifacts that such activity leaves behind – like forensic science and anthropology for example, and even SETI science.

          Clearly then, there is absolutely no inherent reason why God could not act in a similar detectable manner in our world – where we could in fact recognize His signature, or at least a signature of some form of intelligent design and manipulation, in various features of the natural world.

          To suggest otherwise is not a scientific position; it’s a philosophical or even religious position.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  26. Bob&#032Helm: Once again, time and research have shown that “God’s truth abideth still,” as Martin Luther so aptly wrote in the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.”

    Ummm…where did “God’s truth” tell us anything about pseudogenes? Showing that one interpretation regarding evolution has been wrong offers no support whatsoever for creationism. The evolutionists will actually welcome the new knowledge and incorporate it into their theory with as much enthusiasm as creationists deride the misunderstading.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      “The evolutionists will actually welcome the new knowledge and incorporate it into their theory with as much enthusiasm as creationists deride the misunderstading.”–Professor Kent

      If you knew better you would be ashamed of a scientific hypothesis that has had to undergo so many modifications to fit data that was not predicted. If evolution was a physics hypothesis it would have been dropped long ago. The value of a scientific theory is predictability. Junk DNA was a prediction of the theory. It has failed, yet again. But you’re correct. The believers will pick up the pieces, tape them together with duct tape, and continue to bow to their idol.

      The sane ones are the creationists who continue to deride this failed evolutionary contraption.




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    • @Professor Kent: I think the revealed truth that Bob Helm was referring to is that apes and humans do not share a common ancestor, they share a common designer. The notion that the “pseudogene” was a commonly inherited genetic mistake was supposed to be evidence of common ancestry, but it was not a mistake. It has a function, and hence its appearance in both humans and apes is not evidence for common ancestry. God’s truth abideth still, to quote Martin Luther and Bob Helm.




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  27. It seems apparent that even the concept of “fossil” DNA or “junk” genes will soon become fossilized . . . a dead remnant of neo-Darwinism, just as did the concept of phylogeny recapitulating ontogeny and the extreme dependence upon so-called “vestigial” structures for support of Darwinian evolution. Once upon a time it was believed that there were scores, if not hundreds, of vestigial structures in adult humans. Almost all of them have been recanted. Just because we are not yet aware of the function of a piece of genetic code or an organ in the body doesn’t guarantee that one doesn’t exist. This is a fairly recent area of study, and only additional time and research can provide the hard statistical evidence upon which one can base a reasonably sound conclusion.




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  28. Sean&#032Pitman:
    Functional pseudogenes has long been a creationist prediction… not a prediction of neo-Darwinism.

    So what. If pseudogenes aren’t pseudo, all it means is that DNA conveys more information than previously believed. The evolutionist says, “ah, evolution has honed more of the genome than we previously believed.” This is hardly a magic bullet. Celebrate all you want, but as you well know, it offers absolutely zero evidence that the Genesis account is true.




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    • @Professor Kent: You mean “ah, random mutations have destroyed or inactivated less of the genome than we previously believed.”

      It’s not a “magic bullet” because there are no magic bullets that will invalidate either creationism or Darwinism, because they’re both deeply ensconced in the realm of religion, rather than observable, replicatable day-to-day science.




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  29. Beautiful article, Dr. Chadwick. Mammalian genes are looking more like different kinds of Lego’s. While all that “junk” is the instructions showing how to put them together to make the different animals.




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    • I thought I said just the opposite. Science cannot be done without an interpretation of the evidence. However, without any evidence and rational argument, there is no science.

      The same is true of faith. Faith requires a personal interpretation of the evidence. However, without even an attempt at a rational argument based on evidence, a “reason for faith” (1 Peter 3:15), there is no valid Biblical-style faith. The argument that no such rational evidence-based argument is needed, is a fideistic position that is, by definition, a rejection of rationality.

      Instead, we are asked to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us – a reason with general appeal. What reason would you give for your faith in the Divine origin and credibility of the Bible? For your faith in the literal creation week or the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection of Jesus? If you appeal to prophecies or the martyrdom of the apostles or any other such “reason” are you not basing faith on rational arguments? If not, if you could get to a point where you say, “None of it ultimately matters. I have faith regardless of any rational reason for it.” that’s a problem. That’s a fideistic position that has no rational basis or appeal.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  30. “Not when the historical evidence shows that all of the disciples of Jesus put their lives on the line for the story they told. Some vague warm fuzzy feeling isn’t going to do that when it comes to a story that someone knows isn’t true…”

    Well pahdner Sean,

    That must mean that all those jihadists that blow themelves up because they know they are going to see their God are right as well. Are you saying matrydom is proof of the witnessing of divinity?. If so, my empirically minded friend, it seems there may be a lot of evidence for polytheism.

    In my very long life i’ve heard, seen and read about a lot of fellers, and a few gals, sayiing they are in touch with God or are appointed ones. What kind of empirical test would you suggest to seperate the wheat from the chaff?. I’m afraid if is based on eye witness accounts of fellers with a vested interest in the outcome, albeit martyrdom, you may have some genuine competition as to who wears divine robes.




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    • @George: “What kind of empirical test would you suggest to separate the wheat from the chaff?.”

      Since you already believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus, you have no need to perform any empirical tests!

      Now, for those who do not share this belief in a live Jesus Christ, all you need to offer this person is the evidence from both history and the record of those witnesses who saw him following his resurrection.

      Said unbeliever will have to decide on the basis of the historical evidence. This is what historians do when dealing with historical events.

      Weighing the historical evidence is totally different from a blind faith based on someone’s claim.

      True faith is based on evidence. Those who rejected Jesus and crucified him did in spite of the evidence provided to them by Jesus Christ.

      When Jesus began his ministry, he did not say: “I am the Messiah. You have to believe what I say because I God.”

      He rather demonstrated his power over nature and over death. Those who accepted him acted on the basis of verifiable evidence.




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    • Lots of people die for all kinds of reasons. However, not very many die for a story that they themselves know for sure isn’t true – especially when they’re a bunch of normal chicken-hearted guys to begin with. The martyrdom of the disciples testifies to the fact that they really did believe what they were saying about Jesus.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. In regard to the interpretation of Bible prophecies and scripture in general, there is something called exegesis, which is intended to produce the objective meaning of the text. Of course, some pericopes of scripture are difficult to exegete, and the process of exegesis is not always 100% accurate. But in the case of Daniel 9, you have a prophecy that points to the time for the Messiah’s appearance and death, and then goes on to predict the abomination of desolation and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The fact that these events really did occur at the specified time and in the order that was predicted strongly affirms the Messianic interpretation of Daniel 9 as valid exegesis. To think that these events fell into place chronologically by chance does not seem possible. The prophecy is simply too specific for a chance fulfillment. It does not have a wax nose! So I have to conclude that while there is no absolute proof for the Christian Faith (as in mathematical proof), there is strong evidence to back up Jesus’ claims. Sir Isaac Newton saw this plainly when he called Daniel 9 the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Again – I am glad to acknowledge someone who holds to a fideistic position as a brother in Christ, but this position has more in common with the Enlightenment and Barthian Neo-Orthodoxy (which speaks of faith as a blind leap in the dark) than with true New Testament evangelical faith.




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    • @Bob: “But in the case of Daniel 9, you have a prophecy that points to the time for the Messiah’s appearance and death, and then goes on to predict the abomination of desolation and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

      The fact that these events really did occur at the specified time and in the order that was predicted strongly affirms the Messianic interpretation of Daniel 9 as valid exegesis. To think that these events fell into place chronologically by chance does not seem possible. The prophecy is simply too specific for a chance fulfillment. It does not have a wax nose!”

      Thanks for reminding us about this incredibly accurate prediction. This could have been falsified if the events had not take place as predicted.

      Predictive prophecy id indeed the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Christians have a big advantage over doubters. The Bible talks with authority about the past, the present, and the future.

      There is much fanfare about the predictive power of the theory of evolution. This power is a pigmy when compared with what the Bible has to offer.




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    • @Bob Helm:
      You will obviously have a better understanding than me but I thought that the Barthian neo-orthodoxy and fundamentalism were really both derivative of the enlightenment. My understanding was that higher criticism which was the enlightenment approach to scriptures led to a reaction with an emphasis on the fundamentals of Christian faith, a high view of scripture and a characterization of higher criticism as illegitate approach since scripture was beyond “scientific” investigation. In contrast neo-orthodoxy responded to the enlightenment by recognizing the legitimacy and findings of higher criticism but maintaining that Christian faith and the revelation of God does not come through scientific understanding or investigation but through a direct revelation from God or as you characterize it a leap of Faith.

      Some in Adventism (including for example George Reid ) may not think we fit comfortably with fundamentalism particularly the foundational belief concerning scripture

      The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

      That is how Creation Ministries International phrase it. I do think that summarizes our belief as historical Adventists and as it is enshrined in our fundamental beliefs on inspiration of scripture. It is from that position that we must address questions on origins as Sean has done so well.




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  32. Sean&#032Pitman: It has a great deal of empirical evidence to back it up – evidence which has general appeal and which is very difficult to honestly interpret any other way.

    So now you’re calling into question the honesty of those who interpret the evidence differently than you do. Only yo and Adventists who think like you are honest.

    So if the evidence was as straightforward as you insist, and interpretation is not what matters, why do so many Christians come to very different conclusions regarding the Bible? We would all agree on the “weight” of the evidence if we all interpreted it the same. Obviously.




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    • Many Christians are cultural Christians who were born into the faith and who haven’t really analyzed the basis for their faith the point of being willing to put their lives on the line for it. Many Christians haven’t studied Biblical prophecies in detail. That is why Biblical prophecies still favor very prominently in Adventist apologetics and evangelistic campaigns – because of the general rational appeal to the evident interpretations of these prophecies and how they are clearly fulfilled by historical events.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  33. “Is it possible for God to make a loaf of bread that looks exactly like the kind my wife makes? Sure. So, it is possible that a God could design on a human or human-like level of design where no one could tell the difference except for the fact that both of the loaves of bread (God-made vs. human-made) were clearly the result of intelligent design… and not the result of some “raw” force of mindless nature.

    What then is the difference between our highly symmetrical polished granite cubes or a loaf of bread vs. considering the structure of our universe or of a living thing?”

    Pard, this gets to the gist of it, the nub of it, the sine qua nom! I skipped over this earlier but it hit me like a charging bull when I reflected on it again.

    Here is the problem with your philosophical non scientific approach to ID. It presumes or postulates that the type of God that could make such a human loaf of bread exists. Have you seen God make a loaf of bread or granite cube? No, because our current empirical knowledge only demonstrates that humans can do so. The type of God you are talking about is no different than the ole pasta man or fairies. Can you see your circular reasoning here: Can God make a loaf of bread. Sure, why not? Well if we find that celestiial loaf not made by man that is proof of God because we know he can make it!

    There is a huge difference between the loaf of bread, polished granite cubes and raw Nature. Empirically, on what evidence is available RIGHT NOW, these aftefacts are only made by Man, not by a hypothetical God or aliens. As you earlier opined ” Science isn’t based on what might be discoverd in the future” …..




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    • “Don’t you need to have some set of criteria as to what you’re looking for and why before you set off to look for artefacts of intelligent design? What might that be?” – Sean Pitman

      Yes, and I’ve already stated it: those things, phenomena that cannot be produced by the cause and effect mechanisms of Nature. On that criteria I don’t observe anything extra terrestial ( except satellites, space stations, man made debris) that is remotely akin to your hypothetical granite cubes. You say you do but have not specifically laid out what they are. Please do so and we can compare.

      So, you’ve changed your mind about the granite cube? You now believe that such a cube would be good evidence of non-human intelligent design if found on an alien planet? I only ask because, just a short while ago, you seemed to argue that such a discovery would not be good evidence of non-human intelligent design.

      “Is it possible for God to make a loaf of bread that looks exactly like the kind my wife makes? Sure. So, it is possible that a God could design on a human or human-like level of design where no one could tell the difference except for the fact that both of the loaves of bread (God-made vs. human-made) were clearly the result of intelligent design… and not the result of some “raw” force of mindless nature.

      What then is the difference between our highly symmetrical polished granite cubes or a loaf of bread vs. considering the structure of our universe or of a living thing?” – Sean Pitman

      Pard, this gets to the gist of it, the nub of it, the sine qua nom! I skipped over this earlier but it hit me like a charging bull when I reflected on it again.

      Here is the problem with your philosophical non scientific approach to ID. It presumes or postulates that the type of God that could make such a human loaf of bread exists. Have you seen God make a loaf of bread or granite cube? No, because our current empirical knowledge only demonstrates that humans can do so. The type of God you are talking about is no different than the ole pasta man or fairies. Can you see your circular reasoning here: Can God make a loaf of bread. Sure, why not? Well if we find that celestiial loaf not made by man that is proof of God because we know he can make it!

      I agree. If you’ll read what I wrote once more, I specifically said that the existence of a loaf of bread or a highly symmetrical polished granite cube on an alien planet (sitting there all by itself) would not be evidence of supernatural intelligence or design (even though God could obviously have produced such things). It would be evidence, however, of at least human level intelligence and creative power since no known non-intelligent raw force or forces of nature could do the job.

      There is a huge difference between the loaf of bread, polished granite cubes and raw Nature.

      Oh really? How so? What’s so different about the precision required to produce a universe that is capable of supporting complex living things vs. the precision required to produce a highly symmetrical polished granite cube or a loaf of bread? – except in degree?

      Empirically, on what evidence is available RIGHT NOW, these aftefacts are only made by Man, not by a hypothetical God or aliens. As you earlier opined “Science isn’t based on what might be discoverd in the future” …..

      The evidence is that man wasn’t there when these things were made: things such as the most simple of living things or even various molecular machines that require a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to produce a given qualitatively unique function. Such things may not require supernatural creative power. However, at minimum, they would require intelligence on at least the human level of intelligence, creative power, and modern technology (or beyond) to achieve. No known non-intelligent raw force of nature is capable coming remotely close to doing the job. The most simple living thing is far more complex and requires far higher minimum degrees of precision than the most complex supercomputer or space craft that we humans have yet devised.

      If you want to talk about the minimum required precision of the universe, again, man wasn’t there when our universe was made. Such precision is beyond the known limits of what mindless nature can achieve. There is no rational basis for the conclusion that any mindless mechanism produced the fantastic degrees of fine tuning necessary for us to exist. While such an argument doesn’t necessarily require supernatural intelligence, it does require a level of intelligence and creative power so great and so fantastic that we, from our very limited and finite perspective, could not distinguish such power and intelligence from what anyone would define as a God or God-like power and intelligence. Beyond this, consider that the most simple living thing on this planet requires far more precision than the known precision necessary to produce our universe (i.e., far more precise than 1 in 1e500).

      Now, if you want to argue, as you’ve already done, that just because we don’t know how nature did it without the use of intelligence on such massive levels, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Well, that’s a fine philosophical position, but it isn’t a scientific position. By this same argument, one could say that highly symmetrical polished granite cubes, like the one’s I’ve pictured for you, or the radio signals SETI scientists are looking for, even if found on some alien planet, wouldn’t necessarily suggest an alien intelligence since some as yet unknown “raw” force of nature could have done the job…

      It seems to me then that your arguments have been inconsistent…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. Although this is slightly off topic, it is a poignant piece from a fellow adventist and doctor who has never experienced a God that intervenes in nature. It supports the notion that Man invents God in Man’s image without any empirical validation of that sort of God.

    In regards to your quotes from other eminent scientists, again I refer you to the weak anthropic principle. Do we imbue the physical universe with specific design based on what we can observe? Is the universe really designed for life, or was it accidental happenstance based pn the paricular set of laws that ocurred in this universe. In an infinite metaverse what is the probability that a universe like ours that allows for organic life to evolve? If our universe is so well designed for organic life, why do we not see more of it on every planet?

    Now, you might argue there is no proof of a metavesrse, it is all just astrophysical theory. Fair enough. But there is no proof of non made extraterrestial artefacts as well, unless you can demonstate on your granite cube criteria that they exist.

    Back to you pard……

    http://www.atoday.org/article/1932/opinion/visiting-bloggers/help-what-is-god




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    • An appeal to an infinite metaverse or multiverse can be used to explain anything and everything regardless of the statistical odds. Such an appeal undermines the very basis of science itself – predictive value. Such arguments are therefore not just unscientific, they are anti-science.

      In other words, what is the most rational scientific conclusion given a situation where Arnold Schwarzenegger happened to win the California Lottery 10 times in a row? Random chance? or deliberate design? But, it could happen somewhere at some time given enough parallel universes – right?!

      You see, such arguments explain anything and everything – and therefore nothing. Consider also that this argument of yours makes it impossible for SETI to detect design even if they did happen to find the types of radio signals that they’re looking for – or one of our granite cubes. No artefact could be detected as an artefact given an appeal to your argument.

      In comparison, we have many biomachines in hand that require far more precision and technical skill to produce than does our granite cube – and there is no known “raw” force of nature that could do the job in a reasonable amount of time in our universe. Your multi-universe hypothesis is an irrational anti-scientific response to this challenge.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  35. “As I originally pointed out, this means that it is impossible for you to detect, or at least admit that you’ve detected, design behind any phenomenon outside of this planet… contrary to SETI scientists and the vast majority of other scientists who would in fact recognize a highly symmetrical polished granite cube as a true artefact of intelligent design – even if found on an alien planet” – Sean Pitman

    Interesting that you have refused to name one extraterrestial artefact, or any finding by SETI, that would remotely satisfy or approximate your hypothetical granite cube criteria….hmmmm? Yet you maintain that the empirical weight of the evidence supports biblical creation. Yet you believe that I am dogmatic because I question whether non man design exists! Name and support such design based on your pristine polished, granite cube criteria sir and perhaps you can win a convert.




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    • Yet you believe that I am dogmatic because I question whether non man design exists!

      It’s not that you question whether non-human design exists (I could deal with that), but that you question the rational basis itself for detecting such design if it did exist (a non-scientific philosophical position). There’s a distinct difference here. Upon what basis could the search for extraterrestrial intelligence be carried out? You dogmatically refuse to answer.

      You seem to want to have the artefact shown to you before you’ll present an argument for how true artefacts could be detected in the first place. You’re putting the cart before the horse – partner. No one can detect artefacts as artefacts in the first place until one knows what one is looking for. If you don’t know what you’re looking for to begin with, its impossible for you to recognize any artefact even if such artefacts do in fact exist all around you.

      You will not admit that there is any scientific method or any rational basis for searching for or detecting deliberate design of non-human origin. You will not even admit that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube, if found on some alien planet, would be clear evidence of non-human intelligent design. That’s your problem. This problem makes it impossible for you to recognize evidence of design, publicly anyway, regardless of anything that could be presented to you… to the point of making yourself look very dogmatic by arguing that a highly symmetrical granite cube, let’s say with geometric etchings in each face of the cube (such as a perfect triangle in one face, a pentagon in another face, a square in another face, etc.), if found on an alien planet, is not a clear artefact of intelligent design because it could have been produced by some as yet unknown “raw” natural mechanism. What are the odds?

      As I’ve mentioned before, I’d be glad to share with you what I consider to be numerous striking artefacts within our universe and world that are far far more artefactual than a highly symmetrical polished granite cube with perfect geometric etchings on each face (I’ve listed several on my website) – or anything like the granite artefacts pictured above (with a precise hole carved through the center or a granite bar with holes of precisely increasing size carved through it). However, again, there’s no point in discussing these various artefacts of non-human intelligent design with you as long as you refuse to admit that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube would be a clear artefact of such design if found on some alien planet.

      In short, you continue to refuse to present a rational basis for what it would take to convince you that a phenomenon is a true artefact of non-human intelligence. So, there’s simply no point discussing this topic with you until you do present such an argument, a rational basis, for the detection of intelligent design if you ever were to come across such a phenomenon (i.e., the rational scientific basis of SETI). In other words, upon what basis would you declare any particular phenomenon to be a likely artefact of non-human intelligent design?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. “Don’t you need to have some set of criteria as to what you’re looking for and why before you set off to look for artefacts of intelligent design? What might that be?” – Sean Pitman

    Yes, and I’ve already stated it: those things, phenomena that cannot be produced by the cause and effect mechanisms of Nature. On that criteria I don’t observe anything extra terrestial ( except satellites, space stations, man made debris) that is remotely akin to your hypothetical granite cubes. You say you do but have not specifically laid out what they are. Please do so and we can compare.




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  37. “Oh really? How so? What’s so different about the precision required to produce a universe that is capable of supporting complex living things vs. the precision required to produce a highly symmetrical polished granite cube or a loaf of bread? – except in degree?”

    Pard, do you really understand the implications of what you are saying here? Are you really only seperating Man the designer from God the Designer by degree?




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    • Please do explain to me how the fine tuned features of the universe that are known to us, or of a living thing or a biomachine, are different from the precision of the granite cubes we’ve been discussing, or a loaf of bread, other than in the degree of the precision required…

      I agree with you that it is impossible for someone who is finite to prove or remotely understand the infinite. However, it is possible for the finite to demonstrate the need for intelligent design to rationally explain a given phenomenon – to include phenomena that would have required an extremely high level of intelligence and creative power (as I’ve already explained). The only difference in the argument is in regard to the minimum degree of intelligence and creative power necessary to explain the phenomenon in question. Otherwise, the argument is exactly the same as the one SETI scientists propose to explain certain kinds of radio signals or that you would use to argue for non-human intelligence to explain any particular artefact.

      In any case, what about the specific examples posed to you? How does any “raw” natural mechanism explain the origin of the most simple living thing or a biomachine within a living thing that requires at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid “parts”? – much less the origin of our very finely tuned universe?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      “It is quite a shock. From my earliest training as a scientist I was very strongly brainwashed to believe that science cannot be consistent with any kind of deliberate creation. That notion has had to be very painfully shed. I am quite uncomfortable in the situation, the state of mind I now find myself in. But there is no logical way out of it. I now find myself driven to this position by logic. There is no other way in which we can understand the precise ordering of the chemicals of life except to invoke the creations on a cosmic scale. . . . We were hoping as scientists that there would be a way round our conclusion, but there isn’t.

      Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, as quoted in “There Must Be A God,” Daily Express, Aug. 14, 1981 and Hoyle on Evolution, Nature, Nov. 12, 1981, p. 105

      Alan Sandage (winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy):

      “I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

      Willford, J.N. March 12, 1991. Sizing up the Cosmos: An Astronomers Quest. New York Times, p. B9.

      Charles Hard Townes, winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics and a UC Berkeley professor noted:

      “This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all….
      Some scientists argue that, “Well, there’s an enormousnumber of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.
      Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate. It assumes that there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that our was planned, and that is why it has come out so specially.”

      http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/06/17_townes.shtml

      Sir Fredrick Hoyle, famous British astronomer who early on (1951) argued that the coincidences were just that, coincidences. But, by 1953 he had evidently changed his mind and wrote:

      Such properties seem to run through the fabric of the natural world like a thread of happy coincidences. But there are so many odd coincidences essential to life that some explanation seems required to account for them… A superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.

      http://www.leaderu.com/offices/bradley/docs/universe.html
      Hoyle, Fred. “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections,” in Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, 20. (1982), p.16.




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  38. “In other words, upon what basis would you declare any particular phenomenon to be a likely artefact of non-human intelligent design?” – Sean Pitman

    I think that is a fair question. The short answer is if those phenomena can be explained by the cause and effect mechanisms of Nature then the default position of ID is likely ruled out. The trend in the advancing sciences is to provide cause and effect explanations for why all natural phenomena occur. Just because Science does not have all the answers, yet, or gets it wrong, does not mean the answer is supernatural ID.

    Does this rule out the wee green man making granite cubes with strange inscriptions thereon? No, but that is only a hypothetical until such objects, akin to man made design, are discovered. Haven’t observed anything of that manner yet.

    Might SETI some day pick up radio transmissions from aliens? Possibly, but that likely wouldn’t have any connection with the origins or design of the universe,any more than man made artefacts do.

    What you are attempting to do with ID is extrapolate the criteria used for the manufacture of human artefacts to analyse Nature Itself. Mixing apples and oranges. Different kettles of fish, etc.

    How does One actually go about designing a Law of Gravity? A bit different than chiselling and polishing the ole granite cube, don’t you think?




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    • “In other words, upon what basis would you declare any particular phenomenon to be a likely artefact of non-human intelligent design?” – Sean Pitman

      I think that is a fair question.

      Thank you. However, you still don’t seem to want to directly answer this question…

      The short answer is if those phenomena can be explained by the cause and effect mechanisms of Nature then the default position of ID is likely ruled out.

      I agree. ID would not be the only rational nor the most likely explanation for such phenomena. However, the question at hand isn’t about what phenomena are most likely the products of various “raw” forces of mindless nature. The question I’ve been asking you for quite some time now is what kind of phenomena could only rationally be explained by the hypothesis of intelligent design? – given the information that is currently in hand?

      The trend in the advancing sciences is to provide cause and effect explanations for why all natural phenomena occur. Just because Science does not have all the answers, yet, or gets it wrong, does not mean the answer is supernatural ID.

      We’re not talking about “supernatural” ID at this point. A God is not required to produce our granite cube. We’re just talking about regular ID here – regardless of the source of intelligence. Also, SETI scientists do not propose some “raw” force of nature to explain the radio signals that they’re looking for. They propose intelligent design as an explanation. Upon what basis do they do this? Is their argument rational and scientific?

      You want to jump directly into arguments for or against God or the Supernatural instead of dealing with the simple basis of detecting intelligent design regardless of its source or Source.

      Is it possible for God to make a loaf of bread that looks exactly like the kind my wife makes? Sure. So, it is possible that a God could design on a human or human-like level of design where no one could tell the difference except for the fact that both of the loaves of bread (God-made vs. human-made) were clearly the result of intelligent design… and not the result of some “raw” force of mindless nature.

      What then is the difference between our highly symmetrical polished granite cubes or a loaf of bread vs. considering the structure of our universe or of a living thing?

      As an aside, consider that the most simple living thing is informationally far more complex than the universe when it comes to the degree of precision of the functional information necessary to produce each.

      Could the same criteria for detecting design be used in both situations? – where design on different levels of intelligence and creativity can be detected by the same basic rational argument? In other words, it doesn’t take a rocket scientists to make a granite cube or a loaf of bread while it does take a rocket scientist to make a rocket. Yet, the same method for detecting deliberate intelligent design behind various artefacts can be used to detect design behind either a loaf of bread or a NASA-like rocket. It’s the very same argument. The only difference is that this same argument can be used to detect design that required different minimum levels of intelligence and creative power…

      Does this rule out the wee green man making granite cubes with strange inscriptions thereon? No, but that is only a hypothetical until such objects, akin to man made design, are discovered. Haven’t observed anything of that manner yet.

      So, do you now agree that such an object, if found on an alien planet, would be good evidence of intelligent design? Have you changed your mind here? Upon what is the scientific argument for intelligent design based? If you don’t know what a true artefact should look like, based on some kind of testable scientific argument, how can you hope to know one when you do see it beyond mere hunches and guesswork? Don’t you need to have some set of criteria as to what you’re looking for and why before you set off to look for artefacts of intelligent design? What might that be?

      Might SETI some day pick up radio transmissions from aliens? Possibly, but that likely wouldn’t have any connection with the origins or design of the universe, any more than man made artefacts do.

      Forget about the origin of the universe for the moment. Start with the basics. Upon what basis is any artefact detectable as a true artefact? What is the rational scientific criteria for determining this? Once you seriously consider this question, you can start asking if various phenomena fit these criteria – to include various features of the universe itself. It’s all the same argument, only on different scales or levels of intelligence is all…

      While the radio signals that SETI scientists are looking for might not have anything to do with the origin of the universe (to be sure), the arguments used to detect such signals as true artefacts might also be used to detect other various features of the universe and within the universe as artefactual as well… on various levels of intelligent design and creative power.

      What you are attempting to do with ID is extrapolate the criteria used for the manufacture of human artefacts to analyse Nature Itself. Mixing apples and oranges. Different kettles of fish, etc.

      They’re not different kettles of fish and I’ll explain why if you will finally explain how you could recognize a true artefact on an alien planet. Why not directly answer my question then about the detection of non-human design on alien planets? Why not tell me the scientific argument used by SETI scientists? – and if you think the SETI argument is rational and truly scientific? Once you do this we can talk about if various other features of and within the universe (and within our own world) are or are not clearly artefactual… and how you’re being inconsistent in your use of criteria for detecting true artefacts of intelligent design (along with most scientists living today).

      How does One actually go about designing a Law of Gravity? A bit different than chiselling and polishing the ole granite cube, don’t you think?

      Again, let’s try to start with the basic concepts of the arguments for design before we leap into a discussion of the origin of the universe. There are many things within the universe and within our own world that are very much like the polished granite cube example (except that many of these examples demonstrate far higher levels of detail and precision).

      So, if you can admit that the granite cube examples I’ve given you would be clear evidence of intelligent design if found on an alien planet, we have a discussion and can start talking about various levels of intelligent design. If not, there is no basis for further discussion.

      What then your answer? Would the examples I’ve given of highly symmetrical polished granite cubes be good evidence of intelligent design if found on an alien planet? – yes or no? and why? I want a clear answer to this question from you before I’ll get into any further discussion of this topic…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  39. “Clearly, errors of the past don’t mean that science is useless. Science is, by its very nature, testable and falsifiable. That means that many scientific hypotheses and theories have been and will continue to be falsified over time. That’s the nature of real science – as compared to untestable religious or philosophical dogma, wishful thinking, or blind faith”

    Exactly, so why are you a YLC creationist if you believe in real science as opposed to faith based science? Outside of religious institutions where is YLC taught as a scientific theory?




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    • I believe that the weight of evidence in hand, that I personally understand, strongly supports the conclusion that living things were intelligently designed and that complex organisms have not existed, and could not have existed, for long periods of time on this planet.

      For example, there’s something known as the detrimental mutation rate that is causing an inevitable deterioration of all slowly reproducing gene pools, like all mammals for instance, where all such gene pools are headed for eventual genetic meltdown and extinction – and always have been. Also, there is far too much radiocarbon in the tissue remains of fossils as well as coal and oil for life to be old. Add to this the fairly recent discovery of very well preserved soft tissues, vessels, and blood cells with largely intact proteins. Kinetic theories of protein degeneration strongly suggest that such immunologically viable proteins could not survive in ambient temperatures longer than 100,000 years at most. And, there are many many more reasons along these lines for the recent arrival of life on this planet.

      As far as being religious and believing this way, what is one supposed to do when one recognizes evidence of very high level design in living things and in the fundamental constants of the universe itself? Such a conclusion practically forces one to consider the validity of religious concepts (as many well-known physicists have pointed out). In short, religion need not be opposed to science. Rather, it seems to me that a useful religion will walk hand-in-hand with true scientific searches for truth. If God exists, He is the creator of all Truth – to include all true forms of religion and science.

      In any case, if you want to have a conversation with me, why not respond to the questions I ask you?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  40. “Outside of religious institutions where is YLC taught as a scientific theory?”

    Speaking of non answered questons…

    What does Dr. Ben Clausen, an Adventist scientist, say about whether there is a viable scientific model with predictive power for YEC or YLC? Are you sure you’re being rational about your scientific views, pard?




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    • Is your main point to inform me that my position is distinctly unpopular among mainstream scientists? Come on now. Doesn’t this go without saying? Tell me something I don’t know…

      Remember, you’re asking me what I think and why. We all know what the mainstream consensus is and that methodological naturalism and it’s twin, neo-Darwinism, are heavily favored by mainstream scientists. However, as far as I’m concerned, that’s completely irrelevant to the question of the weight of evidence as you personally understand it and can explain it to me.

      The problem, of course, is that what is popular, even among scientists, isn’t necessarily scientific (i.e., the best potentially falsifiable interpretation of the evidence in hand with the greatest predictive value). What a lot of what mainstream scientists promote as “science” is really nothing more than just-so story telling (i.e., fairytales for grown ups). One has to be able to sort out what is being presented to separate true scientific observations and interpretations from popular philosophy.

      So, if you can’t explain what’s wrong with my position, or what is right with your position, rationally/scientifically, how then do you know that your position is actually superior to mine? – besides the fact that you’ve taken the most popular side?

      It’s easily to argue for what is very popular. It’s quite another thing, however, to produce a rational defense of your position by substantively addressing the questions posed to you.

      So, how about answering some of my questions for a change? Otherwise, I’m really not interested in a one sided discussion of this topic where you refuse to respond to questions…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. “While such an argument doesn’t necessarily require supernatural intelligence, it does require a level of intelligence and creative power so great and so fantastic that we, from our very limited and finite perspective, could not distinguish such power and intelligence from what anyone would define as a God or God-like power and intelligence.”

    And that is the nub of ID isn’t it pard? It and God are default positions for what we don’t know…yet. Once upon a time Man worshipped the sun, until such time as Science determined it was just a ball of gas. Once upon a time the church considered the cosmos earth centric. Once upon a time Man was not considered a primate…. albeit a sophisticated thinking one 🙂




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    • Not too long ago the best scientists the the world thought that Aborigines, Africans, and pygmies were sub-human animals that weren’t as evolved as Caucasians. Does that mean that science is worthless?

      Clearly, errors of the past don’t mean that science is useless. Science is, by its very nature, testable and falsifiable. That means that many scientific hypotheses and theories have been and will continue to be falsified over time. That’s the nature of real science – as compared to untestable religious or philosophical dogma, wishful thinking, or blind faith (very similar to your untestable and unfalsifiable philosophical position on this topic).

      What we’re talking about here is the science of detecting design – something you don’t seem to want to seriously discuss in a testable potentially falsifiable manner.

      Again, your argument is a self-defeating argument that attacks the very basis of science and rational thought itself.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. “In comparison, we have many biomachines in hand that require far more precision and technical skill to produce than does our granite cube – and there is no known “raw” force of nature that could do the job in a reasonable amount of time in our universe. Your multi-universe hypothesis is an irrational anti-scientific response to this challenge.”

    How does this compare to your faith in your YLC God? Do you really think that is rational in light of the cumulative weight of scientific evidence?




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    • If you don’t think my position is rational, by all means present some real evidence that actually challenges my falsifiable position. Why present non-testable counter arguments that are inherently irrational? – that counter the very basis of science itself? Why not present something rational that is testable in a manner that produces statistically meaningful predictive value?

      Specifically, please do address my argument regarding biological machines that require more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues? – Besides the standard unscientific argument that perhaps someday someone will discover some as yet unknown “raw” force of nature that is capable of doing the job.

      Short of such a conversation, I’m really not interested in continuing this discussion.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  43. ” A lot of what mainstream scientists promote as “science” is really nothing more than just-so story telling (i.e., fairytales for grown ups). ”

    You tell a pretty good yarn yourself Pard. It’s been a pleasure to sit around the celestial campfire and chew the fat for a while. The back door approach of ID to buttress creationism is indeed creative. Rehashed Deism with a Genesis twist. And you do a fine job of it, but every so often you’ll pontificate on the good ole book and then we see what is driving you. And it’s not Science son, it’s faith. Because any science you find contrary to YLC you’re going to fight no matter how overwhelming the results. And son, anyone who reads your column, especially your fellow Adventists, understands that.

    Well, time to hit the dusty trail…..




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    • Now you’re just projecting. How about putting your own ideas to the test and see where they stand? Isn’t it a bit strange that I’m willing to respond to questions and challenges regarding my position, but you are not? Are you willing to even consider that you might be wrong? What kind of evidence or demonstration would that take? – short of a conversion of most scientists?

      I’ve spelled out quite clearly that my position is easily falsifiable and that I’d be more than willing to leave Adventism and even Christianity behind as convincingly falsified if reasonable evidence supporting the creative power of the Darwinian mechanism, or any other mindless naturalistic mechanism, could be produced… or that life has actually existed and evolved on this planet over hundreds of millions of years. I have no desire to believe in any falsehood – not matter how attractive it may seem to me. I really do desire to know the truth and follow where it leads as I am able to discover it.

      What about you? What would make you leave agnosticism behind and consider that a personal God who thinks about you and cares for you and died for you actually exists?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. By the way, science is also required to make leaps of faith. Science isn’t about absolute proof or demonstration. Science is about taking what little is known and using it to make educated leaps of faith into that which is not and cannot be known with absolute confidence.




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  44. Sean Pitman:
    Did the disciples in fact put their lives on the line for their story? That question is potentially falsifiable. Did the enemies of Jesus even try to counter the claim that Jesus’ tomb was empty? That also is a potentially falsifiable claim. That is empirical evidence.

    Martyrs are well documented among Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Bahai faith, Sikhism, and other faiths. Looks like “empirical evidence” demonstrates that all of these faiths are valid. Further, absence of evidence hardly qualifies as falsifiable evidence for how authorities reacted to the empty tomb. You can’t assume that everything they said and did was recorded. The bottom line: we can’t replay these events to find out for sure what happened and what did not happen.




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    • Martyrs are well documented for many faiths and creeds. However, they have something in common – almost none of them were willing to die for something they knew was a lie.

      Beyond this, God allows his children to be martyred precisely because of such evidence. That is why the 2nd-century Church Father Tertullian wrote that, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church,” implying, of course, that the martyrs’ willing sacrifice of their lives leads to the conversion of others.

      We can be more sure of the life and death of Jesus than pretty much any other historical figure. The events are very well documented by ancient texts. So much so that if you do not believe the evidence for Jesus credible, then you really cannot think much of the historical sciences in general.

      Of course, you seem to equate science with the production of some kind of absolute form of evidence or demonstration. You forget that science is not needed when such demonstrations, such as an ability to replay the actual events, is in hand. Science only becomes useful when there is less than complete information in hand. Science, like Biblical faith, is based on the weight of evidence, not demonstration. That is why, in science, as in real faith, there is always the possibility of being wrong…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  45. There’s something else to consider regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Obviously, His enemies knew where He was buried. So all they had to do to refute the good news and stop Christianity dead in its tracks was to produce His corpse. That would seemingly not be a difficult thing to do, and since the high priest Caiaphas, who condemned Jesus to death, was a Sadducee who had a vested interest in denying the resurrection, I’m sure he would have loved to produce Jesus’ dead body. But he never did! In fact, it is ironic that Caiaphas’ ossuary, which contained his bones, was discovered in Jerusalem in 1990. So the bones of the high priest who condemned Jesus to death have been discovered. But Jesus’ bones have never been discovered! Now when you couple data like that with Old Testament prophecies like Daniel 9 finding their focus in Jesus, the evidence for Christianity truly becomes overwhelming.




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  46. Sean&#032Pitman:
    Ok, why not answer the question I’ve posted to you many many times?

    Would the discovery of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube measuring one meter on each side, on an alien planet, like Mars, be evidence of deliberate intelligent design?

    There’s really no point in further discussion if we can’t seriously consider and discuss the scientific basis of detecting design…

    That a very simple scenario. I would rely on my experience of the form of naturally occurring granite on earth, what ever I could apprehend of the environment on Mars and begin to look for the artefacts surrounding the construction of such an artefact at such a remote site. I would approach it much like Henri Mahout venturing into the jungle in Coambodia and discovering Angkor wat. A remarkable structure that evidenced the skills of a tool making species of some sort.

    All interpretation would be predicated on my brains ability for pattern recognition, classification and interpretation.

    No magic there Im afraid.

    Sorry I just cant see any need to infere any of the woo of ID.




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    • I would approach it much like Henri Mahout venturing into the jungle in Coambodia and discovering Angkor wat. A remarkable structure that evidenced the skills of a tool making species of some sort.

      Hmmmmm, “A remarkable structure that evidenced the skill of a tool making species of some sort” – on Mars? By what rational argument would you come to that conclusion? How do you know that such an artifact was not produced by some mindless natural mechanism? – such as wind, precipitation, or unusual weathering?

      All interpretation would be predicated on my brains ability for pattern recognition, classification and interpretation.

      Indeed, but upon what basis would you classify such a pattern in granite as requiring deliberate design? Upon what is your interpretation based?

      No magic there Im afraid. Sorry I just cant see any need to infere any of the woo of ID.

      You yourself just proposed the need to invoke intelligent design to explain the origin of a granite cube – even if found on an alien planet without any additional evidence or associated artifacts. Upon what basis? What is your rational scientific argument and can it be generally applied to other artifacts and other materials besides granite? That’s the only question in play here. I don’t want a magical answer. I want a rational scientific argument from you for why you’d come to this ID conclusion for a granite cube on an alien planet.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean&#032Pitman: Hmmmmm, “A remarkable structure that evidenced the skill of a tool making species of some sort” – on Mars?By what rational argument would you come to that conclusion?How do you know that such an artifact was not produced by some mindless natural mechanism? – such as wind, precipitation, or unusual weathering?

        Indeed, but upon what basis would you classify such a pattern in granite as requiring deliberate design?Upon what is your interpretation based?

        You yourself just proposed the need to invoke intelligent design to explain the origin of a granite cube – even if found on an alien planet without any additional evidence or associated artifacts.Upon what basis?What is your rational scientific argument and can it be generally applied to other artifacts and other materials besides granite?That’s the only question in play here.I don’t want a magical answer.I want a rational scientific argument from you for why you’d come to this ID conclusion for a granite cube on an alien planet.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com

        I came to no ID conclusion. That is your interpretation. I did what any human would do whether a tool using tribes-person in Africa or a 21st century scientifically educated person. I would recognize that this object did not conform to the characteristics of raw objects seen in the natural world but did conform to some of the characteristics of human artefact. I would classify it as a product of human or human like devising.

        If I saw a hole in the ground with a silky thread lining and I would immediately think that this was not a raw object of the physical world but was one that a living organism such as a spider would produce. It is an artifact of a spider. Do I think that it is some product of “intelligent design”. Unfortunately no I would think it simply a product of a living organism that changes its environment. Just so your cube.

        It has nothing to do with scientific understanding it is simply pattern recognition and classification of objects as manipulated or raw.

        If I was superstitious and conformed to the model of understanding seen in positing a God of the unknown I would think it may be of divine origin but few in the 21st century who have the accumulated literature of science and the accumulated experience recorded therein would do so since experience tells us that there is natural explanation for most novel objects generated by living organisms that manipulate their environment in a multitude of ways.

        I’m afraid I cannot help but consider your ID hypothesis an argument based on incredulity, a refined god of the gaps argument that sees unexplained physical objects as magical or divine.

        In you work as a pathologist how do you know a cell is malignant? In a word, pattern recognition and its attendant classification. And how do you know something is novel? Some form of hierarchical classification going from the known classifications that you recognize to the unknown that you do not and classifying it by cell lineage and features you do recognize as indicating a particular pathological process.




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        • @Pauluc:
          Argument from Personal Incredulity: In this fallacy, one argues that because they do not personally find a premise to be likely or believable, it cannot be true, regardless of evidence. The fallacy lies in presenting one’s beliefs about a proposition as evidence. (The biggest darwinian fallacy against Intelligent Design and for Evolution)




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        • @Gene Fortner:
          It is unclear to whom this is directed but judging by the markup it must be me. You are absolutely right I personally do consider ID to be devoid of any intellectual value. In this I am not alone as you will find if you look at the scientific literature for which it is essentially an irrelevant concept. It may be true but it is not for me to determine but for its proponents to cogently argue its value. Sean has suggested previously that signature in the cell is the best exposition of ID available but I am afraid I found it a long distorted description of biology from a historian of science who has never really been involved in experimental science and represents a protracted polemic for personal incredulity at the conventional models of origins of molecular mechanisms.

          I am always happy to look at the data introduced by Chadwick with specificity and in as much detail as you like. Perhaps you can show me the data that suggests that there is intelligent design in the genomic structure (by this I mean the chromosomal order and content not origins of DNA or abiogenesis) that does not depend on chance and contingency.

          The rules of the exchange will however by that the data must be within the arena of science. Ie only Pubmed indexed journal publications. Anything else is not science and I feel no compunction to respond to such.




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        • As I’ve already pointed out to you, all the necessary data has been published – just not the obvious conclusion of design once one considers the implication of finding a highly symmetrical polished granite cube on Mars. In other words, the statistics against any known mindless or otherwise “raw” force of nature are quite clear – exactly as in the case of the granite cube which you yourself claimed would be clear evidence of intelligent design on at least the human level of intelligence and creativity.




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        • I came to no ID conclusion. That is your interpretation. I did what any human would do whether a tool using tribes-person in Africa or a 21st century scientifically educated person. I would recognize that this object did not conform to the characteristics of raw objects seen in the natural world but did conform to some of the characteristics of human artefact. I would classify it as a product of human or human like devising.

          I’m afraid I don’t understand your position? It appears self-contradictory to me. On the one hand you claim that you would not conclude intelligent design if you found our granite cube on an alien planet. Yet, in the same breath, you claim that you would in fact classify it as a product of human-like devising – i.e., intelligent design.

          If you would classify the cube as a product of human like devising, how is that not a hypothesis of intelligent design? of ID? It seems to me like it is. I see no substantive difference. And, as far as I can tell, your argument rests upon two criteria:

          1) The artifact in question is beyond the known limits of what mindless natural mechanisms are able to achieve.
          2) The artifact in question is closest to the range of what known intelligent agents are able to achieve.

          Is it not possible then to apply this argument generally in the examination of all materials and artifacts for the possibility of deliberate design? – on at least the human level of intelligence and design capability? If not, why not?

          If I saw a hole in the ground with a silky thread lining and I would immediately think that this was not a raw object of the physical world but was one that a living organism such as a spider would produce. It is an artifact of a spider. Do I think that it is some product of “intelligent design”. Unfortunately no I would think it simply a product of a living organism that changes its environment. Just so your cube.

          Are you really arguing that the cube wasn’t intelligently designed? – even though it is clearly of human-like devising? Did the creator the cube not use intelligence to produce the cube? What are you trying to say here? How can you argue that the cube was made by human-like devising, but, at the same time, that intelligence was not required? Is this not a contradiction?

          It has nothing to do with scientific understanding it is simply pattern recognition and classification of objects as manipulated or raw.

          Manipulated by what? An intelligent designer…

          Consider a situation where humans designed robots to produce highly symmetrical polished granite cubes. The robots are not themselves intelligent. So, are the cube therefore the result of some mindless mechanism? Of course not. Like your spider’s web, the functionally complex product of a machine is still, ultimately, the product of intelligent design outside of the capabilities of mindless naturalistic mechanisms.

          If I was superstitious and conformed to the model of understanding seen in positing a God of the unknown I would think it may be of divine origin but few in the 21st century who have the accumulated literature of science and the accumulated experience recorded therein would do so since experience tells us that there is natural explanation for most novel objects generated by living organisms that manipulate their environment in a multitude of ways.

          We’re not talking about the actual identity of the intelligent designer at this point. We’re only discussing the concept of detecting that the designer was in fact intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s all. It is perfectly possible for God to deliberately make anything that humans can make – or that mindless nature can make for that matter. God could deliberately produce an amorphous rock or a loaf of bread or granite cube. So could those with at least human levels of intelligence.

          I’m afraid I cannot help but consider your ID hypothesis an argument based on incredulity, a refined god of the gaps argument that sees unexplained physical objects as magical or divine.

          Where do you get that? I didn’t say that God made the granite cube. I said that it would clearly be the result of intelligent design on at least the human level of intelligence and design – even if found on the surface of an alien planet like Mars. You seem to agree. Therefore, is your argument for intelligent design not also based on incredulity? – on what you think are the limits of mindless naturalistic mechanisms? – compared to what can be achieved by those with at least human levels of intelligence and creativity? What’s the difference between your argument for intelligent design and mine? Leave God out of it for minute why don’t you? Don’t get ahead of yourself. You think you know where this path is going, but let’s just walk the path for a while and see where it leads us…

          In you work as a pathologist how do you know a cell is malignant? In a word, pattern recognition and its attendant classification. And how do you know something is novel? Some form of hierarchical classification going from the known classifications that you recognize to the unknown that you do not and classifying it by cell lineage and features you do recognize as indicating a particular pathological process.

          I never said that intelligent design could be detected without prior experience and research. However, the science of detecting deliberately designed artifacts seems to be quite real and useful. Your yourself seem to invoke it – though very grudgingly and with every attempt not to call it “ID”. But, that’s exactly what it is. You are in fact presenting your own ID-only hypothesis to explain the granite cube. There’s simply no two ways about it.

          In short, you’re fine with ID hypotheses and theories, just don’t call the designer “God” – isn’t that right? Isn’t that a fair description of your position?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          You claim

          “I said that it would clearly be the result of intelligent design on at least the human level of intelligence and design – even if found on the surface of an alien planet like Mars. You seem to agree. Therefore, is your argument for intelligent design not also based on incredulity? – on what you think are the limits of mindless naturalistic mechanisms? – compared to what can be achieved by those with at least human levels of intelligence and creativity? What’s the difference between your argument for intelligent design and mine?”

          You are right in that we are approaching your data from 2 different perspectives. I am approaching it from the perspective on one who is living in the 21st century and who has some modicum of knowledge and participation in the process of science. You approach it altogether as would William Paley in his polemic for natural theology. You are imputing design to the presence of an artefact and suggest that there must therefore by an intelligence behind the artifact.

          You ask what are the limits of mindless naturalistic mechanisms? I do not think that artefacts of living organisms necessarily imply that the constructor had enough insight to create a design. Living organisms have patterns of behaviour and manipulate their environment. Do you think a spiders web is evidence of intelligent design? Whose intelligence. Whose design? How much intelligence and how much design is place on the construction of a web by a spider? How much understanding of geometry is involved in an ant making a perfectly round conical embankment around its nest? This like your favoured cubic artifact of a human are both reflections of a brain interacting in some way with its environment. You invoke intelligence is simply a construct of an intelligent brain seeking to understand and impute order to these patterns not anything intrinsic to these patterns.




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        • You are right in that we are approaching your data from 2 different perspectives. I am approaching it from the perspective on one who is living in the 21st century and who has some modicum of knowledge and participation in the process of science. You approach it altogether as would William Paley in his polemic for natural theology. You are imputing design to the presence of an artefact and suggest that there must therefore by an intelligence behind the artifact.

          You also imputed design to the presence of the granite cube on Mars – at least human level design and intelligence. How then is your conclusion of human production substantively different from Paley’s conclusion of at least human level intelligent design for the very same artifact? – or anyone else’s for that matter?

          You ask what are the limits of mindless naturalistic mechanisms? I do not think that artefacts of living organisms necessarily imply that the constructor had enough insight to create a design.

          When you yourself invoke human-level production, you are, by definition, invoking intelligent design since humans are intelligent.

          Living organisms have patterns of behaviour and manipulate their environment. Do you think a spiders web is evidence of intelligent design? Whose intelligence. Whose design? How much intelligence and how much design is place on the construction of a web by a spider? How much understanding of geometry is involved in an ant making a perfectly round conical embankment around its nest?

          I ask you yet again, is your car, which is made by mindless robots, a product of intelligent design? – or mindless robots?

          If the artifact in question cannot ultimately be produced by the “raw” forces of mindless nature, then, ultimately, intelligent design is required to explain the origin of the artifact. It doesn’t matter if a giant space worm produced the granite cube – or some factory full of mindless robots. Ultimately, at least human level intelligence was required to explain the origin of the cube on the alien planet. How so? Because nothing that could make the cube could itself exist without being made by at least human level intelligence or greater…

          This like your favoured cubic artifact of a human are both reflections of a brain interacting in some way with its environment. You invoke intelligence is simply a construct of an intelligent brain seeking to understand and impute order to these patterns not anything intrinsic to these patterns.

          It was your brain that invoked human-like intelligence and creativity to explain the cube. You didn’t choose any other potential option – not a “raw” mindless force of nature or anything else as a potential explanation for the granite cube artifact. You picked human-level intelligence and creativity. Now, why is that? – if you’re not really an IDist with regards to the origin of highly symmetrical polished granite cubes?

          The fact is that you are an IDist when it comes to such granite cubes – even though you really really really don’t want to admit it in so many words for some strange reason 😉

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          We clearly differ in our perspectives on artefacts.
          I would see a granite cube created by man and a beehive, an ants nest or a spiders web as being no different in category. Simply different in degree. All are products of living organisms manipulating their environment. They are not raw products of an inanimate world. They are modified by living organisms. The bigger the brain the more elaborate and complex the artefact.

          Classification as a product of living adaptive life forms has no particular scientific significance at all. Classification is a function of brains whether that is largely and highly determinant as in the insect guided by its head ganglion of a few million neurons or a human with a large prefrontal cortex and emergent property of sentience and free will.

          This is not science unless you define science so broadly as to become a meaningless term and concept. As I have maintained consistently science is derivative of high level abstract brain function and has a specific target (the natural world), assumption (methodological naturalism) and collection of data (the peer reviewed published literature). In contrast everyone classifies and can recognize the patterns made by a living organisms interaction with their environment.

          However you might like to spin it ID to most adherents and critics alike is closely related to creationism and to the critics represents a restating of literal creationism designed to beguile the uninformed much as whole blood imaging is designed to sell expensive homeopathic remedies.




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        • We clearly differ in our perspectives on artefacts.

          I would see a granite cube created by man and a beehive, an ants nest or a spiders web as being no different in category. Simply different in degree. All are products of living organisms manipulating their environment. They are not raw products of an inanimate world. They are modified by living organisms. The bigger the brain the more elaborate and complex the artefact.

          A granite cube is hardly “complex” or “elaborate”. Yet, you said that it would be clear evidence to you of human-like design – even if found on an alien planet like Mars. So, I ask again, how is that conclusion, that hypothesis of yours, not a hypothesis of intelligent design on at least the human level of design and creativity?

          Classification as a product of living adaptive life forms has no particular scientific significance at all. Classification is a function of brains whether that is largely and highly determinant as in the insect guided by its head ganglion of a few million neurons or a human with a large prefrontal cortex and emergent property of sentience and free will. This is not science unless you define science so broadly as to become a meaningless term and concept.

          Classification is a scientific hypothesis. It could be wrong. It is testable and potentially falsifiable. It is, therefore, a valid science. “Taxonomy (general), the practice and science (study) of classification of things or concepts, as well as the principles that underlie such a classification…” (Link).

          In other words, if you came across the granite cube on Mars, and that’s all you had, you wouldn’t know, for sure, what or who actually produce the cube. Could it have been some as yet unknown “raw” force of nature? Yes. Could it have been some giant alien worm or insect? Sure. Could it have been some mechanical machine? Sure. Could it have been a human-like intelligence? Sure. Could it have been God? Sure.

          So, why did you pick any one of those options as being the most likely origin for the granite cube? It’s all based on the statistical odds given your own personal background and past experiences. That’s science. As long as your hypothesis is testable and potentially falsifiable, that’s science – a use of scientific methodologies and arguments.

          Also, I ask you yet again, who is the designer of your car? The robot that produced your car, the mindless machine, or the designer of the robot? Likewise, who is the designer of a spider’s web? the few million neurons in the insect’s head? – or the designer of the insect?

          In other words, is it Turtles all the way down? – or up? Ultimately, can mindless natural processes explain the highly symmetrical granite cube, or is intelligence, on at least the human level, required to exist at the very beginning of time in order to explain the existence of the cube?

          As I have maintained consistently science is derivative of high level abstract brain function and has a specific target (the natural world), assumption (methodological naturalism) and collection of data (the peer reviewed published literature). In contrast everyone classifies and can recognize the patterns made by a living organisms interaction with their environment.

          Again, this cannot be achieved without proposing a hypothesis of design – a hypothesis which can be tested and potentially falsified. That’s a use, a valid use, of scientific methods and rational argument. And, this is the basis of anthropology and forensics – both valid sciences. It is even the basis of SETI.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  47. Sean&#032Pitman:
    I’ve read quite a bit of Bonhoeffer and even a bit of Barth, but I don’t see how they help you out of your irrational philosophical hole?Provine was right.There is no real conflict between any religion and popular science as long as that religion is effectively (rationally/empirically) indistinguishable from atheism.All your empirical/rational arguments are in fact atheistic as far as I can tell.So, Provine was spot on.

    So let me get this clear. You accept the doctrine and understanding of an atheist Provine as correct but deny that Christians such as Bonhoeffer and Barth have anything to offer in terms of Christian belief.

    What a topsy turvy world we live in. We truly must be in your glory Sean.

    ‘I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.

    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. ‘Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘

    ‘But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.

    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’




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    • There are a lot of people who believe in a personal God for irrational or metaphysical reasons – even famous theologians. These same people may also hold to beliefs about the empirical world that are atheistic – that do not include God in any sort of rationally detectable manner. It is in this sense that Provine was right. Such religious views are not really opposed to atheism in any sort of meaningful way since they are rationally indistinguishable from atheism. In other words, religious views that are not based on rational or empirical arguments are, by definition, no rational threat to atheism. I mean really, what does your personal experience mean to someone else who does not have access to your own, very personal, internal experience?

      It is interesting to me that, in some ways, your own views on Christianity are more mainstream than was Bonhoeffer’s. For example, Bonhoeffer (someone I consider to be a truly great man of high moral and ethical integrity, bravery, and sincerity) seemed to question the historical reality of the virgin birth of Jesus as well as His resurrection. He argued against viewing the Biblical account about Jesus’ resurrection as an ontological account – an account about something that happened in real space and time. He seemed to argue that Scripture’s religious truth is possible without and does not require historical truth (which is true on some level – as is the case for a good moral novel).

      In comparison, you accept the virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus, but claim that it was not a physical resurrection; or at least that His body was no longer carbon-based – a very different view from what appears to be Bonhoeffer’s view about the historicity of these events.

      So, which view is correct? Does it matter? I could come up with a view very different from both of you and it seems to me like you’d have no problem with it – as long as I claimed no empirically-rational basis for my view vs. yours… right in line with what Provine pointed out.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        I have only read 5 of Bonhoeffers books but do not have the same understanding of his theology versus what I have articulated here. Perhaps you have been unduly influenced by the recent usurpers of his term religionless Christianity and have imputed to Bonhoeffer views that only later writers claim he had. Where is your evidence for Bonhoeffers views on the resurrection and the virgin birth? Citations from his books would be useful. I do not think he thought these arguments were really relevant to the issues facing Christianity then or now.

        Concerning the virgin birth I am sympathetic with Martin Luther on this but think it largely irrelevant to Christianity. Like Paul it is a point I am happy to tick off for the sake of the weaker bretharen not at all a core of Christianity that fundamentalists would argue.

        Where I wholeheartedly agree with Bonhoeffer is that Christianity must be Christocentric as he articulates well in creation and fall; the core of Christianity is with the ethic of Jesus including his pacificism and continuing incarnation in his community of faith; the Sanctorum Communio. I agree that we can never know exactly the provenance of the scriptures but take the leap of Faith and accept that it is God communicating with His Church and we as His disciples must make it relevant to the world in which we live. It is not surprising in this light that both Bonhoeffer, Barth and I would add John Yoder all see a new ethics as the critical response of disciples to the incarnate Christ. It is not an accident that he viewed Ethics as his magnum opus though he never completed it.

        Bonhoeffer having studied under Harnack obviously understood historical criticism and the contribution of modern scholarship as well as the fundamentalist response to that scholarship with which he was less than impressed. My concurrence with that opinion I do not think has ever been in doubt in the views I have expressed on this site.




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        • Like you, Bonhoeffer appears to have had a religion of ethics. However, even you, even Barth, seem to believe more in the historical claims of the Bible than Bonhoeffer apparently did. He was more captivated by the ethical claims of the Bible, such as the Sermon on the Mount, than any of the empirical claims of the Bible, especially the miraculous claims, which he considered to be largely if not entirely mythical – an important myth, but mythical none-the-less.

          Bonhoeffer thought of religious and secular truth as two completely distinct realms of knowledge. However, for him, the myth of the Bible was still “true” in the sense of imparting a present relationship with God. This truth, however, was not viewed by Bonhoeffer as being dependent upon a literal historical basis. For example, like you, he believed that historical criticism proved that Jesus did not speak very many of the words ascribed to him in the Bible. Yet, Bonhoeffer, didn’t dwell on historical criticism and never really preached on it – for fear of offending people in his congregation and causing them to distrust something that had been a source of comfort to them. Instead, he seemed to want to maintain an outward semblance of traditional views. So, he preached on the significance of scriptures without referring to their unhistorical character. In this, he was similar to Barth who, in “The Epistle to the Romans” issued an appeal to faith in the whole Bible as the Word of God without reference to the historical or scientific accuracy, or rather inaccuracy, of its statements.

          Irrationalism (i.e., the view that knowledge or truth is primarily non-rational and non-conceptual; very similar to faithism or fideism) was an important aspect of both Barth’s and Bonhoeffer’s thought – since they were both heavily influenced by Nietzsche (a very popular figure in Weimar Germany). Bonhoeffer continually emphasized the need for faith and revelation, because truth “is not the clear sky of concepts and ideas” (Bonhoeffer, GS, 4:83). Their “irrationalism” affected their understanding of the Bible by providing them with radically new ways of conceiving of Biblical history and language – compared to that of traditional Christianity. As with Nietzsche, instead of dismissing the stories of the Bible as worthless myths, Bonhoeffer and Barth began to value them as a form of non-conceptual knowledge derived through instinct or intuition, or inspiration – a central feature in Nietzsche’s thinking. Nietzsche deplored the role of history in destroying illusions and myths and considered primitive Christianity a vibrant myth that degenerated when Christians began promoting Jesus as a truly historical figure instead of an important myth-maker. For Nietzsche, Jesus was not so much a temporal reality, but “an ‘eternal’ factuality, a psychological symbol redeemed from the concept of time.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Antichrist, section 34.)

          Such influence seems to have had its effect on both Barth and Bonhoeffer. For example, Barth called the resurrection of Jesus an “unhistorical event” (Barth, Der Romerbrief, 175, 183) or part of “superhistory” that is unaccessable to the usual methods of historical investigation (unlike the history of Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon, etc.). He went on to argue, in 1920, that “It is beside the point even to ask whether they [miracles in the Bible] are historical and possible. They make no claim to being either. They signalize the unhistorical, the impossible, the new time that is coming” (Barth, Word of God and Word of Man, 91). Yet, Barth still seemed to believe in such miracles, just that they were accessible only by faith or belief, not by empirical means (similar to your own views).

          Bonhoeffer, on the other hand, appears to have taken these ideas a step further. Concerning the resurrection of Jesus, Bonhoeffer wrote that “It is… senseless and crude to make of it a bare historical fact, for God wants to appear in history. The resurrection occurs in the sphere of faith, of revelation; every other interpretation takes from it its decisive character: God in history” (Bonhoeffer, Jugend und Studium, 1918-1927).

          In 1928 Bonhoeffer went on to argue that the Bible is filled with material that is historically unreliable. Even the life of Jesus is “overgrown with legends” and myths so that we know little about the life of Jesus. Bonhoeffer concluded that “Vita Jesu scribi non potest” (the life of Jesus cannot be written). In Christology (1933) Bonhoeffer claimed that through faith historical facts were not past, but present; not contingent, but absolute; not historical, but contemporary. He further asserted that “the Jesus that cannot be historically grasped is the object of resurrection faith.” In other words, real history is pretty much irrelevant to faith – according to Bonhoeffer.

          There are two passages in, “The cost of Discipleship” that seem to clearly reveal Bonhoeffer’s view on the unhistorical character of the Bible. One is only part of a sentence: “We cannot and may not go behind the word of scripture to the real events . . .” The other statement is found in a footnote:

          “The direct testimony of the scriptures is frequently confounded with ontological propositions. The error is the essence of fanaticism in all its forms. For example, if we take the statement that Christ is risen and present as an ontological proposition, it inevitably dissolves the unity of the scriptures, for it leads us to speak of a mode of Christ’s presence which is different e.g. from the Synoptic Jesus. The truth that Jesus Christ is risen and present to us is then taken as an independent statement with an ontological significance which can be applied critically to other ontological statements, and it is thus exalted into a theological principle.”

          Bonhoeffer went on to explain that, “The confusion of ontological statements with proclaiming testimony is the essence of all fanaticism. The sentence: Christ is risen and present, is the dissolution of the unity of the scripture if it is ontologically understood… The sentence: Christ is risen and present, strictly understood only as testimony of scripture, is true only as the word of scripture. (Bonhoeffer, Nachfolge, 219-21).

          Bonhoeffer called the Word of God the word of decision (Entscheidungs-wort) for those who hear it. Decisionism is also a dominant theme in “The Cost of Discipleship,” where interpretation of the Bible is divorced from all scientific or historical or empirical considerations of any kind. In exchange, simple obedience to the commands of Jesus are promoted without any external reference. The anti-rationalist disposition of Bonhoeffer caused him to replace critical questioning of the Biblical text with a practice-oriented understanding of scripture – a form of practical or ethical Christianity. This concept of a “simple” understanding of Scripture was mistranslated into English in “The Cost of Discipleship” as “literal interpretation”, when, in fact, this term does not refer to the conveyance of any kind of historical, scientific, or ontological knowledge. In other words, it does not correspond in any way with the evangelical conception of a “literal understanding” of Scripture. To the contrary, Bonhoeffer conceived of the “simple understanding” of Scripture as something that captivates the will and demands a decision – apparently due to the ethical or moral weight of its claims.

          Again, Nietzsche had also promoted a similar concept: “It is not a ‘faith’ that distinguishes the Christian: the Christian acts, he is distinguished by acting differently.” Nietzsche listed off actions that set the Christians apart, all of which he drew from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Nietzsche consistently stressed the primacy of the deed and the will and rejected all dogmas, formulas, and ontology. In the same way, Bonhoeffer’s call to obedience, specifically with regard to the Sermon on the Mount in his “The Cost of Discipleship,” should not be confused with a traditional much less fundamentalist view of scripture. It is actually closer to a Nietzsche’s view.

          As another example, Bonhoeffer wrote:

          “My view is that the full content, including the “mythological” concepts, must be kept—the New Testament is not a mythological clothing of a universal truth!; rather this mythology (resurrection, etc.) is the thing itself!—but the concepts must be interpreted in such a way as not to make religion a precondition of faith.” (Bonhoeffer to Bethge, 8 June 1944).

          This mythology, to include the resurrection, “is the thing itself”? Quite clearly this is not traditional Christianity – far from it. It certainly isn’t the Christianity promoted by the New or Old Testament writers who clearly believed in the ontological historicity of their accounts and of the importance of miracles such as the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth to the meaning of key elements of Christianity – to include the foundation of the Gospel’s message of hope.

          Christian ethics is one thing, an important thing to be sure. However, Christianity doesn’t have a lock on Christian ethics. Many other religions and philosophies promote the same or similar ethics. A key element of Christianity is the empirical claim that Jesus was God and lived and died and was raised from the dead in a most miraculous manner – in real history – that this isn’t just some ethical myth or story or “cunningly devised fable”.

          In short, Bonhoeffer’s view, like yours and Barth’s, offers no serious challenge to modern neo-Darwinism that I can see. No one from the neo-Darwinian camp is going to argue with you because it would be pointless and meaningless to argue with a religion of “irrationalism”. However, find someone who seems to seriously present Christianity on an ontological/empirical basis – and you have a real battle on your hands (which appears to be the main reason why you’re arguing with me – because I’m promoting the need for an empirical basis for faith).

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          Thanks for your comments

          I must say you seem to have been influenced by Richard Weikart without actually reading much of Bonhoeffer himself.

          http://www.csustan.edu/history/faculty/weikart/metaxas.htm

          Your comments do however say more about your ideas and preconceptions than about Bonhoeffer’s.

          What do you say;

          1] You see not value in myth

          2] You think Bonhoeffer deceptive in his reconciliation of rational and scholarly understanding of the Bible with Christian thoughts and his Christocentric preaching.

          3] You impose the fundamentalist desire for biblical inherency and see the neo-orthodox acceptance of a message conveyed in myth and a fallible scripture as irrational and therefore of no value.

          4] You clearly overvalue the contribution of Neitzche to Bonhoeffers thoughts without recognizing his more nuanced theological views including interestingly his opinion on the dismal nature of liberal American theology he experienced at Union.

          5] You view the leap of faith suggested by Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer or Barth as simply irrational rather than an honest reconciliation of Christianity with its lack of empirical evidence.

          6] You view the only valid Christianity as that which has empirical support at least by evidence defined as such by your unique definition of science.

          7] Why would a neo-orthodox Christian want to challenge conventional science? Why would anyone want to deny reality?




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        • Certainly I have been influenced by Weikart, and for good reason. As far as my reading of Bonhoeffer, Weikart’s conclusions appear to me to be correct. You also seem to agree with these conclusions as well.

          1] You see not value in myth

          Where did I say that? Certainly there is value in myth – as in any good moral fable. I love a good myth or fable. Even Jesus loved to use myths and fable to get across important truths. However, there’s a big difference between a moral fable and a historically true story. Even children understand the difference and the added meaning of an ontologically true story.

          2] You think Bonhoeffer deceptive in his reconciliation of rational and scholarly understanding of the Bible with Christian thoughts and his Christocentric preaching.

          I never suggested that he was being deceptive. I think he was being open and honest about his position.

          3] You impose the fundamentalist desire for biblical inherency and see the neo-orthodox acceptance of a message conveyed in myth and a fallible scripture as irrational and therefore of no value.

          As already noted, a moral fable or myth does have value on a moral or ethical basis. However, a historically true story has added value of hope that the ontological/empirical claims for the future within the story might also be true…

          4] You clearly overvalue the contribution of Neitzche to Bonhoeffers thoughts without recognizing his more nuanced theological views including interestingly his opinion on the dismal nature of liberal American theology he experienced at Union.

          Just because Bonhoeffer’s views were more nuanced than Neitzche doesn’t mean that he wasn’t influenced by Neitzche. He was. Also, just because he had problems with numerous liberal theologians doesn’t mean that his ideas were remotely like historical Christianity. Bonhoeffer was very unorthodox in his views on Christianity – more so than I think most people who read about Bonhoeffer imagine.

          5] You view the leap of faith suggested by Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer or Barth as simply irrational rather than an honest reconciliation of Christianity with its lack of empirical evidence.

          They themselves viewed their views as “irrational” or “non-rational”. If you have no empirical basis for your “reconciliation”, outside of your own personal desires and/or experience with a “myth”, how can you argue for any rational leap of faith? There simply isn’t one. There is nothing more than fideism here in a lovely story when it comes to belief in any of the empirical claims of the Bible – which is why Bonhoeffer didn’t seem to believe in or think important the doctrines of a literal virgin birth for or resurrection of Jesus.

          6] You view the only valid Christianity as that which has empirical support at least by evidence defined as such by your unique definition of science.

          A science defined by testability and potential falsifiability is hardly unique to me. And, any faith or belief (in something which exists outside of the mind) which is not based, to at least some degree, on empirical evidence is, by definition, irrational to anyone else but the individual. Such a faith is therefore not rationally “valid” to anyone outside of the individual’s own personal perspective and experience. Such a faith is not generally accessible – in comparison to a faith that is based on generally accessible empirical evidence and rational apologetics (i.e., science).

          7] Why would a neo-orthodox Christian want to challenge conventional science? Why would anyone want to deny reality?

          Exactly! Why deny what you believe to be reality in favor of a faith that does just that? – that denies everything you think you know about the world in which you live?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  48. Sean&#032Pitman:
    I’ve read quite a bit of Bonhoeffer and even a bit of Barth, but I don’t see how they help you out of your irrational philosophical hole?Provine was right.There is no real conflict between any religion and popular science as long as that religion is effectively (rationally/empirically) indistinguishable from atheism.All your empirical/rational arguments are in fact atheistic as far as I can tell.So, Provine was spot on.There is no conflict between your position and that of the atheist Darwinist because your positions are empirically/rationally indistinguishable.No neo-Darwinist would take the time of day to argue with you because your position is not at all threatening to neo-Darwinism.

    Why am I not surprised. It seems you have read everything anyone mentions. Precisely which bits of Bonhoeffer have you read?




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  49. Pauluc is right. Finding a cube reveals nothing more than that intelligence exists. It says absolutely nothing about the origin of the intelligence itself. It could just as well have been created by an evolved human, or an evolved being from another planet. The observation merely begs the question of where the intelligent mind came from to create the perfect cube. It does nothing to solve anything whatsoever about origins.




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    • Finding a cube reveals nothing more than that intelligence exists.

      That’s a very significant conclusion – if rationally/empirically supported by valid scientific methodologies. It’s by no means meaningless or unimportant to the question of origins. It’s the first step – a very important, even vital, first step.

      It says absolutely nothing about the origin of the intelligence itself.

      So what? Why is such knowledge required before the importance of the discovery of intelligence behind a given artefact, on at least the human level of intelligence, can be realized?

      It could just as well have been created by an evolved human, or an evolved being from another planet.

      That’s right – but it is very unlikely to have been made by any mindless or “raw” force of nature. Whatever it was, it was intelligent – and that’s a very important first step conclusion.

      The observation merely begs the question of where the intelligent mind came from to create the perfect cube. It does nothing to solve anything whatsoever about origins.

      It solves a great deal about origins – regardless of the identity or basic nature of the intelligent agent. Again, the seemingly simple conclusion that “intelligence exists” behind a given artefact is a very scientifically important conclusion – all by its little self. One doesn’t need to know where the intelligence came from or the specific identity of the intelligent agent to know that whatever or whomever it was, it was intelligent – and that’s a key concept here.

      Such a conclusion, if possible for the origin of living things and/or their diversity, would be a dramatic and very meaningful conclusion that would in fact suggest a great deal about origins – and neo-Darwinians know it (as does Pauluc). That is why they attempt to define intelligent design hypotheses, a priori as “non-scientific” or “psuedoscience” – even with regard to granite cubes, radio signals and other such inanimate objects and phenomena (as Pauluc has suggested in this discussion). They do not want to open the door to even the suggestion of the possibility that real artefactual features could be empirically detected in living things in particular. Such a conclusion would be absolutely devastating to the philosophy of neo-Darwinism and methodological naturalism in general. That is why they turn themselves into pretzels trying to redefine their conclusions of intelligent design for granite cubes and the like as being somehow different from “Intelligent Design Hypotheses”. Still, a rose by any other name…

      Talk about Alice in Wonderland and the redefinition of terms and concepts beyond their generally understood meaning – you’ve just seen it.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        “Talk about Alice in Wonderland and the redefinition of terms and concepts beyond their generally understood meaning – you’ve just seen it.”

        Sorry Sean it is you who disagrees with

        1] The conventional understanding of science as process and repository that I have articulated on may occasions and which is what a consensus such as Wiki would describe.

        2] The universally accepted definition of science as being based on methodological naturalism

        3] The description of ID found in wikipedia

        “Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank based in the U.S. The Institute defines it as the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”[1][2] It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins” rather than “a religious-based idea”.[3] All the leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute [n 1][4] and believe the designer to be the Christian deity.”

        4] My definition of artefact is nothing extraordinary and conforms to the commonly accepted definitions at wiktionary

        http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/artifact#English

        Which includes the definition of 5 which includes product of agent not human which is what I have argued for in describing examples of products of agents lacking intelligence.

        5] Michael Behe who under oath at Dover gave testimony which the Judge summarized as

        “Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God.”

        Its origins are in religion and not science and it is deceptive to suggest this is a view derived from any conventional science.
        and indeed at Dover Behe conceded

        “there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred”

        and

        his definition of ‘theory’ as applied to intelligent design was so loose that astrology would also qualify.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Behe

        I suggest you read again (since I just know you will have read bits of it already)

        Humes, E. Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul. (HarperCollins, 2008).




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        • “Talk about Alice in Wonderland and the redefinition of terms and concepts beyond their generally understood meaning – you’ve just seen it.” – Sean Pitman

          Sorry Sean it is you who disagrees with

          1] The conventional understanding of science as process and repository that I have articulated on may occasions and which is what a consensus such as Wiki would describe.

          You yourself have already admitted that science can be and has been done, very well, on an individual basis. Was Leonardo da Vinci not a scientist? Of course, you call such examples “exceptions to the rule”. But these “exception” prove my point.

          You see, I’m not the only one who believes that scientific methodologies can and have been successfully used on an individual basis – regardless of what anyone else thinks or does and sometimes in the face of the “majority” of the intelligentsia of the day.

          How then have I redefined the term “science” as being based in that which is testable and potentially falsifiable? You’re the one arguing that this isn’t enough…

          2] The universally accepted definition of science as being based on methodological naturalism

          Which isn’t based on testability or the potential for falsifiability as most scientists define the term. As such, some of the popular notions of methodological naturalism, such as idea that an intelligent agent cannot, by a priori definition, be detected behind any feature of living things, is a philosophical position, not true science – in the testable potentially falsifiable non-just-so-story-telling sense of the word.

          3] The description of ID found in wikipedia

          “Intelligent design (ID) is a form of creationism promulgated by the Discovery Institute, a politically conservative think tank based in the U.S. The Institute defines it as the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.”[1][2] It is a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as “an evidence-based scientific theory about life’s origins” rather than “a religious-based idea”.[3] All the leading proponents of intelligent design are associated with the Discovery Institute [n 1][4] and believe the designer to be the Christian deity.”

          The basic conclusion of intelligent design behind a given artefact is not limited to Christians or any religious organization, but is in fact part of mainstream science – to include forensics and anthropology and even SETI. What is the fundamental difference and methodology between these sciences and any effort to detect true artefacts in various features of the universe and of living things? Absolutely nothing. The arguments and methodologies are identical.

          It is simply the conclusion that the identity of the designer is the God of the Bible that is in question here. Certainly no one could conclude that God was clearly responsible for the production of some granite cube found on the surface of an alien planet like Mars. That conclusion goes well beyond what the evidence itself can support. However, the argue that it is impossible to at least detect the need for an intelligent designer of some kind behind such an artefact is just as ludicrous. Clearly intelligent design is a valid scientific hypothesis that can and is commonly used as a key part of real scientific investigations.

          4] My definition of artefact is nothing extraordinary and conforms to the commonly accepted definitions at wiktionary

          http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/artifact#English

          Which includes the definition of 5 which includes product of agent not human which is what I have argued for in describing examples of products of agents lacking intelligence.

          I have no problem with your definition of artefact (again, mindless robots make cars). Where I have a problem is when you call a granite cube clear evidence of intelligent design on at least the human level of intelligence and design, but then claim that you aren’t promoting a hypothesis of intelligent design. What are you promoting? What would you call it? It’s like you’re trying to make English words that clearly mean one thing mean something else entirely – just like Humpty Dumpty…

          5] Michael Behe who under oath at Dover gave testimony which the Judge summarized as

          “Consider, to illustrate, that Professor Behe remarkably and unmistakably claims that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God.”

          Its origins are in religion and not science and it is deceptive to suggest this is a view derived from any conventional science. and indeed at Dover Behe conceded

          “there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred”

          and

          his definition of ‘theory’ as applied to intelligent design was so loose that astrology would also qualify.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Behe

          I suggest you read again (since I just know you will have read bits of it already)

          Humes, E. Monkey Girl: Evolution, Education, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul. (HarperCollins, 2008).

          Oh please. Astrology would only qualify if there were actually some evidence suggesting deliberate design was necessary to explain some artefactual feature. The argument Behe was trying to get across is that one should not make a priori decisions as to what is or is not designed before testing and research is actually performed. Such a priori decisions are not based on science, but philosophy. Also, the argument that the identity of the designer must also be hypothesized is not a requirement of detecting the actions of an intelligent designer of some kind.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  50. Sean&#032Pitman:
    I ask you yet again, is your car, which is made by mindless robots, a product of intelligent design? – or mindless robots?

    If the artifact in question cannot ultimately be produced by the “raw” forces of mindless nature, then, ultimately, intelligent design is required to explain the origin of the artifact.It doesn’t matter if a giant space worm produced the granite cube – or some factory full of mindless robots.Ultimately, at least human level intelligence was required to explain the origin of the cube on the alien planet.How so?Because nothing that could make the cube could itself exist without being made by at least human level intelligence or greater…

    It was your brain that invoked human-like intelligence and creativity to explain the cube.You didn’t choose any other potential option – not a “raw” mindless force of nature or anything else as a potential explanation for the granite cube artifact.You picked human-level intelligence and creativity.Now, why is that? – if you’re not really an IDist with regards to the origin of highly symmetrical polished granite cubes?

    The fact is that you are an IDist when it comes to such granite cubes – even though you really really really don’t want to admit it in so many words for some strange reason

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    Yes of course humans manifest intelligence and design and construct elaborate artefacts even using intermediary designed agents to effect their construction. So what?

    Big brains make elaborate objects that is so blindingly obvious that I cant believe we are even arguing about it.

    The real argument is about the extension of this phenomena of toolmaking into the metaphysical and an argument about imputing an intelligence and design for the causation of the natural world inanimate and animate based on the way we recognize atefact as the products of actions from brains of living creatures.

    You are arguing from the clear products of brains that we understand to include everything we see and experience as an artefact of some overarching cosmic intelligence.

    I say no all the artefacts of intelligence we can examine empirically can be attributed to the brains we see in our natural world.

    Why do you even need to go through the tenuous step of arguing about the supposed inexplicable ontogeny of the design to infer a designer rather than simply skipping all the pseudoscientific woo and just saying like all Christians; we believe that there is a supernatural back-story and beyond the useful and clear scientific explanation there is a God we accept by faith as the creator. A Christian doctrine of creation. Why the insecurity and clamouring for scientific recognition and legitimacy of your view by a supposed scientific method?

    Are you dualist?




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    • Yes of course humans manifest intelligence and design and construct elaborate artefacts even using intermediary designed agents to effect their construction. So what?

      The “so what?” is in how artifacts are detect as such – as the result of deliberate intelligent design on at least the human level. What is the rational mechanism? what is the science? behind such an ability to detect or recognize artifacts as true artifacts rather than the result of some mindless or “raw” force of nature?

      Big brains make elaborate objects that is so blindingly obvious that I cant believe we are even arguing about it.

      We are arguing about it because you don’t believe that some elaborate objects that exist, perhaps some of the most elaborate objects in the universe, are true artefacts (i.e., living things or the fundamental structure of the anthropologic universe itself). That is why you have been arguing that there is no real “science” to the detection of any kind of artifact – regardless of how simple it may be (i.e., a simple granite cube). You claim that classification of such artifacts as artifacts is not a “science” – when in fact it is (as are all useful classification systems).

      The real argument is about the extension of this phenomena of toolmaking into the metaphysical and an argument about imputing an intelligence and design for the causation of the natural world inanimate and animate based on the way we recognize atefact as the products of actions from brains of living creatures.

      The real argument has to do with the concept of universal application of scientific arguments for design – regardless of if the medium be the material of granite, radio waves, or strings of carbon-based molecules. The fact that biological systems are put outside of the realm of detecting true artefacts is a philosophical position, not a scientific one.

      You are arguing from the clear products of brains that we understand to include everything we see and experience as an artefact of some overarching cosmic intelligence.

      I’m arguing that there is a universal application to the rational basis for detecting true artefacts. If you don’t have a “raw” mechanism for explaining a given artefact, upon what rational basis can you conclude, ultimately, that mindless “raw” natural processes were still responsible? – that it really isn’t a true artefact even though it meets every criterion for an artefact outside of biological systems?

      I say no. All the artefacts of intelligence we can examine empirically can be attributed to the brains we see in our natural world.

      But you just claimed that even if our granite cube were found on an alien planet (not in our world) that you would still conclude that the activity of at least human-level intelligence had been involved in its production. Again, you’re not being consistent in your application of the basis for detecting design.

      Why do you even need to go through the tenuous step of arguing about the supposed inexplicable ontogeny of the design to infer a designer rather than simply skipping all the pseudoscientific woo and just saying like all Christians; we believe that there is a supernatural back-story and beyond the useful and clear scientific explanation there is a God we accept by faith as the creator. A Christian doctrine of creation. Why the insecurity and clamouring for scientific recognition and legitimacy of your view by a supposed scientific method?

      Why not claim it if it is obviously there? Why not show that the signature of design is evident in nature when it meets the criteria of detecting design in anything else? How is it “pseudoscientific woo” when you yourself claim that you can detect deliberate intelligence behind the origin of a granite cube? Were you being pseudoscientific or otherwise irrational when you came to this conclusion?

      Again, you’re just upset with the implications of discovering design in living things. You don’t care if evidence for intelligent design is discovered on Mars or some other alien planet, or anywhere else in the universe, as long as one doesn’t suggest that God was involved… Isn’t that true?

      In summary, you do in fact claim to be able to rationally detect intelligent design. You are an IDist on at least some level. That’s simply undeniable given the statements you’ve made thus far. You just don’t like it when the suggestion of God is brought to the table. But, I didn’t claim that it was necessarily God who created this or that from a purely scientific perspective devoid of any other information. What I said is that certain artefacts are clearly designed by some extraordinarily intelligent and creative designer. If one can get at least this far, I leave the discovery of the actual identity of the designer up to the individual – up to you. I cannot prove God. No one can prove the supernatural. However, one can in fact present very very good evidence, scientific evidence, for design behind various features/artefacts within the universe. The argument that ID is pseudoscience is itself anti-science… contrary to what is otherwise overwhelmingly intuitive to even the casual observer (i.e,. as with highly symmetrical granite cubes or something equivalent Paley’s watch found on an alien planet).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean. As usual you are right enough to be confusing.

        1] I should revise my assessment of your thought experiment of a cube at an alien location. If we break it down into its components we see what I have actually said. All experience tells us that atefacts are a product of living things and are recognized by even primitive man without recourse to science. My hypothesis is that there will not in reality ever be your granite cube on mars except that products of a human brain put it there. Now test that hypothesis.

        2] Further I do not agree with your inextricable linking of design with intelligence. This I think is a fallacious argument that appears to be based on an extrapolation, without sufficient justification, of our experience with complex artefacts. In introducing the concept of arefacts of unintelligent creatures like ants and spiders that most certainly do not have any preconceive of a design I was attempting to move the discussion beyond the simple linking of design with intelligence which is the core of the simplistic ID argument.

        3] As for living objects they may appear designed for a purpose and complex but since Darwin and Wallace the basis for this has been extensively elaborated as a process of natural selection which is not at all “intelligent” or based on cognition of planning. I know you do not recognize natural selection as anything expect an impotent curiosity but on this you differ from almost all modern biologists.

        4] I am happy to accept that you have bested me in logic and knowledge and concede that ID may be the new wave of human thought and represent a quantum leap in understanding in biology but I suspect not. I will go back to my real work and wait expectantly for Bob Helms response to my questions about your orthodoxy.

        Best wishes
        Paul




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        • @Pauluc: “Further I do not agree with your inextricable linking of design with intelligence. …”

          Suppose astronauts were to find on Mars an accurate and very complex formula for producing the Atomic Bomb.

          Would you conclude that the weight of evidence would lead us to conclude that said formula was most likely the product of intelligent design or simply the result of natural selection?




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        • Sean. As usual you are right enough to be confusing.

          1] I should revise my assessment of your thought experiment of a cube at an alien location. If we break it down into its components we see what I have actually said. All experience tells us that atefacts are a product of living things and are recognized by even primitive man without recourse to science.

          That’s not true. The hypothesis of artefact is a scientific hypothesis that is open to testing and potential falsification. There are many instances where anthropologists, for example, have hypothesized that a given phenomenon is a true artefact when, upon further investigation, it turned out not to be an artefact at all – nothing more than a natural “raw” formation. Fontechevade cave comes to mind as a ready example of this.

          The same is true of a fragment of rock that has been interpreted to be a tool of some early hominid ancestor. Sometimes such rocks are not so clearly artefactual upon closer examination and turn out to be very very similar to naturally produced stones nearby.

          So, you see, the hypothesis of artefact is a scientific hypothesis that can be tested and gain predictive value over time.

          My hypothesis is that there will not in reality ever be your granite cube on mars except that products of a human brain put it there. Now test that hypothesis.

          That’s not the question you originally answered. The hypothetical is important because, even if no known human ever visited a particular planet, the discovery of such a granite cube would always be interpreted as a true artefact by scientists or laymen alike – even you. Therefore, you are an IDist on at least this level.

          I’m actually surprised by this particular argument. In effect you seem to be arguing against SETI as a true scientific enterprise – which is hardly mainstream. Most scientists agree that the search for non-human intelligent activity in the universe is a valid scientific endeavor. The only question is, upon what rational basis could such an endeavor be undertaken? and, does this rational scientific basis have universal application?

          Clearly, the answer to both those questions is yes – even for you if you are pushed into a corner.

          2] Further I do not agree with your inextricable linking of design with intelligence. This I think is a fallacious argument that appears to be based on an extrapolation, without sufficient justification, of our experience with complex artefacts. In introducing the concept of arefacts of unintelligent creatures like ants and spiders that most certainly do not have any preconceive of a design I was attempting to move the discussion beyond the simple linking of design with intelligence which is the core of the simplistic ID argument.

          There is indeed very good justification for linking design with certain artefacts – as you yourself have done with the granite cube. Why did you do that? I think it’s quite obvious. It doesn’t matter if such a cube was really produced by a robot (as with robots making your car on an assembly line) or a giant space worm, because, ultimately, you know as well as I do that whatever originally produced the cube was itself intelligently designed.

          3] As for living objects they may appear designed for a purpose and complex but since Darwin and Wallace the basis for this has been extensively elaborated as a process of natural selection which is not at all “intelligent” or based on cognition of planning. I know you do not recognize natural selection as anything expect an impotent curiosity but on this you differ from almost all modern biologists.

          We really cannot move on to discussing the creative potential of RM/NS until we at least agree on the basis for scientifically detecting a true artefact to begin with. Once you recognize the scientific rational to detecting design in general (as with granite cubes or cars or space ships or radio signals and the like) we can discuss the possibility of detecting design in living biosystems. However, if we can’t even agree on the basic science behind detecting design in SETI, in non-living things potentially found on alien planets, we have no basis to discuss design in living biomachines.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          Yes we can’t agree. I am happy to live with that. I can only be honest with what I know and understand.

          ID and fundamentalism are positions that I cannot understand though you have articulated them at great length.

          Sorry I must simply be obtuse.




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        • How can you not understand something that you yourself have promoted as the most likely explanation for certain artefacts? You’ve forwarded your own theory of intelligent design (ID) to explain a granite cube found on the surface of an alien planet. Yet, you argue that you don’t understand ID? Did you not just invoke human-type ID yourself?! – to explain the origin of a very simple granite cube?

          Now, I’m sure you feel just a bit baited, but you took the bait and ran with it. You did in fact propose a hypothesis of intelligent design. Of course, you got called on it. So, now you’re trying desperately to explain how your hypothesis of intelligent design, on at least a human level, isn’t really an intelligent design hypothesis. You’re arguing that the intelligence you’re proposing has a natural human-type brain with neurons and the whole nine yards. Ok, I have no problem with that. Assume that the intelligence has a brain. That’s not an issue – and doesn’t change the fact that your hypothesis is still an ID hypothesis. You are an IDist – regardless of the fact that you want your intelligent agent to have a brain.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

          P.S. Is God incapable of making things that look like stuff that someone with a physical brain may also create? What about the loaves of bread that Jesus made, with Divine Power and creativity, to feed a large crowd? – did they not look like bread that people with brains also make?




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  51. Bob&#032Helm: Bob Helm

    Bob I think you seem to have more understanding of the Science than most who comment here. I would like to ask a few specific questions to determine if Sean’s views are really mainstream Adventist.

    1] Do you accept that Christianity can be supported by logic and empirical data such that any scientist will arrive at belief in Christ if he simply follows logic as seems to be Seans main premise in disparaging blind faith.

    2] Do you accept the bible is infallible in its original autograph as is one of the main premises of Fundamentalism.

    3] Do you accept that ID is science and is devoid of religion in its conception as Sean seems to do.

    4] Do you accept that modern science is based on both a method and a repository of knowledge

    5] Do you think the method of science is based on methodological naturalism. Do you think the canonical repository of scientific knowledge is the peer reviewed literature?

    5] Do you accept that the Divinity of Christ is a position that must be ultimately accepted through a leap of Faith after accepting there is at least a logical polemic for Christian belief.




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  52. Professor&#032Kent: Wrong. I have argued that LSU and all SDA universities should teach both sides, always showing utmost respect for the SDA position.

    You also stated on another post that you agree with Lee Greer position on this issue. Are you sure you agree with him?

    The reason I am asking this is the fact that I did discuss this with Lee on numerous occasions and asked him why he refused to present both sides of the evolution controversy, and he responded that he was hired to teach science—not religion.

    In other words, if the evidence was not favorable to the theory of evolution, he considered that presenting it to his students would be equivalent to teaching religion.

    How can a scientist be so one sided? I always thought that a scientist should be unbiased and present all evidence, favorable and unfavorable to his personal opinion.

    Do you really agree with Greer on this? Are you open to contrary evidence to your pet interpretation of facts?




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  53. George&#032Evans: You do research. You publish this research in a journal that purposely excludes design. Therefore you are helping them make money and are an accomplice in a crime against the Creator.

    Are you priveledged to the rejected manuscript files of the roughly two dozen journals I’ve published in? How do you know that they purposely exclude articles about design?

    What do Professor Kent, Pauluc, Leonard Brand (SDA creationist), Walter Veith (SDA creationist), and Sean Pitman have in common? They all commit crimes againt the Creator. (Hey, I’m in great company!)




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  54. Sean&#032Pitman:
    The basis of my faith can be scrutinized by rational methodologies and is open to the potential for falsification.Your faith, on the other hand, cannot be rationally scrutinized and is therefore not open to even the potential for falsification.What is also interesting is that the fideists in this forum (you and Jeff Kent) have faiths that do not agree with each other.God is evidently telling you guys different things about reality… and neither one of you can change your faith based on any kind of argument or evidence presented because your faith has no rational basis – because faith, according to you guys, trumps human reasoning.

    Sean
    Tthat is all well and good but not what I asked.
    I asked only if you can apply logic and scientific scrutiny to the Canon and the Writings of Ellen White.

    In your schemata are you permitted to ask the things a scholar would be expected to ask.

    1] What is the source of the pentateuch?
    2] Who were the authors and when was it written
    3] What are the extrinsic evidences that support the provinenc
    4] Is it valid to compare the Genesis account and the earlier Enuna Elish
    5] Is it valid to assume that the writer of Genesis was aware of the earlier sumarian cultural value and was responding to an earlier world view.
    6] Is is valid to compare the genesis account of a flood with the earlier Gilgamesh epic?
    7] Is it possible to scrutinize the canon in terms of comparison of the Gospels that did not make the canon?
    8] Can you scrutinize the words of EG White as has been done by Ronald Numbers in his account of her life “Messenger of Health” and the clear points at which there was evolution of her ideas though based on a “I was shown”

    In a word do you rationally consider the basis for you acceptance of literalism?




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    • @Pauluc: Paul, I say bring it on. But don’t be surprised if I apply the same skeptical eye I apply to science falsely so called. You and I have lived through so real boners coming from the higher critical camp. For example trying to place the writing of Daniel up in the Roman Empire to avoid the question of how did a mere man know so much about the future. That must have hurt.

      Why don’t we hear more about the failures of higher criticism?




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  55. David&#032Read: Jeff, Lee Greer teaches that humans and apes descended from a common ancestor. (Louie Bishop gave Greer’s lecture slides to Educate Truth). If you’re closer to Lee Greer’s perspective, then you’re a Darwinist, not a creationist.

    I was referring to Lee’s document that you yourself liked and which you claim got him fired. The document that Church leaders also praised. I don’t agree at all with Lee’s position on apes and humans, and you should know that by now.

    David&#032Read:
    You seem to be saying that while you personally believe in Bible history, you think that science should continue to be done pursuant to atheistic assumptions and rules. I keep asking you why that’s okay, and you keep avoiding the question. Because when I phrase the question as “why do you think it is okay for Christians to do science pursuant to the assumption that God has never created or intervened in the material universe,” you realize that your position is indefensible, and you have nothing but your inane invasions to fall back on.

    Again, virtually all research conducted by SDA scientists has no bearing on origins, so of course I think it should be done using the conventions of science (defined by the culture of science, not Sean Pitman). I thought I already stated that SDA scientists should not seek to produce evidence supporting atheistic origins. I’ve never so much as hinted that would be okay. Maybe my post was deleted by Sean (some seem to be); I don’t know. I’m not trying to be evasive, nor do I understand why you think my position, fully in accord with that of the Church, is inane.




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    • The problem is that the “culture of science” defines certain ideas as “scientific” even though they are not testable, or potentially falsifiable. They are in fact philosophical ideas based on atheistic concepts. So, if you support the modern “conventions of science” in their entirety, you are in fact supporting the promotion of atheistic philosophies and just-so stories supporting atheistic doctrines – not true science.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean

        You are wrong on so many levels when you say “the modern “conventions of science” in their entirety” are equivalent to “atheistic philosophies”. I know you do not accept that you could perhaps be wrong but you are effectively accusing those scientist who participate in and accept the conventional rules of science but who believe in God of in fact being atheists despite their protestations.

        Everyone except you seems to accept that there is a distinction between philosophical naturalism and methodological naturalism. Mmm what is the statistical probability that you are right and everyone else is wrong in their difinitions?




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        • Ultimately, if you’re serious about evolution and its implications, you have to end up agreeing with the likes of Richard Dawkins or William Provine – at least on a “rational” level. For example, William Provine, late professor of biological sciences at Cornell University, gave a very interesting speech for a 1998 Darwin Day keynote address in which he pointed out the following:

          “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly.

          No gods worth having exist;

          No life after death exists;

          No ultimate foundation for ethics exists;

          No ultimate meaning in life exists; and

          Human free will is nonexistent.”

          Provine, William B. [Professor of Biological Sciences, Cornell University], “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life”, Abstract of Will Provine’s 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address.

          Provine also wrote, “In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.” – Academe January 1987, pp.51-52

          I have to agree…




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  56. “And, you cannot force your discovered truths on those who do not yet recognize these truths for themselves – according to their own mental capacity and God-given abilities to think rationally.”

    That’s right pahdner. Now what happens when a vast majority of rational minds recognize something like the law of gravity being an observable, verifiable, repeatable fact of nature? There will always going be the odd feller who is going to contest such provable, observable notions but such irrationality does not disprove the law only demonstates the illogic of the the odd feller out. Similarily if a bunch of fellers try to shoehorn ole Mother Nature into a pre ordained shoebox, She’ll breakout of that artificial container. So if a feller has to decide on Creationism vs. Evolution he needs to take a rational look and see what makes the most sense without any religious or atheistic bias. And that is truly possible.




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    • You don’t know for sure what is or isn’t possible from another’s perspective – their ability or inability for rational thought. Only God knows so only God can judge. Also, you don’t know for sure that the Law of Gravity has general application or that it will always work in the future as you predict. You can have a pretty good idea, but you cannot know with absolute certainty since you did not create this universe and you do not absolutely know the future. You can predict it as best as you can, but you do not know it with absolute certainty.




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  57. “The research is crystal clear: people walk away from Church in droves not because of theology or ideology, but largely because of relationships and experiences.” – Professor Kent

    At one time, this was perhaps true, at least in the case of Seventh-day Adventists, but it is no longer true. Commenting on the findings of the recent “Adventist Retention Study,” Ivan Williams states: “There was a rumor that people don’t leave the Adventist Church because of doctrinal issues, but that they leave because they had a bad experience. The article basically debunks that rumor, and now we understand that some people do leave over doctrinal issues. We cannot have a cookie-cutter approach to this. People leave the church for many and varied reasons, and we need to have many and varied reasons to connect and win them again.” It is clear that some people do leave the church and Christ because of intellectual reasons: The greatest intellectual problem people have is related to theodicy – “Where is God when bad things happen to good people.” And evolution is an intellectual problem that rates a close second. These two intellectual issues are responsible for leading countless people down the slippery slope to atheism.




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  58. Sean&#032Pitman:
    The problem is that the “culture of science” defines certain ideas as “scientific” even though they are not testable, or potentially falsifiable.They are in fact philosophical ideas based on atheistic concepts.So, if you support the modern “conventions of science” in their entirety, you are in fact supporting the promotion of atheistic philosophies and just-so stories supporting atheistic doctrines – not true science.
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    I referred to the “conventions of science” that are “defined by the culture of science.” The methods normally used by scientists are neutral with respect to religion. Yes, culture itself is different, as it is generally hostile toward religion.

    You seem more than a little biased in interpreting everything I write.




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    • How are the methods normally used by science substantively different from what I’m proposing? Could you please list off the scientific method to which you’re referring? Also, while you’re at it, could you please explain why such a method cannot be used to detect deliberate design in any feature of the universe or living things? – how such an effort is really “religion” not “science”?

      Why are you so opposed to presenting the evidence for high level design behind various features of the universe and within living things to our own students? – claiming that such evidence is extraordinarily weak? Why do you consistently argue so strongly against creation or intelligent design apologetics? You even seem to get angry when such evidence is presented.

      It cannot be, then, that you view arguments for creation or design as valid “science”. You seem to draw a very clear distinction – usually demanding some kind of absolute proof or direct demonstration before you’ll consider an argument for design “scientific”. You’ve made this unscientific demand over and over again in this forum, even in this very thread. I really don’t think you understand the rational basis for scientific methodologies or the basis for their usefulness…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  59. David&#032Read: @Professor Kent: So if you think creation science should be taught at least half the time, why do you have such a problem with this website???
    Right now, creation science isn’t being taught at all, only Darwinism.

    Half the time? You mean in the one course which deals with origins and speciation? Your statement that creation science isn’t being taught at all is factually incorrect, as LSU has long invited creationists to speak to their class, including the GRI and LLU geologists.

    My problems with the website, as I’ve stated many times, are more to do with the means than the end. I think you guys have done substantial harm to individuals, institutions, and the Church by seeking your own approach rather than following established Church protocols and respecting Church officials. I also think your excessive promotion of apologetics that glosses over problems leads to misplaced faith that sets people up to reject scripture when they see legitimate problems they were poorly informed of.

    What amazes me more than anything else is how my objection to these two things (inappropriate method and excess apologetics) makes me, in your mind and that of others, a hard-core Darwinist. It’s laughable and reflects poorly on your collective judgment of “evidence.”




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    • You haven’t limited yourself to arguing that I’ve been guilty of “excessive apologetics” on this website. You’ve been very passionate in trying to debunk most, if not all, evidences presented in favor of the Biblical perspective (even a few arguments presented directly by someone you seem to respect, Leonard Brand himself – using a pseudonym). Almost every time you’ve presented arguments regarding empirical evidence, you’ve argued like a Darwinist. You’ve primarily argued against the evidence presented to support the Biblical perspective – arguing just as fervently as some of the most ardent Darwinists that I’ve ever encountered, against such evidence – without offering any of your own.

      You seem bound and determined to make it appear like the overwhelming weight of empirical evidence does in fact support the neo-Darwinian claims on origins. Certainly my friend Leonard Brand doesn’t argue like this. He argues that, while there are unanswered questions and areas of difficulty, very good evidence is also in hand which is quite supportive of the Biblical perspective on origins. That is why I’d be very comfortable having someone like him teach in any one of our universities. He’s a real creationist who uses the tool of apologetics and empirical evidence to enhance the faith of his students in the Biblical perspective. You, on the other hand, seem to argue the opposite. That truly has seemed to me to have been one of your main goals in this forum – to promote the arguments of neo-Darwinism. No wonder you have the support of Darwinists like Paul Cameron and Erv Taylor. You’re making their arguments for them – arguments which do in fact undermine the claims of the Bible.

      And you are really surprised that people get confused regarding your true position? that you have little regard or need for empirical evidence in support of the Church’s position on origins?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. And you know perfectly well that I did in fact try to appeal to official church hierarchy for several years, behind the scenes, to address the problems at LSU – all without any effect whatsoever. At least now the issue is out in the open and no one can write to me any more, in great anguish, telling me that they had no idea what their sons and daughters were being taught at LSU. Something had to be done about the problem and I do not apologize for adding a degree transparency to what some of our universities, like LSU, really do stand for behind closed doors…




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      • @Sean Pitman: Sean wrote, “Something had to be done about the problem and I do not apologize for adding a degree transparency to what some of our universities, like LSU, really do stand for behind closed doors…”

        Thank you, Sean.




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean
        you say

        “No wonder you have the support of Darwinists like Paul Cameron and Erv Taylor.”

        I am by no means a Darwinist who follows Darwin as have tried to tell you many times before. I am a scientist and a follower of Christ that has a doctrine of creation and believes in a creator God. That I disagree with you on the mechanism of creation and have no difficulty separating a doctrine of creation from a theory of creation says more about you rigidity of thought and lack of imagination than it does about my heresy.




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        • Do you not believe that life has existed and evolved on this planet over hundreds of millions of years of time via the mechanism of random mutations and natural selection? If so, you are in fact a Darwinist who throws in a little theism into the mix which isn’t based on empirical evidence. What other label would you give yourself? – without being very imaginative indeed?




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          Christian. I stand in the tradition of Christians since the first century who accept the divinity of Christ and who none the less see that Christ as the community of faith must authentically interact with the knowledge that God has given in the physical reality that is around us.
          A member of a community of faith that sees itself as having a prophetic voice calling us to see God in what we know not in what we do not know and to follow the message of Grace and peace that we find in the authentic Christian community. To deliver a message that is not anachronistic and irrelevant but is responding to the world in which we live a world that is not at all the same as the Sumerian culture from which Abram was called.




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        • You don’t think Jesus was ever accused of being iconoclastic as well as anachronistic? Isn’t it possible to be both? Whatever is true, regardless of it’s age, it should be upheld and promoted – without being regarded as “outdated” or “out of fashion”. And, whatever is false or untrue, regardless of its age or popularity, it should be called out for what it is and discarded.

          Again, as William Provine so clearly explained, your religion is not a threat to neo-Darwinism because it is effectively, rationally, indistinguishable from atheism. Your empirical arguments, all of them thus far, are atheistic in nature as far as I’ve been able to tell. You have no rational basis, beyond your own personal feelings and metaphysical experience, for explaining to anyone else why you believe that God really exists or that He personally cares about you or others or why the Bible should be considered to be anything beyond a good moral fable – if that.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman: Have you even bothered to see what neo-orthodox Christian belief is? After wiki, Bonhoeffer and Barth would be reasonable places to start. At least criticize what I have publicly and repeatedly stated not what you think I have said in the light of your uncritical acceptance of Provine’s philosophy.




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        • @George Evans:
          Says who and when? You seem to be an ardent supporter of Sean’s empiricism but where is the physical evidence supporting your statement?

          I am surprised that you, having pursued a higher degree should be so dismissive of scholarship on this subject (Torah) and not critique your sources at least even a tiny little bit.




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        • @Pauluc: In this case the Torah is the evidence. Before we get to criticizing the Pentateuch, we should consider it’s provenance. It is not a document that we dug up in some foreign land. It has been in the continuous possession of the original “family”. And this lays in the dust the charge that it is an old document written in a dead language also.

          So what does the document say? It says that sometime during the event known as the Exodus, Moses, the leader of the group, chiseled out two tablets of stone, and God wrote on them. Shortly thereafter Moses apparently recorded the inscription, and we have it in Exodus chapter 20.

          Modern scholarship is a flash in the pan by comparison. For us, at this end of history to question this story’s veracity be we gentile or even Jew, is ludicrous.




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean

        You are right in that Leonard Brand has academic credentials and an understanding of science that does allow him, to teach the biology and geology of change over time in an Adventist institution but I would be very uncomfortable if he as you state it used

        “..the tool of apologetics and empirical evidence to enhance the faith of his students in the Biblical perspective”

        by which I presume you mean he uses this opportunity to teach a literalism and fundamentalism that denies the premise basic to all science; medical forensic, geological and biological.

        Consistent with my maintenance that science is both the process and the repository of knowledge (the peer reviewed literature) I would be happy for him to teach as science what he and others have written in the peer reviewed literature.

        That is science and anything else he may write or teach is merely editorial comment and should be identified as such and not taught as the core data of science.

        That is the way a scientist of integrity operates.




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        • You yourself admit that mainstream journals are not going to publish anything directly promoting creationism or intelligent design because, according to you, these notions are unscientific, equivalent to astrology, etc. Again, that’s a philosophical position, not a scientific position. It has nothing to do with scientific methodologies or the potential for testing or falsification (unlike your faith position which is extremely robust because it cannot be tested or potentially falsified).

          Again, an individual can do science, real science, outside of the popular philosophies of most modern scientists. And, such scientific discoveries and arguments need not be published in any particular journal for them to be valid hypotheses and/or theories that are testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. This has been true throughout history where good science was done on an individual basis or by a small group of scientists working independently of general peer review or publication.

          It’s good to at least try and think for one’s self every now and then instead of simply going with whatever happens to be popular in mainstream culture at the moment.




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        • @Sean Pitman: Thanks Sean

          To clarify
          1] I accept the basis of science as methodological naturalism. As far as I can see this is precisely what you do in your medical science if indeed you are practising science in the same way as a graduate of LSU is expected to do. Is that correct? Do you in fact practice methodological naturalism in your practice of medicine and pathology?

          2] I have faith that there is a supernatural realm not susceptible to verification by the methods of science based as they are on methodological naturalism. This is a faith position and I do not at all attempt to test it by conventional accepted methods of science. It is robust because unlike Provine I do not accept philosophical naturalism. If you do not believe in philosophical naturalism why do you keep quoting a proponent of this as though it had any value?

          3] If you in fact do believe that your belief in Christ can be validated by the science involving “testing or falsification” could you please spell out the scientific method and the experiment you propose.

          What is the hypothesis that you actually propose to test. Stated with sufficient specificity to have testable implications.
          What is the materials you propose to use
          what is the method of testing.
          what is the sample size
          what is the statistical method you will use

          Unless you can answer these questions you are not proposing anything vaguely resembling accepted science.




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        • There is no valid philosophy regarding the empirical world, or anything that exists outside of the mind, without a basis in the empirical world – at least some basis in empirical realities of some kind (which is what Provine was so clearly pointing out). If you accept a position that only mindless natural causes can be considered to be valid hypotheses to explain things that exist outside of your own mind (methodological naturalism), no rational basis remains for “philosophical supernaturalism” – or intelligent design of any kind for that matter (you just removed forensics, anthropology, and any hope of SETI from the realm of science).

          As far as what I view as empirical evidence, the science behind faith, where have you been? Have I not been discussing such evidences and rational methods with you for quite some time now?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  60. Nic&#032Samojluk: You also stated on another post that you agree with Lee Greer position on this issue. Are you sure you agree with him?

    First, let’s make clear that the vast majority of biology instruction (e.g., anatomy, physiology, development, genetics, microbiology, systematics, ecology, behavior, research methods) has no bearing on origins.

    Second, when the “deep” evolutionary concepts (megaevolution) appear in the textbook, I’m comfortable with the teacher ignoring them or, better yet, remarking to students that they personally do not subscribe to them and do not expect the students to do so. This happens to be my approach.

    Third, in a class that examines evolutionary biology and origins (which probably all SDA colleges and universities offer), both sides should be taught but in a manner that encourages students to think and to make up their own minds. As a science class, the evidence should be largely or entirely confined to the scientific evidence, as Lee Greer proposed, but I think he wanted more separation than I think is necessary. The religion department can expand on theological issues–and let’s be honest, the Church’s position is a theological one. Leonard Brand’s text does a reasonable job covering both issues, and he is honest in pointing out the problems that confront creationism while still affirming his own faith. Personally, I have never taught a course with this specialized content.

    Finally, we do our students no favor to insist that one position is the correct one, as doing so transfers faith to the messenger rather than the message, which can be counter-productive.

    To give an illustration in my teaching, one of my favorite courses is Animal Behavior. There, we often talk about behaviors in animals that are selfish to the extreme: predation, infanticide, competition, forced copulation, and much more. The textbook talks about the origin of these behaviors through natural selection, and I discuss with students the extent to which these behaviors differ from the original and future Eden, and how comfortable we are with natural selection as a cause for change (I’m at a religious university, and can do so). When we look at cladograms showing relationships among different animal groups, I remind them that cladograms are merely hypotheses about ancestral relationships.

    In decades of teaching, I can guarantee you that NOT ONE student would EVER state that Professor Kent taught evolutionary origins as fact. Oddly enough, you and David Read continue to assert that I do so simply because, like Leonard Brand, I honestly acknowledge the difficulties that attend our scripturally-based beliefs [edit fideistic comment].




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    • @Kent:

      “Third, in a class that examines evolutionary biology and origins (which probably all SDA colleges and universities offer), both sides should be taught but in a manner that encourages students to think and to make up their own minds. As a science class, the evidence should be largely or entirely confined to the scientific evidence, as Lee Greer proposed, but I think he wanted more separation than I think is necessary. …

      In decades of teaching, I can guarantee you that NOT ONE student would EVER state that Professor Kent taught evolutionary origins as fact. …”

      Based on your clarification, I can conclude that you do not agree with Lee Greer position. Every time I asked him why he did not present the evidence unfavorable to the theory of evolution, each time he insisted that he was hired to teach science—not religion.

      I asked him whether he would consider using material critical to the Darwinian views provided by scientists like Ariel Roth and others from the Geo Science research Institute, and he responded that he would not.

      I believe that such a position is one sided and prejudiced against the views of creationists and the fundamental beliefs of the church.

      I believe that Lee Greer is a very talented scientist, and I do admire his extensive knowledge and his scholarship, but I do not agree with his views on origins.

      I believe that in the event he would consider assuming a more even handed attitude towards the evidence for creation, he could become a powerful influence for the truth.

      I believe that he is an honest man, although deceived by the one-sided interpretation of evidence.




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  61. And then Sean added:

    Sean Pitman: You seem to draw a very clear distinction – usually demanding some kind of absolute proof or direct demonstration before you’ll consider an argument for design “scientific”. You’ve made this unscientific demand over and over again in this forum, even in this very thread. I really don’t think you understand the rational basis for scientific methodologies or the basis for their usefulness…

    This has nothing to do with my remarks above, but I’ll just state for the umpteenth time that science cannot falsify a supernatural cause for a supernatural event, such as a voice command from a supernatural being creating all of the major life forms during a six-day period roughly 6,000 years ago. I’m not demanding some kind of absolute proof or direct demonstration. I’m simply stating that no experiment can ever show that a supernatural being did NOT do it; that a voice command could NOT have done it; that all of the major life forms could NOT have been created in a 6-day period; and that all of these events could NOT have happened just a few thousand years ago. If Sean thinks my understanding of what science can demonstrate is irrational, I would like to know exactly what experiment he has in mind that could show the world God could NOT possibly have created things as we believe He did.

    I’m tired of the incessant “potentially falsifiable” and “ability to detect intelligent design” platitudes. I want to know EXACTLY how he thinks Genesis 1 can be falsified. If no experiment can falsify it, then how can we argue it’s a scientific hypothesis rather than a faith-based hypothesis?

    And I don’t want to hear, “oh, but evolution can’t be falsified, so it’s not a scientific hypothesis; why, Professor Kent, do you support and teach it?” I’ve stated before that I don’t believe atheistic origins is any more scientific than creationism. I don’t support it, and I don’t teach it.




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    • @Professor Kent: You said, “I’m simply stating that no experiment can ever show that a supernatural being did NOT do it; that a voice command could NOT have done it; that all of the major life forms could NOT have been created in a 6-day period; and that all of these events could NOT have happened just a few thousand years ago.”

      What?! Every evolutionary project is an attempt to falsify those hypotheses. If life existed on earth significantly before 6000 ybp, the bible is false. Case closed.




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    • As I’ve explained many times before, science can in fact falsify the argument that only a deliberate act of intelligent design, even at a level of God-like intelligent design, could produce the phenomenon in question. All one has to do to falsify this hypothesis is to show some non-deliberate force of nature doing the job and the God-only or the ID-only hypothesis is neatly falsified. Again, that is the basis if detecting all forms of intelligent design in sciences such as anthropology, forensics and SETI.

      So, your claim is clearly misguided. The science involved isn’t in showing that an intelligent designer didn’t do it, but that only an intelligent designer could have done it. An amorphous rock could have been produced by an intelligent designer. However, an amorphous rock could also have been produced by non-intelligent natural mechanisms. The same is not true for a highly symmetrical granite cube that measure one meter on each side. The ID-only hypothesis for the origin of such a cube caries a very high level of predictive/scientific value.

      Also, what you have repeatedly demanded in this forum, over and over again, is some kind of absolute demonstration – as in building some kind of time machine and showing you precisely how it happened in history. That’s just not part of science. Historical sciences are not done that way. If such absolute demonstrations could be achieved, science wouldn’t be needed.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  62. Sean&#032Pitman: I’ll let you have the last word on this topic, and then I’m ending it.

    Fair enough. I will close with two simple questions for each reader to contemplate:

    A) Would an illiterate person, unable to read scientific material and lacking training in interpreting science (“potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”), be able to form a fair and rational understanding of God if someone read to them the Bible?

    B) Do the following evidences from scripture give us a picture of God that is both fair and rational?

    1. The messianic prophecies and their fulfillment in Jesus;
    2. The internal consistency of doctrine and teaching over the course of hundreds of years, as reflected in the writings of numerous authors;
    3. The sanctuary system’s typology that connects the Old Testament with the New Testament;
    4. The courage and zeal of the disciples after the crucifixion;
    5. The candor and self-effacement reflected in the descriptions of persons and nations;
    6. The fulfillment of some apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel, as reflected in New Testament writings;
    7. The numerous references in which the Scriptural writings of others are confirmed– e.g., Peter characterizes the writings of Paul as Scripture;
    8. The relative ease in differentiating Scripture from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha;
    9. The confirmed fact that the ancient writers and their contemporaries did not always understand the meaning of what was written;
    10. The complementarity of the various models of the atonement that are extensively set forth in the Old Testament, and further discussed in the New Testament;
    11. The fulfillments of classical prophecies, especially in those cases where the prophecy and its temporal fulfillment are recorded in Scripture by separate authors;
    12. The absence of material mistakes and contradiction of facts–(there are some mistakes and contradictions but they are not material);
    13. The extraordinarily high quality and depth of the material;
    14. The self-testimony of Scripture, in that we are not required to superimpose our own assertions regarding what Scripture is;
    15. The self-sufficiency of Scripture, in that all major questions of life are addressed;
    16. Despite the barbaric practices described in Scripture, Scripture affirms values of ethics, equality, justice, mercy, etc., that are centuries ahead of the times in which those texts were
    written.

    I realize my defense of scripture rankles many of you who find it insufficient as a source of truth, but I won’t challenge anyone who wishes to share their views on these questions. BTW, the evidences in question 2 are from Phil Brantley.




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    • @Professor Kent: Phil Brantley did a great job in puling together that list of scriptural evidences. But then the student goes to Biology class and learns that when Moses said he saw God write with His own hand that in six days Ne made everything, someone was telling a story. And the bible a little brittle in the area of infallibility. A person can only take so many mistakes and inconsistencies before the whole thing starts to smell. The veracity of those two tables of rock are more important than any other rock a geologist can examine. And evolution acts to break them to pieces.

      Satan knew that, and that’s why he has been so jazzed about getting long age evolutionism into our ranks. It destabilizes the whole picture. Jeff, this is serious.




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    • The problem is, as already noted, you’re not just relying on Scripture, by itself, for many of these evidences you’ve listed. Many of these evidences are dependent upon external empirical evidence. The prophecies, for example, are dependent upon historical evidence that they were in fact fulfilled in reality – not just in the minds of those who wrote the Scriptures. The same thing is true of the lives and deaths of the disciples. Is there extra-Biblical evidence that they really did live and die as described? Is the Bible more than a good moral fable?

      Beyond this, you did not address your oft-repeated argument that if any form of empirical evidence regarding any of the items you cited happened to diverge from your faith in the Scriptures, you’d not change your faith nor would your faith be affected by the conflicting empirical evidence regarding any of the points you’ve just listed…

      In any case, thanks for your time here dealing with a very important topic – faith. It’s been interesting, but I do think it’s time we give it a rest… unless you ever want to substantively address the points mentioned which you’ve never addressed before?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  63. Professor Kent, I would add that Sean Pitman has never said that we should follow science rather than revelation. However, he does affirm natural theology and the concept of “God’s two books,” i.e. the Bible and nature, and that rightly understood, they should be in harmony. Furthermore, the concept of “informed faith” or faith supported by evidence has always been close to the heart of Adventism. I encourage you to read the chapter in “Steps To Christ” entitled “What To Do With Doubt” to get Ellen White’s perspective on faith and evidence.




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  64. Nic&#032Samojluk: @Kent: “DNA of longer-lived organisms has long been and continues to be rendered “junk”
    This is not what I have been reading in the news. Worshiping Natural Selection instead of the One who created heaven and earth is in direct opposition to the last message for the world found in thee book of Revelation.

    H-E-L-L-O-!

    Read this:

    http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/dr-john-sanford-lectures-on-inevitable-genomic-deterioration/




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        • That’s the Darwinian story to be sure, but that story is in conflict with the weight of evidence that strongly suggests that the genome could not survive that long. Detrimental mutations would have wiped it out long ago and sent it into extinction – along with all other slowly reproducing genomes. The same is true for the elastic soft tissues that remain in dinosaur bones, etc…




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        • @Pauluc: “The human genome has been estimated to be around for at least several million years. It just hasnt been understood but that does not mean it hasnt been around.”

          Milllions of years? Why is it then that human artifacts date only a limited number of years measured in thousands instead of millions?




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    • I did, and here is what Dr. Sanford stated:

      “In the past five years or so, the discovery that non-coding DNA is largely functional, has pretty much destroyed the notion of “junk-DNA”. …”

      This seems to negate your position! Does it not? Can you elaborate on this? What conclusion do you harvest from his preesentation in Loma Linda?

      I was preesent at said lecture! Please, explain how you intepret hi conclusions!




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  65. Pauluc, you misquoted me. I doubt that any scientists working on genomes would try to explain away ENCODE. But I have been dialoging on facebook with a biologist who is a committed Darwinist, and he characterized the ENCODE researchers young and immature, and willing to play loose with the data in order to get published. He went on to claim that, contra ENCODE, no more than 20% of the human genome is functional.




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    • @Bob Helm:

      You are probably both right but do not have a common vocabulary. There is an essential difference between being functional and being expressed. 70-80 of the genome is expressed as RNA as has been shown in ENCODE. But that does not translate to 70-80% of the genome as being functional. You need to define what you actually mean. If you take the paradigm of gene expression in eukaryotes there are introns that are expressed with the exons in the nucleus but deleted from the mRNA before it is exported to the cytoplasm for final protein expression. Are the introns functional maybe much of it is but probably not all. Similarly the repetitive elements are expressed as RNA but are they functional? Unlikely.

      As for misquoting it would be easier to understand your message if you didnt use the term Darwinist which most would contend is equivalent to biologist.




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      • Again, you’re mistaken about repetitive elements being non-functional. They do have important functionality. In a Science article published back in 2003, Wojciech Makalowski presented arguments for the functionlity of “Junk DNA”, to include repetitive elements, that seem to echo what design theorists have been saying for a very long time:

        Although catchy, the term “junk DNA” for many years repelled mainstream researchers from studying noncoding DNA. Who, except a small number of genomic clochards, would like to dig through genomic garbage? However, in science as in normal life, there are some clochards who, at the risk of being ridiculed, explore unpopular territories. Because of them, the view of junk DNA, especially repetitive elements, began to change in the early 1990s. Now, more and more biologists regard repetitive elements as genomic treasure.”

        Makalowski, Wojciech. 2003. Not Junk After All, Science 300:1246-1247

        Since this time, numerous papers have been published on the functionlity of non-coding regions of DNA – to include repetitive regions.

        There are clear theoretical reasons and many well-documented examples which show that repetitive DNA is essential for genome function. Generic repeated signals in the DNA are necessary to format expression of unique coding sequence files and to organise additional functions essential for genome replication and accurate transmission to progeny cells. Repetitive DNA sequence elements are also fundamental to the cooperative molecular interactions forming nucleoprotein complexes. Here, we review the surprising abundance of repetitive DNA in many genomes, describe its structural diversity, and discuss dozens of cases where the functional importance of repetitive elements has been studied in molecular detail. In particular, the fact that repeat elements serve either as initiators or boundaries for heterochromatin domains and provide a significant fraction of scaffolding/matrix attachment regions (S/MARs) suggests that the repetitive component of the genome plays a major architectonic role in higher order physical structuring. Employing an information science model, the ‘functionalist’ perspective on repetitive DNA leads to new ways of thinking about the systemic organisation of cellular genomes and provides several novel possibilities involving repeat elements in evolutionarily significant genome reorganisation. These ideas may facilitate the interpretation of comparisons between sequenced genomes, where the repetitive DNA component is often greater than the coding sequence component.

        Shapiro and von Sternberg, 2005 (Link)

        A 2011 PNAS paper argues the same thing for the ALU repetitive elements – that they are actually functionally beneficial:

        “It’s been hard to say whether these Alu-derived exons actually do anything on a genome-wide level,” said senior study author Yi Xing, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine and biomedical engineering, who holds a joint appointment in the UI Carver College of Medicine and the UI College of Engineering. “Our new study says they do — they affect protein production by altering the efficiency with which messenger RNA is translated into protein.”

        (Link)
        (Link)

        And the list goes on and on…




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        • @Sean Pitman: Sean you are so right although I think the authors you cite are wrong in their contention that the alu repeats are somehow important in evolution and recombination. Exonization of alu as you said is critical for the fine control of gene expression by inclusion of alu in mRNA. That there are a million copies that are maintained by retrotransposition in humans obviously means that there is many opportunity for alu to participate in this frequent and important process of gene regulation It is clearly designed to allow flexibility and fine control of gene expression. I agree though that their statements about the phylogeny of alu is really just a reflection of their preconceived ideas about evolutionary origins that doesnt even consider the design implied by the pervasive function.




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      • Darwinist is just short for Neo-Darwinist. While the majority of biologists subscribe to Neo-Darwinism, I would contest your statement that Darwinist=biologist. I prefer “Darwinist” to “evolutionist” because the latter is a slippery term. Even creationists believe in micro-evolution.@pauluc:




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  66. Bob&#032Helm: Professor Kent, I would add that Sean Pitman has never said that we should follow science rather than revelation.

    Not true. He has argued vociferously that we should follow science rather than revelation. This is what Sean Pitman has said: “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well” (http://www.educatetruth.com/theological/the-credibility-of-faith/comment-page-1/#comment-18717).

    What part of “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence” do you not get?




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    • He said this because he is sure that such evidence will never exist.

      This statement by Pitman can be interpreted as undeniable evidence of his strong confidence in Scripture instead of absooute reliance on science.

      Evidently you have chosen to go with the worst intepretation of what he stated.




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        • @George: “I could agree if you changed the words “is sure” to something like “predicts”.”

          Sean is convinced and has predicted that such strong evidence will never come to light.




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    • @Professor Kent: Professor you keep ignoring the word WEIGHT of the evidence. Sean has never said that, pound for pound, evidence trumps revelation. He is saying the evidence would have to be overwhelming, to sway him. Quite punching that straw man, you’re looking silly.




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      • @George Evans:

        The problem is that God generally doesn’t give us a supernatural revelation or “privileged information” regarding certain truths, like the Divine origin and credibility of the Bible and certain particular interpretations of various Biblical passages – for instance. Such truths are only discovered by carefully searching out the Scriptures and comparing their claims with various evidences and our ability to think and reason according to the gifts that God has given us to do so.

        Generally speaking, God does not trump our God-given abilities to think and reason and decide from the weight of evidence.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @George Evans: “Professor you keep ignoring the word WEIGHT of the evidence. Sean has never said that, pound for pound, evidence trumps revelation. He is saying the evidence would have to be overwhelming, to sway him. Quite punching that straw man, you’re looking silly.”

        That is the way I interpret what Pitman said about scientific evidence. His statement should be understood as supporting his faith both in the Bible and the evidence we find in nature.

        He believes, I think, that when all the evidence is in, there will be a harmony between revelation and science.




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        • I believe there already is harmony between the weight of empirical evidence, or science, and Revelation. I don’t believe that neo-Darwinism is based on valid science. It is, as Ellen White described it, “science falsely so called.”




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  67. Curiously, the creationist notion of “devolution” suggests that chromosomes will accumulate non-functional (junk) DNA. So why are you saying, Sean, that creationists have long predicted that pseudogenes (junk DNA) should not exist?




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    • Not when it comes to shared pseudogenes… or the idea that the majority of the genome is nonfunctional or that numerous parts are nonfunctional in the very same way in different species. Note also that a decrease in functionality is not the same thing as a complete loss of function. True pseudogenes do exist, but the vast majority of the genome is still functional to one degree or another. After all, living things haven’t been around very long on this planet…

      In any case, it is a matter of record that creationists have long been arguing that most shared “pseudogenes” are probably beneficially functional – which has proven to be true. I myself have been presenting this concept on my website for over 10 years now. Obviously, Dr. Chadwick has been teaching the same thing for over 20 years. This is truly a creationist prediction that proved true in the face of neo-Darwinian claims.




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  68. Chadwick wrote:

    “it would be well to consider the mantra of the skeptic: “An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence.” Before you decide God was wrong when He wrote with his finger in stone (7) that he made the earth in six days, perhaps we would be well served to consider all the evidence.”

    I don’t think the author himself believes God literally created “the heavens and the earth” in six days, which is exactly what was written in stone. I’d bet he’s an old earth and young life creationist.

    And while I personally accept that there were six literal days of creation (on a planet created previously), little could be more extraordinary than such an amazing claim. Let’s be honest: no evidence whatsoever exists that there were six literal days of creation. Showing that pseudogenes aren’t pseudogenes does not remotely constitute evidence that there were six literal days of creation–and Chadwick himself surely recognizes this.

    I don’t understand the need for such sensationalized reassurances. At best, they celebrate human reason and reassure only those whose faith is brittle.




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    • @Professor Kent: You wrote, “Showing that pseudogenes aren’t pseudogenes does not remotely constitute evidence that there were six literal days of creation…” I will admit it is not conclusive evidence, BUT the whole reason they were called pseudogenes came from the idea that they were damaged remnants of of genes from the distant past now mangled by mutations over millions of years. Hello! There regulatory functionality is at least evidence in FAVOR of a recent creation.




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff, I think you’re being a bit obtuse. The complexity of the genetic code is itself evidence of design. And the fact that we humans, who are pretty smart in many ways, are still struggling to comprehend the non-obvious features of the genetic code (such as how some parts regulate the expression of other parts) shows just how complex the genetic code really is. And an argument for design is obviously an argument in favor of supernatural creation as opposed to accidental self-assembly.

      Narrowing the discussion to the issue of apes and humans, the invalidation of a seemingly compelling argument that apes and humans shared a common ancestor obviously weakens the case for Darwinism and, pari passu, strengthens the case for special creation.

      You say, or at least imply, that God makes extraordinary claims, but why do YOU find God’s revealed truth more to be more “extraordinary”, i.e., hard to believe, than the speculations of finite humans? The answer, of course, is that such is the culture of science, as well as your own professional acculturation, since you are a scientist. That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. What does surprise me a little bit is your seeming lack of awareness of how greatly that culture conflicts with a biblical worldview.




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  69. Here is a good example of how anything I write gets twisted into something evil:

    Professor Kent: “I think it [research conducted by SDA scientists] should be done using the conventions of science (defined by the culture of science…)”

    Simply put, I think SDA scientists should do what culture says is science.

    Sean Pitman: “The problem is that the “culture of science” defines certain ideas as “scientific” even though they are not testable, or potentially falsifiable…So, if you support the modern “conventions of science” in their entirety, you are in fact supporting the promotion of atheistic philosophies and just-so stories supporting atheistic doctrines – not true science.”

    Simply put, Sean Pitman says if I think scientists should do what culture says is science, then I support atheism.

    Professor Kent: “The methods normally used by scientists are neutral with respect to religion. Yes, culture itself is different, as it is generally hostile toward religion.”

    Simply put, I stated once again that SDA scientists who do what culture says is science are using methods that have nothing to do with religion. For some reason, Sean vehemently disagrees with this, but I can’t exactly tell what he disagrees with. He writes in response:

    Sean Pitman: “How are the methods normally used by science substantively different from what I’m proposing? Could you please list off the scientific method to which you’re referring? Also, while you’re at it, could you please explain why such a method cannot be used to detect deliberate design in any feature of the universe or living things? – how such an effort is really “religion” not “science”?

    I’m lost. Are the methods used by science neutral to religion (my assertion), atheistic (Sean’s position), or religious in being able to detect deliberate design (Sean’s other position)? I’ll stick with my postion. And let me be clear since Sean asked: the “scientific method” I’m referring to is what is called the “scientific method.” Look it up at Wikipedia. I know of only one “scientific method,” and that is the one spelled out at Wikipedia. Am I missing something?




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    • @Professor Kent: You asked, “Are the methods used by science neutral to religion (my assertion), atheistic (Sean’s position), or religious in being able to detect deliberate design (Sean’s other position)?”

      Jeff, why is a method religious if it is able to detect deliberate design? A lot of archaeologists will be surprised to hear that.




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  70. Sean&#032Pitman: As I’ve explained many times before, science can in fact falsify the argument that only a deliberate act of intelligent design, even at a level of God-like intelligent design, could produce the phenomenon in question. All one has to do to falsify this hypothesis is to show some non-deliberate force of nature doing the job and the God-only or the ID-only hypothesis is neatly falsified.

    NOT TRUE. To show what could possibly have done the job does not tell us how the job was actually done. This is like saying the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings could have plausibly resulted from bombs planted earlier, and therefore their collapse from the jetliner crashes alone is falsified. Rubbish.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Again, that is the basis if detecting all forms of intelligent design in sciences such as anthropology, forensics and SETI. So, your claim is clearly misguided. The science involved isn’t in showing that an intelligent designer didn’t do it, but that only an intelligent designer could have done it.

    I asked you how the SDA Church’s interpretation of events in Genesis 1 could be falsified, and as usual you have dodged the question. You once again have resorted to the “intelligent design” card. Showing that an “intelligent designer” exists tells us nothing about whether the intelligent designer is the God of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainsims, Bahai, Cheondoism, Mormonism, Wiccan, or Rastafari–much less whether the earth was created by voice command in 6 days 6000 years ago.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Also, what you have repeatedly demanded in this forum, over and over again, is some kind of absolute demonstration – as in building some kind of time machine and showing you precisely how it happened in history.

    NOT TRUE. I have not asked for absolute demonstration, just a simple explanation how the SDA position on origins–my position–is scientific. You have ridiculed me endlessly for insisting that our postion is based on faith rather than science, yet you can’t explain how our position qualifies as scientific.

    Sean&#032Pitman: That’s just not part of science. Historical sciences are not done that way.

    Looks like you have a clue after all.




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    • Sean Pitman: As I’ve explained many times before, science can in fact falsify the argument that only a deliberate act of intelligent design, even at a level of God-like intelligent design, could produce the phenomenon in question. All one has to do to falsify this hypothesis is to show some non-deliberate force of nature doing the job and the God-only or the ID-only hypothesis is neatly falsified.

      NOT TRUE. To show what could possibly have done the job does not tell us how the job was actually done. This is like saying the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings could have plausibly resulted from bombs planted earlier, and therefore their collapse from the jetliner crashes alone is falsified. Rubbish.

      You don’t have to know how a job was actually done to know that it need not have been done with the use of deliberate design – as in the production of an amorphous-looking rock. That is why the ID-only hypothesis is easily falsifiable. You also don’t have to know exactly how a job was done to know that however it was done, it required the input of intelligent design – as in the creation of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube.

      Your World Trade Center analogy is misguided because if bombs were used, additional positive evidence is required to support that hypothesis vs. the hypothesis that they collapsed due to the damage caused by the impacts of the planes and the resulting fire. See the difference?

      If not, why don’t you tell me how anthropologists, forensic scientists, and SETI researchers hope to be able to detect deliberate design behind various artifacts that they discover? What scientific argument(s) are they using?

      Sean Pitman: Again, that is the basis if detecting all forms of intelligent design in sciences such as anthropology, forensics and SETI. So, your claim is clearly misguided. The science involved isn’t in showing that an intelligent designer didn’t do it, but that only an intelligent designer could have done it.

      I asked you how the SDA Church’s interpretation of events in Genesis 1 could be falsified, and as usual you have dodged the question. You once again have resorted to the “intelligent design” card. Showing that an “intelligent designer” exists tells us nothing about whether the intelligent designer is the God of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainsims, Bahai, Cheondoism, Mormonism, Wiccan, or Rastafari–much less whether the earth was created by voice command in 6 days 6000 years ago.

      Showing that an intelligent designer is responsible for certain features of our universe and of the planet that we live on is a first step toward God. It is a first step away from atheism. I’d say that’s a pretty important step.

      As far as identifying a particular God, among many options, that requires a bit more evidence. Showing that the Bible contains various features that also require the input of Divine intelligence, such as amazingly accurate prophecies (which you’ve also tried to debunk, arguing that one would have to go back in time and see the events happen as described before there would be enough “science” to go on). These prophecies are excellent empirical evidence to the Divine origin of a Book that describes, in detail, the identity and character of the God we’re dealing with. The Bible is also amazingly accurate in its description of the physical world, the recent origin of life and its diversity on this planet, a worldwide Noachian Flood, the morally fallen human condition, and innumerable historical facts and events. The Bible has proven itself to be the most accurate historical account that we have in hand. All this is evidence as to its credibility regarding the specifics of those elements and claims that we cannot directly test.

      Sean Pitman: Also, what you have repeatedly demanded in this forum, over and over again, is some kind of absolute demonstration – as in building some kind of time machine and showing you precisely how it happened in history.

      NOT TRUE. I have not asked for absolute demonstration, just a simple explanation how the SDA position on origins–my position–is scientific. You have ridiculed me endlessly for insisting that our postion is based on faith rather than science, yet you can’t explain how our position qualifies as scientific.

      As one of many similar claims, you wrote, “True scientific inquiry simply cannot turn back the clock, replay history, and test exactly how life was created.”

      How is that not a request for some sort of absolute demonstration?

      Again, such a request for absolute direct demonstration is not science. The science of detecting intelligent design is based on showing that the phenomenon in question could not have been produced by any known non-intelligent force of nature within a reasonable amount of time. That’s the basis of ID science – as already explained above. Again, if you disagree, you need to explain how forensics, anthropology, and SETI science is done.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: You attempted to refute Sean by saying, “NOT TRUE. To show what could possibly have done the job does not tell us how the job was actually done.”

      You moved the goal posts. The experiment would falsify the hypothesis: God-like intelligent design is necessary for X to take place.




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  71. Sean&#032Pitman: You can have a pretty good idea, but you cannot know with absolute certainty since you did not create this universe.

    And you cannot know with absolute certainty that George did not create this universe. (I wonder how this could be falsified.)




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  72. Sean&#032Pitman: Your World Trade Center analogy is misguided because if bombs were used, additional positive evidence is required to support that hypothesis vs. the hypothesis that they collapsed due to the damage caused by the impacts of the planes and the resulting fire. See the difference?

    You’re making my point. Showing that one alternative hypothesis is plausible does not falsify all other alternative hypotheses.

    Sean&#032Pitman: If not, why don’t you tell me how anthropologists, forensic scientists, and SETI researchers hope to be able to detect deliberate design behind various artifacts that they discover? What scientific argument(s) are they using?

    Same as the dudes on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot, whose efforts comprise “science” every bit as much as the SETI researchers (yet provoke me to laughter). They’re looking for straighforward evidence. What “artifacts” have SETI researchers discovered?

    Sean&#032Pitman: Again, such a request for absolute direct demonstration is not science.

    Finally! A clear response, at last, to my question about the SDA interpretations of Genesis 1. If we don’t accept the interpretations using science, then we accept them by faith. Of course, you had to continue the mumbo jumbo of Intelligent Design and how some parts of the Bible are supported by evidence, therefore suggesting the remainder is true–which remains, so obviously to anyone with a mind that can reason, an exercise in faith. But our SDA scienists had never breathe anything of this to their students! That’s fideism!




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    • Sean Pitman: Your World Trade Center analogy is misguided because if bombs were used, additional positive evidence is required to support that hypothesis vs. the hypothesis that they collapsed due to the damage caused by the impacts of the planes and the resulting fire. See the difference?

      You’re making my point. Showing that one alternative hypothesis is plausible does not falsify all other alternative hypotheses.

      True, but that’s not the claim being made. Here’s the argument in play: If you show evidence that some non-intelligent method could produce a given artifact, that demonstration effectively falsifies the hypothesis that only an intelligent agent of some kind could produce the artifact in question. If you show that any other hypothesis is plausible, then that effectively falsifies the ID-only hypothesis.

      I’ve presented this concept over and over again for you in very simple terms, but you seem to deliberately ignore it. Do you really not understand the science of detecting design? Do you not understand the difference between presenting multiple plausible hypotheses vs. the argument that only one hypothesis is plausible? Do you not understand that the falsification of such a hypothesis is as easy as showing that any other hypothesis is just as plausible?

      Sean Pitman: If not, why don’t you tell me how anthropologists, forensic scientists, and SETI researchers hope to be able to detect deliberate design behind various artifacts that they discover? What scientific argument(s) are they using?

      Same as the dudes on Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot, whose efforts comprise “science” every bit as much as the SETI researchers (yet provoke me to laughter). They’re looking for straighforward evidence. What “artifacts” have SETI researchers discovered?

      It’s not what they’ve discovered, it’s what they’re looking for. If they find what they’re looking for, would that be evidence of deliberate design? Yes, or no? – and why? If they found a highly symmetrical polished granite cube measuring one meter on each side sitting on the surface of an alien planet, like Mars for example, would that be evidence of deliberate design? Of course it would. It would hit the front page of every science journal and newspaper in the world – and for good reason.

      My question to you is, what is the rational basis for that conclusion? What is the universal basis for detecting design?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • Sean Pitman: Again, such a request for absolute direct demonstration is not science.

      Finally! A clear response, at last, to my question about the SDA interpretations of Genesis 1. If we don’t accept the interpretations using science, then we accept them by faith. Of course, you had to continue the mumbo jumbo of Intelligent Design and how some parts of the Bible are supported by evidence, therefore suggesting the remainder is true–which remains, so obviously to anyone with a mind that can reason, an exercise in faith. But our SDA scienists had never breathe anything of this to their students! That’s fideism!

      You seem to have this view that science doesn’t make leaps of faith. That’s nonsense. Science, by definition, is required to make leaps of faith beyond what the evidence itself can conclusively or definitively support. That’s what science does. Science proposes testable hypothesis based on very limited information that cannot be known, with certainty, to be true. The hypothesis is the vehicle for an educated “leap of faith” into the unknown. This is not fideism because it is testable and potentially falsifiable.

      The same can be true for one’s approach to the claims of the Bible. If the testable claims of the Bible hold up over time, the untestable claims also gain predictive value. That’s not fideism because, if the testable claims fail, so does the credibility of the untestable claims.

      Jesus Himself used this rational argument in his demonstration of empirical evidence to support the credibility of an untestable metaphysical claim.

      And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men. – Matthew 9:2-7

      Now, what would have happened to the rational credibility of Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins if the paralyzed man had just laid there, still paralyzed, when Jesus said, “Get up”? Obviously, such an empirical failure would also have directly falsified the non-testable metaphysical claim as well. The two rationally went hand-in-hand.

      The same is true today. Without the empirical evidence supporting the Bible’s metaphysical or otherwise untestable claims, it would rationally lose credibility – and rightly so. Such is not a fideistic position. It is a rational position that is supported by the Bible itself.

      This is unlike your fideistic position where evidence can be considered, but it need not have any affect on your faith if it happens to counter your faith to any degree.

      But, yet again, we lapse into a discussion of fideism. I’ve taken the bait once more, but I really shouldn’t let you keep taking me around and around in circles again and again. I’ve made this very same argument many times in the past and you’ve simply ignored it.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  73. I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:

    o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
    o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
    o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago

    None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.

    Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:

    [This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]

    The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]

    Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!

    I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.

    Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.




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    • @Professor Kent: Professor,

      Faith describes the mental process by which we believe something on the basis of evidence or authority. We place value on that evidence and act accordingly. Its value or worth depends on the quality of person, concept, or evidence that evokes conviction and commitment. It follows that faith in error will not produce the fruit of truth no matter how sincere a person may be. Biblical faith involves the intellect, the will and commitment.




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    • @Kent: “I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless. …”

      This represents, in my opinion, a crass distortion of Pitman’s views.




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    • I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:

      o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
      o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
      o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago

      None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.

      Neo-Darwinism, if accepted as true, effectively falsifies all of these points. If one finds the evidence for neo-Darwinism convincing, there is no rational reason to believe that some kind of Divine design was necessary to produce life and its diversity on this planet. It also effectively falsifies the Biblical claim of a literal creation week within recent history.

      So, you’re simply mistaken. All of these claims can be effectively falsified by empirical evidence and, in the minds of the vast majority of modern scientists, these claims have in fact been effectively falsified.

      For you to cling to your faith in the veracity of such Biblically-based notions is completely irrational unless you have additional evidence, empirical evidence, for the Bible’s credibility which trumps that which neo-Darwinists bring to the table. What might that evidence be? If you say that you have or need no such empirical evidence, you are a fideist. Evidence may be considered, but it need not affect your faith?

      Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:

      “[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]

      “The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]

      “Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!”

      I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.

      Faith derived from God’s Word can be, and should be, based on the weight of evidence in its favor – not fideism where one throws up his/her hands and says, “I don’t care what the evidence says! My faith needs no empirical evidence or rational explanation!”

      Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.

      I don’t know how many times you’ve “left the building” before? but I do wish you well and God’s speed. Someday, when we’re all in Heaven, we’ll look back at these times and be thankful its all over and we finally know as we are known… without the need for faith or science or “looking through a glass, darkly”. 1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        All that you say may be correct if you equate literalism and fundamentalism with Christianity. Many of us do not and in this context your argument is meaningless.
        Science indeed indicates that the signature of life existing for only 6000 years is nonexistent except if you disregard most of the observations of the last 150 years.

        Most modern Biblical scholars would accept that this may well be so but that does not at all remove the possibility of divine action or of God intervening in human history in the form of the incarnation. As the neo-orthodox would say; God has revealed Himself in the man Jesus. The surprised by Joy of CS Lewis.

        They would say perhaps we have not correctly examined the nature of inspiration and the holy writings and would spend time and effort in trying to understand the provenance and message of the holy writings just as Bull and Guy and Lawrence Turner have nicely done in their books on Genesis.
        That to me is honest appraisal of the revelation of God and appreciating the value of honest searching for truth whether revealed by inspiration or understood by the methodological naturalism of science.

        You are right that fundamentalism and literalism like magic and astrology are not compatible with empirical science and you have to make a choice.

        You say I will forsake Christ and Christianity if my understanding is incorrect. I say the revelation of God in Jesus has such value that I will attempt to understand reality whether of scripture or of the world around me but will continue to believe in the Grace and Kingdom Ethic that has been revealed within the community of faith.




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        • Again, you seem to accept the ethics of Christianity, but not the empirical realities or claims of Christianity. The same can be said of many atheists who also accept the basic ethics promoted by Christianity – i.e., brotherly love, do unto others, etc. However, when it comes to your science, your empirical arguments, they are contrary to everything else Christianity proposes. They are entirely atheistic, antithetical to everything Christian, to include the personal views and teachings of Christ, outside of the basic “do good to others” ethics that is common to almost all religions and philosophies – to include many atheistic philosophies.

          Clearly, your position is not uniquely Christian as Jesus isn’t the only religious figure who promoted such views. Why pick Him in particular to take His name when you only believe in and promote a limited portion of what He believed and taught? – while all your empirical arguments are purely atheistic?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  74. Sean&#032Pitman: As one of many similar claims, you wrote, “True scientific inquiry simply cannot turn back the clock, replay history, and test exactly how life was created.”
    How is that not a request for some sort of absolute demonstration?

    This is hardly a request for absolute demonstration. It’s simply pointing out that science can’t give us what many of you want to believe–“potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” to back up the SDA interpretation of Genesis 1. There is no way to falsify or even support via science our belief in fiat creation by voice command during a 6-day period approximately 6,000 years ago.

    The Church’s interpretation of Genesis 1 is faith-based, as I have stated all along while taking substantial abuse.




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    • It most certainly is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does. Science takes what little evidence is in hand and proposed a hypothesis to explain the evidence. What hypothesis has the best predictive value?

      The claims of Genesis are backed up by the weight of evidence – to include the overall credibility of the Bible as established by Biblical prophecies. There is also the very clear evidence of a recent arrival of life on this planet and its rapid genetic deterioration over time (consistent with the Biblical claims while being diametrically opposed to neo-Darwinian claims). Add to this the truly overwhelming evidence of deliberate high level design within every living thing and biomachine that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged residues. Then, there is very good evidence for a recent world-wide Noachian-style Flood. There is also some interesting evidence for septacircadian rhythms in all living things.

      Clearly, the Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence if one actually takes the time to consider it in some detail. It is a rational conclusion given the evidence in hand.

      Now, you’re asking for direct evidence for a 7-day creation week in particular and a specific date for creation. Such is not needed before one can rationally accept the Biblical account as being most consistent with the evidence that is actually in hand – the most credible account of origins that we know of.

      Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely! Science cannot work without the requirement to step beyond that which is absolutely known or knowable. The question science asks is “Which hypothesis carries the greatest predictive value given the limited information that is currently in hand?” Science does not say, “Which hypothesis has been definitively proven?” Such a definitive hypothesis is not scientific…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  75. Sean You say;

    “P.S. By the way, I appreciate your review of my book on Amazon, but don’t you think it just a little dishonest to claim that my book addresses the literal creation week, the time life has existed on this planet, or the Noachian Flood when these topics simply aren’t covered in my book? My book is simply about the evidence for design in living things (regardless of the identity of the designer – natural or supernatural). That’s it. If you’ve actually read the entire book, you should know this. Why then deliberately describe it as something it isn’t?”

    You are of course correct and I have now corrected this on Amazon and apologize for not recognizing your restricted polemic for what it was.




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      • @Sean Pitman: You again make some incorrect assumptions. I did indeed read the book some time before I made comment. You will note from the page that there is an entry that says amazon verified purchase for the kindle book. I presume that like most books the ebook and hard copy do have the same content. My error was in concatenating my understanding of your views obtained from your writing websites and the book. I can only presume you do not resile from the positions on the age of the life, the flood and origins that I incorrectly indicated you included in your book with the comment;

        “.. a very literalistic biblical interpretation and explanation of the world and life as arising 6000 years ago over a 6 days of 24 hours complete with a genetic bottleneck at 2348-9 BC during a universal flood.”




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  76. “Only God knows so only God can judge.”

    Now good pahdner, would you call that statement one you made on the weight of the evidence, or might that be your theological escape clause? If, as you say, a feller can not know anything absolutely, how can he know what God knows or judges?




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    • It’s a natural consequences of the conclusion that the God of the Bible exists. It is also a natural consequence of the conclusion that the world that exists outside of your mind is real and is independent of you and your thoughts or desires or control – and that it will continue to exist after you are dead and gone.

      This is why you can only approach the truth of the world that exists outside of your own mind. You cannot know it absolutely or definitively nor can you fully control it or always make it like you want it to be. It exists independent of your mind and will – as does God.




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  77. ” You see, science isn’t based on what might be discovered in the future. Scientific thinking is based on what little is known right now…” – Sean Pitman

    Couldn’t have said it better myself ole pard! Hence your inquiry regarding hypothetical, non observed, highly polished, granite cubes on Mars ain’t scientific at all.




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    • So, I suppose that the SETI theory (that certain types of radio signals coming from outer space would be clear evidence of intelligent design) isn’t “scientific” either?

      You see, the science for detecting the origin of the granite cube is in hand right now (as it is for certain types of radio signals) – regardless of where it may be found in the universe. We know the rational, testable, and tested, potentially falsifiable basis for detecting deliberate design behind certain kinds of artefacts – like granite cubes or radio signals, etc. In fact, this is the basis of forensics, anthropology and SETI – all considered to be valid sciences. And, the basic argument for determining a true artefact of deliberate design has general universal application.

      So, it seems very strange to me that you continually refuse to answer such a simple and obvious question as to the origin of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube?

      Perhaps you see yourself being painted into a corner that is not of your liking? and that is why you refuse to answer such an otherwise obvious question? Well, if you refuse to be genuine when it comes to responding to a very simple question regarding the rational basis for detecting design behind certain artefacts, what basis is there for further discussion?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  78. The reason atheists and theistic evolutionists are so deathly afraid of Intelligent Design is that if it is accepted that Design in Nature is detectable using the scientific method (and it most surely is) then the next step is a search for the Designer. And we all know where that would lead. Can’t let that foot in the door. That would be the judge.

    It is amazing to me that anyone who is interested in truth would only use second hand information about a topic. Most who are against ID are woefully ignorant of its concepts.

    http://www.intelligentdesign.org/whatisid.php




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  79. Well pard, it’s your site and you are holding all the cards. But I don’t think you are fooling the readers on how you are trying to steer all the cattle into your hypothetical granite corral.

    Too bad you are too scared to answer my question, but that’s OK, I’ve seen fear masked by dogged belief before.




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    • You’re the one refusing to answer a very simple straightforward question. If you won’t answer a question that forms the basis of my response to all of your questions, there’s simply no point for me to respond to your questions.

      Why are you so fearful of being “corralled” by producing the obvious answer to such a simple question? Why not explain why you think a highly symmetrical polished granite cube would, or wouldn’t, be evidence of intelligent design if found on an alien planet?

      The implications of your refusal to answer such a simple question seem quite obvious to me… and I’m sure to most readers as well.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  80. OK pard, let’s play your hypothetical game. I’ll go first. But,as a gentleman, I expect that you will then answer my question. Fair enough?

    It depends on where the cube is found; and what forces of nature vs. the potential manufacture of same may have occurred. For example, if I walk into a granite cube manufacturing plant on earth it’s a fair bet the cube is man made. If the cube is found on Mars, based on out existing knowledge, it’s a fair bet the cube is not man made. And cowpoke, just because you didn’t yet see an example of a highly polished granite cube in nature yet, does not necessarily mean it doesn’t exist 🙂

    Now please answer mine: Other than man made objects left in space and those on earth, what other artefacts of deliberate intelligence do you say exist in the cosmos?




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    • I didn’t ask you if the granite cube was man made. I asked you if it was a clear artefact of intelligent design on at least the human level of intelligence and creativity? See the difference? Here’s my question again in case you missed the last dozen times I’ve presented it in this thread:

      Would a highly symmetrical polished granite cube measuring one meter on each side, if found on an alien planet like Mars, be recognizable as a true artefact of deliberate intelligent design on at least the human level of creativity an intelligence? – Yes, or no? – and why?

      What I’m asking is if it is possible to recognize the existence of non-human intelligent activity through the study of artefacts? Are certain artefacts clearly the result of creative intelligence regardless of where they happen to be found in the universe and regardless of if the intelligent designer happens to be non-human? You have heard of SETI science, right? What’s the rational scientific basis of SETI? What’s the basic scientific argument for potentially detecting alien produced artefacts?

      Now, I’m not sure now many more times I need to ask you this question before you’ll directly respond to it. But, until you do, there’s simply no point discussing anything else…

      Oh, and as far as your argument of possible existence without current evidence;

      And cowpoke, just because you didn’t yet see an example of a highly polished granite cube in nature yet, does not necessarily mean it doesn’t exist.

      Just because no one has seen the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Garden Fairies doesn’t mean that they don’t exist either. You see, science isn’t based on what might be discovered in the future. Scientific thinking is based on what little is known right now…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  81. “theistic evolutionists are so deathly afraid of Intelligent Design is that if it is accepted that Design in Nature”

    Wouldn’t theistic evolution be a form of Intelligent Design, albeit one repugnant to creationists?

    What artefacts in Nature, other than those known to be designed by man, can be demonstrated to intelligently designed by scientific methods? Please name one.As far as I know the Mars Rover didn’t detect any highly polished granite cubes on the ole Martian range 🙂




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    • First you have to answer my question about granite cubes. Otherwise, it is pointless to have a discussion with you about features of design in the universe when we don’t even agree on how intelligent design is detected in the first place. I’m not going to post comments of yours in this regard until you establish this basis of discussion…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  82. Well pahd,

    The discussion is only pointless because you are unilaterally setting the parameters for same. Remember, I am not your witness under cross examination where you can demand a yes or no answer that begs the question.

    In an intelligent discussion, vs. rhetoric or a one sided cross examination, it takes two to tango. I did answer your question, you just want to keep the bucking bronco in the granite chute. On the other hand I want you to venture outside of the self limited corral onto the cosmic range and tackle the larger issue as to whether ID, whatever methodology is being used, has been able to identify any non human artifacts. After all, when discussing ID regarding the origins of the universe, we are talking about non human events aren’t we?




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    • After all, when discussing ID regarding the origins of the universe, we are talking about non human events aren’t we?

      Yes, we are – as is the case with my question about a highly symmetrical polished granite cube found on an alien planet. What is the non-human origin of the cube? Is it clearly intelligent and deliberate or not?

      You have not answered this question at all. You’ve not even substantively addressed it or discussed it. Until you do, there is no basis for further discussion about what other features of the universe are artefactual. You simply don’t know or refuse to define what it would take for you to recognize anything as a true artefact of non-human intelligence…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  83. Sean&#032Pitman: You also imputed design to the presence of the granite cube on Mars – at least human level design and intelligence.How then is your conclusion of human production substantively different from Paley’s conclusion of at least human level intelligent design for the very same artifact? – or anyone else’s for that matter?

    The fact is that you are an IDist when it comes to such granite cubes – even though you really really really don’t want to admit it in so many words for some strange reason.

    You are absolutely right I do not want in any way to support the ID inference as it is conceived and articulated by its proponents. It was and is an argument of incredulity. That is not how science works.

    I am sorry you cannot follow my logic.
    I am in responding to your bait recognizing that categorization and classification are integral to the way we function cognitively which is simply a function of the neurons in our brains.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=xsP2CPEvzBEC&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=cognition+and++classification&ots=mMd3ZkDreZ&sig=VbiXgjGG44sk5Bo5uLLDKaKRHo8

    In the Adventist tradition I am not dualist and accept that our brains are simply part of the natural world. They are not the repository of the soul or an antennae for the supernatural world but are highly complex elaborations of the invertebrates head ganglion. This was likely different to the perspective of Paley existing as he did before the development of modern biology.

    Adventism has a physicalist tradition with its ideas of mind and the soul articulated by EG White. A position I happen to think was very prescient but it does have implications for a proper discussion of ID. If we accept this physicalist adventist tradition and all its implications then we must for consistency think about a world where there is only a physical substrate for intelligence, the spiritual life and our Christian ethic.

    In the Adventist tradition of understanding mind I can understand your cube only ever based on recourse to a physicalist causation. The product of a brain since in the physical carbon based universe in which we live we only have been shown intelligence as a product of a brain. We therefore must understand artefacts as products of brains.

    Paley following the common tradition of Christians of his day likely accepted Dualism and would infer there could be a divine source for a physical event. However with hjs watch he only ever considered that this indicated that intelligence as a function of a brain had been at work on this artefact.




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    • You are absolutely right I do not want in any way to support the ID inference as it is conceived and articulated by its proponents. It was and is an argument of incredulity. That is not how science works.

      It’s no more an argument of incredulity than is your argument for evident design for a highly symmetrical granite cube found on the surface of Mars. The logic is exactly the same. I see no fundamental difference…

      I am sorry you cannot follow my logic.

      Perhaps that’s because you haven’t even tried to present the “logic” behind your conclusion for design for a granite cube on Mars? What is the rational basis for your hypothesis of at least human-level design and creativity?

      I am in responding to your bait recognizing that categorization and classification are integral to the way we function cognitively which is simply a function of the neurons in our brains.

      You’re mistaken in your claim that categorization and classification are not scientifically based – i.e., are not subject to scientific methodologies or the possibility for testing and falsification.

      In the Adventist tradition I am not dualist and accept that our brains are simply part of the natural world. They are not the repository of the soul or an antennae for the supernatural world but are highly complex elaborations of the invertebrates head ganglion. This was likely different to the perspective of Paley existing as he did before the development of modern biology.

      The existence or non-existence of the soul or the existence or non-existence of the supernatural world is completely irrelevant to the notion that our human brains are able to detect design with the use of scientific methodologies and rational arguments to produce useful hypotheses of intelligent design. You’re bringing in completely irrelevant concepts relative to the question at hand.

      Adventism has a physicalist tradition with its ideas of mind and the soul articulated by EG White. A position I happen to think was very prescient but it does have implications for a proper discussion of ID. If we accept this physicalist adventist tradition and all its implications then we must for consistency think about a world where there is only a physical substrate for intelligence, the spiritual life and our Christian ethic.

      Again, I don’t see the relevance to the hypothesis of detecting design?

      In the Adventist tradition of understanding mind I can understand your cube only ever based on recourse to a physicalist causation. The product of a brain since in the physical carbon based universe in which we live we only have been shown intelligence as a product of a brain. We therefore must understand artefacts as products of brains.

      So? I never suggested that a brain wasn’t involved! My only question was if deliberate intelligence was involved – regardless of what produced that intelligence. That’s an entirely separate question. Who cares if a brain produced the intelligence or not? The evidence for intelligence is there regardless of the source of that intelligence.

      Come on now, your only real argument against intelligent design isn’t so much against intelligent design, but against knowing where the intelligence came from? That’s it?

      Paley following the common tradition of Christians of his day likely accepted Dualism and would infer there could be a divine source for a physical event. However with hjs watch he only ever considered that this indicated that intelligence as a function of a brain had been at work on this artefact.

      Again, so what? At this point, the only question is if intelligence was clearly involved in the production of a given artifact – or not? Who cares where the intelligence came from at his point in the investigation? Who cares if a physical carbon-based brain was involved or not? Whatever or wherever it came from, it was intelligent. That’s it. That is the scientific question that can be investigated and empirically answered to a useful degree of predictive value.

      You also seem to agree since you yourself invoked at least human-level intelligence and creativity to explain a granite cube on Mars. Does it really matter if the intelligence involved really came from a carbon-based brain or not? with regard to the scientific conclusion of intelligent design? Obviously not…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Pauluc: You wrote, “In the Adventist tradition I am not dualist and accept that our brains are simply part of the natural world. They are not the repository of the soul or an antennae for the supernatural world but are highly complex elaborations of the invertebrates head ganglion.”

      I didn’t realize we had this tradition. Now that I think about it, you seem to be voicing an idea I call neo-deism. I have used the term anti-pantheism in Adventist circles for obvious reasons. As a people we got so afraid of pantheism that we bolted to the other side of the road, and apparently developed a new tradition when I wasn’t looking.

      This is very interesting. Until now I hadn’t understood the nexus of anti-pantheism opening the door for theistic evolution. Thank you, Paul.




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      • @George Evans: Ive marked you down for lack of clarity. I am not sure if I missed the sarcasm marks or if you are really engaging with the implications of the Adventist tradition of physicalism with its natural remedies, the water cure and its child evidenced based medicine. Not to mention the Adventist doctrine that discarded the protestant idea of the immortal soul.

        Some expansion and clarification would be helpful




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  84. “No. Given the empirical evidence of a living thing, all by itself, one could not rationally conclude that the Judeo-Chrsitan God was responsible. What one could rationally conclude, given knowledge as to the low-level limits of the Darwinian mechanism (RM/NS), that a very high-level intelligence was involved that cannot readily be distinguished from what one would expect from a God or God-like intelligence of some kind.”

    That’s a frank admission pahdner and I respect ya for it. But it is still a theological extrapolation. A God of the Gaps explanation. An alternative of course is to admit what we don’t know at the present time but to look for cause and effect mechanisms to explain as much as we can. That’s what Science does, and some mysteries such as the existence of the ultimate Creator it is not going to resolve.

    Say for example in Jesus’s time they saw a feller talikn’ on a cell phone, or flyin’ a plane. Well a lot of those fellers would have likely concluded that chap was a deity. Seems to me your analogy to the low limits of the Darwinian mechanism amount to much the same thing: you don’t, at the present time, understand how that works, so you ascribe it to ID. Once upon a time we didn’t understand how life through natural selection adapts to many diverse, hostile environments. Now even the most ardent of creationists doesn’t deny microevolution. Because we understand how it works.

    But pahdner, I just don’t see ya givin’ any scientific alternative to the origins of life on earth whatsoever and I see you puttin’ on your faith hat from time to time and talikin about the mind and heart of God. And pard, I’m fine with thst, you say some mighty wise and pleasin’ things about the Prime Feller. It’s just not scientific that’s all.




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    • @George: “But it is still a theological extrapolation. A God of the Gaps explanation. …”

      Yes, and the theory of evolution is another God of the Gaps explanation. The question is: Which alternative explanation is more credible? Is it that a Singularity is responsible for a Big Bang explosion that produced a fine tuned universe which provided for the emergence of life, or is it that an Almighty God is responsible for what exist? Take your choice.

      My view is that there is more evidence for the existence of a Designer than the fictitious Singularity that has no basis on credible scientific facts.




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    • That’s a frank admission pahdner and I respect ya for it. But it is still a theological extrapolation. A God of the Gaps explanation. An alternative of course is to admit what we don’t know at the present time but to look for cause and effect mechanisms to explain as much as we can. That’s what Science does, and some mysteries such as the existence of the ultimate Creator it is not going to resolve.

      You could say the same thing about a highly symmetrical polished granite cube on some alien planet – that you don’t know at the present time how any non-deliberate “raw” force of nature could have done the job, but you’re going to keep looking for one. The other conclusion, the one that has the greatest predictive value given what is currently known about the production of such cubes, involves intelligent design on at least the human level of intelligence and creativity.

      That’s what science does. Science takes what little knowledge that is currently in hand and uses that knowledge to leap across our gaps in knowledge to places and conclusions that cannot be definitively known. Science is an aide to making educated guesses – guesses that could one day prove to be wrong. Science isn’t about what one might discover in the future. Science is about using what is currently known right now.

      In short, this isn’t about definitively proving the existence of God. The finite cannot definitely prove the infinite – by definition. However, it is possible for us to detect the activity of a creative intelligence that cannot, from our perspective, be readily distinguished from a God or God-like intelligence and creative power. Such a detecting can be achieved with a very high degree of predictive power – scientifically/empirically.

      But pahdner, I just don’t see ya givin’ any scientific alternative to the origins of life on earth whatsoever and I see you puttin’ on your faith hat from time to time and talikin about the mind and heart of God. And pard, I’m fine with thst, you say some mighty wise and pleasin’ things about the Prime Feller. It’s just not scientific that’s all.

      The scientific part is in the detection that the origin of certain artefactual features of the universe and of living things strongly suggest an origin in an extremely intelligent and creative mind. That’s the best scientific conclusion with the highest predictive power given the evidence that is currently in hand…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  85. Sean&#032Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.

    Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.




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  86. Sean&#032Pitman: You could say the same thing about a highly symmetrical polished granite cube on some alien planet…The other conclusion, the one that has the greatest predictive value given what is currently known about the production of such cubes, involves intelligent design on at least the human level of intelligence and creativity.
    That’s what science does.

    This exercise in reification is pointless. It’s based on the fallacy of misplaced concreteness; no such cube has ever been found. It’s bizarre that Sean or anyone else would equate a hypothetical argument with no empirical basis with science.

    As others have tried to point out, finding the cube suggests at most that a mind similar to that of humans visited the planet and left it behind. The obseration by itself (so-called “science”) can’t tell us whether the object was created by individuals from a former civilization of humans that ventured into outer space (which David Read apparently believes is possible), or by a different race of beings that lives elsewhere and originated in the same or different way as humans (by random processes or intelligent design).

    The observation of the cube tells us absolutely nothing about the origin of the creator of the object, and has no bearing whatsoever on whether life on this planet was created by a supernatural being. The creator of life on this planet and the creator of the cube may or may not be the same; the observation alone simply cannot inform us.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Science takes what little knowledge that is currently in hand and uses that knowledge to leap across our gaps in knowledge to places and conclusions that cannot be definitively known.

    The conclusion you insist can be reached by the cube example does not comprise science. To conclude that the observation constitutes evidence for a supernatural creator is absolutely a faith-based fideistic religious argument, not science.




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    • @Alien Mind: “The observation of the cube tells us absolutely nothing about the origin of the creator of the object, and has no bearing whatsoever on whether life on this planet was created by a supernatural being. …”

      How about the fine tuning of the universe which allowed for the appearance of life on our planet? What is this fine tuning evidence of? Can a Big Bang explosion produce the fine tuning required for the emergence of life?

      Science insists that we need to ignore the existence or non existence of the supernatural, yet it invokes the miraculous power of a “Singularity” which produces this incredible explosion for which there is no known natural explanation.

      Science rejects the creative power of God Almighty and substitutes it with the power of said Singularity and its Big Bang daughter, two fictional creatures invented by the human mind in an attempt to explain the origin of everything.

      Can a non-entity be responsible for the creation—emergence if you prefer—of everything? How scientific is such a premise? Is there any evidence for the creation of everything from nothing?




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    • The observation of the cube tells us absolutely nothing about the origin of the creator of the object,

      As I’ve already explained in this thread several times now, one doesn’t need to know the origin or identity or motives or anything else about the creator of the object in question (a highly symmetrical polished granite cube in this case) in order to rationally hypothesize, scientifically, that the creator was at least as intelligent as humans are.

      and has no bearing whatsoever on whether life on this planet was created by a supernatural being.

      We’re not asking if the creator was “supernatural” here – only if the creator was intelligent. Again, you’re getting ahead of game. You’re addressing a question that hasn’t been asked regarding the proposed identity of the creator. That question is not in play at this point in the discussion.

      The creator of life on this planet and the creator of the cube may or may not be the same; the observation alone simply cannot inform us.

      The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  87. Sean&#032Pitman:

    I am sorry you cannot follow my logic.

    Perhaps that’s because you haven’t even tried to present the “logic” behind your conclusion for design for a granite cube on Mars?What is the rational basis for your hypothesis of at least human-level design and creativity?

    The logic for my analysis?

    1] A polished granite cube is observed

    2] by whom is it observed. To progress beyond observation there will need to be an observer who is able to compare against some comparitors. This assumes within the observer a brain and some memory of other objects with which to compare. An insect may well recognize this as different but is unlikely to have categories beyond expected and different. A full ontological analysis depends on an organism with a brain and intellect that has considerably more capacity for categorization and comparison. Such a brain would then ask;

    2] is this naturally occuring?

    In our (Homo sapiens) experience such an object cannot be made by natural physical forces acting on stone.
    It could be a crystal but crystals are homogeneous in composition and this is a complex crystalline rock that is always naturally derived from volcanic activity and is amorphous in shape.
    In our experience such an object is made by a living thing that can alter their environment
    a] because it has a flat polished surface and
    b] because the geometric shape is in a complex structured rock.

    3] Since living things actively modify their environment. This is likely to be an artefact of a living organisms

    We know that many living organisms make nests hives tracks tunnels and webs and manifest behaviours that look intelligent such as hunting and social or community interactions. We know that birds construct quite elaborite nests and displays. There is a gradation of the ability to use tools and to have adaptive behaviour. We have to ask which of the characteristics that we know of living creatures are responsible in this instance. Among all the things we have classified what fits?

    4] What sort of organism?
    It is a geometric shape that although it does occur naturally such as cubic zirconium or pyrite this is a cube constructed using a compound rock not found in nature in this form so the agent must have either copied a natural cubic form or possibly have had an abstraction or conception of a cube.
    It has a polished surface which means there must have been some mechanisms to work a rock with hardness greater than 7.

    5] What are the living creatures that understand geometry and have the tools to construct this object.
    All that we know of with these characteristics are humans.

    6] We conclude that the only living creatures with the tools to accomplish this are humans.

    If we then postulate that this is on Mars. We then have to introduce some mechanism of how we observe it on Mars. We the observers must have the technology to get there and conclude that the constructor is equivalent in technology.

    All of this process is simply comparing the object against the categories of objects we know and the living organisms and their artefacts. That may be logic and categorization but it is not science.

    It does not involve the process of science formally defined as both method and repository of knowledge. You of course can say that science will use observation, construction of hypothesis, testing experimentally but it does not become science until it is a formal testing of a specific hypothesis by experiment and reporting that experimental data.

    My formulations assumes those of conventional science.

    1] Science is methodological naturalism
    2] There is a methodological naturalistic explanation for change in living organisms and the development of species; variation and natural selection
    3] There is a supernatural realm which we ascertain by faith and which cannot be ascertained by any method using methodological naturalism.

    ======================================

    In contrast your logic appears to be

    1] observe a polished granite cube.
    2] several steps or categorization probably not unlike what I have described.
    3] conclude that the cube is man made or at least derived from a human like population
    4] conclude it is an example of intelligent design since
    a] it has evidence of design something that cannot arise by known natural means.
    b] it has evidence of manipulation design that required some intelligence.
    5] objects that are not constructed by physical forces are evidence of this process of intelligent design.
    6] all objects showing evidence of design must therefor be derived from an intelligent designer
    7] all living things are different to objects constructed by simple physical forces (water ice and sun and physical chemistry)
    8] QED all living things from the complex cell with its biomolecular structures and biomachines cannot be explained by sun water ice and physical chemistry therefore they must be the product of intelligent design
    8] There must be an intelligent designer and that is the Judeo-Christian God.

    Your formulation seems to assume certain things.

    1] Science should not rely on methodological naturalism but allow for miracles as causation in generating hypothesis.
    2] The writing of science (peer reviewed literature) are biased and skewed and little or no value
    3] There is no adequate methodological naturalistic explanation for change in living organisms and the development of species They are the product of divine intervention.
    4] There is a supernatural realm which is the explanation of most of what we see around us.
    5] we can understand the supernatural by the processes of “True science” which is an empiricism based on construction of hypothesis and testing them personally and anecdotally.




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    • The logic for my analysis?

      1] A polished granite cube is observed

      2] by whom is it observed. To progress beyond observation there will need to be an observer who is able to compare against some comparitors. This assumes within the observer a brain and some memory of other objects with which to compare. An insect may well recognize this as different but is unlikely to have categories beyond expected and different. A full ontological analysis depends on an organism with a brain and intellect that has considerably more capacity for categorization and comparison. Such a brain would then ask;

      2] is this naturally occuring?

      In our (Homo sapiens) experience such an object cannot be made by natural physical forces acting on stone.
      It could be a crystal but crystals are homogeneous in composition and this is a complex crystalline rock that is always naturally derived from volcanic activity and is amorphous in shape.
      In our experience such an object is made by a living thing that can alter their environment
      a] because it has a flat polished surface and
      b] because the geometric shape is in a complex structured rock.

      Very good. I’m with you so far.

      3] Since living things actively modify their environment. This is likely to be an artefact of a living organisms

      We know that many living organisms make nests hives tracks tunnels and webs and manifest behaviours that look intelligent such as hunting and social or community interactions. We know that birds construct quite elaborite nests and displays. There is a gradation of the ability to use tools and to have adaptive behaviour. We have to ask which of the characteristics that we know of living creatures are responsible in this instance. Among all the things we have classified what fits?

      Right… (we’ll discuss the origin of complete behaviors and abilities in living things later).

      4] What sort of organism?

      It is a geometric shape that although it does occur naturally such as cubic zirconium or pyrite this is a cube constructed using a compound rock not found in nature in this form so the agent must have either copied a natural cubic form or possibly have had an abstraction or conception of a cube.

      It has a polished surface which means there must have been some mechanisms to work a rock with hardness greater than 7.

      Excellent!

      5] What are the living creatures that understand geometry and have the tools to construct this object.

      All that we know of with these characteristics are humans.

      Yes, but we are on an alien planet where no humans are known to have visited before…

      6] We conclude that the only living creatures with the tools to accomplish this are humans.

      If we then postulate that this is on Mars. We then have to introduce some mechanism of how we observe it on Mars. We the observers must have the technology to get there and conclude that the constructor is equivalent in technology.

      At least equivalent…

      All of this process is simply comparing the object against the categories of objects we know and the living organisms and their artefacts. That may be logic and categorization but it is not science.

      Yes, it is science just as anthropology is science because one’s choice of categorization is testable and potentially falsifiable. It’s called taxonomy (general) – “the practice and science (study) of classification of things or concepts, as well as the principles that underlie such a classification” (Link). To argue that taxonomy, in any of its forms, is not a valid science is certainly not mainstream…

      And, as already pointed out to you, the hypothesis of a true artefact is in fact falsified all the time in anthropology and forensics. There are many published examples of this. You could be wrong about your granite cube hypothesis. There could be some as yet unknown “raw” natural mechanism that produces such cubes on certain alien planets. You don’t know for sure. You’re just hypothesizing based on limited information and making a prediction, the truth of which is not absolutely knowable. That’s science – the science of classification and prediction.

      It does not involve the process of science formally defined as both method and repository of knowledge. You of course can say that science will use observation, construction of hypothesis, testing experimentally but it does not become science until it is a formal testing of a specific hypothesis by experiment and reporting that experimental data.

      Testing is done all the time or else there could be no falsification of the hypothesis of design. Again, such falsifications do and have often occurred in forensics and anthropology. That is why these are in fact valid sciences and why the conclusion of intelligent design, as you’ve just explained, is backed up by scientifically valid arguments… arguments which have been tested, have established predictive value, and are open to the potential for future falsification upon further testing and examination.

      My formulations assumes those of conventional science.

      1] Science is methodological naturalism
      2] There is a methodological naturalistic explanation for change in living organisms and the development of species; variation and natural selection

      You’d be right if no creative limits to your naturalistic mechanism were ever discovered. You’d be wrong if such limits were discovered. That is why the a priori assumption that such limits cannot even be considered is not a valid scientific position.

      3] There is a supernatural realm which we ascertain by faith and which cannot be ascertained by any method using methodological naturalism.

      This position is not externally distinguishable from wishful thinking…

      ======================================

      In contrast your logic appears to be

      1] observe a polished granite cube.
      2] several steps or categorization probably not unlike what I have described.
      3] conclude that the cube is man made or at least derived from a human like population
      4] conclude it is an example of intelligent design since
      a] it has evidence of design something that cannot arise by known natural means.
      b] it has evidence of manipulation design that required some intelligence.
      5] objects that are not constructed by physical forces are evidence of this process of intelligent design.
      6] all objects showing evidence of design must therefor be derived from an intelligent designer

      Good so far… and seemingly identical to your position.

      7] all living things are different to objects constructed by simple physical forces (water ice and sun and physical chemistry)
      8] QED all living things from the complex cell with its biomolecular structures and biomachines cannot be explained by sun water ice and physical chemistry therefore they must be the product of intelligent design
      8] There must be an intelligent designer and that is the Judeo-Christian God.

      No. Given the empirical evidence of a living thing, all by itself, one could not rationally conclude that the Judeo-Chrsitan God was responsible. What one could rationally conclude, given knowledge as to the low-level limits of the Darwinian mechanism (RM/NS), that a very high-level intelligence was involved that cannot readily be distinguished from what one would expect from a God or God-like intelligence of some kind.

      Your formulation seems to assume certain things.

      1] Science should not rely on methodological naturalism but allow for miracles as causation in generating hypothesis.

      No. Science should allow for the discovery of true intelligently designed artefacts – even if these artefacts happen to be found within living things or the fundamental structure of the universe.

      2] The writing of science (peer reviewed literature) are biased and skewed and little or no value

      No. I use the peer reviewed literature all the time in my job as a pathologist. I also have no problem at all with the observations of mainstream scientists. I don’t think scientists are, by in large, deliberately deceptive or skewing their reporting of their observations. These reported observations can, in general, be trusted with a high degree of confidence. What cannot often be trusted are the conclusions of scientists with regard to what their observations mean – i.e., their actual hypotheses which are often not testable or potentially falsifiable (not scientific; not anything more than just-so story telling).

      3] There is no adequate methodological naturalistic explanation for change in living organisms and the development of species. They are the product of divine intervention.

      There is in fact no known mindless natural mechanism that can explain the functional complexity of living things beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues (or codons of DNA). So, the very high degree of functional complexity that does in fact exist beyond this level within every living thing strongly suggests that an intelligent agent was involved with the production of these features. Was this intelligent agent “Divine”? That cannot be said from the study of these artefacts alone. However, the intelligence involved was certainly most magnificent indeed – not unlike something I’d expect from a Divine Designer…

      4] There is a supernatural realm which is the explanation of most of what we see around us.

      Yes, but this understanding is not derived from the study of living things alone…

      5] we can understand the supernatural by the processes of “True science” which is an empiricism based on construction of hypothesis and testing them personally and anecdotally.

      Valid science can be done on a personal level – true. And, our understanding of God can certainly be influence by studying the “works of His hands” – as the Bible itself points out again and again in both the Old and New Testaments.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  88. Just to reiterate my questions for Bob Helm. Hopefully he has not been spooked and left the building like Jeff Kent.

    Bob I think you seem to have more understanding of the Science than most who comment here. I would like to ask a few specific questions to determine if Sean’s views are really mainstream Adventist.

    1] Do you accept that Christianity can be supported by logic and empirical data such that any scientist will arrive at belief in Christ if he simply follows logic as seems to be Seans main premise in disparaging blind faith.

    2] Do you accept the bible is infallible in its original autograph as is one of the main premises of Fundamentalism.

    3] Do you accept that ID is science and is devoid of religion in its conception as Sean seems to do.

    4] Do you accept that modern science is based on both a method and a repository of knowledge

    5] Do you think the method of science is based on methodological naturalism. Do you think the canonical repository of scientific knowledge is the peer reviewed literature?

    5] Do you accept that the Divinity of Christ is a position that must be ultimately accepted through a leap of Faith after accepting there is at least a logical polemic for Christian belief.




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    • Just to reiterate my questions for Bob Helm. Hopefully he has not been spooked and left the building like Jeff Kent.

      “Jeff Kent” never really leaves the building – despite all the bluster.

      Bob I think you seem to have more understanding of the Science than most who comment here. I would like to ask a few specific questions to determine if Sean’s views are really mainstream Adventist.

      1] Do you accept that Christianity can be supported by logic and empirical data such that any scientist will arrive at belief in Christ if he simply follows logic as seems to be Seans main premise in disparaging blind faith.

      I can’t answer for Bob specifically, but it certainly stands to reason that if God exists and He is the Creator of everything, to include the empirical world in which we live as well as our own brains and rational abilities, that the works of His own hands will tell us something about their Author – and lead one to recognize His Signature in the things that have been made. The Bible itself is very clear on this.

      2] Do you accept the bible is infallible in its original autograph as is one of the main premises of Fundamentalism.

      It depends upon what you mean by “infallible”? Are you suggesting that those who uphold the fundamentals of Christianity in general or Adventism in particular, believe that there are no errors of any kind in the Bible? If so, you are quite mistaken. There are errors in the Bible – regarding the empirical world as well as doctrinal and philosophical errors. That is why the Bible is to be read as a whole and used as it’s own interpreter.

      3] Do you accept that ID is science and is devoid of religion in its conception as Sean seems to do.

      IDists, as with scientists or religious people, are not always scientific in their thinking. This does not mean, however, that the basic concept of intelligent design, or “intelligent creation” if you prefer, cannot be proposed in a scientific manner. It can be presented in an entirely scientific manner – as you yourself have effectively demonstrated.

      4] Do you accept that modern science is based on both a method and a repository of knowledge. Do you think the canonical repository of scientific knowledge is the peer reviewed literature?

      Science, modern or otherwise, has always been based on scientific methodologies that include the potential for testing and falsification. There has never been and is not now a requirement for the scientist to publish his/her findings in any particular journal in order for his/her theories to establish very useful predictive value for the scientist. The fact that learning can be achieved on an individual level is independent of if the scientist decides to share his/her discoveries with anyone else or if anyone else happens to agree with the personal conclusions of the scientist.

      Now, this is not to say that peer reviewed literature isn’t important. It is important. The published observations and interpretations of scientists is valuable. I use published literature all the time in my own practice as a pathologist – with great success. However, this is not to say that the conclusions of scientists are always the most reasonable interpretations of their own observations. The observations themselves are most often faithfully and accurately recorded, but the interpretations of these observations can be colored by personal philosophies that are not always scientific or rational.

      5] Do you think the method of science is based on methodological naturalism.

      Methodological naturalism, when it defines science, a priori, as being unable to detect deliberate intelligence behind any feature of living things or of the fundamental constants of the universe, is taking on a philosophical position and is no longer a true form of science at that point.

      5] Do you accept that the Divinity of Christ is a position that must be ultimately accepted through a leap of Faith after accepting there is at least a logical polemic for Christian belief.

      There is no “logical polemic” for Christian belief in the empirical or historical or futuristic claims of the Bible without at least some basis in empirical evidence. Consider also that there is no science of any kind without an ability to take a leap of faith. Science is based on starting with very limited information and using that information to make an educated leap of faith beyond that which the information in hand can definitively support. That’s what science does. So, of course, any rational acceptance of the Divinity of Christ is also going to involve a leap of faith. However, this leap of faith need not be devoid of any basis in empirical evidence or rational argument. If so, what you have isn’t really a true Biblical-type faith. What you have is wishful thinking (aka: fideism).

      Again, true science and true faith must walk hand-in-hand. They do not rationally exist independent of one another.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        I am serious this was actually directed to Bob Helm. After you have written well over 50% of the text on this thread I would have to be brain dead not to know what you believe.
        This whole thread has been most useful.

        1] I now appreciate why you cling so desperately to your 1000 fsaar limit as the core of your worldview and the greatest evidence for a creator. If the biological world can be explained by natural process your house of cards would fall so you cannot afford to concede this final defence against the conclusions of modern biology that there can be profound changes by the contingency of natural selection. After all you have conceded that all species are derived from the 2 of a kind by a natural process of mutation and natural selection and this is beyond what most would think very very low complexity. Having conceded variation and natural selection to this degree the gap into which you fit God is much smaller than that of our YEC spiritual ancestors within the Church who considered that everything we see about us was fixed in place by God by divine fiat.

        2] You suggest

        “This does not mean, however, that the basic concept of intelligent design, or “intelligent creation” if you prefer, cannot be proposed in a scientific manner. It can be presented in an entirely scientific manner – as you yourself have effectively demonstrated.”

        but I do not think I have done anything more than classify your hypothetical artifact in the way an insect would classify an object as food and non-food. It is an innate function of a brain to classify objects against their experience and memory. I have said such classification is logical not scientific.

        3] Unless you have a more robust definition of science such as I have articulated you most certainly are like Behe and have an idea of science that would classify astrology as science. Let me illustrate.

        According to your view of science as being personal and anecdotal you simply need to construct an hypothesis and test it for the observation to be scientific.

        My horoscope for yesterday http://www.psychicguild.com/Daily-Horoscope/Libra?d=-1
        says.

        May 16: Travel is in the stars and this could mean for pleasure or business. Don’t miss any opportunity to skip town and explore the rest of the world. When you experience different environments and cultures it can open your eyes to more possibilities then you even knew existed. Just make sure you pack your imagination and curiosity.

        So if I formulate this as an hypothesis I would say if this is true then I should have made arrangement for personal and business travel yesterday. This is clearly falsifiable by my personal experience which is your criteria for science.

        And indeed yesterday I made travel arrangements for 2 international flights and 3 interstate flights as well as got pricing for a ferry trip interstate. There you have it a clear experimental test, an outcome and the hypothesis is not falsified. One could logically then say that astrology has been tested and found not to be false by your science.

        Of course by my criteria of science as methodological naturalism, method and repository of knowledge, this doesn’t even count as science. Science is collective public experience documented by rigorous experiments so we as practitioners do not get into this quagmire of personal annecdote and subjectivism.

        Science is not good for miracles so rather than being some arbitrary definition, the cornerstone of methodological naturalism establishes both the limitations and the value of its content and process. You can of course question this but do not expect to have any credibility in the eyes of its practitioners who know the value of working by the rules.




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        • 1] I now appreciate why you cling so desperately to your 1000 fsaar limit as the core of your worldview and the greatest evidence for a creator. If the biological world can be explained by natural process your house of cards would fall so you cannot afford to concede this final defence against the conclusions of modern biology that there can be profound changes by the contingency of natural selection. After all you have conceded that all species are derived from the 2 of a kind by a natural process of mutation and natural selection and this is beyond what most would think very very low complexity. Having conceded variation and natural selection to this degree the gap into which you fit God is much smaller than that of our YEC spiritual ancestors within the Church who considered that everything we see about us was fixed in place by God by divine fiat.

          Breeding has been going on for a long time. Not too many people who recognize the potential for variation within a particular “kind” of gene pool would buy into this absolute “fixity of the species” concept. Also, if you have some example, any example, of something evolving beyond the limit of 1000 specifically arranged amino acids, let’s have it. The fact of the matter is that you yourself admit that you have no idea how RM/NS could function at higher levels of functional complexity. You just don’t know – just as you don’t know how any mindless “raw” force of nature could produce a highly symmetrical polished granite cube. You just don’t know. Of course, raw forces of nature can produce “low level” granite cubes. It happens all the time. However, as you consider the likelihood that these same raw forces of nature will produce greater and greater degrees of symmetry within the material of granite, a threshold is eventually reached beyond which only “creative intelligence” remains as a viable hypothesis. The same is true for functional biosystems.

          2] You suggest

          “This does not mean, however, that the basic concept of intelligent design, or “intelligent creation” if you prefer, cannot be proposed in a scientific manner. It can be presented in an entirely scientific manner – as you yourself have effectively demonstrated.” – Sean Pitman

          but I do not think I have done anything more than classify your hypothetical artifact in the way an insect would classify an object as food and non-food. It is an innate function of a brain to classify objects against their experience and memory. I have said such classification is logical not scientific.

          Again, you fail to address the concept that taxonomy is a science. Classification can be and has been demonstrably wrong. You could classify an object as a true artefact, but that classification can be tested and falsified via a demonstration that some raw force of nature is capable of doing the job. That is why taxonomy is a valid science. Look it up already.

          3] Unless you have a more robust definition of science such as I have articulated you most certainly are like Behe and have an idea of science that would classify astrology as science. Let me illustrate.

          According to your view of science as being personal and anecdotal you simply need to construct an hypothesis and test it for the observation to be scientific.

          My horoscope for yesterday http://www.psychicguild.com/Daily-Horoscope/Libra?d=-1
          says.

          May 16: Travel is in the stars and this could mean for pleasure or business. Don’t miss any opportunity to skip town and explore the rest of the world. When you experience different environments and cultures it can open your eyes to more possibilities then you even knew existed. Just make sure you pack your imagination and curiosity.

          So if I formulate this as an hypothesis I would say if this is true then I should have made arrangement for personal and business travel yesterday. This is clearly falsifiable by my personal experience which is your criteria for science.

          And indeed yesterday I made travel arrangements for 2 international flights and 3 interstate flights as well as got pricing for a ferry trip interstate. There you have it a clear experimental test, an outcome and the hypothesis is not falsified. One could logically then say that astrology has been tested and found not to be false by your science.

          Let’s be a bit more specific, shall we? Let’s say your horoscope said, “The stars are so aligned that today you will win the Califoria Lottery using the following sequence of numbers…” and you do in fact win with those numbers. Then, the next day your horoscope says, “Today your mother will visit from out of town. She will show up at 9:32 am.” – and she does. Then, the next day your horoscope says, “Obama will kill a fly on national television today” and he does. After a while, if such things keep happening and your horoscope keeps being proved right, time and again, in such a specific easily falsifiable manner, it would in fact build up a greater and greater degree of credibility – of predictive value. After such a string of fantastic predictions, you might even think twice about going outside the next day if your horoscope told you that, “If you go outside today, you’ll be hit by lightening and suffer sever brain damage.”

          Something similar could be said for a true prophet – if what he says, which is very specific, continues to come true, his/her claim to be a true prophet of God increases in predictive value. However, if his/her falsifiable claims, in the name of God, are in fact falsified, the predictive value of the “prophet hypothesis” declines. This is in fact a form of scientific reasoning.

          So, the reason why astrology isn’t considered to be a valid science is because it’s claims are too general to be effectively tested or because whenever specific claims are made, they are, as often as not, effectively falsified. That’s why. And, the same would be true for the Bible as well if its claims could be effectively falsified as well – it would have no more rational credibility than astrology (which seems to me to be the case for certain types of “scripture” – like the Book of Mormon for example).

          Of course by my criteria of science as methodological naturalism, method and repository of knowledge, this doesn’t even count as science. Science is collective public experience documented by rigorous experiments so we as practitioners do not get into this quagmire of personal annecdote and subjectivism.

          It wouldn’t be a personal anecdote or subjectivism if a highly symmetrical granite cube were discovered on Mars by one of our rovers. It would hit the front page of every newspaper and science journal around the world – and you know it. Everyone, even scientists, would conclude that some intelligent agent was responsible for that cube – for very rational scientific reasons as you yourself have detailed.

          Science is not good for miracles so rather than being some arbitrary definition, the cornerstone of methodological naturalism establishes both the limitations and the value of its content and process. You can of course question this but do not expect to have any credibility in the eyes of its practitioners who know the value of working by the rules.

          Again, the detection of a true artefact does not require one to hypothesize a “miracle” – only that an intelligence of some kind was responsible. That’s it. That’s clearly within the realms of scientific investigation and empirically-based rationality.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  89. “Keep searching. God is found by those who honestly want to find the truth – pahdner.”

    I surely will son; but in my own fashion I think I already have: in the grace of the mystery of the unknown. You see oblvion doesn’t scare me but surrender to dogma does. In the end a man, or woman for matter, better have faith in himself and keep his eyes wide open about reality. Science is the sharp toothpick to keep those eyelids open, while dogma is the drug to make one snooze. Ya’ all stay wake now, pahd. 🙂




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    • It’s all dogma if you turn off your brain – even the notion of eventual “oblivion” for everything and everyone, or that there really is no personal God, quickly turns into dogma that some find “liberating” for some strange reason. Keep searching.




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  90. “It solves a great deal about origins – regardless of the identity or basic nature of the intelligent agent. Again, the seemingly simple conclusion that “intelligence exists” behind a given artefact is a very scientifically important conclusion – all by its little self.” – Sean Pitman

    No, it doesn’t answer the question of origins because it begs the question of the origin of the intelligence. Sure, archeology and forensic science show us there was intelligence that existed–in humans–but speak nothing to the origin of science. No one stops at saying, “Aha, humans are the ultimate source of all creation because we know they are intelligent and create things.” Instead, we try to get at the origin of humans. And to put it another step back and say, “Aha, there is an Intelligent Designer (or many Intelligent Designers) out there” without asking how they came about is irrational. Irrational! You understand this term, Sean. So if you insist that this Intelligent Designer did not come from random processes, then you are a fideist. Straight and simple. You can only accept your position of a non-origin of an Intelligent Designer based on blind faith.

    Your philosophy is downright inane.




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    • You don’t need to know the origin of the designer, or anything else about the designer, to know that the designer of a given artifact was intelligent on at least a human level of intelligence. To suggest that one has to know the origin or identity or motives (etc.) of the intelligent designer before one can detect that a given artifact was produced by at least human level intelligence is what is “inane” and unscientific.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: “You don’t need to know the origin of the designer, or anything else about the designer, to know that the designer was intelligent on at least a human level of intelligence. To suggest that one has to know the origin or identity or motives (etc.) of the intelligent designer before one can detect that a given artifact was produced by at least human level intelligence is what is “inane” and unscientific. …”

        This answer should end this discussion. Any attempt to continue denying what is so evident reveals a lack of common sense!




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  91. Sean&#032Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.

    Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.




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    • @Kent: “Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one.”

      Thank you for admitting that the evidence for Intelligent Design makes scientific sense.

      If you push this reasoning all the way back, you will be faced with the following option:

      Either said intelligent designer is the God of the Bible or else it was the result of Natural Selection. If you choose the latter, you have made NS into your God.




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    • Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.

      My argument says nothing about the designer of the granite cube except that the designer was intelligent and creative on at least the human level. This doesn’t “concede” that an intelligent designer could have evolved, via mindless “raw” forces of nature, outside of independent evidence that the evolution of such a designer is rationally possible – which is quite unlikely if such raw forces of nature can’t even produce a simple granite cube without the aide of at least human level intelligence.

      All the science for design says is that the particular artefact in question was most likely designed via the use of at least human level intelligence and creativity. That’s it.

      This is a key step – a step beyond the notion that some mindless “raw” force of nature could have done the job. That hypothesis is effectively falsified by the evidence favoring the hypothesis for deliberate design and creativity behind the formation of the granite cube.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. Didn’t you just say, just a few days ago, that you’re leaving the building and won’t be back? Oh, and I like your new pseudonym 😉




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  92. “Again, true science and true faith must walk hand-in-hand. They do not rationally exist independent of one another.”

    Well pahdner, this is where you have already trapped yourself. Because you strike me as a righteous chap- likely steeped in the tea of conservative Adventism from a young age I would reckon? And I know there is a brilliant mind percolatin’ in that cranium. But if the switch of true faith has been turned on you are going to bend the hand of science to make it fit your understandin’ of faith. Son, that’s not the way Science works. It’s oblivious to any religious, or for that matter non religious bias. It looks at the cold hard facts and isn’t afraid to change Its mind. Son, I don’t reckon you are goin’ to change your creationist mind set no matter what the objective weight of the evidence says. As for this ole cowpoke, I don’t know the truth but I’m always interested in veing instructed by Science as what isn’t. And I try to be respective of my religious friends because their faith is a purty special thing. What I can never seem to understand is why they think their brand is superior to another brand. They have to I guess or else the psychological self constructed walls of belief come tumblim done and fear of mortality or insignificance comes pourin’ in. But it is at that precise moment when a human grows up, in my humble estimation.




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    • Your “unbiased” position sounds like a pretty hopeless religion to me… but I could be wrong 😉

      Anyway, if one is not willing to go where the evidence leads, one’s religion isn’t really any different from wishful thinking. It might produce a warm fuzzy feeling on occasion, but it’s not much good when the going gets tough.

      In any case, you can surmise about my background, biases and motives all you want, but you don’t seem to have much to say about the evidence. You also seem to have a few strange ideas about what science is and how it works. Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.

      Keep searching. God is found by those who honestly want to find the truth – pahdner.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  93. When you guys click the “Reply” button, your reply gets buried in the heap of responses above. It’s very time consuming to browse the entire set of browses and figure out which are new posts. Best suggestion: highlight what you want to respond to, then click on “Quote.” Your new message will be easy to find and respond to at the bottom of the page.

    It’s late in my school term and I’ve had a busy few days. Will be out town for the weekend. Might get back to things later.

    PK
    Your favorite fideist foil




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    • Professor&#032Kent: When you guys click the “Reply” button, your reply gets buried in the heap of responses above. It’s very time consuming to browse the entire set of browses and figure out which are new posts. Best suggestion: highlight what you want to respond to, then click on “Quote.” Your new message will be easy to find and respond to at the bottom of the page.

      Thanks for the suggestion.




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  94. With that said, I agree with Sean that an idea should be considered on its on merits. Majorities can certainly be wrong. Also, Darwinists constantly refer to their “overwhelming evidence,” but when it is examined, it proves to be an overwhelming amount of rather weak evidence. The Darwinist “overwhelming evidence” is actually evidence for one possible natural history paradigm, but creationists can take the same data and explain it very nicely in their alternate paradigm. The “smoking gun” for the Lyell-Darwin paradigm just isn’t there!




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  95. I have a very simple question for Sean, David, and/or Nic:

    What do you think is the single most compelling geological, fossil, or biological evidence that life arose via fiat creation? You’re welcome to give an example from each of the three sciences.




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    • @Kent: “What do you think is the single most compelling geological, fossil, or biological evidence that life arose via fiat creation? You’re welcome to give an example from each of the three sciences.”

      I think I have already answered this. Here are some of the compelling evidence which forces me to believe in creation by an Intelligent Designer. Take your pick:

      1. The birth of a baby.
      2. The fine tuning of the universe.
      3. The Cambrian “Explosison.”

      None of the above could have taken place without the intervention of an Almighty, Intelligent Designer. Nature alone could never have done it! Nature and the laws governing Nature could not have been the product of an explosion—they are the product of intelligent design.




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    • @Professor Kent: “What do you think is the single most compelling geological, fossil, or biological evidence that life arose via fiat creation?”

      I think it is the genetic code. Coded information–written books and articles, computer programs, musical compositions, etc.–never arises accidentally but always has an author. And the genetic code is a language of such complexity and genius that we’re still trying to figure it all out. I don’t think the genetic code wrote itself any more than I think “War and Peace” wrote itself, or “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” wrote itself.

      The second best evidence is life itself. Even single-celled organisms are so staggeringly complex that accidental self-organization and self-vivification would involve a miracle. Science cannot do this in a laboratory much less come up with a generally agreed upon “just so story” (that passes the laugh test) as to how it could have happened accidentally.

      The other thing in the realm of biology I would point to is the difference between humans and animals. The gap there is very large, and supports the biblical teaching that man was created in the image of a Creator God, whereas the animals were not.

      The fossil record is ambiguous, but the Cambrian Explosion fits the Flood model far better than it fits the Darwinian model. It’s not what Darwin expected at all; he even admitted that the fossil record from the Cambrian on up should be matched by an equally long fossil record leading up to the Cambrian. (This doesn’t directly bear on fiat creation, but does compare Bible history to the natural history Darwin posited.)




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  96. I would point out that Leonard Brand, Harold Coffin, and Ariel Roth have all published their research in peer-reviewed journals. Roth has had many articles on coral published. “Geology” published Brand’s material on the underwater origin of the Coconino Sandstone (despite the flood geology implications), and “Geology” also published Coffin’s material on the upright trees in the Yellowstone fossil forest. Now none of these men referred specifically to creation or the Genesis Flood in their peer-reviewed articles, but their research has had a definite bearing on these topics.




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  97. Sean Pitman: The “weight of evidence” is determined individually according to individual backgrounds and experiences.

    Professor Kent:
    Absolutely.

    Sean Pitman: The same is true of science…

    Oh? What constitutes science is determined individually, too?




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