Comment on Debate between Stephen Meyer and Charles Marshall by Sean Pitman.
I agree with Pauluc: your writing is quite exquisite.
However, I find you have a double standard when it comes to ID v macroevolution
On one hand you argue ID as a default mechanism scientific theory for the origin of life even though you can’t demonstate how the design mechanism works. How was life originally designed? How was mutation built into the design, etc. ? Here you personally rely on your generalized theology ( weight of the evidence for biblical creationism) to fill the gap or void. And you seem to say your position is scientific.
As I’ve explained several times before, one doesn’t need to know “how the design mechanisms works” before one can detect design behind a given artifact. You wouldn’t need to know exactly how the highly symmetrical granite cube was created before you’d recognize it as a true artifact of intelligent design – even if found on an alien planet like Mars. The science behind detecting deliberate design is not based on any requirement for knowing the actual mechanism used to produce the artifact(s) in question.
On the other hand when it comes to macro evolution ( that conventionally has occured over billions of years of time) you put it to strict laboratory, observable proof. Not quite sure how a genetic experiment can be run over a billion years? And you claim that if the mechanism cannot be proven at the present time an extrapolation from micro to macro evolution is mere faith and wishful thinking.
You don’t need to run an experiment over billions of years in order to understand the exponential nature of the problem at hand. The gap distances in sequence space between potentially viable islands increases with each step up the ladder of functional complexity. This increase can be measured and these measurements can be very reasonably extrapolated in a testable scientific manner. This is the reason why low-level examples of evolution in action cannot be used to assume that higher levels will also evolve by the same mechanism given a bit more time. This assumption ignores the exponential nature of the problem – which is your problem as well.
Is this not a disingenous ( theological) argument? Please not that I did not call you personally disingenous 🙂
It is not at all disingenuous because the argument is based on a very clear demonstration that the gap distances increase exponentially with each step up the ladder of functional complexity. That’s the entire problem for the Darwinian mechanism. And, this isn’t some kind of theological argument. It does not assume that God is the creator. It simply notes that the Darwiniam mechanism is not capable of doing anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
He became a Christian in his first year of Unversity and science or evolutionary models had nothing to do with it.
I agree. Where did I suggest otherwise? His personal view of Christianity is not related to his view of science or evolution. They are independent topics in his mind – as is the case with you and others like Kenneth Miller.
I think you have certainly given an incorrect interpretation of his statement which was nothing about changing his mind about any particulars of science but about him now being judged by his Christian views and not only his science.
Hardly. He has changed his opinion about what is and what isn’t the scientific basis of origins. He no longer believes that the neo-Darwinian story of origins is scientific. That’s a significant change of position for him with regard to his scientific position on Darwinism – or at least the Darwinian mechanism which he no longer believes is scientifically tenable.
Debate between Stephen Meyer and Charles Marshall
I’ve repeatedly given you evidence for the recent creation of life on this planet, for the inevitable degeneration of complex life over time, for the requirement for high level creativity and intelligence and design to explain even the most simple of living things and various biomachines within all living things, and for the overall credibility of the Bible on the topic of origins which fills in gaps in knowledge and does in fact go beyond what the empirical evidence itself can support. After all, if all of the claims in the Bible could be directly demonstrated, one wouldn’t need the Bible. The credibility of the Bible, as I’ve already explained to you, is based on those elements that can actually be tested and evaluated in a potentially falsifiable manner. These tests give credibility to those claims that cannot be directly tested – such as the Virgin Birth, the literal 6-day creation week, or the Resurrection.
In contrast, I fail to see where you have presented any argument against any of this or against anything the Bible has to say on origins, or the position of the SDA Church, beyond a simple appeal to the authority of the opinions of others. Where is your own argument that you think you personally understand? Present an argument against any of the evidence I’ve presented in this forum for several years now. You have yet to do so as far as I can tell.
I already know that I’m in the minority when it comes to the opinions of mainstream scientists. Telling me this over and over again simply isn’t helpful when it comes to explaining or getting me to see and understand why I’m wrong. For example, why not present some specific argument that explains the Darwinian mechanism to me and how it works beyond low levels of functional complexity? Have you even tried to do this? No, you haven’t. Or, present some specific argument that explains away the problem of the high detrimental mutation rate for slowly reproducing organisms. Have you done this? No, you haven’t. Present an argument for the preservation of proteins and DNA in dinosaur bones for 60 million years – in the face of kinetic chemistry experiments that strongly suggest that such long-term preservation is highly unlikely. Have you done this. No, you haven’t. What about the problem of continental or mountain erosion rates? Nothing from you. The list goes on and on and on.
So, if the best you have is to tell me that my ideas aren’t popular, but you don’t personally know why, I’m sorry, but that’s just not helpful to me. I’m just not interested…
The problem isn’t with the speed or rate of radioactive decay or that God is trying to deceive us by giving false or misleading information. The problem is that the various ways of measuring time within the geologic/fossil record do not agree with each other – by many orders of magnitude. And, these problems are not outdated or based on “40 year old” papers. These problems are modern problems, some of which are of very recent discovery – to include the genetic evidence that slowly reproducing creatures are sustaining far more detrimental mutations than can be eliminated from their gene pools by natural selection, resulting in an inevitable deterioration of their gene pools (devolution) toward eventual genetic meltdown and extinction. All of these factors play into the obviously designed nature of complex life and the biosphere within which it lives.
The fact is that the significant weight of evidence currently in hand strongly favors the concept of a recent arrival of life on this planet and a recent and very rapid formation of much of the fossil record.
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…