Comment on Debate between Stephen Meyer and Charles Marshall by Sean Pitman.
And I agree that macroevolution is not sacrosanct and should bear as much scrutiny as any other scientific theory. But at this point in time what other scientific theory exists for the origins of and development of life on earth? As Tour points out the evidence for [YEC/YLC] is not there. I think he is being objective in this regard as he is about not seeing the compelling evidence for macroecolution. For him his default mechanism is scripture although he concedes scripture cannot scientifically prove creation anymore than nature can prove the existence of God.
I think this is a fair assessment of Tour’s position. While I happen to agree with him regarding his opinions on the limitations of the Darwinian mechanism, I don’t agree with him on the evidence for the age of life on Earth. However, even if it was generally admitted, by the scientific community at large, that the Darwinian mechanism simply isn’t scientifically tenable, neo-Darwinism, as a whole, would fail – and everybody knows it.
Is macroevolution a religion? No. It is not premised on whether is or is not a God and is open to falsification.
Anything that is believed without a basis in empirical evidence is a form of blind faith religion. Being anti-God doesn’t mean a person isn’t religious in his/her views. Religious-type conviction can be for or against God – or even neutral or agnostic with respect to God’s existence and identity.
Should one have faith in the gaps between micro and macro evolution? No. Such gaps should continually be scientifically examined.
As with any scientific position, a leap of faith is required. You can’t be a scientist if you refuse to take any leap of faith beyond that which can be definitively proved. While it is true that scientific theories should be continually examined, it is not true that no position can be accepted as “most likely true” based on the weight of evidence that is currently in hand.
Is YLC a competing scientifc theory to macroevolution? No. It is a religious premise not supported by the objective weight of the evidence as determined by scientific consensus.
Again, just because an idea isn’t popular among scientists doesn’t mean it isn’t scientific. As I’ve already pointed out to you, Einstein’s theories were not immediately popular among scientists. In fact, they were very unpopular. This fact, however, didn’t make his theories non-scientific. The consensus of scientists really has nothing to do with determining if a theory is or isn’t scientifically valid. This is what Tour is trying to point out in the reasons for his rejection of the Darwinian mechanism as scientifically tenable. He does this in the face of the consensus of scientists who claim the opposite.
Can scientific consensus be turned around? Yes, if over time the individual doing so is proved right.
Again, you can be a scientists and do good science and come to valid scientific conclusions well before the “consensus” of scientists realizes the truth. You simply don’t need the “consensus” to do your thinking for you. If everything were based on the “consensus” scientific progress would stall out.
But the legitimate scientific questiions and concerns of Dr.Pitman should not simply be bluffly dismissed by elliptically categorizing him as a crackpot. I agree with Pauluc that Dr. Pitman suffers from YLC confirmation bias- unlike Dr. Tour and Pauluc who are able to separate their religious faith from their science. And to set the record straight I have no confirmation bias as to whether God does or does not exist. My salvation is irrelevant to the scientific investigation origins and development of life and the universe. Personally I’d be quite delighted if it can be detemined that there is a concious design to the universe even if ( accidental?) human life only will exist for the briefest span of cosmic, cognitive time. I’d be even more excited if it can be determined that there is ID behind the development of life on earth.
If you’d consider the evidence for yourself outside of what the “consensus” is telling you, there is a great deal to make you very excited along all of these lines – and more.
Gentleman, I suggest that the biggest problem for your religious faith is not so much science – which in my estimation can shed light on what God is not – but rather theodicy. Cause and effect Nature provides a far better explanation for historical, physical reality than a changing, anthropormophized, arbitrary God who arbitrarily murders then saves his creation. Why worship that petulant entity?
You have a mistaken view of God and of the nature of human free will and morality…
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…