Intelligent Design Archives

Behind the Curtain of Macro-Evolution

Professor James M. Tour is a highly-credentialed chemist, and a Christian. Check this link for the list, and for his contention that there is no scientist alive today who understands macro-evolution. Tour, of course, comes at this from a chemical point of view, and has no idea how something like that can happen at the molecular level. He’s asked over and over for someone to explain it to him, but so far no takers.

In an article about an insider’s view of the National Academy, he explains the situation behind the curtain.

Let me tell you what goes on in the back rooms of science – with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. I have sat with them, and when I get them alone, not in public – because it’s a scary thing, if you say what I just said – I say, “Do you understand all of this, where all of this came from, and how this happens?” Every time that I have sat with people who are synthetic chemists, who understand this, they go “Uh-uh. Nope.” These people are just so far off, on how to believe this stuff came together. I’ve sat with National Academy members, with Nobel Prize winners. Sometimes I will say, “Do you understand this?”And if they’re afraid to say “Yes,” they say nothing. They just stare at me, because they can’t sincerely do it.

I was once brought in by the Dean of the Department, many years ago, and he was a chemist. He was kind of concerned about some things. I said, “Let me ask you something. You’re a chemist. Do you understand this? How do you get DNA without a cell membrane? And how do you get a cell membrane without a DNA? And how does all this come together from this piece of jelly?” We have no idea, we have no idea. I said, “Isn’t it interesting that you, the Dean of science, and I, the chemistry professor, can talk about this quietly in your office, but we can’t go out there and talk about this?”

If you understand evolution, I am fine with that. I’m not going to try to change you – not at all. In fact, I wish I had the understanding that you have.

But about seven or eight years ago I posted on my Web site that I don’t understand. And I said, “I will buy lunch for anyone that will sit with me and explain to me evolution, and I won’t argue with you until I don’t understand something – I will ask you to clarify. But you can’t wave by and say, “This enzyme does that.” You’ve got to get down in the details of where molecules are built, for me. Nobody has come forward.

The Atheist Society contacted me. They said that they will buy the lunch, and they challenged the Atheist Society, “Go down to Houston and have lunch with this guy, and talk to him.” Nobody has come! Now remember, because I’m just going to ask, when I stop understanding what you’re talking about, I will ask. So I sincerely want to know. I would like to believe it. But I just can’t.

Now, I understand microevolution, I really do. We do this all the time in the lab. I understand this. But when you have speciation changes, when you have organs changing, when you have to have concerted lines of evolution, all happening in the same place and time – not just one line –concerted lines, all at the same place, all in the same environment … this is very hard to fathom.

He does not claim the Intelligent Design label because:

I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments on the matter and I find some of them intriguing, but the scientific proof is not there, in my opinion.

He is searching for the scientific proofs, but for macro-evolution, they just aren’t there, and no one in academia can provide them.

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    Be wary of those who rag on that the Republican Party is primarily made up of old, rich, racist white men. Be wary because when faced with the prospect of a young Hispanic Republican, as in Marco Rubio, the media seems to think that a question of priority for said Republican is to ask him how old he thinks the Earth is. Let’s disregard how other issues were skipped over in lieu of that high priority age of the Earth question. Issues such as: immigration, the economy, healthcare, gun running into Mexico, a U.S. Ambassador being killed in a coordinated attack at a U.S. Embassy and, maybe, the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, you know – low priority issues like that. Oh, and let’s also disregard the fact that Rubio probably-most-likely-maybe thinks that the laws of aerodynamics work consistently enough so that he believes that when he boards a jetliner it will actually fly through the air (as designed); or that he thinks that the laws of chemistry work consistently enough so that when he takes medication it will interact with his body the way it is supposed to; or that he thinks most of that – you know – “science stuff” really works.

    Yes, since they can’t accuse him of being an old, rich, racist white man, they simply disregard all of the real issues and paint him out to be some sort of buffoon by asking him how old the Earth is because, when all is said and done, they’re not interested in tolerating a Hispanic Republican.

    Be wary.

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      But, I thought it was supposed to be “junk”?

      Remember how Junk-DNA was supposed to be a blatant indication of the process of methodological naturalism? Remember how all that noncoding fluff in the genome was considered the result of the trial and error nature of the evolutionary process?

      Yet, it seems that the junk is not so junky after-all.

      In the following video by Dr. Fuz Rana, from Reasons to Believe, he tells us of the importance of the Encode DNA Project, and its findings. In the video he states that the Encode DNA team have determined that about 80% of the human genome consist of functional DNA seqences.

      I recall a discussion I had years ago with a friend, who accepts the naturalistic evolutionary mindset, and his response to the apparent fact that so much of the genome was noncoding (i.e., “junk”) was, “And that makes sense from an evolutionary point of view.”

      What really makes sense, when one sees the vast integrated complexity of the genome, is that one is looking at the work of a designer. A mindless process? Or the process of a mind?

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        Re: “God of the gaps”

        When discussing / debating  creation and evolution, if you happen to be presented with a “that’s just a God of the gaps” rebuttal, remember that it indicates at least two things: 1) the person is committed to materialism (with no materialistic justification, by the way) and, 2) the person is admitting there are gaps.

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          Stephen Meyer & William Dembski, tonight

          For those in southern California, check out the Apologetics Conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, tonight at 6 p.m. On tap for the evening are Steve Collins, Stephen Meyer, and William Dembski. Best of all, the event is FREE!

          Not in southern California? There is supposed to be a live stream of the conference at this link.

          More Info:

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            Rusty Nails (SCO v. 14)

            All things are better in Koine! And my friend Joe Carter should get a kick out of the shot of Biola’s infamous hippie Jesus mural.

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            Bad News / Good News The Bad News? 49% of Protestants think Mormons are Christians. The Good News? Those same Protestants are looking forward to having a whole lot of fun at church this coming Sunday.

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            Mexico tosses us a red herring From CNN,

            Violence in the United States is not related to illegal Mexican immigrants, but violence in Mexico is connected to vast shipments of weapons from the United States, Mexico’s foreign minister told CNN Thursday.

            Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa pointed to efforts by Mexico to stop the flow of weapons, the great majority of which come from the United States.

            “Since 2006,” she said in a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s editorial board in New York City, “the Mexican government has seized over 85,000 weapons in Mexico.”

            She noted that it’s not just “regular weapons,” but also machine guns, grenades and other high-power arms.

            Robert Pastor, a Latin America national security adviser for President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s, pointed out last year there were at least 6,600 U.S. gun shops within 100 miles of the Mexican border and more than 90 percent of weapons in Mexico come from the United States.

            I’d venture to say that the chances are slim to none that one could purchase machine guns, grenades, or other [related] high-power arms, in any of those 6,600 gun shops.

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            With either choice, your system’s gonna get cleaned out Evidently, people would prefer to have a colonoscopy vs. cleaning out their computer’s registry.

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            The FBI chooses Glock Contract award at close to $1 million, for 2,900+ Glock 23 .40SW handguns.

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            Lucky Break: significant good fortune or opportunity What do you do, if you’re committed to naturalism, and you’re faced with the fact that your very existence hinged on at least 10 highly improbable events of the past? Well, the rational, neo-Darwinistic logical conclusion must surely be that we were really, really, really, really, really lucky! For those who can actually put 2 + 2 together, the folks at Reasons to Believe have been discussing the design aspects of our universe, for quite some time.

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              Ken Ham, staunch Young Earth Creationist, has recently written a blog post highlighting a recent position change taken by the Assemblies of God (AG) denomination (HT: Ron’s Bloviating). Ham takes issue with the AG for revising their earlier held position, sympathetic to a Young Earth position, for that of one which allows for Old Earth belief as well. For the record, I have grown up in the AG denomination and have been partial to the Old Earth Creation model, despite their earlier stance, since I was in elementary school (the 1960s). In A Sad Day for the Assemblies of God Denomination, Ham writes,

              The general presbytery of the Assemblies of God (AG) denomination, in session August 9–11, 2010, adopted a revised statement on “The Doctrine of Creation.” Here is an excerpt from the official AG position paper, that opens the door to evolution and millions of years, and the various compromise positions on Genesis held by some in the church (such as gap theory, day age, progressive creation, theistic evolution, etc)

              Of particular concern, to Ham, is the statement by the AG,

              The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation.

              evidently because he connects such reasoning as equivalent to succumbing to the lie told by the serpent in Genesis 3, in which he tempted Eve to doubt God’s Word. By comparing a 1977 statement, from the AG, Ham contrasts a previous belief that a “natural reading” of the Genesis 1 creation account results in an understanding that the account refers to consecutive 24 hour solar days. His concern seems to be that any acceptance of data, from scientific research, that points towards a billions of years old universe, is tantamount to the doubting of God’s Word, which he understands – nay, demands – to state otherwise. Ham writes,

              The AG with its August statement is now saying we have to take the fallible ideas of fallible humans and use these in authority over the Word of God.

              I applaud Ham’s concern, which is ultimately driven by a desire to keep Christians from falling prey to worldly wisdom, yet I seriously question the dogmatic stance he has taken. He posits that a Young Earth interpretation of the creation accounts, found in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, is the only viable interpretation allowed. Such a position has neither a theological, historical, or scientific grounding.

              While this blog post is, by no means, an attempt to exhaustively answer the Young Earth / Old Earth debate, I do want to make a few concise points.

              In discussing this subject, with Young Earth proponents, I’ve sometimes been told that the Young Earth position is held because “it’s what the Bible says”. The obvious conclusion, from such a position, is that the Old Earth interpretation is NOT what the Bible says. I wonder if Young Earthers, who make such a statement, are really aware of implications of what they’re proposing? Do they really think that some of their fellow Christians are not aware of what they happen to be reading in God’s Word? I also wonder how consistent Young Earthers are with their “natural reading” of “what the Bible says” argument? If they wish to be consistent, then surely they must think that God has wings, that Jesus’ had nails driven through his hands, that it’s the Sun that revolves around the Earth*, that the mustard seed is the smallest plant seed on earth, and that the value of Pi is equal to the integer 3. But, of course, I would imagine that for those references they would argue that the meaning found in text involves intent and context – context which includes culture, language, genre, etc. Try as they might, they cannot get around the fact that the Genesis creation accounts have not been dogmatically held, through Christendom, to mean that God created the cosmos in 6 24 hour solar days, nor that one is mandated to translate the Hebrew text as such. It’s my conclusion that they are incorrect in stating that their interpretation is the “natural reading” of “what the Bible says”.

              Another point in which Ham slips up, in my opinion, is his accusation that the belief the universe is billions of years old correlates with a belief in natural process evolution. To his credit, he does not accuse Old Earthers of categorically believing in natural process evolution, but merely states that the Old Earth position “opens the door” to such belief. Still, I take issue with such a proposition, for it demonstrates a lack of understanding of both the Old Earth position as well as the natural process evolutionary position. The Old Earth interpretation attempts to harmonize not only the multiple creation accounts found in the Bible (including and beyond the two major ones found in Genesis), but our understanding of the physical realm as well. If the data points towards a universe billions of years old, and if we can harmonize the data with what we read in the Bible, then it is irrelevant whether or not the natural process evolutionary model also accepts a billions of years old universe. Also, as research continues, the complexity of our natural realm is becoming more evident: from the minute structure of DNA to the makeup of the universe itself. As we discover that advanced life requires this specified complexity, and as we understand that specified complexity is highly improbable, by chance, we begin to understand how improbable our existence is – from a purely natural point of view. Truth is, billions of years is appearing to be not enough time for advanced life to arise through natural means.

              It seems to me that many in the Young Earth camp dismiss scientific research too easily. At best, they simply recognize man’s fallibility and apply that fallibility to our interpretation of the natural realm; at worst, they assume some grand conspiracy, in the scientific community, dedicated to the undermining of all religious belief. I will spend zero time discussing the latter option, as I believe it to be nonsense and as I believe that Ham holds to the former option.

              I wonder, at what point do I, as a fallible human, disregard the ideas of other fallible humans? Do I refuse to board an airliner simply because it was designed by fallible humans who, obviously, have fallible ideas about aeronautical engineering? Do I take the stairs, when visiting a high-rise building, because the elevator was designed by fallible humans with fallible ideas of structural engineering? How many Young Earthers have ever taken an over-the-counter medication? Since such medication was developed by fallible humans with fallible ideas regarding chemistry, I must conclude that Ken Ham does not take any over-the-counter medication. Speaking of fallible ideas – how about the idea of how we read, and understand, text? I think that we believe, however fallibly, that we are able to see, and then read text, due to the physical action of light photons bouncing off of a page of text, being received and processed by our eyes, through the lens, retina, and optic nerve, with the resulting electrical impulses then being interpreted by our brain. The whole notion of understanding God’s written Word is dependent on a physical process.

              You see, the problem with discounting scientific research is that one ends up having to pick and choose which scientific research they will believe in. While we don’t have an exhaustive understanding of the physical realm, we do have some understanding of it and – this is important – our level of understanding grows as we continue to do more research. So, whereas the scientific community in the 1800s thought that the universe had always existed, Albert Einstein threw them on their heads by proposing (with scientific backup), in the early 1900s, that the universe was finite and actually began to exist. It is indeed very interesting that this notion of a beginning was already found in God’s Word.

              In the years since Einstein, the ideas of general and special relativity have been refined, through continued experimenting and testing, and as our understanding of cosmology grew. Likewise, in the years since the Wright brothers, we’ve moved from airplanes built out of wood and fabric, capable of carrying only one person, to jet powered airliners which transport hundreds of people thousands of miles at a time. Is there a chance that as we gain a better understanding of the physical realm the ideas of general and special relativity, as well as those of aeronautical engineering, will be overturned? Certainly. As stated earlier, we don’t have a complete understanding of the entire cosmos. However, and this is how the process of progressive understanding works, as continued research builds cumulative support for a particular theory, the more reliable such a theory becomes in explaining the natural realm.

              Unfortunately, for the Young Earth camp, they have no credible scientific data which can support a universe of 6,000 – 10,000 years in age. And, to make matters worse, further research in multiple, unrelated disciplines, continues to support an old age for the universe. The Old Earth model is certainly not without paradoxes or weak points, yet one should consider its many strengths before dismissing it out of hand.

              Kudos to the Assemblies of God for revising their position on the creation accounts found in Genesis 1 and 2.

              * a natural reading obvious conclusion, if the Earth truly does not move (and a conclusion that the church had to revise due to an eventual better understanding of the physical realm).

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                Rusty Nails, SCO (v. 11)

                Oops From the setting yourself up department, a lesson in election politics in the New Mexico governor’s race.

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                Geek News of the week Amateur astronomers capture images of objects (comets or asteroids) impacting Jupiter. Beyond the geek-factor, however, Hugh Ross argues that Jupiter’s size and location, within our solar system, are no accident. Ross, president and founder of Reasons to Believe, notes that Jupiter’s gravitational tug is strong enough to result in errant bodies (e.g., comets and asteroids) slamming into its surface, reducing the chance of such bodies impacting the Earth while, at the same time, not being so strong as to corrupt Earth’s orbit, thereby making advanced life impossible. Is such precision in timing, size, location, etc., the result of chance or design?

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                Acrobat Security Hole This is why I use PDF Xchange or FoxIt.

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                Oops 2 The purpose of a gun holster is not to simply have a place to hold your gun. Holsters prevent you from placing your trigger finger directly onto the trigger when removing the gun from the holster. This is important because any time your finger is ON the trigger it is very likely that a bullet will exit the barrel. For those that choose to keep a gun in a pocket, the need for a pocket holster is even more significant. Or… you could be like the guy in the link.

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                Oops 3 While guns and holsters mix, guns and alcohol do not. However, I’ve got to admit the idea of using a finicky computer server as a target has a certain appeal.

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                Illegally in the U.S., and enrolled in college How broken is the immigration system when a person is allowed to be in the U.S. illegally, for over 15 years, not have a Social Security number, yet allowed to enroll in college?

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                  Missing the bigger picture

                  An interesting conversation took place, recently, at First Thoughts. Joe Carter wrote A Walk to the Moon, and Stephen Barr responded. And then, there were the 150+ comments.

                  The topic is Intelligent Design.

                  Now, rather than attempt to re-hash the arguments and discussions at these posts, I’d rather comment on what I consider to be the limited field all those involved seem to playing in. I’ve watched,  and participated, in this debate for several years now, and one thing I’ve noticed is how predictable the paths of argumentation are. E.g., Intelligent Design (ID) is simply the concept of irreducible complexity (IC), ID is God of the gaps, Methodological Naturalism (MN) is science of the gaps, MN cannot produce increasing information, the fossil record provides evidence for MN, the fossil record provides evidence for ID, implied design is just that – implied. The debate can, believe me, go on and on.

                  Yet I can’t help but wonder if most of those involved in such debates are somehow missing the bigger picture. Consider that many of those involved are engaged in work in the sciences, or perhaps scholars, etc. Since the topic is, essentially, design, how many of those involved are intimately familiar with the design process? And, by “design”, I’m not necessarily referring to artistic design, although that too can be discussed in this context. What I’m referring to, by use of the word “design”, is more akin to engineering design – that which occurs when one is designing and building a mechanical component of some sort.

                  In the world outside of science and academia, the act of engineering design is readily seen in many areas. One example is the design of an oil refinery. The basic process involved in an oil refinery is that a product comes in (crude oil) and a product, or several products, goes out (refined fuels).  However, to get from the “in” to the “out” requires a multitude of apparatus such as pumps, air coolers, specialized refining vessels, rotating equipment, pipeways, steel structures, electrical transformers, control instruments, electrical wiring, foundations, etc. Each of these individual units are either custom designed, or are selected based on design parameters.

                  The term I just used, “design parameters”, doesn’t seem to come up much in ID / MN debates, yet no design project in the world would go forward were it not for design parameters. Design parameters are specifications which engineers and designers use to guide the type of design they come up with. These parameters essentially dictate the end result. An oil refinery project may have unique design parameters based on a variety of factors. For example, design and construction projects must be funded and, if cash flows are limited, the design and execution of the project may also be limited (a parameter)). The upstream product, what goes “in” to the refinery, may be of a certain quality or type that then dictates the type of refining equipment to be designed. The desired output product will dictate the type of process to be designed. The geographical location of a project will dictate the physical layout of the design. At the micro level, specific pieces of equipment may be designed based on availability, or even client preference. And, it should be noted, these design factors follow through into the actual construction of the equipment and refinery.

                  So, how does this apply to the ID / MN debate?

                  As we discover more about the biological realm, we find more complexity, both integrated and, as some would argue, irreducible. Regardless of whether or not the complexity is irreducible, though, the point is that we find structures and systems that exhibit the characteristics of design. As Joe Carter pointed out, this characteristic is essentially accepted by both camps (Intelligent Design vs. Bind Watchmaker Design). That fact alone, in my opinion, mandates that design principles and methodologies, in the world outside of academia, be addressed as to how they relate, or don’t relate, to biological systems.

                  Despite the overwhelming prevalence of evolutionary teaching, in the U.S., over the past 50 years, the general population still has a difficult time accepting it as fact. Academia claims that such results simply justify the need for more education. Yet could it be that the general population simply sees something that the academics don’t? Could it be that the general population has the common sense ability to correlate complex biological (and natural) systems with human designed systems?

                  Could it be academia that is missing the bigger picture?

                  When I began work, out of university, a joke was told to me about a Ph.D. graduate who had landed his first job at an engineering firm. After orientation, he was taken to his work station, introduced to his fellow co-workers, and then given a broom. “What’s this for?”, he asks. “We need the storeroom swept up,” responds his boss. “But,” the Ph.D. employee replies, “I’ve got a Ph.D.!” His boss thinks for a moment, and then says, “Oh, yes. I forgot.” His boss then takes the broom from him and, as he sweeps back and forth, says, “This is how you sweep.”

                  It seems to me that too many individuals in the ID / MN debate brush off references to human design as being non-applicable. Yet if design is what is being discussed, whether it is Intelligent Design or Blind Watchmaker Design, then we had better be about educating ourselves in how design occurs.

                  [In my opinion, Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross, at Reasons to Believe, are pioneering an approach to ID that attempts to incorporate human design processes.]

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                    Dawkins, Creationists, and books

                    I don’t think they [creationists] read books anyway, except for one book. It’s aimed at the intelligent layperson who does read books and who vaguely knows a little bit about evolution…

                    So says Richard Dawkins, author of The Greatest Show on Earth, in a Salon interview.

                    Hmmm. Let’s see.

                    I’m a creationist (of the Old Earth variety) and, while I don’t consider myself well read, I have read The Origin of Species, Finding Darwin’s God, Tower of Babel, Night Comes to the Cretaceous, Rare Earth, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and A Brief History of Time, just to name a few books from the non-creationist book bin.

                    It can’t be this easy.

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                      Cutting out Spurgeon’s words

                      Here’s an interesting post from Beyond Creationism regarding how Answers in Genesis (AIG) apparently edited out some text from a Charles H. Spurgeon sermon, ostensibly to exclude Spurgeon’s positive reference to an Old Earth Creation scenario.

                      Spurgeon’s original text in question is:

                      “In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be—certainly many millions of years before the time of Adam. Our planet has passed through various stages of existence, and different kinds of creatures have lived on its surface, all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that era came, wherein man should be its principal tenant and monarch, the Creator gave up the world to confusion.”

                      And here is what AIG posted:

                      “In Ge 1:2, we read, ‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ Our planet has passed through various stages in creation, and different kinds of creatures have lived on its surface, all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that era came, when man should be its principal tenant and monarch, the Creator initially created the world as a chaotic mass on the first day of creation.”

                      Rather than me highlighting the excluded text, simply look for the sentence, in the original, which contains the phrase “millions of years”.

                      Says Beyond Creation,

                      Spurgeon’s sermon has been sanitized for the AiG audience. Apparently, the reality of Spurgeon as an old-earth creationist is too much for AiG to allow the viewing public to know about. They even rewrote a portion at the end to change Spurgeon’s statement that “the Creator gave up the world to confusion” to make it appear that Spurgeon said merely that “the Creator initially created the world as a chaotic mass on the first day of creation.” And presto! The editors turned Spurgeon into a young-earth creationist, even though he said no such thing.

                      After initially posting their cleansed version of Spurgeon’s sermon, AIG did post the excluded text, in a note, with the following explanation,

                      Bracketed text removed from the sermon. As brilliant as Spurgeon was, even he did not understand the age issue. –Editor

                      Lucky for us, it would seem, at least AIG understands the age issue.

                      John Holzmann, provides a more in-depth analysis of the fancy editing that appears to have taken place at AIG.

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                        I’ve been recently pondering whether older notions of demons and modern notions of ideology, meme, and the like are not unrelated. Along those lines, this brings in questions regarding the detecting of intelligence. How can we locate and find (non-human) intelligence among us? Assume for a moment that intelligence other than us is at work in our local sphere, i.e., the earth, how might we locate it? How might we detect it?

                        Another analogy might be to consider these intelligences (or our intelligence) might be actually something akin to second order forces, like the relationship between the internal electrical forces holding atoms together and Van der Waals forces between atoms. This could go in either of two ways. That is inspiration, flashes of genius, might be really “from outside of us” … or the other way, that humans collectively form social networks which themselves might exhibit intelligence independent of individuals. Consider an ant colony. Imagine an ant colony that collectively as a colony exhibits intelligence. Now consider that those ant’s are us … individually intelligent and having exhibiting some number of colonial intelligences at a macro level. Why not?

                        On that note … does any reader have any suggestions further reading on either identifying intelligence or a modern theology of demons?

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                          Math, Nature, and Knowledge

                          This paper by Eugene Wigner entitled “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences” gets too little play in the faith/science discussions. He begins:

                          THERE IS A story about two friends, who were classmates in high school, talking about their jobs. One of them became a statistician and was working on population trends. He showed a reprint to his former classmate. The reprint started, as usual, with the Gaussian distribution and the statistician explained to his former classmate the meaning of the symbols for the actual population, for the average population, and so on. His classmate was a bit incredulous and was not quite sure whether the statistician was pulling his leg. “How can you know that?” was his query. “And what is this symbol here?” “Oh,” said the statistician, “this is pi.” “What is that?” “The ratio of the circumference of the circle to its diameter.” “Well, now you are pushing your joke too far,” said the classmate, “surely the population has nothing to do with the circumference of the circle.”

                          Perhaps a little note to preface this is appropriate. Wigner is adamantly not an uncredentialed crackpot, far from it. Of him, and a select few others, a science historian might write a paper on the “unreasonable effectiveness of Hungarian mathematicians” in 20th century physics and mathematics … and Mr Wigner would be a prime example. Read the rest of this entry

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                            Cross-posted at New Covenant

                            Natural Process Evolution (aka Neo-Darwinism, Naturalism, etc.) rests on the Blind Watchmaker argument in which mindless processes, via the natural realm, are responsible for the diversity of life on planet earth (indeed, responsible for the very cosmos we exist in).

                            We are told that we, as humans, have evolved to the point where we have minds that think, that reason, that design, and that engineer. Yet, if this is the case, how is it that we now seem to take our mind-driven cues, as shown below, from the alleged products of a completely mindless process? Common sense, from our evolved minds, should tell us that if we see a well designed and engineered product, then it is reasonable to conclude that it, in fact, came from a mind.

                            Therefore, I’d like to present a series of examples that we find in nature, of so-called MD (i.e., Mindless-process Design) and how, in doing so, we acknowledge the inescapable conclusion that there is design / engineering in what we behold:

                            First, we have an example of the seemingly ubiquitous bar code. From Wikipedia,
                            180px-wikipedia_barcode_128svg.png

                            The first patent for a bar code type product (US Patent #2,612,994) was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952. Its implementation was made possible through the work of Raymond Alexander and Frank Stietz, two engineers with Sylvania (who were also granted a patent), as a result of their work on a system to identify railroad cars. It was not until 1966 that barcodes were put to commercial use and they were not commercially successful until the 1980s.

                            Note that the first patent for a bar code type product was issued to inventors, and that its implementation was made possible by two engineers. Yeah. Got that? Inventors… engineers? Persons. Persons with… minds.

                            From Dr. Fuz Rana at Today’s New Reason to Believe, DNA Barcodes Used to Inventory Plant Biodiversity,

                            Barcodes have revolutionized the retail business. Now cashiers simply scan the items while computer technology does the rest. It has increased the speed and accuracy of the checkout process and provides the added benefit of giving the store managers a real-time inventory.

                            Scientists have come to realize that DNA can be used as a barcode to perform some of the same functions as barcodes printed onto food packaging. Biologists have been able to identify, catalog, and monitor animal species using relatively short, standardized segments of DNA within the genome that are unique to the species, or subspecies in some cases. And now new work extends the utility of DNA barcoding to plants.

                            One of the challenges of DNA barcoding centers on identifying a region within the genome that can distinguish a wide range of taxa. Researchers have recently discovered that the matK gene found in plastid DNA fulfills this requirement. This gene displays the so-called barcoding gap by simultaneously varying little within a species, but varying significantly between species…

                            The use of DNA as barcodes underscores the informational content of this biomolecule. DNA barcoding makes it clear that biochemical information is truly information.

                            Dr. Rana also discussed this topic, recently, on the weekly Creation Update program sponsored by Reasons to Believe.

                            [tags]darwin, evolution, fuz rana, hugh ross, id, intelligent design, naturalism, old earth creationism, reasons to believe, rtb[/tags]

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                              Intelligent Design is often ridiculed as not being science in that it is, allegedly, not falsifiable, has not produced any real predictions, and is creationism in disguise. However, what is the alternative to the notion of Intelligent Design, if not Unintelligent Design? Natural Process Evolution (aka Neo-Darwinism, Naturalism, etc.) rests on the Blind Watchmaker argument in which mindless processes, via the natural realm, are responsible for the diversity of life on planet earth.

                              We are told that we, as humans, have evolved to the point where we have minds that think, that reason, that design, and that engineer. Yet, if this is the case, how is it that we now seem to take our cues, as shown below, from the alleged products of a completely mindless process? Doesn’t common sense, from our evolved minds, tell us that if we see a well designed and engineered product, then it is reasonable to conclude that that product came from a mind?

                              Therefore, I’d like to present a series of examples that we find in nature, of MD (i.e., Mindless-process Design), and how we acknowledge the inescapable conclusion that there is design / engineering in what we behold:

                              Birds, Bats And Insects Hold Secrets For Aerospace Engineers

                              Natural flyers like birds, bats and insects outperform man-made aircraft in aerobatics and efficiency. Engineers are studying these animals as a step toward designing flapping-wing planes with wingspans smaller than a deck of playing cards.

                              A Biochemical Watch Found in a Cellular Heath

                              The discovery of biomolecular motors and machines inside the cell gives new life to the Watchmaker Argument. In many instances, this molecular-level biomachinery stands as a strict analog to man-made machinery and represents a potent response to the legitimate criticism leveled by Hume and others. The biomachines found in the cell’s interior reveal a diversity of form and function that mirrors the diversity of designs produced by human engineers. The one-to-one relationship between the parts of man-made machines and the molecular components of biomachines is startling. Paley’s case for the Creator only becomes stronger with every new example of a biomotor that biochemists discover.

                              As remarkable as these biomachines are, perhaps none are as provocative as the biochemical timekeeping devices discovered in cyanobacteria.

                              Scientists Discover Remarkable Editing System For Protein Production

                              Even small mistakes made by cells during protein production can have profound disease effects, but the processes cells use to correct mistakes have been challenging to decipher. Recent work by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute, however, has uncovered two surprising new methods for such editing.

                              [tags]blind watchmaker, creation, creationism, darwin, darwinism, evolution, hugh ross, id, intelligent design, ken miller, michael behe, naturalism, old earth creationism, phillip johnson, reasons to believe, richard dawkins, stephen jay gould[/tags]

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