Tag Archives: Darwinism

Does the Cambrian explosion disprove Darwinian evolution?

I made you all suffer this week by reading two long posts on the origin of life:

So now I’m going to be nice and let you learn about the Cambrian explosion through videos! Yeah! Because it’s Friday.

What is the Cambrian explosion?

Same story as always. Primitive tribes of atheists living during pre-scientific times naively attributed the diversity of life to the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s noodly appendage, working over billions of years. But then science progressed, discoveries were made, and all rational people accepted that virtually all the basic body plans emerged, fully-formed, in a 3-5 million year period, about 540 million years ago. And no new body plans have emerged since.

The best explanation of the sudden origin of nearly all animal body plans in the blink of an eye is that an intelligent designer provided the required software code for all of these brand new body plans. New instructions, like new Java code or new English sentences, require an intelligent cause. Period.

Part 1: (7:50)

Part 2: (3:25)

Yes, the people in the videos have Ph.Ds from Cambridge, Yale, Berkeley, etc. They are much smarter than any atheists, and they win any debates with atheists that dare to debate them. (Which is why atheists prefer censorship instead of debate, and blind faith instead of evidence)

Don’t worry, if you are an atheist, I’m sure that the noodly appendage of the hopeful Flying Spaghetti Monster will eventually overturn decades of scientific progress very soon, and then you can be comfortable avoiding moral obligations, being self-centered, thinking you are better than other people, and pursuing happy feelings at the expense of the liberties and rights of other people.

Further study

Advanced students can read more about the Cambrian explosion a published peer-reviewed book chapter (Michigan State University Press, 2003) or in a peer-reviewed research paper (Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 2007).

If you are totally lost on the question of origins, you can watch two DVDs that are now online at Youtube. Both videos are by Illustra Media. This is the place for complete beginners to get started.

Here are the 2 playlists:

Does the new Ida fossil prove evolution?

Well, if it does, doesn’t that mean that evolution wasn’t proved before?

But I digress. Whenever you have questions about evolution and culture, there is only one blog that you really need to read, and that’s Denyse O’Leary’s Post-Darwinist. She has written no less than THREE stories on the Ida fossil, so let’s take a look at see what she’s found.

First, on May 19th, she noted that the lemur-like fossil contradicted the current best naturalistic theory of human origins.

[The] fossil doesn’t “explain” human evolution; it complicates the picture. The theory that was gaining ground was that humans were descended from tarsier-like creatures, but this fossil, touted as a primate ancestor, is a lemur-like creature.

Second, on May 21st, she added:

This recent Messil Pit find bolsters the case of the lemur supporters against the previously dominant tarsier supporters.

That only creates more confusion about origins, it seems to me, rather than resolving anything.

Where you have opposing histories, evidence that strengthens one history must weaken the other.

It does not necessarily add up to a gain in information.

What if the tarsier advocates find a fossil that bolsters their case in, say, 2012?

And who’s to say that won’t happen – as it has happened already?

Everything gets so complicated, once you look past the “missing link” sound-bites. But many people looking for validation for their atheist lifestyle will never bother – so long as the cultural authorities can offer them some Piltdown Man or Archaeoraptor or Haeckel’s embryos or Peppered Moths, etc., to justify their atheistic faith.

Denyse also points to a round-up of links from Access Research Network, as well as a New Scientist story that is skeptical of Ida’s status as *the* missing link.

Third, on May 25th, she linked to this story from the UK Times Online:

… in the research paper detailing the discovery, the scientists had painted a rather different picture. Ida, they said, “could represent a stem group from which later anthropoid primates (including humans) evolved but we are not advocating this here”.

And more:

Robert Foley, professor of human evolution at Cambridge University, believes many people misunderstand the huge timescales involved in assessing fossils.

“This animal lived around 47m years ago but human-like creatures only appeared in the last 2m years,” he said. “That’s a gap of around 45m years with many other species lying between us and that era. Any one of them could be called a missing link. Really, the term is meaningless.”

Now I know what my many atheist readers are saying: “we’re only skeptical of your beliefs! Not our beliefs!”. Well, I’m sorry, true believers, to throw cold water on you.

How religious faith drives the delusion of Darwinism

Commenter ECM alerted me to Cornelius Hunter’s new blog “Darwin’s God”. Cornelius is a software engineer like me who rose up the ranks of the firm through “sweat equity”, and was able to eventually pursue a PhD in Biophysics from the University of Illinois. I have his first book “Darwin’s God” and I read it. His thesis is basically that theological beliefs about what God would and would not do are the driving force behind evolution.

Evolution and the problem of evil

Here is his latest post about a debate that occured at Westminster Abbey between an atheistic evolutionist and a theistic evolutionist.

Here’s what the theistic evolutionist said:

Alexander is a theist and Jones an atheist. But they both agree that God would not have created what we find in this world. Everything from programmed cell death to the extinction of so many species and the food chain points to a massive economy of death in nature. With this sort of evidence, “What kind of a designer,” asks Alexander, “are you going to end up believing in?

…According to Alexander, this problem of death and evil does not leave much room for a divine creator. Alexander concludes that God did not create the details of the world. He is thus absolved of the world’s many evils. He implemented a framework of sorts, but let unguided processes do the rest.

And here’s what the atheist evolutionist said:

As with Alexander, Jones also finds that biology does not meet with his expectations of divine creation. “The feeblest of designer,” Jones has written, could improve the design of the human eye. This and other examples, says Jones, shows that complex organs are “not the work of some great composer but of an insensible drudge: an instrument, like all others, built by a tinkerer [i.e., the evolutionary process] rather than by a trained engineer.” As with Alexander, Jones’ religious sentiment mandates some sort of evolution to be true.

So let’s think about what causes people to become evolutionists, beyond the normal answers of peer-pressure, career preservation, wanting to be thought of as smart, wanting to rebel against parents, wanting to have sex and drink alcohol, etc. Is it about science? No. It’s about knowing what God would do and observing that the world does not correspond to these ideas of what atheists think God would do.

Remember that post I wrote a while back about Christopher Hitchens’ case against God. None of his arguments against God were based on evidence, but only on his personal preferences. God wouldn’t have done it that way. God should have done it this way. I don’t like this theology. I don’t like that feature of the universe. It’s just a long-running temper tantrum against any kind of authority, regardless of the evidence.

Here’s Dawkins explaining how unobservable aliens must ave evolved, even if Dawkins doesn’t have any evidence:

He doesn’t even need to see the evidence that we evolved. He knows that God wouldn’t have created the life this way, and so the evidence is irrelevant.

Evolution and the problem of sub-optimal design

Another way that assume that evolution is true, other than childhood trauma and the desire to be morally evil, is by assuming that if material forces did not do the creating, then the design must be optimal. Now I am a software engineer, with undergraduate and graduate degrees, a published paper that I presented at the IEEE and a patent in wireless technology. My specialty is architecture. So I will tell you.

There is no such thing as an optimal design.

As part of my graduate course work, I had to study the work done at the Software Engineering Institute at the Carnegie-Mellon University. They have invented an entire methodology for designing software based on analyzing trade-offs between alternative architectural candidates. They use use case scenarios, disaster scenarios, maintenance scenarios and other scenarios in order to evaluate how well each architecture performs.

All of the architectures can satisfy the so-called “functional requirements”. But the architectures differ in their ability to satisfy non-functional requirements, the “-ilities”. These can include performance, maintainability, security, extensibility, testability, simplicity, re-usability. This is the bread and butter that software engineers like me have to deal with every day.

Here’s an excerpt from a related post from Uncommon Descent:

It is simply impossible for one architecture to have all the “ilities” because many conflict. For instance, if I want high “security” I am going to have to give up a good deal of “interoperability”. A large part of architecture is actually deciding what you are going to give up, which incidentally affects how the architecture can change in the future (i.e. usually it cannot “evolve” to conform to different “ilities”). This is all still fairly new, but we are now able to judge architectures in terms of the “ilities” they match and the “ilities” they do not match. A better understanding of the conflicts between certain “ilities” is gradually developing.

When I worked in the embedded space on operating systems like VxWorks, we regularly traded-off memory against speed. It’s the nature of the engineering business. And make no mistake – God is a software engineer. He writes code.

Conclusion

Hunter’s article concludes with this:

Have the theists sold out? Have the theists been duped? Are they afraid to stand up for themselves? Are the atheists taking over? No, no, no, and no. The theists and atheists are united in their religious beliefs about God and how he would interact with the world. They may have their differences, but regarding evolution those differences are irrelevant. Their shared religious convictions mandate evolution. Religion drives science and it matters.

I have an idea. Let’s keep religion out of science and decide how we really got here, no holds barred. Instead of blocking debates and persecuting dissent, let’s actually have a debate about origins, and not rule intelligent causes out before we look at the evidence.

Further study

Atheist responses to scientific arguments for theism are fun to understand. Atheists attribute the beginning of the universe to untestable theories and the fine-tuning to an unobservable multiverse. (And don’t forget their lame responses to galactic, stellar and planetary habitability arguments)

How Darwinian fundamentalists burn their critics at the stake

It’s the story of Galileo and the Catholic Church. Only this time, the Darwinians refuse to look through the microscope, and the penalty isn’t house arrest. Read Jerry Bergman’s story in the Toledo Blade. (H/T Access Research Network)

Who is Jerry Bergman?

Jerry Bergman is a mild-mannered, soft-spoken, and balding college professor, author, and member of Mensa – a group of people whose IQs are in the top 2 percent of the population.

And what happened to him?

“In 1979, I was let go by Bowling Green State University openly due to my increasing disillusion with Darwinism,” he said in a lecture Monday night at WLMB-TV, Channel 40, Toledo’s Christian television station.

What has he been up to since?

For the last 30 years, Mr. Bergman, 62, has interviewed hundreds of people in academia and documented cases in which he contends that careers were derailed because of doubts about evolution.

The results of his interviews and research are compiled in his latest book, Slaughter of the Dissidents: The Shocking Truth about Killing the Careers of Darwin Doubters, published last fall by Leafcutter Press.

Well, these cases must deal with young-earth creationists, right?

The students, professors, and scientists suffered not because they were advocating the teaching of biblical Creationism or Intelligent Design, he said, but for questioning or debating aspects of Charles Darwin’s famous theory.

Well, this guy is a fringe scholar with fewer degrees and published papers than Richard Dawkins, right?

Mr. Bergman has nine academic degrees, including a doctorate in education from Wayne State University, and currently teaches at Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, and the University of Toledo’s Health Science campus. In 35 years as an educator, Mr. Bergman has taught college-level courses in biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, pathology, anthropology, geology, and statistics, among other subjects, and has published more than 800 academic papers.

But surely this is an isolated case?

Publicity over the lawsuit, however, led other academics to contact him with similar stories, he said. He has since compiled a list of 3,000 cases alleging discrimination due to religious beliefs, and personally has interviewed more than 300 people in such situations.

“It’s unlikely today that an out-of-the-closet Darwin doubter will survive in academia,” he said. And there’s much at stake because a PhD requires a huge investment in time and money, averaging nine years of school and $300,000 and $500,000 in costs, he said.

Rather than risk losing everything over one’s personal beliefs, Mr. Bergman said he advises people to “stay in the closet until things change” and to seek change through legislation.

Is it possible that Darwinists could be so blinded by faith in materialism, that they would protect their monopoly in the the public square by censorship of their opponents?

BONUS:

Here is a video of Casey Luskin, whom I blogged about before, on Fox News, explaining how well leftists in academia respond to scientific evidence contrary to their own assumptions of naturalism and materialism. And click here for some examples of how well Darwinians do in debates with the top atheist scholars, like Michael Shermer.

By the way, if you haven’t seen the movie “Expelled” yet, what are you waiting for? You get to see Richard Dawkins attribute life to unobservable aliens.

This is a must-see movie that explains how freedom of inquiry is being violated by Darwinian fascists in the academy. You can tell how warranted an idea is by how willing supporters are to defend them in public. If the true believers start to resort to judicial activism, threats and intimidation, it’s a blind-faith religion!

Further study

Atheist responses to scientific arguments for theism are fun to understand. Atheists attribute the beginning of the universe to untestable theories and the fine-tuning to an unobservable multiverse. (And don’t forget their lame responses to galactic, stellar and planetary habitability arguments)

UPDATE: This post seems to be quite popular! Commenter ECM sent me this additional post from Denyse O’Leary’s Post-Darwinist blog. She has a citation from a scholar that, if expressed publicly in an academic setting, would be sure to doom the career of whoever uttered it. Click the link, read the quote.

Round-up of stories about intelligent design, from the Discovery Institute

The Discovery Institute is the headquarters for ID research and advocacy in the United States. They send out a newsletter by e-mail and I though this week’s hit on all cylinders. Below are some of their stories from the newsletter. Thanks to commenter ECM for an earlier tip on the Junk DNA story.


When “Junk DNA” Isn’t Junk: Farewell to a Darwinist Standard Response

Richard Sternberg, research scientist at the Biologic Institute supported by the Center for Science and Culture, is now blogging at Evolution News & Views, weighing in on the latest research showing that so-called “Junk DNA,” which Darwinists have discounted as “rubbish,” are actually “anything but that.”

Sternberg writes:

In the Darwinist repertoire, a standard response to evidence of design in the genome is to point to the existence of “junk DNA.” What is it doing there, if purposeful design really is detectable in the history of life’s development? Of course this assumes that the “junk” really is junk. That assumption has been cast increasingly into doubt. New research just out in the journal Nature Genetics finds evidence that genetic elements previously thought of as rubbish are anything but that. The research describes tiny strands of RNA, previously thought to be junk, that now turn out to play a role in gene expression. Another finding by Dr. Geoff Faulkner shows that “retrotransposons,” a further variety of “junk” as the dogma previously taught, play a similar role.

Also at ENV, Dr. Sternberg takes a look at the old Darwinian tripe that biological systems couldn’t possibly have been designed because they exhibit “shoddy engineering”:

We often hear from Darwinians that the biological world is replete with examples of shoddy engineering, or, as they prefer to put it, bad design. One such case of really poor construction is the inverted retina of the vertebrate eye. As we all know, the retina of our eyes is configured all wrong because the cells that gather photons, the rod photoreceptors, are behind two other tissue layers. Light first strikes the ganglion cells and then passes by or through the bipolar cells before reaching the rod photoreceptors. Surely, a child could have arranged the system better — so they tell us.

The problem with this story of supposed unintelligent design is that it is long on anthropomorphisms and short on evidence. Consider nocturnal mammals. Night vision for, say, a mouse is no small feat. Light intensities during night can be a million times less than those of the day, so the rod cells must be optimized — yes, optimized — to capture even the few stray photons that strike them. Given the backwards organization of the mouse’s retina, how is this scavenging of light accomplished? Part of the solution is that the ganglion and bipolar cell layers are thinner in mammals that are nocturnal. But other optimizations must also occur. Enter the cell nucleus and “junk” DNA.

Jerry Coyne Recycles: Why Darwinism Is False

Jonathan Wells is reviewing Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True over at ENV, and already the list of problems with Coyne’s book is mounting:

On Earth Day 2009, we are reminded of the ecological importance of recycling. As a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at The University of Chicago, Jerry A. Coyne must be keen on recycling: He even recycles worn-out arguments for Darwinism.

If “evolution” meant simply that existing species can undergo minor changes over time, or that many species alive today did not exist in the past, then evolution would undeniably be true. But “evolution” for Coyne means Darwinism — the theory that all living things are descendants of a common ancestor, modified by unguided natural processes such as DNA mutations and natural selection.

Coyne discusses the fossil record, embryos, vestigial structures, the geographic distribution of species, artificial and natural selection, and the origin of species. In the process, (1) he ignores the Cambrian explosion — which Darwin considered a “serious” problem — and he rearranges the fossil record to fit Darwin’s theory; (2) he defends Ernst Haeckel — who faked some drawings of vertebrate embryos to provide support for Darwinism — and he dredges up the doctrine that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny; (3) he claims that much human DNA is useless junk — despite abundant recent evidence that this is not true — and he relies on theological arguments that have no legitimate place in natural science; (4) he invokes “the well-known process called convergent evolution” to explain many cases of the geographic distribution of species — even though the “well-known process” is merely speculation — and he again falls back on theology to justify a supposedly scientific theory; and (5) he describes examples of natural and artificial selection — none of which show anything more than minor changes within existing species — and he misrepresents experimental evidence to make it sound as though the origin of species by natural selection has been directly observed.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Other stuff

The newsletter also discussed historian A.N. Wilson’s return to faith from atheism, which is really interesting because he seems to be well-rounded in his reasons for rejecting atheism. And the newsletter mentions that Jay Richards’ forthcoming book, “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem” is out May 6th! Jay gave a great lecture on basic economics for Christians and another great lecture on what Christians should think about global warming.