Tag Archives: Darwin’s Dilemma

Upcoming apologetics events at Biola University and in South Africa

American Heroes: The Virtues of Capitalism

Southern California

Biola University events for Southern California readers:

May

6 • FREE: The Virtues of Capitalism Book Event with Scott Rae and Austin Hill

14 • FREE: Signature in the Cell Event with Steve Meyer and his Critics

15 • The Cambrian Explosion: The Data Behind Darwin’s Dilemma
with Illustra Media and others

15 • Intelligent Design and Issues in Religious Liberty
with Richard Land, John Bloom, Craig Hazen, and others

Note the details of tonight’s talk:

The Virtues of Capitalism: A Moral Case for Free Markets
with Scott Rae, Ph.D. and Austin Hill, M.A.

Click Here for more details & to RSVP now!

Our country’s founding fathers took very seriously the selfish, fallen nature of human beings described in Holy Scripture. In a stroke of brilliance, they set up a system of governance and economics that harnessed this sinful nature for the betterment of humankind through competition in branches of government and between economic interests. Today everything seems turned on its head. Have we lost the ideas that undergird the greatest system of government and economics the world has ever seen? Is there hope for the economic well being of our children? Is it moral to be a successful business person? Dr. Scott Rae and Austin Hill will address these news-making concerns, based on their latest book.

Their new book became available this week. I ordered two! Scott Rae is, in my opinion, the top expert in bio-ethics at Biola University. To have him write about economics is a dream come true, for me. I love it when social conservatives and fiscal conservatives unite! Indivisible, to coin a phrase from the recently released collection of essays published by the Heritage Foundation, available as a free downloadable PDF document. Just FYI, Jay Richards’ “Money, Greed and God“, which I wrote about before, is now out in paperback.

South Africa

South Africa events from Mike Licona’s web site:

Monday, 10 May:

14:00 “The death of Jesus as a challenge to Islam” (North West University, Potchefstroom)
19:00 “The historicity of the resurrection” (North West University, Potchefstroom)

Tuesday, 11 May:

10:00-12:00 Colloquium: “The problem of differences: Do the Gospels contradict one another?” (UNISA, Pretoria)
19:00 Debate with Prof Pieter Craffert: “Was Jesus raised physically from the dead?” (University of Johannesburg)

Venue: University of Johannesburg
Location: B-Les 103
Cost: none

Wednesday, 12 May:

19:00 Debate with Prof Sakkie Spangenberg and Prof Hansie Wolmarans (HOD Greek & Latin Studies, University of Johannesburg) vs. Prof William Lane Craig & Prof Michael Licona: “How should we understand the narratives about Jesus’ resurrection?”

Venue: University of Pretoria
Location: Musaion Auditorium
Cost: R20 at the door

We have quite a few South African readers, so you all need to attend these events and then send me updates, and I can post them and give you credit. I am a big fan of Mike Licona.

UPDATE: Commenter Mary sends this link which has even more South Africa events.

California Senate minority leader launches probe of ID censorship

Story from Evolution News.

Excerpt:

California Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth has sent a letter to the California Science Center (CSC) requesting documents related to the Center’s cancellation of a screening last October of the pro-intelligent design documentary “Darwin’s Dilemma.” The screening was sponsored by the American Freedom Alliance (AFA), a private group that had rented the Center’s IMAX theater.

Senator Hollingsworth’s letter follows two lawsuits filed against the state government-operated Science Center charging that it violated both the First Amendment and California’s open records law in its effort to stop the screening and then cover up the real story behind the cancellation.

“The constitutional implications of [the Science Center’s] actions are concerning” wrote Senator Hollingsworth in the letter, citing various court decisions protecting private parties against viewpoint discrimination. “It is fundamental that when a governmental entity or sub-unit (such as CSC) opens its facilities as a public forum, it is not constitutionally permissible to censor speech based on viewpoint or content.”

Hide the decline, Darwin-style.

Times Literary Supplement features Signature in the Cell on list of best books

The book was one of the best books of 2009 according to the Times Literary Supplement. (H/T Uncommon Descent via Apologetics 315)

Excerpt:

Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell: DNA and the evidence for Intelligent Design (HarperCollins) is a detailed account of the problem of how life came into existence from lifeless matter – something that had to happen before the process of biological evolution could begin. The controversy over Intelligent Design has so far focused mainly on whether the evolution of life since its beginnings can be explained entirely by natural selection and other non-purposive causes. Meyer takes up the prior question of how the immensely complex and exquisitely functional chemical structure of DNA, which cannot be explained by natural selection because it makes natural selection possible, could have originated without an intentional cause. He examines the history and present state of research on non-purposive chemical explanations of the origin of life, and argues that the available evidence offers no prospect of a credible naturalistic alternative to the hypothesis of an intentional cause. Meyer is a Christian, but atheists, and theists who believe God never intervenes in the natural world, will be instructed by his careful presentation of this fiendishly difficult problem.

Get Meyer’s book. This is the best thing that got published this year. Buy it!

Previous posts

Stephen C. Meyer defines and defends intelligent design in CNN editorial

THIS IS HUGE. Maybe this CNN editorial will cause people to stop describing intelligent design as “the idea that life so complex that God had to create it”.

Story here at CNN.com.

His first argument is the Cambrian explosion:

We are told that a consensus of scientists supporting the theory means that Darwinian evolution is no longer subject to debate. But does it ever happen that a seemingly broad consensus of scientific expertise turns out to be wrong, generated by an ideologically motivated stampeding of opinion?

[…]Contrary to Darwinian orthodoxy, the fossil record actually challenges the idea that all organisms have evolved from a single common ancestor. Why? Fossil studies reveal “a biological big bang” near the beginning of the Cambrian period (520 million years ago) when many major, separate groups of organisms or “phyla” (including most animal body plans) emerged suddenly without clear precursors.

Fossil finds repeatedly have confirmed a pattern of explosive appearance and prolonged stability in living forms, not the gradual “branching-tree” pattern implied by Darwin’s common ancestry thesis.

And his second argument is the biological information in DNA:

Consider the implications, for example, of one of modern biology’s most important discoveries. In 1953 when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. The structure of DNA allows it to store information in the form of a four-character digital code, similar to a computer code.

This discovery highlights a scientific mystery that Darwin never addressed: how did the first life on earth arise? To date no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the information needed to build the first living cell.

Instead, the digital code and information processing systems that run the show in living cells point decisively toward prior intelligent design. Indeed, we know from our repeated experience — the basis of all scientific reasoning — that systems possessing these features always arise from an intelligent source — from minds, not material processes.

DNA functions like a software program. We know that software comes from programmers. Information — whether inscribed in hieroglyphics, written in a book, or encoded in a radio signal — always arises from a designing intelligence. So the discovery of digital code in DNA provides a strong scientific reason for concluding that the information in DNA also had an intelligent source.

You can see Stephen Meyer debate against a famous, qualified Darwinist here. That post also has links to other debates on intelligent design from the Cato Institute and PBS. And don’t forget that Stephen Meyer is debating Michael Shermer on November 30th, 2009 in Beverly Hills.

Ideas for Christmas gifts

If you guys are looking for Christmas gift ideas, I recommend Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” for advanced students. For beginners, get the new intelligent design DVD “Darwin’s Dilemma” and the “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” DVD. The former covers the Cambrian explosion, and the latter covers the argument from DNA. If you still have money left over for more gifts, then get “The Privileged Planet” DVD, which compares the requirements for complex life forms and the requirements for scientific discovery. These can all be bought at Amazon.com.

By the way, just for fun, why don’t you guys print off this article, and then go to some of your atheist family and friends and ask them what intelligent design is. Compare what they think intelligent design is with what it actually is, according to Stephen Meyer. If you want, write it up and leave it as a comment to this post.

UPDATE: Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel names Signature in the Cell one his two 2009 Books of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement. This will be in a separate post shortly. (H/T Apologetics 315)

Jonathan Wells writes about Darwinist reactions to new ID documentary

Interesting article from Evolution News regarding the recent showing of “Darwin’s Dilemma” at the University of Oklahoma.

This article is long and really interesting. I highly recommend reading through the whole thing. The accounts of Wells and Meyer interacting with the Darwinists during the live Q&A time is fascinating. But I thought that the actions of one Darwinist named Abbie Smith was particularly interesting. She is apparentlya well-respected Darwinist blogger who is specialized in refuting intelligent design! So how did she do against Wells and Meyer?

Excerpt:

On September 28, Steve spoke to an audience estimated at 300 in the Meacham Auditorium at the Oklahoma Memorial Union.[…]

Abbie Smith was there, but she spent the entire time blogging on her laptop. Her entries included the following:

7.10 — Meyer is clueless on origin of life and Darwin.

7.27 — ‘Origin of information in DNA’. HAHAHA I made all the mathematicians facepalm.

7.40 — Bored. Now watching porn.

Despite her earlier threats to expose publicly how “stupid” Steve is, Smith left abruptly after the lecture and did not stay for the Q&A.

And here’s another interesting professor:

The next person—apparently a professor of developmental biology—objected that the film ignored facts showing the unity of life, especially the universality of the genetic code, the remarkable similarity of about 500 housekeeping genes in all living things, the role of HOX genes in building animal body plans, and the similarity of HOX genes in all animal phyla, including sponges. Steve began by pointing out that the genetic code is not universal, but the questioner loudly complained that he was not answering her questions. I stepped up and pointed out that housekeeping genes are similar in all living things because without them life is not possible. I acknowledged that HOX gene mutations can be quite dramatic (causing a fly to sprout legs from its head in place of antennae, for example), but HOX genes become active midway through development, long after the body plan is already established. They are also remarkably non-specific; for example, if a fly lacks a particular HOX gene and a comparable mouse HOX gene is inserted in its place, the fly develops normal fly parts, not mouse parts. Furthermore, the similarity of HOX genes in so many animal phyla is actually a problem for neo-Darwinism: If evolutionary changes in body plans are due to changes in genes, and flies have HOX genes similar to those in a horse, why is a fly not a horse? Finally, the presence of HOX genes in sponges (which, everyone agrees, appeared in the pre-Cambrian) still leaves unanswered the question of how such complex specified genes evolved in the first place.

The questioner became agitated and shouted out something to the effect that HOX gene duplication explained the increase in information needed for the diversification of animal body plans. I replied that duplicating a gene doesn’t increase information content any more than photocopying a paper increases its information content. She obviously wanted to continue the argument, but the moderator took the microphone to someone else.

The post is filled with interesting interactions with Darwinists, so you should go read it to see how good the opposition is. I have already given away 1 copy of this DVD and ordered 3 more. If you missed Brian Auten’s review of the “Darwin’s Dilemma” DVD, check it out here.