Tag Archives: Francisco Ayala

ID critics do not read ID books before reviewing them

From Evolution News.

Excerpt:

As a friend of ours puts it, Jonathan Wells’s The Myth of Junk DNA is in the process of being “Ayala’ed.” To “Ayala” a book is to attack it in review without having bothered to read or even read much about it, simply on the basis of what you think it probably says given your uninformed preconceptions about the author. The term comes from the wonderful instance where distinguished biologist Francisco Ayala pompously “reviewed” Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell for the Biologos Foundation website while giving clear evidence of not having cracked the book open or even looked at the table of contents.

Thus we have several posts from University of Toronto biochemist Larry Moran, criticizing Myth while being totally open about not having read it first. Moran wrote no fewer than four posts on the book in this fashion, claiming as an excuse that Myth would not be published in Canada until May 31. (In fact, the book was available for purchase from Amazon since early May.) And now, as Casey already noted, we have Forbes science writer John Farrell, citing Moran as his source — a “double Ayala,” so to speak, where you attack a book without reading it citing as justification a review by someone else who also hasn’t read it.

Farrell thinks the myth of junk DNA is itself a myth — that “scientists never dismissed junk DNA in the literature.” In other words, Wells has set up a straw man. Of course, not having looked at the book, Farrell can’t have consulted Dr. Wells’s fifty pages of notes documenting his argument. The notes may be downloaded for free here. (Also available in Canada.)

So this is what criticism of intelligent design amounts to… denouncing a book before reading it.

Biophysicist Cornelius Hunter explains why reading the book is not necessary for Darwinists – because Darwinism is impervious to evidential concerns.

Excerpt:

This centuries old framework for naturalism is key to understanding evolution today. Science writers such as Farrell report that scientists have discovered, for instance, “just how not-so-intelligently designed the human genome actually is,” but this is not a scientific conclusion. For unlike the target of his criticism (the ID theory) which refers to complexity rather than goodness of design, evolutionary thought and its underlying naturalism framework refer to the design’s metaphysics. As Farrell explains:

Many mutations are neutral, or can be easily overcome by technology. And some of them cause a great deal of psychological suffering, such as the mutation that causes trimethylaminuria, which is physically harmless but causes the victims to smell like rotten fish no matter how clean they are. But many other mutations are deadly or, worse yet, can cause a person to have a lifetime of suffering. Perhaps the most disturbing mutation is the one that causes Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. This one mutation, of a single amino acid in a protein, causes the victim to have an uncontrollable compulsion for self-mutilation: they chew their own lips and fingers, and find sharp objects to stab their faces and eyes. The victims are fully able to feel their pain and they know what they are doing, but cannot control it.

Obviously to argue such mutations are the product of intentional design is to suggest the deity or intelligence responsible, is something of a monster.

Indeed. Leibniz was concerned about the evil in the world, but he had no idea how deeply it runs. It is truly abominable, and it makes for a moving and powerful argument that no good creator who has the power to create a universe would ever create this one.

Whether by the Epicurean’s swerving atoms, or science’s natural laws, the world must have arisen on its own.

How could anyone deny this obvious conclusion? This and other metaphysical arguments leave no room for debate. Evolution must be true. We may not know how it occurred, but it is a fact.

The powerful theory of evolution hangs on this framework of thought that mandates naturalism. The science is weak but the metaphysics are strong. This is the key to understanding evolutionary thought. The weak arguments are scientific and the strong arguments, though filled with empirical observation and scientific jargon, are metaphysical. The stronger the argument, the more theological or philosophical.

(Emphasis is in the original)

And I recommend you read the whole post, especially if you’ve never read anything by Cornelius Hunter.

So the reason why Darwinists don’t care about evidence is because evidence is irrelevant once you pre-suppose the religion of naturalism. And you presuppose the religion of naturalism because of the problem of evil and suffering. I.e. – “based on my childhood caricature of God as the cosmic Santa Claus, I now see that evolution must be true, because my cosmic Santa Claus God cannot have any purpose for allowing the evil and suffering I see in nature.” Science has nothing to do with it. Nature is not nice, and so God didn’t make nature. And that’s the end of the discussion.

These Darwinian critics of ID are really just close-minded religious fundamentalists whose principal response to experimental science is uninformed religious bluster. You don’t get an education when you take classes from the Darwinbots – you get indoctrinated. And if you dissent you get failed or fired. It’s that simple. They don’t debate you – they censor you. They don’t produce evidence for their views, they insult you. How dare you call their religion into question by appealing to facts? Darwinists don’t like facts. They don’t like evidence.

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Video of William Lane Craig’s opening speech from his debate on ID with Ayala

Provided by ChristianJR4. If you have a youtube account, please subscribe to his channel

Here is his full opening speech in 3 parts:

You can get the full audio here at Apologetics 315. There’s a good discussion going on in the comments.

You can read more about the debate over on Bradley Monton’s blog. He is an atheist professor who served as moderator during the debate.

Here are Craig’s post-debate comments.

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William Lane Craig’s after-action report on the debate with Francisco Ayala

Here is his after-action report. I think it may be behind the registration firewall, so I’ll quote some of it for you.

Excerpt:

I had heard Ayala lecture on Intelligent Design last year in China and was dismayed by the caricatures and misrepresentations he gave to the Chinese students. So even though I had never debated intelligent design in biology before, I decided to take on this debate to try at least to set the record straight.

The last few months I prepared diligently for this debate, reading Ayala’s work, familiarizing myself with relevant new developments in biology, studying the recent works of ID proponents, conferring with colleagues who work in this field, and formulating the best strategy for the debate.

[…]Since the question we were debating was not whether intelligent design is true but merely whether it is viable, it was up to Ayala to disqualify ID as a live option. In his published work, he tries to disqualify ID both scientifically and theologically, so my opening response fell neatly into two parts. First, I argued that Ayala fails to disqualify ID scientifically because he cannot show that the Darwinian mechanisms are capable of producing the sort of biological complexity we see on earth. Then I argued that the theological arguments he presents against the designer’s being all-powerful and all-good are simply irrelevant to drawing a design inference (however interesting and important they may be for theology) because the design argument doesn’t aspire to show that the designer is all-powerful or all-good.

The debate turned out to be virtually one-sided! Ayala utterly failed to engage with my arguments. It was almost as if I wasn’t even there. It was pretty obvious to everyone that he was just presenting canned arguments which had already been refuted in my opening statement. I responded to all his points and even went beyond them to tackle the theological problem of natural evil as well. I was also able to call him to account for his misrepresentation of Michael Behe’s work. Ayala likes to indict Behe for saying that the human eye is irreducibly complex, even though it isn’t. Holding up Behe’s book and reading aloud the relevant passage, I responded that this allegation was surprising in light of the fact that Behe says on pages 37-38 that the eye is NOT irreducibly complex and therefore he does not use it as one of his examples of irreducible complexity!

Another interesting feature of this debate was the moderator, a young philosopher from the University of Colorado, Boulder, named Bradley Monton. Though a self-confessed atheist, Monton is convinced that the typical refutations of ID that pass muster today are in fact fallacious, and so he has written a book defending not only the scientific status of ID but even its being taught as an option in public schools! Having read his remarkable book in preparation for the debate, I was able to quote “our esteemed moderator” to good effect during the debate itself to counter Ayala’s assertion that ID was not science.

I note that Reasonable Faith has secured a $65000 matching grant for all donations between now and December 31st. Please contribute generously. There is no one on the planet who does more to defend Biblical Christianity than William Lane Craig. No Christian is more feared by atheists. Atheists laugh at Bible-thumping, hand-wringing fundamentalists who preach only to the choir – but they fear William Lane Craig.

You can listen to the MP3 recording of the debate here at Apologetics 315.

Video of Craig’s opening speech is here.

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Craig-Ayala debate may be streamed live over the Internet

Check it out! (H/T Brian Auten of Apolgetics 315)

We are working on streaming the event live.

The event, assuming everything works at the Auditorium, will be from ustream.tv.

If the link does not work, here is the address: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/indiana-university—november-5-2009

UPDATE: The audio for the debate is posted here. (MP3)

You can read Craig’s post-debate comments here.

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William Lane Craig vs. Francisco Ayala November 5th at Indiana University

William Lane Craig is debating evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala in the November 5th, 2009, at Indiana University.

Here’s the skinny:

Intelligent Design: Is it Viable? A debate between Dr. Francisco J. Ayala and Dr. William Lane Craig. Moderated by Dr. Bradley Monton. The debate will occur on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 7 p.m. EST at Indiana University Auditorium.

Bradley Monton is the atheist philosopher who thinks that intelligent design is a viable enterprise to investigate.

You can read more about William Lane Craig at his web site.

Here’s a bit more about his opponent, Francisco Ayala:

His research focusses on population and evolutionary genetics, including the origin of species, genetic diversity of populations, the origin of malaria, the population structure of parasitic protozoa, and the molecular clock of evolution. He also writes about the interface between religion and science, and on philosophical issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and the philosophy of biology.

He’s written 650 papers and 12 books. I think this is going to be a tough debate for Bill!

UPDATE: The debate is now finished!

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