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Science and the Bible: Intelligent Design, Part 5

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December 18, 2012 Tags: Design
Science and the Bible: Intelligent Design, Part 5
Raphael, The School of Athens (1511), Vatican Museums

Today's entry was written by Ted Davis. You can read more about what we believe here.

We conclude the discussion of ID with two more conclusions and a very brief historical discussion.

(3) ID is NOT an alternative scientific theory to evolution, for it doesn’t even try to provide a coherent account of the history of nature from the Big Bang to now—and that is precisely what a viable candidate for an alternative theory must do.

As we’ve already seen, ID is a “philosophical critique of the explanatory efficacy of Darwinian evolution” (to borrow my own words), not an alternative “theory of everything.” Unlike “creationism,” which actually is an alternative “theory of everything,” ID does not offer answers to such questions as how and when birds came into existence, or how old the universe is, or whether humans and Tyrannosaurus ever co-existed. These and other topics in the historical sciences have been deliberately omitted from the official scope of ID, in order to keep the “big tent” in one piece. Indeed, the question of the legitimacy of the historical sciences in general is one of the largest elephants in the tent.

When all historical questions are left officially out of the ID platform, then it becomes very difficult for critics to see what actually counts as legitimate science inside the tent on such matters. Just as proponents of ID can fairly ask evolutionary biologists to propose plausible naturalistic scenarios that could perhaps have produced the first form(s) of life or the complexity of DNA or the relatively sudden diversity of the Cambrian explosion, so critics of ID can fairly ask IDists to propose examples of what actually counts as good science in the history of nature—against which the plausibility of those evolutionary explanations can be evaluated. In the absence of any such standard, then someone like Cornelius Hunter can simply sit back taking pot shots at evolution and various other parts of natural history, without offering any alternative explanations of his own or identifying any parts of natural history that are (in his view) well supported. A studied skepticism of this type amounts to a profound agnosticism about all things natural historical, and anyone who is really that agnostic about that much science has in my view undermined their own credibility as a critic of scientific explanations in those disciplines.

In my opinion, the inability of ID to offer an alternative history of nature counts crucially against its acceptance by the scientific community. The single most influential book in my discipline was written fifty years ago by the late Thomas Kuhn, generally regarded as a philosopher of science despite the great hostility that many philosophers have shown toward his ideas. If you’ve heard of “paradigms” and “revolutions” in science, then you already have at least a vague notion of what his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), is about. Basically, a paradigm is an overarching conception within a branch of science that determines how science in that field is normally done. For example, atomic theory functions as a paradigm in chemistry, and the universal acceptance of the periodic table as a convenient summary of atomic theory indicates the very wide explanatory scope and consent that are prerequisites for becoming a paradigm.

Source: http://skepticism-images.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/images/jreviews/Thomas-Kuhn.jpg

Evolution is the reigning paradigm in biology and a major component of the even larger paradigm of natural history that also includes cosmology and geology. “Once it has achieved the status of paradigm,” Kuhn observes, “a scientific theory is declared invalid only if an alternative candidate is available to take its place.” We might say that science suffers from a modern version of the old Aristotelian horror vacui: science abhors an intellectual vacuum. Better to keep an imperfect theory with all of its flaws than just to throw it away, leaving a state of intellectual anarchy in which nothing makes sense. As Kuhn says, “the decision to reject one paradigm is always simultaneously the decision to accept another,” so if ID cannot provide a more compelling alternative account of natural history then a paradigm change is simply not in the offing (quoting 3rd edition of 1996, p. 77).

ID theorist William Dembski is well aware of this problem. Many years ago, in his book Intelligent Design (1999), he wrote, “As philosophers Thomas Kuhn and Larry Laudan have pointed out, for scientific paradigms to shift, there has to be a new paradigm in place ready to be shifted into. You can’t shift into a vacuum. If you’re going to reject a reigning paradigm, you have to have a new improved paradigm with which to replace it.” Dembski goes on to say that ID is the only logical alternative to “naturalistic evolution,” but that it can’t be considered because ID “we’re told, isn’t part of science.” The remedy, he says is to “dump methodological naturalism.” (p. 119)

Dembski’s analysis is on target, as far as it goes, but there is a further dimension he does not address. Presently there is no ID theory to function as an alternative explanation of the history of the universe and the life it contains, as ID proponents themselves admit. A few years ago, Phillip Johnson did an interesting interview in connection with the “NOVA” program series on PBS. He was directly asked, “So what does intelligent design say about how life was created and how we ended up with the diversity of life we see today?” His answer goes directly to my point: “Well, the alternative is not well developed, so I would prefer to say that, as far as I’m concerned, the alternative is we don’t really know what happened. But if non-intelligence couldn’t do the whole job, then intelligence had to be involved in some way. Then it’s a big research job to figure out the consequences of that starting point.” It remains to be seen whether progress on this front will be forthcoming from the staff of the Biologic Institute, a pro-ID research center established in 2005 partly for the purpose of creating an alternative account of evolution, and other ID people.

(4) Even though one of the most prominent ID advocates, Michael Behe, accepts the common descent of humans and other primates, most ID advocates reject human evolution, and many also attack other inferences to common descent involving the fossil record. Most are probably old-earth “creationists,” and thus it is not hard for their critics simply to call them “creationists.”

This is not news to anyone who has been following my columns on “Science and the Bible.” I won’t repeat things I’ve already said. I will only add the most recent example to support my conclusion. A few weeks ago, the Discovery Institute released a new book, written by two biologists from the Biologic Institute (Ann Gauger & Douglas Axe) and DI staff member Casey Luskin. Called Science and Human Origins (2012), the book argues that evidence for the common ancestry of human and other modern primates—including the genetic information stressed by Francis Collins in The Language of God—is not conclusive. They conclude that the evidence actually supports the existence of an original pair of humans (rather than a group of ca. 10,000 individuals), and that the fossil evidence for common ancestry is spotty and inconclusive.

Human evolution has always been the hard core of opposition to modern natural history. It was the main reason why there was so much religious opposition to Robert Chambers and Charles Darwin in the 19th century; it was the bottom line for William Jennings Bryan, who was willing to accept evolution for other animals (if necessary), in the 1920s; it is the main reason why OECs today continue to question “macroevolution” while accepting “microevolution.” If human evolution is not really at the core of ID as well, despite the very significant presence of Behe at the center of the movement, then why is so much attention being given to a book like this by the leading ID organization? What more can I say?

Historical Comments

Belief in “design” derives from pre-Christian Greek philosophers, especially the two guys at the focal point of the Raphael painting that heads this column (Plato on our left and Aristotle on our right). It has also been promoted by most Christian thinkers, including John Polkinghorne and some other theistic evolutionists of our own day. However the ID movement, which originated in the late 20th century and now defines the term “intelligent design” for all intents and purposes, is mainly opposed to evolution and derives much of its energy from popular anti-evolutionism.

I know quite a bit more about the history of each of the other four positions I’ve presented, and (to be frank) I would rather punt this one, referring readers to several histories of ID by authors more qualified than me on this particular topic. An excellent place to start is an article about Phillip Johnson’s unique place in the development of ID, written by historian Donald Yerxa, whose book (with physicist Karl Giberson) Species of Origins came out a few months later.

No future historian would ignore the various “insider” histories of ID, regardless of how sympathetic they are. Among these I especially recommend Stephen Meyer, “A Scientific History and Philosophical Defense of the Theory of Intelligent Design,” and Jonathan Witt’s “A Brief History of the Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design”. Dembski’s contribution to this book includes a brief view of the longer history (going back to the Greeks), but to the best of my knowledge it’s not available on the internet. Thomas Woodward, who earned his doctorate in communication with a dissertation on the history of ID, published his findings in Doubts about Darwin: A History of Intelligent Design (2003).

The best overall history of design that I have seen was written by journalist Larry Witham, author of several well-written and interesting books. In By Design: Science and the Search for God (2004), Witham discusses the ID movement accurately, but that is not the lion’s share of the book. Finally, I recommend another print source, Nick Matzke’s essay, “But Isn’t It Creationism? The beginnings of ‘intelligent design’ in the midst of the Arkansas and Louisiana litigation,” in But Is It Science? The Philosophical Question in the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Updated Edition, ed. Michael Ruse and Robert T. Pennock (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2009), pp. 377-413. Matzke is a leading opponent of ID and not a popular figure among ID proponents, but his account of the symbiosis between ID and YEC, especially the major role played by creationist biologist Dean Kenyon, is well researched and should not be dismissed as propaganda, any more than ID opponents should dismiss some of the other sources I’ve mentioned.

I doubt anyone will have time to read all of these sources, but please add comments about any that you do get around to reading. I won’t be very active during the Christmas holiday, but I’ll drop in from time to time whether or not I leave any replies. I will be back again in about two weeks to close out this long series on “Science and Bible” with a call for you to weigh in with final thoughts.


Ted Davis is Fellow of the History of Science for the BioLogos Foundation and Professor of the History of Science at Messiah College. At Messiah, Davis teaches courses on historical and contemporary aspects of Christianity and science and directs the Central Pennsylvania Forum for Religion and Science.

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lancelot10 - #75403

December 18th 2012

Without ID from God is this a plausible theory of evolution since I have never come across a mechanism for it  :

1 tiny dot blows up into big bang (if they said it was the size of an orange everyone would say who made it - so they make it microscopic to fool the sheeple)

2 hydrogen forms itself into over 100 elements - even gold - and everything condenses out into stars and planets.

3In a muddy pool several billion molecules come together create a membrane and start moving around inside the membrane as if they were in charge of them selves forming a code a billion characters long to reproduce and even feed  itself on various other evolved things.

4 Cell code gets bombarded by cosmic rays which turn it into a fishlike creature which has sex with similar fishlike creatures which amazingly produces more fishlike creatures.

5 More and more changes to code result from cosmic bombardments making fishlike creature come out of the water and become air breathing mammals which can still have sex making more mammals

6 Some mammals go back to sea due to evolutionary demands which amazingly were supplied by cosmic bombardment on their tightly wound DNA code in their sperm- such is lady luck.

Oh boy - how could a trained scientist believe such a fairy story

  “professing themselves to be wise they became fools worshipping the creation rather than the creator”


Eddie - #75409

December 18th 2012

I can agree with much of what you have written here.
I certainly agree with you that ID, if it takes its own method seriously as science, cannot offer an alternative history of the cosmos and life.  The self-limitation of design detection methods makes ID theory incapable of doing that.  This is what I have tried to show beaglelady.
I think that ID people are disunited on this question, because some of them wish to see ID as offering an alternative creation story.  I’m quite content with a much more limited role for ID.  If ID can say, e.g., “the first cell did not come into being without the activity of intelligence,” or “bacteria did not turn into human beings merely by the occurrence of stochastic mechanisms,” I consider such insights to be major contributions to our understanding of the world, and also culturally and theologically very useful in that they demolish the position of Dawkins etc.
I’d add a couple of comments, however. 
While Kuhn may be quite right to say that in modern scientific practice, an old paradigm isn’t ever abandoned until a new one takes its place, that merely shows that modern scientists have developed a horror of being without a theory.  Why isn’t a third position—that the old paradigm is no longer tenable, and we have no alternative, so we are at this point agnostic—possible?  That would seem to be exactly the right position, if scientists are as humble before the facts as they are always (proudly!) claiming to be.  Why not say, in some cases, that they just don’t know something, and have no promising leads at the moment?  Detectives, historians, and many others are often forced to be agnostic, and they are not blamed for being so.  Why can’t science, in some areas, simply take no position?
The second comment is related to the first:  why is it a working assumption of modern scientists that science should be able to explain origins?  That assumption was not obvious to Newton or Boyle, who did not try to explain the origin of the solar system naturalistically (as Kant later would).  And regarding living things, that assumption was not obvious to most scientists until the time of Darwin.  If there is no reason to assume that the methods of natural science are capable of uncovering all origins, then there is no reason to demand of scientists an alternate paradigm for the origin and changes of species, merely because aspects of the current paradigm are increasingly looking untenable.  Where and when did the assumption that natural science can explain the origin of everything become essential to the self-definition of modern science?  
Bilbo - #75411

December 18th 2012

Hi Ted,

As I commented in your previous post, there are competing hypotheses within the ID movement.  Thus, there is no one unified ID theory.  But then I think that’s becoming true among scientists who reject ID.  At the very least, there is a large debate between the adaptationists and non-adaptationists over how great a role natural selection should be given in evolution.  And though the RNA world is still the predominant hypothesis among the origin of life researchers, it is by no means accepted by all.  To criticize the ID movement for not having one unified theory might be just a little bit unfair.  Nor do ID proponents demand that ID be taught instead of neo-Darwinism.  They would just like the problems with the theory to be taught as well.  I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #75414

December 18th 2012

While it may be true that Plato and Aritotle developed philosophy that claimed that the universe is rationally ordered by the Logos, the Gospel of John 1 clears says that God the Father/Creator created an ordered universe through God the Son/Logos.  Thus it is not only philosophy that is on the hook for an orderly universe, Christianity is too.

I agree with Ted that ID does not offer an alternative to Darwinism, but this does not mean that its critique of it is not without merit.  There is a way to reconcile TE and ID that I outlined in the previous blog.

Scientific evolutionary thought is concerned about change, how live forms change.  Variation through mutation, etc. answers that question and indeed evolutionary biology concentrates almost completely on Variation. 

However the Theory of Evolution is more than Variation/Change, it is also about Natural Selection/Telos/Purpose.  This is the niche in which ID fits based on the Logos, the Source of the structure and purpose of the universe.

By developing a new understanding of how Natural Selection works with Variation, ID and TE can build a new model of evolution to replace the neoDarwinian one, as well as unite Christian thinkers against simplistic Scientism and Creationism.  



lancelot10 - #75415

December 18th 2012

Roger - how does natural selection change DNA  - this has always puzzled me - surely the fittest deer or fish remains deer or fish.  Could selection change the DNA of the deer into that of say a whale - it cant since a deer breeds deer just like genesis says .   Only mutation could change the DNA but how could genetic damage produce a whale from a deer - so selection is out and mutation is out - due to the insurmountable probabilities.   So evolution has not even a mechanism.   There is no physical evidence of it either in the fossils or now.   With about 30 - 50 billion humans since adam is there even one with a wing stump in order to satisfy the evolutionary demands of air travel.

You see of evolutionary demands evolution knows nothing - the demand for a human to grow wings can be there but the dna of the human will know nothing of it .



Ashe - #75419

December 18th 2012

This has to be a parody

beaglelady - #75420

December 18th 2012


Haven’t you heard of Poe’s Law? LOL!

lancelot10 - #75433

December 18th 2012

Yes - but evolution knows nothing of poe’s law since evolution has no intelligence relying only on blind chance

GJDS - #75432

December 18th 2012

It is true that scientists work within their current paradigm and that science has had to deal with assumptions, approximations and sometimes just plain silly notions. The underlying strength of science however, has been the ability by scientists to doubt and question everything, especially a current paradigm. Scientists generally are not (and should not be) married or fixated to an ideology, and most scientists that I know are ESPECIALLY sceptical of any theory that seeks to claim explanations of everything. Evolution as currently discussed is one such hypothesis.

Darwin’s idea(s) have evolved into their current form for two main reasons: (1) it was the first successful break from ancient and inadequate ideas regarding the age of the world while attempting to address the diversity in the bio-sphere, and (2) it gave non-religious people an alternative to creation myths and intellectually inept outlooks towards nature. It is the second reason that is in play to this day, except with liberal theological outlook(s) that want to be included in the evolutionary camp, to ensure they are not regarded as ‘creationists’ or out of step with science. The rational for theistic evolution of whatever colour is weak and the attitude by various sections of the religious community is a continuation of heterodox outlooks such as process theology.

I do not think that Darwin’s idea(s) have ever been regarded as providing the intellectual rigour or the quantification needed from scientific theories. The notion is semantic and relies even to this day on analogous notions and qualitative comparisons; this includes common descent and these absurd ‘trees’ of life. I will not comment on fundamental ‘holes’ such as how the building blocks of life could have arisen (spontaneously), how life came into being, or the implicit belief of endless, small changes at the genetic level to ultimately give rise to a so called ‘fit to survive’ variation. Any scientific theory that comes with such great inadequacies must be regarded with scepticism; evolution is given a privileged position in the Sciences, and I think this is because atheists now have something that they can believe in.

Within the scientific critique, I think differences between TE and ID are minor, although culturally their differences are great. The pity in all of this is that people have come to regard outlooks to evolution as important to the Christian faith. I deplore such an outlook.

beaglelady - #75445

December 18th 2012

Scientists generally are not (and should not be) married or fixated to an ideology, and most scientists that I know are ESPECIALLY sceptical of any theory that seeks to claim explanations of everything. Evolution as currently discussed is one such hypothesis.

Actually, evolution only seeks to explain the diversity of species we see. 

GJDS - #75451

December 18th 2012

I quote from this article:

Evolution is the reigning paradigm in biology and a major component of the even larger paradigm of natural history that also includes cosmology and geology.

I will add some references to reply to PNG.

beaglelady - #75460

December 19th 2012

I don’t know what article you are talking about, but biological evolution is the reigning paradigm in biology.  I think plate tectonics might be the central paradigm in geology, but I’d have to check on that! 

GJDS - #75464

December 19th 2012

I am refering to this article on this forum by Ted Davis - the quote is just after the photograph.

PNG - #75449

December 18th 2012

You keep repeating the assertion that evolution isn’t a well formed quantitative theory. Maybe you should actually read a text like the one that can be freely downloaded here before repeating that assertion. The author is one of the big names in the field.:

Theoretical evolutionary genetics by Joe Felsenstein


lancelot10 - #75434

December 18th 2012

Since the christian must believe in a creator eg the God who resurrects all of the dead and evolution needs no creator surely evolution is opposed to the christian faith.

A christian can be a scientist without accepting the unproven theory of evolution.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #75439

December 18th 2012

Evolution does need a Creator, since evolution needs a universe.

Merv - #75443

December 18th 2012

Ted, at the risk of opening a can of definitional worms that has already been hacked to pieces on many other threads, I will nevertheless take issue with the way you worded your first conclustion here:

(3) ID is NOT an alternative scientific theory to evolution, for it doesn’t even try to provide a coherent account of the history of nature from the Big Bang to now—and that is precisely what a viable candidate for an alternative theory must do.

It is probably not wise to imply such scope for evolution that goes beyond technical or “mere” scientific evolution which is only biological.  Strictly speaking evolution hasn’t even addressed (beyond some speculative work at its fringe) the origins of life, much less the origins of the cosmos.  Natural selection, mutation, ecological constraint and whatever other mechanisms folks wish to add to this mix all presuppose some DNA or DNA-like reproductive capacity.  To grant evolution the big ‘E’ of being a paradigm for so wide an array of scientific fields is to flirt with giving it a status that is dangerously close to the philosophical materialist paradigm that aggressively atheistic proponents want to invest into it.  It’s true that it might be the best word we’ve got to describe anything that slowly emerges through a multitude of small changes—a true enough description for many cosmic and geological processes.  But in this crowd where language is a minefield to tip-toe through carefully, I should not say a planet ‘evolved.’  The only thing a planet has in common with technical evolution is that it was a long time being formed.  And that is where the similarity ends, cosmologist popularizers not withstanding.


Merv - #75444

December 18th 2012

By the way, your Kuhn-inspired comments about science abhorring a theory ‘vacuum’ are spectacularly born out as the decades move on making this an understatement, if anything.

Dark matter and dark energy (or their incorporation into current cosmology, rather) seem like prime examples to me.  Since ordinary visible matter doesn’t make the math come out right, we invent dark matter, and then also dark energy, so that the ledgers tally up correctly.  (I wonder if accountants have ever tried a similar move with their employer’s finances?)  It isn’t that I have a bone to pick with these conjectures, but I just find it fascinating how matter-of-factly cosmologists can now accept the existence of things we have yet to find in any verifiable form!  Never let it be said that cosmologists can’t operate on faith.


“in this field, almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few holes.”—Philip von Jolly to Max Planck upon learning that Max wished to study Physics.  (~1870s)

beaglelady - #75459

December 19th 2012

Since ordinary visible matter doesn’t make the math come out right, we invent dark matter, and then also dark energy, so that the ledgers tally up correctly.

Actually, I think it’s a matter of accounting for all of the gravity in the universe.  Something real must be causing it.  I don’t think it’s simply a matter of making things up.   It’s an area of active scientific research. There is a book, The 4% Universe, by Richard Panek, about the topic if you’re interested. (I haven’t read it yet.)  


GJDS - #75453

December 18th 2012

reply to PNG #75449

Thanks for offering another book to read. However I have spent more time then I should (or could) searching a range of papers dealing with evolution and have provided these and quotes from them on this blog - I am sure you are the only one who has responded, and tehn to give me some unsolicited advice.

I state uncertainty is inherent in evolutionary theory(s), and that Darwin’s ideas do not conform to high level scientific thought. I have made these points before but the standard response is, “You have not read enough!”, or, “You do not understand what we experts know!” Such responses are inconsistent with an unshakable belief in any theory. I make my original challenge, “If you have a clear understanding of this hypothesis provide a half-to one page summary, for the rest of us. I have offered published material that clearly shows the uncertain and qualitative nature of this hypothesis, so here it goes again:

Graphodatsky, Trifonov, Stanyon, Molecular Cytogenetics, 2011, 4:22. “The entire chromosome set of a species ... as a karyotype, .... thought of as a global map of the nuclear genome. A seemingly logical consequence of descent from common ancestors is that more closely related species should have more similar chromosomes. However, it is now widely appreciated that species may have phonetically similar karyotypes because they are genomically conservative. Therefore in comparative cytogenetics, phylogenetic relationships should be determined on the basis of the polarity of chromosome differences (derived traits). This underscores uncertainty; this is further re-enforced by: “At the same time, the notion that one may find universal or necessary laws in biological sciences is vigorously debated,” and, “However, it is also clear that all biological generalizations have their share of exceptions, and all seem to be contingent on the peculiarities of life on earth.” (Baetu, Philosophy of Science, Vol. 79, No. 2 (April 2012), pp. 276-294).

Two scientists arguing the importance of kinship in the evolution of complex social systems in insects (SCIENCE, VOL 323, 6 FEBRUARY 2009, p 706), and an expanded explanation of their ideas in the December 2007 “The Quarterly Review of Biology” and in the September-October 2008 issue of “American Scientist”. Kin-selection theory, they argue, is ineffective. “The theory that traditionalists use leads them anywhere they want to go” and fails to make useful predictions, Wilson asserts. “To make [a theory] really stand [up], you have to show that that’s the only result that can come from your theory, and they haven’t done that.”


GJDS - #75454

December 18th 2012


I add on sameness in biology, to show the uncertainty in this area:  “One might suppose that homology would also have met its end at the hands of Darwin, that the concept would have been discarded along with Owen’s archetypes. But not only did Darwinism not annihilate homologies, it turns out that homologies are at its very basis. In order to make a claim that a trait has evolved (e.g., that jaw structure has changed), the same trait must be picked out in different individuals (the jaw in organisms A, B, C, etc.). Darwinism thus undermined the traditional basis for homology only by making key use of the notion of homology. In the wake of Darwin, then, biologists and philosophers had to ask whether there is a new foundation for homology. Grant Ramsey and Anne Siebels Peterson, Philosophy of Science, Vol. 79, No. 2 (April 2012), pp. 255-275.

I have given other references in the past to no avail – so it is not lack of reading, but instead a considerable amount of reading that supports my statements. By now I am sure I would have stumbled on this stupendous clarity that your books seem to bring to you. Instead, the more I read (in the limited time I have), the more I am convinced by the writings of evolutionists that they have much much more work to do before they will ever present a coherent, qnatitative theory on life, its origins, its development on the earth – let alone these other claims some of them are making.

I have a dozen or more other papers and reviews, and I am sure that I am not misreading them, especially since their own words include ... inferred .... assume ... based on this or that .... In my area, when any of us publish material using such words, we all understand it is speculation which means it is uncertain and most time a qualitative outlook. On most occasions we have found good reason to project such uncertainty (because science and nature are not so simple!). Why should evolution be viewed in a different light?

beaglelady - #75461

December 19th 2012


BioLogos is understaffed,  and the participants here are mostly not scientists.  Since you are convinced that evolutionary theory is lacking in certainty, why not drop by the Panda’s Thumb ? It’s a blog run by mostly scientists, and you will get prompt answers to your questions!  

GJDS - #75466

December 19th 2012


My comments on the type of theory put forward by Darwin can be understood by refering, for e.g., to analysis of such things in an easy to read book, by A Rosenberg, Philosophy of Science, 2011. The author has little interest in religious or irreligious opinions, and he has used Darwin’s ideas as a prime example of a semantic theory. If you read opinions such as his, you will see why evolution defies a quantitative treatment, and why scientists and others are still debating the exact nature of Darwins theories. I have provided examples of reviews on specific biological areas in previous blogs in this series (and I will not repeat these again) that amply illustrate the uncertainty and at times, sloppy intellectual effort. My point is more readily excepted by others who practice the exact sciences - often evolutionsits cannot seperate belief in Darwin from the uncertainties anmd inadequacies of the theories his work has spawned. As to the thinking been confined to biology, again Rosenburg shows why the theories have spread so widely and have not been so confined.

beaglelady - #75476

December 19th 2012

My point is more readily excepted by others who practice the exact sciences - often evolutionsits cannot seperate belief in Darwin from the uncertainties anmd inadequacies of the theories his work has spawned.

Maybe you should concentrate on English skills.

GJDS - #75530

December 19th 2012

What a clever beaglelady - yet ‘readily accepted’ is the correct English as you pointed out. And you like the favourite game on this blog of, “guess who is the scientist?” I am certain you are not one, beaglelady, just as certain that I am a scientist - but then you are too busy corrected us poor things to find time to have something of substance to say (even you ‘understanding?’ of dark energy and gravity??? as well as evolutin???)

GJDS - #75522

December 19th 2012


I guess your belief has been dinted and you now select yourself an English/spelling master - but what of any substance to your glib responses?

beaglelady - #75523

December 19th 2012

I don’t have a problem with typos and careless errors—they crop up in my own posts.  And the BioLogos editor doesn’t help. But saying something like “My point is more readily excepted by others who practice the exact sciences”  tells me that you are probably not a scientist. 

lancelot10 - #75469

December 19th 2012

beagle  - if one is not convinced that evolutionary theory is lacking in certainty then science would have to be suspended.    A 150 year old hypothesis which they are still trying to find evidence for ???

Nine-tenths of the talk of evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by facts. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views. In all this great museum, there is not a particle of evidence of the transmutation of species.”

Dr. Etheridge, senior paleontologist of the British Museum of Natural History, cited in Dr. Scott Huse, The Collapse of Evolution.

Ashe - #75474

December 19th 2012

Of course there are mountains of evidence for evolution, ever read the blogs here?

Also that is not an honest quotation:

The widely touted “Dr. Etheridge, of the British Museum,” who always appeared in creationist literature without a given name, was quoted by Townsend as saying, “In all this great museum there is not a particle of evidence transmutation of species. Nine-tenths of the talk of evolution is sheer nonsense, not founded on observation and wholly unsupported by fact. This museum is full of proofs of the utter falsity of their views.” The content of Etheridge’s statement varied from work to work, and its source remained unidentified, except for Alexander Patterson’s comment that Etheridge was answering a question put to him by a Dr. George E. Post. When curious parties in the 1920s inquired about the identity of Etheridge, the director of the British Museum surmised that the man in question was “Robert Etheridge, Junr., who was Assistant Keeper of Geology in this Museum from 1881 to 1891,” at which time he left for Australia, where he died in 1920. The director hastened to add that “Mr. Etheridge’s opinion on this subject should not be considered as in any way representing scientific opinion in this Museum.”

The Creationists, Ronald Numbers, page 52

Eddie - #75511

December 19th 2012

 It’s a blog run by mostly scientists ...”

... with a king-size chip on their shoulder.  And minor-league scientists, too, mostly; scientists with serious research programs have to spend way too much time in their labs, and working with graduate students and post-docs, etc., to spend much time blogging.  Most of the Panda’s Thumb gang are minor-league scientists, or scientists at little colleges where they don’t have many research duties, or undergrad or grad science students, or computer science majors faking knowledge of biology based on reading Scientific American, or just science geeks in general.  You won’t find many Ivy League profs posting there very often, and you won’t find Nobel Prize winners posting there, and you won’t find NAS people posting there very often.  It’s third-tier evolutionary theory you will get there, evolutionary theory argued out by people with way too much time on their hands, and precious few publications in journals of evolutionary biology spread among the lot of them.  A culture-war site, not a truly scientific site, and a waste of anyone’s time.  Just like the NCSE site.

beaglelady - #75598

December 21st 2012

Real scientists, real laboratories.

Eddie - #75603

December 21st 2012

In the vast majority of cases, no.  Most of the commenters there are hobbyists or undergrad or grad students, many of them not even in the life sciences.  Most of them go by pseudonyms, which a real scientist would not employ, because a real scientist would be proud enough of his work to identify himself.  They are basically an assortment of science-geek atheists, materialists and skeptics who are out to bash creationism and ID.  And the handful of working scientists who occasionally show up are rarely of any account—mostly bush-league scientists teaching at minor campuses of mediocre State universities, and usually not even evolutionary biologists by profession, but from some other branch of science, though holding loud opinions about evolutionary biology.  It’s basically a site where the converted preach to each other, and gang up and beat up anyone from ID or creationist camps who has the temerity to show up there.  A waste of anyone’s time.   If one wants to know what current evolutionary theory is saying, one is much better off to read the original articles in the biological journals, or books by people like Shapiro, than to get the stuff filtered by amateurs, hobbyists, and non-specialists with an anti-religious axe to grind.  

Science is not learned from blog sites.  Science is learned by reading the professional work of scientists.  


lancelot10 - #75475

December 19th 2012

Luther Sunderland asked evolutionists what evidence they had for their theory.  The British Museum of Natural History has the largest fossil collection in the world.  When the senior paleontologist (Colin Paterson) was asked why he did not show the missing links in his book he said:  “I fully agree with your comments on the lack of evolutionary transitions in my book.  If I knew of any, fossil or living, I would certainly have included them.  I will lay it on the line – there is not one such fossil.”  (Dr. Colin Paterson, Senior Paleontologist, British Museum of Natural History in correspondence to Luther Sunderland quoted in Darwin’s Enigma 1988, p. 89).

Ashe - #75477

December 19th 2012

Yet another dishonest quotation:



beaglelady - #75478

December 19th 2012

TalkOrigins maintains an Index of Creationist Claims. So you can stop copying and pasting distortions from your creationist websites.  

lancelot10 - #75480

December 19th 2012

beagle lady

I know talk origins does this thats why evolutionists use it all the time and cut and paste from it.

So why do most people believe it?

“Evolution is unproved and improvable, we believe it because the only alternative is special creation, which is unthinkable.”

(Sir Arthur Keith, a militant anti-Christian physical anthropologist)

beaglelady - #75487

December 19th 2012

You might want to stop puking up creationist bull and start actually  reading the articles on this forum.

lancelot10 - #75479

December 19th 2012

Ashe - without using talk origins which is a fiercely evolutionary website could you site just one evidence of evolution

Scientists got dates of 164 million and 3 billion years for two Hawaiian lava flows. But these lava flows happened only about 200 years ago in 1800 and 1801.

(Radiocarbon Journal, Vol. 8, 1966.)

Ashe - #75484

December 19th 2012

I don’t know what “fiercely evolutionary website” means. Making up a name like that doesn’t excuse you from ignoring all the evidence for evolution discussed in any website. Try not to fear it too much and look for yourself. 

lancelot10 - #75485

December 19th 2012

Ashe - can you give me just one proof you have that evolution has occurred ?

Ashe - #75496

December 19th 2012

Take a look at Tiktaalik or the whale transition 


Take a look at how many unicellular eukaryotes are essentially multifunctional cells, doing many different things, and these obviously became specialized in multicellular organisms. Take a look at the evolution of a new genes, like jingwei, etc etc etc

lancelot10 - #75507

December 19th 2012

“these obviously became specialized in multicellular organisms.”

Obviously ?? how do you presume this ?  You are just naming organisms not providing proof of evolution.

beaglelady - #75498

December 19th 2012

The simplest example is that we need new flu shots every year because the influenza virus evolves. 

lancelot10 - #75482

December 19th 2012

“Most of the major groups of animals appear fully fledged in the early Cambrian rocks, and we know of no fossil forms linking them”.
Dr. Colin Patterson.
Evolution, British Museum of Natural History, 1978, Page 133. 

“It is as though they (the Cambrian invertebrates) were just planted there, without any evolutionary history”.
Dr. Richard Dawkins.
Evolution in Contemporary Botanical Thought, Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1961, Page 97.

Ashe - #75488

December 19th 2012

Except for maybe Kimberella, which is generally interpreted to represent a lophotrochozoan stem group.

lancelot10 - #75489

December 19th 2012

So how does kimberella indicate that evolution has occurred ?

Ashe - #75492

December 19th 2012

If Kimberrella is a protostome that means that these organisms were diversifying well before the “cambrian explosion”.  

lancelot10 - #75494

December 19th 2012

Ashe - How can you prove kimberrella diversified from anything ?

Throughout the past century there has always existed a significant minority of first-rate biologists who have never been able to bring themselves to accept the validity of Darwinian claims. In fact, the number of biologists who have expressed some degree of disillusionment is practically endless.” - Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 327


NASA Presents!“Evolution became in a sense a scientific religion; almost all scientists have accepted it and many are prepared to ‘bend’ their observations to fit with it…. To my mind, the theory does not stand up at all.” - H.S. Lipson, “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin, Vol. 31, p. 138 (1980)

Ashe - #75500

December 19th 2012

You can read all about it here:

Erwin, Douglas H.; Eric H. Davidson (1 July 2002). “The last common bilaterian ancestor”Development 129 (13): 3021–3032.

Eddie - #75501

December 19th 2012


You have misused the quotation from Denton.  He spoke there of Darwinian evolution.  (The title of his book—probably chosen by the publisher rather than Denton—is misleading; the book is a critique of the Darwinian model of evolution.)  And in Denton’s second book, he argues for evolution—though not on the Darwinian model.  You appear to be making the standard creationist error, which is to reject evolution entirely just because chance-based models of evolution are wildly implausible.

Ted Davis - #75661

December 24th 2012

Like Jacob Marley’s ghost, I’m dropping in unexpectedly on Christmas Eve, but (alas) I have no other visitors to announce.

The “quotation” you attribute here to Dawkins, lancelot, is very interesting—especially b/c Dawkins was just 20 years old in 1961. May I suggest that you use a print library from time to time, to check your sources and (perhaps) even to offer an original thought of your own, based on reading print sources? That would be very much in keeping with the spirit of this course—and the spirit of Christmas past. The spirit of Christmas future, unfortunately, is rumored to be less likely to use print. That might be why it is the scariest of the spirits?!

Whether there is more grave than gravy in my comment, I leave for readers to decide.

lancelot10 - #75490

December 19th 2012

“I still think that to the unprejudiced, the fossil records of plants is in favour of special creation”.
Prof. E.J.H. Corner.
Evolution in Contemporary Botanical Thought, Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1961, Page 97.

Ashe - #75491

December 19th 2012

The entire quotation:

“The theory of evolution is not merely the theory of the origin of species, but the only explanation of the fact that organisms can be classified into this hierarchy of natural affinity. Much evidence can be adduced in favour of the theory of evolution - from biology, bio-geography and palaeontology, but I still think that, to the unprejudiced, the fossil record of plants is in favour of special creation. If, however, another explanation could be found for this hierarchy of classification, it would be the knell of the theory of evolution. Can you imagine how an orchid, a duckweed, and a palm have come from the same ancestry, and have we any evidence for this assumption? The evolutionist must be prepared with an answer, but I think that most would break down before an inquisition.

Textbooks hoodwink. A series of more and more complicated plants is introduced - the alga, the fungus, the bryophyte, and so on, and examples are added eclectically in support of one or another theory - and that is held to be a presentation of evolution. If the world of plants consisted only of these few textbook types of standard botany, the idea of evolution might never have dawned, and the backgrounds of these textbooks are the temperate countries which, at best, are poor places to study world vegetation. The point, of course, is that there are thousands and thousands of living plants, predominantly tropical, which have never entered general botany, yet they are the bricks with which the taxonomist has built his temple of evolution, and where else have we to worship?”
Prof. E. J. H. Corner (Professor of Tropical Botany, Cambridge University, UK), ‘Evolution’ in Contemporary Botanical Thought”, Anna M. Macleod and L. S. Cobley (editors), Oliver and Boyd, for the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, 1961, p. 97.

lancelot10 - #75493

December 19th 2012

Ashe - I see no proof of evolution in the quote .

You still have not explained how kimberella is proof of evolution ?

There are no intermediate forms between finned and limbed creatures in the fossil collections of the world”.
Gordon Rattray Taylor.
The Great Evolution Mystery, Harper & Row, New York, 1983.

Ashe - #75497

December 19th 2012

Yes I did, you just don’t want to believe it, you have no specific objection you’re just handwaving me away.

Creatures like Tiktaalik and Sauripterus already have bones that look like autopodial ones. Genetic discoveries confirm that notion—that key parts of the autopod were present in a fish fins prior to the origin of tetrapod limbs.

beaglelady - #75499

December 19th 2012

He’s just playing games. 

Eddie - #75505

December 19th 2012

I don’t think lancelot10 is playing games; I think he is just grossly misinformed and scientifically untrained, and thinks that scientific questions can be settled by culling books for quotations, rather than by means of scientific arguments.  Also, doubtless, he has been taught that one has to believe every word of Genesis as literal, historical truth or all of Christianity will fall to the ground.  He conceives of himself as being loyal to the faith by opposing evolution in any form, and even the science of geology.  It is too bad that he has been taught in that way, because it means that he will either have to unnecessarily reject many sound conclusions of science, or else abandon his faith.  But those aren’t the only options.  A writer such as C. S. Lewis could show him a better way.  So could ID proponents such as Behe and Denton.  But I don’t think that at this point in his life he is ready to listen; for the moment, he is determined to fight.  It is unlikely that any further response to him will elicit discussion rather than defensive reflexes.  

Ashe - #75510

December 19th 2012

I think you’re right. I need to get back to work anyway. 

lancelot10 - #75513

December 19th 2012


Quotations are used all the time in scientific papers - they can sum up a persons viewpoint - there is absolutely nothing wrong with them - unless they are used to deceive.   Jesus believed in Genesis - it has never been undermined by anyone in the Bible.

Am I right in saying you cant believe in a single Bible miracle since all miracles were creative and instant - Lazarus was not evolved from death and the resurrection of billions of humans at the last trumpet cannot be an evolutionary event. The cooked loaves and fishes were not evolved.  Do we wait 15 billion years while God creates a new heaven and earth at the end of days ?

So - Eddie can I ask you if you believe the creative miracles in the Bible and in the resurrection and are they instant or evolved with time.  It is a simple question requiring a yes or no answer.


Eddie - #75516

December 19th 2012


You’re babbling.  I never said anything against, or even about, Biblical miracles.  And of course the loaves and fishes were not “evolved.”  So what?  I didn’t say they were.

We are discussing the origin of life and species, not Biblical miracles.  Stay on topic.

You appear to believe that “evolution”—meaning a process of creation extended over time—is incompatible with Christian teaching.  I maintain that it isn’t.  Of course, unguided, unplanned, open-ended evolution is incompatible with Christian teaching.  But not “evolution” by itself.

Of course, if you are stuck in a literalist-inerrantist mode of Bible reading, you are not going to accept evolution.  But if that is your motivation, then all your quote-grabbing is merely to defend a position you’ve adopted on religious grounds.

You’re not dealing with evidence.  There are plenty of “transitional” forms now. The question is what they signify.  You should be attacking the subject from that angle, not denying the evidence.  Denying evidence just makes creationists look foolish.  Nobody in the scientific world ever took Gish or Morris seriously because they were not honest about the evidence.  And no one will take you seriously unless you do better.

I’m an ID proponent who has spent a good deal of his life reading the Bible in the original languages.  I don’t agree with Darwinian theory because I think it’s weak science.  And I don’t agree with creationist Biblical exegesis because I think it is bad scholarship and bad theology.  Once you wipe creationism and Darwinism off the table, the way is open for forms of evolution that are planned and/or guided by God.  You’ve ruled that option out, but I consider it viable.  

If God can part the Red Sea or raise a man from the dead, he can create the world in 6 days OR through an evolutionary process.  If the Biblical story in Genesis 1 were meant to be understood as historical, that would settle the issue.  But Genesis 1 isn’t meant as historical, so evolutionary creation remains open as a possibility.

Read Denton’s second book before you quote his first one again.  Otherwise, you are being academically dishonest in appealing to Denton’s authority.

“Lying for Jesus” is never permissible, my friend.  That little bit of teaching is my Christmas gift to you.

lancelot10 - #75533

December 20th 2012

Eddie - I am not babbling.   So you agree that the loaves and fishes were instantaneous creation - so why would God need chance and time and a muddy pool to create the mythical “simple” cell - if He can create cooked protein ?

Since I believe that the origin of life and species were the miracles in Genesis then I am on topic.

Evolution is by nature of course, unguided, unplanned, open-ended .  There are not two types of evolution - ask the evolutionists.

I just read the Bible and understand quite simply that there is not a scintilla of evidence that God used evolution.

I am dealing with evidence - there is no evidence for evolution - there are no transitional forms now or in the past - the quotes I have given are mainly from unbelievers.

God clearly states that His kinds breed and give rise to the same kinds.   Genesis is historical and its historicity is never questioned by Jesus or any of the prophets or disciples - it is you who are reading into genesis something which is just not there. 

Quoting a quote from Denton which he said is not lying - the quote speaks for itself - you are therefore accusing me of lying for Jesus because you dont like the quote.

Eddie - #75536

December 20th 2012

Nobody said that God needed to create via a process of evolution.  What I said was that God could have created via a process of evolution.  You don’t seem to read very carefully.

“Evolution is by nature of course, unguided, unplanned, open-ended .  There are not two types of evolution - ask the evolutionists.”

Michael Denton is an evolutionist.  He says that evolution was planned.  You would know that if you read his second book.  But you’ve only read his first book—if you’ve read even all of that, which I doubt.

You said there is no evidence for transitional forms, but the newest source you cite for that statement is 1986.  There have been many transitional forms discovered since then, but you refuse to take note of them when they are pointed out to you.  Tiktaalik has been mentioned.  You turn a blind eye to it.  That’s what I mean by lying for Jesus—you don’t want transitional forms to exist, because it threatens your belief in Jesus, so you simply ignore the evidence when presented, and you quote factually outdated books, in full knowledge of their dates.  That’s dishonest.  Do you think God approves of intellectual dishonesty?

I not only like the quote from Denton, I’ve read it before.  And unlike you, I’ve read the context the quotation came from—in fact, I’ve read the whole book.  And again, unlike you, I actually understand the book.  And again, unlike you, I’ve read many later things that Denton wrote, and I understand how to locate that quotation in relation to his overall thought, as you don’t.  So I’m now telling you that you have misinterpreted the quotation, even in relation to the first book, and that Denton has changed his position in some ways since then.  In light of this new information I have provided you with, your use of the quotation to invoke Denton’s authority is wrong, and if you continue to use it, despite my warning, you are being dishonest.  So either you cease using it, or you are in fact being a liar for Jesus.

You are not competent to say whether or not Genesis is historical.  Your discussion reveals not a shred of training in Biblical languages or ancient literature.  Piety is no substitute for study.  Go to university and get an education before you write publically about theological matters.  You are badly embarrassing the Christian side.  The atheists read your words and they think all Christians are ignorant hicks who can’t understand the books they read, can’t reason, and are intellectually dishonest.  You are being a poor witness.  It is your spiritual duty to get more training before speaking about faith and science.  Go and get it.  Register for a night course in theology or Biblical studies or the religion and science at the nearest university or college.  Merry Christmas and good luck with your studies.

lancelot10 - #75540

December 20th 2012

“The atheists read your words and they think all Christians are ignorant hicks”  -  ignorant hicks is what the gnostics, sadducees and pharisees thought of the fishermen from Galilee - remember that the Sadduccees believe there is no miraculous resurrection nor did they believe the miracles of Jesus.

Saying God could have used evolution does not prove that he did - God never even hinted in the whole bible that he used evolution nor is there evidence such as Tiktaalik being proof.  If its not EFV’s its now Tikaalik.

Are you saying Denton is a believer in the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and that he has evidence that God used evolution but he Dr Denton has not found any evidence - what a turmoil ?

You cant misuse a stand alone quotation - if Denton has changed his beliefs then that’s his problem and his right.

Genesis is historical - plain and simple - backed up by Archaeology and a host of other evidence.

Adam was made from clay - and Eve from Adam’s rib - do you literally believe it or is it allegorical or symbolic or metaphorical and actually Adam evolved from a single celled creature and finally from an ape.

Gnosticism has always been around - you have secret knowledge which only the wise know - what God really did mean belongs only to us.

Eddie - #75565

December 20th 2012


Yes, Jesus was a hick, but he was a hick who was divinely appointed by God to say what he said and teach what he taught.  That doesn’t apply to you.  You’re self-appointed, and that renders you without divine authority in theology-science discussions.

I suggest that you consult Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion, before employing the term “gnostic” as you do in your first paragraph.

I never asserted that God did use evolution.  I said that he could have used evolution, and that Christian theology was neutral on the question—provided that evolution is understood as guided and/or planned.  I was opposing your position, i.e., that Christianity and evolution are incompatible.  What are incompatible are Christianity and Darwinism.  But you refuse to even try to understand the difference between “Darwinism” and “evolution.”  

I’m not going to summarize Denton’s work for you.  If you are truly interested in learning anything about evolution, instead of just arguing about it, you will read entire books on the subject, by significant evolutionary theories, including Denton, Shapiro, etc.

Yes, you can misuse a stand-along quotation, because a quotation of an author’s judgment, when used as evidence, invokes the prestige of the author, and if the author’s position has changed, it is the duty of the person doing the quoting to inform the reader of that.  It’s called academic honesty.  If you take my advice and start working toward a college degree, your professors will teach you the proper use of sources in scholarly and scientific debate.

I recognize your intentions as good—you are trying to save the faith from assault by a wicked materialistic philosophy.  I’m as opposed to that philosophy as you are.  But you don’t understand enough about either science or theology to be helpful.  You must undergo a period of intellectual apprenticeship, and refrain for the time being from trying to sound like a master.  You will be of far more use to Christian faith in the long run if you take yourself out of the arena for the short run, to acquire the requisite intellectual training.

lancelot10 - #75502

December 19th 2012

Ashe - Just because bones look similar is proof of nothing - lots of creatures LOOK similar but this is not proof - evolutionists try to hide the lack of evidence behind latin words and obscure creatures - why would tiktaalik not have bones that look like autopodial ones ?  I believe you are obfuscating the fact that there is no clear proof of evolution.

“The most famous such burst, the Cambrian explosion, marks the inception of modern multicellular life. Within just a few million years, nearly every major kind of animal anatomy appears in the fossil record for the first time ... The Precambrian record is now sufficiently good that the old rationale about undiscovered sequences of smoothly transitional forms will no longer wash.” (Stephen Jay Gould, “An Asteroid to Die For,” Discover, October 1989, p. 65),

Ashe - #75504

December 19th 2012

But I thought you agreed with the claim that there are no intermediate forms between finned and limbed creatures, the fossils say thats false. It all fits nicely into an evolutionary transition, just like everything else:


lancelot10 - #75508

December 19th 2012

All three subdivisions of the bony fishes first appear in the fossil records at approximately at the same time…... why is there no trace of earlier, intermediate forms”.
Gerald T Todd.
American Zoologist, Vol 24 (4) 1980 Page 757.

“Fossil remains, however, give no information on the origin of the vertabrates”.
Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol 7, Page 567 (1976 Edition, Macropaedia).

lancelot10 - #75509

December 19th 2012

“There are no intermediate forms between finned and limbed creatures in the fossil collections of the world”.
Gordon Rattray Taylor.
The Great Evolution Mystery, Harper & Row, New York, 1983.

“Although this transition doubtless occurred over a period of millions of years, there is no known fossil record of these stages”.
Dr. Kriag Adler.
Encyclopaedia of Reptiles & Amphibians, George, Allen & Unwin, London, 1986, Page 4.

robynhood - #75525

December 19th 2012

”...Just because bones look similar is proof of nothing - lots of creatures LOOK similar but this is not proof - evolutionists try to hide the lack of evidence behind latin words and obscure creatures…”

Lancelot, you are quite right that bones looking similar proves nothing. The trouble is that you are confusing proof and evidence and you are placing requirements on others that you do not seem to place on yourself.

You ask that Evolutionist prove evolution to you.  Because they cannot produce a video showing one species turning into another before your very eyes, they instead provide evidence that evolution has occurred (i.e. similar anatomy, DNA, fossils). You then reply, “that’s not proof”, and you are correct about that, but you must not make the mistake of replying, “that’s not evidence”.  You may not agree that it is convincing evidence, but it is not fair to accuse evolutionists of having no evidence.

Now let’s consider what we can prove?  You mentioned miracles, and I take it that you believe that they have occurred.  What proof do you have to base that belief on?  Isn’t it that you have evidence, such as written accounts of miracles, that you find convincing?  Furthermore, can you prove that God exists? or that the Bible is inspired? or that Jesus was the Son of God?

The fact is that things are really hard to prove.  In most cases, the best we can do is base our beliefs on the evidence we have.  There will always be some faith involved.  The question is, why do you allow faith, based on evidence, for your own beliefs, but require others to have proof for theirs?

lancelot10 - #75534

December 20th 2012

Ashe - is proof not evidence and evidence proof ??????

Similar anatomy and Dna is what we would expect from a creator God. Fossils dont prove evolution as a darwin and his followers have admitted. Comparing stone bones prove nothing.

There is plenty of evidence that the bible is inerrant and one of the evidences is that there is no proof of evolution - which is the only rational alternative to creation.

Another proof is the 1st Law of Thermodynamics - only God can create or destroy matter.

As a christian I believe in all the miracles in the bible - eg the red sea crossing has evidence eg of chariot wheels - burning on the top of mt sinai - the split rock.  Also the return of the Jews in unbelief ,as yet, to Israel as prophecied by Isaiah . Another prophecy is daniel’s four empires with incredible detail about Alexander and his generals.  There is also the historical evidence of secular historians and the fact that the bible has never been proven wrong even after thousands of attempts.

Without faith it is impossible to please God - Paul the apostle.

Some people have a blind faith - eg that the bible is true without asking too many questions whereas I was a bit doubting until I looked at the abundant evidence of created creatures and the incredibly complex living systems which are still being discovered - which even with a simple understanding of probability theory plainly state they could not have happened by time and chance.


robynhood - #75557

December 20th 2012


It is Ashe who equated proof with evidence, not I.  But it seems you have missed my point, and I don’t see much value in further discussion.

Just one question I will leave you with to ponder:

If there is not a shred of evidence for evolution, as you claim, then why do so many intelligent scientists around the world believe it is a good theory?

Hint:  The answer can’t be simply that they want to deny God, because many of those scientists are also commited Christians who deeply desire to know, worship and serve God.

Anyway, as you continue your journey, please remember that the Christians on the BioLogos website are not trying to shatter your Faith, but instead hope to strengthen it into a mature Faith that can consider all the vast possibilities of God’s creation.

Good luck to you and Farewell,  -Robynhood

lancelot10 - #75559

December 20th 2012

Robyn - I think you are exaggerating the number of scientists who believe in darwin and evolution - most dont want to become ridiculed which is definitely what happens when they come out for creation - so they keep quiet about their beliefs or they adopt TE which strangely the devil leaves alone - eg A TE is acceptable to athiests.  In the movie “expelled” the elephant in the room is creationism.

I know this to be true since as a lecturer I did not say much about my creationist beliefs in the UK .

There is a website of about 1000 scientific doubters of Darwinism

I am sure there are lots of TE’s having a great walk with Jesus and as long as they believe in the resurrection ie the omega events then I am not judging them.

If you read R WURMBRAND - tortured for Christ - in the communist countries it was believe in evolution and no God or you were tortured and sent to the camps.  Evolution was taught in the schools and had to be believed by the class - it is a free online book.

Believing in creationsim does not mean that one is saved - since paul said all the knowledge in the world without love is worth nothing - this would also go for evolutionary science.

But I will continue to believe the bible creationist account and see no evidence of evolution - I was 35 years an atheist evolutionist and 25 years a creationist christian - it was reading h. morris’s genesis flood that made me believe - the flood was my sticking point and my wife pointed this book out to me in a 2nd hand book shop a few days later - God answered my doubts.

lancelot10 - #75514

December 19th 2012

“Unfortunately not a single specimen of an appropriate reptillian ancestor is known prior to the appearance of true reptiles”.
Robert L. Carroll.
Problems of the Origin of Reptiles, Biological Review of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, July 1969, Page 393.

lancelot10 - #75503

December 19th 2012

The flu virus proves against evolution - it has adapted trillions of times but remains a virus - it has not evolved into a beetle.  This is the same with all viruses and bacteria they adapt but remain viruses and bacteria .  The adaptation process is built into their genome but they will not evolve into a bird.  Not even scientists would believe this one .


lancelot10 - #75506

December 19th 2012

Nowhere was Darwin able to point to one bona fide case of natural selection having actually generated evolutionary change in nature.Ultimately, the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crises (Bethesda, Maryland: Adler & Adler, 1986) pp. 62, 358.

Eddie - #75512

December 19th 2012

See 75505 and 75501 above.

Seenoevo - #75519

December 19th 2012

“I don’t think lancelot10 is playing games; I think he is just grossly misinformed and scientifically untrained… It is too bad that he has been taught in that way, because it means that he will either have to unnecessarily reject many sound conclusions of science, or else abandon his faith. But those aren’t the only options. A writer such as C. S. Lewis could show him a better way.”

Although C.S. Lewis may not have vouched for the historicity of Genesis, and may have considered chapters 1-3 mythological, did he not vouch for the theological truths conveyed by the words?    

Genesis 1-2 might have been condensed down to just one verse, something like “In the beginning, God created all things, including the heavens and the earth, on all things on the earth.” Scripture clearly emphasizes that God created everything, and often does so with few words (e.g. Isaiah 44:24, John 1:3, Colossians 1:16).

So, why are so many words used in Genesis 1-2?

Wouldn’t C.S. Lewis agree that the use of the additional words was to convey additional theological truths?

If so, then what would be the additional theological truths conveyed by the following additional words?

1) “according to their own kinds” (i.e. not ‘one kind becoming many kinds’)

2) “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” (i.e. not ‘the beasts and man will have each other and green plants for food’)

3) “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground” (i.e. not ‘from another living thing’)

4) “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done” (i.e. not ‘made and will continue to make until the end of the world’)

What might C.S. Lewis, or anyone, say is at least one eternal theological truth for each of the four wordings?

Eddie - #75538

December 20th 2012

What might the Roman Catholic Church say is at least one eternal theological truth for each of the four wordings?  And what does Seenoevo say?

Roger A. Sawtelle - #75535

December 20th 2012


I agree with you that ID is basically a philosophical/theological critique of Darwinism and Scientism and that it does not offer a viable alternative model to Darwinism.

However just because it is not the best response to Darwinism, does not mean that it has no merit.  ID’s critique has philosophical and scientific merit, because nature does have meaning and rational structure.  Ignoring that will not make ID or Creationism go away.

Again the problem is not that TE has merit and ID does not, or vice versa.  Both have merit and need to be reconciled.  I have offered on way of doing this by accepting the TE method of Variation and an ID method of Selection.  I appreciate your comments.     


lancelot10 - #75541

December 20th 2012

Roger - how does natural selection change DNA enough to evolve a new creature . Say we have a forest of deer and the pine cones etc get higher and higher very slowly - only the deer with longer neck dna survive - but there will be a limit to the length of their necks - governed by the existing dna limitations that God has put in place.  

To make their necks longer - say like a giraffe’s and all that this would entail we would need some startling mutations in the sperm or egg of at least two deer within their lifetimes - this would be like cosmic ray ID.

It is such a fantastic theory which should belong in the fairy story books.

And this is only a very simple example of adaptation.

How on earth could the dna in the sperm of a deer become the sperm of a whale - even given millions of generations.

lancelot10 - #75544

December 20th 2012

Tiktaalik no more a missing link than the coelacanth.

Finally, what about the popular claim that Tiktaalik is the “missing link” between fish and tetrapods?

In their review article on Tiktaalik, Ahlberg and Clack (Nature 440(7085):747–749) tell us that “the concept of ‘missing links’ has a powerful grasp on the imagination: the rare transitional fossils that apparently capture the origins of major groups of organisms are uniquely evocative.” The authors concede that the whole concept of “missing links” has been loaded with “unfounded notions of evolutionary ‘progress’ and with a mistaken emphasis on the single intermediate fossil as the key to understanding evolutionary transition.”

Sadly, “unfounded notions” of this kind continue to be uncritically taught and accepted in the popular media and in our schools. Even more sadly, these unfounded notions have been used to undermine the authority of Holy Scripture.

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