Is There an Edge to Evolution? Part 6: The Cathedral of Life

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December 4, 2010 Tags: Design

Today's entry was written by David Ussery and Darrel Falk. You can read more about what we believe here.

Is There an Edge to Evolution? Part 6: The Cathedral of Life

An Evaluation of Behe’s Edge of Evolution, Chapter 9 – The Cathedral and The Spandrels

This series of posts has been going through Michael Behe’s book, The Edge of Evolution, chapter by chapter. This penultimate chapter focuses on the findings of one of the most fascinating new topics in biology today, evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). In essence this is a field that couples two sub-disciplines, evolutionary biology and developmental biology using the tools of molecular biology. Chapter 9 is moving on to "higher levels of biological organization", and Behe readily admits that things are now a bit less well-defined, and "the arguments in this chapter will necessarily be more tentative and speculative than for previous chapters" because now the subject will be dealing with more complicated things - plants and animals, and "much less is known about what it takes to build an animal than to build a protein machine" (pages 172-173).

As often happens in science when one examines a phenomenon through a different window, many new and often surprising insights come into view. In 1940, for example, few people studying genetics imagined that DNA would be the genetic material; most everyone thought it would be proteins. However, soon afterwards the tools of microbiology began to reshape how biologists viewed the genetic material, and that in turn opened the window for Watson and Crick to see the gene’s true molecular nature. With that, the now-famous double helix came into view for the first time.

Examining the surprises that appear when one looks at a phenomenon from a new vantage point is what makes science so engaging. Scientists love surprises. In this chapter, Behe focuses on one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the past thirty years, and implies that because evolutionary biologists were surprised, that evolutionary theory had reached the edge of its scientific limits. Let’s examine the basis of the surprise and then explore whether Behe is justified in concluding that the scientific surprises discussed in Chapter Nine correspond to a cliff-edge. Is Behe correct in concluding that going beyond that edge, one enters into territory that can only be explored by inserting a [supernatural] Intelligent Designer into the scientific “equations?” Is Behe’s edge simply a window of opportunity to see where mainstream biological tools will take us, or is it a blank wall? Behe believes it is a blank wall. Why?

In an earlier post our colleague, David Kerk, described the tinman gene, the gene required for making a heart. It is one of the many conserved “master” genes whose functions are now understood, through the new perspectives afforded by evo-devo. These genes serve as genetic switches that have the capability of activating particular developmental programs. A given switch (i.e. a master gene) is often structured quite similarly throughout the animal world even when comparing widely disparate species like flies and frogs. This high degree of conservation shocked evolutionary biologists. It was startling, for example, to realize that the same gene that served as a switch to turn on eye development in flies was found in humans, because if you think about it, the eyes of flies are a lot different than human eyes! Indeed, the mouse master gene for making eyes has been transplanted into fruit flies where it still works. Fly cells respond to the mouse switch by making eyes—fly eyes, not mouse-like eyes—but eye tissue nonetheless. Biologists didn’t expect genes to be conserved through the greater than 550 million years since mice and flies had a common ancestor. However, even though it was a surprise, it is extremely consistent with evolutionary theory. Despite the surprise, the finding is completely consistent with natural selection and common descent. Master genes are conserved through the parade of life. Like the hour hand on a ticking clock, they change, but only at a crawl.

Actually, the surprise comes from just how beautifully consistent the view is from this vantage point. Scientists were expecting consistency, but certainly not in such an eye-popping, mind-boggling manner.

Behe chooses to view things differently. This is evidence, he says on page 190, that:

... the best minds in science have been misled. They justifiably expected randomness and simplicity…

These scientists were NOT expecting randomness and they were most certainly NOT expecting simplicity. What they were expecting was greater complexity—not the degree of simplicity they found. The same genes are being used to build insects as what are used to build mammals. What could be simpler than that? So from this perspective, it is difficult to even begin to grasp Behe’s point about expected simplicity.

Let’s go back though to his statement regarding the notion that the scientists’ “expected randomness.” Why would he tell a general audience that? Natural selection is the very converse of a random process with an unanticipated outcome. They knew it would be non-random—natural selection is by definition non-random. What surprised them—what shocked them actually—was just how foundationally simple and non-random evolutionary mechanisms turn out to be. Evo-devo is not inconsistent with the core of evolutionary theory. Quite the opposite actually—natural selection is by definition a non-random process.

It is important to be fair to Behe here. He has stated clearly that the data as a whole are consistent with common descent. This is not in question for him. Indeed, it would probably have been good for him to emphasize in this chapter that these data are beautifully consistent with his own premise—common descent. One can track the lineage of the “genetic toolkits.” The toolkits get modified slightly and one can trace their modifications as one examines the tree of life. But there is a tree—one tree—Mike agrees with this! Indeed his entire approach to intelligent design is grounded in common descent. So in that regard Behe is in total alignment with mainstream biology. In that regard BioLogos and Behe are truly at one. We wish he would say that more often. There is a sense in which Mike Behe is more closely aligned with BioLogos than with many of his colleagues at the Discovery Institute including Bill Dembski and Stephen Meyer, who, although they waffle on occasion, have come out against common descent. Neither Bill nor Steve are biologists. It would be great if they would listen to their own biochemist. If they would, then perhaps Mike Behe’s statement on page 191 would take us to a whole new day:

Let’s acknowledge that genetics has yielded yet more terrific (and totally unanticipated) evidence for common descent.

Do you hear that, members of the ID Movement? Perhaps the single most important figure in the ID movement over the past fifteen years has called for an acknowledgement that common descent has occurred. Implied in this statement is evidence for common descent all the way from single cells to human beings. If the leaders and followers who do not have credentials in biology and biochemistry would get on board with their expert who does, then half of the concerns with the ID movement would be over.

Behe goes on from there to demonstrate the complexity of the genetic circuitry needed to build various cell types. Vertebrates, for example have B lymphocytes to help fight off infections; invertebrates, he says, do not. The genetic circuitry to build any cell type is exceedingly complex. Organisms are placed into classification groupings, based on somewhat subjective human ideas. Vertebrates are member of the phylum, Chordata. Invertebrates are members of other phyla. Behe proposes that the differences between phyla are so large, that they require the invention of whole new cell types. Since new cell types require new protein interactions and since he believes he has already shown that new substantive protein interactions won’t occur without intervention, new phyla as he sees it cannot arise without intelligence.

Let’s be clear, there is an Intelligence behind all of life. So, even here we don’t disagree. The question is why Behe wants to draw a line (an edge) between presence of God and absence of God in life’s history—presence of intelligence and absence of intelligence. Perhaps it is because of the necessary “absence of intelligence” to serve as an experimental control for “presence of intelligence?” If so, this sounds as though his theology is flying free. It is not grounded in Scripture. The Bible asserts that “by him all things were created…He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16, 17). It also says, “Through him all things were made, without him nothing has been made that has been made” (John 1:3).

Further, one could build a case that he has now floated free of his scientific roots as well. Based on the data available so far, Behe may be correct that we cannot successfully trace the step-by-step lineage of new particular cell types in certain phyla. Behe’s assertion that for scientific reasons, however, we must now insert an Outside Architect is deeply flawed. The only scientific evidence he lays out to support the scientific hypothesis of the need for this architect harbors back to the same sort of calculations on the probability of new protein/protein interactions. We have already demonstrated that those calculations are off by many orders of magnitude.

What are those calculations that show no new protein/protein interactions have occurred? What is the data he analyzes? On page 200 Behe suggests that out of a billion rats subjected to warfarin in the past 50 years, we might have expected “many new regulatory regions; none seemed to have helped against warfarin.” Did anyone check these billion rats to see if some had undergone changes in regulatory regions? It seems that this is really a premature conclusion to put forward to the public without vetting it before the scientific community first. From there he goes on to fruit flies that have been studied in the lab for 100 years. During this time “no new, helpful, developmental-control programs have appeared.” Is there some reason why we might have expected some new “helpful” program in flies? What sort of “new help” would Behe have envisaged for fruit fly development? How would it have been detected? Was anyone actually looking for such a thing?

In the chapter, Behe then goes on to report that the malaria parasite has evolved no new reported “cell forms or regulatory systems” in a hundred billion billion chances. How does he know this? It is true that no one reported new regulatory systems. But was anyone looking for them? For all we know the parasite might have been evolving and even changing elements of its regulatory system. A careful analysis might even have been able to show this.

Based on analyses like these, Behe ends his chapter by discussing spandrels, the space between the arches that hold up a great cathedral. The arches, he says are clearly designed by a great architect. The artwork that decorates the spandrels were added after the fact—after the architect had left the scene. Now moving towards a metaphor, he states that science, his science, has now shown that the major classification groups of animals are like the arches of a great cathedral—they have been designed by God, the Greatest Architect. Darwinian evolution comes in and decorates the spandrels with all sorts of species and maybe genera and families--but the existence of phyla requires an Architect. This is Professor Behe’s cathedral and although one has to give him credit for being creative, this is based on his claim that rats that don’t evolve new systems (for which no one was carefully looking, to be honest). It is based upon fruit flies that don’t seem to be developing new and better body plans than they already have, and it is based on billions of billions of malaria parasites that are not being analyzed for changes at the molecular level. Surely ID is now floating free of scientific data. A theology based on a God whose Presence in creation comes and goes is equally problematic. Is not ID also floating free of Scripture?

It doesn’t have to be this way. Professor Behe, since he accepts common descent, is already half way home towards accommodating the scientific community. As imperfect human beings, we are all wrong on occasion. As mentioned early on in the chapter, "the arguments are more tentative and speculative" here. But there's also a danger that perhaps the arguments have strayed far from solid science as well as sound theology. It doesn’t have to be this way.


David Ussery is an associate professor of comparative microbial genomics at the Center for Biological Sequence Analysis at the Technical University of Denmark and on the faculty at the University in Oslo, Norway. Ussery is the co-author of Computing for Comparative Microbial Genomics and has authored or co-authored 130 articles for science and professional journals. He is also a frequent public speaker on the topic of bacterial genomics.
Darrel Falk is former president of The BioLogos Foundation. He transitioned into Christian higher education 25 years ago and has given numerous talks about the relationship between science and faith at many universities and seminaries. He is the author of Coming to Peace with Science.

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Gregory - #44611

December 21st 2010

“I’m not leading anyone to anything as you are trying to do. I’m simply telling the truth.” - John

You are not even pointing to anything as an example or leading model, which by choosing implies a telos?! What’s that Chesterton example of one trying to convince their twin that they are having an entirely irrelevant conversation & having trouble completing the argument?

Should we understand that you are either a) seeking an a-teleologial truth that is not worth ‘leading’ anyone ‘to’, or b) promoting a truth that can be ‘found’ without teleology, e.g. a truth that can be found in natural-physical sciences or maths only?

I’m immune to your calls that everybody put on costume to ‘act like a biologist,’ John. If you have a problem with Rich’s knowledge of biology, that’s one thing. For you to reject his knowledge of the history of ideas (e.g. you reject his conclusions), that’s something else.

Your credentials mean little, John, to me because I don’t find biology to be nearly as important as ‘other sciences’ in this discussion. You’d have to follow me to other parts of the world to discover this & I doubt your lab-job would allow for this. Denying intelligence seems to be your S&R sport.


Rich - #44613

December 21st 2010

John wrote:

“One would think that someone with a PhD in philosophy would not conflate implication with inference, but Rich’s ego is leading him to do exactly that.”

Wrong.  I used the word “implication” correctly in all cases.  But given the modern narrow methods of scientific education, I wouldn’t expect a Ph.D. in biology to have enough command of the English language to keep “imply” and “infer” straight.  In fact, after a few years of internet debate about evolution, I no longer expect any intellectual skills from most biologists, beyond technical expertise in narrow sub-specialties.

Rich:  “Either John is leading the reader to a false inference now, or he was leading the reader to a false inference then.  Which is it?”

John:  Neither.

Logically impossible.  John’s recent rebuttal implies that he is not a tenured professor.  Another very recent statement implies that he is.  Either John is a tenured professor or he is not.  If he is not, he has been misleading people here; if he is, he shows an unmanly lack of courage in striking at Behe from the shadows.  It’s that simple.


Gregory - #44618

December 21st 2010

If I understand, the association is between the term ‘sabbatical’ & ‘tenured professor.’ John said he was on sabbatical, which implies he is a ‘tenured professor’. Is John a professor or not, ladies & gentleman? My guess is he’s some kind of ‘researcher,’ high or low.

Well, I’ll admit that I have a PhD, but am not/do not (yet) consider myself a professor. I just completed my PhD & am now a post-doc investigador. So, no ‘professing’ on a large scale yet for me.

To me the point is moot b/c I can’t remember a single contribution John has even attempted to make in speaking @ science, (philosophy &) religion in cooperative/collaborative dialogue, which is the main point of the BioLogos site, not biologism.

John has not admitted his errors, which are now plainly obvious in public. He & Dave both dodged speaking @ ‘Darwinism’ in the first thread, which is in the sub-title of the book under ‘review’. It seems people are speaking past each other in multiple ways.

& you know what, folks, I have a feeling that if Dave Ussery and Mike Behe met, they’d get along handsomely & agree about more than they disagree.

Yet if one doesn’t even agree there is such a thing as ‘Darwinism’, no limits *can* be found.


Gregory - #44619

December 21st 2010

Oct. 22, 2010 Part I: The Skeptical Biochemist

Gregory wrote:
“Well, why don’t you offer us your ‘scientific’ opinion then, John. What do you think the ‘edge(s)’ of ‘evolution’ is/are and/or the ‘limits’ to Darwinism?”

“Ribosomal structure shows the edges of evolutionary mechanisms.” - John

“What does ribosomal structure show about ‘edge of evolution’?” - Gregory

“It demonstrates its inability to replace important, ancient structures for which there is no clear pathway to replacement.”

That was at the end of the Part I thread.

I’m not sure how to interpret John’s ‘view’ of the ‘edge of evolution. I see fancy words, like pathway and ancient, but together they don’t say much. And they don’t speak about ‘unevolvable’ at all!

Did John give a satisfactory answer about the ‘edge of evolution’ or the ‘limits to Darwinism’? Can it be added to or replaced as the only answer given to this topic in several thread? Some eVo mechanisms have ‘edges’ or ‘limits’ but not *all* eVo mechanisms? What else?

And which eVo mechanisms by name have edges/limits?


John - #44696

December 22nd 2010

I infer that Rich’s motive is to deceive:
————-
Rich:  “Either John is leading the reader to a false inference now, or he was leading the reader to a false inference then.  Which is it?”

John:  Neither.
————

Rich, I did not place a period at the end of “Neither,” I put a comma, followed by an explanation of your false dichotomy fallacy.

Gregory:
“If I understand, the association is between the term ‘sabbatical’ & ‘tenured professor.’ John said he was on sabbatical, which implies he is a ‘tenured professor’.”

Yet another PhD who falsely presents his inferences as the implications of another.

“My guess is he’s some kind of ‘researcher,’ high or low.”

Incorrect, but at least you recognize the false dichotomy Rich is trying to use.

“To me the point is moot b/c I can’t remember a single contribution John has even attempted to make in speaking @ science, (philosophy &) religion in cooperative/collaborative dialogue, which is the main point of the BioLogos site, not biologism.”

And yet you remembered one in the post immediately following! Amazing!


Gregory - #44698

December 22nd 2010

“And yet you remembered one in the post immediately following!” - John

Please explain how you saying “Ribosomal structure shows the edges of evolutionary mechanisms” has *anything* to do with philosophy OR religion in a cooperative dialogue with biology (or other NPS). You’ve not once made a connection between these things on BioLogos.

No, John, I remember you making ZERO contribution to S&R discourse; merely to Science discourse, no effort to include Religion.

& you could just say something like “I’m not willing to discuss my employment status at BioLogos Blog” rather than posturing as you do.

The evidence of your refusal to admit errors has been presented. Why not accept your errors, come clean of John’s imperfection & renewed communicative comprehension between you & Rich might occur?

You’ve verified here you are a Christian. Is there not a whole huge amount of common ground you share with Rich on the basis that you both think the world was ‘created/made/designed/built/etc.’ by a good & loving, intelligent Creator, God?

If it were just little ‘id’ vs. big ‘ID’ you two were arguing against it would be much easier for us to understand the grappling.


Rich - #44711

December 22nd 2010

Re:  44696

So “John” is now according to his own words not a researcher, yet he has a sabbatical.  Very interesting.  Not too many forms of employment use the term “sabbatical.”  It is rarely used outside of university contexts.  And faculty at a university must do research.  Also, John has repeatedly said:  “I *do* science” and “I *do* biology”; and he also assures us that “doing science” means doing research.  Another blatant contradiction, indicating that John is being less than forthright about his work.  Of course, John could clear it all up by stating his degrees and his current employment; but he won’t do that.  And who really cares what John does?  Whether he works in the sub-basement of a pharmaceutical company, or teaches at some little community college, his field isn’t evolutionary biology, and his opinions in the area are the opinions of an interested amateur, nothing more.

As there’s a New Year coming, I want to wash my hands of old quarrels and start afresh, so I’m dropping all comments about “John.”  I wish all columnists and commenters at Biologos a Merry Christmas.


John - #44766

December 23rd 2010

Rich:
“So “John” is now according to his own words not a researcher, yet he has a sabbatical.”

No, Rich. I mean that “researcher” is not my job title, nothing more.

“Of course, John could clear it all up by stating his degrees and his current employment; but he won’t do that.”

What matters is the truth, not what degrees we have. The majority of people in the world who do science don’t have PhDs, Rich.

“And who really cares what John does?”

You seem to.

“As there’s a New Year coming, I want to wash my hands of old quarrels and start afresh, so I’m dropping all comments about “John.” “

You’ve said that before and it wasn’t true. Merry Christmas.


John - #44770

December 23rd 2010

Gregory:
“Please explain how you saying “Ribosomal structure shows…”

It’s highly relevant because evolution deniers mangle easily verified facts.

The key here is that for me, doing biology brings me closer to God. The evolution denialists run away from the reality of what God has provided for us to see with our own eyes, preferring falsehoods based on hearsay from people who don’t even bother to do biology themselves.


John - #44772

December 23rd 2010

Gregory:
““No, John, I remember you making ZERO contribution to S&R discourse…”

I make just as much contribution as the post on which you are commenting. If you think that clarifying the scientific facts has nothing to do with evolution denialism among Christians, you should take it up with the proprietors here.

“& you could just say something like “I’m not willing to discuss my employment status at BioLogos Blog” rather than posturing as you do.”

I’m not the one posturing, Gregory.

“You’ve verified here you are a Christian. Is there not a whole huge amount of common ground you share with Rich on the basis that you both think the world was ‘created/made/designed/built/etc.’ by a good & loving, intelligent Creator, God?”

Not when Rich insists on promoting malicious falsehoods from hearsay over what we actually know about God’s world.


John - #44790

December 23rd 2010

Rich:
“Whether he works in the sub-basement of a pharmaceutical company, or teaches at some little community college, his field isn’t evolutionary biology, and his opinions in the area are the opinions of an interested amateur, nothing more.”

Rich, I’m a molecular geneticist doing biomedical research. Molecular genetics is the source of the massive data supporting common descent. Do you agree with Behe in accepting common descent?

And Dave Ussery is an evolutionary biologist, but you won’t engage him on any matter of substance despite adding dozens of comments to Dave’s posts here. What gives?


Gregory - #44793

December 23rd 2010

´doing biology brings me closer to God.´ - John

O.k. thanks for that. Could you go a bit further to explain what you mean?

*How* does biology bring you closer, John, to God?

Since most biologists are not theists, most biologists don´t think ´doing biology´ serves to ´bring them closer´ to a God they don´t believe exists.


Gregory - #44794

December 23rd 2010

Rich has confirmed at BioLogos on many occasions that he ´accepts common descent.´

Will you please write that in your little notebook John, so you don´t have to ask it again?

This facade of trying to bait non-biologists into having counversations about biology is one of the clearest examples of BIOLOGISM I´ve ever seen. Supposedly taking advice @ IDEAS from a non-phD molecular genticist doing biomed research is not satisfying me.

Dave Ussery made clear in the first thread that he is against biologism or using biology to explain things outside of the biosphere. John seems to be promoting biologism & *not* S&R dialogue. I doubt he has found the -Logos in biology.

Evolution-ISM is an ideology that attempts to use biological theory outside of the biosphere. As long as this persists, I am & will continue to be an anti-evolutionist, an ´evolution-denier´ outside of the biosphere. Human-made things do *not* evolve. This frees us from naturalistic reductionism.

To you, John, ´outside of the biosphere´ doesn´t seem to matter much. To the 99+% of the human population who are not biologists, it does.

Old earth, ´real, historical A&E,´ all powerful God who answers prayers. Is that o.k. too, John?


John - #44800

December 23rd 2010

Gregory:
“Rich has confirmed at BioLogos on many occasions that he ´accepts common descent.´”

Good. Do you?

“This facade of trying to bait non-biologists into having counversations about biology…”

Gregory, maybe you haven’t noticed, but the evolution denialists have chosen to pretend that they are doing science. Yet they aren’t generating anything from the lab or the field relevant to their own hypotheses, just dishonestly-labeled apologetics.

“... is one of the clearest examples of BIOLOGISM I´ve ever seen. Supposedly taking advice @ IDEAS from a non-phD molecular genticist doing biomed research is not satisfying me.”

I’m sorry, but this makes no sense. The point Dave Ussery is making here is that for Behe to fit his cockroach-like God into the crack at the “edge of evolution,” which is orders of magnitude away from where he claims it to be, he has to grossly misrepresent crystal-clear data and hypotheses. Theologically, Behe is abandoning the idea that God has any role in what we are today. Why isn’t God about what is real in our lives?

What non-phD are you talking about?


John - #44801

December 23rd 2010

Gregory:
““Old earth, ´real, historical A&E,´ all powerful God who answers prayers. Is that o.k. too, John?”

It depends on whether you need to pervert the science beyond all recognition in a desperate need to shore up weak faith. That’s what the ID movement is all about, authoritarian politics with religion used as a club by people who don’t seem to understand that metaphors (both Biblical and scientific) are explanatory devices, not logical arguments and data.

Why not look at the ribosome? It’s an amazing molecular fossil working in your body 24/7. It also is a superb illustration of the serial misrepresentations of Stephen Meyer on OOL research.


Gregory - #44813

December 23rd 2010

most people in conversation answer questions and ask questions in turn. John, I won’t continue with you unless you can play fair like other people.

please don’t ask a question expecting an answer unless you answer questions put to you previously. being a biological scientist in no way exempts you from ‘normal’ conversation etiquette in my book.

there was a crack in your anti-reflexive armour, in your obvious unwillingness to speak about religion and science cooperatively or positively in the same sentence. let’s return to that.

*How* does biology bring you closer, John, to God? You said it.

This is what people who visit BioLogos want to know, John!

I don’t give much of a hoot talking @ ‘intelligent design’. but it is noteworthy that you & Ussery (though he’s been pretty silent on it) avoid ‘Darwinism’ like the plague & *refuse* to have a conversation @ it. since ‘limits of Darwinism’ are in the subtitle & (presumably) the content of the book, you have both failed to address Behe’s argument about it.

Your soft-defined ‘edge of evolution,’ John - how many biologists (e.g. field, laboratory, theoretical, computer, etc.) out of 100 do you think would agree with you about it?


Larry - #44814

December 23rd 2010

“Rich has confirmed at BioLogos on many occasions that he ´accepts common descent.´”

Could I possibly be shown a link to any of these? I have seen nothing to indicate that he holds to such a position, and plenty of evidence that suggests the complete opposite. He has said on many occasions that he has no theological opposition to common descent, and that ID advocates do not ‘in principle’ reject it, but such statements are a far cry from actually accepting it. From my perspective his prevarications on the subject represent an attempt to ignore the evidence that he has been presented with and is apparently unwilling to engage. As with pretty much all ID advocates, his choice of language allows him to simply dismiss masses of data, without ever actually making clear what his position is or trying to defend it. Much of his discussions of molecular genetics and phylogenomics in particular give the impression that his understanding, and acceptance, of the scientific data is on par with that of Ray Comfort and Kent Hovind. I would cite, in support of this contention, his risible attempts to resort to some sort of design alternative to common descent, and his cowardice in refusing to defend such a position when pressed on it.


Gregory - #44815

December 23rd 2010

Would you like to continue, as well Larry, to perpetuate the lie that most (or even many) of the DI’s Fellows are ‘young earth’ believers?

I’d be glad to get a quote for you from the DI on this topic, if you wish. But I get the impression you are as sincere as John in looking at the bigger picture surrounding ‘age of Earth’ & would *not* openly acknowledge most ID leaders are ‘old’ earthers. Would you?

DI & the IDM are in my view a transition institution/movement. They will not last long. I am not an IDist (a neo-IDist, unrelated to the IDM, if anything).

The bigger question: what will come *after* IDM to further unsettle the bigoted sense of superiority among ‘evolutionists’ (you know who you are - who feel a deep identity need to hold this label, in tight connection with worldview) in the realm of science, philosophy & theology/religion discourse. Science is killing (with ignorance) our human spirits, by focussing *only* on nature, imbalancing the SPR triad.

Anti-evolutionism in HSS is justified & wise. Truce: Give ‘us’ (HSSs) back ‘altruism,’ & we’ll leave evolutionism to you. There’s too many biosocios & socio-biologist/eVo psychs polluting the waters of the soul these days.


John - #44828

December 24th 2010

Gregory:
“most people in conversation answer questions and ask questions in turn.”

Yes, and you’re not answering mine. What does that make you?

I’ve answered many of your questions and asked you if you accept common ancestry. Why didn’t you answer?

“But I get the impression you [Larry] are as sincere as John in looking at the bigger picture surrounding ‘age of Earth’ & would *not* openly acknowledge most ID leaders are ‘old’ earthers.”

Where do you get this idea from? Why are you putting words in my mouth? I’d point out that Dembski is an OE but lacked the integrity to stand up to his employers on that matter.


Larry - #44833

December 24th 2010

Gregory, I am not at all interested in anything from the DI. You stated quite specifically that RICH “has confirmed at BioLogos on many occasions that he ´accepts common descent.´” I asked for a single instance of such a declaration from him and have been provided with none. I have not stated anywhere that “most (or even many) of the DI’s Fellows are ‘young earth’ believers,” as I don’t think it’s true. I have pointed out however that there is a remarkable similiarity between the anti-evolutionary arguments employed by them and YECs, and also in the general anti-scientific rhetoric. I have also made clear my opinion that the writings of certain YECs (Todd Wood) on evolutionary science are far superior to anything the DI has ever produced. That, however, is enough about me, the ball is back in your court; I ask you again to provide a link to a statement from Rich in which he says that he accepts common descent.


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