How Not to Argue Against Evolution

(Steve Mga) #245

Christianity Today AND Christian Century are both worth reading.

(Steve Mga) #246

A good explanation of “Death swallowed up in victory.”
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50,54.
Part of the Lectionary Readings for Feb 17.
Others – Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17:5-10, Luke 6:17-26.

Seventh day Adventist local communities of believers miss a lot of
Bible to discuss when they don’t do these readings every Sabbath.
Groups I have been associated with over many decades usually
only read one or two verses of the Bible in church worship service.

(Allen Shepherd) #247

My points about death and the difference between a body that at one moment is alive, and another dead was to see what you thought about that if you are a believer in “Panpsychism”. If matter has an inherent force of organization, something that all matter has dead or alive, why are we all not just naturally immortal?

The assertions of those who believe in “soul sleep” has nothing to do with the body, whether it ba scattered about the forest, or in someone’s stomach. It is addressing the idea of a separate entity apart form the body. As you note, the metaphor may be imperfect. But it is addressing dualism, and materialism to a lesser extent. We reside in the mind of God rather than in an entity separate from him.
At the resurrection, is it actually us that are raised, or an exact duplicate? Materialists would say we are not the same, and that once one dies, and their body disintegrates that that individual is gone forever. The only answer I would have to that notion is that when Jesus arose, he said he was the same individual.

I guess I would say to this that you of all folk could understand the meaning of scripture better than most and would be responsible for given a more accurate interpretation. Not that all of your ideas should be accepted at face value (the Bereans were complemented by Paul for not just accepting his word for it…). But with your insight, people could be blessed.

But your example betrays that you are making this too complex. At least in English, “I love her with all my heart” (and i believe it is so in Italian and Spanish as well) is a common metaphor that even children can understand. The Bible is part of the foundation fo Western culture, and so this culture, in a sense, cannot be understood without understanding the Bible.

We are drifting away from biblical understanding. But the influence is still there, and not so difficult to grasp. Hunans use old metaphors all the time, and we do it naturally.

You don’t have to believe anything if you don’t want to. The question here is whether the resurrection promised is a reality or not. If it is just something “you have to believe in”, but is not reality, it is, as Peter said, a cunningly devised fable. We should not delude ourselves if this is the case, and accept our ultimate and final demise as our fate. A more realistic viewpoint.

But if it is so, it is the best news ever.

(Allen Shepherd) #248

Not so fast:

Genetics—Mutations Cause Harm and Do Not Build Complexity: Darwinian evolution relies on random mutations that are selected by a blind, unguided process of natural selection. This undirected process has no goals. Being random, it tends to harm organisms and does not improve them or build complexity. As biologist Lynn Margulis, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences until her death in 2011, said: “New mutations don’t create new species; they create offspring that are impaired.

  • Biochemistry—Unguided and Random Processes Cannot Produce Cellular Complexity: Our cells are like miniature factories using machine technology but dwarfing the complexity and efficiency of anything produced by humans. Cells use miniature circuits, motors, feedback loops, encoded language, and even error-checking machinery to decode and repair our DNA. As Bruce Alberts, former president of the U.S. National Academy of Science, observed: “[t]he entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines.”3 Darwinian evolution struggles to explain the origin of this type of integrated complexity. Biochemist Franklin Harold admits in a book published by Oxford University Press: “There are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations.”4

Paleontology—The Fossil Record Lacks Intermediate Fossils: The fossil record’s overall pattern is one of abrupt explosions of new biological forms, and generally lacks plausible candidates for transitional fossils, contradicting the pattern of gradual evolution predicted by Darwinian theory. This non-Darwinian pattern has been recognized by many paleontologists. University of Pittsburgh anthropologist Jeffrey Schwartz states: “We are still in the dark about the origin of most major groups of organisms. They appear in the fossil record as Athena did from the head of Zeus — full-blown and raring to go, in contradiction to Darwin’s depiction of evolution as resulting from the gradual accumulation of countless infinitesimally minute variations.

[quote=“thenerdwithin, post:225, topic:17801”]

Neo-Darwinian Evolution Has Been and Continues to Be Critiqued by Mainstream Scientists: Everyone agrees that microevolution occurs. But mainstream scientific and academic literature is saturated with skepticism about the neo-Darwinian claim that microevolution offers an adequate basis for justifying macroevolutionary claims. Günter Theißen of the Department of Genetics at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany wrote in the journal Theory in Biosciences that “while we already have a quite good understanding of how organisms adapt to the environment, much less is known about the mechanisms behind the origin of evolutionary novelties, a process that is arguably different from adaptation. Despite Darwin’s undeniable merits, explaining how the enormous complexity and diversity of living beings on our planet originated remains one of the greatest challenges of biology.”

So, common descent has some critics. Creatures appear abruptly in the fossil record, de novo. That is not a common descent type of process, but more of a creative one.

The issue is the age of the earth. If one rejects the radio dating method, one could argue that common descent was not a viable theory. The fossil record does not show it.

Now if such rejection is considered a “lie”, well, then creationists are a pack of liars. I think they actually take scripture as more accurate than science. If God can tell the future, would the past really be a problem?


We are not individually immortal, because more complex organizations is dependent on functional continuum of that complex mechanism that all of out body parts sustain. What constitutes “I” is a larger continuum than my body, since my body can’t exist independent of environment, the bacteria that occupy it, other organisms that I constantly “feed on” to provide reconstruction mechanisms the fuel and material to keep rebuilding that mechanism.

The problem is that all of these functional mechanisms “know” what to do. Hence, you could say they have “a mind”. Now, if you reject the idea that God wears this reality as a glove, hence all of the matter is merely God-puppetry, then you are left with the idea that matter has endowed properties as continuous mechanism that we’ve yet to understand, but which is there to direct how that matter reacts with the other matter, and how it can form complex structures that unify basic units of that consciousness into larger blocks.

As far as immortality if we go with panpsychism, then we are immortal, but not in the way that you think that we are. You think of “you” as a dash between your birth and death date, but that’s not “you”. That’s WHEN a VERSION of “you” gets to run around in a different environment. In reality, “you” is a much older entity when it comes to memetic and genetic “personality continuum” that such “you” assumes through … well … cloning and modification.

“You” are a variation “clone” of your parents. “You” didn’t spring up into existence out of nothing and figure everything out about reality. “You” is a continuum of genetic structure with all of the subconscious instincts, and the memetic culture that’s too complex to carry via genetic mechanisms, hence it’s perpetuated as “External You” that’s internalized only “in part”, and hence exists as fragmented information in media, and functional contextualization of that information in brains of people who hold it.

Hence you never “know” or understand anything on your own apart from contextualization of memetic (cultural) knowledge by your basic instincts that formulate a copy of that collective model in your brain mechanism as a map for navigating and functioning in local environment.

Hence, what “you” are is a continuum of a very old human being continuum. It’s not immortal in a sense that we can all go extinct as life, but we are biologically immortal through re-birth and variation.

Hence, when we approach and reconcile that continuum from the POV of religion, I think it exists to encode the direction and “explanation” about collective humanity as opposed to “individual salvation” as it is re-packaged today. It’s a book-long topic, hence I can’t really address it in a single post, but the generic idea is that there’s a reason “you” are saying “we” as you are talking about human being as a concept. It’s a Freudian slip of a sorts IMO :slight_smile: that reveals our collective nature, among some.

Well, then we shouldn’t call it “soul” and we shouldn’t call it “sleep”, since either concept is absent, and the actual explanation is more akin to simulation hypothesis with some snapshots of you being in “stasis memory” of God until time comes to boot these up in the new bodies “Altered Carbon” style.

But, I’ve explained to you why these metaphors are viable in the Western languages… predominantly because that WAS the actual understanding in the early Western thought. But, what we are having now is a generational shift to a more precise and accurate conceptual understanding of reality, in which much of the metaphors seem cheesy and awkward. Many understand that heart is merely an “atavism” of false understanding of the past. It kept alive through attaching heart to emotional experiences, but we likewise know that these emotional experiences are in part hormones feeding back to the brain.

So, while there is some conceptual continuum… the metaphorical nature of it becomes more and more confusing as we go on to more precise understanding of reality. Especially since it was originally derived from false understanding of reality. Hence, these Biblical concepts have to be forced into abstraction as opposed to explaining what these really step from - a false understanding of how body functions, or false understanding of various processes of reality which today we are forced to interpret as “metaphors”.

But, in doing so you are forcing a specific and rather literal interpretation on this subject matter as you pick and choose what is literal and what is not. Yes, we can cast everything to the view of reality that’s very similar to the simulation hypothesis and the idea that this “level of the game” is some sort of the test, and we play it and then based on whether we past this level or not… we are rebooted at the next level when we “die” in this one. We can interpret Biblical narrative that way.

Or we can interpret it as an overarching progression of the organic mechanism that’s humanity is from various possibilities of outcomes of choices that can end up in us living in harmony and comfort, or continuous strife, pain and suffering. Each successive generation born is a form of “resurrection to death”, or “resurrection to life”. They either resurrect to the state of suffering, or they resurrect to the culture of harmony. I can expound more on this, if you like, but not sure if you would be receptive to the idea. It would require you to understand the concept map model of our reality “as is” as opposed to it being some virtual simulacrum that God runs.

So, there’s more than one way to look at that narrative than Jesus riding back on a horse from space, or other dimension, to save us all. Jesus still saves us, but not in the way you think He does.

In fact, Christian dogma remains intact. It merely makes more sense IMO when it comes to reconciling it with reality that we do observe. Hence we progress from the shadow of understanding or individualistic view, which is low resolution… To the broader view that’s more complex and more neuanced and precise. Hence, the canon is never closed. It was closed in order to limit our perception and force us into service to a certain structure that controlled and still controls the enterpreting reality of that subject matter on our behalf.

But, the Biblical narrative implies that in the present day… All of us are a bit of everything, a bit of prophets, a bit of teachers, a bit of pastors, since all of us are preists… If we understand the relationship between the Biblical narrative and reality. And Biblical narrative only show us the door. It’s not there to perpetually keep us at the threshold.

And that’s what religion today does. It keeps that door shut and paints a picture that serves the hierarchy structure. And that’s the reason why church today a giant head with big ears and mouth, little eyes, and no legs or hands.

I think it’s time to grow up and mature a bit. I don’t claim to be the paragorn of wisdom. Or correct in my assumptions… But the way forward doesn’t seem to be on insisting that the low-res perception of past reality is the key to our collective future. It should serve as a viable building block… But it’s powerless to solve the problems we are facing today. It can only wrap them in a comfort blanket with a promise that the reality we observe is not like it is, and that it will be over soon.


Nonsense. Plenty of beneficial mutations have been documented.

Paleontology—The Fossil Record Lacks Intermediate Fossils:

More Nonsense. Plenty of transitional fossils are in the fossil record. You just claim each new one now has a gap on either side.

Neo-Darwinian Evolution Has Been and Continues to Be Critiqued by Mainstream Scientists:

Nonsense again. The vast majority of biologist who work in the field, especially in ecology, developmental, etc, fully embrace evolution. The fact that they also keep trying to understand all the possible mechanisms doesn’t say your magic is needed.

(Tim Teichman) #251

Not always gradual. Sometimes external forces will push a population - especially a small isolated population - to rapidly adapt (or die out.)

Enter Punctuated Equilibrium:

And Horizontal Gene Transfer


I don’t buy punctuated equilibrium as a major factor. If you look at the fossils record for just hominins, which are extensively studied and relatively recent we literally have an embarrassment of riches, so much so that we can’t decide when to call them different species because they are so closely related, and yet with clear morphological differences. Its a complete tangled tree of species, but with clear progression from more archaic several million years ago to modern in the last 10’sK years.

The problem in general is lack of enough time granularity over much of the earth for many genera in the fossil record. If we had as many fossils over every 2my of history for most genera as we do for hominins, well, most genera would look like hominin evolution, no surprise there…

I wish that there was a worldwide project to catalog every fossil that has been id’ed and dated (say that ones that have been referenced in papers), and place it on some sort of graphic so that you could look at how many examples and how spaced out in time they are for every lineage that has been studied. Perhaps like a Google Earth overlay so that the spatial location is shown as well, and then you could turn on phyla, all the way down to species filters and see the extend of fossils sorted that way and over time. It would be a cool thing to play with.


I’m curious what you think of the mechanism in convolutional neural networks now being extensively deployed in AI/ML applications. I think the properties are simply a function of what the interconnect structure is capable of, you could call it an emergent property of structure. But there is nothing mystical about it…despite the fact that the humans who devise them, cannot in any really intuitive manner “understand” exactly how they work. This is an issue of importance because of their use in safety critical systems, and yet we don’t have any general understanding if robustness or stability of such systems, as we have for example of classical control systems.

(Allen Shepherd) #254

I am going to make comments about the whole post.

Reality seems not to be a simulation, or game with levels. Life is too serious. There is also the Crucifixion that stands athwart the whole mess. Would God be killed in a simulation that he concocted, especially in that way? The cross is blood and guts realism. Any step away from that seem to misunderstand the reality of sin, and the seriousness of the whole matter.

The resurrection is another hard reality.

In John 20, Jesus shows up, speaks to the disciples, and asks Thomas to touch his hand and side.

In Luke 24, Jesus shows up, they think he is a ghost and are afraid. He asks for something to eat, and eats it in front of them.

Jesus had a real body, that had scars from its abuse, and was able to eat, not something ghosts do.

And when Paul speaks of a resurrection, it is a bodily one.

I do not believe God is a grand puppeteer. Again, why would who could control the future allow himself to be crucified?

In your whole post I sense an echo of “…You shall not surely die…” But perhaps I am mistaken.

(Allen Shepherd) #255

No, alsmot all “beneficial” mutations involve the degradation of genes, or as Behe says:

The rule summarizes the fact that the overwhelming tendency of random mutation is to degrade genes, and that very often is helpful. Thus natural selection itself acts as a powerful de-volutionary force, increasing helpful broken and degraded genes in the population. Michael Behe ,

Think sickle cell trait. It make a protein fold incorrectly, and causes hemoglobin to be abnormal. It helps fight malaria if it is only on one of a person’s genes for hemoglobin, etc…

Gould and Ellsworth did not agree with you.

Yes, but there is a growing, though minority that do not agree with this. And it is not as if this is not known. See my Dr. Tours quote above.

But wait, you said you could easily answer him, I forgot.


Please read what I’ve written more carefully. It seems like you are way off in your reply.

(Ikswezdyr) #257

The tone of your post is based on hearsay, propaganda, and outright hatred for the president. I may not vote for him but dems have been so out to get him that I no longer trust anything they say or report. They have shown what a manipulating party can do. When 90% of dem-controlled news coverage is negative, we no longer have a credible news source. When all that he has done right is totally ignored or twisted, that is scary. It reminds me of McCarthyism when his supporters and administration are harassed. I am not political, but I cannot abide blatant duplicity even with such an eccentric and sometimes alienating personality. I am glad that NK is no longer sending missiles over the Pacific.


It’s a difficult subject to discuss in the way that you are framing it, since structure, in context of our experience, is a model of our perception.

Now, sense-data theory is not without its issues, but it’s a good starting point when discussing the problem with assuming the emergent properties of structure. In short, your mind mechanism distills and structures your sensory data for you as a coherent narrative. So, in the narrative world of your mind, a hat is something that you wear on a head. But, that’s not a property of the hat itself. It’s the narrative that we give the hat-shaped objects, and apart from that narrative that “hatness” doesn’t exist as a property.

Another example is pareidolia, or a phenomenon of seeing and interpreting patterns like finding faces in the clouds, mountains… or Jesus on a piece of toast . Even in a case of something like … :slight_smile: … we think of that to be representative of a face, with all of the implied interpretive qualities and properties that communicates certain function. Yet there is no such function from mere perception of some structure. It’s an interpretive narrative that the mind paints to derive some predictive assumptions about reality, which we never experience “unfiltered”. It’s always a story that structured by the mechanism of our mind that edits reality and constructs internal narratives about it.

Hence, many rush into science before they get a chance to understand various philosophical prerequisites related to the nature of our cognitive experience. The job of science isn’t really that much different from what our brains already do, except that it’s a methodology for “crowdsourced brain function” to construct consistent narratives and models about our collective perception of reality.

With the above in mind, let’s get back to your suggestion that properties emerge out of complex arrangement. I’m not really sure whether we can know that such properties really exist, or it’s merely a functional approach of our mind to labeling certain arrangements as we link these to perceiving and labeling some aggregate functional outputs. Hence, it’s very difficult to know how much of it is “real” in terms of the “internal narrative” that we get.

In case of the AI/ML we can construct all sorts of the autonomous mechanisms, but the way that these mechanisms work is largely contingent on our judgement of the functional output or result, which we tune to our subjective preferences. Hence, the “autonomy” of these functions is rather illusory in the same way that a basketball “intelligently and learnedly” drops in the hoop after being shot by the player, or a bullet lands in the bulls-eye of the target. We direct these processes, even if that direction is eventually tuned, and abstracted into some autonomous loop.

Hence, it’s very difficult to talk about these as some “self-running” intelligent abstractions. These are not. Again, part of the problem is due to the narrative about the AI that we paint, as opposed to the reality of the AI as it currently is - a rather strict algorithms with proverbial nested “ifs”. Yes, ML takes a broader approach as it simulates functional approach of the brain, but it’s still a form of parametrized “search” that merely compounds dictionary references to help with further search. And it simply wouldn’t work without us piping the “meaning” to these functions. These functions don’t find “meaning” on their own. (see Chinese room example)

Likewise, it’s difficult to talk about emergent attributes apart from understanding the nature of cognition itself.

(Thomas Schwartz) #259

I guess which sides indignation you feel most deeply fully depends on which side you happen to identify with.

(Lizwi Alpha Ntuli) #260

If scientific knowledge is neutral, then biblical truth is also neutral. Both can be influenced by bias and funding:wink::rofl:

(George Tichy) #261

You are absolutely right. Both can, and both are!

(Allen Shepherd) #262

I am sorry for the quick post. Yours was quite dense, and I was tired. I’ll try again.

The issue here seems to be God’s relationship with matter and his creatures who are made of matter, at least in part…

There are many ways to look at this issue besides Determinism (God with hand in glove) or Panpsychism. Deism comes to mind, and Animism. I would hold to a view that God is apart from his creation, but does command it. Your view seems to attribute some sort of mind within matter, thus it “knows” how to organize itself. I would counter that biological systems seem to be able to act without such an inner compunction or knowledge, and that we can cause some of these to function outside the cell. And when I die, my body, though the same chemicals it was when alive lacks something that was there when I was alive. I worry that attributing a “mind” to matter makes it like God, and it is a small step to worship it, as a part of God.

Yes, I agree that the culture we are born in profoundly affects the way we see things. Yet some reject the culture, or rise above it to become quite different from it, or oppose it, rejecting it outright. I think we are quite free, and can go against even our own inner promptings, and our culture. God even calls us to, for our culture is a wicked one.

I have heard such an idea attributed to OT saints, who did not, it is said, believe in an actual after life, but saw their offspring as a kind of immortality. Job seem not to see things this way when he says that in his flesh, he shall see God. This is a much more personal approach to immortality. Paul, in I Cor 15 also seems to espouse a more personal view.

I find this quite dissatisfying. Is your position that as long as the human race exists, that this represents our immortality? Jesus statement, “Well done thou good and faithful servant” seems to be more personal.

I just don’t agree here. Metaphors, borrowed ancient ones, and modern ones fill the language with color and delight. Some may need explanation, but humans are insightful and cleaver, and can usually figure it out. Shakespeare was and is popular, even though requiring careful thought and interpretation. He is a genius worth studying, even though difficult.

I do not like nor adhere to any kind of “simulation” type of hypothesis. It seems to trite. Life is too serious. And, besides, we are saved by grace, not by our works or achievements. All of us are under condemnation, and have no right to eternal life, or any higher level, if you will. If we do get to heaven, we will cast our crowns at Jesus’ feet, for they are truly his, not ours.

This seems so vague. Isaiah speaks of vineyards, and houses, not some sort of spiritual form of resurrection. I envision a real body, real taste and real pleasure, not some fulfillment in some one else in the future.

Although I am not sure what a map model of reality is, I do not see present reality as a simulation run by God (a rather deterministic view that most materialists might adhere to, certainly not theists).

I have found Adventism freeing and enabling. I may be free from my own sin and slowness to understand. As Habakkuk said, “The Lord causes me to have hinds feet to go on the high places!”

If we could only see what those “low-res” folk really did see, or what God would have us see through them. I have learned to put little trust in myself, and to trust in the way God would have me go, that he would be the light to my path, one often in darkness for my own weakness, but lighted by his calling out to me, “Come up, Be holier still!”.


You seem to have a background in philosophy, something I lack. Too be honest, I’ve never understood the fascination with claims about how ones perceptions and ones mental assumptions about reality, etc, impact understanding science. Steven Weinberg once stated something to the effect of “the only use for philosophy is to protect us from other bad philosophy” something I found at least worth considering. Not that I’m trying to rain on anything you find of interest.

But to take a simple example, a basic equation from Newtonian mechanics: F = ma. I don’t see how any philosophical differences that any given person might have would alter how they view and use that equation, other than within the context of what Steven Weinberg stated about philosophy. That is some people may come to the table with preconceptions that preclude them from making effective use of this very useful equation, because their philosophies have muddied there thinking in all sorts of nonsensical ways (for example a belief that matter is animated and will do strange things on its own, and thus isn’t predictable).

To me, all science is like that, even evolution. The difference is one of completeness and accuracy of understanding. F = ma is very good (non-relativistic, and accounting for friction, viscosity, etc), whereas our understanding of the details of evolution is much poorer. But I see no impact from philosophy, other than “Don’t believe in magic”.

(Darrel Lindensmith) #264

“”the matter is merely God-puppetry, then you are left with the idea that matter has endowed properties as continuous mechanism that we’ve yet to understand, “”


This in fact is the direction our understanding of cellular genetics is taking us! James Shapiro for example in Chicago - discovering that cells have the ability to rewrite their own code to adapt to environmental information.

Evolution being fueled by mutations is so archaic and out of touch , even though believed and taught to the public. Genetic programs that can themselves write code and turn on and off cuircuts that control expression and switch to preadapted protocols in response to stressors, these are the mechanism of change over time and in real time that appear to have been front loaded the first Life.

Not the stuff of random mutation and luck

We are discovering digital code and information systems that are alien technology in the since that it is light years beyond anything we are capable of in Computer Science