How Not to Argue Against Evolution

(Tim Teichman) #165

I didn’t in my post. But since you asked, yes the devil as conceived by modern Christians isn’t actually in the bible.

The fear that he will somehow take over your life if you’re not careful is not a biblical teaching.

(Tim Teichman) #166

Is it, though? The implication is that the world around is a fraud, that God created a grand deception, to the point that most all of humanity is deceived. Is that really a reasonable argument, that God is the grand deceiver? I don’t think so, and will tell anyone who tries to assert such a thing as much.

Generally, my issue with Intelligent Design (which this seems to be a form of) is that it is neither scientific nor can be found in scripture. It’s an idea not grounded anywhere in any discipline. It might be right - perhaps - but there is no source of support for it anywhere. As a result, I don’t think it worth consideration.

(Tim Teichman) #167


(Tim Teichman) #168

Consider: There is actually no difference between macro and micro evolution. One just takes longer.

(Sirje) #169

I intended my reply to go to SaraB but quoted her from your post, so it went to you as the primary receiver.


FYI… History of the “Devil”

(Jeffrey Kent) #171

LOL. For the SDA church, I give you Fulcrum 7 (not to mention Advindicate and Educate Truth). The numbers of conservative SDAs there sharing their indignation and posturing makes more liberal sites like Spectrum look obscure. And in politics? We all know about the extraordinary money-making machine called Fox News (not to mention Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Infowars, and a ton of conservative sites).

I certainly agree there is intolerance on both sides. It shouldn’t happen. I’m glad you are here to share your views. My comments were specific to an article about how not to argue against evolution, wherein intolerance by the right is the relevant issue. I’m sorry it offends you.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #172

Of the three great questions—Where did I come from, Why am I here, Where do I go when I die, far too much attention has been given to the first. Why am I here has a lot to do with the third. Within 45 days of being 94 The first question has little merit.

(Jeffrey Kent) #173

I beg to differ. See my preceding response to ajshep. I do agree there is intolerance on both sides, but it is anything but trivial for conservatives.


[quote=“timteichman, post:166, topic:17801”]
Is it, though? The implication is that the world around is a fraud, that God created a grand deception, to the point that most all of humanity is deceived. Is that really a reasonable argument, that God is the grand deceiver? I don’t think so, and will tell anyone who tries to assert such a thing as much.[/quote]

I wouldn’t really see it that way, given the nature of our cognition. We know what we perceive is an illusion, and I’m not sure it can be any other way in terms of what the perception boils down to - a distilled communication about broader processes of reality to a smaller chunks of that reality (us). So, the complexity is distilled into a story that we as “smaller chunks” can digest and move about appropriately. You wouldn’t be able to communicate 1:1 representation. So, that’s how we work. We maybe get 0.00001 : 1 of the available cognitive information, maybe even less. The point being, it’s very little. So, whatever you see is already a rather twisted story about what’s really out there.

Hence, you are stepping on a giant philosophical slippery slope when you declare that perception = deception. Deception largely has to do with intent, and if the intent is structural integrity as some possible version of reality, then you really have nothing else to compare it to in order to say that “it should be X instead of Y”.


It depend what you mean by Intelligent Design. Biblical narrative is about an intelligent being who designed this reality and life, so I’m not really sure how you can read Biblical narrative and not arrive with some variation of Intelligent Design.

Of course, you could detach it from the idea of God all together, and do something like Jordan Peterson does, link it to the archetypal stories of the past that we’ve invented to communicate consolidated cultural wisdom to successive generations in a form of “higher ideals” that personify in a story about “super-being”. You could do that, and some do, but I disagree with that version for a couple of reasons… although there’s some of that in constructing Biblical narrative and how it is told.

(Tim Teichman) #176

Intelligent Design as I understand it suggests that God kicked off life long ago (say 4 billion years ago) and so set evolution in motion, and the result is what we have today. This is neither scientific nor biblical.


For me, neither “scientific” nor “biblical” are adequate categories of “unbiased perception of reality”. Reality is neither “scientific” nor it is “biblical”. It just is. “Scientific” and “Biblical” are the filters through which we interpret viability of certain concepts. These don’t necessitate anything at all apart from our expectations that we place on predictable outcomes… which are models of how we think reality works.

So, saying that something is “biblical”… first of all is rather vague without defining some standard of what you consider to be “Biblical”, and secondly doesn’t really tell us anything about whether you are correct in your assumptions about Biblical narrative. It’s an axiom driven by your preferences. It’s an uncomfortable realization, but there aren’t any ways around it other than claiming some association with omniscience that handed you down “the interpretation to follow”.

Saying that something is “scientific” has no bearing whatsoever on the validity of the concept itself. “String hypothesis” (not sure why it was ever called a theory) is not really a viable “scientific concept” by modern measures of science, but it didn’t stop the world of “proper science” to invest millions in funding and man-hours to attempt to find the mathematical solution to the nature of reality. It was, and still is in some places, a part of scientific enterprise… and so is ID.

Demarcation boundaries of what’s science is a subjective consensus, rather than any “laws” embedded in reality that we follow to deduce what’s science and what’s not. Hence, there is …

And many high-ranking scientists are calling to discard falsifiability principle as scientific boundary, because it really limits modern science from moving forward.

So, I would say that scientific coherentism is a better way to go than a strict list of “permitted concepts”. If a concept fits well to connect the variety of theoretical models and data… it can be, and should be considered. ID is such concept. It’s not a typical “science”, but it aims to show that intelligence is necessary precondition for life. It doesn’t tell what that means. It may mean that matter itself is intelligent. Or that there’s a God that assembles everything into place. The central point of ID is that arbitrary arrangements will not get you from zero to life in the span of the time that we’ve observe things progressing.

See here:

(Tim Teichman) #178

Thank you for your feedback.


I’m trying to understand where you actually stand on this. Do you in fact believe that the sequence of whales shown in the picture you first linked are actually ancestral? You claim that macroevolution doesn’t happen, but if you go from the ancestral land dwelling creatures of 50-60Mya to modern whales (and hippos) you have macroevolution. You seem to be equivocating because of the mechanism. Ignore the mechanism for now, and just clearly state whether you think there was common descent.

From the answers you have given so far, I think you really do believe that the species have been fixed, and that those sequences are not in fact related by descent, and that instead something is wrong with the fossil record, in that for some reason it doesn’t record extant species back in time, and similarly all the older fossil species are absent today, and that is just a mystery to you as to why that is.

Or you could accept common descent, but claim you don’t believe in macroevolution, because you claim the mechanism is more like Theistic evolution, with God handling the tweaks that can’t naturally (according to you and the ID crowd) occur on their own.

What exactly do you think?


The problem is that is predicated on a strawman understanding of the physcial principles that apply. And to make matters worse, Dembski’s math is not so hot either. There is plenty of progress being made by people like Joe Thorton on the evolution of ancestral genes doing exactly what Behe claimed he wanted to see (the details of how given genes evolved) and now Behe doesn’t seem interested in those details.

ID reminds me of the early endeavors (by even famous scientists) to estimate the age of the earth and sun. The problem was they didn’t know about fission or fusion. If you thought the Sun was coal, or just heated by gravity, you got the wrong answer. When Eddington finally hazarded a guess that the difference in mass between four hydrogen and one helium atom might through the new result of Einstein’s E=Mc2 provide the answer, fusion was not yet know either. But it was a great guess.

We will eventually understand abiogenesis and how RNA and DNA arose. But it won’t be solved by people who crank out theories that it can’t be solved.


ID is not a centralized monolith with Dembski in charge. It has specific history as it developed and expressed itself in the US in 20th century, but it’s not a concept limited to Christianity, and it’s certainly not limited to a specific groups or institutions. It’s a generic label for a view that traces the necessity of intelligent processes to some form of other, and Dawkins himself isn’t really opposed to the idea… so long that a religious concept of God isn’t involved.

And yes, religious conceptualization of God is oversimplified, but it wasn’t written with someone like Dawkins in mind. There are more complex means of conceptualizing and describing God than a “old man” who is made out of love, but gets angry when you put the wrong kind of deli meats on your sandwich.

For example, there’s Whitehead’s Process Theism among some. I’m not saying that you should run to these with arms wide open, but these help to rethink the typical conceptualization of God that’s doesn’t go over very well with people who can handle complex concepts.

But, it’s nothing like that at all :). No amount of technology will give us access to past events or being able to run experiments in deep time. Likewise much of the concepts we have today are normalized in order to keep theories intact… you know… big bang needs negative pressure via dark energy, which is a hypothesis. Evolution needs PE hypothesis… etc, etc. These are lesser known or explained as hypothetical duct tape that holds much of the theoretical cosmology and evolutionary biology together, so I think we should fix those first before attempting something far more complicated… like finding preconditions for self-assembling life.

I think I’ll accept simulation hypothesis before I ever run to life via random processes. I doubt that, just like functional quantum computing, we’ll see that issue being resolved in my lifetime.


Are you of the opinion that its difficult to figure something out retrospectively if you can’t in fact run an experiment that replicates it?

For example, if you stare at an alluvial fan on a valley floor and then up at the eroded hillside above it, would you think one should be very skeptical of associating the two? Or do you think one could with nearly dead certainty say what had happened, at least broadly, while being willing to acknowledge some error bars on timing, etc?

Or take another example that in some sense is very much like the question of origins of life in the universe if you ascribe to ID: Do you think a Deity blinked all the elements in the Universe into existence, or do you think that the vast bulk of what makes up the Earth has gone through at least one stellar life cycle, and do you think we can be reasonably confident of the latter, despite not being able to go back locally in time and observe it, or set up and run an experiment of our own to replicate it (outside our abilities both in time and energy)?

Please note, that unlike your statement I quote above, technology does in fact allow us to access past events, all the way back to nearly the start of the Universe. We build very expensive telescopes precisely to do that.

(Allen Shepherd) #183

I believe the Bible is true, so I start there.

But mechanisms for evolution should be explainable if they are science. When I ask about mechanisms, I am asking (as Tours does) about the how on which you base your hypothesis. You cannot just wave your hand of the fossils and say, “There, see?”

The data you see as most true is the radio dating and the apparent evolutionary series in the geologic column. All other truth is measured against that standard. You think this is most true, so expect the holes in the data elsewhere to be filled in at some point. Hawaii thinks the same. Since the column is true, and it is old, then everything else has to fit itself into that.

The whale sequence looks like it fits nicely into the column. Some land animals (Pakicetus etc.) start looking a bit like whales, and then with time, a series fo animals gradually looks more and more like whales. Voila! Mysticetes, and Odontocetes! Whales now exist as we see them. Look what evolution can do!

However, it seems impossible for it to happen that way. The genetic changes are just too great, and the measured mutation rate of today is just way too slow. So, you have two branches of science disagreeing. The fossils look really good, evolution took place. The genetics and DNA changes say evolution is impossible by todays standards. So, what to do?

Your default stance is to discount the thing that would make evolutionary explanations impossible. You think that we just don’t really know about this DNA stuff and population genetics, and we really know the fossils, so you go with that explanation.

However, I have just as much science on my side to say the opposite. The fossil are not a sign of evolution, and the sequence is not a true one.

If asking about evolutionary mechanisms is akin to asking about how God created, then the two are based on the same foundation: faith. We both believe in something that cannot be known. Which is my point, really. Evolution has to be taken on faith. In a sense it is a religion.

No, that is not it. I think the proposed mechanism is impossible because we know how natural selection acting on random mutations works. Lenski’s bacteria show us. There have been 60,000 + generations. The bacteria are still e. coli. The most significant mutations are ones that degrade a protective pathway and make for more mutations. That is not a road to more complexity, but eventual death.

And abiogenesis is another problem for which science has no answer. All the hypotheses have fatal flaws. So, if it cannot have arisen by itself, which the present evidence shows, the inference to the best explanation is a Creator. Not because of lack of data, but because there is so much data showing that an evolutionary explanation is impossible.

Neither do materialist ones.

Do you mean just scientific data? Do you include God’s ability to predict the future? Do you take into account Paul’s statement about death being defeated by Christ on the cross, a contradiction to evolutionary thinking about death as the Grand Creator? Do you see Daniel 2 as data?

So if I put ALL the data on the table, All the fossil data, all the science etc. AND the Bible. I will choose the scriptural account.

When I put it all out, I see contradiction in the science. It does not stand as a monolithic unity. There are contradictions. But the Bible is true to itself, and the God I know from its pages is indeed wonderful, loving, giving himself for me, and he claims to be the Creator. So, I take the words there as his testimony. He does not lie.

If you are just going to look at the science, evolution can be your choice, but there all kinds of problems, some of which i have pointed out. And life is so complex, it could not have developed and diversified by random means.

I don’t take a stand on any date, because it is not that important, and if you just go with the science, you will tend to make the earth very old, and my date setting would be foolish in your eyes. Maybe it is 100,000 yrs ago, maybe six, but not millions. What does it matter?

(Michael Wortman) #184

…and for a more complete discussion see “The Origin of Satan” by Elaine Pagals