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Combating Evolution

Posted by truthtalklive on December 28, 2007

Todays Guest Host is Alex McFarland (www.alexmcfarland.com). He is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, you can find out more about the school at www.ses.edu.
His guest is JT Bridges author of “The New Design Hypothesis: The Final Refutation of Darwinism.

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39 Responses to “Combating Evolution”

  1. Fred said

    I just Googled “The New Design Hypothesis: The Final Refutation of Darwinism” and found no book out there by that title.

    Google “J.T. Bridges” and you get a lot of results, but no authors by that name.

    I can smell the baloney frying already.

  2. F. L. A. said

    DID THEY PICK THIS TOPIC BECAUSE JOHN’S LEAVING TOWN TODAY[GRIN]?

  3. Mark Goetz said

    Running in some of the apologetics circles, I understnad that this topic is and has been challenging many on the inside of both the id and Darwin camps. From what I know of Bridges he’s very bright and well respected but still relatively unknown. I’m excited to get a preview of a new and developing theory- an original thought placed into two warring factions. Should be interesting.

  4. Fred said

    Mark, your gentle words notwithstanding, tell us why do you suppose that an author, presumably a scholar, would choose to announce a new scientific hypothesis on a fundamentalist blog, and on a fundamentalist radio program instead of in a respected scientif journal?

    If one genuinely had, as the title announces, finally refuted one of the landmark scientific works in human history, would not one be better served by going elsewhere to introduce oneself and one’s history making book to the startled scientific community?

    Will we arise on the morrow with a new name etched in the annals of the great scientific minds of human history? Einstein, Newton, Galileo, DaVinci…J.T.Bridges?

    Or is it more likely that Mr. Bridges is another fundamentalist apologist who will be dismissed or ignored entirely by the scientific community while being praised and lauded by his fundamentalist sponsors?

  5. Mike Sears said

    Fred, our resident left wing fundamentalist evolutionist! We’ve missed you the last few days! I hope your Christmas was a joyous one! Be sure to check the “ACLU blog entry from a few weeks back. I posted a link there that may interest you. Happy New Year!!! Mike

  6. Mark Goetz said

    Fred, you bring up an excellent point. I hope to find out more this afternoon myself. From what I understand, this will rub both camps and challenge people on both sides to think in a new way.

    It’s very interesting, the nature of this debate is so polarized. I think either side is challenged to think objectively on this issue. I also believe the id community has done a poor job of listening to real science on the issue and has done the debate a major disservice. Hopefully this is the primary reason Mr. Bridges chose this show to come forward.

  7. Fred said

    Mark, I guess I’m just a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person. Or perhaps you know more of Mr. Bridges new book (I presume it is a book?) than the rest of Googledom does.

    I see no objectivity on the one side that insists on being able to “prove” scientifically that the earth, and all the species of life on earth are no more than what? Six thousand years old?

  8. Richard F. said

    Hey JT!! When does the book come out? I want an autographed copy!!!!

  9. Melissa A said

    good show today! I am listening from Minneapolis and love the topic. Looking forward to hearing more from J.T. Bridges.

  10. Sarah said

    Very interesting topic today. Please have Mr. Bridges on again, would love to hear more about the book.

  11. Fran said

    Nice Job Mr. Bridges…looking forward to getting a copy of your book when it comes out.

  12. Fred said

    I heard nothing from Mr. Bridges that was anti-science, or pro-fundamentalism. Did you?

    Why did Macfarland not pose questions to Mr. Bridges from his usual young earth creation pseudo-science point of view? Does Bridges agree that the earth is less than 8,000 years old? Does he agree that the study of Geology must prove the Flood story or that the remains of Noah’s Ark may be waiting for us to discover on some mountain top? It seemed like ol’ Alex was off his game today.

    Does his book actually exist?

    Bridges rightly points out the trepidation with which new scientific thoughts are sometimes proffered, and the effects of entrenched scientific doctrine. If non-Darwinian Biology has a better theory to explain the origin of species then that view will eventually prevail. There may be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Tenure may be no refuge. Science marches on like a Glacier retreating into the Andes. But I don’t think they’ll be rewriting the textbooks any time soon.

  13. JT said

    To Fred:
    Thanks for your interest in today’s topic, but I am not a young earth creationist, I merely pointed out that Wm Paley was and his view was what Darwin had in mind while writing The Origin.
    If you are looking for a book that constitutes the hub of my own non-Darwinian thinking, look up The Genomic Potential Hypothesis by Christian Schwabe (who is anything but an ID theist, he believes that life came about by chemical necessity). He points out in his work that if life has a chemical beginning, then what naturally follows is a multiplicity of life and not one common ancestor.

  14. JT said

    What I do in my book is show how Schwabe’s insight, the intuitions of Cladistics and a punctuated view of the fossil record can all hang together with an internal logic that constitues a non-Darwinian perspective on origins.
    Having presented this I go on to elucidate the confusing rhetoric of current ID literature and where it mishandles the debate with the scientific community. Finally I show that if ID science is taken seriously regarding the advent of complex specified biological information, then the above non-Darwinian paradigm can also be viewed from a design perspective.

  15. Fred said

    So where can we find your book?

    thanks,
    Fred

  16. JT said

    My agent and I are still nailing down a publisher with hopes that it will be out by summer or fall 08. Thanks for your comments.
    –JTB

  17. Darwin's ghost said

    “We conclude — unexpectedly — that there is little evidence for the neo-Darwinian view: its theoretical foundations and the evidence supporting it are weak.”
    Jerry Coyne, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
    Orr, H. A., and Coyne, J. A. (1992) “The Genetics of Adaptation: A Reassessment,” American Naturalist, 140

  18. Fred said

    Nice try Darwin’s Ghost…

    That Coyne quote you gave us is taken out of context by Behe in one his books. What does does Jerry Coyne say about it? This from an article entitled “More Crank Science” by Jerry Coyne:

    “I am painfully and personally acquainted with Behe’s penchant for fiddling with quotations. On page 29 of Darwin’s Black Box he writes:

    “Jerry Coyne, of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, arrives at an unanticipated verdict: “We conclude–unexpectedly–that there is little evidence for the neo-Darwinian view: its theoretical foundations and the experimental evidence supporting it are weak.”

    Apparently I am one of those faint-hearted biologists who see the errors of Darwinism but cannot admit it. This was news to me. I am surely numbered among the more orthodox evolutionists, and hardly see our field as fatally flawed.” Jerry Coyne

    The entire article here:

    http://bostonreview.net/BR22.1/coyne.html

    Want more? Speak up Jerry:

    “Just as evolutionary biologists were getting used to the attacks of Biblical creationists, we are now being goaded by a new species of gadfly: the academic anti-evolutionist. Unlike our old foes, these critics, personified by David Berlinski, Phillip Johnson, and Michael Behe, possess respectable academic credentials, and, if their views are rooted in religion, keep it to themselves. They do, however, share several features with religious creationists. Both groups lack formal training in evolutionary biology, do not publish their views in the professional scientific literature, and see evolutionists as a beleaguered lot, zealously guarding a shopworn Darwinism that we secretly distrust.” Jerry Coyne

  19. BD said

    Combat evolution? The loss was right there…

  20. Darwin's ghost said

    Darwin presented no hard, empirical evidence for either theory of evolution, such as a sequence of fossil links showing a line of small changes between one species and another. Most of the arguments for evolution for the general theory were circumstantial, and not empirical. For example:

    Comparative anatomy is “suggestive” of evolution – the same basic bone structures are used in the hand of a man, the leg of a horse, the paddle of a porpoise, and the wing of a bat. This “homology” suggests that they all descended from a common ancestor.
    Rudimentary organs are “suggestive” of evolution – males possess rudimentary mammae, snakes possess a rudimentary lung lobe, some whales possess teeth as youth, but not as adults, some calves possess teeth which never cut through the gums. In short “God wouldn’t have done it this way, but natural selection would have.”
    The fossil record is “suggestive” of evolution because in general the older fossils are of simpler organisms which grow in complexity and specialization.
    Examples of the lack of empirical evidence include:

    No evidence was presented of either a living animal or of a fossil that could clearly be shown as intermediate between two species. Darwin argued that this was because of the “extreme imperfection” of the fossil record, but the argument is circular because the only reason the fossil record was imperfect was that it did not contain any intermediate fossils. Instead of pointing to actual fossils, he speculated that they must exist. For example: “Although no graduated links of structure, fitted for gliding through the air now connect the Galeopithecus (flying lemur) with the other Insectivora, yet there is no difficulty in supposing that such links formerly existed …”
    Darwin had difficulty even imagining the hypothetical evolutionary paths which could have been taken between two species: “it is no doubt difficult to conjecture by what gradations many structures have been perfected…”
    Darwin had difficulty in describing how evolution could have resulted in “organs of extreme perfection” such as the eye: “Although the belief that an organ so perfect as the eye could have been formed by natural selection, is enough to stagger any one…” – when it comes down to the details, he offers no explanation “How a nerve comes to be sensitive to light, hardly concerns us than how life itself originated …”
    Darwin did not present any quantitative calculations that could be tested – such as the rate of variations, the size of the population, the number of variations that would be required to perfect an organ, or the time required to evolve an organ.

    To Darwin’s credit, he did not attempt to hide the difficulties with his theory and, although convinced of the truth of the theory, he was never dogmatic or fanatical about it as some of his followers were.

    How did the theory go from its “highly speculative” origins to the “established fact” that it is today? The atmosphere of Victorian England played a big part. The new scientific method proposed by Bacon and Descartes aimed to give natural causes for all physical phenomena. The air of the “inevitability of progress” was evident in the success of Newtonian physics having triumphed over mediaeval naivety. Lyell’s uniformitarian geology had become widely accepted, and natural selection was a logical extension. Darwin had brought biology out of the realm of theology and into the realm of “science”. As one evolutionist stated in 1874, “The basis of the doctrine of evolution consists, not in an experimental demonstration – for the subject is hardly accessible to this mode of proof – but in its general harmony with scientific thought”. In short, there was no scientific alternative to the theory – if nature was fundamentally discontinuous, no scientific explanation could be offered to explain the diversity of life on earth. Finally, it is interesting to note the rise of the free market economy in Victorian England. Survival of the fittest presented a ready analogy to the way the business world worked. After 1859, it became “intellectually fashionable” to re-interpret facts into an evolutionary framework – in classification charts, “archetypes” were replaced with “common ancestor” The theory became more and more consolidated into dogma until the discontinuities of nature could no longer be seen. Consequently, the debate slacked and there was less need to justify the idea of evolution by reference to the facts.

    Fast forward 100 years to a quote from Julian Huxley in 1959: “the first point to make about Darwin’s theory is that it is no longer a theory but a fact…Darwinianism has come of age so to speak. We are no longer having to bother about having to establish the fact of evolution”. In response, Michael Denton wrote, “now of course such claims are simply nonsense. For Darwin’s model of evolution is still very much a theory and still very much in doubt when it comes to macroevolutionary phenomena…his general theory that all life on earth had originated and evolved by gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from the self-evident axiom that some of its most aggressive advocates would have us believe.”

    Although many scientists have stopped questioning Darwinism, we have learned a great deal more about biology, the earth, and the cosmos in the last 145 years. Some of the assumptions that underpin Darwinism have been found to be false, many of the expectations that Darwinism predicted have not panned out, and much of what is taught about Darwinism today is based on outdated information.

  21. Fred said

    So, Darwin’s Ghost, why did you repeat the misleading quote lifted from the Behe book? Until you answer we’ll have to read your posts, especially the quotes you provide, with prejudice.

    In the mean time consult the world of science (try the public library) and then ask yourself, “why does virtually every science department in virtually every institute of higher learning in the world disagree with me?”.

    It MUST be a conspiracy!

    Why did you post the misleading quote?

  22. Jack said

    It seems to me that it’s like one ant yelling down to another ant, “hay I can see it all from here”…as it stands on the edge of a crack in the mud, at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
    When the “deep” thinker gets up from the computer after typing a couple megabits of rebuttal to Do unto others as you would have done unto you, how does he live his life? and why?
    I’ve watched Discovery and National Geo give their version of the history of life, The idea that the “balance” IE. predators to grass eaters would have been thrown into a life ending cycle so many times as to be implausible.
    Second to those that think they can believe in God and evolution, at what length was our tail before God began to love us?
    For the evolutionist that denies Gods Laws. Where is the line you’d draw between killing life to save another or even to have fuller lips and no bald spot.

  23. Mike Sears said

    Fred Says, “why does virtually every science department in virtually every institute of higher learning in the world disagree?”

    Ever seen caterpillars on the rim of a glass? They just keep walking around and around the same path without exploring other options. Pretty silly isn’t it?

  24. Fred said

    Mike, I’m not sure I follow that analogy. Are you saying that instead of a vast conspiracy against Intelligent Design there is simply a case of Science being narrow minded? If so, my point stands; either way your side’s position must be statistically improbable.

    We can argue all day, but the fact remains that virtually all the scientists engaged in the field agree that Darwin best explains speciation. Deny it, but there it is in plain sight.

    If there is a better scientific explanation, bring it forth, amaze us, conquer the (scientific) world and I’ll buy the Champagne but please don’t insist that Darwin has been refuted or that it is in serious doubt amongst scientists.

    If you must be obstinate, then I can only say

    Happy New Year!

    Fred

  25. Mike Sears said

    1 Corinthians 1:20. Happy New Year!

  26. JT said

    To Fred:

    The reason that Darwinism is not seriously doubted among most scientists is that the only other option on the table is ID which most regard as a form of theology. Another reason is that Darwinism’s claims do not practically impinge on most working scientists, so they would rather support a theory that does not have seemingly theistic overtones (i.e. ID), even though they may or may not have carefully analyzed the evidence for themselves. And I agree, what we need to show that Darwinism is possibly false is a position whose explanations for speciation, fossils, etc. are just as good or better than neo-Darwinian ones.

    A final point to make is that just because Darwinism is the overwhelmingly accepted view presently, this is not an indication of its strength as a paradigm. When Einstein published his first paper on light as a quanta (as opposed to merely a wave) he was the only one in the scientific community to believe it. Consensus is not an indicator of correctness. I believe the 21st century will relegate neo-Darwinism’s broader claims about natural history to the history of science.

    I really appreciate your attitude of open skepticism. It shows that what you value is sound reasoning and not emotional attachments to poorly presented positions. That you represent a significant body of thinkers gives me hope that once my ideas are made public there will be those willingly to at least entertain them.

  27. Fred said

    JT, I thank you for your kind words. Best luck with your endeavors and we look forward to adding a new book to the reading list soon!

    Happy New Year!

  28. Fred said

    Mike,

    Job 28

    best,
    Fred

  29. Mike Sears said

    Great points JT
    Thanks for the encouragement Fred. Some great wisdom. M
    ay He be so gracious to extend such wisdom to us. Blessings!! Mike

  30. BD said

    I wrote this a while ago about the Creation Vs. Evolution theories. I’ll post up the leading sections over the next few weeks. But I feel like it’s relevant…

    In summary ‘creation science’ is a contradiction in terms. A central tenet of modern science is methodological naturalism – it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms. Thus, physics describes the atomic nucleus with specific concepts governing matter and energy, and it tests those descriptions experimentally. Physicists introduce new particles, such as quarks, to flesh out their theories only when data show that the previous descriptions cannot adequately explain observed phenomena. The new particles do not have arbitrary properties, their definitions are tightly constrained because the new particles must fit within the existing framework of physics.

    In contrast, intelligent design theorists invoke shadowy entities that conveniently have whatever unconstrained abilities are needed to solve the mystery at hand. Rather than expanding scientific inquiry, such answers shut it down. How does one disprove the existence of omnipotent intelligences? Intelligent design offers few answers. For instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in life’s history? By creating the first strand of DNA? The first cell? The first human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones? Proponents of intelligent design frequently decline to be pinned down on these points. They do not even make real attempts to reconcile their disparate ideas about intelligent design. Instead they pursue argument by exclusion that is, they belittle evolutionary explanations as far-fetched or incomplete and then imply that only design-based alternatives remain.

    Logically, this is misleading: even if one naturalistic explanation is flawed, it does not mean that all are. It does not make one intelligent-design theory more reasonable than another. On lookers are left to fill in the blanks for themselves, and some will undoubtedly do so by substituting their beliefs, religious or otherwise for scientific ideas.

    Time and again, science has shown that methodological naturalism can push back ignorance, finding increasingly detailed and informative answers to mysteries that once seemed impenetrable: the nature of light, the causes of disease, how the brain works. Evolution is doing the same with the riddle of how the living world took shape? Creationism, by any name, adds nothing of intellectual ‘value’ to the effort. Intellectual or not, there is a value attributed to a sense of worth.

  31. Mike Sears said

    He Fred
    Did you ever get a chance to read those 5 chapters of “Mere Christianity”? Just curious. Lewis certainly made a great case against “Moral Evolution”. And that was about 60 years ago! Mike

  32. Fred said

    Mike, not yet but it is in the rotation! In fact, I resolve that sometime early in 2008 I shall read “Mere Christianity”!

    best,
    Fred

  33. Fred said

    Bravo, BD!

    (mild applause)

  34. Darwin's Ghost said

    We need to understand that there is a distinction between I.D. and young-earth creation science. Some in the camp of I.D. do accept a form of evolution – theistic evolution.

    Who here has actually read Darwin’s books? I have and I see the error of not only his “theory” but also his doctrine. It is because of Darwin’s “Origin of the species….” that Stalin, Hitler, etc. pushed forth their agenda’s. It is because of Darwin’s doctrine that many “Christians” were racist and many “Christians” today are racist.

    For Christians, the issue is “Does the Bible teach or support Darwin’s theory of evolution?” Or, do we have to compromise the Scriptures to incorporate Darwinism into the Bible?

  35. Darwin's Ghost said

    “Charles Darwin was a tragically mistaken man who drifted from a childlike trust in One who helped him run to school on time into an abyss of hopelessness and agnosticism. While the spiritual journey of a Christian is a journey out of darkness into Christ’s marvelous light, that of Charles Darwin was a slippery slide out of Gospel light (although not saving spiritual sight) into the sheer “blackness of darkness for ever.”

    Darwin’s unbelief, like that of so many people today, had its roots in a mind which first rejected the revelation of God in the Bible and then was unwilling to accept the revelation of God which God Himself has given in nature. This religion of revelation, of the Bible, of the Lord Jesus Christ, will keep us tuned to truth, hope, and life in God, and away from evolutionism, humanism, and atheism, only as we allow it to exercise its power in our hearts. The tragedy of Charles Darwin is that he never did. ” – http://www.ChristianAnswers.net

  36. JT said

    To BD:
    You are right that there is confusion in the ID paradigm about the nature of their project and just how far it extends. As far as I am concerned ID is not a biological theory that rivals neo-Darwinism because it does not address it in the area of natural history (it does not have the tools to do this). Rather, ID is rooted in mathematical information theory and is a commentary on the structure of biological information ‘as information.’ Given this, it makes sense why ID doesn’t have a position on anything at the cellular level or above, because these levels of biology are not practically quantifiable, and therefore do not lend themselves to ID statistical analysis. Many ID proponents believe they are engaging in design-based biological study, this is mistaken. They (especially Dembski) is applying information theory to quantified biological systems to study them as information systems. I think the ID proponents rightly point out that the neo-Darwinian paradigm cannot account for complex biological information as information. This failure, however, is not enough to build an alternative or enough to disprove neo-Darwinism.

  37. John said

    How very interesting.For those who support the theory of Intelligent Design, we all know who you really think the designer is, so why not just be honest and stick with the original term of “creationist”?Because you couldn’t get it into the school system as easily with the old label? And if your intelligent designer isin’t the Christian God[as I think you believe it to be], who else would you consider it to be? Aliens? Another deity[creator deities are legion]?
    How could the identity of such a person/force/thing be verified, anyway? And could you accept the answer if it opposed your theology?I have my doubts. It seems like the end result to all of this will unfortunately stll fall into the realm of “wishful thinking”.

  38. Darwin's Ghost said

    And the ball would fall back into the court of the Wiccan as well. Would you accept or even consider the Christian God as the All powerful Creator of all that is? Obviously you wouldn’t.

    “It seems like the end result to all of this will unfortunately still fall into the realm of wishful thinking” on the part of the Wiccans as well.

    And there are many I.D. proponents that are not Christian and would not agree with young-earth Biblical creationists.

    The topic is Darwin and combatting his theories. As has been said, there are numerous evolutionists who distance themselves from Darwin. And there are numerous evolutionists who accept his theories as “written in stone” fact.

    Also, as has been alluded to – the bone of contention that we Christians have with evolution is it’s adherence to “naturalism” or a denial of any deity in the work of creation or the origin of life. No science lab has been able to replicate the so-called “big bang” or any other primordial concept of origins in the laboratory. Yet evolutionists still insist that life evolves from nonlife without divine intervention.

    Who is “wishful[ly] thinking”?

  39. JT said

    To John:

    John said,
    “we all know who you really think the designer is…” and “How could the identity of such a person/force/thing be verified, anyway? And could you accept the answer if it opposed your theology?”

    First, it doesn’t matter what one’s motivations are for holding to a position because their motivations don’t make the evidence any more or less compelling. You might argue that I am theologically motivated in finding ID claims compelling, I might just as well argue that many Darwinists find its claims compelling because they are motivated by atheism or a materialistic philosophy of science, etc. The point is that the evidence for or against ID and Darwinism doesn’t change despite one’s motivations for believing or disbelieving it. It could just as well be argued that theists have a vested interest in believing the Standard Big Bang Model in cosmology as it indicates a beginning of the univserse, but whether or not theists can use this aspect of modern science to press their theological claims is irrelevant to the scientific evidence, the same is true with respect to ID. It is not a fatal objection to ID being scientific to say that a lot of Christians want to believe it is true because it helps them theologically.

    Second, if the ID paradigm is rooted in mathematical information theory, as I proposed above, then the only indicators about the Designer are the mathematical indicators that it abstracts from material systems (cosmological, astronomical, and biological). What possible information about a Designer can one have from mathematical indicators alone? What ID proponents have said is that when biological information is analyzed as information it shows the same tell-tale signs of rational intention that are discovered in areas like cryptography, insurance fraud, and digital forensics. That the nature of the information strongly suggests rational intention is the limit of the ID proponent’s chosen deductive tool (mathematics). If he were to speculate about the Designer’s nature it would be pure speculation. It is possible that we live in a Deistic universe, or a Stoic universe (where rationality is simply inherent in matter), or a Pan-en-theistic one where the spirit of the Divine imbues matter like a spirit in a body, etc. The point is that these metaphysical speculations about the Mind behind the matter are not part of scientific inquriy and therefore should not be part of a scientific paradigm. The attempt to say that ID “just entails” this sort of speculation and is therefore not science is false.

    If one has an honest rebuttal to basic ID claims then it should be presented fairly and rigorously, but one should not use cheap rhetorical tricks in order avoid the question on the table. The claim that ID is trying to get creationism taught in schools might be true in some cases, but, again, because some ID proponents might be raving fundementalists who have little to no concern for good science education and want Genesis 1-3 set alongside neo-Darwinian theory, does not mean that ID as an academic question is somehow invalid or that it cannot be entertained in colleges and universities.

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