Granville Sewell thinks it's obvious

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By Eva K., from Wikimedia Commons. Something Granville Sewell may not expect.

Granville Sewell is at it again, and he never seems to learn. In a piece at the Discovery Institute’s site Evolution News & Science Today he argues that it is obvious that one can reject the ordinary processes of physics, chemistry, and evolution as having brought about living organisms. His piece is entitled “Some problems can be proved unsolvable”. He mentions a mathematical theorem that was finally proven after hundreds of years (Fermat’s Last Theorem), and a task that can easily shown to be unsolvable (covering with two-square-sized dominos a chessboard that has had two squares in opposite corners removed). Then he argues that it is obvious that evolving present-day life that ends up inventing iPhones can easily be seen to be impossible by natural processes.

He summarizes his argument in a few sentences:

Well, I have a very simple proof that the biological problem #3 posed above is also impossible to solve, that does fit in the margin of this document. All one needs to do is realize that if a solution were found, we would have proved something obviously false, that a few (four, apparently) fundamental, unintelligent forces of physics alone could have rearranged the fundamental particles of physics into libraries full of science texts and encyclopedias, computers connected to monitors, keyboards, laser printers and the Internet, cars, trucks, airplanes, nuclear power plants and Apple iPhones.
Is this really a valid proof? It seems perfectly valid to me, as I cannot think of anything in all of science that can be stated with more confidence than that a few unintelligent forces of physics alone could not have rearranged the basic particles of physics into Apple iPhones.
Now Sewell is a mathematician, author of a book on solving differential equations. But he seems to accept proof-by-obviousness, a method most mathematicians would not accept. He should listen to them. Instead he lays the obviousness on a bit too thick ...

Crepuscular rays

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Photograph by Sarah Wise.

Crepuscular rays
Crepuscular rays, by Sarah Wise, taken from her home near Louisville, Colo., mid-April, 2021.


We chose this splendid picture from among several equally splendid shots in part because it shows clearly the origin of crepuscular rays – just look at the mountain peaks and valleys, especially on the right. The rays are the result of light scattering by the atmosphere. On the left, you can clearly see atmospheric scattering where one of the rays roughly bisects a cloud. And finally, you can see how every cloud has a silver lining.

Incidentally, I assume that crepuscular rays are the reason Moses has horns in Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses: ray and horn are the same word in Biblical Hebrew, probably because the ancients simply called crepuscular rays “horns.” It seems likely to me that they envisioned Moses as having had (crepuscular) rays coming out of his head. Again incidentally, you may find other depictions of Moses with horns here. There is nothing new in the author’s premise that the word was mistranslated into Greek.

Meditation on a review of a book by Stephen Meyer

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Book cover
Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries that Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe, by Stephen Meyer.


Darrel Falk, a past president of BioLogos, recently reviewed Stephen Meyer’s latest book, Return of the God Hypothesis, here. Professor Falk is sympathetic with Dr. Meyer and indeed avers that their “perspective[s] on the role of God in creation” are not “much different.” The review is nevertheless negative and led to an interesting exchange on a Google Group devoted in part to The Panda’s Thumb. I should stress that as far as I know none of us on PT has read the book, but by now we have probably all read the review. At any rate, the exchange is reprinted, with permission, below the fold: