Was Darwin Wrong?

| 66 Comments

I had originally conceived of the idea to compare and contrast anti-evolutionist responses to National Geographic’s recent piece on evolution. The point was to hopefully demonstrate similarities between “young-earth” creationism and “intelligent-design” creationism. With limited time available to do this, I think I’ll just provide a collection of links and let the readers for now draw their own conclusions.

66 Comments

DI National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Wrote:

Nevertheless, in over a century of research no new species of bacteria have emerged.

Hmmm don’t know where they get this idea. We have found new baterica that where not in exsistance 50 years ago before the development of nylon.

DI National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Wrote:

Is it just a coincidence that the vast majority of citizens in the most scientifically successful nation on Earth are skeptical of Darwin’s theory?

Well according to the exit poles Jonathan’s “vast majority of citizens” = 37%. Hmm so that means 63% that say evolution should be taught must be a minority.…I’ll have to make a note that in the world of Jonathan “majority” and “minority” have swapped meanings.

DI National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Wrote:

even though Darwinian theory regards inability to interbreed as the distinguishing feature of separate species

I thought Darwin actually said

Darwin The Origin of Species Chapter 14 1st Ed Wrote:

In short, we shall have to treat species in the same manner as those naturalists treat genera, who admit that genera are merely artificial combinations made for convenience. This may not be a cheering prospect; but we shall at least be freed from the vain search for the undiscovered and undiscoverable essence of the term species.

As usual creationist misrepresenting Darwin. Species are are not cleanly devided as we see with Equines. While they can interbreed their offspring show varying levels of both viability and fertility. It is creationists that say there has to be a line and it can not be crossed. It is evolutionist that say there is no real line but only shades of grey.

DI National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Wrote:

The fossil record of horses is also much more complicated than Quammen makes it out to be; actually, it looks like a tangled bush with separate branches rather than a straight line of ancestors and descendants.

OMG! They are actually right about something. Well atleast that the fossil record shows a “bush” and not a ladder. Something that evolution actually predicts.

DI National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Wrote:

“the embryo is the animal in its less modified state,” a state that “reveals the structure of its progenitor.” This idea – that embryos pass through earlier stages of their evolutionary history and thereby show us their ancestors – is a restatement of German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel’s notorious “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,” a false doctrine that knowledgeable experts discarded over a century ago

While I’m not farmiliar with Ernst Haeckel’s work we do know that embryos do develop features that are later reabsorbed or stopped that point to their ancestors. Baleen whale embryos do develop teeth that they later loose. Seems darwin was in part correct in that the embryos reveals the structure of it progenitor. In a sense “its less modified state” is true too but it isn’t that simple. Sorry that Darwin didn’t have access to the embryological (is that a word?) information we have today.

DI National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Wrote:

How can one determine whether homology in living things comes from common ancestry or common design?

Someone tell Jonathan that God hasn’t used “common design” in the flegella.

DI National Geographic Ignores The Flaws in Darwin's Theory Wrote:

That’s why Darwin titled his magnum opus The Origin of Species, not How Existing Species Change Over Time.

Actually Jonathan it is “On the origin of species by means of natural selection” Not just “The Origin of Species” which has 2 different meanings. How more much more of a misrepresentation can you make?

Wayne Francis Wrote:

While I’m not farmiliar with Ernst Haeckel’s work .…

You may not be, but Wells knows that Haeckel published this after Darwin published the Origin, and Darwin was influence by the more accurate von Baer. Wells also knows that modern evolutionary developmental biology (which is what embryology has become) is a thriving field that supports evolution very well. Wells by the way is famous for Icons.

I’m passionately following (from Italy) your debate against creationists and IDs (I know, they are all the same), and I have some question about their position. 1) Why are they against evolution by natural selection, and not other scientific theory, such us (and I quote) “we should be very careful to not elevate evolution with a word like “theory,” and put the “amoeba-to-man” conjecture on the same level as the theory of relativity and theories of electricity” (actually, it should be the opposite, theories of relativity and theory of electricity)?

2) Since cosmology and geology are partly historical disciplines too (and as far as the first one are concerned, there’s no chance to do any “experiment” whatsoever), why do they accept these worldviews?

3) How do they explain the lack of modern day species fossils in the deep past? I mean, if god created whales such as they are today, why we cannot find Eubalaena glacialis fossils, but just Ambulocetus, Basilosaurus and the like? I understand they cannot be put in a neat fossil line, but what about the proverbial bunny in the Cretaceous? Have they found one Thank you

Marco

Some IDers would say that God has created new animals over time, these would be the Old Earthers.

Creationist are agianst evolution because they feel if it where true it pulls them off their pedistals. They might not really be the closest to “God”

Its better some times to watch from afar. That said I’m a member of Americans United for Seperation of Church and State even tho I live in Australia

Marco Wrote:

1) Why are they against evolution by natural selection, and not other scientific theory…

Evolution conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Marco Wrote:

2) Since cosmology and geology are partly historical disciplines too (and as far as the first one are concerned, there’s no chance to do any “experiment” whatsoever), why do they accept these worldviews?

Most of them don’t. The Young Earth Creationist (YEC) view, which is the dominant form of creationism and a major part of the ID movement, explicitly rejects the scientific view of geology and cosmology. The Supreme Court has ruled that YEC is a religious view and thus can’t be taught in public schools. The ID movement was conceived for the purpose of trying to circumvent this ruling. ID therefore has removed all of the components that would identify it with YEC (without explicity rejecting them), leaving nothing more than a vague and meaningless claim of detecting “design”.

Marco Wrote:

3) How do they explain the lack of modern day species fossils in the deep past? I mean, if god created whales such as they are today, why we cannot find Eubalaena glacialis fossils, but just Ambulocetus, Basilosaurus and the like?

They don’t explain it. They are interested in religious apologetics, not science. Their goal is to look for gaps in our understanding of evolution which they claim are evidence for the intervention of God.

Wayne Francis Wrote:

“Nevertheless, in over a century of research no new species of bacteria have emerged.” ————–

Hmmm don’t know where they get this idea.  We have found new baterica that where not in exsistance 50 years ago before the development of nylon.

This is a classic Wells tactic. The concept of speciation is extremely difficult to apply to bacteria, because they don’t interbreed. Hence, we can’t really say when there’s a new species. Wells is simply trading on this ambiguity to make it look as if we’ve seen no evolution in bacteria, which is dishonest. We’ve seen major morphological and biochemical evolution occur in bacteria within short periods of time.

Steve Reuland,

Can you speculate on why Wells would do this? Given his education, he surely knows better. Even if we stipulate that he is taking advantage of ignorance on the part of his target audience, why would he do this? Do you suppose he believes that the “truth” he is defending must be or even should be supported by knowingly being dishonest? Do you suppose it bothers him that his beliefs are being supported by these tactics?

I can see the tactical advantages he enjoys. I can even understand that he may feel satisfaction watching those less knowledgeable repeat his distortions in all good faith. But from his viewpoint, I’d find that approach a bit creepy.

I couldn’t say why Wells does what he does, other than the fact that he surely feels the ends justifiy the means. He’s a follower of Rev. Moon, you must realize.

Wells Wrote:

Is it just a coincidence that the vast majority of citizens in the most scientifically successful nation on Earth are skeptical of Darwin’s theory?

Is it just a coincidence that in the overwhelming majority of scienitsts accept Darwinian theory and reject ID in the most scientifically advanced nation on Earth? Wells is effectively arguing that the general public, which has a demonstrably poor grasp of science, knows more than the scientists who are responsible for America’s advanced scientific standing. How absurd!

Wells nonetheless asks a good question. What could there possibly be about the US such that, way atypical of Western nations generally, the majority of US citizens have no clue what Darwin said, and what little they attach to the term “evolution” is wildly wrong?

I don’t think there is any coincidence here at all. There is an excellent reason for public ignorance. Wells himself struggles to join those responsible.

Thomas Woodward’s article in Christianity Today starts from the unwarranted assumption that science is diametrically opposed to faith. If one assumes so much that is not in evidence, how can one be swayed by whatever evidence is introduced later in the discussion?

The difficulty with creationism and ID theologies is not just that they are racist in their American foundation, but that they are absolutely opposed to learning in application. In a fit of interesting irony, creationism has become the papism that Jefferson and Madison warned about, preached from a pulpit where the preacher stands in fear of anyone who may actually be able to read the sources and see that what the preacher says is not what the scriptures say – and so the preacher must poison the well against any who can and do read, and who do know the facts.

The answer is a republican sort of democracy, where education (essential to morality, according to the various Northwest Ordinances of 1785 through 1787, and later)is provided for the masses so they can see for themselves.

Which is why creationists are so opposed to the public schools.

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Thomas Woodward’s article in Christianity Today starts from the unwarranted assumption that science is diametrically opposed to faith.

I dunno, Ed. I’ve re-read Woodward’s article for the third time and I honestly cannot locate any portion showing that Woodward “starts from the unwarranted assumption that science is diametrically opposed to faith.”

Would you show me which snippet(s) lead you to believe that Woodward is assuming any such thing, and explain how it or they show said assumption?

FL

Science isn’t diametrically opposed to faith. That’s why its discoveries are so threatening. The geologists and biologists certainly didn’t set out to upset anybody’s Biblical beliefs. Indeed, a fair number of ‘em were Anglican clergymen. Believers cling to the notion that the scientists are biased precisely because, to use a line from the Daily Show, it’s really the facts that are biased.

FL, one of our resident “sceptics”, writes

I’ve re-read Woodward’s article for the third time and I honestly cannot locate any portion showing that Woodward “starts from the unwarranted assumption that science is diametrically opposed to faith.”

Gosh, FL, I read it once and immediately found in the introduction the following two sentences

If we imagine the “clash of two theories”—the older notion of “separate creations” by a supremely wise designer, versus Darwin’s “common ancestry” of all life, driven by natural selection—it appears here that the younger system has utterly crushed the older. Sketched in terms of a basketball tourney, Quammen paints a complete rout—a 118-0 shutout.

Is the phrase “clash of two theories” equivalent to “diametrically opposed”? Are two competing basketball teams diametrically opposed?

Sure. Unless perhaps if you’re merely an annoying gadfly with nothing to say.

But even if you have any doubts about where Woodward was going in his factless screed, he ends with a reading out of Philip Johnson’s evangelist-pleasing script:

The Christian … armed with the best arguments and evidence on both sides of the issue, can systematically compare and evaluate evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. For the philosophical naturalist, “nature is all there is.”

Woodward’s article is filled with so many dishonest, irrelevant and reality-denying statements like this it made me want to puke into my special “Puke Caused By Creationist Lies” puke-bucket. But I held it back because my bucket is overflowing today.

Have a great Thanksgiving, FL. I’ll be thinking of you when my relatives and I discuss the practice of giving heathen Indians smallpox-infected blankets, invented by one Jeffrey Amherst who presently has a few towns and Christian churches named after him, mostly in red states.

Well, GWW, I figured that maybe somebody was reading the following paragraph and deriving from it (exactly how is still a mystery) that Woodward is starting from “the unwarranted assumption that science is diametrically opposed to faith.”

If we imagine the “clash of two theories”—the older notion of “separate creations” by a supremely wise designer, versus Darwin’s “common ancestry” of all life, driven by natural selection—it appears here that the younger system has utterly crushed the older. Sketched in terms of a basketball tourney, Quammen paints a complete rout—a 118-0 shutout.

What remains unclear is how one gets from that Woodward quotation to Ed Brayton’s claim. Historically, the fact is that there was indeed a “clash of two theories” as described by Woodward. But Woodward’s specific phrasing describes something other than the specific notion of “science is diametrically opposed to faith.” I understand your basketball analogy, but Woodward’s paragraph does not claim (not even indirectly or by implication) that the two opposing basketball teams of his paragraph happened to be “science” and “faith.”

Is somebody reading something into this paragraph that simply isn’t there? Sure looks like it, though I would also await Ed’s response as well. Nor, as an aside, does that claimed assumption seem to fit Woodward’s attitude in his recent book Doubts About Darwin.

That’s why I’m asking for an explanation. I understand Ed’s claim, but it is far from self-evident in this instance. Some explanatory backup is required if this claim is to be credible. (Let me repeat that term “if” for emphasis.)

The second paragraph quoted appears to be even farther away from the claimed assumption than the first. That you would disagree with it is understandable, of course, but that’s about it.

Anyway, a Happy Thanksgiving to you too. Not sure about how this particular issue relates to Christian-Native American relations of the past century, but that’s a concern I guess we can talk about sometime.

FL

Woodward’s paragraph does not claim (not even indirectly or by implication) that the two opposing basketball teams of his paragraph happened to be “science” and “faith.”

According to you. You have to make that bogus claim or else admit that you’re wrong and that you were grandstanding in your earlier post, which we know you are disinclined to do.

Most reasonable people, especially reasonable people who are not fixated with promoting creationist drivel, would disagree with you for the following reasons.

A “supremely wise designer” = faith Natural selection = science Two basketball teams = faith and science Two basketball teams = diametrically opposed faith and science = diametrically opposed

Of course, the two “teams” aren’t engaged in a basketball game. They are engaged in a contest to explain an observable phenomenon in the natural world, i.e., to answer the question: how do living organisms adapt to their continually changing environment?

And when it comes to formulating and providing a scientific answer to that question, faith is an utterly worthless tool. It’s like preparing for a chess match by cutting off your head.

So maybe it’s not entirely accurate to say that faith and science are diametrically opposed when it comes to explaining observable phenomenon. Faith simply doesn’t belong on the court where scientific games are being played. Explaining the natural world by evoking explanations such as “Ghanesh farted and life began” is what people do when they want to create or promote a religion. It isn’t science. It’s the opposite of science.

Does Woodward recognize this obvious fact? Of course not. He’s a moronic evangelizing rube reading from Phil Johnson’s script. If he admitted that fact, he’d have nothing left but the pseudoscientific ramblings of his fellow charlatans which he is too fake to criticize.

Ed’s obvious point was that Woodward’s starting point was utter and complete bullcrap. You can quibble with whether Woodward would admit that science and faith are “diametrically opposed” but the fact is that Woodward made the basketball analogy. He obviously believes that faith-based beliefs are appropriate ways to answer scientific questions. And he clearly believes that the conclusions reached by scientists are somehow “diametrically opposed” to his religious beliefs. That is why he happily recites a bunch of bogus lies disparaging the work of scientists and finishes his screed with a bible quote from the favorite saint of evangelicals, that wonderful misogynist named Paul.

It’s called “lying for Jesus”, FL.

Just maybe, FL, on this day before Thanksgiving, you will look into your heart and realize that you are playing a game with us in which you feel free to ignore obvious facts and stretch the truth when it suits you. And perhaps you will admit to this, offer a humble apology, and return to practicing your religion in a manner which is consistent with what most people believe is actually recommended by your deity. I would imagine that would be a fulfilling soul-cleansing experience for you. Plus, it would allow you to appreciate, without paranoia and discontent, all of the fantastic facts about life on earth that scientists (including Christians) have discovered and documented.

Thomas Woodward’s article in Christianity Today starts from the unwarranted assumption that science is diametrically opposed to faith.

Diametrically opposed to Woodward’s faith, maybe, but not necessarily diametrically opposed to all faith. With faith you get to pretend pretty much whatever pops into your head, and I’m sure Woodward is well aware of those who share many of his religious views but who believe that the creation stories are meant to be true metaphorical representations of the science. In other words he knows that there are people who are willing to pretend even more than he pretends, so I think perhaps Woodward was only speaking for himself and those who try to think as he does.

FL sidles into a position of taking me to task for pointing out the philosophical and rhetorical errors of Woodward’s article in Christianity Today.

Others point out several places where Woodward’s assumption bites the reader on the nose, but FL responded:

I dunno, Ed. I’ve re-read Woodward’s article for the third time and I honestly cannot locate any portion showing that Woodward “starts from the unwarranted assumption that science is diametrically opposed to faith.”

Would you show me which snippet(s) lead you to believe that Woodward is assuming any such thing, and explain how it or they show said assumption?

Sure.

The almost sarcastic, rather juvenile attempts at ridicule are a great clue. When Woodward writes, “Ten pages of text—more in the genre of high school cheerleading than sober analysis—are embedded in a lush gallery of 22 pages of glossy pictures, including an amazing array of nine separate ‘sidebar’ mini-articles,” he doesn’t mean to imply that high-school cheerleading is serious argument, nor does he mean to imply that brilliant photography that specifically denies creationist claims is to be taken seriously. He calls the photography “lush” not as a compliment, but as an epithet. And the quote marks around the word “sidebar” – do you think that is to suggest they are meaningful compendia of facts? Putting quote marks around words to imply they are falsehoods is a hallmark of polemic writing, a flag that there is a poison-the-well argument ahead (or all around, as in this case). And if we pay attention, we note that Woodward’s recently published book is entirely about argument. I don’t know his background, but it appears he, like many others the Discovery Institute wishes to label scientists, is a student of rhetoric instead.

National Geographic is not a peer-review journal, but it stands in the forefront of the very best science magazines. The Society itself has a century-old tradition of supporting solid research. Much of what appears in the magazine could easily be adapted for peer-review, and in fact much of what the Society sponsors and what the magazine publishes does appear in peer-review journals. So Woodward’s attempts to impugn the magazine appear, to me, puerile and misdirected. It’s a sure sign he has nothing of substance to say.

And it indicates that he thinks any fact is dangerous to his own view.

Then Woodward explicitly paints evolution as diametrically opposed to creationism:

If we imagine the “clash of two theories”—the older notion of “separate creations” by a supremely wise designer, versus Darwin’s “common ancestry” of all life, driven by natural selection—it appears here that the younger system has utterly crushed the older. Sketched in terms of a basketball tourney, Quammen paints a complete rout—a 118-0 shutout.

Do you think that, when he says we should imagine a clash, that he does not believe there is a clash, nor that he wants the reader to believe so?

Rather that question anything the article says, Woodward introduces sly diversions from the actual arguments, for example when he claims that the article is unwarrantedly emotional:

My emphasis on the word “fact” is designed to convey the sense of brimming confidence which is the article’s emotional subtext. The editor’s purpose was, quite literally, to overwhelm the reader. In fact, the first page tells us of evolution’s “overwhelming evidence”—twice, in headline and text.

Never mind the facts. Ignore that the brilliant and illustrative photography is just a tiny portion of what is available to make the arguments, ignore that there were 10,000 scientific papers published last year alone that make the case for evolution – ignore the facts; Woodward tries to make a case that Quammen’s case is emotion unsupported by facts. Or emotion unjustified by the facts.

Now, Woodward is doing a good case of setting up a straw man argument. Of what use is a straw man, however, if not to knock down?

And why would Woodward need to knock down anything, if he didn’t intend to paint a fight between sides that are diametrically opposed?

Woodward then launches into a wholly emotionally, factually erroneous argument that there is a science movement in favor of “intelligent design,” that there is actually a proposed theory of intelligent design, and that there is a single argument from intelligent design that would change anything Quammen wrote about. None of this would be necessary were Woodward making any argument other than the one he makes – that Quammen’s article is dead wrong. None of Woodward’s arguments against Quammen’s article makes any sense except from the viewpoint that Quammen is making a case against the things that Christianity Today and its readers believe and stand for. The possibility that Quammen might be a Christian, or that evolution might not be unalterably opposed to Christianity, does not occur in Woodward’s article.

Edward Larson has already taken Woodward to task for making this claim, in Larson’s review of Woodward’s book, published in a September 2004 issue of Christianity Today:

Woodward’s own rhetoric artfully advances his argument, but his book tells little about the status of evolutionary theory within the wider scientific community. In surveys of scientists and studies of federal support for scientific research, I have not detected any appreciable impact of ID within core biological disciplines. Although funding for biological research has soared under the Bush administration, for example, none of it is going to any projects pursuing an ID paradigm, and much of it flows into evolutionary research. When it comes to where the U.S. government puts its money in science, evolution still wins.

Then, in concluding his diatribe, Woodward blatantly makes his appeal that Quammen and Quammen’s arguments support something other than the views of Christians, in Woodward’s appeal to the words of St. Paul:

An explosion of resources in this area have made it much easier for any follower of Christ to evaluate the issues of Darwinism and Design from all sides, and not from National Geographic’s perspective that simply assumes that nature—all on its own—has the ability to craft the diversity and complexity of life on its own.

Paul identified the downward spiral in Romans chapter one as one where men deified dumb nature, imbuing it with powers and spiritual significance that can never be justified. The Christian, aware of this pitfall, and armed with the best arguments and evidence on both sides of the issue, can systematically compare and evaluate evolutionary theory and intelligent design theory. For the philosophical naturalist, “nature is all there is.” Thus, the question of origins leads quickly to a guaranteed result: Darwin wins, in a lopsided shutout.

Woodward is either unaware of or completely disregards the faith of the founders of the National Geographic Society or its current board, which includes now and has included over the years more than its share of devout Christians from the evangelical camp. (He’s a scholar, isn’t he? – how could he be unaware?)

But why would he say “Darwin wins,” unless he was posing Darwin as diametrically opposed to the faith?

Now, I make that case without carefully dissecting the other false claims of those last two paragraphs, that there has been an explosion of resources against Darwinian theory (nothing in science, little elsewhere); that the views in National Geographic are assumption and not backed by fact (it’s Woodward who scrupulously avoids the facts); that Paul’s complaint in Romans 1.20 was directed at animists and evolution comes close to animism, rather than the Paul’s admonition being against that sort of creationism which requires that one ignore all the evidence of God’s creation and the recognition that no significant Darwinist has ever proposed founding a religion around Darwin; that a Christian who analyzes all the evidence won’t side squarely with Quammen; or finally, that all scientists are “philosophical naturalists” who disbelieve in anything supernatural, and therefore any argument for evolution is based in the almost-never-used-and-rarely-understood philosophy of naturalism.

FL, is there any snippet of Woodward’s article which would support an idea that it might be possible God’s creation includes evolution, that a Christian might study evolution without treading down the wayward path away from righteousness, or that intelligent design is frippery and evil itself?

Good heavens!

Ah, there it is.

A “supremely wise designer” = faith Natural selection = science

After responding to you previously, it occurred to me that if somebody was reading something into Woodward’s paragraph that wasn’t there (like the claim that Woodward is pre-assuming that science is “diametrically opposed to faith”), it would have to probably come from doing just what you’ve done—-reading just this sort of evolutionist interpretation into Woodward’s paragraph right at those two points.

Thank you for helping me understand a little better where things may be coming from. Definitely doesn’t nail down that Woodward is guilty of the claimed pre-assumption in question, but it at least helps me see where the accusation may have come from in the first place.

As for the rest of your post, well, I’m inclined to just leave it there, and again wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.

FL

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I don’t see how Darwin being (mostly) right implies that Christianity must be wrong. Yet I read these reactions to the NG article, and the thrust of them is NOT “Well, Darwin only presents one side of this story, not wrong but incomplete, and we have the other side of the story, just as accurate as far as it goes.” Instead, like Ed Darrell, I see these responses describing the Christian position as an alternative, rather tham a complement, to natural selection.

Just as a seat of the pants guess, I’d estimate that at least an order of magnitude more Americans doubt what Darwin said, than *know* what Darwin said. I suspect this results from most Americans’ knowledge of Darwin and evolution coming more from their churches than their public educations. And the church, understandably considering their perspective, doesn’t draw much of a distinction between a theory that doesn’t mention any gods at all one way or another, and a theory that explicitly opposes or rejects all gods. Neutrality seems to be invisible to some Christians, in whose eyes everyone either accepts their god, or (necessarily) rejects it. The “don’t know, don’t care” position must be stuck into the “rejection” pigeonhole.

Darwin was trying to explain evidence, not even address any religious doctrine. And as a result, his ideas need not oppose the Christian god, or zeus or thor or the great spirit or whatever one happens to consider “truth” so limpidly self-evident that everyone else is left, as FL writes, “without excuse.” To paraphrase someone on another forum, “My god’s existence is obvious, but only if you’re objective!”

I found the NG article to be clear, well-written, beautifully illustrated, and not anti-religion in any way. While I don’t expect it to reduce the number of Americans who doubt what Darwin claimed, I can hope that it can increase the number who have some better clue what they’re doubting.

FL,

In quoting Romans 1:20 you said,

“I have always found that verse amazing, especially in its far-reaching implications for every human, right here and now. “Without excuse.” Why would a person ever give themselves over to PN or Atheism (or even Agnosticism) in light of this verse?”

Obviously you meant a person of Faith? For the rest of us, having seen no evidence to convince us of the existence of any deity, or of the divinity of Jesus, it’s more a matter of wondering why a person would ever give themself over to Faith or creationism, when Science has provided an impressive body of evidence and research supporting evolution.

FL,

1. I challenged you to present any evidence that Woodward was fair in his article. You demur. Without attributing any motive to your action, I do wish to call attention to the evidence that is not there. If Woodward meant to say ‘Christians should keep an open mind,’ he failed.

2. Yes, that quoted phrase sounds exactly as if Woodward is pitting Darwin against faith. And, absent any suggestion that there is a possibility that Quammen’s article might have at least a scintilla of accuracy to it, the animus toward science is palpable to me.

3. I’d take Woodward’s call to analyze the evidence more seriously if he demonstrated any understanding of how such a process might occur, or any understanding of the types of evidence and how they might be weighed. But his article is in furtherance of suggesting hoaxes on Christians and others, that ID is science, that ID now has established some foothold on making a beachhead towards refuting evolution. No part of that claim is accurate. I don’t cotton to people who claim to be religious types as they mislead others about the facts, and I take their arguments as the daggers at truth, the propaganda statements, they are intended to be.

4. What “two sides” of the case does Woodward propose Christians should study? If he means to offer ID as a second case, he’s dissembling. ID offers no evidence and no theory counter to anything in the modern edition of evolution, and nothing that contradicts any of Darwin’s work. If he means to say that Darwin might be wrong, science already assumes that (as did Darwin) – it’s an integral part of the science that Darwin established. There is no “other side” to be considered in science.

If he means to offer some Christian creation story as the other side, he again fails to make any case.

5. Woodward has assumed there is opposition where there is none. He has tried to confer scientific authority on arguments that have not been made, in papers that have not been written, about science experiments that have never been done.

Were Woodward serious, he might actually mention the evidence Quammen offers, and suggest an analysis of it. Instead he argues – implicitly – that Quammen is philosophically opposed to Christianity, an argument that is completely and utterly without evidence. That’s an inexpensive and inappropriate attack on the author’s motives. If Quammen is right, his motives don’t matter. If Woodward has the goods to show Quammen is wrong, Quammen’s motives don’t matter. As it is, all we have is Woodward’s attack on Quammen’s motives, without an iota of evidence that Quammen was really incorrect.

6. What’s this claptrap about contrasting philosophies? Darwin was not a philosophical naturalist. Nor was Asa Gray. Nor was Dobzhansky, nor is Collins. Nor can we make much of a case that any but a small handful of scientists ever were.

So what is the point of bringing up irrelevent points about philosophy? I see in it another ad hominem argument, one to suggest that Quammen and The National Geographic Society are somehow philosophically opposed to Christianity – and as I noted before, that’s a scurrilous claim with regard to the Society and its people, and an unevidenced claim against Quammen. There is no issue there; we’re just calling Woodward’s bluff.

If Woodward has a case to be made, he doesn’t need to call names. If he doesn’t have a case to be made, calling names isn’t a substitute.

7. I mentioned Larson’s review of Woodward’s book because Larson specifically rebuts Woodward’s claim that ID offers an alternative to evolution, in that paragraph I quoted from Larson’s review. That paragraph rebuts the heart of Woodward’s claim against Quammen’s article, and that Larson’s review was published three months ago tells us Woodward is on notice that his claim is false. He makes the false claim anyway. I regard that as a moral failing, to be called for making a false claim and continue to make it.

8. If Woodward is not assuming that science and Christianity are opposed, can you offer evidence from his article to that point? Woodward assumes that arguments for evolution are made solely by philosophical naturalists, that they are false because they are made by philosophical naturalists, and then he poses ID as a more Christian alternative, ignored by the philosophical naturalists because they know it to be true.

Woodward commits all the “sins” he accuses scientists of committing, and I don’t find his accusations against them to be accurate.

9. Romans 1.20 is quite specific, I think. It says the evidence has been in front of everyone from the beginning, but the evidence comes from “invisible attributes,” or some other minuscule thing that is unseeable by at first glance. It may refer to a lot of other stuff, but I think it plainly refers to the way the material world we see is created by atoms, which we don’t see, and directed by genes, which we can’t see without great magnification. It’s a clear warning to creationists to observe nature as Darwin did. Creationists, and IDists, ignore the claim at their own peril.

Do you really think Paul was saying anything about the stories of Adam and Noah? Perhaps. But he was not telling Christians to deny reality.

”…the Galápagos finch story is complicated by the fact that many of what were originally thought to be thirteen species are now interbreeding with each other – even though Darwinian theory regards inability to interbreed as the distinguishing feature of separate species.”

Yet the famous ornithologist Lack estimated, many decades ago, that this interbreeding is reasonably rare. Modern research may indicate that it is not that rare, but that’s beside the point.

It’s still relatively rare, and that biological species is real.

Well’s definition is wrong or lacking. A species A may well be ABLE to breed with species B, but that’s not what they tend to do. There is considerable prezygotic isolation there.

Interesting that Wells does not even try to address the biogeographical evidence. That is just a red herring.

FL wrote: because we’ve allowed Darwinism to sap and dilute our trust and faith”

WOW, I thought you were gonna say “precious bodily fluids” there for a minute!

Somebody misunderstands what Romans 1 says - and it’s not FL!

The evidence is there - about God’s eternal power and divine nature - but people chose to suppress that evidence - which is exactly what you are doing by saying that you can’t see anything! You can’t escape from Romans by saying that you can’t see it - you are doing exactly what Romans says you will do.

The worrying thing is the consequence - that God “gives people over” to their disbelief. Rome fell - not because of external forces, but because it rotted from within under the onslaught of decadence and luxury - God “giving people over” to what they wanted instead of God. The argument of books like “Amusing Ourselves to Death” (Postman) and “The Closing of the American Mind” (Bloom) is that we are seeing the death of Western culture because it has fallen so much in love with the crap it produces - we are being “given over” to exactly the things we pursue.

Rome was making a comeback until they foolishly left the proven ways of their ancestors and got seduced by Christianity…

Actually I don’t believe that story either, but if you’re going to lay out a throughly dumb theory of history (‘rotted from withing under the onslaught of decadence and luxury’) I felt entitled to reply with an equally arbitrary and ignorant read of the facts.

The evidence is there - about God’s eternal power and divine nature - but people chose to suppress that evidence - which is exactly what you are doing by saying that you can’t see anything! You can’t escape from Romans by saying that you can’t see it - you are doing exactly what Romans says you will do.

I have a friend named Bob. Nobody else acknowledges Bob’s existence, but Bob told me that nobody else can see him because only I am deserving of his friendship. The fact that noone else can see him just shows how smart he is, ‘cause they’re doing exactly what Bob said they would do. I sure am lucky to have a friend like Bob.

BTW You can’t escape from Romans? I thought it was the Spanish Inquisition that you couldn’t escape from? Or does that admonition apply equally to all mediterranean Catholics?

And no, this has nothing to do with either the Nat’l Geo or Woodward articles. To the Bathroom Wall, Batman!

Thanks, Wayne - and thanks for the domestic cat/lion note. Do you know offhand if all of the cats (felis, neofelis, panthera and acinonyx) are crossfertile? Any timeframe on the zebra splits?

Wayne:

“Because you know what Black panthers are tigers. “

Actually, they can be either leopards or jaguars; mind you, there *are* rare reports of “blue tigers”..

Also, Bob Maurus -

Lions and tigers also interact in Kenya.

http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/29/ - as we can plainly see, they only interact in Kenya, and nowhere else in the world..

;)

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 2, column 38, byte 113 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

aCTa Wrote:

We are still not at the point of having a continuum between horse and mountain zebra

Troll you don’t get a continuum like you think. Species A exsists

Species A diverges into Population 1 and 2 (note they are all the same species at this point they just tend to be in different places)

Population 1 and 2 no longer interbreed with any regularity

Population 1 and 2 start accumulating different mutations

Time passes, many mutations occur.

Populations 1 can not be classed Species B and population 2 can be classed as Species C (they are different species from each other and from Species A)

Evolution does not say you’ll see a gradual change from B to C Evolution does say you’ll have a gradual change from A to B and from A to C Evolution does not say how fast or slow “gradual” will be and it does not have to be the same for B and C Evolution does not say you’ll always find these gradual changes (ie A to B) (note that we do have HUGE amounts of data for gradual changes in the Equids

Bob Maurus - The Felidae family reportedly has more hybrids then any other family. All catas have 38 chromosomes besides the leopardus which has 36 chromosomes due to a chromosomal fusion event). Sorry, upon further reading I’ve realised that the hybrid I was linking was not actually a greater/lesser cat hybrid. So I’ll assume I’m wrong with the Felis Catus/Panthera leo hybrid

There are some interesting hybrids in the last century, note that zoos don’t do this anymore as it is deemed prohibited. A Japanese zoo bred a leopard (male) and lion (female) a feat in itself due to the size difference. A German zoo bread a puma (male) and Leopard (female) and a US a Jaguar (male) to a Leopard (female) that produced a single female Jaglep?? Few years later she mated a Lion and produced a full litter of .…errr don’t ask me to name those babies.

Some interesting things happen with these hybrids too. Take the lion/tiger hybrid. Normally infertile (but not always) offspring are conciderably larger then their parents. Both Lions and Tigers have an upper weight range of about 500pds. They hybrid offspring can often reach up to 900pds. That is one BIG cat. Scientist think this mayt be caused from a dormant ancient gene getting switched on.

Cheetah’s probably are the least likely to be able to interbreed. They are the most primative of teh Felidae family.

Horses, Zebras (all 3 species), Donkey’s, Przewalski common anscestor is about 4mya

Marcus Good - thanks for the correction

Thanks again, Wayne. It would be interesting, but perhaps not particularly wise, to see some level of research into cross-fertility of the great apes - those old rumors of human/gorilla or human/chimp remain intriguing and, I would suspect, plausible at least. Wouldn’t that cause quite a stir amongst our creationist friends? But then, there is that whole thing about “kinds,” isn’t there? Hm-m-m.

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on November 23, 2004 6:36 PM.

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