Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Re: Wade's book is an excellent read regarding how natural selection is an unguided process #2

Chris Turney (cc. CED)

[Continued from part #1]

Nowhere is it more evident that unguided natural processes are inadequate to explain the entire history of life, than in the origin of life, and this is exemplified by former atheist philosopher Antony Flew, author of a book "Darwinian Evolution," coming to accept, on the basis of the scientific evidence, that God must have supernaturally intervened in natural history to create the " first reproducing organism":

"A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God -- more or less -- based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday. At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England. Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives. ...,' he said. `It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose.' ... Over the years, Flew proclaimed the lack of evidence for God while teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, and Reading universities in Britain, in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses and in books, articles, lectures and debates. There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife. Yet biologists' investigation of DNA `has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved,' Flew says in the new video, `Has Science Discovered God?' .... The first hint of Flew's turn was a letter to the August-September issue of Britain's Philosophy Now magazine. `It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism,' he wrote. ... if his belief upsets people, well `that's too bad,' Flew said. `My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.' ... Flew told The Associated Press his current ideas have some similarity with American `intelligent design' theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life." (Ostling, R.N., "Atheist Philosopher, 81, Now Believes in God," Livescience/Associated Press, 10 December 2004).

But as Dawkins (citing Darwin) correctly points out,"if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent"then it "was not evolution at all" (my emphasis):

"Darwin ... wrote in a letter to Sir Charles Lyell, the leading geologist of his day: `If I were convinced that I required such additions to the theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish...I would give nothing for the theory of Natural selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent.' [Darwin, C.R., letter to C. Lyell, October 11, 1859, in Darwin, F., ed., "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin," [1898], Basic Books: New York NY, Vol. II., 1959, reprint, pp.6-7]. This is no petty matter. In Darwin's view, the whole point of the theory of evolution by natural selection was that it provided a non-miraculous account of the existence of complex adaptations. For what it is worth, it is also the whole point of this book. For Darwin, any evolution that had to be helped over the jumps by God was not evolution at all." (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker, 1986, pp.248-249. Emphasis original)

However, in my experience of debating evolutionists on the Internet for over a decade (1994-2005), I will be very surprised if you can even understand what I am saying, let alone accept it.

Robert Pennock, who was lurking on the Calvin Reflector when I was debating there (1995-2001), kindly summarised my Old-Earth/Progressive Creation position" as "God intervened supernaturally at strategic points" in life's history, and therefore "Creation was not a single six-day event but occurred in stages over millions of years":

"Progressive creationism accepts much of the scientific picture of the development of the universe, assuming that for the most part it developed according to natural laws. However, especially with regard to life on earth, PCs hold that God intervened supernaturally at strategic points along the way. On their view, Creation was not a single six-day event but occurred in stages over millions of years. ... The PC view tends to overlap with other views, particularly with old-earth creationism." (Pennock, R.T., "Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism," MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 1999, Fourth Printing, pp.26-27. Emphasis in original)

The mechanism of those supernatural interventions at strategic points in life's history that I propose (and will propose in my future book, "Progressive Creation") include supernatural modifications by God to existing genetic code.

>Hope you enjoy it.

Thank you. I am sure I will when I eventually do buy it, since I usually enjoy evolutionists' writings. My disagreement is not with their actual scientific facts, but with their personal naturalistic philosophy that they impose on the facts. I particularly enjoy the intellectual exercise of disentangling the scientific facts from the naturalistic philosophy and then integrating those facts into my own Christian "Progressive Mediate Creation" paradigm.

>With best wishes,

And the same to you.

You did not mention it in your message, but I trust that you will no longer peddle the common, but false, straw man (see part #1) that Intelligent Design is just an offshoot of Genesis literalism (it isn't), and therefore denies universal common ancestry (it doesn't). The majority of the leaders of the Intelligent Design (as well as mere footsoldiers like me) are not, and (at least in my case have never been), Young-Earth Creationists.

The ID position is that (irrespective of our particular religious views) there is empirical scientific evidence for intelligent design in nature. As Denton (an agnostic) put it, "the inference to design is a purely a posteriori induction ... The conclusion may have religious implications, but it does not depend on religious presuppositions":

"Paley was not only right in asserting the existence of an analogy between life and machines, but was also remarkably prophetic in guessing that the technological ingenuity realized in living systems is vastly in excess of anything yet accomplished by man. ... The almost irresistible force of the analogy has completely undermined the complacent assumption, prevalent in biological circles over most of the past century, that the design hypothesis can be excluded on the grounds that the notion is fundamentally a metaphysical a priori concept and therefore scientifically unsound. On the contrary, the inference to design is a purely a posteriori induction based on a ruthlessly consistent application of the logic of analogy. The conclusion may have religious implications, but it does not depend on religious presuppositions." (Denton, M.J., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis," Burnett Books: London, 1985, p.341)

After all, if it is scientific to claim that there is no design in nature (as Darwinism does-see for example the sub-title of Dawkins' book above, "Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design"), then it equally scientific to claim that there is design in nature. It is just a fallacy of special pleading for Darwinists to claim that it is "science" for Darwinism to deny there is evidence of design in nature, but it is "not science" for ID to affirm that there is evidence of design in nature!


Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
`Evolution Quotes Book

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