Friday, November 30, 2007

PoE: Bibliography "I"

This is the Bibliography "I" page for authors' surnames beginning

[Left: William Irvine's, "Apes, Angels & Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution" (1955).]

with "I" which I may refer to in my book outline, "Problems of Evolution."

© Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology)



Ingram, J. , 2001, "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science," Aurum Press: London, Reprinted, 2005.
Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, 1994, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN.
Irvine, W., 1955, "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY.
Isaac, B., ed., 1990, "The Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK
Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds, 1991, "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: Oxford, Second edition.

PS: See `tagline' quotes below, from these above books. I do not necessarily agree with everything that I emphasise (bold).

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blog: TheShroudofTurin

"Scientists spend a lot of time pointing out the similarities between us and our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. There are two species of chimp, the common chimp that Jane Goodall has studied for decades and the lesser known bonobo, or pygmy chimp. Both are genetically very similar to humans (the common chimp closer), so much so that some scientists think of humans as just another chimp (see Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee). But let's face it: there is world of difference between a human and a chimp. The most obvious is mental, notwithstanding the linguistic achievements of chimpanzees like Kanzi, the chimp trained by Sue Savage-Rumbaugh who apparently understands complicated English sentences (there are even structures in the chimp brain that hint at some sort of organization for language) or the reasoning exhibited by chimps who are smart enough to pile up boxes to reach bananas suspended from the ceiling. They're smart, but they're not Homo sapiens smart. And the difference between us and the chimps is more than just mental: physically and developmentally we're completely different animals. And yet there's that genetic similarity-the genes of the two species are more than 98 per cent identical." (Ingram, J., "The Barmaid's Brain: And Other Strange Tales from Science, London : Aurum, 2001, pp.105-106. Emphasis original).

"My favourite inhabitant of that [ultramicroscopic] world is a virus, but not one that preys on human beings. They too are marvellous, but the virus that first captured my imagination-and still holds it-was something called a bacteriophage, a `bacteria-eater.' Now simply called phage ... the existence of these specialized parasites was first deduced early in the twentieth century. They were not even seen; their presence was inferred. ... Felix d'Herelle, the pioneer of the research, could only have seen a bacteriophage near the end of his life-the first photos using the electron microscope were taken in the early 1940s. ... seeing a phage is a revelatory experience, not only confirming the portrait painted by the biochemistry (the criminal suspect turns out to look just like the artist's composite drawing) but also reinforcing the idea that nature is endlessly inventive-and savage." (Ingram, 2001, pp.201-202).

"There are many bacteriophages, one or more for every kind of bacterium. They have been studied, not so much because they are interesting in and of themselves, but because they are relatively simple objects that can shed light on how genes work. The one that is probably the most intensively studied in a virus called T4 that parasitizes E. coli, the bacterium with the misfortune of being known mostly for its association with human feces-water quality tests search for the presence of coliform bacteria as an index of exposure of that water to human waste." (Ingram, 2001, p.202)

"Under ideal laboratory conditions an E. coli cell can divide every twenty minutes. Obviously, as has been pointed out many times before, that can't possibly be happening in the natural habitat (your intestine) or the earth would be swamped by these bacteria in a couple of days. Nonetheless coliform bacteria represent a highly evolved, incredibly efficient life form; thus any organism that would target it must be highly evolved as well, and the T4 bacteriophage fits the bill. In fact it is speculated that T4 probably appeared on the planet shortly after its bacterial hosts, which puts its arrival at something like three and a half billion years ago. Its modus operandi substantiates the view that it is anything but primitive." (Ingram, 2001, pp.202-203)

"A T4 phage looks a little like the Apollo lunar lander.

[Right (click to enlarge): T4 bacteriophage, National Science Foundation]

It has a geometric head, a tail, and a set of tail fibres that spread out and attach to the surface of the bacterium. In function, however, it is more like a completely self-contained robotic spacecraft - fully preprogrammed.

The manufactured appearance-the unlifelike symmetry-is surprising at first look, probably because we think of microscopic infectors as tiny worms, or even miasmic gases, concepts left over from centuries ago. But the forces that dominate this world (where objects are millionths of a metre in size or less) are powerful short-range chemical bonds, and structures are nakedly molecular. For instance, a molecule will attract or repel others depending on the haze of electric charge surrounding its projections or the shape and orientation of tiny crevasses on its surface. A second molecule might fit like a hand in a glove or it might never make contact. This isn't to say that life in our world isn't dictated by the same kind of chemistry-it is. But other forces, especially gravity, play a dominant role. In the world of the phage, chemistry is it." (Ingram, 2001, p.204)

"In the absence of prey, the T4 phage simply drifts with the tide-it is not capable of seeking out E. coli. In drift mode the tail fibres are stowed, pinned up alongside the tail. However, when the virus comes into contact with the surface of the bacterial cell, the tail fibres immediately swing down and spread out, and are the first parts of T4 actually to touch the E. coli cell. They will attach wherever they contact a specific receptor molecule that's part of the external coat of the bacterium. However, the bond between one tail fibre and its receptor is weak, too weak to anchor the virus. There are six such fibres and at least three must make contact before capture is complete. That doesn't happen immediately because the receptors are distributed across the surface of the bacterium like occasional repeating tiles in a mosaic. This is the first step of what phage scientists call the `phage mating dance.' T4 walks across the surface of its intended victim, tail fibres attaching, then detaching, until finally it makes sufficient, and permanent, contact." (Ingram, 2001, pp.204-205)

"Once anchored, a remarkable series of events ensues. The virus adjusts its position so that the tail is positioned over a thin portion of the surface of the bacterium. Tail fibres attached to the flat base plate of the tail extend and pin the virus down (no escape now) and suddenly the base plate itself mysteriously changes shape from hexagonal to star-shaped. This triggers a rearrangement of the molecules of the outer sheath of the tail; the sheath contracts, the tail fibres bend and the virus is pulled down closer to the cell surface. The core of the tail actually penetrates partway through the multilayered outer envelope of the bacterium, an event likely made easier by enzymes in the base plate that chop up some of the surface molecules in that envelope." (Ingram, 2001, p.205)

"Now the head of the virus sits just above the cell. The head is a rigid hollow case in the shape of an icosahedron, a regular twenty-sided geometric figure. It contains the genes of the phage, more than one hundred and fifty of them, all linked together in one long thread of DNA. Long of course is a relative term, but the phage DNA, stretched out, would measure several hundred times the dimensions of the head. No one is yet sure exactly how that much DNA is packed into that tiny space, a space made tinier by the fact that special packing molecules are stuffed in there as well. But at this point in the phage mating dance, the DNA isn't going to be locked inside the head much longer." (Ingram, 2001, pp.205-206)

"When the hexagonal base plate changed its shape, it opened up a channel wide enough for a single DNA double helix to pass through. Now the huge string of phage DNA, its entire genome, snakes its way through the tail, through the bacterial surface envelopes, the rigid cell wall and into the interior. It's all over in less than a minute, this process that some researchers have likened to throwing a potful of spaghetti-one enormous strand-into a colander and having the end of that strand find its way through a hole and then feed itself through completely. The energy to do that has to come from somewhere, but it's not yet clear where. One thing is certain: once the phage DNA has entered the E. coli cell the poor bacterium is not long for this world. And it is about to suffer the indignity of contributing through its death to the multiplication of the phage." (Ingram, 2001, p.206)

"It's simple really. Among the hundred-and-fifty-plus genes in the phage DNA are those that direct (through the molecules they make) the shutdown of almost all E. coli activities. However, the cellular machinery formerly used to make E. coli membranes, enzymes, structural protein molecules-the machinery that maintained the bacterium's pulse of life-remains unscathed and is instantly converted to creating new phages. The now commandeered bacterial cell becomes a factory floor for phage parts. As the minutes tick by scaffolds for building new heads appear here, tail fibres there, baseplates over here. It might appear simple, but in fact some of these parts are composed of several different kinds of molecules. David Coombs, a phage biologist at the University of New Brunswick, has called the base plate alone `one of the most challenging biological structures ever studied in molecular detail.' Some phage parts spontaneously self-assemble from their components, but others must be engineered together under the guidance of yet more molecules." (Ingram, 2001, pp.206-207)

"A hint of the subtlety of engineering involved can be seen in the manufacture of new phage DNA. Naturally it's assembled using the machinery that E. coli used to make its own DNA. But what is it made out of? Pieces of E. coli DNA that were disorganized, then dismembered, mere minutes after the phage gained access to the interior of the cell. The phage manages to scavenge about twenty viruses' worth of DNA from host DNA. But the phage DNA is different in one important respect: one of the four DNA subunits is decorated with small molecules that identify it as uniquely phage. It's suspected this protects the phage DNA from enzymes inside the cell that normally attack and destroy any pieces of foreign DNA that they happen upon. It may even protect the intruder's DNA from its own DNA-destroying chemicals. Because such recognition is a molecular touch-and-feel sort of process, DNA with these unusual decorations escapes." (Ingram, 2001, p.207)

"Assembly continues in an ordered but rapid fashion. Fully mature heads are built around head scaffolds (which are then discarded), then stuffed with a complete set of genes. Tail fibres bond to base plates, tail cores to sheaths, base plates to tails, and before the half hour is out hundreds of new phages are ready to be released. One final enzyme is manufactured which chews away the bacterial envelope from the inside and the progeny viruses escape to begin the routine all over again." (Ingram, 2001, p.207)

"How do any E. coli survive in the face of such diabolical evolutionary design? They might come up with alterations to the receptors that the tail fibres recognize, which would literally make them `invisible' to the phage, but there's good evidence that the phages can simply respond by altering their tail fibres to make them visible again. E. coli also makes a variety of defensive DNA-destroying enzymes, but T4 can evade many of those by decorating its own DNA, although there's likely an ongoing battle here, with E. coli cells swapping defence genes among themselves." (Ingram, 2001, pp.207-208)

"Perhaps the most effective defences are what are called `guests' hiding in the E. coli DNA. These are genes left behind in the E. coli chromosome by other phages or in some case by some unknown visitor. These alien genes will not permit the T4 to reproduce inside the E. coli cell, but this act of defiance is a noble one for the bacterium, because the bacterium dies in the process, reminiscent of the infamous phrase from the Vietnam War, `We had to destroy the village to save it.' In this molecular version, however, death of the bacterium does insure that no new viruses will be produced from it." (Ingram, 2001, p.208)

"Do you want to be happy? Of course you do! Then what's standing in your way? Your happiness is entirely up to you. This has been revealed to us by a man of divine serenity and wisdom who spent his life among us, and showed us, by his personal example and by his teaching, the path to redemption from unhappiness. His name was Epicurus. ... The fundamental obstacle to happiness, says Epicurus, is anxiety. No matter how rich or famous you are, you won't be happy if you're anxious to be richer or more famous. No matter how good your health is, you won't be happy if you're anxious about getting sick. You can't be happy in this life if you're worried about the next life. You can't be happy as a human being if you're worried about being punished or victimized by powerful divine beings. But you can be happy if you believe in the four basic truths of Epicureanism: there are no divine beings which threaten us; there is no next life; what we actually need is easy to get; what makes us suffer is easy to put up with. This is the so-called 'four-part cure', the Epicurean remedy for the epidemic sickness of human anxiety; as a later Epicurean puts it, `Don't fear god, don't worry about death; what's good is easy to get, and what's terrible is easy to endure.'" (Hutchinson, D.S., "Introduction," in Inwood, B. & Gerson, L.P., eds, 1994, "The Epicurus Reader," Hackett Publishing Co: Indianapolis IN, p.vii. Emphasis original).

"`Don't worry about death.' While you are alive, you don't have to deal with being dead, but when you are dead you don't have to deal with it either, because you aren't there to deal with it. `Death is nothing to us,' as Epicurus puts it, for `when we exist, death is not yet present, and when death is present, then we do not exist.' [Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus, text 4, section 125] Death is always irrelevant to us, even though it causes considerable anxiety to many people for much of their lives. Worrying about death casts a general pall over the experience of living, either because people expect to exist after their deaths and are humbled and terrified into ingratiating themselves with the gods, who might well punish them for their misdeeds, or else because they are saddened and terrified by the prospect of not existing after their deaths. But there are no gods which threaten us, and, even if there were, we would not be there to be punished. Our souls are flimsy things which are dissipated when we die, and even if the stuff of which they were made were to survive intact, that would be nothing to us, because what matters to us is the continuity of our experience, which is severed by the parting of body and soul. It is not sensible to be afraid of ceasing to exist, since you already know what it is like not to exist; consider any time before your birth-was it disagreeable not to exist? And if there is nothing bad about not existing, then there is nothing bad for your friend when he ceases to exist, nor is there anything bad for you about being fated to cease to exist. It is a confusion to be worried by your mortality, and it is an ingratitude to resent the limitations of life, like some greedy dinner guest who expects an indefinite number of courses and refuses to leave the table." (Hutchinson, 1994, p.viii-ix).

"`Don't fear god.' The gods are happy and immortal, as the very concept of `god' indicates. But in Epicurus' view, most people were in a state of confusion about the gods, believing them to be intensely concerned about what human beings were up to and exerting tremendous effort to favour their worshippers and punish their mortal enemies. No; it is incompatible with the concept of divinity to suppose that the gods exert themselves or that they have any concerns at all. The most accurate, as well as the most agreeable, conception of the gods is to think of them, as the Greeks often did, in a state of bliss, unconcerned about anything, without needs, invulnerable to any harm, and generally living an enviable life. So conceived, they are role models for Epicureans, who emulate the happiness of the gods, within the limits imposed by human nature. `Epicurus said that he was prepared to compete with Zeus in happiness, as long as he had a barley cake and some water.' If, however, the gods are as independent as this conception indicates, then they will not observe the sacrifices we make to them, and Epicurus was indeed widely regarded as undermining the foundations of traditional religion. Furthermore, how can Epicurus explain the visions that we receive of the gods, if the gods don't deliberately send them to us? These visions, replies Epicurus, are material images travelling through the world, like everything else that we see or imagine, and are therefore something real; they travel through the world because of the general laws of atomic motion, not because god sends them. But then what sort of bodies must the gods have, if these images are always streaming off them, and yet they remain strong and invulnerable? Their bodies, replies Epicurus, are continually replenished by images streaming towards them; indeed the `body' of a god may be nothing more than a focus to which the images travel, the images that later travel to us and make up our conception of its nature." (Hutchinson, 1994, pp.ix-x).

"If the gods do not exert themselves for our benefit, how is it that the world around us is suitable for our habitation? It happened by accident, said Epicurus, an answer that gave ancient critics ample opportunity for ridicule, and yet it makes him a thinker of a very modern sort, well ahead of his time. Epicurus believed that the universe is a material system governed by the laws of matter. The fundamental elements of matter are atoms, which move, collide, and form larger structures according to physical laws. These larger structures can sometimes develop into yet larger structures by the addition of more matter, and sometimes whole worlds will develop. These worlds are extremely numerous and variable; some will be unstable, but others will be stable. The stable ones will persist and give the appearance of being designed to be stable, like our world, and living structures will sometimes develop out of the elements of these worlds. This theory is no longer as unbelievable as it was to the non-Epicurean scientists and philosophers of the ancient world, and its broad outlines may well be true." (Hutchinson, 1994, pp.ix-x).

"We happen to have a great deal of evidence about the Epicurean philosophy of nature, which served as a philosophical foundation for the rest of the system. But many Epicureans would have had little interest in this subject, nor did they need to, if their curiosity or scepticism did not drive them to ask fundamental questions. What was most important in Epicurus' philosophy of nature was the overall conviction that our life on this earth comes with no strings attached; that there is no Maker whose puppets we are; that there is no script for us to follow and be constrained by; that it is up to us to discover the real constraints which our own nature imposes on us. When we do this, we find something very delightful: life is free, life is good, happiness is possible, and we can enjoy the bliss of the gods, rather than abasing ourselves to our misconceptions of them." (Hutchinson, 1994, p.x).

"Like nearly everything else, evolution was invented, or almost invented, by the Greeks. From Heraclitus and Anaximander came the suggestion that animal species are mutable; from Aristotle, the idea of a graded series of organisms, the idea of continuity in nature or the shading of one class into another, and a model of evolutionary process in the development of the germ into the plant. From both the Stoics and the Epicureans, and particularly from Lucretius, came the doctrine that man is a part of nature and that his origins are animal and savage rather than godlike and idyllic." (Irvine, W., 1955, "Apes, Angels and Victorians: The Story of Darwin, Huxley, and Evolution," McGraw-Hill: New York NY, pp.84-85).

"Already in The Origin of Species Darwin is haunted by the mystery of genetics. If variations cause evolution, what causes variations? He attacks the problem in the first and second chapters, and finally at length in the fifth. The discussion is cautious and sensible but also vague and occasionally confused. He sometimes talks as though natural selection not only sifts variations but causes them. Later, when taken to task for these lapses by Lyell and Wallace, he rectified many passages but allowed a few to remain, even in the last edition of his book. In general, he holds that variations arise through unknown hereditary factors within the organism, through use and disuse, the correlation of parts, and changes in environment. Domestic animals are extremely variable because man has introduced them into many and diverse regions. The domestic duck cannot rise from the ground because it has long ceased to need or use its wings. Significantly, its young can still fly. In short, he is often, so to speak, a Buffonian or a Lamarckian on the genetic level. At his best, he simply acknowledges a complete ignorance of the whole subject." (Irvine, 1955, p.92).

"You could not see natural selection at work. Therefore it was a mere empty speculation. But in a more particular sense the sore point was natural selection itself. It seemed to substitute accident-or, as some felt, mechanism-for intelligent purpose in the natural order. ... Natural selection was an ingenious hypothesis but of course it could not be taken seriously. It omitted its own ultimate and governing factor. The American Asa Gray, a warm and sincere Darwinian, held that, so far from representing chance, natural selection embodied a blind necessity totally incompatible with theism, unless the stream of variations themselves could be conceived as guided by design. [Gray, A. "Design versus Necessity," in "Darwiniana," D. Appleton & Co: New York NY, 1876, pp.75-76] ... When Asa Gray pleaded that variations might be divinely guided, Darwin ... felt that the more divine guidance in variations, the less reality in natural selection." (Irvine, 1955, p.108).

"At the end of his life, he [Darwin] spoke out frankly in the `Autobiography:' As usual, he explained himself with a history. His religion had wasted away before his science in a war of attrition so gradual that, in his own words, he `felt no distress' and hardly realized that a shot had been fired. Soon after his return to England, while yet hesitating between an evolutionary and a theological biology, he had discovered -no doubt with astonishment-that he had become a complete skeptic about Revelation. His ideas of progress and evolution-secondarily, his humanitarianism-had been decisive. He saw that scriptures and mythology were part of the evolution of every people. `The Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos,' [Darwin, C.R. in Barlow, N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin," W.W. Norton & Co: New York, 1958, p.85] not only because of `its manifestly false history of the world' but because of `its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant.' [Ibid, p.85] He rejected Christian miracles because they were similar to those in other mythologies, because they rested on dubious and conflicting testimony, and because they contradicted the uniformitarianism he had learned from Lyell. He also rejected the divinity of Jesus and doubted the supremacy of Christian ethics. `Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can hardly be denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation we now put on metaphors and allegories:' [Ibid, p.86]" (Irvine, 1955, p.109).

"Darwin's matter was as English as his method. Terrestrial history turned out to be strangely like Victorian history writ large. Bertrand Russell. and others have remarked that Darwin's theory was mainly `an extension to the animal and vegetable world of laissez faire economics' [Russell, B., "Religion and Science," Home University Library: London, 1935, pp.72-73] As a matter of fact, the economic conceptions of utility, pressure of population, marginal fertility, barriers in restraint of trade, the division of labor, progress and adjustment by competition, and the spread of technological improvements can all be paralleled in The Origin of Species. But so, also, can some of the doctrines of English political conservatism. In revealing the importance of time and the hereditary past, in emphasizing the persistence of vestigial structures, the minuteness of variations and the slowness of evolution, Darwin was adding Hooker and Burke to Bentham and Adam Smith. The constitution of the universe exhibited many of the virtues of the English Constitution." (Irvine, 1955, p.98).

"Understanding the literature on human evolution calls for the recognition of special problems that confront scientists who report on this topic. Regardless. of how the scientists present them, accounts of human origins are read as replacement material for genesis [sic]. They fulfil needs that are reflected in the fact that all societies have in their culture some form of origin beliefs, that is, some narrative or configurational notion of how the world and humanity began. Usually, these beliefs do more than cope with curiosity, they have allegorical content, and they convey values, ethics and attitudes. The Adam and Eve creation story of the Bible is simply one of a wide variety of such poetic formulations." (Isaac, G., in Isaac, B., ed., 1990, "The Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac," Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, p.96).

"We are conscious of a great change in all this, starting in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, The scientific movement which culminated in Darwin's compelling formulation of evolution as a mode of origin seemed to sweep away earlier beliefs and relegate them to the realm of myth and legend. Following on from this, it is often supposed that the myths have been replaced by something quite different. which we call `science'. However. this is only partly true: scientific theories and information about human origins have been slotted into the same old places in our minds and our cultures that used to be occupied by the myths, the information component has then inevitably been expanded to fill the same needs. Our new origin beliefs are in fact surrogate myths, that are themselves part science, part myths." (Isaac, 1990, p.96).

"abiogenesis The origin of living from nonliving matter, as by *biopoiesis. See also spontaneous generation." (Isaacs, A., Daintith, J. & Martin, E., eds., "Concise Science Dictionary," [1984], Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Second Edition, 1991, p.1. Emphasis original).

"biogenesis The principle that a living organism can only arise from other living organisms similar to itself (i.e. that like gives rise to like) and can never originate from nonliving material. Compare spontaneous generation." (Isaacs, et al., 1991, p.74. Emphasis original).

"biopoiesis The development of living matter from complex organic molecules that are themselves nonliving but self-replicating. It is the process by which life is assumed to have begun. See origin of life." (Isaacs, et al., 1991, p.74. Emphasis original).

"Darwinism The theory of *evolution proposed by Charles Darwin (1809-82) in On the Origin of Species (1859), which postulated that present-day species have evolved from simpler ancestral types by the process of *natural selection acting on the variability found within populations. On the Origin of Species caused a furore when it was first published because it suggested that species are not immutable nor were they specially created - a view directly opposed to the doctrine of *special creation. However the wealth of evidence presented by Darwin gradually convinced most people and the only major unresolved problem was to explain how the variations in populations arose and were maintained from one generation to the next. This became clear with the rediscovery of Mendel's work on classical genetics in the 1900s and led to the present theory known as neo-Darwinism." (Isaacs, et al., 1991, p.183. Emphasis original).

"Evolution The gradual process by which the present diversity of plant and animal life arose from the earliest and most primitive organisms, which is believed to have been continuing for at least the past 3000 million years. Until the middle of the 18th century it was generally believed that each species was divinely created and fixed in its form throughout its existence (see special creation). Lamarck was the first biologist to publish a theory to explain how one species could have evolved into another (see Lamarckism), but it was not until the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 that special creation was seriously challenged. Unlike Lamarck, Darwin proposed a feasible mechanism for evolution and backed it up with evidence from the fossil record and studies of comparative anatomy and embryology (see Darwinism; natural selection). The modern version of Darwinism, which incorporates discoveries in genetics made since Darwin's time, probably remains the most acceptable theory of species evolution. More controversial, however, and still to be firmly clarified, are the relationships and evolution of groups above the species level." (Isaacs, et al., 1991, pp.251-252. Emphasis original).

"mutation A sudden random change in the genetic material of a cell that may cause it and all cells derived from it to differ in appearance or behaviour from the normal type. An organism affected by a mutation (especially one with visible effects) is described as a mutant. Somatic mutations affect the nonreproductive cells and are therefore restricted to the tissues of a single organism but germline mutations, which occur in the reproductive cells or their precursors, may be transmitted to the organism's descendants and cause abnormal development. Mutations occur naturally at a low rate but this may be increased by radiation and by some chemicals (see mutagen). Most (the gene mutations) consist of invisible changes in the DNA of the chromosomes, but some (the chromosome mutations) affect the appearance or the number of the chromosomes. An example of a chromosome mutation is that giving rise to *Down's syndrome. The majority of mutations are harmful, but a very small proportion may increase an organism's *fitness; these spread through the population over successive generations by natural selection. Mutation is therefore essential for evolution, being the ultimate source of genetic variation." (Isaacs, 1991, p.455. Emphasis original).

"natural selection The process that, according to *Darwinism, brings about the evolution of new species of animals and plants. Darwin noted that the size of any population tends to remain constant despite the fact that more offspring are produced than are needed to maintain it. He also saw that variations existed between individuals of the population and concluded that disease, competition, and other forces acting on the population eliminated those individuals less well adapted to their environment. The survivors would pass on any inheritable advantageous characteristics (i.e. characteristics with survival value) to their offspring and in time the composition of the population would change in adaptation to a changing environment. Over a long period of time this process could give rise to organisms so different from the original population that new species are formed. *See also* adaptive radiation. *Compare* punctuated equilibrium." (Isaacs, 1991, p.458. Emphasis original).

"neo-Darwinism (modern synthesis) The current theory of the process of *evolution, formulated between about 1920 and 1950, that combines evidence from classical genetics with the Darwinian theory of evolution by *natural selection (see Darwinism)*. It makes use of modern knowledge of genes and chromosomes to explain the source of the genetic variation upon which selection works. This aspect was unexplained by traditional Darwinism." (Isaacs, et al., 1991, pp.459-460. Emphasis original).

"origin of life The process by which living organisms developed from inanimate matter, which is generally thought to have occurred on earth between 3500 and 4000 million years ago. It is supposed that the primordial atmosphere was like a chemical soup containing all the basic constituents of organic matter: ammonia, methane, hydrogen, and water vapour. These underwent a process of chemical evolution using energy from the sun and electric storms to combine into ever more complex molecules, such as amino acids, proteins, and vitamins. Eventually self-replicating nucleic acids, the basis of all life, could have developed. The very first organisms may have consisted of such molecules bounded by a simple membrane. " (Isaacs, et al., 1991, p.491. Emphasis original).

"Special Creation. The belief, in accordance with the Book of Genesis, that every species was individually created by God in the form in which it exists today and is not capable of undergoing any change. It was the generally accepted explanation of the origin of life until the advent of *Darwinism. The idea has recently enjoyed a revival, especially among members of the fundamentalist movement in the USA, partly because there still remain problems that cannot be explained entirely by Darwinian theory. However, special creation is contradicted by fossil evidence and genetic studies, and the pseudoscientific arguments of creation science cannot stand up to logical examination." (Isaacs, et al., 1991, pp.646-647. Emphasis original).

"spontaneous generation The discredited belief that living organism can somehow be produced by nonliving matter. For example, it was once thought that microorganisms arose by the process of decay and even that vermin spontaneously developed from household rubbish. Controlled experiments using sterilized media by Pasteur and others finally disproved these notions. Compare biogenesis. See also* biopoiesis" (Isaacs, et al., 1991, pp.652-653. Emphasis original).

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Re: does the text of Noah's Flood, not require us to believe that all humanity was wiped away?


Thanks for your message. But as you are aware, my policy is that when I receive a private message on a creation (including

[Above: Michelangelo's The Deluge, Sistine Chapel, Wikipedia.]

Christianity), evolution, or design topic, I respond via my blog, CreationEvolutionDesign, after removing the sender's personal identifying information.

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Thursday, November 22, 2007 11:38 PM
Subject: blog question/comment

>Mr. Jones,
>In your posting on Noah's Flood, does the text not require us to believe that all humanity was wiped away? After all, what would be the purpose of God's promise in chapter 9, as local disasters have occurred plenty since the time of the flood (which is unknown and therefore could have been any time in the past).

I am not sure which "posting on Noah's Flood" you mean. My previous blog posts on Noah's Flood are (most recent first): 11-Sep-06; 15-Apr-06#3; 14-Apr-06#2; 14-Apr-06#1.

But I disagree that the Biblical text of Noah's Flood (Genesis 6-8) "require[s] us to believe that all humanity was wiped away."

As the late evangelical theologian Bernard Ramm noted the Bible indicates the extent of the Flood in Genesis 6-8, by listing in Genesis 10, the nations which descended from the survivors of the Flood, "Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah's sons" (Gn 10:1). And in that "Table of Nations of Gen. 10 ... no mention of the Mongoloid or Negroid races is made":

"An examination of the Table of Nations of Gen. 10 discloses that no mention of the Mongoloid or Negroid races is made. Some anthropologists believe that it is impossible to make any racial distinctions among humans, others make two main divisions, but most accept with modifications and qualifications and exceptions the triadic division of Negroid, Mongoloid, and Caucasoid. As far as can be determined the early chapters of Genesis centre around that stream of humanity (part of the Caucasoid race) which produced the Semitic family of nations of which the Hebrews were a member. The sons of Noah were all Caucasian as far as can be determined, and so were all of their descendants. The Table of Nations gives no hint of any Negroid or Mongoloid peoples." (Ramm, B.L., "The Christian View of Science and Scripture," [1954], Paternoster: Exeter UK, Reprinted, 1960, p.234).

Earlier in his book, Ramm had pointed out that, "Noah certainly was not a preacher of righteousness" (2Pet 2:5) "to the peoples of Africa, of India, of China or of America", and that "The purpose of the flood was to blot out the wicked civilization of Mesopotamia" (my emphasis):

"The purpose of the flood was to blot out the wicked civilization of Mesopotamia, and being a local flood of a short duration we would not expect to find any specific evidence for it, especially after the minimum of another six thousand years of weathering. There are three views of the local flood: (i) Some assert that man never spread beyond the Mesopotamian valley. This is impossible to defend in that it is so well proven that men were to be found outside the Mesopotamian area long before the flood. (ii) G.F. Wright believes that the ice-age drove man into the Mesopotamian valley. (iii) A third view, and the one which we hold, is that the entire record must be interpreted phenomenally. If the flood is local though spoken of in universal terms, so the destruction of man is local though spoken of in universal terms. The record neither affirms nor denies that man existed beyond the Mesopotamian valley. Noah certainly was not a preacher of righteousness to the peoples of Africa, of India, of China or of America-places where there is evidence for the existence of man many thousands of years before the flood (10,000 to 15,000 years in America). The emphasis in Genesis is upon that group of cultures from which Abraham eventually came." (Ramm, 1954, p.163).

which presumably, as far as Noah and his sons were concerned, was "all humanity."

Also of the utmost importance is Ramm's observation above, that The emphasis in Genesis is upon that group of cultures from which Abraham" (and through him, the Jesus the Messiah (Mt 1:1,17; Lk 3:23-35), "eventually came." Genesis is part of "the law," the purpose of which, as the Apostle Paul pointed out, "was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ" (Gal 3:24. KJV).

There is other evidence that all humanity was not wiped out by the Flood in that the descendants of at least one race of pre-Flood people, the Nephilim:

"The Nephilim were on the earth in those days-and also afterward-when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown." (Gn 6:4)

survived the Flood:

"We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Num 13:33).

As for "the purpose of God's promise in chapter 9", i.e. Gn 9:8-16:

"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: `I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you-the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you-every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.' And God said, `This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."

there is less of a problem there as long as we first try to understand it from the original writer and readers' ~3000BC perspective, instead of our ~2000AD perspective. As Old Testament theologian John H. Walton observed, "We understand God's inspired message when we understand the human author's message" and "The task before us as interpreters is to try to dissipate the culturally induced fog" and "interpret the details of the text in relation to the author's purpose rather than ... superimpose our culture and our expectations on ... [the] text":

"The author of Genesis has made choices. He had to select what information to include. He had to decide how to communicate that information effectively to his audience and how to provide it with the emphasis that would serve his purposes. He had to guide his literary art with discretion so that it would contribute productively to his purpose. Our belief in inspiration suggests that God's hand was behind all of these choices. We are not content to consider the book of Genesis as simply the work of a human author. Yet it is the assumption of this commentary that God's purpose is carried out through the human author's purpose. As a result, that author should be considered the link to the authoritative Word of God. We understand God's inspired message when we understand the human author's message. God's communication is to Israel through the author of Genesis, but we believe that the book constitutes a part of God's revelation of himself, so its vitality remains undiminished for us today. Though that message transcends culture, the form it was given in is, to some extent, culture-bound. The task before us as interpreters is to try to dissipate the culturally induced fog so that we can establish a strong authority link to God's revelation through the communication of that revelation by his chosen spokesman. The anticipated result is that we will be able to interpret the details of the text in relation to the author's purpose rather than tailoring our interpretation to whatever modern debates have captured our attention. ... None of us is immune to the syndrome of hearing what we want to hear. We are all inclined to superimpose our culture and our expectations on a text. In the case of a biblical text, the problem becomes acute because we also tend to superimpose our theology on a text and even excuse that imposition by attributing the meaning we want to derive from it to the divine author if we do not find it on the human level. ... We will assume a level of integrity to the communication that transpired between the author and his audience-that is, that he was intentionally communicating something meaningful and that he had every reason to expect his audience would understand what he meant. We will assume that although there may be more truth than the author knew, the truth he did know and communicate was authoritative and inspired. It is therefore the human author's communication that will be our target as we seek out God's Word. At times we will be able to identify other layers of meaning that transcend the human author, but it is the initial context that serves as the foundation for any other layers. This foundational layer is the most ignored, the most difficult to penetrate, and the most important, so it will be our primary focus." (Walton, J.H., "Genesis," The NIV Application Commentary, Zondervan: Grand Rapids MI, 2001, pp.19-20).

For starters, the writer and readers of Genesis would not have thought of "earth," as we today who have seen photos of the global Earth in space think of it. As the late Old Testament theologian Gleason L. Archer, Jr. pointed out, regarding "the Great Deluge of Genesis 6-8," "the Hebrew 'eres, translated consistently as `earth' in our English Bibles, is also the word for `land'" and "There is another term tebel, which means the whole expanse of the earth, or the world as a whole" but "Nowhere does tebel occur in this account, but only 'eres":

"Noah's Ark and the Flood As to the Great Deluge of Genesis 6-8 ... the comparative lack of geologic evidence for a world-wide cataclysm has given rise to doubts as to the universality of the Flood. No characteristic or uniform flood-type deposits have been discovered in the sites excavated in the Mesopotamian Valley. The thick flood stratum found by Leonard Woolley at Ur dates from early fourth millennium (ca. 3800 B.C.), but only one other flood stratum from that period has thus far been discovered, that found by Stephen Langdon at Kish (a much shallower deposit, incidentally). The other flood deposits, discovered at Kish, Shuruppak, Uruk and (possibly) Lagash, represent an inundation of a thousand years later, judging from the archaeological remains and stratigraphical sequence. While the excavations may not in all cases have penetrated low enough to reach the 3800 B.C. level in some of the above mentioned, in Kish, at least, the dig went down to apparently undisturbed virgin soil right below the 2800 B.C. level. It is of course true that these few deep excavations are insufficient for any firm conclusions. But they have led most archaeologists to question the possibility of a general deluge over a more than local area-at least within the period investigated in the excavations themselves-and even staunch conservative apologists ... have defended the theory of a flood restricted to the cradle of the human race in Mesopotamia (or possibly extending up to the Caspian basin). ... The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary (Vol. I, p.98) indicates that the Hebrew text does not necessarily imply a universal flood. .... In explanation of this assertion, it needs to be pointed out that the Hebrew 'eres, translated consistently as `earth' in our English Bibles, is also the word for `land' (e.g., `the land of Israel,' `the land of Egypt'). There is another term tebel, which means the whole expanse of the earth, or the world as a whole. Nowhere does tebel occur in this account, but only 'eres, in all the statements which sound quite universal in the English Bible (e.g., 7:4, 10, 17, 18, 19). Thus, Genesis 6:17c can be rendered: `...everything that is in the land shall die'-that is, in whatever geographical region is involved in the context and situation." (Archer, G.L., "A Survey of Old Testament Introduction," [1964], Moody Press: Chicago IL, Third printing, 1966, pp.192-194. Emphasis original).

Old-Earth Creationist Dick Fischer noted that "the Old Testament writers had no concept of the earth as a round globe with a circumference of 25,000 miles" and so "What we can visualize as the earth today is entirely different from what they could have pictured as a definition of the word":

"To reiterate: an unenlightened Bible translation has made victims of us all. The word `earth,' synonymous with `globe' or `planet,' is a permissible translation of the Hebrew word 'erets, from Genesis 1:1 to 2:4, even though this last verse is transitional, and shifts focus to the immediate area where Adam was created, where the flood took place, and where the tower of Babel was built. From Genesis 2:5 to 12, words such as `land,' `region' or `territory' fit the context better than the word `earth,' with the possible exception of Genesis 8:22 and 9:13. Cain was not driven off `the face of the earth' (Gen. 4:14), just out of the vicinity of Eden. Clouds never cover the globe completely (Gen. 9:14), only a segment of land. The planet was not divided in Peleg's days (Gen. 10:25), simply the immediate region. Undoubtedly, the Old Testament writers had no concept of the earth as a round globe with a circumference of 25,000 miles. What we can visualize as the earth today is entirely different from what they could have pictured as a definition of the word. Could the Hebrews or Egyptians or any other Near Eastern cultures have envisioned the world then as we know it exists today, with polar ice caps and oceans covering three-fourths of the surface, massive land continents, and numerous oceanic islands burgeoning with unique faunal populations? The notion of a global flood, based solely on the Genesis narrative, fails on two counts: (1) the word translated `earth' in Genesis can mean `land,' and (2) any word which might have defined `earth' would not mean then what it means today." (Fischer, D., "The Origins Solution: An Answer in the Creation-Evolution Debate," Fairway Press: Lima OH, 1996, p.260).

Therefore "the purpose of God's promise in chapter 9" is first of all, as the text says, "to Noah and to his sons with him" (Gn 9:8). That is, if the Flood was not global but covered only the known world of Noah, then how Noah understood "every living creature," "every living creature on earth," "all life," "all living creatures of every kind" and "all living creatures of every kind on the earth" (Gn 9:8-16) is the text's primary meaning. Indeed the text equates the above with "every living creature that was with you ... all those that came out of the ark with you" (my emphasis). That the text has a deeper global meaning, is its secondary meaning. There is no logical or theological problem with God giving a promise that is deeper and wider than its original recipients would have understood. Indeed that is the rule, rather than the exception. For example, the first hearers of Jesus' command to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Mt 28:19), would not have understood that "all nations" included the Chinese, American Indians or Australian aborigines, etc, even though the risen Jesus would have.

>I've no doubt this event was historic, for the same reasons as you do (many accounts, Jesus' testimony), but cannot seem to make sense of this point.

You may be referring to my position on the Flood, which I posted on my now-terminated Yahoo discussing group CED (e.g. 20-Jul-05 & 15-Mar-05) and summarised in my blog post, "What I believe about Creation, Evolution and Design":

Flood, Noah's. On the basis of Jesus' affirming that there was a Noah, an ark and a flood (Mat. 24:38; Lk. 17:27), and other evidence such as the credible design and dimensions of the Ark and the widespread ancient stories of a Great Flood, I accept that there really was a Noah's flood, but that it was probably a local symbolic act by God to represent His judgment on the entire world.

This can be summed up in a syllogism: 1. If Jesus was God; and 2. He taught that there was a Noah, an Ark and a Flood; 3. Then there really was a Noah, an Ark and a Flood. The classic Christian position is that while Jesus, in His human nature, was ignorant of things that all other humans of the 1st century AD were ignorant of (e.g. the existence of Australia, quantum physics, the day and hour of His return - Mt 24:36 = Mk 13:32, etc), in His God nature He was omniscient:

"The two-minds hypothesis. This may seem a promising way to understand the incarnation, but [Thomas V.] Morris knows the real test comes when trying to make sense of how Jesus can exemplify very human qualities at the same time that he has similar divine attributes that contradict those human qualities. In particular, Jesus as divine is omniscient, but as human he has limited knowledge. Hence the properties of omniscience and of limited knowledge are both predicated of one and the same person, and that is a contradiction. Moreover, one wonders whether at any moment of his earthly life the person* Jesus knew everything or only some things. If everything, then how can Scripture say (Lk 2:52) that he grew in wisdom and knowledge? Morris answers that in Christ there were two minds (two distinct ranges of consciousness), one divine and one human. Christ possessed the eternal mind of God the Son, which knows all things. But he also possessed a `distinctly earthly consciousness that came into existence and grew and developed as the boy Jesus grew and developed.' [Morris T.V., "The Logic of God Incarnate," Cornell UP, 1986, p.103] The relation between the two minds was asymmetrical. That is, the divine mind knew and had access to everything the human mind knew, but the human mind had access to the divine only when the divine mind allowed it access. What Jesus knew through his human mind alone and apart from any access it had to his divine mind was only what was available to any other human living at that time. But since he was not merely human, Jesus had access to information that no mere human could know apart from divine revelation. [Ibid]" (Feinberg, J.S., "The Incarnation of Jesus Christ," in Geivett, R.D. & Habermas, G.R., eds., "In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Action in History," Apollos: Leicester UK, 1997, p.234. Emphasis original).

Therefore, while Jesus could be ignorant of something in His human nature, He could not teach error because His divine nature would override His human nature and either prevent Him from teaching error or reveal to Him truth on that matter which was beyond His (or anyone's) mere human knowledge.

Of course one could deny Jesus was God, but then why bother with Noah's Flood? Or one could deny that He was teaching in Mat. 24:38 = Lk. 17:27, that there was a Noah, an ark and a flood, but then one would not be able to affirm that Jesus taught anything authoritatively (including His second coming, which He was also teaching in those verses).

>I also agree with you that the language can be misleading, as surely 'all countries' were not under a famine in Gen 41 and floated over to the middle east to buy grain from a guy named Joseph.

Agreed, as Ramm observed, "The universality of the flood simply means the universality of the experience of the man who reported it":

"First of all, in criticism of the universal flood interpretation, this theory ... cannot demonstrate that totality of language necessitates a universal flood. Fifteen minutes with a Bible concordance will reveal many instances in which universality of language is used but only a partial quantity is meant. All does not mean every last one in all of its usages. Psa. 22:17 reads: `I may tell all my bones,' and hardly means that every single bone of the skeleton stood out prominently. John 4:39 cannot mean that Jesus completely recited the woman's biography. Matt. 3:5 cannot mean that every single individual from Judea and Jordan came to John the Baptist. There are cases where all means all, and every means every, but the context tells us where this is intended. ... The universality of the flood simply means the universality of the experience of the man who reported it. When God tells the Israelites He will put the fear of them upon the people under the whole heaven, it refers to all the peoples known to the Israelites (Deut. 2:25). When Gen. 41:57 states that all countries came to Egypt to buy grain, it can only mean all peoples known to the Egyptians. Ahab certainly did not look for Elijah in every country of the earth even though the text says he looked for Elijah so thoroughly that he skipped no nation or kingdom (1 Kings 18:10). From the vantage point of the observer of the flood all mountains were covered, and all flesh died. We must concur that: `The language of the sacred historian by no means necessarily implies that the flood overspread the whole earth. Universal terms are frequently used in a partial and restricted sense in Scripture.' ("JFB Bible Commentary," 1870, Vol. I, p.98)." (Ramm, 1954, p.164. Emphasis original).

>That being said, I'm at a bit of a loss how to understand the Flood narrative. I wrote Jack Collins (wonderful guy who published a great commentary on Genesis 1-4 recently) but he refuses to take a position on the flood, which is a shame.

OK. I was on a mailing list with Jack Collins once, but I cannot now recall what his position on the Flood was.

My final piece of advice I have given to those Christians who write to me about seemingly intractable problems they are having with Genesis [e.g. see posts 10-Feb-06 and 05-Dec-06] is to put Genesis aside for the time-being and do what I did, "read through the New Testament only the words of Jesus in my morning quiet time" and then after doing that (which will take many years), "You will then see it (and everything) in its right perspective":

"I advised a Christian who asked me similar questions ... that I went through a spiritual/mid-life crisis in the early 1990's and used to walk at night listening to Chuck Swindoll on the radio. One night he said that we all need a mentor, but if we don't have one (as I didn't), then Jesus could be our mentor. I resolved there and then to read through the New Testament only the words of Jesus in my morning quiet time, confessing where I fell short and praying that the Lord would help me to apply his words to my life. It took me ~8 years and it changed my life forever. I recommend you put Genesis 1 aside and do that first, then go back to Genesis ~8 years later. You will then see it (and everything) in its right perspective."


I hope this has helped.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blog: TheShroudofTurin

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Re: Is ID consistent with atheism?


Thanks for your message. As is my usual practice when I receive a private message on a creation, evolution or intelligent design topic, I am replying via my blog, CED,

[Left: "Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe" (2002), by Michael Denton, agnostic Intelligent Design theorist.]

after removing your personal identifying information.

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones

Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 8:52 AM
Subject: Is ID consistent with atheism?

>Hi Dr. Jones,

Thanks, but it is plain Mr Jones.

>I was just curious, as far as my studies go, an Intelligent Design advocate examines what's already designed in the world.

Agreed, but if Intelligent Design is true, then so do even those who deny design, "examine... what's already designed in the world." That is, an early definition of science was, "thinking God's thoughts after Him". If God is in fact the Designer, then even those who deny design, in their scientific researches are thinking the Designer's thoughts after Him.

>Can't someone say that nature is innately designed? Or that nature itself already exhibits design?

Yes indeed. An example is intelligent design theorist Michael Denton, who is an agnostic, yet whose position is that the laws of nature are designed, as per the subtitle of his book above: "How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe":

"Thus the ID movement has become a `big tent,' attracting people from a variety of religious backgrounds. CRSC fellow David Berlinski, who has published Commentary articles critical of Darwinism, is Jewish. In Kansas, board supporters included local Muslims and a group of Hare Krishnas, who showed up at a meeting wearing saffron robes. Even agnostics who believe the universe is in some sense teleological have teamed up with the ID movement--figures like Michael Denton, author of the influential Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. His most recent book, Nature's Destiny, argues that purpose pervades the universe at all levels. `The power of ID is precisely its minimalism,' says Todd Moody, an agnostic and professor at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. `It travels light, with no theological baggage.' Among Christians, ID shows promise of uniting often hostile factions, from young-earth creationists to theistic evolutionists and everyone in between." (Pearcey, N.R., "We're Not in Kansas Anymore," Christianity Today, May 22, 2000, Vol. 44, No. 6, p.42).

That is, one could affirm (as Denton does) that there is real design in nature, as a consequence of the laws of nature being designed, without affirming (but not denying-see below) that those designed laws of nature were in turn established by an Intelligent Designer/God.

>And by that token then, logically can't an atheist be an Intelligent Design advocate?

Indeed. To be "an Intelligent Design advocate" all one needs to do is advocate Intelligent Design! That is, that there is real design in nature, as opposed to apparent (i.e. illusory) design as claimed by Darwinists. On Professor Phillip E. Johnson's private ID mailing list that I was once a member of, there was in its early days a French atheist (whose name I cannot recall) who denied the existence of God, but who also advocated Intelligent Design.

One definition of "atheism" is:

"Atheism ... the absence of belief in deities ... lack belief in a personal god. ... skeptical of all supernatural beings .... practical, or pragmatic, atheism ... individuals live as if there are no gods and explain natural phenomena without resorting to the divine. The existence of gods is not denied, but may be designated unnecessary ..." ( Wikipedia).

which would seem to encompass agnosticism:

"Agnosticism ... the existence of God, gods, deities ... is unknown or ... unknowable ... it is not possible to have absolute or certain knowledge of the existence or nonexistence of God or gods; or ... they personally have no knowledge. Agnosticism in both cases involves some form of skepticism. Demographic research services normally list agnostics in the same category as atheists and non-religious people ..." (Wikipedia).

So on that definition, agnosticism is a `weak' form of atheism, i.e. it does not deny the existence of God, as `strong' atheism does, but nevertheless it does not affirm the existence of God either. And therefore, on that definition, logically an atheist can be, and indeed some prominent ones are, an Intelligent Design advocate!

However, that French atheist notwithstanding, ID is probably not consistent with `strong' atheism, i.e. the denial that there is a God, because, while the Designer is not necessarily God, clearly the Designer could be God. Therefore, to advocate that there is real design, but deny that there is a real Designer, while it may not be logically inconsistent, it is difficult to imagine many (if any) holding those two positions simultaneously, although one could oscillate between them as Darwin claimed he did:

"Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far back wards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man ; and I deserve to be called a Theist." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow, N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," [1958], W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, Reprinted, 1969, pp.92-93).

Or to put it another way, to affirm that: 1) there is real design in nature, but 2) deny that there is a real Designer who ultimately caused that design, while perhaps not logically inconsistent, would be practically inconsistent. That is, 2), the denial that there is a Designer ultimately behind the design, would in practice weaken one's argument for 1), that there is real design.

>Just curious,

Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blog: TheShroudofTurin

Monday, November 19, 2007

PoE: Bibliography "B"

Here is the Bibliography "B"

[Left: Intelligent Design theorist Professor Michael Behe's, "Edge of Evolution" (2007), See `tagline' quotes below (my emphasis bold), from the opening pages of this very important book.]

page for authors' surnames beginning with "B" which I may refer to in my book outline, "Problems of Evolution."

© Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology)



Bahn, P., ed., 1992, "Collins Dictionary of Archaeology," HarperCollins: Glasgow UK, Ninth printing, 2000.
Bailey, J., ed., 1999, "The Penguin Dictionary of Plant Sciences," [1984], Penguin Books: London, New edition.
Bailey, L.R., 1993, "Genesis Creation, and Creationism," Paulist Press: Mahwah NJ.
Baird, J.C., 1987, "The Inner Limits of Outer Space," University Press of New England: Hanover NH.
Baker, S., 1986, "Bone of Contention," [1976], Evangelical Press: Welwyn UK, Second edition.
Ball, P., 1999, "H2O: A Biography of Water," Phoenix: London, Reprinted, 2000.
Banton, M.P., 1961, "Darwinism and the Study of Society: A Centenary Symposium," Quadrangle Books: Chicago IL.
Barber, C.L., 1964, "The Story of Language," Pan: London.
Barbour, I.G., 1990, "Religion in an Age of Science: The Gifford Lectures 1989-1991, Volume 1", HarperCollins: New York NY.
Barbour, I.G., 2000, "When Science Meets Religion: Enemies, Strangers, or Partners?," HarperSanFrancisco: New York NY.
Barlow, G.W. & Silverberg, J., 1980, "Sociobiology: Beyond Nature/Nurture?: Reports, Definitions, and Debate," Westview Press: Boulder CO.
Barnett, S.A., 1968, "The Human Species: A Biology of Man," [1950], Penguin Books: Harmondsworth UK, Third edition.
Barnett, S.A., 1998, "The Science of Life : From Cells to Survival," Allen & Unwin: St. Leonards NSW, Australia.
Barnett, S.A., 2000, "Science, Myth or Magic?: A Struggle for Existence," Allen & Unwin: St. Leonards NSW, Australia.
Barnett, S.A., ed., 1962, "A Century of Darwin," [1958], Mercury Books: London.
Barnouw, V., 1978, "Physical Anthropology and Archaeology: An Introduction to Anthropology, Volume One," The Dorsey Press: Homewood IL, Third edition.
Barrow, J.D., 1988, "The World Within the World," Clarendon Press: New York NY.
Barrow, J.D., 1990, "Theories of Everything: The Quest for Ultimate Explanation," Vintage: London, Reprinted, 1992.
Barrow, J.D., 1992, "Pi in the Sky : Counting, Thinking, and Being," Clarendon Press: New York NY.
Barrow, J.D., 1994, "The Origin of the Universe," Weidenfeld & Nicholson: London.
Barrow, J.D., 1995, "The Artful Universe," Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1997.
Barrow, J.D., 2002, "The Constants of Nature: From Alpha to Omega," Jonathan Cape: London.
Barrow, J.D., 1998, "Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits," Vintage: London, Reprinted, 1999.
Barrow, J.D. & Silk, J., 1984, "The Left Hand of Creation: The Origin and Evolution of the Expanding Universe," Counterpoint: London, Reprinted, 1985.
Barrow, J.D. & Tipler, F.J., 1986, "The Anthropic Cosmological Principle," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Reprinted, 1996.
Barthel, K.W., Swinburne, N.H.M. & Conway Morris, S., 1990, "Solnhofen: A Study in Mesozoic Palaeontology," [1978], Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Revised edition.
Barzun, J., 1958, "Darwin, Marx, Wagner: Critique of a Heritage," [1941], Doubleday Anchor: Garden City NY, Second edition.
Basalla, G., Coleman, W. & Kargon, R.H., eds, 1970, "Victorian Science: A Self-Portrait from the Presidential Addresses of the British Association for the Advancement of Science," Anchor Books: New York NY.
Bateson, G., 1979, "Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity," Fontana: London, Reprinted, 1985.
Batten, D., ed., 1999, "The Answers Book: Updated & Expanded," Answers in Genesis: Acacia Ridge QLD, Australia.
Bauer, H.H., 1992, "Scientific Literacy and the Myth of the Scientific Method," University of Illinois Press: Urbana and Chicago IL, Reprinted, 1994.
Bavinck, H., 1928, "In the Beginning: Foundations of Creation Theology," Bolt, J., ed., Vriend, J., transl., Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, Reprinted, 1999.
Beck, S.D., 1959, "The Simplicity of Science," The Scientific Book Club: London, Reprinted, 1960.
Becker, W.M., Kleinsmith, L.J. & Hardin, J., 2000, "The World of the Cell," [1986], Benjamin/Cummings: San Francisco CA, Fourth edition.
Beckett, B.S., 1983, "Beginning Science: Biology," Oxford University Press: Oxford UK, Reprinted, 1986.
Behe, M.J., 2006, "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution," [1996], Free Press: New York NY, Tenth Anniversary edition.
Behe, M.J., 2007, "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY.
Behe, M.J., Dembski, W.A. & Meyer, S.C., 2000, "Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe: Papers Presented at a Conference Sponsored by the Wethersfield Institute New York City, September 25, 1999," Ignatius Press: San Francisco CA.
Bell, P.R., ed., 1959, "Darwin's Biological Work: Some Aspects Reconsidered," John Wiley & Sons: New York NY, Reprinted, 1964.
Bell, P.R. & Bell, A.R., 2000, "Green Plants: Their Origin and Diversity," [1992], Cambridge University Press: Cambridge UK, Second edition.
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Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
My other blog: TheShroudofTurin

"Life on earth developed over billions of years by utter chance, filtered through natural selection. So says Darwinism, the most influential idea of our time. If a rare random mutation in a creature's DNA in the distant past helped the lucky mutant to leave more offspring than others of its species, then as generations passed the species as a whole would have changed. Incessant repetition of this simple process over eons built the wonders of biology from the ground up, from the intricate molecular machinery of cells up to and including the human mind. That's the claim, at least. But is it true? To answer that question, Darwin's theory has to be sifted carefully, because it isn't just a single concept-it actually is a mixture of several unrelated, entirely separate ideas. The three most important ideas to keep straight from the start are random mutation, natural selection, and common descent." (Behe, M.J., "The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism," Free Press: New York NY, 2007, p.1).

"Common descent is what most people think of when they hear the word `evolution.' It is the contention that different kinds of modern creatures can trace their lineage back to a common ancestor. For example, gerbils and giraffes-two mammals-are both thought to be the descendants of a single type of creature from the far past. And so are organisms from much more widely separated categories-buffalo and buzzards, pigs and petunias, yaks and yeast. That's certainly startling, so it's understandable that some people find the idea of common descent so astonishing that they look no further. Yet in a very strong sense the explanation of common descent is also trivial. Common descent tries to account only for the similarities between creatures. It says merely that certain shared features were there from the beginning-the ancestor had them. But all by itself, it doesn't try to explain how either the features or the ancestor got there in the first place, or why descendants differ. For example, rabbits and bears both have hair, so the idea of common descent says only that their ancestor had hair, too. Plants and animals both have complex cells with nuclei, so they must have inherited that feature from a common ancestor. But the questions of how or why are left hanging." (Behe, 2007, pp.1-2. Emphasis original).

"In contrast, Darwin's hypothesized mechanism of evolution-the compound concept of random mutation paired with natural selection-is decidedly more ambitious. The pairing of random mutation and natural selection tries to account for the differences between creatures. It tries to answer the pivotal question, What could cause such staggering transformations? How could one kind of ancestral animal develop over time into creatures as different as, say, bats and whales?" (Behe, 2007, p.2).

"Let's tease apart that compound concept. First, consider natural selection. Like common descent, natural selection is an interesting but actually quite modest notion. By itself, the idea of natural selection says just that the more fit organisms of a species will produce more surviving offspring than the less fit. So, if the total numbers of a species stayed the same, over time the progeny of the more fit would replace the progeny of the less fit. It's hardly surprising that creatures that are somehow more fit (stronger, faster, hardier) would on average do better in nature than ones that were less fit (weaker, slower, more fragile)." (Behe, 2007, p.2).

"By far the most critical aspect of Darwin's multifaceted theory is the role of random mutation. Almost all of what is novel and important in Darwinian thought is concentrated in this third concept. In Darwinian thinking, the only way a plant or animal becomes fitter than its relatives is by sustaining a serendipitous mutation. If the mutation makes the organism stronger, faster, or in some way hardier, then natural selection can take over from there and help make sure its offspring grow numerous. Yet until the random mutation appears, natural selection can only twiddle its thumbs." (Behe, 2007, pp.2-3).

"Random mutation, natural selection, common descent-three separate ideas welded into one theory. Because of the welding of concepts, the question, Is Darwinism true? has several possible answers. One possibility, of course, is that those separate ideas-common descent, natural selection, and random mutation-could all be completely correct, and sufficient to explain evolution. Or, they could all be correct in the sense that random mutation and natural selection happen, but they might be inconsequential, unable to account for most of evolution. It's also possible that one could be wholly right while the others were totally wrong. Or one idea could be right to a greater degree while another is correct to a much lesser degree. Because they are separate ideas, evidence for each facet of Darwin's theory has to be evaluated independently. Previous generations of scientists readily discriminated among them. Many leading biologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries thought common descent was right, but that random mutation/natural selection was wrong." (Behe, 2007, p.3).

"In the past hundred years science has advanced enormously; what do the results of modern science show? In brief, the evidence for common descent seems compelling. The results of modern DNA sequencing experiments, undreamed of by nineteenth-century scientists like Charles Darwin, show that some distantly related organisms share apparently arbitrary features of their genes that seem to have no explanation other than that they were inherited from a distant common ancestor. Second, there's also great evidence that random mutation paired with natural selection can modify life in important ways. Third, however, there is strong evidence that random mutation is extremely limited. Now that we know the sequences of many genomes, now that we know how mutations occur, and how often, we can explore the possibilities and limits of random mutation with some degree of precision-for the first time since Darwin proposed his theory." (Behe, 2007, p.3).

"As we'll see throughout this book, genetic accidents can cause a degree of evolutionary change, but only a degree. As earlier generations of scientists agreed, except at life's periphery, the evidence for a pivotal role for random mutations is terrible. For a bevy of reasons having little to do with science, this crucial aspect of Darwin's theory-the power of natural selection coupled to random mutation-has been grossly oversold to the modern public." (Behe, 2007, p.4).

"As a theory-of-everything, Darwinism is usually presented as a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Either accept the whole theory or decide that evolution is all hype and throw out the baby with the bath water. Both are mistakes. In dealing with an often-menacing nature, we can't afford the luxury of elevating anybody's dogmas over data. The purpose of this book is to cut through the fog, to offer a sober appraisal of what Darwinian processes can and cannot do, to find what I call the edge of evolution." (Behe, 2007, p.4. Emphasis original).

"On the surface, Darwin's theory of evolution is seductively simple and, unlike many theories in physics or chemistry, can be summarized succinctly with no math: In every species, there are variations. For example, one animal might be bigger than its brothers and sisters, another might be faster, another might be brighter in color. Unfortunately, not all animals that are born will survive to reproduce, because there's not enough food to go around, and there are also predators of many species. So an organism whose chance variation gives it an advantage in the struggle to survive will tend to live, prosper, and leave offspring. If Mom or Dad's useful variation is inherited by the kids, then they, too, will have a better chance of leaving more offspring. Over time, the descendants of the creature with that original, lucky mutation will dominate the population, so the species as a whole will have changed from what it was. If the scenario is repeated over and over again, then the species might eventually change into something altogether different." (Behe, 2007, pp.4-5).

"At first blush, that seems pretty straightforward. Variation, selection, inheritance (in other words, random mutation, natural selection, and common descent). seem to be all it takes. In fact, when an evolutionary story is couched as abstractly as in the previous paragraph, Darwinian evolution appears almost logically necessary. As Darwinian commentators have often claimed, it just has to be true. If there is variation in a group of organisms, and if the variation favorably affects the odds of survival, and if the trait is inherited, then the next generation is almost certain to have more members with the favorable trait. And the next generation after that will have even more, and the next more, until all members of the species have it. Wherever those conditions are fulfilled, wherever there is variation, selection, and inheritance, then there absolutely must be evolution." (Behe, 2007, p.5).

"So far, so good. But the abstract, naive logic ignores a huge piece of the puzzle. In the real world, random mutation, natural selection, and common descent might all be completely true, and yet Darwinian processes still may not be an adequate explanation of life. In order to forge the many complex structures of life, a Darwinian process would have to take numerous coherent steps, a series of beneficial mutations that successively build on each other, leading to a complex outcome. In order to do so in the real world, rather than just in our imaginations, there must be a biological route to the structure that stands a reasonable chance of success in nature. In other words, variation, selection, and inheritance will only work if there is also a smooth evolutionary pathway leading from biological point A to biological point B." (Behe, 2007, p.5. Emphasis original).

"The question of the pathway is as critical in evolution as it is in everyday life. In everyday life, if you had to walk blindfolded from point A to point B, it would matter very much where A and B were, and what lay between. Suppose you had to walk blindfolded (and, to make the example closer to the spirit of Darwinism, blind drunk) from A to B to get some reward-say, a pot of gold. What's more, suppose in your sightless dizziness the only thought you could hold in your head was to climb higher whenever you got the chance (this mimics natural selection constantly driving a species to higher levels of fitness). On the one hand, if you just had to go from the bottom of a single enclosed stairwell to the top to reach the pot of gold, there might be little problem. On the other hand, if you had to walk blindfolded from one side of an unfamiliar city to the top of a skyscraper on the other side-across busy streets, bypassing hazards, through doorways-you would have enormous trouble. You'd likely stagger incoherently, climb to the top of porch steps, mount car roofs, and so on, getting stuck on any one of thousands of local high points, unable to step farther up, unwilling to back down. And if, just trying to climb higher whenever possible, you had to walk blindfolded and disoriented from the plains by Lubbock, Texas, to the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago-blundering randomly over flatlands, through woods, around canyons, across rivers-neither you nor any of billions of other blindfolded, disoriented people who might try such a thing could reasonably be expected to succeed." (Behe, 2007, pp.5-6).

"In everyday life, the greater the distance between points A and B, and the more rugged the intervening landscape, the bleaker are the odds for success of a blindfolded walk, even-or perhaps especially-when following a simple-minded rule like `always climb higher; never back down.' The same with evolution. In Darwin's day scientists were ignorant of many of the details of life, so they could reasonably hope that evolutionary pathways would turn out to be short and smooth. But now we know better. The great progress of modern science has shown that life is enormously elegant and intricate, especially at its molecular foundation. That means that Darwinian pathways to many complex features of life are quite long and rugged. The problem for Darwin, then, as with a long, blindfolded stroll outdoors, is that in a rugged evolutionary landscape, random mutation and natural selection might just keep a species staggering down genetic dead-end alleys, getting stuck on the top of small anatomical hills, or wandering aimlessly over physiological plains, never even coming close to winning the biological pot of gold at a distant biological summit. If that is the case, then random mutation/natural selection would essentially be ineffective. In fact, the striving to climb any local evolutionary hill would actively prevent all drunkards from finding the peak of a distant biological mountain. This point is crucial: If there is not a smooth, gradually rising, easily found evolutionary pathway leading to a biological system within a reasonable time, Darwinian processes won't work." (Behe, 2007, pp.6-7. Emphasis original).

"As a practical matter, how far apart do biological points A and B have to be, and how rugged the pathway between them, before random mutation and natural selection start to become ineffective? How can we tell when that point is reached? Where in biology is a reasonable place to draw the line marking the edge of evolution? This book answers those questions. It builds on an inquiry I began more than a decade ago with Darwin's Black Box. Then I argued that irreducibly complex structures-such as some stupendously intricate cellular machines-could not have evolved by random mutation and natural selection. To continue the above analogy, it was an argument that the blindfolded drunkard could not get from point A to point B, because he couldn't take just one small step at a time-he'd have to leap over canyons and rivers. The book concluded that there were at least some structures at the foundation of life that were beyond random mutation." (Behe, 2007, p.7).