‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Friday, 27 February 2009

Tony Campolo & why Darwin's theories are dangerous

Influential Christian preacher Tony Campolo highlights some of the racial assumptions that were part of Darwin's theory. Writing in Christian Today, 'What’s wrong with Darwinism?', 27th February 2009 he notes the full title of Darwin's first book 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.' Campolo believes that ethics should be the focus of creationists' rejection of Darwin's theory. He further comments (quoting from the Descent of Man 1871) that;

"Darwin went so far as to rank races in terms of what he believed was their nearness and likeness to gorillas. He further proposed the extermination of those races which he “scientifically” defined as inferior. To not do so, he claimed, would result in those races, which have much higher birth rates than his designated superior races, exhausting the resources needed for the survival of better people, and eventually dragging down all of civilization"

"Darwin even argued against advanced societies wasting time and money on caring for those who are insane, or suffer from birth defects. To him, these unfit members of our species ought not to survive."

"In case you think that Darwin sounds like a Nazi, you are not far from the truth. Konrad Lorenz, a biologist who provided much of the propaganda for the Nazi party, made Darwin’s theories the basis for his polemics. The Pulitzer Prize winner, Marilynne Robinson, in her insightful essay on Darwin, points out that the German nationalist writer, Heinrich von Treitschke, and the biologist, Ernst Haeckel, also drew on Darwin’s writings as they helped Hitler develop those racist ideas that led to the Holocaust."

This is a an interesting comment from Tony Campolo who has long been noted as a Christian preacher and apologist with a social conscience. Recent commentaries by Theos and Faraday Institute suggest there is little interest in questioning the philosophical and ethical basis for Darwin's theory in respectable Christian society in the UK. Campolo acknowledges that Darwin was a product of his time, and clearly Darwin did not invent racism with some of his relations taking an interest in abolishing the slave trade. Darwin too in his early life questioned slavery, but what happened to lead him to embrace ideas where Africans and Aborigines were considered closer to apes than Caucasians? Instead, the Bible teaches that all mankind are related through Noah and his family.
Andrew Sibley

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Darwinism - why emotions get in the way of respectful dialogue

Christopher Booker, writing in last week's Sunday Telegraph, highlights some of the abuse he received for questioning the validity of Darwin's theory in an earlier article.

Christopher Booker - Why do people think Darwinism is a perfect creation 14/02/09.

He writes; "As an old hand at tangling with Darwinists, I was well aware that a howl of furious protests would greet my item last week describing their curious inability to recognise just how much of the story of evolution Darwin's theory cannot explain." For pointing this out he claims he was "...derided as "stupid", "idiotic" and "scientifically illiterate". Clearly I was unaware all these riddles had been solved by genetics and the decoding of the human genome."

"...as my colleague Dr James Le Fanu has lucidly set out in his admirable new book Why Us? How Science Rediscovered The Mystery Of Ourselves (Harper Press, £18.99), the unravelling of the genome has done nothing of the kind. When mice, men and chimpanzees all turn out to be made of almost identical genetic material, the unknown factor which determines why the same building blocks should give rise to such an astonishing variety of different life-forms leaves the Darwinian thesis as full of holes as ever. To believe that genetics have solved the riddle relies as much on a leap of faith as that Biblical Creationism which causes the more fanatical Darwinians to foam at the mouth. "

Perhaps for the non-Christian Darwinists there is an emotional battle within themselves that they feel the need to fight against. However, it is to be hoped that a respectful dialogue can be developed between Christians who disagree over the validity of Darwin's wider claims, but even here there sometimes seems to be an emotional attachment to Darwinism that clouds the ability to enter into a respectful exchange of views. Why is that I wonder?

Friday, 20 February 2009

Darwin's legacy?

A cartoon in an American paper has brought fresh attention to the race problems in some sections of society. The cartoon shows a chimpanzee shot dead by police with a caption apparently referring to the new American President - (edit - but later denied that Obama was the target).

Where does the idea that human beings are related to apes, whether black or white, come from? It comes straight from Darwinism. On the other hand, the Genesis account, that is often ridiculed, gives a table of nations (in chapter 11) in which all people on the earth are asserted to be descended from Noah and his family, and before that back to Adam. In other words, the Bible speaks of the common ancestry of all humans, being created separately from the other animals, in God's image.

See this article on the Telegraph.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

How do you view the world?

Most of us agree that while sometimes science helps explain things, science done reducing everything to natural causes (methodological naturalism) like it is today, seems half hearted, it is bankrupt in its completeness because it rules out anything else as fantasy before you start. Art is fantasy, morals are, religion is, everything else is, it kind of places science itself as God. Perhaps this is because it is science done without a sense of wonder, science done without reverence, science done as a pure description of the natural ruling out design, artistry or God before it starts. It assumes there is not outside influence, that this natural world is closed and was not produced, was not designed. The only reverence left then is for science itself.

That word design is not a popular word is it? Design of life.... The media has taken an axe to it. ID or intelligent design is now slanted by names such as IDiots or IDiocy. But when you think about it, they have a point. The word design is dry to most of us that aren't engineers; it still doesn't capture me as much as it should. It's so intellectual without capturing the passion of a father, the passion of a creator which is what I believe in and most do who believe the world was “designed”.

If I was to apply methodological naturalism to my daughter Naomi who to me is a miracle, she would be reduced to a temporary organic chemistry factory, a blob of energy and matter doing their thing. In such a paradigm or perceived world, she would no longer be the miracle I see her as, she would be well described but somehow the wonder and with it the reverence is lost. If I was to apply design to my daughter she could still be a factory, albeit one with an intended purpose, but it is hardly the miraculous description I crave. The fathers handiwork, crafted and yet importantly also cherished. Watches are designed, but they aren't miracles, you buy them and throw them away when they don't work. So I think I am saying even the idea of intelligent design doesn't quite capt ure my heart as it should looking at a God creating this world for me.

Secondly, miracles cannot exist in the naturalism paradigm because of perception not description. By perception even if an unnatural event is witnessed, something not described yet is to be described eventually, certainly not magic or miracles, so what of God? Is He reduced? But here is the problem; design is not magical either, even in perception. The essential component lost in both paradigms is the inability to perceive the world as artistry. Let me repeat that for effect.

The essential component lost in both paradigms is the inability to perceive the world as artistry.

We get so bogged down in the science is truth, all else is art debate that perhaps we have lost something. Should science described as an art? It would certainly retain more humility that way!Take for example Naomi my little girl. I can describe her in great detail under such a paradigm, I can talk about her intricate detail and design, or perhaps a splattering of intended randomness, but in referring to her as art, she retains the miraculous, value, sense of wonder and reverence.

Art as you know can be a splatter of paint, a pile of bricks or even the Mona Lisa. However detailed our description, use of the term art maintains a sense of meaning, significance, purpose and wonder. Something that should not be taken for granted. Science as an art is exciting and wondrous when we look at the world , it is something to be enjoyed, something to get lost in. Explain anything you find all you like, it only increases the wonder of it all! It is like finding new pictures in an immeasurable gallery. That is because you are no longer trying to explain things away, but rather describe the magnificence of it!

The question, what signature is on the universe, is up for debate. Like all art, the artist needs to own up or someone needs to tell you who painted it, you need to read about it from a book written by people who know (I hope you are following me here). For me Jesus is a simple, straight forward and beautiful answer. To me Jesus is the artist shouting "Yoohoo! Here I am!"

This whole picture would be more appealing generally. Science as art would be more accessible, leaving the intellectual elite such as Dawkins and his friends sounding like people who want to turn the likes of my favourite pet or my daughter into a pile of mud. Hardly a good description for such a magnificently “God breathed in” mud sculpture formed by the hands of an artist don't you think?
Written by Gareth Sherwood

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Observing the Darwin Zealots - Booker in the Telegraph.

Christopher Booker offers his observations on the enthusiasm shown by adherents to Darwin’s theory in the run up to the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth. Booker too has noticed the analogy between devotion to Darwin and organised religion. Charles Darwin zealots have made science a substitute religion

Booker firstly points out some unresolved problems with Darwin’s theory that are generally ignored or supressed today. He then compares global warming adherents with the Darwinists and comments that “It becomes increasingly obvious that…the Darwinians…are so convinced by the simplicity of their theory that they are unable to recognise how much they do not know - and …their response has been to become ever more fanatically intolerant of anyone who dares question their dogma.”

Furthermore he comments that seeing Richard Owen (the intelligent design proponent who established the Natural History Museum in celebration of God’s handiwork) replaced by Darwin in centre stage in the British Natural History Museum ‘is a warning of what happens when science ceases to be scientific and becomes a substitute religion. The symbolism of the change is more perfect than its perpetrators know.’
Andrew Sibley

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Darwin’s ‘Tree of Life’ is rotten from the roots up

Any average viewer watching BBC One’s thoroughly impressive ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’ programme at prime time on Sunday night, presented by the well-respected David Attenborough, was ill-equipped to resist the overwhelming impression that evolution is a fact beyond dispute.

But nearly all of Sir David’s arguments could be summed up in three little words… assumption, assumption, assumption.

It is ironic that the BBC is so concerned for its impartiality that it is refusing to show the Gaza appeal, yet at the same time could broadcast something so utterly one-sided on one of the greatest controversies of our time. There was no balance in ‘Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life’ whatsoever – no opportunity for scientists with opposing views to challenge Attenborough’s Darwinian propaganda machine.

Darwin himself would have been shocked. In his own Introduction to The Origin of Species (1859), he wrote: “I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be done here.”
And, apparently, it cannot possibly be done on the BBC either – because they are on a campaign to lift Darwin to god-like status. Along with the Natural History Museum, which was shown replacing the statue of the Museum’s founder, a Christian who opposed Darwin on scientific grounds, with a statue of the demi-god himself.

The programme itself was no scientific treatise. It seemed more concerned to contrast the advance of Darwinism with the decline of faith in the Bible’s account of creation, beginning as it did with a reading from Genesis. But this is no coincidence – Attenborough himself has no time for Christianity. His religion is neo-Darwinism. Although he uses moderate language, unlike the arrogant vitriol of atheist Richard Dawkins, Attenborough nevertheless decided to falsely present evolution as having defeated God as the explanation for life.

One of the most obvious ways in which Attenborough’s determination to show the Bible as outdated came across is when he used a ‘straw man’ argument. In other words, he presented a view no longer held by any Christian and then proceeded to destroy it, thus giving the false impression that he was destroying the Bible’s claims.

That view was ‘fixity of species’ – the idea that all the species we see today were, as Attenborough said, “a separate act of divine creation” and could not change. This was a mistaken view of nearly all scientists at Darwin’s time, whether Christian or not, because there was no evidence yet discovered to the contrary. But because the Bible says God created everything to reproduce “according to their kinds” (Genesis 1), Attenborough had a field day, asserting that this Bible phrase implies that species cannot change. Attenborough knows that species can develop into new species, as do all scientists today, including creationists.

Case closed, you might think. But what he never mentioned was that the word ‘kinds’ in the Bible does not refer to species. ‘Species’ was a word or concept only invented many centuries after the Bible. The word ‘kinds’ itself, looked at in the context of the Bible verses where it occurs, means something like the mammalian Family level of classification – so the Bible does not support the fixity of species idea at all.

The rest of the programme was then a list of ‘old chestnuts’ – classic examples that evolutionists have used as evidence in biology textbooks for years. But for every single example, what was missing was evidence of HOW natural selection can create new complex structures that are the characteristic not of new species, but of entirely new kinds of creatures.

New species come about because of the genetic information that ALREADY EXISTS in their DNA. But for new, very different types of creatures to evolve, entirely NEW genetic information needs to be generated – and this is where natural selection breaks down. The whole theory of microbes-to-man evolution relies on evolution creating an increase in complexity, from the simple first single-celled organism to the complex larger animals and plants of today. But there is no evidence that this can occur. It is simply assumed.

Mutations do not result in new genetic information capable of constructing new complex biological structures. All the experiments conducted over many decades prove this. Mutations are nearly all negative, resulting in damage to genetic information, not improvements. The tiny minority that are neutral do not help the argument either. There are some mutations that give a temporary advantage to some creatures, but they involve a LOSS of genetic information, that ultimately prevents evolution. Attenborough’s programme, of course, chose to ignore this massive hole that undermines the entire theory.

In the world at large, the only source of information is intelligence – and we know that intelligence only comes from a mind. It is therefore completely logical to conclude that the breath-takingly complex information in DNA is also the result of an intelligent Mind – that a Designer has been at work.

If you then look at the origin of life, rather than just its development, evolution has no explanation whatsoever. That life began without God is an article of faith just as much as believing God made life. Yet Attenborough blithely told the fable of life arising somehow from a primeval sludge, daring to say “it happened like this” – when nothing on the origin of life by chance has been even remotely proved. Evolution itself, even if true, could only act on life once it has been created. How life got there in the first place, and then managed to somehow reproduce itself, is still a mystery to science. There are many theories, but no experiment has ever come close to explaining how life began. Even the ‘simplest’ single-celled organism is now known to be an immensely complex biological machine.

Some say that, as science progresses, it discovers more and more, and so fills in the gaps in our knowledge that used to be filled by ‘God did this’. So they say, as time goes on, God becomes more redundant. But the truth in biology is that the more we discover about the complicated mechanics of cells and the incredible organisation of biological systems, the less and less likely it becomes than any ‘natural’ no-God explanation will suffice.

The final insult to our intelligence was to focus the programme on Darwin’s famous ‘Tree of Life’ – the diagram that shows how evolution pretends to explain how simple creatures at the base and trunk of the tree diverged over time into more and more branches, gaining in complexity and diversity over millions of years.

I’m astonished that the BBC still included this, and what’s more made it the title of the programme, considering that only last month the country’s leading scientific journal, New Scientist, carried a major article called “Why Darwin was wrong about the Tree of Life” (21 January). The article clearly stated that there is “no evidence at all” for the Tree of Life, and this was even backed up by the editorial of the journal, despite the fact that the New Scientist is known for its strong pro-evolution stance.

Michael Rose, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, says, “The tree of life is being politely buried, we all know that.” The BBC can’t argue that this is too recent a development to have included in the programme. Other scientists have been quietly relegating the Tree of Life to the rubbish dump of evolution for several years.

Michael Rose ends by saying, “What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.” I couldn’t agree more – as the most fundamental view of biology is evolution.
Andrew Halloway for www.lifebite.co.uk

51% of UK population sceptical of Darwin's theory - Theos report

According to a Theos report, highlighted in the UK's Telegraph, "More than half of the public believe that the theory of evolution cannot explain the full complexity of life on Earth, and a "designer" must have lent a hand, the findings suggest." Rather amusingly, Richard Dawkins thinks it acceptable to insult half the population expressing "dismay at the findings of the ComRes survey, of 2,060 adults, which he claimed were confirmation that much of the population is "pig-ignorant" about science" 'Pig" Ignorant' over Darwin . Adam Rutherford follows Dawkins into use of insulting language to describe his fellow human beings. Rutherford's" response - "Another day, another creationism survey. Godly thinktank Theos have conjured yet another set of figures that reveal just how dim Britain is when it comes to evolution." He said.

But after 150 years of the hard sell, why is it that so many people haven't bought into the Darwin myth I wonder? Perhaps because that is how they perceive it - as a myth - some real evidence, instead of the empty rhetoric might help their cause. It is true that most people haven't studied science in depth, but they do know when someone is trying to sell them a dodgy motor. But what of the arrogance of the militant Darwinists. Clearly ID is tapping into a broad stream of public opinion, but is under sometimes vicious attack from sections of the acedemic community that tolerates no dissent. It would seem that Darwinian science is shaped by an emotional devotion to Darwin that is semi-religious in nature - having left true science outside the door.

Of course Nick Spencer of Theos is trying to put a positive spin on the findings having written the report with Denis Alexander

The full report can be read here Theos report