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Friday, December 03, 2010

Preface to the Radar tells all about Creation versus Darwinism - from CMI

This is from Creation.com and tomorrow is from me:


Couple for creation A chat with biochemistry researchers John and Sally McEwan

by Jonathan Sarfati, Australia
Many evolutionists claim that there are no scientists who support creation. However, one aim of our magazine over much of its 25-year history has been to inform our readers of well-qualified scientists who are also committed biblical creationists.

One example is the husband-and-wife couple, John and Sally McEwan, who live in Sydney, Australia’s largest city [with their son Ian, born late 2005—Ed.]. Still in their 20s, they have been involved in important research.

Both of them majored in chemistry—John at The University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; and Sally at the University of Sydney. John gained a scholarship and moved to Sydney University for his Ph.D., which involved making natural products. He is now senior chemist at Access Pharmaceuticals Australia, researching more effective anticancer drugs against tumours, making them more specific and lengthening their time in the body to do their work. Sally gained an M.Sc. using her chemical training in analyzing reproduction of wombats and the Tasmanian devil. She then became a researcher in brain biochemistry and metabolism, and now splits her work between the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences, University of Sydney. Both have published papers in secular scientific journals.

One reason that evolution is so entrenched is the grand claim that it is vital for scientific research. A leading 20th-century evolutionist, Theodosius Dobzhansky, even went as far as saying, ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.’ So I asked them how this fitted in with their own cutting-edge research.
John replied:
‘Some might argue that we rely on common descent in choosing animal models for drug research, i.e. other mammals like rats and mice for tumour experiments. However, one can better point to common design. Similarly, we rely on different mammal species having similar protein sequences; for example, in the use of human growth hormone in rats. We do not invoke evolution when designing drugs or treatment regimes, and in synthetic organic chemistry, evolution is irrelevant.’
Sally added:
‘Biochemical and biological processes can be discovered to exist without reference to, or knowledge of, their origins. How they came about is far removed from just discovering the processes themselves. This is because much of our research involves building on the accumulated data in a particular area of research. However, many founders of modern science were influenced by creationist thinking, which required an ordered and a designed-for-a-purpose universe. It has been my observation that when new processes are discovered to exist, it is only afterwards that investigators go on to speculate how and why they exist in light of evolution. In other words, evolution is accepted a priori.
‘OK,’ an evolutionist might reply, ‘but still, most biological researchers believe in evolution.’ I asked the McEwans to respond:

‘So what?’ asked John. ‘As someone once said, it is doubtful that the majority has ever been right. Most people believe in evolution due to the mob mentality, rather than because they have critically examined the evidence. I find that very few people have looked at the alternative evidence—that supporting creation. So most people are not in a position to choose between the two. Also, few people have thought through the implications of evolution as it relates to everyday life—for example, how can there be true right and wrong if we have just evolved from a primordial soup?’

John McEwan Sally 
McEwan
John and Sally McEwan
Sally agrees, and affirms that evolution had absolutely nothing to do with any of her research. She is particularly critical of university lecturers who teach undergraduates to accept evolution as truth without much detailed scrutiny.  She recalls: ‘Instead of teaching us how to think critically, I feel that, especially in this area, we were taught what to think, and those who sided with creation were viewed as intellectually inferior. So Christians should not be intimidated by the bluff, “Evolution must be true because most scientists believe it.”’

OK, this might be enough to counteract that evolutionary argument, but on the other hand, what relevance does creation have for research? So I asked them what they thought was the strongest support for creation, especially in their own fields of expertise.

John answered that his Ph.D. research was extremely unfavourable to chemical evolution, the belief that life arose from nonliving chemicals:
‘One big problem is getting the exclusively “left-handed” amino acids for proteins and exclusively “right-handed” sugars for DNA. I worked on inducing chirality (from Greek χειρ cheir = hand) into a potential pharmaceutical using chiral auxiliaries and chiral catalysts (if that had been done with thalidomide, then the horrific birth defects would have been avoided). In other words, I was trying to make new left-handed molecules starting from left-handed molecules. It is very difficult to create compounds of only one chirality, even starting from 100% chiral molecules. So how could this have happened in a primordial soup with half of each handedness, especially with no organic chemists around?’ [See colour diagram of chirality and Origin of life: the chirality problem]
John’s current research includes using Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) to help target drugs to tumours, since tumours have more receptors to it than other cells. Vitamin B12 is called the ‘red vitamin’ because it is deep red, and has a vital role in making red blood cells. A lack of this vitamin causes pernicious anemia. John explains that our bodies can make use of this vitamin only with an intricately designed multistep process:
‘First, an enzyme releases B12 from food in the stomach, but the strong acid there would destroy it without a protein from saliva to protect it. Then in the intestine, other enzymes attack this protective protein, and another protein called intrinsic factor binds instead. Intrinsic factor also enables the vitamin to pass through the gut wall. After this, yet another enzyme releases the B12, then still another protein binds to it. Then it can be transported around the bloodstream to sites where it is required. Unless all these steps were in place, the body would be unable to use Vitamin B12. In fact, it’s the lack of intrinsic factor, rather than lack of B12 in the diet, that causes pernicious anemia. Natural selection could not build up this system by tiny steps, because none of them works without the whole sequence being fully coordinated.’
This prompted Sally to add:
‘I see amazing design (though now marred by the effects of sin) in the world, and of course this points to an amazing Designer. I think that the information stored in DNA is one of the greatest pointers to God, who put the information there. Many people do not understand that the information is not the DNA itself, just as the words in this article are not the information, but rather you require both a sender and a receiver of this message and a code with which to make sense of the words, so that the information is received and understood and acted upon. So if there is no intelligent Creator out there, where did information come from and how do we get the alleged increase in information from mutations?

‘I agree that the irreducible complexity in living systems is another great support for creation. An example is the Vitamin B12 uptake system John describes—it needs all the coordinated steps to work. Other examples are the tiny rotary motors of the bacterial flagellum and the enzyme ATP synthase, vital to produce the “energy currency” required for all life to function.’
John and Sally are also members of the Sydney CMI Support Group, who volunteer a lot of their time to help CMI speakers when they give talks in the Sydney area. So I asked them: what’s so important about creation, considering that many Christians say that it’s just a side issue?

This brought a strong reaction from John. He pointed out:
‘If there was no Creator then there would be no sin against that Creator and no need of Christ—no Christianity. I believe it is central to all of the important doctrines in the Christian faith.’
How central? Sally explained:
‘If you do not believe what the Bible says in the beginning, how are you going to believe anything else it says? Evolution is really a belief system to try to explain how the complexity of living things could arise without any intelligent input. So of course it is a stumbling block to people believing in anything else we may say about God and the Bible. Our society has been virtually brainwashed into evolution and I think creation is where we must start if we are going to defend the Bible. We need to start at the beginning because our society is largely pagan now.’
However, what about the well-meaning Christians who think that design is the most important issue, and our priority should be to counteract materialistic evolution? They argue that we should just leave the age of the earth out of it because it’s ‘divisive’. So what is the big deal about the age of the earth?

John said that the age is important because it again involves the accuracy of the biblical record. ‘If we start to question, through liberal interpretation, what the Bible says about creation in six days, then we open the door to question what it says on everything else. The problem with all the extra time that people want to add to the biblical record is that it brings the Curse before Adam. In other words, fossils of dinosaurs etc. are pronounced to be prehistoric, which entails death before sin.’

Although many Christians believe in long ages, Sally points out that the long-age view does not come from the Bible, but from the opinions of fallible human beings. This is amply clear in the commentaries by otherwise conservative exegetes who accept long ages—they agree that the text itself strongly appears to teach a ‘young’ earth, but they can’t accept it because of ‘science’, so they rationalize the plain meaning.

‘If we honestly study what the Bible says about creation, we cannot conclude that it means anything but a literal six-day creation,’ Sally asserted. ‘We shouldn’t be surprised that the world adopts a viewpoint that leaves God out of the picture. The Bible emphatically states that creation-rejectors profess to be wise yet are fools [Romans 1:22]. I think that aptly describes many in the highly educated scientific world who don’t want to attribute anything to their Creator God. We should not be afraid of being ridiculed by such people just because we choose to believe the Bible. As it is written in Proverbs 29:25, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”’

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

... and in the entire article, no evidence for creation is provided. Same old story: a few jabs at evolution, an argument from incredulity (a logical fallacy, in case you're not paying attention), and then insistence on doctrine instead of scientific evidence:

"If you do not believe what the Bible says in the beginning, how are you going to believe anything else it says?"

If these are scientists, surely they understand the value of testable, falsifiable predictions. Creation doesn't have any. A young Earth doesn't have any. Evolution does. As does an old Earth.

Radar, when you say you're going to "tell all about Creation versus Darwinism", it's a cert you're going to have to leave out a heck of a lot. Safe prediction that.

Jon Woolf said...

These two can make this claim only by using the standard creationist dodge of limiting "evolution" to macroevolution.

"He is now senior chemist at Access Pharmaceuticals Australia, researching more effective anticancer drugs against tumours, making them more specific and lengthening their time in the body to do their work."

In other words, he's dealing with the inevitable consequences of the evolutionary process, as cancer cells evolve to resist existing chemotherapy drugs, and require new and more effective ones to kill them.

I suspect the same is true for her.

Sorry, Radar, no useful argument for creationism here.

Anon: "If these are scientists, surely they understand the value of testable, falsifiable predictions. Creation doesn't have any. A young Earth doesn't have any. "

Well, actually it does. The problem for Radar and his pals is that whenever a YEC prediction is tested, it fails the test.

Anonymous said...

Jon Woolf, you are of course entirely correct. In this case, instead of "falsifiable", I should have put "falsifiable yet not falsified".

YEC thrives on not being falsifiable, due to it being based on an inconsistent, non-rational, all-powerful force that isn't even subject to scientific laws.

And Radar has the gall to lecture other people about being "anti-science"?

Wow, that's something.



Radar, please name a single thing that supports creationism that is falsifiable yet is not falsified.

Just one.

If what you believe to be true is actually true, you should have not one, but dozens, hundreds, a plethora.

But let's start with one: a single thing that supports creationism that is falsifiable yet is not falsified.

And no, this is not a "rabbit hole".

It's a legitimate question that you should be able to respond to without hesitation.

If what you believe to be true is true, that is.



Make sure to include it in your impending "Radar tells all about Creation versus Darwinism", whatever that is.

Anonymous said...

Highboy, Hawkeye, if you can think of any, that would be awesome too.

radar said...

Since you cannot give me an answer for information, life or existence and since all these self-congratulatory comments lack the evidence that my posts contain, I do not think you commenters have the right to challenge me on the content of this article.

Scientists see devolution happening, Woolf, it is going backwards.

We've already falsified Darwinism. The laws of biogenesis and thermodynamics remain in place. Darwinists say "we are working on it" while science remains the same.

No life from non-life
No natural source of information
No new matter being created, nothing being destroyed.

Here is falsifiable for you then...if there was no Creator God, you would not exist. Do you exist?

Jon Woolf said...

"We've already falsified Darwinism. The laws of biogenesis and thermodynamics remain in place."

There is no 'law of biogenesis.' Evolution doesn't violate the laws of thermodynamics.

"Here is falsifiable for you then...if there was no Creator God, you would not exist. Do you exist?"

It's a shame you never spent any time studying basic logic. A conditional of the form "A -> B" means "it's impossible for A to be true and B to be false." If A is false and B is true, then the statement as a whole is considered valid.

Paul said...

I certainly agree that research can be done without believing in evolution. These chemists and even a researcher in tectonics like John Baumgardner do research without believing in evolution.

I also agree there are many good scientists who disagree with evolution.

They're also all religious, and all of their arguments against evolution are so weak that they can be answered even by an amateur (and Christian) like me.

In the case of John and Sally, his "strongest argument" is not an argument at all but a question. How could all left-handed molecules have arisen in a primordial soup.

The fact is, scientists are working at answering that question. Medline has an Oct. 9 article with what they believe is a plausible answer.

"I don't think they'll ever answer that one" is a really weak scientific argument, yet it's the best one that a chemist can come up with against evolution.

That is telling.

Hers is also a question, though she doesn't phrase it as one. Her question is how all those processes working together in our digestive systems have arisen by evolution.

These things always end up being explained by scientists. They've answered every irreducible complexity argument so far with real-life examples, even Behe's famous bacterial flagellum.

The answer is always that those processes didn't just pop into existence before they started working together. They already were serving in different roles in the body, then the cooperation between them evolved afterward.

Even if they never found such answers, however, "How could this happen?" is a really weak scientific argument, especially when it's the strongest argument that anti-evolution chemists can come up with.

Anonymous said...

"Since you cannot give me an answer for information, life or existence and since all these self-congratulatory comments lack the evidence that my posts contain, I do not think you commenters have the right to challenge me on the content of this article."

Wow, that has to be one of the weakest and least logical evasions I've seen yet. Plus it's very telling that instead of rising to the challenge, you try to shut down the argument.

Don't feel bad, though. It's not your fault that there is nothing that supports creationism that is falsifiable yet is not falsified. (Which is why creationism has no place in science.) What is your fault, though, is that you've married yourself to this stance. But that's your cross to bear, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

"Scientists see devolution happening, Woolf, it is going backwards."

Evidence?

"We've already falsified Darwinism."

Wishful thinking, Radar.

"The laws of biogenesis and thermodynamics remain in place."

And neither evolution nor abiogenesis are in violation of these.

"Darwinists say "we are working on it" while science remains the same."

Scientists are working on all kinds of things, abiogenesis among them. Evolution, not so much. That ship has sailed.

Science does not remain the same. It adapts to new discoveries. It is revealed knowledge (e.g. the Bible) that remains the same and is immune to information input.

"No life from non-life"

At some point life must have come from non-life. The question is how.

"No natural source of information"

Do you understand where the added information in a genetic algorithm comes from?

"No new matter being created, nothing being destroyed."

Don't know why you included this one, since it's an argument against creationism, not abiogenesis or the theory of evolution.

Anonymous said...

"Here is falsifiable for you then...if there was no Creator God, you would not exist. Do you exist?"

Looks like you haven't quite grasped this notion of falsifiable, or perhaps you're just not making an effort. And as Jon Woolf pointed out, you seem to struggle with elementary logic.

The point is to come up with something that would be true if your hypothesis is correct and that would not be true if it were not. In this case, since alternative explanations are available, your statement doesn't add up.

To put it in simpler terms: if I were to present the argument "If the theory of evolution weren't true, you would not exist. Do you exist?" you could instantly reply that that's not a logical statement, since in your mind a Creator God could accomplish the same thing, i.e. there is an alternative explanation.

Here are two examples of a falsifiable statement:

If living beings evolved on Earth over billions of years, then we would expect to see any of their remains consistently deposited in layers by age, oldest at the bottom, most recent at the top (barring demonstrable folds in the layers).

If living beings were created all at the same time and then perished in a flood that deposited all current layers in a short space of time, we would expect to see any of their remains deposited either in a random arrangement or sorted on the basis of some physical characteristic.

One of these statements is confirmed, one is falsified.

Anonymous said...

And while we're at it, Radar, how was the alleged impossibility of abiogenesis ever tested and confirmed?

Don't worry, no one's really expecting an answer from you - your lack of an answer alone is the answer.

Anonymous said...

Paul, interesting post. I also liked your website.

It's nice to see a Christian who abhors intellectual dishonesty and who argues intelligently. A welcome change indeed.

Jon Woolf said...

Paul, I'll second the praise for both your comment and your website. A very nice job, in both cases.

Anonymous said...

Jon Woolf,

"There is no 'law of biogenesis.'"

There is a thing called a law of biogenesis, but -

1. it is not a scientific law, and -

2. it does not say that abiogenesis is impossible.

Scientific laws are laws that can be tested and confirmed with great consistency. The impossibility of abiogenesis (essentially what Radar is claiming it is) has never been tested or confirmed.

radar said...

I hate to go over this again. The law of biogenesis was tested, retested and confirmed. The law states that life only comes from life. It was tested on everything from mice to microbes. It is a law that has never been falsified although it is certainly falsifiable. When you ignore this law you are abandoning science for the sake of your religion. Shame on all of you for lying about this in the comments thread. If you actually have any scientific training at all you know that the law of biogenesis was established once and for all by Louis Pasteur. Are you going to deny the laws of gravity and thermodynamics next?

When you Darwinists talk of abiogenesis, you are discussing a fairy tale. Biogenesis has been declared a law. You Darwinists have come along and realized that this law falsifies your belief system, so you arbitrarily downgrade it from a law to a hypothesis and begin trying like mad to find some way for life to come from non-life. It will never happen.

You Darwinists need a history of science course.

Readers, research the law of biogensis. From the late 1600's to the middle 1800's scientists experimented and tested and eventually came to the conclusion after years of testing and retesting that life only comes from life, period. There were no circumstances found that would allow for life to appear any other way. We have all sorts of ways to try to test and challenge this law and Darwinists have been trying mightily to disprove the law and they have failed every time.

Every time. So when Darwinists ignore this, they are abandoning science and going on blind faith.

Jon Woolf said...

"There were no circumstances found that would allow for life to appear any other way. We have all sorts of ways to try to test and challenge this law..."

For longer than that, alchemists tried to transmute elements by chemical means. They never succeeded, and eventually scientists decided it couldn't be done. Half a century later, it was found that it could be done after all, but only by the application of nuclear forces.

Radar, of all the examples of folly and hypocrisy you have to believe in order to defend a YEC position, this has to be one of the most glaring. When scientists say something that supports YEC, you seize on it as Holy Writ and defend it against all objections, no matter how well grounded. Yet when those same scientists say something that contradicts YEC, you instantly dismiss them as idiots.

Although, considering the rhetoric contained in your latest little screed, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by any tactic of yours anymore. Is there no level of vileness to which you won't sink in order to avoid actually discussing the facts?

Anonymous said...

"I hate to go over this again"

Since you refuse to answer the essential question, you're not done yet.

"The law of biogenesis was tested, retested and confirmed."

Okay, Radar, pretend you're on stage and you're being asked this question:

Was the impossibility of abiogenesis tested and confirmed? If so, how?

Do you answer the question or do you exit stage left?

(Hint: the impossibility of abiogenesis was never tested and confirmed. Yet that's what you mistakenly take the law of biogenesis to mean. And that is why the impossibility of abiogenesis is not a scientific law. Come to think of it, neither is the law of biogenesis.)

Anonymous said...

"The law states that life only comes from life. It was tested on everything from mice to microbes."

So it was only tested on complex life forms. The law states that complex life forms come from complex life forms. Re. abiogenesis, that's pretty irrelevant and unremarkable. You're coming at the issue from the wrong end.

"It is a law that has never been falsified although it is certainly falsifiable."

How is it falsifiable? Seeing as you completely failed when you tried to come up with a falsifiable statement to support the idea of creationism, I suspect you won't be able to answer this question either.

"When you ignore this law you are abandoning science for the sake of your religion."

The only time I've seen science abandoned for the sake of religion has been YEC, God poofing this and that into existenc left and right, mucking about with the speed of light etc. Talk about abandoning science for the sake of religion, sheesh.

Researching whether chemical processes can lead to extremely simple life forms has nothing to do with religion, and is not in violation of any scientific laws.

Anonymous said...

"When you Darwinists talk of abiogenesis, you are discussing a fairy tale."

You mean like an all-powerful supernatural being waved a magic wand? Something like that?

"Biogenesis has been declared a law."

Again:

1. not a scientific law.

2. didn't cover the categoric impossibility of abiogenesis.

You have to get your head out of this religious mindset. These aren't like immutable commandments handed down from on high. They're very specific and to be a scientific law, they have to be testable.

Anonymous said...

"You Darwinists have come along and realized that this law falsifies your belief system,"

It doesn't. Perhaps you're projecting again.

"so you arbitrarily downgrade it from a law to a hypothesis"

Who did this exactly? The law of biogenesis is what it is, not a scientific law nor a hypothesis. It just happens not to say what you would like it to say.

"and begin trying like mad to find some way for life to come from non-life."

To tell you the truth, in atheist circles nobody's all that frantic about it. There are some things we don't know yet about the universe. It doesn't exactly keep us awake at night.

Anonymous said...

"It will never happen."

Until it happens. Wouldn't be the first time a prediction like that bit the dust.

"You Darwinists need a history of science course."

Looks like you could do with a refresher course on a few issues yourself. Those creationist sources aren't doing you any favors.

"Readers, research the law of biogensis. From the late 1600's to the middle 1800's scientists experimented and tested and eventually came to the conclusion after years of testing and retesting that life only comes from life, period. There were no circumstances found that would allow for life to appear any other way. We have all sorts of ways to try to test and challenge this law and Darwinists have been trying mightily to disprove the law and they have failed every time."

The law of biogenesis as it stands isn't that interesting, and it's pretty irrelevant to current abiogenesis research. Who cares that mice came from mice and microbes from microbes over a generation or two? It's simply looking at the problem from the wrong end. I don't fault Pasteur etc. - I fault modern-day creationists who think this is evidence against abiogenesis.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you've got a visit from a new commenter Radar. Kinda' rude of you not to say hello to him, actually. His name appears to be Paul, he is a christian, and this is his website,

http://www.proof-of-evolution.com/index.html

It looks like it's a site tailored for people just like you (and highboy too, of course). Per Paul,

"I don't believe there's any reason to resort to lying, deceit, or intellectual dishonesty. God made everything! And his handiwork, according to the Bible, shows his glory; it doesn't take away from it!

In other words, God doesn't need us to protect him from proof of evolution. He certainly doesn't want us to lie in his defense. He can take care of himself."

Looks like you've got some splainin' to do, Radar. Not only that though, Paul has even got a specific page geared "toward creationists who oppose evolution." Here is a link, seeing as you are a "creationist that opposes evolution", I know you're going to want to see it,

http://www.proof-of-evolution.com/evolution-evidence.html

Happy investigating, Radar. I mean, you should probably check it out if only to identify exactly what it is that's wrong with Paul. I mean, is he just stupid or is he part of the giant conspiracy keeping creation science down? And, I didn't even know that they let christians into that thing. And what does this say about Paul's thoughts on Hitler? On second thought, you might want to contact Ben Stein, in order to get to the bottom of this.

- Canucklehead.