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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Origins science - Darwinism, Intelligent Design and Creation Science - To the blackboard!

In the world of operational science, origins usually really is meaningless.   So not every scientist is terribly concerned about origins science.  Medical doctors do not use origins science to treat patients nor do surgeons consider it while planning an operation.   

Origins science is difficult because one cannot hop into a time machine and set it to "The Beginning" and observe what happened.   We cannot go back in time and the historical records of mankind don't go back very far.  So while logic and inductive and deductive reasoning come into play in modern science, in the world of origins science testing is limited.   We can see what is happening now.   We can test and observe the modern world.  But we are forced to make assumptions in order to do origins science and we must make hypotheses and test them against what can be observed and also run them through the scrutiny of logic and common sense and, even then, what comes out of the other end is not likely going to be provable.   

If someone tells you Darwinist evolution is proven fact they are wrong.  They may not be lying because they might believe it, but that statement is a lie and whoever has convinced them of it was lying for sure.  If someone tells you that the concept that God created is proven fact, that is also false.  You cannot actually test that statement so you cannot prove it either true or false.   

Don't believe me?  Let's go to the blackboard:

 
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Science as we know it now was simply one component of philosophy in the BC days.   Men would simply state a philosophy they considered workable to explain life or existence or whatever subject being discussed and if people generally agreed that it sounded workable, good enough.  This is what we call axiomatic science.  Axiomatic thinking dominated the world until we had passed 1000 AD.  The definition of axiomatic:


axiomatic [ˌæksɪəˈmætɪk], axiomatical
adj
1. relating to or resembling an axiom; self-evident
2. containing maxims; aphoristic
3. (Philosophy / Logic) (of a logical system) consisting of a set of axioms from which theorems are derived by transformation rules Compare natural deduction
axiomatically  adv
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


Thesaurus 
Legend:  Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Adj.1.axiomatic - evident without proof or argument; "an axiomatic truth"; "we hold these truths to be self-evident"
obvious - easily perceived by the senses or grasped by the mind; "obvious errors"

2.axiomatic - containing aphorisms or maxims; "axiomatic wisdom"

3.axiomatic - of or relating to or derived from axioms; "axiomatic physics"; "the postulational method was applied to geometry"- S.S.Stevens
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.

So if it was "self evident" to many of the Greek philosophers that all things were made of four different ingredients, so be it!  Little by little people like Archimedes found that observations and tests were useful in seeking to learn things about the world around us.   Aristotlean axiomatic science would eventually be pushed aside to the curb as methodological investigation became a scientific norm.   It was not a quick or an easy process.   As David Coppedge chronicles in THE WORLD’S GREATEST CREATION SCIENTISTS From Y1K to Y2K the process was painstaking.   For many centuries, scientists were largely either in the axiomatic or the investigative camp but, eventually, investigative science won out.   Investigative science was spelled out by Roger Bacon and the "Scientific Method" was popularized by Sir Francis Bacon.   Both of these men were Creationists.   But they were not called Creation Scientists because most folks took the concept of a created world made by God for granted.   Scientists who believed in creation were the movers and shakers of science, giants of discovery, the men who advanced the cause of learning for many centuries from the superstitious world of 1000 AD to a world which, in the 1600's and thereafter, methodological investigation had become standard scientific procedure.

Most people who we call scientists of days past by were men who had been trained to be ministers or perhaps philosophers.   Men of letters might be lawyers but there were not entire schools devoted to the study of science.  As Coppedge notes at the beginning of his online version of the aforementioned book:

"THE NEW MILLENNIUM is a unique time to look back over a thousand years and ponder how far civilization has come. The comforts, conveniences, health and prosperity available to most of us is due in large measure to the rise of modern science. Today, science is an almost exclusively secular enterprise, presented by the media and universities as the opposite of faith, and therefore intrinsically hostile to religion. But, historically speaking, this is a gross distortion! Did you know that most of the greatest scientists of history were Bible-believing Christians? This pictorial research presentation will demonstrate three surprising facts about the history of modern science (see the Introduction for explanation and definitions of terms): 

  1. Most of the greatest scientists of the past 1000 years were Christians and creationists.
  2. To these scientists, Christianity was the driving force behind their discoveries.
  3. The Christian world view gave birth and impetus to modern science."

These are facts.   We know from reading the works of men like Newton and Bacon and Maxwell that faith in a Logical Creator gave them the faith to devote their lives to studying creation, in the expectation that logical processes could be identified and understood.  Methodological investigation was based upon the concept that the world was not randomly generated and therefore processes would not be random, either.  That was then and this is now.  We now have seen science go from a world in which everyone was seeking to understand the world and the Universe and comparing ideas and concepts to one in which there are giant walls set up based on metaphysical concepts that separate people and concepts and often censor and punish those who do not line up metaphysically with the secular majority.   Freedom of investigation has not been destroyed, but it has been badly hampered.   Here is the scorecard of the battle of ideas that separates scientists and academics from each other and often from truth:

  1. Naturalistic Materialists aka Darwinists
  2. Creation Scientists aka Creationists
  3. Intelligent Design proponents aka ID


There are subgroups within the three major schools of thought, but I can assert confidently that the reason that these groups exist is primarily metaphysical in nature and not from the preponderance of evidence.  Let's see what happened and then take them in reverse order:

There have been believers in the Creator God as long as human history has been kept.  Most scientists were believers in God before the 19th Century, when men like Marx and Malthus and Darwin and Lyell and Hutton and various Huxleys, etc. caused a "disturbance in the force" so to speak.   We tend to think that Darwinism swept through the world of science during his lifetime but in fact it was not until early in the 20th Century that Darwinism became popularized along with various philosophical movements like communism/socialism/fascism and eugenics.   Both Social and physical Darwinism found dominance in the 20th Century and contributed greatly to the outbreak of two world wars, Jim Crow laws, various atrocities and genocides accomplished in the name of science or progress.   By the 1950's many of the excesses of social Darwinism were noted and rejected by society (but continued to sneak in the back door of ideas) while Naturalistic Materialistic Darwinism took over science.   It was at this point where science reached a crisis stage.  Believers in God found themselves being first shunned, then actually cast out of peer reviews and conventions and schools and technical positions.   From this dynamic situation came three easily identified schools of thought, two of them based on metaphysics before evidence.



Creationists.  

Dr. Henry Morris, the founder of the Institute for Creation Research, was a hydrologist who found that the rock layers appeared to be the result of a massive flood and soon came to be a spokesman for both Christ and Creation.   The Genesis Flood (written by Morris and John Whitcomb) was a landmark book that announced to the world that there were scientists who did not buy into Darwinism and had evidence to bring to the discussion.  Because science had been co-opted and dominated by Darwinists, Creationists were to face an uphill battle to be heard and published.   Creationists had trouble having their papers peer-reviewed for philosophical rather than scientific reasons.   Thus, Creation Science was born.  There had always been scientists who believed in God and some of them were so respected (like Werner Von Braun) that they were bulletproof and moved easily in the world of science and academics because of their well-deserved reputations.   But by 1960 a young scientist who identified himself with God would find it hard to succeed in either academia or the scientific establishment in general.  

Creation Scientists use the classic Scientific Method of Investigation to study the Universe.  They consider the Bible as part of the evidence available.   They continue to expect to find natural causes for natural processes and do not believe that God makes everything happen.  On the contrary, they look first to natural causes for every process and only resort to the supernatural where it is logical or Biblical.  Their assumption is that God created the Universe and all within it, but that the systems and processes operating in the world will almost always have natural causes and will be testable and often can be used or copied for human applications.  It used to be that most scientists were Creation Scientists but people didn't have to label themselves as such because the world of science was a level playing field.   Now Creation Scientists who believe they can afford to reveal their beliefs are joining together in organizations to provide peer review and discussion and interaction as they explore the world as scientists should.


Intelligent Designers.

In contrast to the bad press many ID scientists receive, those who are working from the basic concept of design are not necessarily Creationists or even believers in God.   There are Christians and Jews and Muslims and Agnostics and, well, frankly the idea is to check your metaphysical point of view at the door and look only at the evidence with no regard for the metaphysical consequences.  Darwin is ignored, the Bible is not considered, it is all about what can be observed in the world around us now.   Naturally, to me, if you study organisms and come to the conclusion that they are designed and if you see the same thing in the Solar System and even the Universe, you must then consider the identity of the Designer.   ID doesn't speak to this.   ID simply studies the Universe and those who agree will argue that the Universe and particularly the world of organisms display design features that cannot be explained as the result of random and undirected processes.

 Cartoon by Sidney Harris

Naturalistic Materialists

If you look at this belief system logically, you see that it is extremist.   Creationists do not say that all processes are supernatural nor do they assert that all events have supernatural causes.   They in fact say that most processes and events are the result of natural processes.  But they allow for the concept of the supernatural and when discussing origins, assert that the Supernatural God is the only logical source of life, existence, time, information and existence itself.   But Darwinists are extreme because they claim that ONLY naturalistic materialistic causes are allowed.   They have revised the scientific method and renamed it "Methodological Naturalism" which is certainly NOT what classic science used before the times of Darwinism.  Because Darwinists will not consider any supernatural forces or causes at all, they must credit random and completely undirected processes for causing the Universe and all that is in it, no matter what.   In doing so they have denied laws established by science years before like the Laws of Thermodynamics or Biogenesis for purely metaphysical reasons and not because of observed processes at all.   Some of these Darwinists are so pretentious that they label their sub-group of scientists as "Science" as if they owned the concept!  

Modern culture is completely soaked in Darwinism.  Evolution and "millions of years" are a continual boilerplate repeated ad nauseum by various scientific and pseudo-scientific organizations and cable channels.  In fact, evolution is tagged on practically every discovery made these days, no matter what the discovery actually is.   Article after article declares the wonders of evolution while not actually giving any explanation as to how evolution has anything at all to do with, for instance, the algorithms built into bees that help them navigate to flowers or the remarkable echolocation methods used by bats or even the amazing ATP engine that powers the cell.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I can see no reason for anyone with any common sense at all to adhere to Darwinism after the amazing discovery of DNA and the revelations of both the wonders of the cell and reproduction and the nuts and bolts of photosynthesis, for instance.   As we have observed organisms for many centuries now and very carefully studied thousands of generations of bacteria and hundreds of generations of fruit flies we find that they remain what they are.  No one has ever observed classic Darwinist evolution happening.   We simply see variation within kind.  I have presented hundreds of articles and links with observable evidence for a created world based on what we can see now and the logical conclusions a normal person would reach based on those observations. 

Now that we have had several satellites visit or fly by the planets of our Solar System it is obvious that the planets are not very old.   The gas giants like Saturn and Jupiter put out more energy than they absorb from the Sun.  There are moons that are gushing volcanoes on a regular basis!  There are planets with magnetic fields that should not have them and planets with spins that cannot have happened by natural means.  Some moons have craters everywhere and some have almost no craters at all.   Every single planet in the Solar System is inexplicable by Darwinists for usually several reasons. 

Darwinists cannot explain where the Universe came from, where life or information came from, how and why mankind can think abstractly while the rest of living beings do not and innumerable other problems.   ID explains that organisms and in fact the Universe must be designed.   But only Creationists can explain Who designed everything and why God did it.   Creationists have the answers for not only what but also why.  We cannot necessarily always know how and pinpointing when is difficult, but Who is where we find many of the answers.   The only real problem Creationists have to deal with besides the matter of age questions is the dogmatism, the censorship, the blatant tyranny of thought that comes with the power that Darwinists yield by dominating the world of academia and the world of scientific grants.  This is simply wrong, obviously wrong, and frankly the reason for it must be fear.   Darwinists fear the discussion of evidence for evidence doesn't support their position.   This is what I have concluded.  So normally evidence is what I provide to the readers.

So I would love to see Darwinists drop the pretension and the air of superiority and the continual derision and just talk about the evidence.   We certainly could put down our swords and exchange ideas instead.   I for one would be delighted to do so.   For all the years I have been writing this blog I have been working like the Children of Israel had to work when rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in the time of Nehemiah.   I have had a trowel in my hand but a sword by my side and a trumpet ready to sound when attacks come.   It is not my desire to protect myself because if it was, the blog would have moderated comments and I would weed out those I didn't like.  I am seeking to promote what I believe to be the Truth, that God created the Universe, that we can see the evidence that He did this clearly and that God desires to have a genuine relationship with His creatures, the crown of creation, mankind.   In order to do this I would like to keep the comments thread free from censorship.   Bad language will get comments deleted and, if commenters began to do it on a regular basis then I would have to moderate the blog comments.   Since I have so many responsibilities, even if 99% of posts would eventually be published, the discussion would come in fits and starts rather than in real time.

I don't check comments every hour and in fact some days go by without looking because despite the incivility of some the commenters on this blog have kept it rated PG.   No matter how much I may disagree with you, I will allow your comments to be posted freely as long as you keep it clean.  If you are rude I will call you out and as this is sometimes a fight I will not always be terribly kind to the unkind.   Until God tells me I can put the sword away it will remain by my side.  But for those who comment, frankly, the more information we exchange that does not involve personal attacks the better the comments thread will be.  It is one thing to attack ideas but when you attack people you have entirely left science behind and have moved into another realm altogether.   If you think Creationism is dumb, fine, but it is time to bring some better reasons to the table. 

I consider the Bible to be evidence and I will use it as such.  That makes me just as "dumb" as Sir Isaac Newton was or Jonathan Sarfati is (in this one area that is) and I am fine with keeping that kind of company.  I am sorry for Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, smart and creative men who could not "grok" God.  Ironically, Robert Heinlein didn't "grok" God either although his most famous book title was a scriptural quote and the main character of that book was presented as a Messianic character.  But although I do consider the Bible to be true, I will continue to post evidence that focuses primarily on what we can observe in the real world of today rather than what we can read that was written beforehand.  That way in the end it will be the evidence that drives science.  Sometimes science lags behind evidence but I believe that it will catch up again and the 19th Century ideas will yield to the findings of 21st Century science!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Darwinism the "Ghost that wasn't there" strikes again!!!

Hey, buddy?  Wanna buy a hypothesis real cheap?  I got the good stuff right here!

Earlier this month and more than once, in fact, I have mentioned that current Big Bang Hypotheses are mostly nothing.  Yep, nothing.  95% of the currently popular Big Bang model is made up of indiscernible Dark Matter and Dark Energy.  Dark being the operative word because these fudge factors are not detected or observed but the equations NEED them to be out there somewhere to work.  This is what Darwinists call "science." 

Now, you go ahead and believe what you like but, if the marketplace of ideas operated like the marketplace of actual goods, Big Bang Incorporated would be bankrupt by now.  Darwinism Corporation would likely be defunct as a buggy whip factory.  No one would go into an auto dealership and be satisfied with getting 5% of an Mustang for their 30 grand!  

"Sure, here is the rear axle, the tires and the trunk lid.  You cannot perceive the rest of the car but rest assured that it is there!"


Right.  


Well, the same kind of thing happens in the world of paleontology.  One of the many secrets of Darwinism is that there should be a kind of continuum of slightly changing organisms as they gradually evolved from one thing to another thing.  There should be millions of "transitional" fossils in the rocks.  In fact, most of the things you are taught about sedimentary rock layers in school are wrong.  But the lack of transitional fossils is one of the worst problems they have.  There are a handful of dubious transitional fossils that Darwinists have presented to us but frankly the whole fossil record should be full of them!  But that isn't what we see.


We see fully formed organisms, most of which are extinct now, although they very often have living relatives.  Experts in the field of physiology will tell you that the immense size of many of the extinct creatures, especially dinosaurs, would be impossible in our world today.  The atmosphere of the pre-Flood era had to have had a higher percentage of oxygen to sustain some of the largest specimens of the now extinct dinosaurs.  That is just one of many reasons dinosaurs do not apparently exist today.


After the Flood the animal populations expanded all around the world while mankind remained in the area of Babel until forcibly expelled by God by confusing their languages.  This is why dinosaurs were able to survive for well over a thousand years after the Flood because, although they were smaller than their prediluvian cousins, they were still so dangerous to mankind that they had to be killed off eventually when mankind expanded around the planet.  Pictures, carvings, statues, stories, official town records and historical documents all show us that dinosaurs existed in many areas until around the time of Columbus.  In some localities (like Southern Illinois) there were sightings that dated up to the early 18th Century.  I'm not talking about Nessie, I am talking about official records and anatomically correct drawings, carvings, statues and paintings of dinosaurs done by men and women who saw them, lived near them and eventually killed them off.  


In any event, the time had to come when animals unable to fend for themselves like the DoDo would be killed off and dinosaurs were killed off (unless there are still a few in the remote areas of the Congo) and if mankind had not decided to begin protecting the rarest wild animals it is quite likely that Tigers and perhaps Lions and the biggest Bears would have been exterminated as well.  Sperm Whales might have been exterminated if fossil fuels had not been discovered.  There was a time when Whale Oil was the popular lamp fuel.  The creatures we see today have speciated to very different appearances in a lot of cases while others have remained the same.  All organisms have genetic information that allows them to vary according to environment.  There are fish that are basically the same with the exception that some dwell in fresh waters and others in salt water.  There are some creatures that look exactly as they do in the fossil record.  Organisms can change over time due to ecological conditions, that is part of their design.  Creationists don't argue that organisms change, they simply state that kind produces kind.  Variation only takes place within kind and therefore fish didn't become rats and cows didn't become whales nor did dinosaurs (this one is kind of funny) become birds!   See that Robin over there?  Used to be T. Rex!  Pretty big comedown, huh?


Ironically, a Darwinist named Sagan wrote a book called "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark" and yet Darwinists certainly believe in ghosts.  

credit

So I now present Ghosts in the rocks:


Ghosts in the rocks

Published: 14 July 2011(GMT+10)
Ghosts in the rocks
iStockphoto 

Contradictions between evolutionary fossil dating and the dating implied by evolutionary cladistic analyses are common. Therefore, one dating scheme must take precedence over the other. The vagaries of fossilization are well-known, with fossil ranges commonly being extended by tens and hundreds of millions of years by new discoveries.1 Consequently the ‘evolutionary history’ deduced from cladistics analyses takes precedence over fossils. This means many taxa are inferred to be much older than the evolutionary fossil dating indicates. To accommodate this, evolutionists have invented ‘ghost lineages’, which are lineages that have no fossil evidence.


The irony is that this auxiliary hypothesis (a hypothesis needed to explain some first-look contradiction to a core theory, such as evolution) is needed to plug a hole in another auxiliary hypothesis—cladistics. Cladistics was designed to support evolution despite the striking paucity of clear-cut lineages in the fossil record, which Darwin originally recognised but predicted would be filled with new finds. Because these dating discrepancies are common, ghost lineages are commonly invoked:

However, it is not an explanation per se; it is inherently an argument from silence—if there was evidence, ghost lineages wouldn’t need to be invoked.
“The sequence of branching events in a morphological cladistic hypothesis is often harmonized with the fossil record of the ingroup through the creation of ‘ghost lineages’, artificial extensions of a taxon’s range beyond its observed first appearance in the fossil record (Norell 1993). This approach essentially erases any discrepancy between the observed order of appearance events and the order implied by the hypothesis. Insofar as ghost lineages explain away discrepancies between (stratigraphic) observation and (cladistic) hypothesis, they may be considered appeals to ad hoc support, analogous to the way homoplasy is invoked to explain away morphological data that are incongruent with a cladistic hypothesis”.2
Some examples include:
Ordovician/Silurian trilobites:
“Phylogenetic work in progress, however (Adrain, unpublished data), suggests that a substantial number of Silurian ‘rebound’ genera had Ordovician sister taxa—many ghost lineages (Norell 1992), undetected and undetectable by taxic paleobiology, survived the event, and the taxic description of extinction is at best an overestimate.”3
sauropod dinosaurs:
“The early Middle Jurassic low point matches a particularly poor part of the sauropod fossil record according to Upchurch and Barrett (2005), who noted that ghost ranges are high relative to observed lineages for this time interval.”4
“In each case, ichnofossil and body fossil character and temporal distributions were non-overlapping, so hypotheses of character transformation required ad hoc hypotheses of character change (homoplasy) or of stratigraphic intervals in which taxa were not sampled (ghost lineages).”5
birds:
The minimum ghost lineage separating birds from their nearest dinosaurian relative is short. Based on the presence of dromaeosaurids in the Barremian (Kirkland et al., 1993), the minimum ghost lineage is only 20.9 my long”.6
and whales:
“Ghost lineages necessitated by the phylogenetic hypothesis extend the stratigraphic range of Cetacea into the middle Paleocene (Torrejonian), ten million years earlier than the oldest cetacean fossil currently known.”7

Long-lived ghosts

Severely out-of-place fossils are sometimes cited as evidence that would falsify evolution. But ghost lineages were invented to explain this very problem! So, is the issue the size of the age discrepancy? This raises the rather obvious question of what exactly constitutes a ‘large’ gap, since ‘large’ is a relative term.
How about 25 million years?
Captorhinus laticeps (the earliest member of the Saurorictus sister group) is Leonardian in age (Heaton, 1979), the Tatarian age of the Karoo captorhinid is suggestive of an extensive (approximately 25 million year long) ghost lineage for Saurorictus.”8
Still not long enough? What about 50 million years?
“It is not surprising that the relationships of post-Jurassic plesiosaurs cannot be better resolved considering the large gap in the Lower Cretaceous record (almost 50 million years), indicating a long ghost lineage leading to the Callawayasaurus, Libonectes, Hydrotherosaurus, and Aristonectes clade”.9
Or 60 million years for the supposed ‘dinobird’ fossil Mahakala omnogovae:
“The extant fossils for Mahakala are ‘dated’ at 80 Ma, but the split between dramaeosauridae and paraves supposedly occurred about 140 Ma. Moreover, there are many dramaeosaurs that fill in that chronological gap, but they are all ‘more advanced’ in their morphology than Mahakala. This is a ghost lineage 60 million years in the making!”10
These changes span numerous geologic ‘epochs’, while some even span times longer than whole geological periods! It seems that the scope of ghost lineages to explain time gaps is almost limitless.

Ghosts of ghosts

Usually, a ghost lineage is assumed to have undergone ‘evolutionary stasis’ during the period for which there is no fossil evidence for its existence. But evolutionary stasis is itself a vacuous oxymoron seemingly designed just to keep people thinking that evolution explains all change, including no change.11
 
Sometimes, however, some gaps are so large that filling it with one species is not enough. Though the concept of ‘ghost lineages’ is kept, the ‘evolutionary stasis’ assumption is thrown out. This constitutes inventing a whole ghost cladogram of unobserved species out of thin air when evolutionists think it is necessary:
“Short of extending the stratigraphic range of T. neglectus across this stretch of time, it is more likely that the gap represents a ghost lineage partitioned by successive, but yet undiscovered species. Given the species longevity values calculated by Dodson (1990) it is clear that there must be considerable species diversity masked by the ghost lineage leading to T. neglectus, perhaps much more than the known diversity of the entire hypsilophodontid clade as presently recognized [emphasis added]!”12
They seem to call not just for evidence of a taxa extending back millions of years, but the wholesale invention of species that supposedly lived and died that never left a trace in the fossil record. This shows that there need be little restraint on the use of ghost lineages to make cladistics analyses fit the stratigraphic record. As Geiger, et al said:
Any cladogram can be placed in a temporal framework that agrees with the stratigraphic record if sufficient ghost lineages are invoked [emphases added].”13

Auxiliary hypotheses and the need for evidence

Auxiliary hypotheses, a concept coined by philosopher of science Imre Lakatos, are an integral part of almost any core theory, such as evolution.14 They are used to explain evidence that at first blush appears contradictory to the core theory. Evolution, as a core theory, relies on many such auxiliary hypotheses to maintain its validity. This is not necessarily a problem, but one needs to look at the evidential validity of the auxiliary hypotheses to see if the core theory can survive the claim of contradiction.

Fossil patterns can’t give a history because they offer no description of themselves.

Ghost lineages (that is, lack of fossil evidence for lineages that evolutionists believe existed) are typically explained as resulting from the vagaries of fossilization and evolutionary stasis. Nobody denies that fossilization is fickle, and the fossils may create more gaps in our understanding of biology than they close. But we’ve seen that ghost lineages can be applied to essentially any discrepancy between the cladistics and stratigraphic ‘timelines’. Therefore, it is not an explanation per se; it is inherently an argument from silence—if there was evidence, ghost lineages wouldn’t need to be invoked. ‘Ghost lineages’ are nothing more than an ad hoc band-aid designed to deflect criticism of evolution.

Conclusions

Paleontology seeks to describe the distribution pattern of fossils observed in the rocks, both spatially and temporally. The spatial relationships can be described directly—it is observational science. However, the temporal distribution of fossils is inescapably tied up with the presuppositions one brings to the historical investigation. One’s axioms determine what types of evidence are relevant and thus admissible to the paleontological discussion. Fossil patterns can’t give a history because they offer no description of themselves.15 Within paleontology, molecules-to-man evolution is not a scientific theory but an axiom that guides and therefore constrains investigation. It’s not that evolution does explain everything; it’s that it can explain anything because the axiom dictates that it must. It is the only game allowed.
‘Ghost lineages’ are one of the more blatant examples of this problem. They are an ad hoc attempt to resolve incongruities between fossil dates and dates for evolutionary events derived from cladistics analyses. They explain away the problems by positing evolutionary stasis (yet another auxiliary hypothesis) for which they have no positive evidence. No single ghost lineage can be falsified as such, but it emphasizes how, in ReMine’s poignant words, evolution “adapts to data like a fog adapts to landscape.”16

Related articles

Further reading

References

  1. E.g. Oard, M.J., Further expansion of evolutionary fossil time ranges, Journal of Creation 24(3):5–7, 2010. Return to text.
  2. Finarelli, J.A. and Clyde, W.C., Reassessing hominoid phylogeny: evaluating congruence in the morphological and temporal data, Paleobiology 30(4):614–651, 2004. Return to text.
  3. Adrain, J.M. and Westrop, S.R., Paleobiodiversity: we need new data, Paleobiology 29(1):22–25, 2003. Return to text.
  4. Mannion, P.D. and Upchurch, P., Completeness metrics and the quality of the sauropodomorph fossil record through geological and historical time, Paleobiology 36(2):283–302, 2010. Return to text.
  5. Wilson, J.A., Integrating ichnofossil and body fossil records to estimate locomotor posture and spatiotemporal distribution of early sauropod dinosaurs: a stratocladistic approach, Paleobiology 31(3):400–423, 2005. Return to text.
  6. Brochu, C.A. and Norell, M.A., Temporal congruence and the origin of birds, J. Vert. Paleontol. 20(1):197–200, 2000. Return to text.
  7. O’Leary, M.A and Uhen, M.D., The time of origin of whales and the role of behavioral changes in the terrestrial-aquatic transition, Paleobiology 25(4):534–556, 1999 Return to text.
  8. Modesto, S. and Smith, R.M.H., A new Late Permian captorhinid reptile: a first record from the South African Karoo, J. Vert. Paleontol. 21(3):405–409. 2001. Return to text.
  9. Gasparini, Z., Bardet, N., Martin, J.E. and Fernandez, M., The elasmosaurid plesiosaur Aristonectes cabrera from the latest Cretaceous of South America and Antarctica, J. Vert. Paleontol. 23(1):104–115, 2003. Return to text.
  10. Doyle, S., Cladistics, evolution and the fossils, J. Creation 25(2), in press, 2011. See also: Turner, A.H., Pol, D., Clarke, J.A., Erickson, G.M. and Norell M.A., A basal dromaeosaurid and size evolution preceding avian flight, Science 317:1378–1381, 7 September 2007. Return to text.
  11. Doyle, S., Oldest fossil shrimp? J. Creation 25(1):3–4, 2011. Return to text.
  12. Weishampel, D.B, Fossils, phylogeny, and discovery: a cladistic study of the history of tree topologies and ghost lineage durations, J. Vert. Paleontol. 16(2):191–197, 1996; p. 196. Return to text.
  13. Geiger, D.L., Fitzhugh, K. and Thacker, C.E., Timeless Characters: a response to Vermeij (1999), Paleobiology 27(1):177–178, 2001. Return to text.
  14. Lakatos, I., Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programmes; in: Lakatos I. & Musgrave A. (eds.), Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1970. Return to text.
  15. Reed, J.K., Cuvier’s analogy and its consequences: forensics vs testimony as historical evidence, J. Creation 22(3):115–120, 2008. Return to text.
  16. ReMine, W., The Biotic Message: Evolution versus Message Theory, St Paul Science, St Paul, MN, p.350, 1993. Return to text.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creationist view of the fossil rocks short and sweet. Tas edition.

No, not THAT one


This will not be a long post.   Darwinists set up strawmen to knock down when discussing Creationist beliefs and one of those is related to the Noahic Flood and the sedimentary rocks.   I can point out to the reader that Tas Walker has a blog that will cover various points in detail.   I will get back to his blog in a minute.  To make things quite simple, Darwinists like to claim that Creationists say that all the surface features of the Earth and all the sedimentary rock layers and all the fossils were caused by the Flood and were formed during the Flood.  This is quite false.   Sedimentary rock layers and fossils were formed by the Flood, yes, and also during the time following the Flood when a completely new planet's surface was covered by unstable mudrock, glaciation was formed by super storms that resulted from the new conditions.  I've blogged on the conditions previously that led to the formation of massive glaciers, sometimes buried animals as large as mammoths in sudden loess storms that preserved them frozen standing up as subsequent storms left them buried in permafrost.   Massive glaciers soon began to melt, formed huge lakes and then dike breaks formed massive formations such as Devil's Canyon, the Badlands and at least in part the Grand Canyon.  There are many other aspects of the Flood, like rapid tectonic plate subduction, intense volcanic activity, hydroplate theory...the Flood itself is just part of a few hundred years of processes that reshaped the Earth.

Darwinists like to make fun of the concept of the Flood-era events forming the rock layers, but in fact it fits the evidence.  If you were able to hear about all the discoveries made in recent years by Creationists, if there was not an entire system of censorship in place trying to keep the dead corpse of Darwinism from revealing its morbid state, you would already know that amber has been shown to have formed on floating mats riding on the surface of the Flood.  You would know of all the holes in the fossil stories told by Darwinists, holes big enough to drive trucks through.   You would also understand how irrelevant some of their questions are.  Why, for instance, aren't there any dolphin fossils found?   The likely answer is that there were no dolphins at that time, dolphins have speciated from other whale kinds since the time of the Flood.  In fact we know that organisms can speciate very rapidly, testing has proven this.   Thus, from a small population of animals released from the Ark came numerous varieties of the core kinds because speciation is a design feature of organisms.  Darwin thought finch beaks were evidence of evolution.  Actually, finch beaks vary back and forth depending upon conditions and there is even a switch within the organism that can fast-track changes in beaks.  Anyway, think about it.  Billions of tons of sedimentary rocks?  Not happening from long ages of gradual accumulations of dirt, folks, and fossils only happen with rapid burial under certain conditions. 

Having promised a short blog post, I will also present a short Tas Walker article.  It is neatly linked, so you can learn more as you so choose.  Why not find out what the NCSE doesn't want you to know?


Biblical Geology

Properly Understanding the Rocks

by Tas Walker
modelSee here how easy it is to develop a simple, powerful model for classifying rock formations within a biblical framework.

A biblical geological model? What is a model? Is a biblical geological model scientific? More.
 
The linking problem. A biblical geological model links two sources of information, namely, the written biblical history and the observed geological data. It is vital to get the link right. More.
 
Major Dimensions. When we start with the Bible we can work out a broad framework for Earth history. And we can be confident it is correct because we believe the biblical record is accurate. More.
 
Biblical chronology. Before you or I or anyone else can develop a geological model we need to know what happened on the earth in the past—we need an earth history. The Bible is accurate record from which we can obtain a detailed chronology. More.
 
Development of the model. Drawing on our understanding of geological processes we will think about the biblical text from a geological point of view. In particular we will ask the question "What would we expect to find?" More.
 
Overview of the model. The basic concept of the geological model is quite simple and transforms the way we look at geology. More.
 
Detail of the model. To be useful for scientific research, the broad framework must be expanded to provide detail of specific events and processes and their time relationships. More.
 
Classification criteria for conntecting to geology in the field. Past geologic processes varied in nature and intensity at different times. We can use this to identify geologic characteristics will help classify rocks in accordance with the biblical geological model. More.
 
Geological environments and processes. Different phases of Earth history experienced different geological environments and processes. What characteristics would we expect for rocks deposited during each phase? More.
 
Application to the Great Artesian Basin, Australia. Now that the biblical model is finished we can classify rocks in the field. Every rock formation on the earth can be placed somewhere within the biblical model because the model covers the entire geological history of our planet from its initial creation to the present time. Let's see how it works on the rocks of the Great Artesian Basin, Australia. More.

This one! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do bad things happen to Christians because they are bad?

My mom broke her wrist.   Fortunately, it was not in the most intricate portion of the wrist but was actually a little ways up the forearm, the radius and ulnar, which broke clean.   The surgery patched her up and she was out of the hospital same day.  Pretty sure that was last Sunday.

Then I injured my frayed MCL in my right knee.   It is a chronic knee injured mostly playing basketball (funny how I never had a major football injury but had several basketball injuries.  Weird).  So now I was limping around in pain.  That was Monday.

Then somebody let their dogs run loose and my wife was walking our dogs down a steep hill when loose dogs appeared.   Debbie tried to fall on her butt in the grass and yank the dogs back while shouting commands but they were too quick and she hit the sidewalk with her right knee.   Thankfully nothing broken but the knee was badly scraped and swollen.   So she got medications, a full-leg brace and  crutches.   That happened on Wednesday.  

So then this Sunday some guy in a truck ran over our son, Nathan, when he was riding a bike to work.   Usually my wife would drive him to his Sunday job but she couldn't drive and I was hurting so he decided to just ride his bike, which he does on nice days at times.   Imagine having a police officer show up Sunday morning before 7:30 AM and tell you that a truck hit your son, he had head injuries and had bled a lot?!

So I drove my wife and myself to the emergency room.   She was on crutches and I was limping badly so we probably looked like patients but we were there for Nathan.   Even though he actually had the imprint of the truck logo on the back of his neck, he somehow avoided internal injuries or broken bones.   Twelve staples and special superglue patched up the cuts on his head.   He had left large patches of skin on the road.  He is a walking sore, poor guy.   But the truck couldn't break him.   The bike?  Not so good. 

Therefore I was ignoring my injured knee and doing things for hurt family members until my MCL got so bad I couldn't hardly walk.   So with all this going on I have not been blogging.  I am trying to get my pain level down enough to work.   Thought I would share something with readers.

My body has been broken a lot.  Three ruptured discs in my back, permanent nerve damage in my right leg and foot.  Completely crushed and rebuilt left shoulder and collarbone.  Broken ankle.  Not even sure how many ribs broken since some of them broke more than once but a dozen or so.  Huge tumor that wrapped around and went through muscles so that my left shoulder had to be cut open and muscles cut and then attached again.  Auto accidents, factory accidents, attempted murder, sports injuries.   So many ligament and cartilage injuries, so many scars all over my body.   Anyway, now I take more drugs just to function than most people can take without passing out.   My blood pumps controlled substances as a matter of course.  Not to be high, but rather to be able to walk and think and be functional.

My wife had her head split open like a melon and has a scar you cannot see that runs pretty much straight down the middle.  She had miscarriages and needed to be cut open to produce her babies.   Once a horse smashed her knee into a post so hard she was on crutches for six months.   Yes, the same knee she just hurt.  She also has sciatica to an extent.  

I was a bad man before I became a Christian.   My wife was younger when she was born again, but she was definitely a druggy back then.  Are we paying for our younger indescretions?   No, I really don't believe that at all.  Every single person has indescretions/sins.   We are often just selfish or greedy, sometimes jealous, sometimes hedonistic, sometimes angry or vengeful...human beings know how to sin.

In the Book of Job, the title character was a well-known man with much money, many children and many animals and servants.   Because of various events, he loses all family other than his wife, he loses riches and children, he loses his health and is in pain and misery.   He spends much of the book defending his righteousness as his friends point out that God would not let such bad things happen to a good man.   He was urged to admit his sin.  Job kept calling upon God to tell him his fault and explain the injustice of his condition but he refused to curse God.   After several "comforters" give him the standard belief (everything that happens under the Sun is a result of your personal righteousness and diligence.  Good comes to good people and bad things happen to bad people).

Finally God comes to talk directly to Job and in doing so describes to Job His various works - the Universe, the Earth, the living beings found thereupon - and Job sees that his own righteousness is completely insufficient to compare to God's righteousness and glory.   Job repents and realizes that God had given him life and opportunity but was not obligated to guarantee Job's success or failure.  Job sees the real value in faith in God and withdraws every charge he'd laid at God's feet.   Actually, it was the enemy of God, Satan, that had brought disaster to Job in an attempt to make Job curse God and abandon faith.   Job would not do it.  Job had a lesson to learn and it was hard, but he did learn.  We do not serve God to gain earthly things.  We worship God because He is awesome and deserves to be honored.   It is a privilege to serve a Great God who is both Creator and Redeemer.   Job did come to understand and I do, too.   Knowing God is worth whatever price there is to pay.

We live in a world that is full of sin.   Because Adam and Eve sinned, then sin and death came to the world and we all must suffer from this.   There will be accidents and there will be evil.   There is a law of reaping and sowing - if you work hard, you most likely succeed, if you goof off you probably don't.   If you are faithful in marriage you will not get an STD as long as your mate is also faithful.  If you drive carefully you probably won't be in an accident - unless some careless person smashes into you.   Sometimes while driving down a highway I consider that each new car coming down the road could suddenly swerve into my path and quite possibly kill me and everyone with me.   Usually we all stay in our lanes and avoid smashing each other.

I'm not mad at God.  I am so happy Nathan got run over by a truck and is relatively unscathed!   We were rejoicing that Debbie's leg wasn't broken, that Nathan had somehow even avoided a concussion, that my mom could have an easy operation and that I can probably get by without surgery.   Sometimes it is about the attitude.   I know that my sins make me eligible for death and hell.   I don't deserve anything good at all.  Doing my best to do God's will doesn't guarantee a better paycheck.

It makes me mad when pseudo-preachers try to get people to send money to THEM so that the people will get money from God.  Give to get?  Blab it, grab it?   It makes me mad when a pseudo-preacher tells people that "they need more faith" in order to be healed or for a family member to be healed.   More often than not that same guy will have a hand out asking for money at the end of it all.  

God is not obligated to bless me.  I hope He does bless me and I am thankful when He does bless me.   I believe God led me to enter this business knowing I would be smashed so badly I'd need a job I could do from home that would still support a big house and a lot of people.   I believe God helped me find my wife, my soul mate and love, the person I wanted to be with my entire life but it had to be after getting my Masters in the college of hard knocks.   I now own a Doctorate.   I have a doctorate in pain, dumb decisions, strange experiences, sharing the pain of others, helping others, being betrayed,  being blessed, knowing love, having children, being under great stress, unbearable physical pain, excruciating emotional pain, epiphanies, miracles, friends...life.   God is not obligated to bless me but I am still blessed.  He gave me life.   I have lived, loved, raised children and have grandchildren coming down the road.   I am entering the last third of my life.  I could die today and feel as if I have lived a full and satisfying life. 

We do not know God's overall plan.  He wants to bring all humans to repentance.  My life on Earth is a tiny aspect of a massive long-range plan to bring humans to a knowledge of God.   

Once the pain is better and everyone is settled I will make another regular blog post.   Right now it is hard to deal with all the things going down.  With the pain comes some focus.   One of the major problems Darwinists have is that they do not understand (or choose to ignore) what Creationists teach.   Thus, many questions are not actually relevant.   So I realize I need to fix that.   But getting to the place I can work effectively comes first. 

If you are having tough times or good times, I hope you will find your personal compass and your moral foundation will hold firm.   I know Jesus Christ has placed my feet upon a Rock of Salvation.   In the end this is what matters.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Junk DNA and Darwinism. Jonathan Wells and Plato suggest that you put them both into the dustbin.

The Procrustean presents a book review that summarizes the new Jonathan Wells book - The Myth of Junk DNA

"If Meyers taught us to read DNA, Wells teaches us to sing it."


Review : The Myth of Junk DNA

Myth of Junk DNA Jonathan Wells' The Myth of Junk DNA, is a well-written book that manages to accomplish two separate tasks: to silence the Darwinists who had claimed that recent genomic discoveries supported their dystopic version of The Signature in the Cell; and to bring all of us up-to-date on the breath-taking mysteries being decoded from this most ancient script.

He begins by picking up where Stephen Meyer left off, telling us that within each cell is this memory chip, this software program that directs everything we are and ever meant to be. When Watson and Crick decoded the DNA, there was great expectation that soon we would find the gene to every talent and attribute we had ever wished we had been born with. Sci-fi was filled with stories about a DNA pill that would turn you into a concert pianist, a ballerina, or a nuclear physicist, because the genes for all these talents could manually remedy what evolution had denied you. Soon a billion-dollar government program was begun to decode the human genome, after which, it was widely touted, we would find the cure to cancer and the common cold. The three billion base pairs of the human genome, it was thought, would hold genes stacked up cheek-to-jowl, together encoding some 100,000 different proteins. We knew how to count genes because we had already decoded the way the cell made protein, first by making RNA copies of the DNA, and then sending the RNA to the ribosome factory, which could identify the unique "start" and "stop" codes among the 64 different 3-letter "words" of the RNA software that marked the beginning and end of each gene.

After a decade of work and to everyone's great surprise, the human genome project found only 10,000 such start-stop pairs, suggesting that you and I are made out of fewer proteins than an amoeba! Furthermore, over 90% of the missing genes were DNA that apparently did nothing. Much of this "dark matter" was in long "stutter repeats" that couldn't even make a useful protein if you inserted the start and stop codons yourself. All that work, and nothing to show for it! Neither cancer nor the common cold was cured, and instead an even greater mystery was uncovered.

Wells carefully documents (with an extensive scientific bibliography) how a two-fold approach was taken to soften the blow. Scientifically, other genomes were transcribed and compared to ours, to see what were the essential parts common to all. Sophisticated techniques to "knock-out" chunks of DNA were also used (on animals) to see what happened when this non-protein-encoding DNA was taken out of commission. Simultaneously, the Darwinian "answer machine" was cranked up to explain why we should all have expected that 90% of our genome did nothing. (This, after earlier explaining how evolution made DNA the most efficient software ever discovered.) "Evolution is blind", we were told, and "junk DNA" is what you expect when random chance throws you together from odds and ends and doesn't know how to tell the difference between gold and dross. Furthermore, it looked as if some of the junk DNA was defunct viruses that had managed to multiply "infect" the DNA before being shut down by having their start-stop codons removed. And all this junk and scarred DNA, we were told, is evidence that no intelligence much less design had ever graced our genome.

Once again, Wells shows how the continued scientific efforts did not support "the myth of junk DNA." For if it really was useless, it should mutate rapidly and unrelated organisms should show almost no similarities in their junk. Instead, it was discovered that many sections of even stuttering repeats were conserved better than protein-encoding sections, suggesting it was doing something important. Furthermore, removing this DNA often caused death or deformity in the animals. More recently it was found that far from being junk, most of this 90% junk DNA was being transcribed into RNA, which is now found to be doing a myriad of jobs around the cell.

Wells goes on to list many of the jobs that "junk RNA" is doing, including turning on and off the ribosome, turning on or off the recycling of RNA, editing the RNA to produce up to 1000 different proteins from one "gene" of DNA, responding to external stimuli, defending the cell against attack, and generally providing an entire layer of control circuitry between DNA and proteins. More or less what you would expect from commissioned officers in a well-functioning army.

But this doesn't exhaust the utility of junk DNA. Wells goes on to suggest that DNA has mechanical properties needed when the cell divides and two identical copies of the DNA have to be separated into the respective daughter cells. The fibrils that pull the DNA have to attach somewhere, and one function of junk DNA is to provide a mechanical attachment. Further, two genes often have to be transcribed together, and their compact storage mechanism that has them all wound up like hose on a reel would prevent them from being close to each other. But by arranging the spacing by inserting junk DNA between them, the two genes can twist themselves to be immediately adjacent. However the most unbelievable use for junk DNA is found in the eyes of nocturnal mammals. Normally cells put their junk DNA (heterochromatin) out at the periphery of the nucleus, and the useful DNA (euchromatin) in the center, but in the retinal cells of these mammals, the denser junk DNA is clumped in the middle of the cell, so as to form a convex lens that pulls the light rays toward the center, and so focus even more light on the rods below. Junk DNA is acting as a night-vision goggle!

All these discoveries destroy the myth that evolution makes junk, and leaves us dumbfounded by the many overlapping and varied uses of this simple computer code. It would be as if you could make a telescope out of computer printouts, or fry an egg on your laptop. I'm sure the Darwin answer machine will eventually find a just-so story for this surprise, but in the meantime, Wells has me chortling at their speechless, gape-mouthed expression.

Yet even more spine-tingling is the sense that we are seeing truly dense information storage, something far more elegant than a Donald Knuth computer code. We expected to find something resembling our FORTRAN or machine-code assembly language, but instead we found something far more baroque, far more detailed, far more advanced than even Microsoft Windows. For in 3 Gigabytes, Microsoft barely gets Windows up and running for an expected lifetime of 5 years and it still must be patched monthly for the latest viruses, but in 3 Gigacodons, an entire baby is constructed with a full set of repairs for the assaults of countless viruses and the insults of an 80-year lifetime. If Meyers has shown the cell to have a software signature, then Wells has shown it to be written as poetry in an unknown tongue, replete with rhymes and stanzas and refrains and harmonies we can barely hear. If Meyers taught us to read DNA, Wells teaches us to sing it.

Highly recommended.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am trying to patiently and slowly open the Darwinist mind to the concept that the cell is designed and that DNA is designed and that it is extreme foolishness to believe otherwise.  Engineers of all kinds are copying creation to improve motors, flight, tactility...in fact what field of study has not benefited from copying a system from organisms?  Organisms had motors before we did, could fly, used echolocation, used complex algorithms to navigate and in fact to this day we are continuing to learn from God's design templates.  Despite the fact that this world is running downhill and organisms are collecting mutations and losing functions the cell is still astounding for its complexity and efficiency.  

Thanks to the (linked above) Procrustean blog.  Other worthwhile references:

Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design

 

Fewer Mutations Means More Time

 

What does Plato have to do with design theory and debates over origins views? (ANS: A lot.)

kairosfocus


Plato & Aristotle (Raphael)

The above challenge has been thrown down, in rather intemperate language accompanied by more outing misbehaviour.

It is revelatory on the depth of ignorance cultivated by the imposed dominance of evolutionary materialism via its cat’s paw, so-called methodological naturalism, in science education.

First, as was pointed out in the post on Plato’s warning on the amorality and ruthless factionism of evolutionary materialism day before yesterday,  Plato is one of the first to record the rise of evolutionary materialism as a worldview of origins and the nature of reality. In so doing, he plainly showed that the roots of such a view are philosophical rather than scientific, and in fact“evo mat” is thus shown to have the functionally equivalent status of a religion.

And yes, that means that the de facto establishment of evolutionary materialism in the public square and key institutions is tantamount to an undeclared establishment of the functional equivalent of a religion.
An issue that is already plainly of grave import.


We also need to understand that –  Lewontin, Coyne, the US NAS and NSTA among many others notwithstandingevolutionary materialism is not to be properly equated with “science,” it is but one of many possible worldviews for thoughtful people. And so, it must be able to stand on its own two legs in the teeth of comparative difficulties analysis. Including, on the challenge of grounding ethics by resolving the IS-OUGHT gap.

This is vital, as we all recognise that we have objective rights, which entail that we have duties to one another. As Arthur Holmes summarised:

If we admit that we all equally have the right to be treated as persons, then it follows that we have the duty to respect one another accordingly.  Rights bring correlative duties: my rights . . . imply that you ought to respect these rights. [Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 1984), p. 81.]

So, immediately we can be confident that since evolutionary materialism has in its foundations no IS capable of supporting OUGHT, it cannot ground basic moral facts such as rights, and so is grossly factually inadequate.

That alone is sufficient to disqualify evolutionary materialism as a worldview for a great many thoughtful people.  It also sets the context in which we can see that some of these same people then can find good warrant for grounding their view of life in — at baseline level — a generic “Architect of the Cosmos” theism, that they may then build on in light of some tradition or another. (Cf. here.)

Including many scientists, starting with the likes of a Newton, or a Copernicus, or a Faraday or a Kelvin or a Pasteur and continuing down to today, including a significant number of Nobel Prize holders and other eminent scientists.

So, the atheistical assumption, boast and taunt — tracing to Dawkins –  that those who reject evolutionary materialism thereby prove themselves to be ignorant and/or stupid, and/or insane and/or wicked, is unwarranted, and even bigoted. Similarly, Dawkins’ outrageous assertion that those who raise their children in a theistic tradition are guilty of child abuse is outrageous.

Such should be dropped at once, and apologised for.

As for “outing” and “expelling behaviour” . . .  [Well, reread the Plato's warning post]
However, that is not our main focus this morning.

(BREAK IN TRANSMISSION: We did need to mop up the mess left by some outrageous behaviour culminating in mafioso style threats against my family. And BTW, a lie is a calculated or willful deception, not in effect anything that “I” disagree with. An example of a lie is the false and unwarranted accusation that I am a child abuser; which in my jurisdiction, would properly warrant a slander or libel charge.  Similarly, when one has been repeatedly corrected on it, to willfully insist that outing tactics culminating in we know you, we know where you are, and we know those you care for is not threatening behaviour, is tantamount to a lie. By contrast, to cite and expound on Plato’s expose of evolutionary materialism and resulting amorality and ruthless factionism, applying it to present circumstances is to teach corrective truth.)

Now, Plato identified key causal factors under the three key heads  necessity [phusis, "nature"], chance and art [techne], which we will for instance find directly reflected in Monod’s famous Chance and Necessity:

[[The avant-garde philosophers, teachers and artists c. 400 BC] . . . say that fire and water, and earth and air [[i.e the classical "material" elements of the cosmos], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art, and that as to the bodies which come next in order-earth, and sun, and moon, and stars-they have been created by means of these absolutely inanimate existences. The elements are severally moved by chance and some inherent force according to certain affinities among them-of hot with cold, or of dry with moist, or of soft with hard, and according to all the other accidental admixtures of opposites which have been formed by necessity. After this fashion and in this manner the whole heaven has been created, and all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only . . .

As a bit of onward reading in The Laws, Bk X — or in this online discussion — would reveal, Plato, speaking in the voice of the Athenian Stranger (with a bit of help from Clenias), then went on to frame the central issue of design in worldview terms, actually making a cosmological design inference.  So, we may clip:

Ath. Nearly all of [the avant-garde], my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [[ = psuche, in effect the self-moved intelligent mind], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body? 

Cle[nias]. Certainly.

Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind. 

Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.   [[ . . . .]

Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second.

[[ . . . .]  Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

Ath. I do.

Cle. Certainly we should.
Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?   [[ . . . . ]

Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things. 

Ath. And is not that motion which is produced in another, by reason of another, but never has any self-moving power at all, being in truth the change of an inanimate body, to be reckoned second, or by any lower number which you may prefer?



Cle. Exactly.

Ath. Then we are right, and speak the most perfect and absolute truth, when we say that the soul is prior to the body, and that the body is second and comes afterwards, and is born to obey the soul, which is the ruler?   [[ . . . . ]

Ath. If, my friend, we say that the whole path and movement of heaven, and of all that is therein, is by nature akin to the movement and revolution and calculation of mind, and proceeds by kindred laws, then, as is plain, we must say that the best soul takes care of the world and guides it along the good path. [[Plato here explicitly sets up an inference to design (by a good soul) from the intelligible order of the cosmos.]

In short, Plato argues from the complex, beautiful, orderly functional organisation of the cosmos to its source in an intelligent agent, and that the careful organisation points to a good soul as that mind, guiding the cosmos along the good path. He roots this in a first discussion that rejects the notion of an infinite succession of blind material causes — and BTW (for those inclined to dismiss Plato), how does one traverse the infinite successively, step by step? — and points instead to a first cause, the self-moved, that when embodied we would term life, with a particular reference to intelligent, choosing, purposing life.

In doing so, he raises a very interesting turnabout: could it not instead be said that the real “nature” that goes on by itself is the good soul and architect of the cosmos, and that the rest, from the heavens to the earth and all that dwell in it, are the product of art?

Remember, we are not here discussing holy writ by a claimed prophet; we are looking at one of the first rank thinkers of all time, deeply reflecting on the implications of what he finds are key facts: blind succession of cause are not where we can find the first cause in the chain.

The self-moved, initiating cause that is usually termed “life” when we see it, especially intelligent, en-souled life.
The intelligible organisation of the cosmos calls for an explanation on such cause, in what we may term — Platonists, Thomists and others thinking about Plato’s Craftsman [Demiurge], forgive me, we are not able to go on to walking (much less running) yet, we must help those who have long needed to learn the rudiments of creeping first –  a “Cosmic Architect. ”

Now, we may disagree with Plato, and with those who think in related ways that may be distinct in important ways, e.g. Plato, at least nominally, was a pagan [nb, his subtle disclaimers at the head of this discussion make that "nominally" a potentially key word]. But, we must learn some basic respect: such a manner of thinking is not to be dismissed, or derided and caricatured in ugly ways. 

To further underscore my point, here is Newton in his — again, suspiciously neglected — General Scholium to Principia:

. . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler . . . And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done . . . [.]

Every man, so far as he is a thing that has perception, is one and the same man during his whole life, in all and each of his organs of sense. God is the same God, always and every where. He is omnipresent not virtually only, but also substantially; for virtue cannot subsist without substance. In him are all things contained and moved [i.e. cites Ac 17, where Paul evidently cites Cleanthes]; yet neither affects the other: God suffers nothing from the motion of bodies; bodies find no resistance from the omnipresence of God. It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where. [i.e accepts the cosmological argument to God.] Whence also he is all similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all power to perceive, to understand, and to act; but in a manner not at all human, in a manner not at all corporeal, in a manner utterly unknown to us. As a blind man has no idea of colours, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, or touched; nor ought he to be worshipped under the representation of any corporeal thing. [Cites Exod 20.] We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of any thing is we know not. In bodies, we see only their figures and colours, we hear only the sounds, we touch only their outward surfaces, we smell only the smells, and taste the savours; but their inward substances are not to be known either by our senses, or by any reflex act of our minds: much less, then, have we any idea of the substance of God. We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato's third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.] . . . [.]

And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy.

In short, Newton’s thought is clearly hebraic and related to Plato’s ideas, and he infers from the intelligible, functional, complex organisation of the observed cosmos to its source in an intelligent, necessary being whose word is the law of the cosmos that men discover. Indeed, he actually holds that to discourse upon that Architect in light of the appearances of things is a legitimate act within natural philosophy; the older name for especially the physical sciences.  That is, it is the worldview right of the scientist to look up from his observations and calculations, and to reflect soberly on what lies behind the wonderful order and beauty he sees.

With that history of ideas in mind, and with the sobering considerations already on the table, it is plainly time for a serious re-think on how these sorts of themes are being treated in our civilisation today. And, particularly, we should reflect on the role being played by ruthless factions that have set out to shout down and intimidate  any and all who would dare think out side of their preferred evolutionary materialist box.


Then, we should have the courage to think for ourselves, and to take a bold stance, exposing those who would impose worldviews censorship on science, science education and science-related public policy. 
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